Saturday, February 13, 2016

Office update branches renamed to channels

Some changes in the naming of Office click to run updates (typically delivered from Office 365):

Based on customer feedback, we’ve changed how we refer to our update branches. The name changes are as follows:

  • Current Branch is now called Current Channel.

  • Current Branch for Business is now called Deferred Channel.

  • First Release for Current Branch is now called First Release for Current Channel.

  • First Release for Current Branch for Business is now called First Release for Deferred Channel.

Only the names are changing. The servicing model for each of these channels remains the same. We're in the process of updating our content, so you'll continue to see the previous naming during this transition.

and some references:

Version numbers of update branches for Office 365 clients

Office 365 client update branch releases

Questions about Office 2016 via Office 365

Friday, February 12, 2016

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Getting Started With Skype for Business Online–Preorder now!

I am happy to report that a new book from CIAOPS will be available very, very soon. As such, we are opening up for preorders:

http://www.e-junkie.com/ciaops/product/509275.php

Pre-orders will receive a 50% discount on the ultimate retail price of the work. Pre-orders will also receive the book in all ‘e-formats’ (PDF, MOBI and ePUB).

Abtract

This book is designed to get you up and running with Skype for Business Online fast! It takes you step by step through using everything in Skype for Business Online, showing you each item in detail, including screen shots at every stage. This book will help you use and better understand the capabilities of Skype for Business Online and the power that is can bring your business. Most importantly, it will show you how to be more productive by using the tools you already have to communicate better. If you use Office 365 but are not yet familiar with Skype for Business then this book is for you.

The content of this book is aimed at those using Skype for Business Online rather than those administering it (that book is still in the works)

For this book I have been working with a Skype for Business and telephony expert, Greg Plum from PlumUC. I got Greg on board as an author because Skype for Business Online now includes integration to on premises phone system and now has the option for Cloud PBX. This means there is now so much more information that needs to be covered and more knowledge that needs to be shared. The only way to do that effectively is to bring on an experienced expert in the field, and that’s exactly what I’ve done with Greg. His contributions are what is going to set this book apart I believe.

We are currently putting the finishing touches to the book, and we expect it to be generally available in early March. However, we wanted to give people the opportunity to pre-order at a discounted rate so they can get their hands on the information as soon as it becomes available.

http://www.e-junkie.com/ciaops/product/509275.php

To pre-order simply click on link above, record your details and payment and we’ll get back to you very soon with the completed work.

Working with SharePoint Drop Off Libraries

One of the major challenges businesses face is how to ensure their digital information is stored in the correct location. Unless people know exactly where it needs to go it will probably end up where it isn’t supposed to be.

A smart way to approach this problem is to use automated processes governed by rules that allow people to upload information to a single location and then for it to automatically routed to the right location without them having to think about it.

SharePoint has plenty of automation features available out of the box. One of these is a feature known as Document Routing. This allows you to basically configure a number of rules so when a file is uploaded to a special ‘drop-off’ area in SharePoint it is automatically moved to other locations based on these rules.

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Firstly, navigate to the SharePoint Team Site where you wish to enable this.

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In the top right of the window select the COG and then Site Settings from the menu that appears.

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From under the Site Actions section in the right column select Manage site features.

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Locate the feature Content Organiser and ensure that it is Active as shown above.

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Once the Content Organizer feature is active it will automatically create a new Document Library in the Team Site called Drop Off Library as shown above.

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Go back to the Site Settings area in the Team Site and locate the Site Administration area options as shown above.

Here you will now see two additional options – Content Organizer Settings and Content Organizer Rules.

Select Content Organizer Rules.

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You can follow through the options on the page but here, enable the ability to Send to Another Site which is not enabled by default.

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At the bottom of this page you find the ability to send email notifications when data remains in the Drop Off Library. This means that the data doesn’t match any of the in place rules and needs to be manually resolved.

Here you can nominate which users will receive email notifications of this and how many days the system will wait before notifying them.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and save your changes.

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Now select the Content Organizer Rules link. This will take you what appears to be a standard SharePoint list. Select the option new item to create a new rule to organise your data.

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Give the rule a name and set the priority. Rules work based on SharePoint Content Types. In this case, because we want to route standard images, select the Document Content Types which then allows the selection of Picture for type. This means the rule will only apply to pictures uploaded to the Drop Off Library.

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You now need to create a condition that will test the information uploaded. In this case the condition used will be when the Title field is set to begin with ‘Home’. Remember, that when you upload a picture file to SharePoint it will also ask you for a range of meta data (Title, Keywords, dates, etc) at the point of upload. This rule will look at that information and make routing decisions on what it finds in the ‘Title’ field.

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If you scroll down, you’ll find a location to specific the location where any matching documents will be moved to. Select the Browse button.

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You then locate the destination in the current Team Site. In this case it will be the Picture Library ‘Pictures’.

It is important to remember that you can only send matching documents from this rule (which uses a specific Content Type) to destination locations that also include that same Content Type. In this case, the ‘Document Types’ content is being used because it contains a type ‘Pictures’ which is the same Content Type that is applied to the Picture Library ‘Pictures’. In essence, you can’t move different types of file to locations that don’t accept that style of file. For example, you can’t move documents to a Team Site Calendar.

