Microsoft 365 Knowledge Series Episode 1: Hello World, Hello Microsoft 365
Microsoft 365 Knowledge Series is a learning path about how small to enterprise-sized companies can fully utilize the Microsoft 365 solution for their organizations.
Hosted by Paul Thurrott of Thurrott.com and Stephen Rose from Microsoft, this series dives deep into the solutions offered by Microsoft 365 along with smart and unique ways your organization can take advantage of everything that the service has to offer.
In this first episode, Stephen and Paul describe the history of Microsoft 365 and how it enables a modern desktop that replaces Windows 7 and Office 2010.
Transcript of Episode One:
Paul Thurrott: 00:00 Hello and welcome to the Microsoft 365 Knowledge series. I’m Paul Thurrott the news editor at Petri and Thurrott.com and with me is Stephen Rose, the senior product marketing manager for Microsoft 365. We thought we could maybe talk a little bit about the podcast, you know, what we’re trying to achieve here, but also about who we are and why we are conversing. So who are you, Stephen, what are you doing here?
Stephen Rose: 00:32 We’re going to talk about Microsoft 365 and what it is and what makes it up and how companies and individuals and IT can leverage the whole package to really help move themselves forward, to use that horrible quote that everybody hates digitally transform, moving forward. There are so many features in the product that people are not aware of or what it can do. And so much stuff that we’ve announced, that I believe we’re going to take some time and kind of go all through this and let people know where it’s come from and where it is and where it’s going.
Paul Thurrott: 01:08 Yeah. So this is going to be a multi-part, I guess in the context of podcasts it’s kind of like a limited series to do over time. Today is kind of an introductory episode and then we’ll dive into some of the particulars of Microsoft 365, over time. Yeah, I mean, this is good timing for a podcast about Microsoft 365 because of course Windows 7, Office 2010 are now out of support and aside for some of the corporations that are using extended support on Windows 7, you know, the rest of the world has to figure out a way forward. And of course, Microsoft has been offering that way forward now for some time. By the way, I went through my archives this weekend to see what I had written about this stuff in the past because of course, I’ve been covering Microsoft for about 25 years.
Paul Thurrott: 01:56 And you can kind of follow the progression of your company’s endeavors online. It’s very interesting to me because I, well, we both did. We lived through all of this, right?
Stephen Rose: 02:06 Yeah.
Paul Thurrott: 02:07 You know, MSN begat, Windows Live, begat, Office Live. You know, SkyDrive back in the day of course. And then Microsoft.
Stephen Rose: 02:15 And Groove before that.
Paul Thurrott: 02:16 Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Multiple grooves in a way. And all that stuff. I mean it’s very interesting. Microsoft’s first attempt at something like Office 365 as I recall, was something called Business Productivity Online Services, I guess.
Stephen Rose: 02:31 B-POS is what we called it.
Paul Thurrott: 02:32 B-POS. Yeah, great acronym. And it’s funny because I want to say that was about 2008, you know, the big difference that I saw, just looking at it again between B-POS and what Office 365 and now Microsoft 365 has become, while pricing is one thing, actually B-POS, was fairly expensive for the day, but the bigger thing to me was you could buy the individual pieces of B-POS separately.
Paul Thurrott: 02:56 So if you just wanted Exchange Online, just wanted SharePoint online whatever the Office communication server was called at the time, cause I went through some different naming and branding over time. You could actually get that stuff separately. But as you move to Office 365 this concept of everything gets updated together, enters the picture, and I think this is one of the key advantages of Office 365 and now Microsoft 365, because there’s so much more to it. These things aren’t developed separately and Microsoft and thus the customers as well can assume that they have all of it. You know, you don’t have to develop Exchange separately from SharePoint. You can develop those things in the cloud together. I think that’s incredible.
Stephen Rose: 03:37 Yeah, because customers are like, we will talk about something like WVD Windows Virtual Desktop, and they’re like, yeah, we still have some old Windows 7 apps. And we’re like, well, why don’t you use Windows Virtual Desktop? And they’re like, well, we can’t. I’m like, no, no, it’s included. It’s part of that when you got your license, it’s in there. So you’re right. There’s a lot of features and functionality that people either aren’t aware of or think is separate that once they realize they have it, it really helps them to go, Oh, okay, then let’s sort of plan for that. We don’t need to worry about budgeting it and just how we’re going to do this, not, you know, all the backstage stuff. So, no, you’re exactly right. It’s key and it’s helped a lot of companies to move forward more easily than they expected.
Paul Thurrott: 04:22 It also kind of makes Office 365 and now Microsoft 365 kind of a no brainer, frankly. I mean, it’s such a great value and Microsoft offers so many different skews of both products, and so you can pick exactly the right license for the right users and whatever their situation is. If they want to access just the online servers, they don’t need the installable apps, or if they do, you can kind of pick and choose that way. But with Microsoft 365, you know, this is kind of an outsider’s view, but I look at it as a super set of Office 365 a natural extension to what you folks started there. And of course what it adds is the management capabilities and security and also the Windows 7 enterprise capabilities, which is really interesting.
Stephen Rose: 05:09 Yeah. Windows 10 and all that. Yeah, it just makes it easier and it also reduces the churn that IT has and trying to keep all these products updated, you know, and going, great, we’re just gonna do this at once. And then it’s just cyclical rather than piecemeal with all these different things. And it’s also easier for companies making that because they’re able to go from 20-30 different products down to 5 or 6, but now you get a much better 360 degree view, rather than getting data from all these different products telling you what people are doing and security and all that, and trying to piece that together, which is so time consuming and so difficult. And that’s one of the big values that we’ve heard from a lot of IT pros.
Paul Thurrott: 05:52 Right. The other thing that’s kind of interesting about this to me, and again, this applies both to Office 365 and Microsoft 365 is this notion of continuous updates and that these products get better over time. And that speaks to the thing you mentioned earlier where there are a lot of capabilities inside these products that I think a lot of customers simply don’t know exist, that they’re just getting as part of this offering. It’s rather incredible. And I think Office 365, in particular, paving the way for Microsoft 365 became sort of the poster child for Microsoft’s push to the cloud, both internally for the company itself, but also for its customers that once you get on this kind of a schedule it’s incredible how fast you can move things forward. And, you know, for me professionally covering Microsoft for so many years, I gotta tell you it’s a little complicated.
