Archive for Data Management
This week our intrepid Garage Series hosts take you through your identity options with Office 365 ProPlus and tips and tricks for how to automate provisioning. Watch too as Yoni takes to the water with our latest XStream install while wakeboarding in the backwaters of Sydney, Australia.
In April, we released 2 important new spreadsheet management server-based applications to complement the desktop spreadsheet management features we introduced with the release of Office 2013. Now available are Audit and Control Management Server (ACM), and Discovery and Risk Assessment, which are both designed to help you manage the use of spreadsheets and Access databases. Read on to learn more.
We’re excited to announce that you can chat with your Google friends directly from Outlook.com. With this feature, the next time you’re reading an email from someone who uses Gmail, you can reply with a quick chat right from your Outlook.com inbox. And if you’re working together on an Office document from SkyDrive, you can send an instant message to a Google contact with just a click. We’re rolling out Google chat integration now, so look for it in your inbox over the next couple of days.
Join us in New Orleans for Microsoft TechEd North America June 3-6 and in Madrid, Spain for Microsoft TechEd Europe June 25-28. Scott McFadden and Jeff Conrad from the Microsoft Access product team will present on the new Access web app features available in Microsoft Access 2013 at this year’s event in New Orleans. Harrison Shapley and Kevin Nickel from the Microsoft Access product team will share a similar presentation at the TechEd event in Madrid.
Accessing password-protected sections was one of the most requested features for the OneNote Web App. Enabling this feature allows you to access your sensitive information from anywhere. After opening a password-protected section, you can edit its contents, change the section color, create new pages, and even edit the section name.
A lot is said these days about the choices people and organizations are faced with when adopting technology. In the end, it’s all about productivity. All of these decisions are made with the aim of optimizing your productivity — whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, accountant, student, or business person.
As people navigate these decisions, their ability to do great work revolves around having the right mix of capabilities delivered by a company they can trust. Why? Because there’s an actual cost to compromising our productivity. There’s a cost to the time and money spent retraining workers to use unfamiliar applications and applications that don’t do what people need them to do or that require workarounds.There’s a cost to having to purchase add-on technologies to gain the capabilities you need to be successful. And there’s a cost associated with the inability to access the information that’s important to you simply because you don’t have an Internet connection.
Office 365: A business-class solution
After more than two decades of delivering the world’s most highly utilized productivity tools, we know businesses require rich capabilities and solutions that go beyond consumer needs. We understand that one size does not fit all and that choice, flexibility, and administrative control are essential to organizations around the world.
At Microsoft, we have the broadest vision of productivity, which is inclusive of capabilities like enterprise content management and business intelligence with SharePoint, electrifying data analysis and visualization with Excel,and rich applications that enable people to do their best work. We understand that, in the face of an evolving technology arena, what it takes to maximize productivity has evolved as well.
We recently shared our vision and roadmap for Office Web Apps, but people and businesses demand even more. They require flexible web conference solutions that provide immersive, collaboration experiences with presence and instant messaging capabilities integrated at every step using solutions like Lync. Productivity requires enterprise social networking that integrates with email and calendaring but also extends the conversation by connecting static and real-time communication. And for some, it means moving some workloads to the cloud while keeping others on-premises.
Productivity is more than code in a browser. Much more.
Office is the defacto standard for making people more productive at work, at school, and at home. We are humbled that more than 1 billion people on this planet use Office to do their best work and get great results. It has been rewarding to see customers discover the same familiar experience and the same enterprise-class IT tools and business capabilities in the cloud with Office 365.
With Office 365, we’ve combined the world’s most familiar desktop experience and enterprise-class server tools with robust security and privacy. The result is an experience that lights up social, is optimized for pen, touch, mouse and keyboard, and is recognized as a market leader in eight Gartner Magic Quadrants.
Customers are choosing Office 365 over Google Apps
An increasing number of businesses are choosing Microsoft Office 365 over Google Apps. Why? They tell us they can’t afford to compromise.
With Office 365, they don’t have to. They get the familiarity of Office + the capabilities they need + a cloud service they can trust. The result is a cloud-based service that enables businesses to meet customer needs and gain a competitive edge.
Among the recent companies that have switched to Office 365 after deploying or piloting Google Apps are Arysta LifeScience, SEPCOIII, FHI 360, and Sensia Hälsovård AB. These companies join numerous other organizations that tried Google Apps only to switch to Office 365.
Dissatisfaction with Google Apps
Again and again, companies that deploy Google Apps say they are frustrated by the experience and want a cloud-based service they can count on. Take Arysta LifeScience, for example. An agrochemical company with sales and service in more than 125 countries, Arysta LifeScience until recently supported 34 different email solutions around the world. The company wanted to standardize on a cloud-based email service and initially chose Google Apps for Business. However, employees were unhappy with the user interface, and IT struggled with compatibility issues.
After deploying Google Apps to 300 of its 3,400 users, the company reversed its decision and instead went with Office 365. “If we had moved everyone to Google, the ability to work offline would have been very limited,” says Dustin Collins, the company’s Head of Global IT Infrastructure. By contrast, “Microsoft meets the needs of an enterprise, with the right levels of privacy and data security better than Google, which is more consumer-oriented,” Collins says. ”And, with Office 365, you get a complete suite of collaboration services including IM, so everyone was enthusiastic about the decision.”
Likewise, the China-based energy company SEPCOIII initially used Gmail for external communication, but employees found it undependable and cumbersome. “Gmail was very unreliable, and employees were losing email,” says Pradeep Parmar, Director of Management Information Systems for SEPCOIII. “Employees were frustrated that the company didn’t have a stable, reliable email solution.”
The company decided to standardize on Office 365 for its Dubai regional office, and plans to move all 5,800 employees by the end of 2013. “We are so relieved to be using Office 365,” Pradeep says. “It’s a great platform that we can rely on.”
Office 365: A top value service
Companies that switch from Google Apps to Office 365 say they now have an enterprise-class solution that offers top value for their money. For example, when the Academy for Educational Development (AED) and the nonprofit FHI came together to form FHI 360, the approximately 2,000 AED employees were using Google Docs and Gmail, while the 2,000 employees within FHI were using on-premises Microsoft solutions.
After analyzing both Google Apps and Office 365, FHI 360 eventually decided to deploy all of its employees on Office 365. The company chose Office 365 based on several factors including the ability to work offline, robust calendaring, support for mobile users, and the “superior” level of support offered.
“Using Microsoft Office 365, we are a more cohesive, efficient organization,” says Michael Mazza, Head of Information Solutions and Services for FHI 360. “Empowered with tools that work the way we work, FHI 360 can achieve a greater impact on human development around the world.”
Similarly, the Swedish-based private healthcare provider Sensia Hälsovård AB implemented Office 365 even though 30 percent of its workforce had already been using Google Gmail. As a result of a series of acquisitions over a two-year period, the company had seven different IT systems, which made communication a big problem because there was no common distribution list. The company wanted a single communication and collaboration platform and decided on Office 365 over Google Apps. “Gmail wasn’t intuitive to use, and when employees got stuck, it was difficult for them to obtain support,” says Anders Franzen, IT Strategist for Sensia Hälsovård AB.
With Office 365, communication has “improved tremendously” and the support “has been excellent,” according to Franzen. “Already, Office 365 is increasing staff productivity, which means less time sitting at the computer and more time serving patients,” he says.
Productivity without compromise
Like Arysta LifeScience, SEPCOIII, FHI 360, and Sensia Hälsovård AB, numerous companies around the world have concluded that it doesn’t make sense to compromise when they can power their organizations with Office 365.
As J. Peter Bruzzese put it his recent InfoWorld column, How to make the move from Google Apps to Office 365, “Now that Office 365 is available, it may be time to move to Microsoft’s cloud.
In this webinar we’ll show you the free training courses at Office.com customers have raved about over the years. We will be joined by veteran productivity expert Vickie Sokol Evans (Redcape), who has delivered hundreds of “technology tips and tricks” presentations around the world. She’ll dish on favorite time-saving Office tips and answer your questions. We start our Office 15-Minute Webinar at 9:15 am Pacific Time, with a Q&A to follow. Click the link below or go to http://aka.ms/offweb for more information on how to join the series.
If you are on Windows 7 or Windows 8, you will join via the free Lync Web App. For other computers, you may need to call in for audio: 888.320.3585, Conference ID: 84172528.
A video of the webinar will be posted shortly after the webinar.
- What are Office training courses
- What Vickie has learned about giving hundreds of technology tips…
It’s amazing to think how far Microsoft Office has come since we first launched Microsoft Word 1.0 in 1983. Word has moved well beyond replacing simple typing functions to a rich set of tools that produce an array of highly formatted documents. Excel has grown from simple ledger functions to become an interactive and mission critical analysis and reporting application. And PowerPoint now provides a rich set of tools to make highly visual, customized, professional-looking presentations.
