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Press Release; Windows Azure; Events Approved0

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Mar 21-23, 2017 – Xelleration collaborated with Xamarin for a Mobile Strategy Roadshow to introduce strategic Microsoft solutions for mobile apps. It was a wonderful opportunity for professionals in the industry to further their learning and stay abreast of new practices and technologies.


Presentations by Alex Popp of Xamarin, as well as Francis DeGiorgio and Brendan Neary of Xelleration highlighted how companies can leverage the Microsoft platform to build and develop mobile apps more efficiently and effectively to remain competitive in the market.


The Xelleration Mobile Strategy Roadshow with Xamarin was held on Tuesday-Thursday, March 21-23, 2017 in Irvine, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

Why you need Xamarin for cross-platform app development

For a while, .NET/C# apps struggled to find a market in the growing Android and iOS platform. Xamarin is a truly astounding tool that uses C# and native libraries wrapped in the .Net layer for cross-platform app development. It can deliver genuine Android and iOS apps that are consistent with the distribution prerequisites of both Google Play and the iOS App Store.

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Since Microsoft acquired the tool, Xamarin now offers further integration with Visual Studio and delivers completely consistent .NET Portable Class Libraries. With an existing community of over 1.4 million developers, this tool helps in bridging the gap between the multiple app platforms and increasing the reach of .NET apps.

Still not interested? These reasons will convince you to use Xamarin for your Android and iOS cross-platform development.


1. More focus on developing

Because iOS and Android require two separate programming environments, namely Objective-C and Java, only a few developers are skilled in both environments. Therefore, the overwhelming majority of developers must learn one or both environments before attempting a cross-platform app development, which adds to their existing list of tasks.

Experienced .NET/C# developers will be face no difficulty working with Xamarin as it provides a full implementation of C# and the .NET class libraries. Xamarin will make work even easier for a lesser experienced .NET/C# developer by reducing the time that you spend learning.


2. Save Time

Xamarin allows developers to code application logic only once and then share it across iOS and Android after a few minor tweaks specific to each platform. Without Xamarin, the logic must be implemented once in Java for Android then the same logic implemented a second time in Objective-C for iOS.

Because writing more code takes more time, Xamarin allows the team to focus their efforts on building app features without having to spend as much time coding for different platforms.


4. Lesser Errors

The lesser the code that developers write, the fewer chances of errors they would find. Xamarin also decreases the chances of an error with a greater test coverage. Rather than writing two sets of tests, developers only have to write a single, more comprehensive set of tests that validate the app's code for both platforms.


5. Embracing the future

By using Xamarin to create our iOS/Android apps, .NET apps are now ready to be launched in a world where a variety of mobile platforms coexist because this toolset supports multiple platforms with minimal duplication of work.

 

Contact our team for a FREE consultation to learn more about cross-platform development with Xamarin or to make use of this tool for your next app.

4/17/2017 10:45 AMFatima HamidXelleration's Mobile Strategy Roadshow with Xamarin
122
  
Office 365; SharePoint; Unified Communications Approved0

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Positioned to transform the market for chat and collaboration apps in the workplace, Microsoft Teams provides a highly integrated experience for user compared to other top messaging platforms like Slack, Google Hangouts, and others.

Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workspace where colleagues can come together in a unfieddigital platform and engage in instant conversations, collaborate on content, design work plans. The best part is the thoughtful integration with your existing Microsoft technologies like SharePoint, One Note, and Outlook.

 

Microsoft Teams also lets users participate in voice and video meetings, as well as work with Microsoft Office documents. Another feature, Microsoft Graph, enables intelligence to facilitate information relevance, discovery and sharing. Users can create channels to organize conversations by topic. They can also customize channels with Tabs, a feature that provides quick access to frequently used documents and applications. Different Tabs for Office 365 services like OneNote, SharePoint and Planner, or third-party solutions can be created.

Most importantly, Teams supports the Microsoft Bot Framework for bringing intelligent first- and third-party services into the collaborative team environment. Other features that make the newest addition to collaboration software from Microsoft include the following:


 

Customizable

Microsoft Teams is flexible and customizable as it aims to bring together chat, meetings, notes and AI, just like Outlook merged email, contacts and calendar. Microsoft Teams accommodates new work styles, works with existing Office 365 deployments and supports widely accepted enterprise security and compliance requirements. 

Microsoft Teams offers features to create different channels based on interest where different workspaces can be dedicated to different projects. Teams' chat feature is available to all members of an organization. It also allows users to establish narrower channels or privately message colleagues.


 

Video, Audio, Chat and Content

When working from multiple locations, screen sharing, presence, audio and video conferencing features are a must. Microsoft Teams eliminated the need for organizations to use third-party web-conferencing tools since it has audio and video conferencing capabilities.


 

Seamless integration with Office 365 services

Microsoft Teams is integrated with other Office 365 suite services, such as Skype for Business, OneNote, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint, Power BI, Excel, PowerPoint and Word. A tab bar also lets users pin frequently used software to their channels.

Microsoft Teams is now available in beta to Office 365 enterprise and small business customers, Android, iOS, Windows Phone and as a web app. Xelleration can help your organization experience a unified collaboration experience with the adoption of Office 365. Contact our team for a FREE consultation!


 

2/20/2017 8:26 AMFatima HamidMicrosoft Teams to Transform the Collaboration Software Market
123
  
Windows Azure Approved0

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Even though disasters are mostly unpredictable, most organizations fear disaster. If disaster strikes, recovering from it could cost you thousands of dollars, as well as the loss of customers' good faith.

Having a plan to save your business from disturbances will help you get back on track.

While most businesses rely on technology to run their day-to-day processes such as email, Word docs, customer information and ordering systems, inventory, accounting, other companies are all built on tech.

If something disastrous were to happen, your business could completely stop, whether it is based on tech or 'just' a means to get your work done.

Disasters such as floods, electrical storms, hurricanes, fires and people who leave with your passwords or source code could create a lot of trouble if you don't have a backup plan.


What's included in a plan?

Disaster plans can cover everything from how to get out of your store or office during a fire drill, to how to get back up and running if your servers are underwater. If you think about staying in business during a disaster, as well as recovery, you'll be in the best shape you could be.

While it's important to customize a plan for your business, every plan should include:

  • Technology asset inventory that names mission critical processes and data
  • Schedule for updating and testing any disaster recovery plan
  • Clear understanding of the trade-offs between cost and complexity


Questions to Ask

Since it is a fact that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong, it's important to understand how your plan works. You need to ask some questions to make sure you have full coverage for your business:

  • Does your plan include an inventory of mission critical business processes and data?
  • When was the last time anyone reviewed your plan? Tested your plan?
  • Is cyberattack preparedness included in your current plan?
  • How much depends upon human intervention?Disaster Recovery.jpg


Evaluate Cloud Solutions

Automating your solution is key to ensuring success since you'll have other priorities more important than virtual machines during a disaster.

A cloud solution can help you recover quickly. It's less expensive than having your own datacenter to support and protect. It's a practical solution for a business, whether it's large or small. Most importantly, it makes especially good financial sense for a smaller organization.

Not all cloud providers are equal, so you'll need to do some research to compare. A few considerations:

  • Do they offer a hybrid solution, so that you can keep some data on premise as well as in the cloud?
  • Do they offer metered service so that you can save even more money by 'turning off' services when you don't need them?
  • Is the service easy to use, with good support for your team?
  • Do they offer geo-redundancy?
  • Are they compliant with your industry?


Is the cloud safe?

There have been times when the cloud failed companies because the data was only stored in one location. It was also based in the same region as the company, which is an obvious mistake.

With the Microsoft cloud, you can get 'geo-redundancy,' which means that your data is in more than one location. If your area is hit with a hurricane, along with floods and electrical storms, your data would be safe in a datacenter across the country.

Your company data will also be available even during the storm.



We'd love to meet you and discuss your plans for keeping your business running. We're happy to set up a FREE consultation to review your plan, so call us or send an email.

t: 949-417-2024

e: bneary@xelleration.com

2/27/2017 10:00 AMFatima HamidHow to survive a data disaster
121
  
Press Release; Events Approved0

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Irvine, CA, February 13, 2017 - Xelleration is proud to be recognized by Irvine Public Schools Foundation​ (IPSF) on its annual list of Top 100 Companies Supporting Education Excellence, which was featured by the Orange County Business Journal​ (OCBJ).

 

Orange County Business Journal published Irvine Public Schools Foundation's (IPSF) 2016 list of esteemed companies who are investing in Orange County's future by  promoting a world class education for each child, in every school. Honor Roll, Scholar, Fellow, Cum Laude, Magna Cum Lade, and Summa Cum Lade donations of over $100,000 were contributed. Xelleration gifted alongside companies such as In-N-Out Burger, Goldman Sachs & Co., and Orchard Supply Hardware.

 

Irvine students are poised to become the first high school group in the country to launch an operation miniature satellite, called a CubeSat, into orbit as part of the Irvine CubeSat STEM program that is funded through the private funds received by IPSF. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), is everywhere; it shapes our everyday experiences. STEM is a large part of our children's future—the technological age in which they live, their best career options, and their key to wise decisions. Xelleration is honored to make a positive impact on our public education system right here in Orange County.

 

As part of their mission to deliver world class technology consulting services to Southern California businesses, Xelleration believes in giving back to the local community to ensure that the next generation of children develop a strong foundation. "We are very pleased to be in a position to help the local K-12 schools here in Irvine. The IPSF vision of funding a well-balanced education in our schools aligns well to our own mission of building a community that supports family and providing for the future", a comment from Brendan Neary, Xelleration Director of Sales & Marketing. ​

 

About IPSF: Irvine Public Schools Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the educational experience of each child in every school. In its 20-year history, the foundation has donated over $63 million in grants to support the Irvine Unified School District to fund crucial programs and personnel.

 

About Orange County Business Journal: Each week, the Orange County Business Journal delivers the most complete package of news and information on Orange County's companies, industries and businesspeople. It is comprehensive, authoritative, concise and entertaining.

 

About Xelleration: Orange County's top-tier Microsoft Managed Partner, Xelleration offers on-premise, cloud, and hybrid communications solutions to corporations and public sector clients of all sizes across the world. Xelleration drives workplace innovation with full end-to-end support around SharePoint, AD Exchange, Office 365, Microsoft Azure, .Net and mobile development.

2/13/2017 11:08 AMScott CalonzoIPSF​'s Top 100 Companies Supporting Educational Excellence
120
  
Press Release; Events Approved0

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​San Diego, CA, Jan 24, 2017- As one of twelve Gold-Certified Microsoft Premier Partners in Southern California, Xelleration sponsored the Health IT Summit event as the only Microsoft solutions provider at the luxurious Omni Hotel. Outside Sales Representatives, Lauren Mitchell and Francis DeGiorgio were proud to showcase Xelleration's offerings as a strategic solutions provider for the healthcare industry.

 

Each year, across the country, this hosted Healthcare IT event brings together healthcare professionals (physicians, as well as practice management and IT decision-makers) alongside tech industry leaders and providers featuring the latest solutions for practice management, mobility, telemedicine, outsourcing, IT infrastructure, next-generation electronic medical records, disease management, and more. The unique agenda features a preview of the latest healthcare technologies, product demonstrations from leading vendors, and access to research on the technological changes in the healthcare industry.

 

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Featured speakers from several area hospitals (UC Irvine, UCLA Health, St. Josephs Health, among others) included professionals in varying technical positions who spoke about a wide array of topics concerning the changing technical world within the healthcare industry since Electronic Health Records are the enforced new norm. Figuring out how to stay compliant while staying cost-effective was a big topic of discussion. Other presenters spoke on best-practices for changing Hospital infrastructure in regards to financial management, records maintenance, as well as the overall patient experience during their care.

 

About Xelleration: As a Gold Certified Managed Microsoft Partner, Xelleration brings a unique set of skills that enable organizations to access a comprehensive suite of business technology solutions that facilitate true business transformation. The company is powered by a team of highly seasoned business analysts, senior architects, professional developers, and technology specialists. Xelleration's robust focus on Microsoft solutions helps enterprises reduce costs and improve operational efficiency through the automation of day-to-day business processes. Xelleration's services focus on helping customers leverage the Microsoft stack of technologies, some of which include SharePoint, Azure, Office 365, Skype for Business, Yammer, Business Intelligence, and Dynamics CRM.


 

2/3/2017 11:28 AMFatima HamidXelleration Represents at the Healthcare Informatics IT Summit in San Diego
119
  
Press Release; Events Approved0

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As a gold certified Microsoft Partner, this new office expansion enables Xelleration to accelerate growth in cloud based solutions, professional services and customer support.


 

Islamabad, Pakistan, January 15, 2017 – Xelleration opens a new office in the Pakistan capital city of Islamabad to accommodate rapid growth and leverage the area's increasing interest in enterprise management solutions.


 

In addition to their corporate US headquarters in Irvine, California, Xelleration operates sprawling office locations in Dubai, UAE and Lahore, Pakistan. The new space in Islamabad supports the company's ability to cater to the emerging IT industry in Pakistan.  Additionally, Xelleration's recent gold certification as a Small and Midmarket Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider, as well as their Gold status in Application Development, Cloud Productivity, Cloud Platform, Communications, and Collaboration and Content, has accelerated the company's growth and resource requirements for their clients in the United States.


 

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"The decision to expand our presence into Islamabad was a logical step in our business growth strategy," said Mo Khan, Managing Director, "The area is rich with interest from various industries and Resource Talent and we have the opportunity to further expand staffing and capabilities in our professional services and increase our ability to service current and future markets."


 

The Islamabad Office is located at 2nd Floor, Emirates Tower, F-7 Markaz, Islamabad, Pakistan.


 


 

About Xelleration
Microsoft's top-tier Managed Partner, Xelleration offers On-Premise, Cloud, and Hybrid Cloud-based solutions to corporations and public sector clients of all sizes across the world. Xelleration drives workplace innovation with full end-to-end support around SharePoint, AD Exchange, Office 365, Skype for Business, Microsoft Azure, .NET and Mobile development.

 

For more info about Xelleration, please visit www.xelleration.com, follow us on our social media sites, or call 0423-578-1913.


 

1/12/2017 11:23 AMFatima HamidXelleration Accelerates Growth in Islamabad with New Branch Opening
118
  
Press Release Approved0

"One must know not just how to accept a gift, but with what grace to share it." – Maya Angelou
 

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Orange, CA (Dec. 14, 2016) – Xelleration and Give the Needy Foundation spent a day with the children at the Orangewood Children and Family Center(OCFC) filled with burgers, gifts and tech talks. Xelleration Managing Director, Mo Khan, sat down with some of the children and shared his perspective of how technology is affecting the world and how children can make an impact with a career in technology.

 

In an effort to bring a smile to every child this holiday season, Xelleration also provided lunch and donations to the boys and girls at the state-run childcare facility. Across the U.S., large numbers of at risk children have been linked to academic failure and poor health. The Orangewood Children and Family Center aims to provide a warm, nurturing, and safe environment for all children.

 

The center is a full service center operated and owned by the County of Orange Social Services Agency for children who have been abused, abandoned, and/or neglected between the ages of 2 days to 18 years. The OCFC includes the County's 24-hour Emergency Shelter Facility, Family Visitation Center, allowing parents to have more natural and frequent interactions with their children. Child Abuse Service Team, a multi-disciplinary team which conducts child sexual abuse investigations; Placement Coordination Services with specialized social workers who complete emergency placement assessments with relatives, licensed and certified foster homes and other placement settings; and the First Step Assessment Center. The OCFC continues to be sustained through the dedicated efforts of a unique public-private partnership between county government and community partners.

 

Nirupa Sejpal, who has volunteered with the OCFC for 25 years, provided Xelleration with a tour of the center and helped arrange the successful luncheon organized for 140 children and center administrators. Xelleration was delighted to engage with the OCFC to make a difference this holiday season.

 
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About Xelleration
Orange County's top-tier Microsoft Managed Partner, Xelleration offers on-premise, cloud, and hybrid communications solutions to corporations and public sector clients of all sizes across the world. Xelleration drives workplace innovation with full end-to-end support around SharePoint, AD Exchange, Office 365, Microsoft Azure, .Net and mobile development.

 

For more info about Xelleration, please visit www.xelleration.com, follow us on our social media sites, or call (949) 417-2024.

 

About Give The Needy Foundation:

Give the Needy Foundation is an independently registered nonprofit charity committed to help families of single mothers in developing countries and bring about a meaningful change in their lives. Their charitable activities are motivated by caring for single mothers who are raising their children alone. 

12/19/2016 5:07 PMScott CalonzoBurgers, holiday gifts and tech talks with Orangewood Children and Family Center
117
  
Press Release Approved0

Two Year Sales Growth of 16.7% lands Xelleration near the top of this year’s list


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Irvine, CA (Nov 8, 2016) – Orange County Business Journal ranked Xelleration, a leading business software solutions provider, as one of the fastest growing small companies in Orange County. Xelleration is No.59 in the exclusive ranking of the region's fastest-growing private companies because of an incredible 16.7% two-year revenue growth.


As a Gold-Certified Managed Microsoft Partner, Xelleration brings a unique set of skills that enable organizations to access a comprehensive suite of business technology solutions that facilitate true business transformation. The company is powered by a team of highly seasoned business analysts, senior architects, professional developers, and technology specialists.


Xelleration's robust focus on Microsoft solutions helps enterprises reduce costs and improve operational efficiency through the automation of day-to-day business processes. Xelleration's services focus on helping customers leverage the Microsoft stack of technologies, some of which include SharePoint, Azure, Office 365, Skype for Business, Yammer, Business Intelligence, and Dynamics CRM.


"Xelleration is truly honored to be recognized by the Orange County Business Journal as one of the fastest growing companies," said Mo Khan, Manager Director of Xelleration. "This growth is a direct reflection of our special team of technology professionals who are committed to our customers' success by providing not only highly customized solutions, but also by far the most creative and innovative automation of business processes. We are thrilled to receive this industry recognition and will continue to enhance our services to enable our customers' ability to use technology as a strategic advantage in their respective industries. Finally, we owe our success to the collaborative effort of our team and I'd like to thank our employees and partners for helping us achieve this milestone."



About Xelleration

Xelleration offers on-premise, cloud, and hybrid communications solutions to corporations and public sector clients of all sizes across the world. Xelleration also provides end-to-end communication and collaboration solutions including: Skype for Business, Exchange, Share-Point, Office 365, Yammer, Azure, and full end-user support.

For more updates about Xelleration, please visit www.xelleration.com, follow us on our social media sites, or call (949) 417-2024.


 

About the Orange County Business Journal:

The Orange County Business Journal delivers the most complete package of news and information on Orange County's companies, industries and businesspeople. It is comprehensive, authoritative, concise and entertaining. For information about OCBJ, please visit the website: www.ocbj.com

11/22/2016 1:07 AMFatima HamidXelleration Rockets Up the Orange County Business Journal’s List for Fastest Growing Companies
116
  
Unified Communications Approved0

​Skype for Business Mac is a great first class experience for Mac users and offers edge-to-edge video and full immersive content sharing and viewing.


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Other enhancements to the Skype for Business solution include:
  • The Skype Operations Framework (SOF) assets now help customers plan, deliver and operate the new Mac client.
  • Present PowerPoint files in a meeting and a faster, more reliable content sharing approach.
  • Present in a meeting from your Android or iOS device. On Android, you can also share a file stored on the device itself. Once shared, the PowerPoint file also becomes available in the meeting’s content bin for other participants to download or present.


Skype for Business for Mac will seem very familiar: your photo, presence indicator, and easy to use buttons and icons will make you feel right at home.

 

With this update, iOS users will now be able to enjoy the features that other users have been integrating into their collaboration and mobility strategies. This allows a more unified platform than any other, as it integrates to all other Office applications as well. Other features include: PPT.png

  • One-click join:    See your schedule for today and tomorrow, preview meeting details, and join right from the Meetings tab.
  • Meeting actions:    Easily mute, add participants, IM your colleagues, and share and view the desktop.
  • Contacts:    Finding and adding contacts has never been easier. Call, chat, and share your desktop in a snap.
  • Chats:    Use instant messaging (IM) to connect with your contacts in real time and on a moment's notice.
  • Chat history:    Find a previous conversation and rejoin a conversation at any time.
  • Presence:    Let people know that you're available, and also see whether people are offline or online, and whether they're busy, in a meeting, or available.
  • Personal notes:    Add a message to your presence status to give people more information about what you're up to.
  • Video:    Full screen and high-definition video for a better meeting experience.
  • Group video calling:    See up to four meeting participants in the meeting window at the same time, with better video quality, smart transitions from presenters and participants, and the ability to share content
  • Calls:    Manage all aspects of calling with voice mail, missed calls, call logs, call forwarding, and simultaneous ringing.
  • Accessibility:    Improved keyboard navigation, screen reader compatibility, and visual enhancements help make Skype for Business on Mac friendlier for everyone.


To make the most of Skype for Business for whichever platform you're using, contact Xelleration's experts for a FREE CONSULTATION today!


11/22/2016 12:59 AMFatima HamidSkype for Business Enhances iOS Integration
115
  
Office 365 Approved0

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​​

Office Mix is a free new add-in to Microsoft PowerPoint. Basically it lets you record your PowerPoint presentation as a video. The possibilities here are endless. Sales pitch via email, training on-demand, no need to deal with video sharing sites or portals. Overall, it makes it easier to create, share, and find online interactive lessons and presentations.  


 

Live mixing

Office Mix is a great way to build an “on-demand” version of your presentation. This tool lets you create and record audio/video while presenting your normal PowerPoint presentation.

 

Here is how to get started using Office Mix in Office 365:
1.    Install the add-in
2.    Create a normal presentation
3.    Select the new “Mix tab”

 

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4.    Click “Record” to start recording your Mix
5.    Click “Quizzes Videos Apps” to insert interactive content in your Mix
6.    Select “Screen Recording” to view further options of writing/highlighting content on your slides
7.    Click “Insert Video” or “Insert Audio” to record yourself giving a walkthrough of your presentation
8.    Click “Preview” to see how your Mix looks so far
9.    Click “Upload to Office Mix” to share your Mix
10.   Click “Export to Video” to save a video of your Mix


In the recording view, Office Mix shows an optimized panel that lets you work efficiently by showing only the most used features for creating your mix, and maximizing the presentation area for your live audience.  You can also switch the camera on and off, select ink and move through your slides and animations while verbally explaining the slide contents.


 

Why Office Mix?

Without Office Mix, PowerPoint presentations would be flat and you still need to connect with the person live over the phone or online. Office Mix helps you add another layer to your presentation: via audio or video as well as inking, where you get to circle, underline, or write on your slide as if on a whiteboard. The final product can be shared online or saved as a video.


 

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Easier editing

Office Mix also allows you to pause and resume while recording, so you can gather your thoughts, and be sure to say what you want, when you want.  It further gives you the erase ink feature, so you’re able to clear your canvas and write more on the same slide.


Search

As the number of categories and mixes in the Gallery has continued to grow, it’s become harder to find the mixes that you care about.  The updated Office Mix Gallery has search, so you can find mixes by category, tag, topic and author.


 

Xelleration offers a complete solution around Office 365. Contact us now for a free consultation to discuss how you and your organization can do more with Office 365.

11/4/2016 10:52 AMFatima HamidAccelerate your PowerPoint Presentations with Office Mix
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Press Release Approved0



Xelleration: Behind the Wheel celebrates the people behind the success here at Xelleration.

A compassionate and inspiring team leader, Abdur Rehman is the Country Manager at Xelleration. He is always there with the most honest and supportive feedback as he manages Xelleration's Pakistan team. We sat down with Abdur Rehman to find out more about him and his thoughts about Xelleration:

 

 


To start, how did you first get involved with Xelleration? What year was it? What was the organization like then?

I was referred to Xelleration by a mutual friend in 2013. Even though it seemed like a small organization, I recognized it had a lot of potential and opportunity as well as being open to change.

What is your favorite part of being Country Director?
I think of it as just a title since I am just like another colleague to the team. I love to guide and engage with each one of them.

What are some of your favorite projects? What are you most proud of?
Actually, I am most proud of my team. We can only be as good as our team, and together, we have come so far.

When did you know that you wanted to choose this career?
Accidentally. I was out of the country due to my mother’s medical condition. When I came back, admissions to all other fields were closed and I had no option but to do my best in this field.

What sets Xelleration apart from other companies? For ones just finding out about the company today, what’s the one thing they should know to get them involved?
Xelleration is an extremely dynamic and people-centric organization. We really value our teams, as well as our clients and consider cooperation above all else.

What are your hobbies? How do you spend your time when you’re not working?
I love spending time with kids and it takes up most of my time when I’m not working.

Who has inspired you the most in your life?
A lot of people have been a source of inspiration for me, but Abdul Sattar Edhi and Mohammad Ali really stand out. I love how they took a stand for what they believed in and pursued their passions despite all the difficult situations they had to experience.

What is your favorite cuisine?
Thai food is my favorite.



11/4/2016 9:43 AMFatima HamidXelleration: Behind the Wheel - Abdur Rehman
113
  
Windows Azure; Press Release Approved0

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Microsoft announced significant price cuts for its most popular Azure virtual machines as part of its continued commitment to deliver Cloud services to customers. This move makes a big play for price leader in the competitive Cloud space. Microsoft recently announced a new round of price cuts for Azure virtual machines by a notable 11-50%. Here is the summary of the changes effective since October 1st, 2016:

 

  • General Purpose Instances: Dv2 Series VMs are seeing prices reduced by up to 15%. A1 and A2 Basic VMs are being cut by up to 50%. (Dv2 Series VMs are Microsoft's general-purpose tier, with more memory and local SSD storage than A series. A-series VMs are the entry-level compute tier)
 
  • ​Compute Optimized Instances: F Series report price reduction of up to 11%. (F Series VMs provide an even higher CPU-to-memory ratio with a lower price than the Dv2 series)
  • Av2 series: Starting November 2016, Microsoft will introduce new A series virtual machines (Av2), with prices up to 36% lower than the A Series Standard VM.
 

Virtual machines are billed on per-minute basis and most include load-balancing and auto-scaling free of charge. Azure virtual machines give you the flexibility of virtualization for a wide range of computing solutions with support for Linux, Windows Server, SQL Server, Oracle, IBM, SAP, and more. Users subscribe to a wide variety of virtual machine sizes.

 

These reduced prices, hope to put the Microsoft Cloud as a top of mind contender for companies ready to move specific workloads and applications off their own servers. Existing customers are already starting to report savings worth talking about.  

 

Additional savings is available for customers using Windows Server with Software Assurance. By utilizing your existing on-premises Windows Server licenses that include Software Assurance, new special pricing for new Windows Server virtual machines in Azure can reduce cost up to 41%.

 

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* "Savings based on a D2 instance in US East 2 Region, annualized hourly pricing as of July 27, 2016, and including the cost of Software Assurance. Prices subject to change."

 

With the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit, you can use on-premises Windows Server licenses that include Software Assurance to earn special pricing for new Windows Server virtual machines in Azure—whether you're moving a few workloads or your entire datacenter.

