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Posts Tagged ‘Office 365’

Office 365 – SharePoint Online Public Sites – Changes Coming!

Office 365Are you a small or medium sized business using the Office 365 SharePoint Online Public Websites feature? If so, there are some important changes coming to the service.

Starting in January 2015, Microsoft is making changes to the SharePoint Online Public Website feature. Customers who currently use this feature will continue to have access to the feature for a minimum of two years following the changeover date. New customers who subscribe to Office 365 after the changeover date won’t have access to this feature. Moving forward, Office 365 customers will have access to third-party offerings that will enable them to easily integrate their public presence with their Office 365 service. Additional details about these solutions will be made available in January 2015.

Why is Microsoft making this change?

As part of the evolution of the Office 365 service, we periodically evaluate the capabilities of the service to make sure that we’re delivering the utmost value to customers. Today, we’re making a difficult decision to discontinue the SharePoint Online Public Website feature. This lets us then focus on future investments while broadening our partnership with industry leaders.

What does this mean for existing customers of Office 365 plans?

Office 365 customers who currently use the SharePoint Online Public Website feature will continue to have access to the feature for a minimum of two years following the change. Moving forward, customers will have the option to subscribe to third-party solutions for public website functionality. Customers should plan to move to one of these third-party solution within the next two years. Read the rest of this post »

Video How-To’s in Office 365

Video Portal was announced back in November with initial push to “first release” customers and a global deployment available by early 2015. This portal powered by Azure Media Services provides adaptive streaming optimized for video playback for the device it’s being viewed on. Leveraging Office Graph, simple drag and drop interface, discover ability across enterprise search and Delve, integration with yammer conversations, and sharing capabilities on mobile makes this an intuitive and engaging knowledge management add in.

Below is a summary of Video Q&A with Microsoft team, MVPs, and community members:

Why does Office 365 Video need Flash installed?

Microsoft is working to add HTML5 video playback support in a future update. This will remove the current Flash dependency. For the initial release, we prioritized security of the videos’ playback stream. We are working with Azure Media Services on new player and detection tech that can get the right player (native, HTML5, or flash) and the right stream from Azure media services, so that we offer both adaptive streaming and security on latest mobile devices and browsers. For native iPhone app, we are using Azure Media Service SDK to support HLS. Browser playback doesn’t work currently for mobile devices because of flash. Read the rest of this post »

Dream Team 2014: Connecting Salesforce and SharePoint

By now, it’s old news that Salesforce is connecting to files stored in Microsoft’s SharePoint Online service, the portals-and-collaboration piece of Office 365.  The official announcement may have been made this morning, but it hit the channel months ago and was unveiled with much fanfare when  it was previewed at Dreamforce 2014 this fall.  Since then, our Perficient team has been doing a lot of thinking about this integration, how and when to use it, and what it means.

Configuring Files Connect to Use Documents From SharePoint

One of the values of having award-winning national practices for both the Salesforce and Microsoft platforms is the chance to work with talented colleagues across technology stacks.  The result was this case study by Bob Graham, which gives a great overview of how we used Files Connect from Salesforce to access documents stored in SharePoint Online.  After collaborating with peers in our Salesforce team, Bob took the time to write this helpful piece up.  In it, he walks you through the steps he took to plan, connect, and ultimately leverage files stored in SharePoint within the Salesforce user experience.  It really is as easy as it looks.

The Greater Implications

“Okay, Perficient,” you might say now, “that’s how you make it work– but what does it mean?”  The obvious answer is the surprising amount of collaboration being shown between the direct actors engaged here– Microsoft and Salesforce– and that’s covered well over at TechCrunch.  It’s fascinating that of all the cloud-based file systems Salesforce could have partnered with for this, the first one in the line was actually Microsoft.

In a macro sense, it’s perfectly rational– the world is growing smaller and more connected, and the days of the one-vendor ecosystem are long dead.  Sure, Microsoft has a competing CRM platform (Dynamics) and Salesforce has its own portal solution (Communities), but as much as anything, this announcement is an acknowledgement that neither company is the market leader in those secondary spaces.  This is two giants connecting like to like– the dominant platforms for CRM and file-sharing, respectively– and making it easier for customers to choose best-of-breed cloud solutions over monolithic enterprise architectures focused on vendor rationalization.

That’s kind of a big deal, wouldn’t you say?

Office 365 – 300 Days of Mainstream Support Left for Outlook 2010

Let’s pause for a minute and mark October 13, 2015 on our calendars; this is the final day of mainstream support for Outlook 2010.

This is especially relevant to Exchange Online users as the system requirements for Office 365 state that it is designed to work with “any version of Microsoft Office in mainstream support”. While Microsoft does not actively block you from connecting to Office 365 with legacy versions or client applications, the text around older versions includes phrases like “does not recommend”, “limited support” and “quality of user experience will diminish over time”.

The “evergreen” nature of Office 365 means that the “server-side” of the service architecture is always being updated and improved; in some cases, these new features are only available to users running the most current client applications.

Knowing that we have 300 days to plan and execute the upgrade of our Outlook 2010 installations, below are some options that are available to us.
Read the rest of this post »

Getting Started With Power BI, pt. 2

Last week, I posted part one of our Power BI Primer series discussing access and basic administration. This week we’re bringing you Part Two.

If you are an Office365 customer, then you have almost certainly heard about (if not seen) Power BI.

The cloud-based analytics and collaboration platform from Microsoft has some pretty amazing features, and really extends the Microsoft BI platform not only into the cloud but into a more self-service oriented mode.   However, one of the challenges to getting up and running on Power BI has been, well, knowing how to get up and running!

And that’s where we come in.

Perficient has created a 4-part video series that provides step-by-step instructions for getting your Power BI instance working for you. From getting your Power BI Site set up, to administering it, and connecting your Power BI workbooks to on-premises data sources — this series has got you covered!

So let’s take a look at Part 2: Power BI Administration and Permissions

This video takes a deeper look at administering Power BI Sites, including user permissions. This will cover some of the details of securing your Office 365 SharePoint Online site, and granting access to users.

Next time, we’ll get into using all aspects of Power BI data exploration and visualization. Cheers!

Perficient & Partners In Health team up to implement Office 365

pihToday, Perficient announced it has been working with Partners In Health, a Boston-based nonprofit that delivers high-quality health care and serves impoverished communities around the world, from Haiti to Rwanda to Siberia, to deploy Office 365 at cost.

From the Press Release:

Founded in 1987, Partners In Health works to strike at the root causes of illness by weaving together clinical and social support for poor and marginalized patients, by training local healthcare providers in the communities they serve, and by advocating for global policy change. Upon receiving a grant for Office 365 subscriptions from Microsoft, Partners In Health selected Perficient to migrate its infrastructure to the cloud. For this initiative, Perficient is leveraging the experience of its award-winning Microsoft national business unit and Healthcare practice to deliver the Office 365 suite at cost to the client’s 3,000 users, including implementing Exchange Online for company-wide communication, Azure-hosted ADFS for identity management, and SharePoint Online for document storage and collaboration.

Deployment of Office 365 across sites in Africa, Haiti, Mexico, Peru, Russia and the U.S. will further Partners In Health’s mission to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care. It will also enhance cross-site communication and collaboration as the organization responds to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Cloud-based storage allows documents to be accessed at any time from any device in any setting, including those where bandwidth is limited. With a common email platform, information may be shared seamlessly among colleagues, partners and all others involved in the fight against illness and poverty.

And from Dave Mayo, CIO, Partners In Health:

“When looking at technology solutions providers, Perficient’s proven track record in the healthcare industry and demonstrated Microsoft cloud services expertise stood out immediately. Thanks to our partnership with Perficient, we are adopting a consolidated, reliable platform for colleague interactions – one that enables us to more effectively serve our world’s most vulnerable. We are immensely grateful for Perficient’s generosity and support of our efforts.”

You can read the full release for more details, including thoughts from Jeff Davis, CEO and president of Perficient, as well as Mike Gersten, VP of Perficient’s Microsoft national business unit.

In addition, Perficient’s Kent Larson has published a blog post that provides further insight into how Partners In Health is using Office 365 and Azure in its fight for global health. The post covers how Office 365 will have an impact, identity management using Azure, and the global roll out of Office 365. Keep on the lookout for future blog posts on the implementation!

Lync Online – The Importance of Quality of Service

One of the main topics that often surrounds the Office 365 Lync Online solution is how to provide the best Lync experience for end users. Since Lync Online is hosted in the cloud, Lync Online users rely heavily on their Internet connection for the majority of their experience.

There are a number of areas to prepare your network for the best Lync Online experience possible:

  1. Calculate your Lync Online bandwidth estimated usage by using the Lync Bandwidth Calculator (Download)
    1. Ensure your internet connection, network backbone, and WAN links have enough bandwidth capacity for the additional Lync Online traffic
    2. Review current and past bandwidth usage trends
  2. Implement Quality of Service (QoS) on your Local Area Network (LAN) Windows-based workstations

QoS allows you to prioritize traffic when your network is under heavy load and is applied on workstations by tagging packets with a Differentiated Services Code Point (DSCP / Diffserv) value. Your network equipment must be configured to handle these DSCP tags appropriately.

*Note – this article will not cover how to design or configure your network for QoS, you should work closely with your network team and/or vendor. Read the rest of this post »

Site Mailbox – A New Way to Collaborate

What’s a Site Mailbox?
Site Mailboxes provide a consolidated view of site content stored within SharePoint and Exchange from within Microsoft Outlook. Site Mailboxes help team members share and archive important emails related to a specific subject, instead of losing those emails in individuals’ inboxes. It can be especially helpful resources for new team members who need to get up to speed quickly on an subject’s history. Oftentimes, emails stored in Site Mailboxes can provide the insight into why past decisions were made and offer context for future decisions.

How is it different from Exchange mailbox?
Site Mailbox doesn’t allow to see documents in outlook, only sync your site document libraries in Outlook and easily share documents with your team…however you can sync a document library in Outlook and see the documents there in preview mode. You will not be able to add the Team Site mailbox to your Outlook desktop client.

How does Site mailbox help you in increasing Productivity?
One of the strong features of Site Mailboxes is the fact that the same functionality exists in both the browser (through SharePoint) and in Outlook. In addition to checking a Site Mailbox through SharePoint to review emails, Site Mailboxes are also available in Outlook 2013 as an additional folder that will display both emails and documents from the SharePoint site.

Site Mailboxes provide users a way to work naturally in their Information Worker client apps, whether that be Outlook or SharePoint.  The content is kept where it belongs. Exchange stores the email-based content, offering users with the same message view for email conversations that they use every day for their own mailboxes.  Meanwhile, SharePoint stores the Office files, bringing co-authoring and versioning to the table.  Compliance policies are applied to all content behind the scenes. Attachments sent to a Site Mailbox are stored and indexed for search in SharePoint allowing users to manage content appropriately across individual team sites and allows for collaboration using Office web apps. Site Mailboxes are also managed by Exchange and easily accessible by Outlook users.

Before you plan site mailboxes keep in mind that:

  • Lifecycle Retention policies can be applied at a Site Mailbox level behind the scenes.
  • Site Mailboxes can be part of eDiscovery Search Scopes.
  • Email content is retained within Microsoft Exchange while documents are retained within SharePoint.
  • In order to include the email as part of a workflow or add metadata columns to it you can drag and drop it directly to a Document Library.
  • Maximum of 10 Site Mailboxes can be added to Outlook

Enough of the talk, let’s see it in action now!

  • Navigate to your team site



  • Click on “Mailbox” on the left navigationmailbox2
  • Open email attachment


  •  Hit Edit and Reply and you don’t have to open the PowerPoint in another program or save another copy locally only to re-attach it to her reply. Also, if there was important information in the email she needed to reference, this side-by-side view lets her work on the presentation without having to click back and forth to the email.




  • Inline email and editing



  • With this new information in mind, you now click on your team site in the navigation bar in Outlook Online to return to the site to continue your investigation.







Office 365 – Using Password Sync as a Backup to AD FS

For organizations that deploy AD FS for single sign-on with Office 365, it is as critical of a component as their on-premises Active Directory. While you may have your mailboxes residing in Exchange Online in the cloud, if your on-premises AD FS is not available, users cannot authenticate to access their mailbox.

There are a number of ways to create a highly available environment, starting with multiple servers in a single datacenter, then spreading them across multiple datacenters and then possibly even extending your AD FS farm into Azure IaaS.

Another option, with zero added infrastructure costs, is to use the “Password Sync” feature of DirSync / AADSync as a disaster recovery option should your AD FS become unavailable.
Read the rest of this post »

Getting Started with Power BI, pt. 1

If you are an Office 365 customer, then you have almost certainly heard about — if not seen — Power BI.

The cloud-based analytics and collaboration platform from Microsoft has some pretty amazing features, and really extends the Microsoft BI platform not only into the cloud but into a more self-service oriented mode.   However, one of the challenges to getting up and running on Power BI has been, well, knowing how to get up and running!

And that’s where we come in.

Perficient has created a 4-part video series that provides step-by-step instructions for getting your Power BI instance working for you. From getting your Power BI Site set up, to administering it, and connecting your Power BI workbooks to on-premises data sources — this series has got you covered!

First up, let’s take a look at Part 1: Gaining Access to Power BI

This video takes a look at the basics: what Power BI Sites are, how they work, how to personalize the Power BI experience. And it just touches on administration and the Power BI Admin screen.

For more on administration and related goodies, stay tuned as we continue this series later this week…. Cheers!