Tag Archives: vice

3 secret virtues of a great IT practitioner

What makes a great IT practitioner? Danny Brian, a Gartner vice president and fellow, suggested it’s the ability to embrace one’s vices.

At Gartner Catalyst 2018, Brian named laziness, impatience and hubris as the three secret virtues of a great IT practitioner — borrowing them from acclaimed programmer Larry Wall. In Wall’s 1991 book Programming Perl, the virtues were aimed at programmers. But Brian made the case they can help all IT practitioners succeed in today’s digital business age — and contribute to the bottom line.

Laziness

In Wall’s book, laziness is defined as “the quality that makes you go to great effort to reduce overall energy expenditure.” In other words, lazy IT practitioners continually seek out the easiest, most efficient ways to complete a task.

“If necessity is the mother of invention, then maybe laziness is the mother of innovation,” Brian said.

As an example, he pointed to computer programming pioneer Grace Hopper. The inventor of one of the first compiler tools — i.e., software that transforms computer code from one programming language into another — Hopper credited laziness as the impetus for her accomplishment.

Laziness, Brian said, also requires an enormous amount of planning and foresight.

“You don’t want to just be lazy now; you want to be lazy tomorrow and the day after that,” Brian said. “And if you want to enable other people to be lazy, it takes even more thought and preparation.”

He listed specific examples of what true laziness requires of an IT practitioner:

  • not repeating yourself;
  • not reinventing the wheel — utilizing the best frameworks and tools to save time and effort;
  • focusing on the most important problems;
  • knowledge and recognition of design patterns, which avoid solving the same or similar problems multiple times;
  • ensuring test-driven development in order to avoid hours spent later in panic mode trying to figure out what broke;
  • developing processes and procedures that actually help people short cut their tasks, rather than creating standards for standards’ sake; and
  • documenting everything — as close to the activity as possible — in a way that is easy for others and for your future self to understand.

Impatience

If necessity is the mother of invention, then maybe laziness is the mother of innovation.
Danny Brianvice president and fellow, Gartner

Every religious tradition in the world espouses patience as a virtue, Brian said, but the truth is the world is growing more impatient, in part, because of technology.

“If you think you want patient people working for you, I’d ask, ‘What about all that technology influence that’s creating more and more impatience in the world? Don’t you want people who recognize that and are ready and willing to respond to it?'” he said.

Indeed, patience could even pose a threat to organizational efficiency.

“Patience can lead to inaction, if you think about it. Patience can quickly become apathy or complacency — or at least appear to be those things,” he said.

The impatience Brian exalted is the general impatience that drives people to get things done and fix things that are broken or problematic. While laziness is about overall energy expenditure, impatience is all about the emotion — specifically anger at a slow program or process.

“It’s fixing a problem not because practitioners have to, but because it bugs them; not because there’s a ticket open, but because it’s really annoying and they’re impatient users,” Brian said.

This is where practices like continuous integration come in, Brian said. Along with having tests run on a regular basis so they can know as soon as a problem occurs, impatient IT practitioners are also continuously exploring — and integrating — new and better tools.

Impatience is also key to Agile development, Brian said.

“You should never hear the words from an Agile team, ‘We are waiting on X from X,'” Brian said. “They’re not Agile unless they can meet all of their dependencies and never be waiting on another team to get things done. And that’s what real impatience should look like.”

He listed specific examples of what true impatience requires of an IT practitioner:

  • a sense of urgency;
  • automating everything automatable;
  • constantly watching for better workflows, tools and methodologies;
  • continuously integrating so you never feel behind;
  • utilizing wikis, because we need to edit that right here and now;
  • empathizing with impatient end users;
  • having empowered teams with the resources necessary to push projects through to completion;
  • the ability to use cloud services, or any service that is the best tool for the job; and
  • strong communication skills from all contributors and sponsors.

Hubris

Wall defined hubris as “excessive pride — the sort of thing that Zeus zaps you for. [It’s] also the quality that makes you write and maintain programs that other people won’t want to say bad things about.”

In that vein, Brian refers to IT-practitioner hubris as the pride one takes in a well-crafted product and the drive to succeed where others have failed.

“[It’s] that total sense of ownership that doesn’t come without opening things up and allowing themselves to be impatient and lazy in this case,” he said. “It’s also knowing enough to know what you don’t know, which brings confidence with experience.”

This brand of hubris requires not only a conviction that one is right, but an ability to make the case to the CIO and the business, Brian said.

“A big part of this is for the technical folks to learn to not speak like coneheads,” he said.

Brian noted that novice IT practitioners can’t really have true hubris — yet.

“New practitioners can be lazy, and they can be impatient. But they can’t have hubris in the effective way,” Brian said. Hubris takes time, experience and success. “Real hubris is being an expert.”

