Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ask us weekly webinar


I am happy to announce that we have scheduled our first Cloud Business BlueprintAsk Us” webinar for Thursday the 6th of February at 12.30pm Sydney Australia time. This is a follow up from the CIAOPS Virtual Meetings that I ran last year. You can register at:
http://www.cloudbusinessblueprint.com/ask-weekly-webinar
Schedule willing, we plan to offer this webinar on a regular weekly basis, so you’ll be able to use that same URL to register for each weekly event. These may be not the same day every week but certainly we are aiming to run it regularly.
So what’s the “Ask Us” webinar all about? Well, it’s designed to allow you to ask any question you want about the cloud, business or technical it doesn’t matter. I am also happy to take questions in regards to SharePoint as well. There is no set agenda, just turn up at any time during the webinar and ask any question you want and we’ll do our best to answer it. If we can’t answer it during the webinar we’ll aim to get you the answer afterwards. We can also demonstrate anything specific on the screen.
Again, there is no obligation and the webinar is free for anyone to attend. We encourage you to attend to get all those burning cloud questions answered or just attend to see what others are asking.
Of course if you can’t attend this session look out for upcoming webinars at the same URL.
We hope to see you there.

Cloud Business Podcast–Episode 9

The Cloud Business Podcast - Opportunity in the Cloud is only a Click Away with Robert Crane and Nigel Moore

So the 9th episode of the Cloud Business podcast is now available for your listening pleasure on iTunes and at:

http://www.cloudbusinessblueprint.com/podcast/episode-009/

In this episode we cover off a whole raft of metrics for your IT business as well a great question about getting new clients.

Remember as always, keen to hear you feedback on the above page or via an iTunes review or directly if you are shy.

Stay tunes for upcoming episodes real soon.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Six Strategies to selling Office 365


I’ve just complete a short eBook entitled “Six Strategies to Selling Office 365” and an accompanying 8 part video tutorial series for Cloud Business Blueprint members.
In eBook and videos I look at each of the strategies in details. The 6 strategies are:
1. Keep it simple
2. Start small
3. Seek a champion
4. Show the possibilities
5. Solve a problem
6. Implement search
The complete content (eBook and videos) is only available to Cloud Business Blueprint members, but if you jump on our no obligation email list by visiting Cloud Business Blueprint and sign up for the free 8 part profit training course, I’ll also send you a copy of this “Six Strategies” eBook for free.
Again, no obligation to become a full member of Cloud Business Blueprint (although I’d love you to), just sign up for your free 8 part profit course and you’ll get a free copy of this eBook emailed directly to you. Easy!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

SkyDrive is now Onedrive


We all knew that SkyDrive was going to be renamed but until now we weren’t sure what that name would be. Well now we know – it will be called OneDrive!
If you want the official announcement here it is:
http://blog.onedrive.com/onedrive-for-everything-your-life/
and you can sign up for a preview at:
https://preview.onedrive.com/
Interestingly for existing users:
For current users of either SkyDrive or SkyDrive Pro, you’re all set. The service will continue to operate as you expect and all of your content will be available on OneDrive and OneDrive for Business respectively as the new name is rolled out across the portfolio.
So SkyDrive Pro becomes OneDrive for Business which I think will reduce confusion in the market place about the product and which market it serves.
So, now we just have to wait and see what other changes get rolled into this updated product.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Two sound suggestions

Thought I’d share with you two sound ‘suggestions’ I’ve come across recently.

In my never ending search for methods to be more productive I’ve tinkered with different types of background sound to help improve my focus. The best I have found so far is Focus at Will.

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There are free and paid options as well a number of different sound tracks you can listen to. At the very least I urge you to give it a try and see if it does help your focus as that is what the tracks have been specifically designed for.

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The other thing you may not have seen with Chrome is that when a tab is playing something a little speaker icon appears on that tab as shown above. This is great when you a lot of tabs open and some annoying ad starts making noise. A quick search of the tab headings in Chrome will allow you to locate that quickly and easily so you can deal with.

Love to hear what results you get with Focus at Will, because it has been very effective for me.

Review - Capdase Karapace Touch Case for Nexus 5

Full disclosure – the review unit was supplied by Mobilezap. You can find this device and others at the Mobilezap category page at:
http://www.mobilezap.com.au/34604/google/nexus-5/cases.htm

The good guys over at Mobilezap have provided me with another Nexus 5 case to review here. This one is more your traditional cover in that it simply fits over the back of the phone. It leaves all the Nexus 5 buttons and fitting available for use directly.
This means that in some areas the cover doesn’t completely cover the edges of the phone (like around where the power cable plugs in). This potentially leaves the phone un protected at that point, so if you drop it and it fall at a certain angle your phone may get damaged.
What I like about this cover is that it is really thin and add little bulk to feel of the phone. I also like the material that it is made out of. The feel is much better and ‘gripper’ that other neoprene style covers.

