Category Archives: Oracle

Microsoft’s Office for iPad carrot fails to boost consumer revenue

With consumer productivity apps’ value near zero, company goes for mindshare rather than Office 365 subscriptions

Microsoft yesterday made the surprising move to offer consumers more functional Office apps on the iPad after failing to drive Office 365 Home and Personal subscriptions, analysts said today.

“Microsoft is feeling pressure from the bottom end of the productivity market,” said Wes Miller of Directions on Microsoft. “In reality, they are doing this because of low uptake on consumer Office 365.”

On Thursday, Microsoft moved what independent analyst Ben Thompson called Office’s “scarcity line — the line between paid and free” for the iPad by changing the rights consumers have when they run the free-to-download Excel, PowerPoint and Word apps.

Prior to Thursday, consumers without an Office 365 subscription could use the Office for iPad apps only to view documents. Under the new rules, those consumers may also create and edit documents, although with numerous restrictions on the latter — Microsoft called the missing pieces “advanced editing” — that may be useful to a minority of tablet owners.

Office on the iPhone and for Android smartphones — dubbed Office Mobile — went free for consumers in March on the same day Microsoft introduced Office for iPad, and so already came with those rights. Yesterday, Microsoft split Office Mobile on the iPhone into separate Excel, PowerPoint and Word apps; on Android, the collective Office Mobile app remained.

Because businesses must still pay to use Office for iPad — or Office on iPhones and Android smartphones now, as they likely will for the soon-to-be-released Office on Android tablets — for commercial purposes, yesterday’s changes only benefited consumers, a fact that many seemed to miss.

Others agreed with Miller that Microsoft’s carrot to consumers — subscribe to Office 365 Home (for $100 annually) or Personal ($70) and get full rights to Office for iPad — had not moved the needle on the consumer editions of the rent-not-buy model.

“The reality is that Office revenue is on the business side,” said Jan Dawson, principal analyst at Jackdaw Research, in a interview. Previously, Dawson had pegged total revenue from Office — from both Office 365 and traditional perpetual licensing, with the latter dominant — at $24 billion for the 2014 fiscal year. Just $3 billion came from consumers, representing less than 13% of the total.

More to the point, consumer Office 365 revenue has grown much slower than subscriptions: Sales grew just 4% in the September quarter from the June period, while subscriptions increased 27% during that same time.

With Office on mobile failing to spark Office 365 consumer sales, Microsoft rethought its March strategy, which at the time most experts had applauded.

“The bifurcation of Office, with the free versions able to read documents but not do anything else, may have limited the uptake [of the iPad apps],” said Dawson. “The boundary between free and paid was very far toward the former because you could do almost nothing or you could do everything. I think Microsoft saw that the boundary was in the wrong place.

“Because most of the revenue is on the business side, Microsoft thought, ‘Why don’t we just give away more features on the consumer side?'” Dawson said of the strategy switcheroo. “Previously, they were afraid to give away any kind of Office.”

Miller pointed out that the value of consumer-grade productivity software has “essentially reached zero.” Google Docs is free to use for consumers and Apple began giving away its iWork suite last year to any iOS or OS X device owner. To compete, Microsoft had to reduce Office as far toward “free” as it could stomach.

Thompson concurred. “This is powerful evidence that it is actually impossible to make money selling productivity software to consumers,” Thompson wrote in his Stratechery subscription-only Daily Update of Friday. “If Microsoft couldn’t manage, how can anyone else?”

Assuming Miller and Thompson are right, what does Microsoft get from giving away Office? The firm is a corporation, not a charity. What’s the value in free?

“Because Microsoft wants to make Office the universal productivity app and its file format the universal format, so that it can perpetuate its business on the commercial side,” said Dawson.

There’s not only truth to what Dawson said, but it’s a tenet of Microsoft’s overall Office strategy. Microsoft hammers on the fact that only its Office apps and applications can reproduce the Office file format in high-quality fidelity. Putting Office in front of more people, theoretically at least, increases the Office lock-in.

Thompson echoed Dawson. “This new strategy is much more defensive in nature: Microsoft may not be able to drive new Office 365 subscribers, but … they are immensely concerned about keeping people away from Google Docs, in particular,” said Thompson. “Better to keep someone in the fold for free, with up-sell opportunities, then to incentivize them to try out your competitor.”

