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    Here’s What You Need to Know About SharePoint Communication

    source: www.collaboris.com
    Communication in our world is vital, especially if the world we’re talking about is preceded by the word ‘business’. Even more, it seems that our demand for instantaneous broadcasting increases as we stray farther and farther from the delays in communication that marked the 20th Century. With instant messages and mobile phones within arm's reach, we’ve come expect ‘real-time’ to mark everything we do.

    Thankfully, SharePoint is here to help us out with their communication sites that make spreading information a breeze.

    SharePoint Communication Sites

    Create beautiful, dynamic communication sites

    First off, don’t worry if you’re not a savvy SharePoint user — SharePoint communication sites are very easy to use. For example, new sites can be created and shared by anyone within an organization in seconds by clicking on ‘Create site’ on SharePoint home in Office 365. Once you do so, you’ll be presented with three configurable template options for the initial site design:

    1. Topic: Select this template when you have a lot of content to share (e.g., news, events, press release, etc.)
    2. Showcase: Select this template when you want to feature a product, event or team member with photos or images
    3. Blank: Select this template when you want to start on a blank slate

    source: blogs.office.com
    After you create the initial site, it’s time to create the pages. As you’ll soon see, you can select from single to multi-column layouts (and adjust), use dynamic web parts from other Office 365 services, add content and pull data from other services, and all-around customize as you please. In terms of organizing content, just drag and drop — that simple.

    Some of the Tools You’ll Love from SharePoint Communication Sites

    Moving forward, the tools at your disposal are perfect for designing sites for campaigns, upcoming events, product launches, and other situations in which you want to transmit a message:

    Section Layouts: Use single or multi-column layouts to arrange information on your pages (e.g., one column, 2 columns, one third left column, one third right column, etc.)

    Web Parts: Use web parts to pull content from other Office 365 services to your pages. Four such web parts that are particularly useful for audience engagement are:
    The Hero web part highlights important information
    The People web part showcases notable team members
    The Events web part calls out important upcoming events
    The Stream web part presents a gallery of videos from a Stream channel
    Others include Power BI, News list, Bing maps, Quick chart and more

    Theming: Use theming to preview and style your site

    Top Navigation: Use top navigation to facilitate your users’ time on your site and make it easier for them to arrive at important pages you want to showcase

    Site Usage: Use site usage to keep up to date with how your site is doing; you can review reports, catch trends, find active readers, etc.

    Final Thoughts, Extra Information and TL;DR

    Because SharePoint communication sites are excellent for disseminating information (hence the ‘communication’ in the name), you’ll get the most out of them for events, product launches, weekly or monthly reports, or the like. And because their emphasis is on ease and immediacy, you know for a fact that your information will reach its intended audience on time, every time.

    As for the extra information and tl;dr:

    Creating sites is simple and anyone within an organization can do it
    SharePoint communication sites look good everywhere — PCs, Macs and mobile (full sites, pages, news, navigation, search and more are natively functionable and engaging on all devices)
    Collaboration is simplified when you connect with Office 365 groups
    You can embed documents and videos, and dynamically pull data in real-time across Office 365
    Organization is simplified with drag & drop functionality

    Good luck creating sites!

    Here’s What You Need to Know About SharePoint Communication

    Posted by Sophina Dillard No comments

    source: www.collaboris.com
    Communication in our world is vital, especially if the world we’re talking about is preceded by the word ‘business’. Even more, it seems that our demand for instantaneous broadcasting increases as we stray farther and farther from the delays in communication that marked the 20th Century. With instant messages and mobile phones within arm's reach, we’ve come expect ‘real-time’ to mark everything we do.

    Thankfully, SharePoint is here to help us out with their communication sites that make spreading information a breeze.

    SharePoint Communication Sites

    Create beautiful, dynamic communication sites

    First off, don’t worry if you’re not a savvy SharePoint user — SharePoint communication sites are very easy to use. For example, new sites can be created and shared by anyone within an organization in seconds by clicking on ‘Create site’ on SharePoint home in Office 365. Once you do so, you’ll be presented with three configurable template options for the initial site design:

    1. Topic: Select this template when you have a lot of content to share (e.g., news, events, press release, etc.)
    2. Showcase: Select this template when you want to feature a product, event or team member with photos or images
    3. Blank: Select this template when you want to start on a blank slate

    source: blogs.office.com
    After you create the initial site, it’s time to create the pages. As you’ll soon see, you can select from single to multi-column layouts (and adjust), use dynamic web parts from other Office 365 services, add content and pull data from other services, and all-around customize as you please. In terms of organizing content, just drag and drop — that simple.

    Some of the Tools You’ll Love from SharePoint Communication Sites

    Moving forward, the tools at your disposal are perfect for designing sites for campaigns, upcoming events, product launches, and other situations in which you want to transmit a message:

    Section Layouts: Use single or multi-column layouts to arrange information on your pages (e.g., one column, 2 columns, one third left column, one third right column, etc.)

    Web Parts: Use web parts to pull content from other Office 365 services to your pages. Four such web parts that are particularly useful for audience engagement are:
    The Hero web part highlights important information
    The People web part showcases notable team members
    The Events web part calls out important upcoming events
    The Stream web part presents a gallery of videos from a Stream channel
    Others include Power BI, News list, Bing maps, Quick chart and more

    Theming: Use theming to preview and style your site

    Top Navigation: Use top navigation to facilitate your users’ time on your site and make it easier for them to arrive at important pages you want to showcase

    Site Usage: Use site usage to keep up to date with how your site is doing; you can review reports, catch trends, find active readers, etc.

    Final Thoughts, Extra Information and TL;DR

    Because SharePoint communication sites are excellent for disseminating information (hence the ‘communication’ in the name), you’ll get the most out of them for events, product launches, weekly or monthly reports, or the like. And because their emphasis is on ease and immediacy, you know for a fact that your information will reach its intended audience on time, every time.

