June 2016 News Roundup

My brief update on some of the principle roadmap and licensing updates from Microsoft in June 2016:

  • Microsoft MCP prep resources, also good If you are new to SoftwareONE and Microsoft Licensing. https://goo.gl/ot76EO July 4th – July 7th
  • Azure Information Protection emerges w. Secure Island acquisition. Persistent IRM data classification at file level.https://goo.gl/Sa1A5d
  • Best article on TechNet so far on Windows10 feature update deferment models and withdrawal to security updates https://goo.gl/KDyafy
  • Fantastic article on Compute Capacity Limits by SQL Edition https://goo.gl/FC7gsx
  • Microsoft acquire LinkedIn w. 433 million corporate identities. Race for identity layer. What Reid Hoffman terms “Web 3.0 human network data”
  • SharePoint 2016 hybrid configuration roadmaps https://goo.gl/zSi5Ww
  • Gartner Magic Quadrant for EMM – Enterprise Mobility Management – Microsoft EMS recognised as visionary https://goo.gl/vRCmvg
  • Great information resources on Azure security https://goo.gl/rk71GH
  • Enterprise State Roaming is GA on Azure AD Premium. | Sync App + OS state data across devices without Microsoft Account https://goo.gl/QQrIzx
  • Citrix and Microsoft to offer Windows10 VDI on Azure with CBB XenDesktop Solution | DaaS Desktop-as-a-Service https://goo.gl/NfkTyZ
  • Citrix to provide new EMM service on Azure that will integrate and wrap around EMS (Enterprise Mobility Suite)  https://goo.gl/NfkTyZ
  • Citrix to integrate NetScaler conditional access into Intune App SDK  https://goo.gl/NfkTyZ
  • Citrix XenMobile benefits from EMS Integration with Self Service Password Reset and Write-back and Azure MFA  https://goo.gl/NfkTyZ
  • Citrix Worx and Receiver Apps to get Intune SDK and Azure AD Support.  https://goo.gl/NfkTyZ
  • MSDN Subscriber migration starting June 15th to http://my.visualstudio.com
  • SCCM update 1605 Win Defender ATP and EDP data policies, Tagging devices as ‘corporate owned’, by cluster patching https://goo.gl/VV2ooz
  • Office Online Server GA was available from May 1st 2016. Create, Edit, Save will require SA or Office365 ProPlus USL. View Only without SA.
  • Office365 E4 customer with contract renewal after July 1st? Office365 E4 will need a new Office365 plan. Time for a roadmap and licensing strategy review with Microsoft Advisory Services
  • SQL on Azure VMs FAQs https://goo.gl/8itpO1
  • Skype for Business PSTN Calling FAQs https://goo.gl/pGAqyY
  • Essential resource on side-by-side installation scenarios for Project and Visio and Office 365 ProPlus C2V Versions https://goo.gl/4mOxNb. The June Product Terms provides an MSI Install! (p59)
  • Office365 Planner is now GA for all Enterprise Plans E1-E5 https://goo.gl/3fDHtW
  • Q1 Windows 10 ‘Anniversary Update’ for Windows 10 Enterprise SA CBB and Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB. The first new LTSB release since August 2015. Available August. Microsoft will create Windows 10 Enterprise “Premium” to include Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) integrating Endpoint Protection with ML enabled analytics and  breach response management.
  • Windows Defender ATP will complement Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA) available in EMS, ECS.

Enterprise Agreement

  • Applicable Use Rights: Clarification of Use Rights language to show that the Use Rights at the time of purchase apply to the customer’s software.
  • Downgrade Use Rights: Clarification of Use Rights language to show that customers have the right to downgrade to prior versions, but the Use Right at time of software purchase would apply.

Enterprise Enrolment  

  • EA500 New contract terms do not support Enterprise/SCE Enrolments with fewer than 500 Qualified Users/Devices. However, there is another option to renew an Enterprise Enrolment or SCE by using the Enterprise Renewal Form. By using this form, a customer essentially extends the prior Enrolment Terms & Conditions. The customer keeps the existing Enrolment number and continues his contractual relationship. An Enrolment with fewer than 500 Qualified Users/Qualified Devices can be continued with this method, even after July 1st 2016. The Enterprise Renewal Form can be used only one time. You must submit a new Product Selection Form and new CPS for the extended term and negotiate new pricing for that order. Any Change of Channel Partner must be completed before using the Enterprise Renewal Form.
  • Effective Date: Clarification of language about contract effective date at renewal. The update shows more clearly that the effective date of the new contract period is the day after the prior contract ends. (There had been differences and confusion when a customer renewed using the Enterprise Renewal Form).
  • Order Requirements: The Enterprise Commitment has been updated from 250 to 500 Qualified Users/Qualified Devices.
  • Pricing: Certain consumption based Online Services will now be exempt from Price Protection. For now, these are Skype for Business consumption services only. These are known also internally at Microsoft as “floating prices”. Online Services that are sold on a per user basis such as EMS, CRM Online, O365 etc. will continue to have Price Protection. For now, there is no change to Azure. There will be new information in the Product Terms to show which products have the “Floating Prices”.
  • Introduction of Indefinite Extended Term: Online Services can be maintained for up to a year after the Enrolment (under which they were purchased) expires. Online Service will continue to run for a customer even after enrolment expiration. Similarly, for Azure, after the first 12 month term has expired, the service will be continue indefinitely at level A plus 3%
  • EMEA only From July 1st the new EE/MEA Enrolment will no longer have the affiliate location restriction.
  • SCE contract wording will support reservations for eligible products.

 

Enterprise Advantage on MPSA

The channel community have had a short briefing with Microsoft about Enterprise Advantage on MPSA, effective early in CY 2017.

Briefing Notes:

  • Customers can ‘mix and match’ between subscription, software and cloud, and between productivity and server products, all in one contract.
  • “Coverage discount” for enterprise-wide commitment, and “platform discount” for eligible platform commitment continues. ‘EA on MPSA’ purchases aggregate organisation-wide to level-up pricing.
  • Interestingly, EA on MPSA has a starting point of 250 users/devices.  Not 500, as with the EA minimum commit http://goo.gl/yNfi8v remember the July EA enrollment: new contract terms do not support fewer than 500 Qualified Users/Devices. Renew once via Enterprise Renewal Form. Microsoft believe EA on MPSA will be ‘optimal’ for 250-2,399 users/devices.
  • True Up annual reconciliation model will continue, with True Down for subscription based products and services.
  • EA on MPSA will only be an indirect contract with potential margin. SoftwareONE will own the billing process.
  • Only one partner per Enterprise Advantage term.
  • Incentives will continue, likely aligned to strategic solutions and services. I pressed them slightly, but they stated the end of fees was “premature”. New fee structures will be communicated.
  • Main focus of channel fees appear to be DPOR (Digital Partner of Record) – Microsoft are aligning their channel incentive model to consumption.
  • Microsoft encourage partners to “Focus on Services” particularly digital transformation.
  • Importantly, Microsoft will start a process of “automation” of concessions empowerment, only  more ‘complex’ deals aligned to legacy EA model.
  • Microsoft believe EA on MPSA should be reasonably flexible for defining user profiles with subscription, perpetual or service profiling; and not necessarily requiring legacy EA (TBC)
  • Self-service features for the platform will expand with initially: SA benefit management, online service provisioning, improved asset management.
  • Higher deal throughput – “in less than a day”, increased sales velocity and lower cost of sale to Microsoft and Partners.
  • Government Advantage and Education Advantage to follow in 2017. They could not confirm (at this stage) whether Government Advantage would align with the end of CTA phase 2 in UK.(CTA Phase 2 was communicated as expiring in June 2017)

About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn


Disclaimer

  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Terms
  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or Online Service Terms or other binding contractual documents
  • Please be aware that any licensing, or product information could be subject to change.
  • This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • This is not official guidance from Microsoft or its subsidiaries.
  • The following article is based on open information shared with Licensing Solutions Providers (LSPs) and based on  personal inference and understanding.
  • This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.
  • Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.
  • The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author endeavors to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.
  • The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.
  • This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights.

Microsoft News Roundup

MLR Insights

May News Roundup

Windows 10 Anniversary Update

  • Q1 Windows 10 ‘Anniversary Update’ for Windows 10 Enterprise SA CBB and Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB. The first new LTSB release since August 2015.
  • Windows10 Anniversary update adds Windows Hello NGC (Next Generation Credentials) http://goo.gl/5Ziipl
  • EDP (Enterprise Data Protection) for local device file encryption from corporate sources w. privileged app admin to control access to corporate data http://goo.gl/vu7Lq5 managed via SCCM and Intune.
  • Updates to MDOP.
  • Microsoft will create Windows 10 Enterprise “Premium” to include Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) integrating Endpoint Protection with ML enabled analytics and  breach response management.
  • Windows Defender ATP will complement Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA) available in EMS, ECS.
  • Microsoft will actively compete with Chrome OS, with new IOT strategy with Windows and Intune ‘wrap’ offers led by Business Desk.

SQL Server 2016

  • SQL Server 2016 is now generally available from June 1st.
  • SQL Server Enterprise Edition no price uplift in June,
  • Consolidation of BI and PDW into the Enterprise SKU. Enterprise Edition licenses required to run PDW on the APSA (Application Platform Systems Appliance).
  • BI edition licenses with SA will have transition to Enterprise Server SA at renewal.
  • SQL Enterprise Server SA SKU renewal has been extended. 20 core limit applies.
  • Software Assurance still required for passive failover server, and to support license mobility at point of failover. The December 2015 failover to cloud SA benefit applies.
  • Microsoft have a specific sales motion to respond to consolidations at renewal below 75% of original spend, positioning SCE
  • For SQL, ALL renewal EAs must include SQL recapture of 75% or more of the expiring SQL license count. If the deal has less than 75% of the expiring SQL license count, it will require Microsoft executive empowerment approval to support the decision. So be aware in positioning for any bill of materials where we have successfully reduced licensable footprint through licensing or technical optimisation!

Office365 Plan E5

  • Office365 Advanced Security Management service will be included into the existing Office365 E5 Suite on June 1st
  • All Office 365 commercial workloads are designed following the Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle and include built-in security capabilities such as encryption at-rest and in-transit, along with access to the Office 365 Management Activity API (which provides a programmatic way to pull events related to information protection and compliance in Office 365).
  • The Office365 plans are intended to meet a range of security and compliance needs. ‘Advanced’ security capabilities such as Advanced Security Management provide an additional level of security and control, and are available as Add-Ons to all enterprise plans in addition to being included in the Office365 E5 plan.
  • It is important to note that when Microsoft learns about threats from the new advanced security capabilities, those insights are used to improve security for all Office 365 customers – So could arguably be seen as not more secure, but providing better visibility of Office365 security.

Operations Management Suite (OMS) Add On

  • The OMS Add-On is an Azure Plan offered in the EA/EAS customers with System Center (Server) customers with active SA an OMS “Add On” to Standard or Datacenter Edition to pre-purchase Azure metered services for System Center or CIS.
  • The normal standalone Azure meters for OMS Incl.
  • Op Insights: Per GB, Automation: per minute, Backup: Per VM and Azure Site Recovery: 2 VMs.
  • The OMS suite Add-On will extend for Std/DC Annually – Opp Insights: 100GB/500GB, Automation: 10K min/ 50K min, Backup: 2VMs/10 VMs, Azure Site Recovery ASR: 2VMs/10 VMs
  • Promo until June 30th at circa 40% discount
  • The OMS Suite is available through EA/EAS/SCE
  • The standalone is available on PAYG or Azure monetary commit.
  • Usage above the annual entitlement is subject to overage charges. Azure Site Recovery could result in additional charges for Storage, Storage Transactions and Outbound Data.
  • The OMS Add-On is locked to the same enrollment as System Center or CIS. If Azure MC is purchased on a different enrollment, it can be used to pay for overage or other charges related  to OMS Add-On.

April News Roundup

  • Originally under NDA until May 2nd Microsoft confirmed SQL BIS would go end of sale. After SQL 2016 GA, Enterprise Server license grant  at renewal of BIS with active SA (1:1). EA customers can TUP with 25% cap.
  • Microsoft explicitly now confirmed SQL Enterprise Server SA renewals can continue. Applicable 20 core restrictions apply.
  • SQL PDW SKU discontinued on June 1st 2016. Features will be licensed per core under SQL Enterprise Edition. Representing a ~27% price increase for PDW.
  • Windows Server 2016 new licensing data metrics must be considered – Datacenter Edition supports unlimited OSEs, Hyper-V Containers and Windows Server Containers. Standard Edition provides rights TO 2 OSEs of Hyper-V contained and unlimited Hyper-V containers. Shielded VMs only available in Datacenter Edition. Nano Server available in both editions. Expected GA in October (TBC).
  • Reminder: July 1, 2016 Select Plus Retirement for Commercial customers – no new orders.
  • Windows10 “Anniversary Update” adds Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP). Windows Hello. http://goo.gl/5Ziipl
  • Windows10 “Anniversary Update” will provide Bash Linux terminal http://goo.gl/DqF8cD
  • Windows10 “Anniversary Update”: EDP (Enterprise Data Protection) for local device file encryption from corporate sources w. privileged app controls http://goo.gl/vu7Lq5
  • Office365 Cloud App Security was added to Product Terms and OST in April 2016. Generally Available.
  • SQL Server 2005 now out of support from April 12th 2016. https://goo.gl/2uAApc
  • Exchange Server 2007 is out of support in less than a year. http://goo.gl/WwxbTc
  • SQL Server ‘Incremental Servicing Model’ will proactively place CUs to Windows Update Catalog  https://goo.gl/tjmJmW
  • SQL 2016 Release Candidate 3 Available https://goo.gl/R2HqDz
  • April 1st SQL Developer only available via Dev Essentials (free). Enterprise Bits. No Downgrade Rights: look to MSDN https://goo.gl/ZacH8U
  • Azure Container Service own Generally Available
  • Skype for Business PSTN licensing FAQs https://goo.gl/HOV6BA
  • Customer Lockbox Office365 E5 expands. Exchange Online to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business from Q2 2016
  • Office365 App Discovery and App Permissions available via E5 from April 2016
  • Cloud App Security Broker, incorporating the Adallom acquisition, rolls out April 2016 for Office365 Plan E5
  • Dynamics AX “For SA” and “Step-up” licenses available: April 1,2016.

Dynamics AX

  • Microsoft Dynamics AX transition from an on-premises to a cloud release. The cloud offerings of Microsoft Dynamics AX include three levels of user subscription licenses (Enterprise, Task, Self-Serve) and one device SL. Customers can also purchase additional storage and sandbox instances if needed.
  • A seat minimum of 50 Enterprise Users (or device equivalent) will be required for Microsoft Dynamics AX for both CSP and EA offerings. It takes 2.5 Device SLs to equal 1 Enterprise User SL.
  • The seat minimum will be a technical enforcement in Life Cycle Service (LCS) on Enterprise and Device counts.
  • Available worldwide in EA/EAS/EES from February; CSP in March.

Dynamics CRM 2016 ‘Spring Wave’

  • CRM Portal capabilities from Microsoft are delivered as an add-on product for customers that have upgraded to the latest version (Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2016 Update 1).
  • CRM Project Service is delivered as an add-on product for customers that have upgraded to the latest version (Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2016 Update 1).
  • Field Service is delivered as an add-on product for customers that have upgraded to the latest version (Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2016 Update 1).
  • Microsoft are expecting general availability of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Portal and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Portal additional Pageviews in VL by May 10, 2016, important to advise customers interested in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Portal and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Portal Pageviews to NOT order prior to the service available date. Orders for these SKUs will be accepted starting on May 10th.
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Field Service: User must have at least a CRM Online Basic license. Additional capabilities for CRM Online Field Service may require CRM Online Professional.
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Project Service: available as a user subscription license via EA in lead status only. Requires CRM Online Basic license or above.
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Portal:  Requires a pre-existing CRM Online subscription and may only be associated with one instance per Portal. Each portal includes 1,000,000 page views per month.
  • Full Mobile Offline capabilities: Included in CRM Online Professional or above.
  • Microsoft Dynamics Employee Self-Service (ESS): Self-Service solution via CRM Portal requires separate CRM Online Portal Add-On, and at least one CRM Online Professional to set up and manage service. ESS users are not licensed for CRM Online user interface; access is only allowed via Portal or other Application.*
  • *Please note that the use right to Publish knowledgebase articles moves down from CRM Online Enterprise to CRM Online Professional with the ‘Spring Wave’ Release. Self-Service solution management via Parature Portal needs Parature deployment, which requires at least one (1) CRMOL Enterprise or at least one (1) Parature Enterprise.

About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn


Disclaimer

  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Terms
  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or Online Service Terms or other binding contractual documents
  • Please be aware that any licensing, or product information could be subject to change.
  • This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • This is not official guidance from Microsoft or its subsidiaries.
  • The following article is based on open information shared with Licensing Solutions Providers (LSPs) and based on  personal inference and understanding.
  • This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.
  • Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.
  • The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author endeavors to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.
  • The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.
  • This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights.

Microsoft Roadmap and Licensing Update | 2016 Q4 Roundup

MLR Insights

For your Enterprise Architecture (EA) Board, keeping on top of solution, service and feature updates for principle technology providers like Microsoft can be a challenge.
Getting a clear view of the Microsoft current and planned technology roadmap, deprecated and new features of owned technologies or those they plan to invest in, and the associated impact of software use terms (licensing changes) and price increases can have a material impact on your current and planned technology roadmap and IT budget.

Getting a clear updated technology and licensing roadmap can help inform a predictable commercial forecast, identify new service enhancements or opportunities for technology consolidation and identify opportunities for cost savings and cost avoidance, and risk mitigation from non-compliance or un-budgeted spend.

Please find below a snapshot of some of the principle product, feature and licensing updates so far in 2016:

April 2016

  • SQL Server 2016 will be available June 1st. Price file is not yet released.
  • Windows Server 2016 new licensing data metrics must be considered – Datacenter Edition supports unlimited OSEs, Hyper-V Containers and Windows Server Containers. Standard Edition provides rights TO 2 OSEs of Hyper-V contained and unlimited Hyper-V containers. Shielded VMs only available in Datacenter Edition. Nano Server available in both editions. Expected GA in October (TBC).
  • Reminder: July 1, 2016 Select Plus Retirement for Commercial customers – no new orders.
  • Windows10 “Anniversary Edition” adds Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP). Windows Hello. http://goo.gl/5Ziipl
  • Windows10 “Anniversary Edition” will provide Bash Linux terminal http://goo.gl/DqF8cD
  • Windows10 “Anniversary Edition”: EDP (Enterprise Data Protection) for local device file encryption from corporate sources w. privileged app controls http://goo.gl/vu7Lq5
  • Office365 Cloud App Security was added to Product Terms and OST in April 2016. Generally Available.
  • Server 2005 now out of support from April 12th 2016. https://goo.gl/2uAApc
  • Exchange Server 2007 is out of support in less than a year. http://goo.gl/WwxbTc
  • SQL Server ‘Incremental Servicing Model’ will proactively place CUs to Windows Update Catalog  https://goo.gl/tjmJmW
  • SQL 2016 Release Candidate 3 Available https://goo.gl/R2HqDz
  • April 1st SQL Developer only available via Dev Essentials (free). Enterprise Bits. No Downgrade Rights: look to MSDN https://goo.gl/ZacH8U
  • Azure Container Service own Generally Available
  • Skype for Business PSTN licensing FAQs https://goo.gl/HOV6BA
  • Customer Lockbox Office365 E5 expands. Exchange Online to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business from Q2 2016
  • Office365 App Discovery and App Permissions available via E5 from April 2016
  • Cloud App Security Broker, incorporating the Adallom acquisition, rolls out April 2016 for Office365 Plan E5
  • Dynamics AX “For SA” and “Step-up” licenses available: April 1,2016.

