Thursday, July 28, 2016

Uploading documents to SharePoint Online

Here’s another updated video using the new ‘modern’ SharePoint Online interface to show you all the basic ways to get documents into SharePoint Online Document Libraries.

You’ll see how to create new documents on the fly, upload single files as well as whole folders. You’ll also see how to drag and drop directly onto the browser and copy using the desktop sync software. This video is aimed at people new to using SharePoint Online to help them get their ‘stuff’ up into Document Libraries.

Watch out for more updated videos coming real soon!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The extinction of the drive letter

Pretty much my whole working career with PC’s there have been drive letters. I think the good ole local C: Drive will be around for a while longer but, it’s my opinion that the days of the network drive letter (e.g. S:, M:, F:, etc) are fast coming to an end. That has major ramifications for the way many work with technology, especially in this new cloud world. I’m not saying that you’ll wake up tomorrow and network drive letters won’t be with us. What I’m however saying is that now is the time to start preparing for the day when they are no longer with us.

One of the greatest inhibitions many people (and IT resellers) have around SharePoint is they can’t simply map a persistent network drive letter to it and have it operate the ‘way it has always worked’ like a network share. The reality is, firstly you can still map a drive letter to both OneDrive and a Team Site Document Library as I have detailed previously if you really want:

Mapping a drive to OneDrive for Business

But secondly, the trend with SharePoint Online is away from providing the ability to map drive letters. That should signal it is time to adapt, not throw yourself on the floor and have a tantrum that things are different.

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If we go into the ‘classic’ SharePoint interface with Internet Explorer and select the Library tab we can find the Open with Explorer option.

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But if we repeat that on another browser like Microsoft Edge (or Chrome or Firefox) we see:

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It isn’t supported. Remember, that Microsoft Edge is the ‘default’ browser for people using the latest version of Windows. Thus, it seems unlikely that you’ll be able to map a drive using the latest Microsoft browser going forward. 

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If we now look at the ‘updated’ SharePoint Document Library experience, there basically isn’t a way to open in Windows Explorer directly from the Document Library that I can find as there was in the ‘classic’ environment. No matter what browser you use.

Both of these factors should provide very strong evidence that the trend is away from mapped networked drives. Sure, I hear you that accessing a file from a M: drive was something you were comfortable with, but you know what? Doing so means you sacrifice a huge amount of functionality that is built into SharePoint. You can’t access any metadata associated with files using Windows Explorer. You can’t also filter and sort as you can in the browser. You don’t get the same search abilities and so on and so on. It’s like driving a Lamborghini in first gear! And who wants that??

As I said initially, you can still map a network drive letter to SharePoint Online if you really want to and are prepared to jump through some technical hoops. But you know what? The writing is on the wall that it is now time to shift your thinking to working in new way. To working in a world that doesn’t constrain you to a letter of alphabet. To a world of more functionality than you can imagine with your files. All that you need to do is let go of your dependency on the ways things ‘used to be’ and open your mind to the possibilities the new way offers. In my experience, those that embrace the new ways soon appreciate how limiting their concept of working with files used to be.

The major shift people traditionally tied to network driver letters have to make is from a world of file storage to collaboration as I have detailed previously:

The classic SharePoint Online migration mistake

I’ve also talked about how to get the most out of these new tools, like SharePoint Online, you need to invest time learning how to make the most of their features provided:

Getting more from office 365 means understanding SharePoint

I would also point out that Office 365 is far more than just somewhere to store emails and files, it is a complete platform that includes some fabulous tools like Delve and Yammer to name but two, that can transform any business. However, it will never do this until the ‘old world’ mentality of wanting to remain with network drive letters is banished.

Now is the time to commence this transition. Learn how collaboration trumps storage every time and how it can make any business more effective. Graduate your technology from the S: drive to a world of co-authoring, Delve, Yammer, Planner and more. Expand your mind and your business to the possibilities rather than relegating it to a technology designed for bygone era.

The extinction of the drive letter is near. Those who don’t want to upgrade from it are also destined to go the same way. Technology changes, and to get the most from it, so should you. The earlier you do, the easier it is and the tea leaves should be telling you that it is now time to start that change.

If you really don’t want to change from using network drive letters then I’d be suggesting to you that Team Sites and OneDrive for Business are probably not the best place for your files to reside. A better place may be Azure SMB file shares:

Creating an Azure SMB file share

but that too has it’s limitations and is a poor second to what SharePoint can offer.

