Troubleshooting hub for Office 365-related issues for admins and IT professionals

In this post I point you to a very helpful admin resource hub which offers you an entry point in case your are facing issues with Microsoft Office 365. There you’ll find information on troubleshooting for …

  • Office 365,
  • Office,
  • SharePoint,
  • Exchange,
  • Outlook,
  • Teams and
  • Skype for Business.
Source: https://pixabay.com/vectors/computer-hand-help-laptop-helping-2851285/

Conclusion, opinion and summary

In my experience the most common issues are related to things like

  • Connectivity from/to Office 365 services,
    e.g. a client cannot connect to certain IPs/URLs to use a certain service successfully and completely (!) etc.
  • Not all prerequisites are satisfied, e.g. UPNs are not ok, e.g. userfirst.userlast@companydomain.local or else.
  • Misconfiguration/s of clients, e.g. GPOs to redirect an Outlook client always to an onpremise Exchange, not updated proxy pac files etc.

Before you start investigating you should always start to to ask some common questions, for example:

  • How many users are affected?
    E.g. does it affect a single user or all users at a certain branch site …
  • Where are you (and the affected users) located?
    E.g. Home Office, corporate premises …
  • What’s the issue, could you please describe the issue in more detail?
    E.g. my Outlook client asks several times a day for credentials …
  • Did you try to connect from another network?
    E.g. does the issue also occur if you use a network cable instead of WiFi? Or did you experience the issue only if you are working remotely from home?
  • Did you try this from another computer?

In case you check all this you can then dig deeper into the related client or service to figure out what the (root) cause is and how to resolve it. For that, you might go to the related “Office troubleshooting for admins and IT professionals” page on Microsoft docs to proceed troubleshooting and issue resolution.

Below, I also added two helping tools, the well-known Remote Connectivity Analyzer and the Network Testing Companion. The first one is an online troubleshooting analyzer and the second is a PowerShell-based tool which enables you to check client connectivity towards Office 365, either directly within PowerShell or you can open the Network Testing Companion GUI (by executing Invoke-NetworkTestingClient in PowerShell).

Additional resources

Microsoft Teams Mixed Meetings – Cisco WebEx and Zoom

Meetings make only sense if there is a defined meeting goal to get a specific outcome and of course if all required (!) stakeholders (can) attend the meeting. In the past it probably happened that you invited someone which might not yet have Microsoft Teams but other meeting technology, e.g. Cisco Webex. So, the invited participant was than unable to join with his/her meeting solution which might not really caused a delightful user meeting experience. To cope with this challenge, there are video interop service for Microsoft Teams which mitigate this, as I wrote in the “Microsoft Teams Video Interoperability” post.

erik365 – What’s video interop?

However, that’s not all, the meeting capabilities were improved and getting improved, as it looks like. Microsoft, Cisco and Zoom announced a partnership and demoed it on Ignite 2019 to provide a better user experience for mixed meetings, e.g. Microsoft Teams and Cisco WebEx.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

In my opinion it’s a good idea to support and allow “cross-technology” online meetings just because there are many users on different technologies. It helps users stay productive by just attending online meetings with their commonly used tech/app/device instead of insisting to join a meeting in unfamiliar way.

Additional resources

What you should you know about Microsoft Teams Voice

In this post I like to highlight six Microsoft Teams (Voice) sessions from Microsoft Ignite 2019 which provide you with knowledge on what you should know about calling capabilities on Microsoft Teams. These sessions are very valuable and you should watch them if you plan, deploy or operate Microsoft Teams including voice workloads (telephony, contact center, …) in your enterprise. If you don’t have much time you might want to download the sessions’ slide decks, if available.

Source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/lernen-hinweis-schule-betreff-3245793/

Microsoft Teams Voice Sessions Highlights

At Ignite 2019 there were so many sessions regarding Microsoft Teams with all kind of aspects and focus areas, e.g. adopting, planning, implementing, servicing, troubleshooting, developing etc. Hereinafter, I point you to six excellent sessions held by Microsoft employees from Ignite 2019.

Additional resources

What’s Microsoft Power Virtual Agents?

In this post I describe what Microsoft Power Virtual Agents are and what’s the benefit of using Power Virtual Agents.

What are Power Virtual Agents?

At Ignite 2019 I heard the first time of Power Virtual Agents.
It’s a service and it’s part of Microsoft’s Power Platform (Power Automate, Power BI, PowerApps). Currently, Power Virtual Agents are in preview.

Power Virtual Agents enables you to build bots to serve your business. It can be done with no-code, within little time and deploy it where ever you need it. For example, you can deploy the Power Virtual Agents in Teams, Skype, Facebook, any website, PowerApps etc. Just awesome!

