This is my first post in almost 18 months and the kick off of a series on my role in leading my organization to the cloud, or to borrow a buzz term, #DigitalTransformation! In the past I have been a diligent blogger, using my blog to document my explorations in technology and leadership; however, the last 18 months have been filled with many personal and professions highs and lows. As a result, I have not been keeping up with my blog. To kick off this new series (and it will be a big one, 9 or 10 posts) I need to start with a little background. Prior to my stewardship of SharePoint, we created an experimental SharePoint online tenant to support a project that involved an outside engineering firm. As of 2018, that tenant was defunct. Also, in early 2018, I created a second, “temporary” tenant. After quickly spinning it up and building a forum site it was turned over to the requestors where it has sat, unused, since. Finally, in late 2017, I made the decision to pull the pug on a failing SharePoint 2016 upgrade. This decision played into a series of events that result in me rebuilding a team that in early 2018 was focused on fixing SharePoint.
When it came time to spin up our new SharePoint Online environment, I discovered that, in addition to the two known tenants, a third tenant already existed for our company. This tenant had our desired tenant name but it existed in an “unmanaged” state. It turns out that if people signup for online services with their work email, Microsoft will create a tenant based on their email address. As it turns out, about a dozen people already signed up for the free version of PowerBI. As a result, I needed to go through the admin takeover process. To complete this process, a shared inbox was created called “Office365Admin.” This will result in not having an on-prem user account that syncs to Azure AD. Once you sign up an account on office.com I signed up for PowerBI with that account and then visit with the office.com admin center to start the admin takeover. The process is simple and involved adding a TXT record to your DNS. Once that was completed our tenant setup was completed and ready for licensing.
Back in 2016, I led our company into our first Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft. Our plan at the time was to upgrade our traditional (on-prem) software platforms and start experimenting with cloud hosted versions. For that reason, we purchased Office ProPlus with E3 add-ons. This license was allocated to one of our existing tenants that was now dormant. With a support request and some email verification, our old tenant was scheduled for deletion and all the licensing moved to our new home in the cloud. All of this took less than one day to finish.
Between 2015 and 2018, SharePoint was one of many responsibilities for my team; the one that was publicly failing and that my company was losing faith in our ability to manage. Because of this, my role was refocused to fix this problem. One of the main reasons for me to choose to make the shift to the cloud was because of this setup process. In one day, we had a production ready SharePoint environment.