Thursday, January 29, 2015

OneDrive for Business now available for MAC

Yes all you Office 365 and Mac fan boys and girls, Microsoft has just announced that SkyDrive for Business sync client for MAC is available on iOS! You can read all the good news here and how you can procure it:

http://blogs.office.com/2015/01/28/onedrive-business-comes-mac-ios-devices/

There is also an Office Mechanics video that shows you all the features.

Demonstrates how OneDrive for Business is really a great cross platform tool for sharing and syncing files.

Connect SharePoint to MS Access

You can consider SharePoint as an extension of the Office applications you have on your desktop. One of these that provides a huge amount of power but gets used infrequently is Microsoft Access.

Many don’t appreciate that you can easily connect a SharePoint list to Microsoft Access on the desktop. Doing so allows you to use SharePoint as the data repository and Access as the analytical front end, allowing to create complex structures and queries as well as producing mind blowing reports and data analysis quickly and easily.

This tutorial will show you the basic steps of connecting SharePoint to your desktop version of Access. You see how that when you do it establishes an bi-directional link that means data is updated no matter where it is changed.

This is only the beginning of what is possible when you combine Access and SharePoint, however it is a very good place to start. Watch out for more content on this topic very soon.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Globalization of SMB–Webinar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got up very, very early this morning my time to be the guest on Karl Palachuk’s Webinar series – The Globalization of SMB – a Webinar Series.

The session was recorded and you can watch in on YouTube:

or listen to the MP3.

Here are list of books I recommend as good reads to help with a transition to global focus:

The World is Flat – Thomas Friedman

The Four Hour Work Week – Tim Ferriss

The Millionaire Fastlane MJ DeMarco

The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell

I also encourage people to look at support international organisations like Kiva that provides micro-financing all around the world. You can view my Kiva portfolio of loans here:

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

I do read a lot of material and recommend you follow me on Goodreads here:

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/708903-robert

To keep up with the changing world of business and technology I strongly recommend:

Fortune Magazine

of which I have been an avid reader for over 25 years.

If I had to pick a favourite place in the world I have been to it would be:

Ryoanji Temple – Kyoto

and a close second would be Berlin:

Berlin – my travel log

For Australian’s travelling to Europe I would strongly recommend the Australian Battlefields of World War One. I have been twice and created a whole web site about the Australian involvement there:

Australian Battlefields of World War 1 – France

The one thing I’d recommend you pack when you travel is:

Skins

and the one travel tip I have is that no matter how tired you are when you arrive at your destination, only sleep when it is dark. It is painful the first day but gets you in sync much faster.

I thank Karl Palachuk for the opportunity to be a guest and hope that everyone got value from my experiences and opinions. Of course if you have any feedback or question please feel free to contact me directly (director@ciaops.com).

Monday, January 26, 2015

Need to Know podcast–Episode 72

James Eling returns to discuss the importance of building a strong business culture. James shares his experiences, wins and losses, in achieving this within his own business.

In this episode you’ll get some really great insights and information that you can implement inside any business immediately. Most importantly, you’ll understand what does and doesn’t work when it comes to building a viable and successful culture within a business from someone who has already done that. Plenty of learnings from an experienced operator here.

You can listen to the episode at:

http://ciaops.podbean.com/e/episode-72-james-eling/

or subscribe to this and all episodes in iTunes at:

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/ciaops-need-to-know-podcasts/id406891445?mt=2

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.

Episode resources

James Eling

www.extremenetworks.com.au

jeling@extremenetworks.com.au

Friday, January 23, 2015

Australian Office 365 tenant relocation information

As you hopefully already know, Microsoft has announced a raft of new datacenters for Office 365. One of the most exciting for users down under is the opening of Office 365 datacenters in Australia and the relocation of Australian Office 365 tenants from their current location in Singapore to Australia starting at the end of March 2015.

If you want all the latest information about this visit:

New datacenter regions for Office 365

Where you’ll find information about how the move will take place, what impact there will be, what you have to do (if anything) and the expected communications that will come from Microsoft. There is also a specific Australian FAQ that locals should look at.

