This article excerpt, by author David Deans, originally appeared here: http://www.cloudcomputing-news…/
For partners, helping your customers go through the process of robust business continuity planning, implementation, and testing can solidify your trusted partner status. It can also be a source of revenue when added to your existing capabilities or as a new practice altogether.
Identifying the opportunity
As a partner, how do you uncover the opportunity and determine what your customers need? I encourage partners to stop talking and listen more when in customer conversations. Listen for these statements that relate to business continuity—then ask clarifying questions.
- “We have distributed systems across Windows Server, Hyper-V, and VMWare. They all need protection.”
- “Protecting data and applications continues to grow in complexity.”
- “We have so much data and we’re not sure if we’re protecting it all properly.”
- “Are we spending too much money and effort, or too little?”
- “Our industry requires long data-retention for compliance reasons.”
- “Our legacy recovery plan is very labor intensive.”
- “Testing disaster recovery is hard and often does not work as expected.”
- “The tier 1 workloads are protected, but protecting tier 2 and 3 has been a challenge.”
If you’re not hearing these things from your customers, use the list above to create a few questions that you can use. I think you’ll find that when you dig into this topic that the need is there.
Assess your current practices
Once the need is identified, you need to spend time assessing your own practices. These questions will help you connect what you have been doing with new opportunities.
|Have you been designing storage solutions using on premise solutions?||
|Have you been designing disaster recovery solutions for on premise solutions on physical hardware, Hyper-V, or VMWare?||
|Are you using System Center DPM, Windows Server Backup, or third-party backup solutions with your customers?||
|Have you sold Azure disaster recovery or backup solutions?||
|What are your sales motions for backup and recovery solutions?||
|Do you have anyone trained on Azure backup or recovery solutions implementation?||
If you are going to add new practices or capabilities, it needs to make financial sense. Use our new Microsoft Cloud Profitability Scenarios and financial models to understand the considerations for investing in a new cloud-oriented practice. For more partner profitability resources, refer to our online guide.
Recommendations for monetizing a business continuity practice
- Design a Disaster Preparation evaluation to go through with your customers. This should provide opportunity to discover all the servers that need to be backed up or opportunity for Azure Backup to be used for data storage. May also stretch to StorSimple.
Upgrades to on-premises systems
- Customers that want to run Azure Site Recovery will need Server 2012 R2 if using Hyper-V. Earlier versions of Hyper-V hosts will present an upgrade opportunity.
- Drive services revenue through setup of the plan
- Build repeatable IP with scripting/tools
- Provide regular monitoring and maintenance
- Run regular test failovers and validation for customers
- Regular assessment to review new parts of the business and make sure the overall DR plan still meets the needs for the customer.
- Regular, predictable Azure consumption
This article excerpt, by Business Insider author Matt Weinberger, originally appeared here: http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-graph-goes-into-general-availability-2015-11
Today, Microsoft officially released the Microsoft Graph, a nerdy solution that opens the doors wide for developers to do a lot more with Microsoft Office.
The critical idea here is the “application programming interface,” or API. Programs use APIs to talk to each other — popular fitness app Runtastic, for example, uses the Google Maps API to display a real-time map on the app.
The Microsoft Graph, first announced in beta back in April, is a set of APIs that blow open theMicrosoft Office 365 productivity cloud to developers, letting them build apps that take a user’s data and put it to use in cool, new ways.
Basically, it means that any developer can build an app that taps straight into the data that lives inside Office 365, making their wares smarter and faster.
“It’s not just all about Microsoft,” says Rob Lefferts, Microsoft general manager of Office exentensibility. “It’s a huge starting set of information.”
And just like Facebook’s famous social graph, the Microsoft Graph lets developers ask questions of the data like, “Who does my customer work closely with?” The intelligence is handled by Microsoft on the back end. (And no, it’s not as creepy as it might sound — like any other app, you’d have to give it permission to access data.)
For instance, Lefferts says, over 850 million meetings per month get booked via Microsoft Outlook for Office 365. That means that there’s tons of data there for an enterprising app developer to build a predictive calendar based on how users spend their time.
At launch, the Microsoft Graph supports data from sources like e-mail, the address book, and calendars. Later, it’ll be able to support data taken from OneDrive storage, OneNote cloud notes, and other Microsoft data.
The Office Graph also goes both ways. For example, security startup Skyhigh Networks is already using the Microsoft Graph to enforce enterprise policies on customers’ Office 365 installations, scanning and quarantining files that live in the cloud.
