Monday, December 17, 2018

Microsoft Cloud service descriptions

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One of the common pain points that people are reporting in my recent Challenges with Microsoft Cloud survey here:

What is you biggest challenge with the Microsoft Cloud

is wanting a single location that compares all of the offerings side by side.

Unfortunately, given the huge number of options across different teams in Microsoft there really isn’t a single place. This stems back to an earlier article I wrote about

Why IT today is like coffee

which in short details how we live in a world were people want lots of choices rather than a single monolithic solution. This is so people can get EXACTLY what they want and not have to pay for things they don’t want or need. The price we pay for lots of choice is, lots of choice.

All is not lost however because there are few places you can go to get a pretty good overview what the Microsoft Cloud offers.

The first place to start is the Office 365 service descriptions. This will lay out in great detail all the plans side by side and features that each include. You can drill down beyond the suites into individual service like Exchange and SharePoint Online if you want.

Now for Azure the best option is probably Products by region. This will show you each Azure service as well the region that it is available in. To get an idea of all the abilities of Azure have a look at the list of Azure products as a reference guide.

If you are interested in what Microsoft 365 Business contains then look at the Microsoft 365 Business Service Description.

Of course, much of this gets updated regularly so how can you keep up with changes? Well, use the Recent services description changes to see what’s new in Office 365. There is also the new and updated Microsoft 365 Roadmap, which will help you plan what changes are down the pipe.

Azure has something similar over at Azure updates.

Many of these update locations have the ability for you to subscribe to via RSS or email so you can get prompted when things change. I have detailed previous how you can use Microsoft Teams, Office 365 and Yammer to stay up to date by pushing the change feeds into these services automatically.

With lots of options comes lots of detailed information. It is simply a fact of life these days. I would suggest that the services descriptions should be the source of truth for what is included in Office 365 and Microsoft 365. Everything else I have seen is a summary of this. Azure is a different kind of beast, so start with the list of Azure products and drill in from there.

Remember, as Clay Shirky says, it isn’t information overload, it is filter failure. You can’t ingest everything, so find the best stuff and consume that. Be selective with your information sources and always search for the highest quality. Hopefully, I’ve given you some quality places to start here.