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New Contentful CMS targets content delivery for retailers

Contentful has launched a content infrastructure system to drive online sales by enabling more content management across channels for retailers.

Like a headless content management system, the Contentful CMS allows users to publish and update content across all digital platforms at once, but at an enterprise-grade scale. The vendor claimed content infrastructure enables retailers to repurpose existing content, improve impact and deliver marketing messages to target audiences.

Headless CMS enables content creation and sharing across multiple channels with one action by removing the head — or presentation layer — which defines the channel or platform in a traditional CMS. Content infrastructure has the same benefits as headless CMS, but unifies content to be managed from one content hub.

Contentful claimed content infrastructure markets digital content four to seven times faster than a traditional CMS by enabling users to do the following:

  • organize content specific to their business;
  • create content once for different platforms;
  • store all content in a central hub;
  • edit content without the involvement of developers;
  • manage teams with roles and permissions; and
  • publish content to any device.

Contentful intends its content infrastructure to enable brands to build and manage targeted, customized marketing for event-driven campaigns and localize the content for any market. Through the vendor’s Content Delivery API, editors can update content through a web app synced with any platform for consistent management.

The vendor claimed its array of content management services has decreased bounce rates, increased mobile conversion, personalized content across a breadth of languages and locales, updated content at a fraction of the time as legacy tools, and delivers new customer touch points five times faster than with a traditional CMS.

In 2018, Contentful was named a contender in Forrester’s Wave for web content management systems, challenged by leaders Adobe, Acquia and Sitecore. According to Contentful, its headless enterprise focus makes it flexible for developers. Forrester recommended the vendor for progressive digital initiatives that require content unification across channels, but also have easy access to developer resources.

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As public cloud adoption grows, new drawbacks discovered

Public cloud adoption is proving to be more costly for some companies than they expected.

A recent survey conducted by U.K.-based tech research company Vanson Bourne asked 900 IT leaders if the public cloud has delivered on all of their organizations’ expected benefits. Only 32.2% of respondents said all their expectations were met, while 58.1% said some expected benefits came to fruition and 9.6% said only a few of their expected benefits were achieved. The remaining 0.1% said they saw no benefit to public cloud adoption at all.

The study, which was commissioned by enterprise storage and data management company Cohesity, also found that 88% of respondents said they were given mandates from their company’s leadership to use public cloud more. That number is further broken down into 38.3% who said they are using the public cloud efficiently and fully reaping benefits, 40.7% who said they are struggling to effectively benefit from public cloud adoption and 8.7% who are executing public cloud adoption just to appease leadership.

One of the conclusions of the study is that there is a disconnect between senior management and IT. The expectations of public cloud adoption included lowering costs, simplifying IT operations, increasing business agility and providing insight into the organization’s data.

“The mandates may have come from people who aren’t IT, but on the business management side of things,” said Peter Linkin, senior director of enterprise marketing at Cohesity. “There’s a command to move there without fully understanding the implications.”

George Crump, founder of storage analyst firm Storage Switzerland, has seen this story play out in his consulting experience. He said companies start off by adopting the public cloud for workloads like backup and disaster recovery (DR) and successfully saving money. The problems begin when there is a long-term vision to shrink the data center or remove it entirely. These organizations are often motivated by a belief that removing the physical footprint would lower costs, free IT staff from mundane maintenance tasks or lead to other benefits. Crump said it’s not that simple.

“The cloud at scale becomes expensive and more complicated,” Crump said.

Crump said the public cloud’s No. 1 expense is egress fees, where organizations are charged to pull data back off the cloud. I/O processing fees also make up part of the costs, along with long lists of line items that cloud service providers (CSPs) might charge. Crump said modern day CSP bills are complex and hard to decipher.

Fred Moore, president of storage consultant Horison Information Strategies in Boulder, Colo., said organizations are frequently blindsided by those costs. He said there is little awareness of things like storage fees, access fees and charges for higher response times and geographic redundancy zones.

The cloud providers don’t go out of their way to help you learn these things. They don’t like to talk about their pricing models.
Fred Moore President, Horison Information Strategies

“The cloud providers don’t go out of their way to help you learn these things,” Moore said. “They don’t like to talk about their pricing models.”

Palmaz Vineyards CEO Christian Gastón Palmaz had to pull his proprietary algorithmic fermentation control system off of the cloud due to egress charges and latency issues. He initially thought public cloud adoption was going to save him more money than storing everything on premises until he received his first bill.

“To put a petabyte on the cloud is one thing, but pulling that data off the cloud was expensive,” Palmaz said.

Palmaz Vineyards currently stores most of its data on premises, including backup data. It only uses the cloud for cold storage, with 280 TB of archived data on Amazon Glacier.

“When people come back in from the cloud, that’s a real headache,” Moore said. “It could take a month to download everything back into the data center. That’s when you just want to roll up a truck full of tapes — it’s actually faster.”

Aside from egress charges, public cloud adoption can add complexity to an organization’s IT infrastructure and lead to lower productivity. In the Vanson Bourne study, 75% of respondents said they had to spend considerable time and effort integrating data center and public cloud environments for effective data management. The survey also found that 45% of respondents believe their IT teams are spending between 30% and 70% of their time managing secondary data across public clouds.

Move to the public cloud

The biggest concern with public cloud adoption was compliance risks, with 48.9% of respondents citing that. Egress charges were actually third on the list, with 42.3% of respondents saying they were concerned about them. However, Crump and Moore said they’ve seen organizations scale back their public cloud operations as a direct result of the latter.

Crump did pointed out he’s not seeing companies leaving the public cloud in droves. Even if they aren’t completely happy with their cloud journey, some companies would rather eat the costs than go through the hassle of returning to the data center. This is why it’s important for organizations to assess and truly understand what they should and shouldn’t put on cloud in order to avoid increasing their overall costs rather than lowering them.

Crump said organizations need to be smarter about differentiating which applications and data sets should go to the cloud rather than assuming the cloud is always the right choice. He said legacy applications that weren’t designed to work in cloud environments and workloads that are performance-intensive, either in terms of storage or CPU-usage, usually should likely stay on premises. Backup and DR are ideal workloads for cloud because it is data that isn’t accessed frequently.

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Watch Communications and Microsoft announce partnership to bring broadband internet to Indiana, Ohio and Illinois – Stories

Deployment of technologies, including TV white spaces, is expected to cover more than four million people in the region, including 815,000 people in rural areas currently without access to broadband

REDMOND, Wash. — July 9, 2019 — On Tuesday, Watch Communications and Microsoft Corp. announced an agreement aimed at closing the broadband gap, and the rural digital divide in particular, in the states of Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. The partnership is part of the Microsoft Airband Initiative, which