While tales from Silicon Valley startups tend to sensationalize our notion of what millennial workers want from their places of employment (video games in the break room, Razor scooters to zip down hallways, omelet stations, full-time baristas, etc.), CXOs and IT decision-makers confront a very real challenge: determining which policies, benefits, services, products and technologies will allow their organizations to meet and exceed the communications expectations of the millennial workforce and allow them to communicate and collaborate more effectively.
To fully tap into the immense potential these younger workers offer, there are four technology strategies to consider:
1. Deploy technologies that reflect how millennials work
Organizations must first have a firm grasp of how millennials work, and deliver products and technologies that:
Satisfy an insatiable need for information 
Extend, rather than inhibit, mobility
Leverage their early adopter mindset 
Deliver unbounded flexibility 
2. Recognize dual persona needs of millennials
According to the Forrester, 35% of US information workers at companies with 1,000+ employees indicated a willingness to help pay for mobile devices used for personal and professional purposes. This indicates, among other things, that today’s workforce and the younger workers who comprise it place a premium on freedom of device choice – a premium they are willing to pay for.
Millennials represent an always-on, always-connected generation that brings its dynamic and diverse communications expectations to the office, which means that enterprises will need to plan for and manage the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) workforce.
Accelerated BYOD adoption requires businesses to take a hard look at dual persona support for advanced communications services on personal or enterprise-provided devices. Through dual persona, employers will be able to separate business and personal voice and Unified Communications services (including business and personal contacts, call logs and chat sessions), while maintaining a secure environment on the device for business applications with data that is fully controllable by the enterprise.
3. Unify, rather than complicate, communications options
Enterprise decision-makers may be tempted to build a workforce communications strategy for millennials that is device or product-focused. It is difficult to project which devices, platforms and applications millennials will rely on six months from now, let alone six years from now.
A more enduring approach to meeting the communications needs of the millennial workforce is to focus on unifying their communications by providing a single user experience for UC services (voice, video, instant messaging & presence, collaboration, etc.) that extends across all employer-provided and BYOD devices, platforms and networks.
In a Gartner global survey of CIOs, 38% of companies expect to stop providing devices to workers by 2016 and half of employers will require employees to supply their own device for work purposes by 2017, which means that the diversity of mobile devices that organizations need to support in the coming years will increase.
4. Look at how millennials communicate, not only what they communicate with
Earlier this year, business school professors at Washington University in St. Louis conducted an experiment among 214 undergraduates that hypothesized standing up – as opposed to being seated – felt less constricted to produce more ideas, and showed more engagement with peers.
The results of the experiment do not mean that offices around the country will be putting all desk chairs up for bid on eBay tomorrow, but it does reinforce the fact that millennial workers will not necessarily be most productive in a sedentary position for ten hours a day.
Remaining focused on how millennials communicate will dictate the devices and applications that will empower them to collaborate and improve productivity. The need for mobility and solutions that allow for uninterrupted communications as they move may prove increasingly key to unlocking workforce productivity in the future.
For example, technology that enables a work to seamlessly transition from a desk phone call to a video chat on their iPad or messaging chat on a smartphone not only supports millennials as they work outside of the office, but inside the office as well as workers seek more flexibility to communicate on the move.
Recognizing this, businesses should evaluate technologies and tools that facilitate greater ideation among the workforce. This could mean adding interactive screens in common areas as opposed to the traditional placement of projector screens around a conference table or re-thinking the design of meeting rooms.
This article excerpt, by Leslie Ferry, originally appeared here: http://bit.ly/1ue70dJ 

