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Microsoft to buy LinkedIn for $26.2B in cash, makes big move into enterprise social media

By Ingrid Lunden as written on techcrunch.com
Huge news today in the world of M&A in enterprise and social networking services: Microsoft has announced that it is acquiring LinkedIn, the social network for professionals with some 433 million users, for $26.2 billion, or $196 per share, in cash. The transaction has already been approved by both boards, but it must still get regulatory and other approvals.
If for some reason the deal does not go through, LinkedIn will have to pay Microsoft a $725 million termination fee, according to Microsoft’s SEC filing detailing the merger.
The $196 per share offer is a big hike on its closing price from Friday, $131.08. (And in pre-market trading, unsurprisingly, LinkedIn’s stock has nearly crept up 64 percent to reach the share price Microsoft is paying. Microsoft’s price is down 4 percent to $49.66 in pre-market trading.)
LinkedIn is keeping its branding and product, and it will become a part of Microsoft’s productivity and business processes segment. LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner will report to Satya Nadella.

How Microsoft plans to use LinkedIn

The acquisition is a big one for both sides.
For Microsoft, it’s bringing a key, missing piece into the company’s strategy to build out more services for enterprises, and give it a key way to compete better against the likes of Salesforce (which it also reportedly tried to buy).
Today, Microsoft is focused squarely on software (and some hardware by way of its very downsized phones business). But LinkedIn will give Microsoft a far bigger reach in terms of social networking services and professional content — developing the early signs of enterprise social networking that it kicked off with its acquisition of Yammer for $1.2 billion in 2012.
LinkedIn’s wider social network, pegged as it is to groups of employees and employers, will give Microsoft a sales channel to sell more of its products, and will serve as a complement to those that it already offers for collaboration and communication.
In a section called “Selling to Social Selling” in the deck below, Microsoft details how it plans to use LinkedIn’s social graph as an integrated selling tool alongside its existing CRM products (which are second to Salesforce in the market currently). Users of Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM and other systems, it notes, will want to use LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator “to transform the sales cycle with actionable insights” — essentially lots of background information about users that can help find leads, open conversations and close deals.
There are other elements of LinkedIn’s business that are interesting to consider in light of this acquisition. LinkedIn acquired Lynda.com, for example, to spearhead a move into offering online learning tools to users — expanding on their bigger hope of being the go-to place for overall professional development. Now, with Microsoft, you can see how Lynda might be employed to help sell Microsoft software products, and provide assistance in learning to use them. This is also an area that Microsoft is already highlighting as a positive in the deal:


There are also other areas where you will see lots of natural integrations, for example with Cortana and providing more professional networking tools to users.
“The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” Nadella said in a statement. “Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics as we seek to empower every person and organization on the planet.” You can read Nadella’s full memo to staff here.
(And just as a side note, this puts some of Microsoft’s recent cost-cutting through layoffs and sales into some perspective, as well.)
For LinkedIn, it puts to rest questions of how the company would ever compete with companies that are building more software on top of their social graphs that would put it into closer competition against LinkedIn. For a while, it looked like this was the direction that LinkedIn hoped to develop, but more recent problems with user and revenue growth, and a subsequent dropping share price, has put the company on the defensive.
“Just as we have changed the way the world connects to opportunity, this relationship with Microsoft, and the combination of their cloud and LinkedIn‘s network, now gives us a chance to also change the way the world works,” Weiner added in the statement. “For the last 13 years, we’ve been uniquely positioned to connect professionals to make them more productive and successful, and I’m looking forward to leading our team through the next chapter of our story.” Read Weiner’s letter on the deal to LinkedIn staff here.
But this is not at all a story about a failing company getting scooped up on the way down for parts. LinkedIn, even with a share price that is below its 12-month high point of $258 per share, is one of the better-performing tech companies in the public markets.
Microsoft has never been a massively successful company when it comes to social networking — although it smartly invested in Facebook before it went public, and as we have reported before it was apparently interested at one point in trying to make a bid to buy Slack for $8 billion. LinkedIn’s social network will give it a significant foothold in this area.
LinkedIn is active in over 200 countries and has 105 million monthly active users, with 433 million registered overall. The company has some 60 percent of all traffic on mobile, and — thanks to some strong SEO — a crazy 45 billion quarterly page views. It’s also one of the biggest repositories of job listings, with some 7 million active listings currently. While some parts of LinkedIn’s business has stagnated, specifically with MAU growth (which is up only 9 percent on last year) latter is a growing business — up 101 percent on a year ago.
LinkedIn’s core business is based today around recruitment ads and, to a lesser extent, premium subscriptions for users. The recruitment business (termed “Talent Solutions”) accounted for $2 billion of the company’s $3 billion in revenues in 2015.
And as you can see from the photo above, Reid Hoffman, one of the co-founders and current chairman, is behind the deal.
“Today is a re-founding moment for LinkedIn. I see incredible opportunity for our members and customers and look forward to supporting this new and combined business,” said Hoffman in a statement. “I fully support this transaction and the Board’s decision to pursue it, and will vote my shares in accordance with their recommendation on it.”
The companies are hosting a conference call at 8.45 a.m. PT.


