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Office 365 News & Analysis

Reading the Office 365 Tea Leaves

Every year around this time “experts” sit around and make predictions about all sorts of things. In some spaces like world politics, this is truly a guessing game. When it comes to Microsoft, it involves more of trying “to read the tea leaves.” Even with the breathtaking pace of change, there are still pretty good signs of where the technology is going.

Office 365 & SharePoint Online Just Became Irresistible

Forget Google Docs, Box and any productivity tool that anyone else has to offer. Microsoft is committing its brains and its brawn to one thing —being your “go to” for your digital life, at work and at home.

It plans to do this by providing a window to the digital world that feels “more personal and natural,” to use CEO Satya Nadella’s words, via innovations in touch, speech, vision, inking and much more. They will all come together with intelligent agent (can you say machine learning, analytics, PowerBI, Office Graph) and shell technologies.

No Ticket Needed for the Office for Android Tablet Preview

There’s not going to be a device on the planet on which you can’t use Microsoft productivity tools. OK, maybe that’s pushing it a little too far. But that seems to be CEO Satya Nadella’s strategy and he’s executing on it one quick step after another.

Microsoft  just announced that the Office for Android tablet preview is generally available. Anyone can go to Google Play and download the Word, Excel and PowerPoint preview apps. There’s “No wait list. No requesting access. Just go and download the apps!” states the Office 365 blog.

Build Better Knowledge Management

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Long before Google Glass wearers made the news (and became pariahs within San Francisco-area coffee houses and restaurants), research projects at huge companies like IBM and Microsoft sought to bridge the gap between the capture and storage of corporate knowledge and intellectual property, and the difficult-to-archive individual narrative that attempted to make sense of this important, yet mostly disconnected content.

The effort of transcribing a personal experience or individual learning in context to our projects, business initiatives and other corporate artifacts (e.g., presentations, documents, spreadsheets) is incredibly difficult to accomplish in a way that can then be utilized by our knowledge management systems.

The problem with knowledge management (KM) is not a matter of data infrastructure -- whether your data resides on premises, in servers that you manage versus out in the cloud is irrelevant (to some degree) to the argument -- but with a user experience that fails to align the needs of the complex, non-linear playback mechanisms of the human brain with our systems of record.

Building a Digital Workplace with Office 365

Our workday world has changed dramatically with the advent of always on internet access and the explosion of mobile devices in the enterprise. Employees are no longer tethered to their desks in office buildings but are in the field working face to face with clients and customers. Microsoft’s vision for the future of work is made up of the Cloud OS (Office 365) and the mobile devices you use every day to get work done. The intersection between the two is the digital workplace.

CMSWire's Top 20 Hits of 2014: SharePoint

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You've all heard of Ground Hog Day, right? Well, how about Ground Hog Year? Looking back at the SharePoint landscape over the past 12 months, that’s certainly what it looks like.

In 2013, the conversation was dominated by 1) SharePoint Online 2) SharePoint and Yammer and 3) SharePoint in Office 365. In 2014, the conversation was dominated by … well, you guessed it: 1) SharePoint Online 2) SharePoint and Yammer and 3) SharePoint in Office 365.

A Look Back: Battling Information Management Chaos

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If ‘X’ represents the mass of information in your enterprise, it also represents the size of the problem that you currently have with information management. In other words, the more information you have in your enterprise, the bigger your problem. And odds are it has gotten worse in the past 12 months.

That's not to say that there hasn't been a flurry of new technologies available to help you deal with this information overload. In the big data space alone, the explosion in the number of solutions available is staggering. It's even more mind blowing if you add in all those that have emerged in content management, analytics, business intelligence, cloud storage, mobile and so forth.

Microsoft Shutters SharePoint Online Public Website

Microsoft is dropping its Public Website feature from SharePoint Online as of January, although it will continue maintenance for existing sites for two more years.

The service enables Office 365 users to build websites and customize them with in-browser tools. Using templates,companies can build public-facing websites with custom domain names, search engine optimization tools, social media integration and search-friendly URLs.

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.

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