Free Microsoft Virtual Events and training

Welcome to the new normal. Looks like we might be here for a while. I’ve had a few friends complain about cancelled events and many saying they were disappointed they didn’t reschedule as virtual. I’ve got a surprise for you. This new normal is settling in and we should cosy up with our virtual selves. There are a variety of webinars, summits, SharePints, even open mic social and upcoming virtual events I want you to be aware of.


Webinar: Gain Control of Microsoft Teams Chaos

While the benefits of Microsoft Teams for collaboration are clear, it’s difficult for IT and service owners to manage the sprawl including lifecycle provisioning, security and compliance.

Join Microsoft MVP and Office 365 expert Joel Oleson and Cayosoft founder and hybrid management expert Robert Bobel for key insights to help you navigate the chaos of Microsoft Teams.

>>Register for the April 15 free webinar

Webinar: Microsoft’s Project Cortex and the Future of Knowledge Management

Join Us As We Examine Project Cortex

  • What is Project Cortex?
  • How does incorporating AI and automation change the game?
  • What can you do to prepare?

Register Today

Webinar: Accelerate Adoption & Change Management for Remote Work With Teams

Microsoft Teams Summit Virtual Event 

(Full day full agenda)

When: April 20


9:00 am – Empower Your Organization with Teams Remote Work Crisis Management & COVID-19 – Joel Oleson & Ron Jones

10:30 am – Accelerating Adoption and Change Management for Teams for Remote Work – David Chapman

11:30 am – Measuring Teams Adoption and Success with PowerBI and TyGraph – Ed Senez

12:00 pm – Virtual Lunch Break and Socializing

1:00 pm – Securing Teams with Microsoft 365 Security for Remote Work – Mark Doberstein

2:00 pm – Best Practices for Microsoft Teams & Network Performance for Remote Work – Trevor Miller

3:00 pm – Closing Keynote: What’s New and Coming for Microsoft Teams – Michelle Gilbert, Microsoft


Fancy a #SharePint? Every Thursday at 5.

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Microsoft 365 Virtual Marathon

Microsoft 365 Virtual Marathon is an online, 36 hour event happening May 27-28 2020. We will have sessions going the whole time with speakers from around the globe. This event is free for all wanting to attend. Come join us as we talk about the many different pieces of Microsoft 365.

Free for all attendees. We will be coordinating with sponsors to help cover expenses of running this event and for prize drawings and donation to COVID19 nonprofit to be announced.

Microsoft 365 Virtual Marathon is a joint effort with SPC and members of the Office 365 community.

We will have keynotes from Microsoft Jeff Teper, Bill Baer, Naomi Moneypenny and Jon Levesque and more… in addition to hundreds of sessions from thought leaders and members of the community from around the world.

>> Registration is available at

>> Call for speakers, open till May 1st 2020, can be found on sessionize

Past but not forgotten:

Microsoft Teams Day (available on demand)

Keynote on Microsoft Teams Strategy COVID19 Frontline worker & Work From Home Strategies:

Modern Workplace Sessions:

Microsoft Crisis Management Response Templates and Remote Work Resources for Coronavirus #Covid19

Virtual Events & Training

The Microsoft teams have been releasing some super cool quick and easy solutions. Microsoft has been doing some really helpful things and my intention is to help give visibility to multiple efforts which may have been overlooked or missed across multiple blog posts or tweets from a variety of different product teams. Not only that but Microsoft has made Office 365 E1 free for 6 months, and has been highlighting the freemium version of Teams. The Power Apps team has made the otherwise premium version of notifications free during the crisis as well. Microsoft has really been doing amazing things to help serve the community and the world in this crisis. I highly recommend starting by reading Microsoft CVP Jared Spataro’s “Our commitment to customers during COVID-19.”

Crisis Communication Power Platform Template

– The solution is inspired by a rapid response app built by Schlumberger. This combines capabilities of Power Apps, Power Automate, Teams, and SharePoint. It can be used on the web, mobile or in Teams.

Key features include:

  • Employees can report their work status (e.g., working from home) and make requests. This helps managers coordinate across their teams and helps central response teams track status across an organization.
  • Admins can use the app to push news, updates, and content specific to their organization, and can provide emergency contacts specific to different locations.
  • The app includes the ability to add RSS feeds of up-to-date information from reputable sources such as WHO, CDC, or a local authority.

