Month: April 2012

A first glance at using Office 365 content on the iPad with Colligo Briefcase Lite

I recently started looking at the free Colligo Briefcase Lite to see if I can access my Office 365 content on my iPad, even when I’m offline. In this post, I’ll share some of my first experiences with the app.
Note: This is the free, limited version. Colligo Briefcase Pro offers more functionality, see the website for more details.

After having installed the App from the AppStore, I started to add a site:

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After adding the URL (e.g. http://teamsite.sharepoint.com), and the corresponding User Name and Password that I use to access Office 365 (leaving Domain empty), I was prompted by the familiar Office 365 authentication dialog.
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I entered the required details again (maybe I would not have had to enter it into the Colligo Briefcase dialog at all, as these don’t seem to work with Office 365’s special authentication mechanism?), and the app began synchronising my content straight afterwards:
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As you can see, lists and libraries are shown in the left-hand navigation bar. Selecting the drop down at the top, I could also switch to a subsite.
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What if you don’t want to synchronise a particular list/library, or not all of its views? Opening the list/library’s menu, you can deselect either option:
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Inside a list/library, you can switch in between views. However, the only column that was always displayed was “Title”, none of my other columns showed up here20120427-152244.jpg

 

It took me a while to figure out that if you press on the <> bar in between the navigation and the content area, you can expand the latter, and thus see additional columns!
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Selecting an individual item, I could see all properties:
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Documents can be shared as attachments, and of course also be opened in other apps that support the doc’s format
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This is as far as I got with testing the app. I’ll slowly use the app more and more, once I’ve got more to report I’ll do a follow-up posting.

Office 365 Links of the Week – 27 April 2012

Some interesting articles and blog posts about Office 365:

Storage Update for SharePoint Online Enterprise Plans
Tenant storage quota limit increased to 25 TB (terabytes). Additional storage can be purchased for $0.20 per GB per month

 

http://www.xstran.com/solutions/
Fellow Office 365 MVP Loryan Strant’s company’s (one of them) website. Currently three great tools are available, namely
– Exchange Federation Discovery Tool (allows you to see which of your contacts support Exchange calendar sharing)
– Lync Contact Migrator (provides users with the ability to migrate their Lync contact list easily between accounts, profiles and even organizations)
– Office 365 Mobile Admin (allows administrators to perform simple user management functions from the palm of their hand by using their phones)

 

http://www.testmyoffice365.com/
Loryan and his team also developed this helpful website that provides you with some information on your DNS settings, and if they’ve been configured properly for use with Office 365 (also read his blog post)

 

Three Office 365 books have either just been released or will come out within the next few weeks, all 3 have been authored by MVPs. They are:
Working with Microsoft® Office 365: Running Your Small Business in the Cloud by Brett Hill from http://www.office365answers.com/
Office 365 – Exchange Online Implementation & Migration by Loryan Strant (yes, the same guy! No, he’s doing nothing else besides Office 365) and David Greve
Microsoft Office 365 für kleine Unternehmen (in German) by Martina Grom

 

Office 365 Helper Scripts  (Microsoft Download Center)
“This package includes a number of helper scripts created during Office 365 deployments. The following pages describe the script, the intended action and associated arguments to successfully run the script. The assumption is that the user executing these scripts has administrator-level Office 365 credentials.”

 

First meeting of the Office 365 International User Group
Sean McNeill has written a summary of the first meeting

 

Singapore energy firm saves US$80,000 from server-related costs with Office 365
3 small sucess stories from Southeast Asia

AIIM Certified Information Professional

End of March, I took and passed the AIIM Certified Information Professional exam. After having received some questions on twitter that require a longer response than 140 characters, I decided to write down my experiences.

Why I decided to take the exam

Simply said, I wanted to show that I have experience with managing information, and the CIP seemed like a very good choice as it’s an exam that covers all important areas of Information Management. Additionally, I wanted to learn a bit more about some of these areas (records management, e.g.), and preparing for the exam would give me a good reason to look at these in more detail. The exam doesn’t go too much into detail, more breadth than depth. If you want to get certified in an area with more depth, there are of course the other certifications provided by AIIM, for e.g. for ECM, ERM, etc.

How I prepared for it

The most important thing I was “using” during my preparation (and also the exam) was experience. Having worked in IT for several years, and specifically in some of the areas covered by the exam, most of the content wasn’t new to me, and I already had a very good basic knowledge of the majority of topics.

In addition to that, I went through the videos at first, and later onwards worked my way through the slides (can be requested if you’re an AIIM member).

The Exam

The exam consists of 100 questions with either one or multiple possible answers (have a look at the test exam), for which you have 120 minutes to complete. Some of these questions are fairly easy, anyone who has been working in the information management area for a while should have no problems answering these (I basically selected the answer and clicked “Next” within seconds). For the majority of questions, it’s important to have gone through all relevant topics (videos and/or slides) in detail, it’s definitely not enough to just know the topic roughly. There were a few topics that I only browsed through during my preparation, only to realise during the exam that the question asked goes much more into detail, and that my knowledge was insufficient. For some I could still deduct the right answer, for others I had to guess (after narrowing down my choice)’ and for one I had absolutely no clue at all… So, just because you think you know a topic, don’t assume that you know it well enough! I would categorise the last group of questions as “best practice questions”. You are given a small scenario, and you need to decide how to best proceed. These are the questions I thought about the most during the exam, as the answer is not immediately clear, and I felt that you need to have a certain amount of experience to answer these (for 1 or 2 I really thought about how I would go about it).
I think the difficulty of the exam is about right. It’s certainly not too easy, so browsing through the slides ones is not enough (unless you have many years of experience, then you might still make it). But it’s also not too difficult, with the right amount of experience and preparation it should be possible to pass the exam without any trouble.

Would I recommend the exam?

That largely depends on your job scope and experiences, and if you think that it would provide some additional value to your personal profile. The quality of the exam itself is certainly quite good, and there are definitely benefits for oneself just from preparing for it.

MVP for Office 365

Beginning of April, I received the following email from Microsoft, informing me that ‘ve been awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for Office 365:

Sehr geehrte(r) Rene Modery,

herzlichen Glückwunsch! Wir freuen uns, Ihnen den Microsoft® MVP Award 2012 verleihen zu können! Diese Auszeichnung wird an herausragende, führende Mitglieder der technischen Communities verliehen, die ihre wertvollen praktischen Erfahrungen mit anderen Menschen teilen. Wir schätzen Ihren außerordentlich bedeutenden Beitrag in den technischen Communities zum Thema Office365 im vergangenen Jahr hoch ein.

What is the MVP Award all about? Microsoft describes it as:

We seek to recognize the best and brightest from technology communities around the world with the Microsoft® Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award.

These exceptional community leaders come from a wide range of backgrounds. They are teachers, artists, doctors, engineers, as well as technologists, who actively share their high-quality, real-world technical expertise with the community and with Microsoft.

With the MVP Award, we thank these inspiring individuals for representing the voice of thousands in the community through the powerful and independent feedback they give us, and for helping our customers maximize the potential of their software.”

This is a great honor for me, showing me that my contributions to the Office 365 community were both useful as well as recognised. In addition, it means that I will work harder to contribute even more to the community, and also provide more (hopefully generally useful) solutions in the future. And lastly, I am also working on learning more about Office 365 in areas that I do not know enough about yet (mostly Exchange).