Archive for November, 2014

postheadericon Microsoft brings Office to everyone, everywhere

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 6, 2014 — On Thursday, Microsoft Corp. took the next step to bring the productivity of Office to everyone with new Office apps and experiences for the iPhone and iPad, a preview of Office apps for Android tablets, and the ability for customers using these devices to create and edit Office content without a subscription.

“Anytime someone has an idea or an inspiration, we want to empower them to take action,” said John Case, corporate vice president, Office, Microsoft. “With over a billion Office customers worldwide, and over 40 million downloads on the iPad, it’s clear that Office applications are what people want to use to get things done.”

Starting today, iPhone and Android tablet customers can tap into the same experience that people with Office for iPad have enjoyed. Now, nearly everyone will be able to get more done, more quickly. Here are the details of the news:

  • New Office for iPhone apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint offer the same beautiful iPad experience, optimized for the iPhone. Customers can download the new apps today.
  • Updated Office for iPad apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint . Customers can download the new apps today.
  • Preview of Office apps for Android tablet brings the productivity of Word, Excel and PowerPoint to Android tablet customers. Customers can sign up for the Preview starting today. General availability is expected in early 2015.
  • More of Office for everyone. Beginning today, customers on iPhone, iPad and Android can create and edit Office content without a subscription. Now customers on nearly every mobile device and platform can do more with Office.

The company also presented an expanded look at the new “touch-optimized” Office for Windows 10. Additional details will be shared at a later date.

Complete functionality with Office 365

Customers get the best value and a complete set of features from an Office 365 subscription, including 1 terabyte of OneDrive online storage — with unlimited storage on the way. By subscribing, customers join a community of over 7.1 million active Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal subscribers and unlock the full productivity power of Office on every device they have.

 Availability

The new Office for iPad and Office for iPhone apps are available in 29 languages and 136 countries. The apps require an iPad or iPhone running iOS 7.0 or later. The Office for Android tablet preview is available for sign-up beginning today.

More information about Thursday’s news can be found on the Official Microsoft blog.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Office Everywhere

 

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.

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postheadericon Microsoft EVP Lisa Brummel to retire at end of year

brummel
Lisa Brummel

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 10, 2014 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that Lisa Brummel, Executive Vice President of Human Resources, will retire from the company after 25 years, and Kathleen Hogan will succeed her as Executive Vice President of Human Resources. Hogan will join the company’s senior leadership team beginning November 28, reporting to Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella. Brummel will assist in the leadership transition and remain with the company through December 31.

“Kathleen is an accomplished, well-respected and well-rounded leader who obsesses over our customers and is motivated by people’s passion for how technology can change the world,” Nadella said. “She is the right person to continue pushing our cultural transformation forward, and she will ensure Microsoft remains the best, most inclusive place to work.”

Kathleen Hogan
Kathleen Hogan

Hogan has worked in a variety of roles at Microsoft over the past 11 years, most recently leading Microsoft Services, the largest single Microsoft organization with more than 21,000 employees worldwide. She has held a variety of roles, from technical to sales and marketing, from being a developer at Oracle to a partner at McKinsey. She earned her bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and economics, magna cum laude, from Harvard University, and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Puget Sound Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Technology Services Industry Association.

Brummel has led Human Resources at the company since May 2005, joining Microsoft straight from university in 1989, and has held a number of management and marketing positions across Microsoft’s consumer, hardware and productivity businesses. She is co-owner of the WNBA franchise Seattle Storm and is active in charitable ventures associated with Hopelink community services, the University of Washington Medical Center, Yale University and the Women’s Funding Alliance.

Lisa Brummel Biography
Kathleen Hogan Biography

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts/.

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postheadericon Real Madrid C.F. and Microsoft join forces to accelerate the digital transformation of the club

Left to right: Real Madrid President Florentino Perez, Microsoft Country Manager of Spain Maria Garaña and Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Chairman, Emerging Markets, Orlando Ayala.
Left to right: Real Madrid President Florentino Perez, Microsoft Country Manager of Spain Maria Garaña and Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Chairman, Emerging Markets, Orlando Ayala.

