Category Archives: Business

Microsoft’s Plethora of Portals

As I was looking through Microsoft’s catalog of applications, it occurred to me just how many of their platforms are information-centric and seemed to overlap in functionality. Where should I go when I want to get stuff done, find information or produce it? Since the early days of AOL and AltaVista, we’ve seen the awesome power of a “Jump Page” as the starting point for our information journey.

Microsoft, which one do I choose?

From one software vendor’s perspective, we’ve got many options. What’s the best option for me? Seems like there should be opportunities to gain synergies between available Microsoft platforms.

Bing.com

Searching for information on the internet? News, images, encyclopedias, Wikipedia, whatever you need, and more is on the web. Microsoft Bing helps you find what you need regardless if you’re using text or an image to search for like for like information. It also serves up “relevant” information on the jump page, news mixed with advertisements. There is also a feature enabling you to add carousel “boxes”. for example, containing latest MS Word files used, synergy from Office.com

Office.com

Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Visio, Power BI… If you’ve created content or want to create content using Microsoft applications, Office.com is the one-stop-shop for all your Office apps and the content created using these applications.

SharePoint

Another portal to a universe of information around a centric theme, such as collaboration/interaction with product/project team members, an Intranet, SharePoint site with one or multiple teams. At the most fundamental level is the capability to collaborate/interact with teams, potentially leveraging Microsoft collaboration tools. Just one of many of its capabilities “out of the box” is a document management solution and the use of version control.

SharePoint can also be used for any type of Internet/web platform, i.e., a public-facing portal platform. However, SharePoint, in fact, is a sharing tool in which the authors of the website can share video presentations, shared calendars of public events, and a plethora of customized lists.

Yammer

Engaging your people is more critical than ever. Yammer connects leaders, communicators, and employees to build communities, share knowledge, and engage everyone. I’m thinking synonymous with a bulletin board. The implementation of Yammer looks like Facebook for the Enterprise.

  • Use the Home feed to stay on top of what matters, tap into the knowledge of others, and build on existing work.
  • Search for experts, conversations, and files.
  • Join communities to stay informed, connect with your coworkers, and gather ideas.
  • Join in the conversation, react, reply to, and share posts.
  • @ mention someone to loop them in.
  • Attach a file, gif, photo, or video to enhance your post.
  • Praise someone in your network to celebrate a success, or just to say thanks.
  • Create a virtual event that your community can ask a question and participate live or watch the recording afterwards.
  • Use polls to crowd source feedback and get answers fast.
  • Stay connected outside the office with the Yammer mobile app.
  • Use Yammer in Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, or Outlook.

“Yammer helps you connect and engage across your organization so that you can discuss ideas, share updates, and network with others.”

Microsoft Teams

For any team, there is a wealth of information varying from the group or single Chats, Teams, Calls, Files, and practically integration for almost all Microsoft applications and beyond. The extensibility of MS Teams seems relatively boundless, such as integrations with Wikis, SharePoint document folders, etc. From what I can tell, many organizations just use Teams for the group, or individual Chat channels are barely grazing the surface of MS Teams’ capabilities.

Setup of MS Teams, Teams “landing” page is a great place to start constructing your “living space” within MS Teams. From there, you can carve out space for all things related to the team. For example, in the “Team ABC” Team channel, you can add N number of “tabs” relating to everything from an embedded Wiki to specific SharePoint folders for the team’s product specifications. A team could even create an embedded Azure DevOps [Kanban] Board to show progress and essentially “live in” your MS Team, team channel.

Another porta;l overlap, Microsoft Teams Communities, seems to equate to Yammer.

Delve

What is Delve – Microsoft 365?

Use Delve to manage your Microsoft 365 profile and to discover and organize the information that’s likely to be most interesting to you right now – across Microsoft 365.

Delve never changes any permissions, so you’ll only see documents that you already have access to. Other people will not see your private documents. Learn more about privacy.

Delve is a content curation platform for the person it’s most relevant to…you. It gives the appearance of a user experience similar to carousels of video streaming apps. There are “Popular Documents” carousels and other carousels that are based on the most recent access. Based on how files are saved based on who can access content is how the platform gives you a treasure trove of documents you never knew you had access to or existed. It actually paints a potential compliance nightmare if people select the default document access as “…anyone within my organization…”.

