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Office 365: The Ultimate Productivity Suite

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Microsoft’s Office 365 is a productivity suite that altruistically offers interfaces like office on demand; the great collaboration features, updatable characteristics posit business users automatically upgrade their documentation.

Office 365 currently leads productivity suite on the cloud market, in terms of accessibility; users are sure of access to their documents on any PC, which is commendable.

The subscription-based service which offers access to various services and software built around the Microsoft Office platform replaces Microsoft’s Business Online Productivity Suite and with Office 2013 launch Office 365 expanded to include new plans aimed at different types of businesses, along with a new plan aimed at home users.

After a beta testing process in October 2010, Office 365 was officially unveiled on June 28, 2011. Upon signing into the Office 365 – users are presented with a number of options – including the ability to take a tour and see all the latest features.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek’s review is  basically on the Office 365 Home Premium. In the package are the usual Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access are included as well as SharePoint and Lync for collaboration services and of course the ability to access Exchange online.

Office 365 Home Premium
The new Office is designed for users’ easier storage of documents in the cloud; your documents go with you, as though they are on your disk. Invariably, with Office 365 one can edit his documents anywhere, that is on any Windows enabled desktop or tablet, on a Windows phone, in a web browser, and even on Mac, because upon subscribing to Office 365 subscription the user automatically, would have the opportunity to install Office on five devices at any one time.

The package with vast amount of features comes in a clear and simple manner. Moving documents into the cloud in Office 365 way is without compromise in features and flexibility compared to desktop-only applications.

It does not really interfere with the way people do their work with normal Microsoft software, but to an extent reduce the clutter on the desktop and Start menu.

Before now, Microsoft experimented in cloud-based application services using equivalent Office 365 service name, however, the new version shows the Company has shifted Office’s focus from the desktop to the cloud, just as Windows 8 shifts Microsoft’s focus from the desktop to the tablet.

It is operational on Windows 7 desktop, Windows 8 desktop, Windows 7 laptop, and an Intel-based Windows 8 tablet.

Still on the functionality, it operates in different ways depending on the device one is using. A user who runs it on a desktop or an Intel-based tablet like Microsoft’s Surface a complete set of full-featured, no compromise Office apps will understand that that Word, Excel, Outlook, and others are all exactly the same as the versions from the traditional one-machine-only versions of Office 2013.

Upon subscribing to Office 365 subscription, a 25-character product key is only what you need to enter once. Secondly, you will require a Microsoft account, which accommodates your existing email address or a new one as you may prefer, but will be in office.com.

After entering the product key, the next step moves to the setup page where you follow instructions to install Office. 

I personally appreciate Microsoft’s ingenuity in providing the user with choices to make during installation, because unlike the conventional versions of Office, the user chooses either to use some features or not, meanwhile, the whole suite gets installed, whether or not you plan to use, for example, Access or Publisher.

Now, while trying to visit Office.com from a different platform (system), what the user has to sign in with the Microsoft account, Office can be installed on this second system – “and the site will tell you how many of your five installs you have remaining.

If you run out of installs, you can deactivate Office on one machine and install it on another. When your subscription runs out, if you decide not to renew, then the Office 365 apps switch into read-only mode, but you can still edit your documents with an older version of Office or via the free and feature-limited Office Web Apps available through a web browser”.

Word
For heavy document users, they will find the new word very interesting as Word has incorporated Corel’s WordPerfect by adding the ability to import PDF documents; it imports a PDF and converting it into a Word document you can edit, albeit with the inevitable changes in pagination and formatting.

But you can’t eat your cake and have it, because the same document cannot be saved as PDF with the same name, otherwise Word tells you that the original PDF is a read-only file, “so you have to save your edited file as a PDF with a different name, then delete the original PDF, then rename the newly saved PDF so that it has the same name as the original file. WordPerfect, in contrast, simply lets you import a PDF file, edit the imported file, and save it back to PDF under its original name”.

Excel With Excel
Excel, with a new “Quick Analysis Lens” grants instant access to the most useful options for any block of data.

On selection of a block of data, a tiny lightning rod icon appears at the lower right; on clicking the user will be exposed to array of options for formatting, charts, totals, and tables appears, as well as one for adding “sparklines,” which is Microsoft’s name for a miniature chart that occupies a single cell and gives a graphic image of adjacent data.

It ubiquitously added a feature called “Flash Fill” that fills in a new column of data with data taken from other columns, but without making you figure out how to write a formula. The new excel is something worth trying.

While using the package, I am deeply impressed by the intellectual prowess and absolute care that Microsoft team put while crafting Office 2013 and its Office 365 implementation.

