Saturday, October 31, 2015

CIAOPS Configuring Office 365 Federated Identity online course


I’ve just made available my next online course – Configuring Office 365 Identity which you can view here:

It is aimed at teaching you the basics of configuring ADFS and Single Sign On with Office 365.

The course contains 6 lessons:

  1. Understanding Office 365 Federated Identity
  2. Preparing the environment for Office 365 Federated Identity
  3. Setting up the Federated ADFS Server
  4. Converting to an Office 365 Federated Domain
  5. Setting up a Federated ADFS Proxy Server
  6. Troubleshooting Office 365 Federation Configurations

with each lesson containing a video, downloadable lesson notes and some external resources.

You can sign up for this or any of the other courses I have published via the new URL:

This course has also been included in the Getting Started with Office 365 Administration course that now covers 9 areas and aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to managing all aspects of Office 365.

I appreciate those who have supported me by already signing up for my online courses. The more support I get, the more courses I can develop.

if you have any suggestions or ideas for online courses that you’d like to see me do please contact me, I’d love to hear from you.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Need to Know podcast–Episode 93

In this episode I'm joined by Amy Babinchak to chat about Azure for SMB. We talk about the opportunities Azure provides as well as how to get started using Azure. Amy shares her experience with converting Azure services into revenue opportunities you can utilise with your clients. There is the usual news updates to keep you current with everything that is happening in the cloud.

A big thank you to Marc Kean for all his work producing this episode.

You can listen to this episode at:

or subscribe to this and all episodes in iTunes at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

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.


New CIAOPS Academy

Skype for Business Basic

Skype for iOS

Office Lens

New OneDrive Sync client

Third Tier

Enterprise Mobility Suite

Azure AD Domain Services

Configuring the Azure SSO portal

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Changing the default SharePoint list forms using InfoPath


In a recent post I showed you how you could access InfoPath with Office 2013. Even though Microsoft has deprecated InfoPath 2013 it is still supported for quite a while and is a quick and easy way to start customising the look and feel of SharePoint, especially forms.

When you enter information into a standard SharePoint list you get the standard ‘look and feel’ as you see above.


You can modify this ‘look and feel’ using InfoPath. To do this select the List tab at the top of the page.


Then in the Customize list section to the right, select the Customize in InfoPath button.


You should now see InfoPath launch on the desktop (you’ll obviously need it installed on the local desktop prior).


In the middle of the page you will see a form like the one you saw when in SharePoint but in a different layout, font, style, etc.


Don’t make to changes to anything but simply select the Quick Publish button on the quick launch toolbar in the top left. It is the third button from the left as shown above.


You can also select File | Quick Publish if the quick start button is unavailable.


After a few moments you should receive a message that the form was successfully published as shown above.


If you now return to SharePoint and edit or create a new item you will see that that the form displayed has changed to match that from InfoPath as shown above. InfoPath has in effect has created new display, edit and create forms for this list in SharePoint.

The idea now will be to start customising these forms further using InfoPath and then ‘publishing’ them back to the SharePoint site. However, that will be the subject of upcoming posts.


Now what happens if you want to revert back to the original SharePoint forms and remove the InfoPath ones? To do this, select the Sites tab and then the List Settings button from the ribbon.


Then select Form settings at the bottom of the first column on the left which has the heading General Settings.


Select the option to Use the default SharePoint form (and optionally to Delete the InfoPath form from the server).


Now when you return to work with the list you should see the default SharePoint form displayed as shown above.

Monday, October 26, 2015

CIAOPS Getting Started with Office 365 Administration online course


You may have seen on my Twitter feed all the new online courses I have been posting up. You can of course take these courses individually but I have now combined them all into a single course;

Getting Started with Office 365 Administration

The course includes the following material:

1. Configuring Office 365, licensing and creating users

  • 1.1 Create a trial Office 365 tenant via the web
  • 1.2. Create Office 365 tenant via Volume Licensing
  • 1.3. Set Partner of Record
  • 1.4. Managing licensing, subscriptions and domains
  • 1.5. Adding cloud users
  • 1.6. Office 365 administration roles
  • 1.7. Company profile and theming
  • 1.8. Managing Office 365 Service Settings

2. Configuring users for email on the web and via Outlook

  • 2.1. Using Outlook on the Web
  • 2.2. Using Outlook on the desktop
  • 2.3. Shared mailboxes
  • 2.4. Configuring mailbox options
  • 2.5. Office 365 groups

3. Configuring shared Document access via office 365 Team Sites

  • 3.1. Accessing SharePoint Online
  • 3.2. Uploading Documents to Team Sites
  • 3.3. Adding apps to Team Sites
  • 3.4. Creating sub-sites in Team Sites
  • 3.5. Administrating SharePoint Online

4. Working with private documents using OneDrive for Business

  • 4.1 The difference between OneDrive and Team
  • 4.2 Uploading documents to OneDrive for Business
  • 4.3 Synchronising Office 365 files to the desktop
  • 4.4 Sharing Office 365 documents
  • 4.5 Using the SharePoint Recycle Bin

5. Collaborating using Delve, Yammer and SharePoint

  • 5.1. Using Delve
  • 5.2. Enabling Enterprise Yammer
  • 5.3. Using Enterprise Yammer
  • 5.4. Using Office 365 video
  • 5.5. Editing office 365 User Profiles

6.  Integrating Skype for Business for all users in Office 365

  • 6.1. Install Skype for Business client
  • 6.2. Enabling external Skype for Business communications
  • 6.3. Adding contacts in Skype for Business
  • 6.4. Scheduling online meetings using Skype for Business
  • 6.5. Conducting Online meetings using Skype for Business

7. Configuring and managing synchronised Office 365 users

  • 7.1. Understanding Office 365 identity management
  • 7.2. Installing Azure AD connect
  • 7.3. Syncing local AD user to Office 365
  • 7.4. Managing users with synchronised identities
  • 7.5. Troubleshooting synchronised users

8. Office 365 PowerShell

  • 8.1. Configuring Office 365 PowerShell access
  • 8.2. Managing users with PowerShell
  • 8.3. Managing mailboxes with PowerShell
  • 8.4. Managing SharePoint with PowerShell
  • 8.5. Managing Skype for Business with PowerShell

With more lessons coming soon.

Each lesson includes a short video tutorial as well as downloadable lesson notes. Each lesson also includes a number for questions to test your knowledge and understanding on the topic.

To celebrate the launch of this new course I have a number of discount coupon codes that will provide a discount of 10% off the normal price of this complete course. I only have a limited number of these coupons so please contact me via email ( to receive yours. I expect these coupons to go fast so if you are reading this after November 2015, I’d suggest there won’t be any left. So hurry.

Going forward I’m planning migrate much of my published content into these online courses. You can check out what is there via:

CIAOPS Academy

Where you will find each individual course plus aggregated courses like Getting Started with Office 365 Administration.

Keep you eyes peeled for more courses launching soon.

Friday, October 23, 2015

CIAOPS Configuring and managing synchronised Office 365 users online course now available


If you want to understand how to configure and manage the synchronisation of users from a local Active Directory to Office 365 then you can now do so thanks to my latest course:

Configuring and managing synchronised Office 365 users

Each lesson contains a short video tutorial, downloadable course notes and a quiz to test your knowledge. You can also ask questions and provide feedback to gain even more knowledge.

You’ll find this and a growing number of CIAOPS online courses at:

Got a suggestion for a course you’d like to see me do? Then don;t be shy, let me know either via Twitter (@directorcia) or email (

CIAOPS Office 365 PowerShell online course now available


I’ve been working hard recently building a lot of Office 365 content that I plan to offer online. The first of these projects is now public:

PowerShell for Office 365

You can go, sign up and take the the course immediately. It is based on my original eBook from a while back but has been updated with the latest information.

