Here’s what’s new in the latest update to Skype on Windows 10

By Vicky Gkiza as written on blogs.windows.com
Today, we’re excited to roll out an update to the Skype app on Windows 10 which makes it easier for you to stay in touch with friends from your Windows 10 devices.
With the new update, you can easily share your files to Skype, react to messages, and get to your calls and conversations faster than ever. Let’s take a look at what’s new in this update:

Get to your calls and conversations faster

Get to your calls and conversations faster

In the first in a set of updates we’ll be making, the new look helps you get to your calls and conversations faster – you can now start new conversations, see your profile and visit the dial pad from the top of your recent conversations.

Share photos, videos and more directly to Skype

Share photos, videos and more directly to Skype

Now you can easily share files, videos, photos, links and more directly to Skype from your Windows 10 PC – just click on the Windows share charm, and select Skype.

New message reactions

New message reactions

By simply tapping on the reaction icon next to any message or video call, you can now easily express how you feel at any time.
We’re excited to share these new features to make it easier than ever for you to stay in touch with friends from your Windows 10 devices. To learn more about the new Skype, check out the Skype blog!

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Quorum reimagines the possibilities of oil and gas with Microsoft

As written on customers.microsoft.com
Quorum powers the oil and gas industry with cutting-edge software solutions built on a Microsoft-centric framework. Their software platform is used across every step of the energy cycle from well to burner. Quorum is leveraging their partnership with Microsoft to drive a new paradigm in the industry. With the full suite of Microsoft products including Azure, Surface Hubs, and Skype for Business, the company is able to stay at the forefront of innovation and deliver a seamless experience for all users.
Quorum has a history of innovation. For 20 years the company has been automating workflows and business processes for the oil and gas, renewable energy, and natural resources industries. Their software platform, built on a Microsoft-centric framework, has enabled them to successfully complete 1,500 deployments and projects for hundreds of customers.
Today, that software platform— designed to deliver both optimal efficiencies and maximized profits—boasts tens of thousands of users. Their solutions are used by all of the major energy companies across every step of the process, from well to burner.
“We’re about five to seven years ahead in terms of innovation and cloud enablement.” says Olivier Thierry, Quorum’s Chief Marketing Officer. With 17 of the top 20 E&P companies and 85% market share in midstream, the company is successfully transitioning current customers to its mobile-first myQuorum platform; migrating them to the cloud with cloud-enabled premium service offerings.

A Long-term Partnership

Quorum and Microsoft have a long history of working together. With the full suite of Microsoft products, Quorum stays at the forefront of product innovation to stay on top of their own digital transformation. Delivering insights through data, replacing a huge paper trail for greater efficiency, and providing a consumer-like experience appeals to a new generation of professionals and enables the company to deliver more innovation to its customers.
Watch the video and learn how Quorum uses the Microsoft technology stack to drive new user experiences.

The Hub of innovation and productivity

Now that they have enabled their customers to become more productive and mobile, Quorum wanted to help their own employees realize the same benefits. The ability to harness the power of technology to bring together geographically dispersed teams, share and collaborate on projects and documents, and stay up-to-speed on technology updates led them to Microsoft’s Surface hub. Because it’s so intuitive, user adoption is high and has had a profound impact on the team. Another plus? Quorum realizes significant savings with the Surface Hub versus traditional videoconferencing and content sharing solutions.
See how Quorum users interact and leverage Surface Hubs to deliver efficiency and collaboration.

New Opportunities Through Cutting-edge Technology

There’s little question that the oil and gas industry is changing. Long time employees are retiring, the cultural mindset and reliance on fossil fuels has evolved, and the economics of hydrocarbons are shifting. Taking advantage of the entire Microsoft technology stack—such as Microsoft Azure, SQL Server, Windows 10, Office 365, Surface devices, and Cortana Intelligence—their software is helping oil and gas companies navigate these changes more efficiently and effectively. Being ahead of the curve has Quorum prepared for when the IoT wave hits oil and gas.
With the help of Microsoft technologies, Quorum customers are reimagining the possibilities in the oil and gas industry and discovering previously unconsidered efficiencies. “There is so much we can do together to drive digital transformation to the oil and gas sector,” Theirry says of Quorum’s partnership with Microsoft. “And we are starting to lead that digital transformation.”


