Workplace Analytics: An essential tool for business productivity

Microsoft Workplace Analytics presents a clear picture of employee performance, giving managers and leaders actionable insights to enhance productivity. Learn more about this valuable tool and its benefits to businesses of all sizes across industries.

How does Workplace Analytics work?

A paid add-on to Office 365 enterprise plans, Workplace Analytics extracts behavioral insights from data gathered from emails, calendars, documents, and Office 365 apps. This means any data an employee enters into Office 365 can be used to assess their performance and productivity.

The data from which insights are gleaned are generated by employees themselves — how much time they spend on meetings, who they communicate with, and how much time they spend on productive tasks.

All this data can be viewed on the Workplace Analytics dashboard, where information is sorted using the following metrics:

  • Week in the life provides information on how the entire organization spends time and how employees collaborate with one another.
  • Meetings overview shows the amount of time people spend in meetings.
  • Management and coaching presents information about one-on-one meetings between each employee and their direct manager.
  • The internal networks metric shows how people within your organization communicate and collaborate with one another.
  • External collaboration provides insights into how your employees connect with individuals or teams from third-party organizations.
  • Teams collaboration takes a look at how employees and managers use Microsoft Teams to communicate with their colleagues.

What does Workplace Analytics aim to do?

Workplace Analytics is designed to solve businesses’ most common problems, specifically issues related to productivity and engagement.

Using Workplace Analytics data, business leaders can develop effective productivity strategies for the entire company. For instance, if the data shows that employees spend 60% of their time in meetings, managers can come up with a strategy to make meetings shorter or less frequent so staff can focus on productive tasks. Similarly, human resources personnel can use data on employees’ work patterns to identify the causes of burnout — now a widespread issue across businesses and industries — and make recommendations to address it.

Workplace Analytics can be also used to determine how workers collaborate with internal and external parties. Suppose a member of your sales team frequently works and communicates with certain vendors. The sales team’s manager can pull up Workplace Analytics data and use it to assess whether or not this collaboration is helping the team meet targets, or if it’s causing them to miss out on other, more critical opportunities for collaboration and/or making a sale. Based on this information, the manager can also identify which employees are most likely to meet or exceed their targets and set company-wide standards accordingly.

Finally, Workplace Analytics allows managers to determine an employee’s level of engagement, and whether workloads are fairly distributed among workers and/or departments.

To ensure you get the full benefits of Workplace Analytics, partner with a reputable managed IT services provider like us. Our experts are highly skilled and experienced in implementing and managing Microsoft programs and services, so you can rest easy knowing your business is in good hands. Drop us a line today.

This post was originally published on this site

Workplace Analytics: An essential tool for business productivity

Microsoft Workplace Analytics presents a clear picture of employee performance, giving managers and leaders actionable insights to enhance productivity. Learn more about this valuable tool and its benefits to businesses of all sizes across industries.

How does Workplace Analytics work?

A paid add-on to Office 365 enterprise plans, Workplace Analytics extracts behavioral insights from data gathered from emails, calendars, documents, and Office 365 apps. This means any data an employee enters into Office 365 can be used to assess their performance and productivity.

The data from which insights are gleaned are generated by employees themselves — how much time they spend on meetings, who they communicate with, and how much time they spend on productive tasks.

All this data can be viewed on the Workplace Analytics dashboard, where information is sorted using the following metrics:

  • Week in the life provides information on how the entire organization spends time and how employees collaborate with one another.
  • Meetings overview shows the amount of time people spend in meetings.
  • Management and coaching presents information about one-on-one meetings between each employee and their direct manager.
  • The internal networks metric shows how people within your organization communicate and collaborate with one another.
  • External collaboration provides insights into how your employees connect with individuals or teams from third-party organizations.
  • Teams collaboration takes a look at how employees and managers use Microsoft Teams to communicate with their colleagues.

What does Workplace Analytics aim to do?

Workplace Analytics is designed to solve businesses’ most common problems, specifically issues related to productivity and engagement.

