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Office 365 News & Analysis

Microsoft Pushes Yammer into SMBs

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Microsoft is pushing Yammer ... again. The focus now is on small and midsize businesses (SMBs). 

Microsoft underlined its enterprise ambitions for Yammer in November by making it available with all Office 365 enterprise plans. Now it's also added Yammer to Office 365 Midsize Business and Office 365 Education plans.

Microsoft Transforms Customers to Beta Testers

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Two weeks ago Microsoft promised a whole new approach to roadmaps and future releases when it announced that it would be posting regular, publicly accessible updates to the Office 365 roadmap. Transparency is the new black at Microsoft, it seems.

Today it has taken one step further and has made a public call for beta testers of it is new Office products. Not exactly what you want to be doing over the summer, you might think, but there is a couple of interesting new products in the offing that you could end up testing.

Microsoft Tightens Email Security

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Edward Snowden has done more for electronic security than anyone else. Singlehandedly, he has forced some of the biggest IT vendors to take a close look at data, data transfer, and how it is stored.

This follows the revelation that security agencies across the world were systematically scanning emails.

In response, Google has made much of its email encryption practices and its efforts to secure the contents of the email itself.

Last night, Microsoft, in turn announced that it has upgraded its encryption standards across all its networks.

Is Google's Drive for Work Too Little, Too Late? #io14

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Every time Google or Microsoft makes an announcement about lowering the price of storage, someone asks us why anyone would pay more for a service like Dropbox, Box, Syncplicity, Egnyte, Accellion … you get the picture.

So yesterday, at its I/O Conference, when Google announced Google Drive for Work (a combination of Google apps and Google Drive with added security and reporting features that comes with unlimited storage for $10 per user per month), we were slammed with inquiries. Has Google had just entered — and, all at once, won — the file sync and share market in the Enterprise?

Google Makes it Easier to Dump Microsoft Office #io14

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If you’re one of the top cats in the Microsoft business division, the Google I/O conference must be one of the most irritating things of the year.

At I/O, Google always seems to find a way to squeeze the fun from Microsoft’s master plan to rule the business world. This year, the ‘something’ comes in the ability to edit Microsoft Office documents in Google Docs.

At face value, it doesn’t seem too serious. But when you stand back and look at it, it takes on far more significance than first impressions convey.
 

5 Steps for Building a SharePoint Migration Plan

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From all outward appearances, we seem to have turned a corner with SharePoint 2013 migrations. Compared to previous versions, SharePoint 2013 has experienced a relatively slow adoption cycle as organizations paused to understand the impacts of the new release -- and to understand, in many cases, their cloud strategies.

Migrations to the latest version seem to now be increasing speed. Since the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas earlier this year, my own observation is that more companies are approving budgets and updating plans, and with that movement and more firm cloud strategies in place, we are also seeing an increased interest in SharePoint Online and Office 365.

What Microsoft Will Do to Keep Your Business

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Dropbox wants Enterprises to store their content in Dropbox. Box wants it in Box. Egnyte, Accellion, Syncplicity … you get the picture. They all want to be your provider as well.

And Microsoft has something to lose if it lets that happen. And it’s not the dollars (you pay for services on the aforementioned vendors’ clouds as units of storage) that these other companies could potentially earn.

The world’s largest software company needs you to keep living and working in its products, like Office and SharePoint, which you wouldn’t have to do if you stored your stuff on these other clouds.

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.

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." 

Organizing Your Content Means Cleaning Out the Junk

2014-02-June-Yard-Sale.jpgYour information is the lifeblood of your organization. It’s content you create, it’s content you obtain from customers, suppliers, partners. And there’s usually a lot of it. That’s where solutions like SharePoint and Office 365 come in -- to help you manage it all.

But before you start storing every last piece of information you have, ask yourself if it’s really something you need. Just because you can save and store almost limitless amounts of content, doesn’t mean you should. 

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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