Outlook.com / Best of MSN

Another portal of information focused around you: your email, your calendar, your To-Dos, and your contacts/people. It’s not just your communication with anyone, e.g., your project team members; it’s organizing your life on a smaller scale, e.g., To-Dos. You can also access other shared calendars, such as a team release schedule or a PTO schedule.

The Best of MSN is information, i.e., news around your interests, a digest of information relevant to you, delivered in an email format. Other digests of information from other sources may be curated and sent if subscribed.

Mediums to Traverse Information: AR, VR…

The visual paradigms used to query and access information may drastically influence the user’s capacity to digest the relevant information. For example, in an Augmented Reality (AR) experience, querying, identifying information, and then applying it, serving up the content in a way most conducive to a user’s experience is vital.

Users can’t just “Google It” and serve up the results like magic. The next evolution of querying information and serving up content in a medium to maximize its usability is key and is most evident when using Augmented Reality (AR). If you’re building something, instructions may be overlayed by the physical elements/parts in front of the user. Even the context of the step number would allow the virtual images to overlay the parts.

Automated and Manual Content Curation is a MUST for all Portals

Categories, Tags, Images, and all other associations from object A to everything else, the Meta of Existence, are essential for proper information dissemination and digestion. If you can tag any object with metadata, you can teach an AI/search engine to identify it in a relevant query. Implementing an Induction Engine, a type of Artificial Intelligence that proposes rules based on historic patterns is a must to improve query accuracy over time.

Next level, “Information applications” – Improved Living with Alzheimer’s

Next Ecosystem: Google..?

Top Entrepreneurial Films – Fan Favorites

For my birthday, I took a look at the movies that have influenced my business decisions over the years. Here are my top entrepreneurial films for all the underdogs who could use a good, helping push up the mountain. 

Moneyball (2011) – IMDb

Classic David and Goliath story told by phenomenal actors such as Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill. How can a small-budget baseball team compete with the large pockets of other behemoths? Reinvent the way teams are formulated, i.e., reinvent the game… to some extent. It’s amazing to watch the actors/people react to a new process, a major disruptive process after doing things they’ve always done. These characters realize the upheaval of a new process changes the way they do business they react in somewhat surprising ways. “Adapt or Die” as the character played by Brad Pitt says.

The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) – IMDb

“You know, for kids. ” Brilliant performances by several well-known actors such as Paul Newman pull off a great script/story into a memorable production. Tim Robbins’s character, an “off the boat”, or shall I say bus, a recent college graduate, has a grand design and is happy to work his way up. So gullible, Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins) is caught up in a scheme to have the company’s stock tank, so the board could snatch the company’s stock up for profit. To the board’s dismay, Norville does have a grandiose idea that takes the company in a profitable direction. Great to see the rise and fall of this once optimistic “new kid on the block”.

Other People’s Money (1991) – IMDb

An amazing cast, including the talented Danny Devito, with the help of a fantastic script, developed a phenomenal production. There are many lessons to be learned from this film, but I don’t want to give you any spoilers. When all hope seems lost, there is a plot twist that can only be categorized with the classic quote by Winston Churchill, “The definition of Success is moving from Failure to Failure without Loss of Enthusiasm.”

Erin Brockovich (2000) – IMDb

A woman driven by survival, a single mother, just trying to get by, manages to cling to happenstance, and ride that potential opportunity for all its worth. The system bucking Erin like a wild bull, which she manages, through the pursuit of a passion for people even more dire than her own situation, fights for her “extended family”, and one would argue, fighting for justice for those who could not.

Jerry Maguire (1996) – IMDb

Jerry transcends from Sell, Sell, Sell backed by a recognizable, affinity brand to a budding entrepreneur trying to build a relationship with his client and “keep the lights on”. Anyone think Tom Cruise got this gig because of his work on Rain Man selling Ferrari?