March 2016

  • SharePoint Enterprise Edition 2016 license required for Project Server 2016. Not available w. Standard license ref: https://goo.gl/mjhMjq GA expected in May 2016 before end of FY.
  • SharePoint 2016 RTM w. Project Server 2016 features released. GA expected early May. https://goo.gl/94RCrB
  • New article on License Mobility and CALs on my blog: http://MicrosoftLicenseReview.com
  • Microsoft advertise “Break free from Oracle”, but could our customers lock themselves in with Microsoft? SA Only Subscription via an SCE w. SA enterprise-wide “offer” required https://goo.gl/jUEbDw
  • Software Assurance for SQL will enable future deployment right on Linux https://goo.gl/cAJlaS
  • SQL 2016 Azure Stretch DB Pricing. Introduces DBU ‘Database Stretch Unit’ Metric https://goo.gl/cjZbRd
  • Microsoft support Forbidden Technologies Forscene on Azure Marketplace. Shares soar reportedly ~60% http://goo.gl/qpsBvm
  • Azure Search Basic Tier enters Public Preview https://goo.gl/jH4mtq
  • SQL 2016 expected for Linux Ubuntu RedHat on-premise and cloud. (Expect a Service Branch Update Model w.SA) http://goo.gl/OaIxZR
  • Microsoft announce Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection for Windows10. Compliments ATA and ATP. https://goo.gl/iYBL0W
  • FAQs WinSvr Azure Hybrid SA Benefit base compute rate equals 1 Linux VM. Run 2 VMs up to 8 cores, or one 16 cores https://goo.gl/mbPE8F Could see savings for higher end D Series VMs under this benefit!
  • Great resource: Azure Billing and Subscriptions FAQs https://goo.gl/jqRQ1c
  • Azure AD Identity Protection Preview. ML enabled threat analytics for Cloud identities. Compliments ATA for on-premise https://goo.gl/lBmQcv
  • Customer Lockbox Office365 E5 expands. From Exchange Online to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business from Q2 2016! http://goo.gl/gWv061
  • Be aware that Office365 dynamic Groups could ‘pull in’ Azure AD Premium Subscriptions for every directory query! http://goo.gl/8Hbpsb
  • Office365 App Discovery and App Permissions available via E5 from April 2016 https://goo.gl/OzOI7Q
  • Cloud App Security Broker, incorporating the Adallom acquisition, rolls out April 2016 for #Office365 Plan E5 https://goo.gl/jplLo3
  • Office 365 Pro Plus 2016 CBB (Current Branch for Business) now renamed ‘Deferred Channel
  • Office365 Pro Plus and Office365 Plan E3 to E5 via Tier 1 CSP and SPLA (with Amendment). RD model for Shared Computer Activation (CSA)
  • Office365 SA re-attach now available with EA ‘From SA’ SKU.
  • Windows SA ‘Roaming’ extended use right for remote 3rd party ends Jan31st 2017 or with contract after date.
  • ISV ‘Self-Hosted Applications’ use right extended from dedicated to shared servers Customers can transition to Office365 E5 mid-term EA. New E3/E4 “Add-On” and only pay price differential.
  • March 1st 2016 Office365 Cloud “Add-Ons” available for Project and Visio.
  • Enterprise State Roaming enters Preview. Available with Azure AD Premium and Windows10 for App and OS Settings sync
  • The Windows Server Hybrid Use Benefit Azure SA Benefit is GA. Customers must use PowerShell and specify ‘licenseType’ under Azure Hybrid Use Benefit. Pay only Azure base instance up-to 16 cores (min 8) Could save on higher end D series VMs!

February 2016

  • April 1, 2016, Norwegian krone prices for enterprise cloud and software will increase by 15 to 23 percent to realign close to euro levels.  Simultaneously, Swiss franc prices for enterprise software will decrease by 10 percent to realign close to euro levels
  • Azure: Until now, in addition to the Monetary Commitment SKUs that cover multiple Azure Products, there have been two SKUs on the price list for each Azure Meter; 1) A commitment SKU: This was used in the background to decrement the Azure Monetary commitment as the customer uses the specific Azure services. 2) An overage SKU that is used to invoice any additional use of Azure Services above the Monetary Commitment that they made.
  • From the February 2016 effective price list, the commitment meter SKUs were removed. This does not impact  the Monetary Commitment SKU. Price List Guide
  • Azure AD Identity Protection in Public Preview. ML enabled threat analytics for Cloud identities. An addition to EMS or AD Premium that compliments ATA for on-premise https://goo.gl/lBmQcv 
  • Customer Lockbox Office365 E5 expands: Exchange Online to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business from Q2 2016 http://goo.gl/gWv061
  • Be aware TCO: Office365 dynamic Groups could ‘pull in’ Azure AD Premium Subscriptions for every directory query http://goo.gl/8Hbpsb
  • Office365 App Discovery and App Permissions available via Office365 E5 from April 2016 https://goo.gl/OzOI7Q
  • Cloud App Security (CAS) Broker, incorporating the Adallom acquisition, rolls out April 2016 for Office365 Plan E5 https://goo.gl/jplLo3 
  • ISV ‘Self-Hosted Applications’ use right extended from dedicated to shared servers option. Ref: Product Terms, Feb 2016 p6.
  • Microsoft updated how they approach rental PC market for licensing Office and Windows in February: https://goo.gl/hKOTRz
  • Customers can transition to Office365 E5 mid-term EA. New E3/E4 “Add-On” Step Up converts to an E5 Add-on and only pay price differential.
  • Product Terms: Office365 SA reattach w. EA ‘From SA’ SKU.
  • Windows SA ‘Roaming’ right for remote 3rd party ends Jan31st 2017 or w. contract after date.
  • Windows10 CBB (Current Branch for Business) now renamed ‘Deferred Channel’ https://goo.gl/PfQwCk
  • Office365 Pro Plus and E3-E5 via T1 CSP, or SPLA (w. Amendment). RD model for Shared Computer Activation (CSA) http://goo.gl/j9p2Kl
  • Enterprise State Roaming enters Preview. Available with Azure AD Premium and Windows10 for App and OS Settings sync https://goo.gl/zCel8t
  • The Windows Server Hybrid Use Azure SA Benefit is GA https://goo.gl/WTcBU1
  • Exchange public folder mailbox limits are increasing from 100 to 1000 for Exchange Online over February! http://goo.gl/UIXJQL
  • Exchange Deployment  Advisor updated for 2016 scenarios https://goo.gl/yosUrk
  • Exchange 2013 and 2016 exmon (user monitor) Tool now available for download http://goo.gl/pMCsfg
  • Microsoft guidance in taking your application portfolio to the Azure cloud https://goo.gl/XGndqd 
  • SQL Server Express Images are in the Azure Gallery! https://goo.gl/E3h7MP
  • Azure Site Recovery (ASR) Licensing Whitepaper for Service Providers https://goo.gl/zDM3wS
  • Azure Container Service enters Public Preview https://goo.gl/uBvK8K
  • SQL Server Stretch DB enters Public Preview on Azure https://goo.gl/YKAHTL
  • RedHat Enterprise Linux on Azure Marketplace GA https://goo.gl/lGO7Gh
  • Microsoft Azure acquire Xamarin https://goo.gl/FYqBg0
  • New Admin control over Yammer licensing and access at user level, allow enforcement of #Office365 identity. https://goo.gl/8sti99
  • Microsoft have a new tool to support Azure data Import https://goo.gl/urDyuD
  • Good catch: You’ll need SCCM CML and SCEP subscription to manage Win Defender in Windows10 (or maintain CAL suite) http://goo.gl/HctF7O
  • New Azure Quick Start Templates https://goo.gl/P8BbyJ
  • New Windows10 Update History site provides archive of release notes http://goo.gl/YWXOGX

January 2016

  • Azure Pack Roadmap https://goo.gl/ZviLTg
  • Best practices for design and performance in SharePoint Online. http://ow.ly/XBgES
  • Log Analytics comes to Microsoft Operations Management Suite (MOMS) http://goo.gl/4DTYJz
  • Log Analytics comes to Microsoft Operations Management Suite (MOMS) http://goo.gl/4DTYJz
  • Latest encryption update whitepaper for Office365 on the service trust portal (get yourself an E3 to read it) https://goo.gl/q448qR
  • Playing hard ball: U.S. tells EU that Safe Harbor talks have “gone as far as we can go.” http://on.wsj.com/1nB3WYa
  • Improvements to Skype expected with Microsoft acquisition of Event Zero https://goo.gl/23Ii76
  • Core engine of Microsoft Edge, ‘chakracore’ will be Open Source https://goo.gl/g45u8n
  • You can now download the Nano Server 2016 VHD standalone http://goo.gl/zG1CBF
  • Impact of minimum 500 User EA/EAS. Subscription priority for MPSA. Q4 2016. Renew EAS until June, use  one time extension after July 1st
  • Microsoft Cloud Networking for Azure: Guidance Poster for Enterprise Architects https://goo.gl/crlcw2
  • Microsoft February price drop <17% for #Azure D series v2 instances. <10% for WinSvr Instances. Compete with AWS https://goo.gl/aCUQki
  • Azure SQL database index advisor enables #SQL tuning. Now Generally Available https://goo.gl/dEKm31
  • Azure RemoteApp extensibility with Premium/+Plus pricing tier for extra compute. <80% discount with EMS and RDS CALs https://goo.gl/vA9QOC
  • Microsoft allow international transfers to another user of some developer subscriptions https://goo.gl/XZejV2
  • Azure Role-Based Access Control (RABC) now Generally Available  https://goo.gl/vP19we
  • Microsoft make Azure MFA available as a USL under Volume Licensing. Don’t worry it’s still in AD Premium https://goo.gl/YHiYek
  • Reminder: Internet Explorer 11 is now the minimum supported browser for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1 Update https://goo.gl/gFRHc6
  • Remote Desktop Preview available for Windows10 Mobile and Continuum http://goo.gl/t7vMsF
  • StorSimple Virtual Array for Azure EA in Preview. ESX and Hyper-V. Storage Tiers for hot data and stale on Azure https://goo.gl/1bNjel
  • Hardware Specs for Microsoft Azure Stack http://goo.gl/4qT7jt
  • Windows Management Framework 5.0 RTM is now GA #PowerShell http://goo.gl/L97tN3
  • Aligning Your Cloud Strategy Across Your Technical, Procurement, and Licensing Teams http://hubs.ly/H01DM3q0
  • OneDrive for Business dissapoints E1 customers w.1TB limit. Extends ‘unlimited’ w. an increase to 5TB for E3,E4,E5 https://goo.gl/EBfVUn
  • OneDrive for Business next gen sync client supports 10GB files and 20,000 documents. https://goo.gl/4CQnEK
  • Microsoft gives Azure Machine Learning Excel AddIn http://goo.gl/gFzHIF
  • Azure IoT Suite predictive maintenance now Generally Available http://goo.gl/53KXJz
  • General Availability – Skype for Business for Android App https://goo.gl/6EVVPV
  • Microsoft IT case study – deploying Windows10 to 90K users in 9 weeks https://goo.gl/LfxrDN
  • System Center Current Branch General Availability v1511 http://goo.gl/8jF4Sa
  • Skype for Business Planning Tool https://goo.gl/cnBAhl
  • Microsoft release DskSpd storage testing tool https://goo.gl/npcBH2
  • Azure Remote App Windows Client MSI expected in Q1 2016 https://goo.gl/ndpbTn
  • Azure RemoteApp will provide Public Preview ability to publish specific applications to specific users https://goo.gl/ndpbTn  in Q1 2016
  • Azure RemoteApp expected availability on Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Programme in March/April 2016 https://goo.gl/ndpbTn
  • Microsoft tell you to opt-in to keep your 15GB bonus on OneDrive https://goo.gl/URPIwI
  • Cortana integration with PowerBI is possible. Doing this : http://goo.gl/M3T3mI
  • SQL 2005 Upgrade Planning – Advice from the SQL group at Microsoft http://goo.gl/p094Q7
  • Azure RMS w. mailbox encryption and user rights policies could provide encryption functionality to E1 for users that don’t require all E3
  • You can backup Vmware on prem VMs to Azure via ASR Azure Site Recovery https://goo.gl/KVrqiC
  • Office365 Groups now supports eDiscovery, litigation hold and Auditing. Ability to convert distribution lists; APIs https://goo.gl/4GIdGU
  • Azur RemoteApp November Updates. Includes Intune MAM support http://goo.gl/VS2BMj
  • Azure RemoteApp Pricing Plans w. Basic, Standard, Premium. 5 USL minimum. Discount for EMS and RDS CAL w. SA https://goo.gl/rcQzPk
  • Updated Azure RemoteApp Roadmap https://goo.gl/ksAuCH
  • At last, Microsoft make it easier to schedule a meeting with FindTime for #Office365 https://goo.gl/NuRU8O
  • Polycom gets Skype Cloud PBX ready with line-up for new Voice devices http://goo.gl/0PrRnz
  • Service Update – Blockchain as a Service on Azure (Ethyreum via ConsenSys) https://goo.gl/MeRfdC
  • General Availability – Azure Automation https://goo.gl/KR7EWy
  • If you have Windows Server or System Center running on more than 8 cores per CPU, you could be spending more at SA renewal.
  • Microsoft Azure Stack https://goo.gl/JCb0Bp

