Best of Microsoft Ignite – 10 Key Takeaways

Ignite was a little different this year. Many interesting experiments in the name of Hybrid. I for one, was a little shocked with the layout and presentation of this year’s Fall Ignite 2022. From a keynote and CoreNotes that were recorded and delivered remotely to a series of “online only” pre-recorded sessions, it was weird and a little different. As someone who made the trek to Seattle to get the on the ground word on the street I was happy to have been able to catch up with Chris McNulty and Michael Holste. Key players in the story on Microsoft Syntex, Viva and Viva Engage as well as time with Karuana and Stephen Rose on Teams. Much of what really wanted to dig into I was able to find those key players to get clear answers and a little bit more. Following the event I was able to provide some engaging “after parties” in So California which were ultimately community gatherings to distill our lessons learned followed by and an event in Mexico city where I dove into security enhancements and deployment of Microsoft Purview. I absolutely had a blast in Seattle and the event was “worth it” for me, it quickly reminded me that Networking and renewing the passion is my goal for events. I enjoyed spending more time with fewer vendors in the conference room setup… far from the Expo Halls of yesteryear, but I hope and expect we’ll to get back to the mega conference mania in the coming year. Those that were around me also enjoyed the event despite some feedback about some levels of the chaos. Many new friendships…

I’m happy to share I’m delivering a “Best of Microsoft Ignite” webinar on 10 Key Takeaways on Nov 10. I don’t want to divulge all of those secrets here in this blog, but I do want to share what is top of mind for me as I walk away from Ignite and start thinking about 2023 planning. I’m going to cram a ton of announcements into a single session and try to help you walk away feeling like you know most of what happened and beyond the summaries… a focus of strategy and planning considerations.

Microsoft Ignite 10 Key Takeaways

  1. Teams Premium – There’s a lot here. Most customers need to distill these updates as most enterprises are heavily using Microsoft Teams. Investments in AI Summaries/Chapters, Action items, Guides, Security/Labels, Webinars, Translation, Virtual appointments, and more…
  2. SharePoint Online Admin Improvements including Storage Archiving to Azure / Governance/Lifecycle management.  Ton of reporting enhancements including built in governance automation. — Azure Archive for SharePoint, Backup & Lifecycle
  3. Microsoft Syntex – Document Summaries, content AI, File translation (275 languages), Document annotation…
  4. Teams & Teams Rooms Enhancements – Mesh for Teams and Avatars & SIE Enterprise/Corporate Metaverse… Quest 2 for Intune. Avatars & Immersive meetings
  5. Outlook & Teams Hybrid Features – Remote vs. Office & RSVP
  6. Power Platform Updates & Governance – Multi User editing of PowerApps, environments control, enhancements, Dashboards and Controls
  7. Microsoft Places – This could really improve our conference room finding experience and reservation experience as well as support.
  8. Viva Suite Updates – Community announcements, Storylines, Leadership corner, Viva Home, Viva Engage, and more…
  9. New Viva Apps – Pulse, Amplify, Sales… how to position and determine what to do with all these modules, and Glint considerations.
  10. Microsoft 365 Apps, Mobile Apps, ClipChamp, Microsoft Search Enhancements, OneDrive and Loop updates and enhancements

My design is to try to avoid just listing off the new features and at least on each slide give my take on how I believe we should be approaching these new apps, updates and services. Let’s go beyond the new features and talk about what this means…

Join me for the webinar: Best of Microsoft Ignite – 10 Key Takeways

Thursday November 10 @ 11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern

>> Register Now

Business Critical Teams: 5 Steps to What You Should Do About it!

Is Teams business critical in your organization? Are you keeping up with it? If you have resources and energy to keep up with Teams, I applaud you. Teams is the fastest growing product in Microsoft History, and clearly becoming critical to everyday work in nearly all the Fortune 500 and even small and medium business. Not just meetings, calling and chat, but running essential applications and dashboards in Teams with rich collaboration and reporting it is at the heart of the business.

Why is Teams becoming business critical? In this session we’ll dive into the Teams Platform to help you understand what matters most including key infrastructure and application platform.  In this session we’ll help you understand the most important aspects of monitoring Teams which relies on key workloads like SharePoint and Exchange and M365 groups and AzureAD.  We’ll dive into the M365 Front door and global distribution considerations. 

I’m happy to share I’m delivering a webinar on 5 key fundaments for your Microsoft 365 Teams Service Offering. This webinar is sponsored by our friends at ENOW Software. They provide solutions for those looking to ensure availability and uptime monitoring above and beyond what Microsoft provides. If you stick around till the end you’ll see their cool dashboards which are used in many critical environments where proactive response is essential.

