A bit late on the blog post compared to the other MVPs, but I am honored, humbled and excited to announce I have been renewed as an Office Apps and Services (previously known as Office Servers and Services) MVP for a fifth year in a row! This year is even a bit more special as I have also been awarded the Cloud and Datacenter Management MVP for the first time, for my contributions in the PowerShell community!

Thanks to Microsoft community for giving me the opportunity to share my knowledge, I will continue to share my passion for Office 365, SharePoint, Flow and of course PowerShell! Special mention to the whole team at Valo Intranet who keeps encouraging me to do more and enables me to give back to community as much as I do! All of the five MVPs on the team got renewed and I am looking forward to creating awesome content with all of them this upcoming year!

5/5 (1)

Please rate this

Product overview by Vlad Catrinescu – requested by harmon.ie, but thoughts are my own.
All proceeds from this review will be used to fund my 100-mile Pelotonia bike ride to end cancer.

Information Overload is an increasing problem both in the workplace, and in life in general. Information Overload is when you are trying to deal with more information than you can process to make sensible decisions. The result is that you either delay making decisions, or that you make the wrong decisions. And let’s be honest, we all feel a kind of information overload because of all the sources of information we have today. Even if we talk only Office 365, we need to look for information in SharePoint, Outlook, Groups, Planner, Teams, etc! With it’s latest release called harmon.ie attempts to solve this problem and allow users to focus on work rather than tools. harmon.ie 10 delivers your SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams documents, Outlook emails and calendar invites, plus Office 365 app notifications directly to your Outlook window… organized by topics, the way you think. The harmon.ie team gave me an early version of their newest release to test, so let’s see what the features are!

harmon.ie 10

Having reviewed harmon.ie in the past, I will focus only on the newest features in harmon.ie 10! If you want a tour of the functionality that was already there in the past, check out this review: Review of harmon.ie One: Improve SharePoint Collaboration.

Harmon.ie 10 Overview

Similar to previous harmon.ie Outlook clients, harmon.ie 10 is a sidebar on the right side of your Outlook window. What is new in this version, is that the harmon.ie team now uses the power of the Microsoft Graph to analyze all of the data in Office 365 that you have access to, and group those by different topics. Right now, in this preview version of harmon.ie 10 , the sidebar is not yet responsive, so as you can see , some of the topics are cut off, but the team told me it will be fixed before this becomes final.

harmon.ie 10

Once you clock on a certain topic, you get an overview of the number of items of each type, that are related to that certain topic. In the US Staffing example below, harmon.ie found one e-mail, one document and one calendar event!


Clicking on it again, you can see the different documents, events and e-mails relating to this topic, and clicking on them will automatically open them using the native Microsoft application assigned to it, or for documents, using Office Online and opening them directly from SharePoint, or OneDrive for Business.


Harmon.ie 10 also allows you to search for different topics to quickly access the different items associated with the topics that you’re interested in!


As mentioned previously, those features are added on top of the other great features included in the harmon.ie Outlook sidebar such as SharePoint integration ,easy drag and drop of documents and e-mails, and quick collaboration directly from Outlook.

Conclusion

You depend on Office 365 apps to get work done, but with the number of different apps, and different way of collaborating today, it’s tough to keep up with everything that is happening in your organization. The latest release of the harmon.ie sidebar for Outlook called harmon.ie 10 uses the Microsoft Graph, and machine learning to group information the way you think, by using topics, customers, project names, so you can work the way you think, and not by focusing on the different apps in Office 365.

I loved the idea of grouping information by topics, instead of apps and it made it a lot easier to find information proactively, rather than search for it in the different applications part of my tenant. The harmon.ie version I had is an early release beta, and while the “logic” functionality worked well, and it was able to find/group different items, the fact that the pane was not fully responsive made it hard sometimes so have full control over the topics window. This should not be too much of a big issue for customers as this should be fixed before it gets full released.

If you want to try this in your own tenant to see how it can help your users increase productivity and adoption of office 365, register for an early preview over here: https://pages.harmon.ie/harmonie10-early-access-registration.html or click the banner below!

5/5 (1)

Please rate this

Is your Pluralsight subscription up for renewal soon or have you been waiting for a promotion to become a Pluralsight subscriber? Pluralsight, one of the best on-demand online training companies with over 6000 courses is currently having a promotion between now and and June 26th 2018 to save 100$ (33%) on a Pluralsight Subscription, and it even works on renewals!

Save 100$ (33%) on a Pluralsight Subscription

Whether you’re interested in learning SharePoint, Office 365, PowerShell, Angular or even Ethical Hacking and Security, 199$ for a year of unlimited learning is an amazing deal! Get the promotion now, click on the banner above or at the following link: https://spvlad.com/PSSave100June2018 ! Don’t wait too long as the deal ends on March 31st and it might not come back until the end of 2018!

This is the perfect way to start learning SharePoint, or to master every detail of it! Pluralsight recently released a SharePoint 2016 path as well to help people get started with SharePoint, and there are multiple advanced courses there as well!

Here are some of my courses!

Planning for SharePoint Server 2016: Physical Topology and Services

SharePoint Server 2016 brings a lot of changes to the Infrastructure Architecture, with new features such as MinRole and Microsoft Identity Manager. You’ll learn how to plan your SharePoint 2016 Infrastructure to answer your business needs.

Planning for SharePoint Server 2016: Logical Architecture and Integrations

This course will teach you how to plan your SharePoint 2016 logical architecture, SharePoint farm security, and how to plan for integration with Exchange Server 2016 and Project Server 2016.

Implementing a Hybrid SharePoint 2013/2016 Infrastructure

SharePoint hybrid infrastructures are gaining popularity, so SharePoint IT professionals need to prepare. You’ll learn how to configure a hybrid infrastructure in either SharePoint 2013 or SharePoint 2016 to allow your users to be more productive.

PowerShell for Office 365

Take your Office 365 Administrator skills further by learning to automate repetitive tasks as well as access advanced settings using the magic of PowerShell.

No ratings yet.

Please rate this

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know that I am a huge fan of Pluralsight for their content, and that I also create courses with them! One of the amazing things that Pluralsight created in the last year is learning paths, here is how they define a learning path:

It can be tough to know where to start learning. Paths combine specific courses and tools into one experience to teach you any given skill from start to finish. Paths are aligned to an individual’s knowledge level, to help you and your team develop the right skills in the right order.

Basically, it’s hand-picked courses on a certain topic, that will allow you to master a skill! Not only that, but they also have the Skill IQ, which is a quick test that will evaluate you on the subjects covered in that path, and tell you exactly what your strong points, and weak points are! It’s really a new learning experience that I love!

Back to PowerShell! In the past month, Pluralsight has released two new learning paths for PowerShell! The first one is called Windows PowerShell: Essentials and as the name says, after you finish this path, you should have the knowledge to create basic PowerShell scripts, handle errors, and automating processes! The path is made up of 6 courses, for a total of 16 hours of content! I have listened to most of the courses, and believe me, even as someone who does PowerShell almost daily, you will learn something! You can find the path over here: https://spvlad.com/PSEssentials

Master PowerShell

The next path is a more advanced one and it’s called Windows PowerShell: Scripting and Toolmaking . This path is longer, with 30 hours of content split up in 13 courses, this path covers some advanced topics, but knowing them will really take your scripts, and productivity to the next level! Here are some of the topics covered:

  • Toolmaking fundamentals
  • Building advanced PowerShell functions and modules -Best practices for PowerShell usage
  • Reporting with PowerShell HTML
  • Debugging PowerShell in VS Code
  • Getting a grasp of PowerShell remoting fundamentals
  • Accessing SQL Server databases with PowerShell
  • Building PowerShell GUIs in WPF
  • Testing PowerShell with Pester
  • Utilizing Windows Workflows with PowerShell

Master PowerShell

As always, Pluralsight content is created by the best in the industry, and the list of Authors below should speak for itself!

Master PowerShell

Check out the paths at the following links, and make sure you share your experience in the comments!

 

Leave a comment and don’t forget to like the Absolute SharePoint Blog Page   on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter here  for the latest news and technical articles on SharePoint.  I am also a Pluralsight author, and you can view all the courses I created on my author page.
No ratings yet.

