Nik’s Chicago Office 365 User Group Session Deck on Better together SharePoint and OneDrive and Microsoft Teams is Available

I had a wonderful time at presenting very relevant but very confused topic of when to use which Office 365 products and how Microsoft is trying to alleviate some of those concerns by directly adding features in the product by integrating SharePoint and OneDrive with Microsoft Teams.

I have attended Mark Kashman and Jeremy Mazner’s Microsoft Ignite 2018 session (BRK2102 – Better teamwork, together: SharePoint and OneDrive integration with Microsoft Teams) on the same topic and very much impressed with how Microsoft is building in-context experiences in OneDrive, SharePoint, and Microsoft Teams to integrate three products together. I had decided to reuse lots of materials from the Ignite session and added a few additional when to use community illustrations to make the talk more relevant.

Here are the session and deck I have presented at Chicago Office 365 User Group. If you are in Chicago during our next meetup, please stop by and enjoy a free tech, beer, and food on us.

Better together: SharePoint and OneDrive and Microsoft Teams

SPOneDriveTeamsTogether

Microsoft Teams provides you a contextual interface to get all your work done from the centralized team workspace in Office 365. SharePoint connects the workplace and powers content collaboration in Office 365. OneDrive connects you with all your files in Office 365.

Together, SharePoint, OneDrive and Microsoft Teams are greater than the sum of their parts. Join Nik Patel from SPR for an overview of how these products interact with each other and learn about the latest integrations Microsoft is working on to bring the richness of SharePoint and OneDrive directly into Microsoft Teams experiences and vice versa.

We will also look when to use what, and some of the finest illustrations created by the community to understand why all these products need to co-exist to realize the full power of your investments in Office 365.

Enjoy!!

Resources

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What’s New in SharePoint 2019 On-Premises Server

Microsoft has announced this week that SharePoint 2019 is in GA.  Arguably SharePoint 2013 was the last great product of the SharePoint on-premises server. SharePoint 2016 was labeled as the first cloud-born SharePoint on-premises product with lots of infrastructure update, without any major UI or features updates. SharePoint 2019 is the polar opposite and comes with modern SharePoint Online features with minimal infrastructure updates. It’s built on the cloud-born model introduced in SharePoint 2016, but brings modern SharePoint Online user experience and cloud innovations to the on-premises customers. SharePoint 2019 will be remembered as modern SharePoint version and introduces all the SharePoint online features circa fall 2017, minus cloud only features like Delve, Office 365 Groups, Yammer, or Microsoft Teams integration.

SharePoint-2019

Microsoft first announced the availability of the SharePoint 2019 at Microsoft Ignite 2017 (Sep 2017), first showed the preview of SharePoint 2019 product at the SPC 2018 (May 2018) before releasing public preview bits in July 2018. At Microsoft Ignite 2018 (Sep 2018), they have shown SharePoint 2019 to the much larger audience before releasing RTM or GA version in October 2018.

This blog summarizes the announcements and new features introduced as of Oct 2018. I must say – none of our customers were interested in upgrading their on-premises environment to SharePoint 2016 (due to infrastructure upgrade and large numbers of servers required to support min-role model, IT don’t call shots anymore), but we hear lot more buzz around SharePoint 2019 (due to a large number of features and this is primarily UX dominated release, business wins in most cases). I do expect more organizations will modernize their SharePoint environment during this release than infrastructure only SharePoint 2016 release. I do expect more organizations will migrate their SP2010 and SP2013 to the modern UI and cloud-born SP2019, skipping SP2016 directly.

SP2019 will be remembered for some of the features like Modern team sites, Modern lists and libraries, Communications sites, URL paths with 260->400 and #% characters, Increased file upload size to 15 GB, New Search Center, OneDrive Sync Client, and a lot more powerful SharePoint Framework support.

Here is the summary of all the announcements of SharePoint 2019. You can also find all the summaries in the wonderful PDF document released by Microsoft as SharePoint 2019 Reviewers Guide.