Paul Thurrott: 06:40 I mean every month, Kirk or somebody from the Microsoft 365 team will write a blog post. Like, here’s what we did this month and it is a crazy collection of new functionality that spans across all of the different places that Microsoft 365 touches on different hardware platforms. It’s on mobile, across Android and iOS on the web. It’s on Windows, it’s on the Mac. And then of course you have all the service side or I guess the cloud side products as well. And it is rather impressive I have to say.
Stephen Rose: 07:12 But that’s what happens when, and this was a great thing when Satya came in and I know we’ll probably talk about this later, but in getting rid of those silos and that was such a big problem was the Windows team didn’t talk to office. Office, didn’t talk to security. Everybody built their own stuff and then somehow got it to connect together and not always very well. That once we re-org’d and said, look, these folks need to work together. Engineering needs to work across the team and with each other. It was amazing to see the OneDrive and the SharePoint engineering team working with the Office team. And have them together. It’s allowed us to do so much more and to leverage that code base, but just to simplify things for customers, it’s absolutely tremendous. But a lot of credit really goes to, Satya his vision of this is absolutely ridiculous and this has got to stop. And where tools like Teams and a lot of the intelligence features are also helping us to better understand what’s happening cross org. So, yeah.
Paul Thurrott: 08:10 Right, right. You know, at a surface level, somebody sitting in front of a Windows 7 PC running Office 2010 looking at a Windows 10 PC running Office 365 Pro Plus or whatever version of Microsoft 365 you know, they look the same. They are similar. But it’s when you get below the surface where you can see what’s going on there and how much these things are evolved. And so we can talk about some of that stuff today I think. But maybe first we should just speak briefly about the different offerings, if that makes sense. I was looking over the Microsoft 365 site. It’s interesting to me because it’s always been split between what Microsoft calls business and enterprise and its slightly different capabilities. Obviously enterprises with distributed infrastructures have different needs than smaller businesses and all that. But the two basic Microsoft 365 offerings for business are in fact Office 365 skews, which kind of supports my notion of the Somerset thing which are Business Essentials and Business Premium, both of which I actually happen to use.
Paul Thurrott: 09:12 Interestingly, Business Essentials is just $5 a month, which just kind of speaks to how low cost this stuff can be.
Stephen Rose: 09:18 Right.
Paul Thurrott: 09:19 And that’s the version that has the online servers and you can use the web apps and so forth. And then with Business Premium you get the installable apps and so on. But then the third step up from there of course, is Microsoft 365 Business. And that’s where things get interesting. You get the management capabilities, the additional security and the Windows 7 Enterprise functionality. And I listed this out, I guess I don’t have to read this complete list, but it is rather incredible because for that additional, for a little additional cost per user, it is an incredible amount of extra stuff. Selective wipe from Intune for example, which is a way to differentiate personal and work-related data on a mobile device with that person leaves the company or loses their phone, you can remotely selectively wipe, well actually selectively wipe is a thing you do, if they were leaving, not if they lost it cause you probably want to wipe the whole thing off.
Stephen Rose: 10:14 Yeah you probably want to wipe the whole thing, but yeah. And that was a key one, because then we had people saying, Hey, I have all the pictures of my baby on my phone. I just had a kid, I don’t want to lose that, but we want to use that device in this part of BYOD, it was how do we ensure this as well as files restore in OneDrive. So yeah, that’s a huge one. And that was one of the first ones that really gets in saying, Hey, we’re serious about mobile. And when it was, you know Windows Intune, and I was there when that got started, which then turned into Microsoft Intune. It was so new, around 2010 the idea of you were going to bring your device to work and start to use it.
Paul Thurrott: 10:50 Actually Intunes beginnings was literally, oh actually no, I’m sorry. It was PC Management at first. Right. And then they added mobile devices. That’s right. Okay.
Stephen Rose: 10:59 Yeah. AirWatch and MobileIron we had partnered with and they were looking to kind of step that up and then yeah. Moved it up within the area.
Paul Thurrott: 11:07 Yeah. And a lot of the additional capabilities of Microsoft 365 are that kind of security or retention type capability. Do not copy, do not forward with information rights management. Right. You don’t want someone to take private information in a work email and share it publicly over Gmail or Outlook.com or whatever. A lot of that kind of stuff. And so those are additional benefits. And on the enterprise side, then it really gets into areas I’m not particularly familiar with, unfortunately, but you know, advanced Ediscovery, Customer Lockbox, data governance and all that kind of stuff.
Stephen Rose: 11:41 It speaks to the shift from, you know, 2009, 2010 when Windows 7 came out. And you know, I’ve been certified since Windows NT. So NT, 2000, XP 7, those were all about securing the device. And that was really the call to action for IT pros. And then what changed with Windows 7 and now Windows 10, is we’ve gone into securing the data, doesn’t matter the device because we’re using so many devices and all the data stored in the cloud. So that shift really sort of changed the focus of IT and companies around that. So all of that stuff really speaks to them an area where we’re still doing a lot of work and still growing.
Paul Thurrott: 12:25 Oh, for sure. I mean, in fact, to me, that the Nadella era so far has been marked very much by that kind of openness to other platforms and an acknowledgement that Microsoft is going to go where the customers are and have a presence on all of those devices for sure. Yeah. And, not just for, you know, not just apps. I mean, we have an app, you know, there are. There’s a Word app on mobile for sure, but it’s also about protecting the device and protecting the data around the device.
Stephen Rose: 12:50 Right. Authenticator, all the other stuff. So, yeah, absolutely.