 

To deploy Windows Server VMs in this way, please contact our expert teams at Xelleration for a FREE consultation.​

10/18/2016 2:54 PMScott CalonzoNew Pricing Cuts for Virtual Machines in Microsoft Azure
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Office 365; SharePoint Approved0
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SharePoint Server 2016 represents a new generation of Microsoft SharePoint that accrues the experience running SharePoint at scale, in Office 365. By investing in cloud-inspired infrastructure and compliance and reporting, SharePoint Server 2016 is the highest quality, scalable and reliable release of SharePoint.

Xelleration SharePoint Developers provide an up-to-date list of tested features. Check out our complete summar of all the new features that come with SharePoint 2016.

 

Complete Summary of SharePoint 2016 Features:

1.    Access Services

New Access features are available when you deploy Access Services in SharePoint Server 2016. The features include support apps for Office, Access App Upgrade, the ability to download in Excel to pivot Access tables, and the Cascading Combo box. It also includes a Related Item Control that allows you to choose from any existing view for the dialog box on the Related Item Control, add a new item on the Related Item Control when the parent record isn't saved, and turn off the Add link at the bottom of the Related Item Control.

 

2.    Customized web parts
The compile time for customized XSLT files used for Content Query, Summary Links, and Table of Contents Web Parts is improved.
 

3.    Document Library accessibility

SharePoint Server 2016 offers new document library accessibility features that include:

  •   Landmarks to a page make it easier to navigate, and there are alt text improvements for all major navigation links.
  •   Keyboard shortcuts are provided for the following document tasks:
    •     o  Alt + N - New
    •     o  Alt + E - Edit
    •     o  Alt + U - Upload
    •     o  Alt + M - Manage
    •     o  Alt + S - Share
    •     o  Alt + Y - Synchronization
  •   Focus improvements, such as keeping focus on prior elements and focus trapping.
  •   Announcements for upload progress.
  •   Announcements for file name and file types when browsing folder and file lists.
  •   Improved callout reading.
  •   Fixed use of color issues for views switcher.
  •   Updates to the Help documentation.

4.    Durable links

Resource-based URLs now retain links when documents are renamed or moved in SharePoint.

 

5.    Sites you follow in one place

Users can click on "Follow" using On-Premises or their Office 365 and see all the sites they follow in one place under the "Sites" app in the App Launcher. 

Hybrid Team Site.png
 

  •   Site Folders view: SharePoint Server 2016 provides a new Site Folders view that lets you access the document libraries in sites that you're following.
  •   Sites page pinning: This new feature helps you see and follow sites.
  •   Site Folders: The OneDrive for Business area is turning out to be more than just a My Site. It aims to bring users to one place to help them work with their files regardless of where they are. Now, you'll also be able to navigate your Sites and their libraries from there.
  • OneDrive.png


 

6.    Encrypted Connections

When you set up an SSL binding in Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager to host your web application, SharePoint uses TLS 1.2 connection encryption if your client application supports it. SharePoint also supports TLS 1.2 connection encryption when connecting to other systems, for example when crawling websites.

 

7.    Fast Site Collection Creation
This new feature provides templates that work at same level as SQL Server, which reduces the round trips required between the SharePoint and SQL servers. Use the SPSiteMaster Windows PowerShell cmdlets to create sites and site collections quickly
 

8.    Filenames - expanded support for special characters
SharePoint has historically blocked file names that included the &, ~, {, and } characters, file names that contained a GUID, file names with leading dots, and file names longer than 128 characters. These restrictions are removed in SharePoint Server 2016 and are now available to use.

9.    Identify and search for sensitive content
SharePoint Server 2016 now provides the same data loss prevention capabilities as Office 365. It leverages 51 built-in sensitive information types (credit cards, passport numbers, Social Security numbers, and more). It also uses DLP Queries from the eDiscovery site collection to discover sensitive content relating to common industry regulations from the SharePoint eDiscovery Center, identify offending documents, and export a report.

When you turn on DLP Policies from the Compliance Policy Center site collection, it notifies end users and administrators when documents with sensitive information are stored in SharePoint and automatically protects the documents from improper sharing.
 

10.    OneDrive Redirection

SharePoint 2016 allows you to redirect your My Sites to your Office 365 subscription's OneDrive for Business host. For example, if a user clicks on OneDrive, they will be redirected to Office 365 My Site instead of On-Premises.

  •   Compliance features: The document deletion policy allows you to delete documents in users' OneDrive for Business sites after specific periods of time. The In-Place Hold policy allows administrators to preserve documents, email, and other files.
  •   Information Rights Management: SharePoint Server 2016 provides Information Rights Management (IRM) capabilities to secure information by encrypting and securing information on SharePoint libraries with OneDrive for Business.
  •   New controls for working with OneDrive for Business: SharePoint Server 2016 provides controls at the top of the document folders that make common tasks in OneDrive for Business more accessible, such as: new, share, upload, etc.
  • Upload.jpg
  •   New Recycle Bin in OneDrive and Team sites:  SharePoint Server 2016 adds a link for the Recycle Bin in the left navigation area of the OneDrive and Team sites.

11.    Image and video previews

When you post images and videos to a document library, you can see a preview by hovering the mouse over the image or video, or by clicking on them.

 

12.    Large file support
Previous versions of SharePoint did not support uploading or downloading files larger than 2,047 MB. SharePoint 2016 now allows you to upload or download larger files. You can configure the desired maximum file-size limit on a per-web application basis in your SharePoint farm.
 

13.    Zero Downtime Patching

Managers of the SharePoint servers will be pleased to know that the size and number of the packages are immensely reduced. The downtime previously required to update SharePoint servers has also been reduced.

 

14.    Open Document Format (ODF)
SharePoint Server 2016 adds support for Open Document Format (ODF) files to use in document library templates.
 

15.    Project Server

New Project Server features are available in SharePoint Server 2016, such as:

  •   Resource Engagements: Now project managers can request needed resources from resource managers to complete their projects. Also, resource managers can use the new heat map functionality to see where resources are spending their time.
  •   Multiple Timelines: Project and Portfolio managers can now create richer timelines that display multiple timelines in a single view.
  •   Simpler administration: Project Server now has multi-tenant storage capabilities and has combined data storage with SharePoint. This greatly reduces IT overhead by eliminating the dedicated Project Server database and improves backup and restore capabilities.
  •   Cloud grade performance and scale: Many performance and scalability improvements that have been added to Project Online have also been added to Project Server 2016.


 

16.    ReFS file system support
SharePoint Server 2016 now supports drives that are formatted with the ReFS file system.
 

17.    MinRoles

MinRole is a new feature in SharePoint Server 2016 that allows a SharePoint farm administrator to define each server's role in a farm topology. Install just the role that you want on particular SharePoint 2016 servers and it'll make sure that all servers that belong to each role are compliant. This will allow you to convert servers to run new roles if needed.

Server Role.png
 

You also can change the server role from central admin:

System settings > Servers > Convert server role in this farm.

Role Conversion.png
 


 

Services running on the SharePoint 2016 server will show if they are compliant as well.

Services in Farm.png
 

Services on Server.png 


 

18.    SharePoint business intelligence
SharePoint Server 2016 now supports SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.1 and the Power Pivot add-in and Power View.
 

19.    Sharing improvements
SharePoint Server 2016 has many new sharing improvements such as the Create and Share folder, Sharing Hint, improved invitation mail, one-click email to approve or deny a request for access, and the Recently Shared Items cache.

20.    SMTP Connection Encryption
SharePoint Server 2016 supports sending email to SMTP servers that use STARTTLS connection encryption.

21.    Web Application Open Platform Interface Protocol (WOPI)
You can now rename files, create new files, and share files from within the WOPI iframe on the browser page.
 

22.    New Hybrid Opportunities with SharePoint 2016 and Office 365
Integrating SharePoint with your Office 365 is a major focus in the latest release of SharePoint 2016.
 

23.    App Launcher and UI changes in SharePoint 2016

  • SharePoint Server 2016 brings innovations in user experience from Office 365 to your on-premises farm, with improvements to document libraries and navigation constructs that are consistent with Office 365. A seamless user experience for hybrid users that spans from the datacenter to the cloud.

    SharePoint 2016 introduces an App Launcher to help it match the Office 365 experience. It allows you to navigate between SharePoint, OneDrive & the Newsfeed. It will be extensible and customizable as well.

  • SharePoint Sites.jpg
    •   New Collaboration Experience on Multiple Platforms: SharePoint Server 2016 offers an improved a touch-friendly mobile navigation experience.
    • Platforms.png

24.    Hybrid Cloud Search

A unified Search experience will allow the Office 365 Search to take your On-Premises SharePoint Search Index so that it can give you results from both apps for the same query. SharePoint 2016 On-Premises users searching against their On-Premises Search service will continue to see local results only.


 

25.    New Compliance Center in SharePoint 2016

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is non-negotiable, and overexposure to information can have legal and compliance implications. SharePoint Server 2016 provides a broad array of features and capabilities designed to make certain that sensitive information remains protected with investments in DLP, new scenarios to enable data encryption and compliance tools that span on-premises servers and Office 365 while providing a balance between enabling user self-service and ensuring content usage adheres to corporate policy.

The In-Place Policy Hold Center and the Compliance Center allow you to build your own policies and apply them against your environment.

Deletion Policy.png 


 

 


 

If you’re unfamiliar with SharePoint and want to know a summary of the basics, read about the SharePoint User Guide 101, or contact us now for a FREE consultation.

Look out for future posts covering Microsoft SharePoint– how-to's, best practices, and newest features:


 

Differences between Online, On-Prem, and Hybrid SharePoint Deployments
Deep Dive: SharePoint Document Management
Deep Dive: SharePoint Workflows
Deep Dive: Themes, Customizations and Top SharePoint Web Parts

8/30/2016 8:38 AMFatima HamidComplete Summary of SharePoint 2016 Features
112
  
Office 365 Approved0

Microsoft Outlook is an integral part of every-day tasks for most individuals whether they use the desktop e-mail client or access their messages via the Web-based interface. Office 365 users are well aware that Outlook is primarily used to send, receive and store emails, but it can also serve as a personal information management tool. Since it is easy to use, smart and is well-integrated with other software, the following apps can make the use of Outlook more fun and productive.


Synchronization

Office 365 subscribers can install these Outlook add-ins into both the desktop and online versions of the application. Installing these just once and letting it synchronize will allow a user to make use of the apps on any device, wherever they are.


 

To access the online Office Store

  1.    1. Log in to Office 365 online
  2.    2. Click the Office Store tile
  3.    3. Choose the add-in you need


 

Our teams at Xelleration agree that these are the top five add-ins that can take your Outlook inbox to the next level:

 

1: Bing Nearby

Bing Nearby is an Outlook add-in for inserting an info snapshot of a restaurant, coffee shop, or hotel directly into the body of your email, meeting, or appointment. Use Bing Nearby to search for the place you want, then drop it straight ​into the body of your Outlook appointment. The info snapshot includes the address, phone number, name, user-ratings, and more.


 

Whether it's an onsite meeting with an important client or a lunch meeting with the team, it is important to get there on time. The Bing Nearby app gives you instant access to Bing's mapping features from your Outlook interface.

Nearby.png
 

  1.    1. Start composing a new message or creating a meeting on the calendar
  2.    2. Click the Bing Nearby icon
  3.    3. Type in an address or the name of a restaurant and the app will give you location choices.
  4.    4. Click one of those choices and the pertinent location information will be attached to the message or calendar entry automatically.

Bing Nearby is free and is produced by Microsoft as a supplement for Outlook.​


 

2: Find Time

Have you ever spent more time deciding when to meet than actually meeting? FindTime is an add-in for Outlook that helps you come to consensus on a meeting time. It shows what days and times work the best for people within your organization. Propose your selected times to all attendees and allow everyone to vote. Once you reach consensus, FindTime sends out the meeting invite on your behalf, eliminating the time consuming back-and-forth usually required to find the best meeting time.


 

FindTime can help you find a meeting time that works best for all concerned.

FindTime.png
 

FindTime was developed by a team at Microsoft and is a free add-in for Outlook and requires a first-time account registration.


 

3: Starbucks

Being successful at business is all about building strong relationships and personal connections. Often, these personal connections are made face to face in an informal, friendly environment, over a cup of coffee.  Business is a lot easier and more fun while building that personal connection through the new the Starbucks for Outlook add-in.​


 

This add-in makes it easier for you to have that personal connection by enabling you to meet your customers, business partners or study group at your favorite Starbucks location, all with a few clicks from your Outlook inbox.

Starbucks.png
 

Starbucks eGifts:

  1.    1. In the grey ribbon at top, click the "Starbucks Send an eGift" icon. It will appear on the far right side on the "Home tab".
  2.    2. Select an eGift card design.
  3.    3. You will be prompted to sign in to your Starbucks account. (Don't have one? Simply create one by clicking the link in the pop up.)
  4.    4. Enter the recipient's name.
  5.    5. Select the dollar amount.
  6.    6. Select your payment method. (You can add a payment method if you don't have one on file.)
  7.    7. Click "Purchase eGift Card" and your purchase is complete. The eGift card will be inserted into the message and it's ready to send.

Connect over coffee

With the Starbucks for Outlook add-in you can easily schedule meetings at Starbucks stores directly from your email. Here's how:

  1.    1. Select "Meet at Starbucks" from the meeting request ribbon.
  2.    2. Enter a location in the add-in on the right side of the meeting request.
  3.    3. Select location from map or scroll down and select location from list.
  4.    4. Select store by clicking "Select Store". The store address will be inserted into the meeting invitation and it's ready to send.

The Starbucks add-in is currently available in the United States. ​


 

4: Uber Ride Reminder

With the Uber add-in for Outlook, you can set an Uber ride reminder for any calendar event. When it's time to leave for your event, Uber will send you a notification on your device. This is the first release of the app, so are definitely excited for the upgrades for future versions.


 

When you act on the notification, the Uber app opens up with the destination already set. You just need confirm your request. The destination information is grabbed from your Outlook appointment.

Uber.jpg
 

  1.    1. Create an Outlook event
  2.    2. Select Uber from the Apps section
  3.    3. The Uber add-in will request your phone number attached to your Uber account

 

5: Boomerang

Organizing your email becomes more difficult each year. Boomerang for Outlook is an email add-in that helps you increase productivity while also creating a better work-life balance.


 

Boomerang.jpg 

Boomerang lets you schedule emails to be sent at the optimal time, makes sure you remember to follow up on important messages that don't get a response, and makes scheduling a meeting a snap! Users can schedule a message to send at a specific time in the future or snooze a message out of their inbox to resurface at the top at a pre-determined time if there is no response.

 


 

Read more about the latest Office 365 features or schedule a free consultation with our experts for Office 365 migration or support.

9/6/2016 11:29 AMFatima HamidNew Apps for Microsoft Outlook that Take Your Inbox to the Next Level
109
  
Office 365; SharePoint; Unified Communications Approved0

​Collaboration is how work really gets done. Colleagues working together make each other more creative and powerful as they reach for a common goal.
 

Collaboration Suite vs. Stand-Alone Tools

There are countless tools created to achieve team collaboration, such as Slack, with several options for integration

As a Gold-Certified Microsoft Partner, we at Xelleration implement and build technology solutions using the Microsoft stack. Not only do we offer Microsoft technologies to our customers, but we also implement it internally for our work.


 

 

 

Microsoft's "full collaboration suite" called Office 365 is a collection of Microsoft tools that take away the hassle of having to find tools from various vendors that work together to accomplish a complete productivity and collaborative experience. Here are 5 tools and features that we find most useful for optimum collaboration in Office 365. 


 


 

1.   Presence in Office 365

For large or multiple office networks, you can communicate much faster with colleagues when you refer to the "presence" views throughout the O365 applications.
Below are some screenshots that show presence as green (available), yellow (away), or red (in a call, meeting, or busy). No matter which tool you use within the Office 365 Suite; you can see what they are doing. This is one of the greatest advantages of a collaboration suite over stand-alone tools.

In Skype for Business:

You can easily see everyone's availability with indicators such as Available, Away, In a Meeting, etc.


 

skype for business.PNG
 


 

Inside Office Documents

You can click from inside an email to start a conversation with a colleague regarding the particular email topic! Skype even creates the same title on the conversation so you know what it was about later in case someone needs to go back and review what was discussed. To locate that conversation later, you simply go to the "conversation history" folder in Outlook.


Collaboration.png
 


 


 

2.   OneDrive for Business – All in the Cloud

OneDrive has mobile apps for Windows Phone, Android, or iOS. Any photos/files you can be automatically backed up in your OneDrive account and synced to your other devices. In a situation where your device doesn't work or isn't available, you can pick up another device and quickly start working on your most recent documents because they are all saved in OneDrive, which you can easily access using your work credentials.


 

3.  Office Document Sharing

Along with always working from the cloud, you can easily share any Office document with anyone on your team using the share button located inside whichever Office app you're currently working within. You can set the document with a view only or an edit link depending on what actions should be taken by my team members.


 share.png

 

4.   Spam Filtering

When you set up O365, the spam filtering settings make sure that none of the annoying spam gets through your inbox.


 


5.   Infographic

If you are still wondering if a collaboration suite or a stand-alone tool is best for your business, check out the infographic below to get some a side-by-side comparison:


 


 


 

Need help migrating to Office 365? Contact Xelleration’s excellent team for a free consultation. 



 

7/25/2016 2:57 AMFatima HamidWhy you need a Collaboration Suite
106
  
SharePoint Approved0

HowToTuesdaySharePoint copy.jpg​​

Microsoft SharePoint is a comprehensive information and collaboration platform for the enterprise. Think of it like a web platform for creating public websites, as well as secure internal sites to store, organize, share, and access information from almost any device.

 

SharePoint can be leveraged as a document management system for storing, searching and reviewing documents/content for users within the organization, as well as external stakeholders like partners, vendors, and customers. SharePoint can also be leveraged for workflow automation and review/approvals to replace paper based process review and approvals. Along with the functionalities of each portal, the design and UX can be heavily customized. 

 

This series of #HowTo blogs will develop your understanding of "What is SharePoint?" Let's start with a basic 101 guide to get started.

SharePoint.jpg








 

SharePoint Terminology

Much of the terminology will sound and feel familiar to Microsoft Office users. Here are some basic terms that every SharePoint user should know:

Site CollectionIs the Top level site that contains subsites
Public Site The public-facing Website is a site that serves as your organization's web presence.
Team SiteInternal Site, your organization, team, or group can connect with one another and share files, post announcements, maintain tasks, track issues or action items, store information
SubsiteAll the departmental sites within the SharePoint Top Level site
LibraryDocument/File repository
FolderFolders can be used to group document and files.
Site ownerHas full control to the site
PermissionsThese are set by the Site Owner and will determine what libraries, folders or documents a SharePoint user can share, edit or view
CollaborationUsers, teams and organizations to discover, share, and collaborate on content from anywhere and on any device.
Document SharingTo share a file or document with a SharePoint user or users
SharePoint End UserEveryone who has permissions to use the content on a site
RibbonA menu bar which appears at the top of a SharePoint page
ListsA list of contacts or tasks within SharePoint.

 


 

How to get started

Start with Office 365! All Office 365 users have access to their Office 365 Web Portal (shown below), this makes working with all your Microsoft applications super simple. All Office 365 apps are located in one webpage that you can access from any computer, making it easy to access your everything you need from home, at the office, or working remotely. Here you can co-author using online versions of Office 2016, share documents using One Drive and SharePoint, and even engage in enterprise social using your company's Yammer page.

 

Here are some basic how-to's when first getting started with SharePoint Online:​

 

1. To access SharePoint Online, go to your Office 365 Web Portal > www.portal.office.com

 

Office 365.jpg 


 
2. Click on the SharePoint Tile to view your Sites
 
This will display the SharePoint Dashboard - Site Collections, Subsites, Lists, Libraries and Web parts you follow within your organization. Once your organization gets running with enough Sites it can be a task in-and-of-itself to keep track. Office 365 keeps your sites all in one place and bookmarks your favorites.
 
Office 365 Groups.png 
 
 
3. Share, post, and collaborate with your teams in Sites created for each group in your organization. Below is an example of a company department site that can be used by teams to work better.
 

Office 365 Group.png
 

 

Managing your Sites

Give your teams a collective place to collaborate by setting up SharePoint Sites and Subsites for every group, department, or long term project. Teams can share documents, articles, company-wide announcements, and even post tasks and deadlines. Sites and Subsites primarily refer to the same type of page. Depending on the amount of complexity needed, a hierarchy of different Sites and Subsites are used. 

 

Each Site/Subsite gets a dedicated OneNote notebook and OneDrive for Business folder, making everything cloud accessible. Create dedicated Sites for each client project to make sure each engagement is organized to the T. Marketing and Sales can organize their documents in one Subsite, while Accounting can track budgets and invoices in a separate Subsite, and HR can publish announcements and feature new hires in another.

 

Creating a Site

More complex Site Collections require initial set up by your company's Office365 SharePoint Admin.

 

Creating a Subsite​

Sites/Subsites are what give SharePoint the recognition as the best collaboration platforms available! Each team in your organization a dedicated portal in a few clicks of a mouse. Users will require full control to add subsites and to customize the look and feel of the dashboard. ​

   1. Click Settings in the top right gear button

   2. Click Site Contents

   3. Click +New dropdown, and select Subsite
 

Screenshot 4 Squared.png
 

  

   4. Enter title, description, URL, and set preferences

   5. Click Create to create Subsite

 

Viewing Site Contents

​There is a lot underneath the surface of each site. View the entire contents of a site in one central location. All lists, libraries, web parts, apps and subsites can be found in a homepage like dashboard.

   1. Click Settings in the top right gear button

   2. Click Site Contents

   3. Click on an app tile or the app name to open it and view its contents

   4. Click the Ellipsis (...) to the right of an app to access the app's settings

 

Site Contents SharePoint 2016.png
 

Customize your Dashboard

Aside from custom workflows in your SharePoint portals (which will be covered in a later deep dive how-to), customizing the main view of your site with your team's favorite threads, reports, and document libraries is SharePoint's strongest feature. This lets users customize the information they want to prioritize and collaborate on most frequently.

   1. Start by adding your teams lists, documents, and spreadsheets to the Site Contents

   2. Click on the Edit button in the top right corner

 

EDIT SharePoint.png
 

  

   3. Click Insert from the Ribbon along the top of the screen

   4. Insert Tables, Pictures, Videos, any App in the Site Contents, and any Web Parts

 

Ribbon.png
 


 

Managing Libraries and Lists

Let's take it a step further! Libraries and Lists are the most used features in SharePoint and are the backbone of sharing documents and meeting deadlines. You can create a Document Library, Picture Library, Wiki page Library, or a Form Library depending on the type for files you want to share in a collection.

 

Creating a List, App and Document Library

A Document Library is a collection of files that you can store, organize, sync and share.

   1. Go to the Site/Subsite and click on the Settings gear icon

   2. Click on Add an app

   3. Select Document Library or desired app

   4. Select a name for the Document Library (e.g. proposals, templates, articles)

   5. Click on Create

   6. The new Document Library will display in the Site Contents

 

Adding new items to a List, App or Document Library

   1. Go to your Document Library

   2. Click + New

   3. Select Document. You can then Select the type of document you want to create: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote.

   4. Update and review the document. To save, click on the Document Library name above the Ribbon

 

Word Online.png
 

Document Management

You can use co-authoring, versioning, and check out to work on documents together. With you documents in one place, everybody can get the latest versions whenever they need them. You can also sync your documents to your local computer for offline access. Look out for our Deep-dive on Document Management to find and extended list of SharePoint capabilities.

 

Uploading a document

   1. Go to your Document Library

   2. Click Upload

   3. Browse an existing file. Select file and click OK

   4. You can also Drag and Drop files from your computer to a Document Library


Opening and Editing a List

   1. Select your document

   2. Click on the Ellipsis (...) menu and then the Ellipsis (...) in the pop up window  

   3. Select either Open in Word or Open in Work Online

   4. Edit your document. To save changes, click on the Document Library name in the top left ​

 

Sharing a document

   1. Select the document you want to share
   2. Click the Ellipses (…) to open the menu
   3. Click Share
 

5.png 

 

 

Simultaneous Co-authoring

Co-authoring has become a modern collaboration must have. Each team member can work on a different section of the document from their own devices without the hassle of sending around different versions.

   1. First Save the document in a document library and OneDrive for Business

   2. Then Share the document with people in your team

   3. The number of people currently editing is list the bottom of the document


 

4.png 

 

 

Document Versions

When versioning is enabled in your list or library, you can store, track, and restore items in a list and files in a library whenever they change.

   1. Select the document
   2. Click Version History on the Files tab

 

6.png 


 

Search

SharePoint's search lets users search for files and documents across the SharePoint Server.

   1. Type a search keyword
   2. Click the down arrow to select a search scope
   3. Click the Search icon

7.png 


 

Start Team Newsfeed Discussions

Start a conversation with your colleagues by posting to the public newsfeed. Anyone able to see your post may reply to it.

   1. Click Newsfeed and type your message
   2. Click Post
   3. Add other features to your post, such as tags, links, videos, documents, mentions, and pictures

8.png​​


Going Mobile

SharePoint is now mobile; your teams can access their favorite SharePoint Sites via their mobile phone. It is great for checking in on project status and accessing documents on the fly.​

 

SharePoint 2016 Mobile View.png SharePoint 2016 Mobile.png

 


If you’re familiar with SharePoint and want to know what’s changed in the latest release, read about the 4 SharePoint 2016 Features that Will Make Your Life Easier or contact us now for a FREE consultation.


 

Look out for future posts covering Microsoft SharePoint– how-to's, best practices, and newest features:


SharePoint 2016 Features

Differences between Online, On-Prem, and Hybrid SharePoint Deployments
Deep Dive: SharePoint Document Management
Deep Dive: SharePoint Workflows
Deep Dive: Themes, Customizations and Top SharePoint Web Parts 

 

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6/9/2016 9:38 AMFatima HamidHowTo: SharePoint User Guide 101
110
  
Unified Communications; Events Approved0

Full Skype for Business Support from Microsoft's Top Unified Communications Solution Provider ​

 ​
Skype webinar image.png 


 

Considering Skype for Business? Learn more about deployment best practices and post-deployment full 24/7 support options. Sand-trap potential problems in your environment for universal communication success!

 

Initial deployment of Skype for Business isn't always enough to make sure all systems remain GO within your unified communications environment. There are a few challenges your network can face with an unsupported Skype for Business Deployment:


 

- Improper SIP and endpoint configuration

- Audio and Synchronization Quality

- Office 365 frequent updates

- Incorrect gateway matching


 

Xelleration's Managed UC Full 24/7 Support for Skype for Business sand traps these issues before they can affect your network performance.


 

Join our virtual event as David Langlois -Xelleration UC Practice Lead- gives a walkthrough of deployment BEST PRACTICES and the impact our managed services for Skype for Business can have on your company's universal communication success.

 

Tuesday August 16th, 2016 - 11:00am PST ​​

 

Register here today - https://xelleration.eventbuilder.com/event?eventid=b0k0u4

 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
Th​is is the first event in our Summer Tech Connect Webinar Series​! Check out our other digital events around SharePoint 2016, Office 365, and Power BI. ​

 

 
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8/9/2016 10:50 AMScott CalonzoSkype for Business Managed UC | Webinar
108
  
Press Release; Office 365 Approved0

Xelleration earns market leadership through demonstrated technology expertise and customer commitment.