If you are interesting in having your Office 365 tenant moved early as part of a beta test that will allow Microsoft to test the process you can register your interest here:

Registration for Office 365 Customer Data Move Beta program for Office 365 customers

Microsoft will select tenants to relocate depending on certain factors that will allow them to test their processes, so you may not get selected and it is not on a first come first basis. I have applied, so fingers crossed that I’ll be one of the first to experience the differences and can report back here.

So check out the information Microsoft has provided and check back regularly as it is being updated daily. If you have any questions about the upcoming migration to Australian data centers, start there.

Azure Site Recovery no longer requires System Center

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if you are running Hyper V on premise you could use Azure to host the replicas. Previously, you needed System Center Virtual Machine Manager to configure this but now no more.

As you can see from the above screen shot once you have created your Azure Site Recovery vault you can select to setup recovery Between an on-premise Hyper-V site and Azure.

Can’t say that I have done this or really intend to but the documentation to achieve this is all here:

Getting Started with Azure Site Recovery: On-Premises to Azure Hyper-V Site Protection

Give it a go and tell me what you think!

Enabling your Office 365 Azure AD

Many don’t realise that Office 365 identity is built on top of Azure Active Directory. This means that every Office 365 tenant is using Azure Active Directory. What many also don’t realise is that you can easily access the Azure Active Directory by simply enabling it from your Office 365 Admin console. Here’s how you do this.

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Login to Office 365 as a global administrator. Navigate to the Office 365 Admin, in my case by selecting the Admin icon from the app launcher.

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In the lower left of this window, under the Admin section, you should find the Azure AD link as shown above. Select this.

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You’ll now be taken to a screen like that shown above where you sign up to Azure.

You’ll need to enter your details (email, phone, etc). You’ll also need to specific a mobile phone which a verification code can be sent to.

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Once all the details are entered and you have complete the verification via mobile phone select the Sign up button.

You’ll notice here that you don’t need to put in any credit card details like you do when you sign up for a free trial. This is because you are getting the free Azure Active Directory Edition only.

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You see your request begin to process.

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After a short while you should see a screen like that shown above. You can see that what you have signed up for is Access to Azure Active Directory.

It will take a few minutes to complete the provisioning and you can press the Refresh link to get an update on the status.

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When processing is complete you’ll see the above screen. Select the Portal link in the top right of the window to proceed.

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You’ll most likely be prompted to work your way through an introductory tutorial.

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You should then see the Azure management portal as shown above.

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You won’t however see all the standard Azure options on left, you’ll only see what is shown above. The main one of interest is Active Directory so select that.

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You should now see your Active Directory listed. There should only be one, so select the name to drill into its properties.

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You’ll be taken to the Dashboard. However, here select Users from across the top.

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You should now see a list of your Office 365 users.

Now you can administer and work with tenant users from Azure or Office 365 (as well as PowerShell in both environments). There is also a whole more configuring that is available for your users from this Azure portal but I’ll cover that in upcoming posts.

So you have now enabled the Free Azure Active Directory Edition that comes as part of every Office 365 subscription. To read more about the different Azure Active Directory Editions see:

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/azure/dn532272.aspx

but I can tell you, there is still lots that can be done for free and I’ll cover that in upcoming posts.

New Azure training product coming

I have been working hard on developing an introductory Azure training course that people can download and view in their own time. The tentative course outline is:

1. Introduction to Azure
2. Creating a Virtual machine
3. Creating an Azure availability set
4. Creating an Azure Load Balanced Server set
5. Attaching a disk to an Azure Virtual Machine
6. Creating a custom VM image in Azure
7. Connecting to Azure using PowerShell
8. Creating an Azure Point to Site VPN
9. Azure backups
10. Introduction to Azure SQL
11. Introduction to Azure Web Sites

and more.

The course is aimed at those who have little or no knowledge of Azure and want to get up to speed quickly. It will include a single download package that includes videos, course notes, references and more.

Now, to give me a kick in the pants to get the course out the door as soon as possible I am offering a pre-order special of AU$59 from today until the course is launched. At that point I will be raising the price to at least AU$99.

You can pre-order for the once off price of AU$59 here:

http://www.e-junkie.com/ciaops/product/503070.php

If you have any suggestions for what topics you’d like to see covered please let me know (director@ciaops.com) so I can incorporate it.

