“People Are Predisposed To Think That Things Are Worse Than They Are”

thumbsdownrome4 e1475022494416 “People Are Predisposed To Think That Things Are Worse Than They Are”

It surprises me that most of us usually think things are worse than they are in the big picture, because we’re awfully good at selective amnesia when it comes to our own lives. Homes in NYC that were demolished by Hurricane Sandy are mostly valued more highly now than right before that disaster, even though they’re located in the exact some lots near the ever-rising sea levels, in the belly of the beast. The buyers are no different than the rest of us who conveniently forget about investment bubbles that went bust and life choices that laid us low. When it comes to our own plans, we can wave away history as a fluke that wouldn’t dare interfere.

When we consider the direction of our nation, however, we often believe hell awaits our handbasket. Why? Maybe because down deep we’re suspicious about the collective, that anything so unwieldy can ever end up well, so we surrender to both recency and confirmations biases, which skew the way we view today and tomorrow. 

While I don’t believe the endless flow of information has made us more informed, it is true that by many measures we’re in better shape now than humans ever have been. On that topic, the Economist reviews Johan Norberg’s glass-half-full title, Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future. The opening:

HUMANS are a gloomy species. Some 71% of Britons think the world is getting worse; only 5% think it is improving. Asked whether global poverty had fallen by half, doubled or remained the same in the past 20 years, only 5% of Americans answered correctly that it had fallen by half. This is not simple ignorance, observes Johan Norberg, a Swedish economic historian and the author of a new book called “Progress”. By guessing randomly, a chimpanzee would pick the right answer (out of three choices) far more often.

People are predisposed to think that things are worse than they are, and they overestimate the likelihood of calamity. This is because they rely not on data, but on how easy it is to recall an example. And bad things are more memorable. The media amplify this distortion. Famines, earthquakes and beheadings all make gripping headlines; “40m Planes Landed Safely Last Year” does not. 

Pessimism has political consequences. Voters who think things were better in the past are more likely to demand that governments turn back the clock. A whopping 81% of Donald Trump’s supporters think life has grown worse in the past 50 years. Among Britons who voted to leave the European Union, 61% believe that most children will be worse off than their parents. Those who voted against Brexit tend to believe the opposite.

Mr Norberg unleashes a tornado of evidence that life is, in fact, getting better.

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Meituan Dianping Gains Payment License Via Acquisition

Internet lifestyle service and group buying platform Meituan Dianping announced that they have completed the acquisition of Qiandai.com, a third-party payment company in China.

With this acquisition, Meituan Dianping will gain a coveted third-party payment license.

Qiandai.com is one of the first companies to have gained a third-party payment license issued by the People’s Bank of China and the company has been focusing on the payment businesses. Since its establishment in November 2008, Qiandai.com has provided comprehensive payment solutions to small and micro vendor customers with advanced technical concepts and quality product services. Its payment license covers Internet payment, mobile payment, and bank card collection businesses. The company has formed important partnerships with various commercial banks.

Mu Rongjun, senior vice president of Meituan Dianping, said that with the third-party payment license, Meituan Dianping will be able to provide more secure and convenient services to users and vendors. In the future, the company will continue to cooperate with banks, financial organizations, and payment organizations to offer more diversified options to users.

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Solution Spotlight: Renodis and PowerSurveyPlus Make for an Invoicing Dream Team [VIDEO]

Solution Spotlight Renodis Still 800x600 300x225 Solution Spotlight: Renodis and PowerSurveyPlus Make for an Invoicing Dream Team [VIDEO]

Solution Spotlight: Renodis has been one of our PowerSuccess customers for several years now. One of the business problems they experienced during the course of our relationship, was the need to digitally capture and record customer approval of invoices. Hear from Liam, their PowerSuccess Engineer, on how PowerObjects helped them achieve success with this Solution Spotlight!

To accomplish Renodis’ goals, we used our PowerPack Add-on, PowerSurvey, to capture approvals and rejections of an invoice. Customer CRM workflows write those responses back to CRM, where they then trigger additional processes.

In 2016, we updated Renodis to PowerSurveyPlus, our even BETTER survey add-on, which gave us a chance to update processes and take advantage of some of the new features of PowerSurveyPlus – like conditionally visible fields.

In this solution, a CRM user manually triggers a workflow that sends out an email with information about a customer’s invoice and a link to an invoice approval survey. In the survey, the customer can either approve or reject the invoice, and if rejected, provide a reason why they rejected the invoice. Once the survey is submitted, the data travels to Azure and back to Renodis’ CRM where it updates the Invoice Approval fields. These fields indicate if any invoice has been approved or rejected. If rejected, a Renodis CRM user can start the process over once changes or updates to the invoice have been made.

Today’s solution shows you a quick way to implement a process to capture a digital data and track it into CRM. Because as well all know, CRM is only as valuable as the data you keep in it! Keep coming back to the blog for more great Microsoft Dynamics CRM Solution Spotlights from PO TV!

Happy CRM’ing!

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How one popular financial analyst blogger uses Power BI to engage readers

social default image How one popular financial analyst blogger uses Power BI to engage readers

Creating compelling stories that attract readers in a sea of competitive publications and content choices has never been harder. By using the unique capabilities of Microsoft Power BI, Seeking Alpha Financial Analyst Dallas Salazar has risen above the pack to write attention-grabbing articles on financial news. Since beginning to use Power BI in early 2016, Salazar has seen a noticeable positive impact to the speed and clarity of his research.

“Writing for a data-based firm, I appreciate the flexibility of Power BI which enables me to focus on providing analysis, insights and guidance instead of building complex calculations and queries,” said Salazar. “I’ve been able to go from building data to building insights and writing content made stronger by the context the visuals provide.”

Salazar also leverages SandDance, a plug-in for Power BI, that provides ease of use for data visualizations, pattern identification, trends and insights. The app supports a new genre of visualizations, where every data element is always represented on the screen and is part of a custom visual in Power BI. It allows you to have more control over the information so you can customize the intuitive user experience.

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“Data is driving innovation and creating more opportunities than ever before,” said Salazar. “By leveraging the data, I can build more intelligence into my research by using tools that bring my stories to life. This is literally the future of my firm.”

Salazar is CEO of an Austin-based enterprise consulting firm that specializes in private company lifecycle management, including taking companies public. He also consults for publicly traded companies with market caps ranging from $ 100 million to $ 500 million.

Salazar specializes in deal flow management and is often the referring and closing source of joint ventures and broader M&A. Data is key to helping him identify opportunities to shareholders, investors and paying subscribers of his blog.

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Google Translate now converts Chinese into English with neural machine translation

Google today is announcing that web and mobile versions of Google Translate are now using a new neural machine translation system for all translations from Chinese into English — and the app conducts those translations about 18 million times a day. Google is also publishing an academic paper on the method.

Previously Google has said that it uses neural networks in Google Translate, but specifically for its real-time visual translation feature. And earlier this year Google senior fellow Jeff Dean told VentureBeat that Google was working on incorporating deep learning into more of Google Translate. Sure enough, today’s contributions are the result of that work, a spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email.

Google has been incorporating deep neural networks into more and more of its applications, including Google Allo and Inbox by Gmail. It’s also helping Google more efficiently run its data centers.

For Google neural machine translation (GNMT), the company is relying on eight-layer long short-term memory recurrent neural networks (LSTM-RNNs), “with residual connections between layers to encourage gradient flow,” the Google researchers wrote in the paper. Once the neural networks have been sufficiently trained with the help of graphics processing units (GPUs), Google relies on its recently unveiled tensor processing units (TPUs) to make inferences about new data.

Neural machine translation has not always been optimal, but Google’s implementation has shown advantages in certain situations.

Google neural machine translation chart Google Translate now converts Chinese into English with neural machine translation

Above: A comparison of translation models based on quality.

Image Credit: Google

“Human evaluations show that GNMT has reduced translation errors by 60 percent compared to our previous phrase-based system on many pairs of languages: English↔French, English↔Spanish, and English↔Chinese,” the researchers wrote in the paper. “Additional experiments suggest the quality of the resulting translation system gets closer to that of average human translators.”

In a blog post today, Google Brain team research scientists Quoc Le and Mike Schuster noted that translation errors were actually down 55-85 percent “on several major language pairs measured on sampled sentences from Wikipedia and news websites with the help of bilingual human raters.”

Even so, the system is not perfect.

“GNMT can still make significant errors that a human translator would never make, like dropping words and mistranslating proper names or rare terms, and translating sentences in isolation rather than considering the context of the paragraph or page,” Le and Schuster wrote. “There is still a lot of work we can do to serve our users better. However, GNMT represents a significant milestone.”

For much more detail, check out the entire academic paper, as well as today’s blog post.

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Stop Using Spreadsheets to Manage your Businesses Greatest Asset; Your People

Stop%20Spreadsheets Stop Using Spreadsheets to Manage your Businesses Greatest Asset; Your People

Posted by Scott Grillo, PSA Account Executive, NetSuite

It’s a story we hear a lot at NetSuite. A young professional services startup decides to manage its staff’s time using spreadsheets. The business grows steadily, and the spreadsheet method proves solid and dependable. That is, until the staff grows and the spreadsheets become increasingly unmanageable and inaccurate, and trouble starts to rear its head.

Maybe a few project schedules slip, and the firm starts missing deadlines. Perhaps people find themselves having to spend more hours tweaking, updating and sharing data. Any way you slice it, it inevitably adds up to lost business opportunities.

Running a complex services business on spreadsheets is like trying to pull a trailer with square wheels. You may get from point A to point B, but it’s going to be a very bumpy ride, and a few customers will probably jump off.

Yet so many services firms hold onto their spreadsheet-based processes as if they’re protecting a valuable asset, when the truth is that they’re preventing their most valuable asset—people—from being that much more valuable. Eventually, their old methods for managing resources must change or they risk losing any competitive advantage their staffs provide.

When relying on spreadsheets, it’s simply not possible to keep up with the frequency at which staff resources change projects, project scopes and schedules change, and project managers make demands that specific resources be made available.

Long before they start bumping up against such limitations, professional services firms should be making staffing decisions with accurate, up-to-date resource utilization and skills data, the kind of data that’s only possible when a professional services automation (PSA) solution is combined with sound resource management practices.

A PSA system enables staffing teams and project managers to have access to the same real-time data on resource availability, giving everyone up-to-the-minute insight into who is available and who is not.

NetSuite just so happens to offer one of the most powerful cloud-based project management software applications available, OpenAir, which has long been established as a platform for innovative resource management. With OpenAir deployed, our clients have:

  • Increased their resource utilization and profitability by ensuring that the right resources are on the right job at the right time;
  • Improved their financial forecasting, resulting in better insight into key operating metrics; and
  • Improved the accuracy of their demand planning forecasts, allowing management to change hiring plans on the fly.

Meanwhile, some of our most innovative clients have accomplished things for which OpenAir wasn’t even designed. For instance, we’ve had clients use the software to stretch their resource allocation further and further into the future, without sacrificing accuracy. They’ve also figured out that staffing plans don’t get noticeably better with daily updates, so they’ve cut back to weekly or even semi-monthly updates, significantly reducing the burden, while still being able to create new bookings and allocations as needed.

A system alone won’t create change and change is difficult; however, OpenAir enables organizations to change by giving them the proper tools to administer change.

Similarly, for those who have a hard time letting go, OpenAir actually allows for project budgeting to be managed in a spreadsheet-like interface, right inside the product. This is a feature designed to help customers transition from their legacy process to a powerful PSA system, and many of them have no idea it exists.

These are the kinds of reasons we decided a series of blog posts was needed to remind people that OpenAir is here for them, that its capabilities are numerous and robust, and that there are resources to help them get the most from an OpenAir deployment. In subsequent posts, we’ll take a deeper dive into how jettisoning your spreadsheets will lead to better resource management, as well as some pointers for finding the right resource management process for your organization.

Organizations are ever-evolving and NetSuite is continuously pushing out new features to meet the demand of our customer base, and offers services to for customers to maximize their investment in OpenAir and constantly improve their operational efficiencies.

In the end, by working together, we get a customer who’s happier, more devoted, and successful, and our customers get a partner they know has their back.

Stay tuned for the next post coming out next month where I will share how to eliminate the spreadsheet to make better staffing decisions.

Get your own assessment to find out how your Professional Services practice is performing.

Image Credit: projectmanagementblog.mssprojectsanalytics.com

Posted on Tue, September 27, 2016 by NetSuite filed under

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Have You Seen the Official Microsoft Dynamics CRM Roadmap Website?

Microsoft wants to keep you up to date.

According to Microsoft the Dynamics CRM roadmap website at http://crmroadmap.dynamics.com/ “provides a snapshot of what we’re working on in the Dynamics CRM business. Use the roadmap to find out what we’ve recently made generally available, released into public preview, are still developing and testing, or are no longer developing.”

You can sort by product:

  • Dynamics CRM Online
  • Dynamics CRM On Premise
  • Dynamics Marketing
  • Microsoft Social Engagement

You can view by:

  • What’s New
  • In Preview
  • In Development
  • Postponed
  • Previously Released

You can also download the Release Preview Guide and check Availability by Language and Region.