Xelleration New Gold Competency.jpg
 

Irvine, CA— July 18, 2016 Xelleration announced today that it has been awarded a Gold Competency for its small and midmarket cloud solutions services, demonstrating a "best-in-class" ability and commitment to meet Microsoft customers' evolving needs in today's dynamic business environment while distinguishing itself within Microsoft partner network.

 

To earn a Microsoft Competency, Partners must submit customer references that demonstrate successful projects. Their teams must also pass technology and sales assessments to stay up-to-date the latest releases. The Microsoft Partner Network helps partners strengthen their capabilities to showcase leadership in the marketplace, to better serve customers and to easily access resources from one of the most active, diverse networks in the world.

 

Earning the Microsoft Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions competency demonstrates partner expertise and commitment to delivering solutions tailored to small and midmarket customer requirements. Given the focus on adoption of cloud computing by SMBs to drive their business operations, partners that invest in this competency are ready to address the rising customer demand for Microsoft cloud solutions.​

 

Brendan Neary, Director of Sales and Marketing at Xelleration said, "This certification demonstrates our commitment to smaller organizations even those under 250 employees, who are paving the business world of tomorrow. Xelleration will continue to provide services to customers with fast changing requirements in need of immediate and effective results."

 

Being part of the Microsoft Partner Network gives Xelleration the knowledge base around everything Microsoft. Access to the latest announcements, training sessions, and technical updates - A Microsoft Partner like Xelleration can pinpoint tech opportunities to better serve customers.

 

Other competencies held by Xelleration include Gold in Communications, Application Development, Cloud Productivity, Cloud Platform, Collaboration and Content, and a Silver Competency in Data Analytics.

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About Xelleration

Xelleration offers on premise, cloud, and hybrid communications solutions to corporations and public sector clients of all sizes across the world. Xelleration also provides end-to-end communication and collaboration solutions including: Skype for Business, Exchange, Share-Point, Office 365, Yammer, Azure, and full end-user support.


 

For more updates about Xelleration, please follow us on our social media sites, or call (949) 417-2024.

7/22/2016 11:27 AMFatima HamidMicrosoft Gold Competency for Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions
102
  
Windows Azure Approved0

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This week at WPC 2016 in Toronto, Azure has been making big wins. By most rankings, Microsoft is number two in cloud market share, well behind Amazon Web Services, although a recent survey by Morgan Stanley predicted that Microsoft Azure will edge out AWS by 2019 - for both Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).  


Apache Hadoop

As more organizations hope to increase profound insights from their constantly growing stores of data, a lot of them are concentrating on an open source framework called Apache Hadoop for offering a flexible, yet efficient approach to store and process the huge amounts of data. Hadoop powers solutions to help businesses improve their performance, educators to better connect with their students, medical professionals to improve care quality, researchers to accelerate new advancements in science and more.


In a matter of few years, a system of software packages has appeared in order to process and manage Hadoop data clusters.


Forrester's Cloud Industry Assessment

After evaluating eight different vendors along 37 criteria, Forrester recognized Microsoft Azure as a leader in their Big Data Hadoop Cloud Solutions. Microsoft Azure was named one of the four leaders and placed ahead of Amazon Web Services, IBM, and Google in terms of both their current offerings and strategy. Microsoft was also specifically mentioned for “having a cloud-first strategy that is paying off.”


Microsoft is trying to make big data processing and analytics easier and more accessible to bring big data to everybody. They do this through the Cortana Intelligence Suite which offers a managed big data and advanced analytics solution in the cloud.  Inside Cortana Intelligence is the Azure Data Lake which includes HDInsight, a managed Hadoop service that runs Hortonworks Data Platform, Data Lake Analytics, a new service built on Apache YARN that dynamically scales your big data jobs, and Data Lake Store, a single repository to capture data of any size, type, and speed.


After the report was made public, a representative of Hortonworks, the company behind Hadoop, was quoted on the Azure Blog saying:


We are excited to see Microsoft so prominently placed in the Forrester Big Data Hadoop Cloud Wave. The engineering teams from Hortonworks and Microsoft have worked hand-in-hand on making Azure HDInsight the best platform to deploy Hortonworks Data Platform. We look forward to continuing our deep partnership together to give our customers the best options to deploy Hadoop on-premises, in the cloud, or in hybrid scenarios.


Microsoft continues to focus on delivering the highest value to its customers and partners through innovations that make big data and analytics accessible.


To learn more about migrating to Microsoft Azure, contact our experts here and get started.

 

5/10/2016 1:30 PMAnthony NovotneForrester Names Azure a Leader in Big Data Hadoop Cloud Solutions
107
  
Press Release; Unified Communications Approved0

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Long Beach, California – In June, Xelleration hosted a Skype for Business Sales Bootcamp for all its west coast partners. Unified Communications experts shared industry trends and the latest information regarding Skype for Business. Companies in attendance - Velis4, Microsoft, Prosum, LA Fitness Plantronics and Meridian Communications made the event a huge success.  ​

Justin Slagle shared new Microsoft announcements and gave insight into the future of Skype for Business in Microsoft’s Roadmap. Xelleration and Velis4 detailed solution specifics, equipping their partners with up-to-date licensing options and deployment scenarios. From cloud licenses of Office 365, to robust Hosted Velis4 options, secure on-premise capabilities and even state of the art device options to maximize user experience – attendees had little left to demystify regarding Skype for Business.

Chief Technology Information Officer of LA Fitness, George Bedar, shared a proof of concept for Xelleration’s Hosted Skype for Business Solution.

 


Xelleration’s Hosted UC Solution with Velis4

Get the full functionality of Skype for Business including Enterprise Telephony, Presence and Instant messaging, Instant Voice and Video Conferencing, Desktop Share and Collaboration, and more. This solution includes everything Skype for Business -- hosted outside of Microsoft’s data centers for increased connection, quality and security.

Speak to one of our UC experts for more – (949) 417-2024x163​

​​

7/12/2016 5:07 PMScott CalonzoSkype for Business takes Long Beach
101
  
 Approved0

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Microsoft has announced a cloud-first, mobile-first vision and roadmap for SharePoint, along with innovations for people to discover, share and collaborate from anywhere and on any device. The general availability of SharePoint Server 2016 was also announced.


The vision for SharePoint Online in the cloud and SharePoint Server on-premises  with their progress is outlined below, as well as the roadmap across four areas of innovation:


1. Simple and powerful file sharing and collaboration on any device.
2. The mobile and intelligent intranet, with modern team sites, publishing and business applications on your desktop and in your pocket.
3. An open and connected platform that evolves SharePoint extensibility to embrace modern web development.
4. Investments in security, privacy and compliance across Office 365.


The following capabilities will be rolling out this quarter:
1. Access to SharePoint Online document libraries and Office 365 Group files from the OneDrive mobile app.
2. Intelligent discovery of documents from both OneDrive and SharePoint.
3. Copy from OneDrive to SharePoint in the OneDrive web experience.
4. OneDrive Universal Windows Platform (UWP) application.

Before the end of calendar year 2016:
1. Document analytics surfaced in OneDrive to provide insight into document usage, reach and impact.
2. Synchronization of SharePoint Online document libraries with the new OneDrive sync client.
3. Synchronization of shared folders with the new OneDrive sync client.
4. Mobile access to SharePoint document libraries in on-premises farms.
5. Move and copy files between OneDrive and SharePoint in web experiences.


The Mobile & Intelligent Intranet


While you are on the go, SharePoint is making your intranet more accessible, more intelligent, and more personalized.


Roadmap for the mobile and intelligent intranet:

Starting this quarter:
1. Modern document library experience (currently rolling out to First Release tenants).
2. SharePoint mobile app for iOS.
3. SharePoint home in Office 365.
4. Modern lists experience.
5. Site activity and insights on the Site Contents page.

During calendar year 2016:
1. SharePoint mobile app for Windows and Android.
2. Integration of SharePoint sites and Office 365 Groups.
3. Simple, fast site creation.
4. Modern pages experience.
5. Team and organizational news and announcements.
6. PowerApps and Microsoft Flow integration with SharePoint.


 

The SharePoint Framework


SharePoint Framework is a page and part model that enables fully supported client-side development, easy integration with Microsoft Graph and support for open source tooling.


The SharePoint Framework will be released to Office 365 customers in First Release this summer. Web parts built with the framework can be added to modern pages, experiences, and to existing pages.


In the third quarter of 2016:
1.The Files API on Microsoft Graph.
2. SharePoint Webhooks (preview).
3. Client-side web parts for existing pages (preview).


By the end of 2016:
1. The Sites API on Microsoft Graph.
2. SharePoint Webhooks (GA).
3. Custom sites on the SharePoint Framework.


Security, Privacy, & Compliance


In SharePoint, Microsoft brings together security, privacy, and compliance with a simple and powerful set of administrative controls, policies and reports.


There are also dynamic conditional access policies in SharePoint that intelligently define access based on who you are, the app or device you are using and your network location.

Currently supported:
Customer Lockbox.
DLP, mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM).
Whitelist and blacklist domains for external sharing.

To be released this quarter:
Dynamic conditional access policies.

By the end of 2016:
New datacenters in Germany and Canada.
Bring your own encryption key.
Granular access controls.
SharePoint site classification.
Hybrid SharePoint Insights (preview).


For on-premises and hybrid customers, SharePoint Server 2016, Project Server 2016 and Office Online Server are now generally available and can be deployed to your datacenter. Contact Xelleration​ and #ExpectMore from our seasoned SharePoint solution​ experts.

5/5/2016 11:57 AMAnthony NovotneCloud-first, Mobile-first Vision & Roadmap for SharePoint
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Events; Press Release Approved0


 

Xelleration: Behind the Wheel celebrates the people behind the success here at Xelleration.

Energetic, enthusiastic and a meticulously-organized team player, Lauren Valencia is the Channel Manager at Xelleration. Everyone at the office trusts her for her honest feedback and her eagle-eye for proper grammer. To celebrate her recent birthday, we sat down with Lauren to find out more about her and her thoughts about Xelleration:

 
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To start, how did you first get involved with Xelleration? What year was it? What was the organization like then?

I was referred to Xelleration by a close friend named Scott Baldwin in 2009. We had worked together at Softchoice. At that time, the organization was smaller and we were still located at the office off of Business Center Drive.


 

What is your favorite part of being Channel Manager?

I really enjoy building relationships with partners. There is a lot that goes into it, but it is very rewarding to see your hard work pay off. I love all the moving pieces and the fact that it challenges me consistently on a day to day basis.


 

What are some of your favorite projects? What are you most proud of?

I love all projects, heck I am in sales, but I really love the projects that have multiple phases. These projects allow me to really build a strategic relationship with the client and build a partnership that grows for years to come.



When did you know that you wanted to choose this career?

I realized after my first year at Xelleration that I wanted to stick with consulting rather than transactional sales. I really fell in love with the relationship building piece, rather than the cookie cutter sales approach. I like that each client’s needs are unique. I love the analytical aspect of this business, it’s like putting together a puzzle. I find it very fulfilling.



What sets Xelleration apart from other companies?

I think our people are what really differentiate us from others. We have a real team mentality here at Xelleration and that is very rare to find. I know people here have my back and that makes such a difference in being successful in this business.


 

What are your hobbies? How do you spend your time when you’re not working?

I love being in nature, so anything outdoors. We have two dogs, so we love to take them on hikes and to the dog beach by our house. I also enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I also love reading, writing, cooking, photography and yoga.



What are your nicknames?

All my friends and family call me LoLo.



Have you ever watched any movie over and over again? Which one, and why?

Hope Floats. I know super sappy, but I just love that movie. Besides the fact that it’s a feel good movie, I think it has a really important message as well; don’t count yourself out. When the world seems unfair, when everything feels like it’s falling apart, perhaps it’s because there is something so much better waiting around the corner. John Lennon once said “life is what happens when you’re busy making plans”. I really, whole heartedly agree and I just love that about life.


 

What is your favorite restaurant?

Anything with Mexican food. I could eat it every single day.



If you woke up one day and realized you have everything to become a famous music icon, what kind of music would you like to create, and why?

Stevie Nicks cover band because she is my ultimate go to for music. I know I could never replace her, but it would be lots of fun pretending to be her.


 


You’ve been with Xelleration for almost 8 years now, can you share a fun fact many people might not know?

Most people don’t know this about me, but I love to write poetry. I started a writing page on Instagram a couple years back and now have over 21k followers. Writing has always been a huge release for me- I have always referred to it as my therapy without the co-pay.



 

6/8/2016 9:42 AMFatima HamidXelleration: Behind the Wheel - Lauren Valencia
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Windows Azure Approved0

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Cloud storage allows your employees access to files at anytime and anywhere.  It makes it simple to work on the go, sync files, and share documents. Even with these great attributes, many organizations find cloud storage to be the riskiest cloud app category.


One of the main reasons for this thought process evolves from an increase in security threats. According to the Cloud Security Alliance, security remains the top barrier to cloud adoption.  This is why cloud security is one of the top concerns for cloud providers.  By 2019, the global cloud security market is estimated to have reached over $8.7 billion.


Although it’s important to get a great deal on your enterprise cloud solution, it’s more important to ensure the security of your data. When researching cloud storage providers, be on the lookout for those that display these red flags and avoid them at all costs.


1.    Non-HTTPS site- An HTTPS site is needed for proper security, because it secures any requests for personal information, such as forms. Sites not encrypted with HTTPS allow for easy interception of login credentials.
2.    Weak Privacy Statement- Find a service with a strong privacy statement, one that doesn’t give permission to browse your files. Decide what is satisfactory for your organization’s needs.
3.    Unclear Service Agreements- A cloud provider should make clear commitments about what security controls it has in place, where data lives and who manages the technology.
4.    Lacking a Solid Reputation- A company may be offering a great price, but sure to investigate testimonials, recent downtime, experience, etc.
5.    No Mention of Compliance Standards- Meeting compliance standards and having industry certifications show a provider’s capabilities and proof of reliable security.

When it comes to finding a cloud storage solution, every organization has different needs which should be reflected in your choice of an enterprise cloud provider. Make sure that security remains at the top of your list of considerations when making your choice.


Contact us now to find out more about Xelleration’s cloud storage solutions that can help fit your company needs and ensure proper security.

4/14/2016 1:00 PMAnthony Novotne5 Security Flags to Identify when Choosing a Cloud Solution
100
  
Office 365 Approved0

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Understanding how employees in your company use Office 365 is imperative in helping to drive more usage and getting the best value from your Office 365 investment.  The Office 365 admin center now has a new reporting dashboard to help give IT greater visibility across SharePoint, OneDrive for Business, Skype for Business, and Yammer.


The usage reports and reporting dashboard allow you to easily monitor your service and identify opportunities and issues.  It gives you metrics to use in reporting to management about your Office 365 investment.  The reporting portal also provides a full picture across all main Office 365 services.


Activity Dashboard—A high-level overview of how many people in your company use Office 365. Each service in the Office 365 suite has its own tile that shows key activity data, making it easy to get a quick understanding of the activity.


Email Activity Report—This report allows you to understand email usage, such as send, receive and read activity. You can also monitor trends in email traffic which can be helpful in user migration.


Office Activations Report—Shows which users have been assigned an Office 365 license and have signed into Office 365 on at least one device. This report helps you identify users who have not activated their license yet.


SharePoint Site Usage Report—Provides you with storage consumption details across all your SharePoint sites. The report helps you see activity across sites, how much storage is available, and how the sites are being used for file storage.


OneDrive for Business Usage Report—This report helps you understand storage and sharing activity on OneDrive for Business. This includes number and the size of files stored, in aggregate and per user.


Skype for Business Report—Shows Skype for Business usage, such as minutes spent in a Skype Meeting, peer-to-peer activity like IMs and calls, meetings organized, and meeting participation.


Yammer Report—This report provides details on Yammer engagement such as Like, Read and Post activities.
All reports provide you with both aggregate and user-level information, so you can plan training and communication that helps take full advantage of Office 365.  The reports also show information for different timeframes: 7, 30, 90, and 150 days.  Reports can be exported in CSV format and opened in a tool like Excel.


IT admins will only have access to information they already have permission to access in the service.  You can find detailed log information to audit and track user and admin activities in the Compliance Center.


In the next few months, there will be even more reports focused on SharePoint and OneDrive for Business user activity, Office 365 Groups, email protection and user interaction with Office 365.

5/3/2016 10:26 AMAnthony NovotneNew Usage Reports for SharePoint, OneDrive, Yammer & Skype
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Office 365 Approved0

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This month Microsoft started rolling out a new and more user friendly home page experience for Office 365 users.  The new update brings a fresh look to the Office 365 welcome page and a bunch of new features for users and administrators.


The new Office 365 home page allows for a more efficient and unified work experience across every device.


Simple, Responsive Design

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Now, when you log in to Office 365, users have immediate access to all online applications and recent documents to help you get to what you need faster. Page responsiveness has also been improved for a better, more consistent experience across all your devices. Office 365 lets you get your work done, no matter what device you’re using.


Tool Tips

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New tool tips help highlight new features, including added applications and actions users need to take.


Seamless Office Install

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Now, you can download and install Office with one click from the home screen.  It’s also easier to install Office 365 mobile applications from your desktop. Simply choose the app you want to install, then send an email or SMS to the device you want to install it on.


You’ll start to see the new home page replace the default log-in page for Office 365 users over the next few months.



4/28/2016 7:51 AMAnthony NovotneA New Home Page Experience for Office 365 Users
97
  
Windows Azure Approved0

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​Business in nearly every industry is being transformed today by technology.  Specifically, the surge of data, intelligence from machine learning, advanced analytics, and the quickness of cloud computing all have helped create a digital world.


Microsoft has built SQL Server 2016 for this digital world.  They built it to support hybrid transactional and analytical processing, advanced analytics and machine learning, mobile BI, data integration, always encrypted query processing capabilities and in-memory transactions with persistence.


SQL Server 2016 is also perhaps the world’s only relational database to be born cloud-first, since most of the features were first deployed and tested in Azure, across 22 global datacenters and billions of requests per day.


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Along with faster analytics, the real-time in-memory processing capabilities of SQL Server are industry leading. With hybrid capabilities, any SQL Server deployment or app can reach private clouds, hosted clouds and Microsoft Azure.  SQL Server 2016 delivers not just a relational database, but also a total data platform for your business.


In addition, security has never been more essential.  SQL server is the industry’s least vulnerable database, six years running, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) public security board.


Microsoft is delivering on a vision that no other organization can contest across data, intelligence, and cloud. Contact Xelleration to learn more about how the new capabilities of this database built for mission-critical intelligence can help your business.

4/21/2016 1:17 PMAnthony NovotneSQL Server 2016: Mission-critical Intelligence
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Press Release; Unified Communications Approved0


Xelleration: Behind the Wheel celebrates the people behind the success here at Xelleration.

Paving the way for Unified Communications with Skype for Business, David Langlois knows a thing or two about what pieces fit together in creating a comprehensive UC strategy. His background in telecom, telephony and call centers really puts him ahead of the pack - while Skype for Business continues to disrupt the idea of modern collaboration.

 

When he and his team are not elbows deep in a multi-tenant, multi-location implementation or developing hybrid strategies for companies warming up to the cloud, he specializes in stirring laughs around the office.  We recently sat down with our UC Practice Lead to find out more about him and his thoughts about Xelleration:



To start, can you briefly explain your duties at Xelleration currently? When did you first get involved with Xelleration? What was the organization like then?

I am the Program Manager for our Unified Communications practice. I joined Xelleration in April 2015 when we started building this practice from scratch.


The teams here learn and adapt remarkably fast, and together we’ve completed more than 15 projects in a few months. Now we are deploying Skype for Business in some great accounts and constantly updating our project delivery and effort. And I must say, all of our clients have been a pleasure and have been very happy with our solutions. I look forward to expanding the UC practice more.


 

When did you know that you wanted to choose this career?

The first job I had right after college was in unified communications, and I really loved it because I get to meet new clients every day. Each client presented different levels of risks, so it is very rewarding when we help people achieve the best communication tools. Overall, it’s great that I get to see how far this technology has come and how the industry has evolved.


 

What are your hobbies? How do you spend your time when you’re not working?

I have four beautiful daughters who keep me active with their school activities and sports activities including year round water polo and soccer. I have a beautiful, very funny and wonderful wife who is a professor at Cal State Fullerton and research scientist at UCI. Whenever she gets upset with the kids or myself, she tells us that we must refer to her as Dr. Nourse (her last name).  I’m also passionate about competing in CrossFit competitions and open water swims.



Who is your favorite movie character and why?

Ben Stiller.  He is extremely funny and passionate with his craft.



What can customers expect from a Skype for Business solution?

An ultimate and unified communication solution. Customers are used to different technologies and applications for their telephony, IM, meet me conferencing, video conferencing and desktop collaboration.  They have to remember different logins, use of applications and are pretty limited where they can use each tool. Skype for Business brings together all of these applications into a very simple and elegant client with single login and authentication. Every user within the organization, not just a select few, but every user has access to every SFB tool from any device no matter where they are as long as they have Internet access. That’s powerful!

 

We perform Skype for Business Network readiness assessments, carrier services assessments, and endpoint selection assessments - whether customers are looking for standard survivability, high availability, and/or geo redundancy. Our NOC monitors all of our SFB clients providing proactive Help Desk Support including Tune/Break/Fix support. We also discuss options where customers may need to leverage some or all of their existing UC technology and an integrated and coexistent environment.  We consult and procure only Tier I devices to complete the UC strategy such as Session Boarder Controllers, gateways and endpoints. Basically, we deliver the entire solution from initial discovery and consultation to ongoing Managed UC support.


 

Can you share an incident as an example of how you and your staff celebrated success in the past?

Our team celebrates success by taking pride in making our customers really happy by achieving their goals. For example, one of the first projects we had was similar to a rescue mission because they had deployed Lync and didn’t have an internal professional team managing the deployment. We listened to their needs and came up with the accurate strategy to provide a highly available environment, and they loved it so much that they continue to deploy the solution to their remote offices. Seeing the passion and excitement of the clients and taking pride in that is the best way to celebrate our achievement.


 

What sets Xelleration apart from other companies?

Xelleration has excellent project engineers and a world-class Support Center managed 24x7. Our approach to engagements is very unique. We start off with a discovery and a complete assessment of our client’s environment including meeting with department heads such as sales, marketing, operations, IT, etc. Moreover, we discuss different deployment options such as premise, cloud and hybrid.


 

Would you share some advice or words of wisdom for someone who wants to choose this career?

I’d tell them to be passionate, excited and very patient because it is ever changing. It is also crucial to listen to the customer and keep them in mind, instead of jumping to conclusions.



Who has been the most influential person/people in your life?

Definitely my mom and dad. They passed away about 5 years ago but they continue to inspire me every single day.  My dad was born and raised in Chile and came to the US when he was 13.  At the age of 18 he joined the US Air Force and he and my mom spent most of their early years in South America where 4 of their 6 kids were born, including me, the 6th in Lima, Peru. My mother was an incredibly intelligent, compassionate and wonderful mother to her six kids. She taught Special Education for over30 years. She volunteered a lot of her time to Special Needs kids bringing some to our home when I was young because they did not have any family support.

 

We first moved to Irvine in 1970, before it was even a city. We were the first ones to live in a housing track in North Irvine called the Racquet Club. My parents lived on a very tight budget when we were young, considering my dad was in the Air Force and my mom would teach when positions were available in the many cities countries they lived.


 

My mom always made things work. My parents did not have the budget for carpeting our home, so we only had linoleum tile throughout the house.  My mom and my brother went out one day in the neighborhood with a wagon and picked up wagon loads of scrap carpet. My mom then carpeted all of us kids’ rooms by gluing down different colored carpets, different heights of shag (shag was popular back then). Our rooms were truly a patchwork of all of these carpets.  It was really pretty cool. She really was very creative. Our family ate salad with every single meal.  Some salad was always left over. One day, right after she got her first Food Processor back in the early 80’s, she decided to toss the salad in the food processor and let it rip. She then poured it into a bowl, and said, “look David.  Soup Salad”. We both loved it.  Kind of like a gazpacho.


 

My dad was really a great man. His last year in the Air Force, he was stationed up north of San Francisco. He drove his little VW Bug down to Irvine almost every weekend to see his family. After retiring from the Air Force he started his career in real estate. He did very well. Mostly because he loved people and more, he loved helping people. He helped every one of his kids, nieces and nephews get into a home by applying all of his sales commission toward their deposit. My dad helped dozens and dozens of people from his gardeners, helpers, etc. obtain their Visas to live in the US. He never boasted about any of the great things he did, he just did it because he loved making people happy.

 

Just this last week, Brendan and I met with a prospective client.  He was kind of a rigid CIO who really did not want to spend much time with us, in fact he gave 30 minutes max. After about 5 minutes into our meeting he looked at me real hard and asked, ”Are you related to Chuck Langlois?” After confirming that he was my dad, he went on to talk about what a wonderful person my dad was in helping he and his wife move out to Irvine in the early 80’s from the East Coast with their brand new daughter. He was also in the military stationed at El Toro Marine Base. We talked about my dad for over half the meeting, which extended from 30 minutes to 75 minutes. He even told us that he and his wife are divorced and not on greatest speaking terms, but he was going to call her that day and tell her about meeting me. He said his wife loved my dad. My dad helped a lot of folks in Irvine, and encounters like this are kind of frequent. It’s always wonderful to hear, and a great testament to how many folks my dad helped. ​


 

For ones just finding out about Xelleration today, what’s the one thing they should know to get them involved? How can they benefit?

With over 25 years of experience, I’ve seen everything in the industry, such as the evolution of Unified Communication as it started off with the telephone, then video, then email, and now IM. All these years in operations for delivering support allow me to be familiar to clients’ needs. I can understand their objectives and lead my team to provide the best solution keeping the budget and clients’ vision in mind. The customer avails of our years of experienced, committed, sincere and interactive team that leverages the existing technology instead of replacing it all and adding technology costs to the deployment.


 


 

To learn more about Xelleration's Unified Communications solution, email us at jbedar@xelleration.com or visit our website.
2/23/2016 11:40 AMFatima HamidXelleration: Behind the Wheel - David Langlois
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Windows Azure Approved0


Here are six ways the cloud can be used to help your company:

Business Apps- The cloud can host your business applications so your employees can work anywhere at any time.

Backup Files- Cloud storage is a reliable backup option that’s simple and convenient.  This also helps in guarding information from manmade or natural disasters.

Mobile Workspace- Documents and email can be saved to the cloud so employees can work from anywhere. Documents can even be edited as a group simultaneously using Microsoft tools.

Email- Email needs to be reliable so you don’t have to worry about server uptime and email capacity when using the cloud. Hosting on the cloud can often lower costs than on a traditional server.

Website Hosting- The cloud is scalable which means you can easily deploy extra resources in expected high traffic times. When you host your website in the cloud, the downtime is significantly reduced and often times non-existent.

Testing and Development- In addition, your IT team can save money and effort by using the cloud. When they need a QA environment they can test load time and run simulations to see how an application would work without actually going live or maintaining another QA environment.

Make sure your company is using the cloud to its full advantage and abilities. Focus on making your investment in the cloud count.

