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Archives / 2015
  • Summing up the year of 2015 and embracing 2016

    Tags: Personal

    Wow, 2015 has been one really interesting year for me! For the 9th year I will do my summary post (here’s the olde ones:  2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006).
    2015 started really cool with me joining Avanade here in Sweden and boosting the Collaboration efforts. It is an incredible team we have here and some amazing customers and opportunities ahead and I don’t regret this move for a second. And now in December I internally switched role to an even more interesting position – Nordic Digital Workplace Architect. Avanade has really understood what a Digital Workplace is and I’m really looking forward to focusing even more on this. Enough of Avanade talk, but if you’re interested in working in the front line of the future Digital Workplace and with us, contact me!

    Writing

    Over the years I’ve done less writing about technical stuff, partly because I’m not that deep into this as I once was but mainly due to the fact that I’ve been bored about what has happened in this space over the last few years. BUT – as you will notice within a few months, things are happening! *wink, wink*

    This year I started a new series of blog posts called What’s new on the Office Roadmap. It’s a direct result of Microsoft being unable themselves to communicate their plans. The current roadmap site is despite all the feedback a disgrace. I’ve logged and blogged 31 changes since March – which is awesome, there are some really nice things coming and I do look forward to seeing this running in my clients tenants. Office 365 is killing the competition now when it comes to collaboration and productivity.

    The most read articles, from this year is:

    Speaking

    Also this year I’ve been invited to speak at conferences. Actually I’m invited to way more conferences than I can speak at, which is cool. Thank you! You can find all my presentations at this page

    MVP

    For the sixth time I was awarded the Microsoft MVP award. Thanks Microsoft. I love the interaction we now have with the SharePoint and Office 365 teams!!!

    Predictions

    Last year I didn’t have any specific predictions more than 2015 would be about services. I think we’ve seen this happen; Windows 10 is almost like a service, Office 365 is expanding more than ever, Azure is kicking some serious butt.

    What about 2016? I think 2016 will be mainly two things:

    • Microsoft will be cool again. I’m not talking about ninja cats or things. Microsoft is once again driving and inventing the future. Microsoft is doing a lot of things right at the moment (well except for Windows Phone, 2016 might be the last year unless they do something revolutionary)
    • It’s all about the users. Users doesn’t care about tech, well at least not the majority. The users choose the servvice, technology, product, app, hardware they like – coporate policies or not, IT departments just have to understand that. Consumerization of Enterprise IT has been  on the wall for some time and next year it will happen.

    Happy new year

    Happy new year to all my followers and readers. 2015 was great but 2016 will be awesome. I haven’t been this excited about what is going to happen since…I don’t know when.

  • What’s new on the Office Roadmap – 2015-12-18

    Tags: Office 365

    A christmas update to the Office Roadmap! It looks like Microsoft has abandoned their bi-weekly update schedule and is now updating whenever they can (please, I got a job to do!). This time it’s a few new thingies but mostly a clean up of old released stuff.

    Happy holidays everyone!

    Changes 2015-12-18

    Now Launched

    • Analyze Office 365 data with Equivio Zoom: the eDiscovery features now allows you to integrate Equivio machine learning capabilities. This is some cool stuf that I need to experiment with. The compliance and eDiscovery fetaures of Office 365 is just getting stronger and stronger. (From in development)
    • FastTrack | Improving Intune onboarding with MDM: Get on board the Office 365 train even faster with improved Intune onboarding stuff (from in development)

    Rolling out

    • Office 365 Protection Center: The Compliance center is renamed to Protection Center. A very good move since the features of the Compliance center is expanding so much. Also a new and improved UI is on the way. (New)
    • Removal of Delivery Reports from Outlook on the web: Delivery reports of mail will be removed from OWA. It will remain in the Outlook client though. I don’t mind if they kill of this feature totally. It’s just annoying and since you can always decline to send a delivery report it has no purpose. (new)
    • Unlimited storage for OneDrive for Business: Unlimed, limited, unlimited…the story goes on. Read the full post here. That post is written by the Office chieftain Jeff Teper, compared to previous OneDrive posts, so it might be true… (from in development)
    • Work Management in Office 365: Planner is rolling out to all First Release customers. Wohoo. Note that it is a preview rolling out. More info. (from in development)

    In Development

    • Manage Yammer licenses in Office 365: Yammer licensing on a per user bases. I interpret that as we can turn off Yammer for most of our users. This is not a new thing or changed thing, just a rename of the title and description.
    • New Yammer User Onboarding and Sign Up Experience: Yet another of the things we complained about for years are now being fixed in Yammer. Somehow I think the Yammer team are feeling how they slowly are being drowned and now finally with the last bits of air they have are trying to get their head over the surface, trying to survive… (new)
    • Office 365 Groups: Outlook on the Web and Outlook Groups app user interface improvements: A better UX for Groups – very welcome, especially for large organizations (new)
    • Real time presence for PowerPoint: No description available (new)
    • Real Time presence in PowerPoint for desktop: No descriotion available (new)
    • Skype Meetings: This one is interesting. “Free online meetings from Skype for Business…”. What does this mean? At least I can set up meetings using Skype today…Anyone? (new)

    Moved off into the Previously Released list

    • Add-in deployment via Click-to-Run
    • Automatic Relationship Detection
    • Automatic Time Grouping
      Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) integration for Click-to-Run
    • Click-to-Run manageability gaps addressed for IT pros
    • Clutter for your inbox on by default
    • Create and collaborate on Visio diagrams using Office-like experience
    • Create and Edit Comments in Excel Modile for iPad
    • Custom Tiles
    • Deferred Updates
    • ExpressRoute for Office 365
    • FastTrack | Providing the customer success service
    • FastTrack | Request Service Onboarding
    • Getting started experience in Visio
    • Improved sync slider and lean storage footprint on small devices in Outlook 2016
    • Information Rights Management (IRM) protection now added for Visio files
    • Keyboard access for Pivot Tables and Slicers in Excel
    • Keyboard access for Shape Panel in Visio
    • Mark emails as Clutter in Outlook 2016
    • Modern Attachments in Outlook 2016
    • New and Modern Charts
    • New capabilities for Yammer iOS app
    • October 2015 Improvements in Excel Mobile for Windows
    • October 2015 Improvements in Excel Online
    • Office 365 Groups: mobile app
    • Office 365 Help Pane
    • Office 365 Notification Pane
    • Office 365 Video
    • Office 365 Video – Embed
    • Office 365 Video Update
    • OLAP Connection Support in Power View
    • Optimized file picker in Outlook on the web
    • Organization support card
    • Outlook for Android opens IRM protected emails
    • Outlook for iOS opens IRM protected emails
    • PivotChart Drill-Down Navigation (this one was never on the list previous to this)
    • PivotTable Field Search
    • Producer controls for Skype Meeting Broadcast
    • Purchase & Subscriptions Experience Refresh
    • Quick data linking in Visio
    • Real-time Co-authoring in Skype for Business
    • Real-time Yammer group activity indicators
    • Refreshed stencils and smart shapes in Visio
    • Search Refiners in Outlook Web App
    • SharePoint Online will start to transition to using TLS to send email securely in our datacenters
    • Skype for Business for iOS
    • Smart Rename in Power Pivot
    • Subscription Management Experience refresh
    • Support for small screen portrait layouts in Outlook 2016
    • Sway for Windows Document Import
    • Top teacher-requested features added to OneNote Class Notebooks
    • UserVoice coming to Outlook on the web
    • Video Based Screen Sharing
    • Yammer for Apple Watch
    • Yammer Next Group Notifications
    • Yammer to use Azure Media Services for Video Encoding

  • What’s new on the Office Roadmap–2015-12-11

    Tags: Office 365

    Third update in about a week on the Office Roadmap, and just as the last update this one isn’t that big. A couple of “fixes” and two new things

    Changes 2015-12-11

    Rolling out

    • Multi-select Attachments in Outlook 2016: This was “Launched” a couple of weeks ago, but now it’s not. Perhaps a new category – “Rolling Out”? (from Launched)
    • Public Folder eDiscovery & In-Place Hold: Compliance search on public folders. Wasn’t public folders dead? (from In Development)

    In Development

    • Office 365 Connectors: One of my absolute favorite new features as of lately. I blogged about this one a couple of weeks back. Keep an eye on this one peeps! (new)
    • Yammer user profile update from Azure AD: “All key properties from Azure Active Directory users will be one way synchronized to Yammer. “. I quoted it directly. So, is this a one way, as in one time, or can you override the profile properties? At least they are listening on stuff we asked for years ago… (new)

  • What's new on the Office Roadmap - 2015-12-09

    Tags: Office 365

    More updates on the Office Roadmap! This time around just a few ones but also some interesting things to notice. But before we list the updates let's take a look at the actual roadmap site that has received an update which should make it easier for you to filter and find out what's new.

    Office Roadmap filters

    This is a very welcome update and could possibly make the roadmap site useful, but I'm sad to say unless they have a proper change log. I'm not going to bother that much but instead rely on my own blog :-)

    So what's new…

    Changes 2015-12-09

    Now Launched

    • First Release: Office 365 ProPlus and Office 365 Business: Allow users of your organization to enjoy the first release program of Office is now launched. I really recommend reading this article about the Office update branches. (New)
    • PowerPoint Online: Ongoing improvements: better formatting etc is now launched (from rolling out)
    • Word Online: Improving feature capabilities: almost same as above, more cool Word online features rolling out in a steady pace (from rolling out)

    Rolling out

    • First Release: Select People support for SharePoint & OneDrive for Business: The SharePoint team and OneDrive team has finally jumped aboard the First Release train (New)
    • Message Center in Admin Center Preview: the new admin center receives more updates, this time time focused on the Message Center. Looks good! (New)

    In Development

    • Office 365 Admin app - Push Notifications for Message Center filters: Configurable Push Notifications for the Admin App. Good stuff (New)
    • Office 365 Groups: creation policy in Azure Active Directory: Las week this new feature popped up in the Rolling out category, turns out it is not. I guess Microsoft don't want to scare the AD admins, we all know they are a bit sensitive, aight! (from Rolling out)

    Other interesting finds…

    When stuff is to old to be on this list they are moved into the previously released category or if stuff is cancelled they are moved into the Cancelled bucket.  Two items has mysteriously disappeared from the Cancelled list, just if they never ever existed - wonder why? This happened once before, with "Forms on SharePoint Lists" in April. Well, we shouldn't speculate to much, it's likely normal clean up…

    • Document Conversations for OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online
    • Evolving the Outlook Web App options page

  • What's new on the Office Roadmap - 2015-12-04

    Tags: Office 365, Office 365 Groups

    December updates incoming! The Office Roadmap has once again been updated and this time with quite a few new additions to the roadmap. Note that there is very anticipated and important updates to Office 365 Groups - have a read and enjoy!!

    Changes 2015-12-14

    Now Launched

    • Capacity Management capabilities in Project Online: Colored heatmaps and stuff in Project Online (from Rolling out)
    • Compliance Search Conditions: Improved search experience in the compliance center (from Rolling out)
    • Data Loss Protection (DLP) for Office desktop: Data loss prevention features in the Office client (Excel, PowerPoint and Word). Cool! (from Rolling out)
    • DKIM Outbound for Exchange Online Protection: outbound validation of e-mails (from Rolling out)
    • FastTrack | Data migration to OneDrive from Google Drive: Fast track center now offers migration from Google Drive to OneDrive (from In Development)
    • FastTrack | Skype for Business Onboarding Expansion: onboarding guidance for PSTN Conferencing and Calling Plans, Cloud PBX etc (from In Development)
    • FastTrack | Azure Rights Management Onboarding: RMS Onboarding, isn't this just checking a check box? (from In Development)
    • FastTrack | Project Online Onboarding: Get them projects in the cloud (from Rolling out)
    • New per-user licensing for Sway: license Sway per user! Which essentially means, we can now shut down Sway on a per user basis. (from In Development)
    • Office 2013 Windows client modern authentication public preview: ADAL based sign in for ye old Office client (2013) is now in PUBLIC PREVIEW.  (From Rolling out)
    • Office 365 Groups: auditing: Office 365 audit reports now includes changes in Office 365 Groups. This is huge in making Office 365 ready for enterprises. Go Groups! (NEW)
    • Office 365 Groups: Support compliance requirements: Another awesome Groups update. You can now put holds on Groups - which will put a hold on mailboxes, files, calendars etc in the Group! (From In Development)
    • OneNote Online: Record Audio clips & Insert File: OneNote Online is a bit more pimped with Audio clips (NEW)
    • Project Online content pack for PowerBI: Project Online data in PowerBI - a match made in the clouds (from In Development)
    • Resource Engagement Workflow in Project Online: improvements for Resource Managers in Project Online (from Rolling Out)
    • Sway admin controls over Insert tab content sources: Important enterprise focused update of Sway that allows admins to control from where the Sway users can insert data (from In Development)
    • Sway in Service Health Dashboard: Sway traffic lights in the admin portal (from In Development)

    Rolling out

    • Multiple timeline bars in Project Online: a new and pimped and more efficient timeline bar in Project Online (from In Development)
    • Office 365 Groups: creation policy in Azure Active Directory: A new policy option in Azure AD that allows admins to restrict group creation to certain users. Previously this could only be controlled through the Exchange policy settings - but that policy only affected creation through Exchange, Outlook and the Outlook Groups app. This new policy applies to all endpoints (read Microsoft Graph, PoSh etc). (NEW)
    • Office 365 Groups: dynamic membership: AWESOME! We will be able to create Office 365 Groups and base them on dynamic memberships, for instance have all users with the value "Project Manager" in their title in one group etc. (NEW)
    • Office 365 Groups: naming policies for aliases: the naming policies only applied to the display name of the group previously, now it will also apply to the e-mail alias. (NEW)
    • Office 365 Multi-Channel Catalog Support:: Improvement to the Education, Government (Public), and Charity sections allowing them to purchase any commercial service (NEW)

    In Development

    • FastTrack | Office 365 ProPlus Upgrade Assistance: Onboarding center will help ProPlus customers to upgrade to the 2016 version. **giggles** (NEW)
    • Office 365 Admin app - Group functionality: Group Administration is coming to the Admin App (from In Development, previously this one was called Office 365 Admin app updates October 2015)
    • Office 365 Admin app - Push Notifications for Message Center: opt-in or out to push notifications (NEW)
    • Office 365 Groups: data classification & extensible policy: This one is HUGE folks. And it just explains how important Office 365 Groups is for Microsoft and Office 365. This update states that we will be able to classify Groups (secret, confidential, unclassified etc) AND we will have the option to specify an endpoint that is called whenever a Group is created! BOOM! Take that Yammer! (NEW)
    • Office 365 Groups: deletion recovery: get them Groups back from the dead with a single click (NEW)
    • Office 365 Groups: expire inactive groups: Awesomeness just keep coming! (NEW)
    • Office 365 Groups: files quota management: Get better control of the amount of data your groups use (NEW)
    • Office 365 Groups: general usage reporting: Usage and Engagement reports in the Admin Center (NEW)
    • Office 365 Groups: hidden membership support: Currently the membership is open, this update will allow you to have hidden memberships, very good for privacy reasons (NEW)
    • Office 365 Groups: mobile application management: The Outlook Groups app will be a managed app in Intune (NEW)
    • Office 365 Groups: multi-domain support: This one has been high on my whish list. Have control of the e-mail domain used by the Groups (NEW)
    • Office 365 Groups: naming policy in Azure Active Directory: the description on this one is a copy of the dynamic membership one, see above, but I do think it is about having the naming policies not only in Exchange but also in AAD. (NEW)
    • Office 365 Groups: Office Delve discovery & insight: Groups in Delve! Can't beat that! (NEW)
    • Office 365 Groups: usage guidelines: Better options for you to have guidelines about the usage of Groups within your organization. I'm thinking like the TOU in Yammer. So one more feature from Yammer is moving into Groups (NEW)
    • Outlook on the web: Addition of “Distribution Groups” Option and Removal of “Other” link: Just a re-org of the menus in OWA. (NEW)
    • Per user licensing for Yammer: I see this as we can now turn of Yammer and only let the handful of people that still likes it use it… (NEW)
    • Project Online - Portfolio Dashboard: More reports based on best practices and industry standards (NEW)
    • Project Online - Portfolio Dashboard for iPad: Same as above but for the illiterate. (NEW)
    • Skype for Business Mac Client Preview: Them Appleheads will love this, we gotta give them a chance to participate in our meetings sometime :). (NEW)

  • What's new on the Office Roadmap - 2015-11-20

    Tags: Office 365

    Updates! Yes, updates! After some awesome announcements at the Connect(); 2015 conference the Office Roadmap is updated with some news, and a decent bunch of additions, specifically some nice new stuff in the In Development bucket. Love the Yammer updates - looks like someone has been listening after all, or have they - read the fine prints…

    Changes 2015-11-20

    Now Launched

    • Contact sync for Outlook for Android: Outlook for Android now syncs contacts to the native contacts application. Finally, this is great news. (New)
    • Enforce Office 365 Identity in Yammer: An important and long anticipated (it only took a couple of years) update to Yammer and identities. No need for separate Yammer SSO settings. Click here for more information. (New)
    • EU Model Clauses and HIPAA BAA Availability for All Yammer Customers: Another Yammer update, also this one is VERY important. With this update Yammer is getting aligned with the rest of Office 365 in terms of customer data protection. (New)
    • Outlook +1Likes Coming to Outlook on the web: No more +1 e-mails? We're certainly on the right path at least (From Rolling out)
    • Mentions Available in Outlook on the web: Make it possible to @mention people in OWA. (From Rolling out)
    • Multi-select Attachments in Outlook 2016: Surprised this feature actually wasn't in there. Use Ctrl to multi select attachments (New)
    • Persian calendar support in Outlook 2016: More calendar options, now with Persian support (New)
    • Set Automatic Replies in Outlook for iOS & Android: You can now set Automatic replies in Outlook on your fruitphones or droids. (from In Development)

    Rolling Out

    • Designer: Described as "a feature that will essentially allow you to deliver beautiful and impactful presentations with little to no experience". This is a bit weird, it is the same description as the new "PowerPoint Designer - Desktop"  feature below. (New)
    • New Office 365 Admin Center Preview: The new Admin center rolls out. For more info see Marcs great post on IT-Unity. (From Launched!)
    • November Improvements in Excel Mobile for Windows: This is something you don't see often, updates to mobile apps on Windows (New)
    • Office 365 ISO 27001 and 27018 Audit Report: information  security reports. I doubt any other cloud productivity provider are even close to what Microsoft and Office 365 is doing now (New)
    • Office 365 Video - Yammer settings per channel: Finally! No more posts of secured video details onto public Yammer groups… (New)
    • PowerPoint Designer - Desktop: The PowerPoint people get some love, it's not all Sway yet. For more information see blogs.office.com (New)
    • PowerPoint Morph - Desktop: The second part of the new PowerPoint awesomeness. For more information see blogs.office.com (New)
    • Preview_Office 365 Customer Security Considerations Refrence Guide: A new part of the Service Trust Portal in form of a security considerations reference guide. (New)

    In Development

    • Add-in only authorization policy for Project Online: AppOnly policies for Project Online. This opens up quite a few new Project Online opportunities. (New)
    • Archive button in Outlook 2016: The Outlook 2016 client will get the same nifty archive button as the mobile Outlook clients have.
    • Browse and join Groups in Outlook 2016: You will in the future not only see your Groups in Outlook 2016. You will now also be able to see the ones you have not joined, and then join them. Hooray! (New)
    • Circular Yammer User Profile Pictures: One of these important Yammer updates! I'm glad they are spending money on A/B testing a circular picture instead of a square one. Seriously, just do it and move on with more important stuff, such as USING THE PICTURE FROM OFFICE 365!!! (new)
    • Dark theme for Outlook 2016: Get your darker sides on in Outlook 2016. (New)
    • Directory pictures in Outlook 2016 search suggestions: This is a nice feature, see profile pictures when searching for people (New)
    • Exchange Online Protection- Zero Day auto-purge: The Exchange team continues to impress with handling different kind of threats. (New)
    • New Yammer group experiences: More Yammer UX updates. Each Group will now have its own inbox - wow… (New)
    • Office 365 Video - Analytics, phase one: Insights on your videos - awesome (New)
    • Office 365 Video - Channel Recycle Bin: Channels are just site collections and we will be able to recover the channels just as normal site collections
    • Office 365 Video - Choose Your Own Thumbnail: choose one of several auto-generated thumbnails or upload your own (New)
    • Office 365 Video - Deploy in US Government zone (GCC) & China datacenters: China and US Government can soon build their own Video portals. (New)
    • Office 365 Video - Improved upload experience: The video portal will get a centralized upload center, with more details about the upload (New)
    • Office 365 Video - Owner and People Metadata: This will be great improvement to the service and hopefully make search even more interesting. (New)
    • Office 365 Video - Upload your own subtitle files: Subtitles! Office 365 Video is becoming a real video portal (webvtt format). This will also be integrated with search so you can search in videos. Cool! (New)
    • Optimizing Yammer Inbox for Team Collaboration: Yammers attempt to change the way the inbox works. Removal of the "Mark as Unread" and replace it with a "Read Later". Holy crap! So they didn't listen to the massive feedaback on a "Mark all as read" feature. I think I just the last little hope for Yammer… (New)
    • Sites Tile Page Update - Recent and Suggested Sites: The Sites tile in the App Launcher and Sites page will get a long anticipated face lift with the inclusion of a "Recent sites" feature. (New)
    • Yammer Group Administrator Onboarding: A Yammer group admin guide. Is this really necessary? If it is needed then something else in creating a group is wrong. (New)
    • Yammer Group Inbox View: Third update on basically the same topic. Yammer is redoing the Inbox… (New)

  • Enhancing your Office 365 Groups using custom Connectors and Cards for Groups

    Tags: Office 365, Office 365 Groups

    Wow, what a day for developers in the Office 365 land! Tons of new features was announced at the Microsoft Connect(); 2015 virtual conference. We've seen the GA of the Microsoft Graph and a bunch of new API's added to the Microsoft Graph beta end-point and more. One of the features that I really have been waiting for is the Office 365 Connectors for Groups and the  Office 365 Connector Cards.

    The Office 365 Connectors for Groups allows users of Office 365 Groups to add integrations to their Office 365 Groups. Connectors can be seen as services and events that you subscribe to and then the services when certain events happens posts information to the Group activity feed. There are a set of pre-configured Connectors that anyone can add or you can create your own Connector and customize it for your needs. For instance there are built-in Connectors for Twitter, Github, RSS feeds and Trello. The possibilities for this is endless!

    In this post I will show you how to create your own Connector and Connector Card. In this sample we assume that we have a CRM system that monitors incoming requests, such as RFI's and RFP's, and we want these events to be posted to a Group in Office 365.

    Enabling Connectors

    First of all, the Connector framework are in preview so in order to start working with them we need to enable this preview. This is done by navigating to a Group in Office 365 and then append &EnableConnectorDevPreview=true to the URL.

    Enabling Connectors

    Once we have enabled the Connector preview you will find a new option called Connectors under the "…" menu. Click on that to start configuring your Connectors. In the task pane that is shown you can see all the different default Connectors which you can add and configure without doing any kind of development.

    The Connectors

    Creating an Incoming Webhook

    In our case we want to do a completely custom Connector. We create these by choosing the "Incoming Webhook" Connector and then click Add.

    Incoming Webhook

    To configure our Incoming Webhook we need to give it a name and optionally add an image for the Connector. Once that is done we need to click on Create to create the Webhook. When it is created you will see an input box with a URL in it. This is the Webhook and we need this URL in our custom Connector handler. The URL is unique for this Group and Webhook and we can of course remove the Webhook if we want to disable it.

    Note that when the Webhook is created a notification of this will be sent to the Activity feed, the notification contains the Webhook URL.

    Posting a message to the Webhook

    Once we have the Incoming Webhook URL we can build our own custom solution that posts messages to the Activity feed within the Office 365 Group.

    All we need to do is to issue a POST request with JSON payload to this URL. There is no need for authentication - we assume that this URL is as unique and no one figures it out :) It is a Guid folks!

    The JSON payload describes the Connector Card. The Connector Card can have simple properties such as title, text, images and a color and more advanced properties such as actions and sections with facts. The image below shows a Connector card with (1) the Connector info, (2) the Connector card title and text, (3) a section with activity details and (4) facts connected to the section and finally (5) actions.

    Connector Card

    This Connector card can be added to the Office 365 using any kind of tool that can send a post request. Let's see how it can look like when doing it using Node.js. You can find a more exhaustive example at https://github.com/wictorwilen/Office365_Connector_Demo.

    var request = require('request')
    
    request({
        method: 'POST',
        uri: 'https://outlook.office365.com/webhook/.....',
        headers:{
            'content-type': 'application/json',
        },
        body: JSON.stringify({
            'title': 'New RFI added to CRM',
            'text': 'A new RFI from [Contoso](http://www.contoso.com) has arrivied',
            "potentialAction":[{
                "@context": "http://schema.org",
                "@type": "ViewAction",
                "name": "Lookup Contoso in CRM",
                "target": ["http://crm.fabrikam.com/customer/Contoso"]
            }],
            'themeColor':'#FF69B4'
        })
    }, function(error, response, body){
        console.log(response.statusCode)
    })

    We create a new HTTP POST request and as URL we use the Webhook URL that we generated previously. Then we need to make sure that we use application/json as the content type for the request. The body of the request is a JSON formatted payload. In the example above we provide a title and a text (note the Markdown formatting) as well as an action. The JSON payload is thoroughly described in the Outlook Dev Center, so there is no need to delve into that to much. When the request is sent it will return a status code of 200 if successful. If not successful you will see response code 400 if you have used the wrong format, 404 if you specify the wrong Webhook URL and you can even get throttled (429) if you send to many requests.

    Summary

    That was so easy! With just a few lines of code and a simple configuration we can make the Office 365 Groups experience into something integrated into your or your customers organization. Imagine the possibilities with this.

    I'm really impressed with how Microsoft build their products and services now, how they adhere to modern development techniques, how they innovate and how they make my job so much more fun! I've said it before - Groups are here to stay and they do it big time!

  • What's new on the Office Roadmap - 2015-11-05

    Tags: Office 365

    Office Roadmap updates again! This time I'm reporting this from the MVP summit in Redmond. A couple of new and exciting things added to the In Development list!

    Changes 2015-11-05

    Now Launched

    • Clutter for your inbox on by default:  For tenants/users that have the Clutter feature it will from now on be on by default
    • Create and collaborate on Visio diagrams using Office-like experience: Visio is getting even sexier with dark themes, Delve and High DPI support
    • FastTrack | Providing the customer success service: Get Microsofts help to start your Office 365 experience
    • Getting started experience in Visio: Visio n00b improvements
    • Information Rights Management (IRM) protection now added for Visio files: We now have direct support in Visio to protect our most valuable assets
    • Keyboard access for Shape Panel in Visio: use F6 to work faster in Visio
    • Optimized file picker in Outlook on the web: Pretty soon OWA will be favored over Outlook
    • Outlook for Android opens IRM protected emails: Really important feature rolled out for Android
    • Quick data linking in Visio: Make your Visio diagrams rock
    • Refreshed stencils and smart shapes in Visio: New and slick stencils for architecture draqwings
    • SharePoint Online will start to transition to using TLS to send email securely in our datacenters: internal service change but a really important one
    • Sway for Windows Document Import: Something with Sway
    • Yammer to use Azure Media Services for Video Encoding: Ooops, a Yammer update

    Rolling out

    • Compliance Search Conditions: Improved Compliance search is rolling out
    • Delve People Experiences - Praise: The Praise features is now rolling out in the Delve experience.
    • FastTrack | Project Online Onboarding: FTC will now start onboarding Project projects
    • Inline OneDrive attachment preview for Outlook on the web: Awesome new OWA features
    • Mentions Available in Outlook on the web: Another of the social features are now in OWA
    • Office 365 detailed usage reports: Even more detailed reports are rolling out. I can't wait to see how we can use this to improve the adoption rate
    • Office 365 My Account updates: The new My Account page gives you great details and control of you Office 365 accounts
    • OneNote Online: Record Audio clips & Insert File: New OneNote features are being rolled out. New on the Roadmap
    • PowerPoint Online: Ongoing improvements: New on the road map and it promises to make formatting better, include more symbols and faster slide interaction
    • Word Online: Improving feature capabilities: Also new on the road map. Improvements in Word that includes image resize handlers, improved autosave and more, but most interestingly a lot of improvements in co-authoring performance

    In Development

    • Delve Analytics: Brand new addition on the road map and a really cool one. For E5 customers (or E1/E3 with an add-on) you will get awesome analytics on how you organization collaborates
    • FastTrack | Data migration to OneDrive from Google Drive: New option get the h**l out of Google Drive
    • FastTrack | Data migration to OneDrive for Business from File Shares: New FastTrack migration option from file share to users OneDrives
    • FastTrack | Data migration to SharePoint Online Team Sites from File Shares: Same as above but for Team Sites (Groups?)
    • FastTrack | Improving Intune onboarding with MDM: FastTrack will support Intune when doing onboarding.
    • Multiple timeline bars in Project Online: I have no idea how this is supposed to work but it looks like you can add heatmaps and other stuff… (was previously called New Timeline view in Project)
    • Project Online content pack for PowerBI: Bring Project Online data directly into PowerBI. Sounds neat
    • SharePoint/OneDrive for Business file activity report: Admin reports that allows you to see what your users do in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business

     

    Moved off into the Previously released list

    • Inline Service Health for Support Request Creation
    • Proactive notification of Outlook version - weird, this is moved from In Development! Did it ever roll out?

  • Announcing gulp-spsync - A Gulp plugin that syncs local files with a SharePoint site

    Tags: Visual Studio Code, Gulp, SharePoint Online

    I have to admit it I have succumbed to Visual Studio Code and now also Gulp tasks, well almost at least. I was working the other day with some display templates and page layouts and needed a more efficient way than uploading the files to SharePoint Online. Open with Explorer could have worked, but since I used a customers Office 365 tenant I did not want to store credentials and do all the required voodoo to get that to work. Instead I decided to explore Gulp and see if I could automate this, and the result is a Gulp plugin called gulp-spsync.

    You can find gulp-spsync in this Github repo: https://github.com/wictorwilen/gulp-spsync 

    For you who have not used Gulp, the short description is that it is a task runner that runs tasks on command or at build. In this case it will copy local files to a SharePoint site.

    This is how gulp-spsync looks like in practice in Visual Studio Code. As soon as I edit one of my files and saves it, the file will be uploaded to SharePoint. In the sample below it is a Display Template html file, once saved it will be uploaded, and then in SharePoint converted to the .js correspondent file.

    image

    To use this you need a copy of Visual Studio Code and full access to a SharePoint Online Site Collection. How to configure it all is documented in the repo, so I will not rehash it. But the basic outline is that you open up a folder on your local machine. Create a folder in that one where you create sub folders representing the sites libraries and catalogs. Then comes the tricky part, this task requires that you register an App in the Site Collection and give that App permissions. Once you have the App details you install the gulp-spsync plugin and then configure Gulp. All that then is left is to start working with your files.

    I hope more people than me get some use of this one and any feedback is welcome.

  • What's new on the Office Roadmap - 2015-10-20

    Tags: Office 365

    Almost a month has passed since we had the last update on the Office Roadmap and quite a lot of things has happened. There are some new things this time and also some clean up of the items. Make sure you read through the In Development section, there are some hidden gems as well as the stuff that has disappeared!!

    Changes 2015-10-20

    Now Launched

    • Automatic Relationship Detection: Make it easier to detect relations between two models with no relationships configured
    • Automatic Time Grouping: All these new Power* are rolling out now.
    • Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) integration for Click-to-Run: A great update to optimize network traffic for C2R. New.
    • Click-to-Run manageability gaps addressed for IT pros: More of the Office 2016 updates to optimize C2R is now "officially" launched.
    • Configurable push notifications for Office 365 Admin app: What no Apple Watch integration yet?
    • Custom Tiles: A fantastic idea but worst implementation ever. Yes, you can create custom Tiles for the App Launcher - but each and every user needs to manually pin it to their App Launcher #fail
    • Deferred Updates: Only allow monthly security updates and defer feature upgrades
    • ExpressRoute for Office 365: Improve the SLA of your network connection to Office 365 by having a dedicated route for your traffic
    • Improved sync slider and lean storage footprint on small devices in Outlook 2016: Sync slider, just the name of it sounds cool.
    • Keyboard access for Pivot Tables and Slicers in Excel: You can now use the keyboard with pivot tables and slicers in Excel!
    • Keyword & People search suggestions in Outlook 2016: Better search in Outlook 2016.
    • Mark emails as Clutter in Outlook 2016: Directly tag e-mails as Clutter from Outlook 2016, if your inbox has Clutter enabled.
    • Modern Attachments in Outlook 2016: Best productivity feature in the Office 2016 suite
    • New and Modern Charts: Modern charts, such as Waterfall…
    • New Office 365 Admin Center Preview: Interesting. This preview is said to be launched - that is ON ALL TENANTS - but I have yet not seen it on any of mine. Mayhaps one of the US only things.
    • Office 365 Help Pane: I really like the "What's new" thing. Keeps you and your users up to date with changes.
    • Office 365 Notification Pane: Notifications everywhere in Office 365 - now if only we had an API for this.
    • OLAP Connection Support in Power View: OLAP and PowerView - a wet dream for the BI people
    • Organization support card: Get your helpdesk details into the Office 365 Help pane. Really great feature.
    • PivotTable Field Search: Can't get enough of these PivotTable and BI stuff…
    • Producer controls for Skype Meeting Broadcast: A surprise to me. Is this really launched?
    • Purchase & Subscriptions Experience Refresh: I've said it before, the refresh is not as fresh as you want, specifically it is not very user friendly
    • Real-time Co-authoring in Skype for Business: co-author like a champ!
    • Search Refiners in Outlook Web App: Not only better search in the Outlook 2016 client but also in Outlook on the web.
    • Skype for Business for iOS: I've seen people cheer in joy for this!
    • Smart Rename in Power Pivot: Rename stuff smart…
    • Subscription Management Experience refresh: A good and intuitive UI
    • Support for small screen portrait layouts in Outlook 2016: Great update for all you Windows 10 7" screen users
    • Top teacher-requested features added to OneNote Class Notebooks: I have not tried the OneNote class things, but I'm sure this is really awesome!
    • Video Based Screen Sharing: P2P sharing of video content

    Rolling out

    • Advanced administrative controls for archiving: Support for SEC 17a-4 record retention (new)
    • Android: Android for Work compliance with multi profile support: support for Android for Work (don't know what this is, but I bet it's useful) (new)
    • Android: Android M Enterprise compliance: More Android stuff (new)
    • Android: Easy Sign-in, Sign-up: Never a bad idea to make things easy, especially when it comes to the Android platform (new)
    • Android: Presenter view: Present your deck from your Droid (new)
    • Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in SharePoint Online: This has been in the works for a long time, now finally rolling out.
    • DLP in SharePoint - Policy Management: Public preview targeted for September 2015
    • Optimized file picker in Outlook on the web: A smarter file picker that allows you to automate steps when saving attachments
    • Task Notifications in Project Online: Project Online gets task notifications and daily digests
    • Unique Project IDs in Project Online: Auto generated unique and readable Project IDs (new)

    In Development

    • Android: Deeper Integration with Outlook: quick edit of e-mail attachments (new)
    • Events from email: This one sounds interesting, also it points to a link: http://tba. Basically events sent to your inbox is automagically dropped (shown?) into the calendar
    • FastTrack | Skype for Business Onboarding Expansion: Back on the list, was dropped a couple of weeks ago
    • FastTrack | Adoption planning assistance: Also back on the list
    • FastTrack | Azure Rights Management Onboarding: Another come back
    • FastTrack | Project Online Onboarding: I guess someone fat fingered the roadmap a couple of weeks back
    • Group Updates feed and Direct Messages for Yammer mobile apps: Updates to the mobile apps. Android and iOS only. Looks like features that are already available in the web version…Nothing new just a modification of a previous entry, move on… 
    • Improved image attachment viewing in Outlook on the web: Big thumbnails and side by side viewing (new)
    • Inline OneDrive attachment preview for Outlook on the web: The OneDrive and OWA integration is just getting better. Do people bother about the thick clients anymore? (new)
    • Korean language support: Congrats to all Koreans, on November 2015 you can use Office on a Mac in your native language (new)
    • Lync Room Systems User Experience Update to Skype for Business: "In November 2015, all Lync Room System software will be updated to the Skype Meeting experience of Skype for Business"
    • Office 365 custom themes update: An important feature in Office 365 and we're getting some improvements to it. As it looks by the description it is more focused on how the end-users can configure their theme, not the corporate theme, unfortunately. (new)
    • Office 365 help pane updates: Tell Me integration in the help pane (new)
    • Office 365 My Account updates:  The new My Account page is great, and actually already rolling out (new).
    • Open OpenDocument files: Support for ODF in Office for Mac (new)
    • Outlook for Android opens IRM protected emails: IRM mails in Android. (new)
    • Quick Access Toolbar customization: The ability to modify the Quick Access Toolbar in Office - I though you already could do that? Is this a Mac thing or a WAC/OOS thing or a Office mobile thing? (new)
    • Ribbon extensibility: Extend the Ribbon on Office for Mac (new)
    • Sway *.sharepoint.com embed support: Allows you to embed documents and videos from SharePoint Online in Sway (new)
    • Sway admin controls over Insert tab content sources: Governance is coming to Sway - it might actually be enterprise ready one day. (new)
    • Sway author analytics: Who doesn't want to see stats. "Your Sway had 1 view". (new)
    • Sway copy/paste Cards: Shuffle them Sway Cards (new)
    • Sway for Windows Document Import: Easily create Sways from existing PDFs or Word documents (new)
    • Sway in new Azure datacenters: This is a significant milestone for Sway. Sway will be enabled in other data center than in US. So now customers can actually use it. (new)
    • Sway in Service Health Dashboard: Check the Health of Sway in the admin portal (new)
    • Sway onboarded to Office 365 Auditing for Office 365 protection center: We're going for Enterprise grade with Sway. Now, we just need to figure out what to use it for? (new)
    • Sway recycle bin: Ever thrown your Sway away? Well, now you never get rid of it! (new)
    • Sway sharing with specific people: Longing for a private Sway party? Wait no more (new)
    • Sway supports videos via upload and OneDrive for Business for Office 365 work/school accounts: Video upload support in Sway.(new)
    • Sway will add SharePoint to Insert tab: SharePoint stuff can be inserted into Sway (new)
    • Sway: Office 365 work/school accounts can publish Sways to Docs.com: I love Docs.com…to publish PowerPoints. (new)
    • Yammer to use Azure Media Services for Video Encoding: And last but not least a Yammer update….yawn….

    Things no longer on the list

    • Azure AD Sync for Yammer:  this one has disappeared from the list totally, was previously Launched

    Moved into the Previously Released list

    • About Me Update and New Authoring Tool
    • Compliance search
    • Cortana & Office 365 Productivity Scenarios
    • Major update to Outlook Web App
    • Manage Yammer User Lifecycle in Office 365 (aka: AzureAD sync for Yammer)
    • New Intune capabilities for Outlook on iOS and Android
    • OAuth and MFA for Outlook for iOS & Android
    • Office 365 Admin app updates
    • Office 365 Admin App Updates for June
    • Office 365 Admin Center June Updates
    • Office 365 Groups: Power BI integration
    • Office 365 Setup Enhancements
    • Office 365 Setup Wizard
    • Office 365 Store
    • Office Online Edit in Yammer
    • Public Folders: adding and removing favorites in OWA
    • Save to OneDrive for Business
    • Search Suggestions in Outlook Web App
    • Weather Bar in Outlook Web App
    • Yammer Private Content Mode (this is a funny one, it's brand new on the list but already moved into the previously released ones. Yammer!)

  • Has Yammer played out its role?

    Tags: Yammer, Office 365

    And is Yammer dead?

    It is now three and a half years since Microsoft acquired Yammer and I think this is the end of Yammer, as a product/service. Let me explain myself, to avoid the flame war and hate mails that happened when I shared that my thoughts in the  Team Sites are dead post.

    I think Yammer as a brand will stay for a while, it's a strong brand and it's worked into so many PowerPoint decks from Microsoft that it would be hard to wash that away. But as a product or service Yammer is no longer of interest. I claim this due to a number of facts and observations over the last few years. People who follow me on social media cannot have avoided how I've been pretty aggressive in my comments about this product and I'm by no means alone.

    Dead end

    Here are some things that I think points very clear what is happening with Yammer.

    Yammer shut down its UserVoice channel: A couple of days ago Yammer out of the blue took down their UserVoice channel pointing to a custom feedback resource, that you have to register to get in to. This goes in the total opposite direction of what the rest of the Office teams are doing. And this on an area where Yammer actually was successful previously.

    Lack of integration: As I said it has gone three and a half years since Microsoft started working on integrating Yammer with Office 365. And what has happened since then. NOTHING! Nothing at all.  They haven't fixed the identity integration with Office 365. You need to maintain another profile in Yammer - not so much enterprisey.  Sign in is a pain - if you choose ADFS single sign on then you don't have for instance the suite bar - which means that this is really standalone. If you choose O365 sign on then you have a separate password.
    Also just recently the Yammer service moved into the Azure data centers, but still only in North America.
    The list goes on. Microsoft/Yammer has failed miserably on this topic.

    Enterprise Social Networks: Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) is on a decline in my opinion (I don't have any figures to back that with!). And what I mean with that is a standalone ESN is not interesting in the same way as before. There are some up comers, such as Slack, that does some really cool things but I think that audience is more narrow and I doubt Slack would work on some of the organizations that I work with. Generally thinking standalone ESN is a time waster, people and companies want to be efficient, so integration with other products is essential. Let's come back to this. Yammer is as much standalone as it can be, despite the Microsoft marketing stating it's a part of the Office suite.

    All the former Yammer leaders are gone: As far as I know, all the Yammer brains are gone. I remember SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas many years ago where they made a big deal of Adam Pisoni and his team at Yammer. That was the only and last time I saw them….

    Yammer constantly not listening at all, relying just on telemetry: I have had issues with Yammer since day one, issues that are bugs, feedback, not documented changes (dare I mention their APIs!) and I have tried getting in contact with the teams to give my feedback. It's been like talking to a brick wall! Basically any other team at Microsoft I can get in contact with if I need to, ranging from the Office teams, to the Windows teams and even CTOs has been taking my feedback and answering my questions. The only answer is when you have an issue with Yammer or give feedback is that - "we can't see that in out telemetry so then the users are not interested in that". If it's one answer I dislike, then it is that one. It becomes really comical when it comes to the "Mark all as read" function, that I think everyone using Yammer wants. But since that feature does not exist, they can't see it in their telemetry which in the Yammer world means that no one wants it. Duh!

    Lack of innovation: Three and a half years! Can anyone give me any new major feature in Yammer since the acquisition? Well, the Apple Watch App doesn't count. No, there has been no development what so ever on this product, except for some failed A/B testing attempts. Competitors is running in circles around Yammer. Sporadically we see Yammer stuff on the Office Roadmap, but almost always after they are released - just another sign that the Yammer team is not integrated with the Office team or have a different agenda!

    I probably missed a ton of other things, but this should make my point…

    So what is Microsoft doing and what should they be doing?

    Office 365 Groups and the Office 365 core services

    No surprise to those who follow me that Office 365 Groups should be in here. But this is important! I said lack of innovation, lack of integration, ESN is dead etc. with Yammer. All this has happened with Office 365 Groups, where I see a lot of good things grow!.

    First of all Office 365 Groups is integrating with the Office 365 service bringing the major key components together making it easy for users to collaborate, communicate, share and work together. Groups are bringing Exchange, SharePoint, Project and social networking together (could be under a Yammer brand) into one experience. This give Office 365 a unique experience compared to other competitors. With Yammer in the mix, it's a separate service, profile, user experience etc.

    Innovation! The innovation are taking place within the core Office 365 services. Take a look at the new Praise feature (directly stolen from Yammer) that now lives within Office Delve - where it should be. Take a look at the new Like feature that allows you to like e-mail messages - no more +1 e-mail messages. The same goes for the @mentions in the Outlook inbox. The majority of the social collaboration goes on in your inbox, why not let these features live here. I think this is a bold and good move.

    Actually I see the enterprise social pieces of this as an Enterprise Social Fabric that is tightly integrated with all the different core services and apps in Office 365. Not as a standalone service or product! And Yammer is not built for that.

    And for all this good things the Office 365 team also builds API's for use to use, in the new Office 365 Unified API. Something that is documented (another thing Yammer couldn't spell to).

    I'm seeing a really bright feature for Office 365 with Office 365 Groups and at the moment I will have hard to justify starting a Yammer on-boarding project with my customers. That would potentially lead them into a dead end and the off-boarding story of Yammer is most likely worse than the onboarding one. At least I will tell them this story, and they can make up their own minds.

    I would not be surprised that we see a number of Yammer obituaries in the upcoming 6 to 12 months.

    What do you think? Looking forward to an interesting discussion! Is Yammer as a service a dead end? Is the Enterprise Social Network "thing" going away?

  • What's new on the Office Roadmap - 2015-09-28

    Tags: Office 365

    Hey, look at that - a surprise update of the Office Roadmap! This time around we just have a couple of minor updates AND a couple of features that actually is removed from the Roadmap - all related to FastTrack. My guess someone was to trigger happy earlier this month when releasing this…

    Changes 2015-09-28

    These features are no longer listed on the roadmap!

    • FastTrack | Yammer Onboarding Expansion
    • FastTrack | Project Online onboarding
    • FastTrack | Azure Rights Management Onboarding
    • FastTrack | Adoption planning services
    • FastTrack | Skype for Business Onboarding Expansion
    • FastTrack | Data migration to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business

     

    All that is left of the FastTrack items are

    • FastTrack | Request Service Onboarding (Rolling out)
    • FastTrack | Providing the customer success service (In development)

  • What's new on the Office Roadmap - 2015-09-25

    Tags: Office 365

    The second update of the Office Roadmap this months is now live.  This time a huge set of features that are rolling out, most of them has to do with the updated Office ProPlus client (2016). There are some hidden gems in this such as the "Likes" in OWA, huge Sway licensing changes and (the not so hidden) announcement of Office 365 Planner.

    Changes 2015-09-25

    Now Launched

    • Cortana & Office 365 Productivity Scenarios: The Cortana and Office 365 feature should now be launched (from rolling out). I've yet to seen what it actually does.
    • Outlook Groups AppOffice 365 Groups: mobile app: Love it! We have the Office 365 Groups mobile app, called Outlook Groups available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone (on some platforms only available on select markets).
    • Office 365 Service Trust Portal:  A new portal with even more information about trust, compliance, certifications etc. Important for Company admins can log in to the portal, Service Trust Portal, to give other users access to the portal. It is implemented as an Azure AD app and it actually requires some interesting permissions on your Azure AD to be able to use it. Brand new on the roadmap.
    • Office 365 Setup Enhancements: the new migration options are now fully launched
    • Office 365 Setup Wizard: the more streamlined getting-started and setup guide is live.
    • Office 365 Video: most likely the service that has taken the longest time to fully roll out. Video! It's here…
    • Office 365 Video - Embed: The video embed features should be available for everyone
    • Office 365 Video Update: Everyone should also have the updated Video experience in their tenants by now.
    • Yammer for Apple Watch: Yawn! If you are the one user using this, please contact me so I can find out why…

    Rolling out

    • Automatic Relationship Detection: PivotTable stuff, for those who are interested I guess this is a big del.
    • Automatic Time Grouping: Same here, but for PivotCharts…
    • Colorful Office theme: This sounds like a small thing, but it is actually huge. Each Office ProPlus/2016 client application now has it's own color scheme (Word - blue, PowerPoint - red, Excel - green etc). One of the feedbacks I heard from customers about Office 2013 was the white theme - no one liked it. I really fancy this new colorful theme, with a subtle color on each app which makes it much easy on the eyes.
    • Create and collaborate on Visio diagrams using Office-like experience: Anything with Visio is a good thing
    • Dark theme: Welcome to the dark side. If you liked to old app Darkroom, you'll like this.
    • Data Loss Protection (DLP) for Office desktop: DLP on the desktops for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Nice addition!
    • Deferred Updates: If you don't want to be on the latest and greatest you can now defer feature updates for the Office client.
    • Easy Enable for Data Analysis Add-Ins: More Power[View|Pivot|Map] improvements
    • Getting started experience in Visio: Visio for everyone!
    • Higher DPI support for 250% and 300%: Ok, this must be in preparation for Surface Pro 4 (Staffan, I just dropped my Surface 3…)
    • Improved conflict resolution in PowerPoint: Conflict resolution in PowerPoint has been a mess, especially with those Management Consultant slides…
    • Improved sync slider and lean storage footprint on small devices in Outlook 2016: How about that, think about being the PM for the "sync slider".
    • Information Rights Management (IRM) protection now added for Visio files: RMS and Visio! Gotta keep those drawings secure!
    • Keyboard access for Pivot Tables and Slicers in Excel: The Excel BI team has been on fire
    • Keyboard access for Shape Panel in Visio: Visio is getting closer to be one first class citizen in the Office family
    • Keyword & People search suggestions in Outlook 2016: better integration with the Office 365 backend in Outlook 2016 for search to give you even better and more relevant results
    • Likes Coming to Outlook on the web: This is a new feature on the Roadmap and I think I like it! You can give an e-mail "Thumbs up" and this will be preserved. This is likely to prevent all those "+1" e-mails.
    • Making it easier to share files and collaborate: This is one of the better improvements in Office 2016 - the updated Share pane which combines sharing and co-authoring information
    • Mark emails as Clutter in Outlook 2016: I occasionally see this feature in the new 2016 client. For instance yesterday when doing a demo of that feature, it was not there…
    • Math Input Control: A cool feature for students and scientists
    • Modern Attachments in Outlook 2016: The number one productivity improvement in Outlook 2016. Attach you recent documents in a few clicks without actually sending attachments.
    • More secure translation options: I'm surprised this hasn't been in there before, but now the information from your documents is sent of SSL to services such as Bing and MS Research.
    • Multi-factor authentication: Makes all users cry but security officers jump in excitement
    • New and Modern Charts: How many different chart types can there really be?
    • New capabilities on Yammer Android app: The Yammer people are still struggling to entice the Android crowd - ever heard of Office 365 Groups and the new Outlook Group app?
    • New Chinese and Japanese Default Fonts: New updated modern fonts
    • New Forecasting Capabilities:  Excel again!
    • New Office 365 Admin Center Preview: Another new addition to the roadmap. All Office 365 Admins will soon have the new admin center experience in their tenants. During the transition you will have a link in the old portal to the new one
    • OLAP Connection Support in Power View: More PowerView
    • Optimized file picker in Outlook Web App: A really good file picker in OWA that allows you to more easily add attachments from your OneDrive for instance
    • Pan and zoom while loading large charts/SmartArt: SmartArt improvements
    • PivotTable Field Search: No comments needed, more Excel stuff
    • Quick data linking in Visio: Make it easier to hook up data to your VIsio shapes
    • Quick Shape Formatting: More style presets in Word, Excel and PowerPoint
    • Read-only mode for Excel: Open Excel more faster
    • Real time co-authoring in Word: Microsoft is catching up with other services, this is a neat feature - and it actually works
    • Refreshed stencils and smart shapes in Visio: About time…I'm dead tired of the 3D server shapes
    • Smart Lookup for Office: Contextual research options in Word, Excel and PowerPoint
    • Smart Rename in Power Pivot: PowerPivot…
    • Support for multi-selection of Slicer items using touch: Touch my Excel!
    • Support for small screen portrait layouts in Outlook 2016: Optimizations of Outlook 2016 for small screen devices.
    • Tell Me: It's like Cortana but for Office, use Tell me to find that function you need instead of clicking like crazy in the myriads of menus in Office

    In Development

    • eDiscovery Case Management, Hold & Permissions: No update on this one, except removal of a comma in the text
    • New per-user licensing for Sway: New on the roadmap and this is a significant one. "Sway will soon switch to a per-user licensing model, so that organizations no longer have to choose whether to have Sway enabled for the entire organization vs. nobody at all". A good move and all you Service Managers out there you need to plan for this one. So you don't get the same confusion as when Microsoft initially launched this product to everyone (that is a dumb move that we will just have to get used with,…)
    • Office 365 Admin app updates October 2015: We will see Groups administration in the next wave of the admin app. Like it!
    • Real-time Co-authoring in Skype for Business: First of all - whoever wrote this description need to read it again - worse English than mine. Ok, this is a new thing on the Roadmap and my interpretation of the lousy description is that it could be something really cool
    • Reassign Sways from deleted user: New on the roadmap. With this update you should be able to actually reassign the ownership of Sways to users that is removed from your tenant
    • Video Based Screen Sharing: New on the roadmap: P2P based Video Based Screen Sharing.
    • Work Management in Office 365: The Office 365 Planner announcement,. I can't stress how excited I am about this one. Think of it like Trello in Office 365 Groups. Can't wait to start using it!!! Read the full Planner announcement here.

  • What's new on the Office Roadmap - 2015-09-09

    Tags: Office 365

    Almost a month has gone since Microsoft did an update to the Office Roadmap. But fear no more, it is here stuffed with new and interesting stuff. It's quite a long list this time around. A lot of them are just Office 2016 features that we've known about for some time, but now added to this Roadmap. But also some really interesting FastTrack features, with very sparse descriptions.

    Changes 2015-09-09

    Now Launched

    • About Me Update and New Authoring Tool: The updated About Me, part of Delve, is now fully launched, including the new Stories authoring tool. Unfortunately totally missed out on communicating this new and actually really great way of composing content - kind of like a mix of Sway and a blog tool.  (Started rolling out in April)
    • Azure AD Sync for Yammer: Finally Yammer is in some way in sync with Azure AD and disabled/deleted accounts will now be suspended in Yammer (new on the roadmap)
    • Major update to Outlook Web App: Outlook on the web has a new UX (from In development)
    • Office 365 Admin app updates: the regular admin app updates, this time support for logging in to multiple tenants
    • Office 365 Admin App Updates for June: the admin app June updates
    • Outlook for iOS opens IRM protected emails: the iOS version of Outlook now supports reading, managing and creating IRM protected e-mails. (new)
    • Search Suggestions in Outlook Web App: type ahead with recommendations in OWA (from rolling out)
    • UserVoice coming to Outlook on the web: provide user feedback to UserVoice directly in the OWA interface (from in development)
    • Weather Bar in Outlook Web App: now shows the local weather in OWA (from in development)

    Rolling out

    • Apps for Project Pro for Office 365 write support: write-back support fro Apps for Project Pro for Office 365. Nice enhancement! (from in development)
    • Capacity Management capabilities in Project Online: heatmaps and colors in Project Online for better predictions of resource utilization (from in development)
    • FastTrack | Request Service Onboarding: you can now request setup help directly from within the admin center and get on board the Office 365 train fast and for free. (new)
    • Multiple timeline bars in Project Pro for Office 365: more GUI stuff for all them project managers (from in development)
    • Office 365 Setup Enhancements: improvements in the setup wizard for mail migrations (from in development)
    • Resource Engagement Workflow in Project Online: better management for resource management and planning (from in development)
    • Subscription Management Experience refresh; a new card view when working with subscriptions. In my opinion a far worse experience than before, the card view is just annoying. (from in development)

    In Development

    • Add-in deployment via Click-to-Run: a few add-ins/apps can now be deployed via the C2R method (new)
    • Archiving in Office 365 for 3rd-party data: Office 365 will support archiving of Twitter, Yammer, Facebook, LinkedIn, GoogleTalk, DropBox, Box, SalesForce, Chatter, SMS and more and more. This is huge for compliance and regulatory business! Big thumbs up! (new)
    • Automatic Relationship Detection: PivotTables and data and relationships. Some magic for all BI and Excel lovers. (new)
    • Azure departmental template availability: department specific RMS/IRM templates. (new)
    • Click-to-Run manageability gaps addressed for IT-pros: improvements to make the already stream-lined (pun intended) deployment even more streamlined (new)
    • Colorful Office Theme: Not really new, just new on the roadmap. Office (C2R and 2016) has a new default Colorful Theme. I love this small but significant UX change. (new)
    • Create and collaborate on Visio diagrams using Office-like experience: been here a while, previously it was rolling out, now it's not…
    • Dark Theme: an improved Dark theme in Office (C2R and 2016) (new)
    • Data Gathering and Shaping Capabilities: Power Query, previously an add-on, is now included in Excel 2016. (new)
    • Data Loss Protection (DLP) for Office desktop: This is really cool, DLP is not just a cloud feature, it will be on our desktops as well. (new)
    • Deferred Updates: Office 365 commercial customers can defer Office patches to allow more time for testing (new)
    • Easy Enable for Data Analysis Add-Ins: BI, BI, Power this and Power that. All BI features will be enabled by just you thinking about them (new)
    • FastTrack | Data migration to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business: No info yet but probably free migration to SPO (new)
    • FastTrack | Skype for Business Onboarding Expansion: more free stuff (new)
    • FastTrack | Adoption planning services: being just a migration and onboarding consultant is probably not the smartest move at the moment… (new)
    • FastTrack | Azure Rights Management Onboarding: no info (new)
    • FastTrack | Project Online Onboarding: no info (new)
    • FastTrack | Providing the customer success service: no info (new)
    • FastTrack | Yammer Onboarding Expansion: no info (new)
    • Getting Started experience in Visio: no longer rolling out :-(
    • Higher DPI support for 250% and 300%: Makes Office work better on high DPI screens (new)
    • Improved conflict resolution in PowerPoint: making co-authoring even better, and for PowerPoint the conflict resolution has been really bad…
    • Improved sync slider and lean storage footprint on small devices in Outlook 2016: who doesn't like improved sliders!!! (new)
    • Information Rights Management (IRM) protection now added for Visio files: also rolled back from rolling out
    • Keyboard access for Pivot Tables and Slicers in Excel: more Excel BI improvements (new)
    • Keyboard access for Shape Panel in Visio: new key to start use in Visio - F6 (new)
    • Keyword & People search suggestions in Outlook 2016: simpler and more effective search in Outlook 2016 (new)
    • Making it easier to share files and collaborate: one of my fav features in Office 2016 - sharing is easy!! (new)
    • Mark emails as Clutter in Outlook 2016: get rid of those annoying e-mails that you don't care about (new)
    • Math Input Control: for all you math geeks (new)
    • Modern Attachments in Outlook 2016: if sharing is my fav feature this is way better - avoid attachments and sharing at the same time (new)
    • More secure translation options: document translation, research pane and others now use SSL for transport security - about time!!! (new)
    • Multi-factor Authentication: support for MFA in Office client (new)
    • New and Modern Charts: new charts in Excel (new)
    • New Chinese and Japanese Default fonts: Wingdings? (new)
    • New forecasting capabilities: improved Excel 2016 forecasting (new)
    • New timeline view in Project: improved timeline view in Project 2016 (new)
    • Office 365 content pack for Power BI: combine Office 365 usage and user information and get some insights (new)
    • Office 365 detailed usage reports: more and better reports (new)
    • Office 365 Groups: Support compliance requirements: support for Office 365 Groups in the compliance center with retention and holds (new)
    • Office 365 Reporting Dashboard: new aggregated dashboard in the admin center (new)
    • OLAP Connection Support in Power View: OLAP support in PowerView (new)
    • Outlook for the web inline OneDrive attachment preview: better preview options in OWA (new)
    • Pan and zoom while loading large charts/SmartArt:: no explanation needed (new)
    • PivotTable Field Search: search and you will find (new)
    • Quick data linking in Visio; one step connectivity for real time data (new)
    • Quick Shape Formatting: more presets in Office 2016 (new)
    • Read-only mode for Excel: open up an Excel document in SharePoint in read-only mode - what's new with that!?? (new)
    • Real time co-authoring in Word: it's been said before but this is now real time co-authoring for real (new)
    • Refresh stencils and smart shapes in Visio: another Visio thing that was in the rolling out section earlier
    • Set Automatic Replies in Outlook for iOS & Android: get your OOOF's rolling on the fruitphones and droids (new)
    • Smart Lookup for Office: contextual lookups (new)
    • Smart Rename in Power Pivot: rename stuff in PowerPivot, probably really good feature, I don't know (new)
    • Support for multi-selection of Slicer items using touch: Slicers, BI and touch - sounds like a wet dream to many (new)
    • Support for small screen portrait layouts in Outlook 2016: looking forward to testing this on my 7" Windows 10 tablet (new)
    • TellMe: Kindof Cortana but limited to the Office Ribbon :-)  (new)

    Moved off to the Previously Released list

    • NDR backscatter protection
    • Office 365 ProPlus user activation management
    • Public Folder calendar and contact access in OWA
    • SharePoint Online storage usage model
    • Skype for Business - Windows Phone
    • Skype for Business Preview - Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling (US Only)
    • Skype for Business Preview - PSTN Conferencing (US Only)
    • Skype for Business Preview - Skype Meeting Broadcast
    • Workload-specific admin roles

     

    That's it. Twas a long post this time…

  • What's new on the Office Roadmap - 2015-08-13 (Yammer Edition)

    Tags: Office 365

    Updates to the roadmap, again! This time around it is all about Yammer. This major update of Yammer features that's already rolled out or in development just shows how disconnected the Yammer and Office 365 teams are.

    Changes 2015-08-13

    These are the changes since yesterday.

    Now Launched

    • New Capabilities for Yammer iOS app: better photo and file sharing, better search, better this and better that. Directly to launched
    • Real-time Yammer group activity indicators: a feature that's been rolling out for a while, but still new on the roadmap. Tiny profile pics when people post stuff in groups. Directly to launched
    • Yammer Next Group Notifications: another thing that's been out there for a while, but new on the roadmap. Directly to launched

    Rolling Out

    • Yammer for Apple Watch: if I had a Apple Watch this is one of the things I would never install on it. Most likely for all the cool kids (new)

    In Development

    • Group Updates feed for Yammer mobile apps: Mobile Apps = Android or iOS, not win phone. This update allows for better possibilities to catch up on conversations
    • Groups in Office 365 for Yammer: the long rumored Yammer integration with Office 365 Groups. One really interesting new thing that I for sure will keep an eye on!
    • New capabilities on Yammer Android app: "…new capabilities that boost team collaboration". If they say so,.., (new)
    • Office Online multi-user coauthoring in Yammer: sigh - thou shalt not store and edit documents in yammer. (new)
    • Yammer Discovery Feed: smells like Facebooks (annoying) algorithm to surface relevant conversations. (new)
    • Yammer External Groups: allows you to invite external users to a group. Nice improvement, way better than external networks or the flexternals. (new)
    • Yammer Group UI Redesign: "cleaner look to focus attention on high impact activity..:", overall a good thing (new)

  • What's new on the Office Roadmap - 2015-08-12

    Tags: Office 365

    We have updates, and quite a few of them, to the Office Roadmap. Some clean up, some awesome Visio features rolling out and a set of new features in the In Development segment. Also noticeable quite a few of the "refresh" features and one cancelled item.

    Changes 2015-08-12

    Now Launched

    • NDR backscatter protection: has been rolling out for a while
    • Office 365 Admin Center June Updates: the June stuff is launched
    • Office 365 Store: launched. Verdict from customers - why does it have to be there, can't we remove it?
    • Office Online Edit in Yammer: Really dump feature that allows users to edit documents in Yammer - documents should never ever be stored in Yammer to start with!
    • Public Folders: adding and removing favorites in OWA: Public folders? Didn't someone say they were to be removed :)

    Rolling out

    • Adding IRM protection to Visio file: sweet feature that now is rolling out and allows to protect your most important files. Coming from In Development
    • Create and collaboration on Visio diagrams using Office like experience: more of them Visio goodies rolling out
    • DKIM Outbound for Exchange Online Protection: better protection in ExO by digitally signed message headers
    • Getting started experience in Visio: Visio, nuff said
    • Office 365 Domain Purchase Experience: from in development
    • Office 365 Settings pane: the third "pane" to be rolled out (Help, Notification and Settings). I just wonder when we are allowed to hook into these?
    • Office 365 User Purchases: just buy it yourself if your IT department says no. From in development.
    • Office 365 Video Embed: I don't know about you but I'm getting confused. Rolling out, Launched, Rolling out…
    • Purchase & Subscriptions Experience Refresh: a new user experience for the purchase and subscriptions pages are rolling out. Personally I had hard to find what I needed…
    • Rapid data connectivity in Visio: Now, if only everyone had access to Visio
    • Refreshed stencils and smart shapes in Visio: Metro? From In Development.
    • Search Refiners in Outlook Web App: make it easier to find your stuff using refiners in OWA
    • Search Suggestions in Outlook Web App: more OWA search goodness

    In Development

    • Auto-Expanding Archives: new item on the roadmap that allows archives to automatically expand as needed. No mention of any specific service but I guess it is an Exchange Online thing :)
    • Major update to Outlook Web App: Outlook Web App, or should I say Outlook on the web, will have major UX update coming (new)
    • Mobile PDF annotation support for iOS: offline access and PDF editing support on iOS - those fruit fone users get all the fun… (new)
    • Office 365 Admin app updates:  focus this month is on… GROUPS! I've said it before - Groups is the future folks! (new)
    • Office 365 app launcher refresh: New on the list! App launcher will be more like the Windows 10 Start menu with different sized tiles.
    • Save to OneDrive for Business in Outlook for iOS and Android: new on the roadmap, wonder if these things get added to the Modern Mail client in Windows 10 (phone)?
    • Subscription Management Experience refresh: even more modern design I presume… (new)
    • Supervisory Review for financial and regulatory compliance: Wow, really cool and scary. This feature will allow auditors to look into a subset of users communications. (new)
    • Uservoice coming to Outlook on the web: a link directly in OWA, sorry Outlook on the web, so users can give feedback to the OWA, sorry Outlook on the web, team.

    Cancelled

    • Evolving the Outlook Web App options page: added in April, but no info on why this is cancelled

    Moved off the list into the Previously released

    • Azure AD Reports
    • Disable OneDrive for Business sync for unmanaged PCs
    • Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection
    • MDM for OneDrive for Business
    • Mobile device management
    • Office 365 Groups: Dynamic CRM integration
    • Office 365 Groups: files improvement
    • Office 365 Groups: improving visibility and management
    • Office 365 Groups: adding Like to Conversations
    • Office 365 services hosted in Microsoft Australia datacenters
    • Office Online Preview in Yammer
    • Quarantine Message Body Preview
    • Skype for Business Online
    • Unified OneDrive API

  • Take control of your Office 365 Theme!

    Tags: Office 365, SharePoint Online

    It has been a while since Office 365 introduced the suite wide themes. These themes are applied on all services within the Office 365 suite, or at least the ones using the Suite Bar navigation. Up until the very last few weeks the suite wide theme has been something you can set but your SharePoint site owners and all end-users has been able to override them. Finally these things has been resolved and fixed (no info about this on the Office Roadmap, hence this blog post)!

    In this post I will walk you through how the Office 365 Theme can and should be controlled and what specifically to think of.

    Create you suite wide Office 365 Theme

    Of course, the first thing you need to do is to create your Office 365 Theme. This configuration is very logically located under the Company Profile in the Office 365 Admin Portal. Once you choose "Company Profile" in the left hand menu you then choose "Custom theming".

    Office 365 Custom Theming

    There are a couple of things you can configure here.

    Images

    Custom logo

    The custom logo is a picture shown on each and every page, in the middle of the suite bar. It has to be 200x50 pixels and in either JPG, PNG or GIF format and it must not be larger than 10kb.

    URL for clickable logo

    You can also set a URL for the custom logo. Having it point to tenant.sharepoint.com is a kinda good thing - since there is still no way to "force" an "Intranet" tile into the App Launcher.

    Background image

    This is a background image that will be shown in the suite bar. The size should be 1366x50 pixels and in JPEG, GIF or PNG and not larger than 15kb. (The error message says 250x30 and less than 10kb though).

    Colors

    You have three color options:

    The Accent color determines the color of the App Launcher box (red in the image below).

    Nav bar background color is the background color of the suite bar (green in the image below)

    Text and icons is the color of the text and icons (blue in the image below)

    The last option is the App Launcher icon where you have three colors to choose from; the Text and icons color, white or black.

    Office 365 Theme color cheat sheet

    Note: Please be patient when applying a theme or updating a theme. The suite bar takes some time to trickle out to all services and it's also cached "hard".

    Prohibit end-users to overwrite your Office 365 Theme

    On the Custom theming page there is one really important check box, that should be checked on each and every tenant: Prevent users from overriding custom theming with their own theme.

    No more kittens!

    When this checkbox is enabled users cannot on their Office 365 settings page override the theme you have created. Think of in a corporate world where you have a nice theme and your end-users overrides it with cute kittens or whatnot.

    SharePoint themes does not longer overwrite the Office 365 Theme

    So, what about SharePoint and the SharePoint themes? Up until very recently as soon as you applied a theme to a SharePoint site, that nuked the Office 365 theme on that site. Over the last few days a fix has been rolled out so no matter what despicable built-in SharePoint theme you apply, the Office 365 Theme will be there.

    Green theme!

    Summary

    All this might be old news to some of you, but from the Twitter streams (SMS Rob?) I've seen that not everyone is aware of all these features.

    Note: you might not have all these features/fixes in your tenant, as it takes a while for everything to roll out.

  • Office 365 Groups for Admins - simple reporting using PowerShell

    Tags: Office 365, Unified Groups, PowerShell

    In this post, in the Office 365 Groups for Admins series, I will leverage what we learned in the previous posts, combine it with some PowerShell magic and create some basic reports. You can use these reports as a base for your Office 365 Groups reporting in your organization.

    Note: all these reports require that you have connected to your Exchange Online tenant with appropriate permissions, see this post about more details.

    List all Groups

    The most simple and most obvious report is of course to use the Get-UnifiedGroup cmdlet. That one gives you the basic details such as group names, creation dates etc:

    Get-UnifiedGroup | Format-Table Alias, PrimarySmtpAddress, WhenCreated, WhenChanged

    Simple Group report

    Show some more details

    Most often you need more details, specifically with the member details. Here's how you can combine the Get-UnifiedGroup cmdlet with the Get-UnifiedGroupLinks cmdlet to show how many members and owners each group have:

    Get-UnifiedGroup | 
        select Id,Alias, AccessType, Language,Notes, PrimarySmtpAddress, `
        HiddenFromAddressListsEnabled, WhenCreated, WhenChanged, `
        @{Expression={([array](Get-UnifiedGroupLinks -Identity $_.Id -LinkType Members)).Count }; `
        Label='Members'}, `
        @{Expression={([array](Get-UnifiedGroupLinks -Identity $_.Id -LinkType Owners)).Count }; `
        Label='Owners'} |
        Format-Table Alias, Members, Owners
    

    Another Group report

    This command might take a while if you have many Groups and many members. So if want to do some operations on this you should store it in a local variable.

    You can also use this result and store it in a file (or upload it to SharePoint) if you would like to compare how your Groups change over time. For this I prefer to use the Export-CliXml and Import-CliXml cmdlets to persist the data as an XML file and then the Compare-Object cmdlet to find differences. You can do something like this to compare Groups from one day to another:

    # Get Group data (using the command above)
    $allGroups = Get-UnifiedGroup | select ...
    
    # Get previous days Groups
    $previousData = Import-Clixml -LiteralPath c:\temp\groups-data.xml
    
    # Compare the results
    Compare-Object -ReferenceObject $previousData -DifferenceObject $allGroups `
        -Property Members,Owners -PassThru | `
        Format-Table  Alias, Members, Owners, SideIndicator
    
    # Export the new data
    $allGroups | Export-CliXml c:\temp\groups-data.xml 
    

    Comparing Groups

    The SideIndicator indicates the changes; => is new stuff and <= is old stuff. In the picture above you can see that the Members and Owners properties of one Group has increased to 3, from 2. And we also have one brand new Group, with 1 member.

    Finding users in Groups

    Sometimes you need to find out which users are members or owners of certain Groups. Of course you can use Azure AD cmdlets to find memberships but another way is to use a modification of the command above:

    $allGroupsObj = Get-UnifiedGroup | 
        select Id,Alias,  `
        @{Expression={Get-UnifiedGroupLinks -Identity $_.Id -LinkType Members | `
        select Name}; Label='Members'}, `
        @{Expression={Get-UnifiedGroupLinks -Identity $_.Id -LinkType Owners | `
        select Name}; Label='Owners'}
    

    This allows you to find out which Groups a specific user is Member and/or Owner of. To find which Groups Katie Jordan is owner of you fire off a command like this:

    $allGroupsObj | Where-Object{$_.Owners | Where-Object{ $_.Name -eq 'KatieJ'}} | `
        select Alias
    

    KatiJ is the owner

    Summary

    I hope this post showed you how you can create reports of your Office 365 Groups, in wait for Microsoft to provide us with better tools. And I hope you actually do reporting on your Groups, since that is an essential part of your Office 365 Governance and your understanding on how your users work.

  • Office 365 Groups for Admins - managing Group memberships with PowerShell

    Tags: Office 365, Unified Groups, PowerShell

    In the last post of the Office 365 Groups for Admins series I showed you how to manage the Unified Groups using PowerShell. Let's continue on that journey and take a look at how you can manage the Group memberships using PowerShell.

    All membership management are done using the *-UnifiedGroupLinks cmdlets, you can access them using PowerShell and connecting to Exchange Online as shown in the previous post. The cmdlets is at the moment that well documented. If that changes I'll make sure to update this post (and please remind me).

    Public vs Private Groups

    Before we dive into Memberships let's take a look at Public vs Private Groups, something you configure when creating the Group. In Public Groups anyone within your Organization can participate in discussions and access its content, whereas in Private Groups you have to be a member.

    Listing members of Groups

    First of all assume that we want to list the members of a Group. There are three types of Memberships in Office 365 Groups:

    • Members
    • Owners
    • Subscribers

    To show all the Members of a Group issue the following command:

    Get-UnifiedGroupLinks -Identity "XT1000 Marketing" -LinkType "Members"

    The LinkType parameter can be either Members, Owners or Subscribers.

    Adding members to a Group

    To add one or more accounts as a Member to a Group you use the Add-UnifiedGroupLinks cmdlet as follows:

    Add-UnifiedGroupLinks `
        -Identity "XT1000 Marketing" `
        -LinkType "Members" `
        -Links @("garthf@contoso.com","robinc@contoso.com")

    Identity is the Group, LinkType has to be either Members, Owners or Subscribers and Links should be a single or an array of mailboxes.

    To add a new admin to the Group, you use the LinkType set to Owners. But, before issuing that command you need to make the user a Member of the Group, so it is a two-stage rocket like this to make someone an admin:

    Add-UnifiedGroupLinks `
        -Identity "XT1000 Marketing" `
        -LinkType "Members" `
        -Links "garthf@contoso.com"
    Add-UnifiedGroupLinks `
        -Identity "XT1000 Marketing" `
        -LinkType "Owners" `
        -Links "garthf@contoso.com"

    Subscribers are basically just members but they have decided to Subscribe to events from the Group. They are added just like Owners - first a Member Group Link and then a Subscriber Group Link.

    Note that the user creating the Group, using PowerShell, will always be an Owner (and Member).

    Removing members from Groups

    Removing users from a Group are very similar to adding them. If they are Owners or Subscribers that Group Link has to be removed first, then the Member Group Link:

    Remove-UnifiedGroupLinks `
        -Identity "XT1000 Marketing" `
        -LinkType "Owners" `
        -Links @("garthf@contoso.com") `
        -Confirm:$false
    Remove-UnifiedGroupLinks `
        -Identity "XT1000 Marketing" `
        -LinkType "Members" `
        -Links @("garthf@contoso.com") `
        -Confirm:$false

    Summary

    This post showed with a few examples on how to manage memberships in Office 365 Groups, using PowerShell and the *-UnifiedGroupLinks cmdlets. In the upcoming posts we'll take a look at how to combine the different cmdlets to produce some good reports of the Unified Groups.

  • Office 365 Groups for Admins - managing Groups with PowerShell

    Tags: Office 365, Unified Groups, PowerShell

    One of the loudest complaints I hear from people when we talk about Groups is the lack of management features, so in this post in the Office 365 Groups for Admins series we will take a look at how you can manage your Unified Groups using PowerShell. In the previous post I actually already showed you how to use PowerShell to create Groups, but let's take a step back.

    Connecting PowerShell to Exchange Online

    To start working with the Unified Groups in PowerShell we need to connect to Exchange Online and we do that by establishing a PowerShell session to a specific Uri, see code sample below, and then import that session to our local session. This means we do not have to install any PowerShell module or similar. This is how it should look like:

    # We need some credentials of course
    $UserCredential = Get-Credential
    
    # Create the session
    $Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange `
        -ConnectionUri https://outlook.office365.com/powershell-liveid/ `
        -Credential $UserCredential `
        -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection
    
    # Import the session
    Import-PSSession $Session
    
    # Do Stuff...
    
    # Kill the session
    Remove-PSSession $Session
    

    There is nothing you need to modify here, just enter your credentials when asked for. Note that I close the remote session!

    Unified Group cmdlets

    There are a couple of Unified Group cmdlets available for us to use. Issuing Get-Help UnifiedGroup shows the following operations:

    • Add-UnifiedGroupLinks
    • Get-UnifiedGroup
    • Get-UnifiedGroupLinks
    • New-UnifiedGroup
    • Remove-UnifiedGroup
    • Remove-UnifiedGroupLinks
    • Set-UnifiedGroup

    As you can see there are two types of cmdlets; one for creating, updating and removing Unified Groups and one listing, adding and removing "Group Links" (membership stuff), but more about those in the next post.

    Get-UnifiedGroup

    This cmdlet lists all you current Office 365 Groups. It's perfect for creating reports. It has support for filtering options (very similar to Exchange mailbox management) or you can retrieve a specific group like this:

     Get-UnifiedGroup -Identity <groupalias>

    Listing Groups

    New-UnifiedGroup

    We discussed this one in the latest post, so we keep this description short: this cmdlet creates new Groups.

    Set-UnifiedGroup

    This is most likely the most important cmdlet for managing Groups. It allows you to modify properties of the Groups.

    Here are a couple of the operations you need to understand and use:

    Hide a Group from the Address lists (GAL)

    The request I hear the most often is  - I don't want (certain) groups to be visible in the GAL. Then just use the HiddenFromAddressListsEnabled parameter and it will disappear from the address lists (a resync of the GAL is needed for client apps):

    Set-UnifiedGroup -Identity <alias>  `
         -HiddenFromAddressListsEnabled $true

    Changing the appearance

    You can change the display name, primary and other e-mail addresses and even add Mail tips to a Group.

     Set-UnifiedGroup -Identity BossesGroup `
         -DisplayName "Contoso Bosses" `
         -MailTip "You're sending mail to a Group!!!!" `
         -PrimarySmtpAddress "bosses@contoso.com"

    Group Mail Tips

    Accept or Reject certain users from sending mails to groups

    There might be situations when you do not want certain people to send messages to a group or you only want specific people to send messages. Then you can use the RejectMessagesFromSendersOrMembers or AcceptMessagesOnlyFromSendersOrMembers parameters. They work in a similar fashion as the similar parameters on the Set-DistributionGroup cmdlet. For instance this prohibits Garth Forth from sending messages to the Bosses Group.

    Set-UnifiedGroup -Identity BossesGroup `
        -RejectMessagesFromSendersOrMembers garthf@contoso.com

    Remove-UnifiedGroup

    Pretty obvious what this one does - it removes a Group.

    Summary

    After reading this post you should find yourself comfortable starting managing Groups using PowerShell and even start writing your own reports (unless you can't wait a couple of more days). In the next post I'll continue with the Group Links and show you how to manage the membership of Groups.

  • Office 365 Groups for Admins - Creating Groups

    Tags: Office 365, Unified Groups

    In this post of the Office 365 Groups for Admins series we will take a look at how you as an admin and your end-user can create Office 365 Groups. The option to allow end-users to create Unified Groups or not are determined by the Mailbox Policy, as described in a previous post.

    End-user creation of Office 365 Groups

    End-users have two ways of creating new Groups; either use the Office 365 web interface or using Outlook 2016 (works on the PC edition, not sure about Office on Macintosh). This is option is by default available for ANYONE within your organization, there is no granularity at all, there is no approval or anything.

    In the web interface there are several entry points to Groups, most of them have a "plus" icon that allows the end-user to start the new Groups wizard and create a Group.

    Unfortunately this "plus" icon is present even if Groups creation is disabled. The end-user will not notice that he/she is prohibited to do it until they actually create the Group and are met with an access denied. Bad UX design Microsoft…

    In Outlook 2016, the end-user right clicks on the Groups heading in the right hand pane and choose "New Group". A similar wizard as the web interface is shown and the user can create a Group.

    The Office client team got it. If Groups creation is disabled, the New Group option is actually greyed out…

    Creating Groups using PowerShell

    Administrators can create Groups using PowerShell. It is an simple operation and might at this point in time actually be the best option for you to create Groups. It allows you to have full more control over the creation and the Group properties.

    To create a Group all you need to do is to establish a remote session to Exchange Online and then use the New-UnifiedGroup cmdlet.  One might think that issuing a get-help command on that cmdlet would show some information on how to use it - not really the truth (on a side note the help information might tell us where the product group are heading).

    # Connect to EXO
    $creds = Get-Credential
    $Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange `
        -ConnectionUri https://outlook.office365.com/powershell-liveid/ `
        -Credential $creds -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection
    Import-PSSession $Session
    
    New-UnifiedGroup `
        -DisplayName "Group: Project X" `
        -Alias "unifiedgroup-project-x" `
        -EmailAddresses "group-project-x@groups.contoso.com" `
        -AccessType Private 
    
    Remove-PSSession $session
    
    

    This is basically what you can do with this cmdlet:

    • DisplayName: the display name of the group. This cmdlet does not take the Group Naming Policies into account so you can and should use a proper naming standard here.
    • Alias: the Exchange alias. Using this property is the only way to control the Alias of the group
    • EmailAddresses: The e-mail address of the Group. This does NOT have to be the default domain, as used when created from the UI. You can use a separate or dedicated domain for this
    • AccessType: This can have the value of Public or Private.

     

    Note: the Name property, in Exchange, for any Group created using the UI or PowerShell will be suffixed with "_<10 digit hex numer>". Creating a Group using the Office 365 Unified API's does not append this…

    Once this command is invoked it will return fairly quickly and you can access the Exchange part of the Group. Things like Files will take another couple of minutes, it's SharePoint you know…

    Once we've created a Group we can further configure it, but we'll take a look at that in the next post in the series.

    Creating Groups using the Office 365 Unified API

    We have a third way of creating Groups and that is through the Office 365 Unified API's. I will get back to this in a later post when we talk about this API specifically.

    Summary

    After reading this post and the other posts in the series, you should no longer be afraid of Office 365 Groups. You can enable it for everyone to create Groups as they want, and you can do the cleaning afterwards. Or you can put the Group creation into the hands of your Exchange or Office 365 Admins and let them create the Groups using a PowerShell script. Create a SharePoint list (an InfoPath form?), an approval Workflow and just automate it? Just as we have to do with SharePoint sites, anyways…
    The experience, for everyone, will be way better than the default one.

  • Office 365 Groups for Admins - Group creation policies

    Tags: Office 365, Unified Groups

    In this post of the Office 365 Groups for Admins series I will talk about the small but important policies we can apply to Group creation.

    At the moment there is very little control of the actual Office 365 Group creation in Office 365. And this tends to be one really important aspect of the Unified Groups discussion - can we allow them or not? I do hope that I over the time can update this post with new and improved governance features.

    Group naming policies

    One of the few configuration options you have for the Unified Groups is how they are named when created. You do not configure this from the Groups settings in the Admin portal, where one could expect it to be, but rather under Admin > Exchange > Recipients > Groups. Then click on the ellipsis (…) and Configure group naming policy:

    Group Naming Policy in EXO

    The Group Naming Policy consist of two parts; General and Blocked Words.

    An important thing to remember is that these policies only applies to when an end-user creates a Group in the user interface (web or Outlook 2016), not when an administrator creates them using PowerShell.

    General

    Under the General configuration of the Group Naming Policy you can configure name prefixes and suffixes. Not that this is only for the display name for the Group, not for the e-mail alias or anything else. The prefixes and suffixes can be based on an Attribute or plain text. Attributes are read from some of the user account properties; for instance City, Company etc.

    In this screenshot below I have configured both prefixes and a suffix. Each Group will now get a name as follows: <Company><City><Group Name> 'Group'. That is for instance "Contoso Stockholm Project X Group".

    A sample Group Naming Policy

    The example above is pretty bad though. Now if someone creates a group called "Project X Group", this is what they will see an interface like below:

    Creating a Group

    But when the Group is created it will actually look like this: :)

    SNAGHTMLbb7767c

    Nevertheless, it is a good idea to actually  configure at least a prefix, that will make sure that your GAL looks a little bit prettier.

    Blocked Words

    Since everyone can create Groups it is a good idea to block some words from the Group naming. Names that you don't want to see in your GAL and other entry points. This can be done with the Blocked Words feature:

    Blocked Words


    Default e-mail domain

    Since each Group has its own e-mail address each e-mail address has a domain name. When creating a Group you cannot specify the domain so it will actually use the default domain that you have configured in your tenant. You can change the default domain in the Admin portal under Domains and then choose which one of your domains to be default.

    Default Domain in Office 365

    Uservoice

    There are a couple of interesting ideas on the Office 365 Uservoice site I recommend that you vote on:

    Summary

    If you're enabling creation of Groups in your Office 365 you should consider configuring your Group Naming Policies. Unfortunately the options at the moment are limited to the display name - hopefully we will se better options for this in the future.

  • Office 365 Groups for Admins - Enable and disable user creation of Groups

    Tags: Office 365, Unified Groups

    This is the third post in my Office 365 Groups for Admins series and it will focus on one of the primary tasks an Office 365 Admin has to do once their tenant is up and running; should we allow our users to create Office 365 Groups or not? I'm not going to give you an answer to this. It is something you need to evaluate properly within your organization, but I do recommend that you initially always turn off Groups, so that you can get some governance into the game before promoting it to everyone.

    Important! Disabling Office 365 Group creation as described in this post will only disable it in the user interface (for everyone, including admins). We can still create Unified Groups using PowerShell (more on that in later posts).

    I will show you how to check the status of Groups creation, how to disable it and how to enable it (you will eventually do this…cause the Unified Groups rocks!). To do all this we need to use PowerShell, there is no way to do this in the UI or admin portal of Office 365.

    Check the Office 365 Groups creation status

    To check if our users are allowed to create Groups we start a (new) PowerShell session and executes the following statements:

    # Connect to EXO
    $creds = Get-Credential
    
    $Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange `
        -ConnectionUri https://outlook.office365.com/powershell-liveid/  `
        -Credential $creds -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection 
    
    Import-PSSession $Session
    
    # Check status
    Get-OwaMailboxPolicy | select GroupCreationEnabled
    
    Remove-PSSession $Session
     

    All the Unified Groups PowerShell scripts exits in Exchange Online. In order to connect our PowerShell session to Exchange Online, we need an Exchange/Global Online admin credential. Using that credential we create a new PowerShell session and connect that session to the cloud. Once we have the session we can import it and start working with the Exchange Online cmdlets.

    The cmdlet we want to use is the Get-OwaMailboxPolicy and the property we want to take a look at is GroupeCreationEnabled. If it is set to true, then end users can create Groups and vice versa.

    GroupCreationEnabled

    Disable creation of Office 365 Groups

    Disable creation is quite simple, we need to do the same connection thing as we did above and then use the Set-OwaMailBoxPolicy cmdlet to prohibit creation, like this:

    # Connect to EXO
    $creds = Get-Credential
    $Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange  `
        -ConnectionUri https://outlook.office365.com/powershell-liveid/ `
        -Credential $creds -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection
    Import-PSSession $Session
    
    # Disable
    Set-OwaMailboxPolicy -Identity OwaMailboxPolicy-Default -GroupCreationEnabled $false
    
    Remove-PSSession $Session
    

     

    As you can see we only need to set the GroupCreationEnabled switch to $false and we're all set.

    No creation of Groups hereFrom now on end users will be unable to create new Groups in the user interface. If the click the create new group function in the web interface they will get an error saying that you're not allowed to create a Group. In Outlook 2016 (after restarting Outlook) it is even better, the Create Group function is actually disabled.

    Enable creation of Office 365 Groups

    Turning Office 365 Groups creation back on is just as easy as turning it off.

