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GET READY, GET SET, GET MARKETING WITH DYNAMICS 365 FOR MARKETING WEBINAR!

CRM Blog GET READY, GET SET, GET MARKETING WITH DYNAMICS 365 FOR MARKETING WEBINAR!

GET READY, GET SET, GET MARKETING WITH DYNAMICS 365 FOR MARKETING!

Have you heard the buzz that Microsoft has launched a new marketing application, Dynamics 365 for Marketing?! The target market for this solution is small to medium-sized organizations who require an end to end marketing solution. Join us for this session which will serve as an introduction to one of the newest Microsoft product offerings.

• Dynamics 365 Out-of-the-Box Marketing vs Dynamics 365 for Marketing
• What comes with Dynamics 365 for Marketing
• Navigating the Application
• Standout Elements of the Application


Date: Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Time: 11:00AM EST – 11:30AM EST

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THE WEBINAR TODAY!

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Fifteen Minute Webcasts To Get You Ready For GDPR Compliance

Syncsort has released a series of short webcasts in an effort to inform people of the importance in GDPR compliance. Check out these three great videos from our Flash Friday series in the GDPR Round-Up and be prepared for May 25th!

In the first part of the Flash Friday webcast series, we talk about the importance of Data Quality for GDPR compliance. Learn why Data Quality is critical for the GDPR and how Data Quality simultaneously benefits GDPR compliance and business growth.

Data Quality GDPR Round Up 300x167 Fifteen Minute Webcasts To Get You Ready For GDPR Compliance

The second part of the webcast series talks about the importance of Capacity Management for GDPR compliance. Explore why Capacity Management matters for the GDPR and how having a best in class capacity management process helps to ensure availability and security of your data.

Capacity Management GDPR Round Up 300x167 Fifteen Minute Webcasts To Get You Ready For GDPR Compliance

In the last installment of the three-part series, we discuss the importance of your IBM i security for GDPR compliance. Learn three imperatives for your IBM i and complying with GDPR including:

  • Protecting data
  • Tracking activity/detecting violations
  • Assessing risks

IBM i Security GDPR Round Up 300x167 Fifteen Minute Webcasts To Get You Ready For GDPR Compliance

Looking for more? Check out our other great webcasts here!

These webcasts and all related materials are provided for informational purposes only, and are not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal advice pertaining to the subject matter. If you have specific questions on how this may affect your organization you should consult your legal advisor.

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Syncsort + Trillium Software Blog

Another Cambridge Analytica is out there, and we aren’t ready to fight it

 Another Cambridge Analytica is out there, and we aren’t ready to fight it

Facebook got a lot of criticism over the Cambridge Analytica breach, and Zuckerberg vowed to do better in protecting users’ privacy in a full-page ad. But this is not the first time political campaigns have used social media user data during elections — the only difference was that millions of users did not even know the platform was harvesting their data and using it to target them for political purposes.

The bigger problem is that what happened to Facebook was inevitable. Sure, Facebook as a closed system is especially harmful. A system that can see your current interactions, has control over the content it shows you, and can measure the results of those things is a perfect fit for human behavior optimization.

What I’m saying is that even if we did not have the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the fact would remain that social channels are harvesting our data. Take Twitter, for instance. You can easily see any likes and interactions people have had — that data is open to everyone. Use the Twitter API and you can automate its collection. Connect it to IBM Watson or some other enterprise service and you will instantly get access to thousands (if not millions) of records. And this data is not private by any means.

The ingenious idea is to build a psychological profile based on the “likes” of users, then learn who to target and how to target them. Once you have built this profile, you can use it any way you please.

The cycle does not need to be rooted in Facebook — one could build a profile from Twitter data and use that in Facebook ads. You only need the profile to train the AI, and once you’ve trained it, the technology can work its magic on any platform.

AI is getting more aggressive

As AI grows more intelligent, it will be able to read and analyze data from disparate sources. It will not need a feed of uniform data or dozens of operators to scan and extract the signal from the noise. For instance, there are AI technologies that can scan thousands of records in a matter of minutes and return results. This means that AI can scan websites, files, and documents and form a complete profile for us without breaking a single privacy law.