December 2015


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn


Disclaimer

  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Terms
  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or Online Service Terms or other binding contractual documents
  • Please be aware that any licensing, or product information could be subject to change.
  • This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • This is not official guidance from Microsoft or its subsidiaries.
  • The following article is based on open information shared with Licensing Solutions Providers (LSPs) and based on  personal inference and understanding.
  • This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.
  • Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.
  • The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author endeavors to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.
  • The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.
  • This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights.

 

License Mobility and CALs (Updated July 2016)

CALsThe Product Terms were updated in July 2015 with a new format, that is in principle, easier to navigate and has been well received by the channel. As an experienced licensing practitioner, I have seen the small nuances of terminology and interpretation impact clients in assessment of whether they require Software Assurance (SA).

I often illustrate to my clients the role of Software Assurance as a critical enabler of their business. The role of Software Assurance has extended beyond ‘New Version Rights’ and a package of soft benefits, to become a licensing vehicle for extended software use rights that are increasingly critical to how enterprises implement and maintain Microsoft solutions. The requirement to pay Microsoft every year to use software in the way a modern enterprise expects software to be deployed and maintained, often in a virtual infrastructure and highly available and resilient has become beholden to the requirement for SA.

I tell clients that they can often elect to license for enablement, or they can license for restriction. The answer for most customers who want to deliver on their business and technical requirements is usually somewhere in the middle, the balance of licensing optimisation and technical design can achieve the right business outcomes.

5 years ago, the expansion of Software Assurance was in it’s infancy. The decision to renew maintenance was still principally about whether the business would upgrade to the next version. It was a question of whether the new product offered new features that were required, and when that product would be upgraded.

To decide to renew was about commitment to the Microsoft technology roadmap. The decision to exit SA was about whether you ‘owned’ the perpetual license and were happy to remain on the then-current version. It was common for practitioners to assess a ‘holiday’ for a number of years and then forecast costs of buying back in later.

Last week, I came across some advice from a ‘big three’ consultancy that was advocating a complete exit of a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) as a driver of cost savings for a client. This set my alarm bells ringing, as I have tracked those small nuances of licensing enablement and restriction that can determine ‘lock in’ for renewal of Software Assurance across the Microsoft solutions and services stack. The decision to exit Software Assurance must be carefully assessed based on contract, license and maintenance entitlement and current and planned utilisation of Microsoft solutions and services.

Experienced practitioners are acutely aware of the role of licensing as a vehicle to drive consumer behavior. The old days of buying a perpetual license and ‘walking away’ have been systematically curtailed with the limitation of value in the perpetual license, enshrined within updated Product Terms and closer integration of cloud services. Redmond are aware that licensing drives increased revenues, and small changes and new licensing models are not ‘revenue neutral’ but drive the double-digit growth of strategic product groups.

One common topic of conversation is about whether an organisation can ‘exit’ Software Assurance as a driver of cost savings. I always stand by two principles a) don’t pay for what you don’t need b) If you need it, pay as little as possible. So in principle, I agree with the logic of the ‘big three’ consultancy, but as with the law, the devil is in the detail.

A common deployment configuration for applications servers like Exchange, Skype for Business or SharePoint Server is within a highly available virtual server environment. Microsoft support dynamic re-assignment of licenses within their virtual server environment under something called ‘License Mobility’ has been enshrined within the ‘safe harbor’ of Software Assurance (SA) for application server licenses.

Under License Mobility Across Server Farms  Software Assurance benefit, an organisation can reassign any of its licenses which are designated under as benefiting from License Mobility to any of its licensed servers located within their server environment dynamically, unrestricted by the default ’90 day rule’ that would be costly without the ability to re-assign licenses as often as needed. (Ref: Product Terms March 2016, Page 82)

Some organisations have been informed that Microsoft extended the ‘safe harbor’ of SA to Client Access Licenses (CALs). Accordingly, our clients have been concerned that active Software Assurance is required to continue deployment within a high availability virtual server environments. This interpretation could have a material impact to vendor ‘lock in’ as organisations are unable to ever exit Software Assurance for CALs as well as associated Server Licenses.

The reason for this concern some new wording added in October 2015 Product Terms:

With the exception of New Version Rights, benefits available for Server Products requires coverage for both Server License and access Licenses, if any (e.g., CALs). […] Customer’s access and rights to use their SA benefits, generally expires upon expiration of their SA coverage, unless otherwise noted below or in the Product Entries. The benefits are subject to change and may be discontinued at any time without notice. Availability of benefits varies by program, region, fulfillment options and language”

(Ref: Product Terms, March 2016,Page 72)

However, looking more closely at the respective product entries, the License Mobility SA benefit is stipulated as pertaining to the ‘server license’ and no other licenses associated with the license model for the product are listed:

  • Skype for Business Server
    “License Mobility: Server licenses only
    Product Terms, March 2016,Page 33
  • Dynamics CRM
    “License Mobility: All editions (server licenses only)”
    Product Terms, March 2016,Page 25
  • Exchange Server
    “License Mobility: Server licenses only
    Product Terms, March 2016,Page 30
  • Project Server
    “License Mobility: Server licenses only
    Product Terms, March 2016,Page 30
  • SharePoint Server
    “License Mobility: SharePoint Server and Office Audit and Control Management Server (server licenses only)”
    Product Terms, March 2016,Page 32
  • Visual Studio Team Foundation Server
    “License Mobility: Yes (server licenses only)”
  • Product Terms, March 2016,Page 43
  • UPDATED The July 2016 Product Terms:

    License Mobility: The terms for SA benefits for server products were updated to restore the License Mobility across Server Farms rights to allow Customers with SA on Servers but not CALs to continue to invoke License Mobility across Server Farm rights, provided their CALs are appropriately licensed to access the version of server software being used. 

  • It would appear Microsoft have responded to the market (i.e. upset customers) and clarified their position. This was repeatedly invoked by some Microsoft Account Managers to drive SA renewal on CALs…. something not necessarily supported by the Product Terms. This is great news that Microsoft have not extended the ‘lock in’ of Software Assurance even further!

Key Considerations

  1. Maintain Software Assurance for applications servers deployed in virtual server environments to support dynamic re-assignment of server licenses.
  2. Updated Product Terms wording will likely extend the requirement for active Software Assurance (SA) for CALs for products eligible for other principle server Software Assurance benefits like Fail-Over Rights and Server Disaster Recovery Rights i.e. for SQL on Server/CAL.
  3. As Microsoft migrate customers under a ‘Per Core’ licensing model for SQL Server, Windows Server and System Center, the impact to renewal of CALs should be increasingly limited.
  4. Organisations that do leverage the limited Server Disaster Recovery Right for application servers like SharePoint, Exchange, SfB, should assess the true cost of three years renewal of Software Assurance for CALs, before taking advantage of reducing their licenensable server footprint under disaster recovery benefit.
  5. Should your organisation license application servers under commercial vehicles like the Core CAL and ECAL suite, then a wider critical assessment of contract and contractual amendments, technology roadmap, current and planned feature utilisation, failover and DR configuration, and adoption of cloud subscription services are required to ensure appropriate due diligence of commercial and technology considerations.
  6. UPDATED The July 2016 Product Terms:

    License Mobility: The terms for SA benefits for server products were updated to restore the License Mobility across Server Farms rights to allow Customers with SA on Servers but not CALs to continue to invoke License Mobility across Server Farm rights, provided their CALs are appropriately licensed to access the version of server software being used. 

  • It would appear Microsoft have responded to the market (i.e. upset customers) and clarified their position. This was repeatedly invoked by some Microsoft Account Managers to drive SA renewal on CALs…. something not necessarily supported by the Product Terms. This is great news that Microsoft have not extended the ‘lock in’ of Software Assurance even further!

With these licensing considerations in mind, and the business demand for cost savings and mitigation of commercial risk, the requirement to develop an optimum software licensing strategy are increasingly complex. This includes, but is not limited to,  price increases and licensing updates, new licensing models and metrics, complex desktop, application and virtual server environments and adoption of cloud have seen critical changes in licensing and commercial pricing models. The utilisation of licensing as a driver of global renewal and new technology investment behaviours, pricing and increased audit activity require a systematic considered approach to respond to Microsoft’s bold commercial strategy.

The logic of the ‘big three’ consultancy to advise their clients to simply exit an EA is an established renewal and/or negotiation  strategy, but with the current rapid release and license update cadence it requires an accurate, structured and holistic approach.


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn


Disclaimer

  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Terms
  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or Online Service Terms or other binding contractual documents
  • Please be aware that any licensing, or product information could be subject to change.
  • This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • This is not official guidance from Microsoft or its subsidiaries.
  • The following article is based on open information shared with Licensing Solutions Providers (LSPs) and based on  personal inference and understanding.
  • This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.
  • Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.
  • The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author endeavors to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.
  • The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.
  • This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights.

 

Microsoft Licensing Bootcamp – London – November 18th and 19th

Bootcamp

Get your software estate in shape with our Microsoft Licensing Bootcamp
Learn how to make better software licensing decisions with our structured two-day course. The bootcamp is on 18th & 19th November at HMS Victoria London

  • Make the right licensing choices
  • Negotiate better deals
  • Identify and mitigate compliance risks
  • Support business and IT transformation with fit-for-now and fit-for-the-future software agreements

The bootcamp will help you understand Microsoft software licensing so you can get the most from your IT spend while staying compliant.
To find out more click here
Space is limited so please book now to secure your place

Free Half Day Workshop
Registered delegates are also entitled to a complimentary half-day onsite workshop with one of our experts to help apply your new knowledge to your circumstances.
View the bootcamp agenda


About SoftwareONE
SoftwareONE helps organisations reduce the cost and complexity of managing their software portfolio by connecting the dots between the people whose job it is to manage the software, with the people who purchase the software, and finally, with the people who have to make it all work.
As a solution provider with software licensing at its core, SoftwareONE gains added insight into the challenges and opportunities that a customer’s software lifecycle presents, enabling us to provide the highest level of expertise and most complete services throughout the lifecycle of these investments. We strive to help our clients deliver their IT vision and strategy with greater confidence and clarity.