Once you have selected the destination from the tree, scroll to the bottom of the page and select the OK button to save your changes.

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That path should now appear in the Destination field as shown above.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and save your changes.

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You should now be returned to the rules overview page as shown above, where the rule you just created appears.

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Navigate to the Drop Off Library in the Team Site and select the option to upload a file.

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The standard upload dialog box will appear but you should now see additional text at the top indicating that the Content Organizer feature is active.

Select a file to upload using the Choose file button and then OK.

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The standard file properties dialog will appear that allows you to enter additional information about the uploaded file as shown above. Again, note the additional text at the top of the window indicating that Content Organizer is in operation.

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In this case, to allow the organising rules to apply, ‘Home’ is added to the Title field.

Select the Check In button in the top left to save these changes.

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If all is correct, the rule previously created should now be applied and you should receive a message like that shown above indicating that the document uploaded has been successfully re-rerouted to the destination you defined in the rule. In this case the uploaded image is re-rerouted to a Picture Library called ‘Pictures’.

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If you now navigate to that location, you should see the document you just uploaded.

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If a document is uploaded to the Drop Off Library and it doesn’t match any of the rules in place you will see the message above. This is basically saying that the document will remain in the Drop Off Library until further action is taken by an administrator.

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The file will remain in the Drop Off Library until it is updated so the properties match one of the rules and it can be routed.

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If email notifications have been enabled, those people will receive notification that items remain in the Drop Off Library and require attention before they can re-route as shown above.

In an upcoming post I’ll cover how a document can be re-routed using a similar method to a location outside the current Team Site.

Automating standard processes and procedure is the key to being productive. SharePoint includes many automation features to make life easier and importantly more consistent. Using Drop Off Libraries is but one method and hopefully as I have been able to illustrate, it is easy to set up and use.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Microsoft PowerApps

One of the most powerful aspects technology now provides us is automation. The problem is that I don’t see a lot of people letting the ‘bots’ do the hard work for them.

I have written about Office 365 automation here:

Office 365 automation

I’ve also highlighted how upskilling is required to stray relevant in todays environment.

Skill up or fade away/ It’s that simple

and such re-skilling up also means a greater focus on software rather than hardware.

Personally, I’ve been playing with Azure Logic apps to provide even more automation functionality but Microsoft has now made that even easier with Powerapps.

You’ll need to request an invite from the PowerApps site:

https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/

and you should do so with your Office 365 login.

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Once confirmed you’ll see a new tile appear on your Office 365 app launcher as shown above.

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Selecting this will take you to the Powerapps canvas as shown above.

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The place to start is the Connections option at the bottom of the menu on the left hand side. You should go there and connect up all the accounts you have including Office 365 Outlook, OneDrive, SharePoint Online, Twitter and more.

Once you have connected up to the different services you then need to elect whether to now create a Logic Flow or an App.

A Logic Flow is very much like an IFTTT recipe. That is, when something changes, take some action. An App is a bit more involved and typically means developing some basic screens for input and storing the data somewhere.

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The Apps you create are then access via a PowerApp application on your device (Windows 10 and iOS so far).

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Given that a Logic App is easier to create I’ll cover that. If you select the Logic App option from the menu on the left you’ll be take to a canvas on the right that allow to use an existing template or create a new Logic App from scratch.

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You start a new Logic Flow by selecting a starting action.

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In this case, I’ve chosen the trigger to be when a tweet including #office365 is found.

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I then add an action or condition.

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Here I added an action to send an email to my Office 365 inbox with the contents of the tweet.

I then save that Logic Flow.

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The Logic Flow is then active and will run every time it is triggered.

I can continue to create more Logic Flows as desired.

It is still early days for PowerApps but I am very keen to see it develop and mature. I believe it is another key opportunity provided by the cloud for IT Professionals to move beyond merely maintaining IT to actually using IT to solve real world business challenges and streamlining business processes.

My advice? Get on board with PowerApps now!

Friday, February 5, 2016

CIAOPS Basic SharePoint Online Administration course now available

I have create a new short Introduction Sharepoint Online Administration online training course.

spo-admin

It’s a bit different from my other online courses in that it is much shorter and the cost is also much lower. I’m using it to see whether there is demand for these style of ‘short courses” and then maybe developing more along these lines. I’d love to know what you think about these style of ‘short courses’.

If you are interested, I’d encourage you to take a look at the new course and sign up. I’d also appreciate you referring the course onto others who may who might benefit.

You’ll find all my online courses at:

www.ciaopsacademy.com

and if nothing there takes your fancy, please contact me (director@ciaops.com) and let me know what you’d like to see so I can create it.

Azure and Windows 10 Enterprise State roaming

The march of Azure and Windows 10 integration continues on with the announcement of Enterprise State Roaming public preview.

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This option basically allows Windows 10 machines that have their primary connection to Azure AD to have their settings roam between machines much like the situation now with Windows 10 and personal accounts.

To enable this you’ll need the most current build of Windows 10 and Azure AD Premium. You’ll then need to enable the setting in both Azure and Windows 10. This blog post from Microsoft outlines all the details:

More Azure AD and Windows 10 goodness: Enterprise State Roaming public preview!

To me this is further evidence of the growing native integration between Windows 10 and Azure AD. It also indicates why you should be payign close attention to this as it is becomes more powerful and feature rich.