bridge the gap 2

CX and UX – A Marriage Made in Heaven

Engage 2014 is only a week away! I’ve had the great honor to be a presenter at this annual user conference for the past 14 years, and it has been wonderful to see the conference grow from a small group of customers gathered in our company’s conference room, to taking over the DoubleTree hotel with over 300 registered attendees. This year’s conference promises to be the best yet, with my personal favorite, the keynote speaker, Dave Carroll, the overnight YouTube sensation “United Breaks Guitars” and best-selling author. Dave will share his personal story about the importance of customer experience, and the impact that social media can have on even the largest corporations. Stu King, a masterful user experience designer, and I will be partnering up to deliver a break out session entitled, “CX and UX – A Marriage Made in Heaven”. We are finishing up our presentation now, and are very excited to talk to attendees about how CX and UX are rapidly converging, and how many companies have a significant digital transformation gap to overcome. If you will be attending #Engage14, we hope to see you in our break-out session!

Avtex Podcast - The Solution Story

[Podcast] Today’s Mobile Workforce

In this podcast, Stu King interviews Don Donais, Customer Experience Engineer at Avtex, regarding today’s mobile workforce. Today’s workforce is becoming more mobile than any other time in history. Research has found that there will be 1 billion devices 4 years sooner than predicted. With up to 75% of companies allowing personal devices for work use there is a need help make the organization more dynamic and mobile friendly. Being able to ask questions, find expertise, form communities and groups, exchange ideas, and collaborate on documents across all devices and platforms can help organizations become more agile and mobile. It is also important that as devices and technology advance in features, organizations can quickly access the latest technologies to ensure continued access to their information. Discussion topics include:

  • Office 365 platform including: SharePoint, Exchange and Lync Online
  • Office 2013
  • Yammer
  • Dynamics CRM Online
  • Microsoft Azure including Power BI and OneDrive

Azure Active Directory Sync Released to GA – Multi Forest Sync Supported

For years Microsoft has been promising this capability and now it has been delivered.  Customers who have multi forest on premise deployments can now sync these to Office 365 and Azure AD via the new improved tool!  This now means than multi forest Exchange deployments are possible.  While the full feature set is not available yet in the tool, there is a good core of functionality available.  Please see the information below from the TechNet article by Alex Simons


AAD Sync capabilities in this release include the following;

  • Active Directory and Exchange multi-forest environments can be extended now to the cloud.
  • Control over which attributes are synchronized based on desired cloud services.
  • Selection of accounts to be synchronized through domains, OUs, etc.
  • Ability to set up the connection to AD with minimal Windows Server AD privileges.
  • Setup synchronization rules by mapping attributes and controlling how the values flow to the cloud.
  • Preview AAD Premium password change and reset to AD on-premises.


What is Office 365?

Office 365 has been available for some time now, and while most are familiar with what Office 365 is, many of the additional features and services that Office 365 provides do not come to mind initially. Let’s review what Office 365 can be for your organization.

Exchange Online – Probably the most heavily deployed workload that can be quickly moved to the cloud. Exchange Online not only provides removing the work of architecting an enterprise messaging solution, but also alleviates concerns about disk space – granting all Enterprise plan users a whopping 50GB of storage. Need more? Take advantage of Online Archiving and add unlimited storage!

Lync Online – Need to give users a powerful collaboration tool, delivering Enterprise IM, ad-hoc meetings, desktop sharing, and VoIP Video Conferencing capabilities quickly? Lync Online has your answer.

SharePoint Online – Deploy Powerful websites, and collaboration workspaces for your employees to use. IN addition SharePoint Online offers Office Web Apps, allowing users to collaborate on documents directly from within their browser session without the need for having Word, Excel etc. installed.

Yammer – Office 365 now includes Yammer which is a powerful enterprise social networking tool. Communicate, reduce email clutter and collaborate more effectively with this platform.

Office ProPlus – By shifting your licensing method for desktop applications to Office 365, each user can activate up to 5 copies of the latest Office Desktop Productivity Suite from Microsoft. In addition, gain access to the mobile offerings. By leveraging the Click to Run technology if desired, these applications can keep themselves up to date automatically, removing the IT burden of keeping the Office suite current on patch levels. A common misconception here is that the applications are not actually installed on the device which is not true. The applications do not “live” in the cloud, they only are licensed and activated from it.



Now let’s talk about some of the additional features that Office 365 can provide that are not commonly top of mind.

Exchange Online Protection – Included with Exchange Online you get spam filtering, virus scanning, and everything you would come to expect from a message hygiene service.

One Drive for Business – SkyDrive now rebranded offers 1TB of storage per user! Take back control of file sharing and home drives, reduce network storage requirements, simplify desktop replacement procedures, and allow users to store their documents and such in the cloud. Users can keep all or just important files synced with their desktop devices for offline access. OneDrive easily integrates with Office 2013 and allows users to easily control sharing of information to better facilitate collaboration.

Office 365 Message Encryption – Send secure, encrypted emails to anyone, and eliminate the need for certificates to accomplish this task. Each message in the thread remains encrypted.

Office 365 Multi Factor Authentication – MFA as it is referred to increases security of user logins to the Office 365 cloud services. With MFA enabled, users authenticate with a password, then are required to acknowledge a phone call, text message or notification via smartphone to gain access to their information.

There are many more features of Office 365, but this will give you a great starting point on understanding the robust feature set of the platform. As always, for more information please contact Avtex – a Cloud Accelerate Partner Award winner for FY14.


Update Your Federation Trust By September 23rd


If you have an Exchange hybrid deployment you may have missed a notice from Microsoft to update your trust settings.  Microsoft has made some changes and if this step is not preformed by September 23rd, you may encounter issues with your deployment.  You can take this proactive step very quickly by running the PowerShell command below.   More information on this can be found here:

Get-FederationTrust | Set-FederationTrust -RefreshMetadata