Brooks is running with Microsoft 365 to win the innovation race

Brooks is running with Microsoft 365 to win the innovation race


Profile picture of Ron Markezich.Brooks Running Company has a saying, “A run can flat out change a day, a life, the world,” and with an estimated 135 million runners around the globe (myself included), that’s a lot of good happening for a lot of people, in a lot of places. Brooks, a member of the Berkshire Hathaway group of companies, promotes the benefits of a heathy lifestyle through its groundbreaking biomechanical research, engineering running shoes and gear for professional athletes and consumers alike. As the company evolves its cloud-first IT strategy, we’re thrilled that Brooks chose Microsoft 365 to build a modern workplace with integrated tools that eliminate technical barriers to product innovation.

This is how Mark McKelvey, vice president of Information Technology at Brooks, describes the role that innovation has played in the company’s history—and the business value of continuing that tradition through a digital transformation of its own:

“Product innovation and superior service are Brooks’ competitive advantages. We use Microsoft 365 to empower employees and foster the creative collaboration required to generate new ideas that benefit runners. With frictionless access to the tools and information our teams need to be productive, employees can focus on what Brooks does best: bringing our Run Happy spirit and best-in-class gear to runners around the world.”

A recent example of Brooks’ innovation is the company’s gait analysis app, called Run Signature, that looks at a runner’s unique biomechanics and helps find the best running shoe for them. The app is built on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, which also supports a new, highly successful B2B platform that Brooks recently debuted for its retailers. As Brooks expands its online platforms, we’re excited to see how Microsoft continues to be a great fit for the company’s cloud-first strategies.

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Collaborate with others and keep track of to-dos with new AI features in Word

Collaborate with others and keep track of to-dos with new AI features in Word

Focus is a simple but powerful thing. When you’re in your flow, your creativity takes over, and your work is effortless. When you’re faced with distractions and interruptions, progress is slow and painful. And nowhere is that truer than when writing.

Word has long been the standard for creating professional-quality documents. Technologies like Editor—Word’s AI-powered writing assistant—make it an indispensable tool for the written word. But at some point in the writing process, you’ll need some information you don’t have at your fingertips, even with the best tools. When this happens, you likely do what research tells us many Word users do: leave a placeholder in your document and come back to it later to stay in your flow.

Today, we’re starting to roll out new capabilities to Word that help users create and fill in these placeholders without leaving the flow of their work. For example, type TODO: finish this section or <<insert closing here>> and Word recognizes and tracks them as to-dos. When you come back to the document, you’ll see a list of your remaining to-dos, and you can click each one to navigate back to the right spot.

Screenshot of a Word document open using the AI-powered To-Do feature.

Once you’ve created your to-dos, Word can also help you complete them. If you need help from a friend or coworker, just @mention them within a placeholder. Word sends them a notification with a “deep link” to the relevant place in the document. Soon, they’ll be able to reply to the notification with their contributions, and those contributions will be inserted directly into the document—making it easy to complete the task with an email from any device.

Over time, Office will use AI to help fill in many of these placeholders. In the next few months, Word will use Microsoft Search to suggest content for a to-do like <<insert chart of quarterly sales figures>>. You will be able to pick from the results and insert content from another document with a single click.

These capabilities are available today for Word on the Mac for Office Insiders (Fast) as a preview. We’ll roll these features out to all Office 365 subscribers soon for Word for Windows, the Mac, and the web.

Get started as an Office for Mac Insider

Office Insider for Mac has two speeds: Insider Fast and Insider Slow. To get access to this and other new feature releases, you’ll need a subscription to Office 365. To select a speed, open Microsoft Auto Update and on the Help menu select Check for Updates.

As always, we would love to hear from you, please send us your thoughts at UserVoice or visit us on Twitter or Facebook. You can also let us know how you like the new features by clicking the smiley face icon in the upper-right corner of Word.

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New to Microsoft 365 in October—tools to create impactful content and help transition to the cloud

New to Microsoft 365 in October—tools to create impactful content and help transition to the cloud

This month, we released new features in Microsoft 365 that help teams enhance the look and feel of their content with ease, plus new tools and resources to help you transition to the cloud.

Here’s a look at what’s new in October.

Create content that stands out

We’re excited to introduce new capabilities that help enhance the visual look and feel and overall impact of your documents and presentations.