Microsoft Announced: “As part of this effort, we are also giving all Power Apps users temporary access to a premium feature, Power Apps Push Notifications, so you won’t need any premium licenses to use Power Apps to push information to users. We have reclassified Push Notifications as a standard connector for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.”

>>Get the Crisis Response Power Platform Template Solution

Crisis Management Site Communication Portal

How to instructions for creating a Crisis communications site. 4 Step instructions for building out the site.  1) draw wire frame content layout plan, 2) create the site from SharePoint start page, 3) edit and rearrange text, words, links, sections, layouts off of template, and 4) finalize design, content and permissions. The instructions include twitter integration for pulling in feeds, yammer integration for pulling in conversations, resource links, and much more. Here’s a snippet from the instructions:

Going left-to-right, top-down, the crisis management site uses the following web parts:

  • Hero – use this to highlight the most important, or newest, content on the site. The one in the example uses the carousel layout.
  • Text – use the rich-text editor to add and update the main intent of the site, or an important message. You can use and adjust color, font size, hyperlink and tables.  
  • Quick links – call out primary resources. These can be internal sites, pages, documents, videos, FAQs, and can be external links, too.
  • Yammer Conversations – create an associated “Crisis Management” community and take questions and manage feedback directly from the site.
  • News – publish daily and weekly news posts. They will appear here on the site and flow into everyone SharePoint start page where News from sites appear.  
  • Twitter – pull in feeds from public Twitter handles; the above example (per COVID-19) highlights @CDCgov and I also suggest: @CDCemergency & @WHO.
  • People – indicate the right people dedicated to the specific crisis. This is tied to Azure Active Directory and on-hover, visitors of the site will be able to see all their contact information.

There are a lot of good resources on this page as well at the bottom. Great resources:

>> Step by Step Resources for Building a Crisis Communications Site

Work Remotely with Microsoft Teams Guidance & Resource pages

for links for administrators, communications teams and end users. Work Remotely With Microsoft Teams

You may not know, but even companies who don’t have Microsoft today can get FREE access to Office 365 for 6 months during this crisis using the free 6-month Office 365 E1 offer or the Freemium version of Teams. Reach out to your Microsoft account team or partner if you need help. I work at Perficient and I know we’ve been working hard to help people who are looking to get up to speed quickly.

Support remote workers using Microsoft Teams

There are a ton of great resources:

>>Resources: Work Remotely With Microsoft Teams

Absence and Out of Office Monitoring Dashboard Solution in Power BI

This solution is part of the Crisis Communication Template, but could be used without the app as well.

Here’s a link to the Git Hub solution:

>>Monitor Office Absence with Power BI

Building a Crisis FAQ Bot using Power Virtual Agents

There’s a bot too! Integrate your customer support area by providing common FAQ through a bot.


Infographic: 7 Analytics Dashboards for SharePoint and Teams and Office 365 in Microsoft 365

Teams Analytics Infographic

If you’ve been looking for the best deployment and adoption dashboards and analytics in Office 365, SharePoint and Teams, this is the webinar for you.  In this discussion we’ll dive into the best Power BI charts, graphs, and dashboards that are frequently hidden in deployment and getting started kits.  Microsoft has sprinkled the Compliance and Security centers, Adoption kits, Deployment Advisors, and Admin Centers, often unintentionally well hidden behind links.  In this session we’ll walk through and expose the top 7 places where you can find these FREE Power BI analytics that you can use to track adoption and deployment. 

Analytics in SharePoint Teams and Office 365 Infographic

#1 Office 365 Power BI Usage Analytics by Workload – Many dashboards and reports.

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Office 365 Usage Reports by Workload

These activity reports give you Power BI dashboards for each workload.  You’ll find one for Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive, Yammer, Skype for Business and Teams.

In your tenant go to you’ll see there are a number of reports including the following. Many of them added in the last 6 months. You can also get these and customize them in Power BI:

#2 Office 365 Deployment Advisors for Migration, Usage Adoption Planning

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#3 Microsoft Teams Advisor in Teams Admin Center for Planning, Deployment, and Multi phase Approach of Project Tracking. Includes Planner plans and Admin dashboard.

4. Teams Call Analytics and Call Quality Dashboard

5. Compliance Center Classification Analytics for Sensitivity and Retention Label Usage

6. Microsoft MyAnalytics for Personal Productivity and Workplace Insights

7. Office 365 Client Management Health and Upgrade Management Dashboard

This session is sponsored by NGAGE who have created even more powerful reports, charts and graphs for tracking your Teams and SharePoint Usage, Adoption, and Deployment answering key questions that will help you in your efforts to track adoption, money saving business value, and return on investment.

