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Posts Tagged ‘Office 365’

Microsoft Releases Cloud Roadmap

roadmapMicrosoft just launched their Cloud Platform roadmap site. For one it addresses the frequent frustration customers have around the visibility, and second it actually provides a way to be able to understand and plan for what’s coming next. The link to the site is here

This roadmap gives comprehensive insights into features in various buckets: preview, development stage, in the pipeline and the ones which were cancelled. This spans cloud services like Microsoft Azure, Intune, Power BI, and Visual Studio Online; server offerings such as Windows Server, System Center, SQL Server and Visual Studio; and converged system appliance offerings such as Cloud Platform System, Analytics Platform System and StorSimple.


Top 10 Things to Know About Yammer External Messaging-Flexternal

Yammer is rolling out an exciting new feature which will provide the ability to add external collaborators to new conversations, existing conversations,External-Messaging2 and private messages within the Office 365 network. This will be first released for beta testing (for verified and registered admins).

The Office 365 community hosted an open discussion around this new feature led by Microsoft team. Folks on the discussion shared real time scenarios where this could prove real helpful.

  1.  We have a new person joining our team. The manager announced it internally and the excitement and kudos poured in. But the person that we were hiring wasn’t on the thread. Everyone was sort of preemptively congratulating this person even though this person wasn’t on boarded yet. Once this feature turned up, we included the new hire on the thread, and this person was able to see all the congratulatory messages and even make their first post about how excited they are to join the team.
  2. We’re working with an external person on a project. One where it doesn’t necessarily make sense to spin up an external network. Doing so would just be overkill. We want to exchange files, have conversations, etc. The external person isn’t necessarily full time on the project and we only need their input infrequently.

Here is a list of top 10 quick tips you need to know about this idea – Flexternal

  1. People who you add to the conversation will be able to contribute and add others. However, they will not be able to add you to the conversations in their network. Only you can add others at this time.
  2. People can NOT be invited to Public or Private Group as a whole but just to a thread. They can be invited to public conversations, but only to single instances. So they have to be invited to every conversation you want them to see.
  3. If you remove an external participant from a thread, they no longer see the message in Yammer, but still can find the message within their email inbox. How much of that conversation is revealed in email? For instance if there were four posts on a thread, will all four responses show in the email or just part of the conversation up until they were removed?
    Every comment from the conversation is sent individually via email. So one email will only include one comment of the conversation–not the entire thread. Let’s say you were added at the beginning of the conversation. You’ll get four separate emails. If you were added by comment three you will only receive comments three and four. Once a user is removed they will no longer receive email notifications. You also cannot view content in email. You need to sign into Yammer to view files or notes.
  4. What happens if the invited external does not already have a company Yammer network? For example, an individual contractor/consultant.
    That external user can either chose to respond via email, or signup and join their Yammer network. Obviously they wouldn’t be able to join your network.
  5. What happens if I invite an external user to a conversation at the “wrong” email address. Will they have to create a new Yammer profile or would they be able to pull the conversation into their existing inbox?
    Right now that person would be able to reply to you by email. There isn’t currently the functionality to pull the conversation into an existing inbox though.
  6. Will the network admin be able to easily identify/contact the admins of the foreign network posting to their users? The most obvious reason will be around spam and abuse.
    Microsoft is working on including ‘report as spam’ button with this feature. That button will automatically provide this feedback to them and to the network admins.
  7. Will the email address of those posting into my network be clearly available in the data exports?
    Yes - the mail addresses are available. People who will be posting into your network are the ones that are explicitly invited to conversations by other people in your network. Therefore it is similar to someone in your network cc’ing an external user in their email that is also addressed to others in the company.
  8. How will external messaging recipients be clearly identified in email interaction with a thread?
    If you are responding by email, you’ll see the same external participant icon that you see on the web (the globe icon). When responding by email you’ll also get a warning at the bottom of the email that there are external participants in the thread.
  9. It’s not possible to disable this feature at a network level at this time. This means NO administrative override.  However, Yammer External Messaging will clearly show the external party that has been added.
  10. Currently it will not allow users to communicate with Gmail/AOL/Yahoo types of email address. You have to use a corporate email address.

