Coretek Services announces partnership with Total Solutions Group

2018-07-25T12:47:59+00:00 June 20th, 2018|Announcements, blog, Feature, Home Page, Microsoft, News, Office 365|

June 20, 2018–Partnership offers full range of Microsoft suite of services in a single source for clients.

Farmington Hills, MI.–(BUSINESS WIRE)—Coretek Services (Coretek), an industry-leading IT professional services and consulting firm, announced today that the company has engaged in a partnership with Total Solutions, Inc. (Total Solutions).  President and Chief Executive Officer Ron Lisch made this announcement.

Coretek Services announces strategic partnership with Total Solutions.

The partnership with Total Solutions compliments Coretek’s depth of capability to deploy, migrate, and support Microsoft Azure and the Office 365 lifecycle.  The two companies’ alignment offers clients access to technical experts to help them leverage their IT investment through a range of digital transformation services designed to modernize and optimize the end user experience. Complimented with Total Solutions’ SharePoint capabilities, Coretek will now deliver a complete suite of Microsoft solution offerings to our clients.

Ron Lisch, Coretek President and CEO, said, “Coretek is excited to announce our partnership with Total Solutions, as it uniquely complements our investments in our Microsoft delivery capability.  This allows us to deliver unified and cohesive Microsoft solutions to our mutual customers.”

As an IT consulting company, systems integrator and managed services provider, Coretek delivers high value, innovative solutions to improve end-user experience and increase operational agility in the areas of virtualization, cloud solutions, and business continuity.  Total Solutions provides industry needed SharePoint platform expertise to migrate, support and optimize intranets, secure document management, and collaboration.  Together, Coretek and Total Solutions technical experts specialize in driving operational efficiencies resulting in end user satisfaction.

“We are excited to combine our focused SharePoint and Application skills with Coretek’s robust competencies in Office 365 and Azure,” said Total Solutions CEO Matt Fleszar.  “This solidifies a strategic relationship among national leaders in closely related Microsoft Cloud solutions.”

Coretek and Total Solutions believe that “Together is better for our clients.” It is the two firms’ goal to offer clients a joint resource to make it easier to contract and utilize Microsoft technologies. It was best said by Coretek Sales Director Cyndi Meinke; “We see a clear synergy to immediately collaborate and help enterprises strategically roadmap their pathway to the Microsoft Cloud. We envision rolling out a combined managed offering that give our clients peace of mind through flexible, comprehensive coverage and a single point of contact. Both organizations foster a culture of innovation and outstanding customer service focused on project success – no exceptions!”

About Coretek Services

Coretek Services is an industry-leading Systems Integration and IT Consulting firm that delivers high value and innovative solutions.  Coretek works with clients to custom-design an IT architecture based on each clients’ unique requirements.  The solution encompasses server and desktop virtualization, optimization of a virtual desktop environment, cloud desktop, mobile device management, and infrastructure consulting and project management.  Our goal is to help our clients achieve Project Success. No Exceptions! For more information, visit www.coretek.com.

About Total Solutions

Total Solutions is an energetic and innovative SharePoint Consulting and Application Development firm based in Metro Detroit.  Having served clients in the region for over 20 years, we are experts at designing, developing, and deploying SharePoint based, enterprise solutions.  With clients ranging from higher education institutions to international Fortune 100 companies, our goal is to maximize our customer’s SharePoint investments and drive user adoption.  We offer a broad range of SharePoint services including: – Portal Design and Development – Reporting and Dashboards – Migrations – Administration and Support – Workflow Development – Custom Application Development.  For more information, visit www.totalsol.com.

Contacts

Coretek Services
Paula Gwyn, 248-684-9400
Chief Marketing Officer
paula.gwyn@coretek.com

or

Total Solutions, Inc.
Brandon Burns, 310-893-5663

Business Development

bburns@totalsol.com

Office 365 Integration with SCCM…..

2017-11-20T02:02:27+00:00 November 20th, 2017|Azure, blog, Configuration Manager, Micrsoft Cloud Solution Provider, Office 365, System Center|

Deploying Office or Office 365 has traditionally been a challenge in most corporate environments.  The file types have changed, components have been added/removed, content size isn’t the most manageable, and the amount of business processes that rely on the productivity suite of products requires close management of the deployment to ensure that work can continue once the newer version is deployed.

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) — as of version 1602 — integrates with Office 365 to offer the ability to deploy the Office 365 productivity suite natively with SCCM.  The feature is called Office 365 Client Management and is found in the Software Library of the SCCM Console.  Here’s a snapshot of what it looks like:

On the left, you have your Office 365 Folder with Office 365 Updates included.  When in the folder view, you can see a summary of the number of O365 clients and their versions.  If you notice the scroll-bar indicates there’s more to see…

The different sections can be summarized as such:

  1. Number of O365 Clients in total
  2. The breakdown and summarization of the different versions in the environment
  3. A button which will initiate a wizard to create an O365 client deployment package
  4. A chart indicating the number of systems running different languages of O365
  5. A button to create an Automatic Deployment Rule
  6. Another option to create client settings (These are standard SCCM Client settings, nothing special pertaining to O365)
  7. The number of systems configured to the different update Channels for Office 365 client management
  8. If ADRs were created, they would show in this section

I’ve had some great experiences working with the Office 365 Client management integration with SCCM.  The ability to create a single package to support multiple different languages has taken my packaging time and reduced it to minutes.

In addition to providing a built-in package creation utility, SCCM also manages and services O365 packages moving forward.  The updates are all provided through SCCM’s native Software Update technology but are provided to you in a separate node in the console so that you can view only the updates pertaining to the 365 clients in your environment.  This makes it very easy to identify required and installed updates for your managed systems.

As for what’s needed to manage updates for O365 within SCCM:

Requirements for using Configuration Manager to manage Office 365 client updates

To enable Configuration Manager to manage Office 365 client updates, you need the following (summarized from link above):

  • System Center Configuration Manager, update 1602 or later
  • An Office 365 client – Office 365 ProPlus, Visio Pro for Office 365, Project Online Desktop Client, or Office 365 Business
  • Supported channel version for Office 365 client. For more details, see Version and build numbers of update channel releases for Office 365 clients
  • Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) 4.0  — You can’t use WSUS by itself to deploy these updates. You need to use WSUS in conjunction with Configuration Manager
  • On the computers that have the Office 365 client installed, the Office COM object is enabled

All in all, I have to say that I’m very impressed with the integration of Office 365 Client Management into SCCM.  SCCM has been a very powerful tool and to add the ability to manage the productivity suite natively in SCCM will ensure that admins in large environments can spend more time managing than packaging.

Good Job Microsoft!

Which Azure Plan is Right for You?

2017-07-27T00:47:04+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Azure, blog, Cloud, Microsoft, Microsoft Infrastructure, Micrsoft Cloud Solution Provider, Office 365|

As you start to explore the world of Microsoft Azure Cloud Services, you will start to see there are many options.  Let’s discuss the three types of Microsoft programs for you to purchase.

#1 – Pay-As-You-Go Subscriptions

Pay-As-You-Go subscriptions are simple to use and simple to set up.  There are no minimum purchases or commitments.  You pay for your consumption by credit-card on a monthly basis and you can cancel anytime.  This use-case is primarily for infrastructure environments that are setup for a temporary purpose.  It’s important to understand that organizations using this model pay full list price for consumption and do not have direct support from Microsoft.

#2 – Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA)

Microsoft Enterprise Agreements are commitment based Microsoft Volume Licensing agreements with a contractual term of 3 years.  Enterprise Agreement customers can add Azure to their EA by making an upfront monetary commitment for Azure services.  That commitment is consumed throughout the year by using a combination of the wide variety of Microsoft cloud services including Azure and Office 365.  This is paid annually in advance with a true up on a quarterly basis for overages.  Any unused licenses are still charged based on the commitment.  If you are a very large enterprise, the greatest advantage of an EA is having a direct relationship with a Microsoft sales team.  Also, EAs offer discounts based on your financial commitment.  And while there are many pros to the EA approach, understanding and controlling the cost of consumption can be a challenge for customers within EAs.  Personally, I recently took over the management of our EA and can attest that this can be very complicated.

#3 – Cloud Solution Provider (CSP)

When using Microsoft Cloud Services through the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, you work directly with a partner to design and implement a cloud solution that meets your unique needs.  Cloud Solution Providers, support all Microsoft Cloud Services (i.e., Azure, Office 365, Enterprise Mobility Suite and Dynamics CRM Online) through a single platform.  CSP is similar to the Pay-As-You-Go subscription in that there are no minimum purchases or commitments.  Your consumption is invoiced monthly based on actual consumption (either via invoiced PO or credit card, your choice), and you can cancel at anytime.  This will significantly simplify your Azure and Office 365 billing process!  CSP offers many advantages over Pay-As-You-Go Subscriptions and Enterprise Agreements, and in most cases can be a more cost effective solution.

As a CSP, Coretek helps customers optimize their consumption cost by working with our customers to ensure they have the right Azure server types assigned to their workloads.  We also work with customers to shut down services when they are minimally used after business hours.  As part of Coretek’s Managed Support, our team provides proactive maintenance to ensure your infrastructure is running in an optimal manor including monitoring and patching of your servers.  Coretek’s Azure Management Suite (AMS) Portal enables business users to understand where the cost of their consumption is being utilized.  The AMS portal can display real time consumption cost based on department and projects.  It also enables business users to understand what Microsoft licenses are being utilized and who they are assigned to in a simple graphical format.

Coretek Services – Improving End User Experience and IT Efficiency.

Microsoft Azure – Global. Trusted. Hybrid.  This is cloud on your terms.

Office 365 and Bing Maps – Issue and Fix

2017-07-27T00:00:55+00:00 July 21st, 2017|blog, Office 365|

Bing Maps Add-in to Office 365 changes the message body for emails received with addresses in them

Recently, I noticed that most of the emails I open and read are requesting me to save as the body has changed.  The message text is “The body of the message <subject> has been changed.  Want to save your changes to this message?”

The issue is that I’ve not changed any part of the message.  I’ve simply opened it and then closed it.  After further investigation, I’ve found that the Bing Maps add-in is modifying the body of the message by replacing any address with a link.

To avoid this behavior, and the annoying message for every email that you open with an address, simply open Outlook, Navigate to File > Manage Add-ins, login with your Office 365 account, and disable the Bing Maps Add-in.  This may take a few minutes to take effect, but a restart should not be required.

This applies to, at least, version 1706 (Build 8229.2086) of the Microsoft Office 365 release.  I’ve read this may also happen with some older versions as well but have not tested.