A world without network drive letters is a big change for many, but you know what? If you show these people the benefits of the new collaboration platform SharePoint Online provides you’ll be surprised at how readily they’ll adopt it. The secret to adoption is showing them how to get started. All they need is a little help to conquer that first hill, some training wheels to ease into it. After that all you need to do is stand back and be amazed at how people use the functionality that is now available to them. Here are further thoughts from me on how critical initial adoption is:

Start up is key

So, start freeing your business and users from the constraints of network drive letters today because I’m pretty sure the old F: drive won’t be around for much longer.

Upgrading to PowerShell 5

A while back I wrote an article about how:

Life is far easier with PowerShell 5

where I details the step involved in upgrading a machine to run PowerShell 5. I’ve now also completed a video on that very same process to show you exactly how easy it is to.

You should now how no reason not to be using PowerShell. Go forth and script!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Basics of working with Document Libraries

Now that SharePoint Online is updating it’s interface, it’s time to start updating my general SharePoint Online ‘how-to’ videos to make it easier for people to follow along. Much of the underlying features and functions are the same but for rapid adoption there needs to be training around how to access, enable and use these options.

So here’s the first update out of the box for you that focuses on the basics of using SharePoint Online Document Libraries.

Stay tuned, more to follow soon.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Join the CIAOPS Webinar Yammer network

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On the back of my new monthly webinar, I’ve now also created a public Yammer network called CIAOPS Webinars which is open for anyone to join. Simply click here or search for the network within Yammer or let me (director@ciaops.com) know your Yammer identity (typically your email address) and I’ll add you.

The idea for the group is to share information about webinar topics and content in between when the webinars are actually held. It allows people to share information quickly and easily as well let me know any feedback or questions you have.

I look forwarded to seeing you inside the network.

CIAOPS Need to Know webinar–August 2016

With the first webinar now successfully under my belt, I’ve now scheduled the second one which will be held Wednesday the 17th of August at 11am Sydney, Australia time. You can register for the event here:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5541257505109190401

This month I’ll provide insight into the most powerful feature of Office 365 that most people never use. You'll discover what this feature is and how to make the most of it to massively improve your productivity and reduce daily frustrations. Attendees will see a hands on demonstration of Office 365 as well as be able to ask any question during the open Q and A session. You'll also get updates from Office 365 to help you understand what new with the product and how you can take advantage of it. Join me for this revealing webinar and I promise, you'll learn something you didn’t know about Office 365 that will save you time and money.

The CIAOPS Need to Know Webinars are free to attend but if you want to receive the recording of the session you need to sign up as a CIAOPS patron (for only USD$10 per month) which you can do here:

https://www.patreon.com/ciaops

Also feel free at any stage to email me directly at director@ciaops.com with your webinar topic suggestions.

I’d also appreciate you sharing information about this webinar with anyone you feel may benefit from the session.

I look forward to seeing everyone on the webinar in August.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

July Webinar resources

Completed the inaugural CIAOPS Webinar early today. Thanks to all who registered and especially those that also attended the event.

As you can see above I have published the slides at my docs.com site and you download them directly here:

https://doc.co/azyKc9/qcihGm

If you are not a CIAOPS patron or a member of Cloud Business Blueprint and you want to view or download a full copy of the video from the session you can do so here:

http://ciaops-academy.teachable.com/courses/july-2016-need-to-know-webinar

for a nominal fee.

Stay tuned for an announcement about the August webinar real soon!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Migrations to SharePoint Online presentation

Here’s the slides from my presentation at the July meeting of the Sydney SharePoint Users group. You can also download the file here:

https://doc.co/iGySJY/qcihGm

The presentation covered off the recommendations, best practices and tools to use when it comes to migrating data to SharePoint Online. There is not a single solution that is best for every situation, however there are certainly enough tools and methods of easily migrating to SharePoint Online. However as an overall guide here are my recommendations:

- Use an all encompassing tool like Sharegate if you have the means.

- Bandwidth is going to most important factor when it comes to migrations. Understand the impacts it will have on the migration process.

- Things will not be identical post-migration. It’s a different environment, different way of accessing files, etc. Different doesn’t mean bad, it simply means you need to invest inmore than just moving data to get a return.

A handy SharePoint migration tool

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One of the most common things that needs to be done when moving to Office 365 is migration of files and folders from on premises locations to SharePoint Online Team Sites or OneDrive for Business. The native tools such as the browser and Windows Explorer work fine up to a point, but if you need to do bulk uploading of large subsets of files then a third party tools is generally in order.

If you are looking for an overview of the options that are available to you when it comes to migrating to SharePoint Online then have a look at my previous article here:

Migrating On Premises SharePoint to Office 365

where I outline that my recommended tool is Sharegate.