So, if you are at all interested in getting up to speed on Azure I urge you to subscribe and give me a hurry up to get the material out!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Advanced List editing in SharePoint Online

Getting large amounts of data quickly into SharePoint lists can be cumbersome unless you use the Quick Edit mode of SharePoint. This tutorial will show you how to place a list into Quick Edit mode and then make changes just like you do using a spreadsheet by navigating the cells.

The tutorial will also show you how to copy and paste from an appropriately formatted spreadsheet in Excel on your desktop directly into a SharePoint list.

Using Quick Edit mode is the best way to work quickly with SharePoint lists and this tutorial will get you started.

Simple controls in SharePoint Online missing

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Out of the box a SharePoint Online Document Library displays what is known as simple controls just below the Document Library name as highlighted above. These button are typically new, upload, sync, edit, manage and share.

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However, you may see a situation where they are no longer displayed as shown above.

If you want them back, here’s what you need to do.

The reason they are no displaying is because the current view of the document library is not based on the default view style.

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You’ll need the rights to change the Document Library, but if you can select the Library tab at the top of the page to reveal the Ribbon Menu.

On the Ribbon Menu locate the Manage Views section, on the left hand side. Then select Modify View as shown above.

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Scroll down to the bottom of the page that is displayed and open the Style option.

As you can see above, the current style is set to Shaded.

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Change this to Default and Save the changes.

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You should once again see the simple controls as shown above. Unfortunately, you may also lose some of the functionality that you desired with the previous style. At this point in time you can have one or the other option but not both.

Sign up for Sydney Comcamp

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I’m on Karl P’s podcast

Odd Tuesdays

I have been lucky enough to be a guest on Karl Palachuk’s latest Odd Tuesdays podcast. You can find it here:

http://www.oddtuesdays.com/2015/01/still-odd/

where I talk about the opportunities that SharePoint provides resellers and should look at specialising more in today’s landscape.

Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Introduction to Views in SharePoint Online

Views are a way in SharePoint that you can display information in a different layout. You can have as many views as you want for most items in SharePoint, making it a very flexible way to focus on what is important and avoid distraction.

This tutorial video will show you how to create new views as well as make them the default. You’ll see how to configure views to display different fields and automatically sort, filter and group information.

Views are available in most elements in SharePoint, from Document Libraries to Lists to Calendars and more. They are a key way to ensure that people focus on the right information.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Introduction to Email Alerts in SharePoint

Setting email alerts in SharePoint is a great way to receive notification when something changes. This video will show you how to configure and use such alerts for a Document Library on both the complete Library as well as an individual item.

Email notifications need to used in moderation as it is very easy to become quickly swamped but the frequency of alerts SharePoint send by default. This video will also show you how to customise this frequency to ensure you only get the information you need, when you need it.

Although the video only show the alert configuration process on a Document Library it is possible to configure most elements in SharePoint for email alerts in the same manner.

Used appropriately, email alerts in SharePoint provide an important way to be kept up to date about information you are collaborating on within a team.

Ask us Webinar’

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If you want to know more about things like Office 365 and actually see them in use then make sure you register for our upcoming Ask Us Webinar at:

http://www.cloudbusinessblueprint.com/ask-weekly-webinar

After some news and updates we’ll throw the floor open to anyone who wants to ask a question. We’ll then do are best to answer and if possible we’ll show you on screen.

The webinar will be recorded and made available to the Cloud Business Community on demand at the completion.

I’d love you to attend and give us you questions so that everyone on the call can learn.

I hope to see you at the event.

Need to Know podcast–Episode 71

An interesting episode with Ben Dampney from DigitIT as we discuss the challenges with recruiting and retaining good quality staff.

Ben has been gracious enough to share with us his recent experiences with locating his first employee. He takes us through the whole process and provides a lot of practical advice on how to get the best results. There is plenty of practical advice in this episode when it comes to recruitment that would benefit most businesses. I thank Ben for his willingness to share with us in this episode.

You can listen to the episode at:

http://ciaops.podbean.com/e/episode-71-ben-dampney/

or subscribe to this and all episodes in iTunes at:

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/ciaops-need-to-know-podcasts/id406891445?mt=2

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.

Episode resources

DigitIT

The Small Business technology podcast

 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Office 365 video embedding

Hopefully you know that I have a a number of SharePoint Template products. Many of these utilise embedded video. In most cases, this embedding has been accomplished with third party streaming services like YouTube.

