Posts Tagged Office 365
Last week the next version of Office 365 was released by way of a public preview. This launch took place with little fanfare as all the attention seemed to be on the new Office 2013 suite. But the next versions of Lync, Exchange and Sharepoint are now all available as a part of the Enterprise experience of Office 2013 and of course the back-end Office 365 products. If you wish to sign up for a preview go here: http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/en/try-office-preview .
I thought it would be timely to repeat some of the information gained over the past few months, recycle if you will, some key articles that will guide you with a move to the new platform. As with any tenant to tenant migration of Office 365, there are certain steps you need to perform in order to move your domain across. As stated previously you need access to your DNS records and some knowledge of how that relates to your user accounts. I suggest you start here: http://itprofessional.co.nz/2012/03/07/migration-from-p-to-e/ Although this article speaks about a migration from the P plans of Office 365 (Small Business) to the E plan (Enterprise), the principals are the same when it comes to moving from Office 365 (current version) to the recently released Office 365 preview (Wave 15).
In addition to this, the final step is “releasing” or removing your domain from the old tenant, allowing you to associate it to the new tenant of Office 365. Your domain can only be associated with one tenant at any one time, so this step is critical in your migration. You will receive an error if you havent followed the correct steps first, removing all references to the domain from your current Office 365 tenant.
For a more detailed step by step guide on how to remove or dis-associate a domain from your Office 365 tenant go here: http://www.configureoffice365.com/remove-office-365-domain/.
The new version of Office 365 is due to be released later this year and customers can sign up for the beta on a 9 month free trial for 25 seats. So if you are at the bleeding edge of technology adoption I suggest you make the move and discover what the next version of Office has to offer.
TestMyOffice365.com gets a facelift. This simple yet effective tool just got made “Metro-tastic” in keeping with the recent release of Windows 8 Release Preview (release). As discussed in my previous blogs it is important to understand DNS records before attempting an Office 365 deployment. Domain Name records are at the heart of providing any service from Office 365.
Taxonomy is a word that is used quite frequently when describing the classification and management of information within Sharepoint. Sharepoint is the information management component of Office 365, and as great as it is there can be some hurdles to getting users to adopt it. In a perfect world Sharepoint would replace the file share and any other document based processes within your business. Chris Riley blogged recently on Taxonomy and how important it is to any Sharepoint deployment, cloud or on premise.
The biggest limitation with Sharepoint is that there are NO limitations… Time and time again Sharepoint deployments fail due to lack of planning. You can plan your Sharepoint deployment so that your users aren’t put off. Keeping it simple and easy to understand while at the same time enforcing a level of governance to ensure the data stored is searchable and relevant.
Going from a file share to Sharepoint takes some getting used to and with a good amount a planning it should make logical sense to the user from the get-go. One of the tools we have found to be useful that allow users to work from a familiar environment is Harmon.ie . This tool is a plug in for Outlook and is accessible from the main Outlook pane or any new calendar or mail item. It allows a user to interact with their Sharepoint sites and document libraries right from within Outlook, no need to change to a different app or grapple with the browser experience. Navigation is handled similar to traditional folder structures and its that familiar navigation that adds to its ease of use.
Harmon.ie is free up to 250 seats however there is an “Enterprise” version available for USD$129/user/year. There is also an iPad and iPhone client available for free, this client allows navigation of your Sharepoint sites and at a glance view the documents and their meta data. With the current lack of Office for iOS the premium version of the iOS client will take a user to the Web App interface for quick editing of documents. My iPad uses a version of Quick Office (a 3rd party Office style editor) and Harmon.ie recognizes this and allows you to edit documents in this app seamlessly.
The important thing from an administrative point of view is to architect the structure of the information within Sharepoint ahead of time. The moment users are able to access the site they will revert to old habits if strict governance isn’t present. Office 365 has to be the cheapest content management solution on the market and with some good planning it can be the best experience for an end-user as well.
One of the more “novel” features of Exchange Server 2010 was the “speech to text” functionality of the Unified Messaging Server. This required an additional server deployed within your Exchange environment and depending on the number of users, quite a high spec’ed piece of kit. This was largely due to the fact that it dealt with transcribing audio from voice mails into text that could in turn be viewed as an email. When I say novel, I mean no dis-respect to the team that developed this feature, it’s just that most people are used to voice mail as a feature you usually listen to… old habits die-hard I guess.
With Office 365 the speech to text capability is part of the Exchange Online Plan 2 or the E3 and E4 Office 365 suite. There are also requirements for the interface that transfers the audio from the PBX into the cloud (Exchange Online UM service). This can be delivered by a compatible IP PBX or an IP Media Gateway, some configuration is required, however if you have a current voicemail solution with an IP PBX this shouldn’t be that difficult to configure. For more information see here: http://community.office365.com/en-us/w/exchange/569.aspx
The one “island” in the Office 365 UM story has been the Cisco Unity solution… until now. Cisco has released a rather detailed step by step guide on how to configure your Unity service to allow it to perform the following:
- Deliver Voicemail to the inbox of a user
- Allow a user to have their email etc read out over the phone.
There is a glaring omission, the “novel” feature of speech to text, it would appear that this feature was too difficult to include in this release. I wonder if we will see it at all. However it is at least a step towards unity between Office 365 and the Cisco VoIP solution that has a large percentage of the corporate market. In my time at Microsoft I saw a large number of customers with sunk costs in Cisco voice solutions that just didn’t want to budge, and as such Exchange Online was off-limits, this announcement may see those customers review that position.
For the detailed step by step guide on configuring Cisco Unity for use with Office 365 go here:
First posted by Ryan here: http://wp.me/p2g7KP-4w
This update will resolve a little bug bear of mine when it comes to password expiry notification in Office 365 (or lack of). You are able to set the passwords for your users/organization to never expire using the powershell cmdlets provided for the management of Office 365. As documented here:
To disable the password expiry for your whole organization use the command:
Get-MSOLUser | Set-MsolUser -PasswordNeverExpires $true
This update for Outlook when it is released later this year will allow businesses to maintain the 90 day password expiry/complexity requirement as best practice. For more details on the scheduled August rollup update for Outlook see this article.