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Celebrating the Voices of Hispanic Culture, Impact and Future | Microsoft Latinx

Alvaro Celis - Hola

For over half a century, it has become tradition in the U.S. to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th to October 15th. This is a month of celebration, tribute and pride for those of us that relate to the Hispanic/Latinx culture, either because we are part of it, or because we have grown fond of this community and feel a connectionBut, this is also a time for reflection.

For some time now, our community has been going through challenging times deriving from strong external narratives that fail to represent our beauty, our diversity and the real challenges that we face today and in the past. Stories that attempt to create deep social divisions. Stories that intend to tear down the very fabric of what the Hispanic and Latinx communities truly represent 

HOLA Team

As a Latino and Executive Sponsor of HOLA (Hispanic & Latinx Organization of Leaders in Action), Microsoft’s Hispanic/Latinx Employee Resource Group, I have learned so much on my journey to represent and propel the Latino culture in the USA. It’s just amazing to see the positive impact that Latinos have daily.  On one hand, 86% of all new US businesses have been launched by Latinos over the last decade and Latinas create small businesses 6x faster than any other group in the country.[1] Latino GDP was $2.13 Trillion in 2015, and it’s growing 70% faster than the rest of the economy.[2] 

Latinos are contributing to the very fabric of this country and that is why it is extremely important that our individual voices and personal stories of struggles, achievements and contributions to the North American culture continue to collectively rise.  Hispanic Heritage Month is a perfect moment to share the true narrative of who we are, and the great impact and role each one of us plays in society.  

Nasdaq_Adelante_Hola

To honor Hispanic Heritage Month, Microsoft is celebrating Latinx culture and inspirational stories through Our Voz.  This will include local events in the community, celebrations, as well as stories from our own Latinx employees who are making an impact in the community.  

Microsoft HOLA, in partnership with our Global Diversity and Inclusion team and our many internal allies across all businesses, have established strong partnerships with key stakeholders in the Latino community.  By joining forces, we have helped accelerate progress across a wide range of topics from our own internal culture and ability to bring our true selves to work, to supporting families through immigration challengesimproving education, and much more. We would like to take the opportunity to recognize and thank these organizations for their partnership and the great work they do every day to make a difference for our community.  You can view the full list of partner organizations below. 

It is my belief that through empathy, mutual understanding and purposeful action we can make a lasting, bigger impact that changes how we experience the world – and how the world experiences us. Please visit microsoft.com/en-us/hispanic-heritage-month/default.aspx for the most current news and opportunities to celebrateengage and be inspired. If you want to learn more about broader initiatives for diversity and inclusion at Microsoft please visit here.  

Let’s continue this conversation and share our stories to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month! Follow me on Twitter, @alvarocelis and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/alcelis/.

 

[1] Hispanic Sentiment Study, Xeno Group 2018  

[2] Latino Donor Collaborative  

 

