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SharePoint or Office 365 – OneDrive for Business fits All

OneDrive

SkyDrive or OneDrive, SharePoint, Yammer, lync - where to start? what to install for users? Which to use when? Many of us go through these questions when facing customers or when looking to provide the best service to our internal users. So much information is flowing around the web but its always tough to assimilate in one place and get a holistic view of all these services. So I thought, why not create a series on Office 365 explaining each of these services in depth helping our technical and business users to make informed decision.

As first part of this series I wrote about how moving to Office 365 can help you utilize various channels and services. And today I am going to dive deeper into the benefits, limitations, features of OneDrive for Business (ODFB) and many things you didn’t know even existed.                                                

What is OneDrive for Business

A cloud service which provides personal library intended for storing and organizing your work documents.

Where can I get it?

It comes part of SharePoint 2013 on premise or if you are on Office 365 you can buy subscription plan. Remember even though it comes part of on prem SP 2013 the service still runs on Microsoft cloud. Check the table below for latest pricing and comparable features of OneDrive personal and OneDrive for Business.

Space & Features
OneDrive
OneDrive for Business
Initial Space7GB Free25GB for $2.50 user/month
Additionalup to 10GB Free (by activating camera roll backup and inviting friends)$0.20 per GB
+50GB$25 annually$0.20 per GB
+100GB$50 annually$0.20 per GB
+200GB$100 annually$0.20 per GB
Desktop Syncing, Mobile Access, create/edit office docs in browser, integration with office desktop, automatic versioning and history of documentsAvailableAvailable
Auditing & Reporting, advanced administrationNoAvailable
MFA (multi factor authentication)NoAvailable
SSO/ADFS/Dir SyncNoAvailable
Standard ComplianceNoAvailable

Tell me more about OneDrive for Business and how can I integrate it within my business?

Last week Microsoft announced a standalone version of ODFB. This actually makes it a very strong contender for piloting new businesses with the standalone version and later upgrading to comprehensive plans. here are some interesting facts you probably did not know:yipee

  • One not so publicly available fact is that you can ONLY upgrade standalone version to Office 365 E Family plan.
  • Microsoft announced OneDrive for Business Sync for Mac client will be coming by end of 2014. Review it here: Mac Client
  • Multi factor Authentication (MFA) - Multi-factor authentication increases the security of user logins for cloud services above and beyond just a password. With Multi-Factor Authentication for Office 365, users are required to acknowledge a phone call, text message, or an app notification on their smartphone after correctly entering their password. Only after this second authentication factor has been satisfied can a user sign in. Which means if you are on one of the Office 365 plans and using ODFB you automatically can make use of MFA.
  • How to integrate SharePoint 2010 or 2013 on premise with ODFB? – OneDrive for Business redirection can be accomplished with SharePoint 2010 – while SharePoint 2013 Service Pack 1 adds a native configuration option in Central Administration, in 2010 you can use Trusted My Site Host locations to redirect users personal site (OneDrive for Business) to Office 365.
  • What happens to user data when a provisioned user account is removed (e.g. sabbatical)  but then re provisioned at a later date- Data stays cached and is not remove, although the period for which it stays is unconfirmed.
  • A user can have OneDrive for Business and OneDrive personal side by side w/o any issues of sharing as they both are separate consumer offerings
  • Security and Compliance - Microsoft’s focus on security spans hardware, software, the physical security of their datacenters, policies and controls, and verification by independent auditors. They break it down it in two categories a) Customer Controls b) built in security. Built-in security represents all the measures that Microsoft takes on behalf of all Office 365 customers to protect your information and run a highly available service. Customer controls are features that enable you to customize Office 365 to meet the specific needs of your organization. You can get details about both types of security features from the Security whitepaper in the Office 365 Trust Center which outlines Microsoft’s practices, compliance criteria, and more. The one concern I keep hearing from my clients is whether the document stored in OneDrive be safe and not allowed to be downloaded to personal devices. That’s a very valid concern and solution to that is Microsoft Rights Management in Office 365. This policy is attached to the document/data, so it applies no matter where your information lives, downloaded or emailed-it travels with the document. Rights Management lets you assign policies to email, SharePoint Online libraries, individual Office documents, and more. It’s available as part of Office 365 E3 & E4 plans but could be added to E1 and A2. Office team has more  information about this topic here
  • Desktop Syncing - You can sync ODFB or SharePoint site libraries to your computer and then access your library files in File Explorer instead of in a web browser even OFFLINE. All updates sync to OneDrive for Business or site libraries whenever you’re online. Because I personally have had some syncing problems (keep this link handy sync) due to which I will caution you to fully resolve any syncing issues or risk exposing your confidential content.  Take an example of a user who encounters issues with the sync client and later departs the organization leaving your administrator to figure out how to get his data out of the cloud. Now once you have sync issues it might be tough to recover leading to your sensitive data being exposed.
  • Can you pre provision OneDrive for Business spaces for users? – Yes. Take an example where you are migrating from earlier versions of SharePoint MySites or other storage/collaboration platform and you do not want to wait for a user to click on the generated ODFB link (imagine waiting on 1000′s of users….ha!) to initiate the provisioning, in that case you can use CSOM or Office Apps to pre provision. Microsoft community is helping us get there, check these links : CSOM & AMS
  • Item and Sync Limits – There has been a lot of confusion especially due to SharePoint library limits being different from ODFB. OneDrive for Business allows 20,000 item sync whereas SP library allows 5,000 item sync, that means if you go over that limit your library breaks.  If you go over 5,000 items in all folders you will lose some administrative capabilities such as setting permissions, creating indexed columns, and configuring the document library. You can
    however, have more than 5,000 items if done correctly (nested sub folders) and you don’t need to modify any settings after you pass that threshold.  There
    is a view threshold for “viewing” – but, for syncing it’s 20,000. A possible solution is to turn on metadata based navigation, and configure the most important columns as either key filters or hierarchies. That has the effect of making it really easy to create selective queries over large lists, and has built in fallback behavior for times when the user accidently selects too large a data set. Microsoft has extensive documentation on designing large lists here.
  • Migrate Data from Google Drive – No out of the box support but tons of third party vendors, one notable is Metavis
  • Sharing – The documents and folders you store in OneDrive for Business are private until you decide to share them. When you share documents and folders, you can decide whether to let people edit them, or just view them. You can send onetime doc requests to external users from ODFB today. Check here & here to learn how to.
  • Start yammer conversation from within OneDrive for Business document – Click “Post” in the document callout and communicate with your peers right from within the context of that document, and improve the discoverability of deliverables. Here is a great post by Christophe Fiessinger on the office blog