As of September 2016 this is “What’s New” with Dynamics CRM On Premise and Dynamics CRM Online:

Dynamics CRM On Premise – What’s New

  • Azure service bus integration enhancements
  • Customer field on any entity
  • Interactive service hub enhancements
  • Quote, Orders and Invoices now on Mobile
  • Server-side sync enhancements
  • SLA enhancements
  • Windows Update support for Unified Service Desk

Full details of each feature at: http://crmroadmap.dynamics.com/

Dynamics CRM Online – What’s New

  • Azure service bus integration enhancements
  • Community Portal
  • Company news timeline for mobile
  • Customer field on any entity
  • Field Service
  • Interactive service hub enhancements
  • Learning Path
  • Mobile offline enhancements
  • Partner Portal
  • Portal framework
  • Power BI Sales Manager content pack enhancements
  • Power BI Service Manager content pack
  • Project service automation
  • Quote, Orders and Invoices now on Mobile
  • Self-service portals
  • Shared resources and bookings across Field and Project Service
  • SLA enhancements
  • Social CRM: automation and enhancement
  • Windows Update support for Unified Service Desk

Full details of each feature at: http://crmroadmap.dynamics.com/

This site a great resource to keep up to date. But of course the best resource is your own Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner that can recommend which new features meet the needs of your specific business.

If you are interested in evaluating Microsoft Dynamics CRM or adding new features, contact AbleBridge, now a Crowe Horwarth company, at 877-600-2253 or www.ablebridge.com/contact.

By AbleBridge, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gold Partner, now a Crowe Horwarth company. www.ablebridge.com

Follow us on Twitter: @CroweCRM

625X77forCRMBlog 2 625x77 Have You Seen the Official Microsoft Dynamics CRM Roadmap Website?

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People-centric Office 365 features seek to address information silos

TTlogo 379x201 People centric Office 365 features seek to address information silos

ATLANTA — Combing through information silos to find the correct employee contact information can take days of production away from users each year, resulting in substantial losses of productivity, revenue and efficiency.

Employees in companies of all sizes surely have stories similar to those from Brad Eilers, an application architect manager who consults for software companies. A lack of people-centric features and missing information can lead to the type of interaction Eilers said he has weekly with colleagues.

“Just last week, I was trying to contact someone who messaged me asking to give them a call,” Eilers said at the Microsoft Ignite conference. “The Outlook profile I pulled up had no contact number to call. I looked at the directory, and it had the incorrect number there, too. It’s a weekly basis where I’m having trouble finding contact information.”

Eilers was among dozens of attendees who gathered to hear what Chris Johnson, co-founder and CTO of Hyperfish, based in Kirkland, Wash., had to say about key people-centric Office 365 features that can help employees easily and efficiently find information.

The mishmash of organizational information and the need for it to be uniform and organized is a more recent issue. As companies continue to increase mobility and require more ways to stay in contact with employees, the issues around finding this information have steadily grown.

It’s up to days per year that employees are spending searching for contact information, documents or organization charts. Chris Johnsonco-founder and CTO of Hyperfish

“Organizations have to spend a ton of money on help desk and support processes to update this stuff,” Johnson said. “From the users’ side, on average, per user, per year, they are taking four hours per year updating their own information. It’s up to days per year that employees are spending searching for contact information, documents or organization charts.”

While Johnson ran through a list of 10 people-centric features he said he believes help break down the information silos, he stressed that employees have a responsibility to keep their information updated. It’s with that focus in mind that Johnson co-founded Hyperfish last year to help organizations stay on top of their own internal processes.

“If you don’t have the data to light up these features, it’s all moot,” Johnson said, as he tallied through the various features — including everyday features, like Outlook contact cards, which provide basic contact information and a profile picture.

Other people-centric features, including automating basic business processes, can be left in the wind if data is missing or incomplete.

“There are many tasks today that could be automated, but when you automate it, it has to make a decision based on data. And if the data isn’t there, it won’t work,” Johnson said.

One common situation where companies run into information issues is mergers and acquisitions. Organizations often have very different internal methods of gathering employee information.

“It’s a massive IT project to consolidate, and, sometimes, companies don’t bother doing it,” Johnson said. “It has downstream business impacts.”

Hyperfish is trying to solve this issue for companies by providing employees alerts if they updated information in one location and not another. It is also introducing artificial-intelligence capabilities to help companies fill out missing directory items. Before starting Hyperfish, Johnson worked as a group product manager for Office 365.

“People-centric features are where the value of Office 365 is,” Johnson said. “Without rich profile data, some features will work, but the experience is a big deal for users, and it’s a better experience with photos, titles [and] all the correct information.”

On a daily basis, the challenge presented by information silos can seem minute and trivial. But added up over time, the efficiency and ease that stems from having the correct employee contact information can have a snowball effect.

“It’s not something where I can say I spend exactly 30 minutes each day searching for information,” Eilers said. “But it’s a lot of regular tasks I have that are just a little bit slower because I have to try to find something in an alternate way, when it could be right in front of me.”

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ProsperWorks, Google’s go-to CRM platform, secures funding for machine learning

As companies like Google, Microsoft and Salesforce compete for enterprise business, they’re increasingly offering customers a wide range of integrated productivity tools, rather than siloed applications. Google, however, seems to be missing one key piece: customer relations management (CRM).

For that, it’s turned to ProsperWorks, a cloud-based CRM platform built expressly for Google Apps for Work. Linking its future to Google’s enterprise business, ProsperWorks has done well for itself so far, growing its revenue 504 percent year-over-year and attracting 63,000 businesses.

On Tuesday, the company’s announcing it’s secured $ 24 million in Series B funding, enabling its plans to expand internationally and build a data science team that will transform its CRM from a database to effectively a virtual VP of sales.

“We want to be able move CRM from being just a database to a system that tells you what to do next,” CEO Jon Lee told ZDNet.

The funding round is led by Next World Capital, with additional financing from Storm Ventures, True Ventures, Industry Ventures, Devoteam and a consortium of strategic angels. ProsperWorks’ total funding now stands at $ 34 million.

“Stage One” of the business was developing a CRM product that, through automated data entry and integration with Google productivity apps, ensures data quality and comprehensiveness.

Announcing ArcGIS Maps for Power BI by Esri (Preview)

Maps are in many ways quintessential to understanding the data around us and they provide the geographic context that empowers decision making. But maps alone are just a small part of what it takes to make geographic data shine. Beyond plain maps, Microsoft Power BI is unlocking new capabilities that let you take geographic information to a whole new level in collaboration with Esri, a leader in the geographic information systems (GIS) industry.

What is GIS? It’s the combination of authoritative data layers on a map with spatial analysis applied to gain a better understating of your world. It’s a way to discover, use, make and share the maps that are important to your organization.

We’re excited to share at Microsoft Ignite that soon Power BI users can use ArcGIS Maps for Power BI (preview) created by Esri. This preview will bring new capabilities to all Power BI users.

The ArcGIS Maps for Power BI visual is provided by Esri, so before you get started, you’ll need to consent to Esri’s terms of service and privacy statements, and acknowledge you’re using the services operated by Esri in Power BI. 

policyAnalysisFocused Announcing ArcGIS Maps for Power BI by Esri (Preview)

Once you’re using the Esri visual, you’ll receive access to features that take mapping beyond the presentation of points on a map into the land of GIS. We added a new ‘edit mode’ that the Esri visual uses to provide a full screen editing experience. Look for the pencil button in the top right corner of the visual to enable the edit mode. 

Let’s start with the basics. You can change the base maps of the Esri visual. It supports four base maps including dark gray, light gray, open street maps, and Esri’s standard ArcGIS base map.

basemaps Announcing ArcGIS Maps for Power BI by Esri (Preview)

Next you can choose map themes. These let you change how your data appears on the map. You can of course select point based or shape based maps. ArcGIS Maps for Power BI will automatically show shapes if you bind state names, or points if you bind latitude and longitude values. In addition, you can easily apply heat maps to spot the intensity of points in a geographic area, or a cluster map that shows the number of data points in a specific area.

maptheme Announcing ArcGIS Maps for Power BI by Esri (Preview)

You can apply advanced styling properties to the map including setting detailed color preferences like the degree of transparency or the fill color for the map data points. Mapping wonks will love this customizability.

Saving the best for last, the ArcGIS Maps for Power BI visual goes a step beyond. Not only can you plot data points from Power BI, but you can also add reference layers. Layers include a selection of demographic layers provided by Esri and public web maps or those published into Esri’s Living Atlas. You will be able to create a compelling analysis that also provides reference information to get more context from the data you have in Power BI. Hover over a block group in the Median Household Income layer to find out who your customers are in a specific area. 

demographics Announcing ArcGIS Maps for Power BI by Esri (Preview)

But there’s more to it. Not only can you combine these layers with your Power BI data, you can select across the layers you chose to include. For example, by pressing the reference layer selection mode, you can select all the Power BI data points that fall within a polygon on your reference layer. From selecting all the data points in a zip code to selecting the customers most likely to be flooded during a storm surge, you can now do GIS within Power BI.

livingatlas Announcing ArcGIS Maps for Power BI by Esri (Preview)

Stay tuned for the ArcGIS Maps for Power BI preview and to see more capabilities. 

Read all about ArcGIS Maps for Power BI click here

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