New to Office 365 in July—Microsoft 365, business apps and more

This month, we hosted on severity of 17,000 attendees at Microsoft Inspire, our annual conference for cronies, where we announced Microsoft 365 and debuted three association issue apps to space companies of all sizes empower their employees and unlock combined and to the lead payment. We in addition to introduced added features to since Office 365 subscribers make and partner going on more effectively. Read upon for the details.

News from Inspire for businesses of all sizes

At Microsoft Inspire in Washington D.C., we introduced a fundamental shift in how we will design, build and go to market to address our customers’ needs for a modern workplace.

Introducing Microsoft 365—Satya Nadella unveiled Microsoft 365, which brings together Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security to deliver a complete, intelligent and secure solution to empowers employees. To address the commercial needs from the largest enterprise to the smallest business, we introduced Microsoft 365 Enterprise and Microsoft 365 Business. Read our summary from Microsoft Inspire to learn more.

New business apps in Office 365 Business Premium

We along with introduced the preview of three option appsin Office 365 Business Premium: Microsoft Connections, Microsoft Listings, and Microsoft Invoicing. These apps are meant to serve you rule and grow your little business, and are allocation of the supplementary Office 365 Business middle. MileIQthe leading mileage tracking appis furthermore now included for Office 365 Business Premium subscribers. Read the public statement to learn more.

A tablet showing the new Office 365 Business Center dashboard.

The new Office 365 Business center is now included in Office 365 Business Premium.

Availability: Connections, Listings, Invoicing and the Office 365 Business center are rolling out in preview to Office 365 Business Premium subscribers in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, starting taking into consideration those in the First Release program. MileIQ Premium is understandable to all Business Premium subscribers in the U.S., U.K. and Canada on the go today.

Create and present more effectively with updates to Office apps

This month’s Office 365 updates make it easier to create professional-looking presentations and to identify and correct errors while editing documents.

Turn text into timelines in PowerPoint—Now PowerPoint Designer recognizes times, dates and topics on your slides and intelligently redesigns your content into professional-looking timelines, making it easier than ever to create high impact presentations. Start with a list of dates, then simply select Design Ideas in the Design tab and choose your favorite layout from the set of suggestions.

A timeline created with PowerPoint designer and a number of alternate design options.

Create a visual timeline in seconds with PowerPoint Designer.

Availability: PowerPoint Designer support for timelines is available in English for U.S. customers in the Office Insider program in PowerPoint on Windows and Mac, PowerPoint Mobile on Windows and Android tablets, and PowerPoint Online.

Support for 3D in Office apps—Starting this month, you can now add and edit 3D objects in Word, Excel and PowerPointEasily insert a 3D object from the Remix 3D catalog or your desktop, change its perspective and use transitions like Morph in PowerPoint to create cinematic animations between slides to bring 3D objects in your presentations to life.

Rotating 3D objects in PowerPoint slides.

Easily insert 3D objects in PowerPoint from the Remix 3D catalog or your desktop.

Availability: Support for 3D objects in Word, Excel and PowerPoint is available to Office Insiders on Windows desktops running the Creators Update and will reach general availability later this year.

Read Aloud in Word—We continue to improve the Learning Tools available in Word and have moved Read Aloud to the Review tab. This latest update allows your document to be read back to you with simultaneous highlighting—from right within your workflow. This makes it easier to recognize and correct errors as you write, improving reading and editing accuracy for everyone, especially users with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

Screen showing the new reader view in Windows.

Read Aloud is now accessible from the Review tab.

Availability: Read Aloud is now available in Word on Windows desktops for Office Insiders and will reach general availability later this year.

Additional updates for Office 365 commercial customers

Updates to Outlook and StaffHub make it easier for our Office 365 commercial customers to connect and manage tasks across their organizations.

Outlook adds a smarter To: line and redesigned conversation view—Powered by intelligence from the Microsoft Graph, Outlook on the web and Windows desktop now offer improved contact suggestions and profile pictures when composing an email. This update makes it easier for you to find and communicate with the right people throughout your organization.

