European’s Top 25 Office 365 influencers

Glad to be included the European’s Top Office 365 influencers for 2015. The award was announced in the European SharePoint conference in Stockholm. This is my second time to be included in this list after the last year award in Barcelona.

See public announcement

Europe’s Top Office 365 Influencers

Will Office 365 change The SharePoint Partners focus?

Office 365 is a comprehensive platform that delivers main pillars like email, calendar, collaboration (including search, document management…etc.), unified communications and social.

Microsoft keeps adding to this platform like Project Online and PowerBI.

Office 365 is not an isolated platform, it works in tandem with Microsoft Azure to extend its services through Azure websites, Active Directory, and more to come.

The platform is fully managed by Microsoft and supported Microsoft SLA.

Having that said, how this will affect the existing SharePoint ecosystem and Microsoft partners specifically?

I would categorise existing Microsoft partners into:

  1. Boutique services: they deliver software services in the shape of custom developed solutions on top of SharePoint and consultancy services.
  2. Products companies: they develop ready-made products that utilise or serve SharePoint as a platform. For example workflow products, governance management, administration, back and restore, custom web parts, custom HR solution, ideas management…etc. You can check a lot of these products on
  3. Hosting and platform management companies: they provide managed services to clients who want to outsource the hosting of their own SharePoint platform.

Let’s see how each category will be affected:

Boutique services are the least affected in these categories. However, they should adapt and understand the change and the vision. Microsoft is pushing all the custom development to be outside SharePoint in the form of apps hosted on Azure websites or develop custom applications (websites, windows apps, mobile apps…etc.) that utilise SharePoint as backend; the applications will connect to SharePoint (or Office 365) using the new Office 365 APIs.

Products companies will need to reassess their strategy, review their market segments and how their clients are flexible to the new changes. There are clients slower to change or may be rejects the cloud concept. 

In my opinion, the companies focusing on the platform management like upgrade and migration, back and restore, administration are hurt by the new move. In Office 365 there is no new versions that need upgrade or new farm that requires content migration. These companies needs to repurpose their products, move up in the technology stack (rather than focusing on the platform move up to the application).

The companies building ready web parts or solutions on top of SharePoint, they will need to re-architect their solutions and keep a close relation with Microsoft to stay to top of any upcoming platform changes.

Hosting companies are the most affected category. Simply they are going to lose all of the clients who are going to move to the cloud. It is not only about SharePoint; most of the clients move the email and unified communication workloads first then SharePoint follows.

Cloud strategy is an important item on all the CIOs agenda; either in the short term or long term. That’s why all IT professional service firms need to re-innovate their offerings, focus on maximising the business value for their clients and divert the focus from IT only solutions

Glad to hear views and comments

Office Delve Release to Office 365 customers – previously code-named "Oslo"

Microsoft released this week its long waiting discovery product for enterprises “Delve”.

According to Business insider ”Delve,” which will do for Office 365 users what Cortana will do for Windows Phone users: manage their lives.”

Delve will allow employees to discover people and content with their organisation without having to know where the content is stored. Delve is using the Office Graph, which is based on a machine learning technology which analyses the users’ daily communication and interaction in Outlook, SharePoint and Yammer to surface content relevant to the users.

Delve is available for existing Office 365 customers for free, and no plans yet for having Delve on SharePoint on-premise.

Developers story

Microsoft will allow the developers to query the Office Graph using the Graph Query Language (GQL).

The Office graph contains information about enterprise objects such as people and documents, as well as the relationships and interactions between these objects. The relationships and interactions are represented as edges.

Using GQL with the SharePoint Online Search REST API to query Office graph
Developing Apps against the Office Graph

A simplified view of the Search aspect of Office graph and Delve, the main experience it powers


What is Office Delve?
A milestone for Office Delve | Office Blogs
Microsoft Finally Rolls Out ‘Delve’ – Business Insider
Office Delve for Office 365 admins
Who can see my documents in Office Delve?
Introducing Office Delve – YouTube
Join Delve Yammer Group
Delve YamJam Summary in Delve September 10, 2014

SharePoint Online now supports unlimited external users

Microsoft updated its SharePoint Online platform to supported unlimited external users.

SharePoint Online: software boundaries and limits is updated. This update applies to small business, midsize business, Enterprise, Education, and Government.

External users are uses who are not employees, contractors, or affiliates to your organisation (Microsoft)

Check this presentation for more details on how to plan for external users in your Office 365 implementation SharePoint Online – What is an external user

Related Sources:

Office 365 Saturday Europe 2013 sessions recordings

Office 365 Saturday Europe 2013 sessions recording is now available. Please access it here

Session I did was, “SharePoint Online External Users defined

SharePoint Online provides the tools to share content with external users. In this session, we are going to explore what Microsoft means by an external user, What are the options for sharing content with external users and how to define an external sharing strategy.

I am speaking on Office 365 Saturday Europe

I am glad that I will be speaking in the first Office 365 Saturday Europe event. It is online event and you can join from anywhere in the world.

Join us on 30 November 2013 from 9am – 5pm GMT for the first Online Office 365 Saturday event in the world! Learn from the knowledge and experience of our speakers on how Microsoft Office 365 can be used to deliver world-class communications, collaboration, and social solutions. Technologies covered include Office 365, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Yammer, and they will be spread over 4 different tracks you can choose from.

My session is

SharePoint Online – External Users Defined

SharePoint Online provides the tools to share content with external users. In this session, we are going to explore what Microsoft means by an external user, What are the options for sharing content with external users and how to define an external sharing strategy.

