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Microsoft News & Analysis

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.

Microsoft Takes Productivity Suite Contest to Thailand

2014-22-May-Thai-Schoolkids.jpgThailand seems an unlikely place for competition in the productivity suite market to erupt. However, the announcement last night by Microsoft that it has signed a deal with the Thai government to provide 8 million students with Office 365 should stir things up in Asia.

According to the statement from the government, Microsoft has agreed to provide Microsoft Office 365 Education for the next five years.

Small Businesses Like New Technology But Don't Use It

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Social media, smartphones and tablets are top technology needs for SMBs, right? Well, actually, it would seem not. 

Yes, they are important, but not as important as desktops, landlines and laptops, according to Microsoft-sponsored Ipsos research. It shows that while small to medium size businesses (SMB) love technology, only 30 percent have adopted new kinds of technology, like cloud computing.

The comprehensive survey covers many of the IT buzz words making the rounds at the moment. To say it is an eye-opener would be an understatement. The study was carried out on behalf of Microsoft from April 29 to May 7 across 551 small business owners who were identified by Ipsos within a representative sample of 5,149 US adults over the age of 18.

Microsoft + SAP Partner for Cloud, Mobile, Big Data

Microsoft and SAP are two 2nd Platform technology players that are leaving no holds barred as they attempt to carry their dominance onto the third.

Cloud, big data and mobile are three big components of that next wave (social is the fourth, but it seems to be morphing from a platform to a feature in enterprise applications) and both companies need to be ready when their clients begin to make the leap — or, needless to say, they’ll lose business.

8 Vendors Lead The Business Intelligence Market

The business intelligence landscape is fracturing as it evolves.

In a market once characterized by applications that covered all the bases, cloud computing and the availability of Software-as-a-Service means many vendors are starting to specialize in analytics, data discovery and visualization.

Out of this splintered market, the value of business intelligence applications is forcing vendors to focus on line-of-business support and ease of use concerns.

Hortonworks Buys XA Secure, Redefines Security for Hadoop

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Hortonworks may be making big data history today when it announces the acquisition of XA Secure, a data company that provides a comprehensive security suite for Apache Hadoop.

“It’s a game-changer for Hadoop,” said Tim Hall, vice president of Product Management at Hortonworks. “We’ll (the industry) be moving from fragmented to central security and be able to provide a single pane of glass through which to see who’s authorized to access what … ”

The purchase will initially have a substantial, positive impact on Hortonworks’ customers and technology partners (such as Microsoft, Teradata, SAP among several others) because its current and acquired team of engineers will immediately begin to incorporate the XA Secure technology into Hortonworks’ Data Platform (HDP).

Other Apache Hadoop providers and their customers shouldn’t be too far behind because Hortonworks, following its passion for open source, will concurrently begin to transition XA Secure’s technology assets into an Apache project.

“We are strong believers in the open source community,” said Hall. “It brings in the best and the brightest, it speeds innovation, and delivers quality,” he adds.

It also makes XA Secure free for the taking.

Microsoft's Mobile-First, Cloud-First Mantra Takes to the Enterprise

Microsoft owns the enterprise. Don’t expect it to be letting go of even the tiniest sliver anytime soon. In the last few months the world’s biggest software company has upped its data game, its analytics tools, its database, brought Office to the iPad and new Enterprise File Sync and Share (via OneDrive) capabilities to businesses.

Microsoft Adds Predictive Forecasting To Office 365

Microsoft promised to bring analytics to a billion screens last February when it finally launched Power BI for Office 365. Starting this week, Office 365 users will be able to do both data mining and predictive forecasting.

According the blog post announcing the upgrade, users will be able to look into the future behavior of their products and business. And they don’t have to be data scientists either. 

8 Lead Close Race in Content Management

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As content management vendors race with the rapid pace of change in the enterprise workplace, some are pulling ahead.

The front-runners embrace the rising demand for content collaboration, mobile access and better user experiences, but others are showing strength in particular areas.

New research from Nucleus identified eight vendors dominating the market, but noted they aren't the only ones gaining ground.

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