Not everyone saw the strategic shift in negative terms. “This is not a desperation move, or one from a point of weakness,” countered Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy. “This is their multi-platform strategy in a nutshell, not some reaction to a tactical threat. They’re simply delivering on their strategy, which is all about mobility and the cloud.”

But even Moorhead acknowledged that Microsoft hoped to prevent consumers from adopting Office alternatives. “They’re trying to lower the number of people who look to a Google solution or something different,” Moorhead said of the iPad apps’ new rights.

And while Microsoft might have been pushed toward the decision — pushed just eight months after debuting it to much fanfare — the analysts’ consensus was that it wasn’t only necessary, but the smartest move possible under the circumstances.

“They have taken the killer app for Windows and made it accessible to the Web, to iOS and to Android,” said Moorhead. “The BYOD [bring your own device] play is critical, and because Microsoft has the ability to leverage on other platforms what people access at work, it can force enterprises to pony up for access [to Office] on all an employee’s devices. That’s the real revenue maker for Microsoft.”

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Database Certifications

Popular database certifications are always in demand, whether it’sMicrosoft’s MCTS and MCITP, Oracle’s OCA, OCP and OCM or MySql’s CMA, CMDEV and CMDBA.

Are you a database professional seeking to polish your resume in the hopes of landing a better gig? Perhaps you’re just getting started in database administration and you’d like to establish your credentials in the field. Database vendors offer a variety of professional certification programs that can help you advance your career while gaining valuable technical skills. After all, even the most seasoned professional has yet to fully explore some nook or cranny of the field that’s covered on a certification exam.

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So, where do you start? Most database certs are vendor-specific, so you’ll want to earn a certification from the company that puts out the software you’re currently working with or would like to work with in the future. We’ll take a brief look at the credentials available from the major vendors.

If you’re an Oracle guru, the Oracle Certified Professional program may be for you. There’s one catch to this program, however. Before receiving any Oracle credential, all candidates must take at least one instructor-led course. If you’re like me and you just want to pick up the book, study and take the exam, you’re out of luck here. Oracle’s program includes three tiers of certification, beginning with the Oracle Database Administrator Certified Associate (OCA), progressing through the Oracle Database Administrator Certified Professional (OCP) and culminating with the Oracle Database Administrator Certified Master (OCM). Each certification is version-specific, so you’ll need to update your certification each time a new version of Oracle rolls off the production line.

On the other hand, if you work in a Microsoft shop, you should consider one of several certifications:
• If you’re maintaining Microsoft Access databases for your organization, the simplest database credential is the Microsoft Office Specialist Access Track. This is a one-exam certification that covers basic knowledge of Microsoft Access 2003 and Access XP topics. Users of Access 2007 should instead prepare for the Microsoft Certified Application Specialist (MCAS) program.
• The Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist (MCTS) credential is the entry-level certification for SQL Server professionals. There are three different certification paths: MCTS SQL Server 2008 Implementation and Maintenance, MCTS SQL Server 2008 Database Development and MCTS SQL Server 2008 Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance. Each requires only a single exam and may be used to build toward higher-level Microsoft certifications
• The Microsoft Certified Information Technology Professional (MCITP) credential is the premier certification for SQL Server administrators. It also comes in three variations. If you already hold the MCTS in SQL Server 200 Implementation and Maintenance, you can upgrade it to MCITP: Database Administrator with a single exam. Similarly, those who passed the MCTS Database Development exam can become MCITP: Database Developers with one additional exam. Finally, if you’re an MCTS in Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance, you can upgrade to MCITP: Business Intelligence Developer with one test.
Finally, if you’re a MySQL user, you might find one of their four certifications useful in your career:
• The MySQL Associate (CMA) certification requires passing a single exam and attests to the holder’s knowledge of basic MySQL skills.
• MySQL database administrators may earn the Certified MySQL Database Administrator (CMDBA) certification by passing two advanced examinations.

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• Similarly, MySQL developers may earn the Certified MySQL Developer (CMDEV) credential with two development-focused exams.
• Finally, CMDBA holders may upgrade to MySQL Cluster certification by passing a single additional exam.
Once you’ve chosen a credential that’s suitable for you, it’s time to hit the books and/or take a course and get started on your way to professional certification!