    # Connect to EXO
    $creds = Get-Credential
    $Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange  `
        -ConnectionUri https://outlook.office365.com/powershell-liveid/ `
        -Credential $creds -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection
    Import-PSSession $Session
    
    # Enable
    Set-OwaMailboxPolicy -Identity OwaMailboxPolicy-Default -GroupCreationEnabled $true
    
    Remove-PSSession $Session
    

    Summary

    As you've seen in this post it is very easy to enable or disable Groups creation. In this series we'll come back to even more PowerShell administration.

  • Office 365 Groups for Admins - Groups entry points

    Tags: Office 365, Unified Groups

    In this first post of the Office 365 Groups for Admins series I will show you where you have the different entry points for the Unified Groups.

    It's important to understand this as it is important in the posts to follow.

    Office 365 Mail (end users)

    Groups in the Web UIThe first and perhaps the most obvious point of Office 365 Groups is in the Office 365 Mail application (Outlook Web App, OWA). On the left hand side you will see the Groups heading. Under that heading 10 of the Groups you are member of are shown, with your Favorites on top.

    Clicking on Browse Groups will take you to a public listing of all available Groups within your tenant.

    Clicking on Create Group will allow anyone within your organization to create a new Group.

    Clicking a Group here navigates you to the discussion view of the Group.

    Office 365 Calendar (end users)

    From the Calendar view of OWA you will see the your Groups (up to 10) and you can add their calendars as overlay. Clicking on a Group here navigates you to the Groups Calendar view.

    OneDrive for Business (end users)

    In OneDrive for Business you will also see the Groups heading and a similar view as above. You only see five Groups here, you can click on More to see more.

    Outlook 2016 (end users)

    Groups in Outlook 2016One of the best pieces with Groups is that in Outlook 2016 you can directly access the Groups and interact with them.

    Right clicking the Groups header allows you to create a Group.

    If you have marked any Groups as favorites, they will also show up together with your favorites folders in Outlook.

    Global Address List (end users)

    By default all of the Office 365 Groups will be visible in the Global Address List.

    Office 365 Admin Portal (admins)

    Office 365 Admins can see some Group information in the Admin portal, located under the Groups heading (at the moment, consider this as your last resort :)

    Some of the Unified Group configuration piggybacks on the Exchange Group settings, so you find some settings in the Exchange Admin Center as well.

    PowerShell (admins)

    Of course, PowerShell is where you can work with Groups.

    Office 365 Unified API (developers, admins)

    There's an API for that. Yes, we can do some really cool stuff with the new Office 365 Unified API's.

    SharePoint Online (end users)

    In SharePoint (and OneDrive) all your Groups will be available as groups when sharing sites, items or documents.

    Summary

    Office 365 Groups are everywhere in Office 365, and I think we can expect them to appear on even more places. For instance the Office Roadmap talks about Delve appearance of Groups…

  • Office 365 Groups for Admins

    Tags: Office 365, Unified Groups

    As you might have noticed I'm a big fan of Office 365 Groups, aka Unified Groups. I do think they will play a major role in the future of Office 365 Collaboration. Office 365 Groups consists of many moving parts, some that are half baked, some that are not working at all and some that is a bit difficult to understand. In this series of posts, will be published over the next few weeks and after that when needed, I will describe how you as an Office 365 Admin can and should work with Office 365 Groups.

    This post will be kept as an index for the posts and will be updated when new posts are being added:

     

    If you have ideas or suggestions on the series and the individual posts, please leave a comment.

  • What's new on the Office Roadmap - 2015-07-22

    Tags: Office 365, Unified Groups

    Some "small" updates this week on the Office Roadmap

    Changes 2015-07-22

    Now Launched

    • Office 365 Groups: Power BI Integration: A new and easier way for teams/groups to collaborate in Power BI. Directly to launched.

    In Development

    • Office 365 User Purchases: An interesting new option for the Store. Individuals can with this feature in place "purchase and individually own a subscription to additional software". Looks like if your manager doesn't approve of your Visio request, you can buy it on your own :)

  • What's new on the Office Roadmap - 2015-07-16

    Tags: Office 365, Yammer

    A week has gone since last update to the Office Roadmap and it looks like the Office 365 team is on a good pace.

    Changes 2015-07-16

    These are the changes I've noticed on the Roadmap, including my personal comments/take on some of them. One big shocker here and it's in the Cancelled section, check it out!

    Now Launched

    • Multi-Tier Cloud Standard for Singapore: something brand new that is just for Singapore that is launched? No description at all on the Roadmap - I'll get back with details.
    • Quarantine Message Body Preview: last week rolling out and now fully rolled out. Exchange admins can now really easy preview stuff in quarantine.
    • SharePoint Online storage usage model: "Auto" quotas are now fully rolled out
    • Workload-specific admin roles: Also the new admin roles are fully rolled out

    Rolling Out

    • Office 2013 Windows client modern authentication preview: new ADAL based AuthN is rolling out

    In Development

    • Office Online Edit in Yammer: Allows you to edit documents directly in Yammer. New on the roadmap
    • PSTN Calling in Skype for Business: US Only, more countries coming up, PSTN Call in feature. More awesome S4B features!
    • Public Folders: adding and removing favorites in OWA: Who said Public Folders was dead!

    Cancelled

    • Document Conversations for OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online: CANCELLED! No surprise to me. Another Yammer feature that is going in to the bin. If Microsoft can do a big write-down on Surface, they sure should do it on Yammer as soon as possible. From Rolling Out.

    Moved off into Previously Released

    (Added since original post)

    • Add external collaborators to your internal Yammer conversations
    • Boards for Office Delve
    • De-clutter your Inbox
    • Delve (Codename Oslo) & Office Graph
    • DLP in Office 365 to protect Externally classified content
    • DMARC Support in EOP
    • First Release Select people
    • Office 2013 client update to support passive authentication using SAML
    • Partner Admin Center New Customer List Filters
    • Recommend OneDrive for Business for Large Attachments
    • Share OneDrive for Business folders externally
    • Skype for Business desktop application update

     

    That's it for this time folks!

  • JavaScript multi-line string hack - a nifty JavaScript and CSS trick

    Tags: JavaScript, Apps, Add-Ins

    JavaScript is the new black and each and everyone has re-discovered JavaScript and it's inevitable not to have JavaScript as one of your tools. Especially if you're working with SharePoint, Office or Office 365 Apps or Add-Ins.

    In this short post I'm just documenting and sharing a small and nifty JavaScript hack that is very handy when you're doing for instance JavaScript injection, one of the most popular customization patterns for Office 365 and SharePoint Online at the moment. I often find myself in the situation that I need to deploy and inject a JavaScript file and an accompanying CSS file. More than often both the JS file and the CSS file is very small and I've found it very handy to combine the JS and CSS file into one JS file.

    Keep calm...Unfortunately the multi-line string features in JavaScript sucks, at best, unless you know this little trick. For instance you need to end each line with a backslash (\) and if you need line breaks you need to insert backslash + n (\n). If you're working with a CSS tool or like to write your CSS then it's annoying to add all that extra fluff when copying and pasting the CSS.

    So instead I've been using a technique that involves creating a small function like this:

    Wictor.MultiString = function (f) {
        return f.toString().split('\n').slice(1, -1).join('\n');
    }

    Using this function (and hack) I can now write multi-line strings as follows, and that allows me to copy-paste CSS from any tool without redecorating it in JavaScript.

    Wictor.CSS = Wictor.MultiString(function(){/**
     body {
         font-family: Consolas !Important;
     }
     **/});

    I can then use this method like this, in for instance SharePoint Online, to inject some CSS without deploying a CSS file:

    var Wictor = Wictor || {}
    
    Wictor.MultiString = function (f) {
        return f.toString().split('\n').slice(1, -1).join('\n');
    }
    
    Wictor.CSS = Wictor.MultiString(function(){/**
     body {
        font-family: Consolas !Important;
     }
     **/});
     
     (function () {
        ExecuteOrDelayUntilScriptLoaded(function() {
            var css = document.createElement("style");
            css.type = "text/css";
            css.innerHTML = Wictor.CSS;
            document.body.appendChild(css);
            alert('You\'re injected')
        }, 'sp.js');
     })();
    

     

    Happy JavaScripting….

  • What's new on the Office Roadmap - 2015-07-09

    Tags: Office 365

    Hello everyone and hope you're not reading this, it's summer time and great weather, except in Sweden of course. We have some updates to the Office Roadmap today, the first set of updates in FY16 for Microsoft. Last week I complained about Microsoft changing URL's to the roadmap site - they are now fixed ;-)

    Changes 2015-07-09

    This are the changes I've noticed since the 26th of June including my take on the additions and changes. A lot of Skype for Business stuff has been launched this time!

    One other thing I've noticed is that the Delve picture is updated from blue pens to green hills.
    image

    Now Launched

    • Azure AD Reports: The new auditing reports are now fully rolled out
    • Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection: Directly from In Development
    • MDM for OneDrive for Business: Now fully rolled out
    • Mobile Device Management: From rolling out
    • New Intune capabilities for Outlook on iOS and Android: The Outlook client on iOS and Android can now use built-in MDM for Office 365 or Intune. New on the Roadmap.
    • OAuth and MFA for Outlook for iOS and Android: From rolling out
    • Office 365 Video Embed: Everyone can now embed videos
    • Office Online Preview in Yammer: A new Yammer feature is launched (was some time since last). Yammer will now use Office Online to render Office and PDFs uploaded to Yammer
    • Skype for Business - Windows Phone: woohoo, same client different name.
    • Skype for Business Preview - Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling (US Only): 365 Admins living in the big land of the free can now sign up for this
    • Skype for Business Preview - PSTN Conferencing (US Only): Once again, US only Admins can sign up for this
    • Skype for Business Preview- Skype Meeting Broadcast: All admins should now be able to sign up for this preview. The sign up links doesn't work on the Roadmap page, but use this one and you should be all ready to go: https://www.skypepreview.com/Register

    Rolling Out

    • Custom Tiles: Huge news for all admins using Office 365. Finally an easy way to add a link to your intranet start page in the App Launcher. You can find the configuration under Admin > Company Profile > Custom Tiles (yea I know, not the most logical place…)
      Custom Tiles
    • Office 365 Admin App Updates for June: From In Development. The new push notifications are awesome (my phone has been beeping all my vacation!)
    • Office 365 Admin Center June Updates: New on the roadmap. A lot of updates to the user experience and user interface this time and also adding some new controls, such as turn on or off Sway.
    • Office 365 Setup Wizard: the brand new setup experience is rolling out replacing the old basic and advanced options.
    • Office 365 Store: The new Store is rolling out and you can find it in the Waffle for First Release customers. Currently only free apps are available.
    • Organization Support card: You can now configure your support information to be used in Office 365 and shown in the help pane. From In Development.
    • Cortana & Office 365 Productivity Scenarios: One really cool differentiator for Office 365 versus other productivity solutions. First release customers can enjoy Office 365 information in Cortana on Windows 10. [Added after initial post, since this was a late addition to the roadmap]

    In Development

    • Cloud PBX in Skype for Business Online: no changes, except the word "Online" has been added to the title.
    • Delve People Experiences - Praise: Delve will be incorporating even more "social features" beginning with Praise functionality.  A Praise will trigger an e-mail to the manager (oh, how many of you out there has proper manager structures in AD :-). And no mention of anything with Yammer here, so likely we're moving even further away from Yammer!
    • Office 365 Admin App Updates for July: Focus for this release will be Group Administration (Office 365 Groups!). New on the roadmap
    • Skype for Business for Android: New UI to Lync for Android. New on the list
    • Skype for Business for iOS: New UI to Lync for iOS. New on the list

  • What's new in the Office Roadmap - 2015-06-26

    Tags: Office 365

    Some interesting summer news on the Office Roadmap this week. But first of all something that is not very cool at all; the Office roadmap URL has changed. I've used and linked to http://success.office.com/roadmap/, http://office.com/roadmap  and http://success.office.com/roadmap/en-us but the only one that is working right now is http://success.office.com/en-us/roadmap/. Booh! Thou shalt not change URL's without redirects…

    Changes 2015-06-26

    This is the detected changes in the Roadmap. If you use the newly released feature on the Roadmap that shows the Recently Updated Features, you will see that it states about 50 changed features, since we don't know their "algorithm" behind the feature, just ignore it and keep reading…

    Now Launched

    • Skype for Business Online: Lync in a new shroud is now officially launched…...
    • Office 365 ProPlus user activation management:  You can now manage your ProPlus activations directly from the admin center
    • Office 365 Groups : improving visibility and management: The Office 365 Groups features are slowly rolling out and being launched on all tenants.
    • Compliance Search: Some of the new compliance features announced just weeks ago as being in development are now launched.

    Rolling out

    • MDM for OneDrive for Business: was previously marked as launched but is now moved back to Rolling out…
    • Office 365 Video - Embed: A long waited for feature is now rolling out.
    • Office 365 Help pane: The new help feature is rolling out,
    • Clutter for your inbox on by default: This is an important announcement that you need to inform your end-users about. Clutter will from now on be turned on by default!

    In Development

    • Skype Meeting Broadcast: Something that I really long for, being able to broadcast meetings with up to 10.000 viewers. New on the roadmap.
    • PSTN Conferencing in Skype for Business Online: Huge deal, something that all our customers ask for. Unfortunately only in US to start with, like all interesting things. Product Group, if you need testers that's not still measuring stuff in feet and stones, then call me. New on the roadmap.
    • Cloud PBX in Skype for Business Online: Dial out from Office 365! Wow! All them phone switches - watch out! My guess - US only! New on the roadmap.
    • Drive Shipping and Network Based Data Import for Office 365: Another feature that is being rolled back on the roadmap, typo or buggy?

     

    That was some nice additions and changes, right! Especially for all you Skype/Lync/UCM peeps!

  • What's new in the Office Roadmap - 2015-06-17

    Tags: Office 365

    No updates to the Office Roadmap today! But - a new huge feature to the actual Roadmap page that might make these posts obsolete

    A new button has been added to the Roadmap page, called "Show only recently updated features":

    The new button

    Once you toggle the button it will show you only what has been updated since sometime (this is not specifically clear at the moment). Currently it only shows the last update from last week.

    Good job Microsoft. No one would be happier than me if this messaging is getting better and I don't have to write these boring blog posts…

  • What's new in the Office Roadmap - 2015-06-11

    Tags: Office 365

    Updates to the Office Roadmap today as well.

    Changes 2015-06-11

    Since yesterday, only one item has change, or rather been added to the Roadmap.

    In Development

    • Office 365 Settings pane: the unification of all Office 365 services continue (time to forget SharePoint, Exchange etc). A new Settings Pane is in the works that contextually adjusts the settings depending on where you are in Office 365.

  • What's new in the Office Roadmap - 2015-06-10

    Tags: Office 365

    More updates to the Office Roadmap! This time around we have a few interesting new additions to the roadmap.

    Changes 2015-06-10

    This is what has been added to roadmap since the last couple of days. Notice that all of these are new things on the Roadmap.

    Now Launched

    • DMARC Support in EOP: DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance, http://dmarc.org/) in EOP. Directly to launched!

    Rolling out

    • OAuth and MFA for Outlook for iOS & Android: just as it sounds, the new ADAL based authentication is rolling out for iOS and Android

    In Development

    • Advanced administrative controls for archiving: Enables SEC 17a-4 record retention. Allows you to make sure that policies as such are not turned off or removed
    • Skype for Business conversations in the web experience: This was shown in a video the other day. Nice additions to the web UX.
    • Office 365 Domain Purchase Experience: a better experience to get your hands on and purchase new domains without any 3rd party services
    • Office 365 Video - Embed: Allows videos to be embedded outside the video portal, for instance in a team site. But the big news here is that this allows Kiosk users rights to view videos.
    • Office 365 Store: This update will make it easier for users to buy third party applications directly from within Office 365. Users will see a new "store icon" in the Waffle. Finally some updates to the pretty lame and boring Office store.

    Moved off into the previously released

    • Skype Developer platform

  • What's new in the Office Roadmap - 2015-06-07

    Tags: Office 365

    Summer is almost here, and I'm currently in the air over Hungary after a short but great weekend in Budapest. And the Office team in Redmond and all around the world keeps on pumping out updates. This is the summary of what has changed since the last update in May.

    If you're into compliance or a Vision fans, there's a great amount of new stuff added to the In Development category.

    Changes 2015-06-17

    Since the 15th of May the following items has been changed on the Office Roadmap.

