Category: Architecture

How to enable external users to access PowerApps?

In this post I describe what Microsoft provides with PowerApps Portals (in Preview, August 2018) to enable external users (not within your company) to access your PowerApps-based business apps.

What’s PowerApps at all?

Microsoft PowerApps is basically an app toolbox which you can use to quickly build business apps without being a developer because you can build a business app by clicking it together. It’s part of Office 365 and allows to use what you’ve already got there (Office 365, Dynamics 365 …) or (partially) elsewhere.

What’s PowerApps Portals?

Before the introduction of PowerApps Portals all users need to be within your Office 365 tenant to access your PowerApps-based business apps. PowerApps Portal is a game changer it let’s external users access your business apps via WWW on a public accessible website. You can also control access to the portal, e.g. anonymously, LinkedIn, Microsoft ID, Azure AD account, SAML2, OpenId Connect or else.

Source: https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/introducing-powerapps-portals-powerful-low-code-websites-for-external-users/

Conclusion, opinion and summary

PowerApps Portals is very handy for you if you need to build a business app which is not only accessible for your employees or users which are member of your Office 365 tenant. To enable a wider accessibility to PowerApps can enable more interaction with external users to your company.

Additional resources

Microsoft Flow Online Conference 2019

In this post I like to inform you about the upcoming Microsoft Flow Online Conference 2019. The free (~8-hours) online conference starts at September 10th, 2019 at 9 AM (EST), 15 PM (CEST).

The focus of the online conference is to show how to automate processes and tasks easily (with no or little code) by using Microsoft Flow and related technology from the Office 365 stack and more. And if you might wonder what about Teams integration? Can I automate things in Teams by using Flow? Of course, you can integrate and use Flow in conjunction with Teams. So you can automate processes and integrate it within Teams as your hub of modern teamwork.

Source: https://flow.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/register-for-the-microsoft-flow-online-conference-2019/

Conclusion, opinion and summary

First of all, I already like the format, because it’s an online conference and I do not need to travel far, catch any plane, stuck in any traffic jam or else.

The agenda and list of content looks pretty nice! There’s something for everyone, you can find sessions if you are completely new to Flow but also if you are a bit more advanced and automated some processes and tasks.

Additional resources

Skype for Business Online End of Service 2021

In this post I like to highlight a very special date, the 31st of July 2021. The date marks the end of an era of the communication and collaboration with Skype for Business Online.

Microsoft officially announced the retirement of Skype for Business Online by 31st of July 2021.

Source: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2016/07/28/23/39/cottage-1550083_960_720.jpg

Conclusion, opinion and summary

We had a great time Skype for Business Online. Thanks. However, time changes and so do people, technology and work. Therefore, Microsoft Teams enables ways of modern communication and collaboration which Skype for Business (Online) did not. The retirement date is not that close. So, you’ve got a time frame which should provide sufficient time to plan and migrate to Microsoft Teams.

Additional resources

My Cloud Network Readiness Notes for Office 365 and Teams

This post is about some basic aspects of networking for the cloud and where to find some viable resources. I focus on Microsoft Cloud connectivity. However, the requirements are similar to any other cloud services. To me, there are two common question which I always ask before any further (technical) Microsoft / Office 365 planning: What’s your network topology and how do your network metrics look like?
“Nice” and “fine” are some times answers I get, of course that’s not what I want to hear. 😉

Source: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/monitor-binary-binary-system-1307227/

What’s your network topology/design?

By asking this question I want to get insights on the network design, e.g. does the company operate a centralized network and internet connectivity approach?

Example answer: A company got 12 physical locations, buildings or offices in different cities, so geographically dispersed. The company’s headquarter (HQ) is in Stuttgart, Germany. All locations are linked together via MPLS-WAN links to the HQ. Let’s say a star topology is operated. All internet traffic is routed via HQ and breaks out centrally.

Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/network-earth-block-chain-globe-3524352/

How do your network metrics look like?

Very often companies do not have network metrics, no long-term metrics (2 weeks+) and no networking reporting to easily visualize and get insights on past and as-is network traffic. Although this might be very helpful also for security reasons to detected uncommon network patterns etc.

Well, by asking, how do your network metrics look like? I’d whish to get some viable metrics, e.g. packet loss, jitter, rtt, bandwidths (of course), … Many times it’s unclear.

These actual trivial questions are essential to know and estimate “Is my company’s network ready for cloud workloads?” or to know what’s to do to get the connectivity ready for (certain) cloud workloads. We also need to differentiate between workloads and their priority, e.g. no real-time vs. real-time workloads, file transfer vs. video calls.