    As for the extra information and tl;dr:

    Creating sites is simple and anyone within an organization can do it
    SharePoint communication sites look good everywhere — PCs, Macs and mobile (full sites, pages, news, navigation, search and more are natively functionable and engaging on all devices)
    Collaboration is simplified when you connect with Office 365 groups
    You can embed documents and videos, and dynamically pull data in real-time across Office 365
    Organization is simplified with drag & drop functionality

    Good luck creating sites!

    Everything You Need to Know About Microsoft 365



    As corporations spread and branch out across the globe, it’s clear that the modern workplace is transforming. Employers are looking to adapt with solutions that will empower their people with innovative technology to address the growing demands and challenges of the Digital Age.
    Seeking to address the commercial needs of businesses of all sizes — from the largest enterprise to the smallest business — Microsoft recently announced Microsoft 365, a complete business solution bundled with Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security.

    Microsoft 365

    The business-only package (sorry consumers, this is not for you) comes in two versions — Enterprise and Business — for large organizations and small-to-medium size businesses (SMB) respectively.

    Microsoft 365 Enterprise

    The enterprise option comes in two versions as well (E3 & E5). Built on the foundation of the Secure Productive Enterprise, 365 Enterprise replaces it and empowers employees to work creatively, efficiently and securely.

    Straight from Microsoft’s blog, Microsoft 365 Enterprise:

    Unlocks creativity by enabling people to work naturally with ink, voice and touch, all backed by tools that utilize AI and machine learning.
    Provides the broadest and deepest set of apps and services with a universal toolkit for teamwork, giving people flexibility and choice in how they connect, share and communicate.
    Simplifies IT by unifying management across users, devices, apps and services.
    Helps safeguard customer data, company data and intellectual property with built-in, intelligent security.

    "We use Microsoft 365 Enterprise to foster a modern and highly secure workspace for employees empowered by teamwork and collaboration—everything we need to succeed in a global, digital market." - Bobby Berry, Senior VP, Business Solutions, Fruit of the Loom

    Microsoft 365 Business

    The SMB option, made for smaller organizations, supports up to 300 users, integrates Office 365 Business Premium, and includes three new applications that are part of the Business Premium pack. We’ll get into these shortly, but for informational purposes they are: Microsoft Listings, Microsoft Connections and Microsoft Invoicing (additionally, MileIQ, Microsoft’s mileage tracking app, will also be included). 
    Also from Microsoft’s blog, Microsoft 365 Business:
    Helps companies achieve more together by better connecting employees, customers and suppliers.
    Empowers employees to get work done from anywhere, on any device.
    Protects company data across devices with always-on security.
    Simplifies the set-up and management of employee devices and services with a single IT console.
    "We need creativity to push that next thing. We use Microsoft 365 Business, it’s all the things we need in one place." - Heyward Garner, Chief Operating Officer, Garner Food Company.

    New Applications Coming to Office 365 Business Premium

    Let’s get acquainted with the three new applications bundled with Office 365 Business Premium and, by extension, 365 Business.

    Microsoft Listings

    It’s a fact that a good way to get discovered is by listing your business online. Unfortunately, the listing process is time consuming. Here to help you out, Microsoft Listings lets you publish your business information on top sites like Facebook, Google, Bing and Yelp, and will help “get your business discovered online by new customers.” And when you update your information, the changes automatically occur across the different websites.
     

    Microsoft Connections

    Microsoft Connections is an easy-to-use marketing service that will help you “drive more sales with simple email marketing tools.” As we know — or should know — email marketing is of great use in lead generation and closing sales. Well, with Connections you’ll be able to create professional-looking email marketing campaigns, manage subscribers by segmenting them into different target groups, and track open rates, clicks, new sign-ups, new customers, and more.


    Microsoft Invoicing

    A very important part of running a business is time management. You have to get estimates and invoices out on time, and you also have to account for other things like pending payments and their processing. The problem comes when your information gets jumbled in all the different systems you have to use. With Microsoft Invoicing, you can create professional invoices and “get paid fast with hassle-free invoices and online payments.” It works with PayPal and, by using a connector to QuickBooks, can sync customer and catalogue data and even transfers invoicing information to your account.


    Extra: MileIQ

    MileIQ, Microsoft’s mileage tracking app (iOS and Android), will also be included with Office 365 Business Premium. This tool is especially useful for those whose occupation requires travel with their personal cars, such as those who make customer visits or attend partner meetings, as its automatic drive detection and mileage logging allows for a hassle-free experience.

    Extra: Office 365 Business Center

    Sort of an extra but not really, Office 365 Business Center offers a central location where you can manage your applications. It provides easy access to your business applications and data with a unified dashboard where you can view key metrics such as total outstanding invoices, number of appointments, invoices and payments being created or updated by employees, impressions and more. It also has an activity feed that lets you stay up-to-date with everything and, even better, once you connect an app and sync information, the same is automatically recognized in other apps.


    Final Thoughts

    If you’re looking to grow your business, Microsoft 365 is there to help you out by simplifying your sales process and increasing your revenue. You’ll be able to virtualize your desktop with intelligent applications while safeguarding your corporate data on all devices. More than that, you and everyone you work with will be empowered to be creative and work together, securely. 
    For additional benefits of adopting Microsoft 365, take a look at the Forrester Total Economic Impact Study (commissioned by Microsoft) for Business and Enterprise.



    Everything You Need to Know About Microsoft 365

    Posted by Sophina Dillard No comments



    As corporations spread and branch out across the globe, it’s clear that the modern workplace is transforming. Employers are looking to adapt with solutions that will empower their people with innovative technology to address the growing demands and challenges of the Digital Age.
    Seeking to address the commercial needs of businesses of all sizes — from the largest enterprise to the smallest business — Microsoft recently announced Microsoft 365, a complete business solution bundled with Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security.

    Microsoft 365

    The business-only package (sorry consumers, this is not for you) comes in two versions — Enterprise and Business — for large organizations and small-to-medium size businesses (SMB) respectively.

    Microsoft 365 Enterprise

    The enterprise option comes in two versions as well (E3 & E5). Built on the foundation of the Secure Productive Enterprise, 365 Enterprise replaces it and empowers employees to work creatively, efficiently and securely.