Using Workplace Analytics data, business leaders can develop effective productivity strategies for the entire company. For instance, if the data shows that employees spend 60% of their time in meetings, managers can come up with a strategy to make meetings shorter or less frequent so staff can focus on productive tasks. Similarly, human resources personnel can use data on employees’ work patterns to identify the causes of burnout — now a widespread issue across businesses and industries — and make recommendations to address it.

Workplace Analytics can be also used to determine how workers collaborate with internal and external parties. Suppose a member of your sales team frequently works and communicates with certain vendors. The sales team’s manager can pull up Workplace Analytics data and use it to assess whether or not this collaboration is helping the team meet targets, or if it’s causing them to miss out on other, more critical opportunities for collaboration and/or making a sale. Based on this information, the manager can also identify which employees are most likely to meet or exceed their targets and set company-wide standards accordingly.

Finally, Workplace Analytics allows managers to determine an employee’s level of engagement, and whether workloads are fairly distributed among workers and/or departments.

To ensure you get the full benefits of Workplace Analytics, partner with a reputable managed IT services provider like us. Our experts are highly skilled and experienced in implementing and managing Microsoft programs and services, so you can rest easy knowing your business is in good hands. Drop us a line today.

This post was originally published on this site

Why you should consider going for hosted Exchange services

Microsoft Exchange is proving to be a reliable and cost-effective email server service, but for many small businesses, the hardware costs that come with it are daunting. But fear not, as there’s a good way to still enjoy the benefits of Exchange without heavy server investments — and that’s hosted Exchange services.

​​What is Microsoft Exchange?

Microsoft Exchange is a messaging system that offers businesses a number of services, including email, calendaring, task management, and address lists. By integrating Exchange into your business, you can access all of these services from any location and on almost every device.

Many companies that purchase Exchange install it on their on-premises servers, which can be a bit expensive, especially for small businesses. Moreover, the server required to host it can take up space that a business may not have. This is why many companies prefer to operate on cloud-based systems.

What is hosted Exchange?

To make Exchange available to more businesses, many IT companies like Microsoft now offer hosted Exchange. In this setup, your IT provider allots a space on their servers where they install Microsoft Exchange and make it accessible only to your company over an internet connection. They are in charge of ensuring that the data stored is secure and accessible to you at all times. Many hosted Exchange providers will also offer extra features like improved security, full-time management, and data backup.

In other words, hosted Exchange is the cloud-based version of Microsoft Exchange managed by a host company or provider. You and your employees will still be able to access Exchange as if it were hosted in your office.

Benefits of hosted Exchange

Companies looking to integrate hosted Exchange into their business can enjoy the following benefits:

1. Predictable and lower costs

Like many other hosted services, the majority of hosted Exchange services are offered on a monthly, per-user basis, inclusive of maintenance and hosting. This makes costs predictable, as you’ll be paying a fixed fee every month.

Hosted Exchange also lowers overall costs. If a business were to calculate the cost of purchasing Microsoft Exchange and the infrastructure required to use it, plus maintenance fees, the total and per-user cost will likely add up quickly. For many small businesses, paying a monthly fee will be far less expensive than hosting a Microsoft Exchange solution in house. What’s more, you save money on maintenance overhead and future expenses.

2. Easier implementation

Implementing Microsoft Exchange in your office would require you to find space for the server. Once you install Exchange on this server, you’ll have to manage it and add new accounts and users. In case the service goes offline, you’ll have to fix it yourself. But with a hosted Exchange solution, your IT partner will take care of hosting, installation, and management, so you can focus on running your business.

3. Flexible solutions

Growing businesses may find it tough to scale up or down on an in-house Microsoft Exchange solution because of the server’s limited capacity. With hosted Exchange, scaling up or down is as easy as contacting your provider, who can ensure that space and resources are available. They can also help scale your solutions in case you move offices.

Looking to learn more about hosted Exchange and how your business can benefit from it? Chat with us today!

This post was originally published on this site

Why you should consider going for hosted Exchange services

Microsoft Exchange is proving to be a reliable and cost-effective email server service, but for many small businesses, the hardware costs that come with it are daunting. But fear not, as there’s a good way to still enjoy the benefits of Exchange without heavy server investments — and that’s hosted Exchange services.

​​What is Microsoft Exchange?

Microsoft Exchange is a messaging system that offers businesses a number of services, including email, calendaring, task management, and address lists. By integrating Exchange into your business, you can access all of these services from any location and on almost every device.

Many companies that purchase Exchange install it on their on-premises servers, which can be a bit expensive, especially for small businesses. Moreover, the server required to host it can take up space that a business may not have. This is why many companies prefer to operate on cloud-based systems.

What is hosted Exchange?

To make Exchange available to more businesses, many IT companies like Microsoft now offer hosted Exchange. In this setup, your IT provider allots a space on their servers where they install Microsoft Exchange and make it accessible only to your company over an internet connection. They are in charge of ensuring that the data stored is secure and accessible to you at all times. Many hosted Exchange providers will also offer extra features like improved security, full-time management, and data backup.

In other words, hosted Exchange is the cloud-based version of Microsoft Exchange managed by a host company or provider. You and your employees will still be able to access Exchange as if it were hosted in your office.

Benefits of hosted Exchange

Companies looking to integrate hosted Exchange into their business can enjoy the following benefits:

1. Predictable and lower costs

Like many other hosted services, the majority of hosted Exchange services are offered on a monthly, per-user basis, inclusive of maintenance and hosting. This makes costs predictable, as you’ll be paying a fixed fee every month.

Hosted Exchange also lowers overall costs. If a business were to calculate the cost of purchasing Microsoft Exchange and the infrastructure required to use it, plus maintenance fees, the total and per-user cost will likely add up quickly. For many small businesses, paying a monthly fee will be far less expensive than hosting a Microsoft Exchange solution in house. What’s more, you save money on maintenance overhead and future expenses.

2. Easier implementation

Implementing Microsoft Exchange in your office would require you to find space for the server. Once you install Exchange on this server, you’ll have to manage it and add new accounts and users. In case the service goes offline, you’ll have to fix it yourself. But with a hosted Exchange solution, your IT partner will take care of hosting, installation, and management, so you can focus on running your business.

3. Flexible solutions

Growing businesses may find it tough to scale up or down on an in-house Microsoft Exchange solution because of the server’s limited capacity. With hosted Exchange, scaling up or down is as easy as contacting your provider, who can ensure that space and resources are available. They can also help scale your solutions in case you move offices.

Looking to learn more about hosted Exchange and how your business can benefit from it? Chat with us today!

This post was originally published on this site

Easy steps to remove bloatware from your Windows 10 computer

Laptop buyers are always seeking the most efficient and most user-friendly devices. So it came as a bit of a shock when the highly acclaimed Windows 10 operating system was found to be riddled with bloatware — unwanted pre-installed software that takes up space and computer memory.

New PCs and laptops are always fun to unpack, especially since Microsoft continuously optimizes its software’s user experience to make it engaging right from the start. But so many users are dismayed to find out that after the great time they had setting up their computers, they’ll tend to have a not-so-fun experience of dealing with bloatware.

The term “bloatware” refers to software and apps that are preloaded into computers even if the user doesn’t want them. These apps tend to take up storage space, consume processing power, and be quite a headache to remove.

Bloatware has long been a scourge of mobile devices, particularly those that run on Android operating systems. But these days, even laptops are no longer exempt from such nuisances — software giant Microsoft has packaged its Windows 10 operating system to come with preinstalled apps that most users won’t even give a second glance to. Some of the worst offenders are as follows:

  • 3D Viewer (previously called Mixed Reality Viewer)
  • Candy Crush
  • Cooking Fever
  • Disney Magic Kingdoms
  • Groove Music
  • Movies & TV
  • Paint 3D
  • Snip & Sketch
  • Sticky Notes
  • Voice Recorder

While many of these programs are pleasant add-ons for those who find value in them, many users prefer to start with a leaner operating system due to storage space and processing power concerns. If they want a particular software program, they prefer to download it themselves. This gives them greater control over their machines and their hardware and software experience.

What’s worse is that bloatware can also cause critical vulnerabilities. The most ironic example of this was a pre-installed version of Keeper Password Manager. Instead of keeping passwords safe, it allowed malicious people behind any website to steal passwords. While Windows 10 users needed to enable Keeper to store their passwords for them to become vulnerable, it makes you wonder why such a flawed password manager app is there in the first place.

How to rid your device of bloatware

Removing inclusions you did not ask for is a hassle in and of itself, but thankfully, the process is not too tedious.

  1. Click the Start menu, then the gear icon.
  2. In the Settings window, select Update & Security.
  3. On the left-hand side, click Recovery.
  4. Select Reset this PC.
  5. Click Get Started.
  6. Select Keep my files and then choose where you wish to store them.
  7. Lastly, set “Restore preinstalled apps?” to “No.”

Bloatware not only clutters your laptops and PCs, but it can render your business vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches as well. Save yourself from tons of headaches down the line; learn more about protecting your computers from bloatware. Call our team of IT experts today!

This post was originally published on this site

Easy steps to remove bloatware from your Windows 10 computer

Laptop buyers are always seeking the most efficient and most user-friendly devices. So it came as a bit of a shock when the highly acclaimed Windows 10 operating system was found to be riddled with bloatware — unwanted pre-installed software that takes up space and computer memory.

New PCs and laptops are always fun to unpack, especially since Microsoft continuously optimizes its software’s user experience to make it engaging right from the start. But so many users are dismayed to find out that after the great time they had setting up their computers, they’ll tend to have a not-so-fun experience of dealing with bloatware.

The term “bloatware” refers to software and apps that are preloaded into computers even if the user doesn’t want them. These apps tend to take up storage space, consume processing power, and be quite a headache to remove.

Bloatware has long been a scourge of mobile devices, particularly those that run on Android operating systems. But these days, even laptops are no longer exempt from such nuisances — software giant Microsoft has packaged its Windows 10 operating system to come with preinstalled apps that most users won’t even give a second glance to. Some of the worst offenders are as follows:

  • 3D Viewer (previously called Mixed Reality Viewer)
  • Candy Crush
  • Cooking Fever
  • Disney Magic Kingdoms
  • Groove Music
  • Movies & TV
  • Paint 3D
  • Snip & Sketch
  • Sticky Notes
  • Voice Recorder

While many of these programs are pleasant add-ons for those who find value in them, many users prefer to start with a leaner operating system due to storage space and processing power concerns. If they want a particular software program, they prefer to download it themselves. This gives them greater control over their machines and their hardware and software experience.

What’s worse is that bloatware can also cause critical vulnerabilities. The most ironic example of this was a pre-installed version of Keeper Password Manager. Instead of keeping passwords safe, it allowed malicious people behind any website to steal passwords. While Windows 10 users needed to enable Keeper to store their passwords for them to become vulnerable, it makes you wonder why such a flawed password manager app is there in the first place.

How to rid your device of bloatware

Removing inclusions you did not ask for is a hassle in and of itself, but thankfully, the process is not too tedious.

  1. Click the Start menu, then the gear icon.
  2. In the Settings window, select Update & Security.
  3. On the left-hand side, click Recovery.
  4. Select Reset this PC.
  5. Click Get Started.
  6. Select Keep my files and then choose where you wish to store them.
  7. Lastly, set “Restore preinstalled apps?” to “No.”

Bloatware not only clutters your laptops and PCs, but it can render your business vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches as well. Save yourself from tons of headaches down the line; learn more about protecting your computers from bloatware. Call our team of IT experts today!

This post was originally published on this site

PowerPoint Presenter Coach: Now greater availability & power

Launched in 2019, Presenter Coach has helped PowerPoint users become more confident in-person and on-camera presenters. It utilizes artificial intelligence to provide users with suggestions on how to improve their pitch, pacing, and word choice, among many others. Initially, it was only available in PowerPoint for the web, but today, you can use it across all platforms and take advantage of three new types of feedback.

Availability on all platforms

Presenter Coach is now accessible on all platforms: web, Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. This means you can utilize this feature whenever you need it and wherever you are — at home, in the office, or even on the go.

Three new types of feedbacks

Aside from expanding the availability of Presenter Coach, Microsoft also added three new kinds of feedback:

1. Body language

Great presenters rehearse not only what they say, but also their gestures, stance, and facial expressions to ensure that these support their message. For example, they can use hand gestures to emphasize a point, instead of keeping their hands in their pockets or behind their back. They also utilize their eyes, mouth, and facial muscles to convey emotion. By projecting the right body language, they can establish their credibility and connect with the audience.

This is why Microsoft introduced a new capability that uses your video camera to provide feedback on your body language. After your rehearsal, the Presenter Coach will give you a summary report using the following metrics:

  • Clear view – Evaluates how well your audience will be able to see you
  • Eye contact – Tells you whether you are able to maintain your gaze toward the camera
  • Distance – Analyzes whether you are too close or too far away from the camera

2. Repetitive language

During presentations, repeating certain words and phrases can help you emphasize particular points and ensure that your audience recalls them. However, if this technique is done incorrectly, your listeners may find it distracting. On other occasions, you may not even realize that you are using the same words and phrases over and over again, but your audience will most likely catch on.

To help prevent you from overusing the same words and phrases, Presenter Coach will identify them after listening to your rehearsal. Not only that, but it will also give you a list of synonyms that you can use instead so you can switch it up and keep your audience more engaged throughout your presentation.

3. Pronunciation

Presenter Coach can help ensure that you correctly pronounce all of the words that you will say during your presentation. It will display the words you mispronounced during rehearsal and offer a recorded pronunciation guide of that word. You can listen to the correct pronunciation as many times as you want while practicing your presentation.

Currently, Presenter Coach is optimized for the General American English pronunciation, but it can take into account variations in accent. In case you don’t agree with the suggestions provided or you don’t find them useful, you can disable the pronunciation feedback.

Note on privacy concerns

While Presenter Coach uses your camera and microphone to be able to evaluate your rehearsal, it will only do so when you click on Rehearse with Coach and then Start Rehearsing. It does not save any video or audio when you rehearse. It was purposely designed to respect your privacy while still being able to provide clear and actionable feedback that will help you improve your presentation skills.

Want to learn more powerful features in PowerPoint and other Microsoft 365 apps? Contact us today and we’ll help you make the most out of your M365 subscription.

This post was originally published on this site

PowerPoint Presenter Coach: Now greater availability & power

Launched in 2019, Presenter Coach has helped PowerPoint users become more confident in-person and on-camera presenters. It utilizes artificial intelligence to provide users with suggestions on how to improve their pitch, pacing, and word choice, among many others. Initially, it was only available in PowerPoint for the web, but today, you can use it across all platforms and take advantage of three new types of feedback.

Availability on all platforms

Presenter Coach is now accessible on all platforms: web, Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. This means you can utilize this feature whenever you need it and wherever you are — at home, in the office, or even on the go.

Three new types of feedbacks

Aside from expanding the availability of Presenter Coach, Microsoft also added three new kinds of feedback:

1. Body language

Great presenters rehearse not only what they say, but also their gestures, stance, and facial expressions to ensure that these support their message. For example, they can use hand gestures to emphasize a point, instead of keeping their hands in their pockets or behind their back. They also utilize their eyes, mouth, and facial muscles to convey emotion. By projecting the right body language, they can establish their credibility and connect with the audience.

This is why Microsoft introduced a new capability that uses your video camera to provide feedback on your body language. After your rehearsal, the Presenter Coach will give you a summary report using the following metrics:

  • Clear view – Evaluates how well your audience will be able to see you
  • Eye contact – Tells you whether you are able to maintain your gaze toward the camera
  • Distance – Analyzes whether you are too close or too far away from the camera

2. Repetitive language

During presentations, repeating certain words and phrases can help you emphasize particular points and ensure that your audience recalls them. However, if this technique is done incorrectly, your listeners may find it distracting. On other occasions, you may not even realize that you are using the same words and phrases over and over again, but your audience will most likely catch on.

To help prevent you from overusing the same words and phrases, Presenter Coach will identify them after listening to your rehearsal. Not only that, but it will also give you a list of synonyms that you can use instead so you can switch it up and keep your audience more engaged throughout your presentation.