Share and work together – modern collaboration experience investments

  • Self-site creation experience for team and communication sites from SharePoint homepage; it creates sites in seconds. It supports OneDrive personal sites (introduced in SP2016), Modern SP Team sites and SP Communication sites (new in SP2019); this will allow creating sites in minutes, rather than long-running timer jobs.
  • Modern Team Sites – Updated experience for home page, lists, libraries, pages, and news; easy to customize; navigation in App launcher refreshed similar to cloud; these team sites are not group connected (Office 365 Groups are cloud only capabilities); upgrade from SP2016 to SP2019 will stay with classic team sites but you can take advantage of modern lists and libraries on upgraded classic team sites; you will be able to create modern team sites using modern team site templates.
  • Modern Libraries – SP2016 FP1 introduced modern OneDrive user experience, SP2019 introduces same experience for SharePoint sites; it’s responsive UI with modern, simplified sharing experience, newly detailed pane to view important metadata for documents; still supports classic view – Ability to pin multiple documents to the top, details pane for document metadata (e.g. preview generated by office online server, who has access to documents, and recent activities)
  • Modern Lists – Introduces new lists experience; JSON columns formatting with JSON like color coding and data columns (opensource gallery available on GitHub); simplified filtering and managing columns directly from the UI; details pane to view important metadata; new bulk editing capabilities; still supports classic view – intuitive experience with new filtering pane, bulk edit items and live update of list views, and save personalized views
  • Modern Pages – Rich authoring, mobile-friendly, responsive framework, out of box modern web parts using SP Framework (SPFx first introduced in SP2016 FP2 without any buildout web parts)
  • OneDrive Sync Client – Fast, reliable, and proven experience with OneDrive.exe (NGSC); Sync documents from devices and computers form on-premises for both SharePoint and OneDrive folders; new sync experience like files on demand, push notifications – no more Groove available in SP2019; OneDrive modern user experience available since SP2016 FP1, new capabilities in SP2019 are OneDrive Sync Client integration (click on sync button to setup sync relationship with user personal OneDrive, uses files on demand by default, it means files are not downloaded to your hard drive by default, either you download OnDemand or make it cloud only by clicking on free up my space), push notification (OneDrive sync client is notified, and instances syncs those files). OneDrive sync client will support only SP2019 or later. OneDrive Sync client will not be supported on the previous version of the SharePoint.

Inform and Engage Employees – Connecting employees to resources and data they need to perform their job

  • SharePoint Home – New SharePoint landing page for collaboration; Your relevant sites, news, activities are in one place. In Cloud, it’s powered by Graph. In on-preemies, it will be powered by SP search engine – keeping up with personalized experience (news from sites, following sites with most recent activities, suggested sites with most recent activities), a quick search box to lookup with type ahead, featured links are links promoted by an organization for all the users
  • Team News – Allows you to keep up with and broadcast key events and announcements with other members of the team, including videos & images & rich formatting capabilities
  • Communication Sites – Intended to create beautiful and dynamic sites to reach broader audience with predefined rich, responsive layouts – new web parts (hero web part, events view/calendar web part, activities web part); communication site can be the root of web application on on-premises (will be available on SharePoint online by end 2018)
  • Mobile Experience – Beautiful sites on every device, get SharePoint on the go with the SharePoint mobile app – Sites and News (communication site, modern team site)
  • New Search Experience – Modern search experience; type ahead contextual results in search box with instant search results; combined search results for sites, files, and people, modern search results page for SharePoint home and site search; the hybrid search is available through hybrid search configuration wizard

Transform business processes – Modernizing productivity of your business with business process automation

  • SP2019 integration with PowerApps and Flow using data gateway (similar as SP2016 and requires a hybrid connection), no integration directly from UI, you have to start from PowerApps and Flow services UI and use connectors.
  • Project Server 2019 (included part of SharePoint binaries since SP2016)
  • Office Online Server – Evergreen model, once or twice a year they release a new version, both existing and newer version will be compatible with SP2019
  • Continued support for SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 workflows

