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Microsoft News & Analysis

What You Should Know About DocuSign's Integration with Office365

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DocuSign is bringing its electronic signature apps to Office 365. While it’s not a game-changer for Microsoft given Office 365’s traction in the enterprise, it will likely create heightened interest among businesses that might normally have an aversion to cloud computing.

Most business deals that are done through the cloud also need to be signed off with an e-signature cloud application like DocuSign or Adobe’s EchoSign app for Reader — a fact often overlooked.

Microsoft Loves Yammer: Boosts Integration with Office 365 for Education

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If Microsoft’s strategy for Yammer and its integration into the wider portfolio got off to a shaky start after the acquisition in 2012, it now appears rock solid. Over the past few months, the company has announced tight integration with a number of apps, with special Yammer love for Office 365.

This week, Microsoft officials noted that Yammer Enterprise will ship with all Office 365 Education plans for no additional cost, as of April 1. Currently, education customers can use free Yammer Basic.

Microsoft Tries to Relieve Security Fears with Office 365 Makeover

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Microsoft appears to be getting jumpy about the security of Office 365 and Yammer. That is not to say that there have been any recent events to make users nervous.

It’s just that over the past two days, Microsoft has announced the introduction of multi-factor authentication for Office 365, including security enhancements for those using Yammer in SharePoint.

Will Microsoft Beat the Legacy Enterprise Resource Planning Meltdown?

Gartner recently warned enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendors to move to the cloud or face extinction. Microsoft beat the rush last June, when it pushed its Dynamics GP ERP solution to the cloud. This week it announced that Dynamics GP's next major release will be unveiled in November.

Microsoft Dynamics GP is a mid-market business accounting and ERP Software package that uses either Microsoft SQL Server 2005, 2008 or 2012 to store data. The current version of Dynamics GP 2013 (Version 12) was released by Microsoft in December 2012, evolving from a pure client-server application to a web-enabled application.

Yammer Co-Founder Adam Pisoni on Collaboration, Transparency and Security

Yammer Co-Founder Adam Pisoni on the Future of CollaborationA little over a year ago, I interviewed Adam Pisoni, co-founder of Yammer, shortly after it had been bought by Microsoft. There was much speculation at the time on how and when Yammer would fit into the Microsoft Office Division’s products.

We recently regrouped. Between Microsoft’s new CEO and Adam’s reaction to my predictions for collaboration in 2014, we had a very interesting discussion.

4 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Moving Email To The Cloud

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Despite the best efforts of social networking vendors to convince us to the contrary, email is alive and kicking in the enterprise. In fact, research from Dell shows 81 percent of enterprise workers consider it their most important collaboration tool.

The problem is it is not evolving.

Microsoft Brings Business Intelligence Tools to a Billion Screens

Or at least that’s the goal. And if anyone has a chance to achieve it in the near term, it’s Quentin Clark, the corporate Vice President of the company’s Data Platform Group, and his team.

Today the Redmond, Wash.-based company will announce the general availability of Power BI for Office 365, a cloud-based business intelligence (BI) service that gives everyday workers new way to work with data (big, fast and small) in the tools that they already know, namely, Excel and Office 365.

In other words, starting today, everyone can be a data analyst.

Document Mgt Roll-up: A Win - and Possible Loss - for Office

This week there have been a number of interesting stories in the document management space, not least of which is the fact that the British government appears to be reconsidering its contracts with Microsoft. Meanwhile, Huddle has announced an integration with Office, while Box and KnowledgeTree have struck up a new partnership.

Challenges Abound for New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

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As founder and chief marketing officer of a Seattle-based business collaboration software provider, Brent Frei’s not only close to Microsoft geographically. He’s worked closely with the company on a business level -- and, particularly, he knows a little about new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

“Since the recent re-org at Microsoft and possibly also before the re-org, Satya has been very active in reaching out directly to ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) like Smartsheet to prioritize how best to get the cloud ecosystem rallied around Microsoft,” Frei told CMSWire. “And, it's more than lip service. We've been in direct contact with the senior folks that have made rapid progress in addressing specific infrastructure areas that enable third party apps to successfully operate with their products at enterprise customers.”

So was Nadella the right choice to become the Redmond, Wash. software and technology giant’s third CEO?

“We Seattle-based companies have a big stake in a strong set of thriving technology anchor-titans,” Frei said. “Clearly Microsoft is a central figure in that set. There has been plenty of concern in recent years that Microsoft's slow pace and progress into the cloud was the front end of a long decline. Satya is likely the best of the choices I'm aware of to address that head on.”

Why You Should Care About Microsoft's CEO Choice

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Microsoft announced today what most of the business world presumed last week: Satya Nadella is the new CEO of the Redmond, Wash.-based software and technology giant.

Surprised? Probably not. We understand.

But the company also announced something that may surprise othersBill Gates is still around. Previously chairman of the board, Gates is now the board's founder and technology advisor. John Thompson, lead independent director for the Microsoft board, maintains his role and is now also the board chairman.

Five Things About Potential New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

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So who placed bets with us on the next Microsoft CEO? These were the odds we posted back in November:

  • Stephen Elop 1/7
  • Alan Mulally 6/1
  • Satya Nadella 7/1
  • Tony Bates 10/1
  • Mike Lawrie 20/1
  • Sheryl Sandberg 25/1
  • Bill Gates 50/1

Anyone go with Nadella? Seven times your investment isn't so shabby.

Is Huddle Still a SharePoint Alternative?

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Huddle talks a lot about being the "alternative to SharePoint." The company used the phrase today to launch a new offering. And it used it in December when it released Huddle Note, an iOS application that enables users to create content in the cloud, share it inside or outside of a company firewall and collaborate with other workers on documents — all from mobile devices.

So is it a viable alternative to SharePoint? "Sure, Huddle is legitimate competition to SharePoint," says Rob Koplowitz, SharePoint analyst for Forrester Research. "It doesn't do everything SharePoint does, but in the areas where there is overlap, Huddle is very robust." 

So Bill Clinton is a SharePoint Expert? #SPC14

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It's hard to think of former President Bill Clinton as a SharePoint geek. But Clinton is always full of surprises — whether it's a spur-of-the-moment  trip to Burma or an appearance at the Golden Globes.

So maybe his selection as the keynote speaker at SharePoint Conference 2014 isn't as random as it seems. Besides, conferences have long histories of selecting keynote speakers with little or no connection to the topics at hand.

With $1B Acquisition, OpenText Swimming for Big B2B Integration Fish

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We now know OpenText’s Information Exchange portfolio was beefed up when it bought GXS for $1 billion this month. But how much better did it get? Who is OpenText going after — and where are they now in this space?

First things first — this is a serious acquisition for the now 8,200-employee Waterloo, Ontario-based enterprise information management software provider. Its investment into GXS represents about a third of the total price for nearly 50 previous acquisitions during the past 20 years.  

The move is so significant, one industry analyst said, that she now puts OpenText ahead of IBM and TIBCO, two of its major competitors in the B2B integration services space. TIBCO offers “B2B Next,” and IBM has "Sterling B2B Integrator."

"OpenText’s Information Exchange portfolio was somewhat limited in its capabilities, so this acquisition will greatly increase its capabilities, putting it ahead of IBM and TIBCO," Sue Clarke, senior analyst at Ovum Research, told CMSWire.

Another One Bites the Dust: RIP Microsoft Exchange Server 2003

Along with Windows XP, life support is running out for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003. If your business is still running this 11-year-old mail, contact and calendar server, prepare to face a black hole when it comes to future problems.

With many businesses already using one of the server's three future generations — and with alternatives like Zimbra, Novell GroupWise and others — what will laggards pick when they finally move on? Cloud-based office solutions are just one appealing option.

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