MADRID — Nov. 18, 2014 — Real Madrid C.F. and Microsoft have signed a landmark agreement accelerating the digital transformation of the club through technology. This alliance, through which Microsoft becomes the strategic technological partner of Real Madrid, will revolutionize the experience enjoyed by members and supporters of the club by providing digital services that are accessible anywhere, anytime and on a host of devices (such as PCs, tablets, smartphones and wearables).

The agreement provides for a number of different initiatives and technological developments that will be unveiled in the upcoming months. These advances will serve to make Real Madrid the football club that delivers a comprehensive and streamlined online experience to its supporters, leading the way in the digital transformation of the sports industry.

Florentino Pérez, chairman of Real Madrid C.F., and Orlando Ayala, corporate vice president and chairman, Emerging Markets at Microsoft, announced this strategic partnership at an event hosted at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, and at which Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, participated with a video message. The announcement was also streamed live online, so Real Madrid fans around the world could hear about this milestone in the history of both organizations.

Nadella highlighted that “At Microsoft we are fully committed to ensuring that people from across the world can make the most of each moment of their lives. Amazing things can happen by providing people with the right tools, just when they need them in order to interact, create or share everything they can imagine. We are delighted to offer these tools to millions of Real Madrid fans worldwide and help make their passion for football much more exciting.

Ayala focused on what this agreement means for supporters of the club: “Today is the start of a long journey that Real Madrid and Microsoft are embarking on together, heading toward the full digital revolution of the club. This new era translates into an unprecedented personalized experience for supporters that will allow millions of fans from all over the planet to enjoy their passion for Real Madrid anywhere, anytime and on any device.

Fans of the club, stars of this agreement

The first step in the collaboration between Real Madrid and Microsoft will be to build a digital platform that will revolutionize the way in which Madridistas can follow their team and share their passion for the club. Through cutting-edge technologies, supporters of Real Madrid will be able to access experiences, content and exclusive digital services, either at the stadium, at home or in any other location. Fans will improve their interaction with players and the club, making it even more personal, direct and exciting.

A host of online services will provide an enriched experience for watching matches. For instance, supporters of the club will be able to access the stadium virtually, before, during and after each game, selecting the content they want to see when they want to and where they want to see it. The aim of this technological initiative is to make Madridistas the real stars of their own experience by allowing them to view and consume the content they want and also create and share it with their friends on social media and other digital channels.

Services and devices

This agreement also provides for the use of services and devices, such as Surface Pro 3, by players and coaching staff as key work tools, with the aim of enhancing the performance and efficiency of the team. New internal collaboration and communication solutions will also be adopted, as well as the latest technology trends in areas such as cloud computing or big data.

In addition, both organizations will collaborate by exchanging and facilitating access to useful information and knowledge on the application of technology in the sports industry and assess potential partnerships on joint research projects with Microsoft Research in this area.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

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postheadericon Microsoft and Certiport announce 2015 Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship

REDMOND, Wash., and SALT LAKE CITY — Nov. 18, 2014 — Microsoft Corp. and Certiport Inc., a Pearson VUE business, on Monday announced the dates for the 2015 Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) World Championship, the most popular technology skills competition for Microsoft Office since its inception in 2002. The popular Microsoft Office competition is the only one endorsed by Microsoft, providing a platform for students to showcase their expert skills using Microsoft Office tools and gain the upper hand in today’s competitive academic and professional marketplace.

The 2015 contest marks the introduction of Microsoft Office Specialist 2013 exams to the competition. Certiport will award higher scholarship prizes for 2013 exam competition tracks. In all, students will compete in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint tracks for Office 2010 and 2013.

“Our Office group is delighted to see the enthusiasm and dedication of the young competitors in the MOS World Championship,” said John Case, corporate vice president for Microsoft Office. “They can really put the Office suite through its paces, and those skills will serve them well in whatever career they eventually pursue.”

The championship, entering its 13th year, will see countries from around the world host local competitions to determine country and regional representatives based on exam scores and completion times. The deadline for all qualifying exams is June 15, 2015. Selected finalists will then compete in the 2015 MOS World Championship held in Dallas, Texas, Aug. 9–12, 2015.