yammer-onedrive1

  • Nice blog about redirection of OneDrive for Business to O365 – TechNet Article
  • Everyone gets 25GB for everything – primarily files, but could be for sub sites and lists within the personal site. You are not able to set it below 25GB, and can up it in increments (50GB, 100GB, 250GB, 500GB, and 1024GB); review this latest blog about new scale for storage: Tenant Storage . Remember the my root site in the SPO admin center does not relate to individual users’ personal aforementioned quota. You can adjust the root site’s quota like any other site collection in SPO admin center, but it is not entirely necessary beyond the design elements common to everyone’s personal site (like the About Me page).
  • One recent announcement from Microsoft was around OWA and OneDrive integration- Outlook Web App now includes full integration with OneDrive for Business, allowing you to easily share files stored in the cloud as attachments in your email. There are two ways you can share a file with Outlook Web App and OneDrive for
    Business: 1. When you send an attachment from your computer or device you can now automatically upload the file to your OneDrive cloud drive and send it as a link and 2. You can also easily attach a file directly from your OneDrive cloud drive when sending an email in Outlook Web App. Both these methods makes it possible to change permissions on the document from within the email irrespective of permissions set in SharePoint library or OneDrive for Business folder. Screenshots below will give you some idea of how powerful this is and it ties directly with the Information Rights we discussed earlier. read evolution of email for more details

owaattach1

 owaattach2

owaattach3

But just like any other product, ODFB also have limitations. The good news is that Microsoft has most on their roadmap for this year. oh no

  • Share Folder – Google drive allows you to share folder while OneDrive for Business does not- although you can use “Shared for everyone” folder to drag drop your files. This actually is a killer for many when it comes to adoption – users don’t want to have to share each document one at a time.
  • Not possible to sync an individual document inside a folder
  • Yammer Group docs do NOT show up in your OneDrive for Business ‘shared with me’ folder – This one is very near on the roadmap
  • Synchronization of SharePoint team site content is limited to WIN32 client

Hopefully you were able to see the horsepower and value OneDrive for Business adds to your business in form of sharing & collaboration while maintaining the parameters of security and compliance. At the end of the day we all need to realize that the real value of these products lies in utilizing technology, process, and people to build a community where collaboration can thrive.

Office 365 – What’s the Best Plan?

