Category Archives: Office 365

Q3 Newsletter Out Now! Covering Microsoft 365, Project Online Updates and More!

 

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Microsoft Announces Office 365 is now Microsoft 365

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Recently at Microsoft Inspire, Satya Nadella unveiled Microsoft 365, which brings together Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security, delivering a complete, intelligent and secure solution to empower employees. It represents a fundamental shift in how we will design, build and go to market to address our customers’ needs for a modern workplace.

Microsoft states “the workplace is transforming—from changing employee expectations, to more diverse and globally distributed teams, to an increasingly complex threat landscape. From these trends, we are seeing a new culture of work emerging. Our customers are telling us they are looking to empower their people with innovative technology to embrace this modern culture of work.
With more than 100 million commercial monthly active users of Office 365, and more than 500 million Windows 10 devices in use, Microsoft is in a unique position to help companies empower their employees, unlocking business growth and innovation.”

I really support this change in branding. So many existing and potential customers were confused by the concept of “Office 365” as they assumed it meant only traditional Microsoft Office products (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, etc.). With “Microsoft 365” it indicates you are accessing a store of products. This is very similar to how people buy applications for their phone. You go to the appropriate store (Google Play, Apple App store, etc.) and select what you want. Now, if you are looking for licenses for Project, OneDrive, Visio and many other products, you simply access Microsoft 365.

I’m also happy to announce that I am able to help customers buy their software from a Microsoft Certified Provider as an alternative to directly purchasing from Microsoft. This allows the customer to choose more personal and premium support as an alternative to the standard Microsoft support queue. Current customers have the option to switch to a certified provider as well. Personally, I have chosen this approach as it ensures I still get the same quality Microsoft products, but my business contact is just a different organization. I’m happy to answer questions about this approach.

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Project Online Update July 2017

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An important note for users of the Project client connecting to Project Online — as you will need a ‘2016’ level client to connect starting at the end of June 2017!

This is very relevant for customers who own a desktop client. I know the Microsoft website initially indicated this would happen at the end of June, but I didn’t notice this impacting customers till the second week of July. If you own a subscription version of Project “Project Online Professional” or “Project Online Premium” you have nothing to worry about as you already have the latest version of the desktop client as part of this subscription.

For the last several years, the option to force a specific version was left up to the organization based on a version number restriction. Now I see that this has changed for Project Online users. My personal feeling is that a number of support issues will be solved immediately by eliminating issues with the wrong version connecting. In discussions with clients who still purchase desktop software by a traditional license agreement with Microsoft, they have discovered that they can upgrade to the 2016 client at no additional charge.

Users of project desktop will notice only minor differences in their user experience when switching from 2013 to 2016. I frequently teach classes with students using 2010, 2013, 2016, and Project Online subscription users, all in the same classroom without any difficulties.

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TIP CORNER: How to Disable Auto Brightness on Windows 8

Throughout the workday and based on your background lighting, Windows 8 automatically adjusts the brightness of your laptop. Initially you might think this is your eyes getting tired, but it actually might be the screen brightness dimming. It is very frustrating when it dims and you don’t want it to. I found this useful tip and am so happy I changed my laptop!

1. Head to the Desktop of your PC by pushing Windows Key + D or clicking on the Desktop icon in the Start Menu.
2. On the bottom right of the screen, locate the battery icon.
3. Right click the battery icon and select More Power Options.
4. Select Change Plan Settings on the currently selected profile (by default it’s set to Balanced).
5. Click the Advanced Power Settings link.
6. Scroll down to Display > Enable Adaptive Brightness.
7. Change it to Off for either or both “Plugged In” and “On Battery”.

Source: https://theunlockr.com/2012/04/20/how-to-disable-auto-brightness-in-windows-8/

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Where in the World is….. Cindy Lewis?

Sept. 27 – WMPMI (West Michigan Project Management Institute) Professional Development Day (Sponsor)
Oct. 20 – PMI-GLC (Project Management International Great Lakes Chapter) Professional Development Day (MPUG Booth)

Follow me on Twitter to Stay Up to Date!
@LewisCindy

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There’s a lot to Love about Skype!

In Skype for Business, a PSTN conference – commonly known as a dial-in conference – is any conference in which at least one participant dials in to the audio portion by using a PSTN (public switched telephone network) phone. The ability to use a phone to access a meeting is useful for individuals who are on the road or otherwise cannot attend a meeting using a mobile device or PC. Using a phone also can be a better option in other scenarios, such as when internet connectivity is limited or when a meeting is audio only.

The default SKYPE for Business calling uses your internet line for both the screen sharing and the voice sharing, but I’ve found this is sometimes problematic. If someone is at a location where the Internet goes out, the individual has no way to stay engaged in the meeting if you do not offer a dial-in number. Sometimes people are traveling during the meeting and need to join by phone until they are able to get to their computer and participate in screen sharing. I have personally decided to purchase the PSTN conferencing option so every time I hold a SKYPE meeting individuals can choose to join with a computer headset or with their cell phone or conference phone. It’s only about $4 a month, and I do not have to worry about the costs associated with international charges as the system provides alternative numbers based on the country of the attendee. This has saved my meetings and training engagements numerous times when the person who was disconnected by their computer could dial-in by phone and let us know they would be back online soon!