The information is out there, free for the public — it only becomes gold when a machine learning engine traverses all of them, collects the data in a single place, creates a profile based on it, and fills the gaps accordingly — all within minutes.

Many users felt manipulated by Facebook following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. This has led us to start questioning the ways the company acquired the data they used. However, soon companies like CA will have that data anyway, even without Facebook. We cannot even be sure that right this moment, the same thing is not happening again. Moreover, as I described above, companies can collect this information via completely legal means.

The problem is not Facebook. The problem is that we are not prepared for the threats that surround us.

The real threat

AI is most feared for its potential to either replace humans at work or annihilate them altogether. However, AI can’t really get creative — it can only repeat what humans do, though sometimes more efficiently. While it surely does a better job than many people in certain fields, leading to replacement worries, AI also creates new opportunities. Besides, automation attempts at major companies such as Tesla have proved that overdoing AI optimization is not practical — at least not yet.

The threat of AI taking our jobs or attacking humans isn’t as imminent as the threat of humans using the technology for nefarious purposes. It’s how we use AI that causes the real threat. For example, companies like Netflix and Facebook can use our psychological profiles to help us find new friends with similar interests or offer tailored recommendations for TV shows without issue. However, in the case of Cambridge Analytica, the company used these profiles to elicit a certain behavior from the targets without their knowledge, which is setting off alarms for good reason.

A more severe possibility for the technology involves companies using your content and connections to shift your ideas. For instance, if you publish content that contains ideas that the system wants to dissuade you from, it could share it only with people with opposite views, creating tons of negative reviews and the impression that nobody agrees with you. Likewise, if your piece contains issues the system wants you to hold onto or strengthen, it can share it only with like-minded people so you only receive positive feedback.

Taking this a step further, governments could potentially use this technology against their people. For instance, China’s censorship effectively creates a closed system that is totally vulnerable to these kinds of manipulations. Even security agencies like those revealed by Edward Snowden could control your traffic at the router level.

How to protect ourselves

AI will not go away. Our information is out there, and we cannot solely rely on regulations to protect us. Savvy individuals outpace regulations by constantly creating new ways to alter our behavior. You might take the blockchain route to conceal and stamp everything, but since not everyone is 100 percent on the blockchain, there will still be data leaks. This is why I believe in Alan Turing’s approach that only a machine can defeat another machine; thus, we need to arm and catch up with our own AI tools.

An AI assistant that protects the interests of its user could be a feasible solution. This AI would need to be transparent and decentralized so we could be certain it wouldn’t serve any other parties behind the scenes. Such AI could “break the loop.” For instance, it could detect patterns of behavior optimization and understand what a publication is trying to make you do, and warn against that. The technology could even alter the content or block parts of it to neutralize such attempts. In the case of channeled traffic, an AI assistant could be helpful by detecting such patterns and automatically sharing the content beyond a single platform, all while sending the results back to the user.

Much of what we thought about AI hasn’t happened, and a lot of things we did not think would happen have. In the end, what we are really up against is the humans behind the machines, rather than the machines themselves.

David Petersson is a developer and tech writer who contributes to Hacker Noon.

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Big Data – VentureBeat

Is The Transportation Industry Ready To Digitally Transform?

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.

Q118 ft2 image1 DD Is The Transportation Industry Ready To Digitally Transform?

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.

Q118 ft2 image2 softskills DD Is The Transportation Industry Ready To Digitally Transform?
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.

Q118 ft2 image4 usingsoftskills DD Is The Transportation Industry Ready To Digitally Transform?
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 Is The Transportation Industry Ready To Digitally Transform?In 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 Is The Transportation Industry Ready To Digitally Transform?How 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 Is The Transportation Industry Ready To Digitally Transform?

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.

cleardot Is The Transportation Industry Ready To Digitally Transform?

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Digitalist Magazine

Are you ready for GDPR? It’s coming.

As you’ve probably heard, on May 25, 2018, a European privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), is due to take effect. The GDPR imposes new rules on companies, government agencies, non-profits, and other organizations that offer goods and services to people in the European Union (EU), or that collect and analyze data tied to EU residents. The GDPR applies no matter where you are located.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR YOUR COMPANY?

