Microsoft Launches Teams to Compete with Slack

Microsoft announced last Wednesday that they are bringing together their Office 365 productivity apps, and their strengths, together in a single app: Teams.

As direct competition to Slack, Microsoft Teams is an integrated collaboration app for Office 365 that offers a chat-based approach to communication, along with Office document collaboration and multi-person video chat through Skype.

With Teams, users can add, work, and collaborate in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Meetings, Notes, Planner, SharePoint, OneNote and other Office 365 apps without ever leaving Teams.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella describes, “No two teams are the same, no two projects are the same. There’s no universal tool for teams, but rather a universal toolkit we call Office 365.”

Currently, Slack offers more apps within its directory, but Teams will soon launch more than 150 partner integrations. Right now though, built-in integrations include Asana, Hootsuite, Intercom, and Zendesk.

Also on Wednesday, Slack bought a full page ad in the New York Times to publish an open letter to Microsoft. Read it here.

To read more about Teams, click here.

Microsoft Office Skills Rated Number Four on Most Required Skills List

A new white paper, Keys to the Future: Align Workforce Readiness Skills to Ensure Student Success, looks at the most widely desired skills in today’s workforce, and the skills and competencies that will be most in-demand by 2024. The research, conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC) and sponsored by Microsoft, reveals that the top 20 most required job skills include Microsoft Office, which lands at number 4, and Microsoft PowerPoint, landing at number 16.



IDC analyzed 76.7 million job postings from 2015 to identify the 20 most commonly required skills for these positions, then examined the skills required for 70 positions that are expected to have above average growth and salary potential between 2016 and 2024 – these are called “high opportunity positions.”

This top 20 list represents skills that are most required across all occupations and are considered “cross-functional skills.” IDC categorized these skills into three overlapping buckets:

  • Communication, integration, and presentation skills
  • Entrepreneurialism and related skills
  • Microsoft, Microsoft Office and other software skills

These cross-functional skills suggest that students require “job readiness” and not “job training” for success, as educators should focus on skills with the broadest applicability.

Cengage creates learning experiences that build confidence and momentum toward the future students want. Learn more about our resources for Microsoft Office here.

Computing Student Advisory Team: We Want YOU

Teachers! Do you have highly motivated Introductory Computing students who might like to get involved with Cengage?

Students! Would you like to get involved with Cengage?

We have an exciting opportunity for students to partner with our Computing group as part of a student advisory team!

We are looking for students who are self-motivated with proven leadership, analytical, and communication skills, and are passionate about making a difference and helping others learn!

We’ll PAY students to…

  • Participate fully from August 2016 through May 2017
  • Develop real-world work experience (which looks great on a resume!)
  • Collaborate with students all across the U.S. in a team environment
  • Directly impact education products

Teachers – Recommend any of your students today! Please send us…

  • Student name
  • Student email
  • Why you think this student would be a valuable contributor to the Computing Student Advisory Team

Please send all recommendations to us by Monday, 8/15:

Students – Email,, and for an application!

We’re excited to hear from you!

Pickit Add-in for Microsoft Office

Pickit integrates with Microsoft to help users replace clipart

Goodbye ClipArt. Hello Pickit.

Pickit is integrating with Microsoft Office to give users access to a collection of thousands of of free, high-quality photos, icons, and moving images. Pickit is available as an add-in for Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Sway, and also as an app on any Windows 10 device. Once downloaded, it will appear as a button in the PowerPoint and Word ribbons.

Pickit gathers images from professional image banks and its community of photographers,  making the images available in a centralized location. It is estimated that 85% of all pictures used in presentations are stolen from the internet! Pickit solves this problem by ensuring that all images have legal clearance for publishing by only aggregating images from leading stock image providers and providing a safe platform photographers worldwide to showcase their work to the biggest photo market in the world: the 1.2 billion Microsoft Office users!

Download Pickit from the Microsoft Office store for free.

Learn Excel song

From University of Texas, professor Clint Tuttle’s musical genius will make you an Excel “Belieber.” He even gives a shout out to the SAM assignments that his class completed over the course of the semester. With nearly 1 million views to date, Professor Tuttle is convincing the world of the importance of learning Excel!


Power BI


Power BI isn’t brand new; it’s been around since 2013. Now with the emphasis on data and analytics, Power BI seen its popularity soar. But some of you may still be wondering: what is Power BI?

Power BI is a suite of business analytics tools to analyze data and share insights. Users create Power BI dashboards to display important metrics in one place that are updated in real time and available across devices. Power BI Desktop is a feature-rich data mashup and report authoring tool that allows users to combine data from disparate databases, files, and web services with visual tools. Power BI gateways allow users to connect SQL Server databases, Analysis Services models, and many other data sources to the same dashboards in Power BI.

Check out the Power BI YouTube Channel for informative videos and keynotes from the first Microsoft Data Insights Summit.

Get & Transform in Excel 2016 and Power Query Add-In

Query in Excel 2016


Get & Transform is a new set of features in Excel 2016 that provides quick and easy data gathering and shaping capabilities. Learn more with Microsoft’s Getting Started with Get & Transform in Excel 2016 guide. Since its release, Microsoft has continued to make updates to the Get & Transform feature set for Office 365 subscribers. Excel 2010 and Excel 2013 can also take advantage of these new features and updates by downloading the latest Power Query for Excel add-in. Learn more about Power Query with Microsoft’s Introduction to Power Query for Excel.

New Version of users will soon enjoy a new and upgraded version of their online email experience. The preview phase is complete and Microsoft is rolling out the new experience to millions of users each week. If you’re already using, you do not need to take any action to get the upgrade. All of your settings and data will be automatically transferred.

Watch the video to see what’s new at or visit Microsoft’s blog to learn more.