Tag Archives: today’s

Telstra empowers its employees to do their best work from anywhere with Microsoft Office 365 – Microsoft 365 Blog

The Telstra logo.

Today’s post was written by Gregory Koteras, general manager of digital workplace solutions at Telstra in Melbourne, Australia.

Image of Gregory Koteras, general manager of digital workplace solutions at Telstra in Melbourne, Australia.At Telstra, our mission is to connect people. We’re Australia’s leading telecommunications and technology company, providing mobile phone and internet access to 17.6 million retail customers.

We’re currently fundamentally re-engineering how we operate through our new T22 strategy, designed to remove complexity and management layers, decrease the focus on hierarchical decision making, and increase the focus on empowered teams making decisions closer to the customer.

The strategy leverages the significant capabilities already being built through Telstra’s up to $3 billion strategic investment announced in August 2016 in creating the Networks for the Future and digitizing the business.

The key to any successful organizational change is having engaged and empowered people. One of the ways we’re doing this is by providing new tools and systems that our employees can use to connect across more than 20 countries around the world. This includes outfitting our employees and contractors with Microsoft Office 365 to provide state-of-the-art collaboration and conferencing tools needed to design better services and transform our customers’ experience.

We also know how important it is to give our people a voice, and we use Yammer to let all employees connect with each other, ask questions, and get the answers they need. Conversely, Telstra executives use Yammer to engage with our global staff and rally support for corporate initiatives. Yammer is our corporate living room. There are thousands of work-related conversations happening there, but also book club groups, fitness groups, Brilliant Connected Women groups, and technical interest groups.

We’re also proud to be a corporate leader in serving customers with disabilities and addressing barriers to accessibility and inclusion. And that extends to our people. With the built-in accessibility features in Office 365 ProPlus, such as screen reader support, voice alerts, and keyboard shortcuts, all Telstra employees can use these new tools to be part of company conversations.

In March 2014, Telstra adopted a flexible workstyle model called All Roles Flex, which recognizes the need for flexible hours and modes for different job roles. It includes part-time work, working outside normal nine-to-five business hours, and working from different locations. To support this way of working, our people need to have access to the best tools and services, so they can connect anywhere, anytime. Office 365 gives them the flexibility and functionality to do that.

As we focus on transforming our company, the tools we provide our people will play a critical role. By greatly simplifying our structure and ways of working, we empower our people and better serve our customers.

Read the case study to learn how Telstra is creating a simpler and productive workplace with Microsoft Office 365.

Empowering agents with Office 365—Douglas Elliman boosts the agent experience – Microsoft 365 Blog

The Douglas Elliman logo.

Today’s post was written by Jeffrey Hummel, chief technology officer at Douglas Elliman.

When I began work at Douglas Elliman, I was attracted to the company’s heritage—more than 100 years of premier real estate sales experience delivers a cachet that’s a big part of our brand. I was also intrigued by the opportunities I saw to use IT to transform this historic company with new tools and services. We wanted to empower agents to be even more successful in an internet-based market where closing a deal often depends on how quickly an agent can respond to a customer’s IM. Although Douglas Elliman agents are independent contractors, they face the same challenges as any distributed sales force: how to stay productive while working away from the office. They need easy, highly secure access to their data and their colleagues. So, I made it a priority to empower our agents with Microsoft Office 365.

We view our more than 7,000 agents as our best asset and our competitive advantage. They are some of the most knowledgeable people in the industry—we operate in approximately 113 offices across New York City, Long Island, The Hamptons, Westchester, Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida, California, Colorado, and Massachusetts. And we are one of New York City’s top real estate firms ranked by agents with $10 million-plus listings. Yet, when I arrived two and a half years ago, many agents were worried about technology somehow replacing them. I reassured everyone in our sales offices that Douglas Elliman had a new mission: to improve, enhance, and elevate the agent experience. Today, we use Office 365 to show that we care for our agents more than anything else. And agents have gone from saying that IT kept them from working to their best ability to IT being the reason they now are.