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The Rewards of Microsoft Certification


Microsoft certification is a vast combination of rich and varied spectrum of job and responsibilities. To successfully perform the critical IT function we should earn a specific credential providing objective validity of the ability. One of the most effective ways to reach a long-term career goal, which is even embraced by industry professionals worldwide, is Microsoft certification.


What are the benefits of achieving a Microsoft Certification?

Microsoft Certification enables you to keep your skills relevant, applicable, and competitive. In addition, Microsoft Certification is an industry standard that is recognized worldwide—which helps open doors to potential job opportunities. After you earn your Microsoft Certification, you have access to a multitude of benefits, which can be found on the MCP, MCT, or MOS member site.


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Advancing with long-term career goals Microsoft certification has helped countless IT professionals work more effectively. Individuals have started quoting their valuable experiences during the Microsoft certification course on the websites available. The professionals of Microsoft certification course are very different from the IT counterparts. They not only keep on fighting the challenges of IT field but also have keep themselves a step ahead from them by developing and improving their skills. These certification processes gives one a kind of knowledge to know how to get recognized in any field.


The professionals of Microsoft certification are called at the Microsoft certified professionals or MCP. For the this Microsoft certification they have to pass current Microsoft certification exam which will proved a reliable and valid measure of professional and technical expertise. The validity of a current exam is only considered and not which is retired. Microsoft certification exams reflect how Microsoft products are used in the organization.


Microsoft certification exams are developed from the inputs received from the IT industry professionals. The independent testing organizations administer these exams. There is one very big reason why IT professionals and developers become Microsoft certified professionals is that they all know that their clients, peers, employees and the IT industry shall acknowledge their expertise in working with the Microsoft products and technologies.


There are various steps towards obtaining Microsoft certification. Firstly, one should decide which Microsoft certification is correct for the person. As Microsoft offers a vast variety of professions within the IT industry one should understand which course would be the best for him. One should also get handy with the Microsoft products, which can be done only after working in the IT industry. Experience should be expanded with training by taking advantage of the training resources.


For obtaining Microsoft certification, it is also better to know what to expect in the exam. Previous question papers or taking consultation from those who have appeared or cleared the test is always a good choice. Taking helps from the help guides for Microsoft certification exams is also an added advantage. These help provide guidelines and suggestions to the person appearing for the exam. It is also suggested to take trial tests before appearing for the final exam. The test center should be selected from the worldwide locations. Also certain details like area of study, testing program and region etc should be mentioned.


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About The Author

Hi I educated in the U.K. with working experienced for 5 years in multinational companies, As an IT Manager and IT Instructor, I am attached with here they provide IT exams study material, the study materials included exams Q&A with Explanation, Testing Engine, Study Guides, Training Labs, Exams Simulations, Training Videos, Audio Exams Training, etc. for certification like MCTS Training, MCITP MCTS, MCSD, MCSA, MCSE  Training, CCNA exams preparation, CompTIA A+ Training, and more provide you the best training 100% guarantee. “Best Material Great Results”
My Specialties

I’ve worked with a lot of technologies, but these are where my focus has been in recent years:

* Microsoft SQL Server (particularly high availability and disaster recovery)

* VMWare Virtualization

* Oracle (yes, Oracle, I’ve worked on 7-11)

* Microsoft Clustering

* Red Hat Linux (I can still write shell scripts)

Cloud platform supports product development activities

OneDesk collects feedback and ideas from internal sources and social media; a new API allows it to integrate with apps from NetSuite, Oracle, SAP and

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When you talk about the sorts of internal collaboration activities that companies of any size need to support, those related to product development should be right up near the top of the list.

That’s why your organization might want to take a peek at a platform called OneDesk, a cloud-based application that is explicitly intended too coordinate product managers, engineers, marketing teams and even customer support professionals.

I spoke a few weeks back with Catherine Constantinides, one of the OneDesk team members, a few weeks back about how the platform might be used and the sorts of features that are included.

She describes it as a place for companies to declare and manage all the “needs requirements” associated with a given product or product development project.