What’s recommended?

A functioning, efficient and reliable network, especially internet connectivity towards the Microsoft Cloud Edge is key. If we talk about client facing applications, for instance Microsoft Teams, it is recommended to get the client app as near as possible to the Microsoft Cloud Edge so that the traffic can enter the highly optimized Microsoft Cloud Data Center Network (backend). Verify that the connectivity metrics towards the Microsoft Cloud Edge are meet.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

To reach the goal that clients’ network traffic can quickly enter Microsoft Cloud Data Center, we need to think about suited network concepts and designs. In my opinion centralized internet breakouts for clients are obsolete. Without a doubt there are advantages in management and routing traffic centrally depending on your point of view. If we “re-calibrate” our point of view and our expectations based on user and business requirements and principles we must re-think and re-assess our network to fulfill these requirements. To succeed we need to focus on the principle of excellent user experience which than will drive your business ahead. And as mentioned above, the network and internet connectivity towards the Cloud Edge are key.

Additional resources

Microsoft Teams Video Interoperability

In this post I give an overview on video interoperability with Microsoft Teams. It highlights options to connect (legacy) video conferencing systems and Microsoft Teams.

erik365 – What’s video interop?

Video interoperability enables different video endpoints and infrastructure to communicate with each other to overcome non-standardized or unequal video and media communication meetings or conferences.

erik365 – Why video interop?

Mostly, companies implement solutions for video interoperability to keep existing investments in dedicated video conferencing infrastructure and connect it to newer communication and collaboration infrastructure. For instance, if you have a dedicated Cisco, Lifesize or Poly video infrastructure you might want to join Teams online meetings with the Cisco/Lifesize/Poly video rooms, too.

erik365 – How does video interop work?

Basically, a video interop solution helps to bring together both, a dedicated video infrastructure or endpoint and Microsoft Teams.

erik365 – What options are there?

Today, there are three certified cloud video interop services for Microsoft Teams available. I.e. BlueJeans Gateway for Microsoft Teams, Poly RealConnect for Microsoft Teams, Pexip Cloud Video Interoperability for Microsoft Teams.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

Video interop services can help you to keep existing video infrastructure investments and connect it with Microsoft’s modern teamwork services, Teams. If you cannot just rip and replace all your video room systems and infrastructure with Surface Hubs or Teams Room Devices, it’s a viable approach and solution to add video interoperability services as needed. Finally, it brings (legacy) video conferencing to Teams online meetings.

Additional Resources

Microsoft Teams Tenant-to-Tenant Migration?

In the past I wrote a post regarding migrating a single capability, Teams telephony workloads, from a source to a target Office 365 tenant. In this post I like to emphasize a new third party service and its capability which can help to accomplish a complete Teams Tenant-to-Tenant migration.

[erik365] Migrate Office 365 Tenant-to-Tenant

BitTitan, a third party service provider for service automation, announced their new service to migrate Teams from a source to a target tenant. It enables companies who need to merge or split Teams into or off another Office 365 tenant.

BitTitan MigrationWiz Teams Tenant-to-Tenant Migration

MigrationWiz enables for migrating the following Team workloads:

  • Teams instance and the individual components
  • Teams
  • Channels
  • Conversations
  • Permissions
  • Files within that instance

On top the service offers a pre-migration assessment

  • to analyze the number of Teams to be migrated
  • to analyze the amount of data to be migrated
  • to analyze the number of users to be migrated

The above described service capabilities are subject to change at anytime. The described capabilities are just a high-level overview. I recommend to read the lastest service provider’s service specification etc. before.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

I dealt with a few Microsoft Office 365 Tenant-to-Tenant migration due to different business requirements. However, it was very much to do and script. Now, MigrationWiz seems to really simplify the complete process for Office 365 Tenant-to-Tenant migrations regarding Microsoft Teams.

As of now [July 2019] there are only a few service providers out there offering a service to smoothly migrate Teams from Tenant-To-Tenant as far as I could see. So, BitTitan MigrationWiz is now an option to speed up, simplify and automate your T2T migration batches for Teams, too.

Additional Resources

Microsoft Inspire 2019 live stream

For market observers, in this post I want to notify about Microsoft Inspire 2019. The event takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada from July 14th – 18th, 2019. It’s for Microsoft partners to meet, connect and of course, get inspired all around Microsoft’s and Partners’ services.

There will be a live stream of some keynotes on the Inspire page:

  • Monday, July 15, 2019 approx. 17:30 – 19:30*
  • Wednesday, July 17, 2019 approx. 17:30 – 19:30*
    * Europe/Berlin time)

As usually, Microsoft plans to make the Inspire sessions available some time (approx. two days later) after the event or session took place. So, stay tuned for more details on the below pages as the event comes closer and after it took place.

Additional Resources

Microsoft Teams Licensing Notes [Update July 2019]

There are many options for licensing Microsoft Teams depending on the capability requirements for users, devices and rooms. In this post I like to point out some “special” licensing options besides the normal ones for Teams in enterprises.

The hereinafter described license options might be subject to change. Moreover not all licenses or subscriptions are available in every country around the globe, especially calling plans and audio conferencing (shortened: Audioconf.).

Teams Licensing Basics

  • Microsoft Teams is just a single service of the massiv Microsoft 365 services stack which it tightly linked and integrated within this service stack.
  • Microsoft Teams is part of a “packaged” Microsoft Office 365 subscriptions by default.
  • Microsoft Teams replaces Skype for Business (Online). The Skype for Business Desktop Client within Office 365 ProPlus is also obsolete, meaning that new (full) Office 365 ProPlus installation will get a Teams instead of a Skype for Business Client.

The following slides and drawing are intended to provide you with an overview on licensing options. I also point out what you should take into account in case of Teams Direct Routing (TDR), in this post and following drawings I call a TDR scenario a “hybrid” scenario.

Telephony with Teams (for users)

Overview (May 2019)

Call Queues (CQ) and Auto Attendants (AA)

Resource accounts for CQ/AA need a license. Till 01.07.2019 you had to license these users with typical user licenses. Now you can buy and assign a free “Phone System Virtual User license”.

UPDATED JULY 2019 Call Queues (CQ) and Auto Attendants (AA)

At the bottom I’ll add a link to a well-written how-to post “Add a free licence to Call Queues and Auto Attendants (Microsoft Teams)” from ucgeek.com which describes how to buy and assign the license.

Teams Common Area Phone (CAP)

Teams Common Area Phone

Teams Meeting Room

Teams Meeting Room

Conclusion, opinion and summary

The above drawings quickly depict how you can license users, common area phones, meeting room devices and even call queues or auto attendants for Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft is working on an enhanced licensing model for applications like cloud CQ/AA [as you can read in “Manage resource accounts”]. Still, at present user licensing applies for cloud CQ/AA. [done]

Additional Resources

Microsoft Teams Licensing Notes

There are many options for licensing Microsoft Teams depending on the capability requirements for users, devices and rooms. In this post I like to point out some “special” licensing options besides the normal ones for Teams in enterprises.

The hereinafter described license options might be subject to change. Moreover not all licenses or subscriptions are available in every country around the globe, especially calling plans and audio conferencing (shortened: Audioconf.).

Teams Licensing Basics

  • Microsoft Teams is just a single service of the massiv Microsoft 365 services stack which it tightly linked and integrated within this service stack.
  • Microsoft Teams is part of a “packaged” Microsoft Office 365 subscriptions by default.
  • Microsoft Teams replaces Skype for Business (Online). The Skype for Business Desktop Client within Office 365 ProPlus is also obsolete, meaning that new (full) Office 365 ProPlus installation will get a Teams instead of a Skype for Business Client.

The following slides and drawing are intended to provide you with an overview on licensing options. I also point out what you should take into account in case of Teams Direct Routing (TDR), in this post and following drawings I call a TDR scenario a “hybrid” scenario.

Telephony with Teams (for users)

Overview (May 2019)

Call Queues (CQ) and Auto Attendants (AA)

Call Queues (CQ) and Auto Attendants (AA)

Teams Common Area Phone (CAP)

Teams Common Area Phone

Teams Meeting Room

Teams Meeting Room

Conclusion, opinion and summary

The above drawings quickly depict how you can license users, common area phones, meeting room devices and even call queues or auto attendants for Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft is working on an enhanced licensing model for applications like cloud CQ/AA [as you can read in “Manage resource accounts”]. Still, at present user licensing applies for cloud CQ/AA.

Additional Resources

Microsoft modern communications webinar series

Microsoft initiated a webinar series by Microsoft communication leaders and HR to share insights and challenges regarding modern communication and cultural transformation. There are several webinars from May, 16 to June, 26, 2019. The contents are, for instance, communicating better, storytelling, empower employees, effective internal communication, employee feedback and optimized communication on employee feedback.

Additional Resources