Today we had the Office 365 International User Group meeting. Luckily, we were able to find some topics to discuss! J The majority of the meeting centered around the new Office 2013 Release Preview/Office 365 (who would’ve thought!) More about that in a minute.

I started out the meeting by completely avoiding the big pink elephant in the room and decided to talk about a new feature in Office 365 production right now, Lync to Phone via Jajah. I did a quick demo on the settings within Office 365 Exchange Online and Lync Online as well as the Jajah website. One think I pointed out is that while I am logged into my Lync client connected to my Lync Online account inbound/outbound calls works great but I am unable to have calls forwarded to voicemail using Exchange Online UM. Also when not logged into Lync Online calls to my number result in a fast busy signal. One of the members of the group, John Palmer (@citriusjohn) mentioned he had the same issue. His suggested fix is what corrected my problem, the Office 365 Tenant domain needs to be set as Hosted in the Exchange Online Admin Portal to make it Authoritative. Once I made the change for my Tenant domain both VoiceMail and Subscriber Access worked perfectly. So go ahead, give me a call at area code 72 zero 45 two 2439, most likely you will hit my voicemail as I am rarely signed into Lync for that account. I will be following up with another blog on the settings for Lync to Phone Voicemail setup in the next day or so.

So back to the Pink Elephant! The group discussed the new Office 365 Portal while I demo’d my preview environment. I think am pretty sure the majority of the attendees had already created their own tenant in the customer preview. We all went over the new portal and tried to point out new features. One of the cool new features I really like is the ability of the user to control the 5 devices they have installed/run the new Office 2013 from as part of the Office 2013 subscription based licensing.

The Next major portion of the meeting was dedicated to a PowerPoint presentation around the Click to Run Office 2013 new installation method. This PowerPoint was provided to the MVP community last week. It explains how Microsoft is moving away from MSI installations for Office to on-demand installation. I hope to be able to share the full PowerPoint deck, just waiting on full authorization (the information is not covered by the MVP NDA but not sure if I can distribute the deck). We had some great feedback on how this new deployment model will affect existing IT departments and how we all need to realize the field is moving and we need to move with it. Another great feature of the Click to Run (C2R) is the manner in which the new Office 2013 apps such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc can run side by side with the legacy 2010 apps. This makes the adoption and migration to the latest versions much easier for an IT department as well as end users.

Overall a great meeting! The group is growing slowly, but I believe that with the new updates by Microsoft around Office 2013 and Office 365 that our membership will grow. We talked at the end about our members, the core of the group, be able to present on new features and functionalities and I have already received one member willing to present next month. Also up next month will be a recap of TechEd Europe by Martina Grom (@Magrom) and a recap of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2012 by Loryan Strant (@thecloudmouth).

If you are interested in presenting at one of the meetings please let me know. The team and I welcome presenters around anything Office 365 and encourage you to step up and help the community out. Please keep updated about the group at our website, and please join in the next meeting and pass the word along about the group!