Tuesday 9/26 – Can I get a side of OneDrive for Business with my SharePoint?

Official Description…

When working with Microsoft collaboration tools there is always a lot of conversation about what to use when. SharePoint and OneDrive for Business are best served together in Office 365. In this session, we walk through OneDrive for Business and the capabilities for collaboration and how they relate to your overall SharePoint solution.

Slides: <link>

Blake’s Takes…

Another pre-happy hour show in the big Expo center…

Why does every AV expert at these things have a goatee and man bun?

OneDrive = my files
SharePoint = our files

Most users start creating content in OneDrive. Users control all of their OneDrive content. All of the content lifecycle happens within OneDrive, controlled by the OneDrive user. Content created in OneDrive will remain in OneDrive by default.

SharePoint content is under control of all members of the SharePoint group. The site admin is ultimately in control of the content lifecycle.

Use OneDrive for:

  • Private files
  • Limited access (share with only individuals)
  • No other place to put it (no logical SP location)

Rule of thumb: start in OneDrive.

Sync Client – syncs files from both OneDrive and SP.

Moving files between OneDrive and SP is not a feature yet, you have to use Copy. 500MB is the file size limit within the browser.

http://greatriverenergy.onedrive.com is the direct URL to out OneDrive.

Tuesday 9/26 – Beverage Service

One-word review: adequate.

There is plenty of marginal English Breakfast tea packets to be had. Sadly, there is no viable alternative to half and half being offered, so I’ve probably drunk a quart of it by now via the countless tiny single-serving thingys I’ve used to spike my marginal tea.

Tuesday 9/26 – Manage Microsoft Office apps on all your devices

Official Description…

In this session we demonstrate how, using your Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus license, you can reap the benefits of Office apps on iOS, Android, and Windows. From key end user functionality to IT admin control, hear the end-to-end story for Microsoft’s cross-platform Office apps.

Slides: <link>

Blake’s Takes…

Hey, guess what? PPT now allows for 3D images. So that will TOTALLY make PPTs way more better and stuff, I’m sure.

So “Microsoft 365” was just defined  for us (finally) as all of these:

  • Windows
  • Enterprise Mobile & Secirity
  • Office 365

“1 of 10 employees will sell their corporate login credentials for $1,000 or more.” Not sure where they grabbed that stat, but interesting…they are continuing to hammer the notion of turning on multi-factor authentication for anyone with an admin account. The default O365 MFA mechanism is sending a temporary PIN to a mobile device.

Someone in Service Desk should look at InTune. It is Microsoft’s MDM application. The mobile experience for O365 users can be configured across the organization. You define a company portal, then you assign the apps that appear there, and that’s what everyone sees. You can also set policies for OneDrive and SharePoint mobile apps via InTune.

You can additionally restrict many functions in the browser for OneDrive and SharePoint. The demo they did was to restrict print, save as, and sync in OneDrive when you are logging into O365 from a non-company device. This could quell a lot of security concerns. It could also be incredibly annoying. But it’s a thing now with the InTune thing.

There is a way to disable external sharing on a per-document basis. Again, this could help quell security concerns about certain clumps of content. You can even get more granular than that. You can restrict all sorts of things on a per-document basis.

Tuesday 9/26 – The keys to Office 365 Groups management

Official Description…

In this session, we share experience in providing governance and management capabilities for Office 365 Groups. We show how an Office 365 Groups concept can be implemented in a secure way, what management capabilities are available, and how to address them. Learn how to manage Office 365 Groups with the help of PowerShell and Microsoft Graph. We look into Groups administration, how to setup current policies, how to implement them, and how to govern them. We also share some best practices around Groups management.

Blake’s Takes…

The presenter has a brilliant Austrian accent, so that’s a thing.

Apparently, it is very common for companies to disable O365 Groups before a full O365 deployment??? She highly recommends a governance and naming policy for O365 Groups. One way to enforce these is to create a workflow that requires someone to “OK” the group creation/name.

A lot of this is done via PowerShell (restricting who can create groups). The concept is to create an AD group of users who can create O365 Groups.

Again, a lot of this is done via PoweShell scripting. So conceptually these are great ideas, but in practice, we’d have to track down some of the PowerShell scripts.

Tuesday 9/26 – Wall of Geekdom

So there is this magical place called the West Expo Center. It contains a wall of 18 presentations running simultaneously. You pull up a beanbag, plug into one of the receivers, and switch between the 18 presentations. I was unaware of this most awesome way to take in a conference, but the folks from TCF were. We spent the entire AM flipping between presentations, drinking coffee & tea, and lounging in beanbags commiserating about trying to roll out O365.

It.

Was.

Brilliant.

Tuesday 9/26 – New web experiences in Office 365 that empower your users

Official Description…

More than ever before, users expect an unparalleled productivity experience on the web. We’ve designed Office 365 to be a universal toolkit that empowers everyone with powerful communication, collaboration and authoring tools that work for you. See the big changes coming to the Office 365 browser experience to help your users navigate documents and apps, get started quicker, and understand the applications and services available to them.

Slides: <link>

Blake Takes…

Yet another overly excited start to another session…

  • “so exciting”
  • “amazing innovations”
  • “super proud”

So apparently www.office.com is something to which we all have access as MS 365 subscribers. It is not entirely clear what the difference is between that and the O365 waffle. I attempted to log in with my GRE credentials and there was an “SSO error”. I can, however, log in with my personal SP site credentials. So, someone is going to have to get to the bottom of how SSO works with office.com for GRE users.

Microsoft Fluent is a new design language that Microsoft is pushing. It will be implemented in the MS 365 arena first. It will likely be a good plan to have the developer types look into getting fluent with Fluent.

So Office 365 is set up as a bit of a personal dashboard. It may be another option besides Delve, SP tile, or SHI StartScreen. It is definitely worth looking into. It would be ideal if someone at the service desk started to get into this. Here is what my personal dashboard looks like for my personal SP instance:

The Office.com UI does also present a lot of analytics around documents. There are features like:

  • “pin” – mark a document as important
  • “subscribe” – get updates on document changes
  • “discover” – suggests document that may be relevant
  • “remove from list” – prune documents that are not actually relevant
There is a dashboard within Office.com also aggregates SP site/team information and OneDrive information. It looks pretty promising.
There is also a major search feature built into Office.com. It works just like the search from within the O365 search center. This includes People search. Again, all of this is encapsulated within the office.com UI.
They are now shifting to the O365 UI, which we are already quite familiar with by now. They are, however, showing a new UI for the app launcher (waffle) that I have not seen on out tennant. I assume this is a “coming soon” thingy.

Monday 9/25 – Expo Pano

This ridiculously restrictive layout won’t do the shot justice, but here is the Expo floor in all of it’s gory, err…I mean glory…

Here’s another angle…

Monday 9/25 – Accelerate Office 265 Adoption Through Microsoft FastTrack Services

Official Description…

I can’t find it.

Blake’s Takes…

So I refuse to cede my groovy high-top table for one, and another presentation magically appeared. For kicks, I’m gonna just stay and watch.

So Stiller and Meara are leading off with a number of funny questions, which I always totally love!

  • “How many of you work in IT groups that have lots of extra time?”
  • “How many of your users read your carefully crafted how-to emails?” 

According to the presenters, engaging MS FastTrack services “guarantees” Adoption success. Part of the discovery process. Is doing “a day in the life” with the users. During this discovery, a lot of shadow IT can be uncovered.

FastTrack productivity library

And the presenters brought fidget spinners…that looked like this…

Getting one was like this…

Monday 9/25 – Microsoft Office 365 adoption: If you can’t measure it, it’s not happening

Official Description…

Organizations invest a lot of money when they decide to use Office 365. Getting value for that investment is important, and the only way of understanding whether end users are taking advantage of the complete spectrum of Office 365 functionality is to measure what’s happening. With real data about real users you can see which parts of Office 365 are being used and which are not. You know whether your adoption programs are effective or need to make changes. This session covers the tools available in Office 365 to help you understand user adoption. You’ll not only learn HOW to measure adoption, but also WHAT to measure and WHY.

Slides: <link>

Blake’s Takes…

This particular presentation is titled: “Microsoft Office 365 adoption: if you can’t measure it, it’s not happening. “The reason I’m here is that I believe this to be the God’s honest truth, regardless to which higher power you submit.

So far the two presenters have talked about the idea of measuring adoption without actually explaining how it would be done. I love when presenters do this. It’s like the infomercial for the “extreme fat burning system” where they discuss the the fact they plan to reveal the secret for the entirety of the infomercial without ever revealing anything.

“O365 report reader administrator” role is new. It allows access to Usage Reports in the Admin center, but that is the only access granted is to the report data–that’s it. After the access if granted, it will be one of the tiles the user sees. The user access report are across the O365 apps (SharePoint, OneDrive, Outlook, etc.)

Activity reports are being generated on TEAMS starting this month. We are being assured that there are new measures added to the Admin Center Reports on a monthly basis.

Office 365 Usage Analytics will be the new name for the Adoption Content Pack. Early 2018, this will be available/rebranded, and it will measure adoption rather than usage. We gotta get on this…

They are, shockingly, a number of third party tools for analytics that leverage the date from Microsoft Graph. And of course, none were mentioned.

They did direct us to this discussion on adoption “tools”.

Monday 9/25 – Power transformative change with Microsoft business applications and platform

Official Description…


Digital transformation is top of mind for businesses. Your business applications and application platform are critical to powering your company’s transformation. Join James Phillips, Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Business Applications Group, to learn about Microsoft’s vision and strategy for business applications. See how modern applications are powered by data and intelligence, how they make the most of your Office 365 investments and how the Microsoft application platform enables you to extend and create new business applications to adapt for the future.

Blake’s Takes…

We kicked this off with a stat: 2020 – 50% of workforce is millennials.

GRE, you have been warned.

Incidentally, I just walked a half-mile to get here. Seriously, I’ve had shorter walks traversing the UWEC campus back in my college heyday. Like the calories from the banana I ate for breakfast are long burned up. And when I arrived, the main session was again full. I’m now in the largest overflow room I’ve ever seen. And I’m happy to be here.

On an unrelated note, there is one woman at this conference for every 25 men. This has created a bathroom paradox the likes of which I’ve never experienced. The lines for the men’s bathroom are 50-75 deep. The lines for the women’s bathroom aren’t. The key to timely relief, and being male at an IT conference of this magnitude, is to aim high. Yes, you need to take as many escalators as possible to the top level in whichever building you find yourself. No one reaches for the sky when they need to go, that’s why I do. I had the bathroom on the fourth level all to myself. As I was coming back down the escalators, the same endless line from the main level restroom had barely moved.

The first part of this session, was ironically, on PowerPoint. What strikes me is the overuse of hyperbole during these presentations. [presenter inserts a 3D object into a slide] “That was amazing! See, engineers can create amazingly beautiful slides!” Honestly, it was interesting, cool maybe, it was not amazing. And insisting verbally that it was “amazing” makes it amazing naught.

The world’s largest human just sat in the chair next to me. There are 3,000 seats in this place–plenty empty–but apparently, right next to me was the obvious place to sit? I’m having a flashback to the flight that brought me down here. Of course, I’m partially at fault. Religiously taking an aisle seat nearly guarantees that someone will grab the seat next to you. I should’ve situated myself right in the middle of a row…next time.

We are still in the midst of a demo of PPT, Word, Excel, etc… The presenter is continuously professing her undying “love” for these tools. Personally, I’d choose a less intense verb. I’ll spare everyone the details of the cool things she’s demoing in Excel, as they are not particularly cool.

Microsoft Teams will replace Skype for Business. That does not affect us, but I figured I’d toss that in for the hell of it.

So this Cortana thing is Microsoft’s Siri or Echo. You can leverage it to automatically schedule a meeting. Again, they are hitting us with a blight of functionality that would take months of training and use before our users could even approach efficiency.

Microsoft Teams now allows for external access as long as “the externals users are on the Microsoft global Azure AD”. Also “Teams really allows your personality to shine with emojis and GIFs.” Phew! Again, the presenter just asked the audience to clap to raise the energy in the room. If you can’t generate “energy” with your presentation, asking for “energy” is a tad pathetic. Better would be to rework your presentation, so that it inspires authentic “energy”.

The presenter is demoing all of the MS 365 apps on her phone. This brings to mind the difficulties we’ve had so far in doing this @ GRE. It’s something we should work out once and for all. We need to be able to demo this, as it would be a clear driver for adoption. It would also be a clear driver migrating files off the S:\ drive. The current process of VPN + AirWatch is considerably more clunky than the unified MS 365 experience. And MS 365 would not require VPN.

GE has 220,000 mailboxes on Exchange online. If they can do it, we can do it–right?! We are being treated to yet another over-produced video on how GE solved every company problem they ever had with Microsoft’s tools. Incredible! “Really excited”, “Faster progress then EVER before”, “Totally awesome developments”, lots of fresh hyperbole–yay!

One of the things that makes any conference “totally awesome” is hearing what didn’t work. I want to hear about the struggles. I want to hear how obstacles were overcome. If GE indeed solved every business issue ever with Microsoft, I want the details. I seriously doubt registering each user with an O365 Pro Plus account was all it took. They did use O365 Pro Plus as a precursor to moving to Outlook in the cloud. They big gain for them was the 50GB mailbox size. I guess if you can shift the storage problem to someone else–mission accomplished! New term “Employee Delighter”–I’m going to be saying that all the time from now on.

The million dollar question was just asked: “What can’t my work life mimic my consumer life?” That’s a great question IMHO.

They are doing a demo of Auto Pilot, which is a way to provision laptops and desktops running Windows 10 remotely via the cloud. Windows 10 also provides a rich analytics dashboard. It is interesting, because you can get stats on usage of various apps, as well as stats on the space used. In their example, they showed that there were 300GBs of data in OneDrive, but only 66% of users were actively utilizing the tool.