Office 365 – How to Configure UPN Filtering in AADSync

Azure Active Directory Sync Services (AADSync) was made “generally available” in September 2014. While the old DirSync tool is still available (and actually still linked to in the portal), AADSync should be what you’re looking to deploy at this point. As we make this transition, there is a learning curve in trying to understand how to accomplish certain tasks in AADSync that you may have previously done in DirSync.

One of the configuration settings I often implement with DirSync is the creation of a filter to only synchronize attributes with a properly formatted UPN.

Below is how this filter can be implemented using the AADSync PowerShell module.
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Office 365 – Watch Your “Recoverable Items Quota”!

Many of the limits within Exchange Online are values that your users are unlikely to exceed. Despite this, we occasionally see situations where a limit is exceeded in ways you might not expect.

As perhaps best illustrated by the fabled “640K ought to be enough for anybody” quote (falsely?) attributed to Bill Gates, the requirements of users changes over time. Fortunately, Office 365 has maintained pace in most cases by raising various limits.

I recently worked with a client that exceeded the default 30 GB “RecoverableItemsQuota” value set on their mailbox. As a result, meeting invites sent to the user were being returned as undeliverable to the senders.

What is the “RecoverableItemsQuota”?

How can you tell if you’re at risk of exceeding the limit?

Is 30 GB a limit we can expect to exceed?

How can we increase the limit in Exchange Online?
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Office 365 – New Features Appear on the Office 365 Roadmap

Trying to stay on top all the changes in Office 365 can be a daunting task. In a previous article, “How to Stay Informed of Changes“, I described some of the methods that I use to try and stay informed.

One of those methods, the “Office 365 Roadmap“, seems to have been updated recently with a handful of new features planned. Ideally there would be an RSS feed or an update log for the page, it’s a bit of a treasure hunt when reviewing the roadmap.

Below are a few exciting new features that look to have recently appeared on the Office 365 Roadmap.
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Perficient Assists Global Health Efforts with Office 365 Solution

pihLast week, Michael Novinson from the Channel Company published an article on its IT Best of Breed website around Perficient’s work with Partners In Health to deliver cloud communication capabilities to workers in remote locations. The full article is available here.

From the post:

The St. Louis-based company, No. 66 on the CRN SP 500, migrated the infrastructure and 3,000 employees of Partners In Health to a Microsoft Office 365 suite at the purchasing price without any markup.

Boston-based Partners In Health trains healthcare providers and delivers clinical and social support for impoverished communities in areas such as Haiti, Rwanda and Siberia. The organization has also been involved with responding to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

“It’s a great cause,” Perficient CEO Jeff Davis told

Davis said Perficient – which was named Microsoft’s partner of the year in 2013 – was the only solution provider willing to do the work without any profit margin.

Novinson went on to discuss how the Gates Foundation donated the cloud services while Microsoft donated the software. The solution includes Exchange Online for email communication, Azure AD for identity management and SharePoint Online for collaboration.

Prior to Office 365, Davis said many employees were in remote locations with such little bandwidth that they had to go to internet cafes and use Gmail. Some Partners In Health employees were not on a single email system, he said messages would sometimes get lost due to time zone changes.

Since Office 365 operates out of the cloud, Davis said it does not require much data to be moved across the system, which is vital given the remote location of Partners In Health clinics, particularly in Haiti.

The SharePoint piece, though, will be much more data intensive, meaning Perficient might not be able to roll it out at every site.

Perficient also addressed Partners In Health’s server crashes and shored up issues with legacy systems since even a cloud-based application such as Office 365 requires some on-site computing power.

You can read the full piece here, or read a recently published case study describing the client’s challenges and how Perficient is addressing them.

Gear up for 2015 with these Microsoft productivity tools & tips

We’re one week into the new year, and I’ve yet to make a resolution. productiveGiven the success rate of most resolutions and my personal history with outlandish goals that last a couple of weeks at best, I’d rather not set myself up for failure.

