Tag Archives: keeping

Office 365 vs. G Suite: Google embraces UC to rival Microsoft

For Google, the unified communications market is a means to an end: keeping G Suite competitive with Microsoft’s Office 365. In 2020, Google plans to close in on the Microsoft suite’s core communication features by migrating businesses to Hangouts Chat, the messaging complement to G Suite’s calling and video conferencing apps.

In mid-2020, Hangouts Chat will replace an older, more basic chat app called Hangouts. While the new app is an improvement, Google will have to add features and build a much larger partner ecosystem to reach par with Office 365.

What’s more, Google’s strategy of maintaining separate products for core communications services is at odds with the direction of the market. Vendors like Microsoft have consolidated calling, messaging and meetings services into a single user interface. But Google is keeping Hangouts Chat distinct from the video conferencing app Hangouts Meet.

“Their challenges are more related to fundamentally who they are,” TJ Keitt, an analyst at Forrester Research, said. “They’re a company that, for a while, had struggled to indicate they understand all the things that large enterprises require.”

G Suite has trailed Office 365 for years. In particular, Google has struggled to appeal to organizations with thousands and tens of thousands of employees. Those customers often require complex feature sets, but Google likes to keep things simple.

“It’s really important for us to provide just really simple, delightful experiences that work,” Smita Hashim, manager of G Suite’s communications apps, said in December. “It’s not like we need every bell and whistle and every feature.”

In 2019, Google tackled low-hanging fruit that had been standing in the way of selling G Suite to customers with thousands of employees. Giving customers some control over where their data is stored was a significant change. Also, adding numerous IT controls and security backstops was critical to enterprises.

But Google does not appear interested in matching Office 365 feature-for-feature. Instead, analysts expect the company will seek to grow G Suite in 2020 and beyond by focusing on specific industries and kinds of companies.

“If Google plays the long game, they don’t need to really worry about whether or not they are beating Microsoft in a lot of the companies that are here right now,” Keitt said. Instead, Google can target new and adolescent companies that haven’t bought into Office 365.

Google’s targets will likely include the verticals of education and technology, as well as fast-growing businesses with a young workforce. The company has already won some big names. In 2019, G Suite added tech company Iron Mountain, with 26,000 employees, and Whirlpool, with 92,000 employees.

In 2020, Google needs to decide whether to get serious about building a communications portfolio on par with Microsoft’s. That would entail expanding the business calling service it launched this year, Google Voice for G Suite.

So far, the vendor has signaled it will keep the calling service simple. Whereas traditional telephony systems offer upwards of 200 features, Google opted for fewer than 20. The new year will likely bring only incremental changes, such as the certification of more desk phones.

“I think, incrementally, they are continuing to improve. They are trying to close the gap,” said Irwin Lazar, an analyst at Nemertes Research. “What I haven’t seen Google really try to do is leapfrog the market.”

Nevertheless, the cloud productivity market is likely still a lucrative one for Google. As of February, 5 million organizations subscribed to G Suite, some paying as much as $25 per user, per month. 

Google Cloud, a division that includes G Suite as well as the vendor’s infrastructure-as-a-service platform, was on track to generate $8 billion in annual revenue as of July.

“Being number two in a multi-billion-dollar [office productivity] market is fine,” said Jeffrey Mann, an analyst at Garter.

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Using wsusscn2.cab to find missing Windows updates

Keeping your Windows Server and Windows desktop systems updated can be tricky, and finding missing patches in conventional ways might not be reliable.

There are a few reasons why important security patches might not get installed. They could be mistakenly declined in Windows Server Update Services or get overlooked in environments that a lack an internet connection.

Microsoft provides a Windows Update offline scan file, also known as wsusscn2.cab, to help you check Windows systems for missing updates. The CAB file contains information about most patches for Windows and Microsoft applications distributed through Windows Update.

The challenge with the wsusscn2.cab file is its size. It weighs in around 650 MB, and distributing it to all the servers to perform a scan can be tricky and time-consuming. This tutorial explains how to avoid those issues and run it on all of your servers in a secure and timely manner using IIS for file transfer instead of SMB or PowerShell sessions.

Requirements for offline scanning

There are some simple requirements to use this tutorial:

  • a server or PC running Windows Server 2012 or newer or Windows 10;
  • a domain account with local administrator on the servers you want to scan; and
  • PowerShell remoting enabled on the servers you want to scan.

