Progress Report: Fourth Edition of Office 365 for IT Pros


June 1 is the New Date

The writing team for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook is working hard to complete the fourth edition. We originally planned for a May 1 launch, but realistically I do not think we are going to be done until the middle of the month. With that in mind, we are now heading for a June 1 date. Slippages happen in the software business!

Given that we published the third edition on June 1, 2016, releasing the fourth edition on June 1, 2017 seems appropriate. A year is a good interval for an edition of a constantly-refreshed book. It is an eon in Internet time, especially given the development cadence of cloud services like Office 365. This is the only book of its type available on the market today. Others have tried to do something similar, but we have seen nothing appear.

More Skype for Business Content

Part of the delay is due to the sheer effort involved in writing, part because Microsoft has not released some features that we want to cover, and part because of the need for new material to be reviewed by our fearless technical editor. Another exciting factor is a decision that we took to include a new chapter devoted to Skype for Business. The author for that chapter is well-known Skype MVP Ståle Hansen, a very welcome addition to the team.

Why a New Edition

I have received some questions from readers to ask why we feel the need to replace the third edition. After all, it is popular in the market and has received great reviews on Amazon (Figure 1), all of which makes us happy.

BookReviews

Figure 1: The Kindle page for the Third Edition

Although we have been updating the third edition on a weekly basis since its release in June 2016 (see the change log for details), there is a limit to what you can do to keep a book refreshed within the structure laid down by the chapters. Given the number of changes we have made to incorporate new information, including the release of major new applications in Teams and StaffHub, we think we have explored the limits of what we can do in the current structure.

Fourth Edition Changes

Our plans are to:

  • Remove a pile of obsolete material, chiefly around the compliance and search area where Microsoft will no longer allow tenants to create workload-specific searches from July 1, 2017. There is obsolete material elsewhere too and we will remove it as we go through the content.
  • Include new content covering the Office 365 data governance framework, Skype for Business, and other topics.
  • Expand coverage of existing topics. We have always offered extremely good coverage of Exchange Online and we know that we need to do better in SharePoint, OneDrive, and other apps.
  • Lay the foundation for other changes. For instance, we know that we have to move from V1 of the Azure Active Directory PowerShell module (the Msol cmdlets) to V2 (the AzureAD cmdlets). This is not a straightforward process. We have over 200 example commands in various chapters of the book and the V2 module does not yet offer full feature equivalence with the V1 module. In other words, you cannot simply swap out a V1 command for a V2 command.
  • Restructure the chapters to create a more natural flow for the content. We are also taking the chance to split up some of the mega-chapters (like Office 365 Groups) and to bring material together where topics are spread across multiple chapters today.

Remember that we are dealing with a 950-page, 450,000-word book and that all the material must be edited and reviewed after it is written (or moved). In short, it is a big task, but we will deliver, even if we delay the release a little.

In the interim, we will continue to update the third edition. Some of the updates are not as detailed as we want, but we will tell you in the text where we are holding content for the fourth edition. We hope that you find the updates keep the usefulness of the book. Once we publish the fourth edition, we will cease updating the third and begin the process of applying weekly updates to the fourth.

Competition

Competition is good because it usually drives an increase in quality. We look forward to seeing what Microsoft Press delivers in its much-delayed second edition of the Inside Out title, now apparently relaunched with a new writing team and a publication goal of September 25, 2017 (according to Amazon.com). Microsoft Press aims to deliver a “current book service.” According to their FAQ, this means that:

Microsoft Press will update the content periodically, depending on the frequency of significant updates to the software. Changes will be made for 12 to 18 months following first publication date.”

However, the updates are online only and cannot be downloaded to eReaders. In comparison, our approach is to:

  • Offer frequent updates for the duration of the book. With the change to a June 1 publication, we are now on an annual release cycle. Normally, we update weekly.
  • Always publish fully-built books. We want people to use our content, so we integrate new material and changes to build complete PDF, EPUB, and Kindle versions that we make available to subscribers. We do not offer online (web-only) copies.
  • Offer updates to new editions. We appreciate the support of our subscribers. To acknowledge their support, we allow subscribers of the EPUB/PDF versions to upgrade to new editions at a very low cost. We cannot offer the same facility to Kindle readers because Amazon does not support this kind of offer.

Let’s hope that the Office 365 developers do not make the book instantly obsolete through the announcements they will make at the Ignite conference in Orlando that same week. It will be interesting to observe how they cope with the number of changes that happen inside Office 365, especially when Microsoft makes announcements about new apps, features, and developments thick and fast, which is what usually happens at Ignite.

Updates

Those who want to continue with us on this journey of documenting Office 365 will soon receive the chance to upgrade to the fourth edition and so continue to receive updates. We quite understand if others wish to stay with the third edition, but we hope that you will consider our offer to upgrade is reasonable for the value you get from the book.

Now back to work to complete the book…

Tony, Paul, Michael, and Ståle (and Vasil, our TE)

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Posted in Cloud, Office 365, Writing | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Preparing for the Fourth Edition of Office 365 for IT Pros


Mastering Change

The Office 365 for IT Pros eBook team published the third edition of the book on June 1, 2016. Since then, we have updated the content multiple times to track updates and new developments in Office 365, to expand the breadth and depth of coverage in many areas, and even to correct some bugs.

Microsoft makes hundreds of changes to Office 365 annually and the maintenance of the book requires considerable effort. Since June, the size of the book has grown by 100 pages. This is a net growth as we prune obsolete or unneeded content over time.

Our vision for this project has always been to keep the book alive by updating it on an ongoing basis. For the last six months, we have issued weekly updates in the form of refreshed book files where the new content is integrated with the old. We believe that our commitment to providing readers with updated material is unique for technical books. Quite honestly, we think that regular and consistent updates is the only practical method to deal with a topic like Office 365. It is hard work, which might be why other titles do not use this approach, including the promised Microsoft Press Office 365 Inside Out (with “current book service”) title that has not yet appeared.

How to get Updated Content

If you bought the third edition of Office 365 for IT Pros through ExchangeServerPro.com (now Practical365.com), you can download updated content as we make it available. The same is true for those who received copies of the book from our sponsor, QUADROtech. We also make updates available for the Kindle format of the book and have persuaded Amazon to inform readers about those updates so that readers can refresh their Kindle library. We do not provide updates for books bought in bulk and distributed at conferences and other events.

The Fourth Edition

Because Office 365 for IT Pros is now so large (946 pages and 440,000 words) and we have made so many changes since its original release, we think it is time to begin work on a new edition. The fourth edition of Office 365 for IT Pros will restructure some chapters (for example, split the 80-page chapter on Office 365 Groups), remove material that we now consider obsolete, and provide additional coverage in areas that we consider weak today.

We also need to deal with changes that Microsoft is pushing through, such as the introduction of V2 of the Azure Active Directory PowerShell module. Although an updated PowerShell module does not sound like a big deal, we have 192 references to cmdlets from the module in the current book, each of which we must check to ensure that the examples work after the code is upgraded to the new module. Finally, we need to conduct an end-to-end technical review to ensure that everything that we should cover is in the book and that the coverage makes sense.

