CIAOPS Need to know Webinar–February 2017

Our next webinar of 2017 is now ready 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 the relationship between Office 365 and Azure to give you a better idea of how the products work together and how you can take advantage of both in your business.

You can register now at:

February Webinar Registration

The details are:

CIAOPS Need to Know Webinar – February 2017
Thursday 16th of February 2017
11am – 12am 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 via 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 130

Marc and I have some brief news and cloud updates for you and then we are straight into our guest for this episode. I speak with MVP Alan Burchill all about his upcoming Microsoft Ignite presentations:

Using Edge in the Enterprise

Microsoft Edge is one of the most secure and web standards compatible browsers on the market. See how the new management features in Windows 10 can help IT Professional to provide support for legacy web sites while still allowing users to access web sites with the latest web standards.

Don’t forget to send us your feedback at

You can listen to this episode directly at: 

or on Soundcloud here:

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.





Azure ready

Office 365 German datacenters

Microsoft tech days online

Microsoft tech summit – Birmingham

Learning online advertising–Part 1

There are a lot of things in this world I have no real clue about. One of these is online advertising to grow your business via the likes of Google and Facebook ads. My plan therefore is to endeavour to make sense of these and share with you my journey. So, let the story begin.

There are lot of “so called” online advertising experts out there spruiking their wares. Others I have talked to failed to provide any really concrete or repeatable evidence of the successful way that they have used online advertising to boost their businesses. This to my mind is not a very satisfactory set of circumstances. This has therefore lead me to the reality that I need to dive deep and understand this for myself, in terms that make sense to me.

I think step one in this process is to actually define a tangible and profitable goal you are looking to achieve. Something that you can measure direct clicks from online advertising to profit, which seems to me few actually do definitively. You want to know that X amount of clicks will generate you, on average, Y amount of dollars. Otherwise you are simply wasting money in my books.

So, for the purposes of my adventures here and to make measurement easier, I am going to stick to one simple desired outcome which is:

I want to boost the number of paid subscriptions to my online Getting Started with SharePoint Online Course.  

That now gives me an endpoint to take people after they have clicked any online ad. See my ad. Like my ad. Click my ad. Pay for my product. Profit generated. Simple right?

Now the second thing I did was put a hard stop on the amount of money I was going to spend before making adjustments. The amount that I settled on was $100. Thus, each time a $100 threshold was crossed I would stop and review before continuing.


The above shows you my first attempt using just Facebook ads. For my $100 I received about 86,000 views and about 1,100 clicks. That is a conversion rate of about 1%, which is no unexpected from what I have determined. Now the big question, how many of these 1,100 or so clicks actually converted into dollars? Answer? Zero. Yup, zero. None of the 1,100 or so people who click actually signed up and pad for the course.

Disappointing based on pure numbers but let’s have a think about this. The Facebook online ads do appear to have been doing their work by bringing people to the online course. The problem appears to be actually converting them to buying customers. In that respect one would have to conclude that issues lie with the destination not the online ad. Something about the destination site is not resonating with people. In short, the destination is not making the value statement well enough.

Of course there could be other factors such as the online ads attracting the wrong demographic and so on. However, I need to pick something to focus on and adjust so, to me, the most obvious is that the destination is failing to convert.

Thus, the next step in this learning process is to revamp the destination and make it more appealing and more focused on conversion. I’ve got some ideas on some improvements that can be made and once these are done I’ll click off the next $100 spend with Facebook online ads and see what results that produces. I’ll also spend more time doing research about this whole online advertising process and report back my findings.

However, in summary I would suggest:

1. Start with a well defined goal you want your online advertising to achieve. Something that is measurable.

2. Aim to have a clear path from your online advertising to profit. Be very clear about how a click on an online ad is going to generate you profit.

3. Place a spending limit on your advertising at which point to can stop and review the success of your campaign.

4. Understand where issues lie. Getting people to click or converting them after they have clicked. The process is not just a single component, there are many moving parts here.

Finally, remember that no matter what anyone says, simply throwing up online advertising is no automatic guarantee of success. Although many claim to be doing it successfully most aren’t (from what I see) so always base decisions on hard evidence and past performance not the emotional promises of what the future ‘may” bring with some “special” method. Science is the foundation of any art. You need to get the basics right before you gain insight.

Need to Know Podcast–Episode 129

Marc and I give our usual Office 365 and Azure update. We then speak with John Liu about his upcoming presentation at Microsoft Ignite Australia:

Serverless in Office 365 – Build Services with Azure Functions

There was a time when it was the good old days – we ran SharePoint on-premises, and business always wanted more customizations, and so we built them and delivered great value. Now, it seems as everything is moving towards Office 365, and there are fewer and fewer customizations we can do. To the business, it seems more and more we have to say no – we can’t do that. Code has to run somewhere. Suddenly, we are in the realm of hosting our own webjob, we may even have to find or buy a VM. We are left to wonder if we need to learn Docker too. Thank goodness – in 2016 we saw the rise of a new buzzword #Serverless – it promises a solution to many of these problems and lets us focus on what we do best again – creating solutions. Without having to worry so much about where or how to run it. This session is about introducing Azure Functions, and various amazing scenarios we can apply it to SharePoint and Office 365. Whether you are a new, veteran or even front-end developer, or if you are an IT Pro well versed in Powershell. This session is for you.

Don’t forget to send us your feedback at

You can listen to this episode directly at: 

or on Souncloud here:


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.





Azure news from Marc

Azure functions

Microsoft Cloud run rate

OneDrive and Officelens updates

Dynamics 365 roadmap

Need to Know Podcast–Episode 128

Marc and I are joined by a returning guest to talk all about her upcoming Microsoft Ignite Australia presentations. Sonia Cuff gives us the low down on what to expect with the following two sessions she is presenting:

Making SaaS part of your IT Strategy

With the business pushing for SaaS apps, why are we saying no? Can you balance an in-house infrastructure under strict controls & policies with a business reliance on an outsourced, uncontrolled solution? We’ll look at how to enable the business while still protecting them and how to keep your sanity.


The CEO reviewed your project & you won;t believe what happened next

Your budget was agreed. A reasonable timeframe was achieved. The implementation went smoothly. So why is the business still unhappy? You’ll learn why Digital Transformation is more than just technology deployment. We’ll show you what successful Digital Transformation looks like to the CEO & how you can ensure your IT work really is enabling people to achieve more. Find out some of the practical tools that Microsoft provides that can help you navigate this conversation with your executive stakeholders.

There is also the latest Office 365 and Azure news and don’t forget to send us your feedback at

You can listen to this episode directly at: 

or on Soundcloud here:


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.





Marc’s Azure news

Azure Active Directory meets Power BI

Office 365 planned service changes

Cloud platform roadmap

The Missing Chair:

Personal website:

MS Ignite Session: Making SaaS part of your IT Strategy

MS Ignite Session: The CEO reviewed your project & you won’t believe what happened next …

Microsoft FastTrack:

Sharing files with external users using OneDrive for Business

Here’s a bright shiny new video detailing how to share files with external users from OneDrive for Business. You’ll see how to share with external users via email address and via a direct URL. Nice and easy.

If you wish to share with external users via email (i.e. they have to actually login to view the document), then they’ll need a free Microsoft account which they may already have or can easily set up using their own email address.

If you wish to share the document without the need for a login you can also do that easily via OneDrive for Business.

Sharing your files via OneDrive for Business means that you retain the source and control of the files. It also means there is a single point of truth when it comes to the document. That alone is worth using OneDrive for Business to share personal business documents.

Office 2013 via Office 365 is going away

A key date that is fast approaching is the removal of availability and support of Office 2013 from the Office 365 portal. As detailed here:

Office 2016 is the recommended version of Office 365 ProPlus and includes all the latest upgrades and new features. As we announced in September 2015, when we released Office 2016, beginning March 1, 2017, the Office 2013 version of Office 365 ProPlus will no longer be available for installation from the Office 365 portal. Beginning March 1, 2017, your users will no longer see Office 2013 as an option for download through the Office 365 portal, and admins will no longer have the option under Software download settings in the admin portal to choose to enable Office 2013. In addition, we will no longer provide feature updates for this version, nor provide support.

The requirement to upgrade an old version of Office on the desktop has been detailed previously and I detailed it here:

Questions about Office 2016 via Office 365

Probably the major point with Office 2016 is that it doesn’t support connection to Exchange 2007. This is typically going to affect those users still running SBS 2008, so you have been warned.

Part of the subscription features of Office 365 means that subscribers have access to the latest software. They should now ensure that they have upgraded any previous versions to the latest that Office 365 offers.

As mentioned in my article, users have 12 months from the release date of new software to upgrade to the latest version of the software. Failing to do so will result in their current version going into ‘reduced functionality mode’ where they can only carry out basic functions such as as read and open.

If a user has Office 2013 from Office 365 they will not be upgraded automatically, they will need to install the software manually. For answers to more questions about Office from Office 365 I urge your to read the above articles and make the change over as soon as possible.

The middle age spread

This is part nine 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

Macro Trends

Software will eat the world

The phone is the desktop

Build a tailored service

Focus on adding value


The reality of many IT service businesses today is a model that looks like the above graphic I believe. To my mind, it illustrates that the majority of resources inside an IT services business are spent on managing and maintaining human capital. Now that human capital could be people management (i.e. employees) or it could be knowledge management (i.e. keeping up to date), but is most likely a combination of both. No matter what the components that constitute it, it is by far the largest drain on the business and is something that affects both IT resellers, both large and small.

In this old model, the human capital resource has to be the widest component to cater for all eventualities and is the base on which everything else sits. Most IT providers need people and knowledge to cover the huge variety of products and services they sell and the systems they utilise to support these. Some of these may only be required occasionally but there is too much risk involved in not having them covered. So the base of the structure traditionally needs to be the widest to support those layered on top of it.

This traditional model for revenue growth for IT providers has been to add more products and customers constantly. Adding more product generally also means introducing additional vendors. For example, ‘we hear there is good money in VoIP phone systems, let’s do that’ and off the business goes, charging down the path of adding more products that require additional resources for ill defined or unknown returns. Likewise, many IT providers have traditionally taken on any client they come across because their focus is on revenue rather than profit. If duly examined, many IT resellers would find that probably 20% of their customers are providing 80% or more of the profit in their business, yet the amount of resources dedicated to the most profitable customers is probably quite low. That is simply an indication that the IT reseller has lost business focus and is merely fighting fires. In short, they are letting the business control them.

Much of the diversity of products that resellers have to support comes from the variety of customers they also elect to support. Many customers has little in common with other customers, so each becomes a unique instance to accommodate. This requires unique knowledge and lots of time spent doing things that can’t be applied elsewhere or are worthwhile automating. The greater the variety of customers on board the exponentially worse this all becomes.

With a huge variety of both customers and products to support, you end up having far more resources than you need, ‘just in case’. This means an ever decreasing width as you move towards the top of the structure shown above, because the lower level must be larger than the upper one ‘just in case’. Unfortunately, at the top of this model sits the smallest component of all, profit. That has been eaten away by all the supporting structure underneath. Thus, the business now has the ‘middle age spread’ as I like to call it, far bigger in the bottom than the top. Which is not what you want it to be like if we are honest right?

You’ll also notice that I have included an unnamed mystery box floating over the whole structure. This is something that nearly every IT reseller I know of does not do or even take seriously, yet is one of the most factors in the success of a business. Any ideas on what it could be? Stay tuned.

The question is, what can be done to fix the situation? The next article sill start delving into the solutions in more detail.