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Office 365 News & Analysis

Microsoft Pushes Yammer Deeper Into Enterprises

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Microsoft is pushing Yammer deeper into the enterprise with the addition of Yammer to the Office 365 K1 plan. It’s a small step forward, but gives users who don’t have desks access to it where they didn’t have access before.

Microsoft doesn’t say whether it has changed its mind and decided to offer Yammer to users who previously lacked access, except to say that it wants to give it to workers that have no fixed abode.

Harmon.ie Makes It Easier to Track Activity in the Cloud

Harmon.ie today addressed one of the biggest issues in cloud computing: how to track everything that happens in the services you are using. It's solution, Collage, pulls together enterprise cloud services onto a single screen and lets users know what’s happening across the cloud ecosystem in which they operate.

The result is a 360-degree view across enterprise cloud services providing workers with a contextual, single-screen activity stream or what Harmon.ie calls a work stream.

Microsoft Soups Up Office Online with Contextual Search

2014-11-December-Tall-Bicycle.jpgNo one likes dumb anything, least of all technology companies. In a move to smarten-up Hangouts, Google added "smart" suggestions yesterday. Microsoft is on the case as well, making its Office Online app a lot smarter with the addition of contextualized Bing search into documents.

If that sounds complicated, it’s not. The new feature, called Insights for Office, lets users search for information from an inline search box inside a document. The answers include information scraped from Bing Snapshot, Bing Image Search and Wikipedia, among others.

Will Microsoft Land the Federal Market with Azure Government?

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Remember when Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced his Cloud First Mobile First strategy? He really wasn’t joking.

On Monday, he announced a new hybrid cloud initiative with Accenture. Last night, he announced that Microsoft’s Azure Government cloud is now generally available, and that Dynamics CRM Online for government will be available next month.

This follows hot on the heels of the recent announcement that Office 365 for Government has been awarded some major security certifications and that the Feds are now happy to work with it.  

4 Ways SharePoint Navigation Breaks Usability Best Practices

2014-10-December-Broken.jpgThere's been a lot of interest lately from business users and SharePoint site owners in SharePoint's usability (or lack thereof), but the issue doesn't seem to receive as much attention as other topics. When experts talk about SharePoint, they focus on migration, administration, governance, development, cloud, and mobile. Any mentions of usability take a backseat and are only brought up by usability enthusiasts. It's time to bring this subject to the forefront.

Skype-Lync Video Calling Available (For Some)

2014-09-December-Chatting.jpgMicrosoft announced it's rebranding of Lync to Skype for Business to much fanfare last month. This went beyond a rebranding exercise, and involved joining the Lync infrastructure with Skype. The timing of when this would be completed was unclear, aside from a vague promise of sometime in 2015. 

At the end of last week, Microsoft took a major step forward in this project. Users of both platforms can now hold video calls with each other -- provided they have the latest version of Skype for Windows and Lync 2013. But not everyone is happy.

3 Takes on the Future of Document Management

When you're choosing document management software (DMS) you have to look to the future. Whichever platform you select will impact the way you do business for the next five to 10 years at least -- so don't  be shortsighted when making your decision.

Enterprise content resides on all web environments and so integrations between DMSs and Web CMSs are becoming crucial. So the importance of “future-proofing” document management was top of mind for me when I attended Amplexor’s Future of Document Management event in Belgium last week. Amplexor designs, builds and runs DMS projects for enterprises. With over a decade of experience in the Enterprise Content Management field, it knows who the visionaries in the field are. On Nov. 20 it got them all in one room.

Spanning Expands Cloud Data Protection to Office 365

2014-05-December-Copies.jpg"What if?" This question plagues companies who have made the move to the cloud. In spite of reassurances of data security and efforts by providers to back data up, the worst case scenario is never far from mind. Spanning, just over a month after its acquisition by EMC, is offering Office 365 users a solution to help manage that "what if" scenario.

The new cloud-to-cloud backup solution is designed from the ground up to work with desktops, tablets and mobile devices and offers access to all enterprise data wherever employees are working and through their preferred device.

Here's a Way to Pull Your Project Data Together in Office 365

Although Microsoft has been developing Office 365 at a ferocious rate recently, it still remains a suite of individual applications designed to accomplish specific tasks. To enhance user navigation, harmon.ie has developed a single screen view of those applications and what’s happening in them.

This week, it took that a step further with the launch of its new Project Management Solution, an extension of its harmon.ie email that enables users to pull together all the information that is passing through Office 365, OneDrive, Lync and Yammer on a given project for easy access on either mobile or desktop.

Microsoft Offers Office 365 on Steroids with HP Services

HP and Microsoft, which have always had a fairly tight relationship, just inked another agreement that enables HP to offer Office 365 services and support.

The new agreement will allow HP to manage Office 365 and related HP services for enterprise customers, and also allows select HP datacenters to be used by Microsoft for Office 365 email hosting.

The SharePoint Landscape from 30,000 Feet

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If SharePoint were a character in a movie, it would be Rocky Balboa, or maybe Mark Twain (“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”). With the end of the year around the corner, it's a good time to take a 30,000-foot view of the lay of the SharePoint land and see what's in store for 2015. While SharePoint may not be perfect, the technology is something many enterprises count on. We've seen great growth and energy in SharePoint over the past year and there are some events and developments that will be driving the technology next year.

Psst, Microsoft: Look What Gmail Users Can Do Now

Google and Microsoft are duking it out over the cloud and they’re both pretty sure that providing services around content is key. And while some may think that it’s a foregone conclusion that the Redmond, Wash. Software giant will dominate  because  of its Office franchise, CEO Satya Nadella certainly isn’t acting like it’s a done deal.

Consider all that he’s done to drive traffic to Office 365 and One Drive of late, including its recent acquisition of mobile email app Acompli.

It’s not just that, but Microsoft also seems to want steer crowds away from Google which is probably why it struck a deal with Dropbox for file storage in the cloud. And Dropbox, for its part, isn’t making things any easier for Google Drive product managers. Earlier today it officially opened up its Dropbox for Business API, a move that will make it simple for app developers to build solutions that businesses want on its platform.

Google for Work Puts Security in the Hands of Employees

Microsoft may be making a lot of noise about additional security features in Office 365, but Google has been working away behind the scenes too, if perhaps in a less vocal way. Yesterday, it launched the Devices and Activity dashboard, which monitors Google accounts on enterprise devices.

The new dashboard provides IT administrators a way of monitoring who has been accessing what accounts, where and why, but adds an underlying current to the security discussion that's becoming increasingly important in enterprises: responsibility.

Office 365 Digs Deeper Into Lucrative Government Market

2014-24-November-Digging.jpgMicrosoft took a significant step forward late last week in overcoming security concerns related to cloud computing in government agencies. The step came in the form of an announcement that the watchdog body governing the Department of Health has given Office 365 the thumbs up to operate in the department.

Office 365 will be the first cloud based email and collaboration and communication product to obtain a FedRAMP authorization. The authorization could potentially open the doors to a rush of deployments across government services.

Microsoft Adds Office Dropbox Support for Android Devices

Microsoft is rounding off a busy month on the Office front with the release of Dropbox support for Android users.

According to an Office blog post, the updates will enable easier editing, access and sharing of Office files from an Android phone. It is also offers the ability to generate and share links to documents in One Drive and OneDrive for Business directly from inside the app itself.

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