Tallan's Technology Blog

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

Microsoft Accelerates Modern BI Adoption with Power BI Premium

Tallan Partner

Power BI was first made generally available in July 2015. Since then, Microsoft’s driving vision for Power BI has been to enable users across roles, disciplines and industries to sign up for the service in seconds and get business value by drawing insights from their data within minutes. Microsoft’s relentless focus to drive access to insights at scale has helped Power BI reach more than 200,000 organizations, and the breadth of this global community continues to directly contribute to Power BI’s evolution – to date more than 400 features have been added to the service as the result of input from more than 50,000 users.
Introducing Power BI Premium
Today Microsoft is taking the next step in its commitment to empower people and organizations with access to critical intelligence: introducing Power BI Premium. Power BI Premium builds on the existing Power BI…

Integration a Key to Unlocking Big Data

When the term “big data” first burst onto the scene about seven years ago, experts predicted that organizations could dramatically improve how they operate by capturing and analyzing vast arrays of rapidly growing information.
Fast forward to 2017. It turns out that “big data” wasn’t just another buzzword. Now an established term in the IT and business lexicon, big data is bigger than ever. By some estimates data volumes are doubling every three years.
But organizations have yet to fully capitalize on the value of data for more informed decision-making, operational efficiencies, and personalized systems of engagement with customers and partners.
“Most companies are capturing only a fraction of the potential value from data and analytics,” according to a recent McKinsey Global Institute study, “The Age of Analytics: Competing in a Data-Driven World.”
Connecting Data for Competitive Advantage
For organizations that want to survive and thrive…

Five Ways Microsoft Helps you do Amazing Things with Data in the Cloud

Tallan Partner

1: Build data-driven apps that learn and adapt
Applications show intelligence when they can spot trends, react to events, predict outcomes or recommend choices—often leading to richer customer experiences, improved business process, or addressing issues before they arise. The three key ingredients to creating an intelligent app are:

Ingest data in real time
Query across historical and real-time data
Analyze patterns and make predictions with machine learning

With Azure, you can make your applications intelligent by establishing feedback loops, and applying big data and machine learning techniques to classify, predict, or otherwise analyze explicit and implicit signals. Today, apps for consumers and enterprises can deliver greater customer or business benefit by learning from user behavior and other signals.
Pier 1 Imports launched a mobile-friendly pier1.com, making shopping online easier. It enabled the selection of delivery options like direct shipment, picking up products in the local store,…

Deploying a Site to an Azure VM using Web Deploy

Tom Dalba

Deploying to an Azure VM is a seemingly simple and easy process, but there are many steps, and thus many places to make mistakes.  Recently I discovered that many, if not all, of the online resources detailing this process are either incomplete or severely outdated.  Here I will outline the configuration and deployment process with up to date information, including instructions pertaining to the new Microsoft Azure Portal.
To get started, you will need a few things that this tutorial does not cover. This tutorial assumes that your Azure VM is already provisioned, deployed, and running IIS (Internet Information Services). The VM should be running Windows Server 2012 R2 or later.  This also assumes that you have administrator access to the Azure Subscription associated with the VM.
Configuring IIS on the Virtual Machine:
First, we’re going to need to install some IIS features.  To assist…

Using T4 Templates to Generate C# Enums from SQL Server Database Tables

Lenni Lobel

When building applications with C# and SQL Server, it is often necessary to define codes in the database that correspond with enums in the application. However, it can be burdensome to maintain the enums manually, as codes are added, modified, and deleted in the database.
In this blog post, I’ll share a T4 template that I wrote which does this automatically. I looked online first, and did find a few different solutions for this, but none that worked for me as-is. So, I built this generic T4 template to do the job, and you can use it too.
Let’s say you’ve got a Color table and ErrorType table in the database, populated as follows:

Now you’d like enums in your C# application that correspond to these rows. The T4 template will generate them as follows:

Before showing the code that generates this, let’s point…

New to Office 365 in April

Tallan Partner

Several Office 365 updates this month can help companies of all sizes accelerate the digital transformation within their organization. Microsoft released Outlook Customer Manager, introduced Microsoft To-Do in Preview, extended Designer to PowerPoint on iPad, added support for Office 365 Groups in additional Office apps and more. Read on for the details.
Outlook Customer Manager is rolling out worldwide
Outlook Customer Manager makes it easy for small businesses to track and grow customer relationships without leaving Outlook. Today’s rollout includes several new capabilities based on feedback Microsoft received during the First Release of Outlook Customer Manager. It’s easier to manage customers and upcoming deals with automatic reminders about customer inquiries, suggested company information from Bing and integration with Microsoft Flow. You can also access Outlook Customer Manager on the go in Outlook for iOS and Outlook on the web. Read more about…

EDI: Still Essential After All These Years

Tallan Partner

Back in 2011, Gartner analyst Benoit Lheureux wrote a blog post titled: “EDI is Hot, No, Really!”
That was probably stretching it then and six years later…well, let’s just say “hot” is perhaps overstating it. But there’s no overstating the continued importance of EDI to many businesses.
“Bottom line: EDI remains — and will remain for years to come — a high impact, valuable asset to business,” Lheureux wrote in his report. “… EDI is a well-established approach that is still a vital component of most companies’ overall B2B strategy and easily contributes to B2B, cloud computing, business intelligence, et al.”
Like the Internet, EDI has its roots in the military. The scale and complexity of the 1948 Berlin airlift required the exchange of information about transported goods—over a 300-baud teletype modem, no less. The effort led to standards that eventually became EDI as…

Making the Case for Entity Framework in the Enterprise

Recently, I was met with some friction by the IT department at a client where, they asserted, that a decision had been made years ago to ban Entity Framework. Like many enterprise environments, this client was understandably concerned with the potential pitfalls of embracing Entity Framework. That meant that my job was to convince them otherwise – not to discount their apprehension, but quite the contrary – to demonstrate how EF can be leveraged for its advantages, and avoided for its shortcomings.
Entity Framework (EF) is a broad framework with many optional parts. There are several aspects of EF that provide great benefit, while others are a source of great consternation – particularly from the perspective of the database purist. As the cliché goes, “with great power comes great responsibility,” and so this blog post explores different aspects of EF, and…

The Top 5 Reasons to Upgrade to SQL Server 2016

Tallan Partner

Upgrading your software can be daunting, Microsoft knows. The fast pace of business makes it easy to tell yourself, “I’ll do it later when I have time.” Microsoft gets it! But here are five key reasons to make time to upgrade to SQL Server 2016, which was named DBMS of the Year in 2016 by DBengines.com.

Seamless step-up without rewriting apps. Thanks to November’s SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 1 (SP1), SQL Server now has one programming surface across all editions. If you switch from Express to Standard, or Standard to Enterprise, you don’t have to rework code to take advantage of additional features. Time saved! In addition, the change brings access to innovative features across performance, security, and analytics not previously available in Express or Standard—a great reason to upgrade applications that run on those editions. The Enterprise edition of…

Automatic Deployment and Extraction from CRM Using PowerShell Scripts

Hayden Lee

Recently I was tasked with the task of creating an automatic extraction and importing solution using PowerShell Scripts. To do this I created two files one for export and extracting with the other in charge of pack and importing the solution. I was using the Visual Studio template of CRM Package that comes with the sdk.
Export and Extracting The Solution
First thing I did was implement the export and extraction of the CRM solution. The PowerShell script first exports the solution from the web using a module called Microsoft.Xrm.Data.PowerShell. Then it extracts the downloaded zip into a folder for the correct file structure. A nice thing about using the Microsoft.Xrm.Data.PowerShell dll is the fact it gives you additional CRM commands you can do. For example before downloading the solution it allows you to change the version number of the solution before downloading.