Getting Started With AI In Office 365

As personal computing continues to draw on previous technical enhancements, we are now beginning to see those previous enhancements come together to amalgamate and work together in the early stages of meaningful AI.  AI for those who are unfamiliar with the acronym is short for Artificial intelligence, meaning that computer-related systems are capable of performing tasks that usually require human thought intervention to complete various tasks.  You can be forgiven for not being overly excited by this statement as the term Artificial Intelligence has been well overused in a range of less than exciting areas.

That said, Microsoft is now working on the front foot and putting real advantages using AI into their systems to make tasks much more intuitive to our needs while reducing our need to assist in the completion of these tasks.

One Simple Example Of Microsofts Usability In Microsoft Office 365

If you use the Microsoft suite of applications you would be familiar with Cortana, Outlook Calendar, Google Maps and Google Location.  The AI platform is now integrating these applications so that they can communicate and share information with each other to be able to base decisions of its combined system knowledge and communicate its final decision making to you.

Using the above applications is Microsoft’s Time To Go which is still under development and being refined.  Consider for a moment that you are a sales executive charged with visiting clients at preset appointments.  The way that Time To Go is being developed would allow the below scenario.

The AI app would scan your Outlook calendar to see what appointments were upcoming.  Once it recognizes an appointment it would get the date, time and address of the appointment.  The system would then check to see where your current location is and will begin to scan the possible transport routes and public transport options available to it.  It will look at the best route to have you arrive at the first transport stop in time to catch the bus or train to be in time for the meeting,  From there it will backtrack to determine the best time for you to leave to make the appointment on time.

MS maps have the ability to search the travel plans laid to see if there were any roadworks, accidents other any other holdups in maps that would impede your arriving on time.  This information is then delivered back to Cortana who will advise you when it is time to leave for your appointment, the transport routes that you will be taking, any delays to be expected and your arrival time at your destination.  If you prefer to take your own vehicle it will perform the same tasks, however, with the flexibility of driving the system would reroute you past any slow traffic areas and will alter your route to again allow you to arrive in time.  It can also print or message you with the directions.

The above is just one example of applications such as Cortana using the data that is now readily available to it to take actions, make decisions and deliver all of this to you.  While you may not be overly excited by this because let us face it we have been used to getting to destinations on our own for a long time.  The breakthrough is that if it can perform this simple function (and trust me, in a year or millions, will be relying on this technology to plan their days and travel plans) we have to consider what other applications will be able to communicate with each other to reduce or preferably remove us from requiring any input in the decision making.

Cortana is already in use as one of Microsoft‘s AI applications with the ability to take your spoken commands and act upon them.  With this next level of understanding and due to the growth of integration between each of Micro Softs applications only creativity is slowing the ongoing development of the continued growth the use of AI in our everyday work lives.

So, what information is available to Cortana as it reviews our daily activities and the manner and depth in which we use the MS range of products?

How will it be able to interpret that lasted Excel dashboard results, can it begin to send out low-level inquiries to staff with anomalies found in performance areas from sales reports?  Can it document ongoing performance issues that it finds with individuals, alert them by email and update their HR records all without your needing to be involved except receiving a report on Cortana’s actions?

Companies are still really on the starting edge of what life will look like once they begin to create more sophisticated interactions?

AI is now becoming an everyday reality and I for one am ready to embrace it as it grows and becomes our new reality.

 

 

Office 365 Migrations 101

Office 365 Migrations

Part of Office 365 is Exchange Online which provides a cloud-based messaging solution. This article will discuss some of the important factors that you need to know so that you can plan a migration strategy for your client. There are many ways to migrate data from Office 365 Exchange Online to on-premises email organizations. One of the questions that many people have when planning any type of Office 365 Migrations to Exchange Online is how to optimize migration velocity and improve the data migration’s performance.

There will be many factors that will come into play when determining a migration path and how to highlight the important feature of upfront planning. To do this you will need to evaluate and analyze the following paragraphs. You will need this so that you can put together a deployment plan and migration strategy.

