Tag Archives: Office 365

No More Attachments

What is one of the biggest time sucks in corporate information workflow?

Email Attachments.

Let’s go through an exercise.

Person A sends out an Excel document, Word document, PowerPoint presentation – choose your poison. They send it to 6 people. They ask each person to update a section and send it back to get merged.

First off, this is very 1999ish. We have better ways to do this. But let’s continue.

Person 1, 2, 3 start to update their sections. Person 1 replies directly to Person A, Person 2 replies to all. Person 3 though needs feedback from people not on the original chain. So they cut out their section, create a new document, and email it to Person X and Y. Person X updates something and sends it back to Person 3 but also CC’s Person B. Person Y updates the SAME part and sends back to 3 and X.

Confused yet? I am.

Person 3 then needs to merge sections but there are conflicts. So more back and forth on that with more attachments and revisions. Naming files CoolFileName_Rev5, Rev6, etc.

Meanwhile, back to our original 6. It has been a few hours, or a day, and Person 4, 5, 6 have been updating their stuff but haven’t sent anything back. But wait! Person 1 realized they didn’t have some critical info in the document, so they create a new revision themselves, this time with changes incorporated from Person 1 and 2, but not 3, and new changes from Person A that they forgot. They then send that revision back to Person 1-6 again and say sorry, but figure out what I changed and update your sections again. We go back to zero.

I could keep going here but you get the idea. Before you know it, there are multiple copies (10? 15? 20?) floating around, none of which are the master. It ends up being way more work for everyone involved.

I said earlier this is a better way. But what is it?

Well, using collaboration tools the way they were meant to be used would be a great start.

How about this? Person A saves their document to SharePoint (or insert your favorite collaboration tool here). In the document library they save it to, they turn of document revisions. They then send out the same email but without the attachment, instead a link to the document. The instruct Person 1-6 to try to “edit it Office Online/Web” so they can edit at the same time and not run into having file locking issues.

Person 1-6 then start their edits, and they can see the others working on it. Person 3 asks Person A to share the link/document library with Person X and Y, and they join in as well. Person X then asks for Person B to be included, and that happens too.

When Person A realizes they forgot some key info, they just update the master and send out a note that they update it, but everyone working on the document sees that too, and better yet, revisions are saved as time goes on, so they can see edits over time.

Which way do you want to work?

I choose the latter. Let me hear it.. “but so and so doesn’t know how to use tool X” or “it is too hard to get it going” etc. Well, I would choose a little pain up front the first few times using this new way of doing things instead of the perpetual nightmare of attachments forever.

Can we all agree, that “no more attachments” would be a good mantra? Who is with me?

OneNote for Mac and OneNote API released, but something is missing…

I try to use multiple services. Google Drive, DropBox, Skydrive (now OneDrive) – the personal version – OneDrive for Business, Evernote, Wunderlist, Exchange Tasks, OneNote, etc etc. Why? Well to compare and contrast. What is good, what is bad, what is missing, what is – ubiquitous.

A few months ago I was use Evernote heavy (again). It is pretty ubiquitous. Every device, platform, web, etc. But, I really do like Microsoft OneNote. There are pros and cons to both apps, and I really do like how Evernote does tags, but that is a different blog post. OneNote was almost everywhere. iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows, Web.. but missing a native Mac OS X app. That changed today. FINALLY a native Mac app for OneNote. There are third party apps that kind of work, but nothing like the real deal. Integrates with OneDrive (personal) via a Microsoft account.

I think even bigger news is the OneNote API – allowing for apps and services to integrate with OneNote, very big news indeed.

But what is missing? One glaring omission to complete the story, in my opinion, is the lack of any kind of client or integration on Mac OS for OneDrive for Business. There are OneDrive for Business apps for Windows and iOS, and Office Mobile apps which let you access your OneDrive for Business content for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. But glaringly omitted is any kind of Mac OS X app. Now, I was secretly hoping with the release of OneNote for Mac, that it would have integration with Office 365 or On-premises SharePoint out of the box, which would solve part of the problem, but I don’t see that integration, or I can’t find it.

Why do we need OneDrive for Business for Mac? Because, most organizations have a mix of client operating systems. These orgs want to use things like SharePoint, or Office 365 – OneDrive for Business – to let users save and share documents – internally and externally – replacing consumer (and faux business) apps like Dropbox and Google Drive, even OneDrive personal edition. But without a Mac client, it is VERY hard to get complete buy in to use the OneDrive tools. Yes, Mac users can use the web, but – they don’t like being treated like 2nd class citizens, and I don’t blame them. I use both Windows and Mac, and it would be awesome to be able to go between and use the same tools and services. Hopefully, someday.

So now, you can hit your OneNote notebooks in your personal Microsoft Account, OneDrive, but you can’t open your corporate notebooks, where I would guess many people would want to use OneNote for Mac. Microsoft – give us OneDrive for Business for Mac! We are waiting!! (take a quick glance at the image on this post, it almost looks like a Mac unless you look hard…  they are teasing us!)

Office 365 and Windows Live Messenger Not Working? Here’s The Fix:

Earlier this summer, I moved from Google Apps to Office 365. I really don’t use Windows Live Messenger for personal IM, but log in every once in a while, also Xbox 360 can login. I noticed on live.com when I hit it, the web messenger continually tried to login. Also my Xbox and WLM on my PC wouldn’t login (error code 8100037b). What gives?