Please rate this

Over the last decade, the Intranet was the location that employees opened every day (often because IT forced it as their home page) to find information about the latest company news, learn about new hires, and find information needed for their day to day job. While Intranets were what everyone was talking about 5-6 years ago, the focus has switched to more than the Intranet, we’re now talking about the Digital Workplace! With all the tools like Yammer, Microsoft Teams, and Team News in Office 365, does the intranet still have a role in Office 365?

What does an Intranet need to be relevant today?

As organizations are upgrading their Intranets either on-premises, or in the cloud, in my opinion, a modern Intranet needs to have the following functionalities. Screenshots from this blog are from an Intranet built with Valo Intranet, however the general principles apply to any Intranet that you build on Office 365.

    Accessible from everywhere, on every device

Work is not only done from the office anymore; modern workers need to have access to their Intranet from where ever they are, and on whatever device they might have with them at that moment. While the cloud makes the Accessible from everywhere part a lot easier, but there are still too many Intranets out there that do not work well on smaller devices such as mobile phones, or that links on the home page you need to hover over even on an iPad to access the tool underneath. (PS: Try hovering over a menu with an iPad, it doesn’t really work).

What does an Intranet need to be relevant in the Digital Workplace

Taking this further, the Intranet shouldn’t only be accessible via the browser, and needing to remember a URL, Intranets should be an app, directly on the user’s mobile device, making it as easy as possible for users to see what are the latest news inside the company, and to access the tools they need to do their job.

What does an Intranet need to be relevant in the Digital Workplace

    Integrating the full suite of Office 365 Applications

We all know that Office 365 provides us more choice than ever before in how we want to work, in order to be more productive. While five years ago, SharePoint used to be the hub of everything from managing tasks, documents, workflows, videos, social, and more, Microsoft is slowly creating dedicated apps that do each of those tasks better and offer more functionality. The downside is that users must now go to ten different applications every day to achieve their daily tasks, and stay up to date on everything, which is almost impossible. A modern Intranet should not only be a place for news and policies, it should embed the rest of your Office 365 tools where it makes sense. In the figure below, you can see Delve, Office 365 Video, and Yammer being integrated in on an Intranet home page.

What does an Intranet need to be relevant in the Digital Workplace

If the tool you use to book a meeting from is in PowerApps, and you want to refer to it from your Intranet, don’t just tell people to go to the PowerApps portal or their phone to book a meeting, embed that PowerApps directly inside an Intranet page, which allows users to do more in the Intranet, and allows you to provide extra content such as related documents, and guidelines as you can see in the example below.

What does an Intranet need to be relevant in the Digital Workplace

    Your Intranet should always have something new

Imagine going on Facebook, or on Instagram and not seeing anything new… you wouldn’t go there much would you? It’s the same thing for the intranet, you need to make sure that your intranet always has new content for your users to read. That doesn’t mean you need to invent a new policy every day, a successful Intranet aggregates content both from your internal, and external communications to bring it alive. Let’s look at some ideas!

Bring your Social Media Presence inside your intranet

Your Marketing & Communication team is probably spending multiple hours every week on making sure your social media identities such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram are up to date with the latest news about the company, promotions for clients and news about the industry. Employees don’t have time to go on 5 different social media networks to see what your company is sharing externally, so why not bring social media inside the Intranet? This will not only allow management to have a quick overview on what the organization is doing on social media, but it will also allow your employees, who are your biggest brand ambassadors, to quickly reshare and amplify it with their own audience.

What does an Intranet need to be relevant in the Digital Workplace

Industry News

Even if your organization only works from 9 to 5, news from your industry come out at every time of the day, and night. Why not share the news from the industry directly on the Intranet home page to always have interesting content for your employees to read? In the next figure, you can see an Intranet homepage with an Industry news webpart that pulls news automatically from an RSS feed.

