Hi everyone, and welcome to another edition of the Fusion5 Microsoft Newsletter.

For those of you who are eagle-eyed, you’ll notice the re-brand in this edition. This is to reflect the tightly interconnected world of Microsoft, and with the expansion of our focus areas and great stories to share across Power Platform, Managed Services, Azure and Modern Work. So we felt that now’s the right time to consolidate our briefing.  

It’s been a very exciting time here at Fusion5 over the past few months. Winter certainly doesn’t mean we’re hibernating! The most exciting aspect was our New Zealand team being named Microsoft’s Global Country Partner of the Year for 2021! This was an unexpected, but welcome surprise, we are humbled and honoured to have received this accolade. And thanks have to be extended to you, our loyal customers. It’s your courage, and the trust you put in our experts, that enables us to deliver innovative, meaningful solutions, and we’re tremendously thankful. 

We’ve seen some awesome new logos coming across to the Fusion5 family. You can read about some of them below, including the transformative Australian AFL solution. Bringing their vision to life is going to be an exciting journey! 

Our Managed Services team has also been very busy working with Microsoft to attain the Azure Advanced Specialisation in Windows and SQL Migration. This specialisation is achieved through meeting numerous rigorous standards around certified individuals and proven experience. It culminates with a deep audit – a process not for the faint hearted! There were some pretty nervous people on the day, but I’m delighted to share the team nailed it on their first attempt. This puts them in the very upper echelons of Managed Services Providers in A/NZ, so you can rest assured you’re in safe hands with this team! 

Microsoft Inspire, aka Microsoft’s annual partner conference, was held recently - and it is truly epic. It’s also the place where we learn about key product evolutions and roadmaps. Our team has prepared some content below to summarise some of these.  

We hope you enjoy this briefing and that it’s of value to you. As always, we welcome any feedback, or suggestions for future content. 

Stay safe and enjoy the last of the cooler weather. Summer will be upon us before you know it. 

Regards, 

Kristy and Paul 
Director and General Manager for Customer Engagement and Collaboration 

At a Glance

Windows 365 – your answer to giving employees the power to personalise without compromising security

Launched on August 2, 2021, Windows 365 is Microsoft’s new Desktop-as-a-Service solution, which provides users the ability to manage and run their personal/company Windows Operating Systems from Microsoft’s Azure Cloud. 

Customers have a growing need for hybrid and flexible work policies on personal and company owned devices within remote environments. The challenges that customers face within a remote work environment include providing zero touch onboarding/provisioning, meeting security and compliance regulations, and scaling/expansion to staff. With Microsoft’s new cloud PC Windows 365, customers can personalise their PC’s apps, content, and settings, while being able to provide unified security/identity management and scale compute capabilities across personal or company devices from remote locations. 

Unlike Azure Virtual Desktop’s consumption model, Windows 365 eliminates the uncertainty of monthly charges with a fixed pricing model (note that using Windows 365 Enterprise does incur networking consumption fees). 

Windows 365 allows customers to leverage their existing infrastructure with native integration across Azure AD, MS Defender, MS Endpoint Manager, and MS 365 Apps. Which leads into why Microsoft have provided two options; Windows 365 Business and Enterprise. 

The Enterprise edition is designed for customers who currently manage their existing infrastructure through Microsoft Endpoint Manager, while the Business edition is aimed at individual or small customers not requiring Intune management for their devices.

Windows 10 Enterprise
Both Enterprise and Business Windows 365 cloud PCs require a Windows 10 Enterprise subscription, either through a standalone or any M365 license that includes Windows 10 Enterprise such as M365 E3/E5 and Business Premium.

Compute and Storage
Customers can decide on the amount of compute for each of their cloud PCs. Until general availability, the number of cloud PC sizes may increase and range from 1 vCPU to 8 vCPUs, 2 GB to 32 GB of RAM, and 64 GB to 512 GB of storage. 