    Straight from Microsoft’s blog, Microsoft 365 Enterprise:

    Unlocks creativity by enabling people to work naturally with ink, voice and touch, all backed by tools that utilize AI and machine learning.
    Provides the broadest and deepest set of apps and services with a universal toolkit for teamwork, giving people flexibility and choice in how they connect, share and communicate.
    Simplifies IT by unifying management across users, devices, apps and services.
    Helps safeguard customer data, company data and intellectual property with built-in, intelligent security.

    "We use Microsoft 365 Enterprise to foster a modern and highly secure workspace for employees empowered by teamwork and collaboration—everything we need to succeed in a global, digital market." - Bobby Berry, Senior VP, Business Solutions, Fruit of the Loom

    Microsoft 365 Business

    The SMB option, made for smaller organizations, supports up to 300 users, integrates Office 365 Business Premium, and includes three new applications that are part of the Business Premium pack. We’ll get into these shortly, but for informational purposes they are: Microsoft Listings, Microsoft Connections and Microsoft Invoicing (additionally, MileIQ, Microsoft’s mileage tracking app, will also be included). 
    Also from Microsoft’s blog, Microsoft 365 Business:
    Helps companies achieve more together by better connecting employees, customers and suppliers.
    Empowers employees to get work done from anywhere, on any device.
    Protects company data across devices with always-on security.
    Simplifies the set-up and management of employee devices and services with a single IT console.
    "We need creativity to push that next thing. We use Microsoft 365 Business, it’s all the things we need in one place." - Heyward Garner, Chief Operating Officer, Garner Food Company.

    New Applications Coming to Office 365 Business Premium

    Let’s get acquainted with the three new applications bundled with Office 365 Business Premium and, by extension, 365 Business.

    Microsoft Listings

    It’s a fact that a good way to get discovered is by listing your business online. Unfortunately, the listing process is time consuming. Here to help you out, Microsoft Listings lets you publish your business information on top sites like Facebook, Google, Bing and Yelp, and will help “get your business discovered online by new customers.” And when you update your information, the changes automatically occur across the different websites.
     

    Microsoft Connections

    Microsoft Connections is an easy-to-use marketing service that will help you “drive more sales with simple email marketing tools.” As we know — or should know — email marketing is of great use in lead generation and closing sales. Well, with Connections you’ll be able to create professional-looking email marketing campaigns, manage subscribers by segmenting them into different target groups, and track open rates, clicks, new sign-ups, new customers, and more.


    Microsoft Invoicing

    A very important part of running a business is time management. You have to get estimates and invoices out on time, and you also have to account for other things like pending payments and their processing. The problem comes when your information gets jumbled in all the different systems you have to use. With Microsoft Invoicing, you can create professional invoices and “get paid fast with hassle-free invoices and online payments.” It works with PayPal and, by using a connector to QuickBooks, can sync customer and catalogue data and even transfers invoicing information to your account.


    Extra: MileIQ

    MileIQ, Microsoft’s mileage tracking app (iOS and Android), will also be included with Office 365 Business Premium. This tool is especially useful for those whose occupation requires travel with their personal cars, such as those who make customer visits or attend partner meetings, as its automatic drive detection and mileage logging allows for a hassle-free experience.

    Extra: Office 365 Business Center

    Sort of an extra but not really, Office 365 Business Center offers a central location where you can manage your applications. It provides easy access to your business applications and data with a unified dashboard where you can view key metrics such as total outstanding invoices, number of appointments, invoices and payments being created or updated by employees, impressions and more. It also has an activity feed that lets you stay up-to-date with everything and, even better, once you connect an app and sync information, the same is automatically recognized in other apps.


    Final Thoughts

    If you’re looking to grow your business, Microsoft 365 is there to help you out by simplifying your sales process and increasing your revenue. You’ll be able to virtualize your desktop with intelligent applications while safeguarding your corporate data on all devices. More than that, you and everyone you work with will be empowered to be creative and work together, securely. 
    For additional benefits of adopting Microsoft 365, take a look at the Forrester Total Economic Impact Study (commissioned by Microsoft) for Business and Enterprise.



    Here Are the Features You’ll Get When Upgrading to Microsoft SQL Server 2016



    Build intelligent, mission-critical applications using a scalable, hybrid database platform that has everything built in—from in-memory performance and advanced security to in-database analytics.” - Microsoft SQL Server 2016

    The Latest Microsoft SQL Server Features

    Have you made the upgrade yet? If not, upgrading to the latest Microsoft SQL server results in brand new features and enhancements to previously included features from past versions, so you might want to make the switch. For example, some enhancements include:

    In-Memory OLTP (In-Memory Optimization): Performance for transaction processing, data ingestion and data load, and transient data scenarios is improved.

    Always On Available Groups (SQL Server): A high-availability and disaster-recovery solution that provides an alternative to database mirroring (for the enterprise).
    There are other enhancements, of course, but because our main focus today is on the completely new, here are some of the latest Microsoft SQL features.

    Always Encrypted

    Always encrypted protects your most sensitive information, such as your social security or credit card number, that’s stored in Azure SQL Database or SQL Server database. It’s also perfect for encrypting data inside client applications without actually divulging encryption keys to the Database Engine. In this way, there’s a much-needed separation between the people who own the data and those who manage it.


    Row-Level Security (RLS)

    With RLS, users can control access to rows in a database table. Because this simplifies the design and coding of security in your applications, you can implement restrictions on data row access. This means that if you have a customer that needs access to certain data, you can opt to control their access to relevant data.

    Stretch Database

    Stretch Database allows you to migrate cold data (rarely accessed data) transparently and securely to the Microsoft Azure Cloud. Some benefits are that it:

    Provides cost-effective availability for cold data: Stretch warm and cold transactional data dynamically from SQL Server to Microsoft Azure with SQL Server Stretch Database.

    Doesn’t require changes to queries or applications: Access your SQL Server data seamlessly regardless of whether it’s on-premises or stretched to the cloud. You set the policy that determines where data is stored, and SQL Server handles the data movement in the background.

