imageIt’s been a little sketchy on the details on how Workplace Analytics is licensed so I thought I’d share what our PM has said is the general costs (sans Volume Discount) of the new technology.

Workplace Analytics is available for enterprise level organizations (5,000+ seats) and costs $6/license/mo for enterprise SKUs (with the exception of E5 customers, which is $2/license/mo).

Workplace Analytics is not included in E5 because we made a strategic decision to deliver the Workplace Analytics value in a different fashion.  The pricing reflects an investment in our customers that are invested in the Microsoft innovation cycle.

We understand that this is a significant departure from the typical licensing model, but Workplace Analytics is a unique solution that will significantly enhance the value of Office 365 by augmenting the layer of intelligence surrounding Office 365 products.

– Nathan Barrett, Office Product Marketing Manager (

If you’d like instructions on how to get started with Workplace Analytics, there’s a page that goes over exactly that:

Additionally, Metrics used to measure Workplace Analytics are listed and defined at the following web site:

There is a new community site for folks interested in asking questions about Workplace Analytics specifically. 

Posted by: kurtsh | July 18, 2017

HOWTO: Fix OneDrive sync client login hangs

For the last week, the OneDrive sync client on my machine would not login.  The client’s System Tray icon just sat there and said, “Signing in” forever.


Attempting to right mouse click on the SysTray icon for OneDrive (for the OneDrive for Business connection) SysTrayIcon2-RightMouseClickMenuGreyedOutsimply revealed a mostly greyed out menu that was basically useless.  In my pursuit of trying to figure out where things had gone wrong, I learned that an end user can NOT read the logs of OneDrive’s sync client.  It’s binary & unintelligible. @#$%

I currently have the OneDrive sync client on my machine synchronizing:

  1. My personal OneDrive (consumer) files from
  2. My personal OneDrive for Business files from Office 365
  3. The SharePoint document folders for over 12 different SharePoint team sites

That last bullet is important because I rarely go directly to any of the SharePoint sites themselves via a web browser.

I usually just:

  • Sync documents to the SharePoint document libraries so that other people can access them via OneDrive sync client
  • Sync Outlook contacts to a Contacts folder in the SharePoint site via Outlook 2016
  • Sync a team site OneNote notebook  via OneNote 2016

Note that none of these activities actually require connecting to the web-front ends of these SharePoint sites via a web browser.  All login & activities are executed through the OneDrive client, Outlook 2016, and OneNote 2016.

After working on this for more than a week, I put the issue on the backburner because another issue arose:  One of my SharePoint team sites was no longer accessible.

I discovered it was locked out and couldn’t be accessed so I contacted our IT department who unlocked it.  (It’d been locked out due to not being verified for our internal compliance check.)

After that had been fixed, I looked down at the sync client and lo and behold, it’d apparently logged in and started syncing… And it was now syncing all ~300MB of data that had changed since the last time I’d been able to successfully sync to both OneDrive for Business as well as my SharePoint Team sites. Smile


The point is this:  It appears that the OneDrive sync client will NOT notify you about login failures to SharePoint document folders that you are syncing to, and because there are no logs to review, there’s no way for you to identify the reason the OneDrive sync client won’t login.  It may login to your OneDrive for Business document folder… but not to the SharePoint document libraries you’re syncing as well.

So lesson learned… be sure to check that you can access all OneDrive for Business & SharePoint document libraries independently if you are having issues with the OneDrive sync client logging into OneDrive for Business.

Because it won’t tell you where your login/authentication issues are coming from.

Posted by: kurtsh | July 13, 2017

BETA: Presentation Translator – PowerPoint Add-in

imagePresentation Translator lets you add live subtitles to your presentations in PowerPoint, as you are speaking. You can show subtitles in the same language you are speaking, or in any of the 60+ supported languages. You can also have your audience follow along with the subtitles on their own device, in the language of their choice.

In addition, Presentation Translator lets you translate the text in your presentation to 60+ supported languages. The list of supported presenter languages and subtitle languages can be found at

Get Started with Presentation Translator, a Microsoft Garage project

A note about privacy
Presentation Translator is powered by machine learning and the voice and text information you provide for translation will be used to improve Microsoft products and services. We protect your privacy by taking steps to de-identify your data and keep it secure.

Presentation Translator lets you broadcast subtitles to anyone with a 5 digit access code that is unique to your presentation. You may block this access to your information by using the "Lock conversation" setting.

By continuing to use Microsoft Translator, you agree to our Privacy Statement and Services Agreement.

Terms of Use
Presentation Translator is a free add-in to PowerPoint that lets you add subtitles to your presentations for up to 100 hours per month. Microsoft may discontinue the Presentation Translator free trial at any time.

Read about the add-in on the announcement blog here:

Download the add-in here:

Microsoft Workplace Analytics—a powerful new organizational analytics solution—is now generally available.

