Microsoft pledges ‘cloud computing for public good’

Posted by on Jan 20, 2016 in Cloud Solutions for Business, Cloud Solutions for NonProfit, Office365 | 0 comments

 

Computing giant Microsoft has pledged to provide $1bn-worth (£700m) of cloud computing resources to organisations it deems to be working for the “public good”.

The resources will be shared out over the next three years to about 70,000 non-profits and 900 university research projects.

In simplest terms, cloud computing is the term given to storing data on the internet, rather than on a local computer.

As well as making data more easily accessible, the added promise for non-profits is that the resources will provide vast amounts of computing power that would ordinarily be out of reach for all but the biggest businesses.

In a blog post explaining the initiative, Microsoft’s chief legal officer Brad Smith wrote: “Cloud services can unlock the secrets held by data in ways that create new insights and lead to breakthroughs, not just for science and technology, but for addressing the full range of economic and social challenges and the delivery of better human services.”

The crunching of so-called “big data” is seen as a major opportunity for non-profits dealing in social issues that pose a cumbersome problem without the kind of processing power cloud computing can provide.

In that respect, Microsoft’s pledge isn’t for a tangible product, or cash, but instead access to servers and services that normal businesses would need to pay considerable fees for.

The money will also be spent on improving “last mile” internet connectivity – the hope is countries that are under connected will begin to enjoy some of the luxuries more developed internet nations have – such as broadband at home.

Tough crowd

Other companies, particularly Facebook, have pursued similar goals.

Facebook’s Internet.org project is investing in connectivity technologies – such as drones – to fill that last mile, helping what founder Mark Zuckerberg refers to as the “next billion” people to access the web.

However, initiatives such as this aren’t always so well received. Facebook’s Free Basics scheme, in which certain mobile sites were accessible for free, has caused uproar in India, where local businesses say Facebook is giving itself an unfair advantage over local competitors.

Microsoft will invariably be hit with the same accusation – that a donation over three years will be made in the hope that organisations will become ingrained in the Microsoft cloud ecosystem for many more years to come.

That said, Microsoft boss Satya Nadella has gained considerable applause for his continually expressed desire to use Microsoft’s immense size and wealth in developing countries, including his native India.

As well as being a guest of Michelle Obama at the recent State of the Union address, the 48-year-old is attending the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, seeking to stress Microsoft’s potential to provide computing power for initiatives beyond big business.

In a blog post published on Wednesday, he wrote: “If cloud computing is one of the most important transformations of our time, how do we ensure that its benefits are universally accessible?

“What if only wealthy societies have access to the data, intelligence, analytics and insights that come from the power of mobile and cloud computing?”

Read More

What’s New and Improved in Office 2016

Posted by on Oct 8, 2015 in Office365 | 0 comments

What’s New and Improved in Office 2016

It’s here! If you’re currently running Office 2013 and have an Office 365 subscription, you can update to the latest version now.

Need to install Office 2016? If you’re an Office 365 Home, Personal, or University subscriber, learn more about how to upgrade to Office 2016. If you’re an Office 365 for Business subscriber, learn more about how to get the new apps.

If you want to learn more about what’s new in a particular app, click its icon below.

 
Co-Authoring

In Word and PowerPoint

Work with others simultaneously on a document regardless of the device you're using.

Learn more about co-authoring in Word and PowerPoint
Simplified Sharing

In Word, PowerPoint, and Excel

Just click the Share button in the Ribbon for easy sharing right from your Office documents. See who has access to a given document and who is currently working in the document, and change individual authoring permissions for any document you own.

Learn more about sharing in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel
Shared Notebooks

In OneNote

Collect any and all relevant information (e.g., photos, videos, clippings, drawings,...) in one central location, work with others, and watch the app sync changes within seconds.

Learn more about sharing a OneNote notebook with other people
Real-Time Typing

In Word

As you collaborate with others in a document, see where others are working and view their edits as they happen.
Modern Attachments

In Outlook

Attach a document from your recent items and share them from OneDrive or SharePoint with email recipients. Also configure sharing permissions so that all the recipients have access to the attached file without having to leave the app.