Paul Thurrott: 12:53 Right, right, right. So, the concept today we’re talking about is kind of the modern desktop. And I think, you know, maybe to help people understand just a couple of examples of things that have changed. This is one, actually, this is one that will cut close to the heart of what you’ve done, I recall in the early transition to the cloud. So this would be back in the B-POS days, you know, Microsoft is met with some resistance, right? With some classic kind of traditional businesses where they had built up these infrastructures, you know, they had on-prem infrastructure that people managed and took care of and now they hear that Microsoft or some third party wants to host this stuff in the cloud. I had a contentious TechEd Precon session back in the day that I will never forget where this Exchange admin stood up and said, let me get this straight.
Paul Thurrott: 13:43 You’re telling me that my last action as Exchange admin at this company is going to be to hand over this to the cloud and then I am out of a job. And you know, the answer was well, yes, but that’s a cynical way to look at it. I mean, when you work in IT, things change. I mean this is the change agent that’s always been part of your career, but it was always bothersome to me because, in the next room over, there is the developer room of course, it’s like a conga line in there because those guys are ecstatic about the cloud. You know, you mean I can move my apps to another place. Sounds great. You know, for IT it was a little bit of push and shove. But the thing that’s interesting, and this is where I think where your career kind of intersects here, especially is we sort of looked at email as the low hanging fruit back in the day. But I feel like the thing we’ve come to understand is that the low hanging fruit from moving from on-prem to hybrid to cloud and really to hybrid for a lot of companies is storage.
Stephen Rose: 14:38 Yeah.
Paul Thurrott: 14:38 You know, and that speaks to the, you know, the OneDrive, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint products and Microsoft has made.
Stephen Rose: 14:45 Yeah. I think as we take a look at thosem in the conversations I had, with so many customers was you know, what happens to an individual when their laptop crashes.
Paul Thurrott: 14:57 Right.
Stephen Rose: 14:57 And I love to talk about the scenario, especially once we got Autopilot in. Is saying, look, you know, get your x drive your q drive and move that into SharePoint. Cause that’s our files. That’s where everything lives. And let’s take your personal stuff and redirect your desktop, your MyDocs, your photos into OneDrive right now. Add Autopilot to that. And the feature we added to Windows 10 that let you upgrade from pro to enterprise. Now we could say, Hey, I just left my device in a taxi. Okay, no problem Intune. Wipe the device at next login, I go to a Best Buy, I buy a laptop right there over wifi. I type in my corporate credentials, my phone pops up.
Stephen Rose: 15:41 Bing. Yep. Is it really you? Yes, it’s me. I show it my face. And then it upgrades from pro to nterprise. It brings down all those corporate policies. It pushes out apps. And within about 15, 20 minutes, I’m going to get that first login and immediately within a few seconds, all of my files are right there on my desktop. And because we’re using Exchange online, the moment I launch email, there’s every email. I am right where I left off. And once you talk about that scenario and you talk about if that was a sales person and you’re still, God forbid ghosting or imaging devices, you know, you have to get one, you’ve got to image it, you’ve got to send it to that person. And you know, I did IT before coming to Microsoft for years. Salespeople do not back up their devices. It’s just not going to happen.
Stephen Rose: 16:32 I’ve consulted with companies saying, yeah, we gave all of our salespeople an external hard drive.
Paul Thurrott: 16:37 They’re not running full system image backups, every Friday night or whatever.
Stephen Rose: 16:42 Oh my God. Yeah. So being able to tell that story and then to add to that saying plus now that your data is in the cloud, you’re going to get all of these analytics and it’s going to get smart and it’s going to help you. It’s going to be, and the term AI has such a negative context that I really almost like to kind of look at it like assistive technology. It’s going to say, Hey, after this meeting, do you want to share this PowerPoint that you just showed with everybody in the room. Before this meeting on Monday, here are some of the emails and here’s some of the documents you shared with this person. Helping you to prepare that. Your data becomes smart. And that’s such a shift for people to take a look at, especially for those who have not updated their skillsets since Windows 7 and are still in different mindset.
Paul Thurrott: 17:32 Oh yeah, for the typical user. This is the big shift right there. I mean it is an incredible thing. Even as an individual. Just seeing how things have changed with OneDrive in particular, with files on demand for example. The ability to bring up a computer and be up and running within minutes now instead of hours or days is astonishing.
Stephen Rose: 17:50 And being able to say I can sit down at anybody’s PC on the planet, log into OneDrive, click it, finish my document, do my presentation. I don’t even have to be at my own device. And if I’ve set up, you know desktop, if I’ve set up authentication, you know, things along that line, then I can make sure that I can do it securely. And that was just unthought of 10 years ago. And it’s made it easier for IT.
Paul Thurrott: 18:14 We’re old enough. I mean, I used to walk around with a floppy disc in my front pocket, you know, that had a crucial DAT files, they were called at the time or whatever. Oh, we’ve kept a like a PST backup. A copy on a floppy, back in the day, eventually on a hard drive or whatever.
Stephen Rose: 18:33 And I remember cheetah fastback and having to use 33 discs to back something up and disc 32 would always fail the second, to last one after being an hour into this, I remember those days.
Paul Thurrott: 18:45 Plus they would never actually work anyway. It doesn’t matter if it finished. It would never, has anyone ever actually recovered a drive?
Stephen Rose: 18:52 Oh God. Yeah.
Paul Thurrott: 18:53 You know, it’s awful.
Stephen Rose: 18:55 And the iota drives, you know, I remember those days. I think I still have one of those discs laying around somewhere.
Paul Thurrott: 19:05 Yeah, my office is a computer history museum. So, you know you talked about AI briefly and it does get a bad rap or maybe is a term that people don’t like, but there is an intelligence that does occur on the back end and part of that is tied to the Microsoft graph and how that now permeates through everything that’s occurring up in Microsoft 365 and, that stuff is kind of incredible. And I think, you know, maybe not today in this episode, but the next episode and as we move forward, we’re going to see examples of that in very particular products.
