Tag Archives: Experience

Seventeenth century French artifact arrives in Seattle for an immersive exhibition, powered by Microsoft – Stories

Visitors can explore the Mont-Saint-Michel through an AI and mixed-reality-powered experience at Seattle’s Museum of History & Industry

Museum visitors explore the Mont-Saint-Michel through an AI and mixed-reality-powered experie

SEATTLE — Nov. 21, 2019 Seattle’s Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) and Microsoft Corp. on Thursday announced the opening of a new exhibit, “Mont-Saint-Michel: Digital Perspectives on the Model,” which features a unique blend of 17th and 21st century technology.

Powered by Microsoft AI and mixed-reality technology as well as the recently released HoloLens 2 device, the interactive exhibition transports visitors into a holographic tour of the picturesque Mont-Saint-Michel, a medieval monastery perched atop a remote tidal island off the coast of Normandy, France.

The virtual experience is complemented by a physical relief map of the Mont-Saint-Michel, an intricate, three-dimensional model of the landmark. Entirely crafted by hand in the 1600s by the resident Benedictine monks, the 1/144-scale model precisely depicts the monument in such intricate detail that maps like this were considered valuable strategic tools to leaders like Napoleon and King Louis XIV, who considered the maps military secrets and hid them from public view.

“The Museum of History & Industry is honored to share this icon of world history, enhanced by leading-edge technology, to create a unique experience born of innovations both past and present,” said Leonard Garfield, MOHAI’s executive director. “More than 300 years separate the remarkable relief map and today, but the persistent human drive toward invention and creativity bridges those years, reflecting the unbroken quest for greater understanding and appreciation of the world around us.”

The opening of the exhibit is timed with the 40th anniversary of the Mont-Saint-Michel being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the first time the relief map, as well as the mixed-reality experience, has been in North America.

“The relief maps were technological marvels of Louis XIV and Napoleon’s time. It’s exciting to see how we can blend old and new technology to unlock the hidden treasures of history, especially for younger generations,” said Brad Smith, president of Microsoft. “This exhibit provides a unique model for preserving cultural heritage around the world, something Microsoft is committed to through our AI for Good program.”

The Mont-Saint-Michel experience is an example of Microsoft’s AI for Cultural Heritage program, which aims to leverage the power of AI to empower people and organizations dedicated to the preservation and enrichment of cultural heritage. Microsoft is working with nonprofits, universities and governments around the world to use AI to help preserve the languages we speak, the places we live and the artifacts we treasure. For example, earlier today Microsoft announced it is working with experts in New Zealand to include te reo Māori in its Microsoft Translator application, which will enable instant translations of text from more than 60 languages into te reo Māori and vice versa. This will be one of the first indigenous languages to use the latest machine learning translation technology to help make the language accessible to as many people as possible. The AI for Cultural Heritage program is the fourth pillar of Microsoft’s AI for Good portfolio, a five-year commitment to use AI to tackle some of society’s biggest challenges.

The relief map is on loan to MOHAI from the Musée des Plans-Reliefs in Paris, which houses more than 100 historically significant and well-preserved relief maps. The relief map of Mont-Saint-Michel is considered the museum’s crown jewel.

“One of the challenges in the history of art is the relationship with the public. To gain the attention, to capture the view or the interest of the public, is not always evident,” said Emmanuel Starcky, director, Musée des Plans-Relief. “With the HoloLens technology, you have now the possibility to realize immersive experiences in art, where you still see the reality but have more information about it. It will be a unique experience for the American public to discover the relief map, its condition in the 17th century and its evolution through three centuries, as well as reflect on the purpose of those relief maps.”

Drawing from hundreds of thousands of detailed images, Iconem, a leader in the digital preservation of cultural heritage sites, used Microsoft AI to create a photorealistic 3D digital model of the historic structure. Then, French mixed-reality specialists at HoloForge Interactive developed a unique Microsoft HoloLens experience to draw people into the artifact like never before.

The “Mont-Saint-Michel: Digital Perspectives on the Model” exhibit, including both the original relief map and mixed-reality experience, will be on display at MOHAI Nov. 23, 2019 through Jan. 26, 2020.

About MOHAI

MOHAI is dedicated to enriching lives through preserving, sharing, and teaching the diverse history of Seattle, the Puget Sound region, and the nation. As the largest private heritage organization in the State of Washington; the museum engages communities through interactive exhibits, online resources, and award-winning public and youth education programs.  For more information about MOHAI, please visit mohai.org, or call (206) 324-1126. Facebook: facebook.com/seattlehistory Twitter: @MOHAI

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For more information, press only:

Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications, (425) 638-7777, [email protected]

Museum of History & Industry PR, Wendy Malloy, (206) 324-1126, ext. 150, [email protected]

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Minecraft Earth Early Access Off to an Exciting Start Following Mobs in the Park Kickoff – Xbox Wire

Summary

  • Last week, we unveiled the Mobs in the Park pop-up experience in New York City, Sydney and London
  • Since kicking off early access on Oct. 17, the global community has placed 240.4 million blocks, collected 76 million tappables and started 6.8 million crafting and smelting sessions
  • The Mobs in the Park will continue over the next two weekends from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. local time, as well as a special appearance on Black Friday in New York City

Last week in celebration of Minecraft Earth’s early access rollout, we unveiled the Mobs in the Park pop-up experience in three locations around the world – Hudson Yards in New York City, Campbell’s Cove in Sydney and the Queen’s Walk in London – granting players exclusive in-game access to the holiday-themed Jolly Llama mob. The community’s response to Mobs in the Park has been humbling over the first weekend, and we can’t wait to see even more reactions leading into the next two weekends.

The fun doesn’t stop with Mobs in the Park as Minecraft Earth continues to gain momentum and roll out to more countries worldwide. Last week the game released in the U.S., earlier this week it became available to players in Western Europe and Japan, and the goal is for the game to be worldwide by the end of the year.

Since kicking off early access on Oct. 17, the global community has placed 240.4 million blocks, collected 76 million tappables and started 6.8 million crafting and smelting sessions! We’re so proud of how the community has embraced the game in early access rollout and look forward to bringing even more exciting experiences to players everywhere in the coming weeks.

Minecraft Earth’s Mobs in the Park will continue over the next two weekends, so players interested in receiving the Jolly Llama for themselves can visit the interactive pop-ups from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. local time during the weekends of November 23-24 and November 30-December 1, or during a special appearance at Hudson Yards in New York City on Black Friday, November 29. Only at these locations will players be able to get first access to the holiday-inspired Jolly Llama before it’s available broadly in December.

For more information on Mobs in the Park and what’s next with early access rollout, visit Xbox Wire and Minecraft.net.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Allianz partners with Microsoft to digitally transform the insurance industry

Allianz and Microsoft to reimagine the insurance industry experience with Azure to streamline insurance processes; Microsoft will partner with Syncier, the B2B2X insurtech founded by Allianz, to offer customized insurance platform solutions and related services

Jean-Philippe Courtois, EVP and president, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing & Operations and Christof Mascher, COO and member of the Board of Management of Allianz SE
Jean-Philippe Courtois, EVP and president, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing & Operations (left) and Christof Mascher, COO and member of the Board of Management of Allianz SE (right). Source: allianz.com

MUNICH, Germany, and REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 14, 2019 — On Thursday, Allianz SE and Microsoft Corp. announced a strategic partnership focused on digitally transforming the insurance industry, making the insurance process easier while creating a better experience for insurance companies and their customers. Through the strategic partnership, Allianz will move core pieces of its global insurance platform, Allianz Business System (ABS), to Microsoft’s Azure cloud and will open-source parts of the solution’s core to improve and expand capabilities.

Syncier will offer a configurable version of the solution called ABS Enterprise Edition to insurance providers as a service, allowing them to benefit from one of the most advanced and comprehensive insurance platforms in the industry, reducing costs and centralizing their insurance portfolio management. This will increase efficiencies across all lines of insurance business, resulting in better experiences through tailored customer service and simplified product offerings.

“Teaming up with Microsoft and leveraging Azure’s secure and trusted cloud platform will support us in digitalizing the insurance industry,” said Christof Mascher, COO and member of the Board of Management of Allianz SE. “Through this partnership, Allianz and Syncier strive to offer the most advanced Insurance as a Service solutions on Microsoft Azure. The ABS Enterprise Edition is an exciting opportunity, both for larger insurers needing to replace their legacy IT, and smaller players — such as insurtechs — looking for a scalable insurance platform.”

“Allianz is setting the standard for insurance solutions globally,” said Jean-Philippe Courtois, EVP and president, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing & Operations. “Together, Microsoft and Allianz are offering a solution that combines Allianz’s deep knowledge of the insurance sector with Microsoft’s trusted Azure cloud platform. By delivering an open-source, cloud-based insurance platform and software application marketplace, we will support innovation and transformation across this sector.”

Syncier’s ABS Enterprise Edition can handle insurance processes across all lines of business: property and casualty, life, health, and assistance. It can be customized for any insurance company, country and regulatory requirements. Insurers, brokers and agents adopting the platform can service clients and manage entire portfolios end to end in one system, gaining a unique 360-degree view of each client and the business.

To accelerate industry innovation, Syncier will also offer an Azure cloud-based marketplace for ready-made software applications and services tailored to the insurance sector. Such solutions could include, for example, customer service chatbots or AI-based fraud detection. The marketplace enables insurance providers to easily and quickly implement the available solutions in a plug-and-play manner.

Allianz uses ABS globally as a platform for all lines of business and along with Microsoft is committed to supporting the ABS Enterprise Edition long term as an industry solution. Today, ABS handles around 60 million insurance policies in 19 countries and is being rolled out to all Allianz entities.

About Allianz

The Allianz Group is one of the world’s leading insurers and asset managers with more than 92 million retail and corporate customers. Allianz customers benefit from a broad range of personal and corporate insurance services, ranging from property, life and health insurance to assistance services to credit insurance and global business insurance. Allianz is one of the world’s largest investors, managing around 729 billion euros on behalf of its insurance customers. Furthermore, our asset managers PIMCO and Allianz Global Investors manage more than 1.5 trillion euros of third-party assets. Thanks to our systematic integration of ecological and social criteria in our business processes and investment decisions, we hold the leading position for insurers in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In 2018, over 142,000 employees in more than 70 countries achieved total revenues of 132 billion euros and an operating profit of 11.5 billion euros for the group. For more information on Syncier, visit www.syncier.com.

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For more information, press only:

Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications for Microsoft, (425) 638-7777, [email protected]

Gregor Wills, Allianz, +49 89 3800 61313, [email protected]

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Adobe digital experience platform adds small businesses offerings

Adobe has extended its Adobe digital experience product portfolio to small and midmarket businesses in an effort to provide enterprise-grade capabilities such as agility, scalability and flexibility to businesses with fewer resources.

The product portfolio for SMBs includes:

  • Magento Commerce: According to Adobe, this product provides agility and scalability through a portfolio of cloud-based omnichannel platforms. It is designed to enable users to integrate digital and physical shopping experiences. Through the integration of Adobe Stock with Magento Commerce, SMBs with an Adobe Stock subscription will be able to access more than 130 million assets such as images, templates, 3-D assets and stock videos.
  • Marketo Engage: As part of Adobe Marketing Cloud, Marketo Engage enables users to target individual leads or accounts at scale, as well as measure business impact across customer touchpoints. Additionally, according to Adobe, Marketo Engage offers access to more than 65,000 markets globally to enable users to share best practices to build and formalize marketing strategies.
  • Adobe Analytics Foundation: Adobe Analytics Foundation was designed to bring the enterprise-grade features of Adobe Analytics to SMBs through the Adobe digital experience platform. Customers can implement the tool at the appropriate level for their organization, and then scale up as needed.
  • Adobe Sign for Small Business: According to Adobe, the new Adobe Sign for Small Business offers enterprise-grade e-signature capabilities tailored to small businesses in an effort to help digitize signing documents for customer onboarding, contracts, approvals, payments and invoices.
  • Creative Cloud for Teams: This product enables companies to deploy Adobe digital experience applications. The Creative Cloud Libraries let teams share assets and folders securely, while collaborating and managing changes.

While digitalization was once more of an enterprise-centric theme, SMBs have increasingly taken on the challenge. Historically, it has been more difficult for smaller businesses to digitize their operations due to cost and scale, but in recent years, it has been on the rise. According to Gartner Research, SMBs’ IT spending is predicted to be at a 4.2% compound annual growth rate for the next five years.

Dig Deeper on Digital experience management

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Microsoft challenges Amazon with Dynamics 365 Commerce

Microsoft filled a major gap in its customer experience stack with the Dynamics 365 Commerce online sales platform, giving customers that own physical stores more technology to drive bottom-line revenues. The e-commerce platform is joined by another new app, the Dynamics 365 Connected Store, which combines data collected online with data collected at brick-and-mortar stores.

The idea is not only to enable online sales for traditional retailers, but to also help customers continue their online shopping experiences when they set foot inside a store location, said Alysa Taylor, corporate vice president for business applications and global industry at Microsoft, in a blog post.

Together with other new AI features and data tools added to existing Dynamics 365 applications, Microsoft is giving retailers a strong alternative to Amazon’s platform — but more importantly, it’s challenging integrated CX stacks from Salesforce and Oracle, said Forrester analyst Kate Leggett.

“You can’t support the customer through their end-to-end journey without an e-commerce pillar,” said Leggett, who added that Dynamics 365 Commerce might not be a great leap forward as an e-commerce platform, but it catches Microsoft up to the pack. “It was a real hole in Microsoft’s portfolio.”

Microsoft is focusing its e-commerce platform for B2C retailers for now, Leggett said. Technology vendors sometimes have separate e-commerce platforms for B2B and B2C customers, but Microsoft said it plans to build the B2C side and add B2B-centric features later.

Dynamics 365 Connected Store adds data insights

Dynamics 365 Commerce paired with Connected Store creates a platform for AI and machine learning for behavioral data analysis that can trace customer journeys from online research to their movements through a physical store as they shop. Moreover, Dynamics 365 Connected Store helps store employees personalize their interactions with individual customers by showing them, for example, what the customer was looking at online before they came in.

You can’t support the customer through their end-to-end journey without an e-commerce pillar.
Kate LeggettAnalyst, Forrester Research

Connected Store’s data tools can help optimize store operations on a day-to-day basis by, for example, summoning clerks via phone notifications to help check out customers during busy times. It also analyzes video and inventory data to report on longer-term buying patterns to promote inventory and merchandising efficiencies within a store or region.

“It’s about real-time insights, connected data and analytics — having that data available to deliver outcomes you need,” Leggett said.

Also previewed by Microsoft were related new features for existing applications, including Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, which aggregates IoT data from goods such as connected kitchen appliances that contain sensors transmitting data back to the manufacturer. Another was a set of tools within Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service to make Microsoft chatbots easier to customize and deploy.

Dynamics 365 Connected Store currently is in private preview, while Dynamics 365 Commerce is in public preview. A Microsoft spokesperson said the general availability date would be revealed in the “coming months,” as well as pricing information.

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Nectar launches Customer Experience Assurance platform

Nectar Services Corp. recently launched Nectar Customer Experience Assurance, a customer experience testing and monitoring platform for contact center and interactive voice response team, promising to eliminate the need for legacy network monitoring platforms.

Nectar said Customer Experience Assurance offers a range of capabilities, including auto-discovery, voice recognition and simulation, dynamic call automation and load testing. These features enable contact center DevOps teams to test and discover network issues in a timely manner and to save time when launching new platforms or making configuration changes.

Nectar’s Customer Experience Assurance also offers perpetual monitoring that performs testing in regular intervals to monitor platforms for service availability and configuration changes, the company said. This enables contact center management teams to alert and carry out historical reporting based on factors affecting customer experience (CX) metrics such as service availability, functionality and call quality.

Nectar CX Assurance includes the following features:

  • Auto discovery enables reverse-engineering of calls flows that speed up interactive voice response (IVR) and provides accurate and timely customer experience monitoring. 
  • Real-time alerting notifies companies via email and/or text when issues are identified.
  • Voice automation provides text-to-speech and speech recognition that, in combination with call recording, enable a high level quality control and monitoring.  
  • Voice quality scoring identifies clicks and noises, artifacts, intermittent gaps and jitter due to packet loss in audio during playback.

Nectar said Customer Experience Assurance is the first product to apply its experience in unified communications (UC) monitoring, diagnostics and reporting to the contact center environment. It is built upon Nectar’s core products, network and endpoint operations for UC and provides cloud-based CX testing for enterprise contact center and IVR operations.

In the CX monitoring market, Nectar competes with Oracle, Clarabridge and Integrated Research, known as IR. Oracle CX Cloud Suite offers a full set of applications from marketing to sales, and commerce to service. Clarabridge’s product stresses AI technology that provides audio transcription of agent-customer interactions, along with sentiment, tone and voice analysis for customer service conversations. IR’s Prognosis for Contact Center offers complete contact center ecosystem from Cisco and Avaya, and the underlying UC systems with one platform.

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Built by Garage Interns, find the best movie, powered by the Microsoft Recommenders collection – Microsoft Garage

Challenged with rethinking how to build a movie recommendation experience, a team of Garage interns based out of Cambridge, MA created a sample app and corresponding documentation that shows how to use recommendation algorithms in an app experience. Today, we’re excited to share their project ahead of its debut at the RecSys’19 conference next week: Recommenders Engine Experience Layout, a Microsoft Garage project. This work joins a collection of best practices and tools for recommendation engines available on a larger Recommenders GitHub. Explore both on the Recommenders GitHub repository and Recommenders Engine Example Layout GitHub repository respectively.

Bringing recommendation tools to apps

Recommender Engine Example Layout Screenshot 1Recommenders Engine Example Layout, focuses on recommendation algorithm experiences that take place in apps and provides a detailed breakdown of how developers can leverage the work by the sponsoring team. The Azure AI Customer Advisory Team, or AzureCAT AI works with such customers as ASOS to incorporate enhanced recommenders algorithms into their solutions. The team was inspired to partner with a team of Garage interns upon continued feedback that expanding on their popular Recommenders repository with a focus on apps would be helpful to customers who already have an app infrastructure.

“The key thing we wanted to demonstrate out of this was showing the recommenders we have, in a real-world setting that’s relevant to apps,” shares Scott Graham the Senior Data Scientist on Azure AI CAT who oversaw the project.”Often when we work with customers, they already have complex infrastructure and want to see how they can incorporate these algorithms into an app. This was a great opportunity to illustrate and document this.”

The Garage project documents how to build a sample app powered by the Recommenders algorithms, featuring the MovieLens dataset, one of the largest open source collections of movie ratings. Put by Bruce Gatete, Program Manager Intern for the project. “It provides an end-to-end demonstration of how developers can build fully function cross-platform applications that use these algorithms.”

Recommender Engine Example Layout Team photoSample app key features

The sample app developers can build includes a wide variety of features, including:

  • Browse a large dataset of movies
  • Select and view movie descriptions
  • Create your own personalized favorites list
  • Switch between different recommender algorithms
  • Switch between pre-generated personas or create your own

The Azure AI CAT team also has a continuous goal to accelerate the speed with which they’re able to partner with customers on this solution. Scott continues, “This was a great proof point that we could do this in the space of a summer timeframe: can we use these algorithms to quickly putt together an app? And we did!”

In addition to trying this project, developers can explore the original Recommenders repository which has recommendation algorithm tools and best practices such as a popular deep dive into the SAR model or an example of deploying these models in a production setting.

Built using Xamarin.Forms

The Recommenders Engine app is built using Xamarin.Forms and supports iOS, Android, and UWP platforms. “It was really great leveraging Xamarin Forms to be able to deploy this across all these platforms so quickly. I was really impressed with the speed of that coming together,” shared Scott Graham, who oversaw the project from the sponsoring team.

Try it Out

Recommenders Engine Example Layout and the Recommenders collection are available on GitHub worldwide. Try them out, create your own apps and experiences, and share feedback to the team.

Become a Garage Intern. We’re hiring

The Garage is hiring for the 2020 Winter & Summer seasons! Here you can learn more details about the internship and how to apply.

Why become a Garage intern? The Garage opens doors to interesting and challenging projects and collaborative partners. Michelle shares her favorite part about the internship “I enjoyed getting to know my team very well over the summer–there’s an incredible amount of talent on our team, and it’s awesome getting to work with a team of people my age and truly have a say in the design and final result of our product.”

Check out past Garage internship projects such as: Seeing AI, Web TS, Ink to Code, or Earth Lens.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Using the Sysinternals Sysmon tool to check DNS queries

If you’re an IT professional with experience troubleshooting the Windows OS, then you may have used a tool from the Sysinternals suite.

The Sysinternals utilities have been around since 1996 and have been one of the most popular tools to handle various tasks in Windows, from remote execution (PSExec) to looking at software that starts automatically (Autoruns). Of the many tools in the Sysinternals suite, Sysmon is one of the best at providing great insight into what is happening in several areas on Windows. With the addition of the DNS query logging feature, I consider Sysmon an essential tool for administrators to monitor process creations and network connections.