Step 1. Install IIS

First, we need a web server we can use to distribute the wsusscn2.cab file. There are several ways to copy the file, but they all have different drawbacks.

For example, we could distribute the wsusscn2.cab file with a regular file share, but that requires a double-hop. You could also copy the wsusscn2.cab file over a PowerShell session, but that causes a lot of overhead and is extremely slow for large files. An easier and more secure way to distribute the file is through HTTP and IIS.

Installing on Windows Server

Start PowerShell as admin and type the following to install IIS:

Install-WindowsFeature -name Web-Server -IncludeManagementTools

Installing on Windows 10

Start PowerShell as an admin and type the following to install IIS:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName IIS-WebServer

The IIS role should be installed. The default site will point to the root folder of the C drive.

We can now proceed to download wsusscn2.cab from Microsoft.

Step 2. Download wsusscn2.cab

The link for this file can be tricky to find. You can either download it from this link and save it to the C drive or run the following script as admin on the IIS server:

# Default Site path, change if necessary
$IISFolderPath = "C:inetpubwwwroot"

# Download wsusscn2.cab
Start-BitsTransfer -Source "http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=74689" -Destination "$IISFolderPathwsusscn2.cab"

The script downloads the file to the wwwroot folder. We can verify the download by browsing to http:///wsusscn2.cab.

You also need to get the hash value of wsusscn2.cab to verify it. After saving it, run the following PowerShell command to check the file hash:

(Get-FileHash C:inetpubwwwrootwsusscn2.cab).Hash

31997CD01B8790CA68A02F3A351F812A38639FA49FEC7346E28F7153A8ABBA05

Step 3. Run the check on a server

Next, you can use a PowerShell script to download and scan for missing updates on a PC or server using the wsusscn2.cab file. You can run the script on at least Windows Server 2008 or newer to avoid compatibility issues. To do this in a secure and effective manner over HTTP, we get the file hash of the downloaded wsusscn2.cab file and compare it with the file hash of the CAB file on the IIS server.

We can also use the file hash to see when Microsoft releases a new version of wsusscn2.cab.

Copy and save the following script as Get-MissingUpdates.ps1:

Param(
    [parameter(mandatory)]
    [string]$FileHash,

    [parameter(mandatory)]
    [string]$Wsusscn2Url
)


Function Get-Hash($Path){
    
    $Stream = New-Object System.IO.FileStream($Path,[System.IO.FileMode]::Open) 
    
    $StringBuilder = New-Object System.Text.StringBuilder 
    $HashCreate = [System.Security.Cryptography.HashAlgorithm]::Create("SHA256").ComputeHash($Stream)
    $HashCreate | Foreach {
        $StringBuilder.Append($_.ToString("x2")) | Out-Null
    }
    $Stream.Close() 
    $StringBuilder.ToString() 
}

$DataFolder = "$env:ProgramDataWSUS Offline Catalog"
$CabPath = "$DataFolderwsusscn2.cab"

# Create download dir
mkdir $DataFolder -Force | Out-Null

# Check if cab exists
$CabExists = Test-Path $CabPath


# Compare hashes if download is needed
if($CabExists){
    Write-Verbose "Comparing hashes of wsusscn2.cab"
    
    $HashMatch = $Hash -ne (Get-Hash -Path $CabPath)

    if($HashMatch){   
        Write-Warning "Filehash of $CabPath did not match $($FileHash) - downloading"
        Remove-Item $CabPath -Force
    }
    Else{
        Write-Verbose "Hashes matched"
    }
}

# Download wsus2scn.cab if it dosen't exist or hashes mismatch
if(!$CabExists -or $HashMatch -eq $false){
    Write-Verbose "Downloading wsusscn2.cab"
    # Works on Windows Server 2008 as well
    (New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadFile($Wsusscn2Url, $CabPath)

    if($Hash -ne (Get-Hash -Path $CabPath)){
        Throw "$CabPath did not match $($FileHash)"
    }

}

Write-Verbose "Checking digital signature of wsusscn2.cab"

$CertificateIssuer = "CN=Microsoft Code Signing PCA, O=Microsoft Corporation, L=Redmond, S=Washington, C=US"
$Signature = Get-AuthenticodeSignature -FilePath $CabPath
$SignatureOk = $Signature.SignerCertificate.Issuer -eq $CertificateIssuer -and $Signature.Status -eq "Valid"