Additionally, the redesigned conversation view in Outlook for iOS shows more of your discussion at once, allowing you to quickly review your message history and pick up right where you left off.

The new conversation view with increased message spacing shown on an iPhone.

The new conversation view in Outlook for iOS shows more of your conversation.

Availability: Improved contact suggestions are available in Outlook on the web for all Office 365 commercial customers and in Outlook on Windows desktops for Office Insiders. The redesigned conversation view is now available for Office 365 commercial accounts (previously available for Outlook.com and Gmail accounts on iOS) and will be coming soon to Android.

Enhancements to Microsoft StaffHub—Throughout July, we made several updates to Microsoft StaffHub, an Office 365 app designed to help Firstline Workers manage their workday. In industries like manufacturing, retail and healthcare, firstline workers often serve as the first point of contact between a company and its customers. Now team members can use the StaffHub app to assign, manage and complete tasks from co-workers and management, as well as access company-wide announcements—making it easier to keep everyone in sync.

The new task view in StaffHub on an Android phone. The image shows the simple creation and completion of tasks.

The new StaffHub task view, available on Android and iOS.

Office Setup To get started with your Microsoft Office Installation you must need valid product key code & visit www.Office.com/Setup and we can also help you with your entire process to setup office product online.

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Step by step instructions to import word document to photoshop

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Adobe’s Photoshop, a prominent picture altering application, incorporates bolster for an extensive variety of record sorts. On the off chance that you need to import and alter a Microsoft Word archive in Photoshop, you can exploit Word’s fare to Adobe PDF alternative. Once you’ve sent out your Word record as a PDF you can promptly open the report in Photoshop, since the Photoshop application gives consistent importation of archives in PDF design.

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  • Both Photoshop and Word bolster the Adobe PDF design.
  • Run Microsoft Word 2010 and open the record that you need to fare to Adobe Photoshop.
  • Tap the “Document” tab, at that point click “Spare As” to open the spare record exchange window.
  • Select “PDF (*.pdf)” from the “Spare as sort” drop-down rundown.
  • Snap “Spare” to spare your Word report as an Adobe PDF record.
  • Run the Adobe Photoshop application.
  • Snap “Record” in the menu bar and after that snap “Open” in the following menu.
  • Explore to the envelope that contains your new PDF record, at that point tap the PDF and tap the “Open” catch. An “Import PDF” exchange box will show up.
  • Hold the SHIFT key and snap each page in your archive that you need to import into the Photoshop application.
  • Snap “alright” to import the determination into the Photoshop application.

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Office for Windows 10 Mobile apps update for Insiders

www.office.com/setup Blogs: Users with on the Office Insider Slow Version 17.8431 on Windows 10 Mobile have been given a preview of the upcoming August 2017 Feature Update which contains two main new features; an improvement to smart quotes in Word and the ability to insert cut or copied cells in Excel.

www.office.com/setup Blogs: “As you type text, Word automatically changes straight quotation marks ( ‘ or ” ) to curly quotation marks (also known as “smart quotes” or typographer’s quotes),” the official documentation explains. “And now with your feedback we have improved smart quotes feature. Any quote following an em dash (–) is now formatted as an open quote (rather than closed quote).”

Office Insiders are users who volunteer to test early versions of the Office apps before they’re pushed out to the main versions which are used by the general public and businesses. Have you tried these two new features yet? Share your impressions with the community in the comments below.

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What is Office 365? How is it different from Microsoft Office?

www.office.com/setup Blogs: Office 365. “Office 365” refers to subscription plans that include access to Office applications plus other productivity services that are enabled over the Internet (cloud services). Office 365 includes plans for use at home and for business. Learn about Office 365 for use at home. Office 365 plans for business include services such as Skype for Business web conferencing and Exchange Online hosted email for business, and additional online storage with OneDrive for Business.

Many Office 365 plans also include the desktop version of the latest Office applications, which users can install across multiple computers and devices. The fully installed applications include: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access. (Publisher and Access are available on PC only.) And you can install them across multiple devices, including PCs, Macs, Android tablets, Android phones, iPad, and iPhone. When you have an active Office 365 subscription that includes the desktop version of Office, you always have the most up-to-date version of the applications.