Developer Investments

  • SharePoint Framework (v1.4.1 for SP2019 except for Microsoft Graph capabilities) for cloud-ready and future-proof customizations – Build custom lightweight and mobile-ready client-side web parts, Extend SharePoint experiences within a modern web page and libraries using extensions and custom actions, automate business processes using webhooks (connect to services to listen to events of SharePoint)
  • What is supported in the SharePoint Server 2019 from development platform perspective? – Modern pages, Modern team and communication sites, modern subsites, Column formatting, SharePoint Framework client-side web parts and extensions (v1.4.1, except the Microsoft Graph capabilities), Webhooks, Asset packaging – hosting your solution assets automatically from app catalog site collection, Tenant scoped deployment – deploy your web parts cross the farm just by installing them to the app catalog, ALM APIs for add-in and SharePoint Framework solution management
  • What is NOT supported in the SharePoint Server 2019 from development platform perspective? – Site Designs and Site Scripts, Hub sites, Custom modern themes – Out-of-the-box modern themes are available for team sites and communication sites, and Site collection app catalog

IT Pro Investments

  • Continued simplified SharePoint administration introduced in SP2016 – Zero downtime, Min roles
  • Software Requirements – Windows Servers (Win Server 2016 or Win Server 2019) and Database Servers (SQL Server 2016 or SQL Server 2017)
  • Key Software Prerequisites – .NET Framework 4.7.2 and WCF Data Services 5.6
  • SharePoint Hybrid Configuration Wizard – Triggered from SPO admin center for earlier versions, integrated from central administration in SP2019
  • SMTP Server Authentication – SP can now authenticate to your SMTP email servers (no more anonymous relays just for SharePoint)

Infrastructure and Platform Improvements

  • Large file support – SP2019 supports uploading files up to 15 GB (compare to 10GB supported on SP2016)
  • Expand Supported Characters – support # and $ in file and folder names, supporting valid windows file and folders names, will work with new OneDrive sync
  • Long URL path – 400 characters for MAXURL (increased from 256 characters), more expressive names for your sites, libraries or use deeper nesting for your content organization
  • Recycle bin recovery improvements – Recover your content deleted by others from your recycle bin (you would need edit permission on that document to recover)
  • Performance Improvements – Up to 25% file I/O performance improvements for file upload/download and page load
  • Modernized IIS integration – Remove IIS6 dependencies by switching to modern IIS APIs

SharePoint 2019 Deprecated and Removed Features

  • Deprecated Features – A feature still available/supported in SP2019 but MS no longer choose to invest, MS suggests customer look for alternative options, may be removed from future SP on-premises releases
    • Access Services 2010 and 2013
    • Aggregated Newsfeed
    • Custom Help
    • InfoPath Client/InfoPath Services
    • Lists web service
    • Machine Translation Service
    • PerformancePoint Service
    • SharePoint Designer
    • Site Mailbox
    • Site Manager
  • Removed Features – No longer available/supported in the product binaries, either they are removed from previous SP on-premises releases or SharePoint Online
    • Automatic Mode in incoming email (no more IIS6 support)
    • Code-based sandbox solutions
    • Digest Authentication
    • Multi-Tenancy
    • Silverlight rendering in PerformancePoint Services and Visio Services
    • SQL Reporting Services Integrated Mode
    • Power Pivot and Power View

Resources

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Recapping Microsoft Ignite 2018 Conference, Orlando, FL

I had a privilege to attend Microsoft Ignite and Envision conference, the fourth year in a row from Sep 24-28th, 2018 in Orlando, FL. This is Microsoft’s signature technology conference focuses on innovations in all three Microsoft cloud platforms (Microsoft Azure & Modern Apps, Microsoft 365/Office 365 & EMS, and Dynamics 365) in addition to areas like Microsoft AI, Microsoft Data, and Windows.

Keynote, Sessions, and Conference Activities Highlights

Microsoft Day 1 & Day 2 usually focuses on the main keynote, sub keynotes, and product keynotes. This year conference started with Satya Nadella’s vision keynote. This year’s main theme was “Tech Intensity”. I love attending and listening to Satya’s vision, but this year I felt it was dry and wasn’t up to mark. It was short and only for an hour, and I have seen people lost their interest as keynote delivered.

Another big problem with the keynote that rooms are very small, and even though I was at the conference center at 8 AM, I was asked to go to the viewing area. I wasn’t happy about getting redirected to the viewing area at 8 AM. What’s the point of attending the conference keynote, if there are no spaces for the live event, and live streamed worldwide. It’s a problem Microsoft needs to solve. The only major announcement at the keynote was an Open Data Initiative announced a joint effort from Adobe, Microsoft, and SAP.

