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Entries for July 2010

by Brett

By Brett Hill

When you sign up for an email service like Exchange Online, you’re probably planning on using your own domain name for signing in and for your email addresses. I can actually validate a domain in about 2 minutes or less, but there are a couple of things to know.

When you first signup for BPOS, you’re asked to provide a domain name. This is used to create a base domain like “myverycooldomainname.microsoftonline.com”. You’re issued a microsoftonline.com domain (sometimes called the Microsoft Online Default Routing Domain [or MSODRD for the real trivia geeks out there]) as it is certain to be unique to the Microsoft Online AD and you don’t have to immediately prove ownership. In this way Microsoft can immediately configure your BPOS account.

See the rest of the article here.

 

by host

Written By: Mike Blake, CIO for Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
Mike will describe why he made the decision to move to the cloud and why he chose BPOS to meet the needs of Hyatt's employees world-wide. Hyatt Hotels Corporation first began in 1957 when Jay Pritzker purchased the Hyatt House motel in Los Angeles. From that single motel, Hyatt Hotels Corporation has grown to worldwide portfolio of 434 properties and includes marquee brands such as Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency. Recently, Hyatt Hotels Corporation made the decision to move to the cloud for their productivity solution and chose Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) for 57,000 employees.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation had been looking at the cloud for quite some time before making the decision to move from our current solution, Lotus Notes. Our internal surveys showed that there was a lot of user dissatisfaction with Notes, and once I became the CIO of Hyatt, I decided that it was time to make the change. We needed a complete, next-generation cloud solution from a provider that could be a strategic partner to us.

Making the leap to the cloud was a big decision for Hyatt. We operate more than 400 properties worldwide, meaning IT must serve users around the world – as well as enable collaboration with a huge network of partners. The cloud seemed like the perfect opportunity for us to reduce the costs of operating such a distributed infrastructure as well as improve our ability to collaborate with partners and suppliers. We had heard a lot about security and privacy concerns as well as data sovereignty and control, but after we really began evaluating cloud solutions, we found that we could actually improve our security and privacy controls by moving to a single cloud-based provider globally and providers such as Microsoft provide rigorous protection protocols that in some areas exceeded our own.

The decision to use Microsoft BPOS was made after careful evaluation of competitive solutions offered by Google and IBM. We ultimately decided to go with Microsoft because of their proven track-record and commitment to the productivity category. We also expect to save upwards of 30% over our previous solution. This reduction in TCO appealed not only to me but to other members of the executive team who were part of the decision process including our CFO, COO and CMO.

BPOS provides a complete communications and collaboration solution to meet the needs of our 17,000 information workers. Given the nature of our business we have many employees who do not have regular access to a PC but still require access to email and other corporate materials. Microsoft offered a compelling way to connect our 'deskless' workers into the same system. With BPOS, 40,000 of these 'deskless' workers, front desk agents, hotel staff, and housekeeping personnel, will now have access to the same email system as the rest of our company.

Looking ahead, we will begin our transition to BPOS in August and be fully deployed by the end of the year. We anticipate many tangible benefits.

  • We expect to see better collaboration across Hyatt properties globally. For example, our group sales teams will be able to use SharePoint Online to collaborate on large deals. We think this will allow them to deliver a great, consistent experience to our customers. In addition to SharePoint Online, Exchange Online will be part of this mix. Our large customers do not use Google or IBM for email; they use Exchange too. This will make communications with them more efficient, ensuring that things like calendar requests and formatting just work. Lastly, our 17,000 information workers and 40,000 of our 'deskless' workers will now all be using the same email solution – Exchange Online – ensuring better collaboration and communication across properties and from corporate. Ultimately, we expect this to translate into a better sales experience and new revenue opportunities overall.
  • We expect to reduce total cost of ownership by 30% compared to our existing Lotus Notes system.
  • We expect to see improved employee satisfaction and adoption. Our people were not happy with Lotus Notes, and merely knowing that we are moving away from Lotus Notes to Exchange and Outlook has already created a good deal of excitement among our employees, who are anticipating a more positive and productive experience.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation is excited about this new partnership with Microsoft. At Hyatt we pride ourselves in being a top provider of vacation properties and a leader in the hospitality industry. To be a leader in our industry you need to carefully choose all providers – this includes our technology partners. Microsoft will help us bring Hyatt to the next level of service to our clients. We are excited to bring BPOS to our teams!

by host

This week in BPOS news is a recurring segment on the Microsoft Online Services Blog that covers news from all sectors of Cloud Computing and the Microsoft Online Services business suite known as Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS). You can read all past This Week in BPOS News segments here.