We looked at other cloud platforms, but they did not reflect our core values. The tools we chose had to be easy to use, elegant, and efficient—and Office 365 meets all those requirements. Our agents range in age from 21 to 91. I love it when agents with decades of experience tell me, “Jeff, I just did my marketing report, and it took half the time! I was fully connected to all the data I needed online, and I had no trouble finding it.”

I’m most excited about how agents use these productivity tools to help more customers buy and sell more property. We are launching a new intranet, built on Microsoft SharePoint Online, which offers an agent app store where Office 365 will be front and center. Everyone will go there to access the tools they need to run their business and collaborate with their teams. Like many independent sales reps, each of our agents has unique work styles and demands. It’s a big benefit that we can offer customizable tools flexible enough for individual agents to choose how to run their business.

Some agents have already replaced Slack with Microsoft Teams. I consider Teams the greatest thing since the invention of the telephone. With so many options for collaboration all in one place, there’s something for everyone within a given group to improve virtual teamwork. Our top agents can have up to 10 people working for them in different offices. One agent has three members who create marketing materials and two others who do nothing but research commercial properties. They share everything using OneDrive cloud storage. Now we’re showing that agent the value of augmenting this process with Teams as a hub for teamwork where she can quickly access not only relevant materials but also all related communications among her team members. So, when they are talking to the next big client, they’ll have all the information they need in one place to help find a new storefront.

Personal productivity is way up, too. Another top agent who works with new development clients regularly juggles dozens of units at a time. He has to access enormous amounts of data, some of which is not in the public record. He used to store all the information accumulated from his work experience in 36 filing cabinets at the office. So, when a developer asked about zoning for a building site, for example, the agent had to call someone in the office to go and dig through the files. Not anymore. We scanned, categorized, and uploaded all his documents to OneDrive. Now he can get that information himself in less than a second from his mobile device. Using leading-edge tools, this highly successful agent has more time to build relationships with more developers, and his business is expanding.

Along with the launch of our new intranet, aptly named Douglas, we are going to introduce our AI chatbot, AskDouglas. This will start with some basic questions and answers and then evolve to be the go-to source for our agents to get questions answered about historical and relevant information within Douglas Elliman.

While we move our agents’ data to the cloud and introduce cloud-based business tools, we’re also improving our security posture and complying better with data privacy regulations. By using Microsoft security solutions that notify us when an agent’s account may be compromised, we can take proactive steps to thwart an attack, without the agent even knowing.

In two years, the company has changed the impact of IT through our mission to enhance and support our sales force. Today, we have agents raving to the executive team about the transformation they’ve seen in their technology tools and work styles. With the advantages of online collaboration and productivity services, plus real-time access to information, we recruit and retain top talent. Working with Office 365, we are strengthening our core advantage—the knowledge and experience of our agents—and putting it toward the next 100 years at Douglas Elliman.

—Jeffrey Hummel

Centra embraces transformation, improves patient care with Microsoft 365 intelligent business tools – Microsoft 365 Blog

Today’s post was written by Joseph (Jody) Hobbs, managing director of business applications and information security officer at Centra.

Profile picture of Jody Hobbs.Centra is proud to count itself among the early adopters of cloud technology in the healthcare field. Back in 2014, we saw cloud computing as a way to keep up with the rapid growth we were experiencing across the enterprise—and the challenge of adapting to industry changes under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Five years later, we’re still using Microsoft Cloud services to remain on the leading edge of business productivity software so that we can provide exceptional patient care.

With Microsoft 365, we are better able to adapt to industry-wide changes introduced by ACA, such as the transition from a fee-for-service model to a quality-based model. This change made capturing data and analytics very important, because now reimbursement is based on quality of care, not quantity of services. We use Power BI, the data analytics tool from Microsoft Office 365 E5, to meet new healthcare reporting requirements and provide a wealth of data to our clinicians. They use this data to measure their performance against quality benchmarks to improve patient experiences and health outcomes.