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Managed Solution has an all-star team with a kick-butt company culture, and we’re excited about what’s ahead. For over a decade, we’ve worked with companies large and small, supporting any and all of their IT needs. We invest in our clients and our staff to bring out the best in both. We’ve been named to the Business Journal’s 100 fastest growing companies for the past five years and stand in the top 1% of Microsoft Cloud partners worldwide. We value high standards, honesty and integrity, proactivity, adaptability and passion. Managed Solution is poised for unparalleled growth and expansion – this is an opportunity you won’t wanna miss!
Your mission? Leverage your 5+ years of experience and expertise in System Center 2012 R2 to architect and deploy solutions as a systems engineer/project consultant working directly with clients in mid-market and enterprise LAN/WAN environments. Our firm specializes in both managed and professional services across the Microsoft infrastructure stack (Windows, Active Directory, SQL, Exchange, Office 365, System Center, Lync, etc.).  As a senior member of the Systems Integration team, you'll have a highly visible role and contribute directly to the business outcomes of your clients.
Perks & Benefits:
  • Enjoy work-life integration with flexible and remote work arrangements!
  • Earn up to 17 paid days off in your first year!
  • Work with passionate tech experts in a dynamic environment
  • Grow your skills with our professional development program: Take certification tests on company time! Managed Solution prepays your exam fees!
  • Enroll in health, dental, and vision insurance offerings
  • Prepare for retirement with 401K (employer match after 6 months!)
  • Make a difference for your clients!
This senior engineer will be responsible for day to day implementation, design, and support of System Center infrastructure at various client sites. He or she will design and deploy solutions that are right-fitted to the clients needs. The selected candidate should be able to provide additional support in a variety of areas, such as: administration, disaster recovery, network design, and/or project implementations.
***Consultants provide an outsider's perspective for businesses looking to improve some aspect of their operations.  The ideal candidate will understand how to work with clients and how to give that perspective... and successfully articulate it.
On a day-to-day basis, you can look forward to:
  • Working as a customer-facing consultant, acting as a trusted technology advocate
  • Providing presales support to the Managed Solution sales team, including the creation of SOW, RFQ, or other types of proposals for our sales department
  • Working as a valued member of our SME team, acting as a point of escalation and as a mentor to junior staff
  • Automating processes to reduce manual involvement
  • Configuring and utilizing monitoring tools to ensure high uptime
  • Supporting  both internal and external staff as a trained technical consultant
  • Identifying additional opportunities for technical services
***Candidate must be able to travel within the San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles areas.
What you'll need for success:
  • Superior communication (verbal, written, and interpersonal) and customer service skills
  • Drive to learn and work with cutting edge technology
  • 5+ years support experience in a Microsoft environment with superior troubleshooting skills
  • Mastery of System Center 2012 R2 (at least two components, including SCCM)
  • Strong proficiency in Windows Server (NT through 2012 preferred)
  • Proficiency in Operating System Deployment
  • Mastery of Internet Based Client Management (SCCM IBCM)
  • Strong command of In Public Key Infrastructure (PKI / CA)
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Bitlocker (MBAM)
  • Working knowledge of:
    • Windows Workstation (NT through 8 preferred)
    • Exchange (2003 through 2013 preferred)
    • Hyper-V
    • Active Directory
    • PowerShell and/or VBS
  • Preferred skills:
    • Office 365 support
    • Skype for Business/Lync support
  • Valid CA Drivers' License and willingness to use own vehicle for transportation to client sites throughout San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles
Bonus Skills/Knowledge:
  • System Center 2012 Administration
  • Virus and Spam prevention
  • SQL Server
  • Linux
  • Cisco ASA / IOS
  • SharePoint
  • IBM Tivoli
  • Novell ZENworks
  • HP OpenView
  • Virtualization technologies: VMware, Azure, AWS
Physical Demands:
The essential functions of this job require: the ability to frequently sit and stand for long periods of time; to climb and balance; to stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, or bend; to manipulate objects with fine and gross motor skills; to frequently lift and maneuver 10 pound objects and occasionally lift and maneuver 50 pound objects; to communicate in written and spoken English; to hear; to utilize close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and ability to adjust focus. Managed Solution is an equal opportunity employer and will consider qualified applicants who can perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation.
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Cloud, Collaboration, and Today's Workforce

