Monthly Archives: August 2016

Outlook gets “Play” Button for Microsoft Cloud PBX VoiceMail

Recently, while checking my voicemail in Cloud PBX, I noticed that I now have the Play button in Outlook

Now instead of opening up the .MP3 attachment to listen to voicemails, I can simply click the play button.

image

The ‘play on phone’ button errors out, but the Edit Notes button works.

This feature became enabled when the “Microsoft Exchange Add-in” was added as a COM Add-in inside Outlook

SNAGHTML1017d3c

The timestamp on UmOutlookAddin.dll is July 31, 2016

image

I have not been able to find any announcement about this new capability.

Why PSTN Conferencing Dynamic Conference IDs are so important

Microsoft announced on Friday, August 12th that Dynamic Conference IDs are coming September 1st to Office 365 E5 PSTN Conferencing.

This is an important because it solves a privacy limitation with the current static conference ID’s in service today.

Without dynamic conference IDs, there are no great options to prevent new external callers from interrupting an in-progress meeting (that may be running long). The default ‘out of box’ configuration allows unauthenticated external callers to be admitted into the conference. The option to override this behavior is to change the policy ‘these people don’t have to wait in the lobby’ to “Only me, the meeting organizer.”

However, when that option is selected, the meeting organizer does not receive any pop-up notification to admit PSTN callers who are waiting in the lobby (they just sit there forever). This particular scenario is not directly mentioned in the “Dial-in conferencing known issues” support article. And that is why Dynamic conference IDs will be such a great thing starting September 1st! Note: Any previously scheduled meeting will not automatically have this option, only new scheduled meetings going forward after 9/1 will have this option. Also, any recurring meetings will need to be rescheduled with a new dynamic conference ID to benefit from this privacy feature.

The most useful and controversial changes in Office 365 (Part 2 of 2)

This is part 2. To read part 1, click (here).

In general, Corporate IT Departments want to control the end-user computing experience. Surprises are to be avoided. Pop-ups are anathema to Corporate IT because they result in annoying helpdesk tickets “should I click on this button?” (anyone who has ever served on a helpdesk, God bless them, is rolling their eyes because they know that non-technical people somehow cannot deal with pop-up messages. My favorite: “Should I accept this end-user agreement?” My sarcastic response: “Just click no, we can end this call now and close the ticket.” In all seriousness, surprise pop-up messages that are not communicated first by a trusted source, (“The IT Department”) can cause non-technical end-users to freeze up and panic. Therefore, changes in Office 365 that disrupt the end-user in any way (pop-up messages, etc) are seen as highly controversial (to put it mildly).

Here is a summary of the most controversial changes in Office 365 over the past six months.

The What’s new dialog prompt:

Why is this controversial? First, because this pop-up cannot be suppressed. The ‘What’s New’ dialog box will appear approximately once every 30 days to communicate changes directly to end-users. If the IT Department doesn’t proactively notify end-users about the contents of the pop-up, then this could lead to questions by end-users on whether it is a virus pop-up; many users have been conditioned (wisely) to not click on unfamiliar pop-ups.
Second, because it can advertise features that that IT Department may have disabled, leading to confusion among end-users. For example, if IT has disabled ‘Office 365 Groups’ then do you want a pop-up message to advertise features about it?

The “One-Click Archive” button in Outlook, announced on Feb 25th (here).

Why is this controversial? First, because it generates a pop-up message in Outlook that causes a non-technical person to have to make a decision.

This can lead to helpdesk requests from users seeking advice on what to decide (anyone who disputes this has never worked on a helpdesk before).

Second, because IT has no administrative controls to disable this feature. Why would someone want to disable this? Because if an Enterprise has enabled the Personal Archive feature then this button does not integrate with it, and instead creates a 2nd location to store archived messages. This leads to confusion by the end user on where to look for messages.

OneDrive for iOS App – take data offline -announced May 4th (here)

The OneDrive iOS can now take OneDrive and SharePoint files offline.

Why is this controversial? If you don’t have a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution such as Intune deployed, how will you wipe the offline files when the employee leaves your organization?

