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OmniPay & Dynamics 365 for Sales: The Most Versatile Payment Platform

Users of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales now have access to one of the industry’s leading payment platforms. OmniPay, by JourneyTEAM, is already one of the most trusted payment solutions out there. The system is intuitive, versatile, and secure. Now, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales users can take advantage of everything this system has to offer.

Compliance made easy

We understand that compliance is always going to be a major concern when you’re choosing a good payment platform. With OmniPay, there is no need to worry. OmniPay will help insure that you stay in compliance at all times with Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards. It has built-in tokenization, which provides an extra layer of protection for sensitive credit card data. Point-to-point data encryption (P2PE) is also built in. And the “Payments As A Platform” service offers extensive payment capabilities: credit/debit and ACH payments, recurring payments, hosted payments pages for clients, Quickbooks Sync, and a host of others.

Omnipay set-up is simple, straightforward…and free

First-time Omnipay users are often surprised by just how easy the system is to set up. All you have to do is download OmniPay from Microsoft Appsource. Then, contact OmniFund to set up your merchant account and you’re set! You can start receiving credit card payments through Dynamics 365.

Dynamics 365 users will feel at home right away with OmniPay’s common sense functionality. All of your payments will be stored as “activities” in the familiar Dynamics 365 for Sales user interface and are applied against the record-keeping that your business already uses.

Omnipay offers flexible solutions

OmniPay is flexible. Does your business take prepayments against quotes? Do you receive payments against invoices only? OmniPay can be configured to support your requirements. Already integrated with a third-party ERP or other system that needs to use its own IDs for Account, Contact, Quote, Order, Invoice? OmniPay is ready to support this configuration.

OmniPay provides iron-clad security

OmniPay provides you with extra layers of security. We understand that not every user of the Dynamics 365 system should be allowed to create and view payments. That’s why OmniPay uses security roles to control Dynamics 365 records. As the business owner, you will be able to closely control which actions each user can perform.

Want to read more about the features of OmniPay by JourneyTEAM?

Call JourneyTEAM Now

Start receiving credit card payments through Microsoft Dynamics 365 with one of the industry’s leading payment platforms–OmniPay by JourneyTEAM. Our experts can help answer questions and tell you more about OmniPay features. Contact us today to learn more! 800.439.6456

For a limited time, enabling Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales to receive payments is free with this Appsource solution.


Article by: Dave Bollard – National Director of Marketing

JourneyTEAM is an award-winning consulting firm with proven technology and measurable results. They take Microsoft products; Dynamics 365, SharePoint intranet, Office 365, Azure, CRM, GP, NAV, SL, AX, and modify them to work for you. The team has expert level, Microsoft Gold certified consultants that dive deep into the dynamics of your organization and solve complex issues. They have solutions for sales, marketing, productivity, collaboration, analytics, accounting, security and more. www.journeyteam.com | 800.439.6456

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

NICE Bot Wants to Take Over Employees' Most Tedious Tasks

NICE on Tuesday debuted its NICE Employee Virtual Attendant, or NEVA, a process automation bot powered by the company’s desktop automation technology.

With chatbot capabilities, NEVA “is designed for both front- and back-office employees,” said NICE VP Oded Karev, head of advanced process automation.

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Employees can use NEVA either to execute a complex business process or inquire about a process, he told CRM Buyer. “The latter use is common in a dynamic compliance-driven environment where processes are highly influenced by changing laws, regulations and company policies.”

NEVA could be a natural for the healthcare field, for example.

It implements routine and repetitive tasks faster and more accurately than customer service agents can perform them, and with complete adherence to company policies, according to the company, resulting in increased productivity, improved process accuracy and greater customer satisfaction.

“The market for providing automation for employees is extremely important,” said Alan Lepofsky, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

“Employees are overwhelmed with too much information coming from too many applications,” he told CRM Buyer. “The first barrier in getting assistance is often not even knowing where to look.”

Helping New Hires

NEVA gives new employees on-the-job training through step-by-step process guidance, doing away with the need for classroom training sessions. By reminding employees to follow policy-based processes — such as reading a required disclaimer, checking a required box, or completing a step in the process — it drives compliance.

It “can guide employees through completing complex tasks,” Karev noted.

NEVA “shortens training time, and is available to answer any questions relating to systems, processes and policies, or regulations,” he added.

Design time analysis is built into the solution, so NEVA can detect when an employee needs guidance from their mouse clicks and keystrokes. It can respond automatically to such desktop activity to provide real-time, contextual process guidance.

NEVA’s interface invites employees to request assistance and ask questions through voice or text chat when needed.

Helping Sales Teams

NEVA’s intelligent decisioning engine translates requests into structured workflow actions, and interacts with desktop systems to execute the requests, the company said. It pulls data from back-end systems and can put together a script listing the next best actions at the opportune time as a guide for the employee.

The script can be developed from records of sales interactions or other sources. Business analysts will review the parameters that can define the next best action during the design phase, Karev said.

Sales teams constitute one of the major target markets, but “as many processes depend on changing data or interactions with others, different departments and teams within an enterprise can also benefit,” Karev observed.

Sales force automation might prove to be a good market for NEVA.

Artificial intelligence is a good fit for SFA software because “SFA lacks completeness, consistency, and accuracy of win/loss data,” observed Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research.

Most CRM software vendors have listed embedded AI on their roadmaps, if they don’t already include it in their products now, she told CRM Buyer.

Further, “customer service is ripe for AI because of the volume and consistency of customer case records that can be used to train AI-enabled applications,” Wettemann noted.

Playing Nicely With Others

Based on the NICE Robotic Process Automation platform, NEVA is fully customizable and easy to deploy, according to the company.

The NICE RPA guarantees connectivity to any application anywhere, regardless of platform.

NICE developed object-based connectivity, a method in which the RPA connectors use the native application’s interfaces and the local operating system’s APIs to communicate directly with the automated application.

The NICE RPA combines this object-based connectivity with surface connectivity, which uses keyboard, mouse and screen elements to trigger and interact with native applications.

However, “With interactive knowledge bases and AI-powered chatbots already reducing the need for agent interactions,” Wettemann observed, “this is an ironic niche.”
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Richard%20Adhikari NICE Bot Wants to Take Over Employees' Most Tedious Tasks
Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology.
Email Richard.

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CRM Buyer

Building a Dashboard? 4 Keys to Find The Most Telling Metrics

Since 1770 when Britain’s James Hargreaves patented his spinning jenny that allowed a single spinster to run eight spindles and produce eight times as much raw thread and yarn as before – cutting both time to market and labor expense involved with producing textiles in Blackburn, Lancashire – doing more with less has been the driving force behind growing a business.

This productivity remains an elemental economic force – with a decisive effect on profit.

In our modern economy, software applications measure linear-feet equivalents of today’s “thread and yarn.” Such raw, furnished data, unlike cotton or wool fibers, begs translation, comparison, and analysis. Consequently, every team lead needs an agent by which to see, interpret and act on that data.

The Dashboard – 3 Types for Business

And that’s what dashboards – imperative to business intelligence software – do. Of course, dicing and splicing that data constitutes a need for tailored dashboards, of which three types are recognized:

  • Strategic – aggregates critical, overarching metrics, presenting a 10,000-foot view of a business.
  • Analytic – gathers and compares particular metrics across time and many variables, drilling down to actionable data per team.
  • Operational – monitors data in real time, alerting a team to any issues that need to be addressed.

Regardless of a dashboard’s purpose, it should reflect a company’s particular needs and culture, displaying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on a firm’s high-level (and/or low-level) objectives. These KPIs will stand as quantifiable measurements of each goal; metrics, by any other definition.

That’s important, because according to Sruthi Varanasi of ReportGarden, “A metric is a quantifiable measure that is used to track and assess the status of a specific business process.”

Metrics – Lifeblood for a business; Heart of a Dashboard

Suffice to say, metrics are the truest barometer of how your online business is doing.

Consider this: A 15 percent increase in conversions is just that, a successful trend. Subsequently, metrics serve as buoys that can keep your business sailing in deep water or warn you when shoals are near. A 21 percent dip in visibility over a month is just that, a falling trend, indicating you might need to revisit strategy and adjust – on the fly.

It stands to reason, then, that constructing a clean, uncluttered, incisive dashboard that represents key business intelligence metrics is equal parts science and art.

You want a dashboard whose widgets illustrate – at a glance – essential data from which sound business decisions can be made – whether those decisions concern the content of a webpage or the features of an actual product.

Dashboard enABLEd! How to Determine Which Metrics to Track

So, how do you decide which specific metrics should populate that dashboard from which you will extract actionable data? How do you identify those KPIs for each business goal? Following these four steps will enABLE you (apology for the acronym within the acronym) to populate your dashboard with meaningful data:

  1. Apply S.M.A.R.T. methodology.
  2. Bring the selection to the team.
  3. Limit KPI assignment to three primary, overriding goals.
  4. Eliminate the urge to add more metrics to the dashboard.

1. Apply S.M.A.R.T. to each KPI

For a basic example, if an overriding goal is to increase monthly recurring revenue (MRR), the questions to ask – and answer (more than yes/no) – to assess the validity of a KPI begin with:

  • Is a metric Specific to a goal? What needs to be accomplished and why?
    We want to increase MRR to increase margins and subsidize a new product launch next year.
  • Is it Measurable? What kind of historical change has been evident? How will we know the goal was reached?
    According to historical analytics, we can feel confident that an MRR increase of between 3 – 5 % would be achievable.
  • Is it Attainable? Are the resources readily available to achieve success? Is the goal reasonable? Is it likely to bring success?
    We can ramp up social media promotion, launch a campaign, or otherwise put effort behind ramping up sales to drive revenue.
  • Is it Relevant? How meaningful and worthwhile is the goal? In the current situation can we commit to its achievement?
    Our competition has lost revenue, so more of the market is available to us. The more revenue generated, the more reward for us.
  • Is it Timely? Is the goal ahead of the curve, or behind? What’s the deadline for achieving it? What’s the overall timeline set for adopting the goal?
    After strategic planning, we can achieve a substantive bump in MRR over the subsequent quarter.

So, your team devises this KPI: Increase MRR by 3% during Q2. What metric goes on the Dashboard? A monthly monitor of incoming revenue.

2. Bring KPI selection process to the team

Gain consensus on those metrics paramount to the team’s and the company’s success. Asking for a collective viewpoint not only helps distill the essence of paramount KPIs but also builds morale. Each team member gets some skin in the game.

3. Limit KPI assignation to no more than three primary goals

Segment’s Analytics Academy declares the purpose behind each solitary metric populating your dashboard should focus attention on a specific business process (goal!) that needs to be optimized. Using the sample KPI above, it could be one of three under an overarching goal to drive an increase of MRR.

4. Eliminate unnecessary metrics

The rule of thumb is to have no more than seven metrics displayed on any single dashboard because, after all, it functions as a quick-glance representation of a goal’s status. Thus, its design should advance easy comprehension, simple updating, and clean navigation without secondary data distractions.

Your team should make hard decisions on which metrics to include. Consider: secondary data get in the way, conflating interpretation, overwhelming the reviewer. Fewer metrics are better metrics.

Each time you visit the dashboard, you should remember that KPIs keep your business strategy agile, fleet, responsive. Positive data dictates stability and steadiness. Negative data compels your team to adjust, adapt and provide alternatives.

An effective dashboard illustrates this crucial data and discloses a course of action to take.

Metrics on Dashboard: What Are My Choices?

Once you’ve followed the ABLE steps to determine your KPIs, you’re ready to populate your dashboard. At this point, you may ask, “What are metrics that achieve near-universal adoption by businesses?”

That depends on the purpose behind your team, the audience (your team? An executive?) that will be reviewing the dashboard, the “actionability” of the selected KPIs, and the type of visuals preferred.

Metrics for a marketing team might include tracking web traffic sources, incremental sales, social sentiment, conversion rate, and SEO keyword ranking. A sales team might want to monitor sales growth, product performance, average purchase value, and average profit margin.

A financial team can follow working capital, debt-to-equity ratio, and current ratio. An e-commerce team might monitor customer lifetime value (CLV), customer retention rate, churn rate, and monthly recurring revenue.

Other salient KPIs can address net profit, revenue growth rate, project schedule variance (PSV), and average revenue per customer. Because your KPI choices are ultimately subjective, the A.B.L.E. methodology can help your team judiciously arrive at which data would be most constructive to track and display.

Vital Metrics on (Dash)Board: The Skinny

As long as any KPI on your dashboard is based in company goals, is relevant to the team behind achieving that goal, is attainable, measurable and remains timely, the dashboard itself should render keen data from which you can take incisive action to engineer successes — as well as avert disasters.

Taking the time to apply the SMART methodology, bring in the team, limit primary goals and amount of KPIs assigned to each, and eliminate the urge to overpopulate a dashboard with secondary data, will help you select the most meaningful metrics for your business onto your dashboard.

Perform these steps. Pick your metrics. Build your dashboard. Mine your data.

Grow your business.

About the Author

Keith Craig bio pic 150x150 Building a Dashboard? 4 Keys to Find The Most Telling Metrics

Keith Craig is Content Marketing Manager for Betterbuys. He has more than a decade of experience using, researching and writing about business software and hardware. He can be found on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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The 3 most valuable applications of AI in health care

 The 3 most valuable applications of AI in health care

Artificial intelligence could prove to be a self-running growth engine for the health care sector in the not-so-distant future.

A recent report from Accenture analyzed the “near-term value” of AI applications in health care to determine how the potential impact of the technology stacks up against the upfront costs of implementation. Results from the report estimated that AI applications in health care could save up to $ 150 billion annually for the U.S. health care economy by 2026.

The report focused on 10 AI applications with potential for near-term impact in medicine and analyzed each application to derive an associated estimated value. Researchers considered the impact of each application, likelihood of adoption, and value to the health economy in their evaluation.

Here are the top three AI applications with the greatest value potential in health care, according to the report’s findings.

1. Robot-assisted surgery: Estimated value of $ 40 billion

Robotic surgeries are considered “minimally invasive” surgeries – meaning practitioners replace large incisions with a series of quarter-inch incisions and utilize miniaturized surgical instruments.

Cognitive surgical robotics combines information from actual surgical experiences to improve surgical techniques. In this type of procedure, medical teams integrate the data from pre-op medical records with real-time operating metrics to improve surgical outcomes. The technique enhances a physician’s instrument precision and can lead to a 21 percent reduction in a patient’s length of hospital stay post operation.

The da Vinci technique allows surgeons to perform a range of complex procedures with greater flexibility and control in comparison to conventional techniques. Considered to be the world’s most advanced surgical robot, the da Vinci’s robotic limbs have surgical instruments attached and provide a high-definition, magnified, 3-D view of the surgical site. A surgeon controls the machine’s arms from a seat at a computer console near the operating table. This allows the surgeon to successfully perform surgeries in tight spaces and reduce the margin for error.

Also under the physician’s control is HeartLander – a miniature mobile robot that can enter the chest through an incision below the sternum. It reduces the damage required to access the heart and allows the use of a single device for performing stable and localized sensing, mapping, and treatment over the entire surface of the heart. In addition to administering the therapy, the robot adheres to the epicardial surface of the heart and can autonomously navigate to the directed location.

2. Virtual nursing assistants: Estimated value of $ 20 billion

Virtual nursing assistants could help achieve a reduction in unnecessary hospital visits and lessen the burden on medical professionals. According to Syneos Health Communications, 64 percent of patients reported they would be comfortable with AI virtual nurse assistants, listing the benefits of 24/7 access to answers and support, round-the-clock monitoring, and the ability to get quick answers to questions regarding medications.

San Francisco-based virtual nurse assistant, Sensely, recently raised $ 8 million in Series B funding to deploy fleets of AI-powered nurse avatars to clinics and patients. The key goals of the technology are to keep patients and care providers in communication between office visits and prevent hospital readmission. Sensely’s most commonly referenced nurse is Molly, which uses a proprietary classification engine and listens and responds to users.

Care Angel’s virtual nurse assistant, Angel is another good example for this category. The bot enables wellness checks through voice and AI to drive better medical outcomes at a lower cost. It is able to manage, monitor, and communicate using unique insights and real-time notifications.

3. Administrative workflow assistance: Estimated value of $ 18 billion

Automation of administrative workflow ensures that care providers prioritize urgent matters and can also help doctors, nurses, and assistants save time on routine tasks. Some applications of AI on the administrative end of health care include voice-to-text transcriptions that automate non-patient care activities like writing chart notes, prescribing medications, and ordering tests.

An example of this comes from Nuance. The company provides AI-powered solutions that rely on machine learning to help health care providers cut documentation time and improve reporting quality. Computer-assisted physician documentation (CAPD) like this provides real-time clinical documentation guidance that helps providers ensure their patients receive an accurate clinical history and consistent recommendations.

Another example of this is a five-year agreement between IBM and Cleveland Clinic that aims to transform clinical care and administrative operations. The collaboration uses Watson and other advanced technologies to mine big data and help physicians provide a more personalized and efficient treatment experience. Watson’s natural language processing capabilities allow care providers to quickly and accurately analyze thousands of medical papers to provide improved patient care and reduce operational costs.

John Hopkins Hospital made a similar move in its partnership with GE Healthcare Camden Group. This initiative aims to improve patient care and efficiency via the adoption of hospital command centers equipped with predictive analytics. The strategy will help health care professionals make quick and informed decisions for operational tasks like scheduling bed assignments and managing requests for unit assistance.

Bottom line

While advancements like those mentioned in this article will leave little room for human error and boost overall outcomes and consumer trust, there still remain reservations on AI’s practical applicability in health care. Patients and caregivers fear that lack of human oversight and the potential for machine errors can lead to mismanagement of health. Among many concerns, data privacy remains one of the biggest challenges to health care which may rely heavily on AI.

Despite concerns, AI’s future in health care is inevitable and if this report provides any indication of its impact, the potential benefits might just outweigh the risks.

Deena Zaidi is a Seattle-based contributor for financial websites like TheStreet, Seeking Alpha, Truthout, Economy Watch, and icrunchdata.

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Big Data – VentureBeat

How To Make The Most Of IFRS 17

In a future teeming with robots and artificial intelligence, humans seem to be on the verge of being crowded out. But in reality the opposite is true.

To be successful, organizations need to become more human than ever.

Organizations that focus only on automation will automate away their competitive edge. The most successful will focus instead on skills that set them apart and that can’t be duplicated by AI or machine learning. Those skills can be summed up in one word: humanness.

You can see it in the numbers. According to David J. Deming of the Harvard Kennedy School, demand for jobs that require social skills has risen nearly 12 percentage points since 1980, while less-social jobs, such as computer coding, have declined by a little over 3 percentage points.

AI is in its infancy, which means that it cannot yet come close to duplicating our most human skills. Stefan van Duin and Naser Bakhshi, consultants at professional services company Deloitte, break down artificial intelligence into two types: narrow and general. Narrow AI is good at specific tasks, such as playing chess or identifying facial expressions. General AI, which can learn and solve complex, multifaceted problems the way a human being does, exists today only in the minds of futurists.

The only thing narrow artificial intelligence can do is automate. It can’t empathize. It can’t collaborate. It can’t innovate. Those abilities, if they ever come, are still a long way off. In the meantime, AI’s biggest value is in augmentation. When human beings work with AI tools, the process results in a sort of augmented intelligence. This augmented intelligence outperforms the work of either human beings or AI software tools on their own.

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AI-powered tools will be the partners that free employees and management to tackle higher-level challenges.

Those challenges will, by default, be more human and social in nature because many rote, repetitive tasks will be automated away. Companies will find that developing fundamental human skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving, within the organization will take on a new importance. These skills can’t be automated and they won’t become process steps for algorithms anytime soon.

In a world where technology change is constant and unpredictable, those organizations that make the fullest use of uniquely human skills will win. These skills will be used in collaboration with both other humans and AI-fueled software and hardware tools. The degree of humanness an organization possesses will become a competitive advantage.

This means that today’s companies must think about hiring, training, and leading differently. Most of today’s corporate training programs focus on imparting specific knowledge that will likely become obsolete over time.

Instead of hiring for portfolios of specific subject knowledge, organizations should instead hire—and train—for more foundational skills, whose value can’t erode away as easily.

Recently, educational consulting firm Hanover Research looked at high-growth occupations identified by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and determined the core skills required in each of them based on a database that it had developed. The most valuable skills were active listening, speaking, and critical thinking—giving lie to the dismissive term soft skills. They’re not soft; they’re human.

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This doesn’t mean that STEM skills won’t be important in the future. But organizations will find that their most valuable employees are those with both math and social skills.

That’s because technical skills will become more perishable as AI shifts the pace of technology change from linear to exponential. Employees will require constant retraining over time. For example, roughly half of the subject knowledge acquired during the first year of a four-year technical degree, such as computer science, is already outdated by the time students graduate, according to The Future of Jobs, a report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The WEF’s report further notes that “65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in jobs that don’t yet exist.” By contrast, human skills such as interpersonal communication and project management will remain consistent over the years.

For example, organizations already report that they are having difficulty finding people equipped for the Big Data era’s hot job: data scientist. That’s because data scientists need a combination of hard and soft skills. Data scientists can’t just be good programmers and statisticians; they also need to be intuitive and inquisitive and have good communication skills. We don’t expect all these qualities from our engineering graduates, nor from most of our employees.

But we need to start.

From Self-Help to Self-Skills

Even if most schools and employers have yet to see it, employees are starting to understand that their future viability depends on improving their innately human qualities. One of the most popular courses on Coursera, an online learning platform, is called Learning How to Learn. Created by the University of California, San Diego, the course is essentially a master class in human skills: students learn everything from memory techniques to dealing with procrastination and communicating complicated ideas, according to an article in The New York Times.

Although there is a longstanding assumption that social skills are innate, nothing is further from the truth. As the popularity of Learning How to Learn attests, human skills—everything from learning skills to communication skills to empathy—can, and indeed must, be taught.

These human skills are integral for training workers for a workplace where artificial intelligence and automation are part of the daily routine. According to the WEF’s New Vision for Education report, the skills that employees will need in the future fall into three primary categories:

  • Foundational literacies: These core skills needed for the coming age of robotics and AI include understanding the basics of math, science, computing, finance, civics, and culture. While mastery of every topic isn’t required, workers who have a basic comprehension of many different areas will be richly rewarded in the coming economy.
  • Competencies: Developing competencies requires mastering very human skills, such as active listening, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, communication, and collaboration.
  • Character qualities: Over the next decade, employees will need to master the skills that will help them grasp changing job duties and responsibilities. This means learning the skills that help employees acquire curiosity, initiative, persistence, grit, adaptability, leadership, and social and cultural awareness.

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The good news is that learning human skills is not completely divorced from how work is structured today. Yonatan Zunger, a Google engineer with a background working with AI, argues that there is a considerable need for human skills in the workplace already—especially in the tech world. Many employees are simply unaware that when they are working on complicated software or hardware projects, they are using empathy, strategic problem solving, intuition, and interpersonal communication.

The unconscious deployment of human skills takes place even more frequently when employees climb the corporate ladder into management. “This is closely tied to the deeper difference between junior and senior roles: a junior person’s job is to find answers to questions; a senior person’s job is to find the right questions to ask,” says Zunger.

Human skills will be crucial to navigating the AI-infused workplace. There will be no shortage of need for the right questions to ask.

One of the biggest changes narrow AI tools will bring to the workplace is an evolution in how work is performed. AI-based tools will automate repetitive tasks across a wide swath of industries, which means that the day-to-day work for many white-collar workers will become far more focused on tasks requiring problem solving and critical thinking. These tasks will present challenges centered on interpersonal collaboration, clear communication, and autonomous decision-making—all human skills.