    Now Launched

    • Add external collaborators to your internal Yammer conversations: from In Development to launched. This is in my opinion one of the scariest updates in a long time. It allows anyone to add an external person to any internal discussion on Yammer. And this is, again, turned on by default.
    • Boards for Office Delve: Boards, the light-weight knowledge management solutions for Delve is now launched.
    • De-clutter your Inbox: Exchange Clutter is now launched and turned on by default on all tenants.
    • Delve (Codename Oslo) & Office Graph: No big news but Delve is now officially launched.
    • Disable OneDrive for Business sync for unmanaged PCs: actually a big thing. You can now, using PowerShell, makes sure that only your managed PC's are allowed to do the OneDrive sync (when it works - or turn it off for everyone and get rid of all those support requests….)
    • First Release to Select People: No more need to create separate tenants just for first release. Choose your champions wisely and let them be your guinea pigs.
    • Office 365 Groups: files improvements: the enhancements to work better with files in Groups are launched. Keep it coming!
    • Office 365 services hosted in Microsoft Australian datacenters: All them kangaroos are happy now with blazing fast 365! G'day mate!
    • Public Folder calendar and contact access in OWA: the title says it all
    • Share OneDrive for Business folders externally: Users can now share a folder and not just a document with external users. Directly to launched
    • Unified OneDrive API: The unified API for OneDrive is now launched, but don't mix this with the Unified Office 365 API. Sigh! The marketing people in the Office Group really need to work on a better way to name things…

    Rolling out

    • Drive Shipping and Network Based Data Import for Office 365: Make your large scale migrations easier with Drive Shipping. From In Development.
    • Office 365 ProPlus user activation management: view and manage the activations from the Admin Center
    • Quarantine Message Body Preview: allow admins to see the message body while the message is in quarantine in order to make a better decision

    In Development

    • Adding IRM Protection to Visio file: IRM support in Visio. Good stuff in my favorite Office client application.
    • Analyzing Office 365 data with Equivio Zoom: Ediscovery enhancements to the 365 suite using the Equivio Zoom, acquired earlier this year. More information.
    • Compliance Administrator Role: Another new feature that allows you to create a Compliance Administrator with access to just the Compliance center parts!
    • Compliance Search Conditions: Even more new compliance thingies that gives the compliance people a new and improved search experience.
    •  Compliance search enhancements: Perhaps the best compliance improvement in a while. This change removes some scale limitations and allows you to search all OneDrives and Mailboxes without configuring permissions explicitly on each site/mailbox.
    • Create and collaborate on Visio diagrams using Office-like experience: Woohoo, more Visio news. Support for dark themes, Delve and High DPI!
    • eDiscovery Case Management, Hold & Permissions: More compliance stuff. I actually can't interpret what this new thing is all about (MS folks - some copywriter job is needed on this…)
    • eDiscovery infix & Suffix Wildcards: Even better search capabilities in eDiscovery that should make all your compliance officers jump up and down in excitement.
    • Getting started experience in Visio: Starter diagrams and tips and tricks for all you Visio n00bs and architect wannabees.
    • Office 365 Admin App Updates: Push notifications for service incidents, good one! Also some group management and the option to view your bill.
    • Office 365 Message Encryption: End-user Triggered Encryption in OWA: Allow your end-users to encrypt messages directly from OWA
    • Rapid data connectivity in Visio: "one-step connectivity to Excel" - create data driven diagrams even easier and faster
    • Refreshed stencils and smart shapes in Visio: Plenty of updates to the stencils and shapes in Visio 2016. Big hugs to the Visio team!

    Moved off the list into previously released

    • Bulk updates in Project Online
    • Change to the copy/paste behavior in the Outlook Web App
    • Changing support for LinkedIn in Outlook
    • Document deletion policies for OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online
    • Edit Office 365 profile details page update
    • Enhanced NDRs
    • Improvement's to Demand Management in Project Online
    • Increase Message Size limit to 150MB
    • Lync Web App Support for Mac and Windows Chrome users
    • More control over Sent Items for Shared Mailboxes
    • OneNote Class Notebook Creator
    • Option for Passwords to Never Expire
    • Skype for Business desktop application update

  • SharePoint Team Sites are dead!

    Tags: Office 365, SharePoint, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online

    SharePoint Team Sites are dead, there you have it! The era when SharePoint Team Sites was the king of SharePoint and web based collaboration are over. SharePoint Team Sites are dead, I said it again. Ok, you might think this is a link bait, a scam or something else - it's not. This is how I foresee the future of online collaboration in SharePoint Online/Office 365.

    Team Sites are based on a decade old construct in SharePoint. They allow a great flexibility and extensibility for the end users, but…
    …it requires a lot of training
    …it drives a lot of support
    …it drives a lot of consultancy hours (yes, I am/was one of those)
    …historically upgrades are extremely expensive
    …[fill in your own here]
    …do the end-users really need that much power?

    So, what's a better option then? I'd say Office 365 Groups! Office 365 Groups has a lot of the features that we lack in Team Sites and it offers the simplicity that end-users requires from Team Sites in 95% (just made that figure up, but you get the point) of the cases.

    SNAGHTML6f3a7c[7]Office 365 Groups combines the best of the Office 365 services in one single place, and Office 365 Groups have done something the SharePoint team haven't ever achieved doing with Team Sites - integrate with the Outlook client. Office 365 Groups is a mash-up of:

    • An Exchange Online Inbox - that is you can send e-mail to the group. This is a killer feature in online collaboration. Yes, SharePoint 2013 had the Team Site Mailbox but we all know that feature didn't scale and to be frankly it sucked.
    • A SharePoint Online Document Library - all we need to share documents, what better tool for that than a SharePoint document library. Offline sync, version history, web-based editing with Office Online, sharing, recycle bin etc etc. Using SharePoint for what SharePoint originally was designed for…
    • An Exchange Online Calendar - a real calendar (compared to the one in SharePoint)
    • A OneNote Online Notebook - OneNote, nuff said
    • Conversations - yea, conversations and discussions and likes and what not (not based on Yammer, thank you very much).

     

    As you can see Office 365 Groups uses the best tools available in the Office 365 service for a specific purpose. It all integrates and works extremely well in the web based user interface and you can offline sync the documents and work with it in the Outlook 2016 client.

    Office 365 Groups also aligns very well with the NextGen Portals, Microsofts attempt to build killer solutions in Office 365. One of those NextGen Portals are Delve which helps you discover new and relevant information. Shortly Delve will start to recommend Office 365 Groups for you (announced at Ignite 2015) and Office 365 and the Office Graph will also be extended with really interesting collaboration analytics between groups (another awesome Ignite demo). We also will see a Office 365 Groups App for mobile devices (see public roadmap), Office 365 Groups will be integrated to CRM Online and more…

    The extensibility story for Office 365 Groups has just started. Unfortunately we are not allowed to modify content types and such in the document library (see wish list below). But Office 365 Groups has made it into the new Microsoft Graph/Unified Office 365 APIs and Azure AD Apps.

    For management of Office 365 Groups the story did not start well last fall, but we're continuously seeing new improvements. Such as the new naming policies for groups etc. I like it!

    Yes, there are exceptions and some rough edges here and there (see my wish list below) - but overall this is something your organization should adapt as soon as possible. It will take you one step closer the digital (modern) workplace and into the future of online collaboration!

    Office 365 Groups wish list

    Here are a couple of things that I think should be top priority for the product team. If and when these "issues" are solved I think we have a pretty robust and future-proof solution.

    • Supported management of the Document Library, so that you can for instance modify/add the content type and/or templates. We really need this for enterprise content management.
    • Some extensibility hooks for customizations
    • Better management of the Groups e-mail address
    • A task list
    • Integration with Azure AD Dynamic groups
    • Notifications/events when groups are created or group creation approval
    • Better discoverability, a better "Groups Portal"
    • An Everyone group - so that we get an All company feed and once and for all can shut Yammer down

  • What's new in the Office Roadmap - 2015-05-15

    Tags: Office 365

    Both Build and Ignite has passed and we finally have the first update on the Office Roadmap in a month. It's quite a few new interesting things in the pipe this time and but no new Yammer features :)

    Changes 2015-05-15

    Since the 15th of April the following items has changed on the Office Roadmap.

    Now Launched

    • Change copy/paste behavior in the Outlook Web App: brand new updates directly to production. Changing how mixed content (images and text) are pasted in OWA.
    • DLP in Office 365 to protect Externally classified content: from rolling out
    • Edit Office 365 profile details page update: now fully launched
    • Enhanced NDRs: from In Development
    • Increase Message Size limit to 150 MB: from In Development
    • Lync Web App support for Mac and Windows Chrome users: from Rolling Out
    • MDM for OneDrive for Business: From Rolling Out
    • Office 2013 client update to support passive authentication using SAML: from Rolling Out
    • Office 365 Groups : Dynamics CRM integration: A brand new feature to Office 365 Groups! And it's a good one. This new feature in CRM allows you to create Office 365 Groups to collaborate with team members that don't have access to CRM. Read more here.
    • Office 365 Groups: adding Like to Conversations: from In Development
    • Partner Admin Center New Customer List Filters: from Rolling Out
    • Recommend OneDrive for Business for Large Attachments: from In Development

    Rolling Out

    • First Release Select people: directly to production. One of the best new enhancements, announced at Ignite, that allows you to have First Release per user instead of per tenant.
    • Office 365 Groups : files improvements: new on the roadmap. Necessary improvements to Office 365 Groups, now if only content types were available in groups…
    • Office 365 Notification Pane: did they do this properly this time?
    • Office 365 Video Update: HTML5… we listened to your feedback…
    • SharePoint Online storage usage model: from in development, allows you to have "Auto" quotas
    • SharePoint Online uses Exchange Web Services to send mail: new kid on the block, will improve how the shared items e-mails are sent and perhaps not being classified as spam
    • SharePoint Online will start to transition to using TLS to send email securely in our datacenters: perhaps not the most exciting new feature, but a good one. Also a feature that will be available on-premises in SharePoint 2016
    • Skype for Business Online: from in development - just ye ole re-branding of Lync.
    • Save to OneDrive for Business: from in development. Save to OD4B directly from OWA (Outlook Web App, not Office Web Apps). (Updated since the original post)

    In Development

    • Custom Tiles: a new and highly requested feature. Once this one is rolling out you will be able to add links to the App Launcher
    • Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection: Something new that will make all your Exchange admins excited. Read more.
    • Inline Service Health for Support Request Creation: new feature that supposedly should help you not submitting requests to Microsoft.
    • imageOffice 365 Groups: mobile app: The roadmap doesn't have much to say on this feature, but I guess the title says it all. Oh, did I hear someone say that Team Sites are dead?
      Update since the original post: "We'll be delivering a mobile app that surfaces Outlook Group conversations and files across iOS, Android and Windows Phone by the end of 2015. "
    • Organization support card: new feature that allows you to add you own contact support details in the help pane of Office 365
    • Proactive notification of Outlook version: admins will now know if you are lazy and don't update Outlook…

    Moved off to the list into Previously released

    • Clutter control and admin capabilities
    • Compliance Center for Office 365
    • DKIM Outbound for Exchange Online Protection
    • Exchange Transport Rule: Recipient Notification Action
    • Improved Yammer thread visuals with Card View for iOS/Android
    • Lync Online Active User Activities Report
    • MAPI over HTTP for Outlook 2013 and Exchange Online
    • New preview features for Power BI
    • Office 365 Admin App Update
    • Office 365 Groups Notebook
    • OneDrive for Business Sync for Mac
    • Outlook Web App options update
    • Removing Deleted Items Retention Period
    • RMS support for document libraries
    • Sign-In Page Branding and Self Service Password Reset
    • Skype for Business desktop application update
    • Touch Design Enhancements for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business
    • Yammer groups prioritization
    • Yammer support for Android Wear devices

  • What's new in the Office Roadmap - 2015-04-15

    Tags: Office 365

    It was a couple of weeks since last, but this time we got some major updates on the Office Roadmap, following the recent announcement on the Office blogs.

    Changes 2015-04-15

    Since the 26th of March, these are the changes. Quite a few of them…

    Now Launched

    • Bulk Updates in Project Online: Directly to launched status
    • Improvements to Demand Management in Project Online: Another Project thingie, directly to launched
    • Changing support for LinkedIn in Outlook: LinkedIn connections in Outlook no longer supported, another that went directly to launched
    • Clutter Control and admin capabilities: from rolling out
    • Document deletion policies for OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online: A really interesting and important feature, now live
    • Lync Online Active User Activities Report: previously rolling out
    • MAPI over HTTP for Outlook 2013 and Exchange Online: one of the oldest things on the roadmap now rolling out
    • More control over Sent Items for Shared Mailboxes: from in development
    • New preview features for Power BI: from rolling out
    • Option for Passwords to Never Expire: new on the list the last time, but now launched
    • Removing Deleted Items Retention Period: from in development. This one is a huge one!

    Now Rolling out

    • About Me Update and New Authoring Tool: Big news yesterday on the Office Blogs. From In development.
    • Lync Web App support for Mac and Windows Chrome users: from in development. Everyone is now invited to the party!
    • MDM for OneDrive for Business: Another great OneDrive feature now rolling out
    • Mobile Device Management: Changed name from "Mobile Device Management for Office 365" to "Mobile Device Management". From In Development.
    • NDR backscatter protection: more Exchange goodies, new on the list
    • Office 365 Groups: improving visibility and management: new on the list. Finally some improvements in this feature for enterprises. We might not need to turn it off at every client anymore.
    • Public Folder calendar and contact access in OWA: from in development
    • Skype for Business desktop application update: New Skype for Business is now rolling out since yesterday.

    In Development

    • Evolving the Outlook Web App options page: OWA is evolving. New on the list
    • Improved image attachment viewing in Outlook Web App: OWA team is on fire. New on the list
    • Optimize File Picker in Outlook Web App: Keep it coming OWA team! New on the list
    • Recommend OneDrive for Business for Large Attachments: Go OWA! New on the list.
    • Save to OneDrive for Business: Speechless! New on the list
    • Storage and file upload improvements for Sites and OneDrive for Business: Yay! Let's upload those big video files… New on the list
    • Office 365 Groups: adding Like to Conversations: Ooops. This was just rolling out the other week - back to the drawing board?
    • Office 365 Help pane: A new and better way to introduce features for the end-user. I like it. New on the list
    • Office 365 Notification pane: Another Ooopps. This was also previously Rolling out, with mixed feelings in the community. Better make it work and look good before launching…
    • Task Notifications in Project Online: Another new Project thingie

    Moved off the list into Previously released

    • eDiscovery Center Scale Increase
    • My apps for Office 365 app launcher
    • Office 365 Admin Center for Business
    • Office 365 ISO 27018 Privacy Compliance
    • OneNote Staff Notebook for Education
    • Outlook for iOS & Android
    • Partner admin mobile app
    • PIN lock and other updates for Outlook for iOS & Android
    • Quarantine Bulk Release
    • RMS Departmental Templates

    No longer at the list at all

    • Forms on SharePoint Lists - bye bye, for good?

     

    Phew! Good Job Microsoft!

  • Speaking at SharePoint Evolution Conference 2015

    Tags: Conferences

    It's just less than three weeks until the SharePoint Evolution Conference 2015 has kicked off - and I'll be there speaking. The Evolution Conference is by far the most important and interesting conference when it comes to SharePoint - online and on-premises. The lineup of speakers are incredible - no other conference will ever get this assembly of crew from all around the world. And in this case this really is "no marketing, no bullshit" (thanks AC & CJ). The sessions and their content is out of this world, ranging for hard-core developer stuff, to nitty gritty infrastructure details to well-polished shoes and ties type of stuff. If you're in this business - you should be there! Go register, there is till a couple of more slots available.

    The SharePoint Evolution Conference London 2015

    I'm truly honored to be invited once again to speak and this time I'm closing in on the pain threshold with four sessions, all of them very demo focused.

    Building solutions with Office Graph: This is going to be a fun session where me and my good buddy Waldek Mastykarz will go through the Office Graph, the service feeding the Delve application, with a nice set of demos and inspirational apps.

    SharePoint Online, Office and Azure better together: One of my favorite sessions, it is. This is a session that I've done for a couple of years but it changes every single time. It's about how you can leverage the Azure services for your Office and SharePoint Apps. Since the Azure services are constantly evolving the demoes are constantly re-written.

    Building rich search experiences Apps for SharePoint: Another session that I'll do with Waldek. This is going to be fun. It will be full of demos of Search related stuff. Things that you very easy can do to improve your SharePoint search experience and impress on your boss.

    Azure Virtual Machine Automation for SharePoint admins and developers: You're like me and fed up with carrying around a big ass laptop just so that you can run virtual machines. Fear no more. In this session I'll show you how to easy and fast build out SharePoint environments for test, dev and production in Microsoft Azure.

    See you there!

  • Renewed as SharePoint Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 2015

    Tags: MVP

    Aprils fools day and for the sixth time I have been awarded with the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) recognition for SharePoint Server.

    image

    Dear Wictor Wilen,
    Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2015 Microsoft® MVP Award! This award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in SharePoint Server technical communities during the past year.

    Thank you Microsoft, my employer and those in the community that still gives me the kicks in contributing on- and offline.

  • What's new in the Office Roadmap - 2015-03-26

    Tags: Office 365, Yammer, Delve

    Here we go, another round of updates of the Office Roadmap. Don't we love them! And sometimes they roll out even before the roadmap is updated ;-)

    Changes 2015-03-26

    These are the change since yesterday.

    Now Launched

    • Office 365 Admin App Update: Directly to launched status

    Features now rolling out

    • Office 365 Groups: adding Like to Conversations: New stuff on the roadmap. Seems like the Office 365 (Exchange) team is building a whole new Yammer…
    • Notifications...Office 365 Notification Pane: (from development) This feature seems to cause some disturbance in the force. It's rolling out, but it seems like it is just half finished… It does not (at the time of writing this) work and the user experience is…confusing.
      Worth mentioning here is that it is rolling out for Groups to start with (something that was changed today as well from yesterday ;-)
    • Option for Passwords to Never Expire: (new on the list) Allows admin to use the UI to configure this rather than only PowerShell
    • Tighter Yammer Integration with Delve: (new on the list) More Yammer in Delve. Why not more Groups in Delve?

    Features now In Development

    • Office 365 Setup Wizard: (new on the list) The replacement for the basic and advanced setup options. The wizard will include migration from on-premises, Google Apps and more! Really neat!

  • What's new in the Office Roadmap - 2015-03-25

    Tags: Office 365

    Another day with some changes in the Office Roadmap, and some really interesting ones actually!

    New Office 365 Profile PageChanges 2015-03-25

    These are the changes since last time.

    Now launched

    • Compliance Center for Office 365: From rolling out. Now no one can be less compliant than anyone else, or…
    • Office 365 Groups Notebooks: Coming from nowhere direct to launched. Each Office 365 Group now has a OneNote Notebook.

    Features now rolling out

    • Edit Office 365 profile details page update: Another newcomer on the list, only this one didn't make it directly to production :).  By clicking on the Gears in the upper-right corner, choosing Office 365 Settings, then choosing Me you will (if your tenant has this feature rolled out) find the new responsive page (https://portal.office.com/profile)

  • SharePoint Online and Azure AD Dynamic Groups

    Tags: Azure AD, SharePoint Online, Office 365

    One very common requirement in SharePoint, and other portal solutions for that matter, is to have the possibility to target content to a dynamic audience of users and even secure information based on dynamic rules. Traditionally this has been done with Audiences in SharePoint. Audience is a dynamic set of users that is compiled, usually once a day, and at compile time the rules of the Audience is evaluated. A SharePoint Audience is used to target information, but cannot be used to protect content - ie as a security group.

