Blog Archive

Monthly Microsoft Licensing Webinar

Microsoft Volume Licensing Logo

We’re proud to be working in conjunction with Microsoft to deliver monthly webinars on licensing.  The 60-minute calls run on the second Wednesday of every month and will take you through a different topic each month kicking off with Azure in the Open Volume Licensing programme in August.  The calls also include updates on products, technologies and promotions and each month’s call is also recorded so you can catch up with previous topics.

There are three calls on the day, each targeted to a specific audience segment:

10am – 11am Microsoft small and medium business (SMB) partners and distributors

12pm – 1pm Microsoft customers with volume licensing agreements

2pm – 3pm Microsoft Large Solution Providers (LSPs)

Registrations are monitored so please do not register for calls outside your segment or try to register with generic email addresses such as @gmail or @hotmail.

Details for August’s call can be found on the TechNet blog.

If you are an LSP, please contact your Microsoft account manager to register.

If you are an SMB partner primarily transacting Open and Open Value licence agreements, please contact your preferred distributor who can provide details of the registration links.

If you are a Microsoft Volume licensing customer, you have access to a great new UK specific volume licensing site.  The site is a hub through which you can access UK specific VL content and resources. To view details on the Spotlight Calls as well as our upcoming 2-day Licensing Fundamentals events, please click on the events link in the rotating banner.

Microsoft Volume Licnesing webpage

 


How to Access the Old Print Preview

Microsoft have to please over a billion users of Office so there will always be some elements that people aren’t so keen on. You can tell we’re being diplomatic here can’t you? I must admit I stayed with the Windows Classic start menu when I used Windows Vista back in the day.

I had a question from a user at Land Securities during an Office demonstration session. The person was working on a small device and the Word print preview in Office 2010 and 2013 only shows the document in half the window. He missed the old print preview dialogue box where he could view the document as full screen.

Office Print Preview Window

 

When features of Office are deprecated, some of them remain in the product but are moved into the background. This is one of those features. To access the old-style Print Preview window you need to customise the Ribbon or Quick Access Toolbar.  Let’s use the Quick Access Toolbar for our example.  To add commands to the toolbar, click the arrow to the far right.  As the command in question is not in the common commands list, select More Commands….

Customise the Ofice Quick Access Toolbar

 

This will show the Customise Quick Access Toolbar page in the options window.  Click on the dropbox and select All Commands to display an alphabetical list of all the Word commands; a surprising number of them.

Office Ribbon Commands

 

Scroll down in the list until you see Print Preview Edit Mode.  Double-click the command to add it to your Quick Access Toolbar.

Add a command to the ribbon

 

And now you have the Office 2007 style Print Preview window at the touch of a button.

Command added to the Quick Access Toolbar

 

Whether it will still be there in the next version of Office is anyone’s guess of course, so caveat emptor or another suitable Latin phrase for be careful when using old Office commands.

Old style print preview

 


New Office 365 Plans for Small Business

Update August 2014 – We’re proud to be working with Ingram Micro to deliver a series of webinars on the Microsoft Cloud platform.  In this recording we go through the new Office 365 Business plans.

In almost every cloud event we run, I mention how frequently cloud services change.  Think about Office; there’s Office 2013.  Before that came Office 2010, Office 2007, Office 2003 and so on.  A nice predictable release cadence of three years or so.  A similar pattern exists with server products and OSs.  The cloud has a much faster release cycle and from October 1st there will be new Office 365 plans for small business: Office 365 Business, Office 365 Business Essentials and Office 365 Business Premium.  All three of these are aimed at the small and medium business (SMB) market and will replace the current lineup (Small Business, Small Business Premium and Midsize Business) by late 2015.

 

New office 365 Plans

 

This is a nice improvement on the current, fragmented SMB position, because you can now mix these three plans to your hearts content, up to 300 seats of each.  You cannot currently mix and match Small Business and Midsized Business plans.  The 300 seat limit is per plan, not per tenant, so you can have up to 900 seats across these three plans if necessary.

Office 365 new plans described

 

Before you get too excited, these plans also have clear omissions.

Office 365 business Plan vs ProPlus

Office 365 Business doesn’t include the Office apps and features that Midsize Business did; Access and Lync.  I think this is almost the wrong way around.  Access shouldn’t be chosen over SQL Server for enterprises and SMB love the power that Access can bring.  Lync is marvellous for all types of organisation and shouldn’t be limited to just enterprise.

My personal position remains that customers and partners should start with the Office 365 Enterprise plans and then work downwards if absolutely necessary, not the other way around:

  1. There’s more choice with the Enterprise family of services, not just plans E1, E3 and E4 but all of the standalones
  2. You can mix and match so office users can go for plan E3 for example whilst lighter workers may just require hosted email
  3. More control over the Office installation and updates via the admin centre
  4. More services to grow into when you’re ready, without having to consider migrating to a higher plan
  5. Lower cost entry point: Small Business Premium is £8.40 per user per month; Exchange Online is just £2.60 per user per month
  6. Lots more reasons but I forget them

Here’s the FAQ which covers a lot more detail.


Is Office 365 Subject to the Patriot Act?

Great Seal of the United States

 

David from Newcastle upon Tyne asks “is Office 365 subject to the Patriot Act?”

This is a very common question when dealing with cloud services, not just office 365.  In short, the USA Patriot Act makes lawful access to stored data easier in certain instances.  If the request is lawful and obligatory, Microsoft cannot simply refuse.  Nor can any other company.  And don’t forget, the UK has similar powers and made almost as many law enforcement disclosure requests as the US between July 2013 and December 2013 (4,213 requests from the UK against 5,652 from the US).

Customers can be assured that Microsoft follows clear principles in responding to any government legal demands for customer data (whether from the US government, UK or other bodies):

There must be a valid subpoena or legal equivalent before Microsoft will consider releasing a customer’s non-content data to law enforcement;
There must be a court order or warrant before Microsoft will consider releasing a customer’s content data;
In each instance, Microsoft carefully examines the requests received for a customer’s information to make sure they are in accord with the laws, rules and procedures that apply.

Because Microsoft is committed to transparency in regards to who has access to customers’ data, when and under what circumstances, they publish the details of the number of demands they receive each year in a Law Enforcement Requests Report which is updated twice a year.  They have just released a report on US government requests (as opposed to law enforcement requests) and between January 2013 and June 2013 there were less than 1,000 orders seeking disclosure of customer content.  Brad Smith, Microsoft’s General Counsel & Executive Vice President of Legal & Corporate Affairs highlights that “while our customers number hundreds of millions… only a fraction of a percent of our users are affected by these orders.”

It’s also possible for customers on Microsoft’s cloud services to find out whether someone has accessed their data.

Due to the frequency of this question, the Office 365 Trust Centre is a useful source of information around privacy and transparency.