Tagged: Microsoft 365

How to manage and govern Power Apps and Power Automate?

In this post I highlight the updated Microsoft whitepaper regarding the administration and governance of Microsoft Power Apps and Power Automate. It very extensiv with its 117 pages and covers topics from platform architecture to security and even user adoption (alias “Educate and Support”).

In my opinion, Microsoft’s Business Application Platform has become a very rich and incredibly valuable toolbox to empower people to do what they need in a more efficient and digital way as before. And all within the Microsoft 365 stack but extensible via interfaces/connectors/gateways to integrated with other external elements as needed.

  • Power BI to visualize data
  • Power Apps to build apps with no or low code
  • Power Automate to create rich digital workflows
  • Power Virtual Agents to build chat bots for customer dialog and interaction
Microsoft PowerBI – Source: https://powerplatform.microsoft.com/
Microsoft Power Virtual Agents – Source: https://powerplatform.microsoft.com/

Due to the fact that the Business Application Platform has grown and provides so many features it needs to be administrated, managed and governed as other services, too.

The whitepaper goes guides you through the following topics:

  • Platform Overview
  • Platform Architecture
  • Platform Security
  • Platform Monitoring
  • Platform Alerts and Actions
  • Platform Deployment
  • Eduation and Support (Adoption)

Microsoft keeps on updating the document from time to time and of course the features. That’s why you should stay tuned and follow the Business Application Platform blogs.

Additional resources

Improvements on managing Microsoft Teams Phone System

Microsoft announced that there will be some enhancements to manage Microsoft Teams Phone System. So what are these enhancements?

Based on the lastest roadmap details the administration of Microsoft Teams Phone System will be improved in the following areas:

  • Calling Plans administration
    • search phone numbers
    • acquire phone numbers
    • assign phone number/s to users
    • create emergency addressess
    • assign emergency addresses to users
  • Dial plan/s
    • create custom dial plans
    • test custom dial plans
    • manage custom dial plans
  • Dynamic Emergency Calling
    • configure dynamic emergency calling
  • Auto Attendants / Call Queues
    • improved administration
Source: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/roadmap?filters=&searchterms=56786

Additional resources

Microsoft Teams Linux Client

In this post I like to notify you about the release of the Microsoft Teams Client for Linux (DEB/RPM package) and it’s minimum hardware requirements. To run Teams on Linux you need to check that the minimum requirements are meet.

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

Microsoft Teams Linux Client (minimum) Requirements

  • OS: Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (with certain prereqs, see docs.microsoft.com), 18.04 LTS, Fedora 30 Workstation, RHEL 8 Workstation, CentOS 8
  • CPU: > 1.6 GHz (32/64-bit)
  • RAM: > 2.0 GB RAM
  • Disk: > 3.0 GB available
  • Screen resolution: > 1024×768 and > 128 MB GFX RAM
  • Peripherie: camera, microphone, speakers (compatible endpoint equipment)

Additional resources

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

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.

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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

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 Teams Adoption Resources

In this post I want to emphasize the importance, again, of adoption and training and point out where the central adoption hub for Microsoft Teams is.

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

Conclusion, opinion and summary

In my opinion and based on what I see, Microsoft invests heavily in Microsoft Teams and a required adoption practice and material. If you use or plan to use Microsoft 365/Office365 and Teams you might only know some features and capabilities. That’s why it is so important that you learn and know what you don’t use and might could use to make your job and business more valuable, e.g. discover what you can do with certain tools, services and apps might bring up ideas on new business models in the digital era. Or it just helps to digitize and automate some as-is paper-based processes to get things done faster, be more productive and forget about repeatable, boring and required tasks because you’ve just automated them. Wow, now you can focus on what’s more important at your job and drives value for your job role and business. But how?

Well, you need to know what’s there. Moreover, your co-workers need to know. That’s why you must steadily inform them on what’s there, what’s new and how it works. Long story short, adoption is key to success.

For Teams you can find lots of resources on the adoption hub “Adopt Microsoft Teams”.

Additional resources

Microsoft Teams Adoption Flipbook

Due to the fact that you need a proper change management to rocket your Microsoft Teams adoption within your enterprise, don’t forget about to check out on available adoption material for Microsoft Teams.

Source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/herunterladen-wolke-icon-netzwerk-2013195/

Microsoft gives you a Teams Adoption Flipbook. It’s a toolkit for enabling users with Microsoft Teams in your enterprise. The goal is not to replace any existing technology with a new technology!!!

It’s about people and how Microsoft Teams can empower them to reach their targets, both, professional and personal ones. E.g. if an sales analyst needs to get his report review done on time but also has to cope with some personal things during afternoon he/she needs a solution to get this done, both, at work and at home. Therefore the flip book points you to resources how you can design a modern workplace to provide your employees with the right solution and do it the way that people adopt the solution because cause the recognize the added value it delivers to get their job done.

Remember, it’s about enabling people getting things done. We experience a cultural change, we have several generations in the workforce, different “work styles”, how we work, therefore different capabilities are needed and must be provided to satisfy the users needs. This change must not end up with employees fearing or rejecting this change, so plan for change to make a transition from legacy to new for your users as smooth as possible. The adoption resources from Microsoft support you with this but its and permanent endeavor, not just a one time investment and project, to be clear.

Additional resources

Microsoft 365 and Teams Architecture Posters

In this post I point you to some valuable Microsoft 365 and Teams architecture posters which support you to learn, understand and plan Microsoft 365 and Teams.

Source: https://pixabay.com/de/photos/netzwerk-erde-blockchain-globus-3524352/

Teams IT architecture and telephony solutions posters

At docs.microsoft.com you can get many great posters which you can download as PDF as well as VSDX (Visio). The latter enable you to modify the architecture posters as you need them, so you can edit the posters if you, for instance, need them for documentation/presentation purposes.

Microsoft 365 enterprise solution series

The Microsoft 365 enterprise solution series posters depict different Microsoft 365 capabilities and how they are tied together. Helpful to build a better understanding of Microsoft 365 capabilities and facts you must know about if you are an IT/Solution/Technical Architect and deliver concepts for implementing, adopting … Microsoft 365.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

The architecture posters are a useful asset to learn, understand and plan Microsoft 365 and Teams. These posters illustrate what and how components and capabilities are linked and related to each other with different views.

Additional resources