Didn’t you always wonder which plan to pick in the O365 family? So many different SKU’s providing distinct features, storage capabilities, tools, etc. I know while talking to customers one of the initial and biggest question has been around which plan is perfect for them and can they downgrade or upgrade from there. Looks like Microsoft heard and responded; very recently they released a great new resource that will help you recommend and sell the right Office 365 plan to your customers.

The Office 365 Plan Selector Tool is an Excel based tool, which recommends the appropriate core Office 365 Plan, based on the answers to a few questions around your customer’s technology and productivity needs. In addition to the recommended plan, it also provides upsell and scale back plan options, if the customer needs more or less features than in the recommended plan. I highly recommend checking out the video before you download and play with it.

Demo Video: Office 365 Selector Tool Demo

Download Link: Selector Tool

Would be interested in hearing your feedback on how do you plan to use this tool and how does it solve your current and future Office 365 engagements.

Compelling Case for Office 365

Everyone has an opinion on “Cloud’ and its effect on the business, for some it’s scary in terms of data security and for some it’s revenue generation and cost savings. There are a number of reasons why cloud computing is so widely used among businesses today. Some of them include

Reduction of costs – lower hardware costs from more effective use of physical resources
Universal access – allow remotely located employees to access applications and work via the internet
Up to date software – ability to get upgraded software and patches seamlessly
Scalability & Flexibility – allows users to switch applications easily and rapidly, using the one that suits their needs best. Allows a business to use, access and pay only for what they use, with a fast implementation time

Though we can go on and on with the benefits, it’s also important to know there are circumstances which does not make cloud a best fit for an organization. But isn’t that the case for any technology or software? So for the purposes of this post I will focus on the most talked cloud service from Microsoft, Office 365. It’s been promoted as SaaS but there are scenarios which I think it fits better in the PaaS bucket, but we’ll leave that for a later discussion.

Now I have been in consulting for as long as I can remember which has given me the chance to work across various industries, technologies, and tools but most recently I have been enthralled by Microsoft’s latest cloud offering Office 365 and I wanted to cover some compelling reasons for organizations or individuals to move to O365 and what makes office a preferred choice for over 1 billion people

  • Pricing – The greatest advantage  here being the multiple SKU’s being offered providing an opportunity to do a test drive. I know of organizations who have started their cloud journey  by simply enrolling for OneDrive for Business (previously SkyDrive) or Yammer (enterprise social networking tool), or some standalone SharePoint. Can you imagine standing up social networking and collaboration in your organization (small to medium to large enterprise) for as little as zero? Plans are extremely favorable starting from $5 user/month to $22 user/month. For latest pricing and plan details check out Office 365 Business Plans
  • Availability – “Your complete office in the cloud” is how we think of Microsoft Office 365. The worldwide uptime number for Office 365 for the last four quarters beginning July 2012  and ending June 2013 has been 99.98%, 99.97%, 99.94% and 99.97% respectively and financially backed by SLA of 99.9%. Check  Office 365 Trust Center for uptime numbers disclosed every quarter.
  • Ease of Use – Same old office applications we have been using for last two decades now online. Whatever device you’re working on, Office 365 gives you access to everything you need—your documents, email, calendars, contacts, and team sites all come with you. A mobile or geographically distributed workforce accessing email, documents and spreadsheets online or offline, and collaborating with colleagues either offline or in real time sounds like lot of work but O365 makes it a snap by taking out all that headache of maintenance and constant upgrades out of your hand.
  • Funding – Now many don’t know this but since Microsoft truly believes in the value this provides to organizations they are offering (for a limited time only) funding for qualifying deployments for 150 seats and above. This will help you accelerate your adoption by investing in Office 365 Fast Track methodology. Check Fast track Funding for more details
  • Cost – This is one of my favorite ones for businesses who require a quick public facing site or are  bringing up extranets for collaborating with their partners or vendors, they can get all of that for no charge (for up to 10,000 users based on the subscription plan)
  • Application Suite

So that I don’t bore with too much details I’ll keep it short for the well-known platforms/services already being widely used like SharePoint,  Lync, Exchange etc.

  • Yammer – social network entirely focused on business. I think this one alone is one of the most riveting of the lot. The way people are hooked onto Facebook they are going to find tremendous power to this tool. Microsoft has been taking big strides in this area by deprecating SharePoint 2013 newsfeed and replacing (Go Yammer! Is the slogan) it with Yammer ($1.2B acquisition made in mid of 2012). There are some upcoming features announced recently which includes a much tighter Yammer integration with Outlook Online and O365 sites.
    • If you are anything like me this one is an “Aw” factor of O365. Codename “Oslo” it is a proactive personalized search and discovery using office graph. A strong algorithmic approach for surfacing tailored feed is truly a mark of next generation technology.

