Chevron – A Refinery for Digital Transformation based on Azure IoT and Analytics

chevron-LogoChevron announced this week that they were committing to a Microsoft Azure platform for the consolidation, processing, and refinement of IoT data and Analytics across and through their organization.


This sounds like most other press releases, but the organizational change impacts that this announcement mentions and implies caught my attention.

About five years ago, I had the opportunity to help drive some change within Chevron as a consultant and I learned a little bit about the organization. I remember being extremely impressed at the way they think about systems and how training for every role – users and administrators and equipment operators, etc. – was ingrained into the company. Chevron also had a mindset at that time to work harder to stay abreast of technology.

In the press release (link below), operational groups such as, “supporting infrastructure …advanced technologies, … optimize exploration, reservoir management, production operations, midstream logistics and marketing operations.” Mentioning these in a press release indicates that they have already gone beyond simply committing to the purchase of a block of Azure compute and storage and are already planning on how value from this technology will be realized.

A large organization like Chevron has some tremendous pipelines to fill to get advanced technology like Azure IoT and Analytics to reach across the organization. Chevron has the infrastructure and the technology and the people processes in place to take advantage of today’s technology. It is encouraging to see the groundwork for successful organizational change is already being built.

Related Resources:

Press Release: Chevron Partners with Microsoft
to Fuel Digital Transformation
from the Reservoir to the Retail Pump

Microsoft Transform Blog: Chevron fuels digital transformation with new Microsoft partnership


OneDrive Files on Demand

Lots of goodness is rolling out presently with the Windows Fall Creator Update. OneDrive support for Files on Demand is one of those features.

OneDrive Files on Demand allows you to see all the files in your OneDrive, while not having all of them synchronized to your local device. If you run multiple laptop or desktop computers, or if your primary machine is a little short on available local storage space, or if you simply feel, like me, that a local copy is overkill for most of your files, then this feature is perfect for you.

As good as selective folder synchronization was/is, the downside was that once you chose which folders to synchronize, you tended to forget what else was already stored in the online version of OneDrive. I tended to think of my local OneDrive and my online OneDrive storage as two separate file stores, both of which needed some level of management and organizational overhead. This bothered me. In fact, from time to time I found myself duplicating a file because I was moving too quickly to double check to see if I had it already stored in an online OneDrive folder that I simply wasn’t selectively synchronizing to my laptop.

Well, OneDrive Files on Demand fixes that, as it allows me to see all of my OneDrive folders, regardless of whether I’ve selected them for local synchronization. It also allows me to choose which files within a folder are synchronized. And, if I ever need a file, it is available to me via instant download (as long as I am connected to the cloud).

So, how do you know if a file is stored locally, or whether it can be downloaded On-Demand? Check the handy icon in the windows explorer list. (see below)

OneDrive Files On-Demand requires

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (version 16299.15 or later) and

OneDrive build 17.3.7064.1005 or later.

First, you need to enable OneDrive Files on Demand. Right-click on your OneDrive cloud icon (you will need to do this for each OneDrive account you are using and for which you’d like to have Files on Demand enabled), and select Settings. In the Settings tab, check the box for Files On-Demand.


For an example of the file status icons, check the clouds and checkboxes below.


If you are a site administrator,

be sure to scan the blog entry here: (It’s so good, that I’ve listed it a second time in the resources list at the end).

While the above instructions are for a single individual to enable OneDrive Files on Demand for their own installation, it can also be enabled across the enterprise using Group Policy. The default (unconfigured) option is to allow each user to turn on Files on Demand. However, an Administrator can apply a Group Policy to enable Files on Demand across the board by default, or to turn it off and not allow it to be enabled.

The file modification script tool, attrib.exe, has been updated with options to enable the Freeing up of space, or the always store locally options.

I also like the available option of setting existing document libraries to support Files on Demand so that new files added to the team site document libraries are stored as on demand files by default.

Enjoy access to your OneDrive Files on Demand.

Awesome links to keep in mind:

Uservoice announcement of feature complete!

Support page describing OneDrive Files on Demand

Stephen Rose’s blog about how to Enable/Deploy OneDrive Files on Demand Across the Enterprise


Feel free to comment on this blog or contact the #O365Toolman at @owenallen with any related questions.


Important Configuration Setting for Teams Guest Access

This is kind of a Public-Service Announcement. The setting to enable invited guest users to your Microsoft Teams installation can be a little difficult to find.

Have you invited guest users to Teams, only to see them complain that the login scenario can’t be finished, or they aren’t actually getting into the new goodness that is Microsoft Teams?

This can be a problem. There is an important setting that I’m finding many O365 administrators have passed by too quickly. I think I’ve helped six or seven site admins with this since yesterday afternoon, and that screamed PSA at me. Now, you can point your site admin friends to this blog article.

The tenant doing the inviting, needs to have the Teams setting for Guest Users enabled, or the invites can be sent out, and the user account gets created in active directory, but the guest user can’t actually switch completely into the new Teams environment.

From the Admin Panel, select Settings —> Services & add-ins, then select “Microsoft Teams”

The important setting is visible by default and it looks very good, doesn’t it.


The slider is turned to “On”, and you would not be faulted — at all — for thinking to yourself, “Hey, the setting is already there and activated!” – and you might click on through very quickly.

But, then you would come back later that day after your invited guests kept complaining about not getting in…

it is only then, that you would realize that the words “Business & Enterprise” is actually a drop-down button,


and you need to select the drop down, select “Guest”, and turn on the slider at that point.


OK, that is all. Good luck, and enjoy guest user access for Teams.



External Guest Access for Microsoft Teams

The Office and Teams product groups have done it, and they’ve launched External Guest Access for Microsoft Teams.

Here is the blog entry:

This is the feature that we’ve been waiting for to start talking about MS Teams in an enterprise way.

This capability is also the next step to having MS Teams support external user chat, both 1:1 and small group.

While External Guest Access is announced in todays blog, I’m still waiting for it to show up in my tenants. Today, or tomorrow, or soon, we will have it, and then we’ll be able to judge how soon we can roll it out to our users – there is some chatter in the video accompanying this blog about some aspects of the capability being launched now and some others, such as full federated support for commercial email systems, still coming later. Until that time, invited users will receive a unique code and will type that in to authenticate, instead of using their own email password.

If this feature is done right, it will enable us to have 1:1 and group chats with external users, regardless of their O365 license situation. I hope this will be easier to use, and will remove the requirement to have as many chat clients on the phone as we have today (in the long run).

Another good piece in this blog is the image of the current Office 365 adoption numbers.

Question: is this the slide that will be used at MS Ignite in a couple of weeks, or is this already outdated and going to be updated? I guess we’ll have to attend or watch MS Ignite to find out!

An Argument for Teams to Succeed Skype for Business

Kevin Kieller (@KKieller) writes an interesting article where he lays out his argument for Microsoft Teams to succeed / replace Skype for Business. I think he’s right. I recommend this article to you, on the blog.

Why Teams Is the Future of Skype for Business

Some of his points include:

  • The similarity of the Mac client for Skype for Business user interface to the Teams user interface.
  • Skype for Business has not added or incorporated anything along the lines of persistent chat, even though the technology is certainly available. (I think this exclusion of functionality is certainly to avoid confusion and enable the more rapid conversion of users to Microsoft Teams)
  • Many of the session titles at the upcoming Microsoft Ignite conference combine Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams in their titles.

I’ll leave his other reasons for you to discover. Kevin’s blog article is a good one.

If you aren’t already starting to experiment with Microsoft Teams within your organization, give me a call, and let’s talk about the reasons why.

In many of my client conversations, most of the early rational about delaying work with Microsoft Teams has been overcome as Microsoft has released new functionality for Microsoft Teams and Office 365 Groups.


MTX Portland and Portland SharePint – Sep 2017

A few of the leading companies in the Portland area, led by the Marquam Group, are putting on a conference in Portland next week, on Tuesday, Sep-12. This is the MTX Portland conference, and I hear it is going to be amazing.


I’m delivering a couple of sessions there on my areas of focus, the first session being on the need for some urgency in the digital transformation of business. It’s not only about technology, but also about culture, people, and process, in addition to technology.

The second session will be a little more tactical and will demonstrate how the array of technologies and tools that accompany Office 365 can bring the different departments and teams within a company closer together, while making them more agile at the same time.

I’m really looking forward to the conference. I’m thrilled and thankful for the opportunity to share some of what I feel most passionate about. I hope that you can attend.

Registration is priced at $199, but you can use the 25% off discount code, “OwenAllen” (coincidence, I’m sure), to register at a price of $149. This includes a great venue and your choice of tracks. The Modern Workplace and Business Applications track will  be where you will find me.

Steve+BrownThe Bald Futurist, Steve Brown, will be the opening keynote, and I’m looking forward to learning more about his thoughts and ideas.

The night before, Akumina is hosting a SharePint at the Altabira City Tavern, so very close to the convention center in Portland. I’m going to be there and I’m looking forward to meeting old colleagues and many friends from Portland.

Akumina SharePint in Portland –sharepintlargeblack
Monday, Sep-11, 5PM-7PM
Altabira City Tavern,
1021 NE Grand Ave, Ste 600,
Portland, OR  97232

Please join us – At the SharePint at Altabira City Tavern and/or at MTX Portland!

logo 2 001akumina-logo

Teams Email Notifications and UserVoice

The Email notifications that you receive with Microsoft Teams could use a little sprucing up.  It does a great job of telling me who mentioned me or who reached out to me, and has a link back to the item, but that is all…


Wouldn’t it be great to have a quick abstract of the content of the message included in the notification email?

Well, ok, this is a trick question.

Some people will say that enabling notification content in the email will only serve to cause the Email culture to persist, and will slow down the integration of a Teams-workplace. I think one of the suggestions in this vein is that the reminder is nice, but that the user should then open the Teams activity feed (browser, laptop, or mobile app) and review/take action on the messages from there.

Other people will say that this is a much needed feature, to help them triage their notifications and their Teams activity feed.

I wonder if it really comes down to your choice about which tool you will use at which time.

I can certainly understand for those users that are in the midst of a company migration to Microsoft Teams and email is Very Real, but they Want To Use Teams.

For this reason, I suggest we enable both methods. If you want to throw your support behind the UserVoice suggestion that a kind person named Rob Solomon posted, which is titled, “Email notifications should include the actual content of the post(s).”, then I will make it easy for you to do so.



Folders in Teams files view

Well, can you believe that! I’m seeing folders visible in the files view of Microsoft Teams.

Folders in Teams Files view

Praise be to developers and program managers and engineering managers and all others!

Last week, I had to train my clients on why the files view in Teams was different from the exact same view in the Document library in the teamsite.

This week, it works as it should! WOO-HOO! More updates to Teams deployment guidance coming…  No more trying to explain away the UI differences between Teams Files and Document Libraries.

Someone pinch me if I’m dreaming.


Quick Links to specific Office 365 Admin Portals


Is Office 365 a good example in itself of a serverless architecture?

For a number of hours on June 29, one entry point to the Office 365 Admin center was down. Users were unable to access the Office 365 Admin Center from iOS devices.

For this specific instance, you can see if your own tenant was affected by checking the Service Health history. The two log entries that are visible in my tenant are MD108133 and IT108132. These are specific for MDM and Intune, so I’m not talking about widespread downtime. This was only a very specific case.

The serverless architecture piece is that a user/admin doesn’t always have to go through the O365 Admin center to access other admin centers. With the right URLs, you can go directly to the admin center that you need.

Martina Grom, (@magrom), posted a useful set of direct links to different Office 365 admin centers. I want to post a version of that list here, as a tool to keep in the bottom of your O365 Toolbox, just in case you ever need it.

Online Admin Tool URL
Exchange admin center
Skype for Business admin center
SharePoint admin center
OneDrive admin center
Yammer admin center
PowerApps admin center
Flow admin center
Security and Compliance center
Azure – Active Directory, SSO, Conditional Access, Intune, etc.
Cloud App Security

Happy Administrating and Building.

While you are working, you can listen to The Control Panel, by Richard Yost.