Bring your content to life with Embedded 3D Animations—Earlier this month, we announced that you will be able to insert Embedded 3D Animations in Word and PowerPoint to help easily illustrate more complex ideas in your presentations using 3D. Simply insert and play embedded 3D animated models, so you can improve the comprehension and retention of your content. This feature will available beginning November 2018.

An animated screenshot showing an embedded animation of a hummingbird in PowerPoint.

Convert ink to text and shapes at the same time—We’re enabling more natural ways to work with Ink in PowerPoint. You’ll be able to easily convert your digital pen ink into text on a slide. And when you draw a more complex diagram with words and shapes, you can select everything in the slide and convert it to text or shapes all at once. The feature requires a Microsoft 365 or Office 365 subscription and a touch/ink-compatible device. This feature will be available beginning November 2018.

An animated screenshot shows ink being converted to text in PowerPoint.

Build impactful content with curated slide recommendations in PowerPoint—Now, regardless of whether your words are handwritten or typed, Designer in PowerPoint uses artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing to convert text into curated slide recommendations. These recommendations include multiple design themes and intelligent SmartArt and icons—based on words in your slide—to bring your ideas to life. You’ll save time, stay in the design flow, communicate more clearly with imagery, and create better slides. This feature is now available to Microsoft 365 or Office 365 subscribers.

An animated screenshot shows Design Ideas suggested in a PowerPoint slide.

Easily edit documents with a digital penNew gestures in Ink Editor enable you to edit documents using familiar shorthand with a digital pen while in tablet mode. Now, you can insert new lines, add missing words, and delete and highlight content quickly and naturally while on the go. These capabilities are available with a Microsoft 365 or Office 365 subscription when using a touch-enabled device and a digital pen.

An animated screenshot shows text in a Word document edited with a digital pen. The Ink Editor deletes a paragraph, inserts an ommitted word, and bolds a numerical figure.

Convert Word documents into beautiful webpages using Transform to Web—With Transform to Web, you can easily transform your Word documents into interactive, easy-to-share webpages with just three clicks. Transform to Web offers a variety of styles that look great on any device, helping you easily publish a wide variety of polished content, including newsletters and training manuals. You can also view analytics on the page, including who has viewed or read your content. To transform a document, go to File > Transform and select a style. This feature will be available for Word with an Office 365 subscription and Word Online beginning November 2018.

Easily transition to and work in the cloud

We’re introducing capabilities across Microsoft 365 to help you move your files and applications to the cloud and help your users easily get help and support when they need it.

Migrate your files to the cloud with the SharePoint Migration Tool—The new SharePoint Migration Tool is a simple and intuitive way for commercial customers to migrate their existing SharePoint, OneDrive, and File Share content to SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and Microsoft Teams. To take advantage of the latest collaboration, intelligence, and security solutions in Microsoft 365, download the SharePoint Migration Tool at no added cost to bring your on-premises content to the cloud.

Ensure app compatibility with Desktop App AssureDesktop App Assure is now available through FastTrack to assist customers who encounter app compatibility issues when deploying Windows 10, Office 365 ProPlus, and feature updates. Desktop App Assure for FastTrack customers is currently available in North America and will be available worldwide by February 1, 2019.

Access help and support when using—The new help and support pane for will provide you access to the latest support information and support articles, and give you help with the common issues for the app you’re using without leaving the app. For commercial customers, you’ll be able to search your organization’s help desk information, if enabled by your admin. The new experience will launch next month on and will roll out across Office 365 web apps over the next six months.

A screenshot displays an Excel tab open in Office Online.

Other updates

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Microsoft again recognized as a Leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms

Microsoft again recognized as a Leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms

Microsoft has pioneered intelligent content services in Microsoft 365 to help our customers achieve more. And the industry has taken note. Today, we are honored that for the second year in a row Gartner has recognized Microsoft as a Leader in the Content Services Platforms Magic Quadrant for 2018. Once again, Microsoft placed highest in Ability to Execute.

Gartner defines a content services platform as:

“A set of services and microservices, embodied as an integrated product suite and applications that share common APIs and repositories, to exploit diverse content types and to serve multiple constituencies and numerous use cases across an organization.”

