3 Reasons Your Employees Need You to Switch to Office 365

Continuous product upgrades, robust security and IT controlare the obvious advantages from an IT organization perspective to move to Office365. But here are some reasons from your employee’s perspective for you to move…

This article excerpt, by Business 2 Community author Buddy Marti, originally appeared here: http://www.business2community….

We can’t really it hammer it home any more than we have – it would benefit your business to switch to Office 365. With rare exception, we’re recommending Office 365 to most of our small and medium-sized business clients. In fact, we’ve been talking about it for quite some time on the blog. If you’ve been considering a migration because of licensing or equipment costs – know that there’s another reason to consider it: your employees. Check out these three reasons your employees need you to switch to Office 365:

  1. They’re fantasizing about destroying your lagging server.
    Your server is getting older and it just isn’t keeping up like it used to. Your employees see it in every click they make. It’s impacting their productivity and they’re thinking of pulling an Office Space and taking it out back with a baseball bat. The only thing worse than losing money due to unproductive employees is losing employees due to outdated technology. Don’t allow your employees to continually become more frustrated. Migrating to Office 365 means a huge load off your server when all your e-mail data moves to the cloud. This will speed your server up, giving your employees faster access to other files and applications on your server in addition to their e-mail service in the cloud. It’s a win-win scenario.
  1. They want to work from home – or anywhere else.
    Your employees don’t like the idea of being chained to their desk. More than ever users are demanding flexibility. They need immediate, speedy access to e-mail from anywhere. They want to be able to get work done from home, at a coffee shop, or while they’re on vacation. An Office 365 migration is going to give them the flexibility they need without having to rely on your local server or internal connection to access their e-mail. Hosted e-mail means that employees can access their e-mail at any computer with a browser, securely, reliably and quickly.
  2. They need Word and PowerPoint on more devices.
    While we went into this in a previous post, we didn’t really outline what this means for your employees. Office 365 comes with licensing for all user mobile devices and smartphones rather than the two-computer limit that Office had previously. This is huge for employees that use tablets, phones or laptops to access presentations, spreadsheets or other Office documents. It means collaborative editing and quickly transitioning from device to device with a user login to access recent documents. Read: increased productivity.

Employee happiness is about more than annual raises and BBQ events. It’s a comprehensive undertaking. Technology plays a massive role in the satisfaction of your employees, and every moment they have to spend working on subpar technology is contributing to their level of engagement with your organization. If you want to employ savvy, quick people, you need innovative, quicker technology. Take a moment and assess the true impact that a transition like this can have on your employees and consider making the switch to Office 365.

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Microsoft Revenue from its Azure services grows by 140%.

MicrosoftAzureBannerBy Chelsey Dulaney


Microsoft Corp. continued an era of renewed vitality in the latest quarter, showing progress in newer cloud-computing services, as well established business lines such as the Windows operating system.

One continuing drag comes from smartphones, a business Microsoft retooled after it wrote down about 80% of its disastrous $9.4 billion purchase of Nokia Corp.’s handset business. Microsoft said phone revenue declined 49% in the second quarter, excluding currency effects, an especially poor showing after repeated efforts to establish a foothold in the phone market.

Microsoft said it brought in $1.3 billion in revenue in the second fiscal quarter from its Surface computing products. That is up 29% from the year-earlier period, excluding negative effects from a stronger U.S. dollar.

The company also showed further growth in cloud services, a term that refers to selling access to software or raw processing power running in Microsoft’s own data centers.

It said all its cloud businesses are running at an annual rate that is 70% higher than the year-earlier period. Revenue from its Azure service, which competes with cloud-based infrastructure services from Amazon.com Inc., grew 140%, the company said.

Microsoft also is showing strength in its traditional business of operating systems for PCs, despite a declining hardware market. The company said its Windows 10 offering, introduced last summer, earlier this month was running on 200 million computers — up from 100 million for the period ended in September, Microsoft said.

“Windows 10 is outpacing adoption of any of our previous operating systems,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive, during a conference call with analysts.

Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets, called demand for Windows 10 “eye-popping.”

Rather than booking revenue from sales of its operating system up front, Microsoft records it gradually, along with deferred revenue generated by the product. As a result, analysts and the company focus on adjusted figures for earnings and revenue.

Microsoft’s profit on that basis rose 8%. Under generally accepted accounting principles, by contrast, its profit declined 15%.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., has suffered as sales of PCs have declined. Gartner Inc. recently estimated that PC shipments fell 8.3% in the fourth quarter. Rival International Data Corp. put the drop at 10.6% and noted that total unit sales in 2015 fell below 300 million for the first time since 2008.