H.O.L.A Partner Organizations  

  • ALPFA
    ALPFA’s mission: To empower and develop Latino men and women as leaders of character for the nation, in every sector of the global economy. 
  • DigiGirlz
    DigiGirlz is Microsoft’s own global outreach program that gives middle and high school girls opportunities to learn about careers in technology, connect with Microsoft employees, and participate in hands-on computer and technology workshops. 
  • HACR
    HACR’s Mission is to advance the inclusion of Hispanics in Corporate America at a level commensurate with our economic contributions. 
  • HITEC Global  
    HITEC is a premier global executive leadership organization of senior business and technology executives who have built outstanding careers in technology. HITEC’s premiere network spans the Americas and is focused on building stronger technology and executive leaders, leadership teams, corporations, and role models in a rapidly changing, flatter, and technology centric world.  
  • IPLI 
    The “HNBA/Microsoft IP Law Institute” provides opportunities for Latino students interested in intellectual property law. This summer, up to twenty-five Latino law students from law schools across the country will be chosen to participate in an IP immersion program in Washington, DC. Candidates are selected in a highly competitive process, and the selected students are provided substantive instruction, the opportunity to observe first-hand U.S. IP institutions at work, and the chance to meet leading members of the IP legal community who will serve as mentors and potentially provide pathways for future job opportunities. 
  • iUrbanTeen 
    Mission: To expose and inspire underrepresented youth to become tomorrow’s business and technology leaders. iUrban Teen is a nationally recognized program focused on bringing career focused education to underrepresented teens ages 13 to 18. Youth receive hands-on exposure to a variety of careers and civic engagement that step them outside of their current boundaries. Our target demographics are African American, Latino and Native American males, however, the program is inclusive of all youth.
  • KIND (Kids in need of Defense)
    Microsoft, along with Angelina Jolie, founded KIND in 2008 to provide legal services to unaccompanied children entering the U.S.  Brad Smith Microsoft President is also KIND Chairman of the Board.  Many of our Microsoft in house attorneys and other professionals work on KIND cases on a pro bono basis, and Microsoft also supports for a KIND fellow, an attorney who works for KIND and supports Microsoft’s pro bono efforts.  More information about KIND can be found Here  
  • LatinaGeeks  
    Empowering and inspiring adult Latinas by sharing technical knowledge, business skills, and entrepreneurship resources through hands-on workshops and community events. 
  • Nuevo Foundation
    Inspiring kids to be curious, confident, and courageous by discovering the world of STEM. 
    Offers coding workshops that provide hands on opportunities for students to learn real-world problem-solving skills using coding, hardware and their own imagination. 
    Also, offers virtual sessions to share the stories of people who have succeeded in STEM fields with students worldwide. 
    Lastly, offer speaker engagements to motivate students to pursue STEM education. 
  • SHPE
    SHPE changes lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development. 
  • Tapia conference
    The Tapia conference is the premier venue to acknowledge, promote and celebrate diversity in computing. 
  • TECHNOLOchicas
    Microsoft is a sponsor of TECHNOLOchicas, a campaign of our strategic partner, the National Center for Women and Information Technologies (NCWIT) and the Televisa Foundation to increase the visibility and participation of Latinas in technology.    Each campaign year a Latina Microsoft technologist serves as one of the TECHNOLOchica Ambassadors featured in the campaign video and social media assets and represents our company at TECHNOLOchica events. 
  • We Are All Human Foundation 
    We use the power of dialogue to create understanding and remind us that united, we are stronger. 

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Author: Microsoft News Center

MIT CIO: What is digital culture, why it’s needed and how to get it

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Can large organizations adopt the digital cultures of 21st century goliaths like Amazon and Google? That was the question posed in the kickoff session at the recent MIT Sloan CIO Symposium.

The assumption — argued by panel moderator and MIT Sloan researcher George Westerman — is that there is such a thing as a digital culture. Citing MIT Sloan research, Westerman said it includes values like autonomy, speed, creativity and openness; it prevails at digital native companies whose mission is nothing less than to change the world; and it’s something that “pre-digital” companies need too — urgently.

Digital technologies change fast, Westerman said; organizations much less so. But as digital technologies like social, mobile, AI and cloud continue to transform how customers behave, organizational change is imperative — corporate visions, values and practices steeped in 20th century management theories must also be adapted to exploit digital technologies, or companies will fail.

“For all the talk we’ve got about digital, the real conversation should be about transformation,” said Westerman, principal research scientist at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy. “This digital transformation is a leadership challenge.”

Marrying core values with digital mechanisms

Creating a digital culture is not just about using digital technology or copying Silicon Valley companies, Westerman stressed. He said he often hears executives say that if they just had the culture of a Google or Netflix, their companies could really thrive.

George Westerman, principal research scientist, MIT Initiative on the Digital EconomyGeorge Westerman

“And I say, ‘Are you sure you want that?’ That means you’ve got to hire people that way, pay them that way and you might need to move out to California. And frankly a lot of these cultures are not the happiest places to work,” Westerman said. And some can even be downright toxic, he noted, alluding to Uber’s problems with workplace culture.

The question for predigital companies then is not if they can adopt a digital culture but how do they create the right digital culture, given their predigital legacies, which include how their employees want to work and how they want to treat employees. The next challenge will be infusing the chosen digital culture into every level of the organization.

Corporate values are important, but culture is what happens when the boss leaves the room, Westerman said, referencing his favorite definition.