What does an Intranet need to be relevant in the Digital Workplace

Internal Blogs

While internal blogging is not in every organization’s culture, it can provide a great way for employees to share best practices with each other and increase the collective knowledge of the company. One way to start using blogs internally, is to replace the internal company wide e-mails like “CEO’s week in review” by a blog! One of the goals of the Digital Workplace is to reduce the number of e-mails, and replacing executive newsletters that are originally sent by e-mails, with a blog that appears on the home page is a great way to achieve that goal!

What does an Intranet need to be relevant in the Digital Workplace

    Intranets should include collaboration as well

As employees are working on multiple teams, and projects, it’s becoming more and more complicated for them to keep up to date with all of their sites. Wouldn’t it be great if your Intranet also helped you collaborate easier? Since your intranet is the door to your Digital Workplace, which includes all your collaboration sites, it’s important for the intranet to provide a portal, or an easy way for users to access their collaboration sites as well.

What does an Intranet need to be relevant in the Digital Workplace

    Transparency and two-way communications

Intranets are not only one-way communication streets anymore, and, like Facebook, users want to be able to like News, comment on them and give their opinions on the news inside your Intranet! Not only this will increase employee happiness, but it will also make employees want to come back later on to that same news, to see what their colleagues think as well!

What does an Intranet need to be relevant in the Digital Workplace

Another idea for users to participate, and not only consume your intranet is an ideation / idea management tool inside your Intranet. Instead of submitting your ideas by e-mail, where they are hidden from other employees, you can create a system where everyone can enter ideas, and view, comment, and like ideas by other people inside the company.

By having an open Idea Management system, you allow employees to view the progress of their ideas, as well as allow other employees to add comments on certain ideas with their own experience, and thoughts, enabling that co-innovation inside the company by using all your resources!

What does an Intranet need to be relevant in the Digital Workplace

Conclusion

With the rise of the Digital Workplace buzzword, people do not talk about Intranets as much as they did, even if they are still a critical tool inside your digital workplace toolkit. A well-built intranet that integrates your Digital Workplace toolkit, is accessible from everywhere, and allows employees to contribute will become the front door to your Digital Workplace toolkit, and users will go to it multiple times per day to see the latest news, events and quickly access their collaboration sites.

5/5 (5)

Please rate this

While doing a workshop about PowerShell for Office 365 recently, and working with the Exchange Online PowerShell Module, which is needed to authenticate to Exchange Online with MFA , a lot of my students have hit the following error: Application cannot be started. Contact the application vendor.

Exchange Online PowerShell Module Error: Application Cannot be Started

Even if the Details tab don’t say much, this is an easy fix! This is happening only when downloading the Exchange Online PowerShell Module by using Chrome or Firefox, so the fix is simple: Use Internet Explorer to download the Exchange Online PowerShell Module! That’s it!

PS: If you want to know how to connect to all Office 365 using Multi Factor Authentication, check out this blog: Connecting to all Office 365 Services with PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication

Leave a comment and don’t forget to like the Absolute SharePoint Blog Page   on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter here  for the latest news and technical articles on SharePoint.  I am also a Pluralsight author, and you can view all the courses I created on my author page.
5/5 (6)

Please rate this

I’ve been a big fan of PowerShell for Office 365 for a while now, and with new features coming out in Office 365 that are only configurable by PowerShell, it’s more important than ever to be able to at least master the basics, but you absolutely need to know PowerShell for Office 365 in order to have full control of your tenant.

Resources to learn PowerShell for Office 365

Jeffrey Snover, creator of PowerShell and Technical Fellow at Microsoft explains it in a more direct way

When someone answered that their clients do not listen, he was pretty direct with his reply.. you need to learn PowerShell to stay relevant , and even more important to learn it as an Office 365 admin.

So, here are some resources, depending on what type of learner you are!

Books

Books are really ways to learn a topic from start to master, and even if they cost some dollars, they’re always a good investment!

Learn PowerShell for Office 365

Essential PowerShell for Office 365: Managing and Automating Skills for Improved Productivity
Take your Office 365 skills to the next level. Master PowerShell for Office 365 to stay competitive in today’s world of highly sought after cloud management skills. With expert guidance, IT pros will learn how to leverage the muscle of PowerShell to automate many advanced administrative tasks not otherwise accessible in the Office 365 Admin Center. You will discover how to unlock configuration options and automate tasks in order to free up valuable time and resources.