4/5/2016 8:20 AMAnthony Novotne6 Ways the Cloud Can Be Used By Your Company
94
  
SharePoint Approved0

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SharePoint 2016 has been released for its first preview.  There are several features that will make your work easier and more efficient.  Each new feature also extends into several sub categories that are all designed to improve the user experience in SharePoint.


User Experience Features


One of the most important features for SharePoint is having a very user-friendly experience. Every program should be designed with the user in mind.  These user friendly features can mainly be seen through the new hybrid features, combining programs which create a centralized location for all data, which increases convenience.


New Hybrid Possibilities


The new combination of Office 365 and SharePoint is one of the biggest changes.  This hybrid model includes OneDrive redirection, so when you click OneDrive you’ll be redirected to your Office 365 My Site instead of your On-premises.  In addition, there is a new hybrid cloud search, which allows for a single search capability.  When you search in Office 365 you will be taken to the SharePoint search index which gives you results from both.  Another feature allows you to follow all of your sites in one place. Both On-Premises sites and Office 365 can be viewed in the App Launcher.


The New Compliance Center


Another feature is the introduction of new sites to help build your own policies and apply them in your own individual environments.  Included is a Document Deletion Policy Center that allows companies to control which files can be deleted after a certain amount of years. There is also an increase in data security, which includes monitoring platforms.


Infrastructure and Performance


One feature includes the installation of a single role on Sharepoint, which means SharePoint will only install what is required. Servers can be modified to run different roles and also make sure that all servers are compliant. In addition, Microsoft has removed the downtime that was previously required in order to update the servers.


Currently, Microsoft has published a preview of SharePoint 2016 and is encouraging feedback to continue developing and improving SharePoint 2016 for its release.  


The Release to Manufacturing (RTM) of SharePoint Server 2016 was released on March 14th.



3/22/2016 11:26 AMAnthony Novotne4 SharePoint 2016 Features that Will Make Your Life Easier
93
  
Office 365 Approved0

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Microsoft just announced Microsoft Cloud App Security, a comprehensive cloud access security broker solution.  This will power new advanced security management capabilities for Office 365 which will improve IT visibility and control.


The Office 365 advanced security will alert you to suspicious activity so you can take the proper action.  The system will notify you of activity that is unusual.  For example, an alert will be sent if a user takes an administrative action from a place they have never logged into.


The Office 365 cloud app discovery gives you the capability to understand which cloud services your users are connecting to.  Office 365 app permissions allow you to approve or revoke permissions for applications accessing Office 365.


These capabilities will begin to roll out in the third quarter of this year.  They will be offered as part of the Office 365 E5 plan. In addition, Microsoft has announced that Customer Lockbox will begin rolling out for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business in the second quarter of this year.

3/3/2016 9:37 AMAnthony NovotneOffice 365 Introduces Security Capabilities
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Press Release Approved0


 

Lahore, Feb 22, 2016 – At Xelleration, rewarding hard work is highly prioritized. This weekend, the Lahore office team attended a two-day trip to Doonga Gali, Ayubia, and Rohtas Fort.


 

The trip consisted of a mix of leisure activities and plenty of networking opportunities. The team enjoyed hiking in the snow-covered mountaintop, seeing the magnificent sights at the Rohtas Fort, a great dinner at Kinara Restaurant near Chenab River, and simply relishing in each other’s company in a relaxed setting.


 

“This trip was more than just a great getaway. It was an opportunity for us to come together more firmly as a team,” said Abdur Rehman, Xelleration Lahore’s Country Director. “Traveling is something that really helps our team grow professionally and personally.”


 

Xelleration plans to continue this tradition of providing a fun outlet for its employees to unwind and relax with their colleagues.


 

For more pictures, please visit our Facebook page!


 

2/22/2016 10:19 AMFatima HamidXELLERATION LAHORE Team returns from Retreat to Doonga Gali
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Yammer Approved0

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Now introducing, the best Yammer cheat sheet ever! There may be others like it, but none comes as close to giving you everything you ever wanted to know about Yammer's home page features. 

 

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By Fatima Hamid

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8/19/2014 2:07 PMAnthony NovotneThe Best Yammer Cheat Sheet Ever
85
  
Events; Office 365 Approved0

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Office 365 customers of the premium Enterprise, Government and Education plans will receive OneDrive for Business unlimited storage. Specifically, this includes unlimited storage for individuals in organizations with more than five people subscribing to one of the following plans:

  •    • Office 365 Enterprise E3, E4 and E5
  •    ​ Office 365 Government E3, E4 and E5
  •    ​ Office 365 Education
  •    ​ ​OneDrive for Business Plan 2 and SharePoint Online Plan 2

By the end of March 2016, customers who want additional storage can request it as needed.

Customers on all other Office 365 Enterprise, Business and standalone plans that include OneDrive for Business will continue to receive 1 TB of storage per user.

We are committed to earning your business every day by delivering a great productivity and collaboration service and improving our communication approach.


 

Next Generation Sync Client for Windows and Mac

With improved reliability and performance, as well as delivering core capabilities such as selective sync, support for large files up to 10 GB in size and removing the 20,000 file sync limit, OneDrive for Business Next Generation Sync Client is now available for deployment. IT Professionals are now able to silently deploy and configure the client on behalf of end users.


 

The OneDrive for Business Next Generation Sync Client is available for Windows 7, 8 and 10 and Mac OS X 10.9 and above.


Additionally, the Office Lens for iOS now supports uploading content directly into OneDrive for Business. Office Lens is essentially a mobile scanner that lets users take pictures of printed documents, business cards, expense receipts and even whiteboards, with automated cropping, trimming and searching of those images.

 

 

If you're considering availing yourself of the new unlimited storage available in OneDrive for Business, contact Xelleration to learn more about the Office 365 plans most suitable for you!

Be sure to follow us on social media to stay updated about our offerings.​


1/20/2016 2:58 AMFatima HamidOneDrive for Business update on storage plans
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Windows Azure Approved0

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Many people think that moving applications to a new platform is an intimidating task that can take hours of work and a lot of money.  Thankfully, moving your applications to Azure is easy and affordable.


Microsoft has been building highly scalable applications in data centers around the world for years.  These applications reach worldwide, offer excellent user functionality, and have high availability.  With Azure, you can deploy your own applications, help reduce your maintenance requirements, maximize performance, and minimize costs.


In the past, companies have outsourced their hosting to third-party application companies.  This may have included renting server or rack space, or renting space on a server and database.  Both of these scenarios present limited options when it comes to the range of features available with Azure.  


With the capabilities that Azure has to offer, it may seem like moving applications to Azure is a complicated activity, but it can be a quick and easy process if you take time to go over your requirements and features.


Xelleration offers a few options that can help you make the right choice for your company and needs when using Azure.


Base (Assessment):

With our Base tier, Xelleration will help you map the risk and benefits of the Cloud for your enterprise and determine what is possible for your company.


Pro (Assessment and Migration):

The Pro tier includes our Base tier and Application Migration and Cloud provisioning.  Xelleration will develop the processes for interfacing with the Azure applications and services as well as auditing and monitoring who accesses and utilizes the resources.


Pro Plus (Assessment, Migration, and Support):

Our Pro Plus tier includes the Base and Pro tier as well as support services to make sure you get the most out of Azure.


For more information, call us today 949-417-2024.




2/9/2016 1:41 PMAnthony NovotneAzure App Migration Offers
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Press Release Approved0

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Irvine, CA - Xelleration is proud to announce and welcome Brendan Neary as the company’s new Director of Sales and Marketing.  Mr. Neary will be responsible for sales and marketing strategy, team leadership, development and maintenance of new and existing customer relationships, directing service and partner selection, as well as general management responsibilities.

 

Mr. Neary is a highly qualified professional in the IT consulting services industry. Brendan's success includes guiding the sales and marketing activiites for a variety of corporations including the following: Fidelity National Financial, Southern California Edison, Agile360, Entysis, and Prosum. His extensive Microsoft expertise makes him a progressive addition to the Xelleration roster.

 

He joins the Xelleration team from Prosum, a provider of IT consulting and information technology solutions in the Southern California area. It was there that Brendan served as Senior Account Manager and directed his team to effectively meet clients’ business and technology objectives by providing leading edge services and solutions. With an MBA from USC, he also comes with 20+ years of experience in the industry’s sales, business development and marketing roles.

 

Mo Khan, Xelleration Founder and Managing Director, states “We are very excited to welcome Brendan to our team at Xelleration.  Not only will he bring a tighter focus on customer relationship quality to our sales team, but further strengthen our ability to meet the needs of our customers. We believe Brendan’s addition to our team fortifies our partnership with Prosum and brings us closer to achieving our mutual goals.”


 

Brendan is an avid golfer, recreational wine collector, and lives in Irvine with his family.


 

For more information, please connect with Brendan at bneary@xelleration.com or visit his LinkedIn profile.

1/7/2016 2:55 AMFatima HamidXelleration Welcomes New Director Of Sales!
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Office 365; Yammer Approved0

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Microsoft just announced it is now enabling Yammer for all Office 365 commercial users. According to Microsoft, the roll out to Office 365 users will occur in 3 waves.  Wave 1 has already started and it consists of rolling out to Office 365 customers who have a business subscription and purchased fewer than 150 licenses that include Yammer. The rollout also includes Yammer to users who have one or zero custom domains for Yammer.


In the 2nd wave, Microsoft will roll out Yammer to Office 365 customers with a business subscription who purchased fewer than 5,000 licenses that includes Yammer. The 2nd wave will start in March. 


The last rollout will start on April 1.  This wave will be available to all remaining customers with a business subscription and all customers with an education subscription.


In 2016, Look for Yammer to continue delivering new experiences for users across all its productivity apps.


2/2/2016 1:35 PMAnthony NovotneYammer is Now Enabled for all Office 365 Commercial Users
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Yammer; Social Media Approved0

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To bring the fun and excitement of fantasy sports into a normal workday, Microsoft is now offering a new app called FantasySalesTeam, a gamification platform designed to help incentivize sales teams.


 

FantasySalesTeam offers a platform designed to encourage everyone in the sales team at all times. Because the top-performing sales people tend to outperform others most of the times, those falling behind become disheartened and give up once they realize they're behind.


 

This platform is highly effective at increasing team collaboration, productivity and consequently driving greater results and business growth. Through team-based competition and involvement of non-sales employees (such as managers, service, operations, marketing and finance) employees "draft" teams and become truly invested in each other's success. Individual and team results become highly visible, driving both competition as well as collaboration and creating positive, impactful cultural change.

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FantasySalesTeam

Most importantly, Microsoft is integrating FantasySalesTeam into the Dynamics CRM offering. Customers can now focus on their most important metrics while simultaneously increasing usage and adoption of their CRM to help drive tremendous impact on the company's success.


 

Other solutions targeting team collaboration and communication include Yammer and the new Skype for Business. For more information about collaboration solutions, please contact our team for a free consultation.

1/28/2016 4:29 AMFatima HamidMotivate your workforce with FantasySalesTeam
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Office 365 Approved0

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A great way to help improve internal company communications is to embed videos where people work on projects, on-premises, and online.  This can be done on your company portal, SharePoint Team Site, internal blogs, and more by using the Office 365 Video solution.


Internal Blog Post


You can embed videos from the Office 365 Video portal with inline playback in seconds and boost your multimedia elements in a modern way. Video can playback within the post and can go full-screen.


SharePoint Team Sites


SharePoint Team Sites are a central place for working together and managing content with a group of people. As you continue to work together, share documents, team notes, project information, you can easily place important video communications within the SharePoint Team Site.


The Company portal


The company portal is a great area to show company-wide video messages. A year end company report could be one example that is playable on the home page for everyone to see as they login.  This is a fun and modern way to get your message across and keep your employees engaged in internal company communications.


Increase your reach, and help improve internal communications by embedding videos today in high traffic areas with large visiblity.

1/28/2016 1:36 PMAnthony Novotne3 Ways Video Can Improve Company Communications
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Press Release; Events Approved0

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SCSIM is the Southern California chapter of the Society of Information Management (SIM). SIM is a collection of senior IT leaders, consultants and academics who gather to share ideas about trends, technology and leadership. The organization is growing rapidly and seeing great support in the technology community. Many big players have partnered with this organization to innovate on current technology ideas.

The Xelleration Team is looking forward to attend the Southern California Society of Information Management's Winter Forum Event and explore how CIOs, CTOs, and CISOs can embrace new opportunities that mobile, distributed big data computing, and IoT devices present while simultaneously combating the threats these technologies introduce. Taking Information Security to the next level, this open forum style event is sure to spark some disruptive thought within the industry.

The event will be held at the Long Beach Marriott on January 28th, and is one in a series of events planned by the organizaiton for 2016.

John Williams of TrueCar will be the keynote speaker at the event and will share his expertise on the intersection of technology, security, culture and organizational design. Other speakers and panelists include Martin Mazor of Meggitt PLC, Dave Cole of Crowdstrike, Corey White of Cylance, Inc. Steve Kovsky will be moderating.

Interested members may attend this event by clicking here.


 

1/19/2016 11:58 AMFatima HamidXelleration at the SCSIM Winter Event
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Press Release Approved0

Xelleration: Behind the Wheel celebrates the people behind the success here at Xelleration.

Mo Khan, Managing Director, is responsible for the overall management of company-wide operations. He makes it his goal to ensure that we uphold the culture, values and standards our customers have come to expect. Everyone describes Mo as motivational, supportive, and someone they trust as a leader.  

To start off the 16th year of Xelleration, we sat down with Mo to find out more about our company's founder.


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What inspired you to launch your business?

I saw a gap in the industry around innovation, agility and efficiency and felt I could make a difference. To do it better, cheaper and faster. I knew it was possible to build solutions with a vision towards business process improvements and innovations. Before, IT was not looked at as a leader for innovation. It was only known for automation.

 

What issue do your core products/services help solve and how so?

Help companies make money, save money and do it better.

 

What has been your biggest challenge as a business owner and how have you met that challenge?​

Hiring and keeping a good team. To identify the right resources, keep them motivated, nurture their skills, give them a challenging/interesting career and then see them grow - is not always the easiest thing. Letting go of a good resource is a difficult thing for me, especially if they have been with us for a long time. It is a people's business and you're only as good or bad as your team of supporters. I feel that our staff is our biggest asset and resource. If we have a good team, then business takes care of itself.

 

Do you have any recent success stories that you’d like to share?​

Everything we have done has been a great success. Even in failure I find success. It gives us a chance to improve and get better.​
 

Have you had any mentors or role models that have influenced you? Describe the impact.

I am very self-motivated, but every person I have encountered has been a source of learning for me. You never stop learning and each experience with another person has been a source of learning. I have come across many great people who have influenced me in different ways.


 

What’s the biggest risk that you’ve ever taken and how did it turn out?

In business just like in life, every day is a risk. You are only as good or bad as yesterday and you have to prove yourself every morning. I never take things for granted. Unlike what most people think, I am very conservative in our approach. We could have been much bigger and many more people if we had taken more risks, but I prefer taking controlled risks rather than uncontrolled risks. When you have so many people dependent on you for a livelihood, you have to be very careful with your decisions and what risks you can take or not take. 

 

What change has being the CEO brought in you?

I am not a CEO and I don’t consider myself to be a CEO. Since we are an LLC, we are all members. Some of us are managing members and I am one of them. We all work very hard all month and contribute our effort to deliver successfully and then we equally share the reward at the end of the month. Even now when we have become a reasonable-sized company, I do whatever it takes to be successful and do what I can to keep our employees, partners and customers happy. If that means I have to roll up my sleeves and do it myself, then I do that. 

 

What mindset would you like to encourage in your employees?​

Loyalty, hard work, commitment and building control and command in what they do. I want all our employees to take pride, joy and ownership in what they do. They should think and feel like this is their own company, which it is. ​
 

What are your hobbies?

I love playing Squash at least twice a week. I love walking at least 5-10 miles a week, I have a bike and I like to bike, I swim, I stay active and healthy and I read a lot. Sometimes even 2-3 books at a time. I enjoy watching a good movie and I am a big sports fan, especially College Football.  

 

What are your favorite books, movies, and music?

Many. It is definitely hard to list all of them. I like reading fiction. One book that I am currently reading is Nightingale by Kristin Hannah - a very compelling and unusual story about life in France during World War II.  

 

What is your favorite cuisine?

Everything that tastes good and is also healthy and organic. I like eating good Fish!

 

If you had a 60 second Super Bowl advertisement what would you want to show a billion people?

That you can be small and insignificant and still be able to do tremedous things in life.

 

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs and business owners? What do you wish someone told you?

Everybody has ups and downs. Be very careful who you run into and how you handle them when you are going up in life, because you never know who will you run into when you are going down. I think to have a balanced look to life is the key to success. I never let it go to my head. 

 

What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for Xelleration?

2016. I think it is going to be our best and most exciting year. Can't wait.

  

Where do you envision your company in 5 years?

Can’t give away the plan. You will have to wait and see. Sky is the limit and we are striving for the best..


1/5/2016 12:20 PMFatima HamidXelleration: Behind the Wheel - Mo Khan
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Press Release; Events; Unified Communications Approved0

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Irvine, CA, 3rd Dec 2015 — Xelleration today unveiled a unique Microsoft-approved app that delivers seamless integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Skype for Business, allowing you to route calls based on customer data, deliver customer details to agents, and push data into customer records. SkynectCRM is a free app that demonstrates Xelleration's commitment to business IT solutions and our capabilities in developing cutting-edge applications that meet our clients' needs and evolve their businesses.


Three out of four consumers say they spent more money with a company because of a positive customer experience. (Source: Global Customer Service study) To meet the needs of this growing demographic, Xelleration create​​​d SkynectCRM to improve customer service to create that brand loyalty that all businesses aim for.  


SkynectCRM offers easy quick functions to connect, hold, record or disconnect the call from Skype for Business. At the end of every call, it allows the user to enter the call notes and save the window. This efficient and easily accessible tool manages administrative tasks easily to get more done. Automatic recordings for each shift agent/user sharing a computer enables users to listen later for better understanding of customer needs and/or customer service quality control, as well as following-up on phone activities in CRM for every call.


Because calls are now integrated with Microsoft Dynamics, a lot more time and insight is gained by recognizing the caller from the very first instant of the call, giving customers the customized, streamlined experience they expect.Screen 1.png

 

Additional Features:

 Automatically save SFB calls, notes and data against CRM contacts

 Record, hold, pause, and disconnect calls

 Quick access to the customer's account in CRM

​ Microsoft-approved


Xelleration is a recognized leader in technology services and customized business solutions. SkynectCRM is another example of how we are using our experience in unified communications technology to help our clients transform their business models. Xelleration's offerings combine industry knowledge and business process advisory services with cutting edge user experience and design to help clients harness the benefits of unified communications across their enterprise.


SkynectCRM is now available for a FREE download upon request here.

​For more information about SkynectCRM, visit http://www.skynectcrm.com



12/4/2015 2:05 AMFatima HamidXelleration launches free app for easy & fast CRM tele-tracking
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Events; Unified Communications Approved0

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Xelleration is partnering with Velis4, Chorus Communications and valued client LA Fitness for a premier Skype for Business Event in Philadelphia, PA. The event will act as a launch for the east coast market, and Xelleration is very excited to be involved.  

 

George Bedar, Chief Information Officer of LA Fitness, will be providing a Keynote presentation. LA Fitness has one of the largest Skype for Business implementations to date with 16,000 end points at over 680 locations. George will be able to provide a great case study on Unified Communications with Skype for Business.

 

Xelleration's David Langlois will lend product expertise with a deep dive demo on everything Skype for Business.

 

Guy Yasika, Velis4 VP of Sales, and Robert Molinaro from Chorus Communications will orchestrate the VIP Lunch event at Del Frisco's Vault Steakhouse. 

 

11/25/2015 12:53 PMScott CalonzoXelleration in Philadelphia
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Press Release; Unified Communications Approved0

Xelleration delivers best-in-class UC services and market leadership through demonstrated technology expertise and customer commitment.

 

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Irvine, CA— November 23rd, 2015 Xelleration announced today that it has attained a Gold Competency in Communications, demonstrating a "best-in-class" ability and commitment to meet Microsoft customers' evolving communication needs in today's dynamic business environment.


 

Held by an estimated 1% of the Partner companies across the United States, the Gold Communication Competency status provides Xelleration access to a variety of support and marketing benefits reserved exclusively for Partners who maintain specific and rigorous technical and customer service proficiencies. The Microsoft Partner Network helps partners strengthen their capabilities to showcase leadership in the marketplace on the latest technology, to better serve customers and to easily connect with one of the most active, diverse networks in the world.

 

Attaining the Microsoft Communications Competency demonstrates partner expertise in videoconferencing, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) and instant messaging. Equipped with a highly experienced team and up-to date knowledge of the latest software and support, Xelleration tackles everything Skype for Business.

 

Xelleration's Unified Communications practice is a secure, reliable private-cloud solution for fully customized enterprise communications, conferencing and collaboration occurring over Microsoft's line of Skype for Business products. Other competencies held by Xelleration include Gold in Application Development, Cloud Productivity, Cloud Platform, Collaboration and Content, and a Silver Competency in Data Analytics.


 

"Obtaining a Gold Communications competency differentiates us from the competition and establishes us as a market leader in unified communications technology. We look forward to facilitating customers' collaboration and communication within their organizations, as well as their clients." - Xelleration Managing Director, Mo Khan

 

"By achieving a gold competency, partners have demonstrated the highest, most consistent capability and commitment to the latest Microsoft technology," said Phil Sorgen, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Partner Group at Microsoft Corp. "These partners have a deep expertise that puts them in the top 1 percent of our partner ecosystem, and their proficiency will help customers drive innovative solutions on the latest Microsoft technology."

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About Xelleration

Xelleration offers on premise, cloud, and hybrid communications solutions to corporations and public sector clients of all sizes across the world. Xelleration also provides end-to-end communication and collaboration solutions including: Skype for Business, Exchange, Share-Point, Office 365, Yammer, Azure, and full end-user support.


 

For more updates about Xelleration, please follow us on our social media sites, or call (949) 417-2024.


 


 

11/25/2015 12:07 PMFatima HamidXelleration Achieves a Microsoft Gold Communications Competency
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Yammer; Social Media; Press Release Approved0

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Xelleration: Behind the Wheel celebrates the people behind the success here at Xelleration.

Behdad Behnam, Senior Consultant and Project Manager, recently celebrated his 9-year anniversary with Xelleration. Always on the move (working with some of our biggest clients, managing internal marketing and facilitating workflow projects), Behdad really does it all.  
 
We recently sat down with him to find out more about one of our top Consultants.

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To start, would you briefly explain your role at Xelleration currently?

I play several roles, mainly Project Management, Practice Lead, and Senior Consultant. For Xelleration's Enterprise Social practice, I perform the duties of a Practice Lead. For the SharePoint and Office 365 practices, I am a Project Manager and Senior Consultant. I also manage some of our Business Intelligence projects and help with the development of Skype for Business solutions, as well as our Azure practice, internal applications, as well as lead creation of different Yammer apps. A large part of my work involves internal marketing, graphics and design guidelines for apps and websites.

 

When did you know that you wanted to choose this career?

Well, I decided early on that I was interested in technology and design, so after I finished high school in Iran, I first moved to France, and then decided to attend UCLA, so I came to the US and majored in Computer Science Engineering. I was equally interested in the design aspect so I considered architecture as my second option, but because right around that time, technology was growing very fast, so I chose this industry as it would allow me to address both needs by working with digital marketing, as well as new technological solutions. Later, I obtained my MBA from the Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine, which helped me transit to more leadership and managerial roles.
 

What sets Xelleration apart from other companies?
I was first hired at Xelleration as a Software Engineer in 2006, when the company was still growing. In my experience, Xelleration lets you work on different projects and areas of interest, as well as dealing with the latest technologies. Our projects are of deal with the latest technologies and that helps me stay relevant in the technology trends. Xelleration offers a very comfortable environment because everyone here is like a family and we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Colleagues are willing to help wherever they can, and we continue to learn and grow as the industry grows.

You are the main person Behind the Wheel of several of Xelleration’s internal apps. Would you care to elaborate on a few you created?
I am really interested in all kinds of sports, so we created a fun app that allows employees within an organization to compete against each other and hold tournaments, for which all participants would chip in and give a prizes to the winner. Because Spracket works with Yammer and facilitates internal collaboration, we have shared it with many companies and we plan to make it compatible with apps other than Yammer as well. This app has been approved by Yammer.


Another Yammer app that we designed was FeedSweeper, which was originally Mo’s idea because he wanted to help a client who was getting too many emails regarding Yammer updates. This app removes all the clutter of updates and Yammer notifications.

We also designed a Managed UC Dashboard based on David Langlois’s idea to enable our client to see a holistic view of everything they need to know about their Skype for Business statistics and information when they purchase our Managed UC plans.
 ​

If you were president for a day, what changes would you make?

I would promote and facilitate policies that work to eliminate prejudice, hatred and discrimination. I would try to do whatever possible to avoid any type of war.​

 

What are your hobbies? How do you spend your time when you’re not working?
I love all kinds of sports, so I really enjoy watching and playing them. I also love spending time with my fiancé, family and friends. Another one of my hobbies is travelling and because of that, I have travelled to many places around the world.

 

What is your favorite cuisine and favorite place in the world?
I enjoy Persian, American, Japanese, and Chinese food, as well as drinking wine and whiskey. I also love travelling, so my favorite places include Paris, Rome, Barcelona, London, Budapest, and Tehran.


For ones just finding out about the company today, what’s the one thing that will help them succeed?

Xelleration is a one-stop-shop with 15 years of experience in providing different Microsoft-related solutions, applications, and products. We are really good at what we do.


 

11/9/2015 10:33 AMFatima HamidXelleration: Behind the Wheel - Behdad Behnam
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Office 365 Approved0

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Photo Credit: Microsoft News


The latest version of Microsoft's Office Suite is available and it's getting great reviews.  Here are 5 features that are available in Office 2016 to check out.

The "Tell Me" Feature


Tell Me is a feature that helps guide you through different processes in Office.  Just type what you want to do in the app in your own words, and then Tell Me will guide through the process and offer you additional resources.


Better Version History (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel)


You can refer back to previous snapshots and earlier drafts of documents during the editing process as you collaborate with others.


Simplified Document Sharing (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel)


Click the Share button for easy sharing from your Office documents.   You can see who has access to a given document and who is currently working in the document.  You can also change individual authoring permissions for any document you own.


Co-Authoring (Word and PowerPoint)

Regardless of the device you are using you can work with others simultaneously on a document in real-time.

New Chart Types (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel)


New chart types available to let you visualize data, and highlight statistical properties of your data. These new chart types include: Treemap, Waterfall, Pareto, Histogram, Box and Whisker, and Sunburst.


11/5/2015 11:29 AMAnthony Novotne5 Things to Know about Office 2016
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Office 365; SharePoint Approved0

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There are 54 million adults between the ages of 18 and 34 in 2015.  This generation is called the Millennials and they will soon pass Baby Boomers and Generation Xers to become the largest generation working.  In the next 5 years, they will make up about half the global workforce.