David Gledhill, group CIO and head of group technology and operations, DBS Bank  David Gledhill

“The practices are what matters,” he told the audience of CIOs, introducing a panel of experts who served up some practical advice.

Here are some of the digital culture lessons practiced by the two IT practitioners on the panel, David Gledhill, group CIO and head of group technology and operations at financial services giant DBS Bank, and Andrei Oprisan, vice president of technology and director of the Boston tech hub at Liberty Mutual Insurance, the diversified global insurer.

Liberty Mutual’s Andrei Oprisan: ‘Challenging everything’

Mission: Oprisan, who was hired by Liberty Mutual in 2017 to fix core IT systems and help unlock the business value in digital systems, said the company’s digital mission is clear and clearly understood. “We ask ourselves, ‘Are we doing the best thing for the customer in every single step we’re taking?'”

Andrei Oprisan, vice president of technology and director of the Boston tech hub, Liberty Mutual InsuranceAndrei Oprisan

The mission is also urgent, because not only are insurance competitors changing rapidly, he said, but “we’re seeing companies like Amazon and Google entering the insurance space.”

“We need to be able to compete with them and beat them at that game, because we do have those core competencies, we do have a lot of expertise in this area and we can build products much faster than they can,” he said.

Outside talent: Indeed, in the year since he was hired, Oprisan has scaled the Boston tech hub’s team from eight developers to over 120 developers, scrum masters and software development managers to create what he calls a “customer-centric agile transformation.” About a quarter of the hires were from inside the organization; the rest were from the outside.

Hiring from the outside was a key element in creating a digital culture in his organization, Oprisan said.

“We infused the organization with a lot of new talent to help us figure out what good looks like,” he said. “So, we’re only trying to reinvent ourselves and investing in our own talent and helping them improve and giving them all the tools they need, but we also add talents to that pool to change the way we’re solving all of these challenges.”

Small empowered teams: In the quest to get closer to the customer, the organization has become “more open to much smaller teams owning business decisions end to end,” he said, adding that empowering small teams represented a “seismic shift for any organization.” Being open to feedback and being “OK with failure” — the sine qua non of the digital transformation — is also a “very big part of being able to evolve very quickly,” he said.

“We’re challenging everything. We’re looking at all of our systems and all of our processes, we’re looking at culture, looking at brands, looking at how we’re attracting and retaining talent,” he said.

T-shirts and flip-flops: Oprisan said that autonomy and trust are key values in the digital culture he is helping to build at Liberty’s Boston tech hub.

“We emphasize that we are going to give them very challenging, hard problems to solve, and that we are going to trust they know how to solve them,” he said. “We’re going to hire the right talent, we’re going to give you a very direct mission and we’re going to get out of the way.”

In fact, Oprisan’s development teams work across the street from the company’s Boston headquarters, and they favor T-shirts and flip-flops over the industry’s penchant for business attire, he said — with corporate’s blessing. “Whatever it takes to get the job done.”

DBS Bank CIO David Gledhill: ‘Becoming the D in Gandalf’

Mission: Gledhill, the winner of the 2017 MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award and a key player in DBS Bank’s digital transformation, said the digital journey at Singapore’s largest bank began a few years ago with the question of what it would take to run the bank “more like a technology company.”

Bank leadership studied how Google, Amazon, Netflix, Apple, LinkedIn and Facebook operated “at a technology level but also at a culture level,” he said, analyzing the shifts DBS would have to make to become more like those companies. In the process, Gledhill hit upon a slogan: DBS would strive to become the “D” in Google-Amazon-Netflix-Apple-LinkedIn-Facebook (GANALF). “It seems a little cheesy … but it just resonated so well with people.”

Cheesiness aside, the wizardry involved in becoming the “D” in Gandalf, has indeed played out on a technology and human level, according to Gledhill. Employees now have “completely different sets of aspirations” about their jobs, a change that started with the people in the technology units and spread to operations and the real state unit. “It was really revolutionary. Just unlocking this interest in talent and desire in people has taken us to a completely new level of operation.”

