Eric Kraus


BYOD has nothing to do with devices

Ok, so maybe nothing is a bit of a stretch, but here is a different take on the traditional: “how do we manage devices?” challenge.

[dropcap]L[/dropcap]et’s start with a baseline understanding of what we do. A fairly neutral definition of IT is to provide organizations with access to information and tools to enable employees to make informed and timely decisions in the most efficient way possible – all at a justifiable cost. Fair enough? At the end of the day, employee productivity is about the creation and consumption of and decisions that surround information. In most cases, devices such as phones, tablets, PCs are just tools that give us the ability to create and interact with that information in order to make decisions for better of the business. That information is built from data generated in emails, meeting notes, reports, etc. etc. So, in summary, it should be fair to say, day-to-day business is all about data.

What’s the real problem?

Now to define the problem. How do you define a BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”) effort? Is it an initiative to eliminate the cost of issuing employee devices? Is it allowing users to bring in any device from home with the premise that it is used for enhancing their productivity (making better/faster decisions)? Is it something ‘we have to do’ to appeal to a new generation of workforce? Or, is it simply, “all of the above” with a subtext, “how do we safely manage those devices?” Here lies the problem with any of those definitions: If the fundamental goal is to figure out how to manage all of today and tomorrow’s devices, it’s a losing proposition. Innovation is too great, and technology changes in a moment’s time. Besides, at the end of the day, how does that device ‘management’ help the business with access to their data?

Rarely in BYOD discussions do I spend a significant amount of time talking about data. Typically conversations are around MDM/MAM/Phone/OS strategy, etc. Rather, I see a need to change the conversation to “Data Management Strategy.” A focus on securing the data first and then offering a tiered approached of device management based on the end-user experience desired (more on this later). In the end, a data strategy first will have lowered the risk of accidental intellectual property loss in a manner that is device agnostic and allows room to scale.

A lesson from the music industry 

Take for example, digital rights managed (DRM) music. As a music lover, you want unlimited access to music. So you enter into a ‘contract’ with a company that licenses music (let’s say Xbox Music). In return for your monthly fee, a certificate is granted to you and the world of music is available to you. All of the music that you download can be played across multiple devices (tablets, phones, etc.) online or offline. The music file is what is managed, not the device, nor album art, or playlists, etc. Upon termination of our agreement, the certificate is removed from my device and access to play the music is revoked. The powerful benefit of this model is that Xbox Music knows very little of my machine therefore ‘wiping’ the device of all music isn’t required…the files just become obsolete.

Is it full proof? Like any system, it’s not 100% full proof. The system is not designed to be perfect, but rather protect against easy ways to exploit the system…mostly accidental loss and some intentional. Anyone seeking to be malicious, will probably succeed.

Build an ‘experience matrix’

In the world of security, user-experience is usually inversely proportional to protection. The more secure you want to make a system, the worse the experience gets for the user (think two-factor authentication). If organizations can protect their data first, managing devices becomes more of an experience discussion and security is determined by the level of experience desired. Microsoft (internally) offers a rich BYOD experience. MSIT has accomplished this by enabling employees with tools to protect the data first. A clear policy and mandatory training ensures employees understand how to secure the data. Then, MSIT publishes a support/management matrix for a wide category of devices. The matrix includes what experiences are enabled and what level of management is required to obtain that experience.

Recommendations for a Data Management (BYOD) Strategy

  • Data classification. Protecting IP is important, but spending a million dollars over a year-long project to protect the holiday party catering menu, is not efficient. One size doesn’t fit all.
  • Develop a matrix of experiences you want to offer with devices you will support. As much of this exercise is deciding what you will/won’t support as it is clearly documenting it for users to rationalize
  • Build change into the strategy. One thing is for certain, by the time you implement a strategy, it will have new requirements. Build the strategy with agility in mind and answer question like:
    • What if iPads were no longer supported tomorrow?
    • What if WiFi is no longer free wherever you go?
    • Is the strategy flexible enough to support these and other situations?

