Interlink Cloud Blog
Sarah Bunt

Microsoft Delivers Long-Awaited Office 365 E5

Article originally published on crn.com/news by Joeseph Tsidulko - December 01, 2015

Office 365 e5

Recently, Microsoft released the latest and greatest enterprise edition of its Office 365 cloud-based productivity suite, promising partners that the product's added capabilities would create entirely new opportunities for them to drive business.

E5, the long-anticipated release of the enterprise-grade version of the world's leading office productivity and collaboration SaaS suite, introduces first-time functionality into Office 365, including cloud-based calling and web-conferencing, security and compliance features and an eDiscovery tool.

While partners were expecting most of the new capabilities -- Microsoft discussed the product extensively in July at its Worldwide Partner Conference and has been briefing partners since — the channel finally got a look at how E5 would be packaged and priced.

[Related: Equinix Cloud Exchange Debuts Direct Access To Office 365 Through Microsoft ExpressRoute]

Phil Sorgen, Microsoft's corporate vice president of its Worldwide Partner Group, told partners in a blog post that "the new Office 365 unlocks a whole new suite of capabilities for our customers, and a whole new opportunity for our partners."

Those innovative tools will be available as standalone features, or as the Office 365 Enterprise E5 package, said Microsoft's channel chief.

"For partners, this means one thing – opportunity," Sorgen blogged. "There are a few specific ways you can maximize this opportunity with new and existing customers."

Among them, partners can upsell to existing customers the web-conferencing and cloud-based communications tools. Or they can leverage the security, analytics, insights and compliance features to win new customers, Sorgen said.

Ric Opal, vice president of Peters & Associates, a Microsoft partner based in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., told CRN that partners must now start thinking about how to capitalize on Microsoft's innovations.

"We have to figure out how we're going to leverage the new features Microsoft released in E5 and differentiate ourselves," Opal said.

Those capabilities are raw ingredients that partners must use to carve out their own positions in the market and drive healthy margins, he said.

"The true trick is figuring out from all the stuff they dropped how to weave your value proposition around their innovation," Opal told CRN.

Matt Scherocman, president of Interlink Cloud Advisors, a Microsoft partner based in Cincinnati, said E5 is a major upgrade, not just a gradual evolution, of the enterprise product.

"If you look at what they added, like end-user and organizational analytics, that stuff wasn't in [the edition] before this one," Scherocman told CRN. "It's cool that it’s a whole separate product. The cloud-based phone functionality didn't exist before, and now it's in E5."

While partners who sell on-premises phone systems might not see that as much of a benefit, for "those who don't, it’s a natural add-on that we can start selling as a package," Scherocman said.

"The key here is that Microsoft continues to innovate the platform," he told CRN.

The two most-surprising elements of E5, Scherocman said, are the enhanced eDiscovery capabilities, which help customers prioritize the most-relevant documents they query; and the ability to open e-mail attachments securely in a virtual machine, making sure the attachments and links are safe.

"I think it will help get rid of a lot of malware and issues that people have with their PCs," Scherocman told CRN.

Sorgen encouraged Microsoft's partners to team with their peers who specialize in such areas as security, eDiscovery, business intelligence and communications and take on joint engagements to expand their practices.

"This is perhaps our best opportunity yet to convince customers that the benefits of the cloud far outweigh the risks," Sorgen said.

o365 free trial

 

Sarah Bunt

What is Office Sway?

Sway

Sway is now rolling out to users with full features and capabilities.

SWAY

In October 2014, Microsoft introduced a new way for consumers to share their ideas utilizing a number of multimedia outlets. Sway allows for the compiling of videos, pictures, Tweets, and more in polished reports and presentations – all in an interactive way.

Check out this Sway we put together on the new offerings of Office 365! 

Sway can be used across many different industries and businesses – even in education.

  • Newsletters

  • Marketing plans/campaigns

  • Proposals and sales pitches

  • Project plans/updates

  • Brochures/digital fliers

  • Weekly/monthly/quarterly/annual reports

  • Training manuals

 

Sway vs. PowerPoint

  • Fluid. Better movement from slide to slide that gives a more unified flow in the presentation.

  • Embed. Add Tweets, Videos, other Sways and more directly into the presentation simply and without having to interrupt the movement.

  • Upload. Word, PowerPoint, and PDFs can be uploaded and formatted automatically into Sway saving time and energy re-entering all of the content.

  • Explore. Deeper options to navigate with horizontal and vertical movements. Possible integration of vertical movement within a horizontal format.

  • Publish. Created and shared easily on the web with co-authoring capabilities.

