Tallan's Technology Blog

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

Have a Question About Chatbots? We have the answers.

Blake Vanderjagt

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…

Data Virtualization: Unlocking Data for AI and Machine Learning

Tallan Partner

For reliability, accuracy and performance, both AI and machine learning heavily rely on large sets. Because the larger the pool of data, the better you can train the models. That’s why it’s critical for big data platforms to efficiently work with different data streams and systems, regardless of the structure of the data (or lack thereof), data velocity or volume.
However, that’s easier said than done.
Today every big data platform faces these systemic challenges:

Compute / Storage Overlap: Traditionally, compute and storage were never delineated. As data volumes grew, you had to invest in compute as well as storage.
Non-Uniform Access of Data: Over the years, too much dependency on business operations and applications have led companies to acquire, ingest and store data in different physical systems like file systems, databases and data warehouses (e.g. SQL Server or Oracle), big data systems (e.g….

The Associated Press Takes its Data Storytelling to the Next Level with Microsoft Power BI

Tallan Partner

The Associated Press delivers 2017 Virginia gubernatorial primary results with Microsoft Power BI publish to web.

For more than 170 years, The Associated Press (AP) has told the world’s biggest and most important stories, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln to the fall of the Berlin Wall, and more recently Brexit and the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Today, when news is frequently accompanied by massive quantities of data, reporting means making sense of all that data, and AP continues to lead the way in data journalism. The news agency, with locations in more than 100 countries, provides newsrooms worldwide with data-driven reporting on everything from politics, business, environmental science and public safety to sports, education and more. Recent AP data journalism efforts uncovered water quality issues in public and private water systems, analyzed the history of refugees from the seven countries included…

Low Code: Integration at the Speed of Business

Dell Boomi clients wanted to launch new technology capabilities that will rapidly deliver a competitive edge. Unfortunately, project backlogs and multiple priorities often slow the pace of innovation. Overworked and understaffed IT teams often compound this problem, resulting in employee turnover that makes it even harder for businesses to retain the best and brightest IT staff.
Ultimately, the cycle of pressing priorities and strained IT resources leads to a skills gap that causes many companies to lag behind.
And integration is central to this issue. These days organizations need to be extremely agile in how they integrate their applications and data to drive digital transformation. The volume and diversity of integrations necessary for running a digital business are growing exponentially. Social, mobile, analytics, big data, IoT and AI technologies all require integration into core business systems.
And integration is fundamental for any organization…

Inside the High-Tech, High-Stakes Race to Keep the Cloud Secure

Tallan Partner

At any point in time on any day of the week, Microsoft’s cloud computing operations are under attack: The company detects a whopping 1.5 million attempts a day to compromise its systems.

Microsoft isn’t just fending off those attacks. It’s also learning from them.
All those foiled attacks, along with data about the hundreds of billions of emails and other pieces of information that flow to and from Microsoft’s cloud computing data centers, are constantly being fed into the company’s intelligent security graph.

Microsoft invests about $1 billion in cloud security each year.
It’s a massive web of data that can be used to connect the dots between an email phishing scam out of Nigeria and a denial-of-service attack out of Eastern Europe, thwarting one attack for one customer and applying that knowledge to every customer using products including the company’s Azure computing platform,…

\\\