3. Pronunciation

Presenter Coach can help ensure that you correctly pronounce all of the words that you will say during your presentation. It will display the words you mispronounced during rehearsal and offer a recorded pronunciation guide of that word. You can listen to the correct pronunciation as many times as you want while practicing your presentation.

Currently, Presenter Coach is optimized for the General American English pronunciation, but it can take into account variations in accent. In case you don’t agree with the suggestions provided or you don’t find them useful, you can disable the pronunciation feedback.

Note on privacy concerns

While Presenter Coach uses your camera and microphone to be able to evaluate your rehearsal, it will only do so when you click on Rehearse with Coach and then Start Rehearsing. It does not save any video or audio when you rehearse. It was purposely designed to respect your privacy while still being able to provide clear and actionable feedback that will help you improve your presentation skills.

Want to learn more powerful features in PowerPoint and other Microsoft 365 apps? Contact us today and we’ll help you make the most out of your M365 subscription.

This post was originally published on this site

How to Manually Force Azure AD Connect to Sync

Using just a few PowerShell commands you can force Azure AD Connect to run a full or delta (most common) sync.

5 Steps total

Step 1: Start PowerShell

Using any of these methods, or any other you may know of:

  • WinKey + R (Run Dialog): powershell.exe
  • Start Menu -> type ‘Powershell’, click it
  • Navigate to C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\V1.0\powershell.exe

Step 2: (optional/dependent) Connect to the AD Sync Server

If you’re running PowerShell on the Server where AD Connect is running, skip this step.

In the command window run the following command, replacing [SERVERNAME] with the name of the server you need to connect to (you may not be able to do this is PSRemoting is not enabled on the remote server):

Enter-PSSession -ComputerName [SERVERNAME]

Step 3: Import the ADSync Module

Run the following command:

Import-Module ADSync

Step 4: Run the Sync Command

Run the following Command(s):

  • For a Delta Sync (most common, and used for most situations):
    • Start-ADSyncSyncCycle -PolicyType Delta
  • For a Full Sync (only necessary in some situations):
    • Start-ADSyncSyncCycle -PolicyType Initial

Step 5: (Optional/Dependent) Exit PSSession

If you used the Enter-PSSession command, you must exit the session or it will remain open even after terminating the PS Host. You can do so by simply using the command:

Exit

Alternatively, you can achieve this with the GUI, see reference below.

File Explorer without ads: A quick guide

You will see notifications and ads on Windows, regardless of the version you’re using. Some users don’t mind them, but others do. Even on File Explorer, you will see ads. You’ve probably wondered if there’s any way to remove them. We’ve got some good news for you: there is.

Why are users getting these ads?

Ads are being displayed in different parts of Windows 10 and not just on File Explorer — the Start menu, on the lock screen, from the taskbar, and in other Microsoft apps. Microsoft has been displaying ads that promote Office 365 and OneDrive since the Creators Update. Overwhelming negative reactions to this practice have been popping up online as a result.

However, the company doesn’t consider them ads but “suggestions.” These suggestions promote Microsoft products and services and third-party apps in the Windows Store. The tech giant may be doing users a favor by reminding them they can easily grab apps in the store that can benefit them. But to many, ads are more of a nuisance than a favor.

How do I turn off ads?

Fortunately, there’s a simple way to turn ads off. You could disable them right now by doing the following:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Select View from the ribbon along the top of any File Explorer window.
  3. Click Options on the far right-hand side.
  4. From the drop down arrow below Options, select Change folder and search options.
  5. Once in the Folder options window, go to the View tab.
  6. In the Advanced Settings window pane, scroll down and deselect “Show sync provider notifications”.
  7. Click Apply and close the Folder Options window.

That’s all it takes! Keep in mind that we highly recommend the services Microsoft suggests. Office 365, OneDrive, and others are all great cloud platforms for easily and securely working and collaborating from any device in any location — but we understand that some don’t want to see these ads when they’re hunting down sales records.

If you’re looking for Windows tips and tricks, this is the best blog on the web. If you’re looking for something a little more advanced, however, our managed services are second to none. Get in touch with us today to learn more!

This post was originally published on this site