To give you some quick overview how it looks like, some screenshots:

Screenshot – Eriks Demo Bot – Power Virtual Agent (Preview)
Screenshot – Eriks Demo Bot – Power Virtual Agent (Preview) – Bot conversation flow
Screenshot – Eriks Demo Bot – Power Virtual Agent (Preview) – Built/train/teach the bot/flow
Screenshot – Eriks Demo Bot – Power Virtual Agent (Preview) – Deploy (overview)

Advantages and benefits of Power Virtual Agents

  • Part of Microsoft’s Power Platform
  • No need to be a app developer
  • No-coding skills required to begin with
  • Easy to setup and start with
  • Fast “configuration”
  • Fast deployment and publishing into Teams, websites etc.
  • Easy to modify
  • Easy to extend (teach/train contents to give the bot more “knowledge”)

Conclusion, opinion and summary

Power Virtual Agents can deliver great benefit for your business, internally as well as externally.
You could, for example, build a bot for your web shop,
you could create a FAQ bot (if you have not already one),
you could set up a troubleshooting bot for (end user) support or any other scenario. All this might help to reduce repetitiv and boring tasks for your employees getting these questions asked and allow them to focus on what’s more important for your business success.

It’s really straightforward and it work’s like charm. I’m really excited what I’ve seen and could test in the preview of this service.

Additional resources

Audiocodes White Paper – Software-Defined Voice Networks (SDvN)

This post is about a newly released white paper by Audiocodes on software-defined voice networks to optimize network performance and reduce operational costs for communication, especially voice, solutions.

The white paper points out the challenge on managing complex (voice) networks and versatile workloads in times in which businesses have to master their digital transformation. Audiocodes emphasizes that many carriers abandon their legacy PSTN technology backbone to transition from ISDN to All-IP. This also causes a change at the enterprises. Therefore, software-defined voice networks is described as an approach to cope with the technology change by to keep voice networks manageable and cut operational costs.

Source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/netzwerk-erde-blockchain-globus-3537401/

The advantages of software-defined (voice) networks [SDvN] as mentioned in the white paper are:

  • decoupled voice network infrastructure and voice control layer
  • APIs
  • overlay network
  • agil and dynamic
  • vendor agnostic
  • centralized network and call routing management
  • optimized call routing

Conclusion, opinion and summary

As I wrote in the past network reliability and performance for your communication and collaboration services (incl. voice) are essentials.

SDN can provide options to reduce operational costs and make your network more reliable and perform better. Audiocodes’ white paper outlines what SD(v)N in complex voice networking environments could offer to fulfill today’s and tomorrow’s business requirements in the digital era. SD(v)N, definitely something you should consider in case you have large and multi-national/-site (voice) network.

Additional resources

Deliver learning contents to your users with Microsoft 365 learning pathways

In this post I describe what Microsoft 365 learning pathways is and how it can help your company to increase your Microsoft 365 user adoption and productivity.

Source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/lernen-hinweis-schule-betreff-3245793/

What’s Microsoft 365 learning pathways?

Learning pathways is a service by Microsoft which offers steadily updated and rich learning content delivery which you can add in your Microsoft 365 tenant. You can implemented for your tenant by using the SharePoint Online Provisioning Service. The goal is to increase your user’s productivity by showing them how to use and adopt available Microsoft 365 services.

Can I provide customized content to my users?

Yes, you can provide customized and tailored contents to be consumed on users’ demand.

How does the user get the learning contents?

By default, it’s a SharePoint Online communication site where users can access contents. Instead, you can also just manually install the Microsoft 365 learning pathways web part into a existing SharePoint Online site to integrated it there.

Can I integrate it into my Teams?

It’s a SharePoint Online site, so there are plenty of options!!!
And of course you can integrate it in Teams.

For example, you could
a) add the SharePoint Online site into a certain Teams Team as a tab or
b) add it as an app in the left navigation rail.

What about multi-language support?

Multi-language support is planned for (Jan) 2020.

What if I do not have people + time to provide customized contents for our users?

There are Microsoft partners out there which can help you to deliver what you need. Please be aware that Teams is no fixed app which never changes, on the contrary, that’s why it is significant that you or your partner updates your customized contents as needed and as Microsoft Teams changes.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

Microsoft 365 learning pathways is ideal to drive user adoption within your company. It provides your users learning contents to increase adoption and finally productivity due to knowing how things work in Microsoft 365.

Additional resources

Microsoft Ignite 2019 Recap

In this post I summarize my Microsoft Ignite 2019 (user) experience and highlight some additional resources (links) regarding Microsoft 365, Office 365 and especially Teams which is ideal to read for the weekend.

Now, that Microsoft Ignite 2019 ended there was and still is a lot of information to digest. A considerable amount of announcements were made and published during the week. At the bottom of this post I provide you some cross-references to resources where you get details on product and service announcements which were made.

The conference took place from 04. – 08. November 2019 in Orlando, FL, USA in the Orange County Convention Center (OCC) and attached buildings. Before, I was told that the OCC is the second largest conference venue (in size) in the US. Before being onsite I thought, ok, well. Than, finally, being on the venue and already getting there was “wow”. The venue is really beyond XXL. My step counter displayed more than 13.000 steps each day, except on Friday/last day. Thanks to my comfortable running shoes my feet are fine and alright. 😉

I’m still impressed, of the logistics to get all people, things and services organized. It was excellent organized. It was a pleasure to attend the Microsoft Ignite 2019. Lots of valuable and rich learning content first-hand, conversations, ideas, tips & tricks, and, of course, road maps on what’s about to come for products and services in the near or “far” future. Fantastic event!

Additional resources