21-09-16

Achievement Unlocked : MCSA Office 365

mcsa_office365_blk

I’m pleased to say that after a couple of attempts at 70-347, I successfully passed my MCSA : Office 365 last night. For those looking at doing this certification in the near future, I just wanted to pass on the benefit of my experience. You may think, like me, that Office 365 is a pretty straight forward suite of software. In some respects, it is. It’s pretty much the same Exchange, Office, Sharepoint, etc. that you’ve always been used to, but with the additions in this exam of knowing things like subscription plan differences, AD sync and much more.

Out of the two, I found the first exam 70-346 much easier. This in some ways lures you into a false sense of security in thinking the second will be much the same. This is really where I came unstuck. I got a little bit carried away and perhaps didn’t put quite as much effort as I should have done into my study and got a bit of a kicking in the end.

Once I dusted myself down and went back over the parts I didn’t know on the exam, I felt a lot more confident last night but I still took out the insurance policy of the Microsoft Booster Pack, which is an exam voucher plus 4 resits. Yes it’s more expensive, but it takes out the risk of running up large exam bills and takes the pressure off a bit too. The promotion runs until the end of this month, so if you want to take advantage, you’d better be quick.

Anyway, each exam was around 52 questions, a couple of case studies thrown in but most were the usual drag and drop, order a list, multiple choice type formats. If you’ve sat Microsoft exams before, there shouldn’t be anything in there about the format that should surprise you.

So then, what to study?

  • PowerShell, PowerShell, PowerShell. You’ll get battered on this. Know common switches for things like user manipulation, mailbox settings, mobile devices, Lync configuration etc
  • Make sure you know all of the different Exchange migration methods and when to use them, what their advantages and disadvantages are (cutover, staged, remote move, IMAP, etc.)
  • Know the permissions model of SharePoint well – how to give anonymous access, how to remove it and how to set up site collection hierarchies
  • Install and play with AD Connect and make sure you understand how it works and how you can use it in a hybrid environment, same goes for ADFS if you don’t know that well
  • Know what integrates with Skype for Business
  • Know the plan differences well, especially Enterprise and Small Business plans. Know what is included and what isn’t
  • Did I mention PowerShell?

Resources I used :-

  • Microsoft MVA training – Managing Office 365 Identities and Services. A little dated now but still very useful
  • CBT Nuggets – very concise course giving you most of the information you need to know
  • Pluralsight – A bigger deep dive into things like SharePoint sites and administration, which was a gap for me initially

Good luck if you’re sitting this any time soon, just don’t underestimate it or it will bite you on the arse!

 

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15-09-16

Office 365 Features – Quick Reference Matrix

I’ve been doing quite a bit with Office 365 lately, and I always get confused as to what services come under which plan (typical Microsoft!). You’ll also be asked about this if you’re doing the Office 365 MCSA exams (70-346 and 70-347), so well worth knowing if just for that.

The gist of it :-

  • Exchange Online, Sharepoint and Office Online (Office Web Apps) is available on every plan
  • Exchange Online, Sharepoint, Skype for Business (Lync) and OneDrive for business is available on every plan except K1 plans
  • Office ProPlus requires E3, E4 or E5 Enterprise plans
  • Yammer is included, but with caveats (see notes table)

The matrix below has been lifted from Microsoft’s site and is current as of the time of this post. Beware this can and probably will change!

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1
   Project Online is not included, but can be purchased as a separate add-on service or added for free to the Office 365 Education plan.
2   Yammer Enterprise is not a component of Office 365 Government, but may be acquired at no cost as a standalone offer for each user licensed for Office 365 Government Plan E1, E3, E4, and K1. This offer is currently limited to customers which purchase Office 365 Government under Enterprise Agreement and Enterprise Subscription Agreements.
3   Azure RMS is not included, but can be purchased as a separate add-on service or added for free to the Office 365 Education plan.
4    To learn more about which RMS features are included with Office 365 plans, see Comparison of Rights Management Services (RMS) Offerings .
5   Office 365 Enterprise E5 contains Cloud PBX, PSTN Conferencing, and PSTN Calling capability. To implement PSTN Calling requires an additional plan purchase (either Local or Local and International).

Hope this helps!