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July, 2014

  • The Modern Office: How Place and Space Affect Productivity

    If you’ve worked in an office, you know there are often many obstacles to productivity. Whether it’s too many interruptions, a loud coworker, or just poor communication—there are things, specific to the work environment, that detract from your ability to work. Over the years, office spaces have evolved to suit modern working styles, but there are still inefficiencies that need to be ironed out. Here’s a look at where we’ve been, where we’re going, and how these changes will impact workplace productivity.

  • Community Involvement: How Your Business Can Help Your Neighbors

    "As a business, your first and foremost obligation is to run a responsible business, to treat employees and customers well," says Lori Harnick, GM of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Microsoft.

  • Living the Purpose Economy: How Businesses Thrive by Making a Difference

    Why do you work? To pay bills? To advance your career? Because it’s what you love to do? According to author, entrepreneur, and CEO Aaron Hurst, we’re in the midst of a new economic era, one that is driven and organized around the creation of purpose for people (not just information, goods, and services). The key to thriving in the rise of this “Purpose Economy” will be finding purpose through your work and providing opportunities for your employees to find purpose in theirs.

  • 3 Ways to Include Native Ads in Your Content Mix

    Native advertising—or content paid for by brands to run in editorial publications to reach would-be customers—is a large subset of the content marketing trend. Unlike display ads, native ads are in the flow of editorial content and, ideally, should drive traffic to the content your brand is creating on your own channels.According to research, native ads are viewed the same amount of time as editorial content and more likely to get shared than other forms of advertising. They may even be more effective than email.

  • Young Entrepreneur Council Voices: How the Cloud Makes Your Business More Productive

    Cloud computing solutions can be a key element to making your business more productive. Members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprising the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs, offered their perspectives on how their businesses have benefited from cloud solutions. A sample of their thoughts is below; visit the Sage One site to download more tips from YEC on how the cloud can help your business.

  • The Marketing Polka: How Weird Al Found the Right Audiences for His Songs

    When it came to promoting his fourteenth and final album under contract with RCA, Al Yankovic (better known by his stage name, “Weird” Al) killed it. His strategy: releasing songs exclusively on different websites, each tailored to that site’s audience. The result? Mandatory Fun, his first-ever Billboard #1 album (congrats!). Here’s how Weird Al rocketed to first place with some of the finest tailored content on the Internet today—and how you can make the same practice work for your own brand.

  • Breaking Through the Noise: How the New Windows Apportal Puts Important Information at Your Fingertips

    How many apps do you have open right now? How many bookmarks do you have saved? Likely, it’s too many to count. These tools are intended to make our lives easier, but many people are left feeling overwhelmed by all of this information. The new Windows Apportal breaks through that clutter, pulling in the data and apps you care about most, and places them front-and-center on the Windows 8 start screen.

  • The Power of Crowdsourcing: Why the Next Best Big Idea for Your Business May Be in the Brain of a 14-Year-Old in Belgium

    Crowdsourcing isn't a new idea. But new brands are forming because of it—think Airbnb, Lyft, and Kickstarter—and established brands are recognizing a new way to solve old problems. Even the country of Iceland has turned to crowdsourcing for innovative ideas, and robots at the University of Washington are learning to seek help from the world when they're stumped.

  • How 15 Minutes of Product Placement Fame Could Lead to Internet Infamy

     We all know traditional advertising is alive and well, but brands continue to look for ways to cut through the noise and reach their customers on multiple levels. As your business looks to add content into its marketing mix, you may also want to consider product placements. Just as content provides value to the customer in a way that traditional ads do not, product placements also work to reach your customers in a more subtle way.

  • First Reactions to the New Windows Apportals for Business

    On July 11 th , we officially announced the details of our new Windows Apportal . Designed to alleviate app fatigue for businesses, the Windows Apportal is a custom-built solution that consolidates all of your most relevant apps and data in a single view...
  • Giving Back: How You Can Set Up the Next Generation for Success

    Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million new computer science jobs—but only 400,000 computer science students. Maybe your business has experienced the lack of qualified candidates yourself. The problem stems from the lack of exposure high school students have to these potential career paths. In many schools, even if classes in computer sciences or computer programming exist, students may not feel like they have a reason to take them—even if they're using cellphones, tablets, and other technology that exists because of programming.

