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Microsoft News & Analysis

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.

Google Ups Its Cloud Game With Stackdriver Buy

Google Cloud Platform May 8 2014.jpgIn the latest twist in the ongoing battle for dominance in the cloud space, Google just announced it has bought Stackdriver, a cloud app monitoring service.

According to a statement from Google, Stackdriver’s technology will be pushed onto the Google Cloud platform. It underlines the company's ambitions to develop as a real challenger to Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Google has provided little information about the deal, but has said it will start working on integrating Stackdriver’s functionality into the Google Cloud as quickly as possible.

Microsoft Defends Collaboration Suite Against Cisco Charge

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Microsoft responded to Cisco's charges against its enterprise collaboration suite, telling CMSWire that it provides the most "complete, integrated set of social, collaboration, and communication technologies" to allow companies to "transform" the way they work.

Cisco directly called out Microsoft last week on the heels of its partnership announcement with Jive. It told CMSWire that with Jive, Cisco "supports complete communication and collaboration, end-to-end." With Microsoft, Cisco added, "you would need to get bolt-on offerings from other vendors in order to approximate this set of integrated capabilities."

CRM Is More than Cool: It's Profitable

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Last month, Gartner said it right out loud: "Customer Relationship Management is Cool." This month it's following that up with data that shows the global CRM market is worth $20.4 billion.

The research also shows Salesforce is the single biggest player in the space.

However, there is also good news for SAP -- which remains the second biggest player, as well as Microsoft. While Microsoft only accounts for around 7 percent of the market, it grew a staggering 22.8 percent year-over-year and is heading toward a much, much bigger piece of the pie.

Cloud Storage, Shadow IT and the Real Question to Ask

The battle for file sharing and storage has been happening for a while, but things started heating up when Microsoft decided to offer OneDrive for Business as a standalone service -- it took a direct hit at Box and Dropbox. The question is, does it really have an advantage?

Game On! Industry Responds to OneDrive for Business

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's vision of “Cloud for everyone, on every device” no doubt includes Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS).

Earlier this week the company put Box, and almost every other vendor in the space, on notice with a blog post, “Thinking outside of the Box.”  

Its author, John Case, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Office Division, had a fairly simple message for the marketplace:

The era of making isolated, single-solution decisions is rapidly coming to a close. Smart businesses are now choosing partners that have a holistic, comprehensive and connected set of cloud offerings and in doing so, creating a 'data culture' in their organization.”

In other words, Microsoft users should look to OneDrive for Business as the way to go for EFSS.

When you take into account that 670 million users use Microsoft Office and Office 365, what Microsoft’s message boils down to is pretty simple: If you’re a point EFSS solution in our world, you’re redundant.

OpenText Expands, More Companies Offer Salesforce Integration

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It’s been a busy few weeks in the document management space. OpenText announced it will be doubling its workforce in Canada in the next seven years and Perceptive released Content 7.

For those using Salesforce.com, SpringCM and Steelbrick have teamed up to provide sales lifecycle management, while Oris4 is connecting SharePoint and Salesforce.com. We also took a look at managing metadata in SharePoint.

Gartner Rates SAP Top BI Vendor, Notes Microsoft's Growth

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Just when you thought IT budgets were recovering, Gartner dumps a bucket of cold water on the notion — particularly in the business intelligence (BI) space. According to new research, spending on BI has stagnated again, and it doesn’t look like the situation will improve in the near future.

Gartner rated SAP as the biggest BI vendor by far, followed by Oracle, IBM, SAS and Microsoft. While Microsoft only ranks fifth, it experienced the most growth in the space in the past 12 months, the survey found.

The report shows that the BI market is increasingly dominated by big vendors who are happy to buy whatever technology they need to give them an edge, as is evidenced by the recent purchase of Jaspersoft, an open source businesses intelligence company, by TIBCO for $185 million. 

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