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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]As written by Ryan Fuller on blogs.office.com

Microsoft Workplace Analytics—a powerful new organizational analytics solution—is now generally available as an add-on to any Office 365 enterprise plan.

According to a recent Forrester report, increasing employee productivity is the number one priority for C-level executives in the next year, with 96 percent of respondents citing it as a critical or high imperative. Workplace Analytics provides unprecedented behavioral insights that can be used to improve productivity, workforce effectiveness and employee engagement.

New insights from Office 365

Workplace Analytics taps into Office 365 email and calendar metadata, including to/from data, subject lines and timestamps, to shine a light on how the organization collaborates and spends time. It turns this digital exhaust—the data that comes naturally from our everyday work—into a set of behavioral metrics that can be used to understand what’s going on in an organization.[/vc_column_text][grve_single_image image="17404"][vc_column_text]Microsoft has enabled Workplace Analytics with built-in privacy and compliance capabilities. Customers own their Office 365 data and decide how to apply insights generated by Workplace Analytics to solve tough business challenges. Workplace Analytics only leverages metadata that is aggregated and de-identified.

Workplace Analytics was designed with the flexibility to address a broad range of strategic and organizational culture-based initiatives. Let’s take a look at a few ways customers are using Workplace Analytics:

Sales productivity

A sales organization in a Fortune 500 company used Workplace Analytics to identify the collaborative patterns of top performers and then scaled those behaviors to the broader sales organization—resulting in a significant increase in sales. Some of these insights were expected, like the amount of time spent with customers. But others were new, like the size of the person’s internal network, which may be an indicator of the salesperson’s ability to get answers and solve customer questions.

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Manager effectiveness

Freddie Mac used Workplace Analytics to drive a cultural change with managers. In looking at how time-usage metrics are related to engagement and retention, they found that the behaviors of managers were pivotal in determining employee engagement and retention. Behaviors, such as 1:1 manager time, level of leadership exposure given to employees and the degree to which work can be distributed evenly across an organization, are measurable through Workplace Analytics.

Space planning

The collaboration insights from Workplace Analytics were used by an organization to partner with its commercial real estate company, CBRE, to do space planning. They analyzed the metadata attached to employee calendar items to calculate the travel time associated with meetings. They found that as a result of the relocation, each employee reduced their travel time to meetings by 46 percent—resulting in a combined total of 100 hours saved per week across all 1,200 employees involved in the move.

Customized queries

Every organization has unique business questions, which is why we’ve included the ability to create custom queries directly within Workplace Analytics. Data analysts can choose from a unique set of collaboration metrics to explore activities and trends within the business, including time spent in email, time in meetings, after-hours time and network size. Analysts can also create custom queries and filter to aggregated population subsets including regions, roles and functions.

“Workplace Analytics is becoming an essential part of our toolkit,” said Tom Springer, partner at Bain. “It shows us where and how our clients are deploying their scarcest resources: the time, talent and energy of their people. Workplace Analytics consistently yields unique insights into resource allocation, collaboration behaviors and organizational networks. We integrate these insights with broader perspectives on strategy, operating model and results delivery to help our clients organize for maximum productivity.”

Building a digital, data-driven enterprise

At Microsoft, Workplace Analytics has yielded significant insights. “We believe building a true digital, data-driven enterprise requires organizations to empower and connect their people across everything—people, processes, data and systems,” said Kathleen Hogan, chief people officer at Microsoft. “Our HR Business Insights group is using Workplace Analytics across a variety of initiatives—from understanding the behaviors driving increased employee engagement, to identifying the qualities of top-performing managers who are leading Microsoft’s cultural transformation from within. We believe people analytics is a competitive necessity for any HR team.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_row_inner css=".vc_custom_1534362068036{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;padding-left: 20px !important;}"][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]

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Invite Users to access Dynamics 365 with the Azure Active Directory business-to-business (B2B)

As written on blogs.msdn.microsoft.com
You can invite other users to access your Dynamics 365 CRM (online) instance.  Your Office 365 Global admin can do this through the Azure portal.  Invited users can access your Dynamics 365 CRM (online) instance using their own login credentials once a Dynamics 365 license and a security role are assigned to them.  You don’t need to create a new user ID and temporary password for these invited users in your own Office 365 tenant.