Each lesson contains a short video tutorial, downloadable course notes and a quiz to test your knowledge. You can also ask questions and provide feedback to gain even more knowledge.

I am aiming to improve and extend the course over time, so please let me know what you’d like to see n future updates to the content.

As I mentioned previously, I am starting to add more and more of these online courses which you’ll find at:

So take a look at what’s there already and keep an eye there for new material coming REAL soon!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Accessing Infopath 2013 with Office 365

InfoPath is a Microsoft Office desktop application that you can use to create intelligent forms. These forms can then be published to SharePoint Online.

The InfoPath application is part of the Office Pro Plus subscription in Office 365. This means it is typically available for those with the E3 suite. The problem is that Microsoft has announced that it will no longer be continuing to develop InfoPath and thus it will remain at the current 2013 version. However, the Office desktop software has now progressed to 2016. Thus, if you download and install Office 2016 from Office 365 as part of your subscription you no longer get InfoPath 2013 installed. You can however still download InfoPath 2013 as stand alone product if you have an Office Pro Plus subscription. Here’s the process you need to follow to do this.


First, login to your Office 365 web portal.


Select the COG in the top right hand corner of the window. This will reveal a menu as shown above. From this menu select Office 365 settings.


In the middle of the page select the hyperlink Install and manage software under the Software heading.


From the menu on the left select Tools and add ins.


In the middle of the page that appears now you should see a hyperlink to download and install under the InfoPath heading.


That will then take you the following Microsoft download page:

Where you can download the InfoPath 2013 software and install on your desktop. When you run the software you will be required to activate it using your Office 365 credentials. Note, unless you have a valid Office Pro Plus license from Office 365 you will not be able to activate and use InfoPath.

Once you have downloaded, installed and activated InfoPath 2013 you can start using to customise SharePoint, which I’ll cover in upcoming blog posts.

Business basics–4 of 5


This is the fourth in a five part series of articles about improving your business. It is aimed at those people who run a small business but could just as well apply to anyone earning an income. In the article I'll focus on one or two main points around the theme but remember there is a lot more to explored in each topic.

The 5 topics that I will cover in these articles when it comes to business are:

1. Reason

2. Revenue

3. Resources

4. Risk

5. Reduction

These topics are drawn from the mentoring model I use with my students and is somewhat unique to other methods that are common place. This means you'll need to prepare yourself for concepts that are very different from 'industry standard' so I encourage you to keep an open mind on what I present here and at least test it against your current version of business reality. Please feel free to provide any feedback on what I present here either in a comment or to me directly. I welcome all feedback and opinions. All I ask is that you be respectful because if you don’t I reserve the right to remove or ignore such comments.

If you haven't done so already, I encourage you to read the other parts in this series – Reason, Revenue and Resources - to give you a better context of my thought process. Also don't forget that this is only part 4 of 5 in series and I'd encourage you to read them all and then let me know what you think.

Now part 4 – Risk

The world in which we live is an uncertain place. Although much may seem routine and safe, there is always risk lurking in the background. The smart business operator knows they can’t eliminate risk, all they can do is minimise it.

Minimising risk is a discipline that needs to be worked at constantly. It is achieved through implementing things such as standard processes and procedures as well as reviewing and adjusting these on a regular basis.

One of the largest risks that many small businesses face is cashflow, which for many is all about being paid in a timely manner. It is therefore important to establish credit terms up front with customers and ensure they are aware of when payment for goods and services are due. If you provide good products and services you should never be afraid to ask for the value that they provide.

Even though credit terms have been made clear up front there are times when payments fall outside these. Most smaller businesses lack a formal collection process to ensure they get paid. With todays technology it is relatively easy to implement an automated email reminder sequence that prompts the customer that payment is due. The benefits of systems are they can be built once and implemented many times. If payments are still not forthcoming beyond these reminders few have processes to handle this. Why not?

Another risk in the technology game is falling behind with industry change. The solution here is to allocate an amount of time to staying current and actually use the latest technology. It should also be the discovery of quality information sources that can provide the best information in the shortest amount of time. Again, the solution to minimising such risk is to create and implement a system.

Over time there is little doubt that the system will need to be ‘tweaked’ and improved but this is far easier once it has been established.

The secret with risk then is to ‘be prepared’ as best you can. Some things will certainly come out of the blue, but the more prepared you and your business are the more likely it is that any negative impact will be well and truly minimised.

You can of course never know where, when or how events will unfold and this means that being prepared is a constant practice that needs to become simply a matter of the way that you run your business every day. You need to view the reduction of risk as important and your sales, marketing, accounts, etc. If you run a businesses that employs others it is also important that you imbue this attitude throughout the business. Doing so not only makes it a physically safer place to work but also make it far less stressful, resulting in a more appealing and attractive place to work.

Risk is all around us. We can either take control of risk or we can leave it to random chance. The smart business owner understands that risk is part of their business and seeks to control it as much as possible. They achieve this through systematic processes and culture that seeks to address and minimise risk no matter where it appears. Risk is an opportunity for you to improve your business every day, those that step up to this opportunity always benefit, those that don’t are simply rolling the dice in the hope that they will never have to face the consequences. Successful business is not a gamble, it is a systematic approach to achieving the goals you have set.

Image courtesy of luigi diamanti at

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Praise arrived in my Office 365 tenant


It is a well known fact that money only motivates people to a certain level, beyond that it has little effect on improving performance and participation in an organisation. However, public recognition can provide measurable productivity and engagement improvements.

As you can see from the above image the ability to praise people has arrived in my Office 365 tenant.


Where do you find it this option? The ability to provide praise is found in Delve. Once you have navigated to your Delve you select the individual you wish to praise from the list on the left and then their profile page on the right. In the lower right of their profile page you will find an area, as shown above, in which you can add public praise for that individual.

If there is already praise there you will see it listed, as shown above. To add praise simple select the +praise link on the right.


When you do a new choice slide will appear from the right as shown above allowing you to enter text and select at suitable “badge” to go along with your praise.


Once the praise has been saved you will see it added to any praise that has already been bestowed.


The user awarding the praise, as well as the person receiving it will receive an email informing them of the award.

I think this is a really great addition to Office 365 and shows to me that Microsoft is really thinking about ways to boost users productivity with Office 365. However, what concerns me is the lack of awareness of these types of features.

Features like praise are a free addition of every Office 365 tenant and should be an opportunity for resellers and IT Pros to go to their users and highlight the new included feature and help the customer understand how it can be used to improve their business. Unfortunately, I don’t see many IT Pros or resellers helping their clients use these new features, let alone even being aware of them.

That is a sad state of affairs and really devalues Office 365 and the features that it provides because 80% of the features of Office 365 remain unknown to customers. Most Office 365 implementations I run across from other providers are simply just using it for hosted email even though they have access to the full suite of services such as SharePoint, Skye for Business, Yammer, etc. as part of their Office 365 subscription.

It’s time for those that claim to be Office 365 IT Pros and resellers to truly embrace the length and breadth of the product. It is time for them to invest in understanding not only what the Office 365 product can do but also how it can help their customers business. Failing to let clients know about free additions to Office 365 like PowerBI, Azure Single Sign On portal and so on is simply a path to oblivion in the modern IT world.

Wake up and start using Office 365, the WHOLE of Office 365. If all you are doing for your customers is moving email from one location to another and NOT adding value you are going to struggle to remain valid to the customer. Office 365 offers so many opportunities to engage with customers and build unique products and services. If you don’t someone else will and if the customer is already on the Office 365 platform they have a standard platform to work with already. You have in fact made it easier for your competition to trump you.

At the very least, my call to action, is for you to start using Delve. Customers, ITPros and resellers, get to it now and use ALL the features the product provides.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Free Ask Us Webinar–October


We’re back with another free ‘Ask Us’ webinar on Thursday the 22nd of October 2015 from 12.30pm Sydney time. You can sign up for this events at;

You’ll get the latest cloud news and updates. Then you’ll have the opportunity to ask any question you want and we’ll do our best to not only answer the question but show you exactly on screen.