Office 365 Service General Availability Roundup

Office365

AzureAD sync for Yammer
This release is an update to Office 365 sign-in for Yammer and gives admins the ability to unify suspension rights and email changes. For instance, when an user is deleted in Office 365 they will automatically be suspended in Yammer. And when admins change a user’s email address in Office 365 it will automatically be modified in Yammer. Please note, these changes will only affect mapped users in networks that meet the requirements to receive Office 365 sign-in for Yammer.

Cortana & Office 365 Productivity Scenarios
Cortana in Windows 10 will be now able to connect to Office 365 to help you accomplish more at work. You can configure this integration between Cortana and Office 365 through the Office 365 admin center. For more info, please check here.

Major update to Outlook Web App
Outlook Web App will undergo a major user interface update, with a redesigned message list, reading pane and compose experience. New features will be introduced, including Sweep, Undo, and many more.

New capabilities for Yammer iOS app
“The Yammer iOS app features new capabilities that boost team collaboration. Better photo-sharing and markup” Lets users attach multiple images
at once and mark up the parts of the image they want to call out with their finger Attach files from external file storage services”. Lets users find and attach files stored on external services such as OneDrive and Dropbox, as well as files stored in Yammer and on the mobile device. Yammer suggests people and groups to address while users are composing a message, removing the need to at-mention them separately. Search and invite coworkers by email and Searching by name or
email enables users to find existing members and invite new members to join Yammer from their Yammer mobile app.”

Office 365 Admin App Updates for June
Updates this month are focused around improving visibility, providing more control and improving access to support. Push notifications for service incidents will enable you to receive an alert at the beginning of each service incident and convenient access to additional service incident details. In addition, admins now have more granular control over what Office 365 services are enabled when assigning licenses and lastly, admins can now raise a support request ticket on the go right from the app.

Office 365 Groups: mobile app
We’ll be delivering a mobile app that surfaces Outlook Group conversations and files across iOS, Android and Windows Phone. https://blogs.office.com/2015/09/22/introducing-availability-of-office-365-groups-in-outlook-2016/

Office 365 Service Trust Portal
The regulatory compliance and business risk landscape is continuously evolving. At Microsoft, we appreciate our customers need to understand the Office 365 architecture and compliance with regulations to help them evaluate moving to Office 365. We also know you need to understand how we keep your data secure on the service on an ongoing basis.To help with your assessment needs, we are announcing Office 365 Service Trust Portal (STP).

Office 365 Setup Enhancements
The setup wizard will support more options for migrating data to Office 365 including data from IMAP/POP email providers such as Google Apps.

Office 365 Setup Wizard
Admins no longer have to choose between the basic and advanced setup options when setting up their Office 365 environment. The Office 365 setup wizard replaces these two options and guides admins through the Office 365 setup experience. The wizard supports migrating data from Microsoft Exchange server and integrating with the simplified domain setup experience released earlier.

Office 365 Video
WW rollout started March 2015 and completed July 2015 – deployment to GCC targeted H2 CY 2015. Office 365 Video is a secure, company-wide destination for video upload, sharing and discovery, and smooth playback across devices – all powered by Windows Azure Media Services. More here in the corresponding blog post: http://blogs.office.com/2014/11/18/introducing-office-365-video/

Office 365 Video – Embed
Videos can now be played outside the Office 365 Video portal by embedding individual videos into a team site. You simply click the ‘Embed’ button on an Office 365 Video player page, go to a team site in edit mode, click ‘add embed, hit save; now there is inline playback within the team site. This update, too, will enable Kiosk licensed users to get use rights to view videos embedded in a team site outside of the Office 365 Video portal; note, Kiosk workers would still not have use rights directly in the Office 365 Video portal itself. WW rollout July 2015 completed – deployment to GCC targeted H2 CY2015.

Office 365 Video Update
WW rollout started April 2015 – deployment to GCC targeted H2 CY2015. Office 365 Video went into First Release (FR) on 18/11/14. This update will both move Office 365 Video to the broader worldwide production environment, beyond FR customers, and bring new updates for increased mobility and improved performance. For mobility, Office 365 Video will now have a companion iPhone app in the App Store, responsive Web pages across the video portal for access across devices of all sizes (PC, Mac, Android and iOS), plus extend video playback to non-Flash capable devices via our new HTML5-based player from Azure Media Services. We, too, have taken user feedback to enable more refinement for some of the admin controls available to portal and channel owners.

Outlook for iOS opens IRM protected emails
Outlook for iOS can open, read and reply to Information Rights Protected emails. It will also respect permission set by the send. For example, if ‘Do Not Forward’ is set, the Forward command will be disabled.

Save to OneDrive for Business
In Outlook Web App, save email attachments directly to your OneDrive for Business.

Search Suggestions in Outlook Web App
Search suggestions in Outlook Web App are recommended search terms that appear when a user starts typing a new search query. The recommendations are based on the user’s mailbox content including the history of search results and keywords commonly found in email messages.

UserVoice coming to Outlook on the web
UserVoice makes it easier to provide feedback within Outlook on the web. To provide feedback, just click Feedback under the gear icon and add your suggestion. In addition, adding an Outlook on the web forum to Outlook UserVoice, where you can share your feedback, recommend features and vote for the ideas you like best.

Weather Bar in Outlook Web App
The calendar in Outlook Web App indicates the current local weather.

Yammer for Apple Watch
As a companion app for the Yammer mobile and web experiences, Yammer for Apple Watch provides instant notification of conversations and activities at a glance and lets users take quick action such as ‘Like’, ‘Mark as Unread’ for follow-up, or ‘View on Phone’ to continue working on their iPhone.

Office 365 Roadmap Update – Rolling Out in September 2015

Office365

Apps for Project Pro for Office 365 write support
Apps for Project Pro for Office 365 will be able to write-back and update the project plan.

Automatic Relationship Detection
Automatic relationship detection is now available for everyone using Office 365. When you are building a Data Model PivotTable working with two or more tables with no relationships defined, you get a notification to run Automatic relationship detection. This will detect and create all relationships between the tables that are used for the Data Model PivotTable so that you don’t have to do any of the work yourself. Automatic relationship detection can also be run through the Relationship dialog.

Automatic Time Grouping
Drilling up and down time groups and other hierarchical levels of your data is a common action in data analysis. This preview makes it easier for you to perform these actions with two new updates. Time groups are now automatically detected and created when you add rows of time fields to your PivotTables. Also, you can now drill up and down your data hierarchies directly from your PivotCharts visualizations, allowing you to explore deeper in your data right from your charts and graphs.

Capacity Management capabilities in Project Online
Resource Managers can benefit from configurable color coded heatmaps to better predict the utilization of   their resource pool in Project Online. These heatmaps will also support seamless drill-down capabilities all the way down to individual resources and their assigned projects.

Clutter for your inbox on by default
Clutter will become on by default for all users in tenants where the Clutter feature is available. As Clutter becomes on by default, it will introduce an enhanced user experience providing a concise way to stay informed of messages being moved to the Clutter folder. Users will continue to have the option to set their own preference. Additionally a PowerShell cmdlet will be made available to enable administrators to turn off the Clutter feature on behalf of users ahead of Clutter being enabled by default.

Colorful Office theme
The default theme is now “Colorful” (previously, the default theme was “White”). You can always change your theme by going to File   Account  Office Theme.
Create and collaborate on Visio diagrams using Office-like experience
Visio incorporates Office experience innovations such as dark themes, Delve, Tell Me and High DPI support to accommodate various diagram creation and collaboration needs. in Preview as of Aug 2015

Custom Tiles
The custom tile feature will provide the capability for an Office 365 tenant admin to quickly create an app tile from any public website, intranet or team site and push it to the my apps page of all users within their tenant. Users will then be able to add this app to their app launcher for quick access to a top site for their organization.

Dark theme
This new theme is designed to provide users with visual impairments who find overly bright displays unusable, with a more visually subtle background to work with in the apps.

Data Loss Protection (DLP) for Office desktop
Data Loss Protection (DLP) is a high-value enterprise feature that is well loved in Outlook. We are introducing DLP in Excel, PowerPoint and Word to enable real time scan of content based on a set of predefined policies for the most common sensitive data types (e.g., credit card number, social security number, and US bank account number). This capability will enable the synchronization of DLP policies from Office 365 in Excel, Word, and PowerPoint, and provide organizations with unified policies across content stored in Exchange, SharePoint and OneDrive for Business. One additional benefit of DLP is the ability it affords IT administrators to have some oversight and help end-users in their organizations better and more knowledgeably manage sensitive information.

Deferred Updates
Enabled Office 365 Commercial customers can defer regular feature updates while only receiving monthly security patches, allowing time for testing and validation against critical line-of-business apps, add-ins and macros.  This update approach is called Current Branch for Business and will deliver feature updates and bug fixes a few times a year.

DKIM Outbound for Exchange Online Protection
Exchange Online Protection will begin supporting outbound validation of Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM; see DomainKeys Identified Mail Signatures). DKIM is a method of validating a digitally signed message that appears in the DKIM-Signature header in the message headers. It ties an email message to the organization responsible for the message.

Easy Enable for Data Analysis Add-Ins
Now Business Intelligence features are much easier to find in your Excel experience. If you’re using one of the BI feature (Power View, Power Pivot or Power Map) the rest will be turned on automatically for you. You can also turn on all the BI Features by going to Excel under File Options Advanced Turn on data analysis features, instead of File Options Add-Ins Manage Add-ins on the go, which makes everything less time consuming

FastTrack | Request Service Onboarding
You can request help to setup Office 365 directly from the admin center. Every new customer with an eligible purchase of Office 365 over 150 seats is entitled to email migration and remote onboarding provided by a regional Microsoft Onboarding Center. You can now start the engagement with the Onboarding Center from your Office 365 admin center.

Getting started experience in Visio
Visio diagramming can be  intimidating for someone who is new to Visio and not used to the rich set of   tools offered. The Getting Started experience now makes the Visio canvas more   inviting by providing a select set of pre-crafted starter diagrams which will  help the users in some of the very core scenarios for that template. In   addition, there are some tips provided with the diagram which help the users   in editing and completing their diagram creation experience. Using Visio is  easier than ever.

