Monthly Archives: December 2017

  • Microsoft Project Pro vs Project Standard - What's the Difference?

    microsoft project 2016 comparison


    Microsoft Office offers a wide range of products, ranging from the most commonly used Word and Excel to more specialized applications like PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, Outlook and OneNote. These applications are more widely used among the various Office editions available.

    One less commonly used Office application is Project. This application, as the name suggests, is specialized to managing projects. Let's take a deeper look at Project and perhaps you'll find it needed in your functions more than you realized.

    What is Project?

    Many different fields, such as engineering and construction, require constant project management. Microsoft Project is frequently used to manage large projects by tracking progress in many ways. Scheduling and resource management are key in guiding projects and Microsoft Project is a primary application many project managers use during their daily tasks. But other industries and businesses can use Project to manage their internal projects and resources with the same functionality.

    Oversight of business costs are very important with project management and Microsoft Project packs in tools to fit the bill. As with all other Office products, Project includes templates to help get started faster but these can also be customized for even greater ease of use. Gantt charts and pulldown menus ease the workload of management while getting tasks for the project scheduled. Additionally, out-of-the-box reports of varying kinds are also available. Information is even available across a Windows, iOS and Android devices.

    If you have a project that needs organizing and scheduling. Project is just the application that keeps you making progress while tracking finances, materials, manpower and schedules. Read on and see what's new as well as which edition best suits your needs.

    What's New in Project 2016?

    Here are a few new features found in the latest version of Project:

    • Resource Engagements - requesting resources for approval has been added for improved decision-making
    • Additional Resource Manager Involvement - resource managers can respond to requests within a Project without using full versions
    • Resource Capacity Heat Maps - coupled with new, intuitive reporting, Project 2016 uses heat maps to easily see under and over-utilization within the project.
    • Tell Me - this feature allows users to speak to the application and request what they need. A button is used to take a user directly to the needed information.
    • Timelines - visualized, stacked reports allow managers to see comparative project progress across a myriad of main and sub-projects.
    • Read/Write Office Add-ins - full read-write access of Office add-ins are available from the App-store and allow integration of a variety of office features.

    Differences Between Professional and Standard Versions

    PC-based Project installations come in two versions: Professional and Standard. Each edition is built to meet needs of any size and demand.

    Standard Professional
    Fully installed, up-to-date Project desktop application Fully installed, up-to-date Project desktop application
    One license covers 1 PC per use One license covers 1 PC per use
    Manage project schedules and costs Manage project schedules and costs
    Manage tasks Manage tasks
    Manage reports and business intelligence Manage reports and business intelligence
    Collaborate with Skype for Business presence
    Manage resources
    Sync with Project Online & Project Server
    Submit timesheets to capture project and non-project time spent for payroll, invoicing, and other business purposes


    With Project Online and Project Server, additional uses can be leveraged for larger organizations such as SharePoint integration.

    Why Upgrade to the 2016 Version

    Project 2016 includes all the functionality of previous versions and can open files of previous versions back to the 2007 edition. However, this latest version adds additional features that include business intelligence management, a new heat map for spotting under and over-utilization, availability of use on a variety of devices and much more detailed above this section.

    Upgrading to the 2016 version is a clear move forward in project management for greater control of resources and costs.

    Why Upgrade to Professional

    The professional edition of Project offers many collaborative features. If you company is growing, or is already large, collaboration is likely an issue. The ability to use Skype from the office and field is integral for improved business presence. Consider an upgrade for this reason as well as leveraging timesheet management and syncing with the online and server versions for additional collaborative needs.

    To learn more about Microsoft Project 2016, contact our experts at Your online source for cheap OEM, Retail & Cloud products.

  • Visio Pro VS Standard - What's the Difference?

    microsoft visio comparison vector


    Some of the Microsoft Office suite of applications are widely used. Word, Excel and Outlook are almost synonymous with the software brand. Other applications offer more specialized functionality but are quite effective to use. Among the lesser used but highly effective applications is Visio, which is used for diagramming most anything - from information technology topographies to organizational charts and much more.

    What is Visio?