Join us on the upcoming webinar where we will explore each of these analytics offerings which are included with your Office 365 or Microsoft 365 Subscription.

Title: 7 Free Analytics Dashboards for SharePoint and Teams in Microsoft 365

When: February 13, 2020 at 11am Pacific

>>Register Now!

I will be diving into some these useful Power BI charts, graphs and dashboards that Microsoft have sprinkled across multiple Admin UIs, Deployment and Getting Started kits and Compliance and Security Centers. These FREE tools will help you track adoption and deployment of SharePoint and Teams.

Before the Q&A session there will be a brief overview of NGAGE’s enterprise-class analytics products for SharePoint and Teams. These go way way beyond providing basic adoption metrics to deliver on countless use cases to help Administrators, Communicators, Knowledge Managers, Team and Site Owners be measurably more successful. Hope to see you there!!


Migration and Coexistence Skype for Business to Teams Infographic

I’ve been telling my iceberg analogy on Skype and Teams for about a year at least.  When I say iceberg analogy, you may have heard other uses of the iceberg analogy.  Essentially when you look at an iceberg in the water what you really see is what is visible or basically the ice above the water, the craggy or massive shards under the water are not visible and if they were they would look a lot smaller than what they actually are.

I designed this new infographic to take you through three very important aspects of migration to Teams.  A Visual comparison (icons and text), Coexistence Modes, Migration Approaches and high level strategies to divide them up into cohorts or staggered gradual approaches.

Skype to Teams Migration Infographic

First the Visual Iceberg analogy of Skype for Business Online comparison and to illustrate the important new aspects of Teams with Storage, Bots, Apps, Connectors, and Tabs and that’s really just the start… there’s so much more.

Second the Coexistence modes that ultimately lead to Teams Only mode which process we call migration or Skype to Teams Migration.  There are obviously differences in moving between Skype for Business Online vs. a Skype for Business Server 2019, but this is really designed to help provide some best practices not just in the changes, but in the strategy.

Third is the Migration approaches and strategy of breaking it down into cohorts.  This idea that an early adopter group should be able to go to Teams only, but in contrast those using voice plans and meetings in a staggered more methodical approach.  Rather than going direct to the departments, I’ve suggested the division based on their willingness to move.

Visual Comparison of Skype for Business & Teams

This iceberg analogy fits well with Skype and Teams.  With Teams what you see is a simple looking chat interface that many see as the successor to Skype. It’s so much more than that. With the Skype, you’re seeing what you expect, those items that are absolutely visible like chat, meeting, and calling capabilities.

Skype for Business Migration to Teams Infographic TItle

You may even be aware that Teams supports storing files in SharePoint, but the collaboration bucket and the road map to the enterprise digital workplace has many other features. Rough estimates suggest there are over a thousand people working on Microsoft Teams. This is not just a simple chat app, this is a significant investment in the future of modern work.  When you compare the number of sessions at Ignite vs. Teams you’d notice there were 2 sessions at Ignite 2018 on the release of Skype for Business Server 2019 and one of them was migration related.  In 2019 all sessions that contain the words Skype are in actuality sessions about Teams or migrating to Teams and in fact Microsoft is very committed to Teams.  It has huge momentum with over 30,000 customers and more than 20 million daily users.  Teams 20M daily users, up 50% in 4 months … 

Migration and Coexistence Modes

SFBO to Teams coexistence modes

There are a number of coexistence modes to streamline and make it easier for users.  You may have heard of islands mode where users can use either Teams or Skype for Business.  That may sound great, but in reality there are a ton who have complained about how it really doesn’t work and is confusing for users.  Microsoft recommends a more gradual migration in steps where the users get used to the technology, but also ultimately recommends that you get to Teams only mode as quickly as you can to minimize the confusion.  They’ve come up with cohorts as a strategy for grouping departments or locations or really any group of users that need to be staggered in their move to Teams.  Personally I do NOT recommend islands mode, and I also highly recommend actually having a strategy and not waiting to get to Teams for longer periods of time.  Come up with your strategy and then execute.  Absolutely use one of the coexistence modes for those who have calling plans, and absolutely plan an adoption change management strategy involving champions.

