Tag Archives: Office

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.

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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..

office.live.com – Docs in the Cloud

For a while, there have been offerings from Google (Google Apps/Docs), Zoho, and others, and recently, Microsoft jumped into the “online office” game with office.live.com.

Pretty cool. Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote in the cloud. Limited, but you can create docs, share them, edit them, with *no software* installed on your system. Good in a pinch, good to sync some docs up that you might want to edit, good on a relatives computer that doesn’t have office.

Where have I started to use it more though? OneNote. What is OneNote? Well, before Office 2010, OneNote was installed as a separate application with Office. Kind of like Visio. My biggest problem with OneNote was that I was stuck to my laptop, or whatever. Had to be on the actual box.

Now, you can create a OneNote notebook in the cloud, and edit it in the browser, or on your machine. OneNote also has some cool features, like

“You can now share your notes with other OneNote users in real time by hosting or participating in shared note-taking sessions. Over a live connection, you can work together on a project or share a read-only copy of your notes with an audience.”. It also integrates nicely with tablet/bamboo and mic/text/voice recognition, as well as Outlook and meetings, etc. Integration everywhere.

I actually like OneNote better than Evernote – but Evernote I can get on my computers, web, iPad and iPhone. Yes, there is a OneNote iPhone app (MobileNoter) but you have to install a client, blah blah. Should just work over the cloud.

Anyways, if you need office online in a pinch, try office.live.com, but also check out OneNote and using it with others to share/read notes in real time, really cool features.

Office 2010: Excel 2010, What-If Analysis aka Microsoft Finally has Built in Cube/OLAP Writeback!

Digging into the blog post from earlier this summer I wanted to see what was new and exciting in Excel 2010.

Recently I have been working on an cube and we want to be able to budget right from the cube. There are also many other cubes/scenarios where the ability to writeback to the cube would be awesome. Some BI tools have had this for many years! Microsoft had something similar with a Excel 2002/2003 add-in, but it has been removed. Also, there are many 3rd party tools to allow this. You could also write your own macros or VBA/.NET code to do this as well, but what was always missing was the ability to do writeback directly from an Excel (OLAP) PivotTable. With Excel 2010, this functionally finally shows up.

First, you need a cube, and you need to enable writeback on a partition. This will automatically create a table in your database where you have your data warehouse. Lets say you have a table FactBudgets, and you enable writeback, SSAS will create a table WriteTable_Budgets. This is a trivial example I went through to test this functionality, but I just wanted to exhibit the feature of the writeback.

01_writeback

Turn on writeback, deploy and process your SSAS cube, and then open Excel 2010. Connect to your cube, and then in the PivotTable ribbon menu, on options, there is a button to turn on “What-If Analysis”. Turn it on. :)
02_whatif

Once you turn on the setting, you can then begin writing back values to your cube, right from Excel. If you click on a cell in your writeback value, you can just change it. See on the screen shot below, the value I changed, the little purple triangle, tells me it has a changed value from what is in the data source.

03_valuechanged
04_valuechangedmenu

You can see its telling me the value changed, I can Discard the change and other options. After you have your values set, you want to publish them, which you do back on the PivotTable ribbon menu:

05_publishchanges

As you can see, Microsoft has finally created a viable solution for writing back values into your OLAP cubes without the need for 3rd party software or coding. Finally!

One thing to note, if you try to write back to a value that is in a partition that doesn’t have writeback enabled, you will get an error.

06_error

Now, think of the possibilities with SSAS OLAP writeback and Excel, now that we can actually use it out of the box!