In addition to the 5 Steps revealed in the webinar we’ll be diving into these key areas of a business critical Teams:

  • Learn the key security and compliance components to implement and monitor Teams
  • Discover the best way manage the user experience to keep your users productive
  • Learn strategies for roles and responsibilities, along with key metrics and measures, to focus your team across the ever changing workloads of Microsoft 365
  • Learn to establish ground breaking fundamentals for a center of excellence and take your service to the next level
  • Discover techniques and practical tips to increase your adoption.

>> Register Now!

Note: If you can’t make it during the live session, go ahead and register and we’ll send you the recording and link to the powerpoint.

Success with Viva Topics

Success with Viva Topics

Viva Topics one of the founding Viva Suite modules focused on User Experience. Search has been one of the challenges users face in any corporate enterprise environment. Struggling to get up to speed, or earnestly trying to be aware of what’s going on around you. Viva Topics helps one keep in tune and be aware of what’s going on around them through a series of topics pages that are intertwined in the work we do everyday. The goal of any organization should be to capture knowledge and make it repeatable and easy to access, securely of course. Knowledge at your fingertips.

The Viva Suite is known as the user experience platform. While Viva is still relatively very new to most organizations, Viva Topics has been beyond reach to most organizations. It’s been a struggle to even imagine what it could be as it’s a challenge when you’re trying to build a pilot environment without documents, collaboration signals, active employees and taxonomies. Prepping for Viva Topics will stretch your technical team in a number of unusual ways. Ultimately the management of the Topics should find it’s home somewhere in the business, but just like getting someone to get the Acronyms of the organization started, it takes someone caring enough to get the Topics center started. The ways to find success in Viva Topics come from a number of unusual practices not seen in other areas of technology.

  1. Seed taxonomies and terms to Topics
    1. Departments
    2. Customers
    3. Project, Teams, Sites,
    4. Acronyms
    5. Locations
    6. Offices, Buildings, Conference Room names
    7. Industry Specific Terminology – You really don’t want thousands of random topics in a short period of time, but if you had approved terms that made sense it could really give you a massive jumpstart.
  2. Gathering Ontologies, I like to think of Information Architectures and Connecting the Structure in Centers of Excellence, Communities of Practice, Knowledge Centers, Knowledge Bases
  3. Hand Holding Adoption Change Management: Training on the power of using #Hashtags and @mentions in email, yammer, SharePoint pages and news, Teams chats, etc… integration with ToDo and Viva Insights
  4. Feedback and Office Hours
  5. Expertise Finding Strategy – Focused vertical for Who bot or Search based results
  6. Connectors – where is the company knowledge?
  7. Topic Page Template and considerations
  8. Syntex – Structured and Unstructured content that can help drive answers, taxonomies, and terms.
  9. Sensitivity – Topics does give you an opportunity to ensure that people are using Terms. Topics is security trimmed by default, but also has additional layers for keepings rights restricted or even from displaying the topics cards. Topics won’t just show up… they take approval, editing and review prior to publishing. What I call the curation process of culling the topics into the things that add the most value.
  10. Organizational knowledge, preparation and integration

An effective pilot may be a limited scope of users, a limited set of sites and teams, with a limited set of licensed or trial users. Imagine an engineering group and the very specific terminology, expertise, and processes. Even a sales team, there’s the customers, the deals, the locations, and so on which all could drive to a powerful hierarchy of information surrounding and connecting the knowledge to the expertise. Not you don’t need to license Viva Topics immediately, you can start with this scoped set of up to 25 users in a trial. Tony Redmond put together an article worth reading on getting started with a Viva Topics trial.

I’m excited to share my experience setting up a demo tenant loading up documents adding relevant taxonomies and then building the topics, topic pages, and exploring the #hashtags in the UX that are now working in SharePoint pages and news, Outlook web access, and soon to see Teams and yammer.

If you’ve been waiting to get your hands dirty, I’m hopeful you’ll be excited about what is possible today.

Viva Topics

Free Webinar: Success with Viva Topics

>> Register Here

Join us on June 7 at 9am Pacific. In addition to hearing about my stories of working with Viva Topics and sharing steps to find success. You’ll also get some updates from Microsoft’s CJ Tan and Chris McNulty and hear about the latest from WAND to help accelerate your investigations, trials, or deployments with seed taxonomies.

Note: This webinar will be delivered in Microsoft Teams Webinars.