He listed specific examples of what else true hubris requires of an IT practitioner:

  • pride in yourself and in your work;
  • zero fear of new technologies — the ability to dive in and emerge an expert;
  • attention to details, such as design, documentation and code formatting;
  • flexibility to adjust to changing requirements and user needs — a “we can do that” mentality;
  • owning the results of your work — releasing, maintaining and improving a service;
  • knowing what “good” looks like and how to get it;
  • going above and beyond, even when it is not requested;
  • constantly retraining yourself; staying abreast of new technology developments; reading technology books; attending conventions and workshops; and subscribing to training sites, like Lynda.com, Udemy, Pluralsight or Codecademy; and
  • a craftsmanship mentality — seeing your job as creating solutions for people and the business, rather than racking servers or writing code.

Brian ended with a warning to IT practitioners: Don’t let any one of these three qualities outweigh the others; they must coexist and balance each other out. Practitioners ruled by laziness — efficiency obsessives — will try to suss out and prematurely optimize any problems that might come in the future.

“If they’re too impatient, they’re going to be quick to adopt the wrong solutions … and just incur technical debt over time,” Brian said. “Too much hubris, and they are going to be perfectionists that can’t ever recognize when good is good enough and [the need to] sacrifice the good for the perfect.”

The beauty that comes from nuance: to help their daughter, a Microsoft employee and a filmmaker became transgender allies – Microsoft Life

Microsoft Corporate Vice President Chadd Knowlton and filmmaker Vlada Knowlton underwent a “radical transformation” and then made a documentary to tell stories of families like theirs

By Natalie Singer-Velush

Chadd and Vlada Knowlton will never forget the day they most feared for their youngest child.

They were driving to school and from the back seat of the car piped a little voice, asking where babies came from. Vlada Knowlton, a filmmaker and former Microsoft employee, explained to her 4-year-old that babies grew in moms’ bellies and came out when they were ready.

“I want you to put me back in,” said the trembling voice. “I know I’m a girl. It’s not fair.”

The parents worried immediately that this was their preschooler’s way of saying that life didn’t feel worth living.

“I kept the car straight. I tried to keep driving. But it was terrifying,” Vlada Knowlton said.

The Knowltons’ youngest child had always been artistic, creative, curious, and intelligent—but also, lately, very unhappy.

“She was born with the body of a boy. Everybody assumed she was a boy. [In the beginning] we never in a million years imagined anything different,” Vlada Knowlton said. “But . . . from about the age of 2, she seemed frustrated, unsatisfied with her life.”

At home, the Knowltons, who also have an older son and daughter, had been allowing their youngest to wear dresses and play with more stereotypically girly toys, and things seemed better during those times. But in public, their preschooler was frustrated and angry when presenting as a boy, which was leading to depression and withdrawal.

“She couldn’t express herself the way she felt she wanted to,” Vlada Knowlton said.

The day in the car was the turning point for the parents. Their daughter felt she was a girl, and so she should be able to live that way, they decided.

“We had to go through a radical transformation to learn, to understand, and to accept. Our daughter didn’t really transition—she was the same before. We transitioned as parents.”

“It was a great moment of clarity,” said Chadd Knowlton, a corporate vice president at Microsoft. “We were coming from a place of total unknown. Once we did the research and we understood how gender is formed in the brain, we could accept it. Gender is what it is.

“We had to go through a radical transformation to learn, to understand, and to accept. Our daughter didn’t really transition—she was the same before. We transitioned as parents. And then we moved ahead into a new kind of personal activism that we had never had to call upon in our lives before.”

That activism includes making a documentary about LGBTQ+ rights and the movements that threaten them. The film, “The Most Dangerous Year,” recently had its world premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival. It tracks a wave of antitransgender legislation, including bathroom bills, and tells the story of a coalition of Washington State families who have transgender children who join together to fight it. Vlada Knowlton directed, wrote, edited, and produced the film; Chadd Knowlton served as the supervising sound editor and composed the score.

As they navigated their daughter’s and family’s journey, the Knowltons have been supported by many of their communities, including Microsoft.

“The environment is inclusive, accepting, and empowering for people to express themselves and to be allies,” Chadd Knowlton said of the company’s culture. “One of the first things I thought about was hey, maybe my daughter could get a job at Microsoft one day because I know it’ll be a great place for her to work.”

Their family’s journey has broadened their perspective in a way that now empowers them to be advocates and allies.

“We were new people after this, and honestly we’re thankful for that,” Chadd Knowlton said. “Gender is not binary. You could be anywhere on that spectrum. It’s one of the things I think people struggle with in our society. They really want things to be easily categorized and named. But the world is all nuance—and that’s the beauty of it.”