Joy (2015) – IMDb

A single mom within a challenging environment steps up the ladder and claws her way into a successful entrepreneur. One can only marvel at her success and note each step; each challenge was met by bold, creative solutions.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006) – IMDb

The transformation from the academic to the business world was amazing. Climbing the ladder of success or falling into the pit of despair. It’s all perspective.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – IMDb

What a whimsical fantasy that delights and turns my stomach at the same time. I just want to know if the momma dollar and poppa dollar had a family after the run on the banks and the savings and loan?

Facebook name change: what is Meta, the meaning of new name and Metaverse – Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg surprised the world in October when he announced his company had changed its name to Meta.

The announcement came as the Facebook founder and CEO delivered a presentation showcasing Facebook’s work on virtual reality technologies and the Metaverse – a concept which some believe could become the next version of the internet.

It’s a move that echoes what Google did when it changed the name of its parent company to Alphabet in 2015 – an alteration that represented its shift beyond simply being a search engine.

Mark Zuckerberg said he had chosen it as in Greek it means ‘beyond’.

“For me, it symbolises that there’s always more to build; there’s always a next chapter to the story,” he explained.

“Beyond the constraints of screens, beyond the limits of distance and physics and towards a future where everyone can be present with each other, create new opportunities and experience new things.”

A metaverse is an online world where people can game, work and communicate in a virtual environment.

This world already exists today through Meta-owned brand Oculus, which will itself be re-branded to Meta Quest in 2022, as well as Meta’s collaboration with glasses manufacturer Ray-Ban that allows users to see social media notifications via their glasses or sunglasses.

In his presentation, Mark Zuckerberg showed how his new metaverse concept ‘Horizon’ could apply to our future lives.

For example, he demonstrated how it could be used to hold realistic work meetings and help with education.

Source: Facebook name change: what is Meta, meaning of new name and Metaverse concept – and what Mark Zuckerberg said | NationalWorld

Bitcoin used as National Currency; Sports and NFTs; Tile Acquisition

I’m trying a different format with the use of video to discuss topics. Appreciate any input. Maybe next time I’ll dress for the part.

Topics of Conversation for this Episode.

  1. Explore the recent decision of El Salvador to adopt Bitcoin as their national currency
    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/bitcoin-use-el-salvador-grows-setbacks-adopting-legal-tender-rcna2743
  2. Huge opportunity for EVERYONE involved in NFTs for sports memorabilia.
    https://rosemansolutions.io/2021/11/24/sweet-spot-for-digital-collectables/
  3. Review the acquisition of Tile by Life360
    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/life360-to-acquire-tile-creating-the-world-leader-in-finding-and-location-solutions-301430364.html

Another Episode of “WHAT IF…” this BIZ meets that Tech

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The idea for the “What If…” Business and Technology series for me, comes directly out of Marvel comics.  The comics ranged from “fictional” battles or plots that were so abstract yet tangent that it was nearly impossible to happen other than in a “one-off”, alternate reality, comic book in the Marvel Universe.   On the same premise, I will spin several stories that will most likely not happen in the “real world”, but we will bring them to light.

Apple Adopts the Palm OS Business Model

Apple spins off its mobile hardware business and focuses on the iOS operating system.  The mobile OS business unit, in theory, will have a robust and direct focus to drive revenue to their area.  We may see partnerships that would have never developed if these units are continued to be tied together.  Mobile iOS on OEM, 3rd party devices?   Multiboot mobile hardware for Android, Linux, and Mac iOS out of the box.  Competing and evolving lines, between the iOS tablets. How about mobile hardware from Motorola, Nokia, or Blackberry using iOS?

Allow Customers to Buy Gasoline as Units at Current Price on Loyalty Debit Cards

A legitimate reason IS NEEDED why in this day and age of commodities trading, storage, pipelines, trains, tankers, and trucks, why if I can buy stocks at current market value, or go on Ebay and buy 50 yards of antique bobbed wire at an auction, why can’t I go to a gas station and buy 50 UNITS of gas at the current price of gas that day? Upon return to the same brand gas station, I should be able to use my same loyalty debit card and subtract units of gas from the card, instead of the current price of gas that day.

EVs “in the field” Use Existing Home Energy Provider, with Transportation Charges Applied

Similar logic can be applied to Electric, and EVs but with a twist, incorporating the use of your home “energy provider”, and when charging ‘on the go’, only pay local “line usage/distribution” fees.