    Streamlines on-premises data maintenance: Reduce on-premises maintenance and storage for your data. Backups for your on-premises data run faster and finish within the maintenance window.

    Keeps your data secure even during migration: Enjoy peace of mind as you stretch your most important applications securely to the cloud. SQL Server’s Always Encrypted provides encryption for your data in motion.


    Dynamic Data Masking (DDM)

    Because DDM limits data exposure by masking it to non-privileged users, users can designate how much of their (sensitive) data to reveal. For example, you can choose to ‘mask’ every digit except for the last four of a social security number. It can also be used with existing applications and is complementary to other SQL Server security features, like auditing, encryption, etc.


    Final Thoughts

    The latest Microsoft SQL Server features offer you a lot more scalability, advanced security, and is supported by SharePoint Online. With it, you can:
    Develop intelligent applications for online transaction processing (OLTP)
    Protect sensitive data such as credit card or social security information
    Mask data to non-privileged users
    Keep data secure during migrations
    A lot more

    If you’re still unsure as to whether or not you should make the upgrade, consider what Rohan Kumar, Director of SQL Software Engineering, and Bob Dorr, Principal Engineer of SQL Server Support, have to say:

    “With our focused investment in performance and scale, simply upgrading to SQL 2016 could bring 25% performance improvement. SQL 2016 supports 3X more physical memory than previous versions.” - Rohan Kumar

    “SQL Server 2016 running on the same hardware as SQL Server 2014, 2012, 2008, 2008 R2 or 2005 uses fewer resources and executes a wide range of workloads faster.” - Bob Dorr
    Feel free to download the official Microsoft SQL Server 2016 eBook to learn more about what you can gain from it. Best of luck!


    Here Are the Features You’ll Get When Upgrading to Microsoft SQL Server 2016

    Posted by Sophina Dillard No comments



    Build intelligent, mission-critical applications using a scalable, hybrid database platform that has everything built in—from in-memory performance and advanced security to in-database analytics.” - Microsoft SQL Server 2016

    The Latest Microsoft SQL Server Features

    Have you made the upgrade yet? If not, upgrading to the latest Microsoft SQL server results in brand new features and enhancements to previously included features from past versions, so you might want to make the switch. For example, some enhancements include:

    In-Memory OLTP (In-Memory Optimization): Performance for transaction processing, data ingestion and data load, and transient data scenarios is improved.

    Always On Available Groups (SQL Server): A high-availability and disaster-recovery solution that provides an alternative to database mirroring (for the enterprise).
    There are other enhancements, of course, but because our main focus today is on the completely new, here are some of the latest Microsoft SQL features.

    Always Encrypted

    Always encrypted protects your most sensitive information, such as your social security or credit card number, that’s stored in Azure SQL Database or SQL Server database. It’s also perfect for encrypting data inside client applications without actually divulging encryption keys to the Database Engine. In this way, there’s a much-needed separation between the people who own the data and those who manage it.


    Row-Level Security (RLS)

    With RLS, users can control access to rows in a database table. Because this simplifies the design and coding of security in your applications, you can implement restrictions on data row access. This means that if you have a customer that needs access to certain data, you can opt to control their access to relevant data.

    Stretch Database

    Stretch Database allows you to migrate cold data (rarely accessed data) transparently and securely to the Microsoft Azure Cloud. Some benefits are that it:

    Provides cost-effective availability for cold data: Stretch warm and cold transactional data dynamically from SQL Server to Microsoft Azure with SQL Server Stretch Database.

    Doesn’t require changes to queries or applications: Access your SQL Server data seamlessly regardless of whether it’s on-premises or stretched to the cloud. You set the policy that determines where data is stored, and SQL Server handles the data movement in the background.

    Streamlines on-premises data maintenance: Reduce on-premises maintenance and storage for your data. Backups for your on-premises data run faster and finish within the maintenance window.

    Keeps your data secure even during migration: Enjoy peace of mind as you stretch your most important applications securely to the cloud. SQL Server’s Always Encrypted provides encryption for your data in motion.


    Dynamic Data Masking (DDM)

    Because DDM limits data exposure by masking it to non-privileged users, users can designate how much of their (sensitive) data to reveal. For example, you can choose to ‘mask’ every digit except for the last four of a social security number. It can also be used with existing applications and is complementary to other SQL Server security features, like auditing, encryption, etc.


    Final Thoughts

    The latest Microsoft SQL Server features offer you a lot more scalability, advanced security, and is supported by SharePoint Online. With it, you can:
    Develop intelligent applications for online transaction processing (OLTP)
    Protect sensitive data such as credit card or social security information
    Mask data to non-privileged users
    Keep data secure during migrations
    A lot more

    If you’re still unsure as to whether or not you should make the upgrade, consider what Rohan Kumar, Director of SQL Software Engineering, and Bob Dorr, Principal Engineer of SQL Server Support, have to say:

    “With our focused investment in performance and scale, simply upgrading to SQL 2016 could bring 25% performance improvement. SQL 2016 supports 3X more physical memory than previous versions.” - Rohan Kumar

    “SQL Server 2016 running on the same hardware as SQL Server 2014, 2012, 2008, 2008 R2 or 2005 uses fewer resources and executes a wide range of workloads faster.” - Bob Dorr
    Feel free to download the official Microsoft SQL Server 2016 eBook to learn more about what you can gain from it. Best of luck!


    All About Microsoft's New Tools and Services for Developers

                                                 
    It’s time to talk about Build 2017. For those who don’t know, it’s Microsoft’s annual developer conference, and this year did not disappoint. In fact, Microsoft announced new tools and services they hope will help developers modernize existing apps and build more intelligent ones.

    As Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, said, “In a world of near infinite compute power and an exponential growth in data, we are focused on empowering every developer to build applications for this new era of intelligent cloud and intelligent edge.”Without further ado, let’s get to it.