We also turned to Microsoft 365 to help address Centra data security and privacy policies. Microsoft accommodated our requirement for data to remain in the continental United States, which helps us comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations that are standard in the healthcare industry. We also found a great solution for emailing sensitive information by combining a Microsoft two-factor authentication solution with our existing encryption appliance. Microsoft invests an incredible amount in its security posture, more than we ever could, and this, along with the knowledge that our data is not intermingled with others’ data in the tenant, gives us peace of mind. And we use Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection, which gives us great insight into malicious activities aimed at our employees’ inboxes.

Keeping our Firstline Workers flexible and mobile is another major priority. We plan to get all our clinical workers online with Office 365 to actualize our vision for a more productive, mobile workforce. We have almost 4,000 employees taking advantage of Office 365 ProPlus and downloading up to five instances of Office 365 on a range of devices. This makes it seamless for them to work from home or the office using the same powerful, cloud-based productivity apps.

As Centra continues to grow from a network of hospitals to an assortment of health-related enterprises, adding everything from a college of nursing to our own insurance business, we see a cloud-based workplace solution as key to staying agile and making the most of our momentum. In Microsoft 365, we have found a solution that marries the strict security requirements of our industry with the needs of a workforce that demands anytime, anywhere access to colleagues and information. For Centra, change isn’t just a matter of increasing productivity or mobility—at the end of the day, our ability to stay up to date with the latest technology innovations means we are providing the best care possible.

Read the case study to learn more about how Centra uses Microsoft 365 to improve quality-based healthcare practices and establish mobile, highly secure work environments to expedite patient care.

Adventist Health System is enhancing healthcare delivery using Microsoft 365 – Microsoft 365 Blog

Today’s post was written by Tony Qualls, director of enterprise technical services at Adventist Health System in Altamonte Springs, Florida.

Over the years, healthcare has changed from hospital-based care to preventive and continuous care that happens throughout an individual’s life—outside of hospital walls and inside patient homes and neighborhood clinics. Consequently, Adventist Health System is in the midst of a big transformation to a more consumer-centric organization to meet the needs of patients and families at every stage of health.

Our more than 80,000 employees are embracing this new care delivery model, and as many of them are frequently on the go, they need secure, quick access to information from anywhere.

With Microsoft 365, we’re able to give them access to the information they need in a secure, compliant environment. We’ve been a longtime user of Microsoft Office 365 to deliver the latest productivity innovations to our clinical and non-clinical employees. We migrated to Microsoft 365 to gain more flexibility with our licensing for Office 365 and for the Windows 10 operating system and Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS).

We have 28,000 Microsoft 365 E3 licenses for our office staff and 41,000 Office 365 F1 licenses for our Firstline team members—nurses, doctors, and other employees. These individuals carry laptops and tablets with them throughout the day or access shared devices using badge-tapping technology. With Microsoft 365, we can cost-effectively license the specific applications that employees need to accomplish various tasks throughout their workdays.

For example, our clinical staff uses Skype for Business Online to improve patient flow and connect physicians with remote patients. Now, we’re taking it to the next level with Microsoft Teams—probably the fastest-growing Office 365 application we have deployed. Everything’s in one place—SharePoint Online sites, files, chat, meetings, and Microsoft Planner. It’s so easy to use, and we find that after people get invited to one Teams channel, they turn around and create channels of their own to support other projects. With Teams, we have persistent conversations, documents, and other resources about a topic in one place, which helps groups focus and move faster. In addition, it’s a highly secure environment that we trust, and we can remain completely compliant with HIPAA and other healthcare regulations.

At Adventist Health System, we strive for excellence in all that we do. Our IT employees strive to be recognized as an industry leader. Utilizing Teams is just one way we are supporting our organization’s vision to be wholistic, exceptional, connected, affordable, and viable.

Communication is crucial to the success of any organization, and Adventist Health System is no different. The quicker we can share information, updates, and plans, the faster we gain buy-in from our team members. The clinical workspace thrives on rapid communication and collaboration around patient care. This, in turn, helps foster better outcomes and patient satisfaction.