Gledhill is a fan of inspirational motifs — another DBS slogan is “Making banking joyful” — but he said slogans are not sufficient to drive digital transformation. He explained that the collective embrace of a digital culture by DBS tech employees was buttressed by five key operational tenets. (He likened the schema to a DBS version of the Trivial Pursuit cheese wheel.) They are: 1. Shift from project to platform; 2. Agile at scale; 3. Rethinking the organization; 4. Smaller systems for experimentation; 5. Automation.

Platform not projects, Agile: “Rather than having discrete projects that need budget and financing and committees and all that stuff, we got rid of all that,” Gledhill said. In its place, DBS has created and funded platforms with specific capabilities. Management describes the outcomes for teams working on the platforms. For example, goals include increasing the number of customers acquired digitally, or increasing digital transactions. But it does not prescribe the inputs, setting teams free to achieve the goals. That’s when “you can really start performing Agile at scale,” he said.

Rethink, rebuild, automate: DBS’s adoption of a digital culture required rethinking organizational processes and incentives. “We call it ‘organized for success’ on the cheese wheel, which is really about DevOps, business and tech together, and how you change the structure of the KPIs and other things you use to measure performance with,” he said.

On the engineering side, DBS now “builds for modern systems,” he said. That translates into smaller systems built for experimentation, for A/B testing, for data and for scaling. “The last piece was automation — how do you automate the whole tech pipeline, from test to build to code deploy,” Gledhill said.

“So those five cheeses were the things we wanted everybody to shift to — and that included open source and other bits and pieces,” he said. “On the outer rim of the five cheeses, each one had a set of maybe five to 10 discrete outputs that had to change.”

One objective of automating every system was to enable DBS to get products to market faster, Gledhill said. “We have increased our release cadence — that is, the number of times we can push into a dev or production environment — by 7.5 times. That’s a massive increase from where we started.”

Editor’s note: Look for detailed advice on how to create a digital culture from experts at McKinsey & Company and Korn Ferry in part two of this story later this week.

AI’s role in future of DevOps provokes IT industry agita

As artificial intelligence becomes ubiquitous in the 21st century, IT ops pros have begun to wonder if and when they’ll be automated out of a job.

To some extent, it’s already begun to happen.

IT infrastructures are already automated and self-scaling, and self-healing systems are not far off as container orchestration tools develop. A cascade of IT monitoring tools with artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities has hit the market promising to glue IT infrastructure with automated provisioning, deployment and incident response systems. IT pros can certainly be forgiven for asking if the future of DevOps has room for any humans.

The answer to that question, in these early stages of AIOps, depends on whom you ask. Most IT vendors are jumping wholeheartedly into an AI arms race, to the point where Microsoft and Amazon have declared that AI will be the crux of their future competitive advantage. The tech giants are so serious about the emerging field that they even collaborated on an AI-as-a-service product called Gluon. Google is also focused on AI, from its internal IT processes to its TensorFlow AI services.

The future of DevOps products will be AI-driven. Continuous integration and continuous delivery pipeline tools such as Electric Cloud 8.0 now incorporate machine learning and data analytics features to optimize DevOps workflows, and tools such as ServiceNow’s Agent Intelligence bring machine learning to IT service ticket routing.

The real question is whether we’ve over-tuned [AIops] and now it’s keeping some of the hidden gems hidden.
Nuno PereiraCTO, IJet International

Bleeding-edge DevOps shops already imagine a world of self-provisioning infrastructure to support application deployments.

“Why should I have to set up the resource requirements for each Kubernetes deployment?” said Cole Calistra, CTO of Kairos AR Inc., a provider of human facial recognition and analytics for developers in Miami. “Let the server figure out those limits based on actual historical data and predict what size the cluster should scale up to, based on what it has learned about its operation over time.”

Many in the IT industry argue this is the only way IT can maintain staggeringly complex infrastructures of containers and virtual networks that support equally complex microservices architectures.

“By the end of 2018, we should see products closing the loop between data feeds from monitoring systems and orchestrators that take action,” said Arvind Soni, VP of product at Netsil, a startup that just emerged from stealth with a tool that automatically maps and monitors Kubernetes infrastructures. “Container environments are so complex that anything else is unsustainable.”