Being More Human Is Hard

However, the human skills that are essential for tomorrow’s AI-ified workplace, such as interpersonal communication, project planning, and conflict management, require a different approach from traditional learning. Often, these skills don’t just require people to learn new facts and techniques; they also call for basic changes in the ways individuals behave on—and off—the job.

Attempting to teach employees how to make behavioral changes has always seemed off-limits to organizations—the province of private therapists, not corporate trainers. But that outlook is changing. As science gains a better understanding of how the human brain works, many behaviors that affect employees on the job are understood to be universal and natural rather than individual (see “Human Skills 101”).

Human Skills 101

As neuroscience has improved our understanding of the brain, human skills have become increasingly quantifiable—and teachable.

Though the term soft skills has managed to hang on in the popular lexicon, our understanding of these human skills has increased to the point where they aren’t soft at all: they are a clearly definable set of skills that are crucial for organizations in the AI era.

Active listening: Paying close attention when receiving information and drawing out more information than received in normal discourse

Critical thinking: Gathering, analyzing, and evaluating issues and information to come to an unbiased conclusion

Problem solving: Finding solutions to problems and understanding the steps used to solve the problem

Decision-making: Weighing the evidence and options at hand to determine a specific course of action

Monitoring: Paying close attention to an issue, topic, or interaction in order to retain information for the future

Coordination: Working with individuals and other groups to achieve common goals

Social perceptiveness: Inferring what others are thinking by observing them

Time management: Budgeting and allocating time for projects and goals and structuring schedules to minimize conflicts and maximize productivity

Creativity: Generating ideas, concepts, or inferences that can be used to create new things

Curiosity: Desiring to learn and understand new or unfamiliar concepts

Imagination: Conceiving and thinking about new ideas, concepts, or images

Storytelling: Building narratives and concepts out of both new and existing ideas

Experimentation: Trying out new ideas, theories, and activities

Ethics: Practicing rules and standards that guide conduct and guarantee rights and fairness

Empathy: Identifying and understanding the emotional states of others

Collaboration: Working with others, coordinating efforts, and sharing resources to accomplish a common project

Resiliency: Withstanding setbacks, avoiding discouragement, and persisting toward a larger goal

Resistance to change, for example, is now known to result from an involuntary chemical reaction in the brain known as the fight-or-flight response, not from a weakness of character. Scientists and psychologists have developed objective ways of identifying these kinds of behaviors and have come up with universally applicable ways for employees to learn how to deal with them.

Organizations that emphasize such individual behavioral traits as active listening, social perceptiveness, and experimentation will have both an easier transition to a workplace that uses AI tools and more success operating in it.

Framing behavioral training in ways that emphasize its practical application at work and in advancing career goals helps employees feel more comfortable confronting behavioral roadblocks without feeling bad about themselves or stigmatized by others. It also helps organizations see the potential ROI of investing in what has traditionally been dismissed as touchy-feely stuff.

Q118 ft2 image3 automation DD How To Make The Most Of IFRS 17In fact, offering objective means for examining inner behaviors and tools for modifying them is more beneficial than just leaving the job to employees. For example, according to research by psychologist Tasha Eurich, introspection, which is how most of us try to understand our behaviors, can actually be counterproductive.

Human beings are complex creatures. There is generally way too much going on inside our minds to be able to pinpoint the conscious and unconscious behaviors that drive us to act the way we do. We wind up inventing explanations—usually negative—for our behaviors, which can lead to anxiety and depression, according to Eurich’s research.

Structured, objective training can help employees improve their human skills without the negative side effects. At SAP, for example, we offer employees a course on conflict resolution that uses objective research techniques for determining what happens when people get into conflicts. Employees learn about the different conflict styles that researchers have identified and take an assessment to determine their own style of dealing with conflict. Then employees work in teams to discuss their different styles and work together to resolve a specific conflict that one of the group members is currently experiencing.

Q118 ft2 image5 talkingtoAI DD How To Make The Most Of IFRS 17How Knowing One’s Self Helps the Organization

Courses like this are helpful not just for reducing conflicts between individuals and among teams (and improving organizational productivity); they also contribute to greater self-awareness, which is the basis for enabling people to take fullest advantage of their human skills.

Self-awareness is a powerful tool for improving performance at both the individual and organizational levels. Self-aware people are more confident and creative, make better decisions, build stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively. They are also less likely to lie, cheat, and steal, according to Eurich.

It naturally follows that such people make better employees and are more likely to be promoted. They also make more effective leaders with happier employees, which makes the organization more profitable, according to research by Atuma Okpara and Agwu M. Edwin.

There are two types of self-awareness, writes Eurich. One is having a clear view inside of one’s self: one’s own thoughts, feelings, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses. The second type is understanding how others view us in terms of these same categories.

Interestingly, while we often assume that those who possess one type of awareness also possess the other, there is no direct correlation between the two. In fact, just 10% to 15% of people have both, according to a survey by Eurich. That means that the vast majority of us must learn one or the other—or both.

Gaining self-awareness is a process that can take many years. But training that gives employees the opportunity to examine their own behaviors against objective standards and gain feedback from expert instructors and peers can help speed up the journey. Just like the conflict management course, there are many ways to do this in a practical context that benefits employees and the organization alike.

For example, SAP also offers courses on building self-confidence, increasing trust with peers, creating connections with others, solving complex problems, and increasing resiliency in the face of difficult situations—all of which increase self-awareness in constructive ways. These human-skills courses are as popular with our employees as the hard-skill courses in new technologies or new programming techniques.

Depending on an organization’s size, budget, and goals, learning programs like these can include small group training, large lectures, online courses, licensing of third-party online content, reimbursement for students to attain certification, and many other models.
Q118 ft2 image6 AIandhumans DD How To Make The Most Of IFRS 17

Human Skills Are the Constant

Automation and artificial intelligence will change the workplace in unpredictable ways. One thing we can predict, however, is that human skills will be needed more than ever.

The connection between conflict resolution skills, critical thinking courses, and the rise of AI-aided technology might not be immediately obvious. But these new AI tools are leading us down the path to a much more human workplace.