Deploying Sysmon to clients

Chocolatey is the de facto package manager on Windows, due to its immense repository of Windows software and its integration with PowerShell and configuration management applications. Chocolatey has Sysmon and the rest of the Sysinternals suite on its public repository.

Chocolatey doesn’t install Sysmon on a machine; it just unzips the files needed to install the Sysmon service. With some modification to the Chocolatey installation script, we can change that.

C:Chocotemp> cat .chocolateyInstall.ps1

$packageName = ‘sysmon’

$url = “$(Split-Path -parent $MyInvocation.MyCommand.Definition)filesSysmon.zip”

$checksum = ‘ed271b81eee546f492f25b10cdf99ffcff5670fa502fdf21151c18157b826f39’

$checksumType = ‘sha256’

$url64 = “$url”

$checksum64 = “$checksum”

$checksumType64 = “checksumType”

$toolsDir = “$(Split-Path -parent $MyInvocation.MyCommand.Definition)”

 

Install-ChocolateyZipPackage -PackageName “$packageName” `

                             -Url “$url” `

                             -UnzipLocation “$toolsDir” `

                             -Url64bit “$url64” `

                             -Checksum “$checksum” `

                             -ChecksumType “$checksumType” `

                             -Checksum64 “$checksum64” `

                             -ChecksumType64 “$checksumType64”

 

& ($toolsDir + ‘Sysmon64.exe’) /accepteula /i /h * /n

The last line of the script calls for the execution of sysmon64.exe with the arguments /accepteula /i /h * /n, which accepts the end-user license agreement, installs the Sysmon service on the local system, uses all hash algorithms and sets up logging of network connections.

When I run the command choco install sysmon –y, it installs the Sysmon service when I install the package.

Sysmon setup
Set up Chocolatey to fetch Sysmon and install the service.

Use configuration files to get what you want

With the addition of the DNS query logging feature, I consider Sysmon an essential tool for administrators to monitor process creations and network connections.

Once you get familiar with using Sysmon, you will want to use it with configuration files, which help filter events that Sysmon logs to weed out unnecessary information.

The IT professional who uses the handle @SwiftOnSecurity on Twitter maintains one of the more popular customized Sysmon configuration files at this repository on GitHub. It contains a lot of valuable inclusions and exclusions for those times when you need a cleaner Sysmon log. For instance, there is a section for monitoring file creation processes that includes important file extensions, such as .ps1, .bat and .vbs.

Displaying the Sysmon event log

[embedded content]
Working with the Sysinternals suite

One of the great features of Sysmon is that it puts logs in a familiar location: Windows Event Viewer. The exact location is under Applications and Services > Microsoft > Windows > Sysmon. Here, we can search and filter just like any other Windows event log. For instance, to search for a specific IP address for a network connection, users can right-click on the Sysmon log, and choose Find. This opens a dialog to search keywords — in this case, an IP address.

Logging DNS queries in Sysmon

A recent release of Sysmon added a new feature: logging DNS queries. To test it, after browsing to Google in Chrome, I see it is logged in Sysmon as the following:

Dns query:
RuleName:
UtcTime: 2019-06-13 19:38:50.327
ProcessGuid: {17847a67-4157-5d02-0000-001048c02000}
ProcessId: 11328
QueryName: www.google.com
QueryStatus: 0
QueryResults: 172.217.10.68;
Image: C:Program Files (x86)GoogleChromeApplicationchrome.exe

This brings in the ability to track if a system attempts to contact malicious sites, which can be helpful when detecting malware.

Search the Sysmon event log with PowerShell

The Get-WinEvent cmdlet is one of the most useful troubleshooting cmdlets in PowerShell for its ability to run a search in the Windows event log. Because Sysmon gets logged to the Windows event log, we can search it with PowerShell.

In the command below, we run Get-WinEvent on a remote computer (WIN10-CBB) and use -FilterHashTable to look in the Sysmon log for DNS queries only. I then pipe that output to Select-Object so that I only retrieve the message in the event. (The Event ID 22 occurs when a process runs a DNS query.)

Get-WinEvent -ComputerName win10-cbb -FilterHashTable @{logname="Microsoft-Windows-Sysmon/Operational";ProviderName="Microsoft=Windows-Sysmon";ID=22"} | Select-Object -ExpandProperty Message
Search the Sysmon event log
Use the Get-WinEvent cmdlet to search the Sysmon event log with PowerShell.

