If you’re not up on the latest from Microsoft in the business intelligence space, check out this quick 2 minute video. It’s amazing the amount of innovation that is going into analytics and visualizations. Many people have said Excel is “one of the best, most critical BI tools we have”. Microsoft is now taking BI to the next level.
Here’s a account of a 30 day experiment I did using only Office Online. For clarification, I will refer to the Office installed locally as (desktop) and Office products in the browser from Office 365 as (online).
Rules of the Experiment
Parameters of the experiment were pretty simple: unless jeopardizing my job or customer, I was only going to use Office (online) – no Office (desktop). This means I authored, edited, shared and presented content all from Office 365.
LOTS of recent announcements on Microsoft mobile device management strategy are worthy of an aggregated post.
EMM Game-Changing Announcement #1
Intune-managed Office mobile apps that enable your workforce to securely access corporate information using the apps they know and love while preventing data leakage. This is achieved by managing/restricting actions such as copy/cut/paste/save-as and interaction/”open in” between apps in your managed app ecosystem.
Mobile Application Management for iOS and Android devices that enable you to keep corporate apps and content separate from user’s personal apps and data. This feature empowers IT to apply policy to the corporate content while staying clear of the user’s personal content. Microsoft is building containers for Windows devices that will be released as a part of Windows 10, and we have worked to drive consistent APIs across the containers being delivered across Windows, iOS, and Android devices.
App wrapping capabilities that help secure your existing line-of-business applications and integrate them into your managed app ecosystem without further development or code changes. Using the Intune wrapper your line-of-business applications will be able to participate in the same managed app ecosystem as the Office mobile apps and securely share content and data with those Office mobile apps. No wrapper from any other EMM vendor can do this.
Managed browser, PDF viewer, AV player, and Image viewer apps for Intune that allow users to securely view content on their devices within the managed app ecosystem.
Grant conditional access to corporate resources, including access to Exchange e-mail and OneDrive for Business documents. This access is based on device enrollment and compliance policies set by the administrator. This is also something that no other EMM solution can deliver.
Bulk enrollment of devices using Apple Configurator or a service account, simplifying administration and enabling policies and applications to be deployed at a scale (you can read more about this here).
EMM Game-Changing Announcement #2
Device Settings Management Exchange administrators can define configuration policies that are applied to Windows, iOS and Android devices and regularly review compliance reports for all the devices accessing corporate e-mail. There are more than 100 additional settings that can be configured over and above EAS.
- Advanced passcode/pin settings
- Device encryption
- Jailbreak detection
Conditional Access to Office 365 Data Exchange administrators can define and apply conditional access policies for access to Exchange Online and SharePoint Online. Corporate e-mail and file-sync do not flow to the mobile device unless the policies required in the conditional access policy are met. If for any reason the device becomes non-compliant, e-mail and file sync are stopped until the device is compliant once again. This significantly increases the level of protection of corporate data on mobile devices.
Selective Wipe of Office 365 Data If a mobile device is lost/stolen, or if an individual leaves the organization, IT professionals can wipe the Office 365 corporate data from devices while keeping any personal data intact.
Integrated Administration within Office 365 Exchange administrators can set policies directly from within the Office 365 administration portal via an easy to use interface with wizard-based set up. Office 365 administrators will see a rich device compliance dashboard that shows exactly what devices are being managed and the settings that have been applied, as well as which devices are/not compliant
Introducing built-in mobile device management for Office 365
These new MDM capabilities, set to roll out in the first quarter of 2015, will help you manage access to Office 365 data across a diverse range of phones and tablets, including iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices, so you can:
Help secure and manage corporate resources—Apply security policies on devices that connect to Office 365 to ensure that Office 365 corporate email and documents are synchronized only on phones and tablets that are managed by your company.
Apply mobile device settings—Set and manage security policies such as device level pin lock and jailbreak detection on devices to help prevent unauthorized users from accessing corporate email and data when a device is lost or stolen.
Perform a selective wipe of Office 365 data—Remove Office 365 corporate data from a device when an employee leaves your organization, while leaving their personal data, photos and apps intact.
Preserve Office 365 productivity experience—Unlike third-party MDM solutions that have replaced productivity apps with restrictive all-in-one apps for corporate email, calendars and documents, MDM for Office 365 is built directly into the productivity apps your employees know and love. You can set access policies to help secure company data while keeping employees productive.
Manage policies with ease—Administer mobile device policies directly from within the Office 365 administration portal, through an easy to use interface with wizard-based set up. View reports on which devices are connected to Office 365 and identify devices that have been blocked due to non-compliance.