While you may not use all of the features of Office every day, it’s likely that someone you work with does. And even if you didn’t create it yourself, much of the content you use was probably developed by someone who does rely on the breadth of those features. Having a broad set of features that support the entire spectrum of productivity use cases, from the most basic to the most advanced, helps connect teams with a common communication platform. And those who embrace all that Office has to offer have a powerful set of tools that can set the work they do and the content they produce apart.
Now let’s see what happens to team productivity when you choose a productivity suite that has deficiencies:
“Guys … I’ve got deficiencies”
Google Docs has deficiencies when compared to Microsoft Office. Google publicly admits Google Docs is deficient, stating: “We know the gaps between our features and theirs.” Google also states that it only intends to target 90% of the user base of Office. Google’s gaps are not just advanced features used by a few people. Many basic features are missing from Google Docs like grammar check, support for columns, custom date formats, slide numbers, and mail merge. Add to that the many more advanced capabilities missing from Google Docs like Power Pivot, SmartArt, watermarks, master slides, image editing, slicers, and information rights management – and you watch your productivity start to decline.
– Sean Maisey, Director of Operations, Colonial Williamsburg
As we continue to improve Office, we look for changes big and small that help people do more with less effort. Some improvements are small, like the new paste options we introduced in Office 2010. Other features reduce the amount of time it takes to accomplish a task like Flash Fill and Quick Analysis in Excel. The breadth of capabilities Office can lead to significant gains in what people can accomplish. With Google Docs, on the other hand, people have to find ways to overcome feature gaps by working harder, spending their time finding workarounds, or potentially using third-party tools to overcome the gaps.
– Andy Springer, Director, Rookie Recruits
Working well with others
Like I said in the introduction, we work to provide the breadth of capabilities from basic usage to advanced features. With the same toolset, teams have a basic trust that they can easily communicate back and forth. Another goal of Office is to provide the tools that help people be more productive anytime, anywhere. You get a consistent and familiar Office experience no matter what device or platform you’re using, be it a PC, a browser, a smartphone, or a tablet. By contrast, to get a full Google Docs experience, Google customers must use the Google Chrome browser. In addition, Google has no plans to support the Windows Phone. If you use an Android or iOS and want to edit your Google Docs, you use the Google Drive app on your device. If you want to edit Microsoft Office files, you either must convert these files to the Google file format or use Quickoffice, which also has a only a small subset of features compared to Office, along with some file compatibility issues.
Another issue that can make it difficult to work with Google is the company’s choices about which document standards to support. Microsoft Office supports both the OOXML and ODF ISO standard file types. By contrast, Google Docs stores these files in something other than these standards, converting these file types in and out of Google Docs. With both standard file formats, when you convert your Office files to use Google Docs, you gamble with data and format loss.
– Tamara Walker, Public Relations Consultant for Naturally Me
I’m taking the net with me
Unfortunately, even today you can’t always take the net with you. When you’re in a location without reliable Internet access, there are times when you need a great offline experience. Microsoft Office was built to live in both the online and offline worlds, with features like document merge, track changes, and conflicting change controls in SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro when working on shared documents. With Google Apps, the offline experience is limited. When you lose Internet access, you can still create and edit documents and presentations, but you can only view spreadsheets. You also lose more features in Docs and Slides like sharing, inserting images, help, printing, non-standard fonts, and more. Google also warns you not to work on shared documents offline or risk data loss: “Try to use offline editing for documents that you own and that won’t be deleted without your knowledge.”
– Paraic Nolan, Finance Director, Big Red Book
More innovation to come
In the timeframe Google is playing catch up, Office is not standing still. We will continue to innovate and provide the tools to help people work better together. Just this week, we announced some exciting new capabilities coming to Office Web Apps. These features bring more core Office features to the browser including real-time coauthoring, editing on Android tablets, and much more. By the way, congratulations to Office Web Apps on recently being named one of Time Magazine’s top 50 best websites for 2013.
When you open a Microsoft Office application, you know what you’re going to get. Whether you’re working from a PC, a browser or a smartphone, the way the software functions is familiar and consistent. You don’t have to fret as to whether you’re seeing the Office document as it was intended. Productivity software is built to help people communicate. It’s more than just the words in a document or presentation; it’s about the tone, style and format you use to convey an overall message. People often entrust important information in these documents — from board presentations to financial analyses to book reports. You should be able to trust that what you intend to communicate is what is being seen.
Converting Office files into Google Apps is a gamble. See what happens below when our friend is given the opportunity to take the gamble.
On the web:
Why take the gamble on converting your Office files to Google Docs when you can use Microsoft Office and the Microsoft Office Web Apps to create, share and edit your Office files with your content intact? Converting Office files into Google Apps is a gamble. Don’t take our word for it; see for yourself. Below is a document created in Microsoft Office 2013 that we opened in both Google Docs and the Office Word Web Apps so you can see the difference:
As you can see, you can lose quite a bit when opening Microsoft Office files in Google Docs including text boxes, columns, graphics, image placement, watermarks, charts, text, spacing and more. The experience with both Excel and PowerPoint files is similar. Check out live side-by-side demos showing some examples here:
On a tablet:
Consistency and trust are really important when you choose a set of tools to help you communicate. Given the importance of mobile devices in our lives, that consistency and trust now extend to our phones and tablets. That is why we recently announced that we are bringing more of the Office experience to the Office Web Apps including the ability to edit and create Office files using the Office Web Apps on Android tablets-in addition to mobile devices in the Windows ecosystem and the iPad. Soon you will have the same consistency and familiarity of Office Web Apps on your tablet of choice. Google, on the other hand, only supports Android and iOS mobile devices. It provides you with two different experiences depending on whether you want to edit Google’s proprietary format, Google Docs or Microsoft Office files, Quickoffice. Each has separate compatibility issues. Our goal with the Office Web Apps is to provide people a reliable familiar experience to create Office documents from start to finish, all from the web and to deliver the tools that customers need to be productive anytime and anywhere.
Below is a screenshot of a document created in Microsoft Word 2013 and opened with QuickOffice on an iPad next to the same document opened with the Word Web App on the iPad.
Google Quickoffice does not convert Office files well due to its extremely limited feature set. As you can see, Quickoffice has different yet equally significant formatting and data loss issues compared to that of Google Docs.
With a viewer:
The last gamble with Google is how the company helps you view Microsoft Office documents using their file viewers. Even this is a gamble that may be too risky to take. Google has two Office file viewers: one is embedded into Google Drive, and the second is a new beta application that is part of the Google Chrome browser.
As you can see, even these simple viewers fail to provide you with an adequate picture of the content in the Office file even to the extent of merging two separate pages of the document in the Google Drive Office preview application.
Why gamble with your time and Office content? When you build and share compelling, accurate, and impactful information, make sure you get what you bargained for.
Keep an eye out for more to come on whether Google has the features and skills to play the productivity game…
Taking enterprise social to the next level
While we are pleased with the growth, the opportunity for enterprise social is even larger. Yammer and Microsoft have come together with a single vision – to bring enterprise social to all businesses by weaving these capabilities into the apps people use every day. Realizing this vision requires close alignment in product development, sales and marketing.
On the engineering side, we’ve made great strides in a short timeframe, bringing together Yammer and Office 365 teams to deliver regular updates against our roadmap. Right now our teams are actively focused on foundational work around identity, content and messaging that will drive seamless connected experiences across Office 365 and other applications. We look forward to sharing more exciting developments soon.
The next area of focus is aligning the Yammer and Office 365 go-to-market efforts. On March 1, we began offering Office 365 and Yammer together as part of Enterprise Agreements. We will further simplify the customer buying experience and increase global scale by fully integrating our sales teams this summer. We’re going from about a hundred sellers at Yammer to several thousand Microsoft sellers around the world bringing customers the benefits of enterprise social.
We continue to invest aggressively in the Yammer business and are hiring in sales, engineering, customer engagement and marketing this year.
The reaction from customers has been overwhelmingly positive. They are excited about the transformational potential of enterprise social and recognize the combined value of Office 365 and Yammer. Just one example we recently announced is ABB, a power and automation technology leader using Office 365 and Yammer to provide a single platform for productivity, communication, collaboration and enterprise social in the cloud for 145,000 employees across 100 countries.
We’re just getting started
This is an exciting time for Microsoft and our customers as we pioneer the next generation of collaboration services for the workplace. We’re excited about the value customers are seeing with Office 365 and Yammer together, and we believe this is just the beginning. Curious about enterprise social and the impact it can have on your business? Check out the Social Journey, a step-by-step guide on driving success using enterprise social or learn more about how leading companies are using Yammer.