The cover is easy to pop on and off while fitting the phone like a glove. If you want something light, convenient and like a skin on your phone with a great feel then I’d recommend this cover.
Thanks again to Mobilezap for the opportunity to evaluate.







Thursday, January 16, 2014

[VIDEO] Saving a SharePoint Online site as a template

The original post is here:

http://blog.ciaops.com/2013/10/saving-sharepoint-online-site-as.html

but now I have done a video on how to save and re use a SharePoint Online template.

Upgrading a SharePoint site in Office 365 to current version

If you have been using Office 365 prior to February 2013, you would have been on what is known as Wave 14 or the 2010 versions of the software. This means that your SharePoint site collections (i.e. top level sites) probably looks something like this now when you visit:

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You’ll see that it still has the older SharePoint 2010 interface but now there is big crimson banner across the top of the page like so:

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What this is letting you know is that it you have the option to upgrade the interface (i.e the look and feel) to the latest SharePoint 2013 version.

For most people who have used SharePoint this upgrade is something that you can do immediately. Where it becomes more complicated if you have gone in a done some major customizations to the look and feel (i.e. HTML and CSS changes) or inserted custom code (i.e. solutions and web parts). In that case, you are really need going to need to spend some time testing these with the new 2013 interface. Also remember that upgrading a site collection will also upgrade all subsites automatically as well.

However, in this case, I know I have a very basic SharePoint site collection so I am going to proceed with the upgrade by selecting the Go to the upgrade page now link in the banner.

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That will take me to a page like you see above. Here I have the option to Try a demo upgrade if I want but I am happy to proceed with the complete upgrade so I select the Upgrade this Site Collection button.

Importantly, taking this option means that when the process is complete I will be unable to roll back to the 2010 version of my site, so make sure you are 100% certain that is what you want to do.

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You’ll receive a confirmation that you want to proceed with this as it is a one way trip! I’m sure I won’t have any issues so I press the I’m ready button to proceed.

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Now the upgrade will be scheduled. It may take a while for the upgrade process to commence so be patient. If you get cold feet you can press the Don’t Upgrade Now button, however if just wait this page will refresh every 60 seconds or so to let know the status. Pressing the Refresh Now button doesn’t make the upgrade process commence any quicker (much like traffic lights).

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Shortly, the upgrade process will commence as you can see above. Again, the screen will refresh every 60 seconds or so and provided updated information on the progress of the upgrade.

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The time to complete the upgrade process will depend on the size of your SharePoint site collection and the amount of information and sub sites it contains.

Once the process is complete you will hopefully see a Completed Successfully message as shown above. If you want to, you can select the log file link to view technical details about your upgrade. That will look something like:

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Which is probably only going to be of use if the upgrade failed for some reason.

In most cases you’ll select the Let’s see this new site button in the lower right hand corner.

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Doing so should reveal the upgrade site with an updated SharePoint 2013 interface like shown above.

If you do need to revisit the upgrade log you can do so.

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Select cog in the top right hand corner and from the menu that appears select Site Settings.

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In the bottom right of the Site Settings screen under the Site Collection features select Site Collection Upgrade.

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Now select the Preview Site Collection Upgrade Status link in the middle of the page.

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You’ll again see the link to the upgrade log file.

Now what happens if you do nothing and don’t upgrade your site collections to the 2013 interface? It is my understanding (and I am not 100% sure about this) that come April 2014 Microsoft will automatically upgrade any old Wave 14 site collections to Wave 15, but as I said I haven’t found anything definitive on whether this will be case and how it will be conducted. Best advice? Upgrade as soon as you can so you have the control.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Social Media for IT Providers eBook

Social-Media-Cover

I have just made available the eBook I recently wrote on Social Media for IT providers. This book is free to Cloud Business Blueprint members but I’ve made it available as a separate purchase now as well.

The description of the book is:

If you are a small business and especially if you are a technology provider you should be using Social Media extensively in your business to promote yourself. Any business that isn't embracing and being successful using Social Media runs the very high risk of being seen as inferior to those competitors who are. When clients need help with their Social Media strategy they are going to turn to their IT provider who, if unable to demonstrate knowledge, run the risk of allowing a competitor gaining access to their clients.

This book will explain to you’re the major platforms and how they can be integrated into a business. It will also provide seven strategies that you can implement to ensure your Social Media implementation is successful.

You can purchase it now from my publications page at:

www.ciaops.com/publications

Watch out for more titles soon.