The result is that I print all of the DNS queries for this machine.

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End users will make or break an Office 365 migration

An Office 365 migration can improve an end user’s experience by making it easier to work in a mobile environment while also keeping Office 365 features up to date. But if the migration is done without the end users in mind, it can lead to headaches for IT admins.

At a Virtual Technology User Group (VTUG) event in Westbrook, Maine, about 30 attendees piled into a Westbrook Middle School classroom to hear tips on how to transition to Office 365 smoothly.

Office 365 is Microsoft’s subscription-based line of Office applications, such as Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams and Excel. Rather than downloaded onto a PC, Office 365 apps are run in the cloud, enabling users to access their files wherever they are.

“As IT admins, we need to make the digital transformation technology seem easy,” said Jay Gilchrist, business development manager for Presidio Inc., a cloud, security and digital infrastructure vendor in New York and a managed service provider for Microsoft. Gilchrist and his Presidio colleague, enterprise software delivery architect Michael Cessna, led the session, outlining lessons they’ve learned from previous Office 365 migrations.

Importance of communication and training

Their first lessons included communicating with end users, keeping a tight migration schedule and the importance of training.

“You want to make it clear that you’re not just making a change for change’s sake,” Gilchrist said. “Communicate these changes as early as possible and identify users who may need a little more training.”

One practical tip he offered is to reserve the organization’s name in Office 365 early to ensure it’s available.

You want to make it clear that you’re not just making a change for change’s sake.
Jay GilchristBusiness development manager, Presidio

Conducting presentations, crafting targeted emails and working to keep the migration transparent can help IT admins keep end users up to date and enthused about the transition.

“End users are not information professionals,” Cessna said. “They don’t understand what we understand and these changes are a big deal to them.”

Cessna and Gilchrist said that if IT admins want end users to adopt apps in Office 365, they’ll need to provide the right level of training. IT admins can do that by providing internal training sessions, using external resources such as SharePoint Training Sites, as well as letting users work with the apps in a sandbox environment. Training will help end users get used to how the apps work and address questions end users may have in real time, thereby reducing helpdesk tickets once the Office 365 migration is completed. 

Governance and deployment

Before an Office 365 migration, IT admins need to have a governance of applications and deployment plan in place.

“Governance built within Microsoft isn’t really there,” Cessna said. “You can have 2,000 users and still have 4,500 Team sessions and now you have to manage all that data. It’s good to take care of governance at the beginning.”

Deployment of Office 365 is another aspect that IT admins need to tackle at the start of an Office 365 migration. They need to determine what versions are compatible with the organization’s OS and how the organization will use the product.

“It’s important to assess the digital environment, the OSes, what versions of Office are out there and ensure the right number of licenses,” Cessna said.

Securing and backing up enterprise data

One existing concern for organizations migrating from on-premises to an Office 365 cloud environment is security.

Microsoft provides tools that can help detect threats and secure an organization’s data. Microsoft offers Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), a cloud-based email filtering service that helps protect against malware, Windows Defender ATP, an enterprise-grade tool to detect and respond to security threats, and Azure ATP, which accesses the on-premises Active Directory to identify threats.

Microsoft has also added emerging security capabilities such as passwordless log in, single-sign-on and multi-factor authentication to ensure data or files don’t get compromised or stolen during an Office 365 migration.

Regulated organizations such as financial institutions that need to retain data for up to seven years will need to back up Office 365 data, as Microsoft provides limited data storage capabilities, according to Cessna.

Microsoft backs up data within Office 365 for up to two years in some cases, and only for one month in other cases, leaving the majority of data backup to IT.

“[Microsoft] doesn’t give a damn about your data,” he said. “Microsoft takes care of the service, but you own the data.”

Picking the right license

Once the organization is ready for the migration, it’s important to choose the right Office 365 license, according to Gilchrist.

There are several ways for an organization to license an Office 365 subscription. Gilchrist said choosing the right one depends on the size of the organization and the sophistication of the organization’s IT department.

The subscription choices for Office 365.
When deciding on which Office 365 subscription to license, it’s important to examine the size and scope of your organization and decide which offering works best for you.