Workplace Analytics uses a variety of techniques to learn about a workgroup’s productivity through *anonymous* examination of emails, calendars, & potentially information pulled from HR databases.

Microsoft Workplace Analytics is available as an add-on to any Office 365 enterprise plan.  The add-on costs depend on the version of Office 365 Enterprise you have. (Net: It’s a lower cost if you own O365 E5)

From the announcement post:

imageAccording to a recent Forrester report, increasing employee productivity is the number one priority for C-level executives in the next year, with 96 percent of respondents citing it as a critical or high imperative. Workplace Analytics provides unprecedented behavioral insights that can be used to improve productivity, workforce effectiveness and employee engagement.

Workplace Analytics taps into Office 365 email and calendar metadata, including to/from data, subject lines and timestamps, to shine a light on how the organization collaborates and spends time. It turns this digital exhaust—the data that comes naturally from our everyday work—into a set of behavioral metrics that can be used to understand what’s going on in an organization.

Microsoft has enabled Workplace Analytics with built-in privacy and compliance capabilities. Customers own their Office 365 data and decide how to apply insights generated by Workplace Analytics to solve tough business challenges. Workplace Analytics only leverages metadata that is aggregated and de-identified.

The announcement post highlights some of the scenarios in which Workplace Analytics can add value:

  • Sales productivity
  • Manager effectiveness
  • Space planning
  • Customized queries

For more information, read the recent Microsoft posts on the new release: 

Posted by: kurtsh | July 11, 2017

NEWS: Microsoft Azure Stack is ready to order now

imageThroughout the Technical Previews, we’ve seen tremendous customer and partner excitement around Microsoft Azure Stack. In fact, we’re speaking with thousands of partners this week at our Microsoft Inspire event. Our partners are excited about the new business opportunities opened up by our ‘One Azure Ecosystem’ approach, which helps them extend their Azure investments to Azure Stack, to unlock new possibilities for hybrid cloud environments.

In that vein, today we are announcing:

  • Orderable Azure Stack integrated systems: We have delivered Azure Stack software to our hardware partners, enabling us to begin the certification process for their integrated systems, with the first systems to begin shipping in September. You can now order integrated systems from Dell EMC, HPE, and Lenovo
  • Azure Stack software pricing and availability: We have released pricing for the pay-as-you-use and capacity-based models today, you can use that information to plan your purchases.
  • Azure Stack Development Kit (ASDK) availability: ASDK, the free single-server deployment option for trial purposes, is available for web download today. You can use it to build and validate your applications for integrated systems deployments.

Here’s a quick video giving an overview of Azure Stack, it’s ability to bring the power of the Azure cloud to your datacenter & what integration exists:

Azure Stack integrated systems – how to bring Azure to your data center

Read more about what Azure Stack promises customers looking to digitally transform their company but are concerned about complexity, security, and increasing TCO:

Posted by: kurtsh | July 11, 2017

NEWS: Microsoft signs agreement to acquire Hexadite

<taken from the announcement post>

imageMicrosoft Corp. has signed an agreement to acquire Hexadite, a company delivering agentless, automatic incident investigation and remediation solutions. The terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

  • Once closed, the acquisition will build on the successful work Microsoft is already doing to help commercial Windows 10 customers detect, investigate and respond to advanced attacks on their networks with Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (WDATP). WDATP continues to prove its value in detecting high-profile security cases such as zero-day attacks, ransomware and other advanced cyberthreats. Today, Microsoft is strengthening its Advanced Threat Protection offering by adding artificial intelligence-based automatic investigation and remediation capabilities, making response and remediation faster and more effective. With Hexadite, WDATP will include endpoint security automated remediation, while continuing the incredible growth in activations of WDATP, which now protects almost 2 million devices.

I like this description of what Hexadite does:

Fighting automation with automation is the only way to level the playing field. Hexadite uses artificial intelligence to investigate every alert and remediate threats, resolving incidents in minutes and freeing up your analysts to focus on the threats that truly demand their expertise.”

Here’s an explanation of their remediation automation solution:

Read the announcement post below:

imageYesterday, we made a big announcement, essentially making it possible for customers to license & run “Windows 10 Enterprise” within a VM in Microsoft Azure cloud. (or other IaaS services)

Today, we’re making two announcements that provide our business customers with greater choice. The first is that virtualization use rights will be coming to Windows 10 subscriptions in the cloud solution provider (CSP) program starting in September, with the flexibility to host in both Azure or with 3rd party hosting partners. And the second announcement is a new certification program for 3rd party hosting partners that wish to host virtual machines (VMs) licensed via CSP subscriptions.

To be clear, this licensing scenario was previously not available:  Windows 10 client OS was not allowed to be licensed for use in the cloud, however, with the inclusion of Windows 10 virtualization use rights in Windows 10 Enterprise E5 (or acquired separately – see below), customers may now run VDI environments within the cloud to deliver Windows & Windows applications anywhere there’s an Internet connection.