Learn more about attaching a file to an email
Mail Triage

In Outlook

The Clutter feature learns how you prioritize your mail and then helps you by putting low priority messages in a separate folder (while still giving you a daily summary so you don't miss anything). When on the go, you can also take advantage of this capability by using the Focused Inbox.

Learn more about using Clutter to sort low priority messages
Improved Version History

In Word, PowerPoint, and Excel

Refer back to previous snapshots and earlier drafts of documents during the editing process as you collaborate with others.

Learn more about viewing historical versions of Office files
One-Click Forecasting

In Excel

With one simple click, create forecast charts based on historical data and predict future trends. This new capability uses the industry standard Exponential Smoothing (ETS) algorithm to give you reliable forecasting data.

Learn more about creating a forecast
New Chart Types

In Word, PowerPoint, and Excel

Visualize financial or hierarchical data, and highlight statistical properties of your data with new chart types: Treemap, Waterfall, Pareto, Histogram, Box and Whisker, and Sunburst.
Export Data Source Information to Excel

In Access

Get a list of all the linked data sources from your Access database application into Excel for reference.

Learn more about exporting linked data source information to Excel
More Flexible Timelines

In Project

Not only leverage multiple timelines to illustrate different phases or categories of work, but also set the start and end dates for each timeline separately, to paint a clearer overall picture of the work involved.

Learn more about creating multiple timelines.
Better Control over Resource Scheduling

In Project

Negotiate an agreement, called a resource engagement, to make sure that resources with limited availability are being used appropriately and effectively throughout your organization.

Learn more about resource engagements.
Improved Data Connectivity

In Visio Professional

Connecting your diagram to Excel data is now just one step away. Make sure there is a one-to-one match between values in an Excel column and the text for each shape on the diagram, and simply click Quick Import on the Data tab.
Modern Shapes

In Visio

Take advantage of the many redesigned shapes that are now available. In Visio Professional, the Basic Electrical template now has shapes that are compliant with the IEEE standard. In Visio Standard, the Office Layout shapes have been updated. Also check out the Starter diagrams to quickly get going.
Better Together with Windows 10

In Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Mail, Calendar, and OneNote

Take the Office mobile apps for a spin and find out why they are the perfect option for on-the-go productivity. They help you do great work anywhere, anytime, with documents in full fidelity across all your Windows 10 devices.
Office Themes

In Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, Access, Project, Visio, and Publisher

Pick the Office theme that's right for you. The Dark Gray theme provides a high contrast look and feel that is easy on the eyes. The Colorful theme offers a modern and fresh look. The White theme provides a traditional Office look.

Learn more about changing the Office theme
Tell Me

In Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, Project, Visio, and Access

Simply type what you want to do in the app using your own words, and then Tell Me will guide through the process as well as offer additional resources.

Learn more about doing things quickly with Tell Me
Smart Lookup

In Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook

Fact-check or explore terms in your documents with Bing-powered Smart Lookup. Simply highlight terms in your document and use this feature to bring in search results from the web right into your reading or authoring environment.

Learn more about getting insights into what you're working on
OneDrive Integration

In Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, and Outlook

Access your Office documents from anywhere and any device by saving them to OneDrive, pick up anywhere you left off, and co-author with others from the comfort of your office or home, or even on the go.

Learn more about saving documents online.
Skype Integration

Use Skype to check in and collaborate with someone using Instant Messaging (IM), voice, video, or screen sharing. Also join online meetings while on the go using the Skype for Business mobile app. See who is online, IM meeting participants, and follow along when a presenter shares his screen - all from your tablet or phone.
Cross-Platform, Cross-Device

In Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, and Outlook

Easily switch from one device to the next without missing a beat. View and edit your Office documents across Windows, Android, and Apple devices. Review, edit, analyze, and present with a consistent look and familiar user experience across your devices.