My typical focus at the Microsoft Ignite has been Office365 and SharePoint Innovations over the years. This year, I have decided to focus on Microsoft Azure and Modern App Development tracks. After the main keynote, I have attended Scott Gutherie’s sub keynote focusing on IT and developer success with Microsoft Azure.

After lunch, the main keynotes followed by general sessions. I have attended the general session to focus on Azure infrastructure overview. Both sub keynote and general session are a great starter for the Microsoft announcements in the specific area. Ignite usually have a three sub keynotes and 7-8 general sessions to funnel attendees to specific areas of their interest.

My first day ended with the first breakout session delivered by ever-energetic Donovan Brown focusing on getting started with Azure DevOps. His session was the highlight of the first day. Twitter has been my friend over the years to stay up to date with other areas announcements.

Since I decided not to attend modern workplace sessions, Twitter was the best where I was able to catch up what’s happening in the Microsoft 365, Office 365, SharePoint, and Microsoft Teams space. My first day ended with Microsoft Ignite Welcome Reception party at the Expo.

My Day 2 continued with Azure Sessions. First one in the morning started with real-world architecture considerations for Azure: how to succeed and what to avoid. Great overview of various Azure architecture patterns, but felt it was too dry. It was a good overview of Azure reference architectures on the Github and Microsoft site (link at the bottom).

The second session in the morning was app modernization with containers on Microsoft Azure. Brilliant overview of various Azure container services with reference architectures. Don’t get me wrong but first few days of the MS Ignite is more focused on announcements, roadmaps, and lots of marketing materials. If you are following Microsoft updates on Twitter, at times, it feels like there isn’t anything new announced at the Ignite.

I spent my afternoon walking through Expo area and learning about some of the ISVs like Unily and Valo Intranet in SharePoint space. I have attended only one session in the afternoon securing enterprise productivity with Office 365 threat protection services including EOP, ATP, and Threat Intelligence. This session provided a great overview of EMS features.

My Day 3 started with two back to back Microsoft Azure Exams (AZ-300 and AZ-301) sessions. I have attended similar sessions in past SharePoint conferences and didn’t find it any useful. Fast forward 5-6 years at this Microsoft Ignite conference, same was true. I would suggest avoiding these sessions, as speakers don’t provide many details than what’s on the MS learning site. The worst part about these was I ended up losing my morning to unnecessary sessions.

After lunch, I visited LiveTiles booth to learn about their intelligence workplace and LiveTiles intranet offerings on SharePoint and Microsoft Azure platform. My afternoon started with attending Microsoft IT session to learn about their journey and approach from Skype for Business to Teams. It was short but very useful. Understanding change adoption and champions program are as important as technology are great to see in a real-world case study.

There were few SharePoint sessions I was interested in the late afternoon but decided to walk through the expo. I stopped by tons of ISVs and Microsoft booths to learn about their products, partnership structure; RenCore, MS Learning, LMS365, Sharegate, and Nintex comes to the top of my mind.

If you are a deep technologist and regular MS Ignite attendee, real fun usually starts on Day 3 and Day 4 with deep dive sessions. My Day 4 started with Microsoft Teams Architecture Deep Dive. I attended the same session last year, and even though there were lots of repetition, this is one session I love to attend. Understanding what’s under the hood is a great way to master the technology. If you haven’t attended this session, I would highly recommend.

My 2nd session was an overview of new Microsoft 365 Security and Compliance centers. I welcomed Microsoft’s decision to break the current Security and Compliance center into two different admin centers. It was confusing to have both Security and Compliance on the same portal.

The third session I have attended was an IT pros guide to Open ID Connect, OAuth 2.0 with the V1 and V2 Azure Active Directory endpoints. I have never heard about John Craddock, but he was one of the best speakers I have come across. This is one of the must sessions every IT Pro and developers should review.

After lunch, I have visited SharePoint Spaces Immersion viewing area to experience SharePoint spaces and discuss under the hood architecture with the engineering team. It followed with my visit to Workplace Analytics and MyAnalytics booth to understand the product, licensing, and future vision, before heading back to the hotel for the Ignite Attendee Party at the Universal Studio.