Networking
Windows 365 Enterprise cloud PCs require the customer to provide a network infrastructure within a customer-managed Azure subscription – so, it’s consumption based. Windows 365 Business cloud PCs don’t use a customer-managed Azure network.  All network related costs are incurred by Microsoft and are included in the monthly cloud PC license.

Intune
Windows 365 Enterprise cloud PCs require an Intune License. Business cloud PCs do not.

Windows 365 Apps (Office)
Neither Windows 365 Enterprise or Business require Shared Compute Activation, therefore any office subscription to Windows 365 is adequate.

Microsoft Inspire 2021 – Announcements you need to know

Video meeting in Teams

Microsoft Teams users can now access Dynamics 365 data without the need for licenses for the CRM platform, and at no additional cost.

Windows 365 takes the PC to the cloud and gives people the ability to connect to content, application, data, and settings without limiting them to any single device.
Windows 365 will be generally available on 2nd August, 2021 - Windows 365 Cloud PC blog 

Microsoft Viva is an employee experience platform that brings together communications, knowledge, learning, resources, and insights. Powered by Microsoft 365 delivered via Microsoft Teams, Viva puts people at the center, connecting them to company information, communications, workplace insights, knowledge, and learning to help them achieve their very best. Viva is an employee experience platform designed to work with your existing solutions and can be easily customised and extended to be part of your portfolio to help drive culture transformation. Find out more here.

Microsoft 365 Lighthouse gives managed service providers (like Fusion5!) with one central location and standard security configuration template. Using Lighthouse, they can secure devices, data, and users for small and medium business customers that are using Microsoft 365 Business Premium. Specifically, Microsoft 365 Lighthouse empowers partners to quickly identify and act on threats, and provides anomalous sign-in and device compliance alerts. It reduces management complexity as partners scale, and drives standardisation across customers to allow partners to proactively manage risks and improve their customers’ security posture. (M365 Lighthouse is in public preview) 

Industry blog – Learnings from challenges in education

Over the last year, schools have had to deal with the all-encompassing effects of COVID-19. This has made it essential for schools to adapt quickly. Teaching, communicating, internal processes, and the systems that support them need to keep up with this essential rate of change. 

For IT, this has highlighted the need for more flexible apps to support these changes. Writing custom code doesn't keep up with business demand any more. This is often complicated by some schools having limited IT staff, or access to a narrow range of IT skills. Schools end up relying on a few key staff members, leaving them vulnerable when staff change jobs. 

In discussions with many schools across the country, we find there is a strong push for schools to access new ways of managing their business, using technology that doesn’t require such specialist skills. Schools don't want to take on the risk of critical business processes which rely on a single person, or create a school run by a loose collection of Excel spreadsheets.   

In response, we have seen schools turning to Microsoft's Power Platform. In particular, there are three areas that are drawing a lot of attention: 

Power Apps 

Power Apps provide non-technical staff with the ability to build custom business applications. This is seen as the Enterprise-level alternative to complex Excel spreadsheets. Flexibility and security are two of the big draw-cards. Think incident reporting, catering requests, excursion management, collecting forms information. 

Power Automate 

Power Automate supports processes and workflows that can cover different systems. Think reminders, connecting applications to remove re-typing of information, automatically processing forms. 

Power BI 

Power BI gives the ability to take data from different places and bring it together to give an overall picture. Power BI has been great in helping report on areas that may be outside core functions. This is a great way to manage things like extra-curricular activities, and one-off unique projects. 

The way we provide education has evolved rapidly, and this "new age" of education is here to stay. The challenge for all schools is to take the extraordinary events of the last year and make them "business as usual".

What’s new from Microsoft Teams?

Lock a meeting

Organisers can now choose to lock their meetings to prevent the distraction caused by late joiners. Anyone attempting to join a locked meeting from any device is advised that the meeting is locked and that they can’t join. You can find this feature under More actions in the Participant pane and is currently available in Desktop app only.

Screenshot to lock a Teams Meeting and prevent late joiners

Slide translate in PowerPoint Live in Teams

Make your slides more inclusive with slide translate in PowerPoint Live in Teams. This private setting allows you to see a personalised view of the slide where text is translated in your chosen language.  