Better utilization


Although I am not one for New Year’s resolutions I am certainly one for settings goals. One of the ideas I have been mulling over of late is the ineffectiveness with which I have been approaching the resources I have access to.
If I stop and look at all the tools I have access it would be rare that I use even 20% of their full features. Many things, I suggest I would use even less. It is so easy to get distracted and lose focus with so many different options today but I started wondering how much more use I could make of what I already have if I simply spent some extra time learning what features are available and try and move the utilization of that tool closer to 80%.
One the other side of the coin, there are plenty of things that I have signed up for or access occasionally that I really don’t make good use of. If I don’t and I can find such features elsewhere I really should stop using that tool and simplify things.
So with those ideals in mind I am going to try and dedicate myself to looking more closely at the resources I already have and whether I can use them better or whether in fact I shouldn’t be using them at all. Basically optimization if you will.
My approach is going to be to focus more on something when I do use it the next time and try and learn a little bit more about it rather than just using the defaults as I always do. Hopefully, this will move me more towards my goal of 80% utilization along with reduction in the number of things that I do in fact use. I have already found it somewhat frustrating to spend that extra time dedicated to learning about something in depth rather than just moving on to the next item, however in the long run I believe it will pay dividends.
So the my question for you is, how much of the stuff you are doing now could be done better if you just looked a bit deeper into the tools that you use? Even a few percentage points more utilization I believe can yield significant returns.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

First Sydney Meetup next week

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The Cloud Business Blueprint is all about building a community of like minded and progressive cloud professionals. Although we share plenty of information in our private members area, this blog, our podcasts the most effective way to build a community is via face to face business networking.

As such, we have therefore arranged our first Sydney meet up to be held:

Date: Monday 20th January

Time: from 6.30pm

Location: The Oaks Hotel, Military Road, Neutral Bay in the “Bar & Grill” area

Map: https://goo.gl/maps/Flaaz

This is a completely informal get together with the goal of allowing attendees to network with each other and share interests, contacts, strategies and general information.

We are also happy to welcome anyone along who thinks they get value from attending even if they are not currently a member of the Cloud Business Blueprint yet. Feel free to come along and join in the conversation, no obligation.

If you planning on attending we would ask that you let us know via an email to info@cloudbusinessblueprint.com so we can ensure we have enough seats reserved for you at the table.

Our plan going forward is hold these casual meet ups regularly once a month with the plan to expand into other major locations such as Melbourne and Brisbane for starters.

Remember, it is totally informal some along and enjoy a good feed and great conversation with a fantastic bunch of people all looking to better their business through the cloud.

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Retro Internet Guide

I remember when the Internet was but a twinkle in Vince Cerf’s eye but looking at this retro videos of the Kids Guide to the Internet boy do I feel old.

If you remember dial up modems and Netscape then I’d advise you even to take a look at the first few minutes and reminisce about those dial up days and how far we have come (and how old we have gotten).

If you don’t remember all that stuff watch anyway as I’m sure you’ll find it highly amusing at what technology was like back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Monday, January 13, 2014

74-325 Exam Cram notes now available

If you are looking for resources to help you pass the Microsoft Certification exam 74-325 Administering Office 365 for SMB then look no further because I now have a OneNote notebook for sale on my publications page:

http://www.ciaops.com/publications

This notebook contains comprehensive notes and links to all the relevant material covered by the exam as well as a number of helpful resources all designed to help you pass the 74-325 exam. Inside the notebook you’ll also find an extensive array of ‘exam-style’ questions to give your practical experience in taking the exam.

All this information is bundles into a single Microsoft OneNote 2010 file to make it easy to study and add your own notes if desired.

All this for only AU$50.

Cloud Business Podcast–Episode 7

The Cloud Business Podcast - Opportunity in the Cloud is only a Click Away with Robert Crane and Nigel Moore

In this episode we follow up from the last episode but look specifically at face to face or business networking. We cover why it is so important and some tips and tricks you can use to ensure that you receive full value for any event that you attend.

You can listen to the full episode at:

http://www.cloudbusinessblueprint.com/podcast/episode-007-business-networking/

or listen to it on iTunes at:

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/cloud-business-podcast-opportunity/id742109989

along with all the other episodes.

Remember we’d really love to hear your feedback on this episode and would really appreciate a rating on iTunes to boost our exposure.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Difference between SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro

Always a confusing subject for people so here’s a nice video that explains things quite well.

The video is perhaps a tad too long but still makes it easy to understand all through pictures. Well done.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

How are you making a difference?

One of the things that I constantly experience is simply how ‘busy’ people claim to be. I’ve covered what I believe the reasons for this are in other blog posts so what I wanted to focus on here is what are you doing to make a difference?

Back in 2008 I wrote a blog post about how inspiring I thought micro-financing was and why more people should become involved. Since then I have been proud to be a regular contributor to Kiva.