Applies To: Project Professional 2016, Publisher 2016, PowerPoint 2016, Visio Standard 2016, Outlook 2016, Visio Professional 2016, Office 2016, Access 2016, OneNote 2016, Project Standard 2016, Excel 2016, Word 2016

Read More

Proudly Announcing The Release of Springboard!

Posted by on Aug 7, 2015 in Cloud Solutions for Business, Cloud Solutions for NonProfit, Cloud Tutorials, Dynamics CRM Online, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, Office365 | 0 comments

 

Springboard has been designed to provide rapid implementation and value. The powerful and flexible nature of MS Dynamics CRM often has clients unsure of where to start and that’s where Springboard comes in!

From our experience and knowledge of CRM software we have designed a new product aimed to assist SMBs and small companies. We have used our knowledge of CRM to come up with a pre-configured system that has the added ability to be customisable, giving business exactly what they need. With a scalable packaged product we will be providing business’s access to a CRM system with: a set price, integration with Office applications, quick deployment and sales automation to name just a few benefits.

Our aim is to make the benefits of CRM accessible to any organisation in any sector, whilst providing connectivity to external services like websites as well as integrating with a business’s current systems.

Register your interest here

Read More

Join Cloud2020 for Future Decoded 2015 – Fully Booked

Posted by on Jul 17, 2015 in Behind The Scenes, Cloud Solutions for Business, Cloud Solutions for NonProfit, Cloud Tutorials, Dynamics CRM Online, Events, Office365 | 0 comments

As a valued Cloud2020 customer, we’d like to invite you to this year’s premier Microsoft technology event: Future Decoded. The event will play host to 10,000 of the brightest Decision Makers, Developers and IT Pros from across UK and Europe.

Attendees will be taken on a journey to decode the future of business and technology whilst gaining tangible insights on making sense of the latest social and economic advancements.

There are two full-day events to choose from:

Tuesday 10th November: “The Business Day”  Click here for the Agenda and to find out more.
Wednesday 11th November: “The Technical Day” Click here for the Agenda and to find out more.

We’d be delighted if you could join the Cloud2020 team at either, or both!  We’ll also be announcing, a little closer to the time, Cloud2020 specific events which will give is the opportunity to thank you for your business.

 

In the meantime, please do get in touch if you want to discuss anything else.

Thanks for reading!

Lucy | Account Manager @ Cloud2020

Read More

20 Awesome features of Office365

Posted by on Jun 25, 2015 in Cloud Solutions for Business, Cloud Solutions for NonProfit, Cloud Tutorials, Office365 | 0 comments

We know many of you are already massive ambassadors for Office365 and the myriad features that are included but often I have clients say to me: “I don’t know what I don’t know!”

Well, this blog post aims to get over that issue – so, grab a coffee and take a few moments out to read our top 20 favourite AWESOME features of Office365… you won’t be disappointed!

Office 365 for Business offers many features (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc) that you maybe familiar with, plus additional tools to help you collaborate and be more productive. What does that mean? In short, Office isn’t now constrained to well, your office! From PC, Tablet to Phone you can access, edit, collaborate and save your files across devices and when on the go.

 

1. On or Offline Flexibility:

Yes that’s right you don’t have to be connected to the internet to use it. Use the available applications offline.

2. Unlimited Storage and Collaboration:

With the click of a button you can quickly and securely share files with people inside and outside your business with OneDrive for Business, from securely sharing and fine tuning a customer proposal to multiple people collaborating on the same presentation. That’s not all, Office 365 Business users get Unlimited OneDrive for Business Storage.

3. Notes to Never forget:

Create, read and share your notes across all your devices wherever you are with OneNote. For example, one person taking meeting minutes can share these automatically with all meeting attendees who can then view on whatever device they are using (See our favourite hacks for OneNote).

4. Capture and convert to digital:

Sketch your ideas and snap a picture for later. Don’t lose receipts or stray sticky notes again! Always find important documents or business cards. Office Lens is like having a scanner in your pocket. Like magic, it digitises notes of all kinds, even on whiteboards or blackboards.

 

Cloud2020 |Skype for Business

5. Professional Video Conferencing included:

As much as I’d like to use tech for EVERYTHING, I do appreciate that there will always be the necessity for Face to Face meetings, but sometimes time and costs mean these just aren’t viable. Skype For Business provides the flexibility for you to offer your customers/clients the option for a video conference where you can present, collaborate – do pretty much everything you would be able to do if you were face to face!

6. Instant Messaging (IM) and Presence:

We’re now able to quickly see who is available online and easily invite them to attend a meeting using the IM and Presence feature in Skype for Business, even if they are a normal Skype user.

7. Reply to Emails without opening them:

With Outlook in Office 365 you can reply in-line to emails without even opening the email. Helping you to quickly view & respond to messages without having to separately open up every email.

8. Never forget to attach a file:

Forgotten to attach a file? Not a problem, with Outlook in Office 365 for Business an automatic reminder will tell you before you send that important email to a customer.

(If you’re anything like me, you’ll see this notification 100s of times a day!

9. Calendar Peek:

Use the popular ‘peek trick’ in Outlook to glance at your calendar without moving away from the email or task you are working on.

 

Right! we’re half way… don’t give up now, I know there’s a whole bunch more features you’re just going to loveeee….

 

10. Resume on any device:

The resume reading feature in in Word allows you to pick up where you left off, even on a different devices! Word 2013 automatically bookmarks the last place you were reading…no loss in concentration.

11. Just Share:

You can share your documents online with people who don’t even have Office installed themselves. They have the option to view it in a browser with Office Online.

Check out this video to get started:

12. Create Professional Looking Documents:

Microsoft Sway makes it simple to create and share polished, professionally designed, interactive content such as presentations, sales documents, tenders, online sales and marketing materials (saving your business money not having to pay an agency). Business features include instant co-authoring, creation of interactive charts and the ability to embed Office documents (such as Excel charts and graphs).

 

13. Showcase Data:

The Auto chart feature in Excel makes designing charts and analysing your data easy as well as offering options to help you illustrate your data! Getting closer interpreting & taking action not just looking at data.

14. Ditch the Macro:

Since I was told about ‘Flash Fill’ I haven’t been able to imagine how I lived without it! This tool learns and remembers data calculations so you can populate the rest of your data as you go along with no need for complicated macros, retyping 100 lines or calculations…

 

5. AutoPivot:

Manage your accounts/reporting with Autopivot tables in Excel. With these you can summarise your data and analyse it quickly and effectively making your day to day finance and reporting tasks soooo much easier!

16. Prepping a Slick Pitch:

PowerPoint templates and alignment guides can help you intuitively design and style professional and unique presentations perfect for those pitches. Don’t forget to enable “Presenter mode” for the full power of ppts (read on for more!)

 17. Present/Pitch with Confidence:

Presenter mode in PowerPoint enables you to nail that pitch, by projecting your presentation in a customer meeting with clients seeing the presentation, but you seeing your own reading notes as well as which slide is next and how long you’ve presented for.

18. Tweak those docs on the move:

Save a presentation in OneDrive for Business or SharePoint online and then feel free to edit those last bits whilst on the move on your mobile device. And if your battery dies and you forget your charger, don’t worry, use another device to access your presentation and present from there…

19. Working on a project together? Collaboration Central:

With the web app co-authoring tool, a team of people can work on the same document at the same time, in a browser or in the local application – getting more done, together, quicker!

20. No more Squinting:

Can’t see that teeny data in the chart in a PowerPoint presentation? With Slide Zoom tool you can smoothly zoom in and out or diagrams providing emphasis to charts or graphics on any slide.

You made it! thanks for sticking with it, I sure hope you have got some tips on how to best use your Office365 tools.  (as many of you know, I could talk all day about these topics, but I’ve kept it as short as possible!)

Don’t forget, you can get in touch here if you have any questions. Thanks for reading! Lucy @Cloud2020

 

 

Read More