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May 23
Boost Collaboration and Productivity In and Out of the Classroom

We all learned about the value of teamwork when we were in school, whether it was when playing dodgeball in gym class or when getting an A+ on a group project. These valuable lessons – that people are more productive when they are working together – are applicable both inside and outside of the classroom, when we are in school and when we are years after our graduation. Whether they are software engineers or students, people are more productive, solve problems more efficiently and effectively when they are working as a cohesive group. Microsoft has a number of hardware and software solutions – from Microsoft Office 365, which has tools like OneNote, OneDrive and Yammer to improve communication and collaboration, to the Surface Pro 4 tablet – that can make your company more efficient and effective.

San Antonio Christian School wanted to provide its 1,100 students with a more dynamic classroom experience than traditional textbooks and lectures offered. To achieve this goal, the school deployed Surface Pro 4 devices—along with other Microsoft solutions, including Microsoft OneNote and OneDrive—to students and teachers. Teachers now find that they have more time to spend with students, and can teach in new ways. Students and parents appreciate the flexibility and mobility they get from the new technology.

San Antonio Christian School (SACS) felt that a powerful and versatile mobile device would be the best choice. The Surface Pro 4 became an important part of the school’s solution because the device has a good quality keyboard, is light and portable, and also includes a digital pen.

Teachers have found that having the Surface Pro 4 in the classroom has saved them time and changed the way that they teach. Instead of spending time making copies or tracing graphs, they have more time to interact with students and are able to break from traditional methods of teaching. Now students are ready for a day of learning after just opening up their tablets.

SACS has found great value in Microsoft software, as well as its hardware. With OneDrive, the students get to do their work no matter where they are. They are able to go back and forth on projects with their friends, right then and there, whether they are in study hall or back home. The students are able to work together on a project simultaneously.

With Microsoft solutions in the classroom, SACS teachers are focusing on delivering high-quality content, knowing the technology will support them. Any business can learn a valuable lesson from the SACS classrooms. You can read more about how the Microsoft Cloud services offered by VISTECH, like Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Teams, can help your company save money by clicking here.

May 15
Reinvent Your Workplace with Microsoft Office 365

J. Walter Thompson (JWT) is a global leader in marketing communications that taps into its century of marketing experience in order to pioneer brands that last as long as it has. Today, JWT uses new technologies such as Microsoft Office 365 to create a global, modern workplace so the company can continue to innovate at the speed of culture. JWT uses cloud-based telephony and document storage, along with a chat-based app, to support the mobility and dynamic cocreation that’s necessary to win new business in a digital age.

Ever since the company’s formative years, when creatives huddled in smoke-filled office rooms brainstorming tag lines and developing storyboards on paper, J. Walter Thompson (JWT) understood that collaboration was an essential business strategy. JWT aims to create work that impacts people, culture, and commerce. Collaboration is a key ingredient to moving the dial against these three metrics for clients like Unilever, HSBC, and Nestlé.

Today, the challenge for JWT is to create the best workplace and deploy the right communication and collaboration tools for its worldwide employees to flourish in a mobile, digital business environment. The company chose Microsoft Office 365 cloud-based business productivity services to support this new way of working. JWT also sought better global collaboration to make it easier to integrate the small boutique firms it acquires around the world as part of its strategy for building its talent pool.

JWT has seen high rates of Office 365 adoption because the technology mirrors how JWT employees have always worked. The company is fostering the personal connections and brainstorming that have always been a hallmark of creativity within its offices. Plus, this time it has given its workforce technology that unobtrusively expands collaboration beyond time zones and geographies. Because Office 365 is used throughout JWT, employees can discover any one of their 12,000 colleagues through presence awareness enabled across Office apps, send an instant message (IM), start a video call, share documents or files, and get insight when they need it.

With Office 365, JWT builds on the innate talents and differentiators that have made the company a success for 152 years. While it already has an established reputation as an industry pioneer, JWT remains invested in building on this rich legacy with a continued hunger for innovation. Using the latest Office 365 cloud-based services, such as Microsoft Teams, is one way that JWT demonstrates the agile connectivity that sets it apart from competitors.

J. Walter Thompson is redesigning its physical workplaces to reflect the way that Office 365 encourages the mobile, agile mindset of its increasingly millennial workforce. At its New York head office, there are more Microsoft Surface Hub team collaboration devices than desk phones, and employees are no longer assigned to a desk. These developments underscore a new approach to anytime, anywhere workplace productivity.

One way that JWT has liberated people from their desks is by deploying a complete cloud-based communication suite with Skype for Business Online and Cloud PBX. JWT takes advantage of Cloud PBX to complete basic tasks—such as making and receiving calls, transferring calls, and muting or unmuting calls—from nearly anywhere with Internet access. With Cloud PBX, JWT employees use Skype for Business Online to collaborate with remote colleagues and be accessible with a business phone number—from nearly anywhere with Internet access. To date, JWT has deployed the communications service to approximately 1,200 employees in the United States and London, England. Additionally, by moving its telephony solution to the cloud, JWT retired its contracts with five telco vendors, saving USD600,000 in service costs over the next three years.

For J. Walter Thompson, Office 365 has just the right balance between providing cloud-based tools for an agile, modern workplace and the control over data and security required by large corporations. Employees at JWT are free to collaborate without worrying about IT or security getting in the way.

You can read more about how the Microsoft Cloud services offered by VISTECH, like Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Teams, can help your company save money by clicking here.

May 09
Race to the Front of the Pack with Collaboration Improved by Microsoft Office 365

Just like in the business world, things happen fast at Hendrick Motorsports. Also like the business world, being successful at Hendrick Motorsports requires good communication and solid teamwork. That’s why the company uses the flexible chat-based workspaces within Microsoft Teams to store data and conversations. This allows car crews, engineers, and mechanics can make split-second decisions that could win a race. Now that Teams is part of the company’s collaboration toolbox, productivity is accelerating, and teams are working better together in the journey to Victory Lane.

High-octane decision making in the screaming-loud environs of the pit requires a special tool for teamwork. Hendrick Motorsports uses Microsoft Teams, the new chat-based workspace in Microsoft Office 365, as the digital communication hub for teams at the track and across the organization. Microsoft Teams is perfect for encouraging colleagues to collaborate and become more productive.

Hendrick Motorsports was interested in switching to Office 365 and Microsoft Teams from another text-based chat client. What really sold Hendrick Motorsports on making the switch was that Microsoft Teams had impressive enterprise-grade security. The organization was also impressed that it could give employees a collaboration hub that includes a built-in Microsoft SharePoint Online team site, OneNote notebook, and the ability to use Microsoft Planner and Power BI within each workspace. This cut down on Hendrick Motorsports’ chaotic and expensive reliance on a mix of paperwork, emails and files for its team-based communications.

Teamwork is the foundation of stock car racing success. Behind the hard-won chemistry between car and driver lies the concerted effort of many groups, all working single-mindedly toward one goal: winning more races. Using Microsoft Teams for centralized teamwork is one way that everyone gains access to the information they need, right in Office 365.

Because data is consolidated in Microsoft Teams, employees easily access the organization’s valuable legacy information to fine-tune the setups for each car every week. And now that Microsoft Teams is also available as a mobile app, each team’s data, files, and conversations are readily available at the track, on the road, at home, or even under a car. Your employees will always be connected, whether they are commuting, at home or away on a business trip.

You can read more about how the Microsoft Cloud services offered by VISTECH, like Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Teams, can help your company save money by clicking here.

May 01
Empower Sales Force with Microsoft Azure

Across companies, industries, and global markets there is a universal need: growth. Because of this, it is important for companies to continually enhance the knowledge, skills, and effectiveness of sales people and organizations. Gone are the days when companies have the luxury of time-consuming sales training at corporate headquarters. Training needs to be fast, adaptable and efficient.

Brainshark is a cloud-based sales training and readiness platform that helps sales people achieve mastery in the presentation of sales materials to clients, slashing the costs and resources needed for training and maximizing the effectiveness of sales engagements. With half of the Fortune 100 as its clients, Brainshark is a clear worldwide leader in its space. But continuous innovation and improvement have kept it a leader for its 17 years in business, and poised the company for continued dominance.

Brainshark’s core business had been breathing new life into sales training content—often PowerPoint presentations— creating richer, more compelling experiences that were more enjoyable and easier to retain. Rapidly growing video content put a strain on Brainshark’s data center, maxing out finite storage and processing resources and adversely affecting end-user service. However, since moving video to Azure, storage and processing constraints are no longer an issue and end-user viewing experience has been vastly improved.

One of the key developments that led to these improvements is adaptive bitrate streaming, which dynamically adjusts video data delivery as bandwidth conditions change. Additionally, Microsoft Azure’s sustainable and stable Content Delivery Network makes video content available physically closer to the end user for better performance. Since moving to Microsoft Azure, Brainshark has essentially eliminated all the management and maintenance costs previously incurred by its former video management and streaming system.

In Brainshark Labs is also pushing forward developments in close partnership with Microsoft. The newest generation of Brainshark is enhancing the industry-leading core Brainshark solution on Azure with Microsoft’s newest developments in augmented reality, motion sensing, biometrics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics— which will transform how Brainshark’s customers prepare their people for selling.

Sales trainees can experience a simulated client engagement through Microsoft HoloLens complete with presentation capabilities and life-like avatars representing clients. In contrast to virtual reality technologies, HoloLens combines real spaces with virtual elements, letting trainees practice in places they’re familiar with.

Behavior of client avatars in the simulation environment is driven by the artificial intelligence algorithms (vision, speech, language, knowledge) and machine learning capabilities of Azure Cognitive Services. As trainees make their pitches, the avatars respond appropriately.

Using a full suite of Microsoft technologies, the new Brainshark sales training solution provides a completely immersive simulation environment where sales people can practice and master their presentation performance before ever standing in front of a live client. Data captured from practice sessions can be fed into Microsoft analytics and used for optimizing pitch content and ongoing coaching from sales managers.

You can read more about Microsoft Azure and the other Microsoft Cloud services offered by VISTECH by clicking here.

Apr 24
Improve Collaboration and Process Efficiency with Yammer and Office 365

Sanofi Pasteur is a global leader in producing vaccines that help people around the world fight more than 20 infectious diseases. Sanofi Pasteur has always rigorously pursued quality in its manufacturing processes, and today it uses Yammer to crowdsource innovative ideas from everyone in the company to further improve and develop vaccine production. As a result, the company is saving hundreds of thousands of dollars, reducing waste, and continually improving safety and quality so more people can benefit from its vaccines.

Sanofi Pasteur produces more than 1 billion doses of vaccines every year in order to immunize more than 500 million people worldwide. To continually improve customer satisfaction and meet regulatory demands, Sanofi Pasteur quality teams work closely with the heads of industrial operations across 15 production and R&D sites. Together, they define quality policies and procedures to ensure all processes comply with good manufacturing practices (GMPs).

However, Schillinger and Anders Vinther, Chief Quality Officer at Sanofi Pasteur, believe there is always room for improvement. That’s why they introduced a new way to achieve quality. Their new method redefines quality from an imposed set of rules and regulations to a shared passion among all employees that equates to a new “quality mindset.” Sanofi Pasteur chose Yammer as the platform for this change.

Organizations with traditional hierarchical, rigid corporate cultures find Yammer to be a powerful agent for expanding the conversation around quality by including as many people in the conversation as possible. Today at Sanofi Pasteur, instead of relying on extremely busy senior managers to drive the quality dialogue with their colleagues, middle managers and shop floor employees use Yammer to contribute their ideas and share their personal passions for the projects they are working on.

Using Yammer, Sanofi employees set up activist networks for change, such as Pour Agir Maintenant (PAM, “Act Now”) and Ensemble Pour Demain (“Together for Tomorrow”) that were created in large manufacturing sites. Each group attracted more than 1,000 people. The business benefits extend beyond creating a more collegial, personal culture that unifies a global company. Now that people share their observations about policies and procedures across departments and hierarchies, Sanofi Pasteur is using that information to redesign its manufacturing and business processes to improve quality and further optimize its cost-effectiveness.

Before Yammer connected the Sanofi Pasteur community, many new ideas generated in a production area remained unknown to the others, sometimes even in the same manufacturing facility. Yammer now makes it possible to leverage this scattered know-how into global, established practices. For example, a building operator had ideas about how to reduce waste when managing a specific material in his production facility. Supported by volunteers across several sites, he was able to trigger a new procedure for handling the material. That procedure saved his facility more than €100,000 (USD105,000) per year and is now a global best practice at all Sanofi Pasteur production sites.

You can read more about how the Microsoft Cloud services offered by VISTECH, like Microsoft Office 365 and Yammer, can help your company save money by clicking here.

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