Higher DPI support for 250% and 300%
Higher DPI support for 250% and 300% so that your Office documents look great on larger screens.

Improved conflict resolution in PowerPoint
This feature simplifies resolving conflicts when coauthoring. You can choose between two versions of the conflicting slides, your changes or others’ changes, instead of sifting a through the individual conflicts.

Improved sync slider and lean storage footprint on small devices in Outlook 2016
Outlook used to download a month of email on smaller devices. Outlook 2016 includes an improved sync slider to control how much data is synced to the device, with additional values including 1 day, 3 days, 7 days, 14 days. Outlook will recognize the available disk space and automatically lower the time-frame to sync on devices with smaller hard drives.

Information Rights Management (IRM) protection now added for Visio files
Visio files now offers Information Rights Management (IRM) features, which provide persistent online and offline protection of e-mail messages and attachments, documents and diagrams. Now you can protect sensitive information such as confidential product information, financial and sales process visuals, research and patent information and customer or employee data that live in Visio diagrams. Because people can now access their files from just about anywhere, large amounts of potentially sensitive information can suffer from information leakage can be a serious threat to organizations. To help prevent information leakage, protect your Visio diagrams with the new Information Rights Management (IRM) features.

Keyboard access for Pivot Tables and Slicers in Excel
Previously blocked keyboarding scenarios in Excel for features like Pivot Tables and Slicers are now accessible, providing a more robust Excel feature set for all.
Keyboard access for Shape Panel in Visio
Now enjoy easy access to the Visio Shape Panel using your keyboard. F6 cycles into the shape panel, TAB cycles through the different sections of the shape panel. Arrow keys allow users to navigate between the individual elements. Ctrl + TAB will allow users to quickly switch between STENCILS and SEARCH views.

Keyword & People search suggestions in Outlook 2016
Searching in Outlook 2016 now leverages Office 365 and Exchange Server for simpler and more effective search. Outlook now provides Keyword & People suggestions as you type and surfaces up recent search queries.

Likes Coming to Outlook on the web
Likes is a new feature coming to Outlook on the web for Exchange Online business users.  Likes provides an easy solution to endorse a specific message within your inbox by clicking on the ‘thumbs up’ icon within the message.  If a user ‘likes’ your message, you are provided an alert and the history of ‘likes’ is retained in the email message thread.
Making it easier to share files and collaborate
These changes bring together two key aspects of collaboration: who has access to a given document and who is currently working with you on the document. Now you can view both pieces of information in one place from the Share panel dialog box.

Mark emails as Clutter in Outlook 2016
Clutter helps you prioritize the most important email. Clutter looks at what you’ve done in the past to determine the messages you’re most likely to ignore. It then moves those messages to a folder in your Inbox called Clutter, which is available on any device. From Outlook 2016, you can more easily move items to Clutter with the ‘move to Clutter’ command. This command will also educate the Clutter service on your preferences for future mail.

Math Input Control
Math input control is now available in Word, Excel, OneNote and PowerPoint. You can write math equations with a digital pen, a pointing device, or even your finger, and have the ink converted to a typed format.

Modern Attachments in Outlook 2016
Easily attach Office documents in Outlook 2016. When selecting ‘Attach’, a list of most recently accessed files will be available for attaching in a dropdown list, without having to dig through File Explorer. Files in OneDrive, OneDrive for Business or SharePoint will be shared as a link instead of as a traditional attachment, thereby enabling collaboration on one copy of a document. You have the option to share cloud files as an “Edit” or “View only” links without having to separately navigate to the file share to set permissions.
More secure translation options
The translation features in Office (Whole Document Translation, Mini Translator, and Research and Reference Pane Translation) have all been improved such that communication with machine translation providers happens over an SSL connection.   The user is notified when content that they are translating is using a machine translation provider (e.g. Bing)..

Multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor-authentication (MFA) through integration of ADAL (Active Directory Authentication Library) streamlines sign on for the whole Office suite and layers security through the process in one single sign on.

Multiple timeline bars in Project Pro for Office 365
In Project Pro for Office 365 you will be able to create multiple timeline bars within the Timeline view. You will also be able to set a custom date range for each timeline bar in order to just highlight a certain time period of the project in the Timeline view.

New and Modern Charts
“The following new chart types are available. They are particularly good for visualizing financial or hierarchal information and for revealing statistical properties in your data:
Financial: Waterfall, Statistical: Histogram, Pareto, Box and Whisker, Hierarchical: Treemap and Sunburst”

New capabilities on Yammer Android app
“The Yammer Android app features new capabilities that boost team collaboration.

New Chinese and Japanese Default Fonts
In Office 2016, existing Japanese and Simplified Chinese fonts have been updated with a Unified modern look and feel across the primary authoring apps: Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook Mail and OneNote.

New Forecasting Capabilities
The time series forecasting sheet functions are used to predict future values based on historical data. For example, a monthly timeline with values on the 1st of every month or yearly timeline. For this type of timeline, its very useful to aggregate raw detailed data before you apply the forecast, which produces more accurate forecast results as well. In this preview, the following forecasting functions are available:

New Office 365 Admin Center Preview
“This is an early peek into the new Office 365 Admin Center Preview. The redesigned Office 365 Admin Center
Preview is more intuitive and informative making it easier to complete your administrative tasks.This is a journey and as we continue to add more
features and functionality, the admin experience will not only be more delightful to use, but also more insightful and scalable to meet more advanced
needs.”

Office 2013 Windows client modern authentication public preview
IN PUBLIC PREVIEW – Office 2013 Windows client modern authentication features have moved from private preview to public preview. This means that the program is easier to join and production support is included for participants. Modern authentication brings Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL)-based sign-in to Office 2013 Windows clients. This update enables IT administrators to configure new security scenarios for sign-in with Office 365.

Office 365 Domain Purchase Experience
Office 365 admins will have an updated purchase domain experience available soon within the Office 365 admin portal. This will provide benefits to Office 365 admins including reduced billing complexity, reduced log-ins required, automated domain management including DNS configuration- all directly from Office 365 rather than third party providers.

Office 365 Help Pane
The new Office 365 help panel feature will includes several capabilities including What’s new, help content and help  search. The ‘What’s new’ new feature discovery component will provide users the ability to contextually discover and see how-to information about recently introduced capabilities.The Office 365 help panel will be available across apps in the Office 365 web experience.

Office 365 Notification Pane
The new notification pane will provide end users with a single place to catch up on all system events (i.e. system alerts like password expiration, new emails, calendar reminders and eventually group likes) and will be available across apps in the Office 365 web experience. In order to access this new feature, a user simply clicks on the top right notification icon to open the notification pane. In the first phase the functionality will be limited to Office 365 Groups mail notifications and the icon will appear as multiple team members in the top nav bar.
Office 365 Settings pane
Office 365 settings experience will be updated to include contextual settings within the right hand pane of the Office 365 web experience. These contextual settings will include workload specific settings as well as Office 365 settings including theme and start page. The settings pane will include a search box to quickly search all settings, and a link to a full immersive settings experience that includes all Office 365 settings.

Office 365 User Purchases
Office 365 user purchases is a new feature designed to enable users to get the software they need. Using this new feature an individual in an organization will be able to purchase and individually own a subscription to additional software including Office 365 Pro Plus, OneDrive for Business, Visio and Project available via the Office 365 store.

OLAP Connection Support in Power View
Microsoft PowerView is now added as a reporting option for an Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) cube connection. Just connect your Excel spreadsheet to an OLAP cube and select to view this data in your workbook as a Power View Report. In PowerView you can now build reports with KPI’s, hierarchies, calculations and table data coming from the OLAP cube.

Optimized file picker in Outlook Web App
Improvements to user flow when adding attachment.  Allows user to check a box to automate steps, instead of being presented with each option each time you upload a file. Asks and remembers your preference when saving attachments from both the cloud and local files. You can save as copies, which will not receive updates if stored in the cloud, a physical document, which will receive updates if stored in the cloud or as cloud links.Can change your preference under Preference-General- Attachments.

Organization support card
Organization admins will have the opportunity set custom support contact information including email, website, phone number and a line of text that will be visible to users within the new help pane in the Office 365 web experience.
Pan and zoom while loading large charts/SmartArt

PivotTable Field Search
Excel Field List, used for adding fields to Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts, now supports search functionality so that you can quickly find the fields you are looking for in longer lists.

Purchase & Subscriptions Experience Refresh
The refreshed purchase and subscriptions experience provides an update to the UI for both the purchase and subscriptions pages within the admin experience. The update includes new features like dynamic resizing based on screen size, hover menu, updated shopping cart experience for easier editingand additions to the cart, and simplified purchase flow.

Quick data linking in Visio
Visio diagrams can be connected with real-time data from various data sources so that users can visualize data in the context of organizational structure, IT network map, manufacturing floor plan, complex business processes and etc.  Users can now take advantage of the new one-step connectivity with Excel table to boost productivity.

Quick Shape Formatting
This feature increases the   number of default shape styles by introducing new preset styles in Word,  Excel, and PowerPoint.

Read-only mode for Excel
Open up an Excel workbook within SharePoint quickly in read-only mode to quickly get to what matters most.

Real time co-authoring in Word
When you’re working with people in a Word document, you can see text changes others are making as well as the location of their cursor within the document. Changes are displayed automatically as people use and update the document. This capability is available in documents stored on OneDrive for Business and Office 365 SharePoint sites.

Red Alert Autoposting
Customer feedback around timeliness of communications at the onset of a service incident led to increased adoption of monitoring automation for SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online. Based on automated detection of a potential issue, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online services can automatically post an alert directly to affected customers Service Health Dashboard (SHD).

Refreshed stencils and smart shapes in Visio
“Visio 2016 has refreshed 4 templates under ‘Maps and Floor Plan’ which allow users to accurately depict complex architecture with modern shapes.  With refreshed Electrical template and solution, users can easily create and edit IEEE compliance circuit diagrams. Users can also create diagrams with 400 smart shapes including multi-chair trapezoid shapes.

In Preview as of August 2015:-

Resource Engagement Workflow in Project Online
Project managers, working in Project Pro for Office 365 can systematically place resource requests in order to build their project teams.  Soon thereafter, Resource managers working in Project Online will be able to view, modify, accept or reject those requests. Also, decisions made by Resource managers  will be available to Project Managers within Project Pro for Office 365 to review and plan accordingly.

Search Refiners in Outlook Web App
Search refiners in Outlook Web App allow users to filter their search results faster. When a user types a new search query, a menu appears below the search bar with a list of options to refine the search results by sender, date, folder, and attachments.
SharePoint Online uses Exchange Web Services to send mail
Customer will no longer see SharePoint generated emails for shared items getting incorrectly classified as spam.
SharePoint Online will start to transition to using TLS to send email securely in our datacenters
Emails sent by SharePoint, such as sharing emails, alerts, or workflow emails, will now be transmitted inside SharePoint datacenters in a secure way using Transport Layer Security (TLS).

