Final chance before price increase

As I have mentioned over the past few months, I am planning to increase the entry price for my CIAOPS Patron program from the 1st of January 2019.

You can view a current summary table below:


If you are keen to stay up to date with the Microsoft Cloud including Office 365, Microsoft 365, Azure and more, then now is the time to jump on board so you can be grand fathered in at current rates. After the 1st of January the new rates will apply.

I have created what I believe to be single source of the best Microsoft Cloud information that can be found anywhere out there. The amount of time it will save you each and every day is well worth the subscription if you work in this space.

Join the community of people getting benefit today. Visit:

to sign up.

CIAOPS Patron price change

As mentioned in a previous update, I will raising the entry price for my CIAOPS Patron program from the 1st of January 2019. However, if you join before then you will be automatically grandfathered in at the existing rate.

You can find out more information and sign up here:

As an extra incentive to join before December 1 2018, I will be offering a free Yubikey to anyone who signs up prior to that date. Yubikeys can be used for MFA with Azure AD amongst other security configurations.


So sign up today to become a CIAOPS Patron and take advantage of this free Yubikey offer until the 1st of December.

My OneNote daybook template


A while back I detailed how I use OneNote to replace my paper diary. You can read about that here:

One of the ways I use OneNote

The main benefits of a “daybook” for me are:

1. It is searchable

2. It is backed up

3. It is available on all my devices

This concept of a “daybook” is something that I use in my Office 365 adoption process. I have users create their very own “daybook” as part of learning how to use OneNote and OneDrive.

Creating a whole OneNote diary can be time consuming and many people simply want a completed “daybook” template that they can start using immediately. If you do, then I have uploaded to my GitHub repository for you here:

Simply download the file and open it with your favourite version of OneNote.

Go forth, save the trees and OneNote.

Need to Know podcast–Episode 193

Join us in this episode as Brenton speak with Lorenzo Coppa from Gluh, which is clever way for IT Resellers to sell more hardware with less hassle and overhead. Brenton and I also bring you up to date with all the latest Microsoft Cloud news. Just because Ignite is over doesn’t mean that the news stops from the cloud. We’ll bring you up to date with everything you need to know.

Take a listen and let us know what you think –

You can listen directly to this episode at:

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.





Updated version of Windows 10 1803 rolling out

Ignite book of news

Create an organisation wide team in Microsoft Teams

New capabilities coming to the SharePoint Migration Tool

How Azure AD can help clean up data in your on-premises Active Directory

Reset passwords from all versions of Windows

Ignite 2018 session Youtube index from CIAOPS

ID Fix tool

The benefits of certification


I’m seeing a growing number of progressive IT Professionals wanting to become certified so they can differentiate themselves from the crowd. I’m also seeing many of the same tired old responses to why people won’t get certified. Most of these are really just based on fear of failure.

The first major excuse people use is around the fact that they believe practical experience is enough. The problem is that practical experience is not consistent across the field. Everyone’s practical experience varies. How do you go about measuring that in a consistent manner? What is the best way to determine that everyone meets certain minimum standards? How to actually ensure that people have some idea about the products they install and support? Answer? Certification. Complete an independent standard exam to demonstrate your knowledge across a broad range of topics on the product. That provides you with a skills measure against the field. It provides external parties a way to very that you are indeed knowledgeable in what you say you are. It provides a public benchmark.

The next major excuse people provide is that fact that the topics covered in the certification aren’t relevant. Every course will cover both material that is and isn’t directly relevant. It is therefore important to focus on certifications that are most aligned to the profession you are working in or you wish to head. Also, don’t forget that technology changes over time, as do the needs for people in their careers. The skills you have today may not be the skills you need tomorrow. They may also not be the skills you require if you desire to change roles down the track. Broadening your knowledge is a good thing because there are many areas where you simply don’t have the experience. Certification forces you to examine and at least learn these to some basic level.

Another common excuse I see is the claim that customers never ask to see any type of qualifications from IT people. This may be because most people “assume” that IT Professionals are exactly that, professional. One of the traits of being professional is the desire to keep up to date and continue to develop knowledge that can be applied to helping those you serve. Doing things the same old way because it has ‘always’ worked is not being professional, it is being ignorant. Many of the careers we consider ‘professional’ like engineers, accountant, doctors, lawyer and so on are generally required to complete some ongoing form of professional development. This is aimed at ensuring that they stay current with all the trends in their field. It ensures that appreciate the changes that are happening that affect the people that they serve. If you want to join say the Institute of Professional Engineers, for example, you will need to commit to completing ongoing professional development.

Certification is going to give you recognition from an independent authority that you have competent knowledge in that topic. It is going to make you prepare and broaden your knowledge of the product. There hasn’t been a certification process that I have gone through where I didn’t learn something new. That is really the key reason for undertaking certifications, they are an excellent way to grow your own knowledge about your profession. This concept of learning is really the difference between those that undertake certification and those that rail against it. Certification doesn’t make you an expert but it does ensure you know your subject. If you really know your stuff, then you are more than willing to be tested on it.

My experience is that the people who rail most loudly against the benefits of certifications are those that have the greatest fear of being exposed as not really knowing as much as they think or claim. If you are confident in your knowledge you should welcome the chance to prove whether your knowledge is indeed as thorough as you believe and as current as your believe. You should always welcome the chance to learn more no matter what form it comes in. You should also welcome the chance to push yourself because certification isn’t really about external accomplishment, it is about the inner satisfaction of setting goals and achieving them.

There is a reason that people pursue higher learning delivered from places like university and technical colleges. They do this to provide themselves with a greater level of knowledge that can potentially be applied to their career and in turn given them greater opportunities and outcomes. Will they use everything they learning immediately? No. Are they likely to use everything they learn in these higher institutions during their career? No. Are they going to have to continue learning throughout their career? Of course. There is reason they call institutions like universities centres for “high education”.

Those who wish to achieve understand that they need to invest in themselves. They understand that they need to invest in knowledge to provide them with a competitive advantage. They also understand that if they continue the lifelong pursuit of knowledge they will continue to lead those that don’t. They understand that technology is now changing so rapidly that there isn’t any other option but to embrace on going learning and development. Failing to do so will consign you to the status of ‘has been’.

Are certifications are prefect measure of knowledge? No. Do they have merit beyond the mere academic results they provide? Absolutely. Those that embrace this as a lifelong commitment to learning will reap the benefits. They see certifications as not only an endorsement of their knowledge but also as a way to challenge and lift themselves beyond the mediocre. Those that deride certifications are probably fearful of not living up to where they believe their knowledge and currency is. Remember, as Archilochus said, “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”

CIAOPS Need to Know Office 365 Webinar–October


Heaps of news and update to cover from the recent Microsoft Ignite conference plus a deep dive into SharePoint is going to keep us pretty busy this month. If you want to know the latest and coolest technologies coming to your Office 365 environment plus get a better understanding of how SharePoint integrates with services like Microsoft Teams then don’t miss this month’s webinar.

You can register for the regular monthly webinar here:

October Webinar Registrations

The details are:

CIAOPS Need to Know Webinar – October 2018
Wednesday 24th of October 2018
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 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.

CIAOPS Patron price changes

I am letting people know that I will be raising the entry prices for my CIAOPS Patron program from the 1st of January 2019. However, every one who is already in the program before that date will be grand fathered in at their existing rate.

Thus, if you have been thinking of jumping on board to take advantage of all the great resources that are available as apart of the program such as detailed Office 365 and Azure notebooks, a private community forum, access to online training and more, well now is the time to act. You can read more about these resources here:

If you join the program before the 1st of January 2019 you’ll not only receive all the existing benefits but all the new ones I plan to start rolling out in the new year.

If you work with the Microsoft Cloud, particularly Office 365 and Azure, then you are going to get loads of benefits from this program. It is really the best way to stay up to date with the Microsoft Cloud, all in a single location.

I hope to see you inside the program soon. Don’t hesitate, join the other successful Microsoft Cloud professionals who are already part of this program.

CIAOPS Learn is here

One of the most common stumbling blocks I see with business today, especially when it comes to using technology is that most simply don’t have the minimum skills to drive productivity benefits. This means that technology becomes more of a hinderance than a help.

This lack of digital literacy has arisen simply because of the low priority that training has been given within the organisation. Many businesses seem to expect their staff to learn technology on ‘the fly’ or in their own time. This is not an environment where people can grow their knowledge about the products and most simply revert to using the ‘minimum’ with each product and fail to explore the full range of options and services that are available to them.

This lack of digital literacy is even more the case with services like Office 365 that are constantly being upgraded and enhanced. Without dedicated time to learning the vast majority of the benefits of these tools are going to remain hidden from the business. This in turn makes them less competitive and productive.

The challenge with traditional training is that sending people ‘back to school’, where they attend all day training courses is simply not feasible or consistent enough not to mention being expensive. Trying to pick up information from the web or YouTube can result in actually getting the wrong or misleading information.

With these challenges in mind I am happy to announce the CIAOPS Learn program that provides web based video training for Office 365 across the whole range of services. From Outlook to OneNote, from OneDrive to Stream, you’ll find it here. For a simple per user per month cost you can give people access to a vast array of up to date training material. You can also customise the learning paths that people take as well as see a dashboard of their progress.


Because this a per user per month service, you can subscribe for as long as you need. You can also sign up for as many licenses as you need at any time. There are single and multiple user options. Payments are handled directly via the CIAOPS Academy but invoicing in AU$ is also possible as well as options for resellers.

To find out more about the service visit:

where you’ll find more information as well as how to sign up immediately using the portal. CIAOPS Gold and Silver patrons also receive free access to the portal as part of their benefits as well, so if you are supporting the Microsoft Cloud you should become a Patron today to receive access to this plus a range of additional benefits.

The better you can utilise technologies like Office 365, the productive and profitable your business will be. With CIAOPS Learn you are now to do this and stay up to date for a low monthly fee.

Become digitally literate today, join the CIAOPS Learn program