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Microsoft News & Analysis

You Called? Lync Is Out, Skype for Business Is In #Conv15

The Skype communications platform officially became part of Microsoft Office today At the Convergence conference in Atlanta, the company announced the end of the Lync era with the launch of the Skype for Business technical preview.

It is indeed Skype.

With this new edition, the directory scheme is effectively flattened, making traditional Skype users available on calls placed through the Skype for Business client — formerly the Lync client.

The traditional Skype calling system, which uses P2P protocol over the Internet and the SILK codec for call clarity, is now bolted onto the Business edition as well.

But with a few other feature exceptions, the client remains quite similar.

From Build It and Go, to Ready to Go with SharePoint

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For many years, businesses viewed SharePoint as a framework on which to build solutions. The combination of flexibility and editing tools provided allowed them to design customized solutions which met business requirements.   

But technology is changing. And so is how we use and want to consume it. We hunger for solutions that can be quickly acquired and implemented, not ones that require building out complex and robust solutions.  The world around us is changing fast and it's exciting to see how productivity tools are beginning to encompass almost every area of our lives.

Microsoft Reveals Office 2016 for the Enterprise #Conv15

Microsoft has finally put Office 2016 IT Pro and Developer into technical preview.

To be clear about this, this is not the first time glimpse of Office 2016. It was in private preview, so we knew quite a bit about it already.

But now we have the definitive word. At the Convergence conference in Atlanta today, Microsoft gave a clear outline of where it stands with Office 2016 and where it wants to go with it.

Office Delve Wants You to Work Like a Network #Conv15

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Office Delve can surface data in email and social feeds.

Julia White, general manager for the Office 365 team, made the announcement at Microsoft's Convergence 2015 in Atlanta today.

During the next two months, Delve will be made available to all users on Office 365 business plans, she explained.

Microsoft's New BI Tool Plays Nice, Even With 3rd Party Vendors

If you haven’t at least experimented with Microsoft’s business intelligence visualization tool Power BI yet, now there are no excuses left.

Microsoft made many announcements during its Convergence conference in Atlanta this morning. They included news that the preview of Power BI is now being released worldwide to 140 markets.

Say What? Cisco, Microsoft Want to Help Your Cloud Talk to Customers

Cisco is expanding its long-standing relationship with Microsoft. It's a new effort to automate hybrid cloud service provisioning for service providers. 

Normally, when we say “service providers” and we don’t mean cloud providers like Amazon, we mean communications providers like Verizon. But in this case, we mean both.

We’re also referring to any business that sells computing capability, storage capacity and software services to its customers. 

If your business provides a service for your customers to, say, contact your support agents directly and share their troubles with products or other services, then by definition, you’re a service provider.

Congratulations: You, Verizon, Netflix and Amazon are in the same boat.

You Want More Windows 10 Releases? You'll Get 'Em

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Microsoft has been promising more builds — faster — ever since it announced the launch of the Windows 10 Technical Preview in October.

It released universal apps in February. But then ... well, nothing.

Over the past few weeks Twitter has been alive with the sound of complaints about Microsoft dragging its corporate feet.

It got so bad that Gabriel Aul, general manager for the data and fundamentals team for Microsoft's Operating System Group, felt compelled to write a blog post.

9 Metrics To Assess SharePoint Content Security

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Is your SharePoint content secure? More importantly, do you know how to assess your content security?

Given the number of SharePoint environments, it’s likely that a lot of people would answer "no."

Metalogix, however, has just released a new tool it claims will help. The new Insider Threat Index (ITI) offers SharePoint managers insight into their content security based on nine metrics.

Before creating the ITI, Metalogix surveyed a large number of enterprises. It found many are at risk of major data breaches.

Steve Marsh, director of product marketing for Metalogix and an expert in SharePoint migration and management technologies, said governance, monitoring, and compliance are still major headaches for many enterprises.

Gartner's Look at Advanced Analytics Vendors: Are You Using a Winner?

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Hats off to Gartner for resisting the temptation to call Advanced Analytics “Analytics 3.0” because no one knows what that means. Some say that 3.0 suggests “analytics for all," referencing “all” as average workers.

Advanced Analytics, by Gartner's definition, are anything but that, according to the Magic Quadrant for Advanced Analytics Platforms (registration required).

Instead, Gartner defines them as “the analysis of all kinds of data using sophisticated quantitative methods (for example, statistics, descriptive and predictive data mining, simulation and optimization) to produce insights that traditional approaches to business intelligence (BI) — such as query and reporting — are unlikely to discover."

In other words, advanced analytics are the scalpels used by highly trained data scientists.

Microsoft Confirms 'Dramatic Refactoring' of Windows Server

During a Twitter-hosted tweet jam today, Microsoft’s lead architect for Windows Server, Jeffrey Snover, acknowledged what he called “crazy innovation” happening with his key product. In response to a question from CMSWire, Snover told the crowd that his team was “working on a dramatic refactoring of the server.”

Though Snover declined to provide many further details, the question involved a specific evolutionary path which both Snover and the jam’s co-host, Azure technical fellow Mark Russinovich, skillfully refrained from denying.

Microsoft may be steering Windows Server away from its traditional role as a provider of monolithic applications on a desktop — toward a radically different scheme much more similar to what’s being done in recent months with Linux and Docker.

Microsoft Boasts: 'Code Once and Send to Any Device' #MWC15

Microsoft has opened the box on its Windows 10 universal app platform at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain — and developers are expected to like what they see.

Kevin Gallo, director of Windows Developer Platform at Microsoft, said the platform advances Microsoft's development goals. It lets developers to code once and send that code to any Windows device, from a mobile phone or tablet to an Xbox console.

All of these Windows devices will now access a single Store for app acquisition, app distribution and updating.

Microsoft Will Offer a Peek at SharePoint 2016 at Ignite

Microsoft said today that it plans to give customers a glimpse of SharePoint Server 2016 at its mega-conference in Chicago in May. The news confirms what Bill Baer, senior product manager for SharePoint, told Todd Klindt, a SharePoint Consultant at Rackspace Hosting, last month.

Although Microsoft said it will demo the latest version of SharePoint at Ignite, it still hasn't revealed when the product will be ready for release.

Cool Stuff You're Missing at Mobile World Congress #MWC15

So what if it’s a little cloudy in Barcelona, Spain today. The high is 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Those of us who live in the US Northeast would certainly enjoy the reprieve from the snow and the cold.

But the weather isn’t the reason that we’d be near the shores of the Mediterranean today. The Mobile World Congress is the draw.

It’s the event where vendors like Samsung are unveiling iPhone rivals, where Microsoft is revealing its revamped mobile play and IBM is showing off the spawn of its marriage to Apple … and so much more.

Big Data Bits: Strata + Hadoop World Rewind

Last week was huge in the booming world of big data with vendors simultaneously chasing market share and sharing innovations on the big stage at Strata + Hadoop World in San Jose, Calif.

If you have a big data product or service to sell, there may not be a better opportunity. After all, there’s a captive audience that paid big bucks and committed their time to be there. Attendees genuinely want to hear what you have to say. This is why so many vendor announcements are made at, or around, the conference.

Putting forth the best you have to offer while on the big stage, without sounding like an infomercial or slamming the competition seems to challenge some, though. Here’s the secret, strut your best stuff, your grandest vision and your ability to deliver, and the customers you want to win over will see and hear, only you. Knock a competitor, even if you don’t out rightly name them, and there are two of you sharing the spotlight. Is that what you want customers to remember?

Enough said.

Blame the C-Suite for Your Failed SharePoint Project

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About two out of three organizations complain their SharePoint projects have stalled (26 percent) or failed to live up to their expectations (37 percent).

And it gets worse, according to new AIIM research.

A majority of respondents blame those SharePoint failures on lack of support from senior management.

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