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Microsoft News & Analysis

Microsoft and CXM: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

2014-12-June-Swings.jpgThere’s nothing quite so surprising in life as the about-face. You know how it is: someone or something spends years building up a certain set of expectations, and then -- seemingly out of the blue -- pivots almost completely away from those expectations to behave in a totally different manner. It’s the Beatles releasing Sergeant Pepper, Vince Vaughn playing a role other than “Vince Vaughn” or the English national team lining up in something other than a 4-4-2 (yes, that’s my timely World Cup reference for this column).

When it comes to a Customer Experience and digital marketing platform for internet sites, that’s exactly what Microsoft has done over the course of the last year. 

Why These 6 Enterprise Social Platforms Lead the Way

There are some new kids in town. And some old ones still on top.

Forrester released its first Wave for Enterprise Social Platforms in three years this month. In its second quarter  2014 report, it named IBM, Zimbra and Jive as leaders for the second time, and tossed Salesforce, Microsoft and Tibco in the top for the first time. Zimbra was formerly known as Telligent.

 IBM Connections, Salesforce Chatter and Communities, Microsoft Office 365, Zimbra Communities and Tibco tibbr were cited as leaders in the space.

Gartner had a similar take on leaders of social software.

Yammer Expands Support to 28 Languages

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Social business is only as good as the ability to communicate in the local language. 

To tackle that, Yammer is offering localized versions. The web client now supports 28 languages. In addition, its mobile apps come in 12 languages and both the iOS and Android apps have a message translator.

Do Sync & Share Files Belong on Public Clouds?

2014-10-June-Paper-Airplanes.jpgIt was only a matter of time.

With public cloud storage costs quickly heading toward zero, it may not make sense for some Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) providers to store customer files in their own data centers.

Last night news broke that EFSS provider Egnyte will now leverage Google Cloud Services to store client files.

It’s a move that didn't shock Alan Pelz-Sharpe, a research director at the 451 Research.

“Many cloud service providers are finding out that low cost and free subscriptions are hard to upsell and the cloud storage costs alone can be a huge drag on the limited finances of a startup,” he said.

How to Get Value from Your Business Data

Here's an interesting concept to consider: If 80 percent of the data your enterprise is using was created in the past year, it means your enterprise is created four times more data in the past year than in its entire history before then.

That’s pretty good, right? Sure it is ... but only if you can get useful business insights from that data.

So how do you do that? Southard Jones, vice president of product strategy at Birst, is unambiguous about it. You need to focus on the business user, he said.

Google Claims It's Making Gmail More Secure

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It’s just about a year now since former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden confirmed what many suspected already: that governments around the world systematically spy on email.

Ever since, technology companies have been working steadily to develop security apps to prevent or at least minimize the potential for snooping. In two significant announcements this week, Google moved closer to securing Gmail.

According to a blog post by Brandon Long, tech lead at the Gmail Delivery Team, Google is  close to releasing new end-to-end encryption standards on Gmail that will effectively stop unwanted and unauthorized access to users’ email.

Take that, Cisco: Microsoft is Tops in Enterprise Collaboration

social business, Numbers Proof: Microsoft Beats Cisco in Enterprise Collaboration

Maybe it hasn't reached Red Sox-Tampa Bay Rays level. But Cisco and Microsoft are certainly watching each other in the enterprise collaboration space.

Last month, Cisco told us it was gunning for Microsoft with its Jive integration.

Microsoft then defended its own suite.

Nothing like numbers to clear up the argument -- for now, anyway.

Microsoft has finally caught up with Cisco and generated more revenue from its enterprise collaboration infrastructure activities in the first quarter, according to new data from Synergy Research Group.

Yammer Chats Synced With OneDrive, SharePoint Files

Tossing around a Microsoft Word doc for review via email is a long-gone practice.

Microsoft hopes document collaboration is that much easier in the enterprise with its release today of document conversations, a new enterprise social experience feature applied across Office 365. Microsoft announced the news in a blog post authored by Christophe Fiessinger, a group product manager on the enterprise social team.

These Cloud Computing Vendors are Edging Up on AWS

Sure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the golden child of cloud computing, but Microsoft Azure isn't too far behind. And according to Gartner’s recently released Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas), it's starting to nip into AWS’s market.

Gartner contends AWS is beginning to face significant competition on two fronts:  Microsoft is competing in the traditional business market and Google is challenging it in the cloud native market.

IBM's Offers: Customizable Cloud Apps for Business

IBM has upped the stakes in the cloud space with its announcement of a new set of cloud packages that will put it ahead of more traditional cloud offerings from competitors like Amazon and Microsoft.

Under the umbrella title of IBM Global Business Services, IBM is offering organizations the possibility of mixing and matching a number of IBM technologies and services to meet the needs of the organization as they arise.

How Businesses are Benefiting From Social

2014-29-May-Whole-Foods.jpgOne of the biggest topics to emerge from the Microsoft conference circuit this year is the concept of “working like a network” -- encouraging companies to rethink how they operate, collaborate and communicate by using enterprise social technologies to eliminate departmental silos. This allows companies to better adapt and respond to ever-shifting market conditions as well as improve knowledge sharing.  

To get a good understanding of what that vision looks like, watch Yammer’s Moments video. It shows how people within a responsive organization used Yammer to collaborate and create a product that made a difference for its customers. The video ends in a new product design job for an administrative coordinator, happy customers who fulfilled their goals, and a warm feeling about the power of enterprise social. This isn’t just marketing hype either: McKinsey & Company recently conducted a survey of leading enterprise companies on the use of social networks, and nearly 90 percent reported a measurable business benefit gained from implementing social platforms.

The Innovation Based Business Case for Social

2014-28-May-First-Flight.jpgIn management science innovation is typically thought of as a process which results in beneficial changes through novel ideas or solutions. Innovation is about change -- and change, volatility and flux have been the defining features of the business landscape since World War II and especially since the 1970s. As one commentator succinctly put it in 1990, organizations must “get innovative or get dead."

Let's examine four ways social business can be associated with innovation and look at the different ways each measures value.

Microsoft Ups Mobile, Cloud Play with Capptain Buy

Unless you’ve been living under a rock with your ears plugged for the past three months, you’ve heard Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella preaching the gospel of Mobile and Cloud, Mobility in the Cloud and so on.

Today his wallet did the talking.

This morning Microsoft announced that it has purchased Capptain, a Paris-based mobile, push analytics startup that provides marketers and customer relationship managers with the tools they need to react to user behavior in milliseconds and to then deliver the right message at the right time, creating engagement and the feeling of being cared for.

Can Skype Translator Bust the Language Barrier?

While being interviewed on stage at the Recode Code Conference yesterday in Pailo Alto, Calif., Windows CEO Satya Nadella demonstrated some new technology the company has been working on. 

Skype Translator, as it is currently known, will give Skype near real time translation capabilities. The program -- which will be available on all devices -- currently supports 40 languages and is slated for consumer beta later this year. 

Nadella demonstrated the program in a phone call with Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president of Skype, who spoke German while Skype translated. Nadella spoke English, which was, similarly, translated by Skype for the benefit of Pall. 

In a blog post addressing the first public demonstration of the forthcoming technology, Pall had this to say: 

In our industry, we often talk about pursuing big, bold dreams, and how we're limited only by the power of our imaginations. Skype Translator is one of those endeavors, and I look forward to keeping you apprised of our journey to break down another barrier to human productivity and connection." 

10 Ways for Business to Tap the Internet of Things

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There's one thing clear about the Internet of Things — and that is that it's very unclear what it will ultimately look like.

We know it will be something that connects billions of devices. But what devices? How will they be connected? And what will be the point in connecting them be?

What is also becoming clear is that one of the major forces that will shape the IoT is the way IT developers and vendors perceive it and how they plan to use it in the future. Microsoft recently added to its already substantial contribution on the issue by pointing to different reasons why businesses need an IoT strategy.

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