Invite a user

Users can be added into Dynamics 365 through the Azure Active Directory B2B user collaboration.  Global Admins and limited admins can use the Azure portal to invite B2B collaboration users to the directory, to any security group or to any application. Admins can use one of the following methods to invite B2B users to their Dynamics 365 instance:

Assign invited users a Dynamics 365 license and security role

Your invited users can start using your Dynamics 365 instance once a Dynamics 365 license and a security role are assigned to them. For complete instructions, see Invite users to Dynamics 365 with Azure Active Directory B2B.


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Azure Autoscale - Managed Solution

Manage your business needs with new enhancements in Azure Autoscale

By Ashwin Kamath as written on azure.microsoft.com
Automatically scaling out or scaling in applications to handle the demands of your business is an essential element of the cloud strategy. Azure’s Autoscale service empowers you to automatically scale your compute and App Service workloads based on user-defined rules regarding metric conditions, time/date schedules, or both. Azure Autoscale is available for Classic Cloud Services, Virtual Machine Scale Sets (VMSS) and App Services. Today we are excited to announce a host of improvements to Autoscale, including faster auto scaling, simplified configuration, the ability to scale by a custom metric using Application Insights, and more troubleshooting information available in the Activity Log.

Faster Autoscale

Classic Cloud Services: The Classic Virtual Machine infrastructure that powers Classic Cloud Services now supports more reliable, host-level metrics via the Azure Monitor metric pipeline. Because of this, an Autoscale setting can now be set to have as low as a five-minute time window to activate (previously we recommended a time window of no less than 30 minutes). With this, you can now do faster and more reliable auto scaling. If you have a Classic Cloud Service Autoscale setting where you wish to take advantage of the improved scaling, please update it with a shorter time window (as low as five minutes).
VMSS and App Services: The Autoscale engine for VMSS and App Services can also now trigger scale actions faster. The new engine is tuned to check for your metric based rules every minute, thereby enabling the ability to scale your instances as early as 1 minute after a metric value crosses the threshold set in an Autoscale setting. To take advantage of the faster Autoscale, please update your existing autoscale setting. All new Autoscale settings created or updated on VMSS or App Services after May 10th will automatically use the new engine.

Simplified management experience in the portal

Based on your feedback, we made it easier to discover and manage Autoscale settings in the portal. Autoscale settings can now be accessed directly from within the Azure Monitor blade, use a completely re-vamped configuration blade, and enable you to easily see the full template in JSON or scale action history for that setting. Learn more about how to get started with Autoscale today.
Autoscale monitor Autoscale setting

Figure 1. the new tab within Azure Monitor for accessing and managing Autoscale settings.

Figure 2. the simplified Autoscale blade with options to view scale action history, view the JSON object and edit notifications.

Autoscale using custom metrics

One of our top customer asks was to be able to Autoscale based on a custom, user-defined metric, and we’ve now enabled it using Application Insights. This new capability is available now and enables you to scale Classic Cloud Service, VMSS or App Service workloads by any Azure Monitor based metric or custom and application metrics collected by Application Insights, Azure’s application performance management service. Here is a sample of an Autoscale setting that allows you to scale your Web API app based on a custom metric ingested to Application Insights. This ability to Autoscale via Application Insights based metrics is now available in public preview, please try this out and share your feedback.

Autoscale setting 2

Figure 3. the ability to select Application Insights as a source of metrics and the ability to select a standard or user-defined metric by which scaling will occur.

Improved Autoscale troubleshooting

The Autoscale engine logs an event in Activity Log every time it triggers a scale action, however, the target resource that is being scaled out or in can take the time to complete the scale action. It is important to know when the scale action completes or reports as failed so that you can take automated actions on the resource. To support this, the Autoscale engine now generates a scale action result event when the underlying target service completes the action or reports it as failed. This scale result event is also logged in the Activity Log and includes valuable information about why your Autoscale event failed. We’ve also introduced a new Autoscale Activity Log category so that you can easily filter to view only Autoscale-related events. You can leverage the new Activity Log Alerts to receive notifications or take automated actions via webhooks and Azure Automation, Logic Apps or Functions. This feature is now enabled for Cloud Services, VMSS and App Services.

