Partner Technical Services Blog

A worldwide group of consultants who focus on helping Microsoft Partners succeed throughout the business cycle.

December, 2013

  • Build and Deploy Solutions Faster: Practice Accelerator Schedule for January–March

    imageMicrosoft Practice Accelerator is a Microsoft Partner Network benefit that provides a detailed framework of resources, spanning from pre-engagement to post-delivery, to help you improve efficiency and deliver solutions faster. The complete documentation set includes project guides, templates, architecture guidance, and planning and design guides. You will also receive customizable leave-behind materials for your customers.

    A Practice Accelerator session can be attended by several people from your organization, so that all roles involved in building and deploying a solution can take advantage of the tools and information. Click on the dates below to register. Read more about Practice Accelerator.

    Microsoft Office 365

    Course description, prerequisites, and course outline
    Download the Office 365 PA Datasheet

    SharePoint 2013: Search, Social, Portals & Collaboration

    Course description, prerequisites, and course outline
    Download the SharePoint 2013 PA Datasheet

    Data Center Infrastructure & Management

    Course description, prerequisites, and course outline
    Download the Data Center Infrastructure & Management Datasheet

    Windows 8 Flexible Workstyle

    Course description, prerequisites, and course outline
    Download the Flexible Workstyle Datasheet

    The dates above are for the US Deliveries.  For international dates, visit the Practice Accelerator page on the Partner Portal, select the Practice Accelerator you are interested in, and choose your language/location.

  • Competing against Google for an Office 365 Deal?

    imageOur Q2 FY14 Google compete campaign was built for Microsoft partners specifically targeting SMB customers. It provides targeted demand generation materials to help guide you in 1:1 conversations with customers who are either considering Google Apps for Business or who have recently purchased Google Apps and aren’t satisfied.​

    One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to the needs of your customers – and we’ve built the Google compete campaign with that in mind.  This campaign provides marketing and readiness tools to help you start discussions with your SMB customers about the benefits of Office 365 when competing with Google Apps for Business.

    This campaign is not intended to replace the campaigns material found in Office BEST for SMB or the Office Small Business Premium campaign – so continue using those as a supplement to your Google compete activity. The intention of this campaign is to highlight the multiple areas where Office 365 beats the competition – Google – and provide specific scenario examples for you to use when marketing and selling.

    Campaign Includes:

    • Google Compete "Win-back Scenario" Emails
    • Google Compete "Consideration Scenario" Emails
    • Google Compete Sales Presentation
    • Google Compete Infographic
    • Google Compete Campaign Talking Points
    • Google Compete Campaign Guidance
    • Google Compete Leave-Behind

    Access the materials on the Ready-to-Go Marketing Campaign site here: Office 365 Beats Google

    If you have a Silver or Gold competency, make sure to take advantage of your Technical Presales Assistance benefit.  Partners who have attained a silver or gold competency receive unlimited presales advisory support for any deal worth US$3,000 or more. For deals worth less than US$3,000, you can access Technical Presales Assistance by phone (1-800-MPN-SOLV) using your allotted partner advisory hours or through the Partner Support Community.

    Submit a request now

    Examples of services
    • Competitive assistance
    • Feature overview and comparison guidance
    • Request for proposal (RFP) questions
    • Business value proposition
    • Proof-of-concept guidance
    • Technical licensing recommendations
  • Office 365 New Features for November 2013

    November was another month full of updates for Office 365.  Partner Solution Consultant Jon Horner runs through the updates in the video above, and you can click through to the various announcements below.

    OneNote for Windows Store v2.1

    A major update for OneNote for Windows Store now available. Now with a redesigned user interface. Included are new views, enhanced sharing, improved ink, and more new features.

    More Information: A BIG OneNote update for Windows note-taking devices
    Download: OneNote

    Folder Permissions and Calendar Delegation in Outlook Web App

    You can now configure folder and calendar permissions in Outlook Web App to give delegates access to your inbox and other folders.  This is particularly useful if you need someone like an admin to manage your inbox or calendar while you’re out of the office.

    More information: Configuring delegate access in Outlook Web App

    November 2013 Update for the Lync 2013 Desktop Client

    Features included in the November Update:

    • Photos of Sender/Receiver – View photos of sender/receiver inline with IM conversation
    • URL Photo Experience – Set your own photo from a public web site instead of using the corporate image
    • Login Trace Files – Easily access Lync client login logs
    • New Recording Options –Choose preferred resolution for client-side recordings

    More information: November 2013 Update for the Lync 2013 Desktop Client

    Office Web Apps Update

    Improved Online User Experience

    • Real time coauthoring and presence across Office Web Apps

    Excel Web App

    • the ability to drag and drop cells
    • reorder sheets
    • open and interact with spreadsheet that have sheet protection
    • see aggregates of the selected range (SUM, COUNT, AVERAGE, etc.) in the status bar
    • insert Apps for Office

    Word Web App

    • ability to Find and Replace content
    • apply styles to tables
    • insert Headers and Footers
    • see page numbers as placeholders, and
    • Auto save

    PowerPoint Web App

    • crop pictures

    More information: Collaboration just got easier: Real-time co-authoring now available in Office Web Apps

    SharePoint Online

    Get a Link

    It is now possible to generate a Guest Link (an anonymous link to a document) directly in the SharePoint Online document library user interface. This will remove the step of sending an email to yourself to generate the Guest Link in order to utilize the Guest Link for non-email purposes - and it's quicker and more efficient

    More Information: Get a Link

    Touch Design

    We are updating the default HTML5 "mobile view" in mobile browsers. Users accessing SharePoint on mobile devices will get an updated touch-friendly experience. The new experiences primarily target the Web views of a user's SkyDrive Pro, the Sites hub and default team site pages.