Get it on Amazon at the following links:

Video Training

NOTE: Pluralsight is a paid resource unlike Channel9, Youtube, and Microsoft Virtual Academy which are free. The quality they provide is also superior because of all the quality checks they go through, and the instructors are one of the best in the industry. The Pluralsight courses have a link to where you can get a free trial and decide for yourself if paying a subscription or not is worth it, but the 10 day free trial should allow you to view all those courses for free.

Learn PowerShell for Office 365

PowerShell for Office 365
In this course, you will learn how to use PowerShell to manage Office 365 services. You will learn how to connect and manage users and licensing, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, Compliance Center and last but not least, Skype for Business Online.

Learn PowerShell for Office 365

PowerShell Playbook for Office 365
A more advanced look at multiple real-life scenarios that span across all Office 365 Services and show you how your PowerShell for Office 365 skills can be applied in your day to day life

PowerShell for common Office 365 Operations
In this 300 level session, you will learn how to automate the management of Office 365 using Windows PowerShell. We will discuss how to connect Windows PowerShell to Office 365, tour the Office 365 cmdlets, and demonstrate how to manage domains, users, and services including Exchange Online, and SharePoint Online.

Support Corner: Using PowerShell to Manage Office 365 Users
Join us in this fast-paced demo to learn how to manage Office 365 users using PowerShell. Experts show you how to create and delete users, update user IDs and passwords, assign licenses and groups, and much more.

Blogs / Links

This a list of blogs, or Microsoft Docs ressources on PowerShell for Office 365! All those are free! This list is currently in construction, and will be better organized in the future!

 

Leave a comment and don’t forget to like the Absolute SharePoint Blog Page   on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter here  for the latest news and technical articles on SharePoint.  I am also a Pluralsight author, and you can view all the courses I created on my author page.
5/5 (2)

Please rate this

Whether you want to do some reports or debugging, you might need to quickly find out what Office 365 Groups a user is a member or Owner of! You could go in the user’s profile, see all the groups, find out which ones are Security, which ones are Distribution Groups, and which ones are Office 365 Groups. or you could do an easy PowerShell cmdlet!

Find all the Office 365 Groups a user is a Member of with PowerShell

Since we will be playing with Exchange Online, you first need to connect to Exchange!

 

Next up, I will save the E-mail of the person I am looking for in a variable called UserEmail, and use the GetMailbox cmdlet to save the Mailbox object of that user in a variable called Mailbox.

 

After we have this information, we can use the Get-UnifiedGroup PowerShell cmdlet, together with the Get-UnifiedGroupLinks cmdlet to find which groups this user is a member of!

To find all the Office 365 Groups a user is a member of, we would use the following cmdlet:

We then have all those groups stored in a variable, and we can use them as we wish inside PowerShell!

Find all the Office 365 Groups a user is a Member of with PowerShell

To find all the Office 365 Groups a user is an owner of, we would use the following cmdlet:

As you see, the only thing that changed is the -LinkType parameter from Members to Owners! We now also have all those groups stored in a variable to use as we wish in PowerShell!

Find all the Office 365 Groups a user is a Member of with PowerShell

 

Follow me on Social Media and Share this article with your friends!

Leave a comment and don’t forget to like the Absolute SharePoint Blog Page   on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter here  for the latest news and technical articles on SharePoint.  I am also a Pluralsight author, and you can view all the courses I created on my author page.
5/5 (4)

Please rate this

Whether you want to do some reports or debugging, you might need to quickly find out what Distribution Groups a user is a member of! You could go in the user’s profile, see all of the groups , find out which ones are Security, which ones are Distribution Groups.. or you could do an easy PowerShell cmdlet!

Find all the Distribution Groups a user is a member of with PowerShell

Since we will be playing with Exchange Online, you first need to connect to Exchange!

 

Next up, I will save the Username of the person I am looking for in a variable called Username

And then, I will use this cmdlet which will get all the Distribution Groups in my tenant, and then find the ones where my username is in the members! (This assumes your e-mail address is the same as the username! If that’s not the case, you can simply put the e-mail in the UserName variable and it will work!)

You can now either Display it , or do another action such as removing the user from all of them!

Find all the Distribution Groups a user is a member of with PowerShell in Office 365

That’s it! As you see this is really an quick and easy PowerShell snippet!

 

Leave a comment and don’t forget to like the Absolute SharePoint Blog Page   on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter here  for the latest news and technical articles on SharePoint.  I am also a Pluralsight author, and you can view all the courses I created on my author page.
4.5/5 (6)

Please rate this

You cannot have full control of your Office 365 tenant, if you do not know how to use PowerShell for Office 365, since there are a ton of configurations, and settings that are only configurable via PowerShell, and not via the Office 365 Admin Center! Not to mention, all the automation capabilities that PowerShell allows you to script, so you save time and money. Since most accounts admin accounts are (or should be) configured with Multi Factor Authentication, here is a small guide on how to connect to all the Office 365 services with PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication enabled!

Connecting to all Office 365 Services with PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication

Azure Active Directory

Once you have the Azure Active Directory module installed, connecting with Multi Factor Authentication is done by specifying the AccountId parameter, and not a full credential object as we would do with single factor authentication. This will Open up a window, asking you to enter the password for that account, and then your second authentication method as seen below.

 

Connecting to all Office 365 Services with PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication

Connecting to all Office 365 Services with PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication

Connecting to all Office 365 Services with PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication

SharePoint Online

When we connect to SharePoint Online using PowerShell, we use the Connect-SPOService cmdlet as usual as well as the URL parameter, which is the URL of your SharePoint Online Admin Center, and simply skip specifying the -Credentials parameter. This will open a pop-up window asking for our credentials, as well as the second method of Authentication as you can see below!

Connecting to all Office 365 Services with PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication

Connecting to all Office 365 Services with PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication

Exchange Online

While the previous two were easy, this one is a bit more complicated since we need to download a module, whereas to connect with Single Factor Authentication there is nothing to download! From the Exchange Online Admin Center, go to the Hybrid section, and click on Configure under the Exchange Online PowerShell module.

Connecting to all Office 365 Services with PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication

You need to do this with Internet Explorer, or else you will be getting a beautiful “Application Cannot Be Started” error as we talked about in this blog! Exchange Online PowerShell Module Error: Application Cannot be Started – Contact the Application Vendor

Once you have the Exchange Online Module, you need to use the Connect-EXOPSSession PowerShell cmdlet, and specify the user account that you will be connecting with.

 

If you are in Office 365 Germany, you need to provide a few more parameters, as seen in the following example.

 

Connecting to all Office 365 Services with PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication

Connecting to all Office 365 Services with PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication

Connecting to all Office 365 Services with PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication

Office 365 Security and Compliance Center

To connect to the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center with Multi Factor Authentication, you need the same PowerShell module as Exchange Online, about which we talked earlier, but you will be using the Connect-IPPSSession PowerShell cmdlet as seen in the following example.

If you are part of Office 365 Germany, you will need to provide the additional parameters seen below.

 

Connecting to all Office 365 Services with PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication

Connecting to all Office 365 Services with PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication

Connecting to all Office 365 Services with PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication

Skype for Business

To connect to Skype for Business Online using Multi Factor Authentication , you need to use the New-CSOnlineSession PowerShell cmdlet

 

Connecting to all Office 365 Services with PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication

Connecting to all Office 365 Services with PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication

Connecting to all Office 365 Services with PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication

Microsoft Teams

To Connect to Microsoft Teams, you use the Connect-MicrosoftTeams PowerShell cmdlet, and specify the -AccountID parameter. Similar to the other services, you will get a prompt asking you to input your password, and second method of authentication.

Connecting to all Office 365 Services with PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication

Connecting to all Office 365 Services with PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication

That is it, we have now looked at how to connect to all Office 365 Services, using PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication!

Leave a comment and don’t forget to like the Absolute SharePoint Blog Page   on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter here  for the latest news and technical articles on SharePoint.  I am also a Pluralsight author, and you can view all the courses I created on my author page.
5/5 (2)

Please rate this