Smart Lookup for Office
Smart Lookup is available in Word, Outlook, Excel, and PowerPoint and helps you learn more about your content by bringing you precisely the right information in context of what you are reading or writing about. With information from a variety of sources like Bing Snapshot, Wikipedia, Bing image search and Oxford dictionary, you can do anything from a quick look up to a detailed exploration without leaving the Office application.  Smart Lookup can be accessed by right clicking a word or phrase, through the Review tab on the ribbon, or via the Tell Me box.Insights is powered by Bing and uses the selected text and some surrounding content to get contextually relevant results.

Smart Rename in Power Pivot
Now you can rename tables, columns and calculated fields/measures within the Power Pivot add-in and take advantage of PivotTables being seamlessly adjusted to the new names in the Data Model.

Subscription Management Experience refresh
The Office 365 subscription management experience refresh will provide admins with a new subscription management experience within the admin portal. The updates include a simplified subscription card view, easy transitions and upgrades, improved navigation, notifications, integrated tasks and subscription status.
Support for multi-selection of Slicer items using touch
This change now allows you to select multiple items in an Excel Slicer on a touch device. This is a change from prior versions of Excel where only one item in a slicer could be selected at a time using only touch input. You can also enter Slicer multi-select mode by using the new control located in the Slicer label.

Support for small screen portrait layouts in Outlook 2016
Outlook 2016 will adapt to smaller screens with a dynamic layout. Includes a new Portrait view where the Ribbon, Navigation Pane and Reading Pane automatically adjust.

Tell Me
Tell Me saves you the time you would normally use to look for a specific function within the Ribbon. You can type what you are looking for in the Tell Me box at the top right corner of the Ribbon in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Access, and with word-wheeling, which enables results as soon as you start typing, every keystroke refines the results so that you can click on what you are looking for as soon as you see it. For example, when you want to mark your document as confidential, just type confidential or confidential banner and Tell Me will bring back the Insert Watermark command. When you click in the Tell Me box, you’ll also see a list of the last five commands you ran from within Tell Me, saving you time getting to the feature you want to use.

Tighter Yammer Integration with Delve
Delve now incorporates links shared in Yammer so you can discover even more from across Office 365. Soon, Delve will also enable inline conversations so you can share and discuss any content in Yammer directly from within the Delve experience.

Office365 – In Development – September 2015

Office365

Microsoft latest ‘In Development’ for Office 365 for September 2015.

 Add Ins via Click-to-Run

You can deploy Solver, Euro Currency, & Analysis ToolPak add-ins in the language of their choice via Click-to-Run.

Advanced administrative controls for archiving

Enables customers to satisfy stringent SEC 17a-4 record retention requirements with advanced administrative controls for archiving such as restricting changes to archiving policies and preventing such policies from being turned off or removed.

Analyze Office 365 data with Equivio Zoom

ediscovery capabilities powered by Equivio Zoom are coming to Office 365.  Equivio Zoom helps you understand unstructured data, perform more efficient document review, and make decisions to reduce data for eDiscovery.

Archiving in Office 365 for 3rd-party data

Extends archiving support in Office 365 for 3rd-party data such as:Social – Twitter, Facebook, Yammer, LinkedIn, and many moreInstant Messaging – Yahoo Messenger, GoogleTalk, Cisco Jabber, and many moreDocument Collaboration – Box, DropBox, and many moreVerticals – SalesForce Chatter, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg, and many moreSMS/Text Messaging – BlackBerry, MobileGuard, and many more

Auto-Expanding Archives

To accommodate customers who require very, very large archiving storage, you will be able to leverage an auto-expanding, highly scalable archiving. This allows you to take advantage of a truly bottomless archive without needing to call support or perform any manual steps. Through an update to our back-end architecture, we not only enabled auto-expanding archives, but also removed limits on the Recoverable Items store.

Azure departmental template availability

When your IT department defines a set of relevant departmental templates in Azure Rights Management (RMS), you can access them from within the relevant Office apps using Information Rights Management (IRM).

Click-to-Run manageability gaps addressed for IT pros

Click-to-Run is a streaming and virtualization technology that makes it very easy to install Office products at scale at big enterprises, thereby putting the latest and greatest Office in the hands of end users quickly. Some gaps such as necessary security updates, bug fixes and meeting compliance requirements have been addressed, making the experience of running Click-to-Run easier.

Cloud PBX in Skype for Business

New features in Office 365 based on the enterprise voice feature set in Lync Server and Skype for Business Server will enable Office 365 customers to eliminate traditional PBX systems for their users.  Customers will be able to either add on PSTN service or leverage existing current PSTN contracts, carrier circuits, and numbers or purchase to make and receive phone calls.Includes traditional calling features including Call hold, history & redial, transfer, forward, call waiting, simultaneous ringing, team calling, delegation, DND routing, tagging and static E-911.  Tenant Administrators will get great reporting including robust call detail records.

Compliance Administrator Role

With the new Compliance Administrator role you can grant people access to important compliance and security features in Office 365. The Compliance Administrator can perform tasks in the Compliance Center such as manage data loss prevention policies, device management policies, and view auditing reports.

Compliance Search Conditions

A new search query experience with searchable properties helps you scope your search results. Search on SharePoint properties such as content type, result type, shared with external users, and sensitive information type. Search on Exchange properties such as message type, sender, recipient, external recipients, folders, and domains.

Data Gathering and Shaping Capabilities

Power Query for Excel, which was a separate downloadable add-in for Excel 2013 and 2010, is fully integrated in Excel 2016. These capabilities, found under the “Get and Transform” section of the Data tab, provide an intuitive and consistent experience for discovering and connecting to a broad range of data sources, including tables in public websites, corporate data in databases and cubes, cloud-based sources like Azure, unstructured data like Hadoop, and services like Salesforce or use web-like searching to discover the data shared across your corporations. Use intuitive options to clean, shape and combine to fit your unique business needs. Missed a step? No problem. The easy-to-use editor allows you to go back and change and reorder your transform steps and quickly reuse them over other sets of data. With one click, refresh your connections so your workbook has the most up-to-date information across all your data sources.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in SharePoint Online

Data Loss Prevention in Office 365 provides more than 50 Sensitive information types that you use out of the box. We will be expanding on this list with some more new sensitive information types.

Delve People Experiences – Praise

In First Release now as of August 2015  – Within the new Delve profile people experience, Office 365 users will be able to send Praise to their colleagues that will be publically viewable, promoting recognition. In addition, giving someone Praise triggers an email to their manager to promote awareness of their employees’ supportive efforts. The Praise then feeds into the broader Delve experience andcan be discovered by others who can click Like further supporting and promoting individual recognition within the company.

DLP in SharePoint – Policy Management

(Now in Private preview, with public preview targeted for Sep 2015) DLP in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business policy management will allow admins to create policies and take action if a sensitive document is detected. In addition, DLP in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business reports will allow admins to understand what DLP policies and rules matched within their organization.

Drive Shipping and Network Based Data Import for Office 365

Currently in public preview; release planned for September 2015.The ability to import data into Office 365 in a quick and easy manner has been a known constraint of Office 365, and a solution for this issue has emerged as a key request from customers. We are working on a solution that will allow quicker imports of data into Exchange Online Archive Mailboxes.  You will now be able to import Exchange Online data through PST files into the service without using third party tools.   Drive Shipping and Network Based Ingestion options will use Azure-based services to import data.  Over time we will be extending this to other data types across Office 365.

eDiscovery Case Management, Hold & Permissions

Organize your eDiscovery work into cases. Case permissions control who has access to the case, so team members can lock down sensitive activities that other investigators should not see.

eDiscovery Infix & Suffix Wildcards

Expand the scope of your compliance & eDiscovery search by searching on variations of words. For example *drive would find you results with SkyDrive or OneDrive. You can also use asterisks in the middle of a word or at both the beginning and end of a word such as o*drive or *drive*.

Excel Online improvements

Support editing and refreshing of workbooks containing Power Views and inserting PivotTables.

Exchange Online Protection phishing protection

Admins will be able to add phishing levels similar to how they set up their spam levels

ExpressRoute for Office 365

ExpressRoute for Office 365 allows Office 365 customers to establish a private managed connection between their network and Microsoft datacenters. Customers can get premium connectivity that is like having an on-premises datacenter and enjoy the benefits of predictable performance and guaranteed availability from a single networking agreement with one service provider. ExpressRoute for Office 365 is planned to be generally available in the third quarter 2015.

Group Updates feed for Yammer mobile apps

Yammer’s Group Updates feed provides a simple workflow through relevant group content to help users catch up on urgent conversations and discover what others are working on. Users can navigate easily between the feed and their groups, as well as join groups they’re not already a part of, from the feed itself. The Group Updates feed will come to Android first with iOS following shortly after.

Groups in Office 365 for Yammer

Yammer integration with the Office 365 Group service managed by Azure Active Directory enables standard membership across Office 365.

Improved image attachment viewing in Outlook Web App

When reading emails with image attachments, you now see big thumbnail previews, and you see thumbnails in the attachment well when composing an email, too. We also have an improved image side by side view, with improved load timing.

Inline Service Health for Support Request Creation

When an admin opens a Support Request, the system will check to see if there are any related service incidents.  If so, it will share the Service Health Dashboard messaging and advise admin on current status.

Mobile PDF annotation support for iOS

This is an added feature to the mobile offline access and allows for users to easily make edits on pdf files with their iOS mobile devices.

New per-user licensing for Sway

Sway will soon switch to a per-user licensing model, so that organizations no longer have to choose whether to have Sway enabled for the entire organization vs. nobody at all. Access to use Sway can now be assigned to your organization’s users on an individual and group basis. When this change becomes effective, any organization that previously disabled Sway will need to re-disable it for all users on a per-user basis as a result of this change.

New timeline view in Project

We’ve improved the timeline view in Microsoft Project so you can now have multiple timeline bars in a single view and you can set the date range for timeline bars so they can just represent a specific phase of your project. To try this out, click on the timeline and then go to the Format tab. Note the new Date Rage and Insert Timeline Bar commands.

Office 365 Admin app updates October 2015

Updates this month have been focused on adding group administration. The initial functionality is focused on adding and editing membership of all existing Office 365 groups.

Office 365 app launcher refresh

The Office 365 app launcher visual refresh will include additional end user customization updates including extending the user personal theme across the first party tiles and background color of the app launcher, as well as tile re-sizing capabilities, including a small, medium (current size) and wide tile option to accommodate a variety of personal preferences. Custom tiles will not be available for re-sizing or accept the personal theme set by users.