Internally speaking, there are places to share ideas for the next releases, which can bubble up from anywhere. As some of these ideas are embraced for future features, the team can track the progress as well as any challenges or objections that might occurs along the way.

From an external perspective, OneDesk can be used to monitor and gather feedback about a product that is emerging in social media or social networks.

Ultimately, the main benefit is that all feedback — whether it is internal or external — can be gathered and searched from one location. “You can see all of the requirements, feedback and tasks associated with a particular product release,” Constantinides said. Then again, you can turn off any particular module that isn’t relevant to your organization.

There are two flavors of OneDesk, one that is free, which supports up to 30 people within a company (which is great if you are small small business) and that comes with up to 100 megabytes of data storage. OneDesk Pro will cost your organization $30 per user, per month. That essentially pays for the much larger storage capacity each users gets, up to 1 gigabyte per person.

For midsize businesses that need to worry about such things, OneDesk just released an application programming interface (API) that enables its application to be integrated with enterprise resource planning and CRM applications including Oracle, SAP, and NetSuite (they aren’t the only applications supported, but are among the most relevant, of course).

Oracle calls school’s revised lawsuit over software project a ‘transparent ploy’

Oracle is asking a judge to throw out some of the claims made in a lawsuit filed against the vendor by Montclair State University over an allegedly failed ERP (enterprise-resource-planning) software project, according to a filing made this week in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

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MSU sued Oracle in May 2011, blaming the vendor for a series of problems and delays on the PeopleSoft project, which was supposed to replace 25-year-old legacy applications. The parties had signed a US$15.75 million contract for software and implementation services in 2009.

The New Jersey school ended up firing Oracle and has said completing the project will cost up to $20 million more than the original budget. Oracle has countersued, seeking money it says MSU owes it and blaming school officials for the project’s woes.

In December, the school filed an amended complaint that added new allegations, including that Oracle had conducted a “rigged” demonstration of the software package at issue.

Oracle’s motion this week responds to that filing, asking that its allegations of fraudulent inducement, gross negligent misrepresentation, grossly negligent performance of contractual obligations and willful anticipatory repudiation of contract be dismissed.

The school’s initial complaint “was premised on the alleged breach of the Consulting Agreement between Oracle and MSU,” Oracle wrote in its filing this week. “Now, recognizing that there was no breach by Oracle and that the contract contains valid and enforceable limitations of liability, MSU has conjured up claims which completely contradict the allegations it filed initially.”

This amounts to a “transparent ploy” that “fails as a matter of law because, try as it may, MSU cannot avoid the fully integrated, extensively negotiated contract which covers the exact terms that form the basis of MSU’s new tort claims,” Oracle added.

MSU’s amended complaint includes claims of wrongdoing by Oracle that are “directly contradicted by a number of contractual provisions,” according to the filing.

For example, the school had alleged that Oracle said its base PeopleSoft system for higher education institutions would satisfy 95 percent of MSU’s more than 3,000 business requirements.

But “the Consulting Agreement makes clear, however, that 596 of the 3,071 requirements laid out in Attachment C-1 of the Fixed Price Exhibit were ‘Not in Scope,’ that 60 of the requirements were designated as ‘Undefined,’ and 52 of the requirements were to be met by customization of the base product,” Oracle said. “Thus, the Consulting Agreement provides that roughly 23% of MSU’s requirements were not to be met by the Oracle base product.”

Oracle’s motion also denies MSU’s allegation that the software vendor misrepresented how much MSU staff and resources would be required to finish the project on Oracle’s proposed schedule.

Once again, the parties’ consulting agreement contradicts the allegation since its wording “put the onus on MSU, not Oracle, to assure that MSU had the required personnel and resources,” the filing states.

If the school can provide documentation for all of its allegations in the 60-plus-page amended complaint, “they’re going to be in a real strong position,” but it’s not yet clear how the case will play out, said one IT consultant and expert witness who has testified in several cases involving Oracle software.

For example, the amended complaint included a long list of original project requirements. “Many of them are stated in general enough terms that it’s entirely possible there was a legitimate misunderstanding on the part of Oracle as to what those requirements involved,” said the consultant, who requested anonymity because of current involvement in another case regarding Oracle.