One other advantage is working and socializing at the same time through interjections like skype, etc. the price is not really on the high side comparing the features, flexibility and seamless operations it offer.


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Nigeria Economy – A New Quarter but Same Old Story

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By Lukman Otunuga, Senior Research Analyst at FXTM,

Africa’s largest economy entered the new quarter with a strong likelihood of following the same old story, namely COVID-19 headwinds, recessionary trends and widespread local and global market uncertainty.

What are the chances of a plot twist?

In a year full of twists and turns, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) surprised investors with a 100 basis point interest rate cut from 12.5 percent to 11.5 percent. The monetary policy signal is a green light for more affordable lending which could stimulate economic growth and temper recessionary pressures. However, the same green light could speed up the inflationary pressures which weigh on the economy.

The currency markets may view the CBN’s rate cut as a sign that monetary policy no longer prioritises foreign investors seeking high returns on deposits.

Until now, the CBN’s hawkish monetary policy helped to maintain and grow the banking system’s foreign currency reserves, providing the Naira with a cushion against further weakness. The current weakening global and domestic economic outlook does not support a high-interest rate environment in the short term. Faced with a protracted recession or runaway inflation, the CBN appears to have chosen the lesser of two evils. The central bank’s latest statement indicates that high interest rates have not been successful in checking inflation, which the CBN blames on structural factors like rising fuel and electricity prices.

This raises the question of why an Oil-producing country faces inflation in fuel and electricity prices when fossil fuels are locally produced and ought to be more affordable. The answer is the strange economic distortion created by COVID-19. In this case, Nigeria applied to borrow $3.4 Billion from the IMF in order to bail out the economy because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The money will have to be repaid – cue a hike in electricity tariffs to increase government revenues from utilities and bolster its repayment capacity. This would be credit-positive as the last thing Nigeria needs in such extraordinary times are doubts over its creditworthiness.

Weaker global Oil prices make Nigeria’s creditworthiness even more of an important factor because the state is hard-pressed to cover its budgetary needs in the current climate of low demand for crude Oil.

Now that the CBN has put checking inflation lower down in its priorities, does this signal further rate cuts in the near future?

The case for further pandemic-driven rate cuts appears to be strong. The COVID-19 outbreak shows no signs of abating. On the contrary, at the time of writing, the number of new cases in Nigeria is on the rise after lockdowns eased. Further monetary stimulus to the economy appears unavoidable.

Of course, it all depends on what happens with inflation. If the inflation rate keeps rising in sectors like fuel, electricity and food it may drag on consumer spending, outstripping the economic benefits of lower interest rates. Medical costs have also risen because of COVID-19, according to the August inflation statistics.

The pandemic comes at a time when Nigeria is exposed to external and domestic risks. Locally, the drive to diversify the economy stayed stuck in first gear. Border clashes between herders and farmers led to border closures, further dampening economic activity. Externally, Oil prices remain in a slump, the US Dollar is appreciating and global sentiment struggles with the COVID-19 circumstances.

Further elevating fears over a technical recession in Nigeria, the World Bank forecasts an economic contraction of 3.2 percent for the full-year 2020, a five percent drop from its previous projection.

Summing up, Nigeria’s outlook remains influenced by the same old themes. If Oil prices stay depressed, foreign currency reserves and government revenues will likely decline. Low Oil prices also impact the CBN’s capacity to defend the Naira. A falling Naira could accelerate inflation and further weigh on economic growth. Will the final quarter of 2020 see a continuation of these themes, or will the economy offer a positive surprise?

The banking sector remains a bright spot in the cloudy outlook. Easier borrowing terms might boost the banking sector’s income while encouraging economic activity. Another bright spot is that growth in China has returned, promising to hike demand in the Oil markets and further supporting Oil prices.

After the year we’ve had so far, one thing’s sure: surprises are only to be expected.


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FG Mulls Renewable Energy for Improved Power Supply

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Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, minister of Science and Technology, has said that the federal government plans to diversify the country’s energy supply sources to include renewable energy towards accelerating socio-economic development.

FG Mulls Renewable Energy for Improved Power Supply

Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, minister of Science and Technology

Onu stated this when he declared open the forum on ‘Scaling-up interconnected mini-grids development in Nigeria’, ‎organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP-GEF) and the Energy Commission of Nigeria, in Abuja.

He said that renewable energy will help the nation meet its electricity needs in a functional and sustainable manner, adding that it will also improve the quality of life in the country.

‎“Nigeria is endowed with substantial energy resources such as coal, crude oil and natural gas; renewables such as hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, waves and tides, as well as biomass.