Paul Thurrott: 19:41 But you know, it’s just a way to tie all of the backend information, I think has been a dream of Bill Gates and Microsoft from back in the day. This notion of, you know, information at your fingertips, literally ties into this, this idea that this data, no matter where it is and what form can be tied together and can give you insights into what you’re working on, whether it’s people that you work with who have particular skills that you want or particular assets that you might have, or you know, a particular PowerPoint or presentation that is relevant to what you’re working on and so forth. This stuff kind of permeates all the way through Microsoft 365.
Stephen Rose: 20:17 Yeah. And the graph, and I’m glad we’re going to get into that a little bit later, but what it does and what it brings, often without you even needing to know anything about developing and stuff, but just being able to connect to these services and the information that it gives you is really tremendous. And I tried it with one company and I’m like, how is this helped you to be more productive? And they said one of the great things for us is simply being able to see what everybody else is working on in the early days of Dell. We didn’t know somebody else was working on a similar project to us and then connecting with them and reducing a lot of duplicity was one of those first things that we started to see that really helped to make a big change for folks.
Paul Thurrott: 20:59 Yup. So we have a video that is tangentially related to this I guess, a Bing intelligent search video. That is very much you know, is a part of Microsoft 365 and we should take a look at that right now.
Stephen Rose: 21:18 All right.
Stephen Rose: 21:21 So here we’re using Bing search and specifically Bing for Business. So by typing in something as simple as Jason’s office, it knows, Hey, it’s probably Jason Gregory who’s in my building. I’m able to click on that and see exactly where he’s at and it’s pulling all of this from active directory, which is great. I can take a look at who’s in Building 3 named Bill, it will show me all of those choices and it will bring that together. So that’s just a simple way by just connecting to Active Directory and then having maps on a SharePoint site, the graph is going to take a look at that and go, Oh, okay, I understand what you want. And it really is about being able to type things in, in plain English. You don’t need to know Boolean modifiers anymore. It makes life much easier for people.
Paul Thurrott: 22:04 Also, searching from where you’re searching from. Right. The thing that’s interesting here is it’s not another interface. You know, if you want to find out you know, wherein, whatever building is this particular person, you don’t have to navigate through some folder structure on a NAS or whatever. It’s literally, I have a question I go to the same place where I get questions answered and now those questions are answered there as well. Really, really, really smart.
Stephen Rose: 22:30 And it’s great because I’ll need to go see somebody in a different building and I can just type them in, click it, and it’ll actually offer to give me directions. I can then send that over to my phone. I know where I’m going, how far it’s going to be, or even better, who’s beneath them and who’s above them so I can see what that relationship is. Are they part of that team? Local? Remote? Again, the way I used to have to do that was the I’d go deep into these HR SharePoint sites and searching and trying to find. And that also works from mobile, so being able to go through both platforms for that. It’s yeah, it’s definitely made a big difference.
Paul Thurrott: 23:05 A lot of companies probably doing that with paper. They’ll have a book that has the maps of the, you know, whatever the campus or a location looks like, you can find out where a particular office is, it’s fascinating. I mentioned earlier how hard it is to keep track of all the new features that are coming to Microsoft 365 each month. But that one is one that really stood out and I think a lot of people saw that and thought this is really smart. Like, that is an amazing new feature.
Stephen Rose: 23:33 Yeah. And then what’s also nice is that once you type that in, if you type in a word HR, you’re going to see all of your regular listings, but then it will say business listings as long as you’re logged in with your business account. Then you click that, and it’ll say, here’s all the SharePoint sites, here’s the people, here’s everything related to that. So it starts to pull that together for you. And it does the smart searches, it has reduced, at least for me, a ton of time that I spent going down a rabbit hole to find something I was looking for. And then finding out at the end page 404 not found, or some ridiculously out of date thing on an old platform that nobody supports anymore. So yeah,
Paul Thurrott: 24:15 You don’t have the way back machine for work, that’s too bad.
Stephen Rose: 24:18 Unfortunately we do. They’re just pages that still live in our infrastructure that people upgraded and never got rid of the old one. So yeah, that happens sadly, fairly often.
Paul Thurrott: 24:28 So also tied to the new features that have come to Office 365 or Microsoft 365 for the past several years. Are new apps, many of which are web-based apps, which is kind of interesting. But the biggest new Microsoft app, Office app, I guess I’ll call it since PowerPoint, I don’t know, maybe one OneNote maybe, I don’t know. Microsoft Teams has been an unbelievable success story. This is the chat-based collaboration tool, a web app. It’s available everywhere, you know, it’s on every platform including Linux, which is kind of interesting. I mean, how has team changed this offering? It seems like this is just an explosion in new capabilities.
Stephen Rose: 25:13 Yeah. Let’s take a step back. I think what’s interesting about Teams is we have, for the first time ever, four generations of workers working in the workplace. We have baby boomers and we have millennials, and we have gen X, and we have gen Y, and they work incredibly differently. Those folks who are over, you know, 35 or so, even 40 do everything off their desktop. They use desktop apps, that’s all that they do. And they use email because that’s what they were. They were the ones who were on phone call. I can’t ever see, you know, email replacing a phone call. Well guess what it has. What was interesting for me was when I went to go take my role with OneDrive, I had to work very closely with engineering now. So a lot of millennials and younger folks. And I realized when I would send them an email, I would send an email and I would get an answer back 24 hours later, and I would add a question back and then I would send it and wait.
Stephen Rose: 26:14 So the problem was it was taking three, four, five days sometimes to get something answered. And I started chatting with them. And this is before we even had Teams, we were using some different communication tools. And we were like, Oh no, we don’t look at email. Email’s, how we’re told there are donuts in the break room.
Paul Thurrott: 26:28 Email is where things go to die.
Stephen Rose: 26:31 Right or whether there’s donuts in the break room and things like that. Like we use a chat. So I had to get into Teams and start to use chat and it was like, oh yeah, hang on. They bring somebody else into the conversation. They would drop a file right there and boom, I was done and I could go back and take a look at that conversation. And I think that’s at the core, is this is how people want to work. So bringing in Teams, and Satya made a very bold statement saying this is sort of the new Windows, right?