Use Teams Advisor a planner that’s populated with tasks and tracking… then follow the paths laid out in front of you.  Jamie LaPorte does an excellent job of breaking out the details and walking you through the benefits of Teams Advisor which while many customers have it in their tenant as available it is still in preview.

Migration Approaches

Migration Approaches of Skype to Teams Strategy

Direct to Teams in one step essentially means “ripping off the band-aid” or moving as quickly as possible to Teams Only Mode.

The two step or gradual approach to teams is a minimal coexistence mode while being a 2 step approach takes you into coexistence for some period of time prior to going to Teams only mode.  That in between time provides time to train users and have them get comfortable with both tools while avoiding islands mode.  You can choose either Teams for Collab or Teams for Collab and Meetings with Skype for your calling.

The third recommended choice is moving from the Skype only to Teams for Collab, to then using Teams for Collab and Meetings before the final cutover of Teams only.  In all cases you really need to ensure the champions are in place, network is ready, the users and trained and ready, the calling plans are ready,  Even then this should be seen as the first phase in a broader adoption strategy were focus continues to embrace helping users use Teams as an application platform, as well as productivity and integrations with tools they use every day, and integration on many levels to continue to move forward the vision of a single hub for modern teamwork, productivity, communication, collaboration, and app platform.

Here are the references in the Infographic which have some great Microsoft resources and additional deployment resources around adoption to consider.





8 Predictions for Microsoft Office 365 in 2020 and Beyond

I always enjoy writing predictions and reviewing the previous year.  I’d love to hear from you on some of these bold predictions including new Project Cortex Jobs, a MSFT Stock Split and is SharePoint Dead?

I review my 2019 predictions which you can read in the second half of this post including my prediction on Teams workload as the major investment, and the Teams battle with Slack, and a prediction that Power would be a branding investment.

2020 Predictions for Microsoft Office 365

1. Is SharePoint Dead? Is the Intranet Dead?  You’re going to hear these question a lot this year.  There will be lots of discussions about productivity, portals, and collaboration and it’s evolution. Of course the answer is No, but there should absolutely be discussions about how best to present and consume information inside the organization and updating interfaces and UX will be an important consideration and Teams will be a big part of the discussion.  Remember it’s not SharePoint or Teams it is Teams and SharePoint and a whole lot more.  Microsoft 365/Office 365 absolutely will work best with your files in SharePoint and OneDrive, and Teams is a great way to get them there and Project Cortex can help you make sense of the data, that’s not to say you don’t need Information architecture exersizes for determining what your Teams should be and how they should be organized into Hubs and super hubs.

2. Power Platform Expert Explosion – today organizations have few experts.  This coming year you’re going to see companies get serious about the Power Platform.  It’s going to go beyond the power user to business unit investments and IT experts as well as concerted efforts into getting more Power Apps experts, Power Automate experts, Power Virtual Agent experts, and Power BI experts that really know the technology and know how to help.  I expect this will go from being a small individual effort to concerted efforts by IT and/or business units like HR, Marketing, Support, and product lines. You’ll see lots of partners like Perficient who are interested in helping your organization get up to speed on how they can build expertise inside the organization.

3. Personal and Team investments in Certification – This is the year of certification.  So many have ignored it.  This is the year to take it seriously.  Microsoft has put some significant investment in making them make a lot of sense.  The Office 365, Teams, Azure and Power Platform areas are great places to get relevant certifications.  It may be tough to measure this…

4. SharePoint Community continues move to Office or Microsoft 365 rebranding but will it happen soon enough? The splintering of Teams Community, Power Platform Community, and SharePoint Community will continue… There will be efforts by some community members like myself who will try to keep these communities together in consolidated Office 365 or Microsoft 365 groups and communities, but will it be futile?

5. Project Cortex is going to be HUGE and will create NEW jobs and roles – Project Cortex is poised to bring next generation AI and a knowledge network for capturing the knowledge of the organization.  Without diving into what it is, let me just say, this time next year you’ll know what it is and be excited about it.  I do expect there to be roles in the organization related to Project Cortex.  Project Cortex will provide business value to Knowledge Management and Information Management services in the organization.  It will provide clear roles for organizational knowledge.  I’ll be blogging about ways you can plan for Project Cortex.

6. Microsoft Teams is going to take on a much, much more significant role in the organization.  Stop thinking of Teams as simple Unified Communications and wake up and realize that Microsoft Teams is your way of managing automation, productivity, collaboration, UC and ultimately managing your entire Microsoft 365/Office 365 strategy.  Microsoft is going to keep investing heavily.