    The Azure Active Directory released a new feature the other week, called Dynamic Membership, which is a very similar feature to the SharePoint Audience feature. But, does it work with SharePoint Online? Let's have a look!

    Enabling Dynamic Groups in Azure AD

    Delegated Group ManagementFirst of all we need to enable Dynamic Membership in Azure Active Directory. To do this you need to be an Azure AD admin and you must have Azure Active Directory Premium subscription, and also the administrator you're logging in with must have an Azure AD Premium license assigned to him. Once you have the licensing sorted out you need to enable Delegated Group Management. This is done in the Azure Portal under Azure AD > Configure.

    Creating a Dynamic Group

    When you've enabled the Delegated Group Management you can create a new group or configure an existing group in Azure AD. Remember if you change an already existing group to dynamic that group will loose all members. Click on the created or already existing group and choose the Configure tab. On that tab you can enable Dynamic Memberships. When you do that the screen changes into an interface where you can specify the rules; either through a simple guide or using a more advanced syntax.

    In the screenshot below you can see that we have a group called "CVP" (Corporate Vice Presidents) and we would like everyone with the term CVP in their title to be a part of this group. Click Save when you are done with your configuring of the dynamic group.

    Dynamic Memberships

    To create the group we can use most of the Azure AD attributes. Note that the SharePoint Online user profile specific attributes cannot be used, so there are still some reasons to use SharePoint Audiences.

    Group memberships are almost immediate. You might have to wait a minute or two when you do changes. There is no way to force a recalculation of the group (as far as I know).

    Does it work in SharePoint Online?

    The final test - can I now use this dynamic group in SharePoint Online (Office 365). The answer is YES! The newly created dynamic security group is immediately available for usage in SharePoint Online.

    Dynamic Groups in SharePoint Online

    Summary

    Dynamic Groups in Azure AD is a really great feature. We can use it in SharePoint Online, Office 365 and even our custom applications to provide a better way to control security or target information. Although it requires you to have an Azure AD Premium subscription this is just one those small features that should make you consider that upgrade!

  • What's new in the Office Roadmap - 2015-03-19

    Tags: Office 365, Yammer, Exchange Online

    Some small but interesting additions on the roadmap today.

    Changes 2015-03-19

    New stuff on the roadmap

    • Yammer support for Android Wear devices: (Directly to Launched) Yammer on your wrist! Ok, where's the Microsoft Band app?
    • Enhanced NDRs: (In Development) Microsoft will now help you understand the cause and reason of NDRs in a much easier way.
    • ExpressRoute for Office 365: (In Development) You want your own redundant fat pipe to the Office 365 Data Centers - then this is your feature. Will be launched this fall.

  • What’s new in the Office Roadmap – 2015-03-13

    Tags: Office 365, SharePoint Online, Yammer, Exchange Online, OneDrive

    RoadmapIt’s not easy to keep up on what is happening in the Office and Office 365 world. Everything is changing so fast. Fortunate for us Microsoft and the Office product group has created the Office Roadmap site (http://office.com/roadmap) with all (almost at least) the details on what is in development and rolling out etc. It became quite famous the other week when the new forms solution went from In Development to Cancelled.

    Unfortunately it is quite hard to stay up to date on what’s changing in the Roadmap, and until Microsoft provides us with better details with regards to this, I thought that I could help out. Actually a while back I built a PowerShell script that automatically notifies me of any changes to the Roadmap – and why keep that a secret?

    I’ll try to blog the changes as soon as I discover them, and I’ll add my personal thought on the change…

    Changes 2015-03-13

    (Sorry, about the wrong date at the first edition of this post...)

    These are the changes as of today and I divide them into a couple of sections

    New stuff on the roadmap

    • AzureAD sync for Yammer: (In Development) We’re getting there
    • Clutter for your inbox on by default: (In Development) I don’t generally like stuff turned on by default, but this might be an exception
    • Office 365 ProPlus user activation management: (In Development) looking forward to this!
    • OneNote Staff Notebook for Education: (Launched) Brand new addition to the roadmap
    • Quarantine Message Body Preview: (In Development)

    Now launched

    • Exchange Transport Rule: Recipient Notification Action: From In Development
    • Improved Yammer thread visuals with Card View for iOS/Android: From In Development
    • OneDrive for Business Sync for Mac: Wonder if we’ll see the OD4B app on the fancy watch?
    • Outlook Web App options update:
    • PIN lock and other updates for Outlook for iOS & Android: directly to launched
    • Quarantine Bulk Release: Another direct to launch feature
    • RMS support for document libraries: From In Development, awesome stuff!
    • Touch Design Enhancements for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business

    Features now rolling out

    • Compliance Center for Office 365: Went from In development to rolling out
    • DLP in Office 365 to protect Externally classified content: Now rolling out
    • eDiscovery Center Scale Increase: Went directly from In development to Launched
    • Partner Admin Center New Customer List Filters: From In development.
    • Partner admin mobile app: From In Development
    • Workload-specific admin roles: From In Development. This is the best news this time! Finally!
    • Yammer groups prioritization: From In Development

    Other changes

    • SharePoint Online storage usage model: Moved from Rolling Out to In Development?

    Moved off the list, into the previously released bucket

    • Enhanced Bulk Mail Protection for Exchange Online Protection
    • Group Search in Yammer
    • Groups in Office 365 for Outlook Web App and OneDrive for Business
    • New wave of Yammer web and mobile language localization updates
    • Office 365 IRS 1075 Compliance Support
    • Office 365 Message Encryption- Apps for iOS and Android
    • Office 365 services hosted from Microsoft Japan datacenters
    • Office 365 sign-in for Yammer
    • OneDrive for Business for Office 365 ProPlus subscription plans

  • SharePoint Online: App Only policy PowerShell tasks with ACS

    Tags: SharePoint, Office 365, PowerShell, Apps

    Here’s a little nugget that I’ve planned to blog about for some time, that I needed today for a small task. I needed to do a background job to SharePoint Online that at a scheduled interval downloads list data, process them and optionally updates some data in my site. This can of course be done by creating an executable storing username and password combos, and with the help of the TokenHelper.cs class from the App for SharePoint Web Toolkit NuGet package and some stored username and password combos we can make the Auth pieces quite easy. I don’t like that approach. There’s two big drawbacks with that approach. The first one is storing the username and password – we can solve that with an AppOnly policy, which I blogged about in the SharePoint 2013: Using the App Only policy and App Principals instead of username and password combos post. The second issue is that I very much prefer to script these kind of tasks, it makes it more flexible. Problem with that approach is that we need to manually do the Auth pieces. But from now on you just copy and paste from this post.

    Creating the App Principal

    In order to create our PowerShell script we need to create an App for it. This step is exactly the same as we did in the blog post mentioned above. But let’s repeat it. Note! I do use the traditional way of registering apps in this scenario using ACS – I do not use an Azure AD app. The reason for this is I want every Site Collection admin to be able to script like this. Azure AD apps requires way to much permissions for the normal user.

    imageIn your site collection, navigate to /_layouts/15/appregnew.aspx. Click on both Generate buttons, so that you get one Client Id and one Client Secret. Next enter a Title, an App Domain and the Redirect URI. The App Domain and Redirect URI can be basically anything in this scenario. Then click Create to create the App Principal. On the next screen you will get all the details of your App. Copy and paste that data so you don’t loose it.

    Next head on over to /_layouts/15/appinv.aspx. Paste your Client Id in the App Id (Microsoft has never been good in naming conventions) text box and click Lookup. This will retrieve the rest of the app details. Since we will not have any UI or install any App we need to manually ask for permissions and then grant the permissions. What we do is that we create a permission request XML. Depending on your requirements your XML may be different from the one below. The following permission request XML asks for Full Read permissions on the whole web.

    <AppPermissionRequests AllowAppOnlyPolicy="true">
      <AppPermissionRequest
        Scope="http://sharepoint/content/sitecollection/web"
        Right="Read"/>
    </AppPermissionRequests>

    Note the AllowAppOnlyPolicy=”true” attribute – that one is the key to allowing the App to run without username and password. Once you paste the XML into the permission request XML textbox and then click on Create. You will see the Trust screen for your app. Make sure the permission request is what you expect and if so, click on Trust it!.

    Auth in PowerShell

    Now, let’s get to the core of this post and let’s create a PowerShell script that uses this app to read items from a list. I split it up in a few different parts to make it easier to follow. In the end of the post you will get a link to the full code sample.

    Defining some constants

    Let’s start by defining some constants:

    $clientId = "16119847-8ac7-4a3a-a2e5-18debd9fc9d2"
    $secret = "KuZj5UD22oy2.....=";
    $redirecturi = "https://localhost"
    
    $url = "https://tenant.sharepoint.com/sites/thesite/"
    $domain = "tenant.sharepoint.com"
    $identifier = "00000003-0000-0ff1-ce00-000000000000"
    
    

    The $clientId, $secret and $redirecturi are copied directly from the results of my app registration. The $url parameter is the URL of the site where I registered the app, and $domain is just the server part of that URL. Finally the $identifier is a static Guid value, which represents SharePoint (Exchange, Lync, Workflow etc has their own Id’s).

    Retrieving the Realm

    The next step is to retrieve the Realm or Tenant Id. You might already know this or you might just run these commands once and store it as a static variable.

    $realm = ""
    $headers = @{Authorization = "Bearer "} 
    try { 
        $x = Invoke-WebRequest -Uri "$($url)_vti_bin/client.svc" -Headers $headers -Method POST -UseBasicParsing
    } catch {
        #We will get a 401 here
          $realm = $_.Exception.Response.Headers["WWW-Authenticate"].Substring(7).Split(",")[0].Split("=")[1].Trim("`"")
    }
    

    What we do here is to send a request to the client.svc endpoint and actually expect to get thrown a 401 back. When we get the 401 we’ll locate the WWW-Authenticate headers and retrieve the Realm property. Yea, that PoSh line could be a bit more prettier and failsafe, but it works on my machine.

    Retrieving the access token

    When we have the realm we can create the authorization code. This is how we combine all our variables into an authorization code:

    [System.Reflection.Assembly]::LoadWithPartialName("System.Web") | Out-Null
    $body = "grant_type=client_credentials"
    $body += "&client_id=" +[System.Web.HttpUtility]::UrlEncode( $clientId + "@" + $realm)
    $body += "&client_secret=" +[System.Web.HttpUtility]::UrlEncode( $secret)
    $body += "&redirect_uri=" +[System.Web.HttpUtility]::UrlEncode( $redirecturi)
    $body += "&resource=" +[System.Web.HttpUtility]::UrlEncode($identifier + "/" + $domain + "@" + $realm)
    

    Let’s walk this through. First of all I load the System.Web assembly, if you run this as a scheduled task this assembly is not loaded in your app domain, compared to when running it in PowerShell ISE for instance, and we need that assembly for some encoding.

    The actual authorization code starts with a grant_type which we set to the static variable of client_credentials, which means that we do not pass any user credentials or refresh tokens. Client_Id is not exactly the same Client Id as above, here we need to append “@” and the realm to scope the request to our tenant. The Client secret and redirect Uri is the same as when creating the app. Finally we have the resource token which is a combination of the SharePoint identifier, the domain and the realm. Note that if you’re targeting the anything in a Personal Site, you not only have to update the $url variable but also the $domain variable.

    We send all this data to the Azure Access Control Services (ACS), remember we did not use Azure AD, endpoint like this:

    $or = Invoke-WebRequest -Uri "https://accounts.accesscontrol.windows.net/$realm/tokens/OAuth/2" `
        -Method Post -Body $body `
        -ContentType "application/x-www-form-urlencoded"
    $json = $or.Content | ConvertFrom-Json
    
    When invoking the endpoint, using our authorization code above, we will get a JSON formatted string back. We convert this string into an object using ConvertFrom-Json.

    Use the access token

    Finally we can use the result from the ACS endpoint and get our access token which we’ll pass into the REST end point (as an Authorization Bearer token) of the site where we want to do operations.

    $headers = @{
        Authorization = "Bearer " + $json.access_token;
        Accept ="application/json"
    } 
    
    Invoke-RestMethod -Uri "$($url)_api/lists/GetByTitle('Documents')/Items" -Method Get -Headers $headers
    

    Summary

    That wasn’t to hard right? All we needed to know was the basic process of OAuth 2.0 and know how to create and pars the requests and responses. The full code sample can be found here: https://gist.github.com/wictorwilen/db67725a66a3e40789e3

  • Finally time for another SSUG meeting in Stockholm

    Tags: User Group, SharePoint

    It’s been way to long since we had a Sweden SharePoint User Group meeting in Stockholm, but the wait is now over.

    On the 26th of February we are all invited to the local Microsoft offices to learn more about SharePoint. Specifically this evening we will be able to hear from Erwin van Hunen, who will talk about the Office 365 Patterns and Practices project. We will also be able to hear from Microsoft about their Hybrid OneDrive for Business experiences. If this doesn’t get you fired up, then what would!

    We are limited to 100 seats, but have a waiting list. You can sign up for the event, starting at 12:00 today (2015-02-11) at the following link:

    https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ssug-mote-stockholm-26e-februri-2015-biljetter-15723746148

    Remember. If you register and don’t plan to show up, please unregister so someone else can take your place. If you don’t unregister, then we’ll call you out on the meeting!

    See you all there!

  • Joining Avanade

    Tags: Personal, Business

    AvanadeI’m very excited and glad to announce that this is my last day at Connecta/Acando and starting on Monday I will be joining the Avanade forces here in Sweden. I will take the role as the Collaboration lead, continuing my passion for SharePoint and the future of collaboration on the Microsoft stack.

    Joining Avanade and in this role seems like one of the most exciting things I could do at the moment. We’re standing on the brink of huge changes going on in our collaborative environments. Cloud, devices, services, security and identity – there’s so many things going on right now and there’s so many things to think about, plan for and execute on.  Also Avanade, being such a global company but being fairly small here in Sweden, brings a lot of opportunities on the table for me and my future customers. I’m looking forward to expanding and building the Collaboration team here in Sweden in combination with the Nordic and global teams – and build the best Collaboration delivery team on the Microsoft platform! If you want to be a part of this, then just ping me!

    The last five years has been a great ride with Connecta. I need to thank my colleagues for all the inspiring moments. And I also need to thank my former managers who believed in me and allowed me to aim for and pass the MCM, MCA and MCSM certifications! And good luck with the Acando deal – you’ll need it, and don’t let the Google clone droids assimilate all of you…

    That’s it for now – 2015 will be a great adventure, and you can if you want to join me in it!

  • Summing up the year of 2014 and embracing 2015

    Tags: Personal, SharePoint, Microsoft Azure, Office 365, SharePoint 2013

    The time has come for me to do, as I’ve done now for eight years (2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006), my annual post to sum up the year. It is always fun to look back to what happened the past 12 months. This past year has been a somewhat “in-betweeners” year.

    We (me, my clients, colleagues etc.) are standing on the edge of something big and the bridge over to the other side is really, really long. Some hesitate to pass the bridge, thinks it is to steep down, some people are running across it in fear, some take it just easy and some pass it half-ways and then stalls there not knowing which direction to go. Microsoft has already passed the bridge to the other side, they ran as fast as they could. But, they dropped so many things on the way over, things that I and others need to pick up and fix and very often even remind Microsoft that they dropped it at all!

    Confusing – yes, stressing – hell yea, annoying – yup, new opportunities – oh YEA, wanting to go back – nope!

    Writing

    I think I hit an all-time low in blog postings this year. Not that it has been so little to write, rather that I’ve been having to little time. I have a bunch of posts in the works, that never has been published, due to various reasons.

    According to my telemetry this is what you peeps liked this year:

    I’m really glad that the last two of those posts ended up that high. Really liked working those scenarios out.

    Speaking

    I’ve been fortunate to be invited to a number of conferences the past year as well. The highlight of course is the SharePoint Conference 2014, where I had a total of three sessions. The most awesome experience from that conference was when the room after one of my sessions were empty and people stayed for an hour and a half just asking questions!

    See you in May at the new Microsoft Ignite conference. You can keep up to date on my past and future presentations on this page.

    MVP

    For the fifth time I was awarded the Microsoft MVP Award for my community contributions. Always an honor and passing the five year mark was a bit special.

    Predictions

    Each year I try to predict what is going to happen to us and our business in the future. Last year I talked a lot about SharePoint being a service (six years after the SharePoint Services announcement at PDC08), Azure dominating the cloud space and Microsoft focusing everything on Services. SharePoint may not yet be dead, this product has more lives than a cat. Azure is still growing faster than I can keep up with and I like it! And the Services piece – I think this is the most important of all my predictions last year. Microsoft is focusing on owning the services and the data – the device, product etc. is not the top prio. Take a look at the Microsoft Band – an awesome device but the service behind it is what makes the big difference, no other vendor is even close to competing in that space.

    So, 2015, what will happen? I think I stick to my Services, services, services prediction. 2015 is all about the services! I’ll leave it to that. If you don’t understand how the services will change our business you better look for a career change.

    What’s next?

    I have to admit that 2014 was not one of my favorite years, due to multiple reasons. I’ve been pretty tired of this whole “SharePoint & Office 365” situation and it has taken me some deep reflections and analysis to get my inspiration back. But 2015 will be a really interesting year. Too keep you on the hook a little bit more, head back to this blog on Friday!

    Happy New Year!

    I whish all of you a Happy New Year and I hope that your 2015 will be an awesome ride!

About Wictor...

Wictor Wilén is the Nordic Digital Workplace Lead working at Avanade. Wictor has achieved the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) - SharePoint 2010, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM) - SharePoint  and Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) - SharePoint 2010 certifications. He has also been awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for seven consecutive years.

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