To that end, Oracle’s motion to dismiss cites an “assumption” in the consulting agreement regarding the project requirements.

If the base PeopleSoft product could do “what” a particular requirement called for, but not “how” MSU wanted it addressed, “it is MSU’s responsibility to change MSU’s business process to accommodate how the base product’s business process addresses the requirement,” the motion states.

“It’s entirely possible when you look at what was delivered it will be a judgment call, rather than a clear-cut determination, as to whether what Oracle delivered met those requirements or not,” the consultant said.

MSU plans to oppose Oracle’s motion, according to a spokeswoman, who declined further comment.

Overall, the case presents a cautionary tale for vendors and software customers.

“This is why both sides should document the process,” said analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research. “When a project goes down, fingers point everywhere.”

Oracle: HP paying Intel to keep Itanium going

Hewlett-Packard has secretly contracted with Intel to keep making Itanium processors so that HP can maintain the appearance that “a dead microprocessor is still alive”, and make money from its locked-in Itanium customer base and take business away from Oracle’s Sun servers, Oracle said in a court filing on Friday.

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The market has never been told that Itanium lives on because HP is paying Intel to keep it going, Oracle said. Intel’s independent business judgement would have killed off Itanium years ago, it added.

HP however described the filing as a “desperate delay tactic designed to extend the paralyzing uncertainty in the marketplace” that it said was created when Oracle announced in March, 2011, in a breach of contract, that “it would no longer support HP’s Itanium platform”.

HP has made statements to the marketplace to the effect that Intel’s commitment to Itanium is its own, based on its normal calculations for investing in processors that it believes have a future, Oracle said in a filing before the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Santa Clara.

A public redacted version of the filing was made available to The Wall Street Journal’s AllThingsD blog. Intel said it is not a party to the lawsuit, and therefore does not have any comment on it. “Intel does not comment on commercial agreements that we may or may not have with our customers,” the chip giant said in an e-mailed statement.

Oracle also claimed that HP had kept secret from the market, but revealed in a filing two days previously, that HP and Intel have a contractual commitment that Itanium will continue through the next two generations of microprocessors.

HP’s strategy behind its “false statements” about Intel’s support for Itanium was to take away business from Oracle Sun, and “reap lucrative revenues from the locked-in Itanium customer base using HP’s HP-UX operating system on Itanium servers”, as the company gets few service contracts on operating systems like Linux that run on x86 processors, Oracle said.

Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems last year.

HP filed a suit in June over Oracle’s decision to stop developing software for the Itanium processor, the chip used in HP’s high-end servers, claiming that Oracle’s decision violates “legally binding commitments” that it made to HP and the companies’ 140,000 joint customers.

Oracle said at the time that HP tricked it into signing an agreement last September to continue its support for Itanium, even though HP knew of an Intel plan to discontinue Itanium. HP already knew all about Intel’s plans to discontinue Itanium, and HP was concerned about what would happen when Oracle found out about that plan, Oracle said in a statement in June.

As Oracle well knows, HP and Intel have a contractual commitment to continue to sell mission-critical Itanium processors to customers through the next two generations of microprocessors, thus ensuring the availability of Itanium through at least the end of the decade, HP said in a statement.

“The fact remains that Oracle’s decision to cut off support for Itanium was an illicit business strategy it conjured to try to force Itanium customers into buying Sun servers — and destroy choice in the marketplace,” HP said.

Oracle Fusion Middle Ware core principles

What is Oracle Fusion Middleware?

Middleware has its roots in common integration tasks such as connecting software applications and exchanging data. Middleware makes a difference in the back office and on the front lines, where people and information meet.

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Over the years that followed, various technologies have emerged with the aim of making the development of distributed applications easier. Companies needed to integrate their existing applications and make them available to their entire organization. Many applications were hardware dependent, were difficult to monitor and maintain, and required large and powerful hardware. This is where middleware technologies began.
Middleware has come a long way, very quickly. Now, with standards-based integration and easy to use tools, a company’s internal IT resources are able to more easily integrate enterprise applications, maintain these integrations, and evolve these integrations to meet changing business needs.
Development tools provide graphical programming interfaces that make it so that IT programmers with no prior J2EE development experience can get up to speed very quickly. Integrations efforts are now greatly reduced with less coding involved.