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Recap of “Office 365 Grand Rapids” Event

I am really excited to tell you about a cool event I attended recently. Held on Saturday April 1st at Davenport University, it was a free workshop for any attendee who wanted to learn more about Office 365 including Word, Excel, Access, Power BI and more.

The event was organized by Microsoft MVP Andy Tabisz of WorkSmart Database Masters.

Underwritten by sponsors, including Davenport University and WorkSmart, there was no cost to attend and even included lunch.

Without further ado, here are some of my takeaways from this event:

 

 

Presented by Amy BabinchakThe Art of Integration: How Do Your Programs Work Together?

  • Skype can really help your business. You can do simultaneous editing in a document during a meeting. You can simply share a document via Skype for someone to view. Even better, the document shared will follow your security policies tied to that document (e.g. hidden content, or sharing within organization only).
  • Don’t be worried about Microsoft support and your data. They can’t see your data at all even when viewing your account to solve technical issues.  The data is blurred out on the screen.
  • Every Office 365 membership has security features that might not be enabled, check your security score to see where you stand.
  • Set up your security so you can see who sees your data in your organization and where they send it.

Presented by Bethann Talsma – How to Give an Effective PowerPoint Presentation 

  • Less is always more in PPT. 
  • Your PPT deck should enhance your presentation.
  • No more than 7 down and 7 across on your items is a good rule of thumb.
  • PPT has an accessibility checker – which helps with individuals who use screen readers.
  • Personal note: Her amazing tips helps me completely refine my presentation for PMI-NEFL conference.

Presented by Corentin Cras-Meneur – Taming Outlook for Mac (and some Tips for Windows too!) 

  • While his session focused on Mac users, the Q&A section was very helpful PC users as well. 
  • Text expanders that work across programs really help with efficiency so you don’t have to retype or recreate the same information (e.g. Typinator).
  • Save common searches in your e-mail to speed up your efficiency.
  • Switch an e-mail back to unread so you know you still need to take action on it.
  • Check out Uservoice for providing suggestions to Microsoft (community issues are listed and people vote).

If you missed it, the next event will be held in Southfield, Michigan on June 6. Details are on http://www.office365day.org.

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Project Licensing Changes within Office 365

At the end of the year many organizations are working on their budgets for 2017 and one of the expensive items that companies deal with is software. By choosing cloud options available within Office 365, you now have more options related to Microsoft Project and less expensive ways to add users. You may also completely eliminate buying expensive licenses that are tied to one computer. I would personally hate to spend over $1,000US for software that I would lose if my computer hard drive fails.

Licensing graphic
Licensing graphic

With Office 365 your licensing is based on users and you can easily activate or deactivate computers that your users might be using. In fact, one of the pluses of Office 365 is you can provide each user a license for up to 5 devices. Now your users can have the same software at home that they use at work and provide even more value to your organization. You may choose to purchase these licenses on a month-to-month basis with no commitment or commit to one year for further discounts.

Here are the new options in Microsoft Project licenses:

Project Online Essentials – In conjunction with a Project Online system, this license is optimized for team members who need limited features such as completing timesheets or task updates. Since this provides web browser access, there is no limit on devices.

Project Online Professional – Contains all the features of stand-alone Project Professional but includes features related to managing projects in a Project Online system. Schedule owners and project managers are recommended individuals who need this license. Includes installation of Project Professional on up to 5 devices per user.

Project Online Premium – Contains all the features of Project Online Professional but also includes portfolio management, resource management, administrative functions, and reporting functions. Program managers, portfolio managers, administrators, and members of the project management office typically need this license. Includes installation of Project Professional on up to 5 devices per user.

View this link to see a list of all features including pricing.

https://products.office.com/en-us/project/compare-microsoft-project-management-software

Stand-alone licenses are still available if desired:

Project Standard – Desktop scheduling tool that does not have the ability to connect to Project Online and excludes advanced scheduling features.  Limited to 1 installation.

Project Professional – All the features of Project Standard plus advanced scheduling features and the ability to connect to Project Online. Limited to 1 installation.

View this link to see a list of all features including pricing.

https://products.office.com/en-us/project/compare-microsoft-project-management-software?tab=tabs-2

Don’t be surprised if you hear these new licensing choices in your organization or from messages delivered by Microsoft.

I’m happy to discuss these options in person if you have further questions. Contact me to request a personal appointment.

 

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Annoyed by Office 365 Password Changes – The Solution!

As a daily user of Office 365, I find that I am asked to change my password on a very frequent basis.  The request is so often that I would often forget my new password and have to log into my password manager to retrieve it.  Another frustration is sometimes when I do change my password, it would not fully change in Outlook. I have called support numerous times to get my Outlook reconfigured and synced up with the new password.  And if I missed the password warning period, I was sometimes locked out and had to call Microsoft for help.

Frustration no more!  I have discovered how to solve this problem and manage my password change policy for myself and others.

Admin

Admin Button

Service Settings

Service Settings

Passwords

Password Options

Notice you can choose a more reasonable password change policy or not require changes at all.

For all of the Office 365 Admins out there who have flexibility with passwords, I suggest a more lenient schedule to reduce your support tickets.

Hope this tip was useful. If you have another Office 365 tip, please feel free to share it.

 

 

 

 

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