 Sway picture

Sway will support Office 365 work and school credentials, meaning all qualified Office 365 for business or education subscribers can start utilizing Sway too. Both Sway on the web and the next Sway for iPhone update will support logging in with Office 365 work or school accounts.

Look for an article on Sway- Tips and Tricks coming soon.

If you want to know about the new Office 365 products, features and updates, contact us here.

Matt Scherocman

Outlook Web App (OWA) will now be known as “Outlook on the web.”

Outlook Web App (OWA) will now be known as “Outlook on the web.”

Microsoft continues to innovate on the UI for customers to become more productive. They have renamed the Outlook Web App to “Outlook on the web”. Additionally, they have created a new design for the action bar available across the Mail, Calendar, People, and Task areas in Outlook on the web.

action bar

They have:

  • Made the email subject line larger and more prominent
  • Indented messages in the reading pane for easier reading
  • Added more prominent buttons in Calendar to make navigation and creating a new meeting request simpler.

Additionally, Outlook on the web adds new features that make things easier to navigate and organize mail within the browser. Let’s take a look at them below.

Pin lets you pin any message in your inbox so that it is highlighted in yellow and kept at the top of your inbox.

outlook web

Sweep, includes a simple set of actions to manage emails from specific senders. You can manage reoccurring messages (like newsletters, digital coupons, and other email received on a regular basis) as well as choose to keep messages from a specific sender (for a specified number of days, only keep the latest message, or delete all messages from the sender).

Archive lets you quickly move messages out of the inbox to a folder of your choice.

Undo lets you revert unintended actions with a single click.

Preview the message contents in-line with the subject. With Outlook on the web you can also now perform common actions in bulk, and clicking a message now displays the message in the same window — finally no pop-ups or separate windows.

Resize images, add custom borders, apply shadow effects, and rotate images. Now supports a full set of emojis. J

To, Cc, or Bcc lines, now show a list of the most common people and distribution groups you have been emailing, which is refined as you type. As you add recipients, Outlook on the web makes suggestions that you most commonly email.

Calendar in Outlook on the web has gained a five-day weather forecast.

outlook2

Charms, which are basically icons to help you quickly identify specific types of events (an airplane for an upcoming flight, a knife and fork for a business dinner, a music note for a piano class, and so on) have also been added.

Mobile browsing experience has received user interface and navigational improvements:

  • Updates to closer resemble the UI look of Outlook apps on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
  • Improved navigation for switching between Mail, Calendar and People.
  • More prominent search command.
  • Ability to switch between emails without returning to the message list.
  • Time strip updated to show the full week within the calendar.
  • Improved UI for creating new events and using the scheduling assistant in Calendar.

The following updates are coming to Office 365 users today, as long as they have a plan that includes Exchange Online and have opted into Microsoft’s First Release program. Everyone else will begin receiving these updates in “the first week of September.”

 


Interested in the new "Outlook on the web"? Give us a call at (513) 444-2020 or contact us here!

Matt Scherocman

Growth: Office 365 Now Supports up to 150 MB Email Size

Growth: Office 365 Now Supports up to 150 MB Email Size

In the past, users of Outlook have been restricted to attachments onl25 MB or less in total.

However, for those who prefer to attach all files directly to an email through Outlook at once, there is good news: the maximum message size has increased to 150 MB.

 

It is important to note, however, that the administrator is responsible for changing the default settings themselves and users are still set at a maximum of 25 MB unless changed. It is now an option to choose the size setting ranging from 1 MB up to the new 150 MB. There are even ways for restricting or allowing certain sizes to distinct users or groups.

For more information and details about how to change the settings check out the steps here

 


If you would like to learn more about your Office 365 options we would be happy to walk you through it. Give us a call at 800-900-1150 or contact us here. 

Matt Scherocman

Comparing Office 365 E1 Plan vs. the Core CAL

 

 

Many clients, especially those with Enterprise Agreements, are being asked by Microsoft to convert their licensing agreements into Office 365 based subscription solutions and are confused by their options.  This comparison is for clients who currently own just the Core CAL (client access license) and are considering moving to an Office 365 E1 plan with a Bridge CAL.  

Let’s start with what is the same.

Both E1 and the Core CAL give you the right to run Exchange Standard CAL, Skype for Business Standard CAL (formerly known as Lync), and SharePoint Standard CAL on premise, in your own data center for your users.  Both plans would require the requisite Server licenses purchases. 

The Bridge CAL completes the traditional functionality of the Core CAL by licensing you for a Windows CAL, System Center Configuration Manager CML, and the Microsoft EndPoint Protection Antivirus service. 

[...]

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