Docs.com – announced August 4th

Docs.com
provides a way for users to Publish Office Documents externally, directly within Word/Excel/PowerPoint, or by browsing to docs.com.

Why is this controversial? If your organization has limited external sharing (for security reasons) then Docs.com allows your users to bypass controls setup by IT/Security. IT Departments who have configured URL filtering to block Google Drive, DropBox and other 3rd party file sharing sites may elect to block Docs.com, since Microsoft currently does not provide any IT controls to disable this feature. For more information click (here).

Second, because your users will be receiving a pop-up notification to advertise this feature. So even if you block docs.com via a URL filter, you cannot suppress the what’s new dialog box.

Clutter is replaced with “Focused Inbox” – announced July 26th (here)

Focused Inbox is essentially a way to quickly filter an inbox to show the most important items, similar to what Clutter promised, but with the advantage of not moving it to a separate folder. This is the same feature that has already been available to the Outlook for iOS (if you are using it).

Why is this controversial? Users will receive a pop-up prompt in Outlook to opt-in to Focused Inbox. After they opt-in, Clutter will no longer move items to the clutter folder. Read this help article for more details on the prompts users will see and how to turn Focused Inbox on and off.

IMHO – Focused Inbox is really a much better way to solve the same problem of decluttering an inbox by simply providing a user a ‘view’ of their inbox. IT should communicate the value of Focused Inbox rather than resisting it or scrambling to disable it. Office 365 admins will have mailbox and tenant level control of the feature to stage the rollout in a manner that works best for their organization. However, I feel this is a good feature that should be left on when it rolls out to first-release subscribers in September.

Honorable Mentions:

Modern UI in SharePoint/OneDrive. Did I miss any controversial changes in the past 6 months? If so, please leave a comment.

Have you been caught off-guard by changes in Office 365? Patriot Consulting offers a monthly subscription service to help IT Departments understand and prepare for upcoming changes in Office 365. Watch a brief video about our service (here) or drop us a note at hello@patriotconsultingtech.com to learn more.

The most useful and controversial changes in Office 365 (Part 1 of 2)

This is the first of a 2-part blog series highlighting the changes in Office 365 in the last 6 months (April 2016 to present).

When it comes to human attitudes toward change, I have found there are three types of people:

  • Those who embrace change
  • Those who resist change
  • Those who are indifferent towards change

This blog post (part 1 of 2) should satisfy those who embrace change, while my second post should intrigue those who resist change. Wait, why not a 3rd post for those who are indifferent towards change? People who are indifferent towards change are probably not reading this blog, as they would have read the title and sighed ‘meh’ before continuing on with their day.

  1. March 18th: Common Attachment Types Filtering for Exchange Online Protection (EOP)

    There is a new configuration setting in EOP feature that provides an easy-to-setup method of filtering out unwanted and potentially malicious attachments by their file types. This feature requires a single click to enable, and can be configured from a list of the file types commonly found to be dangerous. For more information click (here).

  2. April 19th: Office Deployment Tool allows Visio and Project (MSI) to be deployed

    alongside Click-to-Run versions

    This enables IT to deploy the the MSI versions of Visio and Project side-by-side with Office 365 ProPlus click-to-run, as long as they are deployed using the Office Deployment Tool. For more information click (here).

  3. April 14th: OneDrive for Business Next Generation Sync Client (NGSC)

  • The NGSC is 4x faster than the old engine (groove.exe)
  • Includes the highly anticipated ‘Selective Sync’ where users can leave some content in the Cloud and only sync the folders they want
  • Large file limit increased from 2GB to 10GB
  • The sync engine now supports the ‘takeover’ feature, which eliminates the need to re-download all OneDrive content after the NGSC is installed
  • Note: The last feature we are still waiting for is the ability for the NGSC to sync SharePoint document libraries and Office 365 Groups. Until then, Groove.exe must run side-by-side with the NGSC OneDrive.exe

Honorable Mentions:

Flow, Planner, Gigjam, ASM, Bookings, & “Toll Free Numbers in Cloud PBX PSTN Conferencing”