There are a few things that GDPR will change:

  • Personal privacy rights: Individuals will have the right to access their personal data, correct errors in their personal data, erase their personal data, object to the processing of their personal data, or export their personal data.
  • Added controls and notifications: Organizations will be required to protect personal data using appropriate security measures, notify authorities of personal data breaches, obtain appropriate consents for processing data, and keep records detailing data processing.
  • Transparent policies: Organizations must provide clear notice of data collection, outline processing purposes and use cases, and define data retention and deletion policies.
  • IT and training requirements: Organizations will need to train privacy personnel and employees, audit and update data policies, employ a Data Protection Officer (if required), and create and manage compliant vendor contracts.

In short, GDPR demands stricter controls on where personal data is stored and how it is used. The bring better data governance tools for improved transparency, recordkeeping, and reporting. Finally, it will improve data policies to give data subjects greater control and to ensure lawful processing.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREPARE?

Preparing for the GDPR is a business-wide challenge that will take time, tools, processes, and expertise. Preparations may require significant changes to how you conduct your business and to customers’ privacy and data management practices. The requirements are complicated and each organization’s path to readiness will be unique, so don’t wait until May to begin preparing.

We’re here to help. Our team of data and technical experts can assess your readiness and help you determine the best path forward to ensure you can continue to serve your customers.

Contact BroadPoint today for more information and to assess your readiness.

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Giant Orange cornered … ready to be squeezed … because Obstruction of Justice

 Giant Orange cornered ... ready to be squeezed ... because Obstruction of Justice

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Today there’s tactical spin and counter-spin over letter drafts which go to Trump’s intent to obstruct justice in the firing of James Comey,

This was a response to the claims made by Trump’s lawyers that the whole affair needs to go away because they have a lawyer who’s traded on his nominal relationship to a famous baseball player. Nice try boys, but Mueller seems to have the trump cards.

And like a fair-use troll, Trump tries to disguise his hate with a deflection. Lord Dampnut replies… Wow

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Mueller in response, lets the BS smolder in its flaming paper bag.

 Giant Orange cornered ... ready to be squeezed ... because Obstruction of Justice

Legal experts agree the president can fire the FBI director at will. That doesn’t mean Mr. Trump could act with impunity if his intention was to interfere with the FBI’s Russia investigation, some said. 

[…]

As his lawyers make their arguments to Mr. Mueller, Mr. Trump has used his Twitter feed for what people familiar with the matter describe as an effort to persuade Americans that the investigation is unfair, and to minimize any political fallout in the 2018 midterm elections or his own re-election campaign two years later.

 Giant Orange cornered ... ready to be squeezed ... because Obstruction of Justice
The initial White House statement said Trump acted based on the recommendations from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, but Trump himself told NBC on Thursday that he had already decided to fire Comey before meeting with them.
Mike Pence told reporters on Capitol Hill that the firing was not about the Russia investigations, but Trump told NBC he had the investigation in mind when he decided to fire Comey.
Kellyanne Conway said Comey’s firing had “zero to do” with the Russia investigation, but the White House timeline released the same day said that after watching Comey’s testimony about the Russia investigation, Trump was “strongly inclined” to remove him.
Sean Spicer said that the decision originated from Rosenstein, but Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump had already made the decision.
After Spicer, Conway, Pence, and Sanders provided Rosenstein’s letter as a key reason for, if not the entire basis of, Trump’s decision to fire Comey, Sanders said “I don’t think there was ever an attempt to pin the decision on the Deputy Attorney General.”
The White House’s use of Rosenstein’s letter as the reason Trump decided to fire Comey reportedly led Rosenstein to threaten to resign
thinkprogress.org/…

Because reasons…

Mr. Trump has given conflicting reasons as to why he dismissed Mr. Comey.

  • At first, he said it was in response to advice from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who had concluded in a memo for the president that Mr. Comey was an ineffective leader.
  • Two days after the firing, Mr. Trump told NBC News that the decision to fire Mr. Comey was his alone and that when he did it, “I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.”

