Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: microsoft

The Talent Development Centre includes advice for independent contractors in IT from one of Canada’s top staffing and recruitment agencies. See all posts about Microsoft.

The Stories Behind Trillion Dollar Valuations

In the last year, three technology giants became the first companies to hit the $1 trillion-dollar valuation mark on Wall Street, with Microsoft being the most recent and Alphabet predicted to be the next. It’s an incredible feat, especially considering how each has their own story of highs and lows before their stock suddenly exploded.

This video from the Wall Street Journal explores each company’s accomplishment, where they came from, and what innovations helped drive them over the top. Where do you think these companies will go next? Will they keep growing, plateau or collapse? Who will be the next to hit this milestone? Share your predictions in the comments below.

Are Word and Excel Really That Great for an Independent Contractor’s Accounting?

At its core, Microsoft Office offers a suite of tools that nearly everybody uses, regardless of their profession, with Word and Excel being the most popular. Over the years we’ve provided extensive tips on formatting your resume in Microsoft Word and shared several posts with tips to use Excel to its maximum potential.

Throughout our many posts, we have suggested a time or two that IT contractors could use Microsoft Excel for accounting; however, that suggestion always comes with a caution that as powerful as it is, Excel doesn’t easily cover all of your accounting needs. In a recent blog post, Freshbooks also cautions against using Word and Excel to manage your books, even if it’s something that’s always worked for you. While we admit, Freshbooks is a biased source given its product is accounting software, they do make valid points to consider:

You’re Probably Making Mistakes in Word and Excel

Because these Microsoft tools are not created specifically for accounting, Freshbooks argues that it is easier to make mistakes that cost you time and money. For example, fixing small formatting issues in Excel is quick, but frequently making those fixes will quickly take more and more time. Or, maybe you accidentally save over (or forget to save) IT project estimates you create in Word. Then you may have to unprofessionally ask your recruiter or client to send it back to you a month later.

Tracking Cashflow Is Not as Easy

The example Freshbooks provides in their argument is that their product allows for online payment so you can get paid faster, even in a mail stoppage. But a great accounting program will help your cashflow beyond that example in ways that Excel and Word will not do as easily. If you juggle multiple clients and staffing agencies, accounting programs can track their payment status and trends to know who is better at paying. In addition, they will notify you who has yet to pay, automatically send reminders and notify you when it’s time to follow up. If you’re a pro with MS Office, you can probably set these features up on your own, but they will not run quite as smoothly.

Tax Time is Not as Easy

All independent contractors are well aware of the importance of filing your taxes properly. While your fantastic accountant takes care of everything at tax time, they will be thrilled to learn you moved away from Microsoft Office and onto an accounting software. These programs track your expenses and help manage all documentation that come with them. They can also automatically generate reports and calculations based on your tax requirements. The easier you can make tax time on your accountant, the less time it will take them to do your books, and the less they will have to charge you.

The software you choose to use to manage your IT contracting business is a decision to be made based on consultation with your accountant, in combination with your own knowledge of accounting. While this post was inspired by a Freshbooks article, there are many other options and we encourage you to explore them all. One thing is certain, though. If you choose to use programs such as Word or Excel, you will have more inconveniences and mistakes.

Here’s a Look Inside Microsoft’s Hardware Lab

Whether you’re a PC or Mac person, nobody can dispute that Microsoft is a leader in creating both software and hardware. It’s a fascinating organization, well-known for dominating the operating system market with Windows and word processing with the entire Office suite. With so much success in software, why do they bother creating hardware? When they are, what processes do they go through and how do they ensure they’re always pushing the envelop in innovation?

This video from The Verge goes inside Microsoft’s hardware lab to answer those questions and learn more about how it developed the Surface Book. Stick to the end, and get a sneak peak into some of their upcoming technologies that might change the world.

IT Industry News for June 2016

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
Chairman of the Board at Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on July 6th, 2016

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the tech industry for June 2016. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of June in previous years

Five years ago in June 2011 the big deal of the month was Ericsson’s $1.5 Billion purchase of Tecordia; Oracle made a couple of acquisitions (storage vendor Pillar Data and Google signFatwire Software); Google also made a couple of acquisitions, (analytics company PostRank and advertising management company Admeld).  In June 2012 Microsoft’s $1.2 billion purchase of Yammer was the big deal of the month.  Salesforce paid $689 million for Buddy Media; Google reputedly paid $100 million for Meebo; Facebook bought facial recognition company Face.com; and Oracle bought “social intelligence” company Collective Intellect.  Another “buy” of interest to us at Eagle was the reputedly 7 figure purchase of Bullhorn by Vista Equity Partners (Bullhorn is Eagle’s front office software). Salesforce logoThree years ago, June 2013 saw Salesforce.com’s $2.5 billion purchase of marketing technology company ExactTarget as the big buy of the month.  Other acquisitions saw Irish mobile company Three pay $780 million for O2 Ireland; SanDisk paid $307 million for SMART Storage Systems; Cisco bought Composite Software for $180 million; IBM bought cloud company SoftLayer Technologies; and Buytopia.ca was on a spree with six acquisitions in the last year.  June 2014 saw some significant deals announced with Oracle paying $5 billion for Micros Systems; Sandisk paid $1.1 billion for solid state storage company Fusion-io.  Google continued its push into home automation, witnessed by its subsidiary Nest paying $550 million for cloud-based home monitoring service Dropcam.  Google itself paid $500 million for Skybox Imaging a satellite maker that would enhance the Google Maps capability. Twitter paid $100 million for mobile marketing Intel logoplatform Tap Commerce and Red Hat paid $95 million for eNovance.  Last year, June 2015 saw Intel pay $16.7 Billion for semiconductor company Altera Corp.  Cisco paid $635 million for security firm OpenDNS in addition to picking up OpenStack company, PistonCloud Computing. Microsoft bought 6Wunderkinder, maker of task management app Wunderlist; Ricoh Canada bought Graycon Group a professional services firm headquartered in Calgary; and finally IBM bought OpenStack company Blue Box Group.

Which brings us back to the present

LinkedIn LogoJune 2016 was certainly an interesting month, with the Brexit vote upsetting the markets and causing uncertainty that will likely continue for some time yet; plus there was plenty of M&A activity.  The big deal was undoubtedly the Microsoft purchase of LinkedIn for a whopping $26 billion.  There were other billion dollar deals this month too, Salesforce paid $2.8 billion for e-commerce platform maker Demandware and Amazon announced an extra $3 billion investment in its India operations.  Other significant deals saw Daetwyler Holdings AG pay more than $877 million for Raspberry Pi maker Premier Farnell Plc; Red Hat paid $568 million for API management software company 3Scale; and OpenText paid $315 million for HP’s Customer Communication Management products.  Other deals saw an investment group buy Dell’s software arm; Microsoft bought natural language start up Wand Labs; and Samsung bought cloud computing company Joyent.  Also Google Capital announced its first investment in a public company, investing $46 million in Care.com, an online personal services marketplace platform.

The US economic news was less buoyant, but they still added 170,000 new jobs and all indicators are relatively positive, just not as positive as the past couple of years.  Canada continues to show little sign of booming, but that is likely expected given our dependence on a hurting resource sector and the ambivalence of our governments to provide any help to that sector.

That’s what caught my eye over the last month, the full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website.  Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the July 2016 industry news in just about a month’s time.