If(!$SignatureOk){
    Throw "Signature of wsusscn2.cab is invalid!"
}


Write-Verbose "Creating Windows Update session"
$UpdateSession = New-Object -ComObject Microsoft.Update.Session
$UpdateServiceManager  = New-Object -ComObject Microsoft.Update.ServiceManager 

$UpdateService = $UpdateServiceManager.AddScanPackageService("Offline Sync Service", $CabPath, 1) 

Write-Verbose "Creating Windows Update Searcher"
$UpdateSearcher = $UpdateSession.CreateUpdateSearcher()  
$UpdateSearcher.ServerSelection = 3
$UpdateSearcher.ServiceID = $UpdateService.ServiceID.ToString()
 
Write-Verbose "Searching for missing updates"
$SearchResult = $UpdateSearcher.Search("IsInstalled=0")

$Updates = $SearchResult.Updates

$UpdateSummary = [PSCustomObject]@{

    ComputerName = $env:COMPUTERNAME    
    MissingUpdatesCount = $Updates.Count
    Vulnerabilities = $Updates | Foreach {
        $_.CveIDs
    }
    MissingUpdates = $Updates | Select Title, MsrcSeverity, @{Name="KBArticleIDs";Expression={$_.KBArticleIDs}}
}

Return $UpdateSummary

Run the script on one of the servers of computers to check for missing updates. To do this, copy the script to the machine and run the script with the URL to the wsusscn2.cab on the IIS server and the hash value from step two:

PS51> Get-MissingUpdates.ps1 -Wsusscn2Url "http://
  
   /wsusscn2.cab" -FileHash 31997CD01B8790CA68A02F3A351F812A38639FA49FEC7346E28F7153A8ABBA05
  

If there are missing updates, you should see output similar to the following:

ComputerName     MissingUpdatesCount Vulnerabilities  MissingUpdates
------------     ------------------- ---------------  --------------
UNSECURESERVER                    14 {CVE-2006-4685, CVE-2006-4686,
CVE-2019-1079, CVE-2019-1079...} {@{Title=MSXML 6.0 RTM Security Updat

If the machine is not missing updates, then you should see this type of output:

ComputerName MissingUpdatesCount Vulnerabilities MissingUpdates
------------ ------------------- --------------- --------------
SECURESERVER                   0

The script gives a summary of the number of missing updates, what those updates are and the vulnerabilities they patch.

This process is a great deal faster than searching for missing updates online. But this manual method is not efficient when checking a fleet of servers, so let’s learn how to run the script on all systems and collect the output.

Step 4. Run the scanning script on multiple servers at once

The easiest way to collect missing updates from all servers with PowerShell is with a PowerShell job. The PowerShell jobs run in parallel on all computers, and you can fetch the results.

On a PC or server, save the file from the previous step to the C drive — or another directory of your choice — and run the following as a user with admin permissions on your systems:

# The servers you want to collect missing updates from
$Computers = @(
        'server1',
        'server2',
        'server3'
)

# These are the arguments that will be sent to the remote servers
$RemoteArgs = @(
    # File hash from step 2
    "31997CD01B8790CA68A02F3A351F812A38639FA49FEC7346E28F7153A8ABBA05",
    "http://$env:COMPUTERNAME/wsusscn2.cab"
)

$Params = @{
    ComputerName = $Computers
    ArgumentList = $RemoteArgs
    AsJob        = $True
    # Filepath to the script on the server/computer you are running this command on
    FilePath = "C:ScriptsGet-MissingUpdates.ps1"
    # Maximum number of active jobs
    ThrottleLimit = 20
}

$Job = Invoke-Command @Params

# Wait for all jobs to finish
$Job | Wait-Job

# Collect Results from the jobs
$Results = $Job | Receive-Job

# Show results
$Results

This runs the Get-MissingUpdates.ps1 script on all servers in the $Computers variable in parallel to save time and make it easier to collect the results.

You should run these PowerShell jobs regularly to catch servers with a malfunctioning Windows Update and to be sure important updates get installed.

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For Sale – Ryzen 3700X, NVidia RTX 2070 Super, ADATA 1TB NVME, EVGA 750W PSU, Noctua Cooler, Noctua Case Fans, Meshify C Case, Samsung SSD

Built a gaming PC in September, but I’m just not using it enough to justify keeping it, so I’m selling all the parts from it. Everything apart from the Samsung SSD was only bought 4 months ago, and the PC itself wasn’t built until the middle of September, so the parts have only been used for effectively 3 months and are in excellent condition, wasn’t even any dust on most of the internals

. I will include PDFs or screenshots of all order invoices for all goods (again, aside from the Samsung SSD), for warranty purposes. As far as I’m aware, nothing has less than 7-8 months warranty, more in many cases, which will be detailed for each specific item.