    The Latest Microsoft Services and How They’ll Help Your Business

    One of Microsoft’s key discussion points was the abundance of information in our world and the opportunities to achieve it entails. To account for this, some of the latest Microsoft services are new Azure and AI services that allow developers to build intelligent apps with ease. More specifically, Microsoft announced:

    A preview of Azure IoT Edge, technology that extends the intelligence — and other benefits — of cloud computing to edge devices.
    Extensions to the Microsoft Graph to combine insights from the world of work with device insights and contextual awareness of the physical world.
    Technology that will allow you to search the real world in the same way you search the digital world, helping to keep your data safe and secure while making you more productive.

    Improvements to Azure

    To show how they’re helping developers be more successful modernizing and building new apps, a Microsoft service they announced was Azure Cosmos DB, “the industry’s first globally distributed, multimodel database service to deliver horizontal scale with guaranteed uptime, throughput, consistency and single-digit millisecond latency at the 99th percentile.” Built from the ground up, this Microsoft service offer developers the needed flexibility to develop apps for everything from AI to mobile.

    Also announced are new MySQL- and PostgreSQL-managed services for the Azure SQL Database (promotes high availability and scalability to developers), a new Managed Instance private preview that offers customers SQL Server instance-level compatibility, general availability of Threat Detection and Visual Studio 2017 for Mac (allows developers to work across Windows and Mac environments with full support for mobile, web and cloud), and preview of Graph support. To help developers move their data, Microsoft also showed an early preview of their new database migration services that they hope will encourage developers to modernize their apps.

    Office 365: Another Improved Microsoft Service

                                                                 Image Source: citecomputers.com

    With over 100 million active users, it makes sense that Microsoft is improving Office 365 to better connect developers to customers. Exemplifying this, developers can now publish for Microsoft Teams, Office 365’s chat-based workspace, add new capabilities to Team apps (third-party notifications in the activity feed, Compose Extensions and Actionable Messages), and soon, apps in Teams will be more discoverable for end users.

    They’re also making new Microsoft Graph APIs from Sharepoint Online and Planner available to developers, which give them access to Office 365 data and intelligence to help them build smarter apps. Developers and independent software vendors (ISVs) who host their production SaaS apps on Azure can now also have their apps’ data and workflow automatically extend to authorized Office 365 customers.

    AI to Augment a Developer’s Capabilities

    Our last subject today will be Microsoft’s aim to bring AI to every developer, thereby amplifying ‘human ingenuity with intelligent technology.’ In this vein, the tech giant added new cognitive services and custom intelligence capabilities such as vision, speech, language, knowledge and search into their app and bot experiences. Similarly, Microsoft launched the new Cognitive Services Labs that enable developers to experiment with new services.

    Conclusion

    In conclusion, whether you’re part of a startup or a large enterprise, the latest Microsoft services and tools will help any developer build smarter apps fit for the tech world we live in.

    All About Microsoft's New Tools and Services for Developers

    Posted by Sophina Dillard No comments

                                                 
    It’s time to talk about Build 2017. For those who don’t know, it’s Microsoft’s annual developer conference, and this year did not disappoint. In fact, Microsoft announced new tools and services they hope will help developers modernize existing apps and build more intelligent ones.

    As Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, said, “In a world of near infinite compute power and an exponential growth in data, we are focused on empowering every developer to build applications for this new era of intelligent cloud and intelligent edge.”Without further ado, let’s get to it.

    The Latest Microsoft Services and How They’ll Help Your Business

    One of Microsoft’s key discussion points was the abundance of information in our world and the opportunities to achieve it entails. To account for this, some of the latest Microsoft services are new Azure and AI services that allow developers to build intelligent apps with ease. More specifically, Microsoft announced:

    A preview of Azure IoT Edge, technology that extends the intelligence — and other benefits — of cloud computing to edge devices.
    Extensions to the Microsoft Graph to combine insights from the world of work with device insights and contextual awareness of the physical world.
    Technology that will allow you to search the real world in the same way you search the digital world, helping to keep your data safe and secure while making you more productive.

    Improvements to Azure

    To show how they’re helping developers be more successful modernizing and building new apps, a Microsoft service they announced was Azure Cosmos DB, “the industry’s first globally distributed, multimodel database service to deliver horizontal scale with guaranteed uptime, throughput, consistency and single-digit millisecond latency at the 99th percentile.” Built from the ground up, this Microsoft service offer developers the needed flexibility to develop apps for everything from AI to mobile.

    Also announced are new MySQL- and PostgreSQL-managed services for the Azure SQL Database (promotes high availability and scalability to developers), a new Managed Instance private preview that offers customers SQL Server instance-level compatibility, general availability of Threat Detection and Visual Studio 2017 for Mac (allows developers to work across Windows and Mac environments with full support for mobile, web and cloud), and preview of Graph support. To help developers move their data, Microsoft also showed an early preview of their new database migration services that they hope will encourage developers to modernize their apps.

    Office 365: Another Improved Microsoft Service

                                                                 Image Source: citecomputers.com

    With over 100 million active users, it makes sense that Microsoft is improving Office 365 to better connect developers to customers. Exemplifying this, developers can now publish for Microsoft Teams, Office 365’s chat-based workspace, add new capabilities to Team apps (third-party notifications in the activity feed, Compose Extensions and Actionable Messages), and soon, apps in Teams will be more discoverable for end users.

    They’re also making new Microsoft Graph APIs from Sharepoint Online and Planner available to developers, which give them access to Office 365 data and intelligence to help them build smarter apps. Developers and independent software vendors (ISVs) who host their production SaaS apps on Azure can now also have their apps’ data and workflow automatically extend to authorized Office 365 customers.

    AI to Augment a Developer’s Capabilities

    Our last subject today will be Microsoft’s aim to bring AI to every developer, thereby amplifying ‘human ingenuity with intelligent technology.’ In this vein, the tech giant added new cognitive services and custom intelligence capabilities such as vision, speech, language, knowledge and search into their app and bot experiences. Similarly, Microsoft launched the new Cognitive Services Labs that enable developers to experiment with new services.

    Conclusion

    In conclusion, whether you’re part of a startup or a large enterprise, the latest Microsoft services and tools will help any developer build smarter apps fit for the tech world we live in.

    All You Need to Know About the Latest SharePoint Online Character Support Update


    A relatively trivial update for some, yet a critically important change for others. Last month, Microsoft announced that the characters “#” and “%” will be now supported in file and folder names within document libraries for SharePoint Online and Microsoft SharePoint One Drive users.

    What’s the Update All About?

    Have you heard about the latest update to Microsoft SharePoint OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online? Specifically, the one including support for # and %?

    Well, according to Microsoft’s blog post:

    “This will allow people to create, store, and sync files containing # and % characters whether those characters are used as a prefix or suffix to the file or folder name. # and % will be limited to use in file names in addition to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business document libraries and related folders. The use of # and % outside of document libraries is not supported at this time.”

    You may be thinking, okay, so what exactly is the big deal?

    The problem with using these particular characters is that for web developers and code editors alike, they represent more than just labeling.  The # symbol can sometimes represent the end of a string in C, and the % symbol can represent a space between text within a page URL.
    Don’t worry though, all of these dilemmas are apparently none to worry about. As explained by

    Microsoft’s SharePoint development team:

    “To remove the ambiguity around intention, and to avoid breaking backwards compatibility with existing APIs, we are introducing a strongly typed, rich-featured representation of URLs to better represent the true developer intention of a URL… Specifically, we’ve introduced a new class (Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.ResourcePath)… This class will be used to represent URLs across our APIs instead of string.”

                                                                               Image Source: static.pexels.com

    Long story short, in an effort to streamline this new direction of SharePoint Online character support, Microsoft is urging developers to evaluate their scenarios and the lineage of URL paths they have placed for existing solutions. In other words, developers will eventually have to switch to the new API (Application Program Interface) or suffer a multitude of consequences.

    How is this Beneficial for Users?

    People like having the freedom and functionality to be able to name files and folders as they please. The ability to use a # for numbers and relative hashtags within a document title, or the chance to use a % for percentages of work completion for a folder heading presents a tremendous opportunity.

    According to Microsoft;

    “Files are as unique as the people who create them and we’re constantly working in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business to support a broad array of types of naming conventions.”
    The tech giant wants to give developers freedom to better express their intent in URL creation for these file destinations. Providing them with less regulations or principles to follow, can allow for better labelling and increased work functions.

    One thing to note from Microsoft’s blog post, “While SharePoint lists and libraries can have # and % in their URLs, there are no plans to enable their use through the SharePoint user interface at this time.” This just plays more into the fact that the logic behind this change isn’t for end users, but for developers and their style accordingly.

    The Wrap Up

    Taking what we learned from some of the other latest SharePoint updates, one question comes to mind:

    Is the addition of these characters worth the headache of having to implement a new API?
    The answer? It’s entirely subjective.

                                                                            Image Source: static.pexels.com

    Some developers will appreciate the added functionality of naming and labelling for files and folders, while others will see it as an extra complicating factor making matters more difficult while throwing an extra hurdle in the process of coding.

    We will definitely make sure to keep an eye on this and see how this update dictates the future of SharePoint library creations.

    All You Need to Know About the Latest SharePoint Online Character Support Update

    Posted by Sophina Dillard No comments


    A relatively trivial update for some, yet a critically important change for others. Last month, Microsoft announced that the characters “#” and “%” will be now supported in file and folder names within document libraries for SharePoint Online and Microsoft SharePoint One Drive users.

    What’s the Update All About?

    Have you heard about the latest update to Microsoft SharePoint OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online? Specifically, the one including support for # and %?

    Well, according to Microsoft’s blog post:

    “This will allow people to create, store, and sync files containing # and % characters whether those characters are used as a prefix or suffix to the file or folder name. # and % will be limited to use in file names in addition to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business document libraries and related folders. The use of # and % outside of document libraries is not supported at this time.”

    You may be thinking, okay, so what exactly is the big deal?

    The problem with using these particular characters is that for web developers and code editors alike, they represent more than just labeling.  The # symbol can sometimes represent the end of a string in C, and the % symbol can represent a space between text within a page URL.
    Don’t worry though, all of these dilemmas are apparently none to worry about. As explained by

    Microsoft’s SharePoint development team:

    “To remove the ambiguity around intention, and to avoid breaking backwards compatibility with existing APIs, we are introducing a strongly typed, rich-featured representation of URLs to better represent the true developer intention of a URL… Specifically, we’ve introduced a new class (Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.ResourcePath)… This class will be used to represent URLs across our APIs instead of string.”

                                                                               Image Source: static.pexels.com

    Long story short, in an effort to streamline this new direction of SharePoint Online character support, Microsoft is urging developers to evaluate their scenarios and the lineage of URL paths they have placed for existing solutions. In other words, developers will eventually have to switch to the new API (Application Program Interface) or suffer a multitude of consequences.

    How is this Beneficial for Users?

    People like having the freedom and functionality to be able to name files and folders as they please. The ability to use a # for numbers and relative hashtags within a document title, or the chance to use a % for percentages of work completion for a folder heading presents a tremendous opportunity.

    According to Microsoft;

    “Files are as unique as the people who create them and we’re constantly working in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business to support a broad array of types of naming conventions.”
    The tech giant wants to give developers freedom to better express their intent in URL creation for these file destinations. Providing them with less regulations or principles to follow, can allow for better labelling and increased work functions.

    One thing to note from Microsoft’s blog post, “While SharePoint lists and libraries can have # and % in their URLs, there are no plans to enable their use through the SharePoint user interface at this time.” This just plays more into the fact that the logic behind this change isn’t for end users, but for developers and their style accordingly.

    The Wrap Up

    Taking what we learned from some of the other latest SharePoint updates, one question comes to mind:

    Is the addition of these characters worth the headache of having to implement a new API?
    The answer? It’s entirely subjective.

                                                                            Image Source: static.pexels.com

    Some developers will appreciate the added functionality of naming and labelling for files and folders, while others will see it as an extra complicating factor making matters more difficult while throwing an extra hurdle in the process of coding.

    We will definitely make sure to keep an eye on this and see how this update dictates the future of SharePoint library creations.