“We expect continued growth in this high-stakes competition — last year we had nearly 750,000 exam entries, and more than 40 countries participated in the MOS World Championship,” said Bob Whelan, president and CEO for Pearson VUE. “The event is more than fun and prizes; Microsoft Office Specialist certification prepares students for future success in college and careers. In the end anyone who earns certification is a winner with a valuable credential on their resume to prove their skills.”

To participate, students ages 13 to 22 must submit a passing score on the MOS Word 2013, Excel 2013, PowerPoint 2013, Word 2010, Excel 2010 or PowerPoint 2010 exams and attend an approved, accredited learning institution. Regional participation and availability varies by country. Further details can be obtained by contacting a local Certiport Solution Provider or contacting Certiport at MOSchampionship@pearson.com. The Microsoft Office Specialist certification is the only official Microsoft-recognized certification for Microsoft Office globally.

This year the MOS World Championship welcomes deeper collaboration with Microsoft IT Academies (ITAs). Many participating students prepare for the competition using the curriculum and lesson planning materials offered through their school by the Microsoft ITA program. This program provides schools with flexible curriculum, customizable lesson plans and professional development opportunities for teachers.

“We’re really pleased to participate in the 2015 MOS World Championship and see the great things students do with Microsoft Office,” said Alison Cunard, general manager of Microsoft Learning Experiences, which manages Microsoft ITA. “We think the benefits of the ITA program combined with a global competition raise the bar for students to have fun while learning the 21st century technology skills they need for success.”

Participants who outperform their peers to make the final round of the World Championship generally have perfect or near-perfect exam scores and completion times well below the allotted examination time. The top three winners in each category will receive scholarship prizes for $ 5,000, $ 2,500 and $ 1,000, respectively.

A video highlighting last year’s winners and their worldwide press coverage can be found here, and the 2015 MOS World Championship promo video can be found here.

About Certiport

Certiport, a Pearson VUE business, is the leading provider of certification exam development, delivery and program management services delivered through an expansive network of over 12,000 Certiport Authorized Testing Centers worldwide. Certiport manages a sophisticated portfolio of leading certification programs including: the official Microsoft Office Specialist certification program, the Microsoft Technology Associate certification program, the Microsoft Certified Educator program, the Adobe® Certified Associate certification program, the HP Accredited Technical Associate, the Autodesk Certified User certification program, the Intuit QuickBooks Certified User certification program, and the IC3 Digital Literacy certification. Certiport reliably delivers over three million tests each year throughout the secondary, post-secondary, workforce, and corporate technology markets in more than 148 countries and 27 languages worldwide. For more information, please visit http://www.certiport.com or follow Certiport on Twitter at www.twitter.com/certiport.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

“Certiport” and “IC3” are registered trademarks of Certiport Inc. in the United States and other countries.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

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postheadericon Back up and restore your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch using iCloud or iTunes

You can use iCloud or iTunes to back up the content on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. When you have a backup, you can restore this content to your device anytime. 
Apple – Support – Most Recent – iPhone

postheadericon Microsoft takes .NET open source and cross-platform, adds new development capabilities with Visual Studio 2015, .NET 2015 and Visual Studio Online

NEW YORK — Nov. 12, 2014 — On Wednesday, Microsoft Corp. reinforced its commitment to cross-platform developer experiences by open sourcing the full server-side .NET stack and expanding .NET to run on the Linux and Mac OS platforms. Microsoft also released Visual Studio Community 2013, a new free edition of Visual Studio that provides easy access to the Visual Studio core toolset. The announcements kicked off Microsoft’s Connect (); event, where the company released Visual Studio 2015 Preview and .NET 2015 Preview.

“With billions of devices in the market today, developers need tools that target many different form factors and platforms,” said S. Somasegar, corporate vice president, Developer Division, Microsoft. “Through Visual Studio and .NET we are committed to delivering a comprehensive end-to-end solution for developers to build and manage applications across multiple devices and platforms.”

Open, accessible and cross-platform

Delivering on its promise to support cross-platform development, Microsoft is providing the full .NET server stack in open source, including ASP.NET, the .NET compiler, the .NET Core Runtime, Framework and Libraries, enabling developers to build with .NET across Windows, Mac or Linux. Through this implementation, Microsoft will work closely with the open source community, taking contributions for future improvements to .NET and will work through the .NET Foundation.