It’s exciting to see the Teams roadmap incorporating artificial intelligence capabilities by offering speech-to-text and meeting transcription services. As we gather takeaways and valuable information from meetings, I am happy that Teams allows me to focus on listening to my staff and peers while it captures and transcribes meeting notes for later review.

There’s an abundance of innovation coming from Microsoft, and we’ve taken the approach of releasing new Office 365 applications directly to employees and letting user communities provide guidance, tips, and support on Yammer channels. This has been a great adoption model that has empowered employees to put these tools to work in ways that make sense for them.

Because Microsoft matches productivity innovation with security innovation, we can confidently utilize new technologies on tens of thousands of mobile devices. We’ve standardized on Windows 10 Enterprise, chiefly for security features such as default encryption. But EMS also includes a great bundle of security tools and licensing options that have significantly decreased our licensing costs while giving us enhanced security capabilities.

From a support perspective, Microsoft Intune and mobile email with Exchange Online have been tremendous timesavers. Employees had to unenroll and re-enroll devices in a previous email security program, and our infrastructure support team was inundated with support tickets around the need to resync mobile email accounts. But with Intune, employees download the Microsoft Outlook mobile app, we apply the correct policies, and they’re off and running.

With Microsoft 365, our clinical, support, and IT staffs are all better equipped to help Adventist Health System transform its business in a secure, compliant manner to meet the needs of today’s changing healthcare landscape.

—Tony Qualls

TD Bank empowers employees with assistive technology in Office 365 and Windows 10 – Microsoft 365 Blog

Today’s post was written by Bert Floyd, senior IT manager of assistive technologies at TD Bank Group.

My journey with accessible technology at TD started more than 10 years ago, when I was called in to help incorporate a screen reader and Braille display into our retail environment for a new employee who was blind. Back then, it was a steep learning curve for the IT department. That’s not the case today. Over the intervening decade, we have created an inclusive corporate culture that celebrates everyone, including people with disabilities, and provides us with huge business potential. For example, one in seven people* in Canada identifies as having a disability, and there is an increasing incidence of age-related disabilities among our growing elderly demographic. Making sure our services are easily accessible is key to earning the business of this considerable segment of the population.

We are excited about introducing accessible technologies within Microsoft Office 365 and Windows 10 to empower our employees to help us work toward this strategic advantage. We find that most people can benefit from these accessible technologies, whether they identify as having a disability or not, because the technologies are built in to the Office apps. When employees can customize their environment and adapt to a wide variety of situations, they will be far more successful and productive.

And when we accommodate employees who identify as having a disability, we gain their insight and innovation to help us build accessibility right into our products and services. People with disabilities must think creatively about how to do things that other people don’t necessarily have to worry about, and we want to support that creativity in our workplace. We’re deploying Office 365 to all our employees and Windows 10 to almost 100,000 computers, which helps create an accessible workplace and ensure we will not miss out on hiring the best and the brightest.

From our websites to our brick-and-mortar branches and ATMs, we try to consider accessibility in every aspect of the customer experience. And we believe that with a more diverse and inclusive workforce, we’ll be in a better position to get there.

I’m excited about giving our employees the opportunity to leverage the accessibility features in Office 365 and Windows 10 in their everyday work lives. All employees need to think about accessibility, and everyone plays a role in creating a supportive, inclusive culture. When we all use the same inclusive tool set, there is enormous potential for improving productivity and driving awareness about the value of creating accessible documents and presentations for everyone to easily read and understand. Employees at TD already have access to Accessibility Checker, which makes it easy to spot problems and make content in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote more accessible. People are learning about Narrator and Magnifier in Windows 10 and about the built-in color filters.

We have come a long way since hiring that first employee who was blind. Today, approximately 6 percent of our workforce identifies as having a disability. Our Assistive Technologies Lab welcomes anyone to come and learn about inclusive design and the technologies we have available to support our employees. We work with technology projects to help them conform to our IT accessibility standards, and we rolled out a training program for our developers and testers—a number of them with disabilities—to ensure we fully consider accessibility in our customer-facing products and services.

Today, TD prides itself on its diverse and talented workforce, and I’m incredibly lucky to be part of a great team that works hard to put so many resources behind our employees. Along with our assistive technologies, we are using Office 365 and Windows 10 to help us remove barriers for people with disabilities to create a more inclusive workplace that’s as diverse and exciting as the communities we serve.

*A profile of persons with disabilities among Canadians aged 15 years or older, 2012.

—Bert Floyd

Read the case study to learn more about how TD Bank is empowering its employees with assistive technology in Office 365 and Windows 10.

IoT investment into field management software slow in coming

BOSTON — In today’s connected world, data is everywhere. McDonald’s knows that it sells roughly 75 hamburgers every second across its locations. Airline companies know that a plane lifts off every two seconds in the U.S. What’s the use of this data, however, if companies can’t access it or act on it to provide better efficiency or prevent downtime?

Field management software provider ServiceMax Inc. is hoping its alignment with asset performance management through General Electric’s Predix platform helps customers tie their data to actionable outcomes with the hopes of IoT investment, the main theme at the Maximize 2018 Boston conference, a day-long event taking place in a select number of cities throughout the year.

“The mission of field service management is less service equals more,” said Scott Berg, CEO of ServiceMax, to the roughly 300 attendees. “Customers think of uptimes and outcomes — your customers bought something to produce. They don’t want you there in the first place.”

In the opening keynote, Berg touched on the unfulfilled promise of IoT. Roughly $3 trillion will be spent on IoT investment and connectivity and service by 2020, according to Deloitte, yet there’s still a disconnect or unfulfilled promise according to Berg.

“What people want to evolve to is a predictive model for maintenance,” he said.

‘Technical hell’

The IoT movement is already here — its scope depending on the industry you’re looking at. According to 2017 research by Gartner, the consumer segment is the largest user base of connected devices, with smart TVs, security cameras and electric meters among the consumer devices that have taken an IoT approach.

The B2B market for IoT is also substantial; a seemingly endless array of machines require updates and maintenance. By 2020, Gartner expects there to be more than 20 billion connected devices between consumer and business uses — all requiring some form of field management software to help monitor and alert users when something goes awry.

While this influx of connected devices is real and upon us, there still exists this unfulfilled promise of the return of an IoT investment for some customers — mainly due to the initial cost of the investment to upgrade or replace connected products.

What people want IoT to evolve to is a predictive model for maintenance … Before IoT, the customer was the sensor.
Scott BergCEO, ServiceMax

Several attendees at the Maximize event, ranging from customers to vendor partners, cited the initial investment required to make manufacturing tools or construction machines smart. If a manufacturing company is investing in its equipment today, there’s a good chance that IoT capabilities and field management software will be a cornerstone of that growth.

But many companies that on the surface fit the description for IoT capabilities don’t see now as the right time for an IoT investment — whether that’s due to market maturation, the cost of upgrading inventory to be connected or if their use cases don’t reap the benefits of IoT measurement and the need for field management software.

“A lot of IoT is applied at medical device and life science [companies], and it’s ‘Look at this problem we’ve discovered and we fix it and the problem goes away,'” Berg said in a roundtable with media and analysts. “What’s lost with that is the [field management software] benefit doesn’t live on; it doesn’t repeat and learn from itself.”

This one-and-done aspect of some IoT projects should “scare C-level executives to death,” according to Eddie Amos, CTO for GE Digital. “If you go out and build a one-off customized solution, you’re in technical hell forever.”

A predictive model for maintenance

What this movement toward more connectivity and IoT investment means for customers — and the customers of field management software — is less maintenance and more timely repairs.

“Before IoT, the customer was the sensor,” Berg said.

And while field service management is evolving to a more proactive maintenance approach, the industry is still a long way from complete predictive maintenance.

“We can tell you based on algorithms that there may be an issue,” Amos said. “But you still need to go out and service it. Right now, it’s about getting the right people at the right place at the right time.”

Accenture fosters inclusive workspace to empower employees with Microsoft 365 – Microsoft 365 Blog

Today’s post was written by Stephen Cutchins CIO and accessibility lead at Accenture.

Headshot of Stephen Cutchins, CIO and accessibility lead at Accenture.Diversity at Accenture is a source of strength; the wealth of different perspectives and skillsets that our employees bring to the table keeps us leading in our field. Achieving more as a company starts with addressing the needs of every single employee in our workforce. I am passionate about accessibility. I grew up with two cousins with disabilities and it shaped my outlook on the whole idea of inclusion in the workplace. Accessible technology is about one thing—fitting the tools to the humans who use themand I’m fortunate to work with a company that shares my vision. I wanted to create an accessibility practice at Accenture, and to that end, I started as the first employee in the CIO’s Center for Excellence, where we look at finding the right tools for an inclusive workplace. And when it comes to business tools, we see Microsoft as a leader in inclusive technology and a great partner, a perfect match for our goals to put technology to work empowering every one of our employees. In fact, we now take it for granted that the experiences within Microsoft 365 are going to work well for our employees.

As a human-centric company, our workplace initiatives are designed to bring the conversation about accessibility to the forefront, encouraging an open dialogue about how we can support employees’ needs in the workplace. Accenture runs on Office 365 productivity services that include a wealth of built-in accessibility features. The Microsoft approach of “accessibility by design” matches our philosophy that accessibility is not an add-on or an afterthought, but an inherent part of the technology we use to communicate and collaborate as an organization.

The ability to collaborate effectively with your colleagues to get work done is the baseline of any productive organization. A lot of credit goes to accessibility features in Office 365 ProPlus applications—such as Skype for Business, Word, and Outlook—for helping us tap into the incredible resources in our company. Daily Skype voice and video calls become transformative when people who are blind or motor-disabled can participate by using JAWS screen reader for Windows or voice dictation software. Even minor changes can have an enormous impact. I was excited to see that when Microsoft moved the Accessibility Checker front and center in Word, near the spell check, it raised awareness of both the feature itself and the need to use it. We are all of different abilities, and learning to consider the full range of situations across the disability spectrum means employees will use the tools at hand for better communication and collaboration with everyone.

It gives me enormous satisfaction that our inclusive workplace, with Microsoft technologies, engages our employees to do their best work and to help them realize their true potential and grow as human beings. Everyone benefits.

—Stephen Cutchins

Read the case study to learn more about how Accenture is empowering its workforce with the intuitive accessibility tools built into Windows 10 and Office 365.

How can technology empower the Class of 2030? |

Our world is changing faster than ever. What skills will today’s kindergarteners need to be life-ready by the time they graduate as the class of 2030? How can technology support their educational journey?

To answer these critical questions, we launched a key piece of research: “The class of 2030 and life-ready learning: The technology imperative.” Today, I am super excited to share that the full report is now available.

To conduct our research, we listened to 70 thought leaders around the world, reviewed 150 pieces of existing research, and surveyed 2,000 teachers and 2,000 students across Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Most importantly, we focused on the needs and aspirations of our subjects: the young people who make up the class of 2030 and those closest to understanding their world.

Within that context, we found 2 core themes: social emotional skills and personalized learning. Whilst not new in education, these are newly important for more people. Employers are placing a premium on social skills and emotional literacy with up to 40% of future jobs requiring explicit social emotional skills. Academics are noting their impact on deep learning and the students themselves recognize these skills are critical for success. The research highlighted personalized learning as an approach which supports skill development — both cognitive and social and emotional by guiding students towards greater autonomy and control.

The students were clear: they want to develop these skills to navigate their own learning – to explore and make choices that unlock their curiosity and potential and they want teachers who know and understand them as individuals.

Three technologies were highlighted in the research as showing great promise to support social and emotional skill development and personalized learning approaches; collaborative platforms, mixed reality and analytics powered by AI.

Students across the four surveyed countries prioritized a range of social-emotional and higher-order skills; notably, students valued digital skills, creativity and problem solving higher than teachers.

The students were clear: they want to develop the skills to navigate their own learning – to explore and make choices that unlock their curiosity and potential. Click To Tweet

While not new in education, these skills are newly important to more people and are taking center stage alongside deeper cognitive skills and content knowledge in the classroom and in the workforce. By 2030, it is predicted that between 30 to 40 percent of jobs will require explicit social-emotional skills.

While the need for social-emotional skills is clear, our research highlighted differences between the specific skills that students and teachers prioritize and how well-equipped teachers feel to teach these skills. This variation was mirrored in how both groups described their experiences of social-emotional skills as part of the learning program.

Students already place a strong emphasis on social-emotional skills based on the results of our survey, which you can explore below.

Personalized learning, which is a student centered approach, emerged as one of the most promising ways to develop social-emotional and deeper cognitive skills.

The students we surveyed said they want to have greater control over their learning and not just automation of content delivery. The students wanted personalization involving control over pacing, content and assessment. 70 percent of the students felt their mastery of content would be better with greater control. Quality feedback is critical for personalized learning. Only 40 percent of students we surveyed felt they receive feedback that was personalized; yet 60 percent of teachers felt they were providing personalized feedback.

Teachers have long endorsed personalized learning but have cited a lack of time and resources as obstacles. In our survey, nearly 70 percent of teachers cited time constraints as their biggest hurdle to providing more personalized content to their students. Our research revealed technology can help clear away those obstacles by freeing up as much as 30 percent of teachers’ time, so they can spend more time responding to individual and group needs.

Our research identified other important differences in perspectives between students and teachers about the extent of personalization in their current education.  Explore the data, below.

Three types of technology show especially strong promise for advancing socially embedded and personalized learning, and more immersive learning experiences: collaboration platforms, artificial intelligence, and mixed reality. You can find out more about the current and emerging opportunities in the full report and in the papers and case studies being published across 2018.

The class of 2030 and future generations will face social and global problems beyond what we can imagine. They will learn and engage with each other, with technology and with information in entirely new ways. And they will enter a workforce where job functions and roles will be dramatically different from today.

We hope our research will advance all of our efforts to help the class of 2030 be ready to succeed in work and life.

I encourage you to request our full report and share it widely with anyone interested in shaping the education system of the future.

I look forward to continuing to engage with you about these crucial topics in the weeks and months ahead.

Mastercard disrupts payment industry with innovation driven by Microsoft 365


Today’s post was written by Ron Markezich, corporate vice president for Microsoft.

Disruption in the payment industry is all about simplification, expedience, and secure global connections. Mastercard is leading the charge to a “world beyond cash,” creating products and services such as the company’s new digital wallet, Masterpass, and tokenization solutions that improve the security of digital payments. These advances continue the company’s long history of innovation, rooted firmly in its culture and people. That’s why it’s so exciting that Mastercard uses Microsoft 365 to incentivize and engage its employees through highly secure, modern workplaces—where creative collaboration happens as quickly and seamlessly as any Mastercard payment.

Here’s what Ed McLaughlin, president of Mastercard Operations and Technology, has to say about the company’s adoption of Microsoft Cloud solutions:

“Mastercard connects people, financial institutions, merchants, and businesses across the globe. As one of the largest technology companies in the payments space, we give our employees the tools they need to deliver continual innovation to our customers and do it securely. We selected Microsoft 365 to support a modern workplace for our 11,900 employees, giving them the capability to collaborate on the fly and deliver their best work.”

I like to think of how we are amplifying the ingenuity and creative thinking that goes on every day at Mastercard through continuous improvements to the Office 365 platform. For example, we are weaving Microsoft machine learning and AI capabilities throughout Office 365 apps. One new feature, Insights in Excel, automatically highlights patterns, outliers, and trends in data, so employees see different perspectives on their business information to spark new ideas.

I’m looking forward to seeing the next iteration of Mastercard’s take on disruption in the global payment ecosystem!

—Ron Markezich