The Office 365 plans that are online-only are a great choice for certain business needs, and they are designed to work with the latest version of Office, Office 2013, and Office 2011 for Mac. Previous versions of Office, such as Office 2010 and Office 2007, may work with Office 365 with reduced functionality. Get more details about which Office versions are supported. NOTE: This compatibility with Office does not include the Exchange Online Kiosk or Office 365 Enterprise K1 plans.

All Office 365 plans are paid for on a subscription basis, monthly or annually.

Microsoft Office. “Microsoft Office” is the name we still use for our familiar productivity software. Office suites are available as a one-time purchase and include applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, which can be installed on only one PC or Mac. The applications are not automatically updated; to get the latest version, you can purchase the product again when the new version becomes available. The latest versions currently available for one-time purchase are Office 2016 for Windows and Office 2016 for Mac. These suites do not come with any of the cloud-based services included in Office 365.

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Google to finally stop reading your email to show ads in new play to win corporate customers

ridiculed Google’s penchant for scanning user Gmail content to show relevant ads within the web based email client, going so far as to mount a “Scroogled” campaign against the practice:

www.office.com/setup Blogs: The Scroogled campaign has since been scrapped, but the process has never sat well with some customers, including corporate users who understandably would be a little leery of having Google read their email.

Paying Google customers, like those using Google’s G Suite office software, have never been subjected to the email scanning, but some customers, or potential customers, were confused by the distinction. That has prompted Google to change the policy across the board, according to Bloomberg Technology.

Ads will continue to appear in the free version of Gmail, but instead of being tied to the content of the ads, but instead be “targeted with other personal information Google already pulls from sources such as search and YouTube.”

In a blog post announcing the change, which will occur later this year, Google claims “more than 3 million paying companies” of G Suite, and 1.2 billion GMail users. Those corporate clients are apparently becoming more important for the Silicon Valley giant as it seeks to build up G Suite and compete with Office 365.

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Gain complete insights with the Visio visualizations in Power BI Preview

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Starting today, you can visualize data using Microsoft Visio diagrams from within Microsoft Power BI dashboards and reports. Microsoft solutions work better together—and now, Visio and Power BI work better together than ever before thanks to the new Visio visualization. Any Visio user can sign up for the preview to start using this capability right away. The Visio custom visual is currently only supported in Power BI Service. Support in Power BI desktop and Power BI apps will come soon.

Both Visio and Power BI are highly visual and naturally complementary. With Visio, you can create illustrative diagrams, such as interconnected workflows and real-world layouts, to pursue operational intelligence. On the other hand, Power BI helps you build intuitive dashboards from various visualizations, like charts and maps, to understand complex datasets, measure KPIs and track goals—all to achieve business intelligence. Using Visio and Power BI together, you can illustrate and compare data as both diagrams and traditional Power BI visualizations in one place, driving operational and business intelligence to understand the overall picture.

With this new feature, you can import a Visio diagram from SharePoint or OneDrive for Business into Power BI. The underlying Power BI data is then automatically and intelligently linked to the diagram based on its shape properties, eliminating the need to do this manually. In just a few clicks, and without help from IT, Visio diagrams become yet another interactive Power BI visualization that can help you make informed decisions faster.

Get more out of your data using Visio and Power BI together

Consider this fictitious example: Contoso is a large retailer working to improve its inventory management. Using Power BI, the current inventory per store can be represented in a series of visualizations, including a treemap that shows stock by item (left-side chart in the image below).

Visualization of Contoso inventory with the Visio tree map displayed on the left and the Power BI data summary on the right.

The visualizations are perfect for an all-up view of inventory at this store. But what if Contoso needs more nuanced details, like sales and inventory data for specific clothing racks? What if it needs to understand where each rack is located in the store and how they are positioned relative to one another? Using a Visio diagram of the store’s layout, Contoso can overlay the data in Power BI on Visio’s clothing rack drawings. The resulting Power BI dashboard provides an accurate, up-to-date representation of overall store inventory while also giving it the ability to drill into specific items.

Visualization of Contoso inventory with Visio tree map replaced with color coded item racks linked to the inventory information from the Power BI data summary on the right.

In the animated image above, the treemap was replaced with individual item racks, color-coded and labeled based on inventory levels from Power BI data. When Tea Dresses is clicked in the Visio diagram, you quickly see that sales are very strong, which helps explain why inventory is low. Similarly, when Suit Coats is clicked in the Power BI bar chart, you see the item is well below its sales target and inventory is still high. You also can see that the suit coat rack is located in a back corner of the store, making it less accessible to customers. Based on this information, the Contoso team might decide to use more rack space for tea dresses and less for suit coats, or reposition the racks for greater accessibility.

Visio visualizations in Power BI offer detailed insights for nearly any diagram type, including:

  • Flow charts for identifying interdependencies.
  • Fishbone diagrams for root-cause analysis.
  • Organizational charts for assessing the impact of hierarchies on process decisions and people management.

Visio flowchart illustrating a sample home loan approval process for a bank.

Visio flowchart illustrating a sample home loan approval process for a bank. Using the Power BI charts, the bank sees that actual ticket response times for performing property risk assessments are higher than expected. In the Visio diagram, that process step is highlighted in red and, because it’s so early in the process, could affect other steps in the future if the ticket processing issue isn’t resolved soon.

Fishbone chart showing that poor working conditions.

Fishbone chart showing that poor working conditions—specifically excessive noise and temperature, which are highlighted in red in the Visio diagram—are the root cause of diminished product quality. The diagram relies on the employee ratings of operational categories depicted in the Power BI charts on the right.

Dashboard showing how certain people and departments, illustrated by the Visio hierarchy diagram in the upper left, affect different organizational processes.

Dashboard showing how certain people and departments, illustrated by the Visio hierarchy diagram in the upper left, affect different organizational processes. In this case, the marketing and sales department is over budget on tele sales and tele call efforts, all of which are highlighted in red.

New in Office 365 security and compliance—June update

Enhancements to threat protection visibility and controls

Office 365 Exchange Online Protection (EOP) and Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) were designed to keep your organization protected against cyber-attacks while supporting end-user productivity. The Office 365 team continues to enhance both EOP and ATP by offering deeper insights and more flexible controls. This month, we are introducing the following new capabilities:

Threat Protection status report—New reporting for ATP and EOP that adds visibility into malicious emails detected and blocked for your organization. This supplements the recently introduced reports in the Security & Compliance Center for ATP Safe Attachments.

The Projection status report is displayed in the Security & Compliance Center and is showing information associated with ATP safe attachments, Anti-malware engine, ATP safe links and ZAP.

Threat Protection status report.

Enhanced quarantine capabilities—Now all emails classified as malware from both EOP and ATP are quarantined. This builds upon the existing quarantine experience by allowing administrators to review and delete emails from quarantine.

New ATP Safe Links Policy features—Four new features build upon the Safe Link policies.

  • Per-tenant block list—Provides the administrator the ability to block specific URLs.
  • Email wildcarding for domains and handles—Enables you to save time by writing partial domain/handle names.
  • Split Safe Links policies—Allows Safe Links policies to be customized for specific user lists in the organization, including groups, individuals and divisions.
  • Expanded character limit for URLs—Enables blocking/allowing URLs with longer character lengths.

Window displaying how to enter a URL so that it is blocked across Office 365.

Safe Links Block URL list.

Additional details on these new features can be found in the Microsoft Tech Community, as well as on the EOP and ATP product pages. EOP is offered across our enterprise E1, E3 and E5 suites. ATP is offered as both a standalone SKU or as part of E5.

New features streamline your compliance process using Office 365

Businesses around the world must be able to keep and protect important information and quickly find what’s relevant to continue to meet legal, business and regulatory compliance requirements. At Microsoft, we know how demanding and complex compliance can beand have recently released several new eDiscovery and Data Governance features in Office 365 to support your compliance needs. These features include:

Optical character recognition in Advanced eDiscovery—Extracts text from image files or objects within the files, significantly reducing the amount of manual remediation work required to analyze image files.

Rights management (RMS) decryption in Office 365 eDiscovery—Automatically decrypts RMS-encrypted email messages at export time when you choose the MSG Export option.

Unified case management—Provides a consistent user interface spanning the eDiscovery capabilities in Office 365, from core to advanced, which helps to reduce potential human errors by streamlining eDiscovery case definition and eliminating several steps in the process.

Image that displays two windows illustrating how the unified case management works in Advanced eDiscovery.

Unified case management in Advanced eDiscovery.

Visit the Microsoft Tech Community for more details about the new eDiscovery features. Unified case management and RMS decryption are included with Office 365 E3. Optical character recognition is included with Advanced eDiscovery in E5.

Announcing general availability of Supervision capabilities in Office 365 Advanced Data Governance

Many organizations have the need to perform supervision of employee communications. This need stems from internal security and compliance guidelines, or from regulatory bodies such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). In both cases, failure to have a demonstrable supervision process in place could potentially expose organizations to liability or severe penalties.

To address this need, we’ve released the new Supervision feature in Office 365 Advanced Data Governance. Supervision covers not only email communications, but also third-party communications streams, such as Facebook, Twitter, Bloomberg and many more. Visit the Microsoft Tech Community for more details about the general availability of Supervision.

Image shows the Security and Compliance window, with Identify the content to be reviewed feature selected with the conditions to review added.

Supervision policies in Office 365 Advanced Data Governance.

Supervision is part of Office 365 Advanced Data Governance, which is available as part of Office 365 E5 or the Office 365 Advanced Compliance SKU.

Windows Information Protection now supports Office desktop applications

In August, we announced our support of Windows Information Protection (WIP) for Office mobile apps on Windows tablets and phones, to help prevent accidental business data leaks while letting users maintain control over their personal data by designating content as “work” or “personal.” We’re pleased to announce we have expanded support for WIP to include the Office 365 ProPlus desktop versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote and Skype for Business. This will help provide more comprehensive protection of your business data on Windows 10 devices. To read more about WIP, check out our Microsoft Tech Community blog.

SIEM connector—now available for Office 365 Advanced Security Management

A year ago, we announced a way for you to get greater visibility and control over Office 365 with Advanced Security Management (ASM). Since then, we have added new features to help you better determine shadow IT activity. We also enhanced control over third-party appsconnected to Office 365. After these updates, we started hearing that some of you were looking for a way to export alerts to other systems that are integrated into your existing workflows. Today, we are releasing a solution that supports centralized monitoring of ASM alerts with your security information and event management (SIEM) software. Integrating with an SIEM allows you to better protect Office 365 while maintaining your organization’s security workflow, automate your security procedures and correlate between your cloud-based and on-premises events.

There is no additional cost for an SIEM connector for ASM; you just need to have Office 365 E5 or the ASM add-on. To learn how to setup the ASM SIEM connector, please read “SIEM integration with Office 365 Advanced Security Management.”

Image displaying the first Configure SIEM agent configuration window with the Alerts enabled.

Configuration screen for ASM SIEM agent.

Join the Security, Privacy and Compliance Tech Community

These new features help broaden and enhance the scope of security and compliance capabilities within Office 365. Join our Security, Privacy and Compliance Tech Community to further evolve your organization’s security and compliance with these services and learn and contribute to security, privacy and compliance best practices. The Tech Community is a great resource to communicate and learn from your peers—as well as offer your insights on the growing importance of security, privacy and compliance.

New business apps in Office 365 Business Premium help you run and grow your small business

  • Microsoft Connections—A simple-to-use email marketing service.
  • Microsoft Listings—An easy way to publish your business information on top sites.
  • Microsoft Invoicing—A new way to create professional invoices and get paid fast.

We’re also introducing the Office 365 Business center, a central place where you can manage these business apps and get an end-to-end view of your business. In addition, we’re adding MileIQ, the leading mileage tracking app, as an Office 365 Business Premium subscription benefit. These new services—along with the recently added Microsoft Bookings and Outlook Customer Manager—help you win customers and manage your business.

Connections, Listings, Invoicing and the Business center are rolling out in preview over the next few weeks to Office 365 Business Premium subscribers in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, starting with those in the First Release program. MileIQ Premium is available to all Business Premium subscribers in the U.S, U.K. and Canada effective today.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these products.

Microsoft Connections—Drive more sales with simple email marketing tools

Email marketing can accelerate sales, but getting started can be overwhelming. With Microsoft Connections, you can easily create professional-looking email marketing campaigns with pre-designed templates for newsletters, announcements or customer referrals. You can also provide simple ways for people to join your mailing list or unsubscribe.

As your mailing list grows, you can manage your subscribers by creating segments to efficiently target specific groups of customers. Performance charts and subscriber activity updates track open rate, clicks, new sign-ups, new customers, offer redemptions and unsubscribed numbers for each email campaign, so you can see what is and is not working.

Image showing the analytics of two recent email campaigns pulled from Connections. A mobile device, with the email sent, is also shown.

Microsoft Connections is available on the web, and on mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Microsoft Listings—Get your business discovered online by new customers

Getting your business listed online is a great way to be discovered by prospective customers, but it can be time consuming to set up your online presence, keep information like business hours up-to-date and monitor performance across sites. Microsoft Listings makes it easy to publish and manage your business listing on Facebook, Google, Bing and Yelp.

Image showing the Listings welcome screen with business contact information and map. The analytics for Google, Facebook, Bing and Yelp is displayed below the business information.

Microsoft Listings includes a web dashboard that lets you easily monitor ratings and reviews.

When you update your business profile in Microsoft Listings, the changes automatically populate across Facebook, Google and Bing. And what’s more, you can monitor online views and reviews of your listings across sites from a single dashboard. This makes it easier to understand feedback from your customers and strengthen your online reputation.

Microsoft Invoicing—Get paid fast with hassle-free invoices and online payments

Getting estimates and invoices out on time, tracking pending payments and processing payments quickly are critical to keep things running smoothly. But it can tedious and confusing to keep track of information in different systems of record or even on paper. Microsoft Invoicing helps you quickly create professional-looking estimates and invoices, so you get paid quickly.

Images showing the Invoicing app opened and displaying an invoice. A mobile device, showing the list of invoices and the status is also displayed.

Microsoft Invoicing is available on the web, and on mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Microsoft Invoicing works with PayPal, so you can accept credit and debit cards online. A connector to QuickBooks lets you sync customer and catalogue data, and transfer invoicing information to your accountant.

Manage from one place with the new Office 365 Business center

The Office 365 Business center brings Bookings, Connections, Listings and Invoicing together in a central location—so you have easy access to your business apps and data. It features a unified dashboard where you can view key metrics from all the business apps, including total outstanding invoices, the number of appointments scheduled, the impressions across Facebook, Google, Bing and Yelp, and the number of new subscribers and sent campaigns.

Image showing the Office 365 Business Center dashboard with all the data pulled from Listings, Connections, Bookings and Invoicing.

Office 365 Business center lets you access via the web.

The Business center includes an activity feed, so you can see the details of what’s happening within each of the apps—making it easy to keep up-to-date on new customer appointments, invoices and payments being created or updated by the employees in your business. The activity feed also provides suggestions on what actions to take next, such as alerting you that a payment is overdue and it’s time to resend an invoice.

Because the new business apps are built to work together, you don’t waste valuable time setting up connectors or transferring data manually. A contact in one business app is automatically recognized in another, so you don’t have to input data multiple times. As a business owner, you also have full control over who on your team gets access to which business apps and related information.

MileIQ—The smarter way to track your miles comes to Office 365 Business Premium

If you drive a personal car for work purposes such as customer sales visits, partner meetings or trade conferences, you know that tracking and reporting your miles for tax deduction or expense reimbursement can be a hassle. That’s why we’re pleased to add MileIQ—the leading mileage tracking app on iOS and Android—as a benefit of your Office 365 Business Premium subscription.