How do businesses make the best of this opportunity and recruit tech savvy top talent?  Microsoft released new research from a survey of more than 1,000 millennials in the United States.  This data revealed a few secrets to success that help millennials thrive in the workplace.


-Create a culture of collaboration

-Offer the latest technology

-Keep data safe

-Have a strong purpose


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 Photo credit: Microsoft


The entire working world is changing so taking into account these findings will help companies retain their workforece and keep their employees happy.  Technology has evolved the workplace style and workforce so people can do their best work from all over the world on different devices and platforms.  Microsoft has learned from its customers that it needs to help companies and employees adapt to this changing world of work and it has developed the new Office 2016 with this in mind to make collaboration easier for everyone.


11/3/2015 1:29 PMAnthony NovotneTech is Essential for Millennials in the Workplace
73
  
Press Release; Events Approved0

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On Thursday, October 22nd, Softchoice held its 7th Annual Customer Appreciation Event at the Oak Creek Golf Club in Irvine.  The event was held to show Softchoice's appreciation for its continued partnerships and introduce contacts from its vendor community. 


 

Lauren Valencia and Faizan Hassan from Xelleration attended the event, which included a great day of golf, a vendor exchange, and an evening reception with over 200 customers. 


 

The event raised over $7,800 for the local MS Society chapter through Softchoice Cares.    

10/29/2015 1:26 PMAnthony NovotneXelleration Attends Softchoice Customer Appreciation Event
74
  
Office 365; Yammer Approved0

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Photo Credit: Gartner.com


 

Since Yammer was launched back in 2008, it has revolutionized information sharing in the workplace.   It has been used by over 500,000 companies, including 85 percent of the Fortune 500.  Its continued approach to improving collaboration in the workplace has helped millions of people become more efficient and social.  As it continues to evolve the integration with Office 365 gives it a huge platform to expand even further.  For the 7th year in a row, Yammer has been recognized as a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant report for 2015.  The report shows that Microsoft is positioned furthest to the right for Completeness of Vision and highest on Ability to Execute.

Gartner writes, “Leaders are well-established vendors with widely used social software and collaboration offerings. They have established their leadership through early recognition of users’ needs, continuous innovation, significant market presence and success in delivering user-friendly and solution-focused suites with broad capabilities.”


This recognition continues to strengthen Yammer’s vision to empower companies to work like a network.  The integration of Yammer components and Office 365 is positioning Microsoft to continue to deliver great value now and in the future.

11/3/2015 11:53 AMAnthony NovotneYammer Recognized as a Leader by Gartner 7 Years in a Row
72
  
Press Release; Events; Unified Communications Approved0

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Xelleration proudly announces its new Managed Unified Communications Solution. The proactive offering is a communication network management service that provides System Monitoring, Help Desk Tune/Break/Fix, Priority Queuing and Support for the customer's UC Network Infrastructure.

 

Xelleration has developed a Custom Portal and Dashboard to monitor each customer's environment, identify specific problem areas, and troubleshoot before they become a serious issue.

 

Three levels of support are available:

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Skype for Business is already included in your Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium subscription. Take advantage of a tool that you are already paying for and deploy today! If you don't have Skype as part of your Office 365 or On Premise offering, then reasonably priced plans are available to enable your organization to avail Skype Enterprise Voice.

 

For Details and Pricing, please Contact Us for an always free Consultation.

 

 

New Releases  

 

Skype for Business unifies all communication with your business applications, operations, processes, and streamlines how your team communicates. Create scheduled and ad hoc meetings via meet-me audio bridging, video bridging, and screen share collaboration. Users will be able to access the following features in the new version of Skype for Business:

 

Skype Meeting Broadcast: enables broadcast of a Skype for Business meeting on the Internet to up to 10,000 people, who can attend in a browser on nearly any device. Skype Meeting Broadcast makes it easy to host large virtual meetings like internal "Town Hall" style meetings and public webinars.

 

PSTN Conferencing: allows people invited to a Skype for Business meeting in Office 365 to join the meeting by dialing in using a landline or mobile phone.

 

Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling: provides people the ability to make and receive traditional phone calls in their Skype for Business client, and manage these calls with features like hold, resume, forward and transfer.

 

With the new Managed UC Offering, Xelleration can help get your Skype platform enabled, deployed and supported. Services range from initial discovery and envisioning all-the-way-to design, implementation, configuration, customization, go-live, post go-live support, as well as long-term UC Managed Services.

 

To see a demonstration of the Skype Meeting Broadcast experience and learn more about our Managed UC Offering, please register for our upcoming webinar.

9/16/2015 5:58 PMScott CalonzoManaged Unified Communications Offering
71
  
Events; Press Release; Social Media Approved0

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Xelleration continues to support Courtenay McFadden, a professional Cyclocross racer. Cyclocross is a form of bike racing that consists of multiple laps of a short course pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike while navigating the obstruction and remount.

"There's no denying the season is here and there is no hiding from it!  I'm looking forward to what's to come this season, and I look forward to sharing the season with you.  Thank you ALL for your support this year, the season doesn't happen without you, it truly takes a village." 

Labor Day weekend saw Courtenay sporting the Xelleration logo on her Cyclocross suit as she took part in the 2015 Ellison Park Elite Women's Race.

Her next event will be Cross Vegas, the biggest cyclocross race in America, to be held in Las Vegas on the 16th of September. CrossVegas has been selected as a UCI World Cup Cyclocross event, the first ever to be held in the US, where 119 Riders from 19 Nations are set to compete against each other. And the event is sponsored by Cliff Bar.

Last year, Courtenay finished the 2014-2015 season with 17 of 18 domestic races in the top 10. We wish Courtenay all the best in her endeavors and have no doubt that she will continue on the path of success in her future competitions this season!

You can follow Courtenay's Cyclocross journey on her blog and on Twitter.
9/15/2015 1:40 AMFatima HamidXelleration's Cyclocross favorite: Courtenay McFadden
70
  
SharePoint; Windows Azure; Social Media Approved0

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Xelleration offers a Big Data solution to rapidly provide insights on operations, customers and products. We support predictive analytics, real-time dashboards, master data management and more.

 

Trending topic Big Data has shot up in the technology scene in the last couple of years. With the massive amounts of data being collected by tech organizations and websites, Big Data is a term that organically formed to describe these growing complex data sets.

 

For example, Google's massive collection data (search, content, and usage) allow it to be such a leading technology giant. Facebook and Twitter analyze several million posts per day and are able to deploy highly integrated searches as well as track trending topics.

 

When does Big Data become essential to a corporation?
  1. It has very large volumes of data: These usually originate in either financial data (transaction level), device data (IoT) or social media data (twitter, Facebook etc.).
  2. It has diverse content formats: Most of the organization's knowledge base is unstructured data like videos, word documents, etc. Big Data technology is required to unlock these.
  3. It has high velocity data: With rapidly changing data, the need for real-time analytics through big data has become apparent.
Where is Big Data headed?
  1. Predictive analytics is helping crunch very large quantities of data.
  2. Innovation in IoT and machine learning will be fueled by Big Data.
  3. And third, broad forecasting and strategy will become dependent on analytic results.


Solution

Xelleration's Big Data solution consists of an Azure Hadoop port and/or Microsoft SQL Server PDW. Predictive analytics is helping crunch very large quantities of data, while innovation in IoT and machine learning will be fueled by Big Data. Also, broad forecasting and strategy will become dependent on analytic results. It can also cross reference data with existing operational, as well as warehouse data. Most importantly, it offers rich, self-service Business Intelligence for customers.

Business Benefits

    • Identifies & recommends additional services revenue segments
    • Delivers longitudinal information to track customers' long-term progress
    • Correlates activity patterns with certain medication conditions
    • Reduces membership cancellation instances
    • Sales and Marketing improvements through better customer insight
    • Better product quality for manufacturing concerns
    • Fewer machine outage
    • Fine grained observation

 

 

Big Data for Health and Fitness

Xelleration offers an industry-specific big data framework for Health & Fitness clubs. Developed on Microsoft's Big Data architecture, this solution integrates LoB (line of business) data with live streaming data and activity tracking gadgets/wearable/sensors.

Integrated Marketing and Advertising
    • The solution recommends marketing and product messages for customers based on their fitness tracking/movement data
    • Geo-tag affixed to users' membership cards; the system records permissible information resulting in real-time customer intelligence
    • After making data anonymous, the solution allows third party product/service companies to send promotional offers as per customer profiles
Activity Tracking
    • Tracks rides and runs via iPhone, Android or dedicated GPS device and helps fitness clubs to analyze and quantify members' performance
    • Elapsed time, speed, calorie consumption, heart rate are tracked via an app (e.g. iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, WP7) and uploaded directly to the company's public cloud for further analysis and recommendations
    • Treadmill statistics of each user, such as distance, duration, steps, and calories burned are sent to the customer and trainer's smartphone
    • Automatic diary of customer's training; generates daily storyline and maps to show where, when, and how much the customer moved
    • Incorporates apps & gadgets into weight loss, wellness and fitness programs for customers by tracking distance, heart rate & kilometer split times
Self-Service Scheduling & Accounting
    • Delivers staff and management daily, weekly and monthly summaries of scheduling, billing and payments via desktop or app
    • Allows customers to track class schedules and promotions, and make and cancel appointments
    • Integrated scheduling, retail point-of-sale, payment processing, and accounting management
    • Allows trainers to individually see and calculate the total number of their customers on their apps and compare it to their paychecks/peers

Training Management
For better training, a database of workouts is developed, along with nutritional data, and calorie calculators. It also identifies best performing customers by matching to baseline performance metrics. Most importantly, it recommends the best running, jogging, and training schedules.
Self-Service Payment & Analytics
The Auto-pay application lets club customers to sign up and then bills them monthly. The amount is billed out of their checking accounts, providing recurring revenue. It provides real-time and remote access to profit-and-loss statements so that retail sales, training services sales and product sales can be examined by the trainer. It also shows the correlation of training program sales with the season/weather/expert's data.

 

If you want to make the most of our Big Data technology, contact our team for an always free consultation: http://www.xelleration.com/contactus


 


 


 

 

9/9/2015 2:46 AMFatima HamidXelleration’s Big Data Solution
69
  
Office 365; Social Media; Unified Communications Approved0

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As the demand for enterprise mobility rises, the new Windows 10 and the Surface Hub rise to meet the challenge by helping organizations enable their users to be productive on the devices they love, while protecting the company. Services such as business meetings and enterprise collaboration are enhanced with both of these releases, allowing smoother transition from one place to another while maintaining instant access everywhere.

 

About the Surface Hub

Microsoft jumpstarts modern workforce collaboration with its latest 84- and 55-inch digital whiteboard for presentations and video conferences designed to increase group productivity. The Hub powers its large display to run all Microsoft software to enable organizations to connect to Skype for Business, and employs whiteboard interaction with multi-touch gestures, give demonstrations of 3D renderings, and has a note-taking app that automatically saves and emails notes and drawings to meeting participants.

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Image courtesy of https://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-surface-hub/en-us

Notable features of this giant tablet for conference rooms include:

            1. 1. The Hub leverages Microsoft's Kinect technology to locate the direction of the most powerful voices near the device to ignore the distant surrounding noise.
            2. 2. Two cameras along each side to allow the speaker to move around from one side of the unit to the other while presenting without leaving the video screen.
            3. 3. It automatically sends an email with all of the visual edits and drawings that were made onto the whiteboard.
            4. 4. For the ultimate collaboration, the Hub facilitates a brainstorming session that allows input from up to six pens at one time, while only three people can write simultaneously. SharePoint teams can use this feature to design and collaborate with developers.

Full Details and Pricing here - https://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-surface-hub/en-us

 

About Windows 10

With welcome similarities to Windows 7, especially the Start Menu, Windows 10 feels familiar and better. Features like Continuum and Microsoft Edge provide innovative productivity experiences only available on Windows 10.

 

Continuum for Phone allows undisturbed mobility as it enables a phone to be used like a desktop, allowing users to continue their preferred mode wherever they are. Windows 10 also delivers entirely new ways to protect your systems and data. With features like Windows Hello and Microsoft Passport, it's easier to adopt biometrics and multi-factor authentication. This upgrade addresses all concerns about the security of important documents on mobile platforms. Windows 10 also has built-in defenses like Secure Boot and Device Guard to help protect your critical business information from leaks or theft, while separating corporate from personal files.

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Image courtesy of microsoft.com/en-us/windows/features

 

Notable features of this free upgrade include:

  • 1. Microsoft integrated Office into its Windows 10 Universal Apps initiative, so that Word, Excel and PowerPoint seamlessly transition from touchscreen mode to keyboard and mouse.
  • 2. On 2-in-1 devices, Windows can run in desktop or tablet mode, seamlessly switching between type and touch inputs.
  • 3. Windows 10 will be preinstalled on the Surface Hub, which will allow Windows 10 users better collaboration in meetings from any device or location.

Windows Update for Business is free for Windows Pro and Windows Enterprise devices. Our team can advise you on the best Windows 10 adoption plan for your organization.

8/25/2015 10:27 AMFatima HamidEnterprise Mobility with the New Windows 10 and the Surface Hub
68
  
Events; Press Release; Unified Communications Approved0

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Bellevue, WA, August 11, 2015 -- Xelleration joined the Zones CustomerConnect Business Conference this past week in Washington. Xelleration displayed its Skype for Business Solution and Managed UC Customer Support Portal at the event, playing a key role in Zones' Cloud Solutions Experience.

 

The CustomerConnect Business Conference was an invitation-only gathering of Zones' customers and partners at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bellevue, Washington. This conference provided real-world perspective and actionable information on how customers can craft an effective cloud strategy for their organizations, spanning implementation, deployment and management. The main goal of the conference was to debut their Cloud Marketplace.  To help customers throughout the life spans of their IT projects, the Zones Cloud Marketplace now offers 24x7 support and troubleshooting for multiple cloud solutions.  From the Zones' press release:

 

"Zones Cloud Marketplace is a cloud-specific portal that extends Zones’ automated procurement site, ZonesConnect. The Cloud Marketplace is unique, in that customers can provision their cloud solutions and workloads in real time, enabling the self-service and self-direction needed to rapidly scale their organizations’ cloud workloads up or down."

 

This debut partners perfectly with Xelleration's Managed Unified Communications Offering. Now available with Xelleration's Skype for Business Solution, the Managed Unified Communications Offering includes a full service post-sales support option with 24x7 support, dedicated consultants, and the Xelleration Customer Support Portal.

 

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Please contact us directly for pricing and options.

Scott Calonzo

scalonzo@xelleration.com

(949) 417-2024

 

 

 

8/13/2015 4:00 PMScott CalonzoZones CustomerConnect Business Conference debuts Cloud Marketplace 
67
  
Events; Office 365; Windows Azure Approved0

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Xelleration: Behind the Wheel celebrates the people behind the success here at Xelleration.

 

Arshad Masood, Azure Program Manager and Application Development, recently celebrated his 10-year anniversary with Xelleration. We got in touch with him to discuss his thoughts on this momentous occasion.

 

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To start, how did you first get involved with Xelleration?

Have known Mo and Dil since the 90's, worked with them in my past life and decided to join Xelleration in 2005. The company culture and the 360 degree camaraderie really set it apart from other companies.

 

Would you briefly explain your role at Xelleration currently?

Everything Azure. Managing Azure delivery, and, if need be, roll up my sleeves and dive into innards of code. Ten years is a long time. I've worked in every role with all of Xelleration's major clients.

 

What are some moments that stand out at Xelleration? Talk to us about some of the big successes in the last 10 years of Xelleration?

Every project has had its Eureka moment and each has provided me with something to be proud of. The good thing about Xelleration is that there is never a dull moment and it offers something new, something different to learn every day.

 

Can you give us your vision on what comes next for Azure solutions at Xelleration? What will the next 10 years look like?

Azure, or for that matter any cloud offering, is that disruptive force which changes how applications are developed, hosted, deployed and used. It brings within reach the kind of capabilities that were once only available to fortune 500 enterprises and the best thing is that they cost a fraction of what they used to cost before. What anyone does with it is limited only by their imagination.  

 

What are your hobbies? How do you spend your time when you're not working?

Programming…. Is there any other hobby worthy?

 

What is your favorite memory of these years? If you could relive any day from the last ten years, what would it be?

I can't think of any moment that is not to be cherished but am always hopeful that the future has more to offer.

 

If you were not working with Xelleration, where would you be?

Wherever my family is.

 

Do you have any advice for current team members?

Whatever you do in life, do it with passion, believe in what you are doing, do it for the right reasons, don't be afraid to take risks or of failure; learn from them and move on.

 

8/11/2015 12:46 PMFatima HamidXelleration: Behind the Wheel - Arshad Masood
65
  
Office 365; Unified Communications; Press Release; Events Approved0

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Last month, we launched our Skype for Business Practice with an event at the Microsoft Technology Center in Irvine, California. David Langlois shared his expertise on all things Unified Communications and Skype for Business to a select group of our clients and partners.

 

We scripted a "Day in the Life of a Skype for Business User" scenario that highlights the organic workflows SFB is build to provide. From IM to Voice, Desktop share, design collaboration and overall project management, our presentation gives a practical glimpse at a how to take full advantage of what Skype for Business has to offer.

 

 

Check out photos from our event here.

 

Check out our presentation here:

 

 

 

 

 

Please contact our team with any questions regarding deployment today!

 

Additional Skype for Business Recources

7/29/2015 3:27 PMScott Calonzo(Video) A Day in the Life of a Skype for Business User
64
  
Events; Press Release Approved0

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This year's Microsoft World Partner Conference had an overall vibe that aligned more with the modern direction the technology company envisions for its future. Although the traditional structure of Microsoft was inherent at the Orlando conference - the traditional enterprise, vendor, B2B experience, the drive to connect to a younger audience was even more so. Fresher faces and interactive activations throughout the conference sought to build a relationship with the next generation of Microsoft Partners.

 

In Wednesday's closing Keynote, Kevin Turner offered the term "The New Microsoft" referring to Microsoft, not only as the corporation itself (with new marketing strategies and internal restructuring), but as a new Microsoft that empowers all of its partners to consider themselves within the same community and achieve more together.

 

 

 

WPC 2015 all-up conference highlights from MS Partner on Vimeo.

Highlights of WPC 2015 all-up.

 

The Office 365 Team led the wave to engage the current generation, showing showing that they can stay competitive in the market with a strong visionary workforce. They actively built hype on Yammer before the convention and used the Enterprise Social Communication platform to the best of its ability. They also hosted a notable WPC 2015 Road Trip Party on Monday night.

 

Micrososft also rented out two Disney World Theme Parks for after hour celebrations, Tuesday night at Epcot for the North American Party and Wednesday night at the Hollywood Studios. We have never had a better time in Orlando.

 

Our favorite tech announcements include all things Skype for Business, PTSN network directly from Microsoft. We also enjoyed the vision for the Surface Hub and Gigjam; Julia White did a great job highlighting those features. We were happy to hear Julia state that "SharePoint, SharePoint, SharePoint" was still a big focus for Microsoft, with SharePoint Server 2016 releasing soon.  Moreover, it was interesting to see that Internet Explorer is not completely gone. IE11 will be available for enterprise users who still rely on Silverlight and Java. We are definitely excited about the different funding and incentive opportunities that are available coming in the next fiscal year (Azure rebates and Office 365 licensing incentives). Also very excited to see some of our partners, such as Prosum, highlighted in the Partner Spotlight. Seeing the multiple desktop feature showcased on Windows 10 and the interesting new uses from Power BI paired with the upcoming Cortana Analytics caught our attention.

 

From the food, fun, and non-stop partner connections, WPC 2015 was a great experience for our team at Xelleration. Thank you to the msPartner team and Microsoft for a rousing experience!

 

 

7/21/2015 3:24 PMScott CalonzoWPC 2015 Orlando and the "New Microsoft"
63
  
Social Media Approved0

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With teams in Southern California, Dubai, and Pakistan, as well as clients around the globe, Xelleration takes global effects of social media seriously.

 

We are all aware that social media has had an incredible influence on modern culture, businesses, and culture as a whole domestically.  Social media websites are the most widely visited sites on the Internet. They have transformed the way people connect and interact on the Web. Breaking news (local and global) is only a scroll away.

 

Aside from seeing people's selfies and Ice Bucket Challenge Videos on Facebook, or reading about the black/blue dress controversy on Twitter, or being carried away along the world's obsession with Gangnam Style, there are some real impacts, both positive and negative, that social media has had specifically on South and Central Asian Culture.

 

"Between 2011 and 2012 the sales of smartphones in South East Asia grew by 78% and as much as 326% in the Philippines" reports BBC news. An increase in smartphone activations results directly in an increase in social media availability and use.

 

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Image courtesy of Sg.news.yahoo.com/research-confirms-philippines-still-social-033045566.html

 

Effects on Politics 

First of all, there is a colossal change in the political scenario of the region due to the increase of people's awareness by to social media. Since most individuals now have a platform to speak out, most political parties and candidates are compelled to use the same media to rally support. This is because social websites have played an important role in many elections around the world, including in the U.S., Iran, and India. Organizations are increasingly joining the social media platform to increase their recognition amongst the public.

 

Effect on Business

Most small businesses have long initiated social media campaigns to advertise their products, build customer loyalty, etc. Communicating with customers and taking their feedback helps businesses to recognize their target market, and further develop their products and services. Because social media doesn't cost as much as conventional media for marketing, such as Television and newspapers, it has become one of the most effective and affordable means to increase business popularity.

 

Effect on Socialization

Social websites allow individuals to stay connected to old friends and acquaintances, meet new people, exchange thoughts, share pictures and interesting information, etc. Asian countries are increasingly following global trends and fashion styles and experiencing similar events that happen on social media, while partaking in groups and activities of their interest. Experts and professionals use social media to interact with each other as well as colleagues to enhance their careers. Most importantly, a common global culture was developed as a result of social media websites as it connected different people of different regions and provided them a platform to discuss important issues that they experience.

 

Negative Effects of Social Media

 

Ultimately, there are a few disadvantages of social media. Most people are becoming distant in real life relations in order to be better connected to others digitally. An increase in crime and bullying is also witnessed due to social media websites. Addiction to social media websites is a constant distraction that results in lack of productivity, which results in loss to businesses. The privacy of social websites is questionable, and people find themselves being almost entirely vulnerable due to the huge amount of information and content that they have shared online.

 

Effects on Culture

The Asian culture has seen a great amount of change in the last decade due to the increased use of social media has resulted in an almost new culture that is seen around the globe. These diminished the distinguishing features of various lifestyles in the region, making life in one country similar to any other. This globalized culture is evident in the food, fashion, music, entertainment, and daily routine. The way people live in this region is almost no different than the way life is elsewhere. However, because people find themselves more connected and aware of the other societies and cultures, they are speaking up about social injustices around the world.

 

Social media's various cultural effects have their advantages and drawbacks since it comes as double-edged sword. If used wisely, it can enhance a user's professional and social life as long as they use caution to steer away from online dangers.

 

7/8/2015 1:21 PMScott Calonzo5 Cultural Effects of Social Media in South & Central Asia
62
  
Press Release; Office 365; Unified Communications Approved0

 

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As Skype for Business gains momentum​ - new rollouts in Office 365 and Skype for Business Server being made widely available - Xelleration is geared up to deploy its newest features.
The main goal of the new Xelleration Unified Communications Solution with Skype for Business​ is to help connect people everywhere to achieve more, together. ​Skype for Business is a communications and collaboration platform that brings together the familiar experience and user love of Skype with the security, compliance, and control that you've come to expect from Microsoft. 
 
 
 
 


  

Microsoft's mission is simple: to create the most loved and trusted communications platform for doing things together.


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Skype for Business brings together the familiar experience of Skype that people have come to know and love with the trusted platform of Lync that businesses around the world count on. Delivering technology that helps people connect— to discuss, share and collaborate— is core to Microsoft's mission to reinvent productivity, and Skype for Business is central to those efforts.

If you are a customer of Office 365 using Lync, you will notice a number of changes in your experience based on the transition to Skype for Business. Please refer to this article, Lync Online is Becoming Skype for Business, which highlights some of the key changes.


 

With the change to Skype for Business, the default setting for online users will be the Skype for Business client user interface. However, If you or your customers prefer to keep the familiar Lync experience, you have the option to switch back to the Lync user interface.

 

For those using Lync in a server environment, Skype for Business also provides a new user experience based on the Skye consumer experience, and as with Office 365, Lync Server 2013 supports both the new Skype for Business client experience and the traditional Lync client experience. This gives you the option of deploying the Lync client experience until users in your organization are fully trained in the new Skype for Business experience.

 

We have a number of resources available to help you plan, and educate and engage your end-users:

 

Office Blog: Get Ready for Skype for Business

Office Blog: What's New in Skype for Business and how you can take control of updates

Office Support Article: Skype for Business change management and adoption

Office Support Article: Switching between Skype for Business and Lync client user interfaces

Office 365 Success Center: Create awareness and drive adoption within your organization

 


 


 


 


​​

5/20/2015 4:11 PMScott CalonzoXelleration Unified Commmunications with Skype for Business
61
  
Office 365; SharePoint; Windows Azure Approved0

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Microsoft is on the move; announcing many exciting rollouts set to release this summer and gearing up for an  aggressive fiscal new year.

 

The back-to-back Build and Ignite 2015 conferences caused a media avalanche these past few weeks.  Fresh marketing tactics and solid delivery from Satya Nadella posit the company vision in a leading direction not seen from Microsoft in a while. Overall, the conferences did well to pronounce the tech giant's newest offerings.

 

"When did Apple become the boring one?" - this quote from Engadget flashed during the Build Keynote video. And with ithe great campaign coming out this summer (buzz about acquiring Salesforce, Skype for Business, 2016 Previews, Hololens, and Windows 10), it is hard to disagree.

 

  

Here is a recap of the best new offerings and biggest announcements from  Microsoft Build and Ignite 2015: 

 

//Build/

 

  • Free upgrade for Windows 10 to increase user base
  • Cortana now fully available on slick new Windows 10 UI
  • Schedule an Uber ride from your Outlook Calendar - third party app add-ins unified across platforms
  • Windows Phone to operate as a PC - Continium
  • Debut of 3 new Lumia Phones - Lumia 930, 630 and 635 available in June 2015
  • Action Center in Windows Phone 8.1
  • Microsoft Edge to replace Project Spartan as new browser
  • Android and iOS apps to run on Windows 10 - enables reuse of web code (.NET, Win32, Java/C++) and iOS Objective C
  • Hololens breaks out as leading hologram technology - to disrupt gaming, construction, and architecture industry
  • New Dev Tools: Vorlon, Project Oxford, and GitHub Enterprise for Azure
  • Logic Apps added to Azure App Service - helping automate business process as a SaaS service
  • Microsoft to open a Reactor Space in San Francisco

 

 

IGNITE

 

  • 2016 Previews now available: Office, Windows Server, System Center, SQL Server
    • Full product roll out estimated to happen fall of 2015
  • Real time co-authoring in Word and Excel to combat Google Drive
  • Sway and Delve are adding a creative element to Office 365
  • Facial recognition sign in for Windows 10
  • Skype for Business able to onboard with 10,000 people in real time
  • File- encryption across content and email in Office 365
  • Advanced Threat Analytics Software flags activity and pinpoints threats
  • Windows 10 Update for Business to enable IT pros to customize admin updates and notifications - backend Enterprise Management of user updates and notification pushed to their OS
  • No downtime patching for SharePoint 2016 - reduced footprints of updates
  • HP Storm Runner and Load and HP LoadRunner being launch in Azure Marketplace
  • Azure Stack to bring IaaS and PaaS capabilities into a customer's data center - combines Azures Service Fabric, Portal, and Resource Manager
  • Full-Text Search, Transparent Data Encryption previews in Azure SQL Database
  • Azure Data Warehouse and Data Lake to improve tracking and analysis of big data
  • Power BI app for Windows is now available

 

These standalone features will most definitely slate new users to Microsoft platforms, however, it is important to highlight how much of an impact these new announcements will have on existing Microsoft users.