“A strong, open source, cross-platform CLR opens significant new options for building large server-based systems,” said Brian McCallister, chief technology officer, Groupon. “This significantly expands the choices developers have when finding the right tool to solve their problem. I’m very excited to have access to the quality virtual machine and tooling of the CLR without having to completely rework our production infrastructure in order to run it!”

Visual Studio for every developer

Available Wednesday, Visual Studio Community 2013 is a free, fully featured edition of Visual Studio including full extensibility. Targeting any platform, from devices and desktop, to Web and cloud services, the community edition provides developers with easy access to Microsoft’s Visual Studio toolset for all nonenterprise application development. Developers can get started with Visual Studio Community 2013 here.

Visual Studio 2015 and .NET 2015: build for any device

Built from the ground up with support for iOS, Android and Windows, Visual Studio 2015 Preview makes it easier for developers to build applications and services for any device, on any platform.

To further support cross-platform mobile development with .NET, as part of their strategic partnership, Microsoft and Xamarin announced a new streamlined experience for installing Xamarin from Visual Studio, as well as announced the addition of Visual Studio support to its free offering Xamarin Starter Edition — available later in the year. In addition, for Web developers interested in building cloud-powered apps that target mobile devices, Microsoft delivered the final release of Apache Cordova tools. Developers can get started Visual Studio 2015 Preview here.

Building for the cloud

Microsoft on Wednesday announced the preview of ASP.NET 5.0, a streamlined framework and runtime optimized for cloud and server workloads. In addition, the new Connected Services Manager in Visual Studio 2015 makes it easier to connect applications to line-of-business API services such as the Office 365 API and SalesForce, among others.

Visual Studio Online: Agility and DevOps in the cloud

Building on a year of service enhancements, Microsoft announced additional capabilities for Visual Studio Online, its online service for development projects, by announcing additional capabilities for the service, including these:

  • Release Management as a service, available in preview, to enable customers to automate and manage application releases without the need to set up or maintain any service infrastructure.
  • Cloud Deployment Projects, to allow organizations to more easily and reliably provision and configure development, test and production environments in Azure.

Visual Studio 2013 update 4

Also on Wednesday, Microsoft announced the availability of Visual Studio 2013 Update 4, the fourth fully featured update in the past 12 months, which includes various productivity enhancements and additional capabilities. Download and product information can be found here.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts/.

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postheadericon Microsoft Lumia 535: “5x5x5” innovation with an affordable price tag

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 10, 2014 — Microsoft Corp. announced on Monday the Microsoft Lumia 535 and Lumia 535 Dual SIM smartphones running the latest Windows Phone 8.1 operating system, bringing the latest Microsoft experiences to more affordable price levels.

Offering five great included Microsoft experiences, a wide-angle 5 megapixel front-facing camera, and a spacious 5-inch display — all for an affordable price — Lumia 535 and Lumia 535 Dual SIM help people do more of what they want, for less:

  • Make memorable Skype video calls, and seamlessly switch between voice and video with built-in Skype integration.
  • Access, edit and share Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and OneNote notebooks wherever you are, with the pre-installed Office suite.
  • Save and sync photos, videos and Office documents securely with 15 GB of free OneDrive cloud storage.
  • Experience Cortana, a truly personal virtual assistant that anticipates people’s needs and makes tailored suggestions.
  • Connect with work and personal e-mail while on the go, with Microsoft Outlook built in.
  • Showcase photos and videos, or get even more productive with Office on the large, 5-inch qHD display.
  • Fit more memorable backgrounds or add more friends into Skype video calls and selfies with the 5MP wide-angle front-facing camera.
  • Never miss a call or text, and be reachable on both SIM cards at any time with Smart Dual SIM for maximum flexibility.

“Lumia 535 comes with our ‘5x5x5’ proposition,” said Jo Harlow, corporate vice president for Phones at Microsoft. “Innovation should be available to everyone, and we are doing this through the very best integrated Microsoft services included and out of the box, a 5MP wide-angle front-facing camera, and a spacious 5-inch qHD screen — all at an affordable price.”