The obstruction-related memo advanced other arguments beyond the matter of the president’s executive powers, citing case law that the lawyers believed buttressed the contention that Mr. Trump had not obstructed justice.

www.wsj.com/…

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Are You Ready for Dynamics 365 Changes?

aaronback Are You Ready for Dynamics 365 Changes?

With all the buzz and information swirling around the upcoming release of the Version 9.0 update for Dynamics 365, you will usually see a lot of excitement regarding new features and functions. However, simple things are often overlooked. But, the simple things can have a significant impact.

Change is Tough

Change is difficult enough for us as individuals, but change within a company can be very challenging. Yet, if you have made changes an integral part of your business and processes, then it will not be tough to make the changes. People will be used to changes, and can easily adopt new ones.

Still, you may be faced with the “we’ve always done it this way” wall that may seem hard to overcome. The first step in implementing change is recognizing that change is needed. You will then need to lay out an actionable plan on how to implement the change which can make positive impacts in the long-run.

Dynamics 365 is flexible enough that you can introduce minor changes over time. However, with a major update such as Version 9.0, you will need to evaluate the significant changes and plan accordingly.

Falling Behind

Another point to consider is if you are falling behind in the technology. Dynamics 365 is changing at a rapid pace. If you call too far behind it could hinder the cost to get caught up. Thus, you are in a catch-22. So, by staying as current as possible given your companies needs and scenario, you can potentially avoid costly upgrades.

Additionally, you could be missing out on new features that could save money, reduce time, or change business processes altogether. This may include integration with Office 365 (OneNote, SharePoint, Outlook, Word, Excel), better analytics with Power BI, or a better mobile experience for your field personnel.

Lastly, you may be able to remove an add-on or custom code because there are now native functions that are more easily managed.

How Can I Get Prepared?

You may find yourself at a point where you are asking, “Where do I begin?” If so, just take a deep breath and start with a plan. You will need to keep the plan simple. Start with the high-level needs, actions, and goals. Evaluate what you plan to keep the same within Dynamics 365, and what new things do you plan on introducing.

You will also need to make sure you fully understand the new things. New features and functions in Dynamics 365 can introduce exciting possibilities. And, you may find out that some features and functions are going away.

In either case, learn all you can about these things so that you can get others just as excited as you are. I found this makes changes less challenging when you have the support of others.

In closing

If you still feel unprepared, you need to first realize that you are not alone. You can reach out to your peers in the CRMUG community. There are many folks who have been where you are and can’t provide excellent guidance.

And, to quote Walt Disney: “Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”


Aaron Back is Microsoft Certified Professional with many years experience with Microsoft Dynamics 365 (CRM). He is actively involved with the Microsoft Dynamics CRMUG (User Group) Community. His involvement includes: Serving as Chapter Leader for his local CRMUG Chapter, serving on the CRMUG Board of Advisors, and speaking at the annual CRMUG Summit conference.


For more information or assistance with Dynamics 365 (CRM) contact ACE!

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Is Your Business Ready For The Connected Workforce?

276247 276247 h ergb s gl e1503589724432 Is Your Business Ready For The Connected Workforce?

While HR has handled most aspects of employee hiring, training, and compensation, the procurement department has handled these processes for contingent workers. Today, non-employee workers—including contingent workers, Statement of Work-based consultants, freelancers, specialized talent pools, and more—account for nearly 40 percent of the average organization’s workforce, according to Ardent Partners State of Contingent Workforce Management.

Project managers need the ability to manage planning, cost, budget, mobilization, site access, permits, safety, time recording, learning, skills, training, and job performance for both employee and non-employee workforce—they need to manage the total workforce.

The emergence of the connected workforce

The emergence of mobility, cloud, and IoT technologies has led to the concept of the connected workforce. In the connected workforce, all workers (employee and non-employee) are connected to work demand, to equipment, to safety and security, to logistics, to management, and to each other. With wearable devices and sensors, workers are connected to the Internet of Things.

In the oil and gas industry, as in many others, workforce safety in potentially dangerous environments is of prime concern. While there are obvious concerns about privacy, most workers are interested in tools that help them to work (and live) better. Collision avoidance systems in automobiles, fitness apps, wearable devices that monitor heart rates during exercise, and appointment reminders—all have grown in popularity. Analysis of the large amount of data from the total workforce can discover potential problems and lead to new ways to improve job performance.