MileIQ offers a simple, smarter way to track your miles—with automatic drive detection and mileage logging, easy one-swipe classification as business or personal, and comprehensive reporting. MileIQ has already helped over four million customers save time and money—saving customers $6,900 on average per year in deductions or reimbursements, and 2 hours a week of time spent logging drives. You can log unlimited drives every month with the MileIQ Premium subscription that you get with Office 365 Business Premium. MileIQ is currently available to subscribers in the U.S., U.K. and Canada.

Try the new services and let us know what you think

We are excited to get your feedback as you use these new services in your Office 365 Business Premium subscription. Here’s how to get started:

  • Connections, Listings, Invoicing and the Business center—These are rolling out in preview over the next few weeks to Office 365 Business Premium subscribers in U.S., U.K. and Canada. Once they are activated in your account, you’ll see a Business center icon on the welcome screen after you sign in. Just click the icon to get started. If you want early access, please visit our support page to learn how to join the Office 365 First Release program. As you use the apps, let us know what you think by providing feedback in our feedback forum.

Image shows the App Launcher with the New Business icon displayed.

Modern Service Management Blog Series Part 2: Monitoring

This is the second blog post from our blog series on Modern Service Management for Office 365. These insights and best practices are brought to you by Carroll Moon, Senior Architect for Modern Service Managment.

In the initial blog post in this series, we framed the Office 365 Service Management discussion into five categories:

  1. Monitoring and Major Incident Management…knowing if your users are impacted (regardless of root cause) and ensuring that the right things happen without heroics when users are impacted
  2. Evergreen Management…being ready to successfully absorb the changes and to achieve business value from the evergreen service
  3. Service Desk and Normal Incident Management…being ready to support Office 365 end-users leveraging the automation investments from the Office 365 service and being able to measure the call and escalation rates driven by your users on-premise and in the cloud
  4. Administration and Feature Management…managing the workloads and configurations thereof through the Admin Portal as well as programmatic management
  5. Business Consumption and Productivity…a higher order focus on the business to drive transformation using Office 365 capabilities do drive more business, more productivity, and lower costs

This blog post will focus on Monitoring and Major Incident Management for Office 365.  For more thoughts on overarching cloud monitoring, read the eleven posts in this blog series that Microsoft wrote for ITIL.

Monitoring in the realm of Major Incident Management

Monitoring is a broad topic.  For now, we will focus on “Availability and Performance Monitoring” for Office 365.  Receiving monitoring alerts without a downstream action and workflow will not accomplish much, so we will focus on Availability and Performance Monitoring within the Major Incident Management workflows that it supports.  We will use the following diagram to help in the discussion:

Service Management.png

In the diagram above, we are representing users from the customer premise connecting to Office 365 via “A” through Express Route and via “B”+”C” internet route.  Also, many customers have users that connect directly from the internet in addition to connecting from customer premises.

Major Incident Management Scenarios and Portal Specificity

From a Major Incident scenario perspective, if we focus on “cloud only” rather than “hybrid” for simplicity, there are only three Major Incident scenarios:

I.            (Customer has help desk calls OR end-to-end alerts) AND (Microsoft posts something for the customer’s tenant)

II.            (Customer has help desk calls OR end-to-end alerts) AND (Microsoft has NOT posted something for the customer’s tenant)

III.            (Customer does NOT have help desk calls OR end-to-end alerts) AND (Microsoft posts something for the customer’s tenant)

Now is a good time to speak to tenant specificity in the Office 365 Service Health Dashboard and Message Center.  Most people do not know that the communications dashboards are tenant-specific.  We do not have humans writing millions of paragraphs to publish uniquely to each tenant.  Rather, we write one paragraph and publish it to all relevant, possibly impacted tenants.  That is why we have an authenticated dashboard experience.  If we have the admin log in, we know who the admin is.  If we know who the admin is, we know the tenant.  And if we know the tenant, we know the capacity that the tenant’s users depend upon.  Thus, we can direct communications to the appropriate tenants as necessary.  Our systems allow us to post to a single tenant, to every tenant on the planet, or more likely, to a subset of tenants.  For example, we may get an alert that tells us “based on statistics, we know there is Outlook-connectivity impact for some North America users.”  In that scenario, we might automatically post that we are investigating Outlook-connectivity issues to all tenants with users in North America so the customers can get in front of any Help Desk volume and so the IT Pros can notify their management quickly.  Moments later, as more internal telemetry fires, we might know that the impact is limited to a particular unit of capacity.  At that point, we would update the post to reflect impact only to the tenants who have one or more users on that particular capacity.  Those tenants would continue to see the Incident, but the other tenants in North America would then see the issue as a “false positive”.

