It’s been a while since I blogged here and I’ve been busy documenting Click-to-Run exhaustively on the Office 365 Preview blog. I actually started working for Microsoft on the Solution Accelerators team, who build things like the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP). So when they came to me asking how they could best support Office 365 assessment with their tools, I was pretty excited (some might say super-excited) to help out. If you just want to cut to the chase and download the MAP Beta, click here, and sign into Connect for the bits or keep reading and I will describe what the tool does and how it helps assess your client machines.

MAP basically works by querying the registry and Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) for data. The design is agent-less and can run from a host machine with sufficient rights to access WMI data on your Windows-based connected end points. The main thing to internalize is that these checks are lightweight and easy-to-run compared to other agent-based inventory tools. To be fair, MAP does a lot of other stuff aside from client assessment, but I’ll describe why this is useful from an Office 365 ProPlus and general Office 365 deployment assessment.

Office 365 has a few paths to consume Office data – whether email or Office files – so there are a few unique vectors to query for. The other new bit is that the new Office requires Windows 7/Server 2008 R2 or newer operating systems to install. What about your Windows XP machines? Well they aren’t completely blocked, because Office 2007 clients and newer can connect to Office 365 services (there is even limited support for Office 2003) or if an end point doesn’t have Office installed, it may use Office Web Apps, provided it has a supported browser. From a WMI perspective, it means MAP needs to query for Office installs and versions, browser installs and versions and operating system level for the new Office 365 ProPlus clients to install. Then use logic to determine the readiness of each computer object.

 

Sample Office Web Apps Assessment

MAP does all those things and produces a report with its findings, the experiential level to expect across your hardware fleet and an indication of which hardware or software needs to be updated. If you’re a partner or an IT guy looking to submit a report, it even auto-generates a proposal and provides charts and graphs of the hardware and software landscape to the reader along with information about Office 365 and Office 365 ProPlus clients.

 

Sample Office 365 Proposal

The best part is that MAP is a free download and does so much more than just end point assessment, so you can use it to evaluate cloud readiness with Azure, desktop readiness for Windows 7/Windows 8 and Office 2010/Office 2013, Internet Explorer discovery, server readiness and web app discovery, desktop and server virtualization, database assessments for SQL Server and software usage tracking.

  

MAP home screen and everything it can do

There is really something in MAP for every IT pro out there and you can have days of inventory and assessment fun with the new MAP toolkit Beta. Really. Download it and try it today.

Also, be sure to keep checking back to TechNet as we are continually adding Office 365 ProPlus (aka "the new Office") content regularly.

Thanks for reading,

Jeremy Chapman

Office Deployment Team

@deployjeremy