    Microsoft is Adding New Features to its SharePoint Mobile App


    With technological advances and new digital innovations being released daily, we, as workers, are now open to a completely new realm of possibilities for on-the-go operations. With our mobile phones we can literally do anything and everything, but sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes we need more.

    The SharePoint Mobile App allows us to do just this.

    A Quick Introduction to Get Us Started

    We’ve all grown to know and love Microsoft SharePoint, especially its newest version, SharePoint 2016. For all those who aren’t exactly sure what the latest features are, or what this application even is, here’s a quick definition from Microsoft themselves:

    “Organizations use SharePoint to create websites. You can use it as a secure place to store, organize, share, and access information from any device. All you need is a web browser, such as Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Firefox.”

    SharePoint itself is a name umbrella for other products and technologies such as SharePoint Online, Server, Foundation, and Designer. More importantly, SharePoint Online gives employees within an organization the ability to create and share sites, documents and information. The SharePoint mobile app enhances these functions and is consistently receiving upgrades to become more and more user friendly.

    Let’s explore the latest is surrounding the app’s most recent tweak, announced this past March.

    What’s the Update All About?

    The iOS app is finally getting some attention. According to CMSWire, “This time, Microsoft is giving most of the love to the iOS app, which now enables users to author news and publish to their team members while they are on the go. Users can add a title, body text, images, embed documents, format it and publish it.”
    iPhone users aren’t the only ones who are going to be delighted. Android is receiving a nice little feature as well. What is it, you ask? It’s Team News.

                                                                                   Image Source: support.office.com

    Already a fixture on the iOS app, Team News keeps workers in the loop through team site updates and posts in a full display on Android devices. According to Microsoft, “The News tab shows the most recent articles from your sites you’re following and frequently visit along with sites suggested by Office Graph.” And “When you tap a news headline from the Sites tab or the News, you’ll see the full article complete with web parts, including images and embedded documents.”

    Why Include These Features?

    Why add these features to Microsoft SharePoint? Simple, Microsoft wants on-the-go workers to be able to access content on their intranet sites. The whole theme of quick access is exactly what the developers and creative minds at Microsoft are striving for.
    Giving workers access to in-office features, outside of that setting, does and will continue to increase worker efficiency. A good idea shouldn’t have to wait for the workplace, it should be shared at any time.

    What are the Benefits?

    As we touched on earlier, increasing functionality for mobile applications will allow workers to be that much more productive.
    For iPhone users, giving workers the ability to author news on the go is an incredibly useful feature. Having the Team News feature allows Android users and workers to fully immerse themselves within their company’s day-to-day activities. Not having to wait and go back to your desk for small work tasks also functions to boost productivity and performance levels.

    The Wrap Up

    The opportunities available for the SharePoint mobile app are virtually endless. With more improvement updates coming from mobile operating systems, we can only expect to see a continuous climb for aspects of functionality. Providing quick access for moderately essential features will continue to be at the forefront for motivation of what is to come next. Are you excited yet?

    Microsoft is Adding New Features to its SharePoint Mobile App

    Posted by Sophina Dillard No comments


    With technological advances and new digital innovations being released daily, we, as workers, are now open to a completely new realm of possibilities for on-the-go operations. With our mobile phones we can literally do anything and everything, but sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes we need more.

    The SharePoint Mobile App allows us to do just this.

    A Quick Introduction to Get Us Started

    We’ve all grown to know and love Microsoft SharePoint, especially its newest version, SharePoint 2016. For all those who aren’t exactly sure what the latest features are, or what this application even is, here’s a quick definition from Microsoft themselves:

    “Organizations use SharePoint to create websites. You can use it as a secure place to store, organize, share, and access information from any device. All you need is a web browser, such as Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Firefox.”

    SharePoint itself is a name umbrella for other products and technologies such as SharePoint Online, Server, Foundation, and Designer. More importantly, SharePoint Online gives employees within an organization the ability to create and share sites, documents and information. The SharePoint mobile app enhances these functions and is consistently receiving upgrades to become more and more user friendly.

    Let’s explore the latest is surrounding the app’s most recent tweak, announced this past March.

    What’s the Update All About?

    The iOS app is finally getting some attention. According to CMSWire, “This time, Microsoft is giving most of the love to the iOS app, which now enables users to author news and publish to their team members while they are on the go. Users can add a title, body text, images, embed documents, format it and publish it.”
    iPhone users aren’t the only ones who are going to be delighted. Android is receiving a nice little feature as well. What is it, you ask? It’s Team News.

                                                                                   Image Source: support.office.com

    Already a fixture on the iOS app, Team News keeps workers in the loop through team site updates and posts in a full display on Android devices. According to Microsoft, “The News tab shows the most recent articles from your sites you’re following and frequently visit along with sites suggested by Office Graph.” And “When you tap a news headline from the Sites tab or the News, you’ll see the full article complete with web parts, including images and embedded documents.”

    Why Include These Features?

    Why add these features to Microsoft SharePoint? Simple, Microsoft wants on-the-go workers to be able to access content on their intranet sites. The whole theme of quick access is exactly what the developers and creative minds at Microsoft are striving for.
    Giving workers access to in-office features, outside of that setting, does and will continue to increase worker efficiency. A good idea shouldn’t have to wait for the workplace, it should be shared at any time.

    What are the Benefits?

    As we touched on earlier, increasing functionality for mobile applications will allow workers to be that much more productive.
    For iPhone users, giving workers the ability to author news on the go is an incredibly useful feature. Having the Team News feature allows Android users and workers to fully immerse themselves within their company’s day-to-day activities. Not having to wait and go back to your desk for small work tasks also functions to boost productivity and performance levels.

    The Wrap Up

    The opportunities available for the SharePoint mobile app are virtually endless. With more improvement updates coming from mobile operating systems, we can only expect to see a continuous climb for aspects of functionality. Providing quick access for moderately essential features will continue to be at the forefront for motivation of what is to come next. Are you excited yet?

