Microsoft Unveils Office 365
Bringing together Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft Lync Online, Microsoft Office 365 launches as a cloud service provided to customers through a monthly subscription.
Introduced in beta form last year, more than 200,000 organizations signed up and tested the program. Of those businesses using the beta, many have reported impressive results and IT cost reduction up to 50 per cent.
Bell Canada is among 20 service providers who will bring Office 365 to customers this year in packages paired with their own services for small and midsized businesses.
SEE RELATED STORIES FROM THE WDM CONTENT NETWORK:
- The Latest in Virtual Communication and Marketing Automation
- TELUS to Build $65 Million Data Centre in Quebec
“Great collaboration is critical to business growth, and because it’s so important, we believe the best collaboration technology should be available to everyone,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “With a few clicks, Office 365 levels the playing field, giving small and midsize businesses powerful collaboration tools that have given big businesses an edge for years.”
Offered to businesses for $2 to $27 per user per month, Office 365 allows users to use instant message and virtual meetings who are near or nations apart. Working on documents and files at the same time, Office 365 helps co-workers share ideas easily.
“When I saw Office 365, I knew this was the way businesses would work in the future,” said Elia Wallen, owner of fast-growing temporary housing provider Travelers Haven. “With Office 365, I’m going to save $100,000 a year and cut 30 hours of work a day across my 35 employees, but most importantly, my team is going to be able to work together better — no matter where they are.”
Users can choose to use a wide array of products from simple email to comprehensive suites that meet the needs of mid to large size businesses. Available now, Office 365 also has a free 30 day trial for businesses to try out the new software applications.
How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day.
Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization.
Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.
Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?
We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization
What impact can exclusive terms have on employees?
Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.
Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code
Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!
What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?
What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.
What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology?
My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve.