My experience with Azure parallels my experience of driving. Today, I am one of those who absolutely loves it; I'm out on the road every single day and now I can't quite understand how I actually got by before I had a set of wheels. But there was a time, and it was a long time, and during that time I had a lot of preconceptions that it wasn't for me; that maybe I was simply a person who was suited and destined to public transport as a passenger. So explaining all this to my wife she told me to get over myself and get on with it. That's what I really needed all along. And so it was with Azure - as someone who had spent many years in what is now termed Modern Workplace with Office 365 and Microsoft 365, I had to deconstruct all those preconceptions that Azure - and I mean here aspects that aren't Azure AD, Intune etc - wasn't for me. In the end it was force of habit and a degree of institutionalisation having worked with a set of SaaS apps for so long.
Buckle up Dorothy - we're not in Kansas anymore. In the previous blog post on MS-100 we saw that there was more than a passing resemblance to 70-346 - and even though there were some new subjects like Azure B2B, the core of the exam was pretty much there. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about MS-101 and 70-347. What was 70-347 has now been carved up between MS-100 (Office 365 Pro Plus) and the Associate workloads. What's in it's place? A amalgamation of the security aspects of 70-347, elements of 70-697 and 70-695. I would go as far as to say that what we are actually looking at is the Enterprise version of the Mobility and Security MTA's (98-367/368) in the context of Microsoft 365. Lots of EMS, lots of Windows 10, lots of the Security and Compliance .
The announcement of the new Azure exams at Inspire 2018 signalled the beginning of a complete overhaul of the Microsoft exam and certification structure. We have entered a world of role-based certs as opposed to product based certs - and the ones we worked so hard to get, such as Office 365, will be retired soon. Of course, there is still a little time left if you want to get these for posterity.
Teams is my favourite application within Office 365. Like the IT Pros in our panel today, it is a subject I'm very passionate about. As a hub for team collaboration it integrates people, content and tools to make the Team more engaged and effective. It has been a runaway success. Since it's introduction it has been the fastest growing app in Microsoft history. Back at Ignite 2018 we saw the numbers - 329,000 organisations using it (over 400,000 at the time of writing), 87 Fortune 500 companies and 54 companies with more than 10,000 active users (Microsoft, 2018). Yet it is also a young application and as such it is still evolving rapidly. Whilst positioned as an Inner Loop collaboration app, by introducing features such as the 5000 user limit or (soon to be) Private Channels, we ask - is it evolving into something different from it's original design and purpose?
Back before I did my Office 365 MCSA, I used to wonder which of the two exams would be harder - 70-346 (Office 365 Identities & Requirements) or 70-347 (Enabling Office 365 Services). Most people I talked to said they thought 346 was the harder of the two - mainly because they had far less experience with, and exposure to, ADFS and Powershell. Most took 346 after 347 and some didn't take 346 at all. That's a real shame. I took 346 first and would always recommended others to do so. Not because it was harder (it was significantly more focused than 347 in terms of scope) but because I feel that Identity really is the starting point for everything else. As an admin, how and what and where users can access services is as fundamental as it gets.
Kaizala is a simple and secure mobile chat app for work. Described as the business version of WhatsApp (Web CMS, 2019) and designed as a Microsoft Garage (@MSFTGarage) project, it is now being used by over 1000 government and private businesses in India and has 1 million users in the country where it was first launched (Hindustan Times, 2018). It's recent success has prompted Microsoft to introduce it into all Office/Microsoft 365 tenants globally. Whether WhatsApp is being used as an informal communications app to bypass formal channels, or whether users they have been driven to use it through dissatisfaction with existing solutions, will we see Kaizala spell the end of the use of WhatsApp within organisations in the near future?
I didn’t make Microsoft Build 2018 last year. In hindsight, maybe I should have. Whilst I am not a developer, I do believe that it’s important as someone who uses and works with Microsoft’s services to know how Microsoft is developing those services and empowering its wider development community. The goal of development is, after all, maturation and progress. It’s to do with things such as the direction we are headed, the directions that are open to us and the surmounting of obstacles blocking the direction we want to go.