Viva Connections webinars for Executive engagement, Corp Comms and Front Line Workers

New Webinar Series… “Viva Connections Webinar Series for Executive Engagement, Comms Teams, and Front Line Workers” A lot has been happening in the Viva space and it starts with Viva Connections. In this 3 part webinar series for a variety of different roles you’ll get a variety of different perspectives including relevant demos and insights. Bring Together Communications, Knowledge, Learning, and Resources in the flow of work just in time. Accelerate Learning. Improve Productivity. All in a customized and personalizable way.

Microsoft Viva Connections is a company-branded experience that brings together relevant news, conversations, and resources in the apps and devices you use 

Connectand Engage. Empower Teams. People at the Center. 

Viva Connections for the Front Line Worker 

Teams has had incredible growth with 10x adoption over the past year.   Teams is the hub for modern teamwork.  Employees can communicate and collaborate on content and tasks in a streamlined way.  Viva connections helps provide targeted links to information like official and featured news, key tools, along with personalized and trimmed content based on role, location, division etc…  

Viva is designed around the employee experience, key things that pull a team together including schedules, tasks, team conversations for both individual and team productivity in adaptive interfaces from mobile, tablet, browser, and rich teams client.  In this session focused on the front line worker we will look at the latest and greatest in Viva focused on the experience of and art of the possible for the front line worker. 

Audience: Business Decision Maker, IT Decision maker, IT Services, IT Manager, Business Manager 

>> Register Now >>

Viva Connections for Executive Engagement 

Executive Leadership communication and engagement with employees is critical to the business.  Viva Connections provides increased visibility and focus on employee experience.  Some of the greatest features in the latest release of Viva Connections is the global news with featured news, webparts and feeds perfect for video or streaming content including AMAs, fire side chats from executives.  Bring Communication, Knowledge, Learning, and Insights into an Integrated Experience. Viva Connections is the launchpad for Microsoft Viva and the gateway to your employee experience. Effective communication is essential to a healthy business, but with so many channels, information overload is a real thing. 

Audience: CXO and Decision Makers, IT Managers, Business Decision Makers, Yammer & Teams Admins

>> Register Now >>

Viva Connections for Corporate Communications 

Corporate communications this is for you!  In this session we’ll dive into Viva Connections for the communications teams.  Viva Connections is your gateway to a modern employee experience – are you ready to inform, engage and empower your organization? Join us as we show you how Viva Connections provides a curated, personalized and company-branded experience that centralizes relevant news and conversations. We’ll dig into the targeting and personalization features including the global nav and Deploy easily as it’s fully integrated in the apps and devices your teams already use every day, like Microsoft Teams. Platform Extensibility for Customization and Integration.  Discover how you can shape culture and foster communication to help your business and employees thrive. 

Audience: SharePoint & Teams admins, Corporate communications, business leaders, Intranet teams, and HR Comms teams

>> Register Now >>

Darkweb, ransomware, and Human mistakes: recovery for Microsoft 365

The push for Digital transformation has accelerated due to the pandemic, but so have ransomware attacks and other threats to business data. With cyber attacks getting more sophisticated, is your data protection plan robust enough for the attacks? 

More than 25 million! employee passwords at Fortune 1000 companies are available readily in dark web markets & data dumps.

Preparing for this webinar I came across tools on the darkweb for hacking Microsoft 365 and Office 365 among other SaaS services. It’s very sad to see how easy it is to do a targeted attack. I expect you’ll be surprised as well with how simple the hackers have made it to get into any SaaS system… and if you think your on premise environment is any harder, don’t fool yourself… those passwords aren’t just for the cloud. The sophistication of the tools, and the ability for hackers to get at your environment puts extra pressure on ensuring you have proper backup tools as simply providing antivirus and layers of security tools aren’t enough.

By 2022…70% of organizations will have suffered a business disruption due to unrecoverable data loss in a SaaS application. Source: Gartner 2019 “Assuming SaaS Applications Don’t Require Backups is Dangerous.”

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • Recent real-world cyber attacks examples and understand how it could happen to you
  • How to setup centralized backup for business data scattered across different locations
  • How to build a robust disaster recovery plan for ransomware preparedness
  • Understand Zero Trust and how critical and relevant it is today

 When it comes to cyber attacks, it’s not “if” but “when” will it happen! Join the webinar with Microsoft MVP Joel Oleson and Synology to learn how to build a robust data protection plan.

Join me Tuesday November 9 for “Darkweb, Ransomware, and Inevitable human mistakes: Disasters and recovery for your Microsoft environment” hosted by Synology.

<<Register Now >>