But Amy Hood, Microsoft’s chief financial officer, said Thursday that revenue from selling Windows to PC makers only declined 5% in the period ended in December. A segment called “More Personal Computing,” which includes revenue from Windows and the company’s Surface tablet computer, decreased 2%, excluding currency effects, the company said.

Microsoft said that its “commercial cloud” businesses were running at an annual revenue rate of $9.4 billion as of the second quarter, compared with $5.5 billion for the same period in 2014.

Revenue for a relatively new reporting segment called Intelligent Cloud — which commingles the Azure cloud-computing service with data-center software installed on customers’ computers, as well as support and consulting — grew 11% excluding currency effects, the company said.

Revenue for Microsoft’s productivity segment, which includes the cloud version of Office and a conventional version, rose 5% on a constant-currency basis, Microsoft said.

In all, Microsoft said its second-quarter net income declined to $5 billion, or 62 cents a share, down from $5.86 billion, or 71 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding the effect of revenue deferrals and restructuring charges, adjusted earnings rose to 78 cents from 70 cents a year earlier. Revenue, which fell 10% to $23.8 billion, on an adjusted base rose 3% excluding currency effects.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected adjusted per-share profit of 71 cents and revenue of $25.26 billion

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How growing hybrid cloud usage will double in two years

The hybrid cloud is the combination of a public cloud – from provider such as Microsoft Azure or  Amazon Web Services – with a private cloud platform – one that’s designed for use by a single organization. The public and private cloud infrastructures, which operate independently of each other, communicate over a secured connection.


This article excerpt, by author David Deans, originally appeared here: http://www.cloudcomputing-news…/

Cloud enables IT agility, empowers DevOps teams and helps to transform legacy business models. The fifth annual Future of Cloud Computing survey investigates key trends in corporate cloud usage. This year’s insightful survey findings offer perspective from cloud service practitioners across all industry sectors.

“Cloud has been gaining momentum year­-over-­year since the Future of Cloud Computing survey was launched five years ago. Looking at the adoption rates and trends at such a detailed level, it’s undeniable that the most successful technology leaders of today and tomorrow are scaling in the cloud,” said Jim Moran, General Partner at North Bridge.

“Last year, we discussed the second cloud front and the rise of cloud­-native companies. This year, we’re seeing the pervasiveness of cloud disrupt industries across the board as companies look to maximize and implement cloud as a strategic and integral technology,” Moran added.

“We’re also seeing the emergence of the cloud as the only way businesses can truly get more out of their data including analysing and executing on it in real-­time. This will be a huge opportunity, but as the survey showed, because data rarely moves between clouds companies must first learn how to interconnect disparate data sources into new applications.”

Savvy business leaders are no longer debating whether or not to use cloud, but how pervasively they will use it in their digital transformation plans. The latest survey results highlight record levels of corporate adoption of cloud computing, both for business functions and in areas such as content management and application development in the cloud.

Even the most traditional IT teams are finally evolving. Some are taking back technology strategy from the forward­-looking line of business leaders that led the way to progress. Therefore, North Bridge believes that digital technologies – delivered from the cloud – are becoming differentiating factors for more businesses.

Cloud is the business transformation catalyst

  • Significant processing, systems of engagement and systems of insight are moving to the cloud ­­– 81.3 percent of sales and marketing, 79.9 percent of business analytics, 79.1 percent of customer service and 73.5 percent of HR & Payroll activities have already transitioned to the cloud.
  • IT is moving significant processing to the cloud with 85.9 percent of web content management, 82.7 percent of communications, 80 percent of app development and 78.9 percent of disaster recovery now clou­d-based.
  • While business users have been a fan of cloud’s ease of use, accessibility and scalability since 2011, the importance of cloud agility has jumped from fourth to second in importance within five years.
  • Among all survey respondents, the top inhibitors to cloud adoption are security (45.2%), regulatory/compliance (36%), privacy (28.7%), vendor lock-­in (25.8%) and complexity (23.1%).
  • Concerns regarding interoperability and reliability have fallen off significantly since 2011 (15.7% and 9.9% respectively in 2015). However, the cost of cloud services are now three times as likely to be a concern today, versus five years ago.