Oracle Fusion Middleware is a comprehensive family of products ranging from application development tools and integration solutions to identity management, collaboration, and business intelligence reporting.
These products provide the critical software foundation needed to ensure corporate growth, insight, and control. With Oracle Fusion Middleware, you can leverage your investment in Oracle or any other vendor to make better decisions, secure sensitive information, streamline compliance initiatives, and mitigate risks. And because Oracle Fusion Middleware is modular and integrated, you buy only what you need, when you need it.
Fusion Middleware: Core Principles
Oracle fusion technology is based on five core principles:
• Model-driven: Modeled from applications, business processes, and business information
• Service & Event-enabled: Through extensible, modular and flexible applications and processes exposed as services
• Information-centric: Providing complete, consistent, and actionable real-time intelligence

• Grid-ready: With scalable, available, and secure architecture that is manageable on low-cost hardware
• Standards-based: Meaning it is open and pluggable in a heterogeneous environment
Oracle Fusion Middleware products provide the ability to:
• Orchestrate: Manage your business processes within a Service-Oriented Architecture
• Collaborate: Foster productivity with collaboration and content management services
• Protect: Manage risk and drive compliance with an unbreakable architecture and end-to-end identity management.
• Integrate: Improve your capacity for growth by integrating your existing applications and technologies
• Analyze: Improve insight into business operations with BI solutions and a common data model that turns information into action
• Use the applications, technologies, and skill-sets you already have with the Oracle’s middleware hires ex-Oracle, SAP software executive Wookey has hired former Oracle and SAP executive John Wookey, adding a seasoned software-development executive to its ranks at a time of rapid growth in both revenue and its breadth of offerings.

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“We’re thrilled to have John join,” the company said in a statement Friday. “He will be focused on special projects that will help us accelerate social enterprise success for customers.”

Wookey was not available for interviews, according to the company.

He left SAP earlier this year after an approximately two-and-a-half year stint, during which he managed the vendor’s on-demand software strategy for large enterprises. His hiring in November 2008 was seen as a coup for SAP at the time, and his departure sparked no shortage of speculation about why he decided to leave. In announcing his pending departure in April, SAP and Wookey said he wanted to spend more time with his family.

He has kept a low profile since then, perhaps due to a noncompete agreement with SAP.

Prior to SAP, Wookey was a key executive in charge of Oracle’s Fusion Applications, a next-generation suite that came to market this year after a protracted development process. He left Oracle in October 2007.

Wookey is a “good pickup” for and not one made randomly, said Forrester Research analyst Paul Hamerman. “They’re a very innovative company. If they’re bringing him in, it means they probably have a ton of strategy behind it.” may want to build some new products, especially in areas such as accounting or human resources, Hamerman speculated.

Wookey will bring solid product-management skills to the development organization, said analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research. “Wookey is one of the best in enterprise software at building effective teams.”

All told, Wookey should have plenty to do. In recent years, has moved far beyond its roots as a CRM (customer relationship management) vendor, venturing into areas such as social networking and adding new cloud development platforms for Java and other programming languages.

It has also eyed the ERP (enterprise resource planning) market through efforts like, its joint venture with Unit 4 Agresso, as well as partnerships with vendors like Workday and Infor.

How to set up the perfect teleworking environment

Teleworking (aka working from home) is increasing fast as new technology and communications make it possible. Here’s how to make the most of it.

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It can be the best of both worlds – getting paid to work, but doing so from home where you can avoid hours wasted stuck in traffic or beating the train crush, not to mention saving on those transport costs and expensive cafe lunches. Plus, you can even sit there and work in your PJs, as long as you don’t sleep on the job.

But if you’re going to work from home – part-time or full-time – you need the right setup. This applies whether you’re working as an extension of your presence at work, or if working from home is your full-time employment. It is, as always, about the right tools for the job.

Work space
Ideally, you want a spare room. It’s not just that you need an area to work, or that the area is sufficient to support your work (if you can only fit a tiny desk it isn’t going to help if you work with a lot of papers), it’s also essential to help you strike the work/life balance: an area separate from the rest of the house allows you to close the door at the end of the day and separate your work from your home life.