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This article excerpt, by Processor, originally appeared here: http://bit.ly/1vPpoXo
Unified communications (UC) solutions cover a wide range of technologies, including telephony and desktop clients, videoconferencing, instant messaging, and mobile applications.
When implemented correctly, UC can provide a big boost to productivity and collaboration inside organizations, but a poor UC implementation can lead to low employee adoption and wasted investment. Before you think about whether employees will actually use your UC solution, you have to make sure your IT department is capable of deploying and supporting it.
Encourage IT Teamwork
“Unified communications ends up spanning a couple different disciplines just within IT,” says Art Schoeller, principal analyst at Forrester Research. Before you worry about other departments throughout the organization, you have to make sure your telecom voice group, networking team, and desktop and collaboration teams, which all have different mindsets, are able to come together and agree on one suite of products or separate products that integrate well together.
Schoeller calls this the “UC civil war” and says it stems from a period in time where there were clear vendor winners in different unified communication segments. Now, he says, each vendor has a more complete suite, which can add a degree of overlap to a company’s overall UC approach.
The key is to pick the right solutions based on use case and not solely focus on remaining loyal to one brand over another. You also have to understand that even though one company has a foothold in a certain communications market, it doesn’t mean that a primarily instant messaging company, for instance, can’t provide a solid and reliable web conferencing experience as well.
Bern Elliot, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, adds that IT teams need to understand their expertise levels and focuses in order to help each other provide the best possible UC experience.
“Someone who’s used to the web conferencing part might not be aware of the telephoning part,” says Elliot. “Or if it’s a telephony person who’s responsible, they may not be aware of the importance around the directory integration and log-on or the desktop and laptop integrations that will be required.”
Drive Employee Adoption
Once the IT department has removed any internal disconnects, it can start figuring out how to make sure users actually take advantage of the UC implementation and provide a solid user experience, Schoeller says.
“Driving adoption is sort of a sticky problem because a lot of IT organizations don’t view their role as being the one that really gets out there to track utilization and train users,” says Schoeller. “In fact, our survey data a lot of times shows that one of the leading issues is that a lot of users aren’t on the system, or to a certain extent, aren’t aware of it. If you build it, will they come? No, you have to actually go out there and get them on it.”
One way to encourage UC adoption is to use collaboration champions within your organization to show how UC can be used to improve productivity between departments. Though perhaps the best way to make employees aware of the UC system and actually use it is to tailor it to their needs so much that they simply can’t avoid it. This requires you to understand your employees and their roles within the organization.
Although there is a lot of hype around mobility in that we think everybody is traveling and on a mobile device, Schoeller says, Forrester survey data shows there are still plenty of people who use phones. “There’s a certain persona that’s more of a desk-oriented worker who spends 60 or 70% of their time in the office. A payload of UC capabilities for that worker would be different than those for the road warrior who’s on the road 70 or 80% of the time,” he says.
Prepare For Technical & Organizational Challenges
When it comes to the technological ramifications of unified communications, there are some challenges IT needs to be aware of. For instance, UC will be a big burden on the network, so if you haven’t done the right network design from a quality of service perspective, Schoeller says, users might think the applications aren’t working when, in fact, you simply don’t have enough Internet resources. To help with this, he recommends reaching out for help from a service provider or vendor to make sure you have the requirements to run any given UC solution.
Elliot says that while there certainly are technical issues to pay attention to, the organizational challenges are often more difficult. It’s more than the IT department getting out of its comfort zone to become UC marketers in a sense to drive up adoption; it’s also training employees to deal with a new way of getting work done and a different form of interaction, Elliot says.
The closer you can get to a seamless experience where every UC solution simply works, the more successful your implementation will be in terms of employee support and adoption. 

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Unlike the Internet of Things, the cloud is proving to be a technology worthy of all the hype.
According to fresh research from Sage, an overwhelming 87 percent of mid-market businesses (comprising between 100 and 499 members of staff) are now making use of cloud technology. Of these, 80 per cent say they made the switch over to cloud computing within the last two years.
What’s more, 20 per cent of those involved in the report say that they have saved 50 percent as a result of using the technology instead of on-premise solutions. The other 80 percent claim to have saved in excess of 25 percent.
However, the study also found that the outlook is very different when it comes to enterprise resource planning (ERP). Only one fifth of participants say that they make use of cloud-based ERP solutions, but this looks likely to change in the near future, with 60 percent of those who don’t have cloud-based ERP saying they are keen to adopt it.
According to the 670 IT decision makers involved in the research, cost reductions (50 percent), efficiency (40 percent), gaining a strategic advantage (32 percent) and growth (31 percent) are the biggest drivers behind the move to cloud-based ERP solutions.
Unsurprisingly, the biggest drawbacks are security (57 percent), “internal barriers” such as a lack of understanding (23 percent) and price (20 percent).
“We’re clearly at a point of inflection for ERP and businesses are telling us that it’s the right time to move to the cloud,” said Christophe Letellier, the CEO of Sage mid-market Europe. “Two years ago, businesses were wary of cloud. But as more have embraced cloud for a range of services, the benefits are clear — choice, scalability and flexibility.
This article excerpt, by Aatif Sulleyman, originally appeared here: http://bit.ly/1obB9mK 

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How can you proactively be alerted to problems in your Lync infrastructure? As a Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE) and a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) in LCS 2005, OCS 2007 and Lync 2010 and 2013, I spend most of my time providing technical architecture, design and implementation expertise related to Lync environments.
I work with many customers that don’t have the luxury of using Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) to monitor Lync Server. While I view and recommend SCOM as the preferred way to monitor Lync Server, I recognize that not every customer can make the investment required to do this.
If you have deployed Lync Server 2013 and are also using SCOM to monitor other Microsoft products, please refer to the TechNet article Configuring Lync Server to Work With System Center Operations Manager to get started on using SCOM to monitor your Lync deployment.
What About the Rest of Us?
So what about the rest of us that don’t use SCOM and want to monitor Lync Server 2013? There are a several third-party solutions that can also provide monitoring for Lync Server: Solarwinds Performance Monitoring and Management offers an on premise alternative to SCOM, while Unify2 PowerMon for Microsoft Lync offers a cloud-based monitoring solution for Lync.
Similar to SCOM, Solarwinds offers a more traditional, robust health and proactive monitoring solution with the ability to monitor both the server and application health of your Lync deployment, as well as provide for some customizations in the alerting mechanism. Since it is an on-premises solution, it does require some planning and a dedicated server, potentially also including the use of an existing SQL Server depending on the size of your deployment.
Unify2 PowerMon is a cloud-based solution allowing you to proactively monitor without having to do any complicated server deployments, making it a compelling offering for organizations wanting to save on server footprint and those looking to get monitoring started very quickly. Unify2 offers a free version, called Powermon Standard, which will monitor all aspects of a Lync deployment for up to a single Lync pool. A paid version supports larger deployments and also allows for outbound PSTN call testing.
Lync Synthetic Transactions: Doing Your Own Lync Monitoring
Lync Server provides a number of PowerShell cmdlets that will allow administrators to validate specific Lync functionality using something called Synthetic Transactions.
But What the Heck is a Synthetic Transaction? Imagine having the ability to have someone accessing your Lync environment 24×7, continually trying out all the features available, and giving you a “thumbs up” that all is okay or telling you there is a problem with a feature. Lync Synthetic Transactions allow you to do this — all without having to hire someone whose only job is to test Lync functionality for you all day and night long.
Lync Server 2013 currently provides 51 “Test” cmdlets that are available for administrators to ‘simulate’ Lync functionality as frequently as you want for your Lync deployment. You can have a look at the full list on TechNet here. Scroll down to the cmdlets that start with ‘Test-Cs’.
Okay Great, Now What?
By configuring a couple of test users, you can run these ‘Synthetic Transactions’ simulating what real Lync users might do during the course of a day. If you automate these tests, you could script an alert to be sent out in the event one or more tests fail, for example.
So let’s have a look at what you need to do to set this up:
Create Your Test Users
Create two test accounts, say “LyncSynthTest1″ and “LyncSynthTest2″ in Active Directory and disable them. These accounts don’t need to be enabled in Active Directory for you to take advantage of Synthetic Transactions. Your security folks will like that.
Enable Them for Lync
Next, enable the created test user accounts for Lync in the Lync Control Panel or by using the Lync Server Management Shell. You should grant these users all the available Lync functionality you presently use today. For example, enable them for Enterprise Voice (DID optional but recommended if you want to test certain PSTN calling capabilities), Remote Access and Conferencing if you want to be able to test these Lync functions.
Configure the Accounts for Synthetic Transactions in Lync
We will now configure these accounts in Lync. Lync Server allows you to predefine the test accounts that are generally required for the Test cmdlets so that you don’t have to always specify users when running Lync Synthetic Transaction tests. This is documented here.
Putting it all together you might run something like this:
New-CsHealthMonitoringConfiguration –Identity MyLyncServer –FirstTestUserSipUri sip:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. –SecondTestUserSipUri sip:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Let’s Start Testing
Now that we have defined our Health Monitoring Configuration, we can start testing. Let’s test out Presence on the front-end Pool LyncSE1.mydomain.com by running the following cmdlet in a Lync Management Shell:
PS C:\Users\administrator> Test-CsPresence -TargetFqdn LyncSe1.mydomain.com

Target Fqdn : LyncSe1.mydomain.com

Result : Success

Latency : 00:00:00.0631549

Error Message :

Diagnosis :
This should yield a “Success” as shown above, indicating that presence is working between the test users you configured. To see more information about the test, run it again using the -verbose switch to get more details.
SCOM Does Synthetic Transactions too
System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) provides a management pack for Lync Server as well as an optional role called the “Watcher Node” (No this isn’t the Keanu Reeves movie from 2000…) The Watcher Node is what SCOM uses to execute the Lync Synthetic Transactions and report back to it for alerting.
Monitor Away
Lync Synthetic monitoring can be a very powerful feature to use in your environment in order to alert you as soon as there is a problem. By coupling cmdlets with alerting mechanisms you can very easily deploy your own proactive monitoring solution or supplement an existing monitoring solution you are already running.
Whether you use SCOM, a third-party tool or “roll your own” solution, I can’t stress enough how important it is to be proactive in your approach to managing and operating your Lync Server infrastructure — so monitor away!
This article excerpt, by Dino Caputo, originally appeared here: http://ubm.io/1nG7bXD

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Ask any CIO what the secret is to a successful business, and they’ll tell you that technology that enables effective communication and collaboration between employees is at the heart of it.
Enabling communication and collaboration is the underlying principle of Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of tools.
With Lync, Skype, Yammer, Outlook and SharePoint utilized together, these tools aim to enable enterprise social capabilities, HD video conferencing and document collaboration as part of a highly secured, reliable and extensible platform.
Within this suite, Lync clearly stands out as the tool which is making perhaps the most significant impact on business productivity around collaboration.
Consider that more than 90% of the Fortune Global 100 companies are Lync users, and that more small businesses across industries from healthcare to the public sector are increasingly choosing Office 365 with Lync Online to better communicate and collaborate
The future roadmap for Lync
Earlier this year, Microsoft laid out some key milestones on its future roadmap for Lync. The most notable was the announcement that Lync and Skype will now be able to connect to deliver IM, presence and voice communication.
The advantages of this for business are significant in that it will allow Lync users to connect and collaborate with customers, business associates and partners across any device or platform with just a single mouse click.
Microsoft also unveiled the Lync Room System, which aims to make it easy to use Lync with conferencing system hardware supplied by partners.
Other improvements include the addition of a ‘join meeting’ tile on the touch-enabled screen or controller installed in a conference room, which will streamline how people participate in meetings with video and content.
Understanding the importance of mobile scenarios, Microsoft also recently launched Lync 2013 mobile apps for Windows Phone 8, iOS and Android.
The addition of VoIP and video over IP is an important asset in how customers stay connected wherever they are, while the added ability for iPad users to view shared desktop and application content in a Lync meeting supports the trends around device proliferation.
Lyncing for success
Whether at work or at home, workers need to make meaningful connections with one another to get business done, and done well.
Compounding the need for communication and collaboration are the realities of the world we live in where instant access to information is expected, friends and coworkers are scattered across geographies and many workers are juggling multiple mobile devices.
However, technology isn’t the problem to these complexities; it’s the answer. The issue that faces CIOs however, is instilling the capabilities in employees to help them make sense of it all and to do so in a way that is intuitive, barrier-free and agnostic to the devices on which they rely.
Clearly, Lync can be that vital link in the chain for delivering communications and collaboration results, as it helps employees be successful, at work, at home and all points in between.
This article excerpt, by Maria Martinez-Torres, originally appeared here: http://bit.ly/1wx3sUB

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Extreme Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) today announced that its comprehensive wired and wireless software defined networking (SDN) solution has completed qualification with Microsoft Lync, a market leading unified communications platform.

Through its management software and Purview network and application visibility solution, Extreme Networks enables simple, fast and smart deployments of Microsoft Lync for automated Quality of Service (QoS) and comprehensive analytics across wired and wireless infrastructures.

To help organisations, including hospitals, universities and businesses, to gain increased performance from Lync collaboration tools for real-time communication and benefit from data analytics, Extreme Networks has completed the following:

  • Integrated advanced analytics from Purview™ network-powered application intelligence solutions with Lync.
  • Qualification of Lync with ExtremeXOS® based switches, offering high density Gigabit/10Gigabit connectivity and integration of network policy for security and BYOD.
  • Qualified SDN integration through OneFabric® Connect andNetSight® that provides dynamic, adaptive QoS for video and audio applications at scale. 
  • Advanced communications in the mobile world by completing the Lync qualification of Extreme Networks’ IdentiFi™ Wireless LAN 802.11ac Gigabit Wi-Fi and 802.11n platforms.
  • Microsoft Lync Technology Solution Partner (TSP) Program Webpage
  • Case study: City of Bellevue
  • Extreme Networks is delivering the benefits of its SDN platform to Microsoft Lync environments, offering its channel partners and end-users with robust network solutions to enhance Unified Communications. Extreme Networks’ unique SDN solution provides new capabilities to overcome traditionally complex tasks, such as delivering QoS to Lync endpoints.  As part of the Microsoft Unified Communications Open Interoperability Program (UCOIP), Extreme Networks now can offer a network solution for converged services supporting the key aspects of unified communications including VoIP desk phone, softphones, instant messaging and video collaboration.

Executive Perspectives

Pascal Menezes, Principal Program Manager, Microsoft Lync

“Every day, organisations are improving collaboration and increasing productivity by leveraging Unified Communications.   Through integrating analytics, wireless and QoS, Extreme Networks is helping customers obtain high quality user experiences and deep insights into how users, applications and devices are being leveraged.”

Markus Nispel, Vice President of Solutions Architecture and Innovation, Extreme Networks

“Engaging with leading-edge technology providers to offer effective network solutions is a key priority for Extreme Networks. By working with Microsoft Lync to enhance the delivery of Unified Communications over the network, we are able to reduce complexity, ease deployments and increase productivity. Extreme Networks is unique in providing the combination of QoS and analytics with our qualified solution.  Customers and authorised resellers have a strong value proposition in Microsoft Lync as organisations refresh their communication infrastructures.”

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 While tales from Silicon Valley startups tend to sensationalize our notion of what millennial workers want from their places of employment (video games in the break room, Razor scooters to zip down hallways, omelet stations, full-time baristas, etc.), CXOs and IT decision-makers confront a very real challenge: determining which policies, benefits, services, products and technologies will allow their organizations to meet and exceed the communications expectations of the millennial workforce and allow them to communicate and collaborate more effectively.
To fully tap into the immense potential these younger workers offer, there are four technology strategies to consider:
1. Deploy technologies that reflect how millennials work
Organizations must first have a firm grasp of how millennials work, and deliver products and technologies that:
Satisfy an insatiable need for information 
Extend, rather than inhibit, mobility
Leverage their early adopter mindset 
Deliver unbounded flexibility 
2. Recognize dual persona needs of millennials
According to the Forrester, 35% of US information workers at companies with 1,000+ employees indicated a willingness to help pay for mobile devices used for personal and professional purposes. This indicates, among other things, that today’s workforce and the younger workers who comprise it place a premium on freedom of device choice – a premium they are willing to pay for.
Millennials represent an always-on, always-connected generation that brings its dynamic and diverse communications expectations to the office, which means that enterprises will need to plan for and manage the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) workforce.
Accelerated BYOD adoption requires businesses to take a hard look at dual persona support for advanced communications services on personal or enterprise-provided devices. Through dual persona, employers will be able to separate business and personal voice and Unified Communications services (including business and personal contacts, call logs and chat sessions), while maintaining a secure environment on the device for business applications with data that is fully controllable by the enterprise.
3. Unify, rather than complicate, communications options
Enterprise decision-makers may be tempted to build a workforce communications strategy for millennials that is device or product-focused. It is difficult to project which devices, platforms and applications millennials will rely on six months from now, let alone six years from now.
A more enduring approach to meeting the communications needs of the millennial workforce is to focus on unifying their communications by providing a single user experience for UC services (voice, video, instant messaging & presence, collaboration, etc.) that extends across all employer-provided and BYOD devices, platforms and networks.
In a Gartner global survey of CIOs, 38% of companies expect to stop providing devices to workers by 2016 and half of employers will require employees to supply their own device for work purposes by 2017, which means that the diversity of mobile devices that organizations need to support in the coming years will increase.
4. Look at how millennials communicate, not only what they communicate with
Earlier this year, business school professors at Washington University in St. Louis conducted an experiment among 214 undergraduates that hypothesized standing up – as opposed to being seated – felt less constricted to produce more ideas, and showed more engagement with peers.
The results of the experiment do not mean that offices around the country will be putting all desk chairs up for bid on eBay tomorrow, but it does reinforce the fact that millennial workers will not necessarily be most productive in a sedentary position for ten hours a day.
Remaining focused on how millennials communicate will dictate the devices and applications that will empower them to collaborate and improve productivity. The need for mobility and solutions that allow for uninterrupted communications as they move may prove increasingly key to unlocking workforce productivity in the future.
For example, technology that enables a work to seamlessly transition from a desk phone call to a video chat on their iPad or messaging chat on a smartphone not only supports millennials as they work outside of the office, but inside the office as well as workers seek more flexibility to communicate on the move.
Recognizing this, businesses should evaluate technologies and tools that facilitate greater ideation among the workforce. This could mean adding interactive screens in common areas as opposed to the traditional placement of projector screens around a conference table or re-thinking the design of meeting rooms.
This article excerpt, by Leslie Ferry, originally appeared here: http://bit.ly/1ue70dJ 

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This article excerpt, by Julie White, originally appeared here: http://bit.ly/1uGrb0F
We launched Microsoft Office 365 with the vision of helping people get more done, collaborate more effectively, and have greater flexibility in how they work. As we work, share and connect with others—discovering the right information at the right time becomes even more valuable. To this end, I’m excited to announce a significant step forward in making Office 365 even more personalized and tailored to each person. Starting today, Office Delve (previously codenamed “Oslo”) will begin rolling out to Office 365 business customers.
Office Delve is a new way to discover relevant information and connections from across your work life. Delve displays information that is most relevant for each person based on the work they are doing and the people with whom they are engaging. With Delve, information finds you versus you having to find information.
All of this is presented in a beautiful, card-based design that is easy to understand and use. It also presents intuitive ways to view content, so you no longer have to remember where stuff is stored or who shared it with you. And, of course, Delve only enables you to view content you have access and permission to view—we always respect permissions across all parts of Office 365.
Powered by the Office Graph
Delve knows what’s relevant to you based on insights delivered through Office Graph, which uses sophisticated machine learning techniques to map the relationships between people, content, and activity that occurs across Office 365. Delve is the first of many experiences we will release, tapping into the connections and insights from Office Graph.
Office Graph currently incorporates content and signals from email, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online and Yammer. Over the coming months we will continue to integrate signals and content sources, such as email attachments, OneNote and Lync. Take a look at this video to see how Office Graph works behind the scenes to power a new set of experiences.
Delve simply makes work more intuitive and easier to navigate. Instead of having to dig through email, search on Yammer, or explore SharePoint and OneDrive for Business to find the right stuff, you can simply use Delve to have the right information delivered to you.
Frequently asked questions
Q. Which Office 365 plans include Delve? 
A. Delve is included in the Office 365 Enterprise E1–E4 subscription plans (including the corresponding A2–A4 and G1–G4 plans for Academic and Government customers, respectively). Starting in January 2015, Delve will also be included in the Office 365 Business Essentials and Business Premium plans, Office 365 Small Business, Small Business Premium and Midsize Business plans. Delve will be rolled out to all customers that have one of the above subscriptions, both new and existing.
Q. When will Delve be rolled out to all customers?  
A. Delve will roll out to Office 365 customers in phases, first to customers that have elected to receive significant Office 365 service updates at first release, an opt-in program. Following that, Delve will roll out to all Office 365 customers over several months in standard release, the default option for Office 365 customers. We expect Delve to roll out to all eligible Office 365 customers by early 2015. For the Office 365 Business Essentials, Business Premium, Small Business, Small Business Premium and Midsize Business customers, first release rollout will begin in January 2015.
Q. Is there a way for customers to see Delve sooner? 
A. Yes, Office 365 administrators can opt-in to receive significant service updates upon first release rather than standard release by logging into Office 365 and adjusting their service settings. More information is available here

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Transforming your enterprise in a mobile-first, cloud-first world
Today’s leaders in government and business are turning to technology to enhance customer experiences, move their business online and become more responsive to customers and citizens.

     
 

“All business leaders must
become digital leaders.”

Taming the digital dragon: the 2014 CIO agenda.
Gartner, Inc. December 31, 2013.

 
     

Generation-e, together with Microsoft would like to invite you to attend Reimagine, an exclusive Microsoft event for business and IT leaders who are looking for innovative, technology-powered ways to be responsive and customer-obsessed in a cloud-first and mobile-first world.
This half-day event will feature compelling speakers and inspiring Australian companies who are leading transformation via the cloud and creating new worlds of work.

The agenda will cover:

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How to work like a network in a modern workplace.

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Ways to unlock insights from any data and make smarter, faster decisions.

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How to respond more quickly to changing business needs with a flexible, hybrid cloud.

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How to deliver fluid experiences that transcend time, place, context, and device.

Reimagine will give you the opportunity to experience Microsoft productivity and platform solutions to help you activate customer-centric solutions, fuel your digital transformation, and empower your people to have more impact.
We look forward to seeing you at this event and working with you to help reimagine your business.

 
 
 

Melbourne
9 October
Convention & Exhibition Centre
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Sydney
29 October
Royal Hall of Industries
Register clip_image007

 
 

 

 

 

 
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This article excerpt originally appeared here: http://bit.ly/1f0artf


In 2014, tremendous opportunities exist for organizations to use technology to deliver on their missions in a very effective and scalable way, both when engaging with supporters and when managing back-end operations.
Blackbaud, a global provider of software and services for nonprofits, has announced key technology trends that will have the biggest impact on the nonprofit sector in 2014.
• Mobile will be even more pervasive: Mobile will continue to be an essential part of how nonprofits engage with supporters and expand the reach of their staff. Nearly half of emails are now read on mobile devices. This means having a mobile-friendly approach to engaging donors has never been more important. Mobile devices are quickly becoming the platform of choice for computing and collaboration versus sitting behind a desk, and will change how organizations leverage data and drive mission delivery.
• Analytics will provide deeper and keener insight: Data is the most valuable asset in any nonprofit organization. Consider how much additional web, social and interaction data is now being gathered by organizations. This ever-increasing amount of data means nonprofits must shift from collecting to analyzing. Nonprofits will use this data to understand what communication channels are most effective, how to better fundraise (who to ask for how much), how to effectively facilitate events or peer-to-peer fundraise, how to increase recurring giving, etc.
• Software will emphasize user experience: Software will continue to shift away from the importance of the underlying technology to the quality of the user experience. Deep knowledge of how nonprofits need to run their business and the mission-critical processes they depend on will trump the bits and bytes. Information and functionality will be available to users in any environment without having to tab through monolithic apps or go through extensive training. And, data will be shared among these apps. This will also accelerate a move away from on-premises installations of software to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)/cloud-based implementations.
• The cloud will help lower costs, increase security: The cloud provides a secure, highly-available, managed, cheaper and less cumbersome environment for organizations. There will be less need to maintain applications and data in-house when the cloud provides a higher quality of service and accessibility in a far more cost-effective manner. The move to the cloud becomes even more critical due to the pervasive nature of mobile devices. The two environments were made for each other to share vast amounts of data and information from any place, anytime in a simple way. Ultimately, the cloud will serve as a game changer for many nonprofits, providing access to a multitude of services that were otherwise too costly even three years ago.
• Social media will become more integrated as a communication channel: Social networks are the communication channels of choice for the emerging generation and will become more pervasive for business and personal use. Networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter provide access to networks of potential donors, volunteers, members, alumni, patrons, supporters, etc.

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