 

Xelleration, Orange County's leading Microsoft Partner and consulting firm,  will help you implement the most up-to-date features in a dynamic way, maximizing your existing operation. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding these new announcements, and let us know how we can help you integrate these solutions into your business. 

5/11/2015 6:14 PMScott CalonzoKey Announcements from Microsoft Build and Ignite 2015
59
  
Press Release Approved0


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Xelleration is pleased to announce our brand new Unified Communications business practice. David Langlois joins us as our Unified Communications (UC) Practice Lead.  David holds a great amount of respect in the UC ecosystem along with his 25+ years of experience in telecommunications and telephony. Xelleration is extremely excited to have him on board as well as being able to provide another Microsoft service to our partners, clients, and customers.
 
Xelleration is now able to provide Skype for Business planning, architecture, configuration, deployment and support.
4/21/2015 8:58 AMAnthony NovotneXelleration Announces New Unified Communications Practice
66
  
Office 365; Social Media; Unified Communications; Yammer Approved0

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 ​

Tablets are a great tool for businesses in all kinds of work as they cut down on the bulk of hardware required. They allow professionals to write notes while communicating with clients, follow the latest business news, and present visuals to potential customers on a large screen. With the recent release of the Surface 3 and the iPad Air 2, the enterprise tablet landscape is definitely reaching new ground.

 

Both the Surface 3 and iPad Air 2 offer a sleek look, the latest design, and great software/applications to give you an advantage over hulking alternatives. Here is a look at the pros and cons of each device and the best and worst of their feature sets.

 

Surface 3

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Image courtesy of News.microsoft.com/?attachment_id=178023

 

The Surface 3 is the latest tablet from Microsoft. Being lighter than its predecessor and flashing a larger 10.8-inch screen with a 1920 x 1280 resolution display, it's the perfect hybrid of a laptop and tablet. The Surface 3 has an 8MP rear-facing camera with autofocus, as well as a 3.5MP front-facing camera. It is available in 2GB and 4GB RAM configurations. This stylish yet efficient new Surface includes several key features that make it more attractive for professionals on the go.

 

Pros:

          • A larger display of bright 10.8 inches makes it perfect for Live HD TV viewing.
          • A more powerful Intel i3 CPU provided by Microsoft allows users to experience functionality comparable to a laptop on their tablet.
          • Big storage sizes of 64GB and 128GB and more RAM than the iPad Air 2.
          • The new kick stand makes the Surface 3 easier to use in different situations due to the built-in 3-positions that it can be adjusted to.
          • The pen input simplifies interacting with legacy apps that have small buttons. With 256 levels of pressure sensitivity, it's easy to draw, takes notes, or write music, while handwritten notes can be converted to text, effectively replacing the traditional paper note-taking. Additionally, the palm-blocking technology allows you to rest your hand on the screen, and when you're done, the pen snaps onto a magnet on the side of the device.
          • The keyboard cover accessory features backlit keys and enables the Surface 3 to replace a laptop.
          • The Surface also lets you add to its internal storage with a microSD card.
          • The Surface 3 offers a full USB 3.0 port, which allows the user an added performance offered by USB 3 and lets them do without a USB-to-MicroUSB adapter.
          • It assists you throughout the day as it boasts 10 hours of battery life.
          • Windows 8.1 gives you an endless array of options for entertainment and productivity, plus the ability to multitask using two apps side by side. It can be updated for free to Windows 10 on July 29, 2015.
          • The Surface 3 is the first non-Pro Surface that runs full Windows, including desktop apps.
          • With this single device you get the typical tablet experience, plus excellent processing power and complete Windows 8.1 compatibility that makes this laplet work seamlessly between different tasks in various scenarios. 

Cons:

      • The Surface 3 is a little heavier than iPad Air 2.
      • Microsoft still doesn't offer a diversified range of touch apps that run in the Metro tile interface.
      • It has a slightly lesser pixel density.
      • It doesn't work with the last-generation Surface accessories.

Full Details and Pricing here - https://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-us/products/surface-3

 

iPad Air 2

iPad Air2.jpg 

Image courtesy of Imore.com/hands-ipad-air-2

 

The iPad Air 2 is known to be the world's thinnest tablet. It boasts an 8-megapixel camera that can capture 1080p HD video, and has a burst mode. The iPad Air 2 is powered by iOS 8.1 and features a 9.7-inch screen with a 1536 x 2048 resolution display. The tablet offers 2GB RAM and three storage sizes of 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB. This ultra-thin new iPad boasts several features that make it an exciting choice of many.

 

Pros:

        • The iPad Air 2 weighs lesser than the Surface 3.
        • It is built with an anti-reflection coating
        • It includes Touch ID.
        • The iPad Air 2 comes in three colors.
        • 10 hours of web use over Wi-Fi.

 

Cons:

        • The iPad Air 2 does not have a processor that is as powerful as the Surface 3.
        • The Apple tablet has a smaller screen, but with a better pixel density. 
        • This iPad doesn't allow multi-tasking.
        • The iPad Air 2 doesn't have a pen.
        • Doesn't run desktop apps or allow split-screen multi-tasking.
        • Internal memory cannot be increased with a microSD card.

 

Full Details and Pricing here - http://www.apple.com/ipad/compare/

 

What Should You Choose?

The iPad Air 2 and the Surface 3 are both excellent choices as they offer the best solutions for different user needs. The Apple tablet is targeted to an audience that prefers comparable power, light weight and clean design. However, the Surface 3 is even more powerful and comes with multiple options. It providing the perfect balance between a laptop functionality and a tablet, giving the user a single gadget that works as both.

 

Here at Xelleration, our Surface Pro 3's and Surface 3's are fully loaded with Office 365, Skype for Business, and Dynamics CRM so our executives can hit the ground running and be ready for a presentation at a moment's notice.

 

"On the Surface [3] versus iPad Air 2 comparison as a business machine, my money is on the Surface," Charles King, an IT analyst of enterprise computing in his newsletter, the Pund-IT Weekly Review. "That's mainly because the iPad remains a device that's primarily made for media consumption, not workplace productivity. In addition, the vast majority of businesses run on Microsoft platforms like SharePoint and Exchange, and use Office productivity applications and tools. [Surface]'s integration with core Microsoft solutions means that most employees can begin working productively with it in short order, and that systems can be deployed, managed and secured with most if not all of the same tools IT is using with other Windows-based endpoints."

 

It doesn't matter if you rely on Windows or iOS, it's only a matter of figuring out what your priorities are; and if you seek efficiency, the Surface 3 will not let you down.

 

8/7/2015 1:58 AMFatima HamidPro and Con Comparison of Surface 3 and iPad Air 2
56
  
Press Release Approved0

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Microsoft is Pioneering “Event Management Portal” to Facilitate HEC Training Programs​


Islamabad: 19th March, 2015 - Microsoft and the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan have collaborated to create an online portal "National Event Management System" (NEMS), developed by Xelleration Pakistan, for academic activities of higher education institutes. The purpose-built and enriched online portal will enable HEC to effectively manage over 3000 events, organized by universities and HEC under a country-wide Education-Alliance between Microsoft and HEC. Based on Microsoft Office 365 (SharePoint Online), this portal will also facilitate and inform the potential participants and attendees about the events as scheduled and published.

 

This pioneering facility will be offered to more than 157 universities and campuses, facilitating over one million students, faculty members and staff across the country. HEC - being the facilitator of the educational sector, will now be able to closely view and strategize education planning based on the audience feedback extracted from this portal. This portal offers user registration, attendance, and self-service scheduling of various activities for diversified events and also solve the problems highlighted in the feedback received from the participants.

 

The administration teams at universities can use this comprehensive facility to; manage events, manage facilities/resources and reserve rooms for the events. A special feature will enable them to invite attendees for an event, or help them in self-enrollment. The portal also offer publishing & sharing the events on Social Media. Post-event feedback collection from the users through an automated mechanism and subsequently extracted from the portal. One click view of graphs and charts, representing the number of events, are amongst the main features of this portal, which can be compiled according to various disciplines or subjects, e.g. Engineering events, Medical events, etc.

 

A special inauguration ceremony was held in which this National Event Management System was inaugurated by Prof. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC with the launch of portal available at http://pern-public.sharepoint.com. Mr. Harb Bou-Harb, Public Sector Director of Microsoft- NEPA region was also present on the occasion.  The event was also attended by Prof. Dr Mansoor Akbar Kundi, Executive Director HEC, Anwar Amjad, Director General IT HEC, Abid Zaidi Country Enterprise & Partner Group Director Microsoft Pakistan and Jibran Jamshad, Enterprise Technology Strategist Microsoft Pakistan.

 

"HEC will continue to play its key role in facilitating and strengthening the institutions of higher learning in Pakistan. National Event Management System has been meticulously designed to effectively resolve the operational challenges and enhancing the productivity of hundreds of events in diversified discipline, organized by and for HEIs across Pakistan, every year. It will also help in addressing the concerns and issues faced by participants in these events", said Anwar Amjad, Director General (IT), HEC.

 

The Regional Public Sector Director of Microsoft NEPA – Harb Bou-Harb stated that; "It is a matter of pride for Microsoft to facilitate the creation of this sophisticated online facility, which will go a long way in streamlining the insightful events, conducted and managed by Higher Education Commission annually. Microsoft is fully committed to foster educational initiatives across the globe and elevate the standards of education in the developing world."

 

"Today's Educational institutions are aiming to prepare their students & faculty for the world beyond classrooms. They are empowering them by providing devices, access to software, training and other elements needed for outcome based learning" said Abid Zaidi, Country Enterprise & Partner Group Director, Microsoft Pakistan. "At Microsoft, we are proud to be the strategic partner of Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, which is leading the way forward for higher education and helping students realize their true potential through such initiatives."

3/19/2015 2:37 PMAnthony NovotneMicrosoft is Pioneering “Event Management Portal”
55
  
Windows Azure Approved0

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According to the Windows 10 Technical preview to the Xbox One Inside program, Microsoft has been going through millions of user suggestions and trying to implement these suggestions and features into the Azure Preview Portal and to their retail products.

Here are some of the updates Microsoft will be improving based on user suggestions for the Azure Preview Portal.
Audit logs
Marketplace improvements
Updated New hub
Social sharing of marketplace items
Improved pricing tier blade
Improved browser interactions
Browser Back button support (preview)
Text selection in blade headers
Improvements in Browse
Improved Portal interactions
Keyboard shortcuts
Simpler startup experience
Added Minimize command to all blades
Maximized blades only scroll vertically
Simpler default startboard
New setting: disable animations
Show value of chart in X axis on hover
More resources implementing the Essentials pattern

These are just a few of the updates that Microsoft has started to implement.  Stay tuned and give your feedback for the next round of updates.

3/5/2015 8:50 AMAnthony NovotneMicrosoft takes User Suggestions and Updates Azure Preview Portal
54
  
Yammer; Office 365 Approved0

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​On Tuesday January 20th, Xelleration and IAS hosted a webinar along with guest speaker Steve Kane from Microsoft. The webinar discussed how to overcome the fear of usin​g enterprise social in schools and how Yammer can help provide a better learning experience for teachers and students.  Leaders in education are discovering that they and their students need a new way to work together to succeed.

Yammer helps create a lifelong learning network that goes beyond the formal curriculum, ensuring that students are prepared for the future. Below is the recording of the webinar.
​​

1/26/2015 8:50 AMAnthony NovotneVideo: Enterprise Social in Education
53
  
Office 365 Approved0

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Microsoft customers with more than 150 employees can take advantage of the Office 365 FastTrack program through select Microsoft Certified Partners like Xelleration.  This program provides funding available for Office 365 customers who purchased at least 150 seats between September 1st, 2013 and June 30th, 2014.

There is also an Office 365 Adoption Offer available  for a limited time for customers to help with onboarding and adoption, including email and data migration, which are not covered as a part of FastTrack.


This offer runs through March 31, 2015 and is available for all new Office 365 customers with 150+ qualified seats.


Customers earn funds on a per seat basis to apply towards the cost of qualified adoption services delivered by current Cloud Deployment Partners and future Cloud Productivity Competency  Partners ($15 per seat up to 1000 seats, $5 per seat above 1000 seats, $60K limit for customer).


Under this offer, qualified customers can opt to use the promotional benefit to have Microsoft migrate their email remotely, or choose to receive funds to pay a partner for activities such as desktop remediation, migration (email or other workloads) and other adoption-related activities​ (Source Microsoft Digital WPC Blog).


For more information click here to Contact Us​​

1/16/2015 10:22 AMAnthony NovotneMicrosoft FastTrack Deployment and Adoption Offer
52
  
Events; Yammer Approved0

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Join Xelleration for our upcoming webinar discussion covering the topic "Overcoming the Fear of Enterprise Social in Education" hosted by Xelleration and IAS. If you have any concerns about Enterprise Social and how it can be a beneficial tool at your school, then this webinar will be a great resource to help you ease those concerns and learn about a great way to get work done collaboratively.


We hope you can join us on January 20th.  


You can register by clicking this link Webinar Registration​



1/15/2015 3:39 PMAnthony NovotneWebinar: Enterprise Social in Education
51
  
Office 365 Approved0

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OneDrive is a free personal online storage platform that you can use anywhere you have internet access.  Your files are available from any device simply by going to the OneDrive website or by using the OneDrive mobile app on your phone.


OneDrive for Business was built for companies to provide online storage to their employees. It's included in SharePoint 2013 and is available with Office 365 Small Business and Office 365 Enterprise.  OneDrive for Business does offer some additional features that OneDrive does not, which include: Auditing and reporting, Advanced administration for granular control, SSO/ADFS/Directory sync support, Build in standards compliance.


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​​Screenshot www.onedrive.live.com (prices subject to change)

12/19/2014 12:22 PMAnthony NovotneOneDrive vs. OneDrive for Business
50
  
 Approved0
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Leaders in education are discovering that they and their students need a new way​ to work together to succeed. Yammer helps create a lifelong learning network that goes beyond the formal curriculum, ensuring that students are prepared for the future.
Join Xelleration, Integrated Access Solutions (IAS)​, and Microsoft guest speaker, Steve Kane,​ for a Yammer Education Webinar.

In this webinar we​ will discuss overcoming the fear of using enterprise social in schools and how Yammer can help provide a better learning experience for teachers and students. ​


You'll Discover 
-The Benefits of Yammer  in Education
-How to Overcome Compliance Concerns
-Gain Successful Adoption with Monitoring and Sound Policies
-Learn How Yammer Works with Our Yammer Classroom Demo​

11/24/2014 12:35 PMAnthony NovotneOvercoming the Fear of Enterprise Social in Education
49
  
Press Release Approved0

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On October 16th 2014, several team members from Xelleration attended the Microsoft West Region Partner Briefing at the Irvine Hotel in Irvine CA.  The event focused on Cloud sales scenarios in Office 365, Azure, and EMS.  Other topics included incentives and ideas to help accelerate partner practices.


The event was a great opportunity for Xelleration to connect and hear from some of the Microsoft technology specialists. It was also a great chance to network with the Microsoft team and other partners.

 ​

10/17/2014 11:59 AMAnthony NovotneXelleration Attends Microsoft Partner Briefing at the Irvine Hotel
48
  
Press Release Approved0

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Xelleration is proud to announce the sponsorship of Courtenay McFadden, a professional cyclocross racer, as she begins her 2014-2015 season. Courtenay will be wearing the Xelleration logo on her cyclocross suit along with her other sponsors throughout the cyclocross season.


Courtenay finished the 2013 season with 17 of 18 domestic races in the top 10 and looks to continue this success in the upcoming season. 


Xelleration wishes Courtenay good luck and continued success as she continues to work towards her goals in the 2014-2015 season.


You can follow Courtenay's cyclocross journey on her blog and on Twitter.

10/7/2014 8:40 AMAnthony NovotneXelleration Sponsors Professional Cyclocross Racer
47
  
Yammer Approved0

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Do you know everything there is to know about being a Yammer Administrator? Yammer Admins have access to powerful tools that can help shape a network for success, but can get overwhelming if you're not familiar with them. 

Watch the presentation to discover: 
- The Best Practices of a Yammer Admin 
- How to Get the Most Out of Yammer's Groups 
- How to Identify Pain Points Using the Analytics Dashboard 
- How to Expertly Manage Groups, Notes, and Files​


10/3/2014 2:12 PMKatie KnollEverything You Need to Know About Being a Yammer Admin
46
  
Press Release Approved0
Xelleration attended the U.S. Public Sector FY-15 Kickoff and ISU which took place July 28th-July 30th in Phoenix, Arizona. 

The main topic for the week focused on combining old-world relationships with new-world technologies to foster client relationships and build long-term success in the public sector. 

After the partner kickoff on Monday, Xelleration helped join Microsoft employees as they worked together to stuff backpacks with school supplies that will eventually help thousands of kids in the Phoenix area. ​​
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10/2/2014 10:32 AMAnthony NovotneXelleration at U.S. Public Sector FY15 Kickoff and ISU in Phoenix
41
  
Yammer Approved0

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Do you have a Yammer community, but struggle to find ways to get people in your organization to use it? As you build out a Yammer community, you should think about including an internal community manager who excites and encourages others to use it while also maintaining the network’s overall well-being. 

 

But what exactly does it take to make a great Yammer Community Manager? Here’s 5 tips that will help shape the success of your Yammer communit​y.​​

 

5 Yammer do's and dont's.pdfDownload the PDF

 

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By Katie Knoll

Craving more Yammer tips? Join us on LinkedIn!

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​​
8/19/2014 2:25 PMAnthony Novotne5 Yammer Do's and Dont's for Community Managers Infographic
40
  
Yammer Approved0

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If This Then That is an easier way to make the Internet work for you.  IFTTT is a free "service that lets you create powerful connections with one simple statement":

 
if-this-then-that.png 
 
 

Using IFTTT, we can create recipes that trigger different actions using a handful of popular channels like Gmail, OneDrive, Twitter, Facebook and more. Here, we take a look at the top 5 Yammer recipes that make your work life easier.

 

1. Remind Employees to turn in Timesheets at the Beginning of the Month


 
 

IFTTT1.jpg 

 

This recipe triggers an alert via Yammer at a specific day and time of the month. You can also edit the time period depending on your pay period or set a general reminder for a specific day of the month. This recipe is great for pretty much any reoccurring reminder needed for your team.

 
 

Get the recipe.

 

2. Share any Link from LinkedIn to Yammer

 

yammer-integration.png 
 

Find an interesting article to share on LinkedIn, but too busy to copy and paste it into Yammer? Well this recipe is for you.

 
 

Activate your LinkedIn channel, choose a Yammer group, click Use Recipe, and you're all set. Now every time you share a link in a status update on LinkedIn, it will automatically post to a group or your whole company, depending on your option choice.

 

Get the recipe.

 
3. Send Facebook Page Updates to a Yammer Group

 
IFTTT3.jpg 

 
Keep everyone up to date with updates from your organization's Facebook page directly on Yammer. This recipe doesn't seem to work for status updates with pictures, but we've created another recipe you can add to include picture posts. Use both of these recipes to send all page updates to your Yammer. Note: You must be a Facebook Administrator in order to set up these recipes.

 
 
4. Share any RSS Feed to Yammer

 
IFTTT4.jpg
 
Combined with an RSS feed like Google Alerts, this could be a powerful reputation monitoring trigger for your organization. Simply include your RSS feed in the box and select a group to post to, and you're ready to go.
 
 
5. Send Company Stock Alerts to Yammer

 
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This recipe lets you automatically post to Yammer the price of any company's stock ticker at close (4pm EST) to a group on Yammer. This is great for larger, public companies that would like all their information in one place or just keeping up with the competition. Supported exchanges include NYSE, NASDAQ, and AMEX.

 
 
OTHER GREAT IFTTT RECIPES YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
8/19/2014 2:17 PMAnthony Novotne5 Cool Ways to Automate Yammer with IFTTT
39
  
Yammer; SharePoint Approved0

 

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There’s a lot of confusion on when to use SharePoint or Yammer for social collaboration. It's actually one of the most asked questions we see from customers!  While Microsoft continues to focus on the future of social collaboration in the cloud, many ask is it best to go with Yammer or SharePoint Social? 

 

Although both tools are great for collaboration, what is the best use for each? Here we’ll take a look at the features and benefits of both. 


Social Collaboration in the Cloud 


Whether you’d like to go with SharePoint or Yammer, you’ll first need to see if your company restricts cloud platforms. If they do, then it’s best to use SharePoint 2013. If they don’t, then your best bet is to stick with Yammer, the leading enterprise social network for businesses. 

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 yammer.png

Features: 
  • Community
  • Social #Tags
  • Easily share documents, files, and activities
  • Follow documents, people, sites, tags and activities
  • Enhanced  activity streams
  • Improved My Sites
  • Save Locally
  • Utilize SharePoint’s templates, information architecture, and web parts
Features: 
  • Community
  • Social #Tags
  • Easily share documents, files, and activities
  • Follow documents, people, sites, tags and activities
  • Enhanced activity streams
  • Profiles
Benefits: 
  • Construct  stronger meta data
  • Make content findableLink people, teams, content and activitie
  • Link people, teams, content and activities
Benefits: 
  • Rapid community development
  • Internal and External networking
  • Powerful  Search
  • Integrated  with Office365
Best when used for: 
  • Creating a source of knowledge and information using the same templates, architecture, and web parts as the rest of the SharePoint site
  • Your company has many restricts on document usage, sharing content, or long approval processes

Best when used for: 

  • Communicating  with outside clients, customers or partners
  • Quick discussions or questions that can be answered without emailing
  • Great for brainstorming, planning a company, and collaboration on notes
  • Company announcements / events

  

A History of SharePoint Social


Microsoft’s sole purpose of creating embedded social computing features within SharePoint was to allow collaboration within teams bridging a communication gap that email alone cannot solve. Over the past six years, they have developed immense social computing features in line with their unified workplace philosophy. From the first release of Microsoft SharePoint 1.0 in 2001 to SharePoint in 2010 and now their most recent innovation, SharePoint 2013, social collaboration has always been at the forefront of their planning and development.


Within SharePoint 2013, Microsoft strived to give users more information and tools to make work life easier. Project management, mobile apps, username targeting, social tagging integrations, embedded views of shared documents, and fully integrated Yammer feeds are among the great features SharePoint has to offer.
 

Yammer, the Newest Edition to the Social Family


The acquisition of Yammer was a wise decision in many ways. Not only does Yammer help Microsoft with the vision of a socially enabled SharePoint, it also gives a competitive advantage in the cloud space.  Yammer and Office 365 provide the security and peace of mind that your information belongs to you and only you. Yammer allows for a more unified business through newsfeeds, public and private groups, reward systems, polls, relative linking, applications, and much, much more 


Although Yammer and SharePoint offer many different benefits, there’s no reason why they can’t work together in harmony. You can easily set up integration for SharePoint 2013 sites to add Yammer web-parts for embedded group feeds from your home Yammer network. This is just another way that Microsoft allows us all to work better together.? 
 

By: Ali Kazmi 

Edited by: Katie Knoll

 

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8/19/2014 2:14 PMAnthony NovotneSharePoint vs Yammer: The Battle for Enterprise Social
38
  
Yammer; Office 365 Approved0

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Yammer Single Sign On allows you and your team to quickly and easily access Yammer in one click, using their Active Directory credentials. SSO is great because there's one less password to remember and should be considered a must-have for any network. Installation is also fairly simple and can be enabled in about one business day.

 

When a member of your team visits Yammer.com even from their mobile device, it will redirect them to your SSO server making logging in a breeze. In this short tutorial, we'll take you through all the steps needed to configure Single Sign On for your organization.

 

Prerequisite Checklist

 
  • A SSO server that can send SAML 1.1 or 2.0 assertions
  • An endpoint URI: Because Yammer is cloud-based, it's best that the endpoint URI can be accessed outside of your network and NOT directly integrated. A directly integrated set up will prevent users from accessing Yammer outside of your offices and on mobile devices.
  • An engineer who is familiar with configuring your SSO server
  • Yammer's SSO Rollout Communications Guide
 
 

1. Open a Service Request

 

In order to configure Yammer's SSO you will have to work with Yammer's team in order to make sure your server and Yammer's are coordinated with one another.

 

The first step to SSO integration with Yammer is to file a support/service request as an Office 365 admin. Go to Support > New Service Request to get started.?

 
 

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Next, prepare for Step 2 by exporting a metadata file or providing Yammer with your:

 
  • Entity ID
  • Endpoint URI
  • Public Certificate
  • SAML version (1.1 or 2.0)
 
2. Complete the Yammer SOO Checklist
 

Once your ticket is assigned to a Tier-1 Agent, you'll receive a response with an SSO document to filled out. The SSO document can also be found on Yammer's website. Fill in the basic information on how you intend to use SSO and your Identity Provider (IdP) and send it back to the support team.

 
 

3. Provide Your ADFS Certificate and Metadata File

 

After your Yammer agent has received the proper information, your service request will be escalated to the next support tier. From there, the agent will need your ADFS Token Signing Certificate and the Metadata file you exported earlier.

 

4. Import Yammer's Metadata File

 

Next, Yammer's support agent will send you a Yammer metadata file to import into your ADFS server. This can be done by clicking Add Relying Party Trust >  Import data about relying party from a file in the ADFS server.

 
 

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5. Enable SSO

 

Once you've imported Yammer's metadata, contact their support and let them know you are ready to test / enable SSO. After they've enabled SSO, test the new configure.

 
 
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Source: www.wpcentral.com

 

If there's no issues and it's up and running, congratulations! Let them know it was successful and ready to leave it on permanently.

 

Note: It's unnecessary to test SSO integration in a development environment since no software is actually being installed. Also, no staging or test environments are available for Yammer. 


 

By Katie Knoll

 

 


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8/19/2014 2:10 PMAnthony NovotneStep-by-Step Yammer SSO Integration
36
  
Yammer Approved0

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There are many factors that contribute to a successful Yammer network: employees that are open to learning something new, getting top management on-board, and employees willing to share information are all a great start.
 

These components, among others, help facilitate a Yammer network that can grow to its full potential. Keep in mind that what works well for one company may not work well for another, so it’s good to measure your strategy so you can evaluate and decide what works best.

Here are 5 Yammer best practices that can help get your Yammer network up and running successfully.

 

1.  Measure, Evaluate, and Keep on Improving

 

Take a step back, evaluate, and never stop improving your strategy. By identifying what worked and what didn't, you can narrow down and refine your strategy until your goals are achieved.