The plan is to have the work done by May 1, 2017, which is the second anniversary of the publication of the first edition (then called “Office 365 for Exchange Professionals”). Our ability to meet that date depends on the availability of several new features on the Office 365 roadmap. We cannot write about features and functionality until we have had the chance to use the code in action. We will slip the date if necessary to ensure that we cover material at the right level.

Fewer Updates for the Third Edition

With plans for the fourth edition in place, beginning March 1, 2017 we will generate updates less often for the third edition and will stop adding significant new content to that edition. We will fix errors and clarify information where needed, but we will not provide updates to cover new applications released by Microsoft as when Teams appeared in November 2016 or StaffHub in January 2017. After all, there are only so many hours available in a day.

After the Fourth Edition Appears

When we release the fourth edition, we will retire the third edition. We will also follow our usual practice and make the new edition available to those who bought the third edition at a large discount to the regular price. Purchasers of the fourth edition will receive updates from the release date for at least nine months.

To be explicit, we use a form of subscriber model to fund the ongoing development of content. Without our ability to sell upgrades to each edition and the sponsorship of QUADROtech, there is no way we could afford to dedicate the number of hours that we give to tracking, understanding, and documenting change within Office 365.

A Journey

When we started to write the first edition of the book, we had no real idea of how things might work out. We knew that the traditional publishing model could not cope with the number and variety of changes that occur within a cloud service. That realization led us to opt for electronic formats and avoid paper copies.

Since May 2015, we have learned an enormous amount about ePublishing and the workload and workflow necessary to maintain a book that is updated weekly. We think that we have created an interesting and useful resource for those responsible for managing Office 365 tenants and hope that you agree.

If you have ideas for what we should cover in the fourth edition, please send them to bookcomments@office365itpros.com.

Tony, Paul, and Michael

Posted in Cloud, Email, Exchange, Office 365 | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Analyzing the Office Servers and Services MVP community 2017


The MVP program (Microsoft Most Valuable Professional) is designed to recognize “technology experts who passionately share their knowledge with the community.” People are always curious about the make-up of the MVP group (including MVPs themselves), so I decided to take a closer look at the section to which I belong.

Information about MVPs is publicly available on the MVP web site. Microsoft lists 505 Office Servers and Services MVPs, which is the group that deals with technologies such as SharePoint, Exchange, and Office 365. Microsoft employs one of those listed and some MVPs wish to be anonymous and do not allow the publication of their personal details on the MVP site. However, I managed to find details for 486 MVPs, or 96.43% of the total adjusted population (504). The figures presented below are based on that data.

The data used omits some MVPs who credibly might be included. For example, Andy Malone’s award is for cloud and datacenter management, yet Andy spends a lot of his time teaching people to use Office 365 effectively. Another example is Brian Desmond, an expert in Active Directory and Identity Management, both of which are essential underpinnings for the Office Servers and Services family.

However, we must have a baseline and that baseline comes from the way Microsoft categorizes MVPs. Here are some data points to consider.

Top Ten Countries

Unsurprisingly, given that it is both Microsoft’s largest and home market, the U.S. tops the list with 108 MVPs with a spill-over into Canada. The U.K. is Microsoft’s second largest and second oldest subsidiary and has always played a strong role in the Office community, so has a large group. The same is true for Australia, which was a strong participant in early Exchange and SharePoint deployments.

  1. United States: 108
  2. Canada: 46
  3. United Kingdom: 25
  4. Australia: 23
  5. Japan: 20
  6. China: 18
  7. Germany: 16
  8. France: 15
  9. Italy: 13
  10. India/Korea: 12

The number for China is likely higher by 5-6 as experience indicates that many of the anonymous MVPs are based in China.

In other figures, we see that Sri Lanka (8) has more MVPs than mature European markets like Belgium and Spain (both 7) or Norway (5). Given the relative market sizes and the fact that Microsoft has Office 365 datacenters in India, it also seems strange that Sri Lanka is so close to the count of Indian MVPs (13).

Sometimes it happens that a Microsoft MVP local lead is successful in recruiting several MVPs over a short period to swell the representation of a country. Given that four of the eight Sri Lankan MVPs have just one or two awards, this might be the case here. Another sign of recent activity is that the Sri Lankan MVPs have an average tenure of 3.38 years while Swedish MVPs (9) have an average tenure of 6.56 years.

Some recent discussions in the MVP Facebook group considered the issue of how many MVPs are female, spurred on by a very interesting article that explained how to use the Microsoft Cognitive API to analyze the sex and age of people based on their photos. In this instance, MVP Jamie Dixon examined the make-up of the U.S.-based MVPs, again using publicly-available data from the MVP web site. That analysis established that 12% of the U.S. MVP community is female.

The Office 365 MVP data indicates that 41 or 8.44% is female (it is sometimes hard to know, even with photos). I do not believe that including the anonymous MVPs into this analysis will change matters in any significant way. As I noted in the Facebook group, this is in line with my experience of managing large technical communities, where the number of female employees ranged from 13% to 6% depending on the grade. I suspect that the amount of contribution required from an individual before they get through the MVP nomination process tends to favor more senior individuals. In this light, the 8.44% result is understandable but “could do better”.

The Focus Areas

Each MVP focuses on a certain area of technology. It’s quite difficult to decide the technology areas in which some MVPs specialize, so some inspired guesswork and data retrieved from MVP profiles (from the MVP site and LinkedIn) plus individual blogs contributed to the distribution.

Office 365 includes both MVPs who specialize in more than a single workload (i.e. they do not focus on Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Skype for Business, or Yammer) and MVPs where insufficient evidence exists to put them into one of the other categories. It could be that this group is smaller (perhaps around 70) and that the other categories need to be adjusted upwards. For now, here’s my best guess:

  • SharePoint: 234
  • Office 365: 118
  • Exchange: 66
  • Skype: 60
  • Yammer: 8

The size of an individual grouping changes over time. For example, two years ago, there were 103 Exchange MVPs, now there are 66. The change marks the transition of work from on-premises Exchange to Office 365 and the attendant refocusing of individuals on that transition.

What can be surprising is the clustering of people within a specialty inside one country. The best example of this is Canada, where 28 of the 46 MVPs (54%) focus on SharePoint. The U.S. has a slightly higher percentage of SharePoint MVPs (58% – 63 from 108), so the percentage isn’t the surprise. It’s rather that Canada boasts 11.97% of the total worldwide SharePoint MVP population. France, for instance, has a substantially higher GDP than Canada, yet has only 7 SharePoint MVPs. Although you cannot translate a country’s GDP into any indication of how much SharePoint work goes on, it’s reasonable to assume that the higher the economic activity, the more technology is consumed. But it’s just one way of looking at a piece of data.

Another surprise is that the United States has only 20 Exchange MVPs. Although this is nearly a third of the worldwide population, the Exchange has always been a strong player in the U.S. market, yet there are relatively few MVPs supporting the activity. On the upside, the Exchange MVP community is very experienced, hence the name “Exchange grumpies” attributed to a certain set of these MVPs.