7. Microsoft Stock Split – It’s been many many years since a Microsoft Stock split.  I’m long Microsoft and I’ve seen this run up.  There’s more to go.

8. Year of Organizational Video – This would be a fantastic year to get focused on Stream and make this the year that your organization makes Video happen in a big way for your organization.  Start recording those meetings and the organizational meetings that happen on Teams and Yammer.  Migrate, consolidate, and expose it in search!  Major investments in the video tech has already happened and Microsoft is doing the final touches in making it easy to migrate, but the tech is already super amazing and worth it.


My Predictions from 2019 Reviewed:

  1. SharePoint 2019 will become the new base standard, but the community bloggers and speakers will get over it very quickly.  It won’t feel new by June. On prem releases will feel dated nearly immediately. So what do you think? I think this one came true. There was so little at Ignite on SharePoint 2019 and even SharePoint Saturday’s were lucky to get a session on SharePoint 2019.  Haven’t seen anything on 2016.  Everyone is definitely seeing 2019 as the new standard and basically most have moved on and are looking very much at what’s happening in Office 365.   
  2. Teams will get a TON of press and become a leading workload (fastest growing) for Office 365.  Microsoft Sales will CARE most about Teams and Azure.  The Teams team will really dial in the MVP community and connect in solid ways. I think the Teams Airlift in Bellevue and Amsterdam did a great job of connecting with the community and the MVP Summit and major emphasis at the partner conference and Ignite have really connected with the community leadership, but I’m going to double down on this prediction as I see Microsoft investments in Teams continuing in a HUGE way. In terms of Press I think Teams saw lot of love from both the community and the analysts, but as I’m suggesting, it’s only getting started.  Fastest growing and the darling of Microsoft.
  3. Digital Workspaces will move from being buzz words to being company initiatives.  Some companies will refocus intranet teams to focus on The Digital Workspace. I think this is just beginning. Not yet fulfilled.


  1. Chat Bots will go from being seen as a gimmick to being more common corporate projects.  Today chat bots are seen as squishy dev projects working with APIs, but we’re likely to see chat bots be more productized and with plug and play integration.  I expect to see large enterprises who have sprint initiatives feeding the bots.  HR and Support will find each other to support these initiatives, sparking a marriage. If there was a prediction for Power Virtual Agents this is it. Microsoft definitely wants to validate the fact that chatbots are here to stay and should be mainstream initiatives.
  2. Digital Transformation – What was previously seen as stages for moving to the cloud will now be more about looking at streamlining business processes with taking advantage of investments in AI for automation. Digital Transformation has gone from buzzword of the few to a more common used term for tracking what’s happening in the organization. I do see Microsoft positioning a lot of it’s efforts around the Power Platform and business value and automation initiatives
  3. The Battle of the year will be Microsoft Teams and Slack.  Microsoft’s arsenals are loaded and Skype is dead.  This battle won’t end in a year.  Atlassian alignment with Slack is going to cause some significant changes inside organizations. Wow. It definitely has been a great battle with Slack. Teams has surpassed Slack in terms of numbers of daily users as reported by both Slack and Microsoft.  Slack is not standing idly by.  This is only going to heat up.  I absolutely think organizations are keenly watching this.  Many are using both within their organizations.
  4. Microsoft will double down on Mixed Reality.  The story will really start coming together even if it sounds ahead of it’s time.  Microsoft does have their work cut out.  Remote assist + Teams + Hololens… It’s ahead of it’s time, but solid.  The community really doesn’t seem to understand SharePoint spaces.  I think it will take a year unfortunately for the right stories to come together, but 3D/360 content viewing is a solid investment especially if you look at 3-5 years.  Engineering will start sharing more 3D/360. 2019 wasn’t the year for Microsoft Mixed Reality, but the Minecraft investments have been significant.  Microsoft may be a bit quiet on this topic, but the demos are still amazing and this is an important investment and Microsoft isn’t backing off.
  5. PowerPack will be a big thing.  Licensing confusion will rise, but PowerBI, PowerApps, and Flow will gain in adoption and usage in a significant way, and Microsoft will find a way to promote these products in a more streamlined way. How about that? Power Platform absolutely is the investment and Microsoft did find a way to promote these set of products by calling all these products Power Platform and putting the word Power in front of Power Bi, Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents.  Expect to see more.