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Microsoft News & Analysis

Shocking Truths About SharePoint Disaster Recovery

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Disasters happen. Networks fail. Databases can be corrupted. Content gets deleted. And then IT steps in. Before you know it, everything is up and running once more.

Except that’s not the reality for most.

During a recent industry event, we asked a small group of SharePoint administrators about their disaster recovery plans and the tests they perform to ensure they are prepared for the worst.

The reality was shocking. Just one in four companies test their SharePoint recovery plans. Of those, 75 percent report their recovery tests failed. While few companies would ever publicly admit that level of failure, extrapolate the data. If 75 percent of tests failed for 25 percent of all users, imagine the impact of a real-life disaster.

Microsoft Releases Office 365 Roadmap For Business

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If you were one of those churlish people who replied “yeah, right ... when pigs fly” when Microsoft announced a few weeks ago that it was going to be more transparent about its release cycle for Office 365, then eat your words.

Last night and out of the blue, Microsoft published a public roadmap for business for the development of Office 365 over the coming months. While, the company admitted only some of the details of its plans are included, the level of detail it provides is impressive. It has also announced the availability of an early release program called First Release.

Why It's Intelligent for Birst to Sit on HANA

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Many things spring to mind when you think SAP HANA. You may think depth and speed. You may also think user difficulty or even lengthy deployment times.

One thing you don’t think is agility. Cloud-based business intelligence (BI) vendor Birst aims to change that with this week’s announcement that it is now possible to integrate Birst with HANA.

Microsoft Fiddles With SharePoint Pricing

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It’s hard to see the justification, but Microsoft just announced it will cut back four of its payment plans for SharePoint Online and Office Online once the plans expire at the end of June.

While Microsoft certainly can cut back on plans whenever it wants, especially when those plans expire, the lack of an explanation could leave a bad taste in the mouths of enterprise customers facing higher prices in replacement plans.

In fairness to Microsoft, it does go into some detail about how the new plans are going to operate, and also says that it will be offering “one-time price discounts for EA [Enterprise Agreement] customers to cover the additional cost associated with transitioning to the higher priced plans." 

Can Microsoft's Newest Azure Service Help Change the Future?

2014-16-June-Zoltar.jpgNo, Microsoft’s new boss, Satya Nadella, hasn’t gone loopy on you.

But today the world’s largest software provider unveils a cloud-based, big data/analytics solution to help enterprises predict the future and to react to it -- ahead of schedule -- thereby increasing the odds of achieving a desired result.

“It’s been cooking for a while,” said Eron Kelly, general manager of the company’s data platform division. 

“It,” to be more precise, is a Microsoft Azure Machine Learning service, AzureML, that helps enterprises apply advanced analytics to big data to forecast and take action on what is yet to come.

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.

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