    Microsoft Launched Power BI Report Integration for SharePoint Online

                    Image Source: powerbicdn.azureedge.net

    As marketers, we love the idea of data discovery and presenting it in a way that can be easily understood. For the past year or so, Power BI has allowed us to effectively prepare data and turn it into interactive visualizations. However, for us SharePoint users it has been agonizing to integrate these Power BI reports… until now.
    As per a Microsoft Blog posted in early February, “The new web part we are releasing today enables SharePoint authors to embed Power BI reports directly in SharePoint Online pages with no code required!”

    What’s Power BI?

    Released in July of 2015, Power BI is a dynamic cloud-based service that gives report analysts the ability to distribute insights from their business’s data through visualizations. It’s essentially Microsoft’s way of allowing users to transform information into graphs and other powerful ocular representations.

    And Microsoft Did This Because...

    Well, Microsoft did this because SharePoint Online is an essential managing platform for a large amount of enterprises. The fact that users couldn’t effortlessly consolidate visualizations from this software also persuaded Microsoft into realizing this may be something to explore. All of this in an attempt to continue making Microsoft SharePoint a simple yet powerful platform to work with.
    With no further ado, let’s go over some of the key benefits from this update.

    How is This Done?

    Microsoft shares the exact process of embedding on their official blog post. For a quick run down, the procedure is pretty straightforward. It’s as effortless as publishing a report, adding the Power BI web part to your SharePoint Online page, and pasting the URL of your report when directed to do so.

    To the Rescue

    The ability to not only visualize data but to also share it with your organization in a seamless user experience is exactly what this integration is all about. Microsoft is giving every SharePoint-using corporation the insight it needs to strategically communicate and disseminate vital information.

                                                                      Image Source: static.pexels.com

    Another accessibility feature that’s mentioned within the article is this idea of convenience through a single sign-on. Taken straight out from the official release blog:
    “…a core focus of our web part is seamless integration with SharePoint Online to achieve a single sign-on experience. The web part works with new authentication features in SharePoint Online available now within the 365 First Release program. The new authentication capabilities enable the Power BI web part to use single sign-on – so by default users will not be prompted to sign-in to Power BI. Multi-factor authentication may require the user to sign-in again, if they didn’t use a security device when signing in to SharePoint.”
    This is just frosting on the cake of simplicity. In addition, Microsoft has ensured that all security checks are applied to reports. This includes enforcing data security through Power BI itself, almost guaranteeing secure internal portals for the enterprise to show data. With highly sensitive information being displayed, it only makes sense that reports won’t be automatically available for everyone.
    There is one drawback, however. According to Microsoft: “The Power BI report web part requires all the viewers to have a Power BI Pro license. If your users don’t have a Pro license, they’ll be directed to PowerBI.com where they can enroll or start a Pro trial.”
    If this stays this way, it can mean fewer users who get to experience this new feature from Microsoft.

    The Wrap Up

    These latest SharePoint updates lead us to believe that Microsoft is attempting to make our lives simpler, one renovation at a time. If they can change the Pro license requirement, this web part can and will be an integral part of our data representation techniques.

    Microsoft Launched Power BI Report Integration for SharePoint Online

    Posted by Sophina Dillard No comments

                    Image Source: powerbicdn.azureedge.net

    As marketers, we love the idea of data discovery and presenting it in a way that can be easily understood. For the past year or so, Power BI has allowed us to effectively prepare data and turn it into interactive visualizations. However, for us SharePoint users it has been agonizing to integrate these Power BI reports… until now.
    As per a Microsoft Blog posted in early February, “The new web part we are releasing today enables SharePoint authors to embed Power BI reports directly in SharePoint Online pages with no code required!”

    What’s Power BI?

    Released in July of 2015, Power BI is a dynamic cloud-based service that gives report analysts the ability to distribute insights from their business’s data through visualizations. It’s essentially Microsoft’s way of allowing users to transform information into graphs and other powerful ocular representations.

    And Microsoft Did This Because...

    Well, Microsoft did this because SharePoint Online is an essential managing platform for a large amount of enterprises. The fact that users couldn’t effortlessly consolidate visualizations from this software also persuaded Microsoft into realizing this may be something to explore. All of this in an attempt to continue making Microsoft SharePoint a simple yet powerful platform to work with.
    With no further ado, let’s go over some of the key benefits from this update.

    How is This Done?

    Microsoft shares the exact process of embedding on their official blog post. For a quick run down, the procedure is pretty straightforward. It’s as effortless as publishing a report, adding the Power BI web part to your SharePoint Online page, and pasting the URL of your report when directed to do so.

    To the Rescue

    The ability to not only visualize data but to also share it with your organization in a seamless user experience is exactly what this integration is all about. Microsoft is giving every SharePoint-using corporation the insight it needs to strategically communicate and disseminate vital information.

                                                                      Image Source: static.pexels.com

    Another accessibility feature that’s mentioned within the article is this idea of convenience through a single sign-on. Taken straight out from the official release blog:
    “…a core focus of our web part is seamless integration with SharePoint Online to achieve a single sign-on experience. The web part works with new authentication features in SharePoint Online available now within the 365 First Release program. The new authentication capabilities enable the Power BI web part to use single sign-on – so by default users will not be prompted to sign-in to Power BI. Multi-factor authentication may require the user to sign-in again, if they didn’t use a security device when signing in to SharePoint.”
    This is just frosting on the cake of simplicity. In addition, Microsoft has ensured that all security checks are applied to reports. This includes enforcing data security through Power BI itself, almost guaranteeing secure internal portals for the enterprise to show data. With highly sensitive information being displayed, it only makes sense that reports won’t be automatically available for everyone.
    There is one drawback, however. According to Microsoft: “The Power BI report web part requires all the viewers to have a Power BI Pro license. If your users don’t have a Pro license, they’ll be directed to PowerBI.com where they can enroll or start a Pro trial.”
    If this stays this way, it can mean fewer users who get to experience this new feature from Microsoft.

    The Wrap Up

    These latest SharePoint updates lead us to believe that Microsoft is attempting to make our lives simpler, one renovation at a time. If they can change the Pro license requirement, this web part can and will be an integral part of our data representation techniques.

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