Last day of Ignite is like the aftermath of Indian Wedding Ceremony where no guests, no parties, no major events, but only a few close friends & workers cleaning up space. I love going to Ignite Convention center on the last day with there is no expo and most of the people are already on their way back to their hometown.

I attended two sessions on the last day before wrapping up experience with the event – Microservices architecture with .NET Core, Docker containers, and Azure, and SharePoint and OneDrive better together with Microsoft Teams. I loved both of these sessions with tons of practical guidance and information. As a long time SharePointer, It was interesting to see that I attended only one SharePoint session, and it was the last one on the last day.

Conference Activities and Logistics

The third year in a row, I am impressed with how Microsoft runs their conferences. You will never run out of choices in the midst of the hundreds of activities – 75 minutes breakout sessions, 45 minutes of short breakout sessions, 20 minutes of theatre sessions, expo & evening happy hours, after-event parties, Microsoft product engineering booths, Viewing Lounge, Microsoft mechanics & podcast area, HOLs (Hands-on Labs), Immersion Labs (private 6-8 people, case study focus scenarios) and list goes on.

Every year, I try my best to analyze conference location, logistics, and food. I must say – Orange County Convention center in Orlando is huge and arguably my favorite location. I loved the way the venue had various seating areas (benches, couches, bean bags, etc.) sprinkled throughout the conference building (both indoor & outdoor). The food choices ranged from cold sandwiches to hot meal to an endless supply of beverages. I must say Microsoft Ignite food is getting better at each event.

Microsoft rented both Hyatt & West buildings for this year’s event. Last year a mile-long bridge walk between North/South and West building was a disaster in a toasty Orlando weather. It was great to see Microsoft tried to keep all the sessions in West and Hyatt building reducing overall walk in between sessions.

    

Just like Orlando last year, Microsoft reserved lodging space in three major areas – Convention Center/Sea World, Universal Studio, and Disney Springs. Microsoft had daily shuttles to transport conference attendees from these remote locations. Since I am not a morning guy, one of my favorite habits has been to live stream first session while commuting to the conference on shuttles. That allowed attendees like me to have the best of all – attend sessions, attend evening parties, & have a relaxed time while commuting to the conference location.

Last but not least, I can’t praise enough Microsoft Ignite Mobile App throughout the conference center. I simply loved way finder in the App from one location to another location in addition to schedule builder/my conference calendar. Microsoft started live-streaming sessions on the Ignite App since last Ignite Atlanta 2016, which not only helped session overflow situation but it also greatly helps if you want to relax in the quiet area and enjoy the session from a distance.

Wrap-up

This year’s Microsoft Ignite is probably one of the best conferences I have attended. I must say it’s getting better and better each year. Microsoft has mastered the event management and logistics of location/venue, attendee party, content, and list of activities for 26000+ people. If you haven’t been to Microsoft Ignite, it’s an experience everyone should have.

I attend Microsoft Ignite to learn, to connect, and to be inspired. Every year after Ignite, I am on a technology drugs, watching lot more Ignite videos than I would see without attending it. I would like to extend my special thanks to my current employer (SPR Consulting for picking up the expenses) to allow me to attend this conference and making this happen.

References

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Paradigm Shift in Modern SharePoint Search – Innovations Powered by Microsoft Graph in Microsoft 365, Office 365, and SharePoint Online

Microsoft unveiled some of the biggest Microsoft Search innovations at Ignite 2017 vision keynote, powered by Microsoft Graph in addition to Bing for Business and LinkedIn for Business integration. While watching Vision keynote, the impact of new Search innovations didn’t sink in until I was following tweets from the session Accelerate productivity with search and discovery in SharePoint and Office 365. I was at the Office 365 developer overview session at the same time and amount of tweets sent from search session was so overwhelming that I had no choice but prioritize this session after the Ignite.

If you are a long-time SharePointer, Microsoft Search has come a long way from the SharePoint 2007 days. From the basic SharePoint search based indexing engine, Microsoft has reimagined search many times after acquiring FAST in 2012 (just days before SharePoint 2010 release, with complex connectors and relevancy engine) and Project Oslo (now Microsoft Delve, powered by Microsoft Graph signals for the personalized and contextual results, announced at SPC14).

If you are searching SharePoint Online search results in Fall 2017, all the users in your organizations will receive similar results based on content popularity and content relevancy. This search is based on the search index populated by crawlers crawling SharePoint content in your Office 365 tenant. At Ignite 2017, Microsoft unveiled their vision of new SharePoint search center powered by Microsoft Graph. Rather than searching against SharePoint index, a new search will return data based on users personalized interests, connections, and content. The new search engine will be powered by Microsoft Graph.

Earlier this summer, Microsoft has unveiled their new vision of digital workplace ‘Microsoft 365″ at the Microsoft Inspire 2017 conference, marketed as a complete, intelligent solution to empower employees to be creative and work together securely, using combined Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility and Security licensing packages. One of the major selling points of the modern digital workplace is – increase the productivity and content switching to speed up the innovation and collaborate faster ultimately to achieve better customer service or increase profitability.

At Microsoft Ignite 2017, Microsoft has announced that new Microsoft Graph powered search is not limited to only SharePoint search center. It is getting expanded to SharePoint Online home, Office.com home (Office 365 home), Bing, and Windows tasks bar, a full spectrum of digital workplace offering as Microsoft 365.

Search powerd by MS Graph

Rather than you as a user access the tools to search, the search will be available to you wherever you are to be productive. Microsoft’s vision is taking the search where users are, rather than only available through few products like SharePoint. If you just stop for a second and think, this is a huge paradigm shift in how SharePoint Search and Microsoft Search works. Not only Office 365 graph changes search result from popularity to more contextual and personalized but also opens up new ground for innovation. Search powered by Office 365 graph will allow better integration with LinkedIn Graph and Dynamics 365 Graph opening up the new search experiences.

MS Graphs.PNG

Microsoft Graph Powered Search – Boundaryless, Personalized, Contextual

Here are my few notes while watching Microsoft Ignite search session:

Search powerd by MS Graph 2

  • Core Pillars of intelligent search – Boundaryless, Personalized, Contextual
  • Personalized
    • Evolution of Search –
      • Current search is based on popular content (similar to commercial searches like Bing or Google)
      • Evolving search for matching content and popularity to match people & behavior and entities. The search will use Microsoft Graph as a data tier.
    • NEW – Personalized Search in SharePoint home
      • Will be available late 2017
      • New Search page layout & experience let you explore without losing context
      • Shows multiple categorized data – files, people, sites, news, all on the same page.
      • Preview inline files, supports more than 275 files types, support built by OneDrive team
      • Folder view – You can differentiate results with a similar file name with folder path in a browser and all the results are organized by path.
      • Search results are scope into folder and browser into folder directly from the search experience.
    • NEW – Visual Content Intelligence
      • Ability to extract text and objects from images and create metadata for the search.
      • It’s already available as of Dec 2017 on the Office 365 tenants
  • Contextual
    • It’s optimized for wherever you are – windows, Cortana, office.com, SharePoint, delve, office apps, OneDrive, Bing etc.
    • NEW – New Office home powered by search
      • New contextual homepage
      • Shows apps, docs, sites relevant to you.
  • Boundaryless
    • NEW – Enterprise Search in Windows from taskbar
      • Ability to search local files, Office 365 (docs, people), and organization files
    • NEW – Multi-Geo Search preview in Office 365
      • Preview coming soon in late 2017
      • Unified search index across multi-geo regions of O365
      • First available in SharePoint, OneDrive, and Enterprise Search Center
      • Will be available to other apps – Windows, Office.com, Bing, Office Apps etc.

Reimagined SharePoint Search Center

New SharePoint Search center powered by Microsoft Graph has been reimagined with the new result types.

New SP Search

 

Bing for Business Private Preview

In addition to this, Microsoft has announced Bing for Business as a private preview. The idea here is to get the web and work results in a unified, simple, and secure way. I am sure just like any other technology, large organizations will worry about exposing private organization data by mixing with a public search engine, it’s a matter of time this product will be adopted by all sizes of the organizations. Bing for business results will be powered by Microsoft Graph and internet in one place. I am really excited to have a probability of having the power of Office 365 Graph, LinkedIn Graph, and Microsoft 365 Graph returning organization content, LinkedIn professional connections, and internet results as the unified view.