This feature supports 19 languages, with more to come.  Read more.

Teams Meetings Auto Recording

Meeting organisers are now able to set a single meeting occurrence or series to auto-record by enabling the “Record automatically” setting from Meeting Options. The meeting automatically starts recording once the first participant from the same organisation joins the meeting. Recording is saved to initiator’s OneDrive (privately scheduled meetings) or SharePoint (channel meetings). This feature is available in Desktop and Mobile. 

 

 

Paging on video gallery 

When you’re in gallery view mode, and there are more videos than can be shown at once on the meeting stage, navigation controls < and > will appear below the Video Gallery. You can use these controls to view more video participants. The maximum number of videos on the meeting stage can vary depending on your device configuration and internet bandwidth. Paging is available in Large Gallery with Gallery (3x3) coming soon.   

Read more.

Chat and collaboration  

Check out the expanded emoji picker! You can now bring your whole self to the conversation with more than 800 emojis. Select a category and find the emoji you need, and use the skin tone selector to customise it!. Use the short code picker to quickly add emojis directly when composing a chat.  

 

 

SharePoint - Modern pages are getting collapsible sections  

Peek’a’boo isn’t just a kid’s game anymore. You can show page sections in an accordion view (collapsed or expanded). And you guessed it, when you make sections collapsible, you save space on the page or in your news article.  

It also makes it a lot easier to navigate dense information. You can give each section a header and set the default of each section to be expanded or collapsed. For your readers, it's a simple click or tap to expand or collapse. 

What’s new in Outlook?

What’s new in Power BI?

Power BI has been constantly evolving since its release. Here are some of the highlights of the changes and updates that Power BI has received over the last few months:

Reporting  

Modern Visual Tooltips (preview): 
The tooltips that we know and love are getting an upgrade. You’ll soon be able to style your tooltips based on the theme of your report, such as having the tooltip background be the same colour as your report background. And you’ll be able to  drill-down and drill-through directly from the tool tips.  

Power Automate for Power BI:
Power BI has a new Power Automate visual! You can create flows and run them directly in Power BI. Flow inputs can be data contextual and be based on filters/slicers. Simply add the visual, drag the fields needed, set up the flow and apply the changes and you’re ready to roll. 
 

Small multiples updates: 
The small multiples functionality has evolved every month since its release. Updates include padding controls, more supported visualisations, and conditional formatting. It is also now generally available for all users, so you no longer need to enable it as a preview.  

Paginated Reports Visual (preview):
Apart from the Power Automate visual, Power BI is also getting a new visual for Power BI Paginated Reports. If you are a premium user, you can render any paginated report that has been published to the service in your Power BI report. You can use fields from the dataset as parameter values – so the visual will be fully interactive, and you can use cross-filtering and highlighting just like in a normal Power BI report. 
 

DirectQuery for Dataflows:
Now generally available! With DirectQuery you can quickly interrogate large-scale datasets locally – however, you won’t be able to perform any additional transformations. There’s no need to refresh an additional dataset independently of the dataflow that you’re already be managing.  
 

Power BI Service  

Datasets discovering using the datasets hub:
The datasets hub makes it easy to find, explore and use datasets in your organisation. Dataset owners can access useful information such as metrics, related reports, and lineages. Report creators can use the hub to find suitable datasets and use links to easily create reports, either from scratch or from templates. Users can also explore dataset details with useful features like ‘Show Tables’. 
 

What’s new in Finance and Operations?

Landed costs 

These days, organisations have supply chains in all corners of the world with international suppliers, long lead times, over-the-top inbound transportation costs, and expensive tariffs. In this environment, doing business in a cost effective and predictable way requires software designed to support users and their objectives. Landed costs can add 20-40% or more to the base cost of goods, and long lead times can add stress to the supply chain planning process. The complicated nature of global supply chains necessitates the use of software to control logistics and finances during the importing process. 

The Landed Cost module in Dynamics 365 helps businesses by completing the following tasks to balance out their supply chain management:   

  • During the voyage creation, process businesses estimate landed costs.  
  • Share out the landed costs to various items and purchase orders/transfer orders in a single voyage.  
  • By recognising the landed costs during the transportation from a physical location.  
  • Recognise the number of accruals for goods in transit.  

The landed cost module in Dynamics 365 provides users the ability to define journey templates and use them for voyages. They can track shipping containers based on estimated lead times that are automatically updated whenever an actual date is captured. The Journey Template and Auto Cost features in the Landed Cost module allow values to be defined upfront, and then simply invoke them to quickly create accurate voyages. As actual landed costs are collected from supplier invoices, and service supplier contracts are updated. These estimates can be refined over time. 

How can Dynamics 365 Landed Cost Module help businesses manage their supply chain? 

Gives you more accurate information  

There are the direct costs associated with shipments including the cost of the transit goods, storage charges, and shipment fees. However, there are many other expected charges also that are less obvious such as insurance, duties, quality control costs, etc. The Landed Cost Module D365 gives you an accurate calculation and helps you avoid unexpected expenses.  

Goods tracking Information  

When the goods are moving from the outbound location to the final destination warehouse, the user gets a complete update on each step of transit. The lead time and the shipment status are identified on each leg. The user-friendly interface helps users to keep an eye to confirm delivery dates to changes in the estimated delivery date of the goods. Users are allowed to change these delivery dates according to their convenience.   

Helps to reduce expenses  

In the case of international shipping, the lowest-priced items are not always the best deal due to the many factors involved in the shipping process. Calculating landed costs needs businesses to look at all their expenses related to the shipping items. This helps to reduce unnecessary costs and make current costs worthwhile by increasing your profit margin.  

For more information on the Landed Cost Module in Dynamics 365, please visit: Microsoft’s Landed Cost Module page or talk to one of our friendly Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations consultants.

Priority-based throttling  

As from Dynamics 365 Finance version 10.0.19, priority-based throttling is enabled by default. 

Priority-based throttling introduces service protection settings that prevent the over-utilisation of resources to preserve the system's responsiveness and ensure consistent availability and performance for environments running Finance and Operations apps. 

 

Priority-based throttling affects all OData and custom service requests, and new error messages/notifications/alerts?? will be sent when system health and performance are affected. When a request is throttled and a 429 error occurs, the response header will include a Retry-After interval, which can be used to retry the request after a specific number of seconds.  

System administrators can setup throttling priority mapping for Azure AD applications and individual user IDs that are using OData (for example Excel add-in). However, a high priority setting will not prevent a request from being throttled if system performance is affected.  

This change heavily affects all integration scenarios and 3rd party applications should be ready to receive and handle the new 429 error. 

To prepare for upcoming change LCS monitoring can be used. There are two new queries available (All throttling events, Requests throttled) that show if there are any requests that would be throttled once environment is updated to 10.0.19. 

Click here for more information. 

Asset leasing 

The implementation of the accounting standards FASB ASC 842 and IFRS 16 created the need for additional functionality in ERP systems. To address this, Microsoft has developed a new module in Dynamics 365 Finance dedicated to the management of the leased asset. 

The new features will reduce manual errors because all calculations will be performed automatically in Dynamics 365 Finance - eliminating the spreadsheets currently used. With the new release, this process is more streamlined with lease status updated automatically, right-of-use assets journals, calculations of net present value, lease interest, and future cash payments. There is also the potential to import through data entities the lease contracts making the data entry process quicker. 

Asset leasing will reduce manual errors and save your users time through automatic lease status updates, right-of-use assets, holistic monitoring and analytics, and calculations of net present value, lease interest, and future cash payments. 

Asset leasing features: 

  • Automates the complex lease calculation of present value and its subsequent processes such as future lease payment, lease liability amortisation, right-of-use asset depreciation, and expense schedules. 
  • Automatically classifies the lease as either operating or finance, or as a short-term lease or low-value lease. The lease classification tests include transfer of ownership, purchase option, lease term, present value, and unique asset. 
  • Centralises the management of lease information, such as important dates, including the commencement and expiration dates, as well as the lease’s transaction currency, payment amounts, and payment frequency. 
  • Helps to generate accounting entries for the initial recognition, and subsequent measurement of the lease liability and right-of-use asset. 
  • Reduces time for complex calculation of lease modification and automatic adjustment transactions. 
  • Provides posting to different layers to accommodate different reporting purposes, such as tax reports that are available in Dynamics 365 Finance. 
  • Complies with the accounting standards to represent leases on a balance sheet using the Balance sheet impact calculator. 
  • Provides audit controls over the integrity of the lease data to ensure that the posted transactions match the calculated amounts of the present value, future payments, and liability amortisation. 
  • Provides tools to import from or export to Excel for all lease data using data management. 
  • Includes features that help in preparing asset leasing reports, particularly the preparation of disclosures and notes. 
  • Integrates with company chart of accounts, currencies, fixed assets, vendors, journals, data management, and number sequences. 

For more information, please check out Asset leasing home page - Finance | Dynamics 365 or talk to one of our friendly Dynamics 365 Finance consultants. 

What’s new in Managed Services?

Security vulnerability assessment  

Security breaches and ransomware attacks against businesses are becoming more and more frequent. Some are amazingly sophisticated attacks – most are not.  The majority are relatively simple and predictable; and most are preventable.  

Security is a numbers game – no one can truly protect anything. The objective is to make it too hard or far too expensive to be worth bothering with, especially when there are much easier targets out there!  

But obvious practice issues persist and cause havoc. For example:  

  • The Colonial pipeline breach? A compromised VPN user account that was not protected with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)  
  • Equifax? A known vulnerability used to attack an unpatched system along with generally poor security practices  

When it comes to your Azure and M365 tenants, do you know:  

  • If your Storage Accounts are accessible via the Internet?  
  • If your Network Security Groups (NSG) actually do anything useful?  
  • If you would be alerted if someone made an unauthorised change?  
  • If attackers have logged into your mail accounts using legacy authentication and leaked credentials from another country?  

Subscriptions tend to grow organically, especially in Azure as new applications are onboarded and old ones decommissioned. Examples that we have seen in customer Tenants:  

  • Unprotected Internet facing VMs  
  • A complete lack of diagnostic logging and alerting  
  • Internet traffic that bypassed the mandated corporate firewall packet inspection capability  
  • Attempts to log into mailboxes from Russia using the IMAP protocol with stolen credentials  
  • Unencrypted orphaned Storage Accounts containing corporate data  
  • Employees auto-forwarding confidential information outside of the organisation to external mailboxes  
  • Missing safeguards that would prevent lateral movement between VMs in the event of a breach  
  • Resources created without change control and without informing the IT and security teams  

We can help. Fusion5 have a mature assessment process designed to give you insight into potential gaps, along with providing you with useful and actionable advice.  

We go beyond ‘box ticking’ and integrate controls from CIS, the Microsoft Well Architected Framework and add our own expert analysis on top!  

  1. Advanced Specialisations audit 

 

Fusion5 earns Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Microsoft Azure Advanced Specialisation 

Fusion5 is delighted to announce that Microsoft has officially validated its status as an Advanced Specialisation partner for Windows Server and SQL Server migrations.  

Microsoft established advanced specialisations to make it easier for customers to find and select the right partner for their needs. It is not an easy path to recognition though, andFusion5 was required to meet stringent criteria around customer success and staff skilling, as well as pass a third-party audit of its migration practices.   

With the achievement of the advanced specialisation, customers can be confident in Fusion5’s capability to deliver best-in-class specialised services in complex solution areas with Azure.  

Kris Jackson, General Manager – Managed Services at Fusion5 says:  “Fusion5 has been helping organisations across Australia and New Zealand to leverage and maximise their investment in cloud infrastructure since the early days of Azure in Australia. We successfully migrated our first customer to the platform back when it launched in 2014.   

Today, we’re very happy to announce that our Information Security ISO 27001 certified Managed Services teamhave passed the rigorous audit requirements to become an Advanced Specialisation partner for Windows Server and SQL Server migrations.  

“Achieving this specialisation tells companies who are looking to modernise their applications and embrace the business advantages of cloud computing, that we have the advanced skills to assess, plan, and migrate their existing workloads to the cloud.  

This huge achievement validates our considerable experience and credentials for cloud migrations, as well as recognising our investment in the Azure platform, and our strong partnership with Microsoft. I personally couldn’t be more stoked for our extremely talented Azure team across ANZ. The rapid and continued growth of our Azure practice only accelerates our ability to help more customers to activate and optimise Microsoft cloud services.” 

Matt Bostwick, Partner Director at Microsoft, commented:"The Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Microsoft Azure advanced specialisation is a validation of a solution partner’s deep knowledge, extensive experience and expertise in migrating Windows Server and SQL Server-based workloads to Azure. In achieving this, Fusion5 has demonstrated that they are a safe pair of hands and trusted advisors to customers embarking on their Azure journey."  

Fusion5 is an organisation focused on making potential a reality for its customers. With significant investment in building Microsoft capability, Fusion5 has achieved outstanding success and significant market growth across multiple solutions including Dynamics 365, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Azure, JD Edwards on Azure, and Power Platform. Fusion5 have also recently been named Microsoft’s Partner of the Year for New Zealand and continue to be part of Microsoft’s Top Gun Partner Program for high performing Azure partners.  

Want to know more about how Fusion5 can help with your Azure investment? Get in touch! 

Meet the team

Varmessh Devaraj, Consultant CEC

Varmessh could you tell us about your career background? 

I have been working with Dynamics for the last 4 years mostly around Customer Engagement. Before that I’ve worked across Application Support roles and Customer Service Roles. I was relatively plucked out of obscurity into Dynamics and never looked back since then! I’ve had the privilege of working with various industries in New Zealand improving and fixing problems in a BAU environment. 

What are some of your career highlights? 

I’ve dealt with some very complex and hard issues in Dynamics throughout the years. Every time a major issue is fixed, it gives me great satisfaction to hear what the customer has to say. Especially I’ve dealt with issues impacting revenue to the customers and the moment when the issues are fixed I feel a sense of accomplishment. 

Varmessh what are you looking to bring to Fusion5?  

I’m looking forward to bring my experience in dealing with difficult situations and fix customer issues. The Customer Success environment has to deal with these situations every day and more often than not. So I hope this makes an impact within the Customer Success team in making customer happy!  

Finally, tell us what you like to get up to in your spare time? 

I mostly play cricket or watch football during my spare time – A big Barcelona and Manchester city fan. I spend a lot of time with my friends tasting Whiskey and Wine during the weekends as well. If I’ve got nothing to do, I normally go down to the beach for a run. 

Tom Veich – Team Lead F&O AU Team 

Could you tell us about your career background?   

I have been involved in the IT industry for the last 25 years, working as a IT Consultant first then moving into a role as IT an manager for a Chain of retail stores 42 of them.  

I then move into a Role of IT manager for Unisys looking after all of the Tafe College’s, I then purchased an IT company that I ran for 15 years.    

I have Developed software in Visual Basic, Fox Pro , PHP and Python. I have built a Mobile Network controlled wild Pig Trapping system, and Pig Feeder for controlling feral pigs.   

What are some of your career highlights?   

I have been lucky to have travelled all over Australia and New Zealand with my work, and have worked for some big companies from around the world.  

Once I was flown to Albany to work with German company on the Wind turbines, that lead to more work from the German based company being the only person that was provided access to the Routers.   

What interested you in this role?  

I love working with all the deferent companies and industries.     

Tom Veich waterskiing!

Finally, tell us what you like to get up to in your spare time?  

I love Barefoot waterskiing you will find me out on the water Saturday Sunday and twice during the week in the early morning.   

I have held the title of number 2 in Queensland for my age (old) in the State titles   

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