 

The Yammer analytics dashboard is a helpful tool that can be used to gain insights about the users, conversations, and activities.

Keep in mind that organic growth and adoption are two of the best ways to keep users engaged long-term. Growth will come easily as long as you stay consistent and keep on posting. When your whole team's on board, it's easy to adopt a new technology. 

 

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Photo credit: Yammer, Inc.

 

 

2.   Introduce Powerful Incentives

Incentives are a powerful force in any company. When employees are engaged and recognized, they usually take less sick days and are much more productive. Creating a rewards program for top community contributors is a great way to keep your team involved, so they are continually posting and sharing ideas on Yammer.

For example, you can create monthly rewards (like a catered lunch) for a most used hashtag regarding a team project. You can easily click on the hashtag/topic to see who uses it the most and who has the best ideas.

 

3.   Get Your C-Level Executives On-board

Getting your C-level executives on-board to take the lead in supporting change is crucial. Make sure and take the time to recognize the needs of C-level executives and recommend ways that can help drive results.

Once you identify the value try and ease them into the process.  It’s important to recognize that social interactions can be new for some.

 

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Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net /ambro

 

C-level executives are key because of the relationship they have with the employees in the organization. Having them on-board will help facilitate the initial use of Yammer by others, get everyone continuously involved, and it sends a message that going social is a priority that will soon be ingrained in the workplace culture.

 

4.    Offer Exclusive Content

People don’t want to miss out on anything, so offering exclusive content is a great way to get people using Yammer. 

The decision to share specific content across your organization’s Yammer network will help influence people towards adoption by creating a necessity to use Yammer.  

For example, posting information only on Yammer about the upcoming company conference would be a great reason for employees to use navigate to Yammer. Employees could find important information about the conference, ask questions, and interact with others.

 

5.   Use Proper Yammer Etiquette

 

Yammer can be a great communication tool if used correctly.  Employees need to remember that it’s a professional setting and just because it has a similar feel to other social platforms, that doesn’t mean it should be treated the same way as Facebook or similar social sites. Here are some helpful tips and things to avoid:

  • Follow others and subscribe to the Yammer digest. Try and catch up on everything that you might have missed.
  •  Don't write a novel, instead, post short, concise updates. Get to the point quickly.
  •  Proofread your posts so they are free of errors. Particularly in a professional work setting.
  • Get a feel for your network and the kind of language that’s appropriate. Some networks may be relatively casual, but others might not be.
  • Don't post irrelevant status updates?
yammer-strategy.jpg 
  • Don't accuse or blame people publicly. Be constructive, not condescending.
  • Do comment on work assignments and ask questions
  • Do update your status about activities, resources, and eventsyammer-uses.png

By Anthony Novotne

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8/19/2014 12:58 PMAnthony Novotne5 Best Practices for a Thriving Yammer Network
35
  
Yammer; SharePoint Approved0
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By adding a Yammer feed to a SharePoint 2013 site, there is no need to navigate away, since everything is available in one location. People can post, reply, and like Yammer conversations right inside of a site.

Let’s get started on how to get a Yammer feed setup on your page in 3 easy steps:

1.     Get the Yammer app from the Office Store

2.?     Make the app available for use

3.     Add Yammer feed to a SharePoint page?

 

Step 1: Get the app from the Office Store

The Yammer App for is free for SharePoint, but before you can use it on SharePoint pages an Office 365 global admin must add the app to SharePoint.

To add the Yammer app:

1.    Sign into the Office 365 Admin Center (https://portal.microsoftonline.com/).

2.    Choose Admin > SharePoint. You’re now in the SharePoint admin center.

3.    Choose apps.

4.    Choose Purchase Apps.

5.    Search the store for Yammer App for SharePoint, and purchase the app with your Microsoft account.

 

Step 2: Make the app available for use

SharePoint site collection admins will need to make the Yammer App for SharePoint available to sites within their site collections.

1.    Navigate to a site collection where you want to add the app.

2.    Choose Settings > Site Contents.

3.    Choose add an app.

4.    Choose Apps You Can Add.

5.    Choose Yammer App for SharePoint, and then choose Trust It.

 

Step 3: Add Yammer feed to a SharePoint page

People with Full Control permissions can add the Yammer App for SharePoint app part to a page to see a Yammer feed.

1.    Navigate to the page where you want to add a Yammer feed.

2.    Choose Page > Edit.

3.  Choose Insert > App Part.?

sharepoint-tutorial.png 
?  4.    Sign into Yammer with your Yammer username and password.

 

  5.    Choose Yammer Feed. 
 embed-yammer.png

 
  6.    Now you can choose the type of feed you want to add: Group Feed, Home Feed, Comment Feed
 
  • ?Group Feed: Choosing this feed type will display all Yammer conversations for this group. You’ll need to know the Yammer group ID. To find this information, sign into Yammer.com and navigate to the group. Now look at the URL address for the page you’re on.
  • The group ID is a set of digits at the end of the URL. Look for, “…group&feedID=1111111”, where “1111111” is the group ID. 
yammer-feed.png 
 
 

     ·  Home Feed: Choosing this feed type will display all Yammer conversations you’re following for this network. If you’re joined to more than one network, you’ll need to choose the Yammer network you want to see in the feed. By default, your Home network will be selected.

    ·  Comment Feed: Choosing this feed type will display all conversations people post about this SharePoint page. Copy the URL of the host SharePoint page and paste the URL into the Host Page URL field.? 

yammer-sharepoint.png 


By Anthony Novotne

 
Yammer-Community-Group-CTA-Banner.jpg?
 

 

 
 
 

 

8/19/2014 12:43 PMAnthony NovotneHow to Add a Yammer Feed to SharePoint 2013
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 instagram world.jpg

Nitrogram released a ton of great information about gender demographics on Instagram, but what does this data mean for social media marketers?

 

About Followers

 

Men are more likely to follow top Instagram accounts with over 10k followers, however Instagram accounts with over 1 million followers (A-listers) have a more equal split of men and women followers. Interestingly enough, 53% of women make up the top 50 brands' audience.

 

Does this mean that A-listers should cater their audience more towards men? Based on these stats, top Instagram accounts might have more male followers, but the message should always be catered towards the target market, not just the majority of followers.

 

South-East Asia & Russia Women Love Instagram

 
  • Thailand 65%
  • Philippines 64%
  • Vietnam 62%?
  • Russia 60%
  • Belarus 59%
 

% of Instagram users who are women in the top 5 most women-dominated countries

 

Marketers in these emerging markets have an excellent opportunity to market on Instagram to women. Cosmetics, fashion, and other female centered industries should keep this in mind when entering Instagram.

 

Males Dominate Instagram in the Middle East

  •  Saudi Arabia 85%
  • Iran 82%
  • India 75% 
  • Azerbaidjan 73%
  • UAE 72%

 

% of Instagram users who are men in the top 5 most men-dominated countries

 

For Instagram marketers looking to capture a large male audience, they should think about targeting these regions. Energy and sports include the "manliest" audiences of all the top brands on Instagram.?

gender-on-instagram-infographic-by-nitrogram.png By Katie Knoll

8/19/2014 12:19 PMAnthony NovotneInteresting Gender Statistics on Instagram
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Are you struggling with lead generation on Twitter? Looking for a great new way to generate contacts? In this guide we'll show you what exactly you need to do to create and succe?ed with Twitter's Lead Generation Cards.

 

What are Twitter Lead Generation Cards?

 

Just think of the lead card as an embedded landing page within your tweet. Basically when someone expands your tweet, they'll see a description of the offer, an image and a call to action. 


 

barista.png
 

The user's Twitter handle and email address are already pre-filled within the card, making it even easier for users to get more information on your offer and click submit. These also work on just about every major platform: Twitter.com, Android and iOS applications.

 

Combined with Promoted Tweets, Twitter Lead Gen cards are a powerful tool to include in your digital marketing arsenal.

 

How to Create Twitter Lead Generation Cards 

 

1.     Get started by registering your business with a Twitter advertising account.

 

2.     Find what CRM integration you would like to use to track your leads from your cards. Twitter currently integrates with the following:

   ·    Eloqua

   ·    ExactTarget

   ·    HubSpot

   ·    Infusionsoft

   ·   Sailthru

   ·   Salesforce

   ·   Silverpop

   ·   Pardot

   ·   LoopFuse

   ·    Marketo

   ·    Optify

 

3.     Create your Twitter Card by going into the Twitter Ads interface, like below.


twitter-lead-generation-cards.png
 

4.     Click "Create a New Card," and insert a card image, a description of your offer or service, and don't forget to add a call to action.

·      Short Description: Your description must be short, but still descriptive enough to pack a punch. Since there's only a maximum of 80 characters to work with, make sure your image does most of the talking.

·      Card Image: Be sure to include a compelling image that makes users want to click, but also reflects your landing page and short description. Images can't be larger than 1 MB, must keep a 4:1 aspect ratio, and be at least 600px wide. Supported file types are: .jpg, .jpeg, .png and .gif

·      Call to Action: It's important to keep the same kind of tone and language in your CTA as you used in your short description. If you're looking for ideas on how to come up with a great call to action, Social Media Examiner has written a great article on the subject.

·      Privacy Policy URL: Insert a URL that contains your privacy policy to let users see what data is being collected and how it's being used. Keep in mind that Twitter requires the use of a secure server if you are collecting sensitive information like credit card  or bank account numbers.

·      Card Details (Fallback URL): When someone clicks your lead card on a non-supported platform, they will be taken to this link. You'll also want to make this landing page optimized so you have another opportunity to convert a visitor into a lead.

 

5.     Configure your technical settings to ensure that your Lead Card is taking users where they should be going, your optimized landing page.

·      Destination URL: This URL is where all the information collected will be sent and should be the endpoint to your CRM system.

·      Post-Submit Message: Add a short message to that users will see after they submit the lead. Usually a confirmation of a submitted lead is a safe bet to include.

 

·      Submit URL: This is the URL where your leads will be submitted to and should be the endpoint to your CRM system. You can also provide custom key names and hidden fields that will be sent along with the data. For example, if the Name field in your database is "User_Name", you'll want to make these changes here.

Twitter-leads.png
 

6.     Finally, you'll want to click "Create Card" when you're ready to start promoting your first Twitter Lead Generation Card!

Tips for Making Your Twitter Campaign a Success

 

·         Visuals are everything. If your image isn’t captivating or doesn't tie into your copy then your campaign might not attract users. Originality is important so try not to just stick a stock image in here and call it a day.

·         Make leads count with a lead nurturing campaign. Don't let all these leads fall through the cracks. Make sure to remember this when coming up with your overall campaign strategy. Think of what you want to accomplish and then work backwards to see how you’re going to get there.

·         Combine Promoted Tweets and Lead Generation Cards for higher engagement! With a couple of extra steps and no added cost, this is a great combination for success. 

·         Always be testing. As a marketer, it's our job to figure out what works and what doesn't. Make sure you A/B test copy, landing pages, and visuals to see what drives the biggest impact.

 

For more information on how Twitter's Lead Generation Cards can help your business, contact Xelleration at info@xelleration.com.


 

By Katie Knoll

8/19/2014 10:12 AMAnthony NovotneThe Definitive Guide to Twitter Lead Generation Cards
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What is Whisper?

 

"We see Whisper as a service that a large part of the world's population is going to use. Anonymity is just going to become a bigger and bigger thing.”  – Michael Heyward

Whisper launched in late 2012 with a measly 20 downloads, 18 of which coming from CoFounder Michael Heyward’s friends. Today, it is a powerhouse of an app that takes in over 3.5 billion page views every month.

Whisper is essential a digitally reimagined PostSecret, that allows you to share a message (secrets or not), any message, with millions of other strangers. The concept is simple; type your message into the screen and Whisper will attempt to find an image that matches the context. Other users can strike up a conversation through private messages or respond to the post with an image of their own.?

 
whisper.jpg 

Credit: Screenshot/Jennifer Van Grove/CNET

 

90% of Whisper’s audience is made up of the coveted 18-24 demographic advertisers would love to get their hands on. The average user spends more than 30 minutes a day in the app – 45% of them being female.? 

?The Growth of Anonymity

 

"It just felt like there was this huge white space of all of this stuff that people think, but don't necessarily say out loud or share." – Michael Heyward

 

The younger generation of Millennials and Gen Zer’s of today are highly concerned with the newest technological challenge: privacy. Whisper may be the answer to the privacy these generation crave and seeks to become the most powerful tool for anonymous sharing and connecting with new people.? 

first whisper.jpg
The first ever post shared on Whisper.

Whisper started slow, but eventually picked up momentum thanks to college newspapers like UCLA’s Daily Bruin and Penn State’s The Daily Collegian. Now Wthe app connects hundreds of millions of users by building a community through shared secrets.

Unfortunately, it seems like the app has a serious spam problem. With only a team of 92 moderators to police the feed, it’s no wonder why offensive and spam content falls through the cracks. 

What Marketers Should Know

The Whisper team has already experimented with monetization attempts revolving around a “premium service” that charged a fee for direct messaging. Although the premium service generated “six figures” a month according to Heyward, there seems to be no immediate plan to reinstate monetization.

Where in-app purchase might have failed, there seems to be a great opportunity for native advertising or connecting users to one another. 

Brands must trend carefully in this anonymous arena, however. The context and tone of the message must be on point or it will likely fail. Even if the message is clear and relevant, how will the anonymous community react to a big brand invading this sacred space? Tread lightly marketers.

 

 

By Katie Knoll

8/19/2014 9:36 AMAnthony NovotneWhisper: Your Secret’s Safe with this Anonymous App
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jelly.jpg 

Jelly is the latest Android and iOS app from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, which has generated a lot of attention from early adaptors. Jelly brings knowledge to the people via crowdsourcing. Basically you snap a photo, ask a question, and Jelly users/other social media connections will chime in their answer. Could this be the next Snapchat or just another app that fades into the void?

 

"What would we build if we had to build something that could answer any question?" - Biz Stone ?

 

Based on our first impressions, it seems like a hipper Quora or seemingly heading there. Hundreds of questions are answered, but can you trust the people who provide the answersbecause no one lies on the Internet, right? ?Another glaring issue is that Jelly questions are all over the place and without the ability to search for keywords, phrases, and hashtags, it leaves a lot to be desired.

 

What if you get conflicting answers? Users are also restricted to leaving short 240 character answers, so your question may not even be fully answered. You can’t respond to answers either to get more clarification. Whether this current user base continues to stay active once all the buzz dies down will be a real proving ground for Jelly.

 

biz-stone.jpg 
 

 

"The kind of simplicity of Jelly is that it takes advantage of what we've been building for the last 7-10 years. People have been collecting followers, collecting friends, collecting contacts, but it's like why? Jelly is the response to that." - Biz Stone?

 

Although there is some skepticism as to what value Jelly really has to offer, we can see that it’s at least a simple, clever way to solicit fast opinions about anything that you have questions on. With a few tweaks, Jelly could be a useful app to have around if you’re shopping, walking around a new city, or just want a quick opinion from your peers.


 

By Katie Knoll / Anthony Novotne

8/19/2014 9:32 AMAnthony NovotneTwitter Cofounder Biz Stone's Accidental App: Jelly
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2013 was a colossal year for social media and digital marketing. Updates like the Google's Hummingbird and Facebook's edge rank drastically changed the way marketers do business online. Combined with the massive rise in visual marketing, content marketing in now vital to digital strategy.

 

This ever-changing digital arena will always bring new challenges, but what social media trends are coming to social media marketing in 2014? Here are some of our predictions:

social-media-trends-2014.jpg 

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net / photoraidz

 

1. Content is the Future of Marketing

 

Social Media Today reported an overwhelming 70% of CMOs believe that content will continue to be king. What does that mean for marketers? We need to get better at delivering content that adds value to the customer in order to cut through all of the digital noise. Infographics will be especially important to content strategy, seeing how visual content is processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text.?
 

2. Responsive Content Takes Over

Repurposing the same content to multiple social media channels just doesn’t cut it anymore. Content needs to be responsive and made specifically for the platform it is posted on to generate a great response. 50% of companies have content marketing strategies which will undoubtedly rise for 2014. Get on board now, or risk being left behind.


advertising-on-facebook.jpg
 

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net / Sujin Jetkasettakorn

 

3. Pay to Play

With Facebook's ever decreasing organic reach and Google+'s and Instagram's new sponsored posts, it seems like the only way to get in front of customers is to purchase advertising.

 

The way things are going, major social networks will slowly introduce special features to paying customers, leaving all other users behind. This increased pressure on companies will hit hardest on small businesses, but this is where the old saying "you have to spend money to make money" comes in.

 

4. Niche Sites are on the Rise

While the bigger social media channels like Facebook and Twitter are making it harder to be found organically, niche sites are proving themselves especially valuable in getting in front of customers. These sites also come with the added benefit of being able to hyper-target demographics while remaining affordable for small businesses.

 

5. Spontaneous Social Media

Whether or not you believe Snapchat is worth the $3 billion Facebook offered it, the writing is on the wall: there is a market for ephemeral networks, where content is only temporary, vanishing only seconds after it's received. Why do teens love Snapchat? We asked this question to our own teen blogger, Rhea Creo?, who answered that the true value of Snapchat lies within its privacy.

 

This type of spontaneous social media is fun and feels a lot like real-life interaction where ideas are free flowing. You don't have to necessarily worry about having your life being recorded in stone and then broadcasted to the world, something that has mass appeal to today's younger generation who have already fled Facebook.

 

social-media-strategies.jpg
 

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net / emptyglass

 

 

6. Go Mobile or Go Home

When is the last time you went anywhere without your phone? With mobile devices now surpassing PCs in online retail, the mobile revolution is in full swing. More than ever, mobile optimized content needs to take top priority in order to reach consumers. 


 

By Katie Knoll

8/19/2014 9:29 AMAnthony NovotneTop 6 Social Media Predictions for 2014
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social media.jpg

 

A CRISIS CAN START IN SECONDS​

 

We’ve all seen a mistake made on social media quickly take on a life of its own, ultimately resulting in a full blown crisis situation. Whether you’re an individual or an enterprise-level corporation, there are some key steps that must be thoroughly planned out before hand to bring a crisis under control.

 


 

BEFORE THE CRISIS

 

Before a social media crisis hits, a company needs to have a crisis mitigation plan in place. 
This includes who will respond within the organization, what the response will be and when the response will happen.

Companies should connect with influencers from a wide variety of social circles to help mitigate the crisis, if/when it occurs.

 


 

AS THE STORM COMES

 

MONITOR

 

Before a social media post becomes a viral PR nightmare, consider monitoring the message for real-time feedback on the public’s response. Having the ability to edit your message before it gathers steam will ultimately save you a lot of grief.


 

APOLOGIZE. DON'T DELETE

 

It will be difficult, but it’s better to own up to a mistake than to ignore it or worse, delete the offending post.

Quickly tweet an apology or if you need more time, state you will have more to say shortly.


 

CONNECT WITH INFLUENCERS

 

Influencers from different social circles will come in handy right now. If you have developed a relationship with them in the past, they will be able to help you in your time of need.

Connect with the social media folks who will be the most influential in calming the storm.

 


 

GET IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA

 

Create a video apology from a leader in the organization to showcase how serious you take the issue. Mention what happened and how you will fix it to help restore the public’s faith.

 

No one intends for a social media blunder and it may take some time to get plan organized, but having a solid plan of action will save you from a public relations nightmare if and when it occurs.

 

In late November 2013, Target revealed a massive security breach occurred that resulted in millions of compromised customer credit cards. Target handled the breach as well as they could by immediately reacting and posting a video online​ to show how they were resolving the situation.

 

 

 

 

LOOK FORWARD

 

You will still have some lingering public resentment, but if you follow these steps, the company’s reputation with the public will heal over time. Apologizes and countermeasures must be communicated to the public to begin to mend the relationship.

 

This may not be enough for some customers, but you can solve this by taking the conversation offline, essentially controlling the conversation.

 

Never get upset. The purpose of taking the conversation offline is to have your organization address any remaining issues out of the spotlight.​

8/19/2014 9:23 AMAnthony NovotneYou're 1 Tweet Away From a Social Media Crisis
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Donate Now

This week Facebook announced the roll out of a new feature called Donate, allowing users to contribute directly to nonprofits through Facebook. 19 nonprofit partners will be the first to display the Donate Now button at the top of their Facebook Pages and bottom of their News Feed posts.

facebook donate.jpg 

DonorsChoose.org, Boys and Girls Club of America, World Wildlife Fund, UNICEF, the Red Cross, Water.org and several other nonprofits are among the first who'll get to try out the new Donate button. Only a handful of organizations were chosen, but Facebook plans to open the feature to additional nonprofits who apply on their website.

 

This will greatly help nonprofits who were once forced to send donors away from Facebook and their friends. Facebook conveniently added a popup donate button at the top of the user's page which is expected to dramatically increase conversion rates meaning more funds for causes.

 

Nonprofits will also benefit through Facebook's viral reach when donators share the call for donations with friends. "…With a community of over one billion people on Facebook, every local cause can become a global one — and every global cause can become a personal movement," said Facebook in their recent press release.

 

Not only will nonprofits have a chance to go viral, but Facebook has promised to cover all credit card processing fees, ensuring that charities receive 100% of the donation. Seems like Facebook is genuinely doing the right thing and is determined to help the causes of these nonprofits. Who would have thought corporations aren't all pure evil?

 

Facebook-Adds-Donate-Button.png
 

The Security Question

 

The only downside to this great new addition is that Facebook will now store your credit card information. A scary thought in this day and age when security breaches and leaks are constantly in the headlines. One workaround is to make sure to remove your credit card information under your payment account settings.

 

While the donate button is a fantastic addition to any nonprofit's cause, it also indirectly helps Facebook business by storing credit card information in their autofill system, making all purchases much easier. Facebook is itching to catchup with ecommerce giants like Amazon and app store owners like Google and iTunes. With the new Donate Button rollout, it finally gives them an additional edge that Facebook Gifts and in-game purchases never could.

 

Pure evil? Definitely not, but don't hold your breath for future Facebook announcements making it even easier for advertisers to get into your wallet.


 

By: Katie Knoll

8/18/2014 5:32 PMAnthony NovotneFacebook Reveals Donate Button to Help Charities, but is There a Security Issue?
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Xelleration has writers all across the world that will be contributing articles to our blog. Rhea, a 17-year-old teenager from Australia, gives her perspective on social media trends for teens.

 

New technology, new social media websites, and new apps are driving a massive change in the social media world. Social media no longer means sitting by a computer to interact with friends; it can now be done anywhere, anytime, with 4g internet, and many apps that only allow for users to access it via their smartphones.

 

Teens Dropping Facebook 

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

For me, the app that comes straight to mind is Snapchat, which I absolutely CANNOT live without! I remember a time when I was ridiculed by parents and older g?enerations in my family for using Twitter. They found it completely absurd that I would want to post every detail of my life on the internet for people to know. I’m sure many other people my age got the same sort of nagging and criticism, which we couldn’t shake off. 
 
A Better Alternative

Well hey, we found a new alternative in the form of Snapchat. This app is just genius in my opinion. It allows us to send photos to one another for a maximum of ten seconds, after which it gets miraculously deleted, never to be seen again (unless of course you screenshot the image). But apart from that, this app is the answer to all those lectures we had about posting photos on Facebook and how it could ruin our career or embarrass us if they were to be found years from now. You know the rest…

 

Such apps are driving a radical change in social media and even Facebook is intimidated now. Facebook is very interested in Snapchat because more of its users are using the service from smartphones, where messaging is becoming more popular. In fact, Facebook recently pledged $3 Billion to buy Snapchat after surveys showed that teenagers were simply getting bored with Facebook. They were unsuccessful, but it shows how serious Facebook is in trying to reach teenagers. I guess no one wants to post photos that can possibly pose a threat to us later on in life, if they were to be dug back up by someone. We want a way of sharing instant photos with no consequences and well, Snapchat allows us that.?

teens-leave-facebook-for-snapchat.jpg 

I’ve been speaking to a few of my Aussie friends about their views on Snapchat. The general consensus I got was that people are using Snapchat for the convenience. They know that the photo they send is gone forever. Well not always if you think about the good ol’ screenshot, but I think most of us are willing to take the risk. Others use it just for entertainment; it’s a fun way to send your friends your photos. It’s almost like a game that allows you an easy way to keep in touch with people through pictures.

 

Another question I ask some of my friends was whether they were using Snapchat, as another alternative to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram? Or do they still use them as well? Many said no, they weren’t moving away from either of those sites. Some said they had begun moving away from Twitter since Instagram offers them the same thing, but just with a photo, making things much more interesting. My friends all said that they use Snapchat as an alternative to Instagram when they needed to send those embarrassing photos to a few select friends, which you definitely don’t want to last for more than a few seconds. Snapchat’s got everything covered if you ask me! Now all they have to do is fix the screenshot option and they’ve got the teen world in the palm of their hands.

 

Lastly, I asked the Aussies if Snapchat would still be a popular choice to them if ads began popping up. 90% said no, because they viewed Snapchat as a quick and easy app and ads would just make it really annoying. There was, however, the ten percent who really didn’t mind it and they said a couple of ads here and there would not bother them much.

 

Social media is constantly changing and growing in order to match new trends. For teens, Facebook has become too risky and overwhelmed with adults to give teenagers the privacy and social freedom that they desire.

 

The $3 Billion Audience

Facebook’s $3 billion offer to buy Snapchat shows just how much they value the importance of engaging the teenage audience. There is a trend forming of more 'Snapchat type of apps' possibly coming. Recently 18 year old Nick D'Alosio, founder of Summly, spoke about why Snapchat is so popular.?

summly.png 

“If I’m sending a text message to my friend that’s in the moment that I don’t necessarily want someone to read back to me in five years,” D’Aloisio commented, “Snapchat is more natural as a private interaction.” (thenextweb.com)

 

Snapchat looks to be more than a fad and for companies targeting teens and college students, there is a captive audience there, the trick is to connect with them in seconds.?

 

By Rhea/Anthony Novotne

8/18/2014 5:15 PMAnthony NovotneWhy Teens are Dropping Facebook for Snapchat: A Teen's Perspective
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youtube hits.jpg 

 

Meet Rob Bliss​, the creator of videos like the Lip Dub Grand Rapids and Veteran Makeover. Both videos have garnered over 20 million hits between just these two videos. We had the opportunity to interview him via email and he was able to give us some insight into how he made videos that went viral.

 

"What social media sites have had the best response for a video to go viral? Where do users mostly come from to Youtube? Facebook, Reddit, Twitter?"

    

Reddit is hands down the biggest launchpad for viral videos, guaranteed. Many of my videos have launched because of that website, and the latest veteran transformation video is no different. It really is the front page of the Internet. Everyone from television producers to news websites like Gawker is watching Reddit 24/7 and frequently pull stories off of Reddit. 

   
I don't think users come from any one place in particular to YouTube. Frequently with viral videos, I've seen this progression:
 

  -Reddit Influential online media companies (Huffington Post, Gawker, Buzzfeed) 

  -The social media savvy general public/national news organizations 

  -The public at large 

 

It's very much so like a food chain.

 

       Reddit is hands down the biggest launch pad for viral videos, guaranteed.    

     -  Rob Bliss

 

 

"Which day is the best to release a viral video?"

