CIAOPS Need to Know Webinar–December 2016

My last Need to Know webinar for 2016 is now open for registrations. As always, the event is free to attend and provides you with the latest news around Office 365 and the Microsoft Cloud as well as deep dive into a particular topic. This month we are going to have a close look at SharePoint Online permissions and how to secure your data in Office 365 Team Sites.

You can register now at:

December Webinar Registration

The details are:

CIAOPS Need to Know Webinar – December 2016
Thursday 15th of December 2016
10am – 11am Sydney Time

All sessions are recorded and posted to the CIAOPS Academy.

There of course will also be open Q and A so make sure you bring your questions for me and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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:

or purchase them individually at:

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

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

Need to Know Podcast–Episode 121

After getting through all the cloud news, Marc and I have a chat to an old and frequent podcast guest, Technical Solution Specialist, Enterprise Mobility and Security, Jeff Alexander. We hope this will be the first in a series focused on the Enterprise Mobility and Security Suite from Microsoft. We kick off the discussions with Jeff telling us all about Azure AD and role that it plays both on premises and in the cloud. We dig deep in how Azure AD is being used to secure the growth of mobile devices and the demands of users to have full access to their information at all times.

You can listen to this episode directly at:

or on Soundcloud here:

or subscribe via iTunes at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send us any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.





Microsoft Enterprise Mobility and Security Suite

EMS blog

Start and Stop Azure VM’s using autmation

Announcing auto VM shutdown from the portal

Azure news from Marc

Office 365 group guest access available to all tenants

Macro Trends

This is the fourth part of my presentation “Making money from the cloud”. You can find the full slides at:

and the previous parts are at:

We live in exponential times

Consider the following

Major Trends


We previously took a look at the large trends that are shaping our world but now let’s take a look at the small trends that impact smaller businesses.

No matter how large or small you are technology is the key differentiation point. The Internet has allowed any single person to compete globally, The Cloud has allowed any single person access to the same level (power) of technology that once was only once available to the largest of businesses for a few dollars a month. Now it is not about what technology you have, it is about how effectively you use that technology. That is what determines your profitability above everything else.

Companies like Amazon are at the cutting edge of utilising technology to provide better service to their customers as the above video demonstrates. Thus, the focus of technology is about being able to deliver better results for customers.

This means that if you are an IT professional you need to be not simply ‘selling’ technology, you need to implementing technology that helps your customers grow their business. IT professionals need to help their customers understand and get the best out of technology. If left to their own devices people use less than 10% of the full functionality of any technology that is provided to them. This means there is an untapped 90% opportunity to work with the existing technology people have. It is much easier to get more from what you have rather than trying to sell you something new now isn’t it?

This means that the business of an IT professional is all about consulting now. Pure reselling of technology is a commodity game and only the largest can survive in that environment. Much of this consulting will also involve the re-engineering of existing businesses. A good example of this, once again, is the shift from traditional email to things such as social networks for communications. You can’t simply enable a social network like Yammer inside a business, you need to help the business make the transition to this new way of working. However, this is not possible unless the IT professional themselves is actually using the latest technology themselves. You can’t implement a technology without understanding, and typically using it, yourself.

Here’s the key. Those that adopt new technology effectively are simply more competitive, able to react faster and adapt to suit market conditions quicker. Yes, that adoption requires and investment but that investment pays major dividends in the future. Unfortunately, so many businesses and IT professionals don’t want to make that investment, instead preferring to ‘stay with the current way of doing things’. That of course means living in the past as the future continues to accelerate away. That means that when change is forced upon the organisation it is that much harder because the leap is that much greater.

There is no doubt that change is hard, both for a business and for an individual. However, if you can get comfortable with change then you really have a competitive edge. The trick to becoming comfortable with change is to develop a system to help you manage it and therefore look at change as providing you a competitive advantage in the market as the vast majority are resistant to change.