I’m kicking off 30 Days with Office 365 experiment with a Day 1 post on my Outlook experience today. Being one of the more critical tools of my work day, I thought I’d start here and see how it goes. I definitely wasn’t new to OWA (Outlook Web Access), and felt fairly confident I would be ok for awhile working via the browser.
Login/Launch – I found the initial login/launch incredibly quick. The web page was responsive and I was in to my Inbox in seconds.
Touch Mode – On first login, the website asks me if I want to switch to desktop mode (instead of touch mode), and kindly asks me if I want to remember this setting. Since I’m on a touch-enabled laptop, I decided to stick with desktop mode for the first day.
Creating/Replying/Deleting – Creating a new message and replying were fast as expected. Same as with Outlook 2013, if I navigated away from a message (new or reply) a draft would be saved for me automatically.
Moving Messages – No issues moving messages into other folders. Right-click exposed a context menu just like in Outlook 2013 and drag-and-drop worked as well.
Browser Tab – There wasn’t an easy way to open a second tab for things. A fairly easy work-around, I simply created a second tab and navigated to the Calendar.
Threading – Every once and a while, this still throws me off. Threading works as expected, but if you fork a message, the threading does not portray this like it does in Outlook 2013. It just shows the messages in chronological order, which can give the impression that they were replies of one another, when in fact they just share the same subject. There are some dots to the left of the threads, but without an authoritative answer, I’m only guess what they mean.
Signature – I am also missing the ability to store multiple signatures, but this is very minor and hasn’t been an issue for me.
Multiple Email – Since I’m in the context of one user account, I don’t have the ability to view/send email from multiple accounts like I would in Outlook 2013. Easy work around was to have another tab open for my personal accounts. I didn’t actually do this method, and found myself using my phone more for this scenario.
Meeting Preview – With that out of the way, the Calendar functionality really is good. The single click preview is awesome.
Single Pane – The general ability to do almost everything in a single window is really productive.
Personal Calendar – The biggest downfall for me was the inability to overlay personal calendars. I have several calendars that I use and having multiple windows open for them is a bit of a hassle. However, this won’t be the case with everyone and my phone still does an excellent job of aggregating appointments so I can see free/busy across all of them.
I will cover the “People” update under the Lync overview, Day 5
Task Lists – Like Outlook 2013, Tasks are shown from Exchange, but can also be linked from SharePoint Online. With that, the same great “merged” view of different task lists
Message Followup – I rely on Tasks a lot for following up on email requests and a simple right click allows me to set a follow up flag for emails.
I really couldn’t find any thing that didn’t work.
The email search works as good as Outlook 2013. However, the filters aren’t easily identifiable. Here is a list of the filters that work:
|From||Searches the From field.|
|To||Searches the To field.|
|Cc||Searches the Cc field.|
|Bcc||Searches the Bcc field.|
|Participants||Searches the To, Cc, and Bcc fields.|
|Subject||Searches the subject.|
|Body or Content||Searches the message body.|
|Sent||Searches the date sent. You can search for a specific date or a range of dates separated by two dots (..). You can also search for relative dates: Today, tomorrow, yesterday, this week, next month, last week, past month. You can search for the day of the week or month of the year.|
|Received||Searches for the date received. You can use the same search terms as for Sent.|
|Category||Searches the Category field.|
|Attachment||Searches for the specified attachment by title. For example, attachment:letter.doc will find any message with an attachment named letter.doc.|
|Has||Use has:flag to find items that are flagged.Use has:attachment to find items that have one or more attachments.|
I found Touch Mode great for tablet like scenarios (triaging email, quick responses, managing calendar, etc). Though, I did have a little bit of trouble initially finding the option to switch back to desktop mode.
|Touch Mode On||Touch Mode Off|
All in all – it was a seamless transition for the day. No challenges navigating or working with the Outlook in the browser. I definitely did not experience any productivity loss, which was most important. I don’t think I would have any issues converting over to Outlook (online) long-term, especially with the anticipated release of Office 365 Groups, which will integrate with Yammer.
Follow this on Storify: http://storify.com/erickraus/30-days-with-office-365
I’m kicking off an experiment where I’ll use only browser-based applications via O365 for 30 days. You can follow the story on Twitter with #30daysO365 or on Storify: http://storify.com/erickraus/30-days-with-office-365.
There is also an embedded feed for Storify on the lower right of the front page of the blog.
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:
A great resource for comparing how Microsoft stacks up to alternatives. Don’t take my word for it, let the LIVE examples be the proof.
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 http://portal.microsoftonline.com
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.
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).
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.
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.