All of this proves that different reasons underpin why MVP populations exist in certain locations and disciplines. In the case of Canada, it’s likely that a strong local SharePoint community and encouragement from the Microsoft Canada subsidiary contributed to the growth in MVPs. It’s an experienced bunch too (15 of the 26 have five or more years in the program), which usually helps in terms of leadership. The people factor in terms of mentoring others and finding and then proposing suitable candidates to become MVPs cannot be discounted either.

Number of Awards

MVPs receive awards on an annual basis. Microsoft renews MVP status after a review by the local MVP program manager and the sponsoring product group. MVPs learn of their renewal through email, the arrival of which is often fraught with anticipation. The decision to renew is based on an individual’s participation in the MVP program and their contribution to the Microsoft technical community.

Measurement of contribution is an interesting debate. Some MVPs contribute by answering user questions in technical forums like the Microsoft Tech Community (Vasil Michev and Juan Carlos González Martin are notably proactive here). Others prefer to speak at conferences like Microsoft Ignite, others are prolific writers, while others serve as the leaders of country or regional-level user groups. In all cases, it is not the actual form of contribution that is important. Rather, it is the impact of that contribution, something that is not always obvious or easy to measure.

Here is a list of the most experienced MVPs based on the number of awards each has received. The achievement of Ed Crowley to be an Exchange MVP for essentially the entire lifetime of the Exchange product is extraordinary. Ed is well known for his catchphrase “There are seldom good technological solutions to behavioral problems.”

Michael Greth has been an MVP for 19 years, but as SharePoint first shipped in 2001, he has not received awards in the same discipline for all those years.

  • Ed Crowley (Exchange): 20
  • Michael Greth (SharePoint): 19
  • Frank Carius (Exchange): 16
  • Thierry Deman (Exchange): 16
  • Andy David (Exchange): 14
  • Fabrice Romelard (SharePoint): 14
  • Glen Scales (Exchange): 14
  • Heejin Lee (Office 365): 14
  • John Timney (Office 365): 14
  • Norbert Fehlauer (Exchange): 14
  • Paul Robichaux (Exchange): 14
  • Robert L. Bogue (SharePoint): 14
  • Spencer J. Harbar (SharePoint): 14
  • Tony Redmond (Exchange): 14

The median number of awards across the 486 MVPs is five. In one way, you might consider five years to be how long someone might expect to still be in the program, if they continue to contribute at the required level. However, that assumption is invalid when awards track achievement in different areas of technology. For example, Microsoft acquired Yammer in 2012, so MVPs who work with Yammer have less time in the program than those who work with Exchange or SharePoint.

Fifty-four (11.1%) of the MVPs are now in their first award cycle, 28 of which are SharePoint MVPs. Introducing new people to the program at the rate of over 10% is a reasonable refresh and reflects the normal turnover that you might see in any population working with technology.

It’s important to say that the MVP community does not always gain people. Some also leave, perhaps because they are no longer working in an area of technology that’s important to Microsoft or because they no longer have the time available to make the expected contribution.

The MVP community flexes and changes to reflect what’s happening in the real world, which means that Microsoft is always looking for great candidates to join. You can nominate yourself or someone else online. Before you do, read this piece by MVP Melanie Hohertz and make sure that you really want what you will take on!

Follow Tony on Twitter @12Knocksinna.

Want to know more about how to manage Office 365? Find what you need to know in “Office 365 for IT Pros”, the most comprehensive eBook covering all aspects of Office 365. Available in PDF and EPUB formats (suitable for iBooks) or for Amazon Kindle.

 

List of Office Servers and Services MVPs as at 1-Jan-2017

Here is the data I used for the analysis.