    With its wide variety of templates and shapes anything from network diagrams to flowcharts, floor plans and engineering designs can be created with Microsoft Visio. Other functions include Process Modeling and Data Visualization. The application is easy to use and creates highly effective visual diagrams that can be ported into many other applications like PowerPoint and Publisher. Visio is the handiest of tools to have showing the design or schematic of anything whether it's for internal use or business clients. Visio is another Microsoft Office application that adds productivity both easily and effectively.

    What's New in Visio 2016

    Microsoft Visio 2016 came with several new features that improve upon an already effective application. Here are five new features in Visio that can help you:

    • Microsoft Visio 2016 comes with an array of starter templates complete with prompts to get users going. Additionally, these helpful starters come with contextual tips covering the fifteen most-used types of diagrams. It's an amazing starter for inexperienced users who can leverage simple to complete diagram with initial efforts with great visual effects.
    • Like the other applications of Microsoft Office 2016, Visio comes with the Tell Me function that use hundreds of commands. Ask Visio to do something and users will get a list of ways to accomplish the task at hand and all from a displayed drop-down list.
    • With new industry compliance standards, Microsoft incorporated a vast number of shapes that meet specifications for UML 2.4, IEEE (which is new) and BPMN 2.0. Accomplishing any diagramming task leaves users with highly visual results that meet design standards.
    • With one-step data linking, Visio 2016 Quick Import capabilities bring real-life diagrams into the application for amazing data linking. Conversion to data is simple with linking to shapes and graphics made easy in Visio.
    • With Information Rights Management, Visio 2016 creates security for sensitive information while providing even individual user level document rights to preserve collaborative functionality.


    Differences Between Professional and Standard Versions

    Standard Professional
    Versatile Templates and Thousands of Shapes
    Smart Shapes
    Import DWG Files (import AutoCAD files with support up to DWG 2010)
    Support for Industry Standards
    Fast Startup with Starter Diagrams
    Easy Flowcharting
    Tell Me Intuitive Searches
    Built-in Themes & Effects
    Live Data Overlay ●v
    Data to Diagram
    Data Graphics
    One-step Data Linking
    Data Refresh
    In-app Commenting
    Co-authoring (requires Office 365 or SharePoint)
    Integration with Skype for Business (licensed separately)
    Secured Diagrams
    Easy Diagram Sharing
    Anywhere Access (web & iPad Apps)
    Full Fidelity (for use with web and iPad apps with pan & zoom)
    Operational Dashboard


    Why Upgrade to 2016?

    Based on the chart above, reasons to upgrade to the latest version of Visio 2016 abound. New features mean gaining the latest capabilities for creating and sharing vital information that's sure to impress management or clients. Improved diagram tools, intuitive searches, and Skype for business capabilities all add to existing visual output. Access via tablet and handheld devices enables remote or field users the ability to view files via web and iPad apps with intuitive pan and zoom functionality.

    Why Upgrade to Professional?

    Visio 2016 Professional adds increased functionality where needed. While the Standard edition packs newer features, business needs may dictate upgrading to the Professional edition. Collaborative features may well be necessary in larger organizations while some business requirements for secured data may further drive need for an upgrade to Professional. Likewise, users who need to import real-world data into Visio files can take advantage of the new Live Data Overlay, Data to Diagram, One-step Data Linking and Data Refresh features. Additionally, organizations using Office 365 or SharePoint can easily leverage co-authoring capabilities. Discuss your Visio needs with one of our representatives for the best fit to the dynamics of your business.

    To learn more about Microsoft Visio 2016, contact our licensing experts at Royal Discount1-877-292-7712 Certified Microsoft Experts - call in today at Monday - Friday.

  • Azure Virtual Machine Pricing & Costs - Azure VM Solutions Guide

    azure virtual machine pricing for VM instances

    Azure VM Pricing Guide

    Azure services are known for their flexibility and savings are available using the pay-as-you-go plan. However, higher cost savings can be achieved for organizations able to commit to virtual machine instances for long time-frames. With Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances impressive savings of 72% are available, while combined Azure RI and Hybrid Benefit savings can rise as high as 82%.

    Azure RI Savings & Predicting Cost

    Commitment of 1 to 3 years for reserved virtual machine instances allow Microsoft to offer much lower pricing compared to pay-as-you-go plans. Predicting the cost of a cloud deployment ahead of time is often imprecise. Azure users can lock themselves into lower costs by committing to longer-term contracts of one to three years. As a result, flexible cloud solutions become far more cost-efficient with simple pricing solutions.

