Microsoft is integrating Skype-enabled chat capabilities into Office Online, the browser-based version of its productivity tools (Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint and Word).

“Simply click the blue Chat button to start a conversation with everyone editing in the browser at the same time, for any document stored in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business,” wrote Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Office, in a blog post announcing the new feature, which provides users with an entire, integrated, voice-enhanced product that can store and collaborate on the huge amounts of information stored in OneDrive for Business.

Koenigsbauer wrote that the new real-time chat capability is designed for users to ask quick questions, brainstorm ideas, and leave reactions. It’s not a replacement for comments, which will remain in place after a document has been saved.

So how does it work? To use the feature, the suite has to be linked to a commercial Office 365 account.

When more than one person is working on a shared document inside Word, Excel, OneNote, or PowerPoint Online, they will see a chat button in the Web apps toolbar, which opens a chat sidebar that everyone in the document can contribute to.

This functionality is not designed to replace collaboration tools, but to enhance them, and ensure that everyone is – literally – speaking of and about the same sheet.

Xerox CEO Stepping Down

In a setback for diversity, the only black female CEO of an S&P 500 company is stepping down. Xerox CEO Ursula Burns has accepted a new role as the company’s Chairman of Post-Separation Document Technology, in which she will come up with digital document management systems.

Norwalk, Conn-based Xerox is splitting into two companies, one focused on document management and software, another focused on legacy hardware.

Burns will remain in her current role until the split is complete while Xerox actively looking for new heads of both new companies.

Xerox announced plans to break up the company in January following pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn, who acquired an eight-percent stake in Xerox last year.

Is Burns being given a gentle shove? It seems so. Her role as chairperson expires on January 31, 2017 or "completion of the separation," according to a Xerox statement. Burns’ base salary will remain $1.1 million, her target bonus will remain 200 percent of her base salary and her target long term incentive award for 2016 will be equal to $9.7 million, the statement explained. It continues:

“Once Ms. Burns steps down as Chief Executive Officer, she will be the Chairman of the Company and her base salary will be $900,000 per annum, her target bonus will be 150% of her base salary and her 2017 long term incentive award value will be a maximum of $5 million, each of which will be prorated based on the length of time she serves as Chairman in 2017 as further set forth in the Letter Agreement. Pursuant to the Letter Agreement, it is anticipated that Ms. Burns will retire as Chairman as of the 2017 annual shareholders’ meeting.”

Burns successfully built and introduced the document management business into Xerox, but with the economy where it is, she may be taking the fall for a business under pressure for its poor financials.

Vasco’s Spring 2016 E-Signature Release

Vasco Data Security International, an e-signature and identity management specialist, unveiled the Spring 2016 release for its cloud electronic signature softwareeSignLive.

Learning Opportunities

This release provides a new option for organizations that operate in industries and geographies requiring the use of personal digital certificates and smartcards for signing documents.

In Europe, the new eIDAS Regulation, which supports the European Commission's focus on Europe's Digital Agenda, clearly defines the legal effect of electronic signatures.

With the Spring '16 release, European organizations can now use eSignLive's out-of-the-box support for these certificates making them accessible and useable for European companies.

Meanwhile, the new eSignLive APEX Software Developer Kit (SDK) enables developers building on Salesforce and the platform, providing tighter integration with Salesforce and allowing a more streamlined sender experience, including support for the new Salesforce Lightning Experience.

The app is now also available for the iPad, enabling users access to documents kept in cloud storage services including Google Drive, Box and Microsoft OneDrive. In addition to an updated dashboard to monitor transactions, the new app also offers offline signing functionality for use cases with no or limited connectivity.

AvePoint Governance for SharePoint 2016

Finally this week, AvePoint has been responding to the recent release of SharePoint 2016 with the recent release of DocAve Governance Automation Service Pack (SP) 8 release features support for SharePoint 2016, and the ability to deploy pre-configured business templates.

The release provides enterprises with access to a single governance system that allows businesses to manage the latest SharePoint versions – including SharePoint 2016, SharePoint 2013, and SharePoint Online using a centralized platform.

DocAve Governance Automation allows organizations to manage and automate SharePoint lifecycle and permissions management requests to implement an extensible governance strategy that empowers users, is easy to maintain, and scales as the business grows.

Given that many enterprises with SharePoint environments are using the deployments as enterprise content management and document management repositories, tightened governed over these systems is always going to be helpful. AvePoint has also introduced a new mobile application for Android and iOS devices to allow approvers to view, assess, and act on Governance Automation-related requests from anywhere at any time.