Recap: Microsoft Ignite 2019 & the Future of Work

Well, hello there! How productive were you today? Did you create an AI app before breakfast? Take all the data you have access to and apply machine learning to make some huge business decisions?

Welcome to the new way to run a business, according to Microsoft. This week, Microsoft hosted its annual Ignite Conference in Orlando, Florida. The conference was full of compelling keynotes, learning paths, and intriguing updates on where the company is headed.

What do we think? The MINDs at Mind Over Machines kept close track of Microsoft Ignite 2019. Here’s our take:

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Identifying & Documenting Business Processes

Business processes are important. Staff train on them; they keep quality consistent. Your processes direct your resources and channel your people power, your work force. So you have to understand them. But how well do you have to understand them? The answer is different for every company.

Business Process Management (BPM) is a multibillion-dollar industry. It’s also a heavy lift. How much time and money do you want to spend analyzing, mapping and modeling processes? As business consultant Dale Albrecht says in Forbes, you don’t want to under- or overinvest in processes. But when it comes to clumsy or broken processes, there is some simple troubleshooting you can’t afford NOT to do:

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Business Intelligence Sans Perfect Data

Business intelligence (BI) is a little like starting a business or becoming a parent. You know there are big potential benefits (e.g., improved data visualization, operational efficiency and decision-making), but it’s an intimidating prospect. If you wait until you’re completely 100% ready, you’ll never take the leap.

Gartner says a whopping 87% of organizations are missing out on emerging analytics technology because they have “low BI maturity.” How do you get mature? Well, you have to start somewhere, right? It may be time to take Nike’s advice and “Just Do It.”

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Checklist: Evaluate Your Association Management System

The fact is 93% of associations use membership management software, but is it meeting their needs? Or does it have so many manual processes, band-aids and add-ons that it looks like Frankenstein’s monster? Your Association Management System (AMS) is the lifeblood of your organization. How do you evaluate its ability to nourish and sustain all the different body parts?

Having shepherded several clients through AMS selection, implementation and migration, I’ve assembled this checklist of what to consider and how. The process doesn’t have to be a subjective, go-with-your-gut whirlwind. In fact, for best results it really shouldn’t be. Here’s how to impose order on an overwhelming process by objectively weighing your needs against the existing options.

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Artificial Intelligence and Customer Experience: Free Webinar from ACT-IAC

Recently, our resident bot and human expert, Tim Kulp, sat down for a webinar with ACT-IAC on Customer Experience: Chatbots, AI, and the Future of CX led by Tom Adams of NewWave.

Kulp was joined by, Corey Wagner, Deputy Chief Customer Experience for the Environmental Protection Agency and they both shared their thoughts on how artificial intelligence is evolving customer experience.

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CEO Culture Hacks: Core Values In The Workplace – Learn, Grow, Stretch

Learn, Grow, Stretch. This is Mind Over Machines’ mantra for improving the self. It is also a list of guiding workplace values. Let’s start with “Learn,” a broad imperative with many facets.

As a software and data consultancy, our company purpose statement is to enrich lives by enabling people to work smarter. So, of course, we expect our MINDs to be working toward mastery of technical subject matter. More importantly, we also are working toward mastery of our selves—our thoughts, emotions, actions and their repercussions. It’s commonly known as emotional intelligence, and has several elements.

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4 Tips for Building an OData API with Dynamics Virtual Entities

You read my last post and decided Microsoft Dynamics 365’s Virtual Entities (VE) may be the right solution for you. Welcome to Step 2: Building a custom OData API to leverage VE within Dynamics 365.

There are numerous tutorials for creating an OData API in .NET, but we’ll be focusing on how to ensure your OData API integrates with Dynamics with minimal headaches. The current dearth of VE documentation can be frustrating, so we did some homework to make your life easier. Here are our 4 main discoveries, shared to help you avoid shooting yourself in the foot:

  1. Overview of how Dynamics makes OData Calls
  2. Limitation of entity joins
  3. .NET Configuration
  4. Debugging

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Virtual Entities: Are they a fit for your production environment?

If you were excited about the release of Virtual Entities as part of Microsoft Dynamics 365, you were probably equally puzzled about the limited documentation available. There is virtually (pun intended) no information on integrating Virtual Entities (VE) into a production environment. Many examples online don’t go beyond a “Hello World” integration using the Purdue course API. Fortunately, we have investigated Virtual Entities for a few  of our clients and wanted to share our discoveries as to the limitations and benefits.

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Harness the Power of Web Scraping

Ever heard this old joke?

“What’s the difference between minor and major surgery?”

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Inject Intelligence into Your Reporting

5 minute read

We’ve got some good news and some bad news. As is tradition, let’s start with the bad news.

Bad News: Businesses are drowning in distributed data. There’s so much to know and – thanks to cloud computing and IoT – it’s so far-flung that a data warehouse could never contain it and static reporting could never convey it.

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