A lots happened in the last month, especially with Office 365, so don’t miss this opportunity to catch up on all the news and see all the changes that happened recently.

I hope to see you at the event next week.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Office 365 Group files interface change


If you have an Office 365 First Release tenant and you go and have a look at your Office 365 Group files you’ll see that the interface has been updated to the new look OneDrive for Business as you can see above.

This gives it a consistent look and feel with an individual’s OneDrive for Business which is a good thing. This and all the other changes that have surfaced in the last week or so give you an indication at how rapidly this product is evolving.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Talking Power BI

While recently at Office 365 Nation in Seattle I did a short podcast with Karl Palachuk all about Power BI and its how it can provide benefit to even small businesses.

You can download the MP3 to listen to at:

If you haven’t as yet taken a look at Power BI I would strongly encourage you to do so. At the very least you should be connecting Power BI to Google Analytics to analyse what’s happening on your web site.

Look out for more information about Power BI coming here soon.

Need to Know podcast–Episode 92

Thanks to my very special guest for this episode, Marc Kean, for not only agreeing to being interviewed but for also doing a new intro and extro for the podcast. Let me know what you think!

I cover off the latest Office 365 news and then dive into Office 365 compliance with Marc who shares his knowledge and experience around ensuring business information is kept secure and how to achieve that with Office 365.

You can listen to this episode at:

or subscribe to this and all episodes in iTunes at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

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.


Marc Kean - Twitter

My Office 365 Nation wrap up

The new Office is here

Office 365 Planner

Meet the new OneDrive

Office 365 compliance features

Use Office 365 to help be compliant

Monday, October 12, 2015

Tips for maximum conference ROI

I have returned from presenting at another conference. You’ll find my presentations from the event embedded further down in this post or at my

I thought I’d also take a moment to share some techniques and tips I’d recommend you employ when attending a conference to ensure that you get the most from any conference.

1. Remember you are at the conference for business.

It is all well and good to take a step back and enjoy everything that a conference has to offer, the food, the drink, the location, the company, but remember it is all costing your business money. Thus, you should be asking yourself whether you are getting return on investment constantly. This may mean learning something new, meeting a new contact who can help your business, etc. but you need to ensure you GET something in return.

Don’t get caught in the trap of treating the whole event as a party. Don’t get caught in the trap of getting wiped out on the first night and then being unable to attend any of the sessions. Have fun, yes but always ask yourself, what return am I getting for my investment in time and money at the conference.

2. Have a plenty of business cards

Always ensure you have plenty of business cards before leaving for a conference. Every time you go anywhere near the conference venue ensure your pocket if full of business cards and you have an adequate supply elsewhere as a backup.

Don’t be shy handing out your business card as well as receiving cards from others. Every time your strike up a conversation with someone, make sure they leave that conversation with your card.

3. Carry a pen

As only fashioned as it seems having a pen ready and available is till the quickest way of writing notes and capturing information. In my case, I always ensure there is space to write on the back of my business card so I can write a URL or a note and give that to someone. If you don’t have a business card that allows this, carry some blanks cards just in case.

It is easy to say that you’ll send an email follow up, however jotting it down goes a long way to ensuring that you’ll follow through.

Also remember that battery power can be at a premium during conferences and you don’t want to be tethered to a wall and miss out on the hallway conversations. A pen is a great information recording device backup for your phone or tablet when it starts running low on juice.

4. Make yourself available for conversations

There is nothing wrong with waiting in a publically visible but off to the site location. Try and find an area that will accommodate at least one other person and is quieter than the middle of the conference throng.

By doing this you make it more enticing for someone to come up and have a chat with you, especially if they have been looking for a chance to do just that. Being immersed in the conference ‘mosh-pit’ is great and there is always something interesting happening but remember, you are looking to generate the most return for your business not listen to others pontificate constantly.