Stephen Rose: 26:59 Not that you know it’s the new base OS and I get that. But this is where people are going to be spending most of their time. All your files are there, your projects are there, your chats are there, your calls are there. We’ve built-in translation services, we’ve built-in support for Stream, which brings transcription services and we have connectors to hundreds and hundreds of third party apps. So if you’re using, you know, Salesforce or SAP or any one of these that you can now bring in those apps as a tab and that becomes a huge saver for folks that are switching between 10 different apps and trying to see what’s going on. All of that is there, you know, one conversation I had was what do you do when a new person comes on board? Do you find every email and send it to them? Do you start sending them hundreds of docs and send them to shares, which was the old way of doing things? Or do you add them to your Team? They go into that group, they go through all the conversations, all the meetings, all the files. They go, okay, I get it, now I’m ready to move forward. And that’s such a huge shift. with how people work. Sorry, I’ve only had two cups. It’s early.
Paul Thurrott: 28:13 We can actually see the dawn occurring behind you, by the way.
Stephen Rose: 28:16 It is starting to get a little bit brighter, I have one of the last remaining views of Lakeville as we tear down campus and rebuild this whole portion. But it’s dramatically changed how people communicate and how they work. It also allows you to say, I have these questions. Okay, great. Now I’m done. I have my answers. It’s time to move on and not do this thing which many of us do, which is, I have 14 different things. I’m waiting on answers for and it’s like. It’s like juggling these balls up in the air.
Paul Thurrott: 28:44 It’s impossible to keep track of that stuff. And I think, you know, as the older guy who relies on email and you and I were interacting on email for this podcast, cause you can’t help it. I mean it’s just the way we are, but you lose track of things. I mean, that’s what happens. There is a question hanging out there that you may have of someone or someone has a view and it’s just, you know, life is busy and we kind of move on. But you know, it’s funny, I thought of Teams as the new Outlook because it is that place that your day revolves around. It’s the portal for your day. But I like the notion of Teams as the new Windows because really what it is, is a platform. And I think, and as you said with all of the add ons, third party and first party, it’s a portal to your day, but it’s also a portal whose capabilities are going to expand over time.
Stephen Rose: 29:33 Absolutely. And now with Firstline workers. And that was a big focus for the team, was to build that in. So now there is Schedule, which is great, where you as a manager can say, here’s the schedule. Employees can go in if you want to allow them, they can trade and shift and you can see what happens. Within that chat I can say, here’s my location. I can simply just pop that up. We’ve just added a walkie talkie feature, which a lot of customers were asking for. The ability to do, you know, which we’ll talk about with calling and blur and those sort of features. We’re finding that businesses are saying this is great but we’re special. We’re medical, we’re engineering, we’re this, so we need this and we’re building in, we’re really listening and we’re building in that functionality to allow people to leverage it the way they want.
Stephen Rose: 30:21 But the Firstline worker scenario is probably one of the most powerful and where they kind of had their own special, hand-built software that sat on a 386 with like a turbo button below somebody’s desk. You know, nobody wants to touch because the guy who built that software is dead and everybody’s terrified that it will break apart. That we can now get that out of there and start to do things that make more sense. And that worked from every platform.
Paul Thurrott: 30:48 Interesting. Actually, since you brought up the Firstline worker, maybe real quick, we should just discuss what that is. Right. Because that will vary from business to business. Based on the name and based on my understanding of the term, to me what it sounds like is the person that is the first point of contact in the company with the outside world, whether it’s a retail employee, perhaps in that type of a business or someone who’s out on a pole working on you know, the, the wires overhead or something like that. They’re literally the front line or the first line in this case of the business.
Stephen Rose: 31:19 Yeah. They’re better than the second line workers. No you’re exactly right. Everything from, you know, servers to folks working out on the pole to, you know, doctors and nurses. But it’s us folks who need to communicate together, both in real time, share information. They may or may not have a schedule, but especially as you look at folks who also work, not often from a single desk, but from a variety of locations that really brings everything with you as you start to do that.
Paul Thurrott: 31:50 Okay. We have a Teams video as well, and I believe this is for a live transcription service.
Stephen Rose: 31:58 Live transcription service. Yeah. So during a Team’s call we, of course, have blur and the cool backgrounds, but one of the new things that we’ve added is the availability of having real-time transcription. Now this is great for several reasons. A: As we look at diversity and inclusion, we want to make sure everybody can have that same experience in the meeting, which is wonderful. Number two, if people process things a little bit slower, it’s sometimes easier for them to read. But also once that meeting is saved in Stream and it’s put up, you can go into Stream and you can see that full transcription and you can search that transcription. Again, leveraging the graph and intelligence, we could go in and say, show me exactly when this product was mentioned. And you can go right, exactly to that point in time in the meeting, which means if you missed a meeting, you can go to all those really important nuggets, skip through the stuff that doesn’t pertain to you and then be able to, you know, quickly gather that, see what was up and move forward.
Stephen Rose: 32:57 Or if you, you know, you could take that transcript, pull it out, and then document that, share that, go through those notes, et cetera. So there’s a lot of great ways that you can leverage that, but it really has changed how people think about meetings and it’s also encouraging them to turn on their camera, which makes for a more intimate meeting and it raises productivity and focus.
Paul Thurrott: 33:20 Yup. Yeah. No the live transcription stuff is the dream. I mean, the accessibility angle is obvious and is excellent. But as you know, covering Microsoft all these years, and one of the things I do oftentimes is go back to the transcription of a live event that you folks might’ve had or a like an earnings call with the analysts afterwards and all that. And the ability to go and find that stuff. I mean, as a reporter or writer, I’ve often used the feature, well no, you can take your own notes and you can record the meeting you’re in, right. It will sync them up, because I left a note that says, well this is important, but I didn’t get the whole quote down and I can listen to it. But obviously the next step is having it just written out for me, which is amazing. It’s just such a crucial capability.
