In case you've missed it, at the #WPC12 (Worldwide Partner Conference 2012) on Monday, Microsoft announced a new programme for Partners: Office 365 Open. In essence, this will enable Partners to bill customers directly for Office 365 as if it were one of their services, instead of the billing going via Microsoft. They also revealed that revenue from year one subscriptions will be increasing, which of course will be a great another incentive for Partners. There's a great post over on Talkin' Cloud which asks 10 questions about the new Office 365 Open
, which I would suggest you read if you're interested in the topic.
I think Office 365 Open could be incredibly useful for TaskLight and other Microsoft Partners - it gives us a chance to give a single, simple bill to clients and to avoid confusion there.
This is the fourth post about issues that one of our client's found recently when they transitioned from BPOS to Office. You can see all of these issues in Support Stories
. This time, we're talking about vanishing Outlook shared calendars.
Disappearing Shared Calendars in Outlook
After transitioning from BPOS to Office 365, a shared calendar that I had created vanished from my copy of Outlook but was still available to everyone who had been invited to the calendar. This posed a bit of a challenge, because as the owner of the calendar I could not be invited to the calendar - no one could invite other users to the calendar. The solution was very, very simple. Here are the steps you need to take:
- Log in to your Office 365 account.
- Click 'Outlook' at the top of the screen.
- On the left-hand side, click 'Calendar'.
- Right-click on the calendar you want access to again (look, it's still here!) and select 'Share' then 'Share This Calendar...'.
- Enter your own email address and change the share permission to 'All information with permission to add, edit, and delete', then hit 'Send' at the top.
- Open up the Outlook desktop application, then accept your own sharing invitation.
- Your shared calendar will now be available in the 'Calendar' section of Outlook.
- All done!
This is the third post about issues that one of our client's found recently when they transitioned from BPOS to Office. You can see all of these issues in Support Stories
. This time, we're talking about getting Lync working on mobile devices like Android phones, iPhones, iPad and Windows Phone 7 phones.
Lync Online for Mobile Devices
After transitioning from BPOS to Office 365, no users were able to use the Lync mobile app. Whenever a user tried, they receive a server error. Trying the same device with an Office 365 (non-transitioned) account was fine, so this seemed more like a transition issue. This was a very easy fix of adding a new DNS record for the domain. Here are the steps you need to take:
- Log in to your Office 365 account (you must be an administrator for these steps).
- Under the 'Admin' panel, click 'Domains' on the left-hand side navigation bar.
- Click on the radio button next to your primary domain name and click 'View DNS Settings'. (You may need to edit domain intent to allow Exchange Online and Lync Online)
- Look at the bottom of this page for the lyncdiscover DNS record.
- Log in to your domain registrar's control panel and add a new CNAME record with these details.
- Wait for roughly half an hour.
- Try the mobile device again.
- Congratulations, you have won. If this still doesn't work, submit a support request through Office 365's admin panel.
This is the second post about issues that one of our client's found recently when they transitioned from BPOS to Office. You can see all of these issues in Support Stories
. This time, we're talking about an issue that lead to a significant number of users being unable to access the transitioned site collections. Just to be clear, all users could access the default SharePoint Online site collection (the Team Site found at companyname.sharepoint.com
Users Can't Access Transitioned SharePoint Site Collections
So, this was a strange issue for us. After transition to Office 365, whenever quite a few users tried to open up one of the transitioned SharePoint site collections, the connection would just time out and give one of the very useful 'Microsoft Online Services is unavailable from this site...' messages. I contacted Microsoft's transition support team and they gave a terribly simply solution, outlined below.
- In Internet Explorer, on the Tools menu, click Internet options.
- Click the Security tab, click the Trusted sites zone, and then click Sites.
- Verify that the following entries are listed in the Websites list:
If these entries are not present, add them to the Trusted sites list of websites.
Now, go back to the Security tab and click Local intranet zone, click Sites, and then click Advanced.
Add the following entries are listed in the Websites list:
One of our clients was recently transitioned from Microsoft's BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) to Office 365 as part of the upgrade cycle for Microsoft's Online Services. We encountered a few issues which we resolved, occasionally with (excellent, as always) support by Microsoft's support team. We're going to take the time to highlight a few of the issues that we encountered, in the hope that this will help other BPOS administrators in the future.
You can see all of these issues in Support Stories
. We'll start with an issue related to workflows, which was easily solved.
We encountered two issues with workflows post-transition to Office 365. The first was that none of the workflows would start at all, the error given in the workflow status being "[Workflow name] failed on Start". This happened for all of the workflows that we had created on the SharePoint site collections that transitioned. The (admittedly very simple) solution for this was to open up SharePoint Designer 2010 (remember, once you've transition to Office 365 you need to use the 2010 version of the programme, not 2007), then open the workflow and press the 'Publish' button on the taskbar - simple!
The second issue was that any issues in-progress during the transition failed when they tried to continue. For this client, this meant that there were a number of workflows which, before transition, had paused for a short amount of time. After transition, these workflows did not restart and the workflows failed. There was no way to directly fix this issue, the only thing to do was to start the workflows again.
Here's hoping this helps to indicate any potential issues that you might have with transitioning from BPOS to Office 365. We'll have more coming over the next few weeks under the category Support Stories
, come back then, sign up to the RSS feed
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With the beautiful day that it was on Monday, I was lucky enough to be working out in Co. Kildare for the day. In fact, if you look below, you'll see that I was actually just working in a field! This didn't prevent me from working at all though, in fact the day was extremely productive. The combination of a USB modem and Office 365 meant that it felt like I was at my desk, but in the beautiful sunshine! I even managed to run two Lync Online meetings: One a development meeting and the other an introduction to using Lync for online meetings, which involved (among other tasks) me sharing my desktop to show how to set up Lync Online meetings and explaining the best techniques in hosting online meetings.
Working From Wherever - Using Lync Online from Office 365
This was a great learning experience for me - with a USB modem (and a relatively decent Internet connection), I was able to work from a field. This means I'm not as tied to the office as I would otherwise be - I can work from wherever I want.
Lync Online is one of the components of Office 365
. Contact Conor in TaskLight today on 01 901 0304 or email@example.com
to start your free 30-day trial of Office 365
and discover your dream office.
Believe it or not, it is entirely possibly to hit the 5000 item limit that is put in place for any view of lists in SharePoint Online in Office 365. If you do hit this, you will find an error telling you that the item limit set by the administrator has been exceeded.
There is a limit of 5000 items in any view on a list - if your list is going to get anywhere near that limit, use an indexed column and then create filters that make sure that you won't go beyond 5000 items in a view. For example, limit a view to the last 12 months of data, or limit the view to 4000 items.
If you find yourself in the situation where you can't do anything with the list, having exceeded this 5000 item limit in the default view, you won't even be able to delete the list! If this happens, open the list in SharePoint Designer 2010, then click 'Administration Web Page' in the 'Manage' group on the ribbon. The ID is indexed by default, so create a view that is that is guaranteed to return less than 5000 items, using filtering based on the ID of the column. Now, go into that view and move out enough of the items in the list to get you below the 5000 item limit. Once that's done, you can create a new indexed column (or maybe more than one). Now, edit your views to filter based on those indexed columns. Good to go!
Again, prevention is better than cure here - It took me a few hours to find this work-around and you should always aim to reduce impact on users. After I first encountered this issue, I future-proofed using the tips above (indexing and view limits) to make sure that this wouldn't happen for other lists.
I hope this has helped a little bit. Drop a comment below if you have any questions or comments.
Last week, I (Conor) spent Wednesday and Thursday attending the Social Care Ireland
2012 Conference, which took place in the Ormonde Hotel in Kilkenny. With such beautiful weather, it might seem a shame to spent two days inside in a conference, but it was well worth it for us. I had been involved in a voluntary capacity in implementing an online ticketing system for the conference (using Eventbrite
, which I would highly recommend - feel free to get in contact
if you need any advice around this) and when the topic of paying for an exhibition table came up, I jumped at the opportunity. The SCI conference is the perfect opportunity for me, as the provider of a solution to the social care sector, to meet potential clients and get crucial feedback. Over the course of the two days I spoke to many social care workers, unit managers, operations managers and company directors about the current internal systems and processes they used to record the data on their young people, while also outlining TaskLight's offering and providing hands-on demos of our solution, TIMS (TaskLight Information Management System). I learned a lot from the two days, including that one care provider pays €150 a month in archiving costs for all of the paper records of the young people who have ever been in their care and that these records are archived every 3 months
! The legal requirement to store a copy of the information on the young people in care indefinitely is absolutely justified and necessary, but the requirement to store a paper
copy might be prohibitively expensive. In this case, for example, to read an incident report that is only four months old, the provider must find the relevant barcode of the report, contact the archiving company and wait up to 5 days to receive the report - all of this while, with TIMS, you would be able to read that information in less than a minute! Demonstrating this to the provider, they were blown away and could immediately see the benefits.
Anyway, it was great to meet so many people in the industry and to get some warm feedback about TIMS. Enjoy this photo of our stand (below). That big iMac was playing our 'A Story About a Residential Care Company' video
, which also seemed to get a lot of people's attention! You'll see me there, looking busy, as well as a giant tub of chocolates which, at times, seemed equally as popular as TIMS!
Social Care Ireland Conference - Photo of our stand with Conor (and the tub of Roses)
In what I consider to be an excellent turn of events, Microsoft have reduced the cost of their Office 365 user licenses, by as much as 20%. Microsoft has reduced the E1 price from €9 per user per month to €7.25 per user per month. This means a cost saving of €840 a year for a company with 40 E1 users (which includes Exchange email, Lync instant communicator and SharePoint collaboration platform).
, the cost of additional storage on SharePoint Online will also be coming down by a massive 92%, but I have not been verify to find this on Office 365's Irish site.
In a blog post
on the Office 365 blog, Kirk Koenigsbauer from Microsoft's Office Division said that:
As we rapidly add customers, the cost to run Office 365 becomes more efficient. This is the beauty of the cloud where we can deliver economies of scale through our worldwide data centers and economies of skill with our engineers, administrators, and support teams operating the service.
This might hint to further reductions in the cost of Office 365 in the future. We'll keep you informed if this happens.
We use Office 365
extensively and would highly recommend it for a flexible, cloud-based email, communication and collaboration system.
Microsoft has announced plans to expand its Sandyford-based EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Asia) data centre, with an investment of €98 million. Expanding its data centre is in-line with the company's recent moves to get away from the more traditional hard-packaged software and towards its SAAS (software-as-a-service) future. At partner training a few weeks ago, a Microsoft employee told us that the future for Microsoft was the cloud and that's where the majority of their focus will be. The expansion of the Dublin data centre could be an excellent step for Irish businesses, which already benefit from the company's presence and considerable workforce. The Dublin data centre currently serves a multitude of countries such as France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Sweden, Czech Republic, Italy and Romania and hosts services like Office 365
You can read more in this article
on the Irish Times website.