Name Country Focus Awards
Adam Gent United Kingdom Skype 6
Adam Jacobs United States Skype 7
Adam Levithan United States SharePoint 1
Adis Jugo Bosnia-Herzegovina SharePoint 6
Adnan Amin Pakistan SharePoint 2
Adnan Rafique United States Exchange 1
Agnes Molnar Hungary SharePoint 9
Ai Hirano (Yamasaki) Japan SharePoint 13
Ajay Kakkar India Skype 2
Akira Sakuma Japan Office 365 3
Akira Yamamoto Japan Skype 10
Alan Byrne United Kingdom Office 365 1
Alan Marshall New Zealand SharePoint 4
Alan Richards United Kingdom Office 365 6
Albert-Jan Schot Netherlands SharePoint 3
Alessandro Appiani Italy Skype 2
Alessandro Vannini Italy Office 365 4
Alex Lewis United States Skype 3
Alex Pearce United Kingdom SharePoint 9
Alexander Zhuravlev Russia Office 365 1
Alexey Sadomov Russia SharePoint 6
Alexis Conia France Skype 5
Alistair Pugin South Africa SharePoint 2
Amit Vasu Canada SharePoint 3
Amy Cane Dolzine United States Yammer 2
Anders Dissing Denmark SharePoint 4
Anderson Patricio Canada Exchange 12
Andre Vala Portugal SharePoint 2
Andres Felipe Rojas Parra Colombia SharePoint 5
Andrew Connell United States SharePoint 12
Andrew Higginbotham United States Exchange 3
Andrew Morpeth New Zealand Skype 3
Andrew Price United Kingdom Skype 2
Andy David United States Exchange 14
Andy Dawson United Kingdom SharePoint 2
Anthony Costeseque France SharePoint 5
Antonio Maio Italy SharePoint 5
Asami Kuniyoshi Japan Office 365 1
Ashutosh Singh India SharePoint 6
Asif Rehmani United States SharePoint 10
Atsuo Yamasaki Japan SharePoint 7
Ayako Uruno Japan SharePoint 2
Aye Myat Moe Japan Skype 3
Ayman Mohammed El-Hattab UAE SharePoint 7
Balu Ilag United States Skype 5
Becky Benishek United States Yammer 2
Becky Bertram United States SharePoint 8
Ben Curry United States SharePoint 10
Ben Robb United Kingdom SharePoint 10
Benjamin Niaulin Canada SharePoint 4
Benoit Hamet Australia Exchange 10
Benoît Jester France SharePoint 4
Bhargav Shukla United States Exchange 4
Bijaya Kumar Sahoo India SharePoint 3
Bin Wang China SharePoint 2
Bjoern H Rapp Norway SharePoint 4
Bob German United States SharePoint 1
Brennon Kwok Singapore Skype 5
Brian Alderman United States SharePoint 1
Brian Nøhr Denmark Office 365 4
Brian R Ricks United States Skype 11
Brian Reid United Kingdom Exchange 4
Bruce Jourdain de Coutance France Exchange 4
Bryan Marks Canada Office 365 1
Carlos Citrangulo Brazil SharePoint 3
Cathy Dew United States SharePoint 5
Cedric Perion Canada Office 365 1
Chad McGreanor United States Skype 3
Charles Anthony Caragol United States Skype 3
Chris Givens United States SharePoint 4
Chris Goosen United States Exchange 3
Christian Buckley United States SharePoint 6
Christian Glessner Germany SharePoint 7
Christophe Boucetta Canada Skype 5
Chuantao Duan China SharePoint 3
Claudio Brotto Italy SharePoint 9
Clint Boessen Australia Exchange 7
Colin Phillips Australia SharePoint 4
Corey Roth United States SharePoint 7
Curtis Johnstone Canada Skype 7
Dae Seon Lee Korea Office 365 2
Damian Scoles United States Exchange 4
Dan Usher United States SharePoint 3
Daniel Glenn United States SharePoint 1
Daniel Wessels Germany SharePoint 13
Danny Burlage Netherlands Office 365 6
D’arce Hess United States Office 365 1
Darko Milevski Macedonia F.Y.R.O SharePoint 6
Darrell C Webster New Zealand Office 365 4
Darwin Castro Spain Skype 1
Dave Stork Netherlands Exchange 3
David Amenda Brazil SharePoint 2
David Drever Canada SharePoint 1
David M Feldman United States SharePoint 1
David Mann United States SharePoint 10
David Petree United States Office 365 3
David Schneider Switzerland SharePoint 2
Davide Minieri Italy Office 365 1
Dejan Foro Switzerland Exchange 12
Desmond Lee Switzerland Skype 8
Devendra Velegandla India SharePoint 4
Dileepa Kariyawasam Sri Lanka Office 365 1
Dino Caputo Canada Skype 3
Dinusha Kumarasiri Sri Lanka SharePoint 3
Diogo Dias Heringer Brazil Office 365 3
Dmitri Plotnikov Russia SharePoint 6
Dokyun Kim Korea Office 365 5
Đồng Phương Nam Vietnam Office 365 4
Dongjie Wu China Skype 2
Doug Hemminger United States SharePoint 3
Doug Ware United States SharePoint 6
Dragan Panjkov Bosnia-Herzegovina SharePoint 3
Drew Madelung United States Office 365 1
Dustin Hannifin United States Skype 10
Dux Raymond Sy United States SharePoint 7
Ed Crowley United States Exchange 20
Ed Musters Canada SharePoint 12
Edin Kapić Spain SharePoint 4
Elaine van Bergen Australia SharePoint 7
Eli Z. Robillard Canada SharePoint 12
Elio Struyf Belgium SharePoint 2
Emre Aydin Turkey Office 365 10
Enrique Alberto Rhenals Bárcenas Colombia SharePoint 2
Erdem Avni Avni SELÇUK Turkey SharePoint 2
Eric Alan Shupps United States SharePoint 10
Eric Overfield United States SharePoint 2
Eric Riz Canada SharePoint 4
Erwin van Hunen Sweden SharePoint 3
Etienne Bailly France Office 365 1
Etienne Legendre France SharePoint 8
Eudes Olivier Robert France Skype 6
Eunjoo Lee Korea Office 365 4
EunJung Kwon Korea Office 365 7
Ezgi Can Turkey Office 365 2
Fabian G Williams United States SharePoint 3
Fabian Imaz Uruguay SharePoint 8
Fabio Franzini Italy SharePoint 4
Fabrice Romelard Italy SharePoint 14
Fabrizio Volpe United Kingdom Skype 7
Fernando Andreazi Brazil Office 365 6
Fernando Chiquiza Ramos Colombia SharePoint 2
Frank Carius Germany Exchange 16
Gareth Gudger United States Exchange 2
Gary Steere United States Exchange 2
Gavin Barron United States SharePoint 5
Genki Watanabe Japan Office 365 5
Geoff Evelyn United Kingdom SharePoint 6
Georg Thomas Australia Office 365 3
George Andritsos Greece Exchange 7
Geovany Acevedo Mexico Exchange 3
Gilles Pommier France SharePoint 4
Giuseppe Marchi Italy SharePoint 7
Glen Scales Australia Exchange 14
Gokan Ozcifci Belgium SharePoint 4
Greg Thomas Canada Skype 3
Greig Sheridan Australia Skype 4
Guillaume Meyer France SharePoint 5
Guomao Ding China Exchange 10
Gustavo Adolfo Velez Duque Spain SharePoint 9
Haaron Gonzalez United States SharePoint 12
Habib Mankal Canada Office 365 2
Hakan Uzuner Turkey Office 365 9
