• Intelligent Search & Discovery: Utilizes Computer Vision

    Mar 23, 2018

    Innova peop si
    Do you ever search for one thing on the internet and another thing completely unrelated comes up?

    A layer of intelligence has been added to what used to be a basic search. Users can search content across all Microsoft 365 based on their user permission levels and information relevant to their organizational context. Personalized searches prioritize findings by leveraging artificial intelligence to help recognize what results are relevant to each user. The system learns from past tasks and queries and can predict current needs similar to the science of weather predictions. The good news is you are not limited by contextual suggestions – they simply appear first in the search results to expedite the process.

    Although not all organizational content is accessible to all employees, content is easily added or removed temporarily or permanently from searches by IT Administrators. Customized crawl schedules can be created to ensure the most up-to-date information is included, or manual crawls can be performed. Administrators can verify that search crawlers have done their job of presenting the information users are looking for by ensuring content was added to the search index.

    Search gets even more intelligent with recently added features such as the automatic detection of images in SharePoint and OneDrive. Not only can a search determine what type of image it is – whiteboard, receipt, photo, business card, X-ray, using computer vision it can identify the location data (when available) as well as any text associated with the photo. 21 different file formats are available to search…Think of all the time employees will save searching for that one event photo.

  • Forms: Survey says?

    Mar 06, 2018
    MS Forms Snapshot

    If you want a quick way to poll 5,000 of your customers using their first and last name on whether they prefer XYZ service or ABC product from your company, just enable Forms in Office 365. Forms generate web-based surveys, quizzes and polls with predefined options such as multiple choice, ratings, dates, and open text fields.

    You can add a logo, picture, QR code, or even a video to the survey and share for further collaboration before the survey goes live. Once all the questions are created for any surveys or quizzes you can add Branching Logic. Branching Logic enables various paths depending on the responses given to specific questions. By doing this you can create a customized journey which is ultimately more relevant to your respondent. If the response given doesn't match with the current path it will redirect the respondent to a different series of questions or just skip them all together. 

    Here is a link on how to enable Branching to your surveys and quizzes:

    Forms offer a simple and powerful analysis with real-time reporting features. You can more easily engage with the charts that are automatically generated saving even more time. Forms also has the ability to export the results to Excel.

    Forms in Office 365 offers themes and enables web responsive surveys, polls and quizzes that work in any browser. Work smarter by enabling Forms for your organization.

  • Microsoft Flow: Automate work wherever you can.

    Feb 28, 2018

    Microsoft Flow is a powerful automation tool that can eliminate repetitive tasks across both Microsoft and external applications. The most commonly used flow is to enable notifications. We all spend what seems like the majority of our day sifting through email to see what requires immediate attention. Users can streamline this process by setting trigger-based email alerts on such properties as the email recipient, sender, subject, importance, or whether an attachment exists.

    Here’s where your marketing department will see the advantages of Flow. Flow can automate marketing leads. With multi-step workflows, Marketing can automate the capture of tweets that use specific #hashtags which leads to a chain reaction.

    Both the tweeter and tweet is automatically recorded in Dynamics 365, the subscriber is added to the email automation program, and the Sales Director has been notified of the new lead in the system. The same logic is used for a landing page that requests contact information using SharePoint. It can automatically send the contact information to Dynamics 365 and notify a sales representative.

    Or how about having outlook automatically save all email attachments to OneDrive or a specific folder you can access online or offline? How many times have you spent 5 – 10 minutes searching for an attachment in an email?

    Flow makes work easier!

  • Microsoft Teams: Team work gets things done.

    Feb 27, 2018

    Speaking of teams. A team is more than the act of working together; it’s about collaboration, communication, and a common goal, and this exactly what Microsoft Teams offers within its digital team environment – a work-space for employees to have conversations and share content within channels. Channels are created for projects or topics of discussion.

    Members can view conversations at any time, jump into threads at any point, keep track of relevant threads and receive alerts when someone has posted activity in the channel. They can contribute to the conversation and embed files, notes, images, gifs, and emojis. Because not all conversations are exclusive to the team or company, members can invite others with guest access. Most corporate and consumer domains are quickly added or removed as necessary.

    Another common collaborative environment happens in the iconic word document. Millions use Word on a daily basis and request that others collaborate on the document with the caveat “please use track changes for edits” or “add your initials to the file name.” Microsoft 365 makes this easy with document co-authoring for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Whether online, offline or in real time - teams can now work on document edits together and simultaneously while viewing changes live.

    Integrated version history and activity feeds enable users to keep track of collaboration. Files can sync via the cloud and the user’s PC. Email attachments are no longer necessary - authors can invite others by using the share button and can quickly manage permission authority. Now that’s true collaboration!

  • Road Mapping for Strategy and Innovation

    Jan 10, 2018
    A lot of IT Consulting and Services firms throw out a lot of terms like digital disruption or transformation. There is certainly a lot of change happening in the tech world today and that’s not terribly different then yesterday or the day before that.


    That’s why we decided to write a series of blogs and put some tools and templates out into the community to help get back to the fundamentals of proper planning and vision as it relates to IT strategy. Moreover, the challenges don’t lie in a bunch of tech buzzwords.


    The real challenge is time compression as a result of compounding technology innovation coupled with a shortage of talent and resources has forced business leaders into risky and confusing situations with applications, information, data, and systems. Without proper planning and vision, it is easy to waste your limited time, money, and resources on things that do not align with the goals and objectives of the business.


    Road maps identify key milestones:

    They manage something more valuable than money, time.

    They effectively communicate the capacity and ability to meet
    goals within a set time frame.

    Beyond wasted effort, the company typically incurs a large amount of technology and management debt during these failures that needs to be unwound. Slowing them down even more as the market continues to pick up speed based on the introduction of new technologies and automation.

    Many argue that roadmaps impede change or create inflexibility within the organization. These tools are not to blame. They must be consistently reviewed, challenged, and changed to meet the needs of the business. They should help enable and communicate the change, never holding it back. Managing change becomes impossible without a plan with clear objectives that align with valuable business outcomes.


    More to come. If you would like to sign-up to receive some of our templates, tools, and best practices Click Here.

  • Data Architecture Before Science

    Dec 18, 2017

    How an organization leverages it’s data and analytics to help drive towards strategic business outcomes is critical to achieving success today. 

    Business stakeholders clearly see the value and vendors like Microsoft have made enormous investments in their data and analytics platform with Azure: Machine Learning and AI in addition to Power BI.  Commonly we see the business investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a data visualization tools and hiring “data scientists” shortly after the Tableau Account Executive leaves your offices.

    The problem is that this often leads to disappoint, rework, and loss of investment and time without starting with a solid data architecture and roadmap.

    Data Architecture Model, Business Strategy, Technical Road mapping

    Without a solid data architecture in place that aligns to your strategic business outcomes for data and analytics you won’t get very far with a data scientist and business translator. 

    If you look at the reference data architecture above you will see that those folks along with data visualization tools really only adds value within distribution and consumption of the data.  Maturing and moving past those self-service and prototyping scenarios becomes impossible without addressing the rest of it.  Making business critical things like machine learning and predictive analytics impossible to execute properly and efficiently.

     Click Here For your free Visio Diagram on Data Architecture.

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