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The New Year always starts with a lot of predictions and excitement about the 12 months to come. The same goes for the enterprise IT world; based on Twitter this January, there’s been a lot of excitement, high expectations and talk of new boundaries for technology and business being crossed.

Where there are new frontiers to be explored, you can be sure that the Twitter-sphere will be there to spread the word. From futuristic Artificial Intelligence to the new SharePoint Server Release Candidate, January brought us plenty of content to get our teeth into, as well as to get excited about in the near future. Think we missed an important tweet? Let us know in the comments!

    6 machine learning and AI trends to watch in 2016 – via @IW_Digital -

As the number of devices and the types of software that become connected continue to increase, businesses should begin to consider capabilities to create value from Big Data and analytics.

We’re now under 20 years away from the technology akin to I, Robot, and while we might be some way off robot assistants, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities will start to see more inclusion in platforms and software. Analyst giant, Gartner has advised organizations to consider how advanced machine learning can give them a competitive advantage in 2016.

    The 15GB of free storage for OneDrive users is only available for 10 more days before it drops to 5GB |

Of all the technologies to grow in 2015, the cloud has probably made the most noise. The cloud storage wars – both consumer and enterprise-based – gained considerable traction last year, with Google, Microsoft & Dropbox trading punches. The Redmond company had the upper-hand for some time, offering subscribers unlimited storage.

However, it didn’t take long until users were taking serious advantage of the limitless storage and Microsoft had to retract the deal. In the process, the company also reduced free OneDrive storage from 15GB to 5GB and removed its 100GB & 200GB plans.

    The Release Candidate for SharePoint Server & Project Server 2016 is now available for download |

After the success of the second SharePoint Server Beta in November, this month saw the Release Candidate (RC) made available to the public. The Release Candidate is the final version of SharePoint we will see before the full release in spring of this year. Microsoft notes that over 5,000 customers have downloaded the SharePoint 2016 previews, making for a high-quality RC that is for the most part feature-complete.

Along with the inclusion of the Project Server 2016 RC, the SharePoint Server 2016 RC holds significant value for IT admins, developers and end users, with new additions such as:

  • Unprecedented deployment flexibility
  • Consistent development
  • Improved mobile access to content, people and applications
  • Foundation for the future

The Release Candidate is available to download now from the Microsoft Download Center, and feedback and feature requests are welcomed by the team.

    RT: Office Groups vs. SharePoint Teams: Finding the Right Collaboration Fit by @dlavenda of @teamharmonie – via @cmswire -

When Office Groups were first announced, there was some confusion over this new collaborative workspace, mainly because many believed they already had one in SharePoint team Web sites. Our very own VP of product strategy, David Lavenda, cleared this up, explaining both offer great capabilities suitable for different kinds of collaboration.

At both ends of the collaboration spectrum, we have: Ad hoc collaboration and structured collaboration. Ad hoc is usually informal, short-term or transitionary, such as preparing for a marketing event. Structured, plays a role in larger projects where team members need to coordinate steps and work in an organized manner. Both of these styles have different characteristics, and as such, the tools used in each case should be different.

    A recent cloud survey is showing good news for Microsoft – 70% of Office 365 users have come from Exchange |

The culmination of 5 months of research: The 2016 State of Cloud IT Report takes its data from over 1500 IT professionals from Google, Gartner, Microsoft and more. The report depicts the shift towards cloud IT, and the way in which it’s affecting workplaces around the world.

Noticeable findings include 61% of organizations founded in the last 2 years were born in the cloud – a clear indicator that its presence is too big to ignore. The report also reveals interesting facts concerning the path companies have taken in moving to the cloud: 49% of Google Apps customers came from Exchange, while 35% had no previous platform. Compare that to Office 365 users – of which 70% came from Exchange with just 13% moving from Google Apps – and you can see the loyalty that Microsoft has gained over its long tenure.

As newer and younger companies begin to start up with next to no on-premises infrastructure, Microsoft will no doubt be glad to see existing firms are making the move while sticking with the service they know.

David Lavenda
Chief Product Officer