Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sydney Office 365 Certification / Azure bootcamp

I have just opened up a kick starter project to run an Office 365 Certification and Azure bootcamp over 2 days. The proposed details are:

The special kick starter price is $275 ex GST ( $375 ex GST normally). Day 1 is round Office 365 Exam Cram and Day 2 around Azure. You can register your interest and book at:

*** Note - for this training to proceed a minimum of 15 attendees is required for each day ***

Proposed details are:

North Ryde RSL Club
Magdala Rd North Ryde
Friday February 20th [8.30am arrive for 9am start - 5 pm]
Saturday February 21st [8.30am arrive for 9am start - 5 pm]

If any of the attendances fails to reach 15 I will refund any contributions less credit card processing fees if applicable.

Here are some testimonials from the last bootcamp I conducted:

As a previous CIAOPS SharePoint and Office 365 bootcamp attendee... the information that you receive on this very honest, up front and personal training day is far more than you can possibly discover in a week of your own time.  The practical experience and wealth of Knowledge that Robert delivers on the day tailored to SMB users and techs is in my opinion much better than the Microsoft marketing based training that is out there. – Rod Arthur, Lan Creation

The training was excellent and focused on what we need as SMB as well as identifying the bigger enterprise picture.  From knowing really nothing about Azure, we have now done practical tasks and know how to move forward. – George Nade, BCSPL

I am so much more aware of where O365 and Azure, fit into the big picture. And, whilst there were times where I dropped behind in the practical exercises, the takeaway was massive. – Tony Albans A.A.Networks

I hope to see you at the event.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sway me down under


The good news today for us here in Australia is that the Office Sway preview has been extended with the release of the iPhone app here in Australia. Simply visit the iTunes store or go here:

to download the version for you phone.

You can read the whole update release, including the new features here:

If you don’t know what Sway is take a look at this video;

Now I do and see a lot of presentations using PowerPoint. I work really hard to make my presentations as engaging as possible and of late I have tried to really cut down the amount of information, especially bullet points, that I use.

The issue largely isn’t that a presenter can’t use PowerPoint, the issue that PowerPoint may not be the best tool for the job. Most are also not graphic designers and need help making something that is eye catching. You need to think of Sway as something that doesn’t replace PowerPoint but is another tool in your arsenal that can be used for a wide variety of tasks quickly and easily as the video shows.

This is where I think Sway will work for me. It is going to allow me to create a very engaging presentation very quickly and easily. Combine that with the fact that Sway is a web app and allows you to quickly share it on any device is another reason I think it will work well for presentations. It means I can share my Sway presentation with those in the room on their devices as I give the presentation, which again makes it far more engaging I believe.

If you haven’t already go and sign up for the free Sway preview at:

and download the app and start Sway-ing away. You’ll be surprised at what you create and how quickly you do it.

I’ll share more experiences of Sway soon.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Need to Know podcast–Episode 66

I’m joined in this episode by Office 365 MVP Darrell Webster to discuss enterprise social in Office 365, specifically Yammer.

Darrell let’s us know what Yammer is and how it can be used inside a business. We also cover off what are some major challenges facing Yammer adoptions in businesses large and small, including some strategies on how to overcome these.

If you are yet to come to grips with Yammer then this is a great place to start learning from one of the experts.

You can listen to the episode at:

or subscribe to this and all episodes in iTunes at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

Of course, I’d love to hear what you think of this episode or any others. Also, if you are interested in being a guest on the show to discuss business or technical topics also feel free to contact me (

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Introduction to Azure

Here’s my ‘Introduction to Azure’ presentation for IT resellers. This presentation was to the New York SBS User group who graciously allowed me to record it along with their questions. I really appreciate them doing this so I can share it everyone.

There is plenty more stuff to demo in Azure but I was under a time constraint so couldn't cover everything to the depth I’d have liked.. However, if you are interested in an Azure demonstration then please feel free to contact me. As you can see it is pretty easy to do remotely if needed, although face to face is always better if possible.

Security before convenience or else

One of the technology ‘hobbies’ I enjoy is studying the impact of technology on crime. The above talk by Marc Goodman (A vision of crimes in the future) is very thought provoking and eye opening.

I am constantly amazed at how lax so many people are when it comes to their security. I am constantly stunned by how casual and naive people are when it comes to using technology. Most violate the most common security practices without any thought in the desire for convenience. They do things they would never accept in the physical world, yet on line, for some reason common sense abandons them.

This the world we all live in, today. Right now! My opinion, is we are making the world much more vulnerable. We are allowing a single ‘Black Swan event’ that could basically terminate the comfortable way we lead our lives today.

Information and Bio technology are advancing at such a rapid pace and if you think they are only being used for good then you REALLY need to watch this video and become afraid of what is possible.

The rules have changed. We are connecting a totally interconnected world where the failure or disruption of part can effectively bring down the rest of the system catastrophically.

My advice? Take security seriously. Get involved. Get informed and always make the choice of security over convenience.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Office 365 and Vegemite

Once, you couldn’t have combined these products but today Microsoft has announced that Office 365 and CRM will be hosted out of Australia at the end of March 2015. Here’s the official announcement:

This removes another hurdle that has previously prevented many businesses and resellers from going Office 365. Being hosted from local data centers in Sydney and Melbourne means the performance should be significantly better as we have already seen with the Australian Azure data centers.

Apart from speed, another reason for not going Office 365 has been questions around data sovereignty but in today’s interconnected world this has becoming less and less of an issue because we all rely on emails which are unencrypted with guarantee of delivery right? However, for some, having their data hosted within their own country is now a reality with Office 365.

I believe the adoption rates here in Australia off Office 365 will significantly jump for the above two reasons let alone all the other benefits this announcement brings. There now really aren’t a lot of reasons why a business, especially a small business, shouldn’t be considering utilising some aspect of Office 365. The move will also put pressure on local IT resellers to look more seriously at re-tooling their business model to be more focused on Office 365 as demand for the products rises.

It is great to welcome Office 365 data centers to Australia and I look forward to all the benefits and opportunities they provide.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Need to Know podcast–Episode 65

Tas is back again for this episode to dive into everything Office 365. We especially look at some of the features of the advanced SharePoint Online plans and how these can benefit your business no matter how big or small. We also cover off a swag of Office 365 news and updates.

You can listen to the episode at:

or subscribe to this and all episodes in iTunes at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

Of course, I’d love to hear what you think of this episode or any others. Also, if you are interested in being a guest on the show to discuss business or technical topics also feel free to contact me (

Episode notes:


Office 365 Videos

App launcher

Office 365 roadmap

Office 365 service description

Discover SharePoint

CIAOPS YouTube channel

CIAOPS Getting Started templates