Tag Archives: Office 365

Enable Office 365 MFA and be safe

Quick guide for Office 365 MFA. Includes admin and user tasks in brief.

Admin: Enable Office 365 MFA

  1. Go to Admin Portal 
  2. Users – Select the user
  3. Office 365 MFA option in User properties
  4. Select user(s) again and click the Enable button
  5. That’s it. Now it is the user’s turn to take the next steps

User: Enable Office 365 MFA – first time only

  1. You must go to a browser – incognito / InPrivate / private mode
  2. Go to https://portal.office.com
  3. Login as usual.
  4. Click Next in the Additional Information dialog
  5. Now there are many options and this can be a confusing step
  6. Open the dropdown choose Mobile App and Choose Receive Notifications for verification option

    Choosing the Mobile App autentication option

  7. Click the Set Up option. After some processing, it will show a QR code
  8. Now it is time to download and install the Microsoft Authenticator App on mobile (Android and iOS)
  9. Open the app and from the top right menu, choose Add Account – Work or School Account
  10. Scan the QR code
  11. Now it will register the account on the mobile and you will see a 6 digit code which keeps changing every 30 seconds (does not require internet connection)

    Mobile account registered showing authentication code

  12. Now click Next on the browser side.
  13. You will now receive an notification on the mobile phone.
    Choose the Approve option.

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  14. Now the MFA is configured.
    Please note, the displayed 6 digit number is NOT REQUIRED to be entered anywhere. This is because, we are using the Receive Notification for Verification option.
  15. In the next step, it will ask another number for verification in case you lose your mobile. Add a different number here.  Click Next.

Special password for Outlook and Skype for Business

Outlook client and Skype FB does not support MFA. Your regular account password will stop working as soon as MFA is configured. Outlook will keep asking for your password and your regular password will not work. Now you have to use a special password.

That is the one shown to you in the next dialog as Step 4. Copy that password and use the same password it for Outlook and SFB. Use one password for laptop and one for desktop / mobile, etc.

If you use any ActiveSync client on mobile, that will also require a password. Technically you can use this password, but it is better to create another one.

How to do that? Go to Portal.Office.com, click on your photo, go to My account – Security – You will see a Create App Passwords option. Create a new one from there and use it.

User: Regular Office 365 MFA login

Now onwards, MFA is enabled. Now login using two steps

Step 1: Login using UID PWD as usual.

Step 2: Immediately, you will receive the Approval notification on mobile.

Congratulations

Chances of your account being hacked reduced by 99% now.

Share this with everyone you love and make their digital lives also safer.

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Store files in Office 365 – Best Practices

(Reading time 3 min ) This article provides concise instructions on where to store files when you have Office 365 E3 or above in your organization. There are multiple places and apps within Office 365 where files can be stored. But there is no clarity about which file goes where.  Here is a simple guide for everyone.

where to store files poster

Continue reading Store files in Office 365 – Best Practices

What is Microsoft Teams

May be you already know this. But still, read for just 2 minutes more to clarify your thoughts.  Teams is an app which streamlines teamwork. That is the obvious definition. But this is an incomplete description.

Coordinating with multiple persons is Teamwork. Agreed. But there are a plethora of apps available to collaborate with others. What is special about Teams?

Teams is an app which helps you work with all types of Technologies. So it is not just teamwork with other people, it is with multiple technologies as well.

Continue reading What is Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams Conversation common mistake

Microsoft Teams is a convenient way of working with colleagues without cluttering mailboxes. You post a conversation inside the Teams app and others can reply to it.

The common mistake is that instead of replying to your question, people start a new discussion. Here is how you prevent the mistake. Click on the Reply button.

Teams - How to reply

Learn more about Microsoft Teams – Knowledge Pack.

Missing messages in Teams? Follow the channels.

Notification icon animation - showing the number bouncing to attract attention. If you are trying to use Microsoft Teams, you will face this practical problem. The problem is that all your team members must notice the messages that are posted in the Teams app. Nothing is visible in the Inbox. This may lead to missed messages and delayed responses.  Start noticing the notification!

 

Three steps

Continue reading Missing messages in Teams? Follow the channels.

When to use Microsoft Teams

When to use teams

The obvious answer is – “whenever you want to work with your team”. But that is not enough. Here is a more precise answer. If all (or most) of the requirements listed below are true, you should use  Microsoft Teams.

  1. Your organization has Office 365 Teams license available for all the people whom you intend to work with as a team.
    As on Jan 2018, if you intend to work with people in another organization, they also need to have Office 365 license.
  2. The kind of work you do with the selected team members has to be specific to a common topic of interest. It could be a project, a new initiative, a deliverable, an outcome …
  3. Usually there is an end date for such things. But that is not a must.
  4. The work being done is not just about sending messages and informing each other. You need to keep track of who said what, need files, images, notes, collaterals and so on.
  5. The kind of work you do is frequent. For infrequent work, just use email.

Yes. That’s it.

You can create a new team even for just you and someone else. Remember to create multiple teams for multiple contexts, even if some members may be common. More on that later.

Finally, DO NOT create too many Teams in the app. You will need another team to manage all these Teams.. ha ha!

Good to know When NOT to use Microsoft Teams as well.

Office 365 Best Practices: Maximize Adoption and Consumption

Office 365 platform is very powerful. However, I have noticed that most customers derive only fraction of the potential benefits. There are many reason for this bleak outcome. Refer to my series on Office 365 Worst Practices for details. In this article I will highlight the reverse Office 365 Best Practices.

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This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

Jargon explained

Adoption, Consumption, Effective Utilization, Efficiency Maximization, Workplace transformation, etc. are the words / phrases used while describing maximum and relevant usage of all Office 365 tools by all users. They all mean the same. The objective is to maximize ROI and work efficiency in order to drive personal as well as organizational growth.

Office 365 Best Practices

Do not buy the cheapest option

Many customers just want to move from on-premise to cloud. They think that is the ONLY benefit of moving to Office 365. Just convert from CAPEX to OPEX – save on-premise overheads and that’s it. This is not the ONLY benefit of O365. There are a thousand more. Think of empowerment of all users (while saving money).

Go for E3 or E5 SKU. For ALL users. Yes. The cost will be significant. But if utilized appropriately, unimaginable improvements will follow in months. Break-even can happen in as little as six months.

Disclaimer: I do not benefit monetarily by sales of Microsoft products. As you know, I am an MVP (evangelist) and RD.

IT alone should not drive Office 365 adoption

There may be very compelling reasons for IT to spearhead and drive the Office 365 migration project. However, it is not just an infrastructure migration. Unlike most products, Office 365 is NOT transparent to end users. In fact, it is very visible to them. Every user spends 4 hours or more using Office tools. If you want to change (improve) their usage of these tools and add many more tools, you better do it in a manner that is compelling to all users. Push does not work (unless it is a security issue).
Pull is requried. IT alone cannot generate that pull. IT must do this along with the business side.

Involve top management throughout the project

Top Management is the crucial component which is often missed. It is not enough to have a couple of powerful sponsors. The top management has to experience the efficiency transformation first-hand. Only then they will be able to support the initiative wholeheartedly. Otherwise they just cut a ribbon, give a motivating speech at the launch and then nothing happens. Everyone remains inefficient happily thereafter!

All possible business heads should be a part of the Office 365 project. Why? Because, all of them stand to gain substantially from the potential productivity transformation. If some business heads refuses to support the initiative, leave them alone. After they see the success stories around them, they will happily join the mainstream.

If you cannot convince the Top Management, do not bother to convince the users. Your adoption drive has already failed.

Launch is important but not enough

Everyone plans for the launch. It is an event to show off your contribution, gain recognition, motivate more users to join, demonstrate tangible improvement and so on. No problem. Great. Go ahead and put posters, change desktop images, insert banners on intranet home pages, create mailers, create a buzz, conduct quizzes…

That is just the beginning. If nothing happens beyond this, the end comes swiftly. Any kind of excitement reduces soon.

If excitement was sustained, it would be called boredom!

Unless you convert that excitement into a necessity (a good habit), the benefits will be very short-lived. ROI will be a distant dream. Remember, Office 365 is a subscription, but it does not include wisdom and capability transformation. Software cannot do it alone. We need sustenance.

To achieve this you need many things including – having a significant training budget, internal team to drive efficiency and ability to highlight internal successes to motivate all users on a long-term basis.

Office 365 is not just a small utility. It can transform lives and organizations. Give it enough time and perseverance to transform you.

