Thursday, 12 April 2018

No Offense: Swearing Will Be Banned On Skype, Xbox, And Other Microsoft Products

Users will have to be careful with their words with Microsoft planning to ban offensive language on its platforms. Effective May 1, 2018, the company will update its Service Agreement to ban swearing on its products including Xbox, Skype, OneDrive, and Office 365. 

Image source: telegraph.co.uk

The new code of conduct states that users are prohibited from sharing inappropriate material including those with nudity, pornography, graphic violence, offensive language, and criminal activity. Microsoft made it clear that they will not watch on users’ movement or listen to conversations via Skype. Instead, they will only respond to customers who report other users of sharing inappropriate content. 

According to a tweet by Mike Ybarra, Microsoft’s Director of Xbox Programme Management, there is still no policy change for Xbox Live. Many people assume that these recent tweaks will make it easier for the company to catch users who post abusive content through its services. Xbox Live’s chat features are often used negatively by bullies to harass other gamers. 

On the other hand, some users think that this new agreement is potentially dangerous because it might involve rifling through one’s personal files. This might result in abuse of personal data, even if the company drafted the new agreement with only favorable intentions.

Image source: windowscentral.com

Eddie O’Brien currently works as the CEO of the Americas at Arvato Bertelsmann. He has also spent years working as an executive in Microsoft. Visit this page for more tech-related news.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Notable supply chain management trends for 2018

With customers now having access to the limitless amount of information and choices, businesses need to stay ahead of the curve. One way of doing so is to be aware of supply chain management trends that are expected in 2018. Some of them are listed below: 

Image source: hummingbirdinnovations.com

  • Going digital: More and more companies now realize that they have to transition their supply chain into digital to make it more intelligent, scalable, and efficient. With brands becoming more transparent nowadays, a digital supply chain management strategy also boosts to their competitive advantage. 


  •  Artificial intelligence: Some of the world’s largest companies have begun to use AI as part of their supply management strategies. Examples of these are Facebook, Google, Apple, and Tesla. Mark Zuckerberg explains the strategy, “You can think of it kind of like Jarvis in Iron Man.” There are companies that also already utilize such technology, in the form of machine vision and robotics in industrial applications, such as warehousing. By 2021, it is expected that one in four large global companies will be using AI automation or AI-powered assistants in SCM. 


  •  Elastic logistics: Demand and market fluctuations means there are business operations that have to be flexible or agile. In 2018, many experts predict that elastic logistics will make its way to countless companies. 
Image source: jabil.com


Edmund O' Brien has had a long and storied career working for many international companies, including Arthur Anderson, Coca-Cola, Reckitt Benckiser, and Microsoft. For more business insights, follow this Facebook page.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Reflecting On The Microsoft Acquisition Of Linkedin

When it comes to mergers and acquisitions, it doesn’t get any bigger than Microsoft and LinkedIn. At $26 billion, not only is it the biggest tech deal in history, but it’s also one of the biggest acquisitions ever.

It was no doubt a surprise for all of those involved, especially the people who worked at LinkedIn. How it was kept a secret from everyone, nobody knows. The only sure thing was that when it was finally announced, the jaws of every LinkedIn employee had hit the floor. The whole acquisition involved a cash transaction, with LinkedIn shares being bought at $196 a share. This, of course, included the company’s net cash.

Image source: thenextweb.com

As with every merger and acquisition, certain provisions were such as the retention of LinkedIn’s brand and culture were set in place to ensure that LinkedIn employees still had their motivation to drive them. And although LinkedIn is still independent, its CEO now reports to Microsoft’s head honcho, Satya Nadella.

Some people still question the value of the acquisition -- $26 billion. Was it worth it? LinkedIn is the biggest professional network not just in cyberspace, but also in the world. After reaching the top of that mountain, LinkedIn has only continued to grow. And who knows what else it can achieve under Microsoft?

Image source: forbes.com


Eddie O’Brien is the CEO of the Americas at Arvato Bertelsmann, overseeing the growth and execution of the multibillion-dollar BPO services provider in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. He has held several executive positions in various multinational firms, including at Microsoft. Follow this Twitter page for more business news.



Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Upsides and Downsides of Serverless Computing

Back in 2014, serverless computing gained huge popularity when Amazon first released the AWS Lambda. Several vendors, an example of which is Microsoft’s Azure Functions, followed suit by developing their own serverless computing solutions that sought to address the varying needs of consumers or organizations.

Image source: cuelogic.com
A serverless computing solution offers the following advantages:
  • Decreased costs: There would be lessened operational and development costs because the organization can opt to use only the resources that they need.
  • More manageable cost to scale: Developers do not have to implement code to scale, in addition to eliminating the requirement of an upgrade of servers should the organization find the need to increase the used cloud computing services.
  • Reduced complexity: Serverless computing does not need as many interfaces as possible, including virtual machines, servers, operating systems, and more.

However, there are also drawbacks to using serverless computing. And while upsides definitely outweigh the downsides, the latter is still worth noting:

  • Possible performance issues: Because the allocated compute resources are dependent on the applications’ requirements, there might be high latency, which can affect performance. If high performance is a primary requirement, allocated virtual servers are a better alternative than serverless computing.
  • Tricky monitoring and debugging: In serverless computing, multiple server resources are used. Due to this, monitoring and debugging activities can be difficult to do.
Image source: trendsbuzzer.com
Eddie O’Brien has extensive experience in global sales and services, technology, international business strategy, and cross-functional leadership. He currently heads Arvato Bertelsmann’s Global Cloud Strategy. He had previously worked for Microsoft for 15 years. Follow this Facebook page for more discussions on technology.