Meet more Microsoft employees who are changing hearts and minds and advancing human rights.
https://news.microsoft.com/life/topic/pride/

See how Microsoft is celebrating Pride 2018 and how you can be an ally.
https://www.microsoft.com/pride/

Learn how Microsoft and its LGBTQ+ employees push for change across borders.
https://news.microsoft.com/life/pride/

Microsoft brings intelligent cloud, intelligent edge vision to life at Computex Taipei | Stories

Nick Parker and Roanne Sones hold the new HP ProBook x360 on stage
Nick Parker, Microsoft corporate vice president of Consumer and Device Sales, and Roanne Sones, Microsoft corporate vice president of Platforms, unveil the new HP ProBook x360 on stage at Computex 2018.

TAIPEI, Taiwan — June 6, 2018 — Wednesday at Computex Taipei, Microsoft Corp. underscored its commitment to the partner ecosystem and announced new programs and a new category of intelligent devices, designed to take advantage of a digitally connected world and drive new growth and opportunity for the industry. At the event, Microsoft shared how the era of the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge will usher in the next phase of innovation and create a broad portfolio of devices that will blend more naturally into people’s lives.

Nick Parker, corporate vice president, Consumer and Device Sales, showcased how Microsoft is bringing the industry together to build the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge, delivering new experiences and solutions not previously possible.

“For Microsoft, it’s more than just screens and devices; it’s about creating services and experiences with technology that support ambitions and aspirations,” Parker said. Imagine the devices and experiences we can create with ubiquitous computing, infused with AI and connected to the cloud. This is such an incredible time for the industry.”

Parker was joined on stage by Roanne Sones, corporate vice president, Platforms, who announced a new partner community for the intelligent edge, a new category of Windows 10 devices called Windows Collaboration Displays and a new offering with Windows 10 IoT Core Services.

New programs to help build the intelligent edge

The intelligent cloud and intelligent edge will offer a new world of possibilities for the industry to deliver more flexible and custom experiences for everyone, whether a thermostat in a smart home or an interactive display in a smart office. In addition to modern devices from leading partners, Sones shared news and momentum in areas including these:

  • New intelligent edge partner community: To accelerate innovation in this new era we invite all our partners to join our intelligent edge partner community. The community will help partners connect with one another to identify opportunities to collaborate on technology innovation and achieve shared business goals. In addition, community members will be able to participate in trainings and community events, and can participate in early adopter programs that provide access to documentation, specs, OS builds and certification details. Those wanting to sign up should visit http://microsoft.com/intelligentedge.
  • Windows IoT core services: Microsoft revealed a new service offering that will enable partners to commercialize a secure IoT device, backed by industry-leading support. The service offering helps make it easier to manage updates for the OS, apps, settings and OEM-specific files; includes Device Health Attestation (DHA); and is backed with 10 years of support. More about the service offering can be found on the Windows blog.

A new category of devices: Windows Collaboration Displays

Microsoft 365 brings together Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security that delivers a complete, intelligent and secure solution to empower employees. It’s a global productivity platform that enables multisense, multidevice experiences that put people at the center for both work and life. People around the world already use the power of Microsoft 365 across PCs, tablets, phones and other devices from our partners to work how, when and where they want.

Along with its partner ecosystem, Microsoft announced new opportunities to bring Microsoft 365 experiences to life through a new category of devices called Windows Collaboration Displays. These new devices allow users to experience Microsoft 365 collaboration tools, Office, Teams and Whiteboard, at room scale. A variety of Collaboration Displays from Sharp and Avocor will be available later this year.

Microsoft at Computex

Visitors to Computex Taipei can view the new Windows 10 devices and IoT solutions at the Microsoft Booth, on the 4th floor of the NanGang Exhibition Hall, L Area #0110. The show is open June 5–9.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For more information, press only:

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Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

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

New to Office 365 in January—enriching teamwork across devices

Today’s post was written by Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office team.

We’re launching into 2018 by bringing great new value to Office 365 subscribers, with updates that enhance how teams work together and unlock new ways to create and manage content across devices. Read on for details.

Get more done in Microsoft Teams

New features for Microsoft Teams enable you to interact with apps in new ways, customize your personal workspace, and take quick actions.

Find and use apps in new ways—Now you can include interactive cards from apps in conversations the same way you would add an emoji or GIF. With one click, you can bring important information, like a task from Trello, into a channel conversation or chat. Finding new apps and services in Teams is now easier with the new Store, where you can search for apps by name or category, such as “Project management” or “Analytics & BI.”