Olso_dd_01-1024x576

Olso_dd_02-1024x576

Olso_dd_04-1024x576

  • Group Experience and Inline Social – A cross-Office 365 concept that will unify people, profiles, conversations, email, calendars, and files across the entire set of Office 365 applications. Creating a group anywhere in Office 365 will automatically provision a corresponding inbox, social feed, calendar, and document library that group members can use to get the job done.

ES_Outlook_06_resized

How do you like weaving your social activity into apps you use daily like Word, PowerPoint etc. Adding conversations to documents in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. View conversations side by side. That means whether you are working from within Outlook, or Yammer, or a document you get a similar experience.

ES_09_resized

Pick your conversations from where you left from within any of these places!

*To dive deeper I highly recommend you look at the Office Blog

  • One Drive – Divided in personal and business SKU’s. OneDrive for Business (formerly SkyDrive Pro) is personal online storage for a your employees.  It’s the place where people can store, sync, and share their work files across multiple devices with ease and security. You can then collaborate with others in real time right from within Office and edit documents from virtually anywhere via a web browser in real time using Office Online. And yes starting April 1st,2014 you will have this as a standalone service. I have seen many organizations using  OneDrive as the primary use case to get a foot in the cloud and once  accepted well within groups and teams reach out for more meat available on  O365. Check out the OneDrive blog for more details
  • Office Applications – The  general suite of office applications we are so used to in our daily lives so much that we take it for granted. it’ll be almost impossible to work on  presentations, financial modelling, or lot of other stuff without the  availability of these applications.
  • SharePoint – Collaboration platform which existed since the early 2001. One of the biggest players  for Microsoft in the enterprise world. Also comes in standalone plans  “SharePoint Online”
  • Lync – Instant messaging and  video conferencing technology widely used in enterprises
  • Exchange – Access to email, calendar, and contacts across all devices while protecting your mailboxes  with anti-malware and anti-spam filters
  • Other benefits -
    • Outsource infrastructure so  you can focus on core business.
    • Electronic signature  – Microsoft and DocuSign entered in a strategic partnership providing you eSignature apps across Office 365
    • Cloud based Business Intelligence: Power BI – Register on premise data source with Data  Management gateway and with some configuration you can gain insights from  data, working within Excel to analyze and visualize the data in a  self-service way even on mobile devices.

PowerBI

  • Analysis with Google Apps – I  encourage you to take a look at this article Office 365 vs. Google Apps compares O365 and Google Apps.

Microsoft recently made a firm and vocal commitment to another SharePoint on premise release and I think lot of folks started reading between the lines – does that mean end to on premise support? no more version upgrades? But as we all understand on premise isn’t going anywhere soon since there are businesses with tight governance restrictions and compliance issues. But at the same time we also know that the weather in SharePoint land is certainly getting “cloudy”.  We at Perficient have a great deal of experience deploying, managing, and migrating to Office 365 helping our customers take the road to success and we are particularly very excited to the see the future and being able to influence Microsoft roadmap for cloud.

Leave your feedback or comments on how you currently use these features and how is it helping your organization. Are these reasons enough for you to stir things up at your next executive meeting? What maturity level is your organization at? Do you feel Office 365 meets your needs?

Microsoft’s Roadmap for Social: Detailed Analysis from SPC14

“Work like a network.”  Spend just a few minutes at SharePoint Conference 2014 and you’re bound to hear or see this phrase sooner than later. It’s here in the keynote and it’s here in the signage.  It’s here on the lips of the Yammer and Social product marketing people I had the good fortune to spend some time with early Monday afternoon, and it was here loud and clear in the jam-packed session on Microsoft’s Roadmap for Enterprise Social later that same day.  It’s central to the short-term improvements that answer questions about Yammer and SharePoint, and even more central to new investments that Microsoft calls Inline Social, Groups and Office Graph—already the darling of Day One.

Microsoft’s Roadmap for Social: Detailed Analysis from SPC14What does it mean?  It means leveraging the power of enterprise social tools to actually behave in connected ways, and get value out of it.  The presenters, Christophe Fiessinger and Juliet Wei, made it very clear that while Microsoft still believes the best pure social experience is Yammer in the browser—they called it the “hero” version of social—that the future of work is social, and the future of social is in its ability to socially connect people within and around the documents, data and applications they care about.  Much of the message here was focused on enterprise tools better reflecting what is available to people in the consumer market—a message stressed here in this space just last month.

This was the core message of the Roadmap presented on Monday at SPC2014. While it’s an ambitious one, it must be said that Microsoft’s track record of hitting their enterprise social goals since the Yammer acquisition nearly two years ago has been a very solid one.  Though many questions have been asked, when they’ve said they will deliver something by a certain date, they’ve done it—and now they’re starting to answer those questions.

Some of those answers were addressed on Monday, along with three core innovation tracks that go beyond the SharePoint-heavy tone of those early concerns.  Those three tracks— “Inline Social”, “Groups”, and “Office Graph”—position Microsoft’s approach to Enterprise Social as something that includes SharePoint but extends well beyond it.

To analyze the Roadmap, then, let’s take a look at the short term items, the implications for the present—the questions people have been asking almost since the Yammer acquisition—and then take a look toward the far more interesting items promised, and in many cases demoed, for the near future.  That’s where the tools really begin to make “working like a network” look like an achievable dream.

What’s Coming Just Around the Corner…

One might as well call the short-term Roadmap items the SharePoint roadmap items.  It’s been a common fallacy for people in the SharePoint world (and beyond) to look at Microsoft’s acquisition of Yammer as a simple one-for-one swap with the old SharePoint social features, but they’ve been clear for over a year now that this sort of view is limited and more than slightly reductionist. Read the rest of this post »

Exoprise announces new CloudReady Monitor for SharePoint

Just in time for SharePoint Conference 2014, Exoprise, a provider of cloud-based monitoring, introduced its CloudReady Monitor for SharePoint. This new offering expands upon the existing Exoprise CloudReady Monitor for Office 365, giving SharePoint on-premises and SharePoint Online admins real-time visibility into site performance, exopriseallowing them to quickly identify and address issues. From the Press Release. 

“SharePoint Online provides many financial and operational advantages to organizations looking for a powerful platform for collaboration and documentation management,” said David Greve, director of Microsoft cloud, at information technology consulting firm, Perficient. “However, managing performance and user experience for cloud apps and services can be a challenge. CloudReady Monitor for SharePoint gives IT teams and managed service providers the real time performance data they need to ensure users in all locations have high quality access to their SharePoint Online sites.”

Exoprise’s CloudReady Monitor is a SaaS-based offering that measures the end-to-end performance of mission-critical applications, such as Microsoft Office 365. The service monitors the availability and reliability of cloud applications, ensuring IT administrators can proactively manage application performance, and ensure quality end-user experience. In addition, CloudReady Monitor leverages the power of crowd-sourced data analytics to pool performance data from all users, providing IT teams with valuable baseline metrics to compare performance from their sites, quickly pinpoint problems and speed resolution.

The new offering for SharePoint provides detailed performance data for service login, as well as document upload and download transactions with real time and historical data measured against average performance across all other customer SharePoint sensors.  In addition, administrators can access detailed real time and historical network performance information, including route analysis, plus ADFS single sign-on, SSL negotiation and DNS lookup performance.

Perficient partners with Exoprise to provide advanced monitoring solutions for Azure, Office 365, and now SharePoint. These solutions allow IT administrators to quickly detect and fix network and infrastructure issues, improving users’ ability to communicate and collaborate effectively. If you are at the SharePoint Conference this week and would like to know more about these SharePoint monitoring solutions, stop by the Perficient booth (#308). We’re giving away $500 to spend at the Microsoft Store. All you have to do is pick up a t-shirt at the booth, tell the Perficient team what kind of a Superhero you are, and tweet a photo of yourself in the t-shirt with the hashtag #ImaSuperhero.

To top it off, the team will be giving away an additional $1000 gift certificate to the Microsoft Store. The winner does not need to be present to win – so if you are not lucky enough to be in Vegas this week at #SPC14, you can still join in on the fun.

Configuring Office Web Apps Location in Lync 2013

For those that have deployed Lync 2013 alongside Office Web Apps 2013, we’ve all seen this seemingly innocuous check box:

OWA-NoExternal

Office Web Apps Server is deployed in an external network (that is, perimeter/Internet)

Over the past year I’ve never yet had a reason to check that box and honestly didn’t have a very good idea of what happens if you do. Office Web Apps is still becoming learned by Lync integrators and administrators, so not much information is available on the Internet on what occurs when that option is selected. “Curiosity killed the cat”, they say, but I survived and have a better understanding of Lync and Office Web Apps as a result.