Learning is not FREE

Office 365 contains 20+ tools. Most users know only four – Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.  At least they think that they know. 
Unfortunately, nobody knows how to use Office efficiently. We are all trial and error artists!
Just adding 16 more components and conducting a half a day training is not going to change anything. This is the height of wishful thinking.  Each tool needs to be explained in terms of the need and its benefits.

In most cases, the rollout of tools (and related training) is phased out over a year or more. In this case, every user does not even get exposed to every tool – which is a perfect recipe for failure.

Roll out all products at once – in phases

This is contrary to common practice of deploying one component at a time. Provide all tools together. Sounds complex? No problem – break it down into phases. In each phase include a manageable set of users. It could be a location, team or department. Initially have smaller set of users, learn from the rollout and then expand the horizon.

Make sure the learning activities are synchronized with the rollout. The worst case scenario is a user who returns from a training – highly motivated to try the new stuff, to realize that the laptop is still running older version of Office and no trace of Office 365. It is a frustrating experience for users. This creates negative word-of-mouth publicity which can destroy the adoption drive.

Exchange down and all others up

This should be the larger objective. The most common reason for work inefficiency is the misuse of Outlook. Now with OneDrive, Teams, Skype, Groups, Planner and other tools, the need for using email is reducing dramatically. All these tools eliminate mails and provide a more focused channel for working together.

If email usage continues to grow with minimal increase in the usage of other tools, your adoption strategy (and execution) has failed. In this case, relook at the content, provide more focus on new tools, also explain why email misuse is bad and provide more hands-on experiences to convince users. Publish internal case studies to make people aware that it works within our organization as well (not just in other company’s case study).

Empower users with analytics

Depending upon the product(s) you have, emphasize on teaching the new method of analytics. Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View and Power Map constitute the new platform called Power BI. If every user adopts to Power BI, there can be unimaginable improvement in everything that the organization does. This happens even without branching into big data, IOT and other recent technologies. Ever since Power BI was introduced, I have not seen a single organization which has leveraged this powerful toolkit across all users. What a waste!

Office 365 contains Office. Remember that!

Almost routinely, I see that the adoption plan just does not include Office itself! The logic is, we have been using Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook for many years (or decades). Everyone knows how to use these tools. Why waste time and money? Just cover OneDrive, Skype, Teams, Groups and OneNote.  Wrong thought process. Why?

Office has been around for decades. Any new product Microsoft adds is DESIGNED to integrate with Office. Nothing is created in isolation. Therefore, for all these cloud tools to be utilized efficiently, they must be used from WITHIN Office.

Integration is the most important feature of Office platform. By excluding Office from the training and adoption plan, you are literally ensuring sub-optimal results. No question of having a good return on investment.

One more reason for including Office. It has evolved beyond our imagination in 30 years. Unfortunately, nobody keeps track of how Office is becoming better and offering more and more benefits with lesser effort. Reinventing Office is a great way to transform efficiency – along with the new cloud tools.

There is more… But for now, this is a good start.

Your opinion matters.
Feel free to post your experiences as comments.
Queries are also welcome.

Creating complex presentations together

We need complex presentations quite often, e.g. Periodic reviews, new projects, planning, and so on. Such complex presentations usually need inputs from multiple persons. Each one sends a small piece of presentation to some central coordinator – not just once, but repeatedly. The central person struggles with copy pasting stuff, fights with formatting and layout conflicts and has a miserable life in general!

complex presentations - editing together

The solution is simple. Store the base presentation on OneDrive, SharePoint or Teams. Share it with all the contributors and let them edit it. Try it out now!

Editing complex presentations together: Benefits

  1. Multiple persons can work on the presentation simultaneously, without confusing each other.
  2. Enormous time saving
  3. There are no copies (CCs) to deal with. The presentation is always a single file.
  4. Past versions are stored automatically so that you can refer to an earlier edit.
  5. You can see if others are editing simultaneously. You can go and look at the slide they are working on.
  6. If required, you can clarify doubts or suggest changes to each other using chat (Skype FB )
  7. If there is a conflict, the owner can resolve it. Conflict occurs when two users change the same item in two different ways.

It is simple, useful and revolutionary. Practice this with your colleagues couple of times and then you will have the confidence and the motivation to use it in real life.

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