Providing the workforce with such tools, and reducing or eliminating dull, repetitive tasks through automation improve both workforce performance and workforce satisfaction. Managing the total workforce enables companies to adapt to the rapidly changing needs and to improve productivity and safety.

For more on how connectivity is shaping workplace trends and more, see IoT And Connected People.

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Digitalist Magazine

Is Your Business Ready For The Connected Workforce?

276247 276247 h ergb s gl e1503589724432 Is Your Business Ready For The Connected Workforce?

While HR has handled most aspects of employee hiring, training, and compensation, the procurement department has handled these processes for contingent workers. Today, non-employee workers—including contingent workers, Statement of Work-based consultants, freelancers, specialized talent pools, and more—account for nearly 40 percent of the average organization’s workforce, according to Ardent Partners State of Contingent Workforce Management.

Project managers need the ability to manage planning, cost, budget, mobilization, site access, permits, safety, time recording, learning, skills, training, and job performance for both employee and non-employee workforce—they need to manage the total workforce.

The emergence of the connected workforce

The emergence of mobility, cloud, and IoT technologies has led to the concept of the connected workforce. In the connected workforce, all workers (employee and non-employee) are connected to work demand, to equipment, to safety and security, to logistics, to management, and to each other. With wearable devices and sensors, workers are connected to the Internet of Things.

In the oil and gas industry, as in many others, workforce safety in potentially dangerous environments is of prime concern. While there are obvious concerns about privacy, most workers are interested in tools that help them to work (and live) better. Collision avoidance systems in automobiles, fitness apps, wearable devices that monitor heart rates during exercise, and appointment reminders—all have grown in popularity. Analysis of the large amount of data from the total workforce can discover potential problems and lead to new ways to improve job performance.

Providing the workforce with such tools, and reducing or eliminating dull, repetitive tasks through automation improve both workforce performance and workforce satisfaction. Managing the total workforce enables companies to adapt to the rapidly changing needs and to improve productivity and safety.

For more on how connectivity is shaping workplace trends and more, see IoT And Connected People.

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Digitalist Magazine

Is your data ready for Microsoft Dynamics 365?

CRM Blog Is your data ready for Microsoft Dynamics 365?

Data Validation

If you’ve been tasked with integrating data, then you know there are a wide variety of challenges that you must overcome. Every time I’m asked to programmatically import large data sets from a flat file like a CSV or Excel sheet, I think about how Forest Gump would react. If he was a developer, I know he would say “Flat files are like a box of chocolates … You never know what you’re going to get.”   There’s a lot of truth to that statement. When data is stored in a flat file, there are no rules or constraints on what is delivered.

If you are faced with this situation, it’s a best practice to fully validate these files before you import a single row of data. A validation process should confirm that the structure is acceptable to import, and alert the client if it is not. This process should provide a log of issues for the client to review, so they can fix then resubmit their data.

How do I validate a flat file with Microsoft Dynamics 365? It’s easy to do if you can programmatically communicate with the Dynamics 365 metadata service.  The metadata provides you detailed information about the structure of your Dynamics system, including entities, attributes, relationships, and option sets.

Here’s my top three items to validate, along with the related classes available from the metadata service. You can view full code samples on Microsoft’s site here: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg509035.aspx#BKMK_RetrieveAttribute

Verify entities and fields exist

Each file should be named after a specific entity, and each column should represent an attribute. You can validate the entities using RetrieveAttributeRequest.EntityLogicalName and the fields using AttributeMetadata.SchemaName.

Verify required fields contain data

Every required field in the file should contain data. These are most likely your unique identifiers, and cannot be blank. You can find the required fields using AttributeMetadata.RequiredLevel.

Verify the data matches the field constraints

Every field should contain the correct type of data that matches the Dynamics 365 schema. For example, if the field is a decimal, you should verify the data is a number. You can find the type by using AttributeMetadata.AttributeType. Data should also respect the minimum and maximum length and values by using AttributeMetadata.MaxLength, AttributeMetadata.MaxValue and AttributeMetadata.MinValue.

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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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365