Command apps and take quick actions across Teams—We also introduced the new command box in Microsoft Teams, a single point of entry that integrates your search and command experiences. Now you can quickly interact with apps, perform tasks, and navigate throughout Teams directly from the command box, in addition to searching across people, messages, files, and apps.

A view of the apps available for Microsoft Teams from the Store dash.

Work together more effectively with updates to iOS and Mac

New Office 365 capabilities for iOS and Mac enhance how teams create content together, make it easier to produce advanced documents, presentations, and spreadsheets from anywhere, and introduce new ways to search, preview, and interact with files.

Co-authoring for iOS and Mac—We made it easier for individuals to work together across devices with the general availability of co-authoring in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel for iOS and Mac. Now, whether you work on a Mac, PC, or mobile device, you’ll know who else is working with you in a document, see where they’re working, and view changes. Co-authoring is already available on the Office desktop applications for Windows, Office for Android, and Office Online. Learn more at the Microsoft Tech Community.

Automatically save your work on Mac—Today also marks the general availability of AutoSave in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on Mac for Office 365 subscribers who store their documents in OneDrive and SharePoint. Whether you’re working alone or with others, your latest changes are now automatically stored in the cloud, so you never need to worry about hitting the Save button again. You can also view and restore content from earlier versions of the document at any time with support for version history.

Image of a laptop open, displaying a financial report in Excel.

Drag and drop content and files on iOS—The Office and OneDrive iOS apps now support drag and drop for content and files. One of the most common and powerful tasks when creating content is integrating photos, graphs, and other objects from a variety of sources. Now Office 365 subscribers on iPad and iPhone can easily drag and drop content into documents, presentations, and spreadsheets from other Office apps or OneDrive. Support for drag and drop for iOS also enables you to move files to and from OneDrive and other sources—such as SharePoint or iMessage—making it easier to organize content scattered across different apps and services.

Animated image shows the drag and drop capabilities in Office and OneDrive for iOS.

Access OneDrive files from more iOS apps—OneDrive for iOS now natively supports the new iOS 11 Files app. This means iPhone and iPad users can upload, access, edit, and save content to OneDrive or SharePoint from any iOS app that supports File app integration—a top requested feature. Users can also tag their favorite OneDrive and SharePoint files from within the Files app, making it easier to find and use the content that matters to you.

Preview more file types with OneDrive for iOS—We redesigned the OneDrive for iOS app with a more detailed list view, making it easier to scan file names, see relevant information, and sort files by specific attributes. The updated OneDrive for iOS app also creates crisp thumbnails and supports previews for over 130 file types, including Adobe Photoshop and 3D objects, so you can open, view, and share the right content without leaving the app.

Search across your organization with Outlook for iOS—The new search experience in Outlook for iOS leverages the Microsoft Graph to surface results from your top contacts, upcoming travel itineraries, package deliveries, recent attachments, and more. Together with proactive search suggestions and a unified design, it now provides consistent, personalized results that enable you to discover information from across your organization faster.

Improve reading skills with Learning Tools for Mac—Word for Mac now supports Immersive Reader and Read Aloud, tools previously available in Word for Windows and mobile apps. These tools enable content to be viewed in ways that are optimized for learning differences and allow documents to be read back with simultaneous highlighting. These features make it easier to recognize and correct errors as you write, improving reading and editing accuracy for everyone—especially users with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

Additional updates

  • New ways to share on YammerEarlier this month, we introduced new ways for users to share engaging company-wide content from wherever they are with the Yammer mobile app. Users can now post announcements to groups, add animated GIFs, and more.
  • Powerful inclusive learning tools—Last week at Bett, we introduced a range of powerful new tools that make teaching and learning in schools more inclusive and collaborative, including built-in dictation across Office 365 and the expansion of Learning Tools to Mac and iPhone.

Learn more about what’s new for Office 365 subscribers this month at: Office for Windows desktops | Office for Mac | Office Mobile for Windows | Office for iPhone and iPad | Office for Android. If you’re an Office 365 Home or Personal customer, be sure to sign up for Office Insider to be the first to use the latest and greatest in Office productivity. Commercial customers on both Monthly Channel and Semi-Annual Channel can also get early access to a fully supported build through Targeted Release (Clients, Services). All updates in this blog have reached general availability and are beginning to roll out to Office 365 subscribers. Microsoft Teams updates are rolling out automatically and you can expect to see them in your Teams desktop client soon. For iOS and Mac updates, check for updates on your device. Some devices may receive these updates later than others.

Digital transformation on a global scale—Accenture runs its business on Microsoft – Office Blogs

Logo for Accenture.