However, the really adjustment most need to make when it comes to change is simply doing less. The real secret of success in the future is doing less and doing that exceptionally well. The traditional model of business growth was always to continue to grow revenue more and more. The problem is that costs and complications can rise faster than revenue. Thus, a focus on revenue is folly, while a focus on profit is sanity. The smaller you are, the reality is that you can’t do ‘everything’. You need to focus on a niche and become the best in the world at that niche and partner with others to fill any gaps. If you need heart surgery you don’t go to a GP now do you? You go to a heart surgeon. Heart surgeons make pretty good money even though they specialise. The same applies elsewhere. If you are everything to everyone, then you are nothing to no one. Focus on becoming more effective and generating more profit not merely revenue.

Technology is the game changer that effectively levels the playing field for all businesses. However, it is something that is always changing and needs a process for adoption. Those that can deal with the changes we see have an opportunity to be more competitive than any one else. This opportunity requires an on going investment and typically results in a change of business model but the message is clear. You can’t remain in the past. You can’t remain standing still as the progress of technology continues to move forward allowing others to leap frog you and take away your advantage.

Technology is a tool. Success is a measure of how well that is applied to benefit customers. Therefore, any technology implementations need to be focused on the value they provide to their customers. This will also require challenges of innovation to solve problems using different tools but when you do, truly, the world is your oyster!

Two day Azure deep dive from me

On the 6th and 7th of December 2016 I’m running a two day intensive, deep dive, hands on training for SMB Partners in Sydney around Azure. This will hopefully be the first of the roll out of this program to Microsoft partners around Australia in 2017.

The training is basically broken up into two days, IaaS and PaaS. It it also unique in that it will provide attendees with not only technical training but also business training on how to cost and sell Azure solutions to customers.

You’ll be expected to work through a typical scenario of moving on premises SMB workloads to Azure. This means you’ll be learning how to set up and configure things like Azure virtual networks and virtual machines. You’ll create site to site VPNs and learn best practices for migrating data to the cloud. You’ll also learn how to integrate Office 365 with on premises environments and with Azure. There will also be the opportunity to gain exposure to other Azure services such as Logic Apps, Machine Learning, Web Apps, Azure SQL and more. Best of all you’ll be working in teams with your peers to complete challenges which also provides a huge networking opportunity. If you want to grow your cloud business and gain real world hands on experience with Microsoft Cloud technologies for SMB, this is not a session to miss.

Now because this first course is a bit of a test, if you are interested in attending then you’ll need to send me an email directly ( with your reasons for wanting to attend. I’ll forward these requests directly to Microsoft for inclusion in the course as attendance is strictly limited by number but also by desire to really get serious about deploying Azure.

This course is going to challenge both your technical and business abilities but you’ll walk away with a wealth of knowledge on Azure and Office 365 that I don’t believe is available elsewhere. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll walk away with the ability to confidently quote, sell and implement Azure/Office 365 solutions to your customers.

Thanks to Microsoft, this course is free to attend but you’ll need to send me your details as I have mentioned above to get a shot at attending.

Once again, places are strictly limited so hurry if you want to accelerate your business using Azure!

Need to Know Podcast–Episode 120

Marc and I chew the fat over the latest updates from the Microsoft Cloud. No guest for this episode just us giving you the latest news. Don’t worry we are buys teeing up some great guests for future episodes but we thought we’d get this update out for everyone.

You can listen to this episode directly at:

or subscribe via iTunes at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send us any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.




Satya’s Australian visit

Azure N Series machines available

Azure functions now generally available

Azure backups directly from VM blade in portal

CMD to be replaced by PowerShell

Azure news from Marc

Outlook Customer Manager in Office 365

New SharePoint Team news authoring

New Microsoft documentation site

Some Office 365 training from me coming soon

I’ll be on the road in December in Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth doing two full day Office 365 reseller training sessions for Microsoft. These sessions are broken up into a “Start” and an advanced “Grow” session (conducted back to back).

The sessions cover both the technical and business aspects of implementing Office 365. That means you’ll get a deep dive into Office 365 and you’ll also learn successful strategies for selling and implementing Office 365 for customers.

Here’s some feedback from previous attendees:

“Fantastic presentation on adding value to your existing Office 365 practice. Do you want to know the value of the new E5 plans and how it can practically benefit them, thereby increasing your revenue stream? No fluff – just the information that you need to grow your business using Office 365/Azure was presented.” – Jason Shim

“This was a great overview of available opportunities within Office 365 Enterprise now and in the future presented by Robert Crane [MVP] So many great tools on offer to upsell and promote more with PowerBI, Delve and Yammer more in organizations” – Robert Coleiro

“Excellent session today … not like the regular training. We were immersed in practical exercise and working in a small group. You have to think differently when on a team! What we don’t know (and that’s a pretty big area!) we can ask our partner who knows a different skill set to help with the solutions. Great stuff.” – Martin Maloney

“The best training I have been to in recent memory – very practical, customer-focused exercises and loads of great information and resources” – Tristram Morgan

The training is very hands on and requires you to work in teams to solve practical real world challenges presented throughout the day. Importantly, it is also focused on solutions for SMB customers.

Best off all? The training is totally free if you are a Microsoft Partner, all you need to do is register which you can do here:

Office 365 Start –

Office 365 Grow –

I hope to see you there.

Major trends

This is the third part of my presentation “Making money from the cloud”. You can find the full slides at:

and the previous parts are at:

We live in exponential times

Consider the following


To develop a plan for your professional and business development going forward you need to start with the macro and move to the micro. So what are the major trends we see in today’s world?

The first is automation. A great discussion on this can be found in this Dan Pink video:

If you play the video by clicking the above it should start at the right place, if not forward to 29 minutes and 52 seconds to hear about automation. The whole video is worth watching, and I recommend you do, but the section on automation is especially pertinent. In essence what we will see is anything that is routine, linear, or process driven can be automated using software. Have a look at this video at the 46m mark through to the 50m 30s point for a idea of what is becoming possible when it comes to automating something as mundane as ordering at the drive through:

The ramifications here are two fold. Firstly, it indicates that to be more competitive and attractive is today’s business environment you need to be developing more and more automated systems. This automation is typically created via software. Thus, no matter who or what you are you need to using software effectively to become more competitive. Secondly, it means that tasks that can be automated will fast move to a commodity model, which means the lowest price wins. For most business and individuals this will not be a profitable option. Thus, if you can’t compete in the world of process that can be automated then may be you shouldn’t be playing there!

We are witnessing a new focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning thanks to software. The data you generate when you shop, use your credit card, use GPS navigation, read your emails is all being aggregated to create a better profile of you as an individual. This allows the system to deliver you better results. It allows the system to know what you want before you know you want it.

Here’s a good example:

ThyssenKrupp is using tools from Microsoft like Internet of Things (IoT), Azure machine learning, and Power to provide more reliable lift operations. With the sensor data feeding into predictive algorithms in Azure machine learning ThyssenKrupp can determine pre-emptively when components may fail and can take action before they do.

We live in a world were more and more items are becoming directly connected to the Internet. These devices are generating massive amounts of data that can be analysed to provide benefits in so many ways. Here’s a great example of what is possible with IoT;

So the question is, what is your business doing about IoT? Machine Learning? Big Data? and Artificial Intelligence? They need to be part of your game plan going forward. How can you use these technologies in you business to be more productive or provide better solutions for you customers?

An indicative statistic when it comes to the growth of mobile devices is the fact that mobile ads now exceed ads delivered on TV! Also previously, nearly all office workers were tethered to their cubicle by a blue network patch lead. Today, by contrast, users are rarely solely working from their cubicle. Work is no longer a place you go, it is something that you do. That typically means that wherever you have internet connectivity the expectation is that you can work. The growth of mobile device has fuelled this ability to work remotely and will continue to do so.

Mobility raises challenges for IT departments in that they are still expected to manage, monitor and maintain fleets of devices now roaming the streets untethered. I see that many IT support departments have the ability to manage desktop devices but as yet have no strategy in place to manage mobile devices. Consider that the decline of desktop workstations and servers is only going to increase while sales of mobile device will increase. Also, mobile devices are upgraded at a much faster clip than on-premises hardware. If you consider those trends, what should your IT management business be focused on? Yes, that’s right, mobile devices.

Augmented reality is allowing a new layer on top of our existing world that can provide some amazing abilities as the above video demonstrates. Combine a HoloLens with a drone and now you can examine some of the dangerous places in the world from the safety of your armchair. The applications for business are enormous. Imagine being able to work on a jet engine and having the full schematics available to you in front of your eyes. Imagine being able to overlay those plans on what you are exactly looking at.

Some good novels I have read that give you a glimpse into this potential universe are:


Freedom TM

Ready Player One

Rather than learning about something by reading it or watching a video, imagine instead immersing yourself directly in the experience, right in front of your eyes? The quickest way to learn someone is to actually do it as they say. Augmented reality allows that. Although perhaps still in its infancy it won’t be long before we simple accept this ability as the default.

If you want to being to appreciate how modern technology is changing the basics of how people learn then I urge you to watch the video above Build a School in the Cloud. You’ll see how the availability of information has levelled the playing field. The question for you however is, how are you taking advantage of these trends? How are you using the wealth of information and technology that is in your hands TODAY, to lead a better life and help others?

Unfortunately, there are always two sides to the technology coin. Technology is neutral. It is neither good or bad. It’s nature depends solely on how it is used.

I have written many articles on how we are allowing the bad guys to constantly win:

Bad guys just keep winning

and I fear as we rush into this new world of everything being connected we are making ourselves more vulnerable to catastrophic failure.

An eye opening video I’d encourage you to watch is:

A vision of crimes in the future

Don’t believe security will be ab issue in our technological future? Then tell me why cryptolocker is still running rampant through businesses today? How it this possible with all the security, anti-virus and protection software in place? In most cases the cryptolocker delivery mechanism goes straight through all of these and entices the end user to activate. How is that possible? Why haven’t we solved these issues as IT people?

Technology is two headed beast. What works for good can also be used for bad. The more technology we adopt, the more risk we place ourselves in. If you took most people’s mobile phone away from them, they’d be lost and pretty much be unable to function in today’s society. That is not a good state of affairs now is it?

At this point many IT people smile smugly believing they are immune from such a future. My response to that is to ask whether every device they carry outside their business is encrypted? Every mobile device today has the ability to have the information on it encrypted so that if it is every lost the data can not be read by unauthorised parties.

So, is EVERY device you have encrypted? Are you using two factor authentication to protect you identity? Hmmm… are you? If not then you are certainly vulnerable and as we move forward more and more of your precious data will be vulnerable unless you take continuing steps to give security the primary priority it should have when it comes to our digital world. Alas, I fear the opposite is transpiring with more and more people abdicating the security of their digital universe and that unfortunately makes us all more vulnerable every day because we live an increasingly connected world.

These are the major technology trends sweeping our world today, both good and bad. Their adoption continues at unprecedented rates. However, the question remains, what are you doing to take advantage, adapt and to keep up in the face of these changes?

November Webinar Resources

Only on more webinar before we greet 2017! A big turn out this month and some good questions around the Power BI Office 365 content pack and Teams Sites was had and recorded. I also did a quick overview of the new Microsoft Teams and how to enable it in your Office 365 tenant.

The slides are now available for free download at:

November 2016 Need to Know Webinar

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

you can also now get access to all webinars via:

for a nominal fee.

I’ll be posting information about the December which at this stage looks like being around the 15th of December. As yet I haven’t settled on a topic, so if you have a suggestion of what you’d like to see a deep dive on when it comes to Office 365 please don’t hesitate to contact me (