As the year draws to a close

Time to reflect on the last 12 months and look forward to the next.

This has been  an incredible year personally and professionally, a home move, expanded into new vendors to teach and qualified as a NetApp Certified Instructor (NCI) and qualified to teach EMC Isilon, I gained a few more Microsoft certifications and started teaching other topics within their portfolio.

The biggest tech change for me has been teaching the course MOC10961B (I taught A too). This is the Automating Administration with Windows PowerShell … 5 day Microsoft Official Curriculum Course (colloquially known as MOC to MCT’s and others in the IT Training industry)

This was brought home to me whilst sitting in a couple of Beta exams the other day. I sat for the Office 365 MCSA exams 71-346 and 71-347. Office 365 is definitely the direction to take in the world of Devices and Services (more of that later).

This exam whilst still a Beta and under an NDA, I can say that without a detailed knowledge of the Shell (PowerShell v3.0), its constructs, CmdLets and syntax it will not be possible to pass this or, I believe, any of the new breed of Microsoft Certification examination.

It is definitely now, the Shell, the whole Shell and nothing but the Shell. My advice to anyone wanting to develop their Microsoft Infrastructure skills – get yourself on the 10961B somewhere, somehow. By the end of January 2014 i will have taught this on well over half of the last 10 full week training engagements. Word is getting out.

So – Office 365 is essentially the vast majority of Microsoft productivity software available whenever you want it wherever you want it for a monthly fee rather than an upfront charge.

Depending on which subscription you opt for (and you can upgrade at any time) you have access to the full Office 2013 suite of products. Exchange online for email, SharePoint online for team and external collaboration and Lync online for global communication by Lync, skype and other IM solutions.

You can even stream office to your desktop (if you cant install it directly) with Office on Demand. All pretty good stuff. You can take a free trial of up to 25 users here by emailing me

In addition to all this, you can have access to all the Office web apps, calendar, contacts and SkyDrive Pro , which is your own personal cloud storage area.

The individual products have been around for a long time but the ability to provide all of this for any level of consumer, from a student on a low budget to an enterprise that wants full integration with their Active Directory and a Single Sign On  (SSO ) solution is new and unique.

My New Year’s resolution is to make much fuller use of my Office 365 subscription.

On my iPad, on my Surface Pro on my desktop and on my android phone a true Devices and Services solution for all.






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