What’s New in Office 365 (January 2020)

It’s a new year, a new decade (depending on your point of view), and we have some new Office 365 features to tell you about. Most of these features aren’t beginning rollout until mid-January, but that will be here before you know it. As always, there is some great content being shared on the Tech Community blogs, so check them out when you get a chance. The updates we are covering in this post are from the Office 365 Message center.

 Microsoft Search Change to suggested Q&A 

Action required by Jan 10, 2020 

Continue reading “What’s New in Office 365 (January 2020)”

New Licensing Options for PowerApps and Flow

Yep, you read that correctly. Microsoft is at it again – changing the licensing for PowerApps and Flow. Even though they just changed the licensing in February of 2019, they are making significant changes that will be launching in October. These changes come on the heels of the launch of PowerApps Portals, which are low-code websites for external users. Although I understand the need to add new/different levels of licensing for this new feature, it seems like overkill to change all the licensing just 5 months after a major overhaul. Furthermore, the changes could have significant financial implications for some, and the announcement has left the community up in arms.

Continue reading “New Licensing Options for PowerApps and Flow”

Azure Virtual Day Camp Review

I attended the Azure Virtual Day Camp put on by the Power Platform Users Group earlier this week. I registered for sessions from two different tracks (Developer and Architect); but in the end, they only registered me for 3 sessions in the Architect track (some of which were sessions for which I had not even registered). I was a bit disappointed, because I really wanted to attend the Developer sessions. The saving grace is that they sent me the recordings from the Developer sessions. Hopefully, I can find some time to watch them.

Session Reviews

Developing with PowerApps, Flow and Azure Cognitive Services

My first session by Mariano Gomez was the most interesting. Mariano walked us through developing a Conference Badge Scanner App. The app scans a badge, converts the data to text, and sends an email to the badge owner. This same technology could easily be used to scan business cards and send them to a contacts list/data base. The App uses PowerApps, Flow and the Computer Vision API. Mariano demontrated building the app during the 45-minute session. That is how easy it is to leverage the power of the power platform. Continue reading “Azure Virtual Day Camp Review”

Using SendGrid with Azure Functions to Send Email

I’ve been working on a solution for a customer that utilizes SharePoint Online lists and libraries, PowerApps, Logic Apps, and Azure Functions. The solution works something like this: Project documents are stored and updated in a SharePoint Library by office staff. The shop floor needs to access the documents and know at a glance when documents have been updated. The PowerApp displays a count of the most recently updated documents by project and document type, and also displays the documents. A SharePoint List is used to store the counts of the most recently updated documents. The Logic App and Azure Function work together to update the SharePoint List with the counts from the SharePoint Library.

As part of the solution, we wanted a way to be notified if the Azure Function threw an error. This is where SendGrid comes in. SendGrid is a third-party email delivery service. Azure Functions support an output binding for SendGrid, which makes it very easy to integrate into your solution.Here is a grand overview of how my solution (just the Azure Function and SendGrid piece) will work – If my Azure Function throws an error, it will send the error message to Azure Queue Storage. The error message will be stored in Azure Queue Storage until another Azure Function (2) comes and picks it up. Azure Function (2) will use SendGrid to send an email containing the error message. Easy-peasy. You can use SendGrid to send emails for all kinds of reasons – when a customer places an order, you can send a confirmation email with the details of the order; when someone clicks a button on your site to request information, you can send an email with the requested information; the options are endless.

Continue reading “Using SendGrid with Azure Functions to Send Email”

What’s New in Office 365 (January 2019)

Happy New Year! January is here – new year, new you, right? Personally, I don’t believe in all that new year’s resolution stuff. Every day is a new opportunity to live your best life. How about we stick to new year, new updates for Office 365? There are some changes that will increase security, a change that may affect network traffic, best practice guidelines, and as always, an exciting new feature to highlight.  Regarding security, Microsoft is retiring 3DES in Office 365, and sharing links that block download have begun rolling out.  If you have configured your network to restrict resource access to Azure AD IP address ranges, make sure to read the piece on Azure AD updating IP Addresses. PowerApps users will be happy to see the release of a white paper on coding guidelines and standards. And finally, the exciting new feature we are highlighting this month is reminders in SharePoint.   

Continue reading “What’s New in Office 365 (January 2019)”

Restricting Users from Creating Office 365 Groups

Microsoft is very permissive when it comes to creating Office 365 groups. The default is that everyone can create Office 365 groups. Users can create groups from several different applications, and each user can create up to 250 groups. With this kind of freedom, things can get out of control pretty quickly. Before you know it, your environment can have a plethora of Office 365 Groups that may not be useful or even used. Sometimes the old adage is true – just because they can, doesn’t always mean they should.

Continue reading “Restricting Users from Creating Office 365 Groups”

Review of How to Ensure Operational Governance for Microsoft Teams Session from Microsoft Ignite 2018

Microsoft Ignite was held September 24-28 in Orlando, Florida with more than 1600 sessions on all that Microsoft has to offer. This session, by Dux Raymond Sy, covered guidelines for proper governance of Microsoft Teams. Dux makes basic recommendations but cautions listeners that Azure Active Directory P1 is a requirement for some of the features he highlights.

Overall, it was an informative session. Dux does a great job explaining the relationship between Microsoft Teams and Office 365 Groups; and breaking down governance into 3 manageable areas: provisioning, operations and information cycle. Continue reading “Review of How to Ensure Operational Governance for Microsoft Teams Session from Microsoft Ignite 2018”