• Microsoft

    Microsoft Teams – the shiny new slack

    It has been my experience that businesses especially those that are spread across the world need better collaboration and communication tools than what was made available in Enterprises. In the consumer side, whether it’s Facebook or WhatsApp we have apps that are feature rich, easy to use and constantly updated to get new features. Years back when Microsoft acquired Skype (2011) and then Yammer (2012) I thought they will integrate, improve around these products and address the need. Unfortunately Yammer was a disappointment, not in terms of its features but in terms of acceptance and adoption by users. At my firm Vishwak Solutions I tried many times to get my team members to use…

  • Microsoft,  Technology

    Honey, I shrank the server rack

    As an IT Services firm we at Vishwak Solutions too have been running many servers on-premise for many years, these servers were handling Directory Services, email, file sharing, collaboration, Development, Testing and other work loads. Till three years back we were having nearly 3 server racks full of server hardware running on-prem. This meant CAPEX cost for procuring, OPEX costs for running, power, power backup, backup storage costs, air conditioning and real estate space. Adding to it was manpower cost for maintaining them. We started moving the workloads one at a time to cloud services: Directory Services: Windows Active Directory to Azure Active Directory for online authentication Email/Calendar/Contacts: Microsoft Exchange Server to Office 365 Exchange Online Collaboration: Microsoft…

  • Microsoft

    Present Online using PowerPoint 2013

    As the saying goes that 80% of users of a product like Microsoft Office use only 20% of it’s features. I thought myself to be a power-user of PowerPoint, but it turns out there are simple features in that I am aware of. It happened this week when accidentally I clicked on File->Share option in PowerPoint 2013. There was this feature “Present Online“. What this allows you to do is to present your deck to a remote device, with the remote user needing only a web browser, no plugin or app is required. It’s extremely handy when you are doing a phone call with say your client, you need to…

  • Apps,  Microsoft

    Microsoft Outlook for iOS, Android

    A few years back, no one in the Microsoft ecosystem would have dreamed these will happen. I for one certainly didn’t see it coming. In the last year under CEO Satya Nadella, there have been waves of change at Microsoft. I am loving these! Last week, Microsoft released a unified mail app for iOS and Android. The apps allow you to connect your Microsoft Exchange Server, Office 365 subscription, and Hotmail (Outlook.com) accounts. Apart from those, the mail app supports Google Gmail, Yahoo mail and Apple iCloud. There is great Calendar, Contacts (People), and Files (Onedrive.com & Dropbox) integration as well. I was pleasantly surprised to see the calendar and…

  • Events,  Microsoft

    SharePoint Conference 2014

    SharePoint Conference 2014 is happening this week in Las Vegas and through online I am catching up with the events there. In the main keynote I watched in Channel9 (now the link takes to a discussion and not the actual keynote), some interesting statistics was shared by Microsoft: 10000 people attending SharePoint conference 2014in Las Vegas Over 3.4 Million developers working in SharePoint & Office around the world Office 365 is now a $1.5Billion per year business for Microsoft, seen 500% YoY growth Over 60% of Fortune 500 companies use Office 365

  • Microsoft

    Office 365 Password sync

    Read here on my (positive) experience of using of Exchange Online (Office 365) for over a year now. In the current configuration we were using, for each user the password for their emails (Office365) was different from their office network (local Active Directory). Even then there was a way to pass through single sign-on, which meant any user signing in to Office365 the authentication will be done over the internet (secure connection) to our local AD (Active Director) Domain Controller (DC). We didn’t go with this option then, as this would have required us to have our DC servers available all the time, which was not possible in our case.…

  • Microsoft

    MS Excel Tips

    I use MS Excel a lot in a day for reviewing financial reports, client proposals, analysis of market data and so on. Beyond simple calculations, charts I find working with Excel especially formulas to be difficult. Most of the time when that happens Google or Bing comes to rescue. In this post I plan to write down the tips that I used which I hope will be useful to others and to myself in future. When we want to do a summary sheet in a Excel file, bringing the last value in a particular range of cells (say a column). For picking the last non empty number from a range…

  • Apps,  Microsoft

    Outlook 2013 Action Items

    At Vishwak Solutions we moved about a year back to Office 365 for hosting our email/calendar/contacts for Vishwak.com domain. Recently we got the service upgrade on our Office365 account, as a result I suppose we received new features that were brought out with Exchange Server 2013 and additional items specific to Office 365. Last few days I began noticing a new button appearing on top of the reading pane for some of the emails. It was titled “Action Items”. Clicking it, revealed it to be an intelligent system that extracts from mail text & shows only the “Action Items”  which you can then flag for future attention – cool indeed.…