For developers, the first taste of Microsoft Graph is free, Lefferts says. But if they’re using Microsoft Office data at volume in their own apps via Microsoft Graph, the company will collect a fee.
It will be a while before most developers figure out how to best access all that data, since the Microsoft Graph is new.
But it has the potential to make apps much smarter, in a behind-the-scenes kind of way. And it’s good for Microsoft, because it means that customers can get more out of the money they’re sinking into Office 365.
“The demand of customers is to say, ‘make it seamless, make it great,” says Lefferts.
On September 22, 2015, Microsoft released Office 2016 to the masses. At first glance, you may not notice much has changed since Office 2013. But when you look deeper, you will find some interesting and productivity-enhancing differences.
For years we’ve been promised wonderful benefits from cloud computing, and Microsoft Office 2016 is trying to deliver on those promises. It’s designed to meet our expectations of what a cloud-based, mobile-ready productivity suite can and should be. Only time will tell if Office 2016 actually delivers the goods, but the initial reviews are promising.
Here are 10 things Microsoft Office 2016 offers as it aspires to be the last productivity suite you are ever going to need.
1: Real-time co-authoring
Co-authoring has been around for a long time for many Office apps, but with Office 2016 that collaboration can now take place in real time. That means you will be able to see what your co-conspirators are doing in a Word document or PowerPoint presentation as they do it—and conversely they will be able to see what you are doing. It won’t even matter where you are or what device you are using.
2: OneNote notebook sharing
OneNote is one of the most useful applications available in Microsoft Office, and it is also one of the least appreciated. Office 2016 allows you to share a OneNote notebook with as many people as you want. And because OneNote works with text, images, worksheets, emails, and just about any other document type you can think of, it can be a great central resource for a team working on a project. That is, if they know to use it.
3: Simplified document sharing
Office 2016 simplifies sharing of documents by adding a Share button to the upper-right corner of your Office apps. Clicking that button will give you one-click access to share your document with anyone in your contacts list. You don’t even have to leave the document to do it. That does sound pretty simple.
4: Smart attachments
If you’re like me, you have to send email attachments just about every day. In previous versions of Office, adding attachments to an email required you to navigate to the location where the document was stored. You can still do that in Office 2016, but if the document in question was one you worked on recently, it will now show up in a list of shareable documents right there in Outlook. Essentially, Office 2016 keeps a universal recently worked on list for you.
5: Clutter for Outlook
Like most of us, you probably get a ton of email every day. Wading through the Outlook inbox to prioritize each email takes time and hampers your ability to be productive. Office 2016 adds a new category to your inbox triage toolbox, called Clutter. You can designate certain emails as low priority and they, and future similar emails, will be deposited automatically into a Clutter folder in Outlook. So now you have four categories for email: important, clutter, junk, and delete.
6: Better version history
Collaboration and creativity can be a messy process, with shared documents changing drastically over time. Office 2016 compensates for potentially lost ideas by keeping past versions of documents and making them available directly from Office applications under the History section of the File menu.
7: New chart types in Excel
The ability to visualize data with an Excel chart has always been a welcome and powerful capability. However, the list of available chart types found in previous versions of Excel needed an update. Office 2016 adds several new chart types to the templates list, including Waterfall, which is great chart if you like to track the stock market. Other new chart types include Treemap, Pareto, Histogram, Box and Whisker, and Sunburst.
8: Power BI
Between the release of Office 2013 and Office 2016, Microsoft spent a great amount of time and capital acquiring technologies that shore up its business intelligence and analytical applications. Power BI, a powerful analytics tool, now comes bundled with your Office 365 subscription. Knowing every little detail about how your business is running is essential information, and Power BI can bring it all together for you.
Delve is another new tool that comes with an Office 365 subscription. The best way to describe Delve is as a central location that gives you access to everything you have created, shared, or collaborated on using Office 2016. It is another recently worked on list, only this version of the list is stored in the cloud—so you can access it from anywhere with any device using the Office 365 Portal.
10: Purchase choices
Office 2016 is generally available only as a subscription. Even if you buy a boxed version of Office 2016, you are buying access to an annual subscription, with one exception. If you purchase the Office Home & Student 2016 box, you pay a one-time fee of $149.99 for just the basic Office apps.
Microsoft has definitely stacked the deck so that the best bang for the buck is a subscription to Office 365, which includes Office 2016 plus all the cloud services. Businesses should be looking at one of the Office 365 for Business subscriptions. It is also going to be your best deal.
This article excerpt originally appeared here: http://managedsolution.com/off…/