Beginning September 6th, 2017, customers will be able to choose from five subscription offerings in the CSP program with Windows 10 virtualization use rights, enabling Windows VMs to be hosted in Azure or with a qualified multitenant hosting partner:

  • Windows 10 Enterprise E3 will be available with or without virtualization use rights
  • Windows 10 Enterprise E5 will be updated to include virtualization use rights
  • A new Windows 10 Enterprise E3 VDA offering will be created for customers that require access to Windows VMs on non-Windows Pro devices
  • Customers purchasing or already subscribed to Microsoft 365 Enterprise (formerly known as Secure Productive Enterprise) via CSP will automatically receive Windows 10 virtualization use rights at no extra cost

Compute and consumption charges may apply based on VM use.

To learn more about Windows Enterprise subscriptions in CSP or to find a Windows 10 in CSP partner please visit this page.

To learn more about Windows virtualization licensing please refer to this document.

Did you catch that last bullet?  Let’s read that again:

  • Customers purchasing or already subscribed to Microsoft 365 Enterprise (formerly known as Secure Productive Enterprise) via CSP will automatically receive Windows 10 virtualization use rights at no extra cost

Grandfathering!  Now that’s a deal.  Read more at the announcement blog.

imageThis download contains GPO templates, .admx and .adml files, for Application Virtualization (App-V), User Experience Virtualization (UE-V), and Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM). Templates are divided by technology and version. Different templates support different Windows operating systems and different feature sets. For more information about supported GPO, see documentation specific to the MDOP technology.

These MDOP Group Policy Templates delivers .admx and .adml templates to manage policy across the enterprise for the following MDOP technologies:

  • App-V 5.0
  • App-V 5.0 SP1
  • App-V 5.0 SP2
  • App-V 5.0 SP3
  • App-V 5.1
  • MBAM 1.0
  • MBAM 1.0 R1
  • MBAM 2.0
  • MBAM 2.0 SP1
  • MBAM 2.5
  • MBAM 2.5 SP1
  • UE-V 1.0
  • UE-V 1.0 SP1
  • UE-V 2.0
  • UE-V 2.1
  • UE-V 2.1 SP1

Download it here:

imageCheck out the following click-through demos, guiding IT pros and IT enthusiasts through the latest Office features and functionality.

Office 365 Groups

Office 365 Security & Compliance

And several dozen others.  See the entire list at the link below.


Join us on July 17 & 18 for the live stream of the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2017: “The Edge of AI”!

The 18th annual Microsoft Research Faculty Summit in Redmond, WA on July 17 and 18, 2017 will consist of a variety of keynotes, talks, panels, and technologies focused on Artificial Intelligence (AI) research: The Edge of AI.

Microsoft AI researchers are striving to create intelligent machines that complement human reasoning and enrich human experiences and capabilities. At the core, is the ability to  harness the explosion of digital data and computational power with advanced algorithms that extend the ability for machines to learn, reason, sense and understand—enabling collaborative and natural interactions between machines and humans.

We are seeing widespread investments in AI which are advancing the state of the art in machine intelligence and perception, enabling computers to interpret what they see, to communicate in natural language, to answer complex questions, and to interact with their environment. In addition to technological advances, researchers and thought leaders need to be concerned with the ethics and societal impact of intelligent technologies.

The Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2017 will bring together thought leaders and researchers from a broad range of disciplines including computer science, social sciences, human design and interactions, and policy. Together we will highlight some of the key challenges posed by artificial intelligence, and will identify the next generation of approaches, techniques, and tools that will be needed to develop AI to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.

Focus Areas

We will explore the following areas:

  • Machine learning – Developing and improving algorithms that help computers learn from data to create more advanced, intelligent computer systems.
  • Human language technologies – Linking language to the world through speech recognition, language modeling, language understanding, and dialog systems.
  • Perception and sensing – Creating computers and devices which understand what they see to enable tasks ranging from autonomous driving to analysis of medical images.
  • AI, people, and society – Examining the societal and individual impacts on the spread of intelligent technologies to formulate best practices for their design.
  • Systems, tools and platforms – Integrating intelligent technologies to create interactive tools such as chatbots that incorporate contextual data to augment and enrich human reasoning.
  • Integrative intelligence – Weaving together advances in AI from disciplines such as computer vision and human language technologies to create end-to-end systems that learn from data and experience.
  • Cyber-physical systems and robotics – Developing methods to ensure the integrity of drones, robots and other intelligent technologies that interact with the physical world.
  • Human AI collaboration – Harnessing research breakthroughs in artificial intelligence to design technologies that allow humans to interact with computers in novel, meaningful and productive ways.
  • Decisions and planning – Reasoning about future events to enable informed collaborations between humans and intelligent agents.

If you’re interested in watching the broadcasts, here’s the information:

To add any of the sessions to your calendar, visit the event page at:

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