It looks like Microsoft and Google have been going at each other again in the productivity space. According to an updated roadmap,  Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft has decided to build a Google G Suite migration toolset making it easier for people using G Suite to move to Office 365.

Little has been said about the new set of tools except that Microsoft aims to release them in the second quarter of 2019. The new set of tools, described as a “migration experience,” follows Google’s Exchange experience, which enables organizations to migrate email, contacts, calendar, and Public Folder data from on-premises and hosted Microsoft Exchange to G Suite, whether you have just a few users or tens of thousands. The roadmap reads:

“We've heard the feedback and we're excited to announce the new G Suite migration experience which will allow you to directly migrate email, calendar and contacts from Google G Suite to Office 365! Our highly secure solution ensures your data is directly migrated to Office 365, with no resting points along the way. We're also adding support for migrating mailbox in batches."

That’s about all the factual information available on the new release. There is no explanation as to why Microsoft is introducing the new tools, but with Office 365 now fully embedded in the enterprise with more than 135 monthly enterprise users according to Satya Nadella and nearly 31 million consumer users, it sounds like Microsoft is looking to poach Google’s G Suite customers to keep its growth momentum. More on this when it finally emerges.

Project Management In The Digital Workplace

If you ever doubted the pertinence of project management tools in the digital workplace, new research carried out by Forrester for Bellevue, Wash.-based Smartsheet entitled Deliver On Top Business Objectives with Collaborative Work Management, shows that with the emergence of the digital workplace, 77 percent of the businesses surveyed said that both the number and scale of their enterprise projects had increased while 70 percent reported an increase in project-related tasks.

The survey was conducted online between May and September and polled 315 organizations in the US, the UK, and Germany to evaluate project management tools and strategies

The study found that, “as organizations look to balance revenue growth with the pressure to differentiate, they must stress innovation, agility, and flexibility across the organization.”

While organizations have long relied on traditional project management tools aimed at formally trained practitioners to manage projects, the report reads, these tools have become too heavy or too inflexible to successfully support their modern approaches.

Delivering projects in this new and fast-paced business environment requires a set of work execution tools that emphasize enterprise collaboration, transparency, and real-time visibility — tools lean enough for the casual user, but robust enough to handle the business’ top priorities. There are three conclusions that are worth noting:

  •  Established business models are under constant attack, and speed of execution is critical. But legacy project management toolsets can’t keep up,
  •  Collaborative work management (CWM) solutions help organizations overcome top project management challenges. CWM tools improve the ability of organizations to rapidly plan and deliver projects.
  • Traditional toolsets are inflexible and can’t keep up with the changing nature of project delivery.

In sum, the report found that traditional project management tools and systems no longer meet the needs of companies in the age of modern work execution. If you were hesitating about moving your project management apps to the cloud, this should give you the final push you need to make the move.

Alfresco Upgrades Digital Business Platform

Elsewhere, San Mateo, Calif. and Maidenhead, UK based open source content and process management vendor Alfresco has announced major product updates to their Digital Business Platform, including support for Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (Amazon EKS) and Amazon Glacier. 

With support for Amazon Web Services (AWS) solution architects will be able to build modern, cloud-ready applications rapidly, as well as deploy them efficiently, and operate securely at an unprecedented scale and to “go global” in just minutes.

Amazon’s long-term, durable and secure storage solution also makes a range of use cases dramatically less expensive to support. Meanwhile, the new Alfresco Digital Workspace comes with an“out of the box” interface backed by the Alfresco Application Development Framework (ADF) and designed to accelerate end-user adoption

Providing for the most commonly used functions, it can be extended with a vast library of pre-built modular UX components and robust open APIs, allowing Alfresco developers and partners to create the custom, fit-for-purpose applications their users need.

Learning Opportunities

BloomReach Releases v13 Experience Manager CMS

Also this week, Amsterdam-based BloomReach announced v13 of its Experience Manager CMS product at brConnect Amsterdam.

With brXM v13, BloomReach brings Enterprise Collaboration with Multi Team Support (MTS) into the mix to enable collaboration between developers and marketers alongside Projects to segment content edits and drive workflow

The new release also brings UX extensibility and a new user interface (UI) that allows external applications like auditing, analytics or site optimization tools to be managed from within the brXM dashboard.

Speaking at the conference, CEO and Co-Founder Raj de Datta told the audience that the monolithic platforms of the past don't innovate fast enough. He added that the future belongs to flexible, API-led, microservices based architectures that are built for rapid innovation at scale, leveraging the power of AI and machine learning.

Citrix Buys Sapho For $200m

Finally, this week, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Citrix has announced the acquisition of Sapho, the micro app management platform which Citrix will use to enhance the guided work capabilities within Citrix Workspace. Sapho’s micro applications improve employee productivity by consolidating access to tools, activities and tasks in a simple and unified work feed.

According to Citrix, today’s employees are inundated with disjointed apps, clunky technology and outdated systems that cost organizations millions in productivity loss — some research, cited by Citrix, indicates that employees waste 32 days a year toggling between different workplace applications.

Together, Citrix and Sapho will eliminate this workflow friction and instead, deliver the intelligent, seamless and consumer-driven experiences that encourage workforce engagement and let digital expectations. Using the enhanced Citrix Workspace platform users will be able to prioritize important tasks to complete, such as approving an expense report, rating an employee or completing a travel request. Provide insight about on-going projects, such as the latest marketing campaign results or sales pipeline trends, so users can get the context they need to efficiently do their work. And deliver relevant company communications, such as the latest employee survey results.

The result is that companies can effectively guide employees through their most common work so that they can get things done and move on.