Office Web Apps Background

Generally speaking, each Office Web Apps farm has two URLs configured – an internal URL and an external URL. For example, my lab environment has the following configuration:

OWAFarmConfig

InternalURL – https://owapool01-intweb.widgets.com

ExternalURL – https://owapool01-extweb.widgets.com

Note: Technically speaking, the two URLs could be exactly the same. I would advise against that approach, however, as it requires having to extend split-brain DNS to Office Web Apps.  Additionally, having distinct URLs keeps in-line with the general URL best practices/requirements for Lync Web Services in having separate and distinct URLs for internal web services vs external web services.

Within my Lync topology, I have configured the topology to have a single Office Web Apps server:

OWA-TopologyBuilder

The discovery URL above is what Lync uses to obtain information from Office Web Apps on what URLs are available for the Lync Web Conferencing MCU and Lync clients to use for PowerPoint broadcasting. When the Lync Web Conferencing MCU starts up and all is well between your Lync and OWA (WAC) environments, you’ll see the following entry within the Lync Application event log:

Lync-EventLog

Web Conferencing Server Office Web Apps Server (WAC) discovery has succeeded

Office Web Apps Server internal presenter page: https://owapool01-intweb.widgets.com/m/Presenter.aspx?a=0&e=true&

Office Web Apps Server internal attendee page: https://owapool01-intweb.widgets.com/m/ParticipantFrame.aspx?a=0&e=true&

Office Web Apps Server external presenter page: https://owapool01-extweb.widgets.com/m/Presenter.aspx?a=0&e=true&

Office Web Apps Server external attendee page: https://owapool01-extweb.widgets.com/m/ParticipantFrame.aspx?a=0&e=true&

The message above indicates that Office Web Apps discovery has completed and Lync can successfully use OWA (WAC) for PowerPoint broadcasting. An important note here is that the URLs above are not maintained within the Central Management Store. Once Lync completes the OWA (WAC) discovery, the URLs returned by Office Web Apps are maintained within memory only. If you were to change the OWA (WAC) farm URLs, you would need to restart the Lync Web Conferencing service before the changes would become effective for your clients.

Office Web Apps Location

If your Lync topology currently does not have the Office Web Apps Server is deployed in an external network (that is, perimeter/Internet) check box checked, when a PowerPoint broadcast is started by a Lync 2013 client, the Lync Server 2013 Web Conferencing service (Data MCU) hands out one of the four URLs above to the clients and offers only the URL that corresponds with the client location. Thus if I am an internal user I will receive only information regarding the internal URL. If I am an external user I will receive only information regarding the external URL. This can be confirmed by looking at the client UCCAPI logs:

ClientType=Lync;Build=15.0.4420.1017;ContentMCU=”sip:ethel.a.merman@widgets.com;gruu;opaque=app:conf:data-conf:id:SBMTGTNK”;ConferenceUri=”sip:ethel.a.merman@widgets.com;gruu;opaque=app:conf:focus:id:SBMTGTNK”;LocalFqdn=”PIA-WIN7-WK01.widgets.com”;Url=”https://owapool01-intweb.widgets.com/m/Presenter.aspx?a=0&e=true&WopiSrc=https%3A%2F%2Flyncpool01-intweb.widgets.com%2FDataCollabWeb%2Fwopi%2Ffiles%2F2-1-30CDE7F&access_token=AAMFENCpa_d_ZPtQon_XE5zcakwGEKpKzTdM7apF2LHn4iRQGciBENCpa_d_ZPtQon_XE5zcakyCArMGgyBvFooflH4vHS0Ow9tvt8Tb3fISHpC-QYmWss9wIMfT2IYIG7KV9zAC0QgIDURhdGFDb2xsYWJXZWI&<fs=FULLSCREEN&><rec=RECORDING&><thm=THEME_ID&><ui=UI_LLCC&><rs=DC_LLCC&>”

In the example above, I can confirm my internal client was only offered the internal URL for the Office Web Apps farm.

