Microsoft announced some significant integrations between the professional social network LinkedIn (that it bought last year) and Microsoft Dynamics 365, the company’s CRM and ERP suite. First of all, the company is linking Dynamics 365 and the LinkedIn Sales Navigator tool to give sales people access to its database of 500 million users. Microsoft is also announcing a tool for HR pros called Dynamics 365 for Talent, which gives Dynamics 365 ERP users, the ability to search for new talent directly from LinkedIn’s Recruiter and Learning solutions, and manage employees from recruitment throughout their time with company.
Amazon’s connected speakers and other Alexa-powered devices will now work with your G Suite calendar. Once enabled, users will be able to ask Alexa to give them an overview of their day or make changes and other additions to their calendar as needed, just by speaking. The change represents another step towards making Echo and other Alexa speakers more practical devices to have in the office, or for general business use. G Suite is not the first calendaring platform that Alexa supports. The company has offered Google Calendar integration since launch, and added support earlier this year for both Outlook Calendar (including Hotmail, MSN, and Live email accounts) as well as Office 365 Calendar, for those with Exchange Online mailboxes.
Apple rolled out updated versions of its iWork suite, making it free for all customers on both platforms. Many customers already had free copies of these apps, as they came free with new Mac or iOS devices. The pricing change, however, removes the requirement to have bought new Apple hardware to get the apps for free. This expands the apps’ reach to anyone using Apple devices, even if they never bought new or are using older devices. iWork is actually a suite of productivity apps — Numbers, Keynote and Pages — meant to rival Microsoft Office and Google Docs. Prior to the price change, the Mac versions of the iWork apps were $19.99 and the iOS versions were $9.99 apiece for those customers who hadn’t bought a new device in the past few years.
Microsoft acquired the popular mobile to-do list app Wunderlist back in 2015, and now it’s preparing users for its eventual demise with the release of its new application To-Do. The new app was built by the team behind Wunderlist, and will bring in the favorite elements of that app in the months ahead. The company also added that it won’t shut down Wunderlist until it’s confident that it has “incorporated the best of Wunderlist into To-Do.” In the meantime, Microsoft is encouraging Wunderlist users to make the switch by offering an importer that will bring in your lists and to-dos from Wunderlist into To-Do, where those items will now be available in other Microsoft products, like Exchange and Outlook. The To-Do app is not ready at this point to meet the needs of all Wunderlist users, however. As many users realized, some platforms do not yet support To-Do, including Mac, iPad and Android tablet. Task list sharing is also not available.
Facebook announced a bunch of updates to its Workplace by Facebook team communications tool. The company is also introducing bots into the Workplace experience in both Messenger and Group chat, which puts it on par with what Slack has been doing for some time. These bots are powerful entities, which you can call upon to help out. For instance, if there is an equipment problem, you could call on @repairbot to find someone to fix it. Developers can build bots for work chat and for Groups to do tasks like help order food or order a Lyft. Workplace also gets new integrations with Box, Microsoft and Quip/Salesforce. That means when you share a file in a Facebook group, instead of just a link, you’ll see a thumbnail and when you click it, you go directly to the file for editing or commenting.
PayPal and Google announced an effort aimed at allowing PayPal to expand its footprint both within mobile applications as well as at brick-and-mortar retailers. The partnership will see PayPal becoming available as a payment method in the Android Pay service, which will allow U.S. users to pay for things like Uber as well as at retailers like Walgreens, and restaurants like Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway. The integration in Android Pay will begin by allowing Android users to select their PayPal balance as a method of payment, but will expand to include the cards users have added to their PayPal account in the months ahead.
Microsoft says that 80 percent of the companies it talks to want to use a hybrid cloud approach and to help them move to its cloud platform Azure, the company is launching a number of new tools. The most important of these is the new Cloud Migration Assessment service. With this, companies can scan their existing IT infrastructure and get an estimate for what it would cost to move these services to Azure (and how much they could save in the process). Azure users can now also get a discount for moving their Windows Server licenses (with Software Assurance) to Azure. This new Azure Hybrid Use Benefit can save them up to 40 percent and is obviously meant to make it more attractive for existing Windows Server users to move their workloads to the cloud. For those who want to make that move, the Azure Site Recovery (ASR) tool is also getting a minor update. This service is mostly meant to help enterprises orchestrate their disaster recovery plans, however, it can also be used to migrate existing virtual machines to Azure.
News reading service Feedly has introduced Boards, a feature that makes it easier to organize the stories you want to save for yourself, or share with others on a team. This feature is ideal for business users and co-workers who want to track stories about clients, projects or other interests. You can add story to a board of your choosing or save it to multiple boards. The Teams product is where Boards can become even more useful. When you save a story to shared board, you can mark it up with added context. For example, you can highlight key parts of an article and annotate the article with your expanded thoughts or ideas. Plus, you can notify fellow teammates using integrated Slack and email mentions. Boards, Notes, and Highlights will also work on any device including the web and mobile, via the Feedly app. Basic accounts can only create up to 3 private Boards. For unlimited boards, you’ll need to upgrade to Pro ($5/mo.) or Teams ($18/mo. per user).
Twitter has released a new feature aimed at its business users. The new addition is focused on helping businesses running customer service via Twitter and offers businesses an easier way to request and share locations with their customers — for example, to enable a store-locator function, or to customize responses based on where the customer lives. The location-request option is something businesses can use over Direct Messages, by first asking the customer to share their location with a click of a button. The customer can choose whether or not they want to do so, and then can opt to share their precise location or pick a place-name from a provided list.
Multi-factor authentication service OneLogin rolled out a new version of its mobile app that uses machine learning to determine your typical usage patterns and only asks you for a second factor when it determines that it’s absolutely necessary. Most MFA algorithms are rather rigid. If you’re on the network at work, you get asked for a password. If you’re not, you get asked for a second factor, but he says, it should be much more subtle than that, understanding how users access the network. The latest version of OneLogin OTP is designed to fix that. If you log in regularly from your home on the same laptop, after several times the system will learn that this is a common location and device, and you will be allowed onto the network without a second factor.