Delivery – SD=Special Delivery, SF=Signed For, PF=Parcelforce, DPD =…DPD

Parts for sale

£258 (+£7 SD) – AMD Ryzen 3700X – CPU only, no Cooler. Comes in the original AMD Plastic holder and AMD Box (I can include the original Air Cooler box as well, but it will have to be flat-packed), also comes with remainder of 3-year Warranty.

£35 (+£5 SF1st) – 2x Noctua NF-A14 PWM Chromax 140mm Case Fans – Come in all the original packaging, and remainder of 6-year warranties.

£80 (+£10 DPD) – EVGA 750W G3 80+ Gold Modular PSU – Comes with all the original cables, bags and manual and remainder of 10-year Warranty.

£60 (+£10 DPD) – FractalDesign Meshify C Case with Tempered Glass Side Window (Black) – Comes with all the original screws, hard drive caddy has been re-attached for delivery, but will most likely need to be relocated slightly. The magnets attached to the dust filter on the top of the case were very flimsy and came off, so I re-attached them with gorilla glue and some black tape above to tidy it up. Not quite as aesthetically-appealing as it was originally, but much stronger. Includes 2 Fractal 120mm Case Fans.

Please be sure to ask any questions you may have, I’ve tried to take plenty of photos to include everything, so if there’s anything you can’t see included with a certain item that you expect there to be, ask about it before agreeing to purchase anything.

IMG_20191202_105507.jpg IMG_20191202_105519.jpg IMG_20191202_111340.jpg IMG_20191203_105606.jpg

** SOLD **

£85 (+£12 PF48hr) – MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC (Wi-fi model) Motherboard – BIOS has been updated obviously to ensure immediate support for latest Ryzen CPUs. Comes with all the original accessories and manual/sticker/quick-start guide etc. I believe MSI cover motherboards for 3-Year warranty, so you should get the remainder of this. I have not registered it myself. Sold to ciderspace

£55 (+£3 SF1st) – Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4 3200Mhz C16 RAM – 2x8GB – Comes in original Corsair packaging. Limited Lifetime warranty. Sold to ciderspace

£30 (+£2 1stClass) – Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD Taken from my i6700HQ laptop, comes unpackaged with 4 screws. SOLD via ebay

£410 (+£25 SD) – Nvidia RTX 2070 Super – Purchased directly from Nvidia, comes with the remainder of a 3-year warranty. Comes with all the original packaging other than plastic wrapper that Card itself was wrapped in. SOLD via ebay

£15 (+£3 2nd/£4 SF2nd) – Club3D 3M DisplayPort 1.4 MBR3 8K Cable – Brand new and unused. SOLD via ebay

£85 (+£7 SD) – ADATA XPG SX8200 PRO 1TB M.2 NVME SSD – SSD and unused heatsink included along with ADATA packaging. Comes with remainder of 5-year Warranty. SOLD via ebay

£63 (+£10 DPD) – Noctua D15S Premium CPU Cooler – Comes with 2x NF-A15 PWM 140mm Chromax/Black Fans (effectively this is a Noctua D15 Cooler setup with two fans rather than one, halfway between the £75 standard D15 with ugly brown fans and the £88 Chromax edition, but Chrome/silver cooler not black). Includes Intel/AMD fittings. Also comes with Noctua NA-SYC1 (2x 4-Pin Y-Cables (£9 originally), each one for connecting two fans to one Fan slot on your motherboard). Come with remainder of 6-year Warranty. May be an extra day’s wait as I may have to source a box to put all these items in together. SOLD via ebay

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Wanted – External USB BluRay Writer/player for Mac

My trusty but 6 year old Samsung no longer works and Samsung aren’t interested in keeping drivers updated so I need a more recent model. Make not important as long as it will work on a Mac and I’m not bothered if it’s not a rapid one. Just as long as it loads BluRays that can be read by OSX/MakeMKV/Handbrake

Last edited:

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For Sale – i9 7920x

Hi,
As above, have an intel i9 7920x to sell.

Can’t justify keeping it as it’s been sat doing nothing for over a month now.
It has been delidded.
Warranty status:

Thanks,
George

Price and currency: £685
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: Paypal or BT
Location: Loughborough
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Cost, doubt about tech hold back AI for HR investment

Concern about the cost of AI for HR technology and its maturity is keeping HR departments from deploying this tech. But users believe this technology will improve productivity and cut labor costs.