Raised expectations for public and hybrid cloud

  • Today, three quarters of company data in significant volumes is living in private or public clouds. However, company data in hybrid cloud systems is forecast to double over the next two years.
  • Corporate cloud computing strategies are focusing on public (up 43.3%) and hybrid (up 19.2%) while private cloud has taken a significant back seat in comparison (down by 48.4%).
  • SaaS is the most pervasive cloud technology used today with a presence in 77.3 percent of all organizations, an increase of 9 percent since 2014.
  • Accordingly, ROI expectations are high with 78 percent expecting to see results within three months. Fifty eight percent expect ROI in less than three months for PaaS services.
  • Among users taking the survey, the biggest factors preventing use of public cloud offerings are security (38.6%), privacy (29.8%) and expertise (22.8%). Regardless, the outlook for ongoing cloud service adoption is very bright.
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Microsoft Slashes Prices on Select Azure VMs

Microsoft just announced price reductions up to 17% on the latest version of the popular Azure D-series virtual machines. The Dv2 Virtual Machines are based on the newest generation Intel Xeon processors sport 35% faster CPUs than D “v1” virtual machines.
The below table shows the price reductions using Azure’s US East 2 region as an example. The Dv2 price reductions will take effect early February.


It is worthwhile to note that the:-

  1. Azure Dv2 instances have load balancing and auto-scaling built-in at no additional charge,
  2. and Azure virtual machine usage is billed on per-minute rate so you only pay for the compute that you use.
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8 Cloud Computing Resolutions for 2016

While 2015 marked the moment when cloud became the go-to platform for enterprise applications and data, there’s still plenty of maturing to go. Here’s what we expect to see from cloud computing in 2016.

While hybrid clouds saw tremendous adoption rates in the enterprise this year, in 2016 hybrid will become the new normal for enterprise infrastructure. Gartner’s Ed Anderson recently said, “I start to think of a multi-cloud environment as a foundation for a next wave of applications.” 

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Cloud 9 Infosystems wishes everyone

Happy Holidays

and a very

Happy New Year!



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Azure App Services 101

Lee Grant – Principal Architect, Cloud 9 Infosystems

At this year’s Build Conference Microsoft introduced the latest technology for developing PaaS (Platform as a Service) solution in Microsoft Azure. This technology is called App Services. App Services integrate everything you need to build apps for multiple platforms (including mobile devices). An App Service is a single instance that integrates Azure Websites, Azure Mobile Services and Azure BizTalk Services. This blog posting will give an overview of each subservice type contained in App Services.

App Services are made up of 4 App Types:

  • Web Apps (Formerly Azure Websites (formerly Azure Web Roles))
  • API Apps –Cloud Rest API’s
  • Mobile Apps – Formerly Azure Mobile Services
  • Logic Apps – Automate apps and data without writing code.

Web Apps

Web Apps allow developers to easily create and deploy Web applications to Microsoft Azure. These apps can be created using ASP.NET MVC, PHP or JavaScript technologies. The applications can easily be deployed via Visual Studio, PowerShell or with GitHub. The app can be “web page” applications or Web Services. These applications can be configured for multiple deployment slots (production, staging, dev, test) and configured for autoscaling.

API Apps

API apps are a good way to deploy a cloud based API to be consumed by both Azure and on-premises applications. In fact if you write what you think would be a good general purpose API, you can make it available on the Azure Marketplace for others to use. Also access control has been made much easier and allows for security in your API (as well as all other App Services)

Mobile Apps

Mobile Apps bring scalable globally available mobile application platform to developers. We can now build native and cross platform solutions for our enterprise. These solutions can be connected or run disconnected for later synchronization with the Mobile services in Azure. This is a rebranding and improvement to what had been known as Azure Mobile Services.

Logic Apps

Logic apps allow you to create logical workflows in the Cloud. You can consume your own custom API’s or API’s that are available in the Azure Marketplace (Connectors). These connectors are available for many well-known cloud services (e.g. Twilio for sending SMS messages to one or millions of users). These apps can be built within the new Azure Portal without writing any code.

App Service Plans

App Service plans are the pricing tiers you share across your App Services. One or more App Service Plans are grouped within a resource group. Resource groups are a recent addition to Azure and should be used to logically group your solutions in the Cloud. Where, in the past you would pick an instance size for each cloud service (Web Role, Worker Role, etc). Now the instance size is chosen at the App Service Plan level. Azure handles the SLA for these and you are free to adjust the instance level at will with zero downtime.

This blog post as been in quick overview of Azure App Services. Later posts offer a deep dive into each App type in Azure App services. For Microsoft’s official documentation on Azure App Services please go to the following link: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/app-service-value-prop-what-is/

Please check back here for new postings.

About the Author 

Lee Grant is a Principal Architect at Cloud 9 Infosystems. He is based in Western New York. Lee has been doing development and software engineering/architecture in the Microsoft ecosystem for over 25 years. He is a former member of the Azure and Windows High Performance Computing team at Microsoft. Lee currently focuses on Microsoft Azure development, particularly Web Services in the cloud.

When not at the keyboard Lee enjoys reading, hiking and riding his motorcycle.


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