Lumia 535 and Lumia 535 Dual SIM will begin rolling out to key markets in November and will be available in bright green, bright orange, white, dark grey, cyan and black. Pricing for Lumia 535 and Lumia 535 Dual SIM will vary by market and operator, but the estimated retail price will be around 110 euros before taxes and subsidies.

About Microsoft Devices

The Microsoft Devices Group includes award-winning hardware used by over a billion people around the world, including Lumia smartphones and tablets, Nokia mobile phones, Xbox hardware, Surface, Perceptive Pixel products, and accessories.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.

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postheadericon Microsoft brings Office to everyone, everywhere

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 6, 2014 — On Thursday, Microsoft Corp. took the next step to bring the productivity of Office to everyone with new Office apps and experiences for the iPhone and iPad, a preview of Office apps for Android tablets, and the ability for customers using these devices to create and edit Office content without a subscription.

“Anytime someone has an idea or an inspiration, we want to empower them to take action,” said John Case, corporate vice president, Office, Microsoft. “With over a billion Office customers worldwide, and over 40 million downloads on the iPad, it’s clear that Office applications are what people want to use to get things done.”

Starting today, iPhone and Android tablet customers can tap into the same experience that people with Office for iPad have enjoyed. Now, nearly everyone will be able to get more done, more quickly. Here are the details of the news:

  • New Office for iPhone apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint offer the same beautiful iPad experience, optimized for the iPhone. Customers can download the new apps today.
  • Updated Office for iPad apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint . Customers can download the new apps today.
  • Preview of Office apps for Android tablet brings the productivity of Word, Excel and PowerPoint to Android tablet customers. Customers can sign up for the Preview starting today. General availability is expected in early 2015.
  • More of Office for everyone. Beginning today, customers on iPhone, iPad and Android can create and edit Office content without a subscription. Now customers on nearly every mobile device and platform can do more with Office.

The company also presented an expanded look at the new “touch-optimized” Office for Windows 10. Additional details will be shared at a later date.

Complete functionality with Office 365

Customers get the best value and a complete set of features from an Office 365 subscription, including 1 terabyte of OneDrive online storage — with unlimited storage on the way. By subscribing, customers join a community of over 7.1 million active Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal subscribers and unlock the full productivity power of Office on every device they have.

 Availability

The new Office for iPad and Office for iPhone apps are available in 29 languages and 136 countries. The apps require an iPad or iPhone running iOS 7.0 or later. The Office for Android tablet preview is available for sign-up beginning today.

More information about Thursday’s news can be found on the Official Microsoft blog.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Office Everywhere

 

PowerPoint for iPad Presenter view in PowerPoint for iPhone Add and edit tables and charts in Excel for iPad Add and edit tables and charts in Excel for iPhone Pivot table in Excel for iPhone View and edit documents in Word for iPad View and edit documents in Word for iPhone Review tools in Word for iPhone Add tables and charts in the Excel for Android tablet preview Add formulas in the Excel for Android tablet preview Easily edit documents in the Excel for Android preview Sort and filter in the Excel for Android tablet preview PowerPoint for Android tablet preview Check spelling in the Word for Android tablet preview Add transitions in the PowerPoint for Android tablet preview Inking feature in the PowerPoint for Android tablet preview Word for Android tablet preview Check spelling in the Word for Android tablet preview Format tables in the Word for Android tablet preview Add tables and charts in the Excel for Android tablet preview Review tools in the Word for Android tablet preview PowerPoint for Windows 10 View documents in Excel for Windows 10 View documents in PowerPoint for Windows 10 View documents in Word for Windows 10

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.

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postheadericon Marston’s Pubs evolve to hot spots with Microsoft Social Listening and Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Historically, the British pub was the place neighbors gathered to wax philosophical or just while away hours over a pint. Today, customers want something different. People explore outside their neighborhood to discover something new and different, catch a new band, and check-in their location on social media using Wi-Fi. Pubs across the U.K. have struggled to meet this shift in customer expectations.

Recently, The Guardian (U.K. edition) reported that the rate of British pub closures had accelerated to 31 per week, and that 3 percent of pubs in the suburbs have closed in the past six months. Facing this threat is Marston’s, which operates 1,700 pubs scattered across the U.K. The nearly 200-year-old company is known for its heritage, but the company recognized it needed to reposition itself.

To meet the company’s need to monitor social media; recognize, follow and analyze trends; and then quickly share the relevant insights with the right people in order to swiftly react and meet the customers’ needs, Marston’s chose Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Social Listening. By implementing this solution, Marston’s has transformed the business, delivered amazing customer experiences — and earned this year’s Convergence 2014 Europe Customer Excellence Award: Cloud Transformation.

The answers are on social media

Marston’s Commercial Marketing Director Una Beck Johnson recognized that monitoring social media was the solution to recognizing trends upstream. The right CRM solution offered the opportunity not just to capture this information but to also make sense of it.

“What’s important for us is not just to know the quantities of what people are talking about but the nature of what they are talking about — and there’s such a mass of information that we need to be able to boil it down to things that we can then act upon. And we need that information quickly, so that we can respond to it quickly,” Beck Johnson notes.

Access to this data identified one confirmed trend: Customers were no longer only frequenting their local pub — they were now traveling in much bigger circles. This made it much more difficult to understand the customers’ needs.

“Segmenting our insight is very important,” Beck Johnson says. “We have such a broad cross section of customers. That’s what makes it both exciting and also very, very challenging. We have to be able to understand the customers’ different occasions for coming and how Marston’s is delivering to really make sure that we’re getting the right experience to the right people at the right time.”

Social listening improves the customer experience

Paul Hume, Marston’s Development Manager for Emerging Technologies, is now using Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Social Listening to encourage customer feedback to the company via social media, right from their seat at the pub. Hume says each communication on social media can now be mined for insights to help the company improve its offerings and the way it communicates those offerings.

“The combination of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Social Listening allows us to really personalize our communications to our customers,” he says.

“That personalization means being relevant to the individual,” explains Mike McMinn, Group IT Director for Marston’s. “It’s about your customers; it’s about their patch if you like.” McMinn noted that the customer experience needs to be as smooth as possible because “reducing the friction in their dealings with us means they’re going to come back again.”

The benefits: cost savings, culture change and employee satisfaction

The business has already realized benefits since instituting Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Social Listening, McMinn says. His department reduced costs because of the shorter amount of time and fewer resources required to implement the system than anticipated. In the past, to install a big system, the company would allocate six months toward planning and an entire weekend for implementation. But with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and the support of implementation partner The CRM Business Ltd., McMinn and his team have a much easier job.

“I can go to bed on a Thursday, wake up on a Friday and I have the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM,” McMinn says. “I don’t have to worry about how long it’s going to take to build, or whether the infrastructure is there to support it. We don’t have to worry about the security. All of that is handled by Microsoft. It just happens.”

The organization has also seen a big cultural shift with the implementation of Microsoft Lync, which allows team members to use Microsoft Dynamics CRM on their mobile devices virtually anywhere they are, significantly reducing company travel. “It’s a distributive environment we live in, with five breweries and 1,700 pubs. The traveling has come down dramatically with this system. It’s stopped people having to spend hours in a car. People are also more mobile, more flexible, and can remain more tuned into what the customer needs,” McMinn explains.

Technology helps them do their job more effectively and efficiently, and McMinn says his people want to be productive so he’s making an effort to help make that happen. “We’re putting in infrastructure with the technology that gives people a choice about how and when they get things done, because that’s another part of our company’s culture change — it’s not 9 to 5 anymore.”

McMinn is noticing unanticipated benefits as well. The maintenance help desk team found an innovative way to move its process for tracking repairs and maintenance of equipment in pubs to Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Now, when the team members arrive at a site, they run through a checklist on screen to ensure that the standards are as high as they expect them to be. “Until very recently, they were still writing it out on a piece of paper. On a tablet, it’s fast and easy to do when you’re in the pub. It speeds everything up,” McMinn says.

Successful companies such as Marston’s are harnessing technology to change their business and stay ahead of the customers’ needs. McMinn’s goal is to breed innovation by placing technology in the hands of his people.

“There’s another customer in here, and that’s the employee. We introduce technology to show our people what’s possible, and when they understand what’s possible, it sparks off more ideas,” McMinn says. “This enables employees to discover innovative ways to eliminate burdensome busywork, and instead turn their focus back to the job they love — taking care of the customer. If I’ve made an employee’s life better at some point, then it’s been worth it.”