Autoscale monitor 2

Figure 4. A view of Activity Logs filtered by Autoscale events, listing the Autoscale trigger action and result event.

Wrapping Up

These new capabilities in Azure Autoscale enable you to efficiently leverage the compute power of Azure to scale your applications to best suit your growing business needs. We are eager to hear your feedback to inform our future work on Autoscale. Please try these new features and let us know what you think. Also be sure you’re getting the most out of this feature by checking out our Autoscale best practices, and most common autoscale patterns.

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thread manufacturer - managed solution

Thread manufacturer spins its future in the cloud

Coats, the world’s leading industrial thread manufacturer, has made the Microsoft cloud the linchpin of its strategy to transform its business for a data-driven age. Coats is moving all its datacenter assets into Microsoft Azure, including its production SAP HANA systems, to gain elasticity, vastly improve performance, and lower costs. Its 7,000 employees with access to Microsoft Office 365 use it to share and make sense of information across different locations and time zones. The technology team supports anywhere, any device productivity by securing applications and data with the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security suite. By adopting Azure and Office 365, Coats can now explore new Microsoft cloud services such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to transform its products, optimize operations, empower employees, and interact with customers.
On the surface, Coats could be mistaken for a traditional manufacturing company. It was founded during the Industrial Revolution and still has factories filled with large-scale thread-making, dyeing, and winding machinery. But you don’t survive for more than 260 years without keeping up with the times. And Coats has proved adept at looking beyond spinning spindles and seeing that its business is about far more than making thread. It’s about using information to solve customer problems.

How to stay relevant for more than 260 years

Coats makes thread. Lots of thread. Every week, 1 billion tea bags are brewed using Coats thread. Every month, Coats produces enough thread to stretch all the way to the sun. Each year, Coats makes enough thread to go into 8 billion pairs of jeans—a pair for every person on the planet. Making that much thread, from a diverse range of materials in every conceivable color, is a huge manufacturing challenge.
Coats can trace its origins back to the 1750s and is proud of its rich heritage, including, for example, the fact that in 1879, Thomas Edison used Coats thread in his experiments to invent the light bulb. The company has grown over the centuries and is today the world’s leading industrial thread manufacturer. It also provides complementary, value-added products and services to the apparel and footwear industries. In addition, it applies innovative techniques to develop high-tech performance-materials threads and yarns in areas such as automotive and fibre optics products.
When it comes to technology, Coats has traditionally focused on keeping its manufacturing equipment and processes up-to-date because, after all, manufacturing was its core business. About five years ago, however, with the rise of big data, a new reality began to set in: Coats was really in the information business. “We realized that our future lay in the smart use of data, to create more-intelligent manufacturing processes, to reduce manufacturing costs, and to provide more innovative ways to meet customer needs,” says Richard Cammish, Chief Information Officer at Coats. “We needed to transform our information intelligence to create customer solutions faster, cheaper, and better than ever.”
Adds Harold Groothedde, Technology Solutions Director at Coats, “We’ve always been very advanced in manufacturing technology but slower moving in IT operations. In 2013, we still used Lotus Notes for email and had a fragmented desktop environment. With 7,000 of our wired employees spread across multiple locations on six continents and some 60 manufacturing facilities, we sorely needed more empowering communications and collaboration technology. We wanted our employees to share ideas and improvements more frequently and very easily.”
The company’s information technology mantra became “invisible technology, visible performance,” meaning, technology that allows people to work more efficiently without getting in the way.
Coats had state-of-the-art factories around the world, but manufacturing was siloed geographically; products that were manufactured in one country were sold in that country. Coats wanted a more unified view and flexible use of its global manufacturing capacity. Although the company used SAP software to manage manufacturing across some 60 manufacturing sites, it could not easily produce reports across factories, which deprived management of a holistic view of the business. Plus, those SAP reports took hours to generate, which created delays of up to 48 hours in business decisions.
Additionally, the company’s datacenter infrastructure was not agile enough to serve the dynamics of modern markets. Coats needed to spin up customer demonstration environments in hours and to launch test environments so that software developers could play with a new application. But it took weeks to order and provision servers, and it was impossible to scale infrastructure selectively in various locations.
For example, the company was experiencing dynamic growth in China but couldn’t deliver enough web performance for web visitors in China to play online product demonstration videos. Expanding in China also meant offering secure e-commerce services, which was difficult to do.

Ally strategically with Microsoft

Coats made a strategic decision to embrace cloud computing so it could gain the infrastructure elasticity and resilience it needed to run a global business and minimize the time its staff spent on datacenter tasks. “Deploying servers and managing email are not our core competencies,” says Groothedde. “Let someone else take care of that.”
Coats evaluated all the major cloud providers—Amazon, Google, and Microsoft—and felt that Microsoft was the best partner to complement its existing service portfolio and strategic technology direction. “The breadth and scale of the Microsoft cloud was impressive,” says Cammish. “It had Office 365 on the desktop productivity side and Azure on the datacenter side. We could use Azure Active Directory Premium to provide single sign-on for all applications, from email to SAP, which would support our ‘invisible technology’ objective.”
On the datacenter side, Coats has a mixed environment, with applications based on both Windows and the Linux operating system. “We wanted a datacenter provider that could support all our systems,” Groothedde says.
Microsoft committed comprehensive support in getting critical Coats applications such as SAP running in Azure. “The support we’ve received from Microsoft has been phenomenal,” says Cammish. “When you move your technology to a third-party datacenter, it is absolutely critical that you have attentive support in the event that something goes wrong. We got that from Microsoft. For me, as the person accountable for all the technology at Coats, this was very reassuring. Microsoft really cared about our success; this is a fundamental ingredient in any effective partnership and something which the technology industry needs more of.”
Cammish and Groothedde also felt that Azure security was superior to anything they could set up themselves. “From the Office 365 perspective, we knew that Microsoft was best qualified to secure its own products,” Groothedde says. “But on the Azure side, we would be running e-commerce transactions in the cloud, and we had to have ironclad security. We felt that Azure had all the security bases covered.”

Pool ideas, help one another

The company’s first step into the Microsoft cloud was its deployment of Microsoft Office 365 for all 7,000 wired employees. Coats gave these employees cloud-based email (Microsoft Exchange Online) and Internet-based telephony, instant messaging, and video conferencing through Skype for Business Online.
It migrated its 400-plus Lotus Notes applications into Microsoft SharePoint Online, which also became the foundation of the company’s intranet. Employees save files in the cloud, in Microsoft OneDrive for Business, rather than on personal hard drives, and can get to them from any location and device.
“With Office 365, employees can communicate with one another instantly, in any way that suits the need,” Groothedde says. “We’ve been able to connect a workforce fragmented across many sites and time zones in a seamless way. It’s fundamentally changed the way our office workers do business.”
Employees can see from the presence icon whether a colleague is available for contact, send that person an instant message, escalate the conversation to a voice call or video call, and share spreadsheets or manufacturing processes by sharing screens. Having a common, rich communications fabric encourages employees to reach out, ask questions, share ideas, and help one another. Employees in one factory can help colleagues in another factory to set up equipment correctly using “show and tell” video calls. By eliminating waits and miscommunications throughout the day, the whole business speeds up.
Plus, “All these capabilities are standard stuff for millennials, who expect capabilities such as chat and video conferencing at work,” Groothedde adds. “Office 365 has opened up more flexible work options such as home working, which is a hiring and retention advantage.”

