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Collaboration News & Analysis

Microsoft Shops Again: Buys LiveLoop, an Office Collaboration Start-Up

Installing software to collaborate on PowerPoint slides is a drag. Signing into web-hosting services like GoToMeeting, for the same reason, isn’t much better.

Microsoft knows this, so it set out to solve the problem — but not by assigning a team of engineers and UX experts to come up with a remedy. Instead it decided to buy a startup that had already found an answer.

Late yesterday a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the company had acquired Office productivity tool maker LiveLoop. Here’s what the statement said:

“Microsoft is excited to welcome the talented team from LiveLoop to help build great collaboration across Office applications, as part of our strategy and vision to reinvent productivity.”

LiveLoop will be permanently shuttered on April 24, the site acknowledges.

The terms of the sale have not been disclosed.

Do You Connect? Collaboration's New Kids on the Block #SXSW

Assuming you weren’t one of the Meerkat minions running around live-streaming your every experience at SXSW Interactive, you probably noticed that collaboration technology continued to be a top trend among exhibitors this year.

And for good reason. Much the way computers transformed business productivity in the late 80s and early 90s and the Internet apps fuel-injected the 2000s, collaboration technologies promise a similar leap in productivity for the 2010s.

Brian Solis, principal analyst with the Altimeter Group, defines collaboration technologies as one of the trends changing the way we work. "Collaboration platforms give us the ability to connect our people and information together anywhere, anytime, and on any device," he noted.

IDC: Your Customer Experience Cup Is Just Half Full

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A month after IDC warned companies about the tough challenges in improving customer experience, a new survey by the research firm shows little more than half the firms are even trying.

About 53 percent of the 799 organizations in the follow-up study said they're pursuing a customer experience program, according to Mary Wardley, the IDC vice president and CRM analyst who also conducted the earlier study.

The survey also found 22 percent are actively working to improve employee experience, which Wardley said is "integral" to improving the customer experience. Sixteen percent are working with their partners to serve customers better.

Wardley sought the additional data, which has not yet been formally released, to get more clarity on how well organizations understand customer experience and its popular siblings: employee experience, partner experience and supplier experience. She also explored how, who, why and what are involved in current programs.

Atlassian Releases Secure Collaboration Platform

Atlassian today released HipChat Server, a communications platform that runs behind a corporate firewall.

The platform addresses the needs of companies in the financial services, government, healthcare and other sectors with stringent security requirements, said Bernardo de Albergaria, vice president and general manager of the collaboration group for Atlassian, a Sydney, Australia-based tech company founded in 2002. (Atlassian acquired San Francisco's HipChat in 2012).

4 Trends in Workplace Communication [Infographic]

Flexible hours, the ability to work remotely and more time off will motivate employees to work harder in 2015. But there’s another motivator on this list you might not expect: better communication tools.

This is just one of the findings of a recent survey conducted by uSamp Research on behalf of RingCentral. The results were published in an infographic, Business Communications are “Always On” in 2015.

“What we’re seeing is a change in which people communicate, and how business communication is perceived,” said Kira Makagon, EVP of Innovation for RingCentral. “It has a lot to do with an employee having the freedom to work from anywhere, wanting the freedom to work from anywhere and almost demanding the freedom to work from anywhere.”

Free Mobile Ad Network Buoys Local Business

The team at mobidart says it’s time to bring consumers and local business back together, and with today’s launch of the company’s free mobile ad network, it's one step closer to making it happen.

CMSWire had the opportunity to talk with the mobidart team to learn more about what their new offering means for small and medium business owners who may not yet have a mobile presence due to cost, difficulty or technical challenges. (The company estimates “80 percent or more of businesses globally don’t have a mobile responsive presence” due to these reasons.)

“Through our own personal experience in business we’ve seen that business owners around the world need help from companies to get them into the mobile marketing space,” said Frank Rice, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO) at mobidart.

3 Ways to Build a High-Performance Learning Organization

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We’ve heard it over and over again. Companies must be agile in order to innovate. They need to make quick decisions in order to survive.

So, why is Edward D. Hess, business consultant and author, telling us to slow down? Author of the book Learn or Die: Using Science to Build a Leading-Edge Learning Organization, he claims it all comes down to learning.

Hortonworks IPO: Why It Has to Happen Tomorrow

2014-11-December-Wall-Street.jpgYou can bet that the folks at Hortonworks’ won’t sleep much tonight, instead they’ll likely be replaying and rethinking every move they’ve made as a private company and every aspect of their strategy. As the youngest of the three primary, independent, commercial Hadoop distribution providers, they’ve gone from saying that they wouldn’t be talking about an IPO anytime soon, to suggesting that it might happen in 2015, to secretly filing in August, to unveiling the filing last month, to setting the date for the actual offering -- it’s tomorrow.

What’s the sudden hurry?

As Gartner analyst Merv Adrian puts it, “There might not be a better time.”

And, at least in the near term, he may have a point. Unless it’s possible to go back in time, that is.

What's New in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015

Last month, Microsoft promised the quick release of Dynamics CRM 2015 for cloud and on-premises. Sure enough, it made good on its promise Dec. 1 with the release of both Dynamics GP 2015 and an update to its enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, Dynamics AX 2012 R3.

For digital marketers. the focus of this announcement will be the CRM release — which brings the Cortana voice-command technology to the CRM software for the first time.

Jim Lundy: Driving Value from Social Business Networks

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It's been years since companies began adding in-house social networks to enhance collaboration among employees. Now it's time to get real business value out of them.

Until recently, many companies have struggled to get their employees to supplement their email and IMs by engaging in conversations with geographically-dispersed coworkers. Even more elusive was finding measurable value in their status updates.

That's about to change, according to Jim Lundy, CEO and lead analyst for Aragon Research, who has spent nearly three decades looking into social business strategies, talent management and related fields. During that time, Lundy spent 12 years at Gartner Research, where he formed and led its collaboration and social software team. 

Ellison Does His Own Demos, Loves His New Job #OOW14

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It was classic Larry Ellison on stage, part brilliant computer scientist, part hammy comedian, always entertaining.

Oracle OpenWorld, his company's mammoth annual convention that virtually shuts down the heart of San Francisco's SoMa district, will continue through tomorrow.

But Ellison's keynote presentation yesterday pretty much solidified the intended message for the capacity crowd: Oracle, which trailed its rivals to the cloud, now wants to be king of the cumulous.

Oracle Builds a New Station on its Social Route

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Social business tools promise to help us to share, explore, discuss and advance ideas in a fun, collaborative way. But it's not always like that.

Often, the social community turns into commodity, as CMSWire Writer Carrie Basham Young pointed out recently.

Maybe that's what Oracle had in mind today as it added Social Station to its social relationship management suite.

Planview Snaps Up A Collaboration Firm

2014-13-August-Patrick Tickle a.jpgAlmost every enterprise has both companywide projects and those guided by small teams. Juggling those with the available resources is the all-too-often elusive key to successful project management.

Companies are increasingly turning to social business tool to supplement traditional project management and agile approaches. In response, large vendors are adding cloud-based features and communication tools to existing product suites.

Planview today said it has acquired Projectplace, a Stockholm-based collaboration in the cloud company, to blend more collaboration into its current line of portfolio management and agile products.

Second Survey Finds Slipping Confidence in Tech Sales

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For months, the question asked softly around Silicon Valley has been: Is this another tech bubble?

With restaurants filled with well-paid tech workers and home prices soaring into the stratosphere, such doubts are usually shrugged off with a phrase that hasn't been heard much around the San Francisco Bay Area since the spring of 2000: "It's different this time."

Yes, it is different. Significantly, Silicon Valley giants, unlike the tiny start-ups of the dot-com era, are highly profitable, and some have billions of dollars in cash. However, the outlook for technology rests on a highly complex economic and geopolitical landscape, and that has been shaken recently by the potential for Russian intervention in Ukraine, the strikes by ISIS in Iraq, Israel's actions in Gaza and new fears about the debts of some European governments.

Since setting a new high a month ago, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index, like much of the broader market, has fallen back in choppy trading. And, in just the past week, two independent studies have found new signs of doubt that technology sales, while still growing, will reach levels expected when 2014 began.

Social, Analytics and Smartphones Driving IT Spending Growth

While smartphones remain the top dogs in IT spending, the research firm IDC reports analytics, collaborative applications and data management will help drive stronger spending through the end of 2014.

The firm forecasts worldwide IT growth of 4.1 percent in US dollars. It notes that without smartphones, the number would be just 2.8 percent (in US dollars).

"Aside from smartphones, the strongest growth will come from software, including rapidly expanding markets such as data analytics, data management and collaborative applications including enterprise social networks," the firm noted.

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