Full Article Here

Fundraising Using Public WiFi, and an UL/DL MB Meter Reading

What if commercial, public WiFi Hotspots partnered with a fundraising cause, and every MB exchanged (up and/or down), a donation of N cents would go to a charity-sponsored by you with Paypal. The business providing the WiFi would match the donation.

Greece Prosperity / Tourism: The World will Come See You in Augmented Reality (AR)

While perusing through all of the ruins, looking at the sites, watching the tour groups, and the tour guides explaining these empty ruins, I pondered, wouldn’t it be amazing to see the people of ancient times dressed in their clothing of the times, interacting with each other through the ruins as though the tourists were not even there. In effect, acting out scenes that perhaps took place thousands of years ago, echoes of the past. I thought why wouldn’t for starters, the government pays the people of the Arts and Sciences to go through scenes, such as basic interactions with a Librarian, studying in one corner, ignoring the world, and just reading and thinking, and in another corner of this library, there might be a quiet debate going on, in Greek of course, and through a translation application, any foreigner could hear their native language the interactions. It could be ancient commoners, to known ancient people of the past acting out scenes like echoes of the past, while tours just come up close and personal, pass by, even wave their hand in front of an actors hand, and he continues to act as if the tourists were not even there. All of these Greek actors would be prerecorded and play out in Augmented Reality (AR).

Full Article Here

 Tune in next time for more “What If…” episodes.

Agile Advisor Plugin for Microsoft Teams

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Advisory Role in Microsoft Team Communications

Agile Advisor Plugin for #Microsoft Teams is able to observe team interactions, such as conference calls within Microsoft Teams. The Advisor can derive “dialog intents” and provide recommendations for improvement. A retrospective on communications, such as Scrum ceremonies

Voice Recognition During Teams Meetings

Technology that leverages voice recognition, such as Interactive voice response (IVR) solutions are fraught with failed recognition. IVRs are used to answer calls in just about every company, which prompts for either a phrase from the user on what they want and the ability to enter a numeric value correlating to the desired intent. Challenge #1.

Dialog and Intent Identification

Beyond trying to identify the user’s intent from a phrase or sentence, a dialog, a series of interactions between two or more team members is even more complex. Current AI models that identify intent from a sentence or phrase have a mixed variable of accuracy, which is why these models must be tuned over time. A collective of interactions, a dialog between two or more team members, has a much higher level of complexity to identify intents. Challenge #2. Once a dialog intent(s) has an “N”% level of accuracy, rules may be fired with any number of outcomes, such as unintrusive logging of Agile suggestions for best practices, and next steps: e.g. a retrospective of the scrum ceremony.

Dynamically Identify Roles in Teams Meetings

Who participates in Microsoft Teams meetings and team chats can be associated with Microsoft Teams’ member profiles, such as Scrum Master, and Product Owners.

Enhance the Adherence to Agile Principles

12 Principles Behind the Agile Manifesto, and opportunities for rules to be trigger based on conversations, the interactive dialogs.

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

Dialog Intent Rules for Agile Guidance

From the above agile principles, we can derive the following dialog intents and precise recommendations for improvement.

Barriers to Implementation

At the current level of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Digital Assistants, i.e. chatbots, even the “best in breed”, has “difficulty”, i.e. lower probability with intent recognition, with a single sentence or phrase. Multiply that by interpreting an interactive dialog with multiple sentences, multiple participants, and exchange of responses, feasibility is highly speculative.

And Still More Opportunity: Recognition of Facial Emotional Expressions 

Expressions of people may be able to be determined, and opportunities for suggestive posture can be advised. Even body posture folded arms as an example, can imply a guarded opinion, and not open to compromise.

Reference article – Emotion recognition using facial expressions

Caution and Opportunities

This plugin output could be used for annual employee evaluations.

Who’s Managing & Securing Your Information Assets?

What is meant by Information Architecture (IA)?

Information architecture (IA) focuses on organizing, structuring, and labeling content in an effective and sustainable way. The goal is to help users find information and complete tasks.