Register here

Check the sessions list and speakers


Office 365 FAQs: Part 2 – Security and deployment

In this article I will continue list the frequently asked questions I started in Office 365 FAQs: Part 1 – Customisation and development techniques post. The answers are from Microsoft MSDN and TechNet.

1. Can I have Exchange Hyper deployment (On primes and online)?

Yes, you can have users using Office 365 exchange and others using on primes deployment.

The full-featured deployment of a cross-premises Exchange messaging solution with Office 365 for enterprises and Exchange Online. Features include:

  • Mail routing between on-premises and cloud-based organizations logo-office-365
  • Mail routing with a shared domain namespace. For example, both on-premises and cloud-based organizations use the SMTP domain.
  • A unified global address list, also called a “shared address book”
  • Free/busy and calendar sharing between on-premises and cloud-based organizations
  • Centralized control of mail flow. The on-premises organization can control mail flow for the on-premises and cloud-based organizations.
  • A single Outlook Web App URL for both the on-premises and cloud-based organizations
  • The ability to move existing on-premises mailboxes to the cloud-based organization
  • Centralized mailbox management using the on-premises Exchange Management Console (EMC)
  • Message tracking, MailTips, and multi-mailbox search between on-premises and cloud-based organizations

Source: Exchange Hybrid Deployment and Migration with Office 365

2. Is it possible to authenticate my Active directory users to SharePoint Online?

Yes, you can configure single sign on between the corporate active directory and Office 365. The setup of single sign-on requires Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) 2.0 (AD FS 2.0). If the user is connecting from outside your company’s network, you must deploy an AD FS 2.0 proxy.

Source: Prepare for single sign-on

3. Where are Microsoft Online Service data-centres located?

As a standard policy, Microsoft does not disclose the location of its data centres. Microsoft operates between 10 and 100 data centres located around the world. The following are locations Microsoft has elected to disclose to the general public:

For customers with a Ship-To Address in the Americas:

  • Quincy, Washington,
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • and other United States-based Data Centres

For customers with a European Union Ship-To Address:

  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • United States

For customers with an Asia-Pacific Ship-To Address:

  • Singapore
  • Hong Kong
  • United States

Source: Geographic Boundaries

4. Is my data secured in SharePoint Online?

We have implemented and will maintain appropriate technical and organizational measures, internal controls, and information security routines intended to protect customer data against accidental loss, destruction, or alteration; unauthorized disclosure or access; or unlawful destruction. Each year, we undergo third-party audits by internationally recognized auditors to validate that we have independent attestation of compliance with our policies and procedures for security, privacy, continuity and compliance.

MS Online Certification and Compliance Finder for Office 365

Office 365 Data Centres and Physical Infrastructure (Provided by Microsoft Global Foundation Services)

Source: Security, Audits, and Certifications

5. Where I can find more information about Office 365?

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Office 365 FAQs: Part 1 – Customisation and development techniques

In this article we are answering the frequently asked questions we get from our customers regarding Office 365. The answers are from Microsoft MSDN and TechNet.

1. What are the customisation and development techniques?

Configuration by using the browser Customizations that you can perform by using the SharePoint Online user interface in your browser. For example, you can edit page layouts, add and customize the default Web Parts, add lightweight Microsoft Silverlight widgets to a page, or embed jQuery code in a Content Editor Web Part.

Because in-browser configurations are primarily performed by end users, they are outside the scope of this article. For more information for enterprises, see the SharePoint Online Planning Guide for Office 365 Beta for Enterprises. For more information for small businesses, see SharePoint Online Planning Guide for Office 365 Beta for Small Businesses.

Customization by using SharePoint Designer Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 is a Web and application design program you can use to design, build, and customize your websites within SharePoint Online. With SharePoint Designer 2010, you can create data-rich webpages, build powerful no-code workflow-enabled solutions, and design the appearance and behaviour (look and feel) of your site. Customizations that you can perform in SharePoint Designer are generally declarative, and can also employ client-side scripting.

Developing SharePoint Online solutions that contain custom code To enable more technically complex solutions, SharePoint Online provides both server and client object models for developers. Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 provides a range of specialized templates for creating sandboxed solutions that contain a variety of SharePoint items, such as site and list definitions, workflows, Web Parts, event receivers, and content types, to include in your SharePoint solutions.

2. What I can do with Sandboxed solutions?

You can include the following programmatic or declarative items in your sandboxed solutions:

  • Code components:
  • Declarative components:
    • Declarative workflows
    • Content types, site columns
    • Lists and list definitions
    • Visual and nonvisual Web Parts
    • Custom actions, ribbon extensions
    • Client-side technologies
    • Web templates, site pages, page layouts, and master pages

3. What I cannot do with Sandboxed solutions?

  • Access to the Internet to make web service calls
  • Access to a hard disk to read or write files
  • Web application-scoped or farm-scoped Features
  • Adding assemblies to the global assembly cache
  • Running security-related functionality; for example, RunWithElevatedPrivileges or other SPSecurity methods
  • Custom Action groups
  • HideCustomAction element
  • Content type binding
  • Web Part connections

Additional Solution Restrictions in SharePoint Online

4. Can I access data from SharePoint Online?

You can access some of SharePoint web services through Client Object Model. SharePoint Online also includes a Representational State Transfer (REST) interface that provides access to lists and libraries as a relational data service. A core concept of any RESTful interface is the resource, and in SharePoint Online, lists and items are represented as HTTP resources that can be addressed by remote URLs.

5. What are the differences between SharePoint server features and SharePoint Online features?

Microsoft updates Office 365 frequently and adds new features in almost cycles of 3 months; you have to updates with Microsoft releases.

These are comparisons between on primes and online platforms

Comparison of SharePoint Online Features and SharePoint Server Features –

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