Then, of course, you’ll need:

Don’t underestimate the value of a large desk. The height should be around 70cm tall and should have enough space to comfortably place your monitor 45-60cm away from you, and which should be adjusted so the top of the monitor is roughly in line with your eyes. Regardless of whether you use a notebook or a desktop, having ‘spread space’ to lay out your work on your desk helps you keep organised. You also need room for your mouse, keyboard, phone, printer and anything else you need to work (no, that espresso maker doesn’t count as essential for desk space!).

If you plan to telework extensively, you need to think about your health. A bad chair can encourage bad posture and ultimately lead to problems. If this is your full-time working environment, you need a decent, ergonomically sound chair to support your hours at your desk – just as is if you were in the office. So no, that kitchen stool is right out! The chair needs to be height-adjustable, and you need to set it so your hands and forearms rest on the desk at a 90-degree angle, with your feet flat on the floor. It’s not just a matter of posture – being comfortable and having your back properly supported enables you to work more effectively. There’s a reason chairs can cost a lot of money, so invest in a good one. In many ways it’s the centrepiece of your work space.

This is often neglected, but the work space needs to have good lighting. Sunlight is ideal, but otherwise if using artificial light make sure it’s overhead and diffuse to prevent glare. If you have to use desk lamps, face them away from your field of vision. Be careful with windows for sunlight – monitors placed facing them will also suffer glare, and windows behind can cause contrast issues with the monitor and strain your eyes, so it’s usually best to place them perpendicular to the window. Blinds are very useful for controlling lighting in your work space.

Another often-overlooked component, how noisy is your work space environment? Your space at the office may be quiet or quite rowdy, but it’s usually consistent and you can tune out. At home, external noises such as the street or neighbours, to say nothing of internal ones from family or pets, can be distracting. If you can’t prevent the noise, you can reduce its impact by masking it with radio or playing music on low volume. You should also set a schedule of when you can and can’t be disturbed.

By definition, teleworking is a surrogate for your office, and so needs much of the same equipment. You likely have most of these already, and what you don’t have your IT department may be able to supply – it depends on the policies for teleworking at your office:

The obvious one. Desktops certainly make it easy, but notebooks and the prevalence of 3G means you don’t actually have to be bound to any one place to telework. It’s also easy for an IT department to outfit a notebook with everything you need to telework installed and ready to go, which not only makes it easy for you but allows them to ensure security with a known installed software base and configuration.

Broadband is prevalent these days, and one of the key drivers for telework adoption. However, you can also use 3G through dongles or phone tethering (Android and iPhones make this a snap). If you plan to use remote desktop software (see ‘Router’, next), broadband will be all-but essential – 3G can’t match the latency or speed. Check your broadband plan – if teleworking will break your data cap, you’ll need to upgrade to a larger plan before you realise your cap is broken. Paying through the nose for excess 3G data, or being throttled by an ISP, will kill your ability to telework effectively.

If you have other networked devices connected – notebook and desktop, network-attached storage, printer etc. – you’ll need a router. Most broadband modems these days include a four-port router and wireless, which is usually sufficient. These however are almost always 10/100. If you plan to move a lot of data at home, you’ll need a gigabit router or switch (a switch is preferred if you have heterogeneous devices with different capabilities).

Printer or MFC
If your role requires paperwork, you may be expected to print out material. Printers are cheap these days (though inks can quickly add up – read reviews before deciding on a model).

Backup and storage
Sounds boring, but this is vital. Firstly, where are you storing your work files? Are they only on the work network, or stored locally? If they’re on your notebook, what happens if it gets stolen? And do you have a backup regimen? Hardware fails eventually, so storing just on the desktop or notebook is not enough. An external USB drive or (if you have a lot of data) NAS is essential. If backing up is always last on your to-do list, automate it with specialised software. Cloud services are another option (more on this below). These days multi-terabyte USB drives can be had for peanuts.

Sometimes email and messaging isn’t enough. Your home phone is one option for keeping in contact, but a mobile is probably preferred. If you can, get a new mobile specifically for work. Not only can this help you keep your work and home life separate (leave the mobile in the office when you’re done for day!), but as it’s for work it should also be a work cost. Otherwise, VoIP is cheap if you have it as an option on your broadband plan.