SIZE

The first deciding factor will be the size. You will want to know the size of the mailboxes and the number of mailboxes as well. You are able to migrate using a PST type of import/export, but this would probably not be logical for anything besides a few mailboxes. The size will definitely impact migration timetables and this, in turn, will impact coexistence requirements.

COEXISTENCE

You need to determine during the migration process what level of coexistence you require. For example, if your entire migration will take place on the weekend then the deciding factor should be quite simple. However, there are times that during the migration you will have a specific amount of time where you need to coexist. The customer’s expectations and desires for whatever coexistence period will definitely impact the strategy.

PROVISIONING

You need to ask yourself how you plan to provision all of your user accounts. Are you planning to provision with an import or by leveraging a synchronization tool? Is your organization small enough so that you can manually plan and create additional new accounts? These are a few very important questions that you need to determine about provisioning.

MIGRATION SOURCE

One thing that can have a big impact on your Office 365 Migrations plan is what you are migrating from. Is the source IMAP, Exchange, or another email solution? Will you need to migrate calendar contacts and information? It is well-known that a migration source can greatly impact the ease or the difficulty of how these items can be migrated.

IDENTITY MANAGEMENT

It is important to determine your approach to identity management. Will it be a single sign-on type of requirement? Will the identities connect to an on-premise identity source or will they exist in a cloud? Once you have gathered all of the above decision factors then your next step will be to come up with a migration strategy. You want to utilize these decision factors so that you can determine which method is best suited for all of your customers.

Utilizing the Office 365 Migrations deployment will allow you to migrate user mailbox content from a source email type system to Office 365. Cutover Migration is when you do all of this at one time. Using a Cutover migration is recommended when you use a current on-premise exchange organization such as Exchange Server 2016, Microsoft Exchange Server 2013, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, and Microsoft Exchange Server 2003. It is also something that you would use when there are fewer than 2000 mailboxes.

CONSIDERATIONS

It requires careful planning to set up an email cutover migration. Before you start, there are a few things that you should consider:
– You will be able to move all of your email organizations to Office 365 within a few days. You then will be able to manage all of the user accounts in Office 365.
– You can migrate a maximum of 2000 mailboxes to Office 365 when you use a cutover Exchange Migration. However, it should be noted that the recommendation is to only migrate 150 mailboxes at a time.
– The primary domain name that will be used for the on-premise Exchange organization needs to be verified as a domain that is owned by your Office 365 organization.
– Once the migration is finished, every on-premise Exchange mailbox user will now be a new user in Office 365.

After your Office 365 organizations and on-premises are set up for the cutover migration, it is important to know that your users could be impacted by host set-up tasks. You need to make certain that all desktop computers are set-up for Office 365 and that they are updated. This will allow a user to utilize local user credentials so that they can sign-in to Office 365 from a desktop application.

A user who has permission for application installs can set-up updates on their own desktop. On the other hand, an update can always be installed for any user by the administrator. Once the updates are completed a user will be able to send emails from Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, or Outlook 2013. There may be a potential delay in some of the email routing until the MX record is changed.

CUTOVER MIGRATION

At this point in the article, you may be wondering how exactly cutover migration works. The following 9 points will explain this unique process:

  1. An administrator will communicate any upcoming changes to the users and will verify domain ownership with a domain registrar.
  2. An administrator will prepare the servers for cutover migration.
  3. An administrator will create a migration endpoint which is a matter of connecting Office 365 to an on-premise email system.
  4. An administrator will migrate the mailboxes and afterward verify the migration.
  5. An administrator will provide Office 365 licenses to all of the users.
  6. An administrator will configure the domain so that routing email can be sent directly to Office 365.
  7. An administrator will confirm that the routing has changed. He will then delete the cutover migration patch.
  8. An administrator will complete all post-migration tasks in Office 365.
  9. An administrator will send a welcome letter to all of the users and let them know how they can sign-in to their new mailboxes