  • Introducing Windows Apportals: Modern Organization for Modern Operating Systems

    Microsoft North America President Judson Althoff revealed details of our new Windows Apportal today during his keynote at the 2014 Worldwide Partner Conference. Evolving from the Sale Productivity Solution from a year ago, Windows Apportals are a customized solution that lives on a Windows 8 start screen, putting the most important data, resources, and Apps all in a single view. This functionality can create mini-Start screens for any role—essentially a “job in a box” that puts all the Apps, data, and resource you need to best get your work done.  

  • Top 3 Ways the Hybrid Cloud Improves Business

    Cloud solutions help your business save money by providing scalable storage, bandwidth, and processing power; improving your access to important files; and automates many IT tasks. The three cloud options—public, private, and hybrid clouds—each have advantages depending on your business’ needs. When compliance, flexibility, and savings are your primary requirements, a hybrid cloud solution may be for you. This is how each benefit can help your business:

  • Building the Ultimate Partner Ecosystem—and What It Means for Your Business

    At Microsoft we know that good business is all about good partnerships. With hundreds of thousands of partners, Microsoft has the largest partner ecosystem in the industry. For any business—large or small—strong, strategic partnerships are essential for disseminating its purpose effectively. Here’s why you should start building your own partner network today.

  • Don’t Throw That Gold Away: Starting a Smartphone Recycling Program at Your Business

    Smartphones are such an important part of our daily lives that we may not think about the elements that go into their construction. Some of the metals needed for smartphones are rare and nonrenewable, which means there’s a very real chance they could run out. The good news is that smartphones can be recycled and those elements saved—and your company can get in on it right now.

  • Eight Ideas for Designing a More Collaborative Workspace

    Collaborative workspaces are becoming increasingly popular in businesses, and many startups and new businesses are embracing these kinds of spaces for their benefits to productivity and the bottom line. Members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprising the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs, offered their tips and ideas on designing collaborative workspaces—valuable for any business looking to increase employee interaction and happiness. 

  • Harnessing the Power of Music to Connect with Your Customers

    These days a brand has to be more valuable to the consumer beyond its product. When brands strategically use music as a business asset, customers start listening.

    "It doesn't matter how big a business is," explains Eric Sheinkop, CEO of Music Dealers and author of Hit Brands: How Music Builds Value for the World's Smartest Brands. "It's not about sponsoring a tour. It's about adding a layer in the ways you're already communicating,” whether that communication is a commercial or a video on your website. 

  • What is Machine Learning and Why Does Your Business Need it?

     Behind any major web service is a principle called machine learning. This refers to algorithms used to generate online product recommendations, search engine results, and GPS traffic directions. When these kinds of programs have access to large amounts of data, they can “learn” through example and respond to a wider range of inputs. An online store, for example, can use historical data to better predict future customer behavior or trends. By taking complex programming tasks and simplifying them, machine learning can allow your company to make more accurate inferences on your business's own data sets.

  • 10 Ways you Know You Used Microsoft in the '90s

    Technology has come a long way since the ‘90s. And while we're thankful that we have the cloud instead of floppy disks, and Wi-Fi instead of dial-up, there are a few things we fondly remember about the decade of Ross and Rachel. Here are 10 things that only people who used Microsoft products in the ‘90s will remember:

  • Redefining Local: Technology and the Global Marketplace

    Just as technology is helping companies of all sizes expand into new and bigger markets, it’s transforming the way social enterprises deliver on their social and environmental goals. We spoke with Sydney Alfonso, founder of Etkie, a local, social enterprise that operates in a global network and puts women in the forefront, about the impact of technology on her business. Not only is it helping Etkie carve out a space for itself in a highly competitive fashion industry, its empowering women to earn the wages they deserve. Here’s Sydney’s story: 

  • Visual Storytelling: The Key to Keeping Your Customers Coming Back

     As businesses make the tricky transition from traditional advertising to creating content that your customers choose to spend time with, videos need to play a key in your content mix. That's because 83% of human learning is visual. And while your audience may not have a passion for finance or insurance or whatever industry your business is in, they do have a passion for music, films, sports, and other topics your business can associate itself with.

  • 7 Challenges for the Mobile Worker, and the Windows Phone Apps That Solve Them

    Getting the right mix of apps on your smartphone is the key to an effective pocket office. Apps solve problems—sometimes problems you didn’t know you had. Here are seven challenges for mobile workers, and the apps you can load on your smartphone to create the perfect pocket office for you.