This week we take a look at two cloud computing stories including a Federal Government sector and more businesses turning to the cloud.

1. Microsoft, Google Vie to Sell U.S. Cloud Mail

A new front has opened in the battle between Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp.: selling Web-based email and other software to the federal government.”

It is no secret that Microsoft and Google have been competitors across several spaces including search, operating systems and browsers, but the competition that may be heating up the most is the battle for the Cloud. Google and Microsoft are both intense competitors that want a stake at being the Cloud service provider for the U.S. federal government wing called the General Services Administration or the GSA. There are around 15,000 employee email accounts up for grabs, which is a considerable purse for the victor.

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Both Microsoft and Google have to prove that they are worthy of housing and hosting the GSA’s important documents and emails in the cloud. There are strict certifications that need to be passed by both companies. This article from the Wall Street Journal outlines the problems that both companies need to resolve in order to become the front runner for this contract.

The GSA’s cloud opportunity has many news sources and interested cloud computing parties following closely. This is a big event that may help shape the future of cloud service providers and certification. Which company is right for this contract? Who should host the GSA’s cloud? Leave your comments below.

2. More Businesses Turn to Cloud

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This article walks the reader through a Mimecast survey that has recently found that more businesses are tuning to the cloud. More businesses are now using “some element of cloud computing.” More than half of enterprises from the survey have already started using to some form of the cloud, while 2/3rds of businesses are thinking of adopting cloud computing. There is one flag of caution that comes from this survey, cloud security concerns still remain.

Almost 2/3rds of survey takers think that cloud computing possess a potential security risk. About 3 out of 4 people said there is a “trade-off between cost and IT security.” While there is concern about cloud security, over half of the survey participants say that moving to the cloud has “actually improved security.”

You can read more about this great study taken by Mimecast here. What numbers stood out to you? Were you surprised by any part of the survey results? Are you moving to the cloud? Do you have security concerns? Leave a comment below.

Did you see a story you want to share with us? Let us know what other topics you’d like to see. You can comment on this blog post or send an email to our community mailbox. Follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.

by host

IT Administrators are familiar with the complaints. “Outlook seems sluggish.” “Why does it take so long to sort items in my inbox?”

 

If these complaints from your users sound familiar, the culprit may be too many items in a folder.

 

For users running Microsoft Office Outlook in cached mode, the problem generally manifests itself in sluggishness of the client, as Outlook sifts through large amounts of data, resulting in a dissatisfactory e-mail experience for users.

 

So how many items are too many items in a folder?  Really, from an Exchange best practice point of view, you don’t want to see more than 20,000 messages in a single folder. And that is particularly true for a critical path folder, including the Inbox, Contacts, Deleted Items, Calendar, or Sent Items folders.

 

The immediate question, what steps can a user with a large number of items in their mailbox take to reduce his item count?  The easiest is solution is to enable Auto Archive in Outlook. 

 

As an IT Administrator, you can encourage your users to enable Auto Archiving. The Microsoft Support Knowledgebase provides an article with instructions for setting up Auto Archiving in Outlook 2010, 2007, and 2003.

 

You also might want to implement a mail retention policy for your organization, which will auto delete items that are older than the limit in the policy. You can open a support request with Microsoft Online Services Technical Support to set up a retention policy for your organization.

by Brett

One of SharePoint Online’s most useful features is the ability to check in and check out documents. This feature works automatically with Microsoft Office so you can open a document stored in a document library on SharePoint Online, check out the document, work on it offline, then check it back in. Other’s will see the document is checked out (as shown with the green arrow attached to the word document as shown below) and have the option to download a read-only version.

Click here for the rest of the article posted on the Microsoft Team Blog 

 

Brett Hill

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