Create a skinny infrastructure

The next step was to move nearly its entire datacenter footprint out of third-party datacenters into Microsoft Azure. The company is after what Cammish calls “skinny infrastructure”—with as few moving parts on-site as possible.
“We don’t want to be in the datacenter business; we’re in the thread business,” Cammish says. “We plan to move 90 percent of our global datacenter infrastructure into Azure, and we’re at about 75 percent now. The only things we’ll leave on-site are a few domain controllers and file/print servers.”
Coats gets tremendous economies of scale in Azure, which means significantly lower capital and operating costs and unprecedented levels of agility. Software developers, marketing teams, and customer support teams can spin up compute and storage resources as needed. “With Azure, we get storage and processing capacity on demand, something we didn’t have access to previously, and which now gives us much more operational flexibility and responsiveness,” Cammish says.
The company is moving into the services business, advising customers on their manufacturing processes and helping them predict how much thread they’ll need to manufacture particular garments. Crunching massive amounts of data becomes very complex very fast, and the ability to scale Azure resources lets Coats meet more customer needs. “Azure lets us pour on performance for short periods of time, while we’re giving demos or setting up temporary training and test environments, and then release those resources when we’re done,” Groothedde says. “It’s a very efficient way to operate.”
Great performance, on-demand capacity, and security are all important in supporting the company’s global e-commerce engine, which runs in Azure. Coats can tune e-commerce performance selectively in different Azure datacenters around the world, which has been critical in global expansion, especially in China. “We get consistent levels of infrastructure security with Azure, because we can leverage a wealth of security technologies that Microsoft is constantly improving,” says Groothedde. “We also have fewer endpoints to manage. We use Azure Security Center to monitor our environment, and with it we can be much more responsive when threats are identified.”

SAP HANA on Azure: Speeding up the whole business

For years, Coats used the Oracle database with its SAP applications. However, to improve SAP performance, it decided to switch to the SAP HANA database. Coats consulted with Microsoft about running SAP HANA on Azure, because HANA requires a very specialized server. The company was pleased to find out that Microsoft was just putting the finishing touches on a solution called, appropriately enough, SAP HANA on Azure.
SAP HANA on Azure relies on robust (G-Series) Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Storage, Azure Network and, in Coats’s case, Azure ExpressRoute for even higher-performance connectivity between Coats and global Azure datacenters.
Working with two prime consulting partners—Axians, which helped configure SAP HANA, and Brillio, which configured Coats’s SAP HANA on Azure estate—Coats moved its complex Oracle environment to HANA on Azure. “Moving SAP anywhere is difficult,” says Groothedde. “It’s complex software, and we have more than 180 servers in our environment. But the Microsoft SAP Center of Excellence provided exceptional support, both strategically and tactically, as we worked through various hurdles.”
Microsoft took care of problem escalation with SAP, and Coats had peace of mind in knowing that all of Microsoft’s architectural decisions were vetted by SAP.
With its move of SAP HANA to Azure, Coats racked up another distinction: it was the first organization in the world to run its production SAP HANA software in Azure. That includes four separate instances of the SAP ECC for North America, South America, Europe, and Asia, and a consolidated instance of the enterprise resource planning suite.
The performance boosts from running SAP on HANA in Azure have been remarkable. Transactions times have been reduced considerably in many cases. Reports that previously took 6 hours to produce now take 6 minutes. “By moving SAP HANA to Azure, we have been able to speed up planning cycles and accelerate delivery of finished goods to our customers,” Cammish says. “We are now in a position to do same-day factory production planning versus having to run scheduling jobs overnight. We have the ability to insert rush orders into the production schedule the same day versus waiting 24 to 48 hours. Our whole production engine can now speed up and improve customer service and delivery performance.”

See the business in real time

The reporting speedup has been particularly impactful. Managers can push a button on a tablet computer and use Microsoft Power BI and SAP Business Objects to instantly see data from multiple sources as graphical dashboard-style reports. For example, at a glance they can see current sales order lead times and shipment status across all the company’s factories and deliver the service that customers expect.
Crunching data at Coats involves taking into account hundreds of thread materials, more than 150,000 colors, some 60 manufacturing sites, diverse customer requirements, and many other variables. “Being able to crunch massive amounts of data across dozens of variables requires monstrous processing power, and Azure gives us high-performance virtual machines customized for HANA,” Groothedde says.

Protect mobile data

To keep data safe as it travels from the Azure cloud to Office 365, SAP, and other applications on mobile devices, Coats uses the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security Suite. The suite’s Azure Active Directory Premium service provides single sign-on for some of the company’s applications, to simplify and speed work throughout the day. And Microsoft Intune provides a cloud-based console that will ultimately be used to manage the company’s 7,000 desktop computers, 2,500 mobile devices, and the applications running on them.
“We wouldn’t feel good about displaying SAP data on mobile devices without Intune protecting our data,” Groothedde says. “Our users can access reports on Windows-based devices, iPads, iPhones, or any other device without complicated procedures for signing in to a virtual private network and with complete security. Intune opens up a whole new world in how we manage applications in diverse device environments.”
Coats has also created virtual desktops in Azure to give employees personalized desktops on tap from any device, which is especially useful in factory environments where PCs are shared by multiple employees. “Virtual desktops give us an easy, secure way to give factory floor workers, mobile employees, and contractors access to needed applications without deploying dedicated devices to each person,” says Groothedde.

Looking to the future

As it looks ahead, Coats is excited about the many new Microsoft cloud services it can use to transform its business. It’s experimenting with Microsoft Cortana Intelligence Suite to add predictive analytics. For example, based on past manufacturing histories, weather around the world, and other factors, Coats can predict inventory costs, demand for various types of thread, manufacturing volumes, and more.
“If we can better predict all these factors, we can better order the right inventory, manufacture the correct volumes, and deliver exactly what our customers want, even before they know they need it,” says Groothedde.
Coats is running a pilot project focused on operator and machine efficiency in the final winding thread production process. The company has applied sensors to the final winding equipment and made use of a control and feedback system to monitor and control this process. Coats pushes this data into the Azure IoT Hub for reporting with Power BI and then into the Azure SQL Data Warehouse and Azure Hadoop for processing by Azure Machine Learning.
“The potential for using data in smarter ways to operate more efficiently, save money, and satisfy customers is immense,” Groothedde says. “Azure gives us integrated tools that let us fully integrate and exploit our data.”
Adds Cammish, “By using the Microsoft cloud, we’re transforming for a digital age, where information is king. We are excited about using data to power our business into its next 260 years.”

DEIS - Managed Solution

Microsoft to acquire Deis to help companies innovate with containers

By Scott Guthrie as written on blogs.microsoft.com
Containers have been at the forefront of cloud transformation in recent years, and for good reason: Container technologies let organizations more easily build, deploy and move applications to and from the cloud. With this increase in agility and portability, containers are helping to make applications the new currency in the cloud. At Microsoft, we’ve seen explosive growth in both interest and deployment of containerized workloads on Azure, and we’re committed to ensuring Azure is the best place to run them.
Deis company logo
To support this vision, we’re pleased to announce that Microsoft has signed an agreement to acquire Deis – a company that has been at the center of the container transformation. Deis gives developers the means to vastly improve application agility, efficiency and reliability through their Kubernetes container management technologies.
In addition to their container expertise, the Deis team brings a depth of open source technology experience – furthering Microsoft’s commitments to improve developer productivity and to provide choice and flexibility for our customers everywhere. Members of the Deis team are strong supporters of the open source community – developing tools, contributing code and organizing developer meetups. We expect Deis’ technology to make it even easier for customers to work with our existing container portfolio including Linux and Windows Server Containers, Hyper-V Containers and Azure Container Service, no matter what tools they choose to use.
We’re excited to bring the Deis team and their technology to Microsoft. I look forward to seeing the impact their contributions will have on Azure and the Microsoft developer experience.

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Integrating Yammer with SharePoint - Managed Solution

New Yammer features help users more easily connect and collaborate

As written on blogs.microsoft.com
New capabilities for Yammer announced on Tuesday will make it easier for employees to connect and engage across organizations.
The changes, announced during Microsoft’s SharePoint Virtual Summit, include the ability to enrich new SharePoint communication sites, coming this summer, with a conversational layer by bringing Yammer and SharePoint together. The integration will be further enhanced over the coming months with additional improvements.
Users can now share and play videos from Office 365 Video and Microsoft Stream directly within their Yammer conversations. They can also use Office 365 Connectors to bring relevant content and updates from more than 90 popular third-party apps and services into Yammer conversations.
Yammer groups can now be more easily managed through dynamic group membership that updates automatically as people join, leave or move within organizations. And since staying connected requires versatile tools, Microsoft announced new Yammer apps for iPad, Windows and Mac.

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