We couldn’t agree more. SharePoint is the content services platform for Microsoft 365, with capabilities for creating, sharing, protecting, and reusing information. SharePoint hosts digital content like pages, lists, videos, images, designs, 3D, medical scans, and markup as well as traditional Office documents. SharePoint embodies ease of use with ease of management—on any device, for any user, at any location. Importantly, SharePoint collects and extends content experiences to any application in Office 365—including Microsoft Teams and Outlook and, of course, third-party applications as well.

These innovations—along with customers’ transition to the cloud and the growing imperative for secure content collaboration and sharing—are driving growth across Microsoft 365, SharePoint, and OneDrive. More than 350,000 organizations now have SharePoint and OneDrive in Microsoft 365, including 90 percent of the Fortune 500. Active users grew over 90 percent, and data stored in SharePoint grew over 250 percent in the last year alone.

Additionally, Microsoft is the only company recognized as a leader in both the Content Collaboration Platforms and Content Services Platforms Magic Quadrant reports.

Image of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for 2018.

We feel this placement is a further indication of our commitment to our customers, recognizing that Microsoft provides leading content services capabilities, including:

  • SharePoint is easy to set up, with a simple and clean user interface paired to easy but powerful management, deeply integrated with OneDrive so you can take your files anywhere.
  • SharePoint empowers you to create beautiful, engaging pages and knowledge portals, enriched with video from Stream and conversations from Yammer, to connect across your organization.
  • We combine the power of artificial intelligence (AI) with content to help you be more productive, make more informed decisions, and keep more secure. This includes video and audio transcription, mobile capture to SharePoint using the top-rated OneDrive mobile app, as well as other features to make Microsoft 365 the smartest place to store your content.
  • Microsoft 365 is easily connected and automated via Microsoft Flow to over 200 cloud and on-premises systems, enriched with Azure cognitive services, and extended with PowerApps and the SharePoint framework for custom development.
  • SharePoint delivers content across Microsoft 365. Whether you are a Firstline Worker working remotely, co-authoring in Office apps, emailing cloud attachments in Outlook, or collaborating with your team in the new chat-based workspace Microsoft Teams, SharePoint provides a consistent set of experiences across the applications.
  • SharePoint can store any file and now supports viewing of over 320 file formats, including Adobe Photoshop (PSD), Illustrator (AI), Acrobat (PDF), as well as video, 3D formats, and DICOM images.
  • With Microsoft Search, we’re introducing new search experiences into the apps you use every day, including and Windows, and our vision to connect across your organization’s network of data.
  • SharePoint supports customers ranging in size from small businesses to organizations with hundreds of thousands of users, and has a maximum tenant capacity of 30 trillion documents.
  • SharePoint leverages Microsoft security capabilities such as Advanced Data Governance for automated retention and records management, Data Loss Protection (DLP), eDiscovery, and MIP-based encryption, all with consistent controls across Microsoft 365.
  • With 100+ global datacenters and Microsoft’s global network edge—combined with compliance standards, including ISO 27001, FISMA, and EU Model Clauses—we offer customers trusted enterprise-grade compliance and security.

At Microsoft Ignite last month, we shared exciting Microsoft 365 innovations that build on this foundation. And our innovations are amplified by the depth and breadth of our community. This year, we welcomed a limited number of Microsoft Preferred Partners to our Content Services Partner Program. Each is recognized for proven customer success to modernize, embrace, and extend our content services platform.

To learn more about how SharePoint can help you and your organization, visit our website and download our content services white paper. Finally, download your own complimentary copy of the Gartner Content Services Platforms Magic Quadrant.

This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product, or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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Microsoft named a 2018 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for Content Collaboration Platforms (CCP)

Microsoft named a 2018 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for Content Collaboration Platforms (CCP)

Microsoft has been recognized as a 2018 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for Content Collaboration Platforms (CCP). Our team takes great pride in this distinction, as customer feedback continues to shape our products and services.

In its announcement Gartner explains, “The Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice is a recognition of vendors in this market by verified end-user professionals, taking into account both the number of reviews and the overall user ratings.” To ensure fair evaluation, Gartner maintains rigorous criteria for recognizing vendors with a high customer satisfaction rate.

For this distinction, a vendor must have a minimum of 50 published reviews with an average overall rating of 4.2 stars or higher.

Here are a few customer quotes from the over 300 reviews Microsoft has received for OneDrive:

“The benefits of OneDrive are unmatched: Collaborate in real-time with Office document editing, including version control, ease of sharing documents with associates, and simple file access from iOS and Android devices.”
—Asset Management Audit Analyst (read full review)

“You can’t go wrong with OneDrive for Business especially if you are already in the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. We used it to replace old file servers for shared folders and it has proven far cheaper and easier to use and maintain.”
—Global Service Delivery Manager, Healthcare (read full review)

“OneDrive allows for the same compliance and security configuration as Office 365, which makes it really easy for us to ensure that data needs to be secured is secured.”
—Project Manager, Services Industry (read full review)

“This product is unbelievable. So easy to install. It comes with Office 365 so when that is installed, BAM it’s done.”
—Director of Information Security, Education (read full review)

Read more reviews for Microsoft.

More than 400,000 organizations have OneDrive and SharePoint in Office 365, including 85 percent of the Fortune 500. The OneDrive team has been working overtime to deliver new innovations and value as part of their subscriptions. We take deep pride in these positive reviews as well as recent customer success stories from MGM Resorts International, Walmart, Johnson Controls International, Textron, and Autodesk.

To all our customers who submitted reviews, thank you! These reviews mold our products and our customer journey, and we look forward to building on the experience that earned us this distinction!

The Gartner logo.

Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice constitutes the subjective opinions of individual end-user reviews, ratings, and data applied against a documented methodology; they neither represent the views of, nor constitute an endorsement by, Gartner or its affiliates.

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Qantas empowers employees to do their best work with Microsoft 365, enhancing customer experience

Qantas empowers employees to do their best work with Microsoft 365, enhancing customer experience

Today’s post was written by Susan Doniz, Qantas Group chief information officer.

March 2018 marked an historic event for Qantas and the aviation industry: our inaugural direct Perth to London flight, the first nonstop connection between Australia and Europe. Back in 1947, this “Kangaroo Route” took four days and seven stops. Today, our Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner carries 236 passengers in one 17-hour flight that rides the most favorable winds to make the 14,498-kilometer journey—currently the longest Dreamliner flight in the world.

Technology makes many of these innovations possible: from analyzing a decade of seasonal wind patterns to creating meals that maintain hydration and reduce jetlag, managing the logistics of loading 21,000 items on each flight, and ensuring passenger safety and comfort. When I joined Qantas, I was impressed with the airline’s drive to use technology to deliver the best customer experience. In the complex ecosystem that is an airline, each employee plays a key role in the value chain that contributes in some way to differentiating Qantas within the industry. We use Microsoft intelligent cloud-based business services to empower our 30,000 employees in more than 100 locations to connect with each other and to access information easily. These capabilities are critical for helping everyone at Qantas to be creative about improving our customer experience.

I’m very excited about the promise of reducing complexities across the company through easy-to-use tools that give all employees a voice. We’re encouraging a culture that fosters one global corporate conversation. Intelligent communication apps like Microsoft Teams, one-click video calls, and the Yammer social enterprise network go a long way toward opening dialogue that may have been restricted for a regional airport in the outback. The more we empower people with a voice, the more we can expect creative collaboration that leads to innovative contributions from right across the company.

The other cultural change as we evolve our workplace comes from providing better access to information. Today, customers have more and more digital information available, and it’s only fitting that the same should be true of our employees. Instead of having to search through disparate systems to find answers, we’re putting valuable, targeted information at employees’ fingertips so they can quickly make decisions and provide efficient, proactive customer service.

Easy access to relevant data makes a huge difference to our Firstline Workers. And because Microsoft 365 works with other Microsoft tools, such as Cortana and HoloLens, I can imagine scenarios where we can better collaborate between teams to streamline and enhance the work we do. For instance, engineers might visualize a mechanical part during the design process, then collaborate with others, store and share files, and brainstorm ideas—all using Teams.

A strong identity management service provides the foundation for our new modern workplace. To ensure our 30,000 employees have the information they need without compromising data security, we’re using the integrated set of security-enhancing capabilities in Microsoft 365. These, in addition to the security features embedded in the Office 365 apps, boost our security posture while simplifying how IT manages and secures work environments.

If I could sum it up in one sentence: we want people to be able to say they are doing their best work at Qantas. With Microsoft cloud-based business tools, we are helping them do just that. It’s one very important way that we continue to deliver better a customer experience, one flight at a time.

—Susan Doniz

Read the full case study.

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