Even more than that, I like to identify things that are important and consistently make an effort to get them done throughout the year. How can I more effectively communicate with my colleagues? One way I’ve tried to do this is by making a conscious effort to post certain ideas, questions and topics to Yammer, rather than using email and perpetuating the siloed behavior that goes along with it.

Another one – how can I be more productive with the tools I have in front of me? Take my use of Microsoft OneNote, for example. I’ve taken notes in OneNote for years, but my use was sporadic and I really didn’t know how to take full advantage of the tool. A few months into 2014, after hearing glowing reviews from loyal OneNote fans (someone may have even referred to it as “lifechanging” at one point), I jumped on the OneNote bandwagon and haven’t looked back. I use it on my iPhone, sync files to my OneDrive account – it’s really the best.

If you want to learn how to better use OneNote in 2015, Joe Crabtree wrote a fantastic blog post on it, How to Use OneNote Like a Pro. You might not know, for example, that OneNote can read handwritten text, records audio and can even do arithmetic and calculus. This was one of the five top blog posts on Microsoft productivity tools, tips and tricks published on our Microsoft blog in 2014.

Below are the four other posts that can help you stay productive throughout the year: Read the rest of this post »

Office 365 – Five Exchange Online Tasks to Consider (Post-Setup)

You did it!

You migrated your organization’s mail environment to Exchange Online. The post-migration dust is starting to settle, the project plan tasks are nearly all checked off and you’re done, you’re finally done.

…or are you?

Below are a five tasks that can get overlooked when configuring your Exchange Online environment. While some may be optional for your organization, nearly all are quick and easy to implement.
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10 Best Microsoft Office 365 Features For 2015

Office 365As we end 2014, I wanted to look back at some of the great Office 365 feature releases of 2014. Not all of these features are fully rolled out, some are still in preview, while others we will see in early 2015.

Earlier this year, Microsoft finally gave us the Office 365 Roadmap where we can now keep an eye on what’s in development or what has already been launched. This was a much needed service, as those of us in the industry, and most importantly our customers, needed to know what was coming.

The list below covers most of the productivity suite of products, but I didn’t get highly technical in Exchange, Lync, or Project. And I didn’t mention all the great things you can do now with OneNote, OneDrive, and Office Pro Plus. There are so many great things about Office 365, I really had a tough time putting this list together. Here are my best 10 features that will make Office 365 a MUST have for 2015. Read the rest of this post »

Perficient’s Top 5 Yammer Blog Posts of 2014

In another 12 hours or so, topfivethose of us on the east coast will be watching the ball drop (mainly on television, but perhaps a few of the Perficient folks local to NYC are planning to brave the cold and crowds). Either way, we’ll be celebrating with family and friends as we ring in the New Year. New Year’s Eve is certainly a social occasion, so I thought I’d wrap up 2014 with a summary of the best enterprise social posts that were published throughout the year.

Since our enterprise social network of choice is Yammer (both for our customers and internally, where we’ve moved from predominately communicating via email to having conversations in Yammer whenever possible), here are the top five blog posts on all things Yammer:

Yammer – DirSync or AD FS (SSO) or Both?
There’s a lot to think about when planning your Enterprise Yammer implementation. How will I get users into Yammer? How will users login to Yammer? Which password will they use? How will users who leave my organization be handled in Yammer? What software do I really need to implement? In this post, Joe Crabtree discusses Yammer DirSync and SSO. SSO in Yammer is a generalized term, as any SSO provider can be connected with Yammer. He focuses specifically on AD FS, as that is Microsoft’s SSO software.

Is Your SharePoint Ready for Yammer?
In this post, Vaibhav Mathur explains, if your organization is experiencing rapid growth or you simply need better collaboration, you ought to take a hard look at enterprise social. Microsoft has clearly stated that they believe the future of social collaboration to be in the cloud, and are making most of their investments in cloud-based features within Yammer and Office 365. As a result, our customers are moving to Yammer as their social platform to enhance their social collaboration practice. Vaibhav discusses the one concern he’s been been hearing from lot of organizations, and that concerns centers around making this transition – from native SharePoint social to Yammer. He talks about how to make the shift, and how to know if Yammer will be of value.

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