Other hardware, aside from stationary (you did buy or borrow some pens right?) that’s useful are surge protectors (this is your work, getting behind due to a hardware failure probably isn’t what you have in mind), wireless routers if you plan to be able to ‘roam around the home’ with notebooks and phones for work, and if your ADSL or cable broadband connection is in a different room to your home office, powerline networking devices can allow you to connect rooms without stringing cables around the home.

There are a number of solutions for teleworking. If your company encourages and promotes teleworking, it will likely already have a solution in mind – software specifically designed to make connecting remotely both easy and, importantly, secure. Traditionally, there are two key methods for teleworking:

Connecting to your work PC
As though you were sitting in front of it. You can interact with your PC’s desktop and do anything you would normally do if you were at work. Software to do this includes Citrix GoToMyPC, Symantec pcAnywhere, TeamViewer, LogMeIn, NoMachine, and Real VNC, among others. Microsoft also has remote desktop software built into Windows 7, as does Apple for Mac OS X, and there are a range of free tools for Linux.

Connecting to the work network
Usually via a VPN (virtual private network). This gives you access to shared drives, the intranet, printers and other services as though you were sitting on the network at work. For extra security, some companies will run remote desktop software through a VPN. Windows, Mac and Linux all support VPNs out of the box.

Both have their pros and cons. Remote desktop software is a virtual presence at the office, and has the advantage of providing any software and services at home that you would be able to access and use if you were at work. It also makes it relatively easy for the admins to keep the network secure, as your access is only via your PC. The downside is that this can be a bandwidth-heavy solution, operating your desktop remotely in real-time.

Access to a network such as with a VPN can be a lot less bandwidth-intensive – you’re literally connecting your home network (even if that’s just your PC) to the work network through a secure connection. You won’t have access to your work desktop, but you should be able to access anything else on the network that you would normally be allowed to use via the VPN.

There’s a third method these days that’s rapidly evolving thanks to the internet – shared cloud services. Rather than connect to a secure work network or PC, if a business migrates its email, office applications and file sharing online then the concept of the office no longer becomes the physical work network sitting in the building where your office is located – it becomes any place you happen to be, as long as there’s internet access.

This is something that groupware providers have been taking heavy advantage of, and three of the big players are:

Microsoft now provides Office 365 which integrates local Office software and web-based services. This include Microsoft’s Office Web Apps, SkyDrive storage, Exchange and SharePoint.

Google has its suite of apps that include Google Docs, Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Talk for messaging.

Zoho provides Zoho Docs, Zoho Mail, Zoho Meeting, Zoho Projects, Zoho Chat and even shared Wiki collaboration with Zoho Wiki.

All of these aim to provide a consistent suite of productivity and collaboration programs that work both at the office and remotely for teleworking.

Other software that is useful specifically for teleworking includes messaging – even if it’s just classics such as ICQ, MSN or Yahoo – and video conferencing, for which there are plenty of options, though Skype is the most well-known. Beyond this, depending on your role, you can even find shared cloud services that include web presenting, whiteboarding, screen sharing and project management. However while cloud services can still be secure, and provide a way to work and collaborate through purely internet-accessible tools, the downside is the reliance on cloud service providers – if they go down or suffer outages, so does your business.

Your company may also require some extra security software be installed (even if it’s just a reliable anti-virus/anti-malware suite). After all, your PC becomes an access point to the network, which is one more point of vulnerability. If this is the case, follow whatever procedures your IT department requires. It’s a small price to pay for the freedom of working from home.

Microsoft Certification Video

Here is a great video from Tim Warner were he provides – in plain english – an overview of the new Microsoft Certification exam programs.  The video is especially helpfull if you are used to the old exam categorization that Microsoft offered (MCSE, MCAD, MCSD etc..)  and you now want to learn more about the new exam types:  MCA, MCTS, MCITP & MCPD.  Let me know what you think about the video and if it answered all your questions.

In the video Tim covers the following topics:
The changes to the Microsoft Certifcation in general and the reason behind it.
An overview of the latest Microsoft Exam Types
A quick guide to the Microsoft Learning website and how to make the best out of it

Watch New Vistas in Microsoft Certification in Tech & Gaming | View More Free Videos Online at



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