Friday, 18 August 2017

How Design Ultimately Figures In Product Development

Design plays a central role in the creation of a product. But what everyone needs to know is that people usually have a rather limited understanding of such concepts. The product goes through several processes that ensure its quality on many different levels. At the onset, one must realize the interwoven relations of design and product development even if they are not exactly one and the same thing. Design originates plans and ideas, while product development takes care of implementation and realization.

Image source: pixabay.com

Design, of course, goes beyond the graphical rendering and implies a lot of other intersecting considerations and components like engineering, branding, and whatnot. The practical orientation of product developers keeps everything in line with the core business principles and purpose. Cooperative effort describes a lot of what goes on in product initiatives. Even if design is just one of the many aspects of product development, it is crucial to take into account the efficiency of integrating design in the earliest stages of the process. There are a lot of available tools and technology that can address the need for streamlining development processes so that all product stakeholders can instantaneously coordinate changes and adjustments.

Since product development is largely anchored in business tenets, it is always valuable for designers to have a clear notion of the company's branding ideals and the marketing principles and methods that can best represent its standards. Product development is also founded on solidifying a company's position in the highly competitive world of business. New products that work, merging aesthetics with logical and optimized functionality, will always get the attention of the consumers. They also assure the customers of their willingness to continually engage and provide them with better options.

Image source: pixabay.com

Eddie O'Brien is the CEO of the Americas at Arvato Bertelsmann, overseeing the growth and execution of a multibillion-dollar business that delivers a host of BPO services including SCM, CRM, financial and IT solutions. Prior to that, he spent 15 years in various executive positions at Microsoft. For similar reads, visit this blog.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Why Leaders Are Good Troubleshooters

Good leaders never play the blame game. They take responsibility for actions taken by the team. When issues in the workplace arise, leaders initiate crucial conversations and deal with them with the team. A good leader can always turn bad situations around.
Image source:brightsouls.co.uk

If a project encounters a problem, determining the root cause of it lets the leader know whether it was the team who caused the trouble or the process. Looking closely into all the factors: the team, the partners, and the customers would prevent blaming and may promote overall improvement of the project. Having a bird’s eye view on every project may be good in the beginning to know its potential impact, but when challenges arise, a deeper look would provide a good visual of what’s causing the problem, and makes finding solutions easier.

Bullying team members in fixing project glitches would only cause problems outside of the issue and may create division in the team. A good leader knows how to balance team members and makes an effort to know the ones who are good at formulating solutions and who among them can deliver the solutions formulated. Delegating tasks is a strength every leader must have. Wanting to do everything to prevent problems is a big mistake some leaders commit.

Image source:beatyourbest.com


In troubleshooting, understanding one another is key. It is a skill that involves three other skills: conflict resolution, communication, and problem-solving skills. Keeping everyone in the team engaged can create a shared vision and shared goals. Looking back at shared goals, and bravely changing them if needed, may facilitate growth among team members.

Whether it’s a problem within the team or a problem in the project, good leaders know how to fix them.

Edmund O’Brien is the CEO of at Arvato Bertelsmann, overseeing the growth and execution of a multibillion-dollar business that delivers a host of BPO services including SCM, CRM, financial and IT solutions. He gives importance to team leadership and development. Know more about Eddie and his industry by visiting this page.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

The Competitive Advantages Of a Multicultural Business

Image source: linkedin.com
In the globalized workplace, multicultural businesses are at an advantage compared to their competitors. Designing strategies with different cultures in mind is proving to be an effective way of gaining influence in many industries. Here are some of the advantages of having a multicultural business:

Wider understanding of worldwide and industry trends

Diversity in the workplace is a crucial factor for growth. Having people from different cultures and backgrounds as part of a team can help the company further understand what is happening in the world. Different insights and experiences allow a company to come up with solutions that will address the needs of more people.

Increase in industry value

Having people from different cultures and backgrounds increases a company's value in the global field. Creating a workplace that fosters growth for a diverse group of people shows that the company is competent and advanced. It also allows employees to understand their place in the industry as they learn about what's happening to the rest of the world. In this sense, the company and its employees become valuable players in the business.

Possibilities for expansion

Image source: woman.thenest.com
A company that hones talents from different parts of the world is a good way to prepare for expansion. In this generation, setting up offices in different parts of the world is necessary to cater to the needs of more clients and to increase the workforce. Having trained employees that can step up to the challenge will make it easier for a company to establish operations overseas. Exposing employees to different cultures and languages will help them adjust to working overseas as well.

Multicultural businesses are capable of expanding their influence and services. To further succeed, they need to equip their workforce to address the needs and find new solutions to what the world needs.

Eddie O’Brien is Arvato Bertelsmann’s regional CEO for the Americas. Prior to Arvato, he served in executive positions in Microsoft from 1999 to 2014. He is passionate about driving growth, leading turnarounds, and implementing 'executional excellence' concepts, thinking, and culture into organizations. For more business management articles, visit this Google+ page.