The doomsday proposition: AIOps replaces humans

IT ops pros are right to suspect the AI hype portends massive changes to their careers, regardless of whether AI replaces them entirely. And their worst-case scenario, that robots will completely take over their jobs, has some basis in reality.

Companies already have products they claim can reduce the number of human operators needed to manage massive infrastructures. HCL Technologies Ltd, a multinational company based in India, said its ElasticOps product already applies AIOps to help maintain its managed cloud infrastructure service, a 50,000-instance environment, with just 30 engineers. Another managed cloud hosting services company, Datapipe Inc., based in Jersey City, N.J., has incorporated machine learning algorithms and AI-assisted automation into its Trebuchet tool.

“There’s a strong undercurrent of protectionism around operations today in terms of, ‘Don’t automate my job,'” said Patrick McClory, director of automation and DevOps at Datapipe. But that protectionism won’t shore up IT careers against AIOps for long.

“IT operations [is] a target of this, but applications are the thing that adds value to the business — nobody really cares about infrastructure these days,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be cool if we go further up the stack instead of just instrumenting the behavior of these machines, to actually diving into the behavior of the developers working on it?”

If AIOps can realize that vision, humans will be back in the decision seat for a strategic role within companies, rather than caught up in undifferentiated day-to-day maintenance, McClory said.

Tale as old as time: AI technology and unintended consequences

As with any new technology, the early days of AI have already yielded unintended consequences that send shivers down the spine of a generation raised on movies such as Terminator and The Matrix, which present worst-case scenarios of machine intelligence run amok.

In the real world, Facebook’s R&D staff was forced to pull the plug on an experiment this year that involved generative adversarial networks — computer networks that can negotiate with one another — when AI machines began speaking a language humans couldn’t understand. This development was far from making Skynet a reality, but that didn’t stop media outlets from pointing out that potential.

Early attempts to harness AI for IT management at Google also had real, if less dramatic, unintended consequences, according to Ben Sigelman, who served as senior staff software engineer for the web giant from 2003 to 2012.

I saw things that correctly predicted almost every failure at Google and incorrectly predicted five times as many that weren’t [accurate].
Ben SigelmanCEO and co-founder, LightStep

“I saw things that correctly predicted almost every failure at Google and incorrectly predicted five times as many that weren’t [accurate],” said Sigelman, who is now CEO and co-founder of LightStep, a startup that specializes in monitoring cloud-native microservices infrastructures. “It’s incredibly powerful technology and can find signals in really noisy voluminous streams of information, but it needs to be the right signal. You shouldn’t take any sort of action unless you’re almost entirely certain that you’re correct.”

Discerning the right signals entirely depends on the data with which an AIOps system makes its decisions, and some experts argue that IT monitoring data collected to date isn’t good enough to reinforce critical production environments.

“Data doesn’t speak for itself — we don’t have enough or good enough data to generate models that we can really rely on,” said Neil Raden, analyst at Wikibon. “Unattended machine learning algorithms just sift through data, and who knows if that’s really effective.”

Raden’s colleague at Wikibon, James Kobielus, a former IBM AI evangelist that worked with the Watson AI platform, disagreed that AI doesn’t have enough to go on, but acknowledged that human operators need to train AI algorithms on whether statistical correlations are valuable to the business.

But does reliance on human operators to train AI bring the field back to step one? The value of AI, after all, is to analyze much larger amounts of data than humans can handle, and potentially identify patterns humans can’t.

For enterprises, early experiments in automatically generated IT monitoring alerts resulted in a wall of noise, which human operators quickly stemmed by paring down the number of alerts they received.

Nuno Pereira, CTO of IJetNuno Pereira

“The real question is whether we’ve overtuned it and now it’s keeping some of the hidden gems hidden,” said Nuno Pereira, CTO of IJet International, a risk management company in Annapolis, Md.

The company experienced a near-revolt among its ops team last year when IT monitoring data was hooked up to an automated paging system that flooded them with alerts. “That’s one thing that keeps me up at night,” Pereira said. “Are those needles in the ever-growing haystack being silenced?” As a result he’s looking at AIOps tools from AppDynamics, which he already uses for other purposes, as well as competitors such as Moogsoft.

In the current furor around AIOps, as with any marketing buzzword, people latch onto a term but find it difficult to locate the signal in the noise, Pereira said. But as the volume of infrastructure data continues to increase, humans will inevitably need digital assistance, and he can’t stop thinking about the needle in the haystack that may lie in wait.

The future of DevOps endgame: AIOps takes shape

How far can IT automation go? For now, even the most ardent AI supporters concede that only human-supervised AI is practical for use in IT shops in the next five to eight years.

“Our goal is not to just mature the technology and be confident in it from a statistical perspective, but also to work with the people to be more comfortable interacting with it, and to confirm or correct our assumptions around what should be done,” Datapipe’s McClory said.

Netsil’s Soni foresees a “human augmentation” phase for AI that’s already playing out in self-driving cars.

“We have the AI technology for a completely autonomous car, but would you trust it to drive your kids to school tomorrow?” he said. “Probably not. So what we have right now are augmentation features like blind spot and pedestrian warnings. The problem is not the technology, it’s trust.”

IT shops, which already have trouble finding skilled staff, must contend with a paradox as they look to AI to keep up with the future of DevOps. This technology could bridge the gap between overloaded IT staff and extremely complex modern infrastructures, but skills to develop and train machine learning are in short supply.

Credit bureau Experian, for example, is already deeply invested in AI and machine learning, especially in its R&D department, Experian DataLabs. The IT team at Experian also has AIOps on its radar, and the company has bots that automate some of its finance processes, said Barry Libenson, CIO at Experian. But while it’s eager to expand on that, finding people to train AI systems is much easier said than done.

“We’re constrained by the number of people we have with the expertise to do this stuff because it is so new,” Libenson said. “Those skill sets are considerably more difficult to get, and can be considerably more complex than some of the stuff that’s going on in the DevOps area.”

Beth Pariseau is senior news writer for TechTarget’s Data Center and Virtualization Media Group. Write to her at [email protected] or follow @PariseauTT on Twitter.

Powering Ahead with Microsoft’s Second Wind Project in Europe – Microsoft Green Blog

Windmills have powered The Netherlands since the 14th century, helping transform marshy lowlands into farmable land and enabling all manner of industrial development. These days, new windmills, in the form of wind turbines, are helping to power a new transformation towards clean, reliable energy in The Netherlands.

Today, Microsoft is proud to announce that these wind turbines will also be powering our cloud. We have signed an agreement to buy 100 percent of the output from a 180-megawatt wind project in partnership with Vattenfall. Construction on the Wieringermeer project will begin in 2018, and we expect it to be operational the following year. Once completed, it will be the largest onshore wind project in The Netherlands.

One of the things that is unique and exciting about this project is its location adjacent to our datacenter. Microsoft is committed to using more renewable energy every year to power our cloud. Matching production and consumption of renewable energy so closely unlocks great transmission efficiencies for our operations. And it also helps the communities in which we operate, by removing as much of our load as possible from the local grid and by supporting new construction and operations jobs associated with the projects.

We’re excited to continue to expand our renewable energy portfolio in Europe, as this deal comes just a month after our first European renewable energy deal announced in Ireland. In addition to helping us meet our own corporate commitment to renewable energy and advancing a greener grid in Ireland and The Netherlands, these two new wind projects are designed to help the E.U. meet its ambitious 2030 targets for the reduction of carbon emissions across the region.

To learn more about Microsoft’s environmental policy objectives in Europe, please see the Microsoft EU Policy Blog. You can also learn more about the new Netherlands wind project on the Microsoft News Centre Europe website.

Tags: cloud for good, Data Centers, Microsoft, Netherlands, Renewable Energy, wind power

Aligning IT with business still a struggle for enterprises

One of the very first telephone networks to exist in the United States connected 19th century farmers and homesteads with barbed wire. Predating the invention of the telephone in the 1870s, barbed wire sprawled across the prairie as landowners built their homes, and it was able to conduct signals that allowed far-flung and isolated families to talk to one another and feel like they belonged to a community.

