Tallan's Technology Blog

Tallan's Top Technologists Share Their Thoughts on Today's Technology Challenges

Here’s How Microsoft Executives are Using Power BI

Tallan Partner

The Customer Data and Analytics (CDnA) team at Microsoft enables strategic data insights that shape the entire organization, from high-level leadership policies to small product decisions. At its core, CDnA creates and monitors indicators, known as “Power Metrics,” for some of the key divisions and businesses in Microsoft. CDnA delivers Power BI dashboards to several teams, including the Windows and Devices Group (WDG), Office, Bing, Cortana and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT). The SLT leverages the Power BI dashboards to monitor progress on strategic initiatives at the company.
Both CDnA and the Power BI product have mutually benefited from a close relationship since the Power BI public preview in 2015. In fact, the early and ongoing input from this internal Microsoft team and its users has helped make Power BI the “enterprise ready”, robust, and feature-rich platform it…

Microsoft is Teaching Systems to Read, Answer and Even Ask Questions

Tallan Partner

From left, Rangan Majumder, Yi-Min Wang and Jianfeng Gao on Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington, campus. Photo by Dan DeLong.
Microsoft researchers have already created technology that can do two difficult tasks about as well as a person: identify images and recognize words in a conversation.
Now, the company’s leading AI experts are working on systems that can do something even more complex: Read passages of text and answer questions about them.
“We’re trying to develop what we call a literate machine: A machine that can read text, understand text and then learn how to communicate, whether it’s written or orally,” said Kaheer Suleman, the co-founder of Maluuba, a Quebec-based deep learning startup that Microsoft acquired earlier this year.
The Maluuba team is one of several groups at Microsoft that are tackling the challenge of machine reading. Two other research teams, one at the company’s Redmond, Washington, headquarters and the…

Top 3 Trends Impacting Healthcare Payers

Tallan Partner

Healthcare is one of the most important factors in how individuals perceive their quality of life.iBut quality health care comes at a price and precious healthcare funding is being lost to fraud, waste and abuse (FWA). In fact, an estimated $455 billion in global healthcare spending is lost every year – ultimately leading to lower quality care and higher premiums and taxes.ii
Everyone plays a role in combatting FWA, but healthcare payers are on the front lines. Recently, three major trends emerged that present an opportunity for healthcare payers to play a major role in combating FWA. Let’s take a look at the way these trends are changing the healthcare landscape.
1. Plenty of healthcare data, not enough insights
Healthcare executives would like to leverage big data, but only a few are able to gain the insights and visibility needed to garner the…

BP Selects Microsoft Azure for Company-Wide Platform as Part of its Modernization Program

Tallan Partner

Microsoft announced on July 25 that BP, a leading global energy company, has selected Microsoft Azure as part of its global cloud computing strategy.

The agreement will see BP move advanced workloads to Azure out of existing corporate data centers as part of the company’s modernization and transformation agenda – an agenda which is designed to deliver a sustainable step change in the company’s long-term performance.
By moving its proprietary data lake to Microsoft’s cloud platform, and utilizing Azure services, with state-of-the-art visualization and predictive tools, BP will enable rapid data analysis, with faster insights and decision-making.

 
“We have been impressed with Microsoft Azure Platform-as-a-Service, and its building block approach, particularly for our advanced workload requirements,” says Steve Fortune, Group CIO of BP.
“The Microsoft cloud provides the hyper scale needed for global businesses like BP to innovate quickly”, says Cindy Rose, Chief Executive of Microsoft UK. “Microsoft Azure will help…

Have a Question About Chatbots? We have the answers.

mkruczek

Hundreds of interested technologists, marketers, customer service professionals and AI enthusiasts joined Tallan and Pluralsight for an informative webinar – “Chatbot Technology: The Innovative Enterprise Solution, hosted by Tallan’s very own Matt Kruczek. During that webinar one thing became very clear – chatbots are hot! Beyond the buzzwords, everyone wants to know how they can implement chatbots to benefit their business, and they came prepared with a number of questions. So we narrowed down the list to the most common, burning questions and answered them here for you!
 