Those were some of the findings in a new survey of more than 1,300 HR professionals about AI for HR deployments. The survey was conducted by Future Workplace — an HR research and networking group — and Oracle.

More than half of the survey respondents believe the leading benefit of AI for HR technology will be an increase in worker productivity. These respondents said they expect HR technology will become interactive — not dissimilar from how people communicate with Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. The simplification of this technology was the second leading benefit cited by survey respondents.

The third benefit — cited by 41% of the respondents — is AI for HR’s ability to eliminate labor costs. But this labor-cost elimination won’t happen quickly, and there’s debate about the real impact of this AI tech on labor.

Nearly 70% of the respondents to the Future Workplace and Oracle survey reported cost was a barrier to AI tool adoption. This was followed by “failure of technology” at 66%, meaning users don’t see the technology as mature and ready for adoption. The third leading impediment, at 55%, was security risks.

About half of HR processes can be automated

The reason AI for HR tech may be disruptive is approximately half of all HR spending goes to transactional processes and routine administrative activities, according to The Hackett Group, a management consulting organization based in Miami. These are processes that are primed for automation.

The expectation is chatbots and machine-to-voice interactions will take over much of the work of HR help desks and redundant administrative tasks.

In the coming years, all the administrative jobs in HR “are going to be wiped out,” said Dan Schawbel, research director at Future Workplace, based in New York.

As automation arrives, these HR employees will have to take on new work, shift to other jobs in HR or deal with layoffs. The people remaining will be focused on the strategic work, Schawbel said.

HR employees need to get training on these new technologies and skills, Schawbel said, “so when these shifts happen, you’re prepared and set up for success.”

Schawbel said he believes AI for HR technology is ready for enterprise use. Chatbots and voice user interfaces have demonstrated that they can handle initial employee inquiries, such as answering basic questions about benefits or onboarding. But, according to some, this doesn’t mean HR staffs will necessarily shrink. 

HR workloads are rising

As these [AI] technologies get deployed, I don’t think you’re going to see a net loss of people.
Tony DiRomualdosenior research director for global HR executive advisory at The Hackett Group

HR workloads “are rising every year. They’ve got more work, and they have to do more with the same or fewer employees,” said Tony DiRomualdo, senior research director for global human resources executive advisory at The Hackett Group.

DiRomualdo said workloads are increasing because of difficulties in recruiting, as well as demands by the business on HR to help improve the productivity of the workforce, develop better leaders and exploit human capital for competitive advantage.

“As these technologies get deployed, I don’t think you’re going to see a net loss of people,” DiRomualdo said. But HR workers will have to learn how to handle more sophisticated tools, he said.

Even though AI technology creates some uncertainty about the future of work, people in HR aren’t necessarily opposed to its adoption. Failure to adopt this technology may hurt their careers and leave them with obsolete skills.

The use of advanced tech tools in the home life of HR employees may help drive adoption in business, similar to what happened with mobile devices, according to Emily He, Oracle’s senior vice president of the human capital management cloud business group.

“Employees are more ready  [to use advanced tech] than the enterprise,” He said. “There’s a gap between the rate at which employees are ready to adopt new technology and the rate at which enterprises are adopting technology.”

Wanted – 2016/2017 | 13/15 Macbook Pro with min. 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD

I work in central milton keynes so happy to meet there, just up the road from the train station. Prices vary on ebay, I saw one go for £1517 plus postage (I can’t remember condition or warranty status of that one) so I’m sure we could go back and forth on ebay prices. Feel free to make an offer but I’m not in a rush to move it on.

Happy to send first if needs be, although would prefer say 10% of the payment upfront as I do have some trading ratings on here so I’m not starting fresh! I’d obviously pass on my home and work details to you if we go down this route

Wanted – 2016/2017 | 13/15 Macbook Pro with min. 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD

I work in central milton keynes so happy to meet there, just up the road from the train station. Prices vary on ebay, I saw one go for £1517 plus postage (I can’t remember condition or warranty status of that one) so I’m sure we could go back and forth on ebay prices. Feel free to make an offer but I’m not in a rush to move it on.