MS Graph and Bing

Bing for Business Results

Multi-Geo Search

With the new innovation in Office 365, the single tenant can be enabled to span multiple geographic regions. With Multi-Geo enabled tenants, the need for the Multi-Geo search is understandable. Both SharePoint Online sites and OneDrive for Business will be enabled for Multi-Geo tenants, making them an ideal candidate for the Multi-Geo search support. At the time of Ignite 2017, both OneDrive for Business was under preview and SharePoint Online was under development. The new Multi-Geo search will be powered by Microsoft Graph returning geographically dispersed Office 365 tenant data in the single query on the SharePoint Online search center.

Multi-Geo Search

New SP Search - Multi-Geo Search

Search Roadmap – Past, Present, and Future

As Microsoft was announcing their vision of future of Search, they just didn’t stop at what they are doing right now. Future of Office 365 and SharePoint search is even more powerful and few steps ahead than what organizations are looking for. If past search results were based on content matching and popularity, the current focus is on personalized and behavior based search, future is driving actionable results based on search data powered by AI and machine learning.

Search Tech roadmap

I am really excited about the direction where Microsoft Search is headed. How about you?

Resources

 

Posted in Office 365, SharePoint Online | Leave a comment

Do your SharePoint Online User Profile Pictures Sync from Active Directory? How SharePoint Online User Profiles Sync in Office 365 and Azure Active Directory work?

Building personalized and contextual user interfaces are very popular in the SharePoint Online. Many intranets have a personalized news or events widgets based on the employee user profile office or department properties. Have you ever surprised to see some of your active directory user profile properties especially profile photos are not synced to the SharePoint online user profile store? Have you ever wonder what happens when you sync your organization active directory and how some data gets synced to the SharePoint user profile store and some aren’t? If you wonder, read on.

As a SharePoint Online administrator, one of the first thing you should read is – Information about user profile synchronization in SharePoint Online, it provides a great overview of how user profile properties are synced from Active directory to the SharePoint online user profile store.

At a high level:

  • The on-premises active directory is synced to the Azure active directory either using Azure AD sync or customized PowerShell approach.
  • Once employee profiles are synced to the Azure AD, a background process loosely referred as an “AAD to SPO Sync” runs to populate all the global Office 365 tenants AAD profiles in the SPO directory. This SPO directory is nothing but active directory hosted on the Microsoft cloud servers to host all the SPO online profiles source data.
  • As many of you have realized, SharePoint 2016 introduced “AD Import” method to simplify the SharePoint user profile import process to import users profile data with minimal properties. To standardize the process and consistent approach, Microsoft is using AD import method to import global SPO Directory data into the Sharepoint user profile store.

SPO User Profile Sync Process

As you can imagine, if you are aware of the AD import limitations, one of the major issues is user profile photos won’t sync to the SharePoint user profiles. Here is the table I have put together to map various AD properties to AAD properties and SPO user profiles. Items in green get synced after few hours from on-premises active directory to Azure AAD to SPO AD to SPO user profile system. Items in yellow – user photos and cell phone won’t sync due to nature of AD import method for the SPO user profile sync.

AD-AAD-SPOAD-SPOUPA

Behind the scenes, exchange online and outlook is becoming center of gravity for the Office 365 profile pictures. Strange part here is Office 365 syncs exchange online photo for the given user whenever a user visits the Microsoft Delve first time. If you aren’t aware, Microsoft Delve’s user profile properties are stored in the SharePoint user profile store. If you ever manually update SharePoint user profile properties for a given user, it will reflect on the Microsoft Delve page.

If a user manually visits the Microsoft Delve home page, Office 365 background process triggers exchange online photos sync to the SharePoint user profiles. Unfortunately, asking all employees to visit Microsoft Delve at least one time to sync user profile photos isn’t a practical solution. If your custom SharePoint components require profile photos, you have no choice but upload them manually directly to the SharePoint user profile store.

There are more than dozens of articles on the internet to sync user profile photos and cell phone to the SharePoint online user profiles. As of fall 2017, my suggestion to use following two solutions. Both of these solutions worked for us recently. As usual, please plan to test this on the test tenant, prior to running it on the production tenant.

Reference Articles:      

Here are some additional references to your research. Some of them have really nice background information, which will help you understand the larger picture of this issue.

Posted in Office 365, SharePoint Online | Leave a comment