Smaller businesses can choose an option of licenses for 300 or less users, as well as options for add-ons like a desktop version of Office and advanced security features. The cost for enterprise licenses differs depending on the scope of the licenses and number of licenses needed, and educational and non-profit discounts on licenses are offered as well.

Other licensing options include Microsoft 365 bundles, which combine Office 365 with a Windows 10 deployment, or organizations could use Microsoft as a Cloud Solution Provider and have the company handle the heavy lifting of the Office 365 migration.

“There are different ways to do it. You just have to be aware of the best way to license for your business,” Gilchrist said.

Measuring success and adoption

Once completed, IT still has one more objective, and that’s to prove the worth of an Office 365 migration.

“This is critical and these migrations aren’t cheap,” Cessna said. “You want to show back to the business the ROI and what this new world looks like.”

To do that, IT admins will have to circle back to their end users. They can use tools such as Microsoft’s Standard Office 365 Usage Reports, Power BI Adoption reports or other application measurement software to pin down end user adoption and usage rates. They can provide additional training, if necessary.

“Projects fail because the end users aren’t happy,” Cessna said. “We don’t take them into account enough. Our end users are our customers and we need to make sure they’re happy.”

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Adobe acquisition of Marketo could shake up industry

The potential Adobe acquisition of Marketo could unsettle the customer experience software market and give Adobe, which is mainly known for its B2C products, a substantial network of B2B customers from Marketo.

Adobe is in negotiations to acquire marketing automation company Marketo, according to reports.

“It’s a trend that B2B customers are trying to become more consumer-based organizations,” said Sheryl Kingstone, research director for 451 Research. “Marketo is maybe throwing in the towel in being a lead marketing vendor on its own.”

But, reportedly, talks between Adobe and Marketo’s holding company may not lead to a deal.

Ray Wang, founder of Constellation Research, said leaks could be coming from Vista Equity Partners Management, which bought Marketo in 2016 and took the company private, in the hopes of adding another bidder to the race to acquire Marketo.

“If people think Adobe would buy Marketo, maybe it would get SAP to think about it,” Wang said. “The question is, who needs marketing automation or email marketing? And when you think about the better fit at this moment, it’s SAP.”

When reached for comment, Adobe declined, adding that it does not comment on acquisition rumors or speculation.

Adobe expanding to B2B

Marketo said it had roughly 4,600 customers when it was acquired by Vista Equity. It’s unclear whether Adobe and Marketo have much overlap between customer bases, but there could be product overlap between the software vendors.

Marketo is maybe throwing in the towel in being a lead marketing vendor on its own.
Sheryl Kingstoneresearch director, 451 Research

Adobe has its Marketing Cloud system, and both vendors offer basic martech features, like lead scoring, lead segmentation, web tracking, SMS marketing, personalized web content and predictive analytics. But an Adobe acquisition of Marketo would allow Adobe to expand into a wider B2B market, while allowing Marketo to offer its users the ability to market more like a B2C vendor using Adobe’s expertise.

“It’s a huge benefit for Marketo when you look at Adobe,” Kingstone said.

“Marketo has struggled in a B2B sense when its customers try to implement an ABM [account-based marketing] strategy,” she said.

Despite any potential overlap with its own products’ marketing capabilities, Adobe could find the chance to break into a pool of nearly 5,000 B2B customers compelling.

“There’s a lot of value in Marketo, and Adobe has been gun shy about entering B2B,” Wang said.

Adobe’s alliance

If the Adobe acquisition reports turn out to be accurate, it would amplify what has already been a busy year for the vendor. In May, Adobe acquired commerce platform Magento for a reported $1.7 billion.

A Reuters report about the Adobe acquisition of Marketo said likely prices will well exceed the $1.8 billion that Vista paid for Marketo when it took Marketo private.

Over the past few years, industry-leading companies in the CRM and customer experience spaces have sought to build alliances with other vendors.

Adobe and Microsoft have built a substantial partnership and have even gone to market together with products, while Salesforce and Google unveiled their partnership and product integrations last year at Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce conference.

Marketo has been one of the few major martech vendors without an alliance. Combining its technologies with Adobe’s creative suite and potentially Microsoft’s B2B breadth could make a significant imprint on the industry.

“If this is real, then it means Adobe has gotten serious about B2B,” Wang said.

Editor’s note: TechTarget offers ABM and project intelligence data and tools services.