If you were to alter your Lync topology and check the Office Web Apps Server is deployed in an external network (that is, perimeter/Internet) check box, when a PowerPoint broadcast is started by a Lync 2013 client, the Lync Server 2013 Web Conferencing service (Data MCU) hands out only the external URL to the clients regardless of the client location. Thus if I am an internal user I will receive only information regarding the external URL. If I am an external user I will still receive only information regarding the external URL. This can be confirmed looking at the client UCCAPI logs:

ClientType=Lync;Build=15.0.4420.1017;ContentMCU=”sip:ethel.a.merman@widgets.com;gruu;opaque=app:conf:data-conf:id:67J3YH9C”;ConferenceUri=”sip:ethel.a.merman@widgets.com;gruu;opaque=app:conf:focus:id:67J3YH9C”;LocalFqdn=”PIA-WIN7-WK01.widgets.com”;Url=”https://owapool01-extweb.widgets.com/m/Presenter.aspx?a=0&e=true&WopiSrc=https%3A%2F%2Flyncpool01-extweb.widgets.com%2FDataCollabWeb%2Fwopi%2Ffiles%2F3-1-1A504B0&access_token=AAMFEFoLcM7OXe1QhLU__5hjkeQGEKpKzTdM7apF2LHn4iRQGciBEFoLcM7OXe1QhLU__5hjkeSCAordgyD3ue87wIfbYutqnANrU5dD0g0Ntk4Pb_eP6XJqJf8rh4YIZTjBiDIC0QgIDURhdGFDb2xsYWJXZWI&<fs=FULLSCREEN&><rec=RECORDING&><thm=THEME_ID&><ui=UI_LLCC&><rs=DC_LLCC&&gt

End Result

The overall result isn’t all that earth-shattering, but should definitely be understood by Lync administrators.

If your OWA (WAC) servers are in a perimeter DMZ with only an external URL specified, then make sure you select this option. Doing so ensures that all clients, regardless of location, utilize the external URL. Additionally, make sure you have all appropriate DNS records in place within your internal DNS zones if you chose to utilize this option.

Note: Technically you could have an internal OWA (WAC) server with only an external URL specified, and as a result could utilize the option above. Either way, I would again caution against this as it goes against best practices of maintaining separate URLs for internal vs external services.

If your OWA (WAC) servers are internal with both an internal URL and external URL specified, then I do not recommend selecting this option. By leaving it off, you let Lync Server handle the overall logic of which URLs get offered to clients. This method ensures that Office Web Apps operates in the same manner as the normal Lync pool web services.

Perficient announces Rich Wood to speak at #SPC14 on Yammer

Today, Perficient announced that Rich Wood, director of Perficient’s national Microsoft web and social collaboration practice, will present on Yammer best practices at the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2014, taking place next week, March 3-6, in Las Vegas. 2014-Sharepoint-Give-AwayThe Perficient Microsoft team will also be available in booth #308 to discuss all things SharePoint, and they’ll be giving away a $1000 gift certificate to the Microsoft Store. The winner does not need to be present to win.

From the Press Release.

“Since it was acquired by Microsoft in 2012, Yammer has emerged as the technology giant’s direction for enterprise social networks and rightfully so. It integrates with SharePoint Online, and is an interactive and social communications tool that is intuitive, mobile-friendly and accessible across all platforms, easy to adopt and governance-ready,” said Rich Wood, director of Perficient’s national Microsoft web and social collaboration practice. “But what most organizations have yet to tap into is Yammer’s ability to extend its features outside the company’s walls to vendors, partners and even customers. Yammer is redefining the traditional external network into what I call extranet 2.0.”

During the SharePoint Conference, Wood will address the need to engage with customers, partners and vendors, and how Yammer can lead the way, during the session “Yammer External Networks: Engaging Customers and Partners.” Specifically, Wood will demonstrate how to set up, configure and govern external networks powered by Yammer. He also will discuss adoption strategies and how to get the most out of the platform’s intuitive user experience.

“Employees need to engage with one another, with partners and with customers anytime, anywhere; the cloud, social and mobile come together to drive this,” continued Wood. “An attractive attribute of Microsoft SharePoint with Yammer integration is that it is a single solution that can power a company’s intranet, extranet and website. The key to its success is having a proper vision and business strategy that aligns with a well thought out technology roadmap. This leads to enhanced collaboration and communications and ultimately will drive improved business performance and growth.”

Rich’s session is scheduled for Tuesday, March 4th at 10:45 a.m. The session hashtag is #SPC248, and he’ll be tweeting throughout the conference from @RichOtheWood.

Swing by booth #308 to chat with the team about how they are assisting customers to successfully deploy enterprise social networks that improve information sharing and connectivity. They’ll also be on hand to discuss SharePoint 2013, SharePoint Online, and SharePoint hybrid portal solutions that promote user adoption, increase operational productivity and drive quantifiable business value. We hope to see you there!

SharePoint Conference 2014 – Rocket Fuel for a SharePoint Career!

I’ve been going to SharePoint Conference since the 2009 iteration,  but I’ve never been so excited for an SPC as I am for this year’s version!  SPC 2014 has a lot to recommend it for anyone– from roadmap news on Yammer and Social, to a renewed content focus for on-premise and hybrid architectures, to the new venue provided by The Venetian (so alas, cooking with coconut oil will never again remind me of SharePoint)– but for me personally, I already know this is going to be a crazy week.

SharePoint Conference 2014 - Rocket Fuel for a SharePoint CareerWhat I’ve always loved about SPC is the way it brings everyone in the SharePoint world together, and the sheer possibilities of knowledge, learning and connecting that come from that!  It seems that every SPC has either brought about, or confirmed, another major step in my career.  I think it can do the same for anyone else in attendance, and I encourage other attendees to think the same way.  SharePoint Conference is a lot like rocket fuel for a SharePoint career.

Seriously–for proof, let me quickly tell you my own SPC story!

It’s hard to believe that only five years ago, I was attending my first SharePoint Conference as one of two representatives sent by a small, regional Microsoft partner.  It was SPC that opened my eyes to a wider world, and helped me realize that the horizons available in this business were far grander than I could imagine while working for a tiny, Wisconsin-based systems integrator.  It was SPC that started me down the road to working for Microsoft itself.  Then, three years ago, I was in Anaheim for SPC11 as a SharePoint SSP with Microsoft’s EPG team, but realizing I was still a consultant at heart.

That particular conference solidified my hunch that I should return to consulting, this time with the Pointbridge gang– a sharp, talented group of architects, many of whom remain together as just one core constituency of our Perficient team.  And last time around, at SPC12, I was able to make the sort of deep dive into a specific content track– in my case, Yammer and Social– that anyone can use as a launching pad for their own path into a more fulfilling role.

This year… who knows?  2014 feels a bit like a culmination of sorts– which means it’s the starting point for another five years of awesomeness.  For the first time, I’m crashing the MVP party as an invited speaker (come check out my session on Yammer External Networks!)!  I can’t find adequate words to say just how humbling and exciting that is.  Of course, we have a Perficient booth to man with some amazingly talented colleagues, and if I’m not there you will find me working in the Microsoft Pavilion as an invited SME for Social and an “Expert” (I’m flabbergasted by the characterization) at the Ask the Experts session on Wednesday night.

All of that when just five years ago, I was Joe Architect from Wisconsin walking the halls of the Mandalay Bay and wondering how I could become one of the people presenting those sessions.  Well, SPC has a way of fulfilling those sort of wishes if you use it to make them happen, and of course, if you understand hard work.

Come on down and meet us at the Perficient booth, and I can tell you about it.  I might even be able to find you a place in our team– Microsoft’s 2013 United States Partner of the Year!

Top 25 SharePoint Influencers #Top25sp

With the SharePoint Conference nearly upon us, Scratch Media has come out with a list of the Top 100 SharePoint Influencers in the world, and asked for votes to identify the top 25 SharePoint Influencers globally.  While there are many excellent and worthy candidates on the list, it shouldn’t include me, or my esteemed colleague, Windows Azure MVP, Ryan Duclos.

My Perficient choice would have been Rich Wood (@richOthewood) who blogs extensively on SharePoint, trends, future direction and strategy on Perficient’s Microsoft blog and is a top contributor at CMS Wire. He speaks extensively at industry and other events and will be speaking at the SharePoint Conference on Yammer External Networks; Engaging Customers and Partners.

That said, the list does include several worthy candidates.  Here are some of my favorite SharePoint (not technology) influencers.  Please note that I am not familiar with all those on the list and this is a personal selection based on what I know of their current status as a SharePoint influencer. My list includes MCM’s, authors, bloggers, speakers and those who I have encountered evangelizing SharePoint in recent years.  If you choose to vote, consider some of these folks.

Wictor WilenTom ResingSpencer HarbarLaura RodgersFabian WilliamsDux Raymond SyBill BaerBecky Isserman

Christian BuckleyJoel Oleson

Nintex 2013: Sequential Approval Workflow

I had a recent request from a client to create a workflow that would only create approval task in the order that the approvers were listed. This allows the approval tasks to be created one at a time rather than all at once, and if a single approver breaks the chain, we can either break the workflow or escalate a change.

While this can be done in custom code or closely in SharePoint Designer, Nintex 2013 allows power users and power admins to create powerful workflows through the browser. This allows for changes and deployment of workflows to occur without the need for solution deployments.

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