5. Convert business cards into Linkedin contacts asap

Whenever you get a chance, go through the business cards you have received so far in the day and connect with them on Linkedin. This is firstly a good backup in case you misplace their business card but it also give you deeper insight into that contact and their details thanks to Linkedin. It does likewise for your new contact but also indicates how keen and on the ball you are by making contact electronically shortly after meeting them.

6. Wear the uniform

Many people think that it is extremely boring to wear the same outfit to a conference every day. I purposely ensure I wear that same thing throughout the conference. One of the main things I ensure I do is wear a branded shirt. Why? People respond to consistency, the more consistent you are, in every aspect, the more comfort people derive. Also, if you wear the same thing you make it easier for people to identify you in the crowd if they are looking to seek you out to make contact.

Wearing the ‘uniform’ also reduces the decisions you need to make about packing for the event and dressing on the day. Personally, I don’t want to waste my precious decisions credits on working out what to wear each day, I simply don the uniform and get on with generating ROI for my business.

There are of course plenty more tips I could pass on but these hopefully should provide you some benefit next time you attend an event.

Let me know what you think works when you attend a conference. I’d love to hear.

Unleashing the Power of Azure

Is Windows 10 the last version resellers will ever install?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Office 365 Admin center preview arrives


Woh! Big day for my Office 365 tenant with the new Admin center preview also now showing up as you can see from above.

Much more user friendly and removes many of the distractions from the older portal that tried to be everything to everyone in my opinion and simply became too cumbersome. Less is always more when it comes of efficient design, so I say this new portal is a winner.

I wonder what other new surprises I can find in my tenant today?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


The theme music clinches the deal.

Interesting how now even Microsoft hardware is cool eh?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Office 365 Nation wrap up

Well I am back (finally, phew) from Seattle and being part of Office 365 Nation hosted by the one and only Harry Brelsford.

First, a shout out to Harry and his staff for putting on another great event. Everything ran very smoothly and everyone I talked to had a great time.

Next, I also have to thank all the attendees that came to my sessions (even those I was a tad under the weather for). Also to those who made time to come up and chat or just say hello. This is what community is all about and the main reason I’ll endure over 24 hours or travel door to door to be in attendance. That also doesn’t cover all the great new contacts I made during the time.

To these and everyone else who helped make the trip worthwhile I say thanks.

I have posted all my presentations from the event up at my site (which also has plenty of other interesting free stuff from me), in the Presentations collection:

Across the Isle

Understanding Microsoft Cloud Identities

Office 365 security, privacy and compliance

Office 365 Identity Management

Riding the Big Data Wave with Excel and Power BI

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A new intro to Delve

If you want to see why I think Delve is such an important component of Office 365 then you should read an earlier post:

Delve should be the center of your Office 365 universe

Microsoft has changed the way it educates users about when they visit Delve for the first time.


They will see the above splash screen, at which point they can continue straight to Delve or work through the introduction.


If they elect to learn more about Delve they will then see the above screen, which is the second part of the education process.


Then another.


Until finally they see the above screen. Typically from here users will then be taken to Delve.

All in all, a good bit of extra information around Delve to give users a better understanding of what it is and what it does.

The reality with Delve, like most of Office 365, is that it is speedily adding new features as this recent blog post outlines:

Office Delve adds Praise, Favorites and enhances content creation

I am already beginning to see Delve favourites option appearing my tenant:


and I really can’t wait for the praise feature to become available, as I think that is going to be a huge driver of adoption.

What truly amazes me is the number of people, resellers and customers, who don’t use Delve! Maybe they have looked it, can’t understand what it is, so they never return. Bad move. Delve is a way to really boost your productivity and be across all your company information quickly and easily. It is really the future of how people will access information in cloud services I believe. That is why it is so important to start looking and understanding it now, because it is going to become very pervasive.

As always, very excited to see all these updates coming to the service and seeing how they make things easier.