Here's how this weeks episode came together, over Facebook Messenger.
Christian - "Hey Darrell. I see you're trying Zoom for online meetings and streaming. How are you finding it? Does it display all the speaker's cameras when in a webinar?"
Darrell - "Oh hey there Christian. Ah do you want to try it with me now? I have a few minutes before my next meeting."
Christian (minutes later) - "Sure, I'm on now."
Darrell - "I'll be in a webinar for the next 45min. Are you free then?"
Christian - "I need to leave then. How about after 8pm MST?... hey sorry. finished a post, and now leaving. maybe tomorrow?"
Darrell - "Sure. I'll send you an invite. In fact, I'll loop you into my "Office 365 Message Center: the week that was."
There's nothing like trying unfamiliar technology while presenting to a live audience. Thankfully, Christian Buckley and I learned about Zoom from the experience. Oh, and we even managed to talk about what's new in the Office 365 Message Center.
Microsoft Flow is a platform to enable end users to create their own business process automation. It has a growing number of connectors to well known data sources. I must admit, I haven't yet spent time in Microsoft Flow. I have dipped in occasionally to see what sources are available. Now that SharePoint Online lists and libraries can be integrated into Flow, I'm going to investigate the possibilities. This updated feature means a Flow can be triggered directly from a library or list in SharePoint Online. This should mean end-user's can create no-code workflows. It is easier to start with a template and alter it. I found starting with a blank Flow presented a lot of choices. I would give the same advice for Flow as I do with creating SharePoint sites. Find out what is possible. Then work out what you want to achieve on a whiteboard with your team before starting to create the Flow. I'm sure teams can think of a few business processes they would like to automate, when working with documents and lists.
I signed up for a subscription to Intune, Enterprise Mobility and Security. I was investigating how to make it easier to on-board a new hire, with their mobile phones. I was interested in using the Company app portal. A new hire would install the Company app portal and a list of all the approved apps would be made available to them to install.
This notification in the Message Center is part of the migration of Intune admin functions into the Azure admin portal. This makes a lot of sense if you're managing Azure AD with some of the advanced capabilities. Or if your organization has moved some of it's line-of-business applications into Azure. The Intune admin experience is being rolled out to organizations set to First Release. When you see this message in your Message Center, your tenant is being migrated to the Azure admin experience.
Microsoft Teams is now Globally Available (GA) to all eligible tenants - Business Essentials, Business Premium, Enterprise Plans (excluding Kiosk licensed users.) The Teams service was switched to on-by-default, meaning that if an end user has the appropriate licenses, they would have seen the Teams tile in their app launcher and would be able to use Teams. There has been a few discussions on the Microsoft Tech Community, where Education tenants are seeing the Teams tile. But Education are not yet receiving Teams till it passes a private preview, testing various different scenarios unique to Education. The presence of the Teams tile has caused some frustration as enthusiastic educators tried to access Teams and were presented with messages asking them to call their admin to activate Teams.
Some organizations are not yet ready for Microsoft Teams and have had to consciously return to the admin portal and turn the service off after the GA date.
Another example of a feature being turned on by default is the coming auto creation of direct report groups, beginning in April. These are Office 365 Groups, automatically created using the direct report information from Active Directory. It sounds like a good idea because managers and direct reports will benefit from the tools within and Office 365 Group. However, in most cases a distribution list has already been created for this scenario, sometimes with a team site. Since the availability of Office 365 Groups, there may also already be an Outlook group manually created for the manager/direct report communication and collaboration. A discussion on Microsoft Tech Community has system admins expressing their annoyance at groups being automatically created in the directory named "<Managers Name>'s direct reports." The manager will be made the owner of their group and can delete it if desired. But it does take a conscious effort and it's not clear if the name of the direct report group will adhere to any naming policy already in place.
I agree with the intention behind creation of groups for direct reports. But I can see it being a frustration for organizations that have already manually created such a group. If your organization wishes to opt out of auto creation of direct report groups, follow the instructions in this article "Manage automatic creation of direct reports group."
Christian-Talk and using Zoom
As I said earlier, I jumped into trying Zoom with no training and only a couple of earlier attempts using their webinar module. Christian was telling me that Zoom have prioritized audio, then presented content and lastly presenter's video. Even during today's live stream with Christian, I have to agree that it's the right order. The audience wants to hear and see what is being presented. A presenter's video camera will just have to wait, if interruptions occur. Looking and listening now to the quality of the live stream, I am impressed. The camera was switching quickly between active speakers, even though I didn't manage to get my camera going during the live stream.
Christian and his organization are starting to use Microsoft Teams. We discussed Office 365 Groups and Outlook groups. Yes, there is a difference. I even busted out the ZoomIt tool (unrelated to the Zoom meeting platform) to draw, nay mouse-scrawl what is potentially the clearest explanation of Office 365 Groups and the experiences built on it. Christian compared my "Greatest-Office-365-Groups-Diagram-In-the-World-Tribute" to a picture from his niece. I agree. We're on par.
Thank you Christian, for joining me on-demand today. I look forward to having you back on another live stream .
See you again next week, remember to visit your Office 365 Message Center regularly and Stay Informed.