Stephen Rose: 34:02 Yeah. And then this will obviously, because we have like, you know, translation features now in PowerPoint, which I absolutely love if I’m doing a meeting with someone where English is a second language or even it’s not a language. I’ve done meetings with, you know, Japanese customers and they have translators in, I love walking into the room, turning that on and just starting to speak and they look at you like, you know, I just made fire come out of my fingertips.
Paul Thurrott: 34:27 Yeah, no it’s Star Trek. Yeah.
Stephen Rose: 34:29 And they’re like, well how long did it take to train that? I’m like, come up here. You stand in front of my laptop and then within about 10 seconds it immediately starts to do it for them. And the fact that we can do these, and I’ve done it, you know, last year during the Ignite Tour, I was in India, I was in Stockholm, I was in the Netherlands. And just turning that on, the audience immediately starts to clap. And I’m like, how close? And they’re like 90%, you know, there are few colloquialisms that don’t transfer over and we forget about those. But in general, it’s been absolutely amazing and it started to break down those walls of communication and in time that functionality, I’m sure we’ll come to Teams, but it’s those things that allow us to communicate more genuinely. And I think that’s really at the heart of doing business, is to be able to jump on a video call, see what people are saying, real-time translation, real-time transcription. Having that information come up for you, the things that are related, it makes it more personal. And that’s really a great takeaway from all this.
Paul Thurrott: 35:31 Yeah, that’s what makes the world smaller. You know, it’s amazing. It’s just amazing. This, I spoke earlier about my Exchange admin story. I hope that guy find a job. I think, but you know, but the attitudes have shifted over the years. I mean, there was a lot of push back I think in the early days. There was this notion that it is a huge strength for Microsoft, that they do have this hybrid capability that suddenly its competitors are scrambling to try to, you know, meet in some capacity. But, you know, Microsoft does have that history. I mean, what have you seen about from the changing positions that companies and people have had about the cloud over the years? Because obviously I think we’re at the point now where everyone sees this as inevitable. There are the regulatory reasons and legal reasons why some workloads are going to have to be, not strictly, you know, not in a public cloud for sure or not in the cloud at all. But I mean, what does that look like inside of Microsoft?
Stephen Rose: 36:24 I think, you know, personally, I always use the Germans as the bellwether for this. And I say that with all respect, but German customers, when I would go talk to them would say, no cloud, that was that, they don’t like, it, it makes us uncomfortable. We don’t like to use it, where we saw, you know, a lot of European customers, especially the French customers like that immediately jumping on because they saw that value of I can now work anywhere from any device. My data is secure. It’s more secure than it would be if I did it, because there are tons of people that are doing nothing but just making sure everything is there and it’s secure. There are new forms of encryption. We added AIP and DLP and things like that. Once we saw German customers, especially in the financial area, start to say, we want to start to move some of our stuff to the cloud that really told us that, you know, we’re doing things correctly.
Stephen Rose: 37:20 Just because they are one of the slowest to change because they are the most hesitant. So I think you know from the highest level that’s been at, but now every company is saying, A: We see it can save costs. And the thing is it’s not getting rid of jobs. It’s changing jobs. Now these folks who were Exchange admins are still managing Exchange. They’re just doing it online, but they’re also now responsible for security. I love the fact that when you’re going in and you’re doing security, let’s say for Exchange, that you can push a button and say, Oh by the way, these policies of this is who can share outside the company and who can’t, who can do this, can extend out to OneDrive and SharePoint with a single push of a button. We used to run into companies today, well we don’t allow people to share.
Stephen Rose: 38:05 You know, we don’t allow them to do that. And I’m like, okay, do you have that turned on in Outlook? And they’re like, no. And I’m like, well then you have no control over-sharing. Cause people are doing it as an attachment. Or if you don’t let people do this, they will find a way. Life finds a way and that’s the problem is then they go in and go, hh, we’re using, you know, people are using G Drive and sharing and they’re doing this and that and you know, Dropbox consumer and things along that line. So that’s the problem that companies were having by saying, we don’t want to move to that. Customers were already doing it. And we love to remind them, have you never ever used email online? You don’t have a Yahoo or a Live or a Gmail account. Like of course I’m like, that’s in the cloud.
Stephen Rose: 38:47 And they’d be like, well that’s different. I’m like, well, explain to me how that’s different. So it’s taken a long time, but we’re finally getting to the point where most customers trust it. They’ve absolutely seen the value and they’re seeing their peers do it. And that’s always the first one. That’s who’s going to be the first to step off that ledge. And we’ve seen Walmart and you know, the major credit card companies move in that direction. The major banks move in that direction. The government, you know, healthcare, all of those highly regulated industries. Once they move, then people who weren’t that regulated immediately said, Hey, if it’s good enough for them, we should really take a look at this and start to do this. But that first dealing with those highly regulated industries has been something that has been, you know, 10 years of us working on that and now we’re just seeing this flood. People can’t do it fast enough. So it’s been interesting how it’s come together.
Paul Thurrott: 39:39 Yeah, I mean I think that speaks to, you know, Microsoft going to where the customers are. You mentioned Germany for example. Germany has very strict laws around data retention, and so forth and so well we’ll put Azure data centers in your company and your country that will be run by other German companies in many cases and that’s how that has to happen. And that’s fine. So I think, you know, Microsoft meeting them there, where they needed to be is a big part of that success. But I spoke earlier about Office 365 and Microsoft 365 being kind of a no brainer. I mean as we step through some of the features that we’ve hit it on a very high level here today so far. It is, it’s just incredible. You know, the live transcription features is a good example. Like if you actually look at what is enabled by moving to the cloud, it just becomes inevitable. You know, it becomes necessary. You’ll be at a strategic disadvantage if you’re not doing it.
Stephen Rose: 40:33 Absolutely. I think one of the best real-world examples of this was I was in the car with my wife and she needed, she works for a non for profit and she needed a document. She’s like, Oh, we’ve got to go back home. I’ve got to go on my laptop and go do this. I’m like, no you don’t. And I go, go to OneDrive and she goes to OneDrive. I’m like, look in that folder. And she goes, okay. I’m like, Oh, it’s my desktop, I’m like, yes. Now take a look. There it is on your desktop. Great. Now just click it, hit share. And then at the end, she goes, Oh, is that what you do all day? I’m like, yes, that’s exactly what I do.