Happy to send first if needs be, although would prefer say 10% of the payment upfront as I do have some trading ratings on here so I’m not starting fresh! I’d obviously pass on my home and work details to you if we go down this route

XPS 15 9560 wanted

Hi All, looking for an XPS 15 9560
i5 or i7
16GB
256GB+ SSD

I’m keeping an eye on the Outlet store, but nothing with the right spec has come up
Thought I’d check here if anyone was thinking of upgrading to the 9570 when it eventually appears ?

Location: Worthing, West Sussex

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XPS 15 9560 wanted

At Dreamforce, Salesforce applications take center stage

Apps, Einstein and Quip are expected to be the focus at Dreamforce, with Salesforce keeping any new clouds it may be building under wraps.

For its first 18 years, Salesforce focused inward, building its clouds and the infrastructure to support them. This year, with many business processes covered by one cloud product or another, Salesforce is turning its attention outward — to the applications side of the aisle — hoping that building out its community of developers will help propel new growth.

Salesforce applications will be a big focus at the start of Dreamforce, the company’s annual conference, which is expected to draw more than 170,000 attendees, according to a recently published report by USA Today. In its initial announcements ahead of Dreamforce, Salesforce focused on existing products and how to improve the user experience, including a bevy of app-building tools.

Einstein apps and bots

The company’s apps can now be embedded into Einstein with the release of myEinstein, which allows users to create custom AI models. Salesforce Einstein AI bots can also employ artificial intelligence to assist with customer service workflows. Einstein Prediction Builder enables admins to craft AI models that predict business outcomes.

Salesforce Einstein AI was the big reveal at last year’s Dreamforce — the accumulation spending more than $1 billion on AI-centric companies. And while no new clouds or platform-wide products were unveiled this year, some analysts see this year’s Dreamforce as a Part Two to last year’s Part One.

“It’s an evolution from what [Salesforce] talked about last year,” said John Bruno, principal analyst at Forrester Research. “Right now, Einstein is still in the early adopter phase. That being said, the stuff Salesforce has done has matured [Einstein] over the past year.”

Apps extend to Apple, Google stores

One key example of that, according to Bruno, is the availability of Einstein Prediction Builder, which allows companies to embed AI functionality into its own business processes.

“Prediction Builder is Salesforce stepping out and saying, ‘Everything you’ve known Salesforce to be as a platform is in the past,'” Bruno said. “Prediction Builder is the next generation of that. Salesforce placed its bets on AI being the future, and, if that’s the case, you can’t rely on the first-party capabilities you put out there.”

Beyond improving and building out Einstein, Salesforce released several other upgrades, many of which focused on building Salesforce applications and company branding.

The Salesforce mobile application will go from Salesforce1 to mySalesforce — allowing for employees at all levels to build custom Salesforce applications. App builders can also publish Salesforce applications to the App Store or Google Play with a Listing Wizard capability. Lightning received the app upgrade with myLightning, including better branding capabilities and an improved App Builder.

Quip makes collaboration push

Quip also received an application-centric upgrade, with Live Apps embedding real-time collaboration and document viewing, a calendar app that can be used to track projects, and workflow templates for quick document and spreadsheet use for specific industries and projects.

The added collaboration features for Quip can lead to the question of whether this is Salesforce positioning itself to challenge the Slacks and Microsoft Teams of the world. Salesforce denies any posturing, saying that Slack remains a partner.

Salesforce wants to be the one place where employees conduct all of their work-related activities.
Bill Quinn, director of customer experience solutions, Tata Consultancy Services

“Slack and Quip are allies in changing the way people work, and Slack continues to be a great partner of ours,” said Rafael Alenda, vice president of marketing at Quip. “Slack has seen success in communication, while the Quip Collaboration Platform is focused on document, collaboration and, in the end, transforming the enterprise culture into something much more modern, less reliant on emails and less reliant on meetings.”

Alenda added that with an open API, Quip could be embedded into other document-based tools that customers use.

While Salesforce continues to play nice with Slack, others see it as the company subtly positioning itself into the growing collaboration market.

“I think they’re essentially working to make Salesforce the ‘hub’ for all the work you do as an employee,” said Bill Quinn, director of customer experience solutions at Tata Consultancy Services, based in Mumbai, India. “Salesforce wants to be the one place where employees conduct all of their work-related activities. It started with Chatter but has grown with Quip.”

To help companies with development of Salesforce applications, Trailhead has also been expanded into myTrailhead. The move allows customers to create custom learning pages with their own content and branding to assist with onboarding and company-specific skills.

More information regarding these features and other future features will be released throughout the week at Dreamforce. Be sure to check back to SearchSalesforce for updates.