    More information: SharePoint Online introduces the Touch Design mobile experience

    Improved Sharing Emails - All on To... line

    Now everyone you share with will be on the To... line. When you share with multiple people via the sharing dialog in SharePoint, SharePoint will send one email to everyone you shared with and cc you as the sender, rather than sending a separate email to each recipient. Note: external email addresses typed in the people picker will still send individual external invitations, since external invites need unique redemption links.

    More information: SharePoint Online improves external sharing


    High DPI Improvements

    The latest update of Outlook 2013 is now optimized for high pixel density screens on tablet devices.

    Compact Message Header

    In the latest update of Outlook 2013, the email message header in the reading pane can be collapsed to provide more screen space for the body of the email.  Also, when the reading pane is too narrow to show all recipients in the message header, an indicator appears to tell you how many recipients are not shown.


    Yammer Channel Expansion

    Yammer Enterprise will be included in O365 E1-E4, including Government and Non-Profits, for the Direct, Syndication, and Open channels with automated self service provisioning. Additionally, new SKUs Yammer Enterprise Standalone and SharePoint Online Plan 1/2 + Yammer will launch for Direct and Syndication Channels.

    More Information: Getting it done with social: Yammer introduces new features, expands to all Office 365 enterprise customers


    Windows Azure Active Directory Premium – PREVIEW

    Windows Azure Active Directory Premium, which is currently in preview, provides a number of directory related features through the Windows Azure portal. Many of these will be very valuable for Office 365 customers. The new features for Windows Azure Active Directory Premium include

    1. Self-service Password Reset for Users
    2. Group-based provisioning and access management to SaaS apps
    3. Customizable access panel
    4. Machine learning based security monitoring and reports.

    Stay tuned as there are additional features are planned in future previews. More information about Windows Azure Active Directory Premium in preview now is available here.

    To stay completely up-to-date on the latest announcements, make sure to visit the Office 365 Message Center. This is where tenant-specific announcements or items requiring administrative action will be posted.  The following blogs are where the product teams will release announcements about new features:

    Technology-Specific Blogs

  • Office 365 ProPlus Deployment for IT Pros

    If you are planning a rollout of Office 365 ProPlus (the client bits), make sure to head on over to Microsoft Virtual Academy to watch the Office 365 ProPlus Deployment for IT Pros Jump Start.

    The goal of this course is for the audience to learn about the IT Pro deployment features of Office 365 ProPlus, such as licensing and activation, Click-to-Run, Office Telemetry, and building App-V packages. Join us as we deliver demo-rich sessions that discuss these topics, first as an overview and then more in depth. Come hear how these new IT investments make upgrading Office a lot easier, faster, and economical.

    The presenters have a wealth of knowledge. Curtis Sawin is a Technology Solutions Professional specializing in Office Compatibility and Office Deployment for Microsoft, while Dean Yamada is a Senior Premier Field Engineer, specializing in proactive deliveries of Office Premier Workshops and onsite Office Setup, Deployment and Migration advisories.


    Modules include:

    01 | Office 365 ProPlus Identity, Licensing, and Activation
    An overview of the identity, licensing, and activation requirements of Office 365 ProPlus

    02 | Office Telemetry Overview
    Introduces Office Telemetry, what Telemetry can do for you, and details all the Office Telemetry components

    03 | Advanced Telemetry
    In-depth about the Office Telemetry infrastructure, capacity planning, performance, and the Telemetry Dashboard Administration Tool

    04 | Telemetry Custom Reporting
    Examples of how to mine data from the Office Telemetry database, and a behind-the-scenes look at custom reporting

    05 | Office 365 ProPlus Click-to-Run Deployment Overview
    Introduces Microsoft’s new streaming and virtualization technology, Click-to-Run, which is used to deploy Office 365 ProPlus

    06 | Click-to-Run Deep Dive
    Internals of how Click-to-Run works, and real world tips and tricks that will enable you to successfully deploy Office 365 ProPlus

    07 | Office and App-V
    Office 365 ProPlus and App-V work together, discussing the advantages of this approach, and demonstrating how it works


  • Implementing a Loading Splash Screen for your Windows Phone App

    One of our Escalation Engineers from support put together this fantastic video for Windows Phone App developers.