Sharegate is a commercial product that can be a bit cost prohibitive if you only need to do a migration once, especially if you are only looking to copy files. If all you want to do is move files to SharePoint Online the you may want to consider the free SPfilezilla tool.

Basically, Spfilezilla work a lot like a traditional FTP utility in that you connect to your destination (in this case a SharePoint Online site) and you are then able to copy local files and folders to SharePoint Online as shown above.

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You simply select the local files on the left you want to copy to the destination and press the transfer button in the middle of the page. You will also notice that you can copy from the online location back locally as well if you want.

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The files will transfer and you’ll see a record of the whole process in the lower pane.

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Now when you look at SharePoint Online you’ll see the files as shown above. An interesting point to note with SPfilezilla is that it keeps the original time and data stamp from the source location when it copies the files to SharePoint Online, as you can see above.

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If you repeat the copy process, but this time simply drag and drop onto the browser page, you’ll see that the timestamp for all the files is automatically set to the current time (i.e. when they were copied).

So SPfilezilla is a great tool if you simply want to copy files from local folders to SharePoint Online (or back). It also has the handy ability of keeping the source modified by date consistent, which some business use as a method of filing (that, I don’t understand at all). However, SPfilezilla can only migrate from local file systems. You can’t migrate from say another SharePoint site.

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As you see from the above screen shot, it will also allow you to transfer from network locations (using a UNC path) as well as too OneDrive for Business destinations.

Although SPfilezilla is a basic migration program it is a very handy tool because it does its limited subset of tasks very well (i.e. file transfers). This therefore makes it an excellent choice for people who are just getting started with SharePoint Online and simply want to move their data files to Office 365.

Best of all SPfilezilla is free so I suggest you go and take a look because it will certainly make your basic file migrations to office 365 much easier.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Pinning in Document Libraries

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One of the new features of the updated Document Libraries in SharePoint Online is the ability to ‘pin’ a document to the top of a library page. This allows you to highlight a specific set of documents for users to see when they first enter the library.

The way you do this is to firstly navigate to the desired Document Library in your Team Site.

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You then select the file you wish to pin to the top of the Document Library. Then you select the ellipse (i.e. the three dots) from the right hand side of the menu at the top of the page. From the menu that now appears, select Pin to top.

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The file should now be displayed at the top of the library page, in preview if possible, as shown above. You can typically pin up to three files at the top of a Document Library.

The file will still appear in the normal Document Library list below. You can select the file in either location now to open or manipulate. The ‘pinned’ copy is simply a link to the original rather than a duplicate.

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To ‘unpin’ a previously pinned document simply select the ‘pinned’ document at the top of the Document Library (by selecting the check mark in the top right corner of the document) and then from the menu that appears across the top of the library, select Unpin as shown above.

‘Pinning’ documents to the top of a library is great way to give those document focus when users navigate to that Document Library in a Team Site. It is easy to ‘pin’ and ‘unpin’ documents to the top of any library using the new SharePoint Online interface, so give it a go and see whether it works for you.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Boosting your business revenue is easy

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It’s a competitive market out there and many people are turning to some form of paid marketing as a solution to their revenue woes.

I think there are smarter and cheaper ways of becoming more competitive and generating revenue than wasting money on Google or Facebook advertising. In fact I’d suggest that the best way to improve your opportunities is in fact free, and that way is to level up your customer service.

After some recent travelling I had the good fortune to experience many instances of both good and bad service from which I’ve now taken many lessons.

Let’s start with a bad experience. This involved an airport transfer to a hotel upon arrival. In the arrivals hall I couldn’t find the driver with my name so I had to call the company that had arranged the transfer. I was eventually directed to a local contact who placed a call to the missing driver. While waiting for my driver to appear I reflected on how distainfully I had just been treated.

After my allocated driver appeared, we walked to his car and I began the journey to my hotel. During this there was no attempt at conversation, no small talk or welcome, just stoney silence. Every corner we arrived at we seemed to only just avoid an accident and at every opportunity I seemed to have been flung around in the rear to point where I actually started to become motion sick.

When we did finally arrive at the hotel I was keen to get inside and complete my long journey. When I thanked the driver his response halted me in my tracks. He told me flat out that my thanks meant nothing to him! Basically he was looking for a tip. There was no consideration for my state of well being, the amount of travel I had just completed and whether I even had change. Nope, Mr Gumpy wanted a tip and if he didn’t get one he was going to try and send me on a guilt trip.

To my way of thinking a tip is a bonus for service above beyond the norm. All I received this case was really a sub par service. I’d paid the standard fee, what was my reason for paying more? There was no effort was made to improve on the standard let along go above and beyond. How hard would it have been to maybe play a bit of tour guide along the way and welcome me to the location?

Now let’s compare that to a completely opposite experience I experienced. I had returned mid afternoon to my hotel room to unwind a bit before taking an evening tour. I had only been in my room a matter of minutes when there was knock on the door from someone wanting to ‘freshen’ the room. Why would you need to do that? I’ve only just walked in, I thought?

I allowed them to proceed and straighten up the stuff I had just strewn across the room, turn down the bed, add some sweets by the bedside and more. After asking me whether there was anything further I needed they headed out all the while refusing any tip that I was desperately trying to give them.

Do you see the difference between these experiences? One was so good that I felt obliged to offer more, while the other left nothing but a sour taste in my mouth that remains burned into my memory today and is a story I recount regularly.

The cost of providing good customer service is nothing more than a little bit of effort but how many businesses that you know actually make that effort? The impact is stark when you come across an instance of great customer service, so much so that it stays out like a beacon.

Not all customers will pay a premium for service but those that don’t aren’t the ones that you should be looking for. The transfer business that employed Mr Grumpy is clearly in the volume game, relying on a large number of customers paying a low price. However, you can’t really do this while providing good service because you are clearly not paying your drivers enough given their burning need for a tip.

However, the second experience was targeted in such a way that factored in the service without the requirement for a tip. The point being that the perception becomes that the service is so good it is worth the premium to a customer like me. Best of all, I’m going to refer that on to others.

Good customer service can be a challenge because you have to divorce yourself from your beliefs and examine the realities through customers eyes. That can in some cases be difficult to endure but the rewards can be substantial.

Sure, some buy purely on price but I’ll bet that most desire a memorable ‘experience’ and are more than willing to pay more if their needs and desires are met. Thus, to obtain that revenue, all a business needs to do is provide good service. But like I said, if you honestly think about it, few, very few businesses really make much of an effort when it comes to customer service.

That lack of effort means there is an opportunity for any business willing to make the effort to benefit, with the pay off generally being far more than the effort invested. The great thing is that this effort is not limited in avilability to large businesses, it is in fact most effective when adopted by a smaller business.

Thus, in an age where traditional business competition is fierce, good customer service becomes the differentiator that smart businesses are using to succeed. Best of all, it costs nothing but a little discipline to implement and maintain, however the payoff can be substantial. Why? Because good customer service, like bad, generates leverage thanks to referrals. Think about it. How many people do you tell when you have a good experience? What about a bad experience? Importantly, people you share your experience with are highly influenced by your personal recommendations. The flow on effect of good or bad experiences is quite profound.

Thus, if you want to generate more income for your business focus on improving the customer experience. Invest in finding out exactly what the customer wants and then provide it at a premium price. You’ll have no trouble generating the revenue firstly because no one else is giving this level of service and secondly, those who won’t pay the premium price are probably customers you don’t want and would actually end up costing you more.

Great customer service doesn’t magically appear, it requires a consistent process to improve but to me it is well worth the effort and has no upper limit on what can be implemented. The better your service, the more you can charge and the more you can focus on the right clients instead of falling into the trap of believing that servicing greater numbers of clients is the path to increased revenue. As I can attest, thanks to my experiences with Mr Grumpy, customer service in a commodity focused market actually decreases to the point where not only will I never use that business again but I will tell as many people as I can about how rotten it was.

Before you spend another red cent on marketing, ask yourself whether you can improve the service your deliver your customer. If you look at those who already do it well you’ll find that you’ll never need to waste money marketing any more, the business will come to you, all because you invested in great customer service. How much simpler could it be?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Need to Know Podcast–Episode 108

Marc and I review all the latest news from the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. We also dive deep into a raft of recent Azure updates as well a swag of Office 365 news. If you want to keep up to date with the Microsoft Cloud then there is no better episode to listen to.

Listen to this episode at:

http://ciaops.podbean.com/e/episode-108-news-from-wpc/

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.

Resources

@marckean

@directorcia

Azure news from Marc

SharePoint iOS app

Windows 10 Delve app

Power BI connection to Xero

Why Facebook is going Office 365

Facebook taps Office 365

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Publish to web from Power BI now available

Microsoft has just announced the availability of ‘publish to web’ from Power BI. You can read more about this at:

Announcing power BI embedded and publish to web general availability

As you can see above I have taken something from my Power BI and embedded it in this post. Here’s how I did that.

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Firstly, I logged into my Power BI Dashboard and selected a report that I wish to publish.

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Then from the File menu at the top of the report I select Publish to web.

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I then receive an embed code for email that I can then paste into a web page.

That’s it. Pretty simple eh?

The great thing is the Publish to web features is available for all Power BI plans, including the free version. This reinforces how there is really no excuse to be using Power BI in your business and the product just keep getting better.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Beyond the license

One of the major limitations I find with many who have an Office 365 Suite is that they are only using it for email, and basic email at that! This means they are failing to make use of get services like OneDrive for Business, SharePoint, Yammer and more!

In many cases this is because they are no aware of the products and services that are available to them as part of their Office 365 package. A while back I did a webinar with Greg Plum from plumuc.com where we focused on helping attendees understand the value that the Office 365 suite contained that they were most likely not taking advantage of.

We recorded that webinar and I’ve now posted it up on my Youtube channel as you can see above. The slides are also available at:

https://doc.co/gpEx8r/qcihGm

Hopefully, this webinar gives you a better idea of many of these ‘undiscovered’ Office 365 features and how they can be used to solve business problems. If you have Office 365 I’d urge you to take a deeper dive into the product and understand everything that you are paying for. Once you’ve done that you may be surprised at how many of the features within Office 365 can be used to make your business and users more productive. Investing a little bit of time up front to gain the knowledge pays big dividends down the track.

CIAOPS Need to Know webinar–July 2016

I am happy to announce the inaugural CIAOPS Need to Know webinar which will be held next Thursday the 21st of July at 11am Sydney Australia time. You can register for the event here:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/547641828883643908

To kick things off I’ll look at the differences between OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online and how you can make the most of each one of these technologies.

Not only will we cover this topic but I’ll bring you the latest Office 365 and Microsoft Cloud news as well as open up the floor for an open Q & A session at the end. The main session will take no more than 30 minutes but I’ll hang around as long as required afterwards to answer any questions people may have.

The CIAOPS Need to Know Webinars are free to attend but if you want to receive the recording of the session you need to sign up as a CIAOPS patron (for only USD$10 per month) which you can do here:

https://www.patreon.com/ciaops

I’m now aiming to run these webinars once a month and cover a specific topic as well as news and events from the Microsoft cloud to keep you up to date with the fast changing world of products like Office 365. Come along to the inaugural event and let me know what topics you’d like to see covered. Also feel free at any stage to email me directly at director@ciaops.com with your webinar topic suggestions.

I’d also appreciate you sharing information about this webinar with anyone you feel may benefit from the session.

I look forward to seeing everyone on the webinar.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Power BI content pack for Xero now available

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Microsoft has just announced the ability to connect Xero accounting systems to Power BI:

https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/explore-and-analyze-your-xero-data-with-power-bi/

This means you can easily view and report on your business accounting analytics using Microsoft’s free Power BI dashboard reporting tool.

More and more software vendors are moving to using Power BI as their reporting tool rather than attempting to building their own reporting engine. Why? First, because Power BI is such a great analytics tool and secondly because Microsoft have made the base Power BI offering free.

That therefore means there is little reason not be using Power BI to analyse your accounts but there is also the massive opportunity for IT resellers to sell services to customers using Xero now thanks to Power BI.

If you haven’t see Power BI then check out my tutorial here:

and then start getting into the opportunity Power BI provides!

Delve Windows 10 app preview now available

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I’m a big fan of Delve and have written previously about how important I believe Delve is in changing the way you look at being productive in a business:

Why Delve should be the centre of you Office 365 universe

Microsoft have just released a Windows 10 app (in preview) which you can find here:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/apps/delve/9nblggh4n0bv

It is free and allows you to connect your desktop Windows 10 directly to your Delve.

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Don’t forget that this Windows 10 Delve app is still in preview, so expect to see plenty of new improvements and enhancements coming soon.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Need to Know Podcast–Episode 107

In this episode Marc is joined by Steve Hosko to talk about the latest with System Center. You’ll also get the latest news om Azure.

Listen to this episode at:

http://ciaops.podbean.com/e/episode-107-steve-hosko/

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.

Resources

Marc Kean - @marckean

Azure News:

https://marckean.com/2016/06/30/azure-news-2016-week-26/

Reddit (SCCM):

https://www.reddit.com/r/SCCM/comments/4qhcwg/amawe_are_the_configmgr_team_here_to_talk_about

Facebook pages about SCCM:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ConfigMgr2012

https://www.facebook.com/groups/techkonnect

https://www.facebook.com/groups/mssccm

https://www.facebook.com/groups/windowsnoob

Guest Twitter:

@Steve_Hosko

Other:

Azure Stack user group meet-up, hear all about Azure Stack Vs Azure Public

http://www.meetup.com/Sydney-System-Center-and-Infrastructure-User-Group/events/232103039