Eric Kraus

Microsoft and Open Source

Wanted to share some updates on the work Microsoft is doing in the open source space.

Open Compute Project

[dropcap]B[/dropcap]ack in January, we announced a contribution to the Open Compute Project.  Microsoft is sharing what they call their ‘Microsoft cloud server specification‘: the designs for the most advanced server hardware in Microsoft datacenters delivering global cloud services like Windows Azure, Office 365, Bing and others.

We are excited to participate in the OCP community and share our cloud innovation with the industry in order to foster more efficient datacenters and the adoption of cloud computing.

more details on that can be found here.


[dropcap]A[/dropcap]nother interesting set of investments in open source comes from the Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. team.  It’s a group of people building bridges between Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies…powering interoperability through open standards and open source.

Here are some of the projects they are working:

SharePoint Conference 2014 – Day 2

Day 1  |  Day 2  |  Day 3  |  Enterprise Social Sessions (recorded)  |  All Session Recordings (Channel 9)

More great news out of SharePoint Conference today.  Here are a few highlights.

OneDrive for Business

OneDrive for Business Standalone Subscription

  • 25GB of Storage (option to purchase more)
  • Offline Sync
  • Multi-platform
  • Enterprise-Ready Administration
  • Promotional pricing: $2.50 per user per month in all licensing agreements/programs (50% discount) through September 2014
  • For customers with Office with SA or Office 365 ProPlus: $1.50 per user per month; agreement types included: Open, Enterprise Agreement, and MPSA.


Skype is Now Available in HD for Customer


Office for Developers


InfoPath (Office Forms Future)

Office Forms vNext Feedback Survey

  • Feedback on vision for Office Forms
  • InfoPath will be supported until April 2023


Watch keynotes/SPC TV

Channel 9 – SharePoint Conference 2014 TV


SharePoint Conference 2014 – Day 1

Day 1  |  Day 2  |  Day 3  |  Enterprise Social Sessions (recorded)  |  All Session Recordings (Channel 9)

Attempting to summarize all of the great content being distributed at SharePoint Conference 2014 (#SPC14) would be nearly impossible.  However, here’s a list of the top links being shared across my Yammer/Twitter feeds.


Office / Office 365

Technology is Enabling New Ways of Working

Work Like a Network! Enterprise Social and the Future of Work

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM / Yammer Enhancements
  • Yammer Enterprise with all Office 365 Enterprise plans
  • Office Graph – email, social conversations, documents, sites, instant messages, meetings map the relationships between people and things that make business go
  • Groups Experience – Yammer feed and inbox will both display the same conversation, so users who are more comfortable in Yammer can participate in the group through the feed, and users who prefer email can participate in the group through the inbox
  • Inline Social Experiences – weaving social into the apps that matter most by creating Inline Social Experiences in Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics, and any other app, service, or line-of-business system that is important to business

OneDrive for Business – cloud file storage and sharing just got easier

SharePoint Server 2013 Service Pack 1 now available

New Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2013



If you’re not following the #responsiveorg movement by now, it’s time to hop on the wagon.

Another awesome effort to follow is #_Unbound.  It’s a all about working out loud and being social.  The brain is @matthewpartovi   You can read more here.



Oh…and InfoPath is dead…but not unsupported.  More coming this week.


Outlook Natural Language

I learn something every day. Here’s a cool tip a colleague of mine shared internally today. When scheduling a meeting in Outlook, you can use natural language to quickly set the date.

For example, you could say “today” or “tomorrow” or “next week” or better yet “today + 4 days”. Here are some screenshots of it in action:

OutlookMeeting1 OutlookMeeting2


OutlookMeeting3 OutlookMeeting4


OutlookMeeting5 OutlookMeeting6

Office 365 and DocuSign Partnership

Microsoft and DocuSign recently announced a partnership to bring electronic signatures to Office 365.

Among the features first being delivered:

  • Easy administration
  • Single-Sign On
  • Secure Storage
  • Office Store availability

Both organizations have agreed that this is only the start and they will continue to collaborate on bringing new innovations to the Office 365 offering.

More details:


Project Sienna

This is pretty cool. You can make Windows 8 apps with NO code. As a former developer, I was really skeptical as to how well this would work. I am convinced. For basic to intermediate applications, this is a really cool method for creating applications.


  • Add Text, Images, Buttons, Lists, etc. etc.
  • Navigate between pages
  • Link up data sources: Excel, RSS, SharePoint
  • Publish the app to AppX format (easily distributable or cataloged)

Multi-Factor Authentication to O365


Microsoft just announced that Multi-factor Authentication will be added to Office 365 Midsize Business, Enterprise, Academic, Nonprofit, and standalone plans: Exchange Online and SharePoint Online.


  • After successfully entering password, users are required to acknowledge a phone call, text message, or an app notification on their smartphone
  • Only after this second authentication factor has been satisfied can a user sign in.


For applications like Office, that don’t current support MFA, the platform will support App Passwords can be generated to leverage the added security. MFA support in Office client is on the roadmap and is schedule for later 2014.

For a technical understanding Multi-factor Authentication for Office 365, please visit the following technet article.

Please visit the Office 365 Trust Center for more information on security in Office 365.

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?