Paul Thurrott: 41:07 Wow.
Stephen Rose: 41:08 But it was great. She, she got it like, Oh, that’s awesome. And I’m like, yeah, you can do that from any device. Android, iOS, Mac, PC, everything is right there. Everything is secure or if you get ransomware, malware. Yeah, you’re protected. And also the lights came on for her. And I think that’s a microcosm of what we’re seeing in companies is how do we do this? Especially as millennials come in and I want to work from WeWork, I want to work from home, I want to work from a Starbucks. And companies have to say, okay, we want you to do this securely. If the data’s in the cloud, it’s literally within Microsoft 365 hitting the right switches, turning that on, making those decisions and doing that. And that was unthinkable 5 years ago. And now we’ve made it not just easier, but far more cost-effective for companies to do that and let people work the way they want to, which makes them more productive. And that’s at the core of, you know, what we’re looking to do with the modern desktop and making the cloud personal for each person and for each customer. The World’s Productivity Cloud, that’s what we call it.
Paul Thurrott: 42:16 Yeah, exactly. And I think a big key to that is the cross-platform stuff. We touched on this a little bit, but you know, back in the day, and you know, when I was starting out and you were starting out, I mean Office was something that ran on Windows and it ran on the Mac. That was pretty much the extent of that.
Stephen Rose: 42:31 Sort of.
Paul Thurrott: 42:32 Sort of ran on the Mac, right? It was, you know, Windows Best, Windows First. It was kind of attitude. But you know, these capabilities are available in apps that run on the web. And thus can run on any platform. They run on iOS and Android Teams, which is the biggest new Office app. And, forever, basically is a web app that runs everywhere. There’s even a Linux version of it. We haven’t talked about this too much yet, but Microsoft just released a new version of its Edge web browser which is based on Chromium cross-platform. So that thing runs on the Mac in addition to Windows 7, 8, X and 10. It runs an iOS and Android of course. And Microsoft has that management infrastructure to manage non Windows devices to, it’s not just Windows, PCs and Microsoft devices. It is literally Microsoft meeting you where you are. And that’s a big cultural change frankly. You know, from when I started.
Stephen Rose: 43:31 This is my iPad and that’s what’s on it. This is that way. Yeah. This is my office, my little Lego guy from the Lego folks, but that’s at the core is, Hey, this is my office. I can take it with me wherever I want, you know, whatever I need to do. And I work off my iPad quite a bit. I have a Surface Laptop that I absolutely love. This is my Surface Laptop 2. And I’ve like, you had them all, it’s great and it’s great for my heavy lifting. But when I go to a meeting I just take notes in OneNote, they’re right on my desktop. I tend to do short emails. I’m working on a plane cause it’s got LTE and everything in it. I use that device and I go back and forth and what’s great is everything is there on both ends.
Stephen Rose: 44:11 I don’t need to feel like, Oh I’ve got to go to this device because this is here. Everything’s in the cloud, everything’s stored and I can work just as well within Teams and meetings and stuff like that from my iPad as I can from my phone or any device and it’s that ubiquity of the platform and finally office for Mac getting caught up. It’s still not all the way there and I use a Mac pretty often just to make sure I stay up on it. There’s a few features in Mac Office that I would love to see come to the PC. The ability to be able to move mail to folders, just using keystrokes would be great. I haven’t seen that. I love shortcuts and things like that, but it’s getting much closer and a lot of that functionality is there and with the web versions it’s all on par and that’s really at the core as we take a look at whether you want that desktop experience, whether you want that mobile experience or cloud.
Stephen Rose: 45:05 And as we, you know we talked about the four generations, companies want to retain great talent and one of the things they have to realize is when this new generation of workers walk in, they have done everything from a browser. Their whole like, from kindergarten up, they were taught you launch office, or you launch Google docs or whatever that is and everything is done in a browser. The thought about downloading software to your device is not just abhorrent, it’s foreign to them. They’re used to I live in a world of apps on my device and I live in the browser and that’s all that I need. I don’t download software. I don’t need to do that. Companies need to understand that if they want to retain great talent and they want to keep them, is this, is that direction. It’s chat-based it’s, it’s web-based and this is where we’re going.
Paul Thurrott: 45:54 Yeah. Even Outlook on the web, which is the Microsoft 365 web email application and then the Outlook.com consumer products are both progressive web apps now, which is really interesting. There’s nothing particular there, you know, it doesn’t support offline yet or whatever. But I suspect that it probably will. I’m not asking you to confirm that, but just drop me a note. But this is that push toward, you know, again, it’s the same thing. We’re going to meet you where you are as a customer and I think that’s really important. So we have, I’m sorry.
Stephen Rose: 46:26 No, no, I was just, I was going to add one more thing to that. And I think one of the interesting things is when I was on, you know, to that point on the OneDrive team, we used user voice as a key tool to understand what customers wanted and what they wanted to see. And that’s where we heard, Hey, we want to have offline files. Hey we want, you know, folder redirection, we want cloud files and all these other things we worked on and you know, files on demand. Cause they loved the old placeholders feature, which we got rid of cause it didn’t work well and things like that. So that’s also that balance. And you know, working with engineering was absolutely fascinating because we used to put things into two areas, which was evolution and revolution. These are the evolutionary features we have to have that people are asking for like, you know, offline Outlook and all the rest and here are the revolutionary features that no one expects that we’re going to bring to the product. And it’s always trying to balance that. So yes, that’s a huge part of it. And that’s the expectation from our audiences. We’re going to find that balance and we’re going to delight them, but also meet their needs where they live.
Paul Thurrott: 47:30 Yeah, I happen to do this in the web, but the ubiquity of wonder, I mean, I could have done this from anywhere, but when I was searching, I wanted to see what I had written about B-POS back in the day. And of course, you just open up OneDrive.com and B-POS and there it is, came out in 2008 here’s an article I wrote and you know, it’s, amazing. That ability to summon this stuff up in seconds is yeah, it is amazing. So we do have one more video for this. So this is the play my email functionalities. So the mobile version of Outlook. And this one actually I guess has some audio as well.
Stephen Rose: 48:06 Yeah. So what’s happening here is you can say, you know, read my emails or you can hit a button. If you go into Outlook and you click at the top, you’ll see a little play button. And what it will do. It’s meant for folks that are either in the car commuting on a bus that you can go through, you can hear your emails, you can respond, you can move, you can flag for later, you can pick which accounts that’s going to come from if it’s business or personal. But it’s great because we’ll also say this was sent 3 hours ago, this was sent last night, this is this morning. You can prioritize that. But I love it because I can be in the car and have it sort of run through and I can hit skip and it will say this is a long email.
Stephen Rose: 48:54 It’ll take about this long to read. So it’s basically triaging for me and that’s great. So I can sort of kind of go through things before I even get into the office. And for folks who are on a bus or a train, you know that can’t pull out a device or it’s difficult to do. When I was in Chicago, I used to take the L every day and trying to hold that hand strap and do phone and you’re going to get hurt. Same in Boston on the T. So yeah, being able to do that easily, that’s really at the core. And this opens up so many more opportunities now to say, well, Hey, what time is that meeting? Let’s reschedule that. When was the last time I met with this person? As we continue to build out that functionality, we’ve talked about some of that AI, some of the companies that we’ve purchased and partnered with to help move that forward. We really want it to become a true personal assistant where you can build upon those queries and start to do it. And the read my emails is one of those first steps to be able to bring that to life.
Paul Thurrott: 49:48 And I hope we have time to get to this in the series. But one thing I’m really interested in in Microsoft 365 is this new Power Platform, right. And if there’s a product that is, it used to be called Flow, but it’s a Power Automate. Now Microsoft, I think you could folks renamed it.
Stephen Rose: 50:04 Yeah. I still call it Power Apps and Flow. Yeah. Which is too often, but yeah,
Paul Thurrott: 50:09 But this, this may seem a little scary to people who have been intimidated by things like PowerShell or programming in general. But really what it’s about is automation and you know, there are some obvious examples. Your email attachments arrive in Exchange online and they can be saved automatically to OneDrive. I know that kind of thing or somewhat important emails you, your boss, you know, your wife, whatever, no judging, whoever it is, and you want to get a push notification about that specifically. So you understand that it came in no matter where you are or what you were doing. That’s, that’s an incredible capability right there. And it’s fairly, it’s basically, well it’s not brand new, but it’s very new.
Stephen Rose: 50:53 Yeah. We’ve had it up now for about two, almost three years. But, you’re right. And I use that feature when my boss and my wife email me, funny but also we’ve also had it where it can start to take a look at rules and say, Hey, I just took a picture of something that is broken. AI will take a look at it and say, Hey, here’s what’s broken. it can say, if this has happened three times or more, send it to engineering and you can just forward it right to that engineering team. So we can integrate that into Teams. And with Power Apps, those are low code, no code. And you know, we can chat about this later, but, we’ve seen customers, as long as you have a database somewhere, you can connect it and say, Hey, just be able to show this to me in a graphical format on my phone. That’s easier to search, and easier to query. And we’ve seen some people do really amazing things with that, that know nothing about coding.
Paul Thurrott: 51:42 Yeah. And low code, no code is the dream. Obviously from a code perspective, you know, you want to do as little of that as possible. But this ties into the Microsoft graph stuff that we briefly discussed earlier. And for people who are familiar. It’s kind of a Microsoft environment or Microsoft 365 if this, then that type of functionality where it can pull from different data sources. And in this case, it’s building up the Microsoft graph. So it has an incredible range of data that it can pull from and it’s successful of course in third party and all that stuff.
Stephen Rose: 52:15 Absolutely.
Paul Thurrott: 52:17 All right. So we’re gonna try to do news and tips and tricks and things like that. And some of the different episodes we do. The news, this episode is not particularly new, but just to kind of recap because we talked about it the new Microsoft Edge is available, strongly recommend everybody check that out. It’s Windows 7, 8, X, 10 and the Mac. And of course it’s available on mobile as well. And in case we haven’t beaten it into your head yet, Windows 7 support has ended. And so it’s time to start time to start looking forward. And thinking about that migration to Microsoft 365 and the more modern desktop.
Stephen Rose: 52:57 Yeah. I love the new Edge, been playing with it for a while. Matter of fact, this morning we had an article that came, out talking about how we’re working with Google on some of the features that we haven’t had to really try to partner and standardize web browsers for our customers. And the fact that I can use Google extensions now in my browser. That’s been a really great thing for me, because there’s a few that we don’t have yet in our Window’s Store that are there and I was able to bring in and I’m like, this is what’s right.
Paul Thurrott: 53:24 Compatibility is amazing. I feel like I’ve been using the beta version since the beta version was a thing. In fact, I guess I was using the dev channel before that, but it’s one of those no look-back scenarios. It’s everything that’s right about Google Chrome without kind of the Google invasiveness, which is nice.
Stephen Rose: 53:42 Yeah.
Paul Thurrott: 53:42 Some nice Microsoft functionality that’s specific to that environment and Microsoft account integration or Azure active directory integration for Simon.
Stephen Rose: 53:53 I think it’s one of those things, it’s like with OneDrive when I came on board, they’re like, we’re basically redoing this. We’re starting again. We’re going to build it from scratch. We’re going to get rid of Groove, which is the problem, and just do this. Right. And I met with you know, Roger Capriati you know, right after the beta came out, I ran into him and he leads that team and I went, thank you. He’s like, we have to just start over again. And hopefully, people will give us that third chance. But absolutely, we think this is it. And I was like, it’s so fast. And it’s just, I kept seeing it get better and better and better with each release.
Paul Thurrott: 54:27 Yup. All right, well, I think that wraps up this first episode. I’ll be back soon with episode two. Thank you, sir.
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