To learn more about Marston’s and other Convergence 2014 Europe Customer Excellence Award winners, visit http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/convergence/europe14.

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postheadericon Wireless-AC on the Cheap! The Asus RT-AC56U DD-WRT FlashRouter!

Meet the Asus RT-AC56U DD-WRT FlashRouter

The Asus RT-AC56U DD-WRT FlashRouter

Feel left out in the cold by the Wireless-AC party?

Sure, no one argues about the fact that Wireless-AC routers are the fastest and most powerful around, but that top-tier performance can come at a high price, financially speaking. No longer.

At FlashRouters, there is a brand new Asus DD-WRT compatible router that will bring you that inimitable Wireless-AC flair without breaking the bank.

The Asus RT-AC56U DD-WRT FlashRouter

Meet the Asus RT-AC 56U Wireless-AC1200 DD-WRT FlashRouter, the future of your network for under $ 200!

RT-AC56U DD-WRT Specs

The Asus RT-AC56U DD-WRT FlashRouter comes equipped with

  • A supremely powerful 800 MHz Broadcom processor – Almost twice the speed of any similarly priced DD-WRT router. Processing speed is the most important part of the rotuer specs to onsider when it comes to VPN use. AS the processor increases so does the handling to the constant encryption/decryption that goes on within your wireless network.
  • A USB 3.0 port – For lightning quick transfer speeds up to 10x faster than USB 2.0.

But really the star of the show is…

Wireless-AC

Wireless-AC is the latest wireless draft for exponential signal capacity in the wireless market. Put another way, in terms of speed, Wireless-AC routers are ruling the roost right now. Especially when it comes to the addition of Wireless-AC to the iPhone 6 and iPhone Air 2.

If you’re one of the many people who streams most of their media these days, or if you just hate watching an endlessly buffering screen, then you need a fast router, and the Asus RT-AC56U delivers in spades, offering dual-band speeds of up to 1200 Mbps (300 @ 2.4 GHz & 867 @ 5 Ghz). You can thank Wireless-AC for that.

And where most Wireless-AC FlashRouters tend to cost north of $ 300, the Asus RT-AC56U delivers the goods at a shockingly low price of $ 199.99.  This is simply too good to miss.

Free One Year Warranty

Asus RT-AC56U DD-WRT FlashRouter

FlashRouters typically arrive with a free 90 day warranty, with an added option of a 1 year warranty for an additional $ 25. The Asus RT-AC56U, however, comes intact with a free 1 year warranty at just under $ 200. On top of all the added tech features, this extra warranty makes the RT-AC56U even more of a must have.

Added DD-WRT Features for the Asus RT-AC56U DD-WRT

Would you believe that there is even more to recommend this device? How about DD-WRT firmware, which takes the router’s standard firmware and basically supercharges it? Using an Asus DD-WRT compatible router means access to features like:

  • Premium Wireless Signal Clarity & Dual Band Coverage: Better quality audio and HD video streaming by design.
  • Standardized OpenVPN & PPTP Client/Server Integration.
  • Upgraded Stability: No more constant resetting or rebooting.
  • Elimination of Asus firmware issues, bugs, security vulnerabilities, limitations & quirks.
  • Advanced QoS: Manage & prioritize bandwidth/performance of services like Netflix, Skype, YouTube or P2P.
  • Integrated Wireless Survey Page: View conflicting wireless networks in your area to tweak your network accordingly.
  • Complete VLAN Support: Create properly secured segmented networks.

The RT-AC 56U is an Asus router compatible with DD-WRT that even offers full VPN service integration, just like every other FlashRouter. This means that you can receive your router ready to work with your VPN subscription right out of the box, provided that it’s one of the many VPN service providers featured on our Official Supported Provider List.

The FlashRouters Guarantee

Every FlashRouter we ship arrives at our customers’ doorsteps flashed, tested, and re-tested, and complete with an easy-to-follow set-up guide that makes installation a breeze. If you do find yourself in need of some set-up assistance, contact FlashRouters at any time. Our friendly sales and support staff is always ready to help.

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The post Wireless-AC on the Cheap! The Asus RT-AC56U DD-WRT FlashRouter! appeared first on FlashRouters Blog.

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