With more people using Chatbots to make purchases, are you seeing (or anticipating) a backlash in consumer trust with the risk of hacks or security breaches?
There is always going to be an element of apprehension when it comes to utilizing any type of new service involving online payments.  However, from a technology standpoint it’s…

Microsoft Reinforces AI Vision at London Event

Tallan Partner

Microsoft’s vision for AI (artificial intelligence) is about people. It’s about amplifying human ingenuity through intelligent technology that will reason with, understand and interact with people and, together with people, help us solve some of society’s most fundamental challenges. This was the message shared on July 12 at an event in London by Harry Shum, Executive Vice-President of Microsoft’s AI and Research Group.
The event was attended by scientists, technology experts and journalists, who gathered to learn more about Microsoft’s AI intentions from Shum and other Microsoft executives, including Eric Horvitz, Technical Fellow and Director at Microsoft Research Labs, Chris Bishop, Technical Fellow and Laboratory Director at Microsoft Research Cambridge, and Emma Williams, General Manager at Bing.
During the discussion, a number of announcements were made that further reinforced Microsoft’s focus on AI, including a new program that will make technology available to those working to…

Overview of Azure Information Protection

Jason Zandri

Azure Information Protection allows administrators to define rules to classify corporate data, documents, emails, and other digitally stored information in the cloud, so that the information is protected automatically when the applicable criteria is met in an enforced configuration. Administrators can also set up the configuration so that end users with access to the originating documentation, can have the same options to do so on their own (when optional enforcement is permitted), based on suggestions when criteria matches are found within the sensitive data (e.g. structure of the numbers look like Social Security numbers, patient numbers, credit card numbers, wording in the document using terms like “confidential”, etc.).
Once protection labels are made, applied, and the data is protected, administrators can track the movement of the data and analyze where it flows, where it is stored, copied, shared, etc. This allows you to have a better understanding what kind of behaviors…

Sports Performance Platform Puts Data into Play – and Action – for Athletes and Teams

Tallan Partner

Seattle Reign players, coaches and staff celebrate a win over the Portland Thorns.
Sports ignite peoples’ passion like nothing else. Standout athletes become legends through their performance on the field. But what sets them apart often comes down to decisions made off the field, such as diet, mental and physical preparation and the frequency or intensity of practice. The difference between a win or a loss can be decided by an extra five minutes of wind sprints, levels of hydration or getting to bed 30 minutes earlier the night before.
At Microsoft, they believe sports provide a tremendous opportunity to use technology to transform how individual athletes and teams push the limits and gain the edge they’re looking for in the most challenging of circumstances. Imagine making clutch decisions that are based on insight, rather than gut. And what if coaches could…

Log Management with Log4net and Microsoft Azure

Brendan Gassler

Determining how to efficiently manage logs for your large scale application(s) can be a daunting task.  This is particularly important when running PaaS services, such as App Services, Web Jobs, and Azure Functions, where real-time access to application log files is not easily accessible. One effective solution leverages the log4net framework and a number of Microsoft Azure services for a surprisingly intuitive and scalable architecture.  Most logging solutions allow for similar customizations.  NLog is another popular logging framework that can also be customized to perform the same function. The following demo is done in C#.
How to Create a Custom Appender using Log4Net:
1)     Create an Azure Service Bus Queue.

This step requires that you have an active Microsoft Azure subscription. You will have to first create a new Service Bus in the Azure portal. Azure Service Bus is a scalable and robust platform for…

Transform Your Organization with Microsoft Workplace Analytics

Tallan Partner

Microsoft Workplace Analytics—a powerful new organizational analytics solution—is now generally available as an add-on to any Office 365 enterprise plan.
According to a recent Forrester report, increasing employee productivity is the number one priority for C-level executives in the next year, with 96 percent of respondents citing it as a critical or high imperative. Workplace Analytics provides unprecedented behavioral insights that can be used to improve productivity, workforce effectiveness and employee engagement.
New insights from Office 365
Workplace Analytics taps into Office 365 email and calendar metadata, including to/from data, subject lines and timestamps, to shine a light on how the organization collaborates and spends time. It turns this digital exhaust—the data that comes naturally from our everyday work—into a set of behavioral metrics that can be used to understand what’s going on in an organization.

Organization level collaboration insights in Workplace Analytics.
Microsoft has…

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