Office 365 content pack for Power BI

Office 365 reporting content pack for Power BI enables customers to combine their organization’s Office 365 usage data with their organization’s user information to provide richer insights into office 365 usage patterns.

Office 365 detailed usage reports

Admins will soon have better visibility in how their Office 365 service is being used by their users. This set of reports will include detailed reports for email activity, SharePoint/OneDrive for Business file activity and Office ProPlus report.

Office 365 Groups: Support compliance requirements

Wewill be adding support for Office 365 Groups into the O365 compliance center.Retention and Hold allow you to specify policies for how long to keep all groups content (protecting it from deletion, modification and tampering) and when to automatically delete it. eDiscovery allows you to search for specific content across all groups. Compliance features will apply to all groupscontent: mailboxes, files, calendars and notebooks.

Office 365 local datacenter in India

Microsoft is planning to host Office 365 services from a Microsoft datacenter in India. This is planned to launch by the end of CY 2015. Office 365 customers in India today will be able to migrate their tenant to this new datacenter once it launches. We will have additional information about Office 365 on the newly announced India datacenter closer to the time.

Office 365 Message Encryption: End-User Triggered Encryption in OWA

With End user triggered encryption in OWA, end users will be able to directly encrypt messages with Office 365 Message Encryption. Today, it can only be configured with Exchange transport rules by admins, but with this capability end users can encrypt messages directly from OWA using Office 365 Message Encryption

Office 365 Reporting Dashboard

New Office 365 dashboard view in the Office 365 Admin Center. The dashboard will show trend and aggregate views of the Office 365 services. It will have the capability to drill down into the individual, detailed activity reports.

Office Online multi-user coauthoring in Yammer

Office Online provides an immersive document collaboration experience inside Yammer. Co-author Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files uploaded to Yammer with other peopple using the immersive Office Online experience. Changes are automatically saved in Yammer where you have the ability to review the version history of each file and mark documents “Official.”

OneDrive for Business filename support improvements

We’re adding support for file names that contain ‘%’ or ‘#’ characters. Previously these were blocked for upload to OneDrive for Business. Additionally for all other blocked characters in filenames, OneDrive for Business will warn the user of a problem with their filename and provide them with the opportunity to rename the file to continue the upload. Finally, OneDrive for business will support filenames up to 256 characters in length. Together these changes will help users and organizations more easily adopt OneDrive for Business.

Outlook for the web inline OneDrive attachment preview

OneDrive links pasted into the body of an email will appear with a rich preview and other useful metadata like ‘last edited by’. It will also attach to the email as a cloud attachment and recipients will automatically receive view/edit permissions.

Proactive notification of Outlook version

This feature will proactively notify admins when their users are connecting using an out of date Outlook client.  An email will be sent to admins that provides the symptoms of degraded user experience when using out of date client and guidance on how to get the current Outlook client.

PSTN Calling in Skype for Business

PSTN calling gives Office 365 customers the option to give their users the ability to receive and make calls to traditional phone numbers from their Skype for Business clients.  This will be available for US customers only at the time of launch, with other countries added later.

PSTN Conferencing in Skype for Business Online

PSTN conferencing from Microsoft will give Office 365 customers the option to purchase traditional dial-in capabilities for their Skype for Business meetings directly from Microsoft.  This will be offered initially in the US.

Public Folder eDiscovery & In-Place Hold

Using Compliance Search you can search and place holds on all public folders in your organization.

Real-time Co-authoring in Skype for Business

New Skype for Business co-editing option. Launchesmeeting participants into real-time co-authoring session. Splits screen betweenSkype and co-authoring pane. This allows SFB to combine video conferencing withco-authoring. When complete, the document saved to OneDrive for Business.

Reassign Sways from deleted user

To help organizations better maintain data after employee accounts are disabled, admins will soon be able to assign a deleted user’s Sways to another owner (in bulk). This action can be completed by the admin within one month after a user’s Office 365 work or school account has been deleted. Tenant admins can specify a new owner, who will subsequently receive all of the deleted users Sways in his or her My Sways page.

Save to OneDrive for Business in Outlook for iOS & Android

Outlook for iOS & Android will be able to view, send files from and save attachments to OneDrive for Business in the Files tab. Today, Outlook works with OneDrive, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive & iCloud.

Set Automatic Replies in Outlook for iOS & Android

Set Automatic Replies for when you are traveling out of the office. Available for Office 365 and Exchange Server accounts in Settings.

SharePoint API partial file upload support

This feature will allow large files to be uploaded through the use of our SharePoint APIs in chunks. This will allow the files to be uploaded in multiple transactions to avoid timeouts and provide more reliability to your large file uploads.

Skype for Business conversations in the web experience

Users will now have the option to start an instant message, voice and/ or video conversation with one or several of your colleagues right from the productivity of your inbox, OneDrive for Business or calendar application. Conversations will provide you with real time, direct access to the information you need directly from your colleagues and persist across applications. SfB conversations will be available across Office 365 web applications via the persistent Skype icon on top navigation bar.

Skype for Business for Android

This fall, we will replace the current Lync mobile applications with Skype for Business mobile in the Google app store.  Users will see the new Skype for Business UI after applying the update.

Skype for Business for iOS

This fall, we will replace the current Lync mobile applications with Skype for Business mobile in the iOS app store.  Users will see the new Skype for Business UI after the update is automatically applied.

Skype Meeting Broadcast

Skype Meeting Broadcast allows up to 10,000 people to view a broadcast of a Skype for Business meeting on the Internet.  This capability is useful for a variety of scenarios, including internal, organization-wide “Town Hall” style meetings and public webinars.  Broadcasts may be viewed live, or after the event.

Storage and file upload improvements for Sites and OneDrive for Business

This update will bring two key enhancements for Sites in Office 365, videos uploaded into Office 365 Video, and OneDrive for Business. First, you will be able to upload files greater than 2GB – up to 10GB – to both Sites’ document libraries and OneDrive for Business. We, too, will provide a greater amount of default storage for Office 365 Sites usage (for documents and information); Office 365 tenants will now get 1TB + (500MB * # of E/A/G users); this calculation used to be 10GB + (500MB * # of E/A/G users).

Supervisory Review for financial and regulatory compliance

An essential component of regulatory compliance for financial and related industries is the ability to review specific employee communications. We will be introducing a new feature called Supervisory Review that will give organizations the ability to define a subset of employee communications to be reviewed by a group of internal or external auditors. Supervisory Review will include both policy configuration and reviewer tools to perform supervisory review.

Task Notifications in Project Online

In Project Online, team members can opt-in to receive email notifications. Team members will receive email alerts whenever a new task is assigned to them. They will also receive daily email reminders with a list of tasks that are upcoming or overdue.

Unlimited storage for OneDrive for Business

Moving forward, all Office 365 customers will get unlimited OneDrive storage at no additional cost. We will begin updating the First Release customers in 2015, aligned with our promise to provide ample notification for significant service changes. In the meantime, get started using your 1 TB of storage today by backing up all those work files kicking around on your PC – with the knowledge that even more storage is on its way!

User Activity Reports

User activity reports will allow you to audit SharePoint and OneDrive for Business user actions such as views, edits, deletes, downloaded files, and sharing of files. These reports will be available in the Compliance Center.

Video Based Screen Sharing

Video Based Screen Sharing is a more efficient way of sharing content. This version supports P2P sharing only. We expect conference sharing to be supported in a later release.

Work Management in Office 365

Office 365 Planner, A brand new work management capability in Office 365 brings together teams and tasks intuitively across devices to enable a more organized collaboration experience.

Yammer Discovery Feed

Discovery feed surfaces conversations users might miss from relevant groups, Updates in the Discovery feed clearly identify which groups the conversations come from and provide the ability to quickly navigate to and join the groups users are not already a member of straight from the feed.

Yammer External Groups

External Groups helps extended teams collaborate closely in Yammer. Users will be able to invite outside participants such as vendors, partners, and customers into a group in their Yammer network.

Yammer Group UI Redesign

Yammer groups will have a greater sense of place and be more engaging with a full-width header, a cleaner look to focus attention on high impact activity and content, and a wider feed for team conversations.

Assessing the Strategic Impact of SQL 2005 End of Support

SQL 2005 End of Support

Legacy software remains at the center of many essential business systems, which is why Microsoft offers such robust Extended and Mainstream Support for its critical enterprise software. For SQL Server 2005, Extended Support ends April 16, 2016, meaning SQL Server 2005 will no longer receive security and other fixes, impacting future performance, security, and reliability of business systems.

The decision to move off legacy software is often dependent on both business and technical criteria.

We recommend assessing the total impact of unsupported legacy software to the application portfolio to determine both the business justification and priority to either upgrade, migrate, or securely maintain affected systems.

The below “SQL Impact Grid” can help you understand the business justification and overall approach to your SQL modernization program.

SQL Impact Grid

SQL Impact Assessment Grid

 

Discover and Inventory All Assets that Support Your Application Portfolio

Understanding the scope for your program is vital to ensuring all affected applications have been captured. A good starting point is to discover and inventory all the software and hardware assets that support your application portfolio.

SQL Server will connect to a range of business applications and devices that could be at risk of data theft, destruction, unmonitored access, or failure, so it’s critical to obtain a complete inventory.

Business applications that are running on SQL Server 2005 will not receive security updates, so organizations will not be protected against undiscovered vulnerabilities.

Compliance requirements may also require customer systems to be on a supported platform, restricting the ability to do business.

The discovery phase can help determine the number and location of legacy software, and enable your business to work with application owners to decide what should be upgraded, or securely maintained.

Assess and Prioritize Essential Applications

Categorizing applications by type, importance and criticality, as well complexity, is crucial to identify and prioritize candidates for upgrade.

Identifying the use of deprecated features can flag areas of complexity where re-architecting the SQL environment may be required.

At this stage, many organizations will often omit assessing software license compliance to focus on business requirements and metering technical performance.

Assessment of license compliance and effective assignment of license assets is essential to ensure a modernization program also delivers IT cost optimization.

Target Your Future IT Ambitions

In the target phase, new feature enhancements can be mapped to the needs of the business.

Certain workloads and applications will logically lead to certain targets, driven by factors such as cost, functionality, or complexity.

The target phase delivers the ‘future state’ design and should set out your migration roadmap for secure consolidation, cloud server deployments, and workload migration options.

License Your Configured Solution

The licensing design phase plans for when you’re ready to move from legacy software and modernize your environment, whether private, via hybrid cloud, or public cloud services.

Commercial analysis of contract options and global sourcing options delivers a cost optimized licensing strategy. Often critical when evaluating migrating to cloud services or consolidating your SQL environment.

And of course, should you need help configuring your ideal solution, don’t hesitate to reach out to any of our experts by clicking the contact form below with our Microsoft Advisory Services team.