There must be a common consensus, an understanding of each data point collected, and the appropriate labeling and cataloging of the Information Asset. Information assets may have a score attributed to the asset and leveraged in a multitude of ways, such as guidelines for the purging of archives, sensitivity of the information, and the levels of trust.

For each data point collected, correlations/relationships can be added either manually, or through an Induction Engine (AI) leveraging a history of relationships. The definition of hierarchical relationships between data points, and link types (e.g. processor, successor, child, or generally related) further to bolster a larger lexicon.

What are Information Assets?

For example, your phone number is an information asset. Your phone number is provided to everyone you know and is a primary point of reference to contact you. Traditionally, the “phone companies” manage that resource for you. However, in this “new” day and age, we see companies like Google providing a phone number, and as a result providing features not generally available, such as Google Voice, with Call Forwarding, and obfuscation.

Common, Consumer, Information Assets Include:

  • Documents of ALL Types, e.g. text, spreadsheets, presentations, etc.
  • Domain Names and Email Addresses are Information Assets.
  • Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Other Social Media Platforms Assets, such as User Names, Post Text, Images, Video, and Profile details.
  • Skype, WhatsApp, and other VoIP Info Assets such as Phone Number, User Profile information
  • Windows Teams, Slack, and other Team Collaboration, Information Assets, such as the historical, ongoing posted information in the Team Chat, including the integration of 3rd party apps, such as Whiteboard collaborative drawings.
  • Passwords, Passwords, Passwords

Common, Corporate, Information Assets Include:

  • All of the Consumer, Information Assets PLUS
  • Documents of ALL Types, e.g. Solution Architecture docs, Database Models, HR Policies, Org Charts, Corp. Network Topography, etc.

Disaster Recovery for Information Assets

What happens when the technology managing information assets become “unavailable”? What is your impact assessment? Is there a centralized data/information catalog or repository that contains a partial or complete set of Information Assets?

Information Assets are also passwords, and we have a plethora of “secure” password managers, such as Norton Antivirus provides a mechanism to hold passwords in a virtual “safe”.

Insurance Policies for [digital] Information Assets

What is the cost of securing these Information Assets, verse the payment of recuperating the information assets, if even possible?

What about Hackers that “hold your data/information” hostage?

How to price out “Insurance” for your information, just like safeguarding any other personal articles insurance policies today? Are there “Personal Articles, Insurance Policies” that can currently add a rider to your existing policies? Need to price out “Information Assets”, and the recuperation values?

Norton Life Lock [Personal / Business]

Norton LifeLock reimburses funds stolen due to identity theft up to the limit of the plan total not exceeding $1 Million USD.

Notes Repositories

Notepads like Notepad++, Microsoft OneNote, and Google Keep are tools that allow their authors to quickly take notes and organize them. A wide array of Information Assets are contained within these applications, such as text, and photos with some data describing the information captured (i.e. metadata). Gathering and exporting this information to reference Information Assets could be a lengthy and laborious process without automation, rules for sorting, and tagging info.

AI Induction and Rules Engines

Dynamically labeling Information Assets as they are “discovered”, an auto curation process. For example, the Microsoft Outlook rules engine has a robust library of canned AI rules for sorting, forwarding, formatting as emails arrive in your inbox, as well as a host of other rules “triggers”. An Induction engine is a predictive instrument that “observes” behavior over time, and then creates/suggests new rules on the basis of the history of user behavior. For example, if MS Outlook had an AI Induction engine, and observed a user ‘almost’ always moving an email with the same subject to folder N, the AI Induction engine could create the rule to anticipate the user’s behavior.

Data Lakes or Sea of Information Assets

  • Structured, Semi-Structured, and Unstructured data.
  • Labeling/tagging Information Assets in a consistent fashion.
  • Retrieval of data, and cross-referenced data types

19 Best Data Catalog Tools and Software for 2020

Extract –

Tool: Alation Data Catalog

Description: Alation is a complete repository for enterprise data, providing a single point of reference for business glossaries, data dictionaries, and Wiki articles. The product profiles data and monitors usage to ensure that users have accurate insight into data accuracy. Alation also provides insight into how users are creating and sharing information from raw data. Customers tout the product for its expansive partner ecosystem, and Alation has focused on increasing data literacy when metadata is distributed across business and IT.

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