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The Future of SharePoint event: a recap

The Future of SharePoint event: a recap

It is 1130p on May 4th, 2016 and I have just returned to my hotel room in San Francisco from an amazing day. Today was the Microsoft “Future of SharePoint” launch event. Here is my recap of the day:

pre-event

Before the event we all gathered excitedly to get into the venue and check out what was in store for the day. A gaggle of MVPs and Microsoft customers loitered on the sidewalk outside the Village at 969 Market anxiously awaiting “go time”.

IMG_3796cb bb and me

Once inside the unique, but cozy venue, we all found our seats, mingled with customers, chattered about what we were excited about hearing today, and Christian started taking selfies.

Dan

Getting to see Dan Holme kick off the event as a part of his new role at Microsoft was a pretty huge thrill. Dan has been a friend & mentor for many years and to see him in this position is hugely exciting, not only for what it means for him personally as my friend, but also for what it means for the SharePoint community. Dan has been a force in this community long before I found it, and his voice on the inside at Microsoft really highlights the changes that have been happened over the past few years.

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Satya was heard from, but not seen in person. This was a bummer, but ultimately it lead to more of other great folks, so we will happily take it.

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Jeff Teper came out strong explaining some of the new changes that are coming and sharing his excitement with the live audience. It was infectious.

All of the demos landed well. The ones that I thought were most impactful were:

Roadmaps

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This is the first time I can recall that Microsoft has given us a roadmap of features that are coming. There was a roadmap slide for each of the 4 areas that were discussed. The key to notice is that Microsoft is telling you what they are working on today, and what they think they are going to plan to work on for the rest of the year. Lots of things can happen to change, but Microsoft is finally showing us what to expect and roughly when. Dates may slip based upon a number of factors, however we now have a real roadmap from Microsoft.

Intranet in your pocket

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One of the core themes of the day was “Your Intranet in your Pocket”. Microsoft is due to release (in the next few weeks ) its SharePoint Mobile app to iOS. Welcome to the new Microsoft! Adam Harmetz demo’ed the mobile app. I have had a chance over the past few weeks and am encouraged by what I have seen.

It is worth noting that the mobile app will support multiple SPO and commercial OneDrives.

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SharePoint Home

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SharePoint Home is the replacement for the half cared about (if that) Sites page in SharePoint Online. This experience is getting a completely new look and feel, backed against the Office Graph to show users sites that they are members of and following.

Fast site provisioning

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With a completely overhauled site provisioning process, Team Sites can be created in 5 seconds or less in the new UI. The ability to set the restriction polices during the site creation time is a huge win for Governance.

FastTrack

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Microsoft has recognized one of its key barriers to adoption and is now offering free migration services to SharePoint Online and OneDrive from not only Google Drive but from Box too. Previously it required massive dev or a third party tool. Customers over 150 seats are eligible for a free engineer lead migration from Microsoft. Until now I have steered somewhat clear of FastTrack, but now I am going to have to go revisit it.

Feature Packs

It was stated that Feature Packs will be coming to SharePoint onPrem starting in 2017. This was the only real mention of this MASSIVE new feature that I will cover off in a future post.

Here is an excerpt from the “SharePoint Server 2016 – your foundation for the future” post from Microsoft:

While our innovation will be delivered to Office 365 first, we will provide many of the new experiences and frameworks to SharePoint Server 2016 customers with Software Assurance through Feature Packs. This means you won’t have to wait for the next version of SharePoint Server to take advantage of our cloud-born innovation in your datacenter.

I am going to cover Feature Packs in a future article that I will link here when I am done. This to me was the biggest piece of news at the event. This opens doors for Rackpace.use SPLA licensing as our users are going to be able to update using a Public Update since SPLA inclues Software Assurance.

Analytics fun

John, Dave & I kept up with the events of the day, however we were also playing with our dashboards and scheming for how to improve the overall experience.

Here is a snapshot of the event:

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After the event and lunch, John & I pulled out our laptop and get to playing with all of our new data in the SQL Azure Database. It was such a hit that even Jeff Teper couldn’t resist the pull of data about this event. That is pretty hot wouldn’t yall say?

analytics for all

 

Resources

If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to go watch all of the demo videos. Here is a central list of articles and blog post:

Here are the links:

Satya Nadella welcomes the future of SharePoint

Vision & Overview Blog: The Future of SharePoint
https://blogs.office.com/2016/05/04/the-future-of-sharepoint

SharePoint Server GA & Feature Packs: SharePoint Server 2016—your foundation for the future
https://blogs.office.com/2016/05/04/sharepoint-server-2016-your-foundation-for-the-future/
VIDEO
: Foundation for the Future: SharePoint Server 2016 https://youtu.be/6ADQpn3xl2U
VIDEO
: Accelerating Innovation with Hybrid: SharePoint Server 2016 and Office 365 https://youtu.be/ACsSv6CNHY8

Simple & powerful file sharing and collaboration from any device: Announcing simple and powerful file sharing and collaboration for Office 365
https://blogs.office.com/2016/05/04/announcing-simple-and-powerful-file-sharing-and-collaboration-for-office-365/
VIDEO
: Effortless File Sharing on Any Device: OneDrive for Business and SharePoint https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRFe38WxCjU

SharePoint mobile app, SharePoint home, team sites, Microsoft Flow & PowerApps integration: SharePoint—the mobile and intelligent intranet
https://blogs.office.com/2016/05/04/sharepoint-the-mobile-and-intelligent-intranet/

VIDEO: The Mobile and Intelligent Intranet: SharePoint sites and PowerApps
https://youtu.be/x8tgKBXmmPg

VIDEO: Your Intranet in Your Pocket: The SharePoint mobile app
https://youtu.be/L4OmRsiXbVw

SharePoint Framework: The SharePoint Framework—an open and connected platform
https://blogs.office.com/2016/05/04/the-sharepoint-framework-an-open-and-connected-platform/
VIDEO
: Open and Connected Platform: The SharePoint Framework https://youtu.be/T_bGyqKwT4g

Security, Privacy and Compliance for SharePoint and OneDrive for Business
VIDEO ONLY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mvZr_Gc36U

Happy learning!
-jase

An update to the OneDrive storage plan changes

An update to the OneDrive storage plan changes

On November 2nd, 2015 Microsoft announced that it was going to change it’s storage plans for OneDrive. Previously Microsoft had given unlimited storage for Office 365 Home, Personal, or University subscribers in OneDrive. These subscribers now have 1 terabyte of storage.

At the same time they announced that they were going to change the free offer from 15GB to 5GB & that they were eliminating the 100GB and 200GB plans and replacing them with a 50GB plan.

This met with some frustration from users… to the tune of 72.4k votes on the User Voice suggestion. This morning Douglas Pearce closed the suggestion with the following message:

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It very encouraging to see Microsoft listening and rectifying the situation to the benefit of those who enjoy the service.

The process for keeping your 15GB+15GB situation is very straightforward. Simply visit http://aka.ms/onedrivestorage and log in with the account that you use for OneDrive.

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To keep your storage you are going to need to grant OneDrive Preview permissions to Add or remove bonus storage & some additional permissions may be required depending upon your account. I saw two different lists when I did this for my accounts, perhaps because I had already granted the permissions before as a part of the Next-Gen Sync Client Preview.

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Once access is granted the process completes and you get the happy message that your account will remain intact as it was before.

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The one piece of the puzzle that is going to be interesting to me to see how they handle is the offer of 1 year free of Office 365 Personal to users who have more than 5GB in OneDrive. Office 365 Personal retails for $7 per seat per month and comes with installation of Office 2016 on one machine, 1 TB of OneDrive storage and 60 minutes of Skype calling per month.

The feature benefits of Office 365 Personal at $84 per year out weigh those of the Dropbox Pro which simply gives 1 TB of storage for $99. If the Next-Gen Sync Client for OneDrive is as good as advertised, this could tip the scales for some users.

In addition to my use of OneDrive & OneDrive for business I pay for a Dropbox Pro subscription as well. what can I say… I like to have backups of my backups Smile I don’t see that changing anytime soon as I like being able to test the services against each other so that I can give people the real world advice about what each one does well vs the others.

My fun finding this week was that free Dropbox users are penalized for the amount of storage that is shared with them. This means that If I share 2GB with a user who is on the free plan and they accept the sharing request, they only have .5GB left to use or be shared with, even if they have never stored a file themselves. If I add 1GB to that shared folder the free user is now out of space and cannot accept sharing requests from other Dropbox users. They have to go delete their membership to the share and remove the files from their Dropbox completely before being able to accept another request.

Office 365 E5: the plan, the promise, the process & the pain

Office 365 E5: the plan, the promise, the process & the pain

I have been a long time Office 365 subscriber. In addition to using Office 365 for work at the companies I have worked for over the past 5 years, I have maintained a personal subscription for my own personal brand stuff. Being a Business Intelligence fan boy the subscription that fit me best has always been the E3 at $20 per seat per month (PSPM).

That was until WPC this year when Microsoft announced the E5 SKU and I heard about all of the great news stuff that was coming in this new SKU. I’ve been paying $10 per month for PowerBI for Office 365, and when it was announced that E5 was going to include PowerBI Pro AND PSTN Conferencing I figured that it was going to be a winner from a price perspective.

On December 2nd the E5 SKU became available to me in the Office 365 Admin cart. The price point was $35 PSPM. After a moment of consideration the price point seemed, while not terrific, reasonable. Here is what tipped the scales for me:

1. Included in the price is all that E3 includes = $20 PSPM

a. Office Online & Office Pro Plus

b. SharePoint Online

c. Exchange Online

d. Yammer

e. Azure Rights Management

2. PowerBI Pro = $10 PSPM

https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing for details on the data refresh & collaboration features that do not come with the free version

3. Skype for Business PSTN Conferencing = $4 PSPM & the rough equivalent to GoToMeeting which starts at $24 PSPM

Allows for attendees to join the meeting by dialing in using a landline or mobile phone as well as using PC & Phone based apps to connect & share screens

4. Delve Analytics = $4 PSPM

Insights to show you communicate using Office 365. Set own goals & measure your progress

5. Customer Lockbox = $2 PSPM

Office 365 Advanced eDiscovery, Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection, Skype for Business Cloud PBX, & Office 365 Planner Preview = not features I know that I need yet for my small implementation, but are certainly of interest for larger enterprises

I figured that with all of the new features rolling out it would be worth the extra money to get E5. I went into the Admin Center to switch my plan from E3 to E5 and when I did I found this:

The link takes you to articles that refer to not being able to switch due to Add-Ons & suggests that removing the them will remedy the situation allowing you to switch plans. Sounded good in theory, however when I attempted to set the Add-On quantity to zero since there was no remove button I got the following:

I decided to leverage support at this point since it didn’t appear as though I could do anything more to help myself. I used the Admin Center support mechanism and within a few minutes a very helpful fellow named Ian called me back. We walked through everything that I had already done, as per protocol, and then he reached out to the next level support teams.

Turns out that the only way to “switch” from an E3 plan with Add-Ons to the new E5 plan is to purchase an E5 licenses, remove the E3 license & Add-Ons from the user and apply the new E5 license to that user before saving.

The issue with this is that now I have an E3 subscription that I am still being charged for that I no longer need. When attempting to cancel this subscription you encounter a cancellation fee. This is something that I am still working on with Microsoft at this point, however I am up and running with my E5 license… or so it seems. When I close out and reopen my Office 365 browser session I now get the following message in the App Launcher:

My email is still flowing properly into Outlook 2016 & to my phone, however I can no longer access any of the Exchange Online features through the App Launcher. Testing revealed that I could still access Outlook on the Web by visiting the https://outlook.office365.com URL directly when logged into Office 365, so I knew that my mailbox was intact & healthy. Knowing that things can take some time to provision I decided that I should give it a bit and come back later. After all, I had just made the change… I shouldn’t expect things to provision and be ready that quickly, right? WRONG! Within 5 minutes of me applying the E5 license to my user I got my Skype for Business Dial-in Conferencing info:

Blazingly fast setup experience! I was thrilled & impressed. Sadly the App Launcher issue was not as quick to resolve…

After 4 days of the App Launcher still showing “Setting Up” I decided it was time to open another support case. I looked at the user account in the Admin Center and found that it claimed to still be preparing the mailbox:

This time the response was not quite as quick and I got bounced around to 5 different departments over the course of 7 hours, each looking for the next team to pass me off to. When I got the following email I had finally had enough and insisted on escalation:

After I sent a scathing email to the listed manager & underlying chain of command the communication got much friendlier & faster.

The Exchange Online Support Team member, Amit, did his full load of troubleshooting & finally determined that the issue appeared to be Customer Lockbox. We went into the license & removed just the Customer Lockbox feature and applied the change.

Once this change was made the mailbox “completed” it’s setup & all appeared right with the world again.


While Customer Lockbox is not a feature that I am dying for yet, it is a part of what I am now paying for so I wanted to get it working. Amit & I went back into my user, added the feature back in, and then I logged back out and in again. My user returned to its previous state of “preparation” however my access to the Exchange Online features through the App Launcher remained.

At this point we have closed out the App Launcher case & there is an open case for the Customer Lockbox issue, which according to the case notes below will be resolved on 12/13/2015:

With Customer Lockbox not being able to be provisioned at this time and the apparent lack of the Voice Features. no sign of Delve Analytics, or Planner… I am starting to feel a bit like I am eating the cookie dough before it’s put in the oven. I know it’s too early… but it sure can be tasty… and what’s life without a little risk right? While I know the ultimate end game is going to be great, it is just a bit hard to swallow the high a price for something that isn’t fully baked yet…

Upgrading an existing Office 365 Tenant to the latest SharePoint Online

Upgrading an existing Office 365 Tenant to the latest SharePoint Online

After a very long wait I finally had a SharePoint Online tenant that was ready for upgrade.  For those who have not yet been blessed with this gift from Microsoft, I have screen captured the process for you to check out.  Sadly, SharePointLonghorn.onmicrosoft.com has not yet received the upgrade so I have not yet cut over completely to the cloud.

Enjoy!