    Suddenly, total cost of ownership is far more manageable with payment plans that are as flexible as Azure's cloud products. Combine your known cloud-based deployment needs with those that are variable, and costs are suddenly lower so users are less likely to be surprised with sudden billing changes. With this cost management system, businesses and organizations will find it much easier to ascertain and manage internal charges without unpredicted rises in cost.

    If organizational dynamics require changes, Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances may be exchanged or canceled with ease. Overhead just became far simpler than ever while retaining, or even improving, operational functionality. With such flexible pricing, Azure is certain to meet customer expectations while servicing all levels of business needs, even for enterprise-class users.

    How It Works - Based Around Simple Solutions

    Not only is pricing efficient, but purchasing is easily completed. By selecting the Azure region, virtual machine type, and contract terms, users can quickly relieve budgets without the worry of changing business needs. Since reserved instances for virtual machines can be exchanged or canceled at any time, changes for companies are far easier to achieve. Committing to up-front compute capacities no longer mean being stuck with capital overhead as with pay-as-you-go plans or even on-premise solutions.

    Even with the contract flexibility, solutions remain flexible as reserved instances can be exchanged between regions in any configuration based on demand, workload or changes with applications. Cancellation is never a problem and adjusted refunds are easily applied.

    Assignment of reserved instances are equally flexible. Reserved instance management can be made even down to department levels within an organization while the reserved instances are assigned either at enrollment or as a subscription for granular cost oversight. Changes are simple even after purchase making this contract plan the least headache for users.

    Available Virtual Machines Options

    Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances are available for both Windows Server and Linux operating system instances. As such, Azure remains a prime cloud product for all user demands while offering its flexible pricing. One-year rates receive the least cost benefits while three-year rates are lower. However, Hybrid benefits are available for both lengths of contract.

    Economical virtual machine instances such as Burstable V1S or compute optimized Fv2 VMs remain available only in pay-as-you-go plans. However, such virtual machine offerings as general purpose DV3s (VMs with balanced CPU and memory) or memory optimized EV3s (high memory to core ratio VMs) are available for reserved instance pricing. Even enterprise class virtual machines can be purchased with this latest pricing package. Additionally, NVIDIA Tesla P40 GPUs, useful for AI implementations with up to 24GB of memory are now available under reserved instance contract pricing. Contact Royal Discount for more server options and pricing rates.

    When added up, Azure's new pricing for Reserved Virtual Machine Instances contracts, users are sure to improve cloud-solution needs while lowering expenses with measured cost efficiencies. Finding the necessary balance of need and cost is now accomplished with less time while sensitivities for business evolution are retained.


    Q: What are the billing and purchase terms for reserved instances?

    A: Contract terms are available either in one or three years increments with one payment upfront. Contact us for more information about billing terms.


    Q: How does assignment of reserved instances between subscription and enrollment levels work?

    A: Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances can be purchased and assigned during enrollment so that all instances are assigned to the account. However, if particular departments want exclusive organizational usage, reserved instances can be assigned as a subscription, so the department can take advantage of specific savings.


    Q: Is there a price difference between Microsoft Windows Server and Linux virtual machines and is it required to choose these offerings at the time of purchase?

    A: Single prices are assigned for virtual machines within a region without any requirement to choose between Microsoft Windows Server and Linux virtual machines. However, with the selection of Windows Server the additional options for Azure Hybrid Benefits or payment for Windows Server are available. For more pricing information contact Royal Discount to discuss your specific needs and Microsoft's plan details.


    Q: What are the cancellation terms?

    A: Contact Royal Discount to discuss cancellation terms versus terms for exchanges.


    Q: What happens to expired reservations?

    A: Notifications of expiration are sent to customers 30 days in advance of the date of expiration. If a reservation expires, deployed virtual machines continue operation and billing reverts to a pay-as-you-go plan.


    To learn more about Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances, or Azure Backup Pricing contact our experts at Your online source for cheap OEM, Retail & Cloud products. Have questions? Contact us directly at 1-877-292-7712 - 8:00am-5:30pm MST.