You can view my loan portfolio at:

http://www.kiva.org/lender/robert5824

I continue to support the work of Kiva as an effective way of helping others by supporting their business and not simply providing charity. That, to me, makes a huge difference.

I therefore commend you to watch the two videos in this post on Kiva and ask yourself – am I doing anything to make a difference or am I always to ‘busy’ and self-absorbed?

It is a big world out there and plenty of people could do with a helping hand, no matter how small. Stop being ‘busy’ and make a difference.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Updated Office 365 plan choice flow chart

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A while ago I developed a free Office 365 plan choice flow chart that helped people make the selection of their Office 365 plan based on the functionality included within each plan. My aim was to make this process less confusing for people.

I have recently updated this flow chart to version 3.1 and included:

- Selection for individual desktop software such as Visio and Project through Office 365

- Whether there is already and existing Office 365 plan in place and whether you wish to upgrade this.

- a few other cosmetic and minor changes.

Of course this flow chart isn’t perfect so have a look and let me know if I have made a mistake or an omission and I’ll fix it and update.

You can download it directly from:

http://www.ciaops.com/storage/o365-plan-choice.pdf

or from my free downloads page at:

http://www.ciaops.com/downloads/

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Need to Know Podcast–Episode 56



The Need to Know podcast is back for 2014 with a new episode featuring MSP mentor Richard Tubb.
In this episode Richard and I discuss a whole range of our favourite books (business, fiction, etc). You’ll find the episode at:
http://ciaops.podbean.com/2014/01/07/episode-56-richard-tubb/
and the list of items discussed:
Amazon Kindle
I, Robot
Daemon
Freedom(TM)
Kill Decision
Goodreads
Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
21 ways to manage the stuff that sucks up your time
Don't Worry Make Money
Don't sweat the small stuff
The E-Myth
The Go-Giver
The Art of War
Winning with out Losing
The Power of Full Engagement
The Complete Sherlock Holmes
What would Churchill do?
Hitler's Options
Marvel Unlimited
The Richest Man in Babylon
Get Big Fast and Do More Good
Vagabonding
Mistakes MSPs Make - The Five Most Important Mistakes IT Managed Service Providers Make Which Cost Them Time and Money
Seth Godin and Tom Peters on Blogging [VIDEO]
On Writing
You Only Better
Nicholas Bate Blog


You can also subscribe to episodes via RSS and iTunes. You will find all previous episodes at:
http://ciaops.podbean.com/
Remember, I’m always looking out for guests to share their experience and knowledge with listeners so if you would like to be on the show or know someone who would make a great guest please do not hesitate to contact me via director@ciaops.com.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cloud Business Podcast–Episode 6

The Cloud Business Podcast - Opportunity in the Cloud is only a Click Away with Robert Crane and Nigel Moore

This episode covers social media and how to use it effectively in your business. I am big fan of many social media services and provides some tips and tricks on what I believe works effectively for business. Unfortunately, many smaller businesses and IT providers merely write it off but it can really be the corner stone of continually effectively marketing your business

The podcast also looks at the issue of why people seem to be so busy yet failing to achieve much and we answer a listeners question about how to better filter out clients who waste your time.

You can listen to the full episode at:

http://www.cloudbusinessblueprint.com/podcast/episode-006-social-media-providers/

or listen to it on iTunes at:

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/cloud-business-podcast-opportunity/id742109989

along with all the other episodes.

Remember we’d really love to hear your feedback on this episode and would really appreciate a rating on iTunes to boost our exposure.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Free superseded CIAOPS eBooks


Now that the world has upgraded Office 365 from Wave 14 to Wave 15 a number of my publications have been superseded. As such I have made these ones available for free download:
Getting Started with SharePoint Online for Small Business (Wave 14) – PDF
Getting Started with SharePoint Online for Small Business (Wave 14) – ePub
Getting Started with SharePoint Online for Small Business (Wave 14) - Mobi
Getting Started with SharePoint Online for Enterprises (Wave 14) – PDF
Getting Started with SharePoint Online for Enterprises (Wave 14) – ePub
Getting Started with SharePoint Online for Enterprises (Wave 14) – Mobi
Although the screen shots are from SharePoint 2010 a lot of the information remains the relevant either to SharePoint Online and SharePoint on premise.
You can find all my current publications at:
http://www.ciaops.com/publications
and all my free downloads at:
http://www.ciaops.com/downloads

MVP for 2014

I am happy to announce that Microsoft has again recognized me as a Most Valued Professional (MVP) for 2014. This now makes my third award in a row.

I thank Microsoft for the recognition as well as the support they have provided over the last 12 months. I also thank all those people out there who continue to support and recommend what I do, and especially those that read this blog. Without you I wouldn’t be recognized with this award.

I look forward to a bigger and better 2014.