Haniel Croitoru Canada SharePoint 1
Hans Brender Germany Office 365 5
Hasan Köroğlu Turkey SharePoint 1
Haylee Fox Australia Office 365 2
Heber Lopes Brazil SharePoint 4
HeeJin Lee Korea Office 365 14
Hilton Giesenow South Africa SharePoint 11
Hirofumi Ota Japan SharePoint 4
Hotaka Amemiya Japan Office 365 2
Hrvoje Kusulja Croatia Office 365 2
HyungJin An Korea Office 365 10
Hyunjung Ko Korea Office 365 1
Iain Smith United Kingdom Skype 3
Ibrahim Benna Canada Exchange 8
Igor Macori Italy SharePoint 10
Igor Malyshev Russia Office 365 4
Ilya Sazonov Russia Exchange 10
Ingo Gegenwarth Germany Exchange 2
Isha Kapoor Canada SharePoint 5
J. Peter Bruzzese United States Office 365 7
Jaap Wesselius Netherlands Exchange 10
Jake Dan Attis United States SharePoint 10
James Cussen Australia Skype 3
James Milne Australia SharePoint 8
James Ooi Shyh Wei Malaysia Skype 5
Jamie McAllister Switzerland SharePoint 5
Jammy Lo Taiwan Office 365 8
Jan Vanek Czech Republic Office 365 3
Jared Matfess United States SharePoint 1
Jason Himmelstein United States SharePoint 4
Jason Kaczor Canada SharePoint 6
Jason Sherry United States Exchange 11
Jason Warren Canada SharePoint 4
Jasper Oosterveld Netherlands SharePoint 3
Jean-Philippe Breton Canada Skype 7
Jeff Guillet United States Exchange 8
Jeff Schertz United States Skype 9
Jeff Willinger United States SharePoint 1
Jennifer Ann Mason United States SharePoint 6
Jeremy Dahl Canada Office 365 4
Jevgenijus Vinochodovas Lithuania Office 365 5
Jianyu Yang China SharePoint 3
Jinfeng Liu China Office 365 5
Johan Dahlbom Sweden Office 365 2
Johan Delimon Belgium Skype 9
John D. Ross United States SharePoint 8
John Liu Australia SharePoint 4
John Naguib Egypt SharePoint 1
John P White Canada SharePoint 7
John Timney United Kingdom Office 365 14
John Weber United States Skype 7
Jonathan McKinney United States Skype 4
Jorge Castañeda Peru Office 365 4
Juan Andrés Valenzuela Chile SharePoint 9
Juan Carlos González Martin Spain SharePoint 9
Juan Manuel Herrera Guatemala SharePoint 9
Juan Pablo Pussacq Laborde Argentina SharePoint 6
Jude Perera Sri Lanka Office 365 2
Julian Bee New Zealand Office 365 3
Julien Chable Korea SharePoint 10
Junzhe Liu China Office 365 1
Jussi Roine Finland SharePoint 3
Justin Alexander Harris United States Exchange 3
Justin Liu China SharePoint 3
Justin Morris Australia Skype 5
Kamil Baczyk Poland Office 365 3
Kamil Jurik Czech Republic SharePoint 11
Kanwal Khipple Canada SharePoint 8
Kaviya Balasubramanian India SharePoint 1
Kazuaki Tauchi Japan Office 365 2
Keith Tuom Canada SharePoint 4
Kelsey Epps Canada Office 365 4
Ken Lasko Canada Skype 6
Kevin Crossman United States Yammer 2
Kevin Trelohan France SharePoint 5
Kim Jong Oh Korea Office 365 2
Kingson Jebaraj UAE Office 365 2
Knut Relbe-Moe Norway SharePoint 3
Konrad Sagala Poland Exchange 10
Kris Wagner United States SharePoint 7
Kumton Suttiraksiri Thailand Office 365 1
Lakshmanan Sethu United States SharePoint 2
Lasse Nordvik Wedø Norway Office 365 2
Lasse Pettersson Sweden Exchange 11
Laura Derbes Rogers United States SharePoint 6
Laurent Miltgen-Delinchamp France Office 365 10
Laurent Teruin France Skype 10
Lee Benjamin United States Exchange 12
Liam Cleary United States SharePoint 10
Liang Tang China Office 365 3
Liang Zhang China Office 365 2
Like Liu China Office 365 7
Lonya French United States Yammer 2
Loryan Strant Australia Office 365 6
Luca Vitali Italy Skype 1
Luis Esteban Valencia Muñoz Colombia SharePoint 1
Lusheng Cheng China Office 365 11
Maarten Eekels Netherlands SharePoint 1
Magnus Bjork Sweden Exchange 8
Mahmoud Magdy Soliman Egypt Exchange 7
Malin De Silva Sri Lanka SharePoint 1
Manoj Viduranga Karunarathne Brunei SharePoint 1
Manpreet Singh Argentina Office 365 1
Marc D Anderson United States SharePoint 7
Margriet Bruggeman Netherlands SharePoint 4
Mari Miyakawa Japan Office 365 2
Marianne van Wanrooij Netherlands SharePoint 7
Mario Cortes Flores Spain SharePoint 6
Marius Constantinescu Switzerland SharePoint 4
Mark Rackley United States SharePoint 2
Mark Stokes United Kingdom SharePoint 3
Mark Vale United Kingdom Skype 1
Martin Lidholm Sweden Skype 8
Martina Grom Austria Office 365 7
Martina Miskovic Sweden Exchange 4
Masaki Nishioka Japan SharePoint 5
Masayuki Mokudai Japan Office 365 4
Matt Landis United States Skype 6
Matthew McDermott United States SharePoint 11
Matthias Einig Germany SharePoint 4
Mauricio Cassemiro Brazil Office 365 4
Maxim Efremov Russia Office 365 8
Melanie Hohertz United States Yammer 2
Melick Rajee Baranasooriya Sri Lanka SharePoint 4
Michael B. Smith United States Exchange 13
Michael Blumenthal United States SharePoint 2
Michael Greenlee Canada Skype 5
Michael Greth Germany SharePoint 19
Michael Kirst-Neshva Germany Office 365 5
Michael LaMontagne Canada Skype 4
Michael Noel United States SharePoint 10
Michael Van Horenbeeck Belgium Exchange 5
Michael Washington United States SharePoint 10
Michal Pisarek Canada SharePoint 6
Michel de Rooij Netherlands Exchange 4
Michelle Caldwell United States SharePoint 3
Miguel Tabera Spain SharePoint 4
Mikael Svenson Norway SharePoint 6
Mike Crowley United States Exchange 7
Mike Maadarani Canada SharePoint 3
Mike Smith United States SharePoint 7
Minae Jung Korea Office 365 2
Mohamed Ahmed Abdul-Haleem Kuwait Skype 11
Mohamed Derhalli Canada SharePoint 2
Mohammed A. Saleh Jordan SharePoint 9
Muditha Jayath Chathuranga Sri Lanka Office 365 1
N Vinodh India SharePoint 1
Naoki Osada Japan Office 365 10
Naomi Moneypenny United States SharePoint 3
Narasima Perumal Chandramoha India SharePoint 1
Nathan O’Bryan United States Exchange 3
Nati Papirovitch Israel Office 365 1
Nguyen Hoang Nhut Vietnam SharePoint 4
Nicki Borell Germany SharePoint 4
Nicolas Blank South Africa Exchange 10
Nicolas Georgeault Canada SharePoint 8
Nitin Sadashiv Paranjape India Office 365 12
Noorez Khamis Canada SharePoint 6
Norbert Fehlauer Germany Exchange 14
Norbert Klenner Germany Exchange 11
Nuno Árias Silva Portugal Office 365 3
Nuno Mota Portugal Exchange 5
Oleg Krylov Russia Exchange 8
Oliver Moazzezi United Kingdom Exchange 10
Oliver Wirkus Canada SharePoint 1
Omar Kudovic Bosnia-Herzegovina Skype 4
Orin Thomas Australia Office 365 10
Oz Casey Dedeal United States Exchange 8
Paolo Pialorsi Italy SharePoint 3
Pat Richard United States Skype 11
Patrick Guimonet France SharePoint 7
Patrick Lamber Italy SharePoint 4
Paul Bloem New Zealand Skype 3
Paul Cunningham Australia Exchange 5
Paul Hunt United Kingdom SharePoint 2
Paul Olenick United States SharePoint 5
Paul Papanek Stork United States SharePoint 9
Paul Robichaux United States Exchange 14
Paul Schaeflein United States SharePoint 6
Paul Woods Australia Office 365 8
Pavel Nagaev Russia Exchange 11
Penelope Coventry United Kingdom SharePoint 10
Peter Belko Slovakia Office 365 11
Peter Carson Canada SharePoint 6
Peter Frank Diaz Rosales Spain Skype 5
Peter Holpar Hungary SharePoint 6
Peter Schmidt Denmark Exchange 9
Phuoc Hong Pham Vietnam Office 365 10
Poo Ching Loong Malaysia Exchange 9
Pradeep Kavinda Kotuwegedara Sri Lanka Office 365 8
Qiangsheng Yang China Skype 2
Radhakrishnan Govindan India Office 365 2
Radi Atanassov Bulgaria SharePoint 6
Randy Drisgill United States SharePoint 9
Randy Wintle United States Skype 7
Raphael Koellner Germany Office 365 4
Ratish Nair United States Exchange 7
Ravikumar Sathyamurthy India Office 365 3
Remco Ploeg Netherlands Office 365 2
Rene Dominik Modery Singapore SharePoint 5
Reza Alirezaei Canada SharePoint 10
Riaz Javed Butt Pakistan Exchange 1
Ricardo Jose Munoz Chile SharePoint 9
Richard Harbridge Canada Office 365 2
Richard J Brynteson United States Skype 4
Rie Okuda Japan Office 365 9
Riwut Libinuko Singapore SharePoint 9
Rob Foster United States SharePoint 10
Robert D. Crane Australia Office 365 6
Robert Dick Canada Office 365 3
Robert L. Bogue United States SharePoint 14
Robert Voncina Slovenia SharePoint 5
Robert Wille Germany Office 365 7
Roberto Ferazzi Italy Office 365 3
Rodolfo Castro Mexico Skype 3
Rodrigo Pinto Portugal SharePoint 6
Rodrigo Romano Brazil SharePoint 3
Roger Haueter Switzerland SharePoint 4
Romeo Donca Romania SharePoint 4
Russ Kaufmann United States Exchange 11
Ruven Gotz United States SharePoint 7
Ryosuke Kimura Japan Office 365 3
Sahil Malik United States Office 365 12
Samantha Villarreal Mexico Office 365 2
Samuel Levesque Canada SharePoint 1
Samuel Zuercher Switzerland SharePoint 6
Sangha Baek United States SharePoint 7
Sara Barbosa Brazil SharePoint 6
Saso Erdeljanov Slovenia Office 365 9
Satheshwaran Manoharan UAE Exchange 4
Sathish Nadarajan India SharePoint 1
Sathish Veerapandian UAE Exchange 3
Sean Patrick McDonough United States SharePoint 1
Sean Wallbridge Canada SharePoint 8
Seiji Noro Japan Office 365 4
Seokhee Han Korea SharePoint 5
Serge Luca Belgium SharePoint 9
Serge Tremblay Canada SharePoint 9
Sergii A Bielskyi Ukraine SharePoint 3
Serkan Varoglu Turkey Exchange 5
Seung-Jin Kim Korea SharePoint 5
Sezai Komur Australia SharePoint 6
Shai Petel Canada SharePoint 6
Shane Hoey Australia Skype 7
Shane Young United States SharePoint 12
Shuguang Tu China SharePoint 9
Siegfried Jagott Germany Exchange 5
Simon Butler United Kingdom Exchange 12
Simon Denton United Kingdom Yammer 1
Simon Terry Australia Yammer 2
Sohel Rana Australia SharePoint 5
Sonja Madsen Denmark SharePoint 4
Spencer J Harbar United Kingdom SharePoint 14
Srdjan Stevic Serbia Office 365 2
Stacy Strole United States SharePoint 1
Ståle Hansen Norway Skype 6
Stanislav Buldakov Russia Exchange 6
Stéphane Eyskens Belgium Office 365 9
Stephanie Donahue United States SharePoint 1
Steve Curran United States SharePoint 8
Steve Goodman United Kingdom Office 365 5
Steve Knutson New Zealand SharePoint 1
Steve Smith United Kingdom SharePoint 11
Steven van Houttum Netherlands Skype 12
Susan Hanley United States SharePoint 3
Susitha Prabath Fonseka Sri Lanka SharePoint 7
Thamara Thilanka Sibera Wijesinghe Australia Skype 3
Thierry Buisson France Office 365 1
Thierry Deman France Exchange 16
Thomas Poett Germany Skype 5
Thomas Vochten Belgium SharePoint 4
Thorsten Hans Germany SharePoint 6
Thuan Nguyen Vietnam SharePoint 6
Tiago Costa Portugal SharePoint 1
Tobias Zimmergren Sweden SharePoint 9
Todd Klindt United States SharePoint 11
Todd S Baginski United States SharePoint 11
Tom Arbuthnot United Kingdom Skype 6
Tom Kretzmer United States Yammer 2
Tom Morgan United Kingdom Skype 2
Tomislav Bronzin Croatia SharePoint 13
Tomislav Lulic Croatia Office 365 1
Tommy Clarke Sweden Office 365 7
Toni Frankola Croatia SharePoint 7
Tony Redmond Ireland Office 365 14
Tracy Van der Schyff South Africa SharePoint 1
Trevor Seward United States SharePoint 5
Tung Pham Vietnam Office 365 3
Ty Anderson United States SharePoint 8
Usama Wahab Khan UAE SharePoint 4
Vadim Gremyachev Finaldn Office 365 1
Valy Greavu Romania Office 365 9
Vasil Michev Bulgaria Office 365 3
Venkata Ramesh Raju India Skype 3
Veronique Palmer South Africa SharePoint 7
Victor Meirans Latvia Office 365 3
Vijai Anand Ramalingam United States SharePoint 5
Vincent Biret Canada SharePoint 3
Vincent Choy Malaysia Office 365 3
Vitaly Vedenev Russia Office 365 2
Vlad Catrinescu Canada SharePoint 4
Vladimir Medina Mexico SharePoint 1
Vladimir Meloski Macedonia F.Y.R.O Exchange 9
Waqas Sarwar United States SharePoint 1
Wellington Agápto Brazil Exchange 2
WenXing Liao China Office 365 5
Wes Preston United States SharePoint 9
Wesley Hackett United Kingdom SharePoint 4
Wictor Wilen Sweden SharePoint 7
Will Szymkowski Canada Exchange 3
Xing Wang China SharePoint 2
Yaniv Totiashvili Russia Exchange 5
Yaroslav Pentsarskyy Canada SharePoint 8
Yasir Attiq Saudi Arabia SharePoint 7
Yoan Topenot Switzerland SharePoint 3
Yong Yu China Office 365 12
Yoni Kirsh Australia Office 365 5
Yoshikazu Kobayashi Japan Office 365 10
Yosuke Adachi Japan SharePoint 3
Yvette Watson Philippines Office 365 2
Zeljka Knezovic Croatia Office 365 8
Zhangyi Li China Office 365 4
Ziyang Triston Wan Singapore Exchange 8
Zoltan Zombory Hungary Office 365 7

 

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Analyzing Updates for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook Since June 2016


The hot spots of change inside Office 365

One of the touted advantages of cloud services is the delivery of “evergreen” software. In other words, users don’t have to do anything to upgrade their software because it all happens in the cloud. Normally, this is a good thing because the updated software delivers new functionality and features. However, the constantly changing nature of the software can also be disruptive for administrators and users alike, especially when something is updated without warning.

In the case of Office 365, the author team for the “Office 365 for IT Pros” eBook keep a vigilant eye on what’s happening across all elements of the service plus associated technology like Azure Active Directory. We observe, learn, analyze, and then figure out whether any changes are required in the content of the eBook. Updates are then published weekly to incorporate changes and customers who have bought the current edition of the eBook can download fresh copies from exchangeserverpro.com (EPUB and PDF versions) or Amazon (Kindle). Well, we let Amazon know that a new version has been published. They make the decision whether to advise purchasers whether an update is available.

Given that we track changes made to the chapters in the eBook, I thought it would be interesting to analyze the change log for Office 365 for IT Pros to determine the “hot spots” or places where most change has occurred since the third edition was first published on June 1, 2016. Here’s the distribution of the 160 recorded updates over the 23 chapters in the eBook up to and including the version released on December 10, 2016.

updatesjun-dec

Some of the changes Microsoft applied to Office 365 in that period don’t show up in our data if we didn’t cover them. We have to apply a certain amount of editorial control over what we cover as otherwise the book would be even larger than its current 430,000-word 900-plus page size. In addition, some of the changes that we’ve recorded are relatively small and insignificant whereas others (like the introduction of Microsoft Teams) are very large and important. Nevertheless, taken as a whole, the change log does identify the major hot spots pretty accurately.

The top 10 chapters in terms of updates since June are:

Chapter Title Updates
9 Office 365 Groups 27
23 Doing more with Office 365 14
19 Reporting and Auditing 13
22 Delve and MyAnalytics 11
1 Introduction to Office 365 9
5 Managing Office 365 9
18 Security and Compliance Center 9
7 Managing mailboxes 8
10 Microsoft Planner and Microsoft Teams 8
2 Making the move 7

It’s easy to explain why so many changes were made to some of these chapters. For example:

  • Chapter 9: Lots of change has occurred for Office 365 Groups, including the provision of guest user access, the new AAD-based policy for group settings, the introduction of Microsoft Teams, and lots of experience gained from managing groups in the field.
  • Chapter 23: The introduction of SharePoint modern team sites. The introduction of Microsoft Stream as a long-term replacement for Office 365 Video. The advent of Yammer Groups based on Office 365 Groups. The introduction of Microsoft Teams as yet another way to collaborate within Office 365.
  • Chapter 19: The addition of new audit event sources for the Office 365 Audit log. The introduction of Advanced Security Management (ASM). The addition of Activity Alerts.
  • Chapter 22; Subtle changes in the Delve user interface including a new way of displaying user profile information. Changes in the Delve cards. Renaming of Delve Analytics to be MyAnalytics. New information from real-life deployments about the effectiveness of MyAnalytics in the field.
  • Chapter 1: More information about Office 365 user numbers and revenues. Introduction of the U.K. datacenter region. Comparison between Office 365 and Google G-Suite. New mobile applications.

Apart from providing insight into where change is most frequent inside Office 365, the exercise gives us some guidance as to where we should focus coverage for the fourth edition, which we hope to publish in March 2017. It also tells us where we need some structural change (for instance, chapter 9 is now far too big and needs to be split) and where we can cut (chapter 17 covering eDiscovery for Exchange and SharePoint can probably be discarded now). The focus for eDiscovery inside Office 365 is now firmly on the functionality exposed through the Security and Compliance Center that applies to multiple workloads, so that’s what we will concentrate on in future.

A similar case could be made for chapter 16 as Microsoft is pressing forward with the development of data governance policies to replace retention policies for all workloads. However, the development of the new data governance policies is less advanced than the eDiscovery functionality, so chapter 16 might be retained (no pun intended) for another edition.

This data underlines the constant change that’s occurring inside Office 365. It would be impossible to cope with this degree of upheaval through a printed book. I’m glad we went down the eBook route…

Follow Tony on Twitter @12Knocksinna.

Want to know more about how to manage Office 365? Find what you need to know in “Office 365 for IT Pros,” the most comprehensive eBook covering all aspects of Office 365. Available in PDF and EPUB formats (suitable for iBooks) or for Amazon Kindle.

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Microsoft Office 365 Administration Inside Out – Lost in Updates?


It seems like some of the issues that might have been anticipated when Microsoft Press laid off its editorial staff in July 2016 are bearing fruit. At least, some of the promised titles that should have appeared by now have not shown up. And you’ve got to believe that the trauma and upheaval caused by last July’s transition of responsibilities for book production to Pearson (a perfectly capable company) have not been helpful.

One of the titles that was expected by now is the long-awaited update for “Microsoft Office 365 Administration Inside Out”. Originally released in October 2013, the current book is now very much out of date. That’s no fault of the authors because the world they wrote about in 2013 is not what we see today. The new book was scheduled for release in October 2016, but I can find no trace of it on Amazon or in any other bookstore, including Microsoft Press’s own online store.

The second edition of Microsoft Office 365 Administration Inside Out is supposed to be part of the “current book service“. Purchasers will receive periodic updates for the web (online) version for 12 to 18 months after the original publication. I believe that three updates are planned for the Office 365 book. Readers have to connect to microsoftpressstore.com to access the updated content, which cannot be downloaded to an eBook reader. Helpfully, Microsoft says that the “web edition can be used on tablets that use current web browsers.”

Of course, the “Office 365 for IT Pros” eBook team are well aware of the problems of keeping content refreshed and current when it covers a service that is in a state of constant flux. We always thought that the October 2016 date was going to be a stretch because of the fact that Microsoft would make so many announcements about new functionality around the Ignite conference in late September.

I guess the original book could have been published with the knowledge that some of the Ignite content would be omitted, the plan being to issue an update soon thereafter. But perhaps the author team decided to wait so that they could document features such as Microsoft Teams and guest user access for Office 365 Groups. If so, it would be nice to know when the book is coming rather than just seeing “unavailable” everywhere.

o365insieout

Microsoft Office 365 Administration Inside Out – Currently Unavailable

In any case, issuing updated content online and not providing refreshed copies of the PDF, EPUB, and MOBI format books seems like a bad plan. It’s hard for readers to cross-reference and match up new content against an old version of a book and much better when a completely new version is issued. I imagine that the reason why Microsoft Press plans to only issue updates online is to avoid the cost of layout for a new version – and perhaps re-indexing.

The Office 365 for IT Pros team is interested in seeing what the authors of “Office 365 Administration Inside Out” produce and how Microsoft Press updates the content as promised. By comparison, we update content for Office 365 for IT Pros weekly and we do so by issuing fully-updated PDFs, EPUB, and MOBI (Kindle) formats. We do not index the book anything because the search facilities in eReaders are pretty good at finding information as required. Our latest update is dated 3 December 2016 and is available to anyone who purchased a copy of the third edition.

It would be nice to only have to update a book three times in 18 months but I fear that this approach is impractical given the subject matter. Office 365 flexes and changes so quickly that if you don’t keep up, you’d be faced with a massive rewrite every six months. Anyone who looked through the change log for Office 365 for IT Pros will soon realize the volume of change that occurs within the service. It seems better to update weekly and keep pace that way. At least we can say that every update we issue reflects the current state of the art (in our eyes). That’s a nice position to be in.

Follow Tony on Twitter @12Knocksinna.

Want to know more about how to manage Office 365? Find what you need to know in “Office 365 for IT Pros”, the most comprehensive eBook covering all aspects of Office 365. Available in PDF and EPUB formats (suitable for iBooks) or for Amazon Kindle.

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Heading to IT/DEV Connections in Las Vegas


The annual IT/DEV Connections conference takes place in the ARIA Hotel, Las Vegas next week. After the rush-and-bustle and massive scale of the Microsoft Ignite conference, Connections will be very different. Relaxed. Time to think. Time to chat. Time to ponder. At least, that’s the theory.

Last-minute speaker snafus aside, I’m looking forward to the event. The conference is a nice size and is focused on practical issues of implementing Microsoft technology rather than the (sometimes) colored view that emits from the folks who inhabit the Redmond campus. Because the Redmondites use the latest and greatest software and have access to internal resources that no one outside their closed community can use, it is logical that their view of the world is somewhat different to that of an administrator who struggles with “last season’s” technology, complete with bugs that have since been fixed or features that might no longer exist. In any case, we’ll have fun discussing all that needs to be discussed.

Among the (technical) heavyweights of the Exchange/Office 365 community who are speaking in the Enterprise Collaboration track this year are:

Andrew Higginbotham, co-author of the “Exchange Server Troubleshooting Companion“. Andrew is speaking about Exchange virtualization mistakes (that he’d like you to avid), Office 365 migration and administration for small businesses, and troubleshooting Exchange performance, disaster recovery, and migration.

Paul Cunningham, traveling over to join us from Brisbane, Australia. Paul is Mr. ExchangeServerPro and has contributed to many books, including the unique and (we believe) tremendously successful Office 365 for IT Pros ebook.

Paul Robichaux, who collaborated with me on the Exchange 2013 Inside Out series, will address the serious topic of monitoring Office 365 and explain what works and what doesn’t. Paul’s second session looks at how to go beyond Office 365 in the world of the Microsoft cloud.

Ståle Hansen, a well-known personality in the Skype for Business (and Lync) world, is speaking about how to design global voice solutions with Skype for Business and how to succed with Skype for Business Meeting Broadcast.

Jeff Guillet (Expta), who seems to get more energy as the years go by (perhaps he has shares in Duracell), is speaking about how to confirm a “proper”! SMTP relay for Exchange on-premises and Exchange Online. Jeff also has an interestingly named session called “Autodiscover is Hero of Exchange Motherland”. Make of that what you will…

Jaap Wesselius and Michel de Rooij, MVPs who know their way around PowerShell syntax and even understand it from time to time, will conduct a workshop on Monday morning that promises to tell people some advanced secrets of the dark art of scripting. Maybe they have been reading too many Harry Potter books…

That’s just a brief glance into the speaker line-up – there are many others who deserve mention but I can’t fit into this space.

Apart from running around to help make sure that things run smoothly, I’ll be speaking about “MyAnalytics and the rise of machine learning inside Office 365” on Tuesday. I also have the pleasure of introducing a fine panel from the Exchange development team on Wednesday when the challenge exists to “bamboozle the Exchange experts”. The members of this panel include Greg Taylor, David Espinoza, Brian Day, Ross Smith IV, and Jeff Mealiffe, all of whom are well-known within the Exchange community. It should be interesting – that is, if the folks at Connections come up with some difficult questions.

More details about the IT/DEV Connections sessions for 2016 can be found in the catalog.

No doubt some folks will find their way to the Scheduled Maintenance party in the Ghostbar of The Palms Hotel on Tuesday (9pm-midnight). Passes to this party are by invitation only. Request yours on this site. And if you attend the party, please be sure to turn up for Wednesday’s sessions with a smile on your face. You know it makes sense.

Follow Tony on Twitter @12Knocksinna.

Want to know more about how to manage Office 365? Find what you need to know in “Office 365 for IT Pros,” the most comprehensive eBook covering all aspects of Office 365. Available in PDF and EPUB formats (suitable for iBooks) or for Amazon Kindle.

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Ignite done, now on to Connections!


Leaving the controlled bedlam that is Microsoft Ignite behind, I travel to Las Vegas next week for the more intimate and less stressful IT/DEV Connections event, where I’ll be chairing the Enterprise Collaboration track. If you want to catch up with what happened at Ignite, I published five articles on Petri.com:

Office 365 News from Ignite – Day 1: The keynotes, Exchange 2016 CU3 and the Outlook REST API, the Outlook apps have completed their move to the Microsoft Cloud – but not for everyone, and no change in the reported number for Office 365 monthly active users.

Yammer and Office 365 Groups ConnectThe Yammer community will have been relieved to have heard Monday’s announcement that the long-awaited and much-promised connection between Office 365 Groups and Yammer is coming (Figure 1). According to Microsoft, the new capabilities will be delivered in a series of phased updates. However, only new Yammer groups will be able to take advantage of the linkup with Office 365 Groups.

Office 365 at Ignite – Exchange, SharePoint, and more: There’s lots to hear and learn about relating to Office 365 at the Microsoft Ignite conference in Atlanta this week. All of the product groups are putting their best face forward to impress and amaze customers with what has happened or what will happen inside the service. Here’s some of what I have been hearing.

Office 365 Groups News from IgniteOffice 365 Groups occupy a special place in Microsoft’s collaboration strategy. The link-up between Yammer and Groups was the headline news for some people, but a lot of other facts were revealed at the Ignite conference, mostly around operational improvements to help tenants manage groups better. Here’s some of what I encountered.

Wrapping up Ignite – more Office 365 Snippets:  Some of the things I found out or explored during the week include a solid DLP roadmap for Office 365, how BMC Remedy creates incident tickets from DLP audit events, that Veeam now offers a backup for Exchange Online, how QUADROtech’s ADAM plans to drag public folders into the 21st century, the delights of recording a special version of the Office 365 Exposed podcast, why Office 365 will use classification policies in the future, and my continuing frustration with the old OneDrive for Business sync client. Maybe the new client will fix all known ailments.

I also participated in three sessions:

The Grand Exchange debate – why you would or would not want to move mailboxes to the cloud. This was a fun exercise with Greg Taylor and Steve Conn of Microsoft designed to surface the reasons why people want to stay on-premises and debate whether the reasons hold true. We didn’t want to come up with a definitive answer because no such answer exists. Instead, we wanted to provoke a discussion and I think that we succeeded in that respect.

The Ultimate Field Guide to Office 365 Groups. Microsoft gave a lot of information at Ignite about future developments for Office 365 Groups. This session provided a counterweight in that it focused on how groups are used in the field.

Meet twin sons of different mothers (MVPs and Exchange engineers). I chaired this panel session where most of the questions were about on-premises and hybrid configurations. Karim Battish and Jeff Mealiffe of Microsoft were busy answering, but Andrew Higginbotham and Jeff Guillet had some views to share too.

All-in-all, it was a busy time at Ignite. The value of the conference is not all in the breakout sessions, interesting as they are. I actually get a lot more from meeting people and companies to take the pulse of what’s happening in the technology spaces that I care about. After all, you can always watch the Ignite sessions online.

In any case, it’s time to get my head down and finish the sessions I have to deliver at IT/DEV Connections and at the UK UC Day a week or so afterwards…

Follow Tony on Twitter @12Knocksinna.

Want to know more about how to manage Office 365? Find what you need to know in “Office 365 for IT Pros,” the most comprehensive eBook covering all aspects of Office 365. Available in PDF and EPUB formats (suitable for iBooks) or for Amazon Kindle.

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