Microsoft recently added the Video service to Office 365. I therefore makes sense to have my template videos hosted on Office 365 Video rather than a third party streaming services, at least for some versions.

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The first step in the process of embedding a video from Office 365 Video into a SharePoint Online site is to upload the video. To do this login to your Office 365 portal.

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You should then see the video tile as shown above or use the app launcher in the top left of the window to navigate there.

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In my case, when I navigate to the Office 365 Videos I already see videos I have uploaded previously. Here I select Channels from the menu across the top.

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Again, you can see that I already have some channels created. It is a good idea to use channels to categorise your videos. Think of it like standard SharePoint metadata.

To create a new channel select the + New Channel in top right of the window.

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You’ll now be asked to enter a channel (keep it short as long names don’t display well) and a channel colour.

When complete press Create.

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You receive a message that the channel is being created. This will take a few minutes to complete.

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When it is complete you will see the following tiles.

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If you select the Manage Settings tile in the middle you’ll be taken to the above screen where you can edit the channel name, colour and delete the channel if desired.

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If you select the Permissions option from the left you’ll be able to set who can edit and view the channel. So, you can also think of an Office 365 Videos channel a bit like a SharePoint subsite in that you can determine who has permissions to it.

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Selecting the Spotlight option on the left allows you to highlight a video in the channel, once you have uploaded some videos of course!

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If you return to the previous screen and select the Upload Videos option you’ll see the screen above. You can either drag a video into the upload box or select the box and navigate to the desired location to upload from on your local computer.

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The video will then commence upload. You can upload multiple files as well using either interface, however, there is not a lot of information here about the upload progress. It would be nice if there way maybe a percentage value or a progress bar.

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Once the video has uploaded you’ll be taken to a screen that will show you that the video is processing and you can refresh the page to get an update on the status. The amount of processing time is dependent on the video size and length.

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Underneath the video you will see some areas where you can update the information. You’ll need to so this and select the Save icon when complete.

Now here’s a tip. Keep the initial video file name as short as possible when it is uploaded because that initial name is used as part of the URL for the video. Once the video is uploaded, rename it to whatever you like.

Another tip with the initial file name prior to upload, apart from keeping it short, don’t use spaces or special characters!

Unfortunately, the only way to easy embed this video into SharePoint page is via its URL. The URL will be in the format:

https://<tenant-name>.sharepoint.com/portals/<channel name>/pVid/<file upload name>.mp4

You can also unfortunately not simply copy the URL that occurs at the top of the current page as it contains the video player URL in there also.

So you can either construct the videos URL from the above or work it out from the current page URL.

It would be so much nicer if Office 365 videos included an embed link! Hopefully, this feature is coming soon!

Once you have the URL for the video, navigate to the SharePoint site where you wish to embed it.

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Edit the page by selecting the Edit icon in the top right of the page.

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You can also edit the page by select the Page tab at the top and then the Edit icon on the left of the Ribbon menu that appears.

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Place the cursor where you wish the video to appear on the page. Then select the Insert tab at the top of the page.

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On the Ribbon menu should be the Video and Audio button. Select this.

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From the menu that appears, select From Address.

I theory the From SharePoint button makes the most sense BUT the Office 365 Videos portal is in a different Site Collection basically, so it can’t be directly navigated to. Again, a handy add for the next version would be great Microsoft if you are listening.

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Paste the video URL link you constructed earlier. It is always a good idea at this point to use the Try link to see whether you have the correct URL.

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If everything is correct, press the OK button and you should see a media player web part appear as shown above. Again, an embed option would have been much nicer but an coming update I’m sure.

Save the page to update the changes after making any adjustments to the web part as necessary.

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Now you should see the player embedded on your page and if you press play it should now stream.

I love the new Office 365 Videos feature and think it is a big differentiator to other services. It is a fantastic way to create a corporate video portal for training, on-boarding or whatever. I would like however to see more features and configuration options built into the product, but the main thing I would like to see is the ability to generate embed codes to make it easier that I have just run through, especially for end users. However, I’m sure those features and more will come very soon.

Office 365 Videos, use it, love it and look out for further updates now that you know how to get started.