5 Feb.

Using Exclaimer for cloud-based email signatures

A few years ago I wrote a blog piece called How to add signatures and disclaimers in Exchange Online. This utilised the out of the box capabilities of Exchange Online and for the most part was relatively functional.

At the time I knew that Exclaimer and other similar solutions existed to provide a more unified signature – however they always required either an on-premises server or client-side agent. My issue with this was that I didn’t feel there was point utilising a signature management system that only worked for Outlook on the desktop, especially when the drive to the cloud was also leading to an increase in mobility and device variance.

Since that time Exclaimer has released a cloud version of their solution, known as Exclaimer Cloud – Signatures for Office 365. I implemented this for Paradyne and we have enjoyed consistent signatures regardless of what interface we used to create emails – Outlook on the desktop, mobile, or Outlook on the web (aka OWA).

The main oddity is that for years we are so used to seeing our email signature at the bottom of the new email window – whereas after implementing Exclaimer Cloud that was no longer required, so this took a few days of getting used to.

I’ve written a guest blog piece for Exclaimer comparing the management of signatures in Exchange Online vs. Exclaimer Cloud. One of the things that IT Managers will appreciate from this solution is that after they implement Exclaimer Cloud – they can hand off control to HR or marketing to manage it, and ultimately pay for it out of their budgets. :-)

 3 Feb.

Gently guiding staff to use Yammer for internal conversations

Earlier this week I wrote a blog post about forcefully guiding staff to use Yammer for internal conversations. While some people loved this concept, for others it made their blood boil as they thought the use of transport rules to block internal email traffic was anti-email.

The reality is that sometimes you want to be gentle, other times you just want to get things done.

A more preferred solution for guiding people to use Yammer, Skype for Business or even a face to face chat instead of email would be to use the MailTips feature of Exchange & Outlook.

MailTips can be applied on any mail-enabled object within Exchange and will simply present a message above the To field with a note.

On a group this would look like:

Whereas for a user it would look like this using Outlook on the web:

Or this using the Outlook desktop client:

MailTips are only visible on Outlook 2010 and above as well as Outlook on the web (formerly known as Outlook Web App aka OWA), not mobile clients.

The challenge with MailTips is that there is no way to enable them out of the box across users – it needs to be done via the Exchange Control Panel:

Or via PowerShell using the syntax: Set-<RecipientType> <RecipientIdentity> -MailTip “<MailTip text>” where RecipientType can equal Mailbox, MailUser, MailContact, DistributionGroup, or DynamicDistributionGroup.

For this to truly work in a programmatic fashion and cater for new users joining the organisation you would need to create a PowerShell script and set it to run as a scheduled task on a regular basis to apply the MailTip instead of doing it manually.

So now you have another alternative to mail transport rules – something that is a bit gentler than simply blocking internal emails. J