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Office 365: New FastTrack Customers Guide, Planned Service Changes for 2017 May Require Admin Action

FastTrack, a Microsoft customer success service which is designed to help organizations realize business value faster with Office 365–-is growing faster than ever with Microsoft certified partners now collaboratively helping more than 4,000 new customers every month drive usage and adoption.

“We have found that customers who actively engage with both FastTrack and a Microsoft certified partner are the most successful in deploying Office 365 quickly, and in extracting the most value from their software investments,” writes Office team. That’s why Microsoft introducing an exhaustive document called “FastTrack guide”, which outlines each stage of a customer’s journey, from initial envisioning of the project through driving value throughout the organization.

Microsoft FastTrack Guide

It’s explained by the office team:

As customers make the digital transformation to the cloud, we offer a wide variety of services and digital resources. More than 800 FastTrack engineers are available to work with customers and their certified partners, providing expert advice and remote guidance. When additional expertise is needed, Microsoft collaborates with partners to provide those services. To date, the Office 365 Adoption Offer has made available to customers almost $50 million in partner benefits, enabling thousands of organizations to receive local support from a certified partner of their choice.

This offer continues to be available for customers who purchased Office 365 between February 1, 2016 and June 30, 2016.

Customers interested can learn more about FastTrack resources at the site, or to find a Microsoft partner for getting help with migrations to the Microsoft Cloud, visit Microsoft Partner Center.

In an episode of the Office 365 Developer Podcast, Richard diZerega and Andrew Coates talk to MVP Doug Ware about Azure Functions and using them with SharePoint add-ins.

Office Suite of apps on Android update today to versions . Word 16.0.7766.4775, , Excel 16.0.7766.5022, and PowerPoint 16.0.7766.4272, respectively brings the following:


Capture whiteboards: Use the functionality of Office Lens to capture, clean up and crop pictures of a whiteboard and add them to your documents.


Open more files: Now you can open files that contain form controls.


Share one slide: Don’t send a whole presentation when all you want to share is one thing. PowerPoint lets you share a single slide with others.

  • Capture whiteboards: Use the functionality of Office Lens to capture, clean up and crop pictures of a whiteboard and add them to your slide.
  • You can downlload the latest update release here: Word Excel PowerPoint.

    Microsoft also highlighted an upcoming Office 365 Planned Service Changes for 2017 that require admin action. The changes already been communicated via Message Center, and based on the “Action Required” date are listed below in chronological order:

    Further, the company note that some changes may not have been communicated to your tenant / environment, for example: “those using Azure AD Connect, will not receive the notification regarding the deprecation of the DirSync tool.”

    From the Microsoft post (verbatim):

    Office 365 ProPlus 2013 Availability & Supportability

    Status: Active

    Action Required by: February 28, 2017

    Details: Office 2016 is the recommended version of Office 365 ProPlus and includes all the latest upgrades and new features. As we announced in September 2015, when we released Office 2016, beginning March 1, 2017, the Office 2013 version of Office 365 ProPlus will no longer be available for installation from the Office 365 portal. Beginning March 1, 2017, your users will no longer see Office 2013 as an option for download through the Office 365 portal, and admins will no longer have the option under Software download settings in the admin portal to choose to enable Office 2013. In addition, we will no longer provide feature updates for this version, nor provide support. We recommend you install Office 2016 as soon as possible to have the latest and greatest features and support.

    Message Center: MC81842 – Removing the Office 2013 version of Office 365 ProPlus

    Posted: October 19, 2016

    Additional Information: KB3199744: Support for the 2013 versions of Office 365 ProPlus ends February 28, 2017

    Project Online requirements are changing

    Status: Active

    Action Required by: February 28, 2017

    Details: Beginning February 28, 2017, Project Online will require the latest version of Project to connect to Office 365. We are making architectural changes to features in Project Online which impact older versions of Project, connecting to Project Online. If you are using Project 2016, you need to be on a supported build to connect to Project Online. For Project Professional 2016 customers, the RTM build (16.0.4266.1000) is the minimum build. For Office 365 customers using the Project Online Desktop Client (the subscription version of Project Professional 2016), you need to be on the previous Deferred Channel build (currently build 16.0.6741.2088) or any other build that is more recent. If you are using any prior version of Project, you will encounter issues connecting to Project Online. This change will not affect you if you are not connecting to Project Online. Make sure you’ve upgraded to a supported Project 2016 build, by February 28, 2017, to continue connecting to Project Online without interruption.

    Message Center: MC89200 – Project Online requirements are changing

    Posted: December 19, 2016

    Additional Information: Using Project Online? Time to be sure you upgrade the client software

    SharePoint Online Public Websites are going away

    Status: Active

    Action Required by: March 31, 2016 at 5:59 PM UTC

    Details: As we originally communicated in March 2015, new Office 365 subscription plans no longer include the SharePoint Online public website feature. We notified Office 365 customers who currently use this feature could continue using this feature for a minimum of two years. Beginning March 2017, existing SharePoint Online organizations may no longer have access to the public website feature. You are receiving this message because our reporting indicates your organization has the SharePoint Online public website feature available. Beginning March 2017, your customers may no longer have access to your public website. In January 2017, we will have a process in place allowing you to postpone the removal of your SharePoint Online public website. We will communicate again in January, via Message Center, with more details. Alternative public website solutions from industry leaders are now available, and you should begin investigating these alternatives to integrate your public presence within the Office 365 environment.

    Message Center: MC88504 – SharePoint Online Public Websites are going away

    Posted: December 9, 2016

    Additional Information: Learn about partner website hosting and public websites in Office 365

    Active Directory Synchronization (DirSync) Deprecation

    Status: Active

    Action Required by: April 4, 2017

    Details: We will be removing the Windows Azure Active Directory Synchronization feature from Office 365, beginning April 4, 2017. You are receiving this message because our reporting indicates your organization is using Windows Azure Active Directory Synchronization. When this change is implemented, administrators will no longer be able to synchronize their Active Directories. Instead of using Windows Azure Active Directory Synchronization, use Azure Active Directory Connect.

    Message Center: MC45036 – We are removing Windows Azure Active Directory Synchronization from Office 365

    Posted: April 13, 2016

    Additional Information: Upgrade Windows Azure Active Directory Sync (“DirSync”) and Azure Active Directory Sync (“Azure AD Sync”)

    RPC over HTTP Deprecation

    Status: Active

    Action Required by: October 31, 2017 at 5:59 PM UTC

    Details: On October 31st, 2017, Exchange Online mailboxes in Office 365 will require connections from Outlook for Windows use MAPI over HTTP, our new method of connectivity and transport between Outlook for Windows and Exchange. In May of 2014, Microsoft introduced MAPI over HTTP as a replacement for RPC over HTTP. RPC over HTTP was a legacy connection protocol that is being deprecated from Exchange Online. Beginning October 31, 2017, Outlook for Windows clients using RPC over HTTP will be unable to access their Exchange Online mailbox. The necessary action depends on the version of Outlook in use in your organization. If you are using Outlook 2007 or earlier, you need to upgrade. Outlook 2007 does not contain support for the MAPI/HTTP protocol. We encourage you to update to the Office 365 ProPlus subscription, or access Outlook via the web browser (which is included in your current subscription plan). Outlook 2010-2016 customers will need to ensure their version of Outlook for Windows is set up to support MAPI/HTTP. At a minimum, you should ensure you have installed the December 2015 update. Lastly, ensure your Outlook clients are not using a registry key to block MAPI/HTTP.

    Message Center: MC85988 – Potential service disruption for Outlook for Windows users

    Posted: November 16, 2016

    Additional Information: KB3201590: RPC over HTTP deprecated in Office 365 on October 31, 2017

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