Installing Office 365

Remember the Office Home Use Program (HUP) ? It’s now even better with Office 365.


  • It takes about 5 minutes to install a FULL functioning copy of Office
  • You can install the new Office side-by-side on a computer that has another copy of Office on it (2003, 2007, 2010, etc.)
  • Because it will be connected to your corporate login it will keep all of your settings from other PCs, recent documents etc.
  • You can deploy up to 5 copies of Office, including home computers with both Mac OS and Windows
  • This is only available through the Office 365 service.

How To Install Office Pro Plus with Office 365

1. From a browser on any device type in

2. Put in your corporate credentials/email address.

3. In the upper right, click on the Settings icon that looks like a gear.

4. Click on “Office 365 Settings”

5. Click on “Software” tab.

6. You can see what devices you have it installed on, how many installs you have left and then a one-click install of Office.

7. In about 5 minutes, you will have a fully functioning version of Office 2013 deployed to your machine. Further installation will continue in the background (for approximately 20 minutes), but you can work on documents while that happens.


SkyDrive Pro Increases Storage

Another perfect example of the value of Microsoft’s SaaS (Software As A Service) and Cloud Services: continuous innovation.  Microsoft recently announced that SkyDrive Pro (on Office 365) will increase the default amount of storage for users as well as add a few other valuable features.

Each user will now get 25 GB of SkyDrive Pro storage space (up from 7 GB). Additionally, administrators can increase users’ storage beyond the default 50 GB and 100 GB limits.  The team also added a new “Shared with Me” view to  easily find documents others have shared with you.

Read more here:


Azure Announcements


Two significant announcements were made last week that are worthy of a call out. They are a clear sign of the commitment and investment Microsoft is making in the cloud.


Microsoft Cloud Solutions Demonstrate Ability to Support Qualified GxP Applications

Microsoft becomes the only major combined IaaS, PaaS and SaaS public cloud provider to enable life sciences organizations to meet GxP qualification requirements, Helping Life Sciences Organizations Achieve and Maintain Compliance in the Cloud

Press Release:



Microsoft/Oracle Enterprise Partnership

Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp. today announced a partnership that will enable customers to run Oracle software on Windows Server Hyper-V and in Windows Azure. Customers will be able to deploy Oracle software — including Java, Oracle Database and Oracle WebLogic Server — on Windows Server Hyper-V or in Windows Azure and receive full
support from Oracle.

Press Release:

Oracle Blog:


Exciting Updates for Office

Wanted to share a couple exciting updates related to Office and Office 365.


Office Mobile for iPhone


Outlook 2013 is coming to Windows RT

As part of the Windows 8.1 update, Outlook 2013 will be coming to Windows RT (joining Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote).

more information:

Living with Windows 8

I’ve been running a version of Windows 8 now for approximately 2 years and I’ve been quietly collecting my thoughts while Microsoft put together its formal marketing strategy around the “post-PC era” and its new “touch-first” operating system.  I’m not interested in debating Windows 8 vs. iOS/Android.  From a feature comparison, they are competitive (period).  So the rest is opinion on ecosystem, specifics, individual need, etc.

Instead, I’d rather share my personal experience with Windows 8, how I use it and why I believe in Microsoft’s strategy.


When both the iPhone and iPad were released, I -like many others- bought in to what was then a non-existent world of apps, social networking and productivity in my pocket.  I loved it and told everyone I knew that I loved it.  However, from day one, on both devices, there were limitations in what I could do.

I was a HUGE music buff, but certainly didn’t have the budget to support buying every song I liked.  I also noticed that my iPhone (and later my iPad) turned into great notification & web browsing devices…For example, I would receive an email, that required a decent response, and I found myself digging out my laptop to respond.  A lot has changed since then though.  Subscription services like Spotify and Pandora are mature and Bluetooth keyboards are paired with about 1 out of 4 iPads I see.

What I love

Xbox Music
After leaving the Apple ecosystem, I found myself in Zune and have never looked back.  Not only was the Zune software significantly better for exploring music.  Also, with Zune, and now Xbox Music, I only pay $9.99/month and I can stream OR download all the music I want.  I build playlists for working out, writing code (yes I still do some), social gatherings, etc.  Not only does it work great on Windows 8, but it’s built in to my Windows phone and our Xbox too.

Messenger / Skype
The built-in messenger is pretty cool.  Skype is obviously great and well adopted across the world.  At first glance of the Messenger app, it appears like you would only be able to chat with fellow Windows 8 users, but if you link up your Facebook account to your Microsoft account, you have access to all of your Facebook friends too.  This feature is a home run on my Lumia 920 too.  It blends messages that come via Facebook, Messaging (same as Windows 8) and txt messages.  In both cases, it lets me carry on a single conversation thread with a person no matter what platform they are on.

Live Tiles
Live tiles may seem like a minor thing until you realize how much time you spend opening apps just to see IF there is anything in them you want to see (Weather, Mail, Calendar, Facebook, Twitter, News, etc. etc.)  I turned my live tiles off the other day just to test my use of them and I was blown away at how much I felt disconnected.  The live tiles really provide a lot of information that make your device personal and informative.

Xbox SmartGlass
SmartGlass is still relatively new, but the existing functionality paired with potential are amazing.  You can control your Xbox (music, TV, movies, etc) from your Windows 8 device.  I’m not a huge gamer, but we are already seeing SmartGlass “companion” video and games come out.

Share and Search
We’ve heard enough of the Charms in Windows 8, but I seriously lean on the Share and Search features of Windows 8 in almost every app.  My largest “consumer” usage covers Browser, Music, News and Recipe apps.  Search and Share have ways of tracking your frequent actions so they are easily available.  For instance, I share news articles with several colleagues (typically the same ones) and share recipes with my mom and wife.  With 3 taps, an email is sent off (without having to retype email addresses each time) and I continue on working in the app.

These are just a few ways Windows 8 has been successful to me.  With updates coming in “Windows Blue”, the integration between Xbox, Windows 8 and Windows Phone will be even tighter.  (details to come)


SharePoint Yammer Roadmap

Microsoft recently published a blog detailing some SharePoint, Yammer, Office 365 roadmap disclosures.  I won’t repost the entire link, you can read it for yourself, but wanted to highlight a few key items that are important.


Enhancement Schedule
As we move into 2014, we’ll continue updating Office 365 with new social enhancements roughly every 90 days. We’ll start by simply deepening the connections between Yammer and Office 365 services, but over time these incremental enhancements will combine social, collaboration, email, instant messaging, voice, video, and line of business applications in innovative new ways.

Another reason why cloud services are perfect for delivering constant innovation to your organization

Newsfeed or Yammer?  Which should we use?
This summer, Office 365 customers will be able to replace the SharePoint Newsfeed with Yammer if they choose.  Is that the right choice?  In my opinion, yes…Yammer all the way.  Because Yammer is a service, it gives Microsoft an easy way to innovate quicker.  Also, Microsoft is making huge investments to integrate Yammer in as many products as possible.  SharePoint, Office 365, Dynamics, etc.  Yammer’s cross-platform mobile apps and external communities make it prime for instant social collaboration.

What about on-premises deployments? “When it comes to the cloud, we’re “all in,” but we’re also realistic.  We have a large on-premises installed base that’s important to us, and we’re committed to future releases of the server.” 

However, on-prem deployments will be subject to similar historical release schedules (every 3 years) with some service pack updates along the way.  For organizations that need to provide modern capabilities as markets (and employees) demand, cloud services are still the best way to go.


Windows Store App: PictureThis!

I’ve been on a “shameless plug” tour this last week, sharing my latest app submission to the Windows Store.  Wanted to share the app through a blog post and also announce that I will be sharing a few of the lessons learned from this development experience as well.  So take a peak at the app, leave a good review and check back here for some updates on Windows Store development.

Install PictureThis! –