By Vahé Torossian as written on enterprise.microsoft.com
Businesses are looking to digitally transform their companies. IDC predicts that by the end of 2017, two-thirds of Global 2000 companies will have digital transformation at the center of their corporate strategy. No matter the industry, businesses of all sizes are prioritizing having modern infrastructure, easy-to-use tools and programs for their workers, best-in-class devices and making things easy for their customers. A truly digital businesses share a common trait: they collaborate differently.
In my perspective, there are two main ways that the nature of collaboration has changed:
Sharing access – The era of email attachments is coming to a close. In the cloud era, instead of passing a document back and forth, documents are co-authored – edits are made live and in real-time.
Crossing distances – The cloud allows team members to collaborate and communicate from anywhere. So the “office” of a contemporary company is wherever its workers happen to be at the moment.
For those of us who have been in the workforce awhile, these advancements are phenomenal, because the paradigm used to be so different. But those newer in the workforce have difference expectations.
To them, sharing access and crossing vast distances don’t really feel like advancements. Having grown up alongside these technologies, collaboration is just a part of work. In fact, that is the only conceivable way to work. Any business seeking to transform to be more cloud-ready and digital has to take this into account to bring in the best new talent to their teams.
Everyone knows that technologies like social media have completely changed the dynamics of corporate recruitment and hiring. But technology has also become a consideration for workers as they weigh their job options.
Modern workers spend the majority of their day interfacing with technology, so antiquated tools can be detrimental to their job satisfaction. In fact, a recent survey we conducted, showed that millennials in the workforce demand adequate technology to do their jobs. More than 90 percent of respondents said the latest technology was important in choosing an employer.
To appeal to these workers, business leaders have to recognize how they prefer to get their work done.
Shared access — How are files shared and edited at your company? Do you ever lose track of where something is or which team member “owns” it? These are hindrances that today’s workers will find it hard to tolerate. And collaborating via the cloud all but makes them obsolete.
Crossing distances — How do you organize your teams? Based on where people are located, or on who has the right skills and experience for a project? The best employee for the task may not be right down the hall from you. And the best new hire for your company may not be in the same city as you.
One great example of this modern way of working is an SMB out of the U.K., Bounce Foods. The company is the creator of Bounce Energy Balls, a healthy choice for people snacking on-the-go. Bounce Foods, like many high-growth companies, was faced with effectively managing a growing customer base, while rolling out new products and working to expand into new stores. Making the right technology decisions was a key to their success and ability to scale.
In order to keep up with their accelerated growth, Bounce Foods needed to choose tools to better collaborate internally and engage with customers externally and also keep track of processes, resources and information. As their business became more complex they decided to move to Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Azure, Dynamics CRM and Office 365 with Power BI. These solutions helped them to scale their business.
Now, they are able to quickly respond to demand and instantly collaborate on what needs to get done. Their employees are more efficient and are able to deliver better customer service, retailer’s questions are quickly answered by the right people in the company, they can appropriately manage their stock and the overall company is better informed and better connected. Bounce Foods has scaled from 200,000 Bounce Balls per month to 600,000 in just two years. And today their product is sold in major supermarkets, gyms and retail stores.
It’s this level of technology and collaboration capabilities that employees now expect from their employers. The flexibility of the cloud is massively appealing for fast-growing companies. The functionality that it provides can in turn help ensure that companies are appealing to the right type of employee.
Every business and every business leader has to prioritize not only the needs to digitize their company but also how to enable the collaboration that workers today expect.
Using the cloud to expand your concept of collaboration doesn’t just introduce new efficiencies for your organization, it can help make your company more attractive to the best and brightest in today’s workforce.


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Liliana Ciurlino joins Managed Solution as a Marketing & Engagement Coordinator. She worked the last several years as a Regional Marketing Manager with H&R Block in the areas of new client growth strategy, execution and partnership development. She has trained hundreds of professionals on how to build their book of business in field marketing. Prior to her work in direct mail and TV advertising within the Financial Industry, she founded a 501 (c) 3 Non-Profit Organization, contACT ARTS, which produces the San Diego International Fringe Festival. In 2015, she created the World’s First Bi-National Fringe Festival (MEX/USA) and Emerging Fringe; a San Diego Regional Performance Competition for grades 6-12 to present their original work.    
Liliana is a native of San Diego and has had the opportunity to live in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sonoma, Miami, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business with a Marketing Concentration and is pursuing her MBA from Missouri State University. Liliana serves on the Latino Committee with the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce, California College Program Advisory Board and volunteers with the Girl Scouts.
Liliana enjoys playing guitar & piano, yoga, running and hiking. In Old San Juan, she studied black and white analog photography and would like to build herself a dark room. Her favorite movie is Rocky and one of her favorite quotes is by Henry David Thoreau, "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see". We’re excited to welcome Liliana to the Managed Solution team!

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Microsoft Turns On Yammer For Office 365 Business Customers

By Sarah Perez as written on techcrunch.com
Get ready for Yammer, Microsoft announced today – and it’s not kidding. Microsoft said this afternoon it will begin to activate Yammer for all its eligible Office 365 business customers starting today, in what’s a major push for the enterprise social networking service. The rollout will come in waves, beginning with those customers who have a business subscription, and fewer than 150 licenses, including one for Yammer.
The second phase of the rollout on March 1st will expand Yammer to larger business customers, who have fewer than 5,000 licenses, but excluding those with education subscription.
The final phase, or Wave 3, starts on April 1, and will include those education subscriptions, as well as all remaining customers.
The end result of this push is that every Office 365 users with a Yammer license will be able to use the service from the Office 365 app launcher, as well as start Yammer conversations from within SharePoint, Office 365 Video Portal, and soon, Delve and Skype Broadcast as well.
Effectively, it’s elevating the product to become more of a fully-fledged member of Microsoft’s suite of tools aimed at businesses.
By being baked into Microsoft’s existing products and services, Yammer will become more useful than when it was a standalone product ahead of Microsoft’s 2012 acquisition. For example, Yammer will be hooked into the Office 365 Groups service in the first half of this year, which will let customers do things like turning Yammer conversations into Skype calls, schedule meetings with Outlook calendar, access files in OneDrive, create tasks in Planner, from within Yammer’s groups.
Yammer has fallen out of the limelight since Microsoft bought the company for $1.2 billionseveral years ago. Not much had been said about the service since. And it’s fair to say that many wondered if Microsoft ever intended to do much of anything with it, beyond making it available for those who wanted it.
But in recent months, Yammer has seen new competitors arise. Currently, its biggest competition is Slack, which Microsoft also recently had to acknowledge the importance of, in its own way – the company introduced Skype integration last month, that is. And Facebook has been ramping up its efforts with its business-focused Facebook for Work, which could pose a challenge to Yammer in the future when it becomes publicly available.
For now, however, Yammer still has a shot at grabbing a foothold thanks to Microsoft’s big push to its Office 365 commercial customers.
With the rollout, Yammer will be switched on by default, though Microsoft says that admins will be able to dial that back, if need be, noting that “if you are not ready to fully adopt Yammer in your organization, you can un-assign Yammer licenses for those who should not access Yammer from Office 365.”
Well, seems like it would just be easier to go live on Yammer than have to go around turning it off for people, doesn’t it?
More details on the Yammer integration is available here.


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Alecia Aktabowski began working at Managed Solution on Monday, April 25, 2016. Alecia lived 13 years in Indiana and 13 years in Georgia before moving to San Diego. Alecia is married with a super independent daughter, Ella and 2 incredibly dependent dogs, Cami and Monty.
Alecia joins us from SIGMAnet, where she managed professional services projects and tier 3 engineer scheduling and escalations.
When Alecia isn't in the office she enjoys hiking, shopping, going to Ella's school functions, doing hair, and eating dessert. Alecia can't swim despite her husband being a rescue swimmer. We are excited to welcome Alecia to the Managed Solution Team!

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