    This video tutorial demonstrates how to create a loading screen in your Windows phone App that is bound to a property in the ViewModel.  It covers how to use Blend to create a simple loading screen and use the DataStateBehavior in conjunction with a Boolean ViewModel property to display the loading screen when data is loading, and the main view for the page when data has been finished loading.

  • Windows Azure: Identifying and Updating Expiring Certificates, Symmetric Keys and Passwords

    For the Technical folks out there, this one is for you.

    If you have a Access Control Service (ACS) namespace you will periodically see email indicating your certificate, key or password  is about to expire. This video will guide you through what to check for to ensure all you certificates, keys and passwords are up to date.

    The code references it this presentation can downloaded at


  • Office 365 Continuing Education

    Once upon a time, you could go grab Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Inside Out, absorb all 1248 pages, and be pretty much set for three years.  For the most part, Cumulative Updates and Service Packs just fixed bugs or made minor tweaks to how the product worked.

    In a Services world, however… you have to stay on top of technologies that are constantly being improved.  You need to learn how different components interact with each other.  If you are an Exchange person, you need to be current on Identity technologies.  If you are a SharePoint person, you need to be aware of changes to External Sharing on SharePoint Online.

    In other words… you need to stay up on your continuing education!


    The best place to do this is through the regularly scheduled Ignite Webcast sessions led by Microsoft Office 365 Product Managers, Engineers and support staff. The Ignite webcast series addresses different Office 365 technical subjects and scenarios and is beneficial to anyone who wants to increase their knowledge of the Office 365 suite. View the Ignite Site for more information about upcoming Ignite programs and webcasts. You can view past Ignite Webcast sessions here.

    If you will have some downtime over the holidays, set aside a few hours to catch up on the sessions to date:

    November 2013

    October 2013

    September 2013

    August 2013

    July 2013

    June 2013

    May 2013

    April 2013

    March 2013

    February 2013

    January 2013

  • Ignite Webcast - Understanding IP and URL Change Notifications for Office 365

    To sign up for this webcast please download and save the attached calendar invite below where you will find the Webcast Meeting information.

    Ignite Webcasts are online sessions led by Microsoft Office 365 Product Managers, Engineers and Support staff. The Ignite webcast series addresses Office 365 technical subjects and scenarios and is beneficial to anyone who wants to increase their knowledge of the Office 365 suite. View the Ignite Site for more information about Ignite programs and webcasts. You can view past Ignite Webcast sessions and materials here and be sure to see upcoming Ignite Webcasts on the Ignite Events Page.


    We’re making it easier to understand outbound filtering for Office 365. We have updated our guidance and are consolidating the touch points to make outbound filtering easier to enable for your business. Join us for a recap of the current changes, some insight into the future changes, and an engaged Question and Answer session.

    We are excited to have Josh Maher and Zach Beers lead our latest Ignite Webcast. Josh is a Content Developer for Office 365 at Microsoft. He works on content solutions that complement the tools and processes within the product. Zach Beers is a service engineer in Office 365. He focuses on resolving the highest pain point issues for customers and works across the many product teams to ensure a unified approach. This is a great opportunity to join a discussion with our Microsoft presenters. Bring your questions!

    Remember, to sign up for this webcast please download and save the attached calendar invite below. We are excited to see you there!



    • Josh Maher, Senior Content Developer at Microsoft
    • Zach Beers, Principal Service Engineer at Microsoft

    Date/Time: December 5th at 9:00 AM Pacific Time. (1 Hour presentation)

    Live Meeting Information:
    Join online meeting
    Join by Phone 
    Find a local number
    Conference ID: 27579341 
    Forgot your dial-in PIN? | First online meeting?

  • Windows Azure Web Sites - Deep Dive Jump Start

    Website developers, here's your chance to learn how you can use Windows Azure to develop, deploy, and scale your large-scale web apps in a matter of minutes. If you're new to Windows Azure, this is a good starting point for finding out how it can help you save on time and resources, integrate with Office 365 and Elastic Search, and broaden your audience. Experienced users, this is an opportunity to deepen your knowledge of the product and to find out about new features, such as the website capability model and the storage object distribution pattern. You'll find out what you need to know from the people who developed the features.


    Course Outline:

    • Web Sites Overview
    • Development Tools
    • Continuous Deployment
    • Scaling and Configuration
    • Go-Live Checklist
    • Case Studies—Music Store and
    • Lightning Round

    Instructor Team:

    ​James Chambers | Microsoft ASP.NET/IIS MVP | @CanadianJames

    James Chambers is a speaker, author, and senior software developer in Canada. As a Microsoft MVP in ASP.NET/IIS, James' development passions are fueled by new technology, new tools, and mentoring others. Follow his coding adventures and other exploits at

    Tejaswi Redkar | Microsoft ​Director, Business Programs | @tejaswiredkar

    Tejaswi Redkar is the Director of Application Platform Technical Communities at Microsoft, which covers a broad range of Microsoft technologies from user experience to business analytics. He has been working on the Windows Azure platform since its early days and is the author of Windows Azure Platform and several other books. His team has built more than 100 solutions on Windows Azure for Enterprises and ISVs. He is also the creator of and You can find more details about him on his blog.