Major Incident scenario “I” is a fairly cut and dry scenario.  In that case, the customer knows they have impact end-to-end and Microsoft has published a corresponding incident in the dashboard.  The customer workflow would likely be to give the help desk a talk-track, to stand up automated voice response to deflect the help desk calls, to notify senior management, etc.

Major Incident scenario “II” is where the customer is getting help desk calls or end-to-end alerts, but Microsoft has not posted anything for the customer tenant [yet].  In this scenario, it could be a Microsoft issue that has not posted yet (in this case, soon, we will let you “tell us about issues” quickly from the admin portal.  It could be a customer-side issue.  Or it could be an issue in between (e.g. an Internet Service Provider issue).  In this scenario, the customer would likely stand up an Incident bridge on their side to begin troubleshooting the scope and root cause of the issue.  The customer would likely give their help desk a heads up, and they would likely engage senior management.  The customer would pull in Microsoft support when their triage process determines that it is appropriate.

Major Incident scenario “III” is also fairly simple.  In that case, there are no end-to-end alerts or user calls to the help desk, but Microsoft has posted something for the customer tenant.  In that case, it could be

  1. A false positive (per the scope example above)
  2. A real issue for a feature that the customer does not care about at the moment.  For example, we may post a Service Incident for “the ability to assign licenses” and the customer is not assigning licenses right now, so it is not an issue.  But another customer might be in the middle of massive mailbox migrations, so license assignment is very important to them at that moment.
  3. A real issue for real users but not enough to trigger end-to-end alerts or help desk calls.  Perhaps we post that “1% of emails are delayed up to 2 minutes”.  In that example, the impact is probably not enough to make your end users call the help desk nor the is it severe enough to make your end-to-end monitoring fire, but the impact is real nonetheless.  Or perhaps only one of the customer’s users is on a particular unit of capacity that is actually impacted.  If only that user is on the capacity, the test account used for end-to-end alerts would not be impacted.  And if that user is on vacation, she will not call the help desk to report the impact.  Recent improvements in providing user counts for impact in the Service Health Dashboard are intended to help with this scenario; note screenshot below:

Service Management_2.png

In Major Incident scenario “III”, the customer workflow is likely to give the help desk a talk-track, to ask the help desk to be on high alert and to page the appropriate team if they start receiving calls about the issue, and to email senior management with a heads up as a safety precaution.

Monitoring Scenarios

In support of the Major Incident scenarios, there are six core monitoring scenarios that we need to discuss (we will add more scenarios over time):

A)       Does Microsoft think my tenant is impacted (Microsoft-side)?

B)       Does Microsoft think that I need to take action to get healthy or to stay healthy with my tenant (Customer-side)?

C)       Does Microsoft think that I need to be aware of an upcoming release for my tenant?  NOTE: we will discuss this bullet more in the forthcoming Evergreen Management blog post

D)       Does Microsoft think that I need to be aware of general Service Management information for my tenant?

E)       Is AAD Connect and/or ADFS working well on both ends of the service?

F)        Are the Capabilities that my users depend on working well end-to-end?

Scenario A’s information is available via the Service Health UI in the Admin Portal.  It is also available via the Office 365 Service Communications API under the “Service Incident” class.  There is an Office 365 Mobile Admin app that allows for Push Notifications.  And finally, there is a SCOM Management Pack for Office 365 that pulls the relevant information from the Service Communications API.  Finally, per recent announcements, soon we will let you sign up to “stay informed via your preferred channel” for Service Health information via text or email.

Scenario B thru Scenario D are all available using the “Prevent or Fix Issues”, “Plan for Change”, and “Stay Informed” categories respectively.  As with Service Incidents, Message Center information is available programmatically thru the Office 365 Service Communications API using the “Message” class with filters for each category.

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