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

I have known Andrew Wilson since he became Accenture CIO more than four years ago, and I continue to be impressed by what a strong IT organization he has built. Andrew not only motivates the IT organization, but he also takes a strong leadership role across the company, encouraging everyone to adopt new technology to transform the business. Just look at the stats. More than 420,000 Accenture employees in 120 countries embody the digital transformation experience. One of the first global corporations to migrate to Office 365, Accenture has 484,000 Exchange Online mailboxes. Consultants work in creative teams and stay engaged with the company through 20,000 SharePoint Online sites, and more than 25,000 employees are enthusiastic early adopters of Microsoft Teams. Cloud-first file storage is the norm, with employees enjoying mobile access to 900 million files or 2.2 petabytes of corporate data in OneDrive. And with employees racking up more than 309 million minutes of Skype for Business Online conferencing every month, it’s clear that they’re empowered to communicate on any device, when and where they need to. Mobility at this level does not come at the expense of security, because Accenture has the world’s largest deployment of Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security to manage approximately 450,000 identities and 104,000 mobile devices.

At Microsoft Ignite 2017, Brad Nyers, managing director at Accenture, walked us through the company’s global rollout of Windows 10. This will be the world’s largest Windows 10 deployment—comprising 450,000 users by the end of 2018—and it also includes Office 365 ProPlus and OneDrive. It was fascinating to hear about this latest example of Accenture using Microsoft technology to boost its own agility and productivity, so it can help drive its customers’ digital transformation stories.

To streamline the Windows 10 deployment, Accenture built the In-Place Upgrade Tool (IPU), which checks for adequate disk space and whether security tools are up to date. Employees with Windows 10–ready computers are notified via email. They follow a link to get the IPU package from OneDrive and perform the installation themselves. For employees whose devices are not ready, Accenture automatically generates remediation lists and points people to documentation that explains how to migrate their files to the cloud.

Storing data in OneDrive also helps employees who receive a new Windows 10 device. Because their data is in the cloud, when they get a new device, all they have to do is authenticate to access their information and get back to being productive. Accenture created a streamlined imaging process that layers its security tools and Office 365 ProPlus to achieve huge time savings for the company.

I’m excited to hear about the value that Microsoft technologies provide Accenture as it leads the way with a digital transformation that’s truly changing how its workforce—now 75 percent millennial—enacts the company’s mission. For a deeper dive into how “Accenture runs on Microsoft,” read the full story.

—Ron Markezich

Microsoft Intune and Jamf Pro: Better Together to Manage and Secure Macs

This post is co-authored by Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft and Dean Hager, CEO, Jamf.

At the Jamf Nation User Conference (JNUC) in October, we talked about how our partnership would provide an automated compliance-based solution for secure access to corporate data from Mac devices. This solution uses Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) conditional access and Jamf Pro Mac management capabilities to ensure that company data can only be accessed by trusted users, from trusted devices, using trusted apps.

Today, Microsoft and Jamf are proud to make this integration generally available to our shared customers. Jamf customers can upgrade to Jamf Pro 10.1 to get started today.  The EMS cloud services have already been updated with this functionality and are available globally.

Every organization wants to ensure that only trusted users, on trusted devices, using trusted apps get access to their data.  However, the perimeter-based security model that organizations have traditionally used is no longer effective in providing this level of security when the data is increasingly outside of the corporate firewall – in cloud services and on mobile devices.  To address this challenge, EMS has delivered a unique set of security controls for the modern world. Each time access to corporate data is requested, EMS is able to quickly determine if the request is in fact coming from a trusted user, on a trusted device, with a trusted app. Access is then “conditionally” granted to company data based on the policies IT has defined — and this action relies on the unique data and intelligence in the Microsoft Cloud. This identity-driven security model is what is needed in the modern world of cloud services and mobile devices.

Given the increasing sophistication of the attacks and the speed at which these attacks are designed to spread, organizations require solutions that put the power of intelligent clouds working on their behalf 24×7 to assist them in protecting the organization. Conditional access gives IT the power to enforce policies that work in real-time based on the intelligence in the Microsoft Cloud. With this partnership, Jamf is continually feeding the rich data on Macs from Jamf Pro into the Microsoft Cloud – further strengthening the ability of the Microsoft Cloud to protect access to company data.

The reasoning behind this partnership is simple: Our mutual customers were looking for a way to enforce EMS conditional access policies across all the devices their users chose to use — PCs, mobile devices, and Macs. We combined the power of the unified endpoint management and conditional access in EMS with Jamf’s Mac device management capabilities to meet the needs of our mutual customers, focusing on three key functions:

  1. Jamf admins will now be able to sync their Mac inventory data with Intune and the Microsoft Cloud. With critical information about the security status of managed Macs, this inventory opens up the ability to do single-pane-of-glass reporting within Intune.
  2. This inventory data can then be analyzed by Intune’s compliance engine to generate a report and then, combined with intelligence about the user’s identity, enforce conditional access via EMS. If the Mac is compliant with the conditional access policies IT has set, it will be given access to the protected company resources.
  3. This integration also provides a user-friendly remediation experience for noncompliant devices. Users are seamlessly directed back to Jamf Self Service to fix any security issues causing the device to be non-compliant and preventing them from accessing company data.

