Liberty Mutual launches an IT transformation

Today’s post was written by James McGlennon, executive vice president and CIO at Liberty Mutual Insurance Group.

Liberty Mutual pro pixThe insurance business is all about protecting the assets that people value most. We continuously seek out the latest tools and technology to help better serve our customers through innovative products and services.

With more than 50,000 employees and 900 global locations, Liberty Mutual experiences the unique industry challenges of the insurance business on a large scale. Internet startups are well placed to take advantage of mobile, cloud-based technologies. Competitors are looking for ways to disrupt our value chain and commandeer aspects of our customer relationships. This is why it’s key that we stay one step ahead of the threats and opportunities all around us. We are currently transforming our own IT organization to better position us for future success and meet the evolving expectations of our customers and employees.

Today, we are harnessing the scale and expertise of our global workforce. Innovation and breakthrough ideas can come from anywhere in our company, and as we transform, it’s essential that we enable our employees to improve and collaborate, regardless of location. Teams sharing insights across India, Turkey, Portugal or Spain, and the United States, for example, can power the development of product breakthroughs that we import and export around the world.

Everything we do as part of the IT organization is based on our ability to analyze data in all its forms. As our organization continues to evolve, several products and platforms position us well to transform our business. Office 365, for example, helps us respond faster to market changes. We are moving to a more agile development process, where smaller, multi-disciplinary employee groups will collaborate on new products more efficiently, bridging the gap between IT and the business. With chat-based, real-time collaboration, we’ll increase the proportion of people across the company who work together to build innovative new products in a continuous development model so we can grow our business in the digital age.

To do this, we are partnering with companies like Microsoft to help us put important business analytics tools in the hands of everyone, not just analysts and power users, striking the right balance between being easy to use and producing sophisticated insights to drive product innovation. Business users in Claims, Legal, Reinsurance and HR can quickly glean information from dashboards and KPIs using products such as Microsoft Power BI, which enables us to open millions of rows of data for analysis by a much larger number of people. The tools provide visual interpretations and immediate insights valuable to our daily operations and formulation of new strategies.

Millennials entering the business through our internship programs expect a mobile, connected workplace, which is why we are focused on online document storage to access and share documents without the pitfalls and versioning issues of email, all while keeping security a top priority. The security of sharing documents within the Office 365 platform means we can move collaboration and productivity to the forefront of our employees’ experience, without worrying about inappropriate access to files. Azure Active Directory simplifies how we manage user identity and access policies while we enjoy the benefits of having all our documents available on a smartphone, mobile device or laptop.

As we continue to transform our IT organization, we are focused on attracting top technology talent and leveraging emerging technologies to develop innovative solutions. These products and solutions are critical to our future success and will enable us to meet the changing expectations of our customers.

—James McGlennon

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Source: Office

Free your teams to innovate by improving collaboration

When teams need to spend time looking for resources, wait for other people to get back to them or try to knit together information from different software or devices, projects end up running late. Team members rush to meet deadlines making it almost impossible to do their best creative work.

But isn’t working in a team supposed to make you more efficient—not less? That’s the idea, but you’ve probably noticed it doesn’t always work out that way. Have you ever found yourself saying, Who has the latest version of that market analysis? I know it’s been updated, so how come the only one I can find is months old?” or “It’s taking too long to get feedback on the budget from the team; we’re running out of time!” We heard you and created Microsoft Teams—the chat-based workspace in Office 365—so you can get all the creative benefits of teamwork and free your teams from these productivity sinkholes.

Find what you’re looking for—instantly

One of the biggest time-wasters for teams is looking for content, tools, contacts and conversation threads. Imagine how much more effective everyone would be if they had instant access to everything they need—right in Office 365. Microsoft Teams uses powerful, integrated search capabilities and built-in access to SharePoint, OneNote and Planner, so team members can find what they’re looking for—instantly. Because every document shared in Microsoft Teams is saved to the cloud, team members work from the latest version—no searching.

Get that feedback

Team members often get stuck in a holding pattern because they’re waiting for the feedback and sign-off to drive a project forward. They try to set up conference calls, but to-and-fro scheduling burns up time. Even when they finally do get on a call, make edits to project documents and send out the revised versions, they’re often stuck waiting again for sign-off. All that changes when they can quickly start a team, private chat or online meeting with decision-makers and collaborate on shared files to secure approval right away. Integrated notifications plus side-by-side chat while viewing a document enables on-the-spot editing and finalizing of materials.

5 faces of today’s employees

There’s more you can do to bring diverse teams closer. If you have employees who work from remote locations, use different devices or simply have different collaboration preferences—you still need to figure out the right tools. Ready to learn how to support them all?

Get the free eBook

Bring relevant information into Microsoft Teams

Team members can tailor workspaces with the specialized content and apps they need every day. For example, using Microsoft Teams, they can add tabs like a Word document or Power BI dashboard to provide quick access or take quick action with bots. Add apps like Jira or Trello to bring relevant information into your hub for teamwork.

You can do all this with built-in security and compliance features, including data encryption and multi-factor authentication for enhanced identity protection.

And now for the best part about teamwork

Microsoft Teams lets you fully embrace the upside of teamwork—frictionless sharing that makes good ideas exceptional. Seize the potential for dramatic innovation by supporting a collaborative culture, and your enterprise can:

  • Widen the ideation pipeline.
  • Accelerate time to market.
  • Deliver higher-quality products and new customer experiences.

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Source: Office

What’s new in Office 365 administration—January update

In January, we continued to further improve the Office 365 administration experience. Improvements include improved setup access and guidance, a new Yammer device usage report and the rollout of the new OneDrive admin center to all customers.

Here’s a summary of the January updates:

Access all setup settings in one place

To ensure that you’re getting the maximum value out of Office 365, a new Setup section on the navigation menu now provides access to all setup related settings in one place and gives you improved setup guidance.

Products page—This new page allows admins to quickly understand how many licenses they have available and which software products are included in each of their subscriptions. Setup guides provide detailed step-by-step guidance for various services—including OneDrive, Office Pro Plus, SharePoint and Hybrid for Exchange Online—and help your organization get up and running quickly.

Domains page—Admins can update or modify their domain settings at any point and access frequent tasks such as adding a domain, deleting a domain or checking the health of a domain.

Data Migration page—Provides admins with automation tools and step-by-step guidance to help you migrate your data from on-premises or other cloud services to Office 365, including migrating from your local Exchange server or Google.

Office admin January 1

Get more insights on Yammer usage

To provide you with a complete picture of how your organization is using Office 365, we continue to include more reports in the Office 365 admin center. In January, we began to roll out the Yammer device usage report.

The report shows a breakdown of activity across web and mobile clients, and lets you see the device types commonly used by people in your organization.

To access the report, click Usage from the admin center home page and then select Yammer device usage from the dropdown list at the top of the page.

Office admin January 2

New OneDrive for Business admin center reaching general availability

To help IT admins better manage sync and sharing capabilities, we are rolling out a new OneDrive admin center. The admin center controls how and from where a user will access the files in OneDrive—across device, location and app. Additional features include sync, storage and device access settings.

Office admin January 3

You can access the OneDrive admin center by clicking Admin Centers and then OneDrive in the left navigation. Learn more in the announcement blog post.

Additional filter capabilities

We’ve added a new filter to the Active users page that allows admins to easily view and manage guest users.

Office admin January 4

More to come

Over the coming months, we will add more reports focusing on which clients are used to access SharePoint and OneDrive for Business. We are also working on making the Office 365 adoption content pack in Power BI available to all customers and providing new public APIs that will enable you to programmatically access the usage data and integrate it into custom applications, like a company reporting portal.

Let us know what you think!

Try the new features and provide feedback using the feedback link in the lower right corner of the admin center. And don’t be surprised if we respond to your feedback. We truly read every piece of feedback that we receive to make sure the Office 365 administration experience meets your needs.

—Anne Michels, @Anne_Michels, senior product marketing manager for the Office 365 Marketing team

Please note: the features mentioned in this blog post have started to roll out. If they are not available yet in your region, for your subscription or for your organization, please check back in a few weeks!

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Source: Office

Cyber intelligence—help prevent a breach next on Modern Workplace

According to Forbes, investment in cybersecurity is expected to more than double from $75 billion in 2015 to $170 billion by 2020, but how can you be sure your organization is creating the right framework to help safeguard against a security breach?

Join us for the first episode in a two-part Modern Workplace special security series, “Cyber intelligence—help prevent a breach,” airing February 14, 2017 at 8 a.m. PST / 4 p.m. GMT. In the first episode, we explore the world of a chief information security officer (CISO) and show you how to help keep your organization more secure from potential security breaches.

  • CISO for F5 Networks, Mike Convertino, shares how asking the right questions could be key to revealing your organization’s biggest threats.
  • CISO for DocuSign, Vanessa Pegueros, explains how creating an internal taskforce could be one of the most effective ways to help protect your organization.
  • Plus, learn how Office 365 Threat Intelligence can help keep your organization secure.

Register now!

Related content

  • Download the eBook, “Empower Employees in a Digital World.”
  • Download the free Security Checklist infographic.
  • Watch the video, Office 365—Data’s Got a New Defender.

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Source: Office

Microsoft Teams gains steam

As Satya Nadella discussed in last Thursday’s quarterly earnings call, Microsoft Teams has picked up momentum since its launch last November. In the last month alone, 30,000 organizations across 145 markets and 19 languages have actively used Microsoft Teams.

For companies that haven’t tried it yet, Microsoft Teams is a new chat-based workspace in Office 365 that brings together people, conversations and content to facilitate collaboration. IT administrators interested in the preview can light up Microsoft Teams in the Office 365 Admin Portal by clicking here.

We’re especially inspired by this early usage. Not only does it show that the product fills a real market need, but it gives us a ton of information to help shape the product leading up to General Availability, which is still on track for this current quarter, Q1 2017. Our customers have been a great guide as we’ve delivered numerous features into the product even since the preview launched—including built-in audio calling on mobile and named group chats, an easy way to keep track of the context of a conversation.

Customers are telling us Microsoft Teams is compelling by itself, but as an integrated part of Office 365, it can be a massive game-changer. Megan Horn, a process engineer at Hendrick Motorsports and a preview customer, reported rising usage internally and said, “Microsoft Teams has reduced the number of face-to-face coordination meetings that are typically required to do my job. I love using Power BI for visual reporting right within the Microsoft Teams experience.”

Another Microsoft Teams customer and partner demonstrates how Microsoft Teams has the potential to overtake the competition. Rodney Guzman, CEO and co-founder of Interknowlogy, said, “We use a lot of Microsoft products, and are using Office 365. All the centralized management of people and groups we already do in Office 365 was immediately inherited in Microsoft Teams. This was always a hassle in Slack. Since switching to Microsoft Teams from Slack, we’ve haven’t looked back.”

Great collaboration tools don’t need to come at the cost of poor security or a lack of information compliance. In the coming weeks, we will release new compliance and reporting capabilities into Microsoft Teams to help ensure employees can communicate and collaborate from anywhere, while keeping sensitive corporate information secure—all built on the Office 365 global, hyper-scale enterprise cloud.

Additionally, customers have responded positively to Microsoft Teams’ support for intelligent bots. And at General Availability, we’ll deliver WhoBot, which uses natural language processing to help learn about experts in your organization. Powered by LUIS.ai, WhoBot will answer questions like, “Who in our group knows about the Australia sales numbers?” This is just one example of what will be possible with the power of the Microsoft Teams utilizing the Microsoft Graph.

Our commitment is to empower every organization and every team to achieve more. Office 365 and its 85-million monthly active users are a cornerstone of this commitment, and Microsoft Teams adds another key component to an already potent lineup. We remain eager and on track for Microsoft Teams General Availability later this quarter.

Thanks to everyone who has tried Microsoft Teams for all the great feedback and support.

—Kirk Koenigsbauer

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Source: Office