Microsoft begins rolling out subtle changes to the Office.com and Office 365 designs in order to make them look simpler and less cluttered. The biggest change by far is coming to Microsoft Word, where the toolbar at the top of the screen (officially dubbed "the ribbon") will be pared down to just one line. Fans of the classic design will be able to expand it back to the larger ribbon if they choose. The changes fit in with Microsoft's overarching Fluent Design language, which can be found across most parts of Windows 10. The updated ribbon will also include new animations, icons, and a few small color changes. Microsoft is delaying the rollout of the simplified ribbon to desktop by a few months. The company appears to be testing the new designs with the online apps and will take a look at feedback to see if any other changes should be made for the desktop versions.
Zoho unveiled all new Zoho Show with contextual interface. It lets your ideas take the front seat and offers an intuitive formatting pane that responds to user actions. No more digging around to find the right tool. Users need a great set of tools to visualize ideas that match their imagination. That is why Show brings you custom text boxes, silhouettes, image filters, pre-defined layouts for charts and tables, more than a dozen animation options for every element within a slide, and more. With Show’s robust commenting system, teams can collaborate, brainstorm, and provide suggestions for improving any element on a slide. You can also add rich text comments to highlight key points, or attach an image when you are out of words. Finally, it allows to broadcast slides to a remote audience or use the Presenter View for a face-to-face session and deliver slides from anywhere.
Enterprise BI giant Tableau has acquired Empirical Systems, an early stage startup with AI roots. Their product is still in private Beta. It is delivered currently as an engine embedded inside other applications. That sounds like something that could slip in nicely into the Tableau analytics platform. What’s more, it will be bringing the engineering team on board for some AI knowledge, while taking advantage of this underlying advanced technology. Empirical was developed to make complex data modeling and sophisticated statistical analysis more accessible, so anyone trying to understand their data can make thoughtful, data-driven decisions based on sound analysis, regardless of their technical expertise.
Cloud-based HRM service Workday is buying Adaptive Insights, a provider of cloud-based business planning and financial modeling tools, for $1.55 billion. For Workday it's an attempt to become the go-to place for all for back-office services for its business customers: the company plans to integrate Adaptive Insights’ tools into its existing platform. Adaptive Insights has thousands of customers, and its growth mirrors that both of cloud services and specifically about how business intelligence has developed into a distinct software category of its own over the years, with not just the CFO but an army of in-house analysts relying on analytics of a business’ data to help make small and big decisions.
Workday acquired Rallyteam, startup that helps companies keep talented employees by matching them with more challenging opportunities in-house. Workday wants to take the Rallyteam team and incorporate it into the company’s engineering unit to beef up its machine learning efforts, while taking advantage of the expertise it has built up over the years connecting employees with interesting internal projects. Workday provides a SaaS platform for human resources and finance, so the Rallyteam approach fits nicely within the scope of the Workday business.
Yahoo Messenger, one of the first instant messengers, will shut down the service on July 17. The company is not specific about its reasons for shutting down Messenger, but the writing has been on the wall for some time, given the dominance today of Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger, Snapchat, WeChat and a number of others. Notably, Oath also shut down AIM, AOL’s equivalent messaging app, in October. Yahoo says that you can download your chat history on Messenger for the next six months by going here. Files go to your computer or device — but not specifically to another messaging app.
Zoho rolled out the Notebook update with some new features. Now everything you store in Notebook is encrypted at rest, making your notes and data incredibly secure. The new Night Mode should help reduce the strain on your eyes when using Notebook in the dark. Plus the developers added enhanced Apple Pencil support for iOS, new ways to format and style your notes and Right to Left language support, including Arabic, Hebrew, and Urdu.
Zoho Connect, the platform for social collaboration, got Zoho Projects integration, so you can now convert your conversations into actions. You can create new tasks in Projects, directly from any of your Connect conversations, and start tracking their progress. You can also view and access tasks from all your Projects portals in Connect. Zoho Connect also got ShowTime integration to deliver your presentations and training. Another new feature - board templates - allow to simply pick any of your existing project boards and re-use them anytime you want.
SAP gives CRM another shot with new cloud-based suite called SAP C/4HANA. It's intended to give users a way to provide consumer data protection, marketing, commerce, sales and customer service. It pulls together several acquisitions from the last several years: Hybris (ecommerce piece), Gigya (customer identity piece) amd CallidusCloud (price quote piece). SAP has taken these three pieces and packaged them together into a customer relationship management package. They see this term much more broadly than simply tracking a database of names and vital information on customers. They hope with these products to give their customers a way to provide consumer data protection, marketing, commerce, sales and customer service.
Working with clients in Basecamp just got a whole lot better. Now you can assign clients to-dos, share files and folders, schedule events and meetings, chat around the Campfire, and even ask clients automatic check-in questions. Everything in a project is now labeled as “private to our team” or “the client can see this”. Plus, to reduce anxiety and prevent “oh shit, they weren’t supposed to see that” moments, everything in a project starts off as private just to your team. Whenever you post something new, you’ll have the option to specify if the client should be able to see it or if it’s private just to your team.
Google Meet, the new video conferencing solution for businesses, gets support of videoconferencing equipment from the likes of Polycom and Cisco. Any user on those systems will now be able to join a Hangouts Meet video call. These integrations will go live in the coming weeks. Google built this project in partnership with Pexip, a company that specializes in making meeting platform interoperable. Pexip’s specialty is Skype for Business, but for this product, the company is clearly branching out and adding support for Hangouts Meet, too.
Egnyte announced a new feature to help customers comply with GDPR privacy regulations that went into effect in Europe last week. Users can just turn on “Identify sensitive content” feature and select which sets of rules you want to check for compliance including GDPR. Once they do this, the system goes and scans all of your repositories to find content deemed sensitive under GDPR rules. The service will return a list of files and marks them with a risk factor from 1-9 with one being the lowest level of risk and 9 being the highest. You can configure the program to expose whichever files you wish based on your own level of compliance tolerance.
Microsoft has acquired popular code sharing and collaboration service GitHub for $7.5B. From the smallest startups to giants like Microsoft, companies use the cloud-based service to work on code collaboratively. GitHub has 27 million software developers working on 80 million repositories of code. So it seems like a natural acquisition for the new Microsoft, which under CEO Satya Nadella has increased its focus on serving software developers via cloud services — whether they’re coding for Microsoft Windows or not. In the case of GitHub, it’s used for everything from websites to iPhone apps. Microsoft’s GitHub acquisition also mean we’ll start to see even closer integration between Microsoft’s developer tools and the service.
Box purchased Progressly, a startup that focuses on workflow. In 2016 Box launched own workflow tool called Box Relay along with a partnership with IBM to sell it inside large enterprises. It's useful for well defined processes inside a company like contract management or employee on-boarding, but Box wanted to expand on that initial vision to build additional types of workflows. The Progressly team will help them do that. It should allow Box to build workflows that not only run within Box, but ones that can integrate and intersect with external workflow engines like Pega and Nintex to build more complex automation in conjunction with the Box set of tools and services. This could involve both internal employees and external organizations and moving content through a much more sophisticated workflow than Box Relay provides.
Google Calendar gets a new useful feature. When you change or delete an event, a dialog box now pops up that allows you to attach a short message to the event to explain why you are making the change and what’s changing. On the event page in Google Calendar itself — and in the email that alerts your guests of the change — that message will then appear at the top of the event details section. The new dialog box appears automatically, so far more people will now explain their changes than before. This new feature is now rolling out to all G Suite users and should be available to everybody (no matter whether their admins have them on the rapid release or schedule release schedule) within the next three days.
Google announced that it starts moving all of its G Suite users from its Hangouts video chat service to Hangouts Meet, the more enterprise-ready version of Hangouts. The move will likely take about a month or so. This means all newly created Calendar invites will now link to Meet video meetings, though Google stresses that all previously created meetings won’t be affected by this. Google expects that Meet will have full parity with Hangouts, including support for these browsers, and, at that time, Meet will become the default for these stragglers, too.
Polycom is expanding its cloud capabilities for enterprises with Polycom Cloud Services. It's a unified cloud solution that initially is focusing on giving enterprises the tools to easily provision and manage the myriad voice and video endpoints that are in conference rooms around the world. The vendor’s Polycom Device Management Services (PDMS) is aimed at enabling enterprises to manage those devices, measure their performance and troubleshoot any issues that arise. With the service, customers are able to provision, update and secure tens of thousands of desk and conference room phones. PDMS initially will be available for audio systems, but Polycom officials expect to expand its support to video conferencing devices by the end of the year.
Google earlier this year rebranded all of its payment services under Google Pay to help it double down on making transactions across its platform more frictionless (and more used). Now comes another development: PayPal and Google are kicking off a deep integration, where users who add their PayPal details to their Google Play accounts will be able to pay bills and for other items, using PayPal, without logging in and without leaving the Google services. The integration, when it goes live later this year, will cover apps like Gmail, YouTube, Google Store and any services using Google Pay — and it will include not just payments but also peer-to-peer transfers.
Amazon's Alexa has made it easier for business users to manage personal schedules via voice commands, adding the ability to move appointments and schedule meetings based on participants’ availability. While it was already possible to create and cancel appointments with Alexa, the Smart Scheduling Assistant feature gives users more control, cutting time and effort. To schedule a one-to-one meeting, a calendar must first be linked to a user’s Alexa account.
InVision, the service that wants to be the operating system for designers, introduced its app store and asset store within InVision Studio. In short, InVision Studio users now have access to some of their most-used apps and services from right within the Studio design tool. Plus, those same users will be able to shop for icons, UX/UI components, typefaces and more from within Studio. While Studio is still in its early days, InVision has compiled a solid list of initial app store partners, including Google, Salesforce, Slack, Getty, Atlassian, and more.