Here’s an overview of the architecture for this integration:

Both of our teams are excited to continue working together to enable this functionality for our mutual customers. Because these solutions now work together, IT can enjoy the management power of each ecosystem with the simplicity of inventory reporting in a single pane of glass. We are looking forward to hearing your feedback and continuing to add new features in the coming year.

Since the announcement on this partnership, we have had the opportunity to personally talk with more than 100 joint customers.  The feedback has been universally positive.  This is a solution that is integrated, modern, and is loved by users and trusted by IT.

We are genuinely excited to make these capabilities generally available and can’t wait to see how our customers will use them.

To learn more about Jamf’s Microsoft Intune integration, please visit:

To learn more about Intune, please visit:

New to Office 365 in December—extending human ingenuity with everyday AI – Office Blogs

Today’s post was written by Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office team.

Earlier today in San Francisco, Harry Shum, executive vice president of Microsoft AI & Research, demonstrated how Microsoft is infusing intelligent technologies across our core products to make artificial intelligence (AI) available to everyone, with the simple goal of helping people deliver their best work.

Office 365 is built on Microsoft’s powerful platform for AI that makes advancements in machine learning and AI accessible to every developer and organization. From document translation to intelligent threat detection, AI is already enhancing the productivity experience of over 120 million commercial Office 365 users.

New Office 365 AI capabilities this month help subscribers discover insights from data, leverage organizational knowledge, arrive on time for events, and more. Read on for details.

Automatically unlock rich insights with AI (preview)

Every day, millions of Office 365 subscribers rely on Excel to perform complex analysis and derive value from their organizations’ data with intelligent tools like Flash Fill and advanced data transformation. For many, however, extracting key insights from a new data set can be intimidating. Today, we’re announcing the preview of Insights in Excel—a new service that automatically highlights patterns it detects, which makes it easier for everyone to explore and analyze their data. Powered by machine learning, Insights helps identify trends, outliers, and other useful visualizations, providing new and useful perspectives on data. Insights begins rolling out in preview to Office insiders this month.

An animated screenshot demonstrates Insights in Excel.

Excel will provide automatic insights.

Master company lingo with machine learning

Every workplace is unique, and understanding the internal acronyms in use across an organization can be essential to success. Today, we announced a new Microsoft Word feature called Acronyms. Powered by machine learning, Acronyms helps people understand shorthand that is commonly used in their own workplaces by leveraging the Microsoft Graph to surface definitions of terms that have been previously defined across emails and documents. Acronyms will begin rolling out to Word Online for Office 365 commercial subscribers in 2018.

A screenshot shows the Acronyms feature used in Word Online.

Master company acronyms in Word Online.

Get to events on time with Outlook

In 2017, we rolled out several new capabilities in Outlook that help users automatically detect trips and deliveries, triage email, schedule meetings, and more. Today, we’re expanding this set of AI-powered tools by bringing Cortana to the Outlook mobile app to help users stay on top of their day. When it is time to leave for appointments, Outlook will now send a notification—with directions for both driving and public transit—taking into account current location, the event location, and real-time traffic information. Time to leave in Outlook is rolling out to iOS users this month in markets where Cortana is available.

An animated GIF demonstrates the

Outlook will notify you when it’s time to leave for your next event.

Bring people, ideas, and content together with Microsoft Whiteboard Preview

This month, we also announced the preview of Microsoft Whiteboard for Windows 10 devices—a freeform digital canvas where people, ideas, and content can come together. Microsoft Whiteboard Preview is built for teams who ideate and work together across multiple devices and locations. Unlike traditional whiteboards, the app uses AI to recognize freeform drawings and turn them into standard shapes, so it’s easier to create great-looking tables, diagrams, and flowcharts using only a pen. Users can work together in real-time on shared content and automatically save to the cloud to pick their work up later from another device. Microsoft Whiteboard is now available in preview from the Windows Store.

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Find text in images with intelligent search

Earlier this year, we introduced the ability for OneDrive and SharePoint to automatically recognize the content within images and detect whiteboards, screenshots, receipts, and more. Today, we are expanding this capability to automatically extract searchable text from those images, making it easier to find a wide range of content, including receipts and business cards, using memorable search terms and without needing to know where the images are stored. Text in image search is currently rolling out and will be available to all Office 365 commercial subscribers by the end of December.

Three smartphones display intelligent search in images.

Search for text in images stored in Office 365.

Learn more about what’s new for Office 365 subscribers this month at: Office on Windows desktops | Office for Mac | Office Mobile for Windows | Office for iPhone and iPad | Office on Android. If you’re an Office 365 Home or Personal customer, be sure to sign up for Office Insider to be the first to use the latest and greatest in Office productivity. Commercial customers on both Monthly Channel and Semi-Annual Channel can also get early access to a fully supported build through Targeted Release (Clients, Services). This site explains more about when you can expect to receive the features announced today.

—Kirk Koenigsbauer

Availability:

  • Insights in Excel is starting to roll out in preview to Office 365 commercial subscribers enrolled in Office Insiders, in the United States this month. Because this feature is powered by machine learning, it will provide increasingly advanced analysis as usage of the feature grows over time.
  • Acronyms will be rolling out to Word Online for Office 365 commercial subscribers enrolled in Office Insiders in 2018.
  • Time to leave is rolling out to Outlook for iOS users in our Insider program this month, and then to all Outlook for iOS users in coming months. We also plan to make it available in Outlook for Android 2018.
  • Microsoft Whiteboard Preview is now available for Windows users in the Windows Store.
  • Text in image search is currently rolling out to Office 365 commercial subscribers and will be available worldwide by the end of 2017.

Is Caringo leading the next wave in object-level storage?

I recently received a briefing from Adrian Herrera, vice president of marketing, and Tony Barbagallo, vice president of product at Caringo Inc., an Austin, Texas, cloud and object storage platform vendor. Caringo’s latest innovation consists of technologies bridging its proprietary object-level storage system to Microsoft Azure’s Blob storage. This move will facilitate and simplify cross-platform data movement and might be a watershed moment in the object storage movement.

First, some backstory. I’ve been tracking Caringo since it was “a smile on mommy’s face that daddy didn’t understand.” Back in 2005, founders Paul Carpentier, Jonathan Ring and Mark Goros were seeking to make content-addressed storage (CAS) a household name. Their CAStor product built out ideas and software created at FilePool in Belgium, where Carpentier worked before EMC bought that company. EMC used the FilePool controller and early-generation CAS software to create some mindshare around content-addressed storage, which it branded with its Centera product. 

Centera proved an interesting object-level storage approach, but a flawed archival disk storage array that, in certain failure states, made archived data inaccessible for a long time. Centera damaged the idea of CAS, and then Caringo entered the picture and sought to do the technology right.

Caringo Swarm paves the way

Caringo Swarm technology is well-designed and robust object storage that uses a unique blend of data object modeling, W3C standard-based search, server clustering and software-defined storage. The company has added FileFly, enabling common access to and management of Caringo objects, third-party file system storage and Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) object storage. This was just the beginning.

Thinking
enterprise instead of
server seems like the next big thing.

Many object-level storage companies, citing client cloud storage preferences, started emulating Caringo by adding Amazon Web Services storage compatibility to their kit. Some added file system-like interfaces to help users who understood hierarchical file systems better than mystical object storage and access methods. It seemed like some sensibility had begun to take hold in the object-level storage space. Rather than force everyone into a new data storage paradigm, object vendors were learning to work and play together with industrial clouds and traditional file system storage.

With its recent addition of transparent support for Microsoft Azure Blob storage, Caringo has again shined a light on new possibilities. By supporting traditional file systems, S3 storage and Azure Blob, Caringo is paving the way for a truly enterprise-ready storage play. And it’s come just in time.

Enterprise-, not server-, ready

With data growth rates being what they are — IDC now estimates 160-odd zettabytes of new data by 2025 — IT planners in large enterprises and clouds are rethinking the idea of storage siloed behind hypervisor-controlled software-defined stacks. Recent studies underscore that siloing storage in a VMware vSAN or Microsoft clustered Storage Spaces — or, more realistically, a mix of various hypervisors and software-defined storage stacks — is a fool’s errand. While this strategy might reduce administrative costs and enable somewhat more capacity at a lower price behind each server, it prohibits the optimization of storage capacity and cost on an enterprise-wide basis.

“Joe,” the VMware admin, can’t see the extra capacity that “Pete,” the Hyper-V admin, has in his software-defined storage silo, making load balancing nearly impossible. Organizations with silos have seen a 10% net decrease in storage efficiency enterprise-wide, exactly the opposite of what must happen in a zettabyte era.

Thinking enterprise instead of server seems like the next big thing. Pretty soon, you will find companies scratching their heads once again about the best way to build scale-out storage infrastructure like clustered NAS or SAN or whatever. And that won’t be the end of it.

In addition, companies will increasingly depend on clouds for some of their storage — if only for the storage of archival data or backups — in order to free up expensive on-premises performance storage. And they won’t use just one cloud service provider, but rather a mix of several. That said, companies will seek to migrate data in and out of different cloud services based on cost, capacity, speeds and feeds, and a host of other requirements. This approach will drive the need for more intelligence around data movement (i.e., cognitive data management) and greater compatibility between storage modalities and formats.

Embracing diversity

Caringo is blazing the trail to this future with an object-level storage play, embracing the diversity that cloud, hypervisor and OS vendors have visited upon us. It will be interesting to see how they’ll undo years of “marketecture” that have brought us to siloed storage infrastructure again after nearly two decades of trying to make storage a more coherent and disciplined enterprise infrastructure resource.

It’s noteworthy that Caringo is pursuing this objective with little more than the encouragement of some of its customers. Truth be told, neither the cloudies nor the hypervisor hype-meisters have any real interest in working or playing together. All things considered, they’re repeating the proprietary self-interested war games that drove the storage market to its knees prior to the advent of SANs and NAS. I doubt Caringo will receive enthusiastic support from the vendor ecosystem.

If Caringo’s bet on more inclusive enterprise storage pays off, it will be because IT planners deliberately choose it. In the process, Caringo will need to gird itself for a lot of pushback from the likes of VMware, et al.  

Here’s how you can join Computer Science Education Week in 2017 |

As Mary Snapp, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Philanthropies, wrote on the Official Microsoft Blog last month, “Learning to think critically through coding is the single most important step students can take to prepare themselves to fully participate in, and benefit from, the digital economy.”

With Computer Science Education Week upon us, we invite students and educators to answer this global call to action: spend just an hour learning the basics of coding, through the Hour of Code, and start growing the skills that will be critical for years to come.

Coding and creativity co-exist in Minecraft: Education Edition, which is why we created a brand new tutorial for it, “Hero’s Journey,” to help kickstart your computer science journey. You can learn more about how it works, and how to download it, in this Education Blog post from Deirdre Quarnstrom, Minecraft Education general manager.

If you would like to try an Hour of Code, there are two things you can do right now:

We have a lot planned throughout the world for Computer Science Education Week. If you’d like to find inspiration, ideas, or just want to participate with your class, have a look at these events happening in the United States:

  • 4-H youth volunteers will support Hour of Code events with students and teachers from Lincoln Elementary in Green Bay, and Kindred Elementary in Kindred, North Dakota. The North Dakota event will be attended by Governor Doug Burgum, who is a leader in promoting STEM education. These events come on the heels of the announcement of TechSpark, a civic program recently launched by Microsoft, that aims to foster greater economic opportunity and job creation in rural communities. That work includes broadening access to computer science education.
  • Microsoft will host two Hour of Code events with Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS). TEALS is an industry-wide pro-bono program that taps computer scientists to team-teach (with in-class teachers) fundamental and advanced placement computer science to high school students. TEALS students from Quincy, Washington, will join Seattle Seahawk Luke Willson at the Microsoft Store at Bellevue Square Mall as he takes younger students through an Hour of Code. In Mecklenburg County, Virginia, TEALS students and volunteers from Bluestone High School will coach students from Bluestone Middle School through an Hour of Code.
  • In Boston, we will celebrate a partnership with Resilient Coders, a nonprofit based in Boston that teaches underserved and at-risk,young people to code. This year, Pariss Chandler, who learned to code over just eight weeks and recently landed a developer position at a local organization, will return to Amigos Elementary, the bilingual elementary school she attended in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to lead an Hour of Code and inspire the next generation to learn computer science skills essential in today’s job market.

In addition to these partnered events, Microsoft is hosting an Hour of Code event with 14 Detroit middle schools participating in virtual and in-person sessions, all to compete for a chance to participate in an exclusive event at the Microsoft Technology Center. The winners will join Microsoft and student volunteers from the Detroit International Academy for Young Women (DIA), a local Microsoft TEALS high school, for an Hour of Code on Friday, December 8, to inspire students to pursue a career in the industry and develop skills essential in today’s digital economy. The in-person event will be hosted by Detroit native Charles “Stacy” Harris, an app development architect for Microsoft, who first learned how to code by teaching himself from a book his father bought at Radio Shack (pictured on the right).

And in New York, Jets wide receiver Jermaine Kearse will co-host an Hour of Code workshop at the flagship Microsoft Store in New York and interact with kids from the Jermaine Kearse Foundation 15 to 1, which supports youth in military families.

It’s an economic and moral imperative to ensure our students are equipped with computer science skills, which includes coding, computational thinking, and logic. Please join Microsoft in building a global appreciation for Computer Science by visiting Code.org and doing your very own Hour of Code today.