  
 

I like Monday-Thursday, but it depends on the situation. For example our veteran video was tying in with Veteran's Day, which falls on Monday. We launched it on Reddit on Thursday, which hit the sweet spot of being relevant for Veteran's Day but having enough time to build momentum leading up to the holiday. 

   
Normally I would prefer a release on Monday or Tuesday to give the video time to reach national news organizations like Good Morning America. A Thursday release might be too close to Friday, leaving it to die out over the weekend.
  
 

"Data shows that Monday or Tuesday is the best time to release new content, especially around 8am EST. Do you use different strategies for releasing of content, tweets?"

 

I fully agree that those are the best times. Sometimes I like to do a soft release to just my own Facebook/Twitter friends to get a sense of how they respond to it, which is important for how I'll be positioning the video. 

 

"For users who want to make a viral video, what advice would you have for them?"

I cannot stress this enough: You must make an emotional connection with the viewer. 


The stronger their response, the stronger your chances of the video going viral. It doesn't matter if it's making them laugh, cry, smile, get angry, you have to emotionally connect. Start with an idea that is going to do just that and use that as the foundation, never losing sight of that goal. The quality of your camera, your pretty looking scenes, etc. none of that matters nearly as much.

After that, I would caution directors to keep it short, and keep the appeal broad. Be aware of national trends, think more about what your video is adding to the world (and why people would want to share it) than thinking only of yourself and your desire for success.

And lastly, think about the story. My biggest successes always had great stories behind them, which is likely why they received the most news coverage. If someone wrote a news story about your video, would you want to read about it?

News organizations tell your story not because they like you, but because they think their viewers will, so give them good reason to believe it's worth their time.

 

 

      You must make an emotional connection with the viewer.      

     - How to go viral      

 

Two videos that I'm particularly proud of would be:

"The Grand Rapids Lip Dub"

 

In 2011, Grand Rapids was named a "dying city" by Newsweek magazine. This video was in response to that article, showing just how lively this city was. Filmed start to finish with no editing, multiple cameras, etc. this video was an organizational monstrosity. We had a crew of around 50 people participating, a $40,000 budget (with most everyone volunteering), and had over half a year of planning to make it all possible. I believe that this video had great success outside of the quality of the video because of the national trends at play: 

 

  -America was recovering from a major recession

  -A lot of people are pessimistic about the future of the United States.

  -Then, here comes this story about heartland America fighting back against an "elitist" news organization and everyone else who doesn't believe in the American Dream.

 

There's so much meat on that story, and it tells a story and comments on an entire nation without ever having to say a word.

 

Veteran Makeover 2013

 

We wanted to fundraise for a local non-profit and this one in particular has been a solid community member for over half a century. 

   
We also saw an opportunity in timing with Veteran's Day to do a piece that could run parallel to that national story. Once Degage Ministries and I connected, they helped find the perfect partner of someone who would be passionate about making this project possible, trying to better themselves, and was a homeless veteran.

I spent days with Jim setting him up with meetings with the video partners, and just learning more about this life. It was incredible learning about the lives of these people, and the enormous challenges.

   
For example, he thought he left his backpack at a gas station, and it was going to take him 2.5 hours to get there and back and find out.

I looked up the gas station on my phone, and had the answer for him in two minutes without having to take a single step.

Who doesn't believe in the American Dream?

Note: Rob further on went to say he didn't think a video would change Jim's life around, but it did bring attention to the plight of the challenges that homeless people face.

Next Steps

  

Rob has a proven track record and he has shared a few tidbits with us. Whether you're making a Vine or a social media video, there are certain strategies that go into making a viral video. There is quite a bit of planning and execution that goes into making a successful video. 

   
We use a lean design methodology to plan and execute viral content and use data to see how our content is doing. From planning the message to targeting the right audience we take an analytical approach to social media. To find out more please contact us at info@xelleration.com.

 

​By Faheem Gill
8/18/2014 4:56 PMAnthony NovotneHow to Get 25 Million Hits on Youtube with a Handful of Videos
25
  
SharePoint Approved0

 

SharePoint.jpg 

There are TONS of SharePoint web parts that you can download, so many that it can feel overwhelming at times. Which ones are truly the best of the best? We talked to our resident SharePoint expert, Behzad, to find out which SharePoint web parts are a cut above the rest.  


  1.     1. Picture Menu Web Part 

SharePoint Picture Menu Web Part 

 

Features: This Picture Menu Web Part allows you to quickly set up a menu with customizable icons based on a SharePoint picture library or list. It comes fully loaded with more than 100 "Metro" style icons, so rest assured they'll fit your site's theme.   

 

This web part is a fast and easy way to bring some style and organization to your SharePoint Site. The Picture Menu is compatible with pretty much every SharePoint version out there (Windows SharePoint Services V3, MOSS 2007, SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013). 

 

More Info: Picture Menu Web Part 

 

2. Banner Rotator Web Part 

SharePoint Banner Web Part    

 

Features: This web part is a great way to illustrate your brand within an intranet or even on your organization's website. Show off awards, get creative with announcements and new blog posts - the uses are endless with this web part.

 

Best of all, this banner rotator is very customizable and is easy to setup with a SharePoint picture library. This web part is compatible with Windows SharePoint Services V3, MOSS 2007, SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013.

 

More Info: Banner Rotator Web Part

 

3. Color Calendar Web Part 

SharePoint Color Calendar Web Part  

 

Features: The Color Calendar Web Part is a simple and easy way to make sure all your appointments are organized and where they need to be. This web part not only makes your life easier, but it's easy to use and setup within SharePoint.

 fgh

It gives you multiple options to filter your appohfdhfghintments and allows just about any customization under the sun. This web part also works with multiple versions of SharePoint (Windows SharePoint Services V3, MOSS 2007, SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013). 

 

More Info: Color Calendar hdgfWeb Part

   

4. SharePoint Metro Grid Web Part

SharePoint Metro Grid Web Part  

Features: This web part is a great addition to any SharePoint site and displays links in a Metro Tile Grid format, just like in Windows 8. It's a flexible and highly customizable web part that allows you to stick any picture and text/links within its tiles.   

 

Its eye catching style is a great way to showcase great content within your organization and comes fully loaded with 251 ready-to-go icons. Drag, drop and sort the tiles to fit your needs and of course, this Web Part is compatible with all current versions of SharePoint.

 

More Info: SharePoint Metro Grid Web Part


 

5. Twitter Web Part 

Free Twitter Web Part  

 

Why it's great: Looking to show the Twitter updates from your organization right on your SharePoint site? Look no further because this free Twitter web part displays the tweets of any Twitter account or Twitter search. Customize the look and feel to match your site's theme and stay updated which new tweets at regular intervals (the description doesn't go into specifics).

 

Another great feature is that you can tweet directly from the web part, so you can send updates in real time right inside of SharePoint. Bonus points for this Web Part since it also works for public facing sites.

 

More Info: Twitter Web Part


 

By Katie Knoll

8/18/2014 4:49 PMAnthony Novotne5 Free SharePoint Web Parts You’ll Love
24
  
Yammer Approved0


yammer.jpg    

While everyone agrees that a social workplace is essential for keeping up in today's fast-paced environment, no one seems to know exactly what to do to achieve it. 

 

What exactly is the secret sauce to driving business value with Yammer, you ask? Well let's get started.    
 

If You're Not Planning Ahead, You're Doing It Wrong

Going social can ultimately revolutionize the way you and your company works, but finding out where to start is one of the hardest steps. An easy way to get started is by making a list of what you want to accomplish:

 

    -Do you want to find an easier way to brainstorm?

    -Manage projects more efficiently?

    -Share and track important information within your company?

    -Collaborate with external partners or customers?

 

Whatever it is you're hoping to accomplish, write it down and keep the ideas flowing.

 

Once you have an idea about what you want to accomplish, think about who can help. Add those people who need to be involved to your list.

 

    -Do you need HR's help?

    -Marketing?

    -Outside Partners?

 

You're almost there, now just place a time frame on your goals to create a roadmap of your social progress. Stay on top of these goals and there's no way you won't succeed.

 

The Time is Now, Let's Implement!  

Now that you have a solid plan, it's time to put it into action. 

 

Once you've begin to use Yammer, introduce incentives to keep your team posting and sharing. A great way to do this is to offer rewards for top contributors or thought leaders. You can even make good use out of Yammer's praise system by incorporating it into yearly reviews.

 

Another surefire way to make sure your team is using Yammer is to get your CEO involved

 

Place yourself in your team's shoes. How does it look if top management blows off the new system? Not good. With the CEO on board, it sends a message that going social is a priority and will soon be ingrained in the workplace culture. 

 

Make it fun. Yammer is a fun way to get work done, so make sure you keep that in mind when you're pushing your strategy. By keeping it light and staying on topic, you'll be able to get more out of your top contributors.

 

Measure, Evaluate, and Keep on Improving

Take a step back, evaluate and never stop improving your strategy. By identifying what worked and what didn't, you can narrow down and refine your strategy until your goals are achieved. 

 

Keep in mind that organic growth and adoption are two of the best ways to keep users engaged long-term. Growth will come easily as long as you stay consistent and keep on posting. When your whole team's on board, it's easy to adopt a new technology.

Yammer Strategy

 

Key Secret Sauce Ingredients

  • Identify and quantify what your company wants to achieve
  • Get the CEO on board
  • Provide rewards for top community contributors
  • Make it fun
  • Find out what you did right and stick with it
  • Stay consistent and keep on posting

 

How does your business use Yammer? Share with us in the comments!

 

By Katie Knoll

8/18/2014 4:37 PMAnthony NovotneHow to Revolutionize your Business with a Winning Yammer Strategy
23
  
SharePoint Approved0

​​SharePoint 2013 Cloud  

 

1. Same features, less hassle.

 

A great thing about the cloud enabled SharePoint is that most of the features and capabilities are in tacked, as well as the added bonus that you'll be able to access SharePoint from an extranet connection. Wherever you're going, you can rest assured that you'll still be able to touch base with your team or department via SharePoint and Office 365.

Although you will lose some of the native features of SharePoint using the cloud, you can easily deploy SharePoint 2013 with Windows Azure to get all the same features and functionality that you know and love. 

 

2.  SharePoint is available on your PC, tablet, and smartphone.

With the SharePoint app, you'll never miss a beat when you're on the road. With these mobile capabilities, you'll be able to get more done and have complete to all the documents you need to be productive from virtually anywhere.


3.  Yam it up with Yammer from anywhere.

 

With SharePoint, you can still easily access your organization's Yammer using in the cloud. If privacy concerns over confidential data are at the top of your list, there's an "opt-out" option designed specifically for you. You can also opt for a hybrid solution to run SharePoint "on-prem" and Yammer in the cloud.

 

If you're not familiar with Yammer, it's a social media platform made specifically for businesses to promote team collaboration and helps manage your documents. With an easy to use mobile app, you can check out what you team is working on from practically anywhere.

By Ali Kazmi

8/18/2014 4:35 PMAnthony Novotne3 Reasons to Move SharePoint into the Cloud
22
  
SharePoint Pending0

event calendar.jpg

Calendars in SharePoint 2013 are great for tracking company-wide events, time off schedules, tradeshows, and more. In this short tutorial, we’ll look at the calendar app in SharePoint 2013 and how to make one single, color-coded calendar to track events.

 

MAKING A CALENDAR IN SHAREPOINT 2013

 

  1. Add the calendar app to the page you want the calendar to go on.

 

sharepoint tutorial

   

       2. Click advanced option and check the Share Team Members Schedules box.

 

Sharepoint 2013 calendar
 

3.   Enter a name and description for your calendar and click Create.

4.   To insert the calendar on your site, click Home, go to the Edit Settings menu and select Edit Page.

5.   Insert the calendar where you want it on the page by clicking the Insert tab and app part.

 

calendar tutorial sharepoint
 

6.  Click on your calendar to insert and congrats, you now have a calendar on your team site!

 

CREATING A COLORED CALENDAR OVERLAY

 

1.  When you’re viewing your calendar, click the Calendar tab and then click Calendars Overlay to reach the Calendar Overlay Settings.

Sharepoint Calendar overlay 

 

2.  Click New Calendar to add a new Calendar.

 

3.  Select a name for the Task List or other Calendar List that you want the data to pull from. Next assign a Color to the item in calendar view and add the Web URL for your list. Add a List Type and check Always Show to keep all your calendars visible.

sharepoint 2013 color calendar
 

4.  Complete these steps for all your calendars and you’ll come up with a great, color-coded calendar to track everything that’s going on in your company. 


Color coded Sharepoint calendar
 

By Katie Knoll
8/18/2014 4:17 PMAnthony NovotneOK
21
  
Yammer Approved0

Recognize is a Yammer app that helps motivate the workplace with professional social recognition since just saying "thanks" over an email couldn't be more boring. Colleagues can send & share recognitions in the form of badges to other coworkers and team members from their organization. And best of all, it's free!

 
Login to Begin
 
recognize.jpg 

Start in Yammer and go to "Apps" and find the Recognize app.
 
Recognize gives you the option of creating your own account or logging in with either Yammer or Google. Click the "Login with Yammer" button and you will have all your profile information already filled out (if you already have completed it in Yammer of course).
 
A Badge of Honor
  
recognize badge

To start sending out praises for a job well done, click the "Recognize" button on the top left corner. They have loads of great badges to choose from.
 
recognize popularity

Choose you who want to receive the badge by entering either an email address or typing in a name and add a short message why you're recognizing this person and you're off! Recognize also recently announced that you can add multiple recipients which is a great option for highlighting a specific team or department.
 
But How Does it Work With Yammer?
 
Head over to Yammer? and you'll see that Recognize events are populated in Yammer's recent activity feed so the whole company will know who has been rewarded for what.
 
Yammer feed

Click the Yammer icon to share your badge on Yammer, even down to the department level. Call out your coworkers by mentioning them in the status message or in the "notify specific people" section. Leaving a comment on a recognition also shows up on Yammer's feed which gives you even more reason for leaving a thank you.
 
share to Yammer

Climb to the Top of the Leaderboard
 
recognize on Yammer


Recognize also has a great leaderboard feature that provides some stats. Click the "reports" button on the top left and check out the top scoring employees and teams using recognize.
 
All in all, Recognize is a great Yammer app that celebrates greatness and helps automate performance reviews. Check it out at http://recognizeapp.com/.
 
 
By Katie Knoll
 
Yammer-Community-Group-CTA-Banner.jpg 
8/18/2014 1:01 PMAnthony NovotneRecognize and Yammer’s New Take on “Thank You”
20
  
SharePoint Approved0

The long-awaited addition to SharePoint 2013 has finally arrived! With the option of now being able to use Site Templates your organization can easily build out project sites, assign and delegate tasks to people in your organization, store and manage documents and track team progress on a common calendar. 

 
Make Tasks Work for You
 
One of the most impressive additions is the New Tasks list template. This feature allows the creation of subtasks and the ability to assign them to almost anyone in your organization. Before this update, it was painstakingly hard to manage and didn't include a general overview page. 
 
Enter the new Tasks list template which holds all your information in one place using a single view.
 
 
SharePoint Tasks.jpg
 
 
It's pretty much the same view you will see inside Microsoft Project Professional but, with the welcome addition of a Timeline view (found on top of the list).
 
SharePoint 2013 makes working with Tasks is easy by using the OOTB inline edit list option:
 
SharePoint-2013-Templates

 
Tackle Your Tasks in SharePoint 2013
 
Using the Ribbon feature, you can easily indent and move subtasks up and down or even expand and collapse tasks when needed:
 
SharePoint-workspace
The Timeline tab allows you various options like highlighting high-importance tasks:
 
SharePoint-document-management 
 
Other Great Features You Should be Using
 

-Add or edit OneNote notes directly in your browser using SharePoint's Notebook.

-Auto transitions between Time Views and Tasks Details view is another great feature that stores all your tasks in one place and switch views at any time. A great way to see what and when tasks are due!

SharePoint-2013-features
There's a lot of great new features in SharePoint 2013, but how do you know which one is right for your organization?
 
Check out our blog for more SharePoint How To's and newest updates or call Xelleration today for a free consultation for customized solution that fits your needs: (949) 417-2024
 
By Irfan Malik
 
SharePoint MVP, Enthusiast and Practice Manager
8/18/2014 12:53 PMAnthony NovotneNew in SharePoint 2013: The Project Site Template
19
  
SharePoint Approved0

sharepoint profile.jpg

In this new social age, it's crucial to know what's happening the moment it's happening. Why should what's happening in your business be any different? Let's take a look at the top 5 benefits of going social with SharePoint 2013.

 

 sharepoint social

 

1. SharePoint HelpsConnect Employees

 

Give your employees a voice in the company and let them feel recognized. SharePoint connects employees with others, from their peers all the way to the C-level executives. Identify shared interests and create networks of people to take your team out of their comfort zones. This environment of sharing promotes collaboration and innovation within the organization.

 

 sharepoint wiki

 

2. Share More Information Better

 

Onboarding new employees is easy in SharePoint. Introduce your employees to an in-depth view of your company using a wiki page or blog posting. Store your organization's unstated knowledge to encourage informal learning and sharing tips with others. This also helps reduce the need of formal training and continuous support from your overworked IT guy.

SharePoint 2013 introduces the new concept of sharing for all document libraries. The My Site document library eases the process of collaborating with others and sets restrictions on who can see what content. With the new My Site, you can see at a glance what your co-workers are sharing and with whom.

 

SharePoint document management 


3. Document Management is Easy

 

SharePoint ensures that you'll have access to every one of your documents during that 4 hour flight. Managed, govern, share, and move your content in the My Site document library to reduce clutter stored in other systems, like email or a personal drive. With all the documents you need at your fingertips, SharePoint 2013 gives users the flexibility to work both online and offline.

 

Sharepoint workspace
 

4. Community Sites Promote Collaboration

 

  • Build a community site for new employees, your Marketing department, brainstorming your new website or all of the above! Enable your team to share and find resources amongst themselves all in one place. Community Sites can be used in 2 ways:
  • Stand-Alone: Creating a stand-alone community makes discussions and collaboration easy among departments and team members. Community categories also helps keep things organized.
  • Community Features: Activate community features across your SharePoint site. Allow moderation, membership and reputation functionality across your portal and reward top contributors with the reputation system, gifted badges, likes and best replies.

 

      my site sharepoint

 

5. Stay in the Loop with Newsfeed

 

Post pictures, like comments, follow important key players in your organization, and mention and tag other users in posts all within SharePoint. Just like Twitter and mostly recently Facebook, My Site makes it easy to track entire discussions using hashtags. The ability to customize your newsfeed makes it easy to track important discussions with your team or higher-level management. 


 

       By Katie Knoll

8/18/2014 12:45 PMAnthony NovotneTop 5 Benefits of Social Sharing with SharePoint
18
  
Yammer Approved0

Google-vs-yammer.jpg


The ability of employees to effectively communicate in their organization through online collaboration activities is becoming more important in today’s technological world. In order to accomplish this process, internal social media platforms have become a very valuable resource to help facilitate this development.

As the need for these social platforms continues to make it’s way though business organizations, it has also made its way into many different industries, including education.

Yammer and Google Classroom are two programs that are being used to facilitate learning, communication, and collaboration for classrooms in K-12th and up through higher education.  

As both platforms continue to push their way into the education sector, let’s take a look at what they have to offer.

Yammer

Yammer is a platform that has been around since 2008, it’s a social network that helps people connect with the right people, share information, and manage projects fast.​

Yammer-Education.jpg


Pros:

  •  Diffuses communication silos. Yammer allows students and faculty to communicate across departments and  campuses
  • Faculty can use Yammer to increase discussions and create deeper connections with students
  • Students can make connections with other programs and increase their networking with alumni
  • Yammer is a knowledge repository. Everything on Yammer is searchable within its network, so content can be saved to help others find answers and information
  • Enhances communication- teachers can send announcements and questions instantly to students
  • Students can post to the news feed so they can help classmates out with any questions
  • Yammer goes through an iteration process on a weekly basis to improve and update features based on feedback
 
Cons:
 
  • Lacks grade posting system for each individual unless sending through a private message
 

One example of Yammer in education comes from Penn State.  ​The Penn State University’s webpage for its Yammer network has the quote:

“Yammer’s opened up lines of communication otherwise impossible to have happen at a university of our scale. I don’t know what someone down the hall is doing let alone 2 or 3 miles away across campus. Yammer has enabled me to not only let others know what I’m working on but brought my colleagues closer together to make sure we aren’t reinventing the wheel when it comes to tackling IT problems” (Why Yammer, 2013).

By joining Yammer, students and teachers can create secure groups where they can discuss, collaborate, brainstorm ideas, share files and more all in a private setting that allows for quick communication and feedback. Students can post questions which teachers and other students can respond too as well. 

This can very helpful around finals when students are waiting for a response from their teacher.  Students can now get an immediate response to their questions at any time with help from others.

Google Classroom

Google Classroom was just launched in beta mode. It’s designed to help teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and communicate with their classes with ease.


Google-Classroom.png

Photo source: googleblog.blogspot.com
 
Pros:
  • Takes a short time to set up. Students can be added by the teacher and given a code to join their class
  • Teachers can create, review and grade assignments in one place, which saves time
  • It improves organization- the assignments can be seen by the students and class materials are automatically placed into Google Drive folders
  • Communication is enhanced by instant announcements and questions
  • Students can post to the stream so they can help classmates out with any questions

Cons: 
  • Currently you can only apply for a preview
  • It’s in beta mode

Overall, it seems that Google Classroom has a lot of features that will be helpful for students and in most instances, only when the application is online. The benefits ensure that users can format and create their documents in a very minimalistic manner. However, a lot of functionality isn’t quite like the ones you would find with the normal day-to-day user experience, this may require some new adaptation to a different interface.


What Should You Choose?

Both Yammer and Google Classroom are aimed at creating a tool that allows students and teachers to collaborate, communicate, organize assignments, and provide efficient feedback.  While Google Classroom seems to offer a lot of great features for education it is still only available in preview mode, so it is limited at this point. On the other hand, Microsoft’s Yammer has been around for years and has already started to really move its way into the education area. The already fully functional user interface is being positively adopted by all sorts of institutions.

Still in a predicament? The decision can be a lot simpler than you think. The fundamentals of both are slightly similar, however, it all ties down to who you support and what systems supports you. Does the tool you use for an entire educational establishment provide the service to make communication simple, fun and reliable? 

As for any important decision, it is smart to be informed so you can be strategic in your choices.  The truth is there are pros and cons to all platforms and products in the market. Ultimately, it’s important to evaluate what’s right for each school, choose a direction, and be strategic in implementing your choice to ensure success. 

By Anthony Novotne & Ali Kazmi


8/11/2014 5:24 PMKatie KnollYammer vs Google Classroom: Using Social Technology in Education
17
  
Yammer Approved0

Yammer-Jive-Communication.jpg

Image courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net/franky242
Is your company ready to get social? Enterprise social platforms like Yammer and Jive have continued to grow, gain adoption, and transform the way thousands of companies do business. These enterprise social platforms have helped cut down on emails, miscommunication, connect everyone in the organ​​​​ization to improve internal communication and more.
These days choosing an enterprise social platform can be a challenge. There are several platforms out there that all promise to deliver excellent features that can increase communication and productivity. 
Yammer and Jive are two popular enterprise social platforms on the market today that empower employees to be more productive and successful.​​
On the surface the two platforms have similar UI's as you can see from the screenshots below. This allows individuals on both platforms easy access, a quick learning curve, and an environment that reponds intuitively to the users.

Jive:​

jive-activity.png 

​​​​​Image courtesy of docs.jivesoftware.com


 

​​Yammer:

yammer-about.png

Image courtesy of Yammer.com
 
So which is better? Upon first glance, finding the features that differentiate each can be difficult.  They both allow collaboration, communication, file sharing and more. After a full breakdown of each, the obvious differences become more apparent and we can see why Yammer has begun to grow so quickly.
In comparing the features and functionality, Yammer and Jive can serve a lot of similar purposes for enterprise social, however, if an organization is already utilizing a lot of the Microsoft stack then this will be a great addition to enhance it all. Although both platforms have mostly parallel functionality they are some differences, Yammer would benefit an organization that encourages spontaneous teamwork due to the collaborative interface whereas Jive is more segregated and diverse. Yammer’s cost is cheaper than Jive, Yammer costs $3- $8 per user/per month depending on if you would like Exchange online as well, and Jive costs $12- $18 per user/ per month.
It’s quite easy to see Yammer has a great value and can be the better tool for social enterprise. As an example, if you take the lowest cost from each platform for 100 users, the difference in cost over one year becomes noticeable.  Jive would cost $14,400 and Yammer would cost $3,600, so the difference being a savings of $10,800 if a company decided to choose Yammer over Jive. Imagine the cost savings if the user base is even higher.
Both these platforms provide a lot of the same functionality that continue to help companies transform the way they are doing business, but Yammer offers such a great value in terms of cost and its integration with so many Microsoft products that it makes it tough for any company to pass on. From high-growth startups to global organizations, over 400,000 leading businesses around the world are finding success with Yammer (Yammer.com).
 
 By Anthony Novotne and Ali Kazmi
 
Craving more Yammer tips? Join us on Linkedin!
yammer-community-group
8/8/2014 11:59 AMKatie KnollYammer vs. Jive: Which is a Better Social Enterprise Platform?
16
  
Yammer Approved0

Yammer-office365-Deployment.jpg  


 

The process of deploying and activating Yammer Enterprise requires some essential steps to get your Yammer Network up and running with the Office 365 integration.

Follow these steps from the Yammer Customer Success Center activation guide to help you activate your Yammer Enterprise Network.

1. Add a Company Domain

-You need access to your DNS hosting provider or domain registrar.

-If your company already has a Yammer Network, add that domain to Office 365 to upgrade the network to Enterprise.

-If your company is using SharePoint Sites, activate Yammer on a different domain.


 

2. Add Your Domain to Office 365

-Log into your Office 365 Admin Center then go to Domains > Add a domain.

-Verify the domain that you want for your Yammer network. Confirm that you own the domain by creating a record at your DNS hosting provider or domain registrar.

-Select Yammer or a combination with other Office 365 services.

-Update your DNS records using the provided record type details at your hosting provider or domain registrar to verify these services for Office 365.

-If this domain is your organization’s primary domain, change your default Office 365 domain from onmicrosoft.com to the company domain you just added. Go to Admin > Office 365, click your organization name in the upper-right corner, and then choose Default domain.


 

3. To Edit Your Global Admin Domain

In your Office 365 Admin Center, go to Office 365 then go to Users and Groups.

-On the Active Users page, select your user account, and then click on your Display Name.

-Go to the Details tab.

-Under the User Name field, select your company domain from the dropdown and click save.


 

4. Activate Your Yammer Enterprise Network

-In your Office 365 Admin Center, go to Dashboard.

-Select Included Services.

-Click Yes, activate Yammer Enterprise for my network.

-Click Activate Yammer Enterprise to move forward

-You have successfully activated your Yammer Network!


 

5. Log into Yammer

To complete syncing your admin role, log into Yammer or create an account if you don’t have one. Once you log in, your user should be Yammer Verified Admin.

-Add users in bulk from the Yammer Admin Center: