Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Karl’s on line conference

Individual_Speaker_Pimps_ROBERT

We are less than a month away from Karl Palachuk’s online conference at which I have been lucky enough to be given a speaking opportunity. You can find out more about the conference and sign up at:

http://www.smbonlineconference.com/

My presentation topic is:

You Need a New Business Model for Success in the Cloud

and I’ll warn you that I’m going to rather brutal in what I present here. My focus is on looking forward not back and looking for a business model that will be sustainable now and into the foreseeable future.

That, no doubt, will challenge a lot of conventional thinking but I really believe that is what is called for in the SMB technology reseller space these days. The game has changed which brings both threats and opportunities and understanding both is key.

If you want to get both barrels from my no holds bared presentation as well as some great insight for a score of other really smart and talented presenters then sign up for Karl’s conference today.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Switching on to PowerBI

One of the most powerful applications just about every business has at their fingertips is Excel. What this product can do is truly amazing when you explore it fully. The downside is that most people use less than ten percentage of the product capabilities.

Some of the more advanced features of Excel are Pivot tables. In essence, these allow you to create basic data cubes to easily slice and dice your raw data to create information that has value and provide insight. Sadly again, few people even know what Pivot tables are, let alone even used them.

The growing demand in our increasing data driven world is having a method of producing meaningful information from a vast array of raw data input sources. Microsoft is providing such a solution in the form of PowerBI.

The latest version of PowerBI from Microsoft is now available in preview for free. You can sign up at:

http://www.powerbi.com

When you do you’ll be presented with some sample Retail Analysis data that look like this:

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As interesting as that is it is a little abstract. Where you begin to appreciate the role that PowerBI can play for you is when you select the option to Get Data.

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Here you’ll now see a variety of sources that PowerBi can report on. One of the options you’ll see from the above screen shot is Google Analytics web data.

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When you connect up your Google Analytics you’ll get a new dashboard, as you see above, with all of the information about your web site. In this case, I’m look at data from my www.anzacsinfrance.com web site.

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At the top of the dashboard you’ll see a box into which you can type a free form query. So if I type “total hits” the dashboard automatically shows me the result as you see above.

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If I now extend that query to “total hits last month” the result is immediately updated and displayed as shown above.

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If I extend that further to “total hits last month in turkey” I see a result of 6 website views from Turkey in the last month.

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If I extend that once more to “total hits last month in turkey compared to france” i now get a graph as shown above.

Hopefully, you can see the possibilities and the depth of reporting that is possible. And of course you can pin these queries to your dashboard so they display upon your return.

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Apart from the adhoc dashboard you can create multi page reports. The above is an example from my web site data. Again, you can customise these easily in the web browser or download the PowerBI Designer for your desktop.

As you saw earlier, one of the data sources I can use is a plain old Excel file, uploaded from your desktop or saved in OneDrive consumer or OneDrive for Business.

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Once the spreadsheet is available to PowerBI, now you can start creating reports based on the Excel Pivot tables I alluded to earlier. You do this by simply dragging and dropping the desired column heading into the appropriate locations (axis, vales, etc). The difference here is that I am doing this in a browser in a way that I can pin the result to a dashboard and report.

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I can also now quickly and easily change the style of graph that is display, change the data I report on, create more results on the page or create additional pages effortlessly.

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I can also easily share my dashboards with others when they are complete.

Microsoft is announcing more and more options for data sources with PowerBI. One of the upcoming options will be analytics from Office 365 with the soon to be released Office 365 content pack for PowerBI.

Whats new in Office 365 Administration from Microsoft Ignite 2

Which should allow you to produce report from Office 365 like you see in the above screen shot taken from the announcement blog post.

At the core of PowerBi is the concept of data sets. Raw data sets are ordered by Excel style Pivot tables with the results being surfaced through PowerBI. Thus, to get meaningful results you need to understand Excel Pivot tables. If you don’t now might be the time to fire up that version of Excel and start learning!

Hopefully, giving you this small inkling of what is possible with PowerBI will inspire you to dive into the product and learn what it can offer. I know I am and am amazed everyday with what is possible and will be detailing more in upcoming posts. Given that it is also in preview and free to access is an even better reason not to hesitate but to dive in now and power up with PowerBI.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Troubleshooting OneDrive for Business links

Still working through all the recent Microsoft Ignite content but here are some handy links for troubleshooting OneDrive for Business that I’ll share.

Use the OneDrive for Business Sync Guide for initial setup - http://aka.ms/SetupOD4B

Make sure that the OneDrive for Business sync app is kept up-to-date - http://aka.ms/UpdateOD4B

Use valid file and folder names, and stay within file size, item count, and file path length limits - http://aka.ms/OD4BLimits

Resolve issues by following these best practices

First, try repairing the OneDrive for Business sync connection - http://aka.ms/RepairOD4B

Next, stop syncing and then restart syncing - http://aka.ms/StopOD4B and http://aka.ms/SyncOD4B

Next, try the OD4B Troubleshooter - http://aka.ms/TShootOD4B

Remember, the next gen sync client is due soon! See my previous post on the topic:

http://blog.ciaops.com/2015/05/more-onedrive-information-from-ignite.html

Office First Release filtering

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A while back I posted how I had jumped the gun on wanting the First Release option of Office 365 being restricted to certain users inside an IOffice 365 tenant (mainly to restrict the potential use of Office 2016 Preview).

The good news is as you can see from the above it has arrived in my tenant. To access it you login to Office 365 as an administrator and then select Service Settings, Updates from the admin portal. You will now see the option to be on the Standard release (slower) or First release (faster) when it comes to new Office 365 features. You’ll also see the option, if you select First release, to select those people in your organisation who will receive First release features, leaving the remainder on the standard release path.

This allows you to elect a subset of users within your Office 365 tenant who can access the new features without them becoming available to everyone immediately.

Office 365 release options

I got my Office 365 Sway

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Seems like Sway has now made it into my Office 365 tenant as you can see from the apps launcher at the top of Office 365.

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You will also find some control options under Service Settings, Sway as shown above.

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so when you go to Sway, which is a web based application, and sign in with your Office 365 credentials, you’ll be taken to the Sway portal at:

http://www.sway.com

but as you can see from the above screen shot you can still navigate to any Office 365 using the app launcher.

Given what I see here and Sway having a free offering, it wouldn’t surprise me if we see some premium Sway features arrive and be included with Office 365 plans. Just speculating mind you.

So if you have Office 365, have a look and see whether you can Sway yet. if you can, give it a go.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Revised bootcamp notes publication now available

As I detailed a while back I have now updated my Bootcamp products offering to include:

1. Latest version of my Office 365 bootcamp notes. This OneNote notebook is something I use everyday to capture information about Office 365. It is my reference ‘bible’ covering everything from Exchange to Sharepoint, Delve to Single Sign on as well as troubleshooting, best practices and a range of PowerShell scripts and third party solutions that work with Office 365.

2. Latest version of my Azure bootcamp notes. This OneNote notebook contains my daily brain dump about Azure. It contains links, information, tutorials and more. Again, this is something I use everyday and update constantly.

3. Exam cram notes for the Office 365 70-347 and 70-346 exam. It contains information and links to help you pass the exam. It also has a number of practice exam questions to give you an idea of what might be covered in an exam.

4. Five (5) supporting Office 365 checklists and templates that you can use for your Office 365 implementation. These documents are in various Office formats (Word, Excel, etc).

There are two ways to get access to this material:

1. You can join my Cloud Business Blueprint community via:

http://www.cloudbusinessblueprint.com/members-sign-up/

where you’ll get immediate access to the latest versions plus heaps of other unique on demand training, cheat sheets, re-brandable content, articles AND access to the members forums to converse with other cloud resellers.

2. You can purchase the existing Office 365 bootcamp notes via;

http://www.e-junkie.com/ciaops/product/488325.php

for AU $148. This purchase will also entitle you to a 12 monthly subscription for updates to these products (generally updated monthly).

Also, given that the 74-325 Office for SMB exam has been superseded I have made the OneNote exam cram notes I created for this available for free download with all my other free material at:

http://www.ciaops.com/downloads

If nothing else, those bootcamp notes are going to provide a centralised and searchable way to locate just about anything to do with Office 365 and Azure. This will save you inordinate amounts of time and easily pay for your outlay. You’ll also get free updates for to all of these for 12 months once you purchase. Like I said, I use these notebooks EVERY DAY.

If you want some testimonials about these bootcamps and information provided visit:

http://www.ciaops.com/bootcamp/

Please support this material so I can continue creating more.

Need to know podcast–Episode 83

In this episode I’m joined by a real SharePoint and Office 365 rockstar (who also happens to be an MVP) – Benjamin Niaulin.

Benjamin shares his insights and experiences from the recent Microsoft Ignite Conference. We then deep dive into the new Office 365 Groups and how important they are becoming to the service overall. Finally, I couldn’t let Benjamin escape with out providing some guidance around SharePoint migrations.

A huge amount of value in this episode from a doyen of the community, so don’t miss it. You can listen to the episode at:

http://ciaops.podbean.com/e/episode-83-benjamin-niaulin/

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/ciaops/need-to-know-podcast?refid=stpr

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send me any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show. I’m also on the hunt for some co-presenters so if you are interested on being a regular part of the show please contact me.

Resources

Microsoft Ignite on demand - http://channel9.msdn.com/events/Ignite/2015/

Blogging comes to Delve - http://blog.ciaops.com/2015/05/blogging-comes-to-delve.html

New OneDrive Sync client - http://blog.ciaops.com/2015/05/more-onedrive-information-from-ignite.html

Mobile device management - http://blog.ciaops.com/2015/05/mobile-device-management-has.html

Offline Azure backup - http://blog.ciaops.com/2015/05/offline-azure-backup.html

Sharegate - http://en.share-gate.com/

Sharegate blog - http://en.share-gate.com/blog/

Benjamin Niaulin - https://twitter.com/bniaulin

Webinar on Office 365 Groups - http://en.share-gate.com/blog/groups-for-office-365-webinar

Benjamin's wrap up of Microsoft Ignite - http://en.share-gate.com/blog/ignite-collaboration-in-a-modern-workplace-transformed