Employees will interact with their computers through voice conversations and image recognition. Machine learning will find unexpected correlations in massive amounts of data but empathy and creativity will be required for data scientists to figure out the right questions to ask. Interpersonal communication will become even more important as teams coordinate between offices, remote workplaces, and AI aides.

While the future might be filled with artificial intelligence, deep learning, and untold amounts of data, uniquely human capabilities will be the ones that matter. Machines can’t write a symphony, design a building, teach a college course, or manage a department. The future belongs to humans working with machines, and for that, you need human skills. D!


About the Authors

Jenny Dearborn is Chief Learning Officer at SAP.

David Judge is Vice President, SAP Leonardo, at SAP.

Tom Raftery is Global Vice President and Internet of Things Evangelist at SAP.

Neal Ungerleider is a Los Angeles-based technology journalist and consultant.

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Dynamics 365 User Adoption: End Users are the Most Important! (But Management is Important, too)

CRM Blog Dynamics 365 User Adoption: End Users are the Most Important! (But Management is Important, too)

End users of your CRM system (or any other system!) are the most important building blocks to a successful implementation. Why then are they so often overlooked? Why does management so often dictate requirements without a single consideration of how the end user will react?

“They need to learn how to use this to do their job; they will figure it out.” – Management

Picture this: An organization gathers all major decision makers and managers into a room for a requirements gathering session. The Project Manager says, “what metrics do you want to report on?” The Sales Manager wants 15 fields. The Customer Service Manager needs another 24 fields. The Operations Manager needs 12 different fields. The CEO is looking for roll-up metrics that require another 10 fields. All of a sudden, the Project Manager leaves requirements gathering meeting #1 with 61 new required fields to add to the solution.

I’m willing to bet that many readers have experienced a version of this picture I have painted for you.

How will adding 61 required fields to forms in CRM effect your salesperson? Your Customer Service reps? Do these configuration changes add value to the business goals? How much time does a salesperson lose selling by entering 61 required fields in CRM when they may only need 3?

Now, picture this second scenario: An organization gathers a sampling of end users into a room for a requirements gathering session. There are tenured sales reps, inside sales reps, customer service reps, marketing associates and others from across all areas of the organization. The Project Manager says, “how can this system help you to do your job more efficiently?” The sales reps talk about manual reporting they do weekly for the Sales Managers. Customer Service reps discuss how many screen pops, tabs and programs they go back and forth between on any given call. The Project Manager leaves the requirements gathering meeting #1 with a different to-do list. His/her challenge is now to leverage technology to alleviate pain points for these end users and optimize business processes.

Now, that’s not to say that management shouldn’t be involved! I would recommend having Business Requirements Meeting #1 play out as mentioned above, with the end users. THEN, the management meeting should occur.

Simply put, end users should be involved starting at the requirements gathering stage. Walk the fine line of customizing for your end users while meeting business requirements from management. Apart from involving them in requirements meetings, you can also do ride alongs, job shadowing – anything to better understand what they are doing and where technology can help improve the process.

Need help walking that fine line? We are User Adoption experts at Beringer Technology Group.  Let us help you make sure you don’t miss the mark when it comes to User Adoption.


This blog is the first in a series that will focus on a deep dive in User Adoption. User Adoption is so very important in a CRM implementation and often overlooked. So, what can you do to help encourage adoption for a system? Over the next several months, we will look at ten ways to help with User Adoption at your organization.


Beringer Technology Group, a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution. We also provide expert Managed IT ServicesBackup and Disaster RecoveryCloud Based Computing and Unified Communication Systems.

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2/21 Webinar: Be a Full Stack Power BI Jedi – A walkthrough of Power BI most advanced features through Star Wars data

Be a Full Stack Power BI Jedi – A walkthrough of Power BI most advanced features through Star Wars data.

 Are you a Power BI Jedi? Do you have the powers to become one, and join the fight for insights? In this hands-on session we will build together a Power BI report that analyzes Star Wars data from a web service. We will create custom functions to iterate over paged results and extract the entire dataset of characters and species. We will apply three different techniques to calculate the body mass index (BMI) of the Star Wars characters, and create smart mashups using Cartesian Product to classify BMI into different categories. Finally, we will apply What-If techniques to explore better BMI calculations for droids (Being made out of metal, doesn’t help your BMI).

When:  2/21/2018

Where: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0Qk5V8dvgg

Gil Raviv MVP 1 2/21 Webinar: Be a Full Stack Power BI Jedi – A walkthrough of Power BI most advanced features through Star Wars data

Gil Raviv is a Microsoft MVP, Analytics Group Manager at Avanade, and a Power BI expert. As a former Senior Program Manager on the Microsoft Excel Product team, Gil led the design and integration of Power Query as the next-generation Get-Data technology in Excel 2016, and became an extreme M practitioner (M=Power Query formula language).

Gil is a highly skilled Software Development & Product Manager with 18 years of experience, and four US patents in the domains of social networks, cyber security, and web. He also held a variety of innovative roles in the Israeli Cyber Security industry, where he was harnessing the power of data analytics and big data to deliver new security products from advanced threat detection and reporting solutions for enterprises, to protection of kids on Facebook.

In his blog DataChant.com, Gil has been evangelizing about Power BI & Power Query since he moved to his new home at Chicagoland, and recently received the Microsoft MVP Award in Data Platform Category. Read more here.

Contact the author at gilra@datachant.com

Find Gil’s MVP Profile or other MVPs here.

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Make The Most of The Customers You’ve Got With Expand Marketing

How And Why You Should Calculate Customer Lifetime Value CLV FI Make The Most of The Customers You’ve Got With Expand Marketing

Offer continuing education content and experiences.

What we know about our product and what our customers know about our product are not the same thing.

We may think our product is awesome because we can zoom through work in half the time, or we can do stuff our competitions’ tools could never do. But if our customers don’t know how to use our product like that, they’re out of luck. And eventually, we’ll be out of luck, too (when they leave).

So if you want your customers to stay, and to rock your products as you know they could be doing – please – give them the training to do that.

Don’t charge them for it. Don’t make it hard to access the training. Don’t worry if a competitor might sneak into a webinar once in a while. Give the information freely. Make it easy to understand, easy to apply, easy to access.

Bonus points if you actively reach out to your customers to get their feedback on what training they want you to create next (like via surveys).

And even more bonus points if you offer events and other fun stuff to make the learning even more fun. And easy … did I mention easy?

Make customer service easy.

Here’s a stat that stopped me in my tracks: One third of Americans are so adverse to interacting with customer service that they’d rather clean a toilet bowl instead.

Seriously.

Dunno about you, but I can find a lot of things to do before I get around to cleaning a toilet. I might even fuss with my tax forms first.

So if your customers (even some of them) are that resistant to call a service rep, how likely do you think they are to ask for help?

And if they don’t ask for help, and something’s wrong or not working, how likely do you think they are to look into other options, including your competitors?

The way to fix this is, obviously, to make it much easier for people to get help.

So, offer things like:

  • An online help area that’s actually … you know … helpful.
  • A chat box, preferably one that’s manned with smart, genuinely accommodating people at hours when your customers will need help. (Try to do better than 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., please).
  • A responsive social media/customer service team. More and more customer service is shifting to social media. You gotta be there.

We know all this customer support is expensive. Really good customer service people are treasures, and they need to be paid and rested and given the tools they require to do their work. And that’s just downright pricey.

So while you’re pondering how (or if) to pay for better customer service, consider this: How much more revenue could your company make if you reduced customer churn by even 10%? Or if you could get your existing customers to spend even 10% more with you? Would that fund even part of your customer service investments?

Encourage user-generated content.

We’re calling this “the information age,” but in some ways it’s also the opinion age. Now that everybody can post whatever (almost whatever) they want online, it’s possible for your customers to post things … about you. About your company’s products, services, logo, events, and more.

They can also comment on your blog, or comment about you on third-party sites.

All this content is called “user generated content.” It can be leveraged to create more sales, both from your existing customers and from new ones.

Consider a customer community.

Many companies manage online communities for their customers. This can be as simple as a private Facebook or LinkedIn group, or it could be as elaborate as a fully-staffed community forum on your website.

Some companies hire moderators; some don’t. Some of these communities are consciously created and managed by their focus company; others are created by customers, without company approval.

Some of these types of communities flourish and do great things for customer retention, and for product development, and for the company’s brand. Other communities launch … and then just fizzle.

That’s all a way of saying that online communities are a mixed bag. They’re tricky. And they’re not cheap. But some companies have had huge successes with this expand marketing tactic. Yours might too.

Use your data to build models of at-risk customers.

Marketers put a lot of focus on the buyer’s journey, and that’s good. But what if we put as much focus on saving customer relationships?

We’ve got the data for this already. We just need to build models that can predict when our existing customers are at risk.

It might be smart to build “churn profiles” as well. Not every customer becomes disengaged or leaves for the same reason.

Once you know where the risk points are, it’s time to take action. Test a few different intervention strategies. Would customer training help? Would an in-house visit from your product-optimization team make a difference? What if you just called your at-risk customer and asked them how things are going? It’s surprising how often a relationship can be saved with just a 10-minute phone call.

Use customer scoring to identify who your best customers are.

We all know about lead scoring – it’s a quantitative way to let sales people know which leads they should call first, and a way for marketers to identify which leads need to be warmed up some more before a sales call.

But what about giving that same treatment to your existing customers?  After all, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” as the saying goes. So, shouldn’t we all have customer scoring programs?

Conclusion on the Benefits for Expand Marketing

Let’s do a thought experiment.

Consider what would happen if you had to take an “acquisitions fast.” If your company had to shut down customer acquisitions for a period of time. Say a month. Or a year.

For most marketers, just the idea of that is enough to make your blood run cold. And, hey ‒ we get it. That’s why this is just a thought experiment.

But that kind of limitation could be a way to get really creative (and really active) in preserving and growing your existing customer relationships.

So take a deep breath. Get a pad of paper and a good pen. Imagine what you’d do to preserve revenue (and keep all your company staff employed) if you had no other source of revenue than your existing customers.

This may give you the sort of bold vision that could create a serious expand marketing program.

And, fortunately, once the thought experiment is done, you can still go back to doing customer acquisition, too.

Back to you

What is your company doing to expand your relationships with existing customers? Leave a comment and tell us how it’s working.

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PowerObjects’ Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2017

nlkhkj 300x225 PowerObjects’ Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2017

We’ve had a great year at PowerObjects and that goes for our Microsoft Dynamics 365 blog too! We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 most popular blogs posts for 2017, you check them out below.

10) CRM for Dynamics 365—Relationship Insights

Coming in at #10 is one of the exciting new CRM features of Dynamics 365, Relationship Insights. The Relationship Insights feature is for analyzing our relationships and providing us timely and actionable insights into our sales, communication, and support. If Relationship Insights sounds interesting to you and you’d like to learn more about configuration requirements, then watch this webinar: CRM for Dynamics 365—Relationship Insights.

9) Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update: Multi-Select Option Sets

We predicted one of the Dynamics 365 July 2017 Updates blogs would make it on the Top 10 Blogs of the Year and we were right! The Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update has loads of exciting new features and enhancements. As we see more previews, we’ve prepared blogs and webinars with all that we know so that you are prepared for the upcoming release. Be sure to click here to watch the Microsoft Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update webinar series!

8) A Must Know Shortcut: Adding Hyperlinks to an Email Template in Dynamics 365

Take a look at how this must know shortcut became our 8th most popular blog post of 2017. One feature that is not always utilized by our clients is Email Templates. Email templates work well when you want to send out standardized information to customers, but don’t need to create an entire email campaign. One question we receive from many of our clients is how to turn plain text within the body of an email into a hyperlink. Have no fear, this blog will show you how!


7) Two Rockin’ Ways to Enable Editable Grids with Dynamics 365

There are two ways to enable the new “Editable Grids” functionality delivered with Microsoft Dynamics 365. At the entity level, which will turn every view into an editable grid, or specifically on a sub-grid on any form. This blog shows you the steps for enabling either one! For more Dynamics 365 information, check out our Dynamics 365 page.

6) When You Reassign Accounts and Contacts, All Activities Are Also Reassigned

Dynamics 365 is a wonderful tool and many of the configurations are just as great. There is one configuration in particular that occurs out-of-the-box that can be changed improved in all implementations: the parental relationship between Accounts/Contacts and their child records. This popular blog walks through how to change this behavior for the Account and Phone Call relationship, and these steps can be followed for most Parent-Child relationships in Dynamics 365.

5) Troubleshooting Solution Import Errors

Remember when CRM life was so much simpler that solutions did not yet exist? If you had separate development and production environments and you wanted to move your customizations, you simply clicked Export Customizations and voila! It was done. Those were the days. With CRM 2011, the concept of solutions was introduced, giving us a new set of powers – by picking individual entities, workflows, etc., we now had the ability to group together and move only those customizations we wanted to include in our solution. If you want to learn more about solutions, please have a look at our CRM Book.

4) D365 In Focus: Get Started with PowerChat in 5 Easy Steps [VIDEO]

In the two short months since this Dynamics 365 In Focus video was released, it’s racked up enough views to nab the title of the 4th most viewed blog post of the year! One of our PowerPack experts, Jack Sapp, addresses how you can get started with PowerChat in five easy steps. If PowerChat didn’t excite you, explore the other thirty-plus PowerPacks we have to offer by clicking here!

121417 2058 PowerObject1 PowerObjects’ Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2017

3) 5 Things We Love About Dynamics 365 App for Outlook

Not only do people love the Dynamics 365 App for Outlook but they also love this blog, which is why it comes in at #3 on our list. The Dynamics 365 App for Outlook has gotten faster, smarter, and more convenient. Connecting Dynamics 365 with Outlook, the app makes it easy to track emails, tasks, and appointments without installing any additional software. Click here and find out what else it can do!

2) Top 10 New CRM Features in the Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update

This Top 10 has become so popular it’s made it as the #2 spot! The Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update has loads of exciting new features and enhancements, which makes it difficult to pick a top ten. We’ve done our best to highlight the best new features and enhancements. Be sure to click here to view our complete Microsoft Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update webinar series.

1) CRM for Dynamics 365: Top 10 New Feature

Drum roll please! Coming in at #1 is CRM for Dynamics 365: Top 10 New Features. Along with new branding, this fall release has brought many updates. Many are available for both Online and On-Premises, some – for now – are Online only. See the full list of CRM for Dynamics 365: Top 10 New Features.

There you have it! These are our Top 10 Most Popular Blogs for 2017. To stay up to date with the latest Dynamics 365 news and tips and tricks – be sure to subscribe to our blog!

Happy Dynamics 365’ing!

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“Parts Of It Were The Most Fun I Ever Had”

Fuck Ken Bone and the culture he rode in on. 

Shame on the Undecided doofus of the 2016 Presidential debates himself for failing to take advantage of the endless educational opportunities in the country, remaining a barely formed adult fetus with the brain power of a bottle cap. Even more shame on those among us who felt it necessary to turn the red-sweatered sluggard into a meme, because Americans need to make every last goddamn thing into entertainment, to manufacture moments to fill the desperately dreary lives we’ve fashioned for ourselves, even if this stupidity can get us all killed.

Fuck the media for its role in the same, not only for making Bone a supporting actor in a national tragedy but for featuring as its star a racist, ignorant game-show host, helping to legitimize someone who should have been too low and louche to cut the ribbon at the opening of a brand-spanking new adult bookstore, let alone allowed to stain the sheets in the Lincoln Bedroom. And fuck the media again for continuing this dangerous bullshit. Should Mark Cuban run for President? How about Alec Baldwin? Will the Rock enter the race? Why aim so high? This comment is made with all earnestness: Our leadership is presently so dumb and dishonest that even Kim Kardashian would do a better job than our sitting President. Kim Fucking Kardashian.

The Illinois insta-celeb has apparently taken his eyes off of hacked Fappening photos of Jennifer Lawrence long enough to realize that Donald Trump isn’t doing a stellar job as President. Perhaps the unnecessary suffering of Puerto Ricans and U.S. Virgin Islanders and refugees and immigrants and poor people and non-white folks and even the white dummies who voted for a Simon Cowell-ish strongman has finally reached the slow-on-the-uptake Bone? Who knows and who cares. More likely, he’s just moving his mouth-hole again, making ignorant noises at random, because noise, not news, is what rules in this immature, ill-informed nation.

From Luke Mullins’ CNN article about the man who knew too little:

No one is more perplexed by his fame than Bone himself. “It’s almost over,” he says, “and I still don’t get it.”

Bone has experienced the rush and perils of instant celebrity over the past year. He served as a special correspondent for ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live and walked the red carpet at a Hollywood movie premier. But he’s also witnessed police in bulletproof vests sweep his house for explosives and endured withering criticism for comments he made prior to his time in the spotlight.

“Parts of it were a real bummer,” Bone told me. “Parts of it were the most fun I ever had.”

It all started last fall, when Bone, a married father of one living in the St. Louis suburb of Belleville, Illinois, received a call from a Gallup poll researcher asking if he was committed to voting for either Clinton or Trump. He said he wasn’t and agreed to have his name added to the pool of undecided voters under consideration to appear on stage during the upcoming town hall-style debate at nearby Washington University in St. Louis.

Bone, who works at a coal fired power plant, was eventually selected to participate. After CNN’s Anderson Cooper, one of the debate moderators, gave him the floor, nearly 67 million television viewers watched an ordinary 34-year-old man ask a thoughtful question of two deeply-flawed candidates: “What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job loss for fossil power plant workers?”

Right away, Bone’s red sweater lit up social media, with memes including one with a photograph of his chubby, mustached face above the question: “How will you protect my job as a card on Guess Who?” receiving tens of thousands of retweets. His name soon began trending online, and popularity increased further when video footage circulated of Bone taking photographs of the stage with a disposable camera. Less than an hour after the debate, New York Magazine declared that Bone’s “vibrant red sweater, pure and earnest face, and enthusiastically delivered question about energy sources have boosted him to internet-celebrity status.”•

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