‎‎“The challenge before us, has always been on how to efficiently transform these resources into adequate and reliable energy for national development using our enormous capacity in science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship”, he said.

The minister explained that since the inception of the present administration in 2015, electronic power generation capacity had increased at an annual rate of about 390 megawatts per year.

He, however, said that while this is commendable, it could not adequately meet the needs of the country’s population and sustain the desired level of economic development.

Onu further observed that Nigeria’s desire to industrialise cannot be realised without adequate power supply.

He stressed that every effort must be made to ensure that homes, offices, factories, schools, hospitals and laboratories in the country have adequate, reliable and affordable electricity supply.

“Renewable energy could meet Nigeria’s energy needs in the area of job creation and improved standard of living in rural areas,” he said.

He added that the development of solar photo-voltaic (Pv) in the country triggered by increase in demand for rural water supply, lighting, health services and micro-enterprise needs to be regulated to stimulate private sector participation.


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ROAM Africa Reports Over 2,400 Candidates Applying for One Role as Jobs Stiffens

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ROAM Africa (Ringier One Africa Media), the leading digital classifieds group in Sub-Saharan Africa, has released figures that highlight the current state of the jobs market in Africa, with one standard role attracting 2,417 applications.

Analysing 69,511 jobs listings from January 2019 to August 2020 across 5 African countries (Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda), ROAM Africa’s data sheds more light on the challenges facing both job seekers and employers in the African jobs market.

The standard job listing that attracted 2,417 applications was for a Receptionist/Admin Assistant in Kenya while another listing for call centre agents and team leaders attracted 2,283 applicants.

Similar is observed also for other markets: In Ghana, 2,299 people applied for an Administrative Assistant role and 2,265 people in Tanzania applied for a Sales Representative role.

In Nigeria, the highest number of applications for a single role was 2,095 and it was for a Sales Representative role.

According to ROAM Africa’s data, Kenya contributed the highest amount of new job listings in 2019 with 33%. Nigeria was in second place with 31% and Uganda was in third place with 17%. However, so far in 2020, Nigeria is leading the way with 40% of new job listings, with Kenya in second place with 28% and Uganda in third place with 13%.

A closer look at ROAM Africa’s data reveals that, apart from Nigeria, there was a drop in overall job listings across all job levels during the last months.

However, there was an increase in graduate trainee and ‘no experience’ roles in Nigeria, Tanzania and Ghana from May to July 2020, which offers some hope for new entrants into the jobs market.

Interestingly, recruitment agencies contributed the most roles, with 16% of overall jobs, closely followed by IT and Telecoms with 15% and Advertising media and communications with 12%.

Some candidates have also reported applying for more than 20 jobs a day for multiple months and only getting to the interview stage on a handful of occasions. This is why ROAM Africa’s jobs platforms Jobberman (Ghana and Nigeria) and BrighterMonday (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) are focused on matching technology.

The company’s technology helps employers to identify and score the right candidates faster. Suitable candidates are made visible to prospective employers, and helped across the finish line by providing data driven career development tools and training programmes.

Job seekers using the platforms can expect to improve their CV, gain interview tips and sign-up for online training courses designed to bridge the gap between education and employment.

Commenting on the data, Clemens Weitz, CEO of ROAM Africa said, “The high ratio of applications per job listing really highlights how challenging the jobs market is for employers and job seekers.  Both employers and job seekers are struggling to connect with the right opportunities and more needs to be done to address this.

“Employers must rethink their hiring strategies and clearly define what they are looking for, based on data and insights. Job seekers must also invest in personal development that will make it easier for them to stand out in such a crowded and competitive market.”

Weitz also added that, “We believe that Africa’s greatest asset is its people and their entrepreneurial spirit. With the expected growth in the continent’s population, we must begin to put structures in place that will make it easier for African businesses to make the most of this resource.”

According to Hilda Kragha, Managing Director of ROAM Africa’s Jobs platforms, “With the current state of the jobs market, Africans cannot afford to continue with the antiquated recruitment processes that are commonplace in many organisations.

We must prioritise a digital approach to recruitment, which brings transparency to Africa’s labour market while connecting people to work opportunities that will improve their livelihood.

We must also embrace objectivity in the recruitment process by incorporating innovation that makes it easier to fairly and consistently sort for the best candidates. This will ensure that only qualified candidates are applying for roles and employers get an accurate picture of jobseekers’ capabilities. A win-win for both job seekers and employers.”

“Our data highlights both the challenge and opportunity that come with the African jobs market. We must address the challenge of rampant unemployment but also embrace the opportunity to transform how recruitment is done. By doing this, we will not only be addressing the current problems but also future-proofing our businesses and organizations for generations to come.”


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