Well, I figured it might have had something to do with Office 365 and Lync Online, and I was right. I had to go into Office 365, Admin, under Lync, General Settings, and disable external communication settings. After 12+ hours I could then log into Windows Live Messenger. Kind of a mess if your org might be using Windows Live for IM and then moving to Office 365. Of course your Lync could federate out to WLM, but still, not being able to log in could be a pain

Moving to Office 365 from Google Apps: Follow Up

Earlier I blogged about Moving to Office 365 from Google Apps, and some of my woes.

In the time since, things have been straightened out. First off, what happened to me sucked, but was resolved. I think Microsoft knows they have some initial bugs and they will work it out. What does stand out is that the customer service is top notch. Their forum moderators replied. Their twitter account @Office365 replied. They actually CALLED me and walked through fixing the issue. This was great. They made sure it was working before leaving me hanging.

After I got the issues resolved, I switched my GoDaddy DNS to MSFT DNS name servers and away we go. I reset up my iPhone, iPad syncing with my new Office365 stuff, worked great, found the server url, etc. Android I had to type it in (to find it, log into web mail and go to about off the help icon). I set it up with Outlook 2010 and it works great. Also Mail.app on Mac, works great there too.

I haven’t done much more than just use it. Some things I miss or want? First, in Gmail, you can archive mail right from iOS. Exchange doesn’t have this, but in Outlook you can set up quick steps to do it, so I did that. The OWA interface doesn’t have quick steps, which would be nice. I haven’t used Lync yet as I don’t have anyone to talk to on it, I will dork around with that later. Haven’t used the SharePoint or Office Web Apps yet, it has been more Mail, Contacts, Calendar to start.

I would like to point my mail.domain.com to the Office365 portal for easy access, haven’t looked into it yet.

One other thing I noticed, is that some mail still comes to my old Google Apps account. Facebook mail alerts for sure. They might have a slow DNS change time as most all other mail comes to Office365. More to come as I get into things though.

Moving from Google Apps to Office 365

I have been using Google Apps premier since 2007. Almost 4 years. Before that I used hotmail and tried to use the Microsoft ecosystem as I had a Windows Mobile phone, many of them actually. Before Windows Mobile was “cool”. The thing with Google Apps is that it only offered the “core” apps for a loooong time. (Mail, Calendar, Docs, Chat). Recently they allowed you to “transition” to more Google services (apps), such as Reader, Voice, etc, etc.

Now, this sounds great right? Yeah, except in the last 4 years I had to create a regular gmail account to use most of the Google services (YouTube, voice, Reader), and now I have 4 years of content and what not built up with that account. Google wants me to “start fresh” with my Google Apps account? Doesn’t sound like much fun. Also Google+ just came out, and it doesn’t work with Google Apps accounts, another great way for Google to alienate paying customers, and rewarding free ones. You can’t be signed into both a Google Apps and Google Account at the same time (at least without problems) So I end up having to run one browser with Google account and one with Google Apps? No thanks again.

What I decided to do is try something new. There aren’t many options.

1. Hotmail
2. Yahoo
3. Hosted Exchange (Rackspace, etc)
4. Office 365
5. Other

With Hotmail.. It works, I actually changed it over in a hour or so.. but, there is no 1st class citizen mail client on Mac. Mail, other 3rd party, even Outlook, only connect with POP, not with IMAP. iOS at least uses Activesync. This is somewhat of a deal breaker for me, as I like to use a client on the desktop, or at least try them out.

Yahoo is just out, well, because it is Yahoo. Hosted Exchange looks promising, but too much $$ for not the same features I currently get. Office 365 seems like the logical choice.

I was in the beta for Office 365 and dorked around with it a little bit. I decided to take the plunge.

It is a little more expensive than Google Apps a year, but really no other choices. My first concern was with my Google Talk with my Google Apps. Probably not going to work. Why? Well, with Office 365, if you are on the small business plan, you have to delegate your DNS to Office 365. You can create CNAME and A records, but not TXT or SRV records, etc. Google Apps GTalk needs SRV records in your DNS.

Also, when you sign up for Office 365, you get a weird account, not a Windows Live ID, but Online Services ID, like blah@domain.onmicrosoft.com .. and then you have to set up your custom domain inside the Office 365 web app.

Currently, this is where I am at, and I hope to have a follow up to this..

I made all the DNS changes for Office 365. I created another account in my system, and assigned it a license. I made the account admin, so I had 2 admin accounts. Everything was working.

I decided to cleanup the onmicrosoft.com account, by removing the mailbox and account. It had the same “Full Name” as my regular account, Steve Novoselac. I went to delete and it said “Do you want to remove Steve Novoselac”, I was weary but figured it was keyed on email address of the account record, not name.

Boom, it deleted both the records on my account. Currently I can’t even login to my account. Even better with the small business account you don’t get 24/7 support. Just “service tickets” and the community forum. I did put in a service request and a forum post, and I am working through the issue, but it seems ridiculous. Why?

First off, you shouldn’t be able to remove the “last admin” from an account. Second, it should delete by email address and not full name. We will see how and when I get this resolved, but currently I just switched my DNS back to Google Apps so I can continue to receive email.

Another unknown is the Lync online. It is federated with WLM, but I am curious to see how that is all going to work. Giving support a few days and hopefully will have it all sorted out. More to come..