The barbed wire telephone system had its challenges, not least of which was stampeding cattle knocking it down. But the people who built it understood a fundamental truth that technology, to be successful, must also support their business need, in this case, to bring people together.

In this issue of Network Evolution, a similar theme of aligning IT with business needs runs throughout. Here, we focus on three critical areas: hardware management, enabling unified communications (UC) and the integration of network management and security.

The hardware underpinning enterprise networks in 2017 has come a long way from barbed wire. Today, for example, more organizations are comfortable putting applications and network functions in the cloud. But deciding what stays on-premises and what goes to the cloud requires communication, and aligning IT with business units, to determine what’s best for the organization.

The call for alignment is not new. The Information Technology Infrastructure Library framework (ITIL) on IT governance to accomplish aligning IT with the business was first established in the 1980s. Now in its third version, ITIL v3 focuses on integrating IT services into all business units.

ITIL v3 itself is a decade old, which means the concept of IT as a business enabler took root well before the unified communications and collaboration market really took off. And yet, IT managers still don’t always know which UC applications are on the network, and enterprise users are unsure which collaboration tools really help them complete the work most important to the organization.

Security could very well be the most important area where aligning IT with business needs is critical. As network attacks continue to increase, network and security teams must possess a singular vision to protect the system, users and information. Yet the two departments more often work in siloes without understanding the roles each performs.

Education is one way for network professionals to understand the importance of aligning IT with business. In this month’s Subnet, one network specialist explains his journey of continuing education and its impact on his career development and why that journey never really stops. 

Announcing the new 2017-2018 Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts and Showcase Schools |

At Microsoft, we recognize that technology alone cannot develop the 21st century skills students require. We are inspired, every day, by the impact amazing educators and thoughtful leaders are making on innovative teaching, all leading to improved student outcomes. We are heartened when our Microsoft Educators and Showcase Schools help support and transform others across the world – just as we saw last month, when the St. Thomas School in Medina, Washington collaborated on the development of a new Showcase School in Rwanda.

Today, we are delighted to announce thousands of educators, school leaders, and schools are once again leading digital transformation in education through our Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and Microsoft Showcase Schools programs.

Announcing the 2017-2018 Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts

The Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) program is composed of more than 150,000 educators worldwide, who have joined the Microsoft Educator Community and successfully completed online courses, contributed lesson plans, and connected with other educators across the globe.

This year, we welcome over 6,000 educators who were selected as Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts (MIEE) for their excellence in teaching and learning. These educators spark creativity among their students with thoughtful integration of Microsoft technologies to improve student learning.

These accomplished educators inspire peers and policymakers as they find new and innovative ways to incorporate 21st century learning into their classrooms. They share their best practices and work together, both in-person and online, through the Microsoft Educator Community. The MIE Experts also provide Microsoft representatives with valuable insights and ideas, so we can evolve technology to improve teaching and learning further.

Hear from MIE Experts about what this community means to them:

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Announcing the 2017-2018 Microsoft Showcase Schools

The Microsoft Showcase Schools program recognizes innovative leaders in schools around the world. As Microsoft Showcase Schools, leadership teams are part of a professional community that thoughtfully leverages technology to drive digital transformation and efficiencies in schools.

Microsoft Showcase Schools are recognized leaders in personalized learning amplified by devices for each student. These schools thoughtfully integrate a variety of Microsoft solutions such as Windows, Office 365, OneNote, Skype and more to enable anywhere, anytime learning for students.

Microsoft Showcase Schools represent urban and regional schools, as well as schools with various levels of funding. They also cover all types of demographic and geographical regions – last year, for instance, we happily welcomed Ysgol Bae Baglan from Wales into the program.

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See the list of more than 550 new Microsoft Showcase Schools and 2,200 Microsoft Schools.

Recognizing our 2017-2018 Microsoft Schools

Currently there are more than 2,200 participating institutions in our Microsoft Schools program who are exploring digital transformation and integration of Microsoft technology into their classrooms. These schools are benefiting from the best practices of Microsoft Showcase Schools and are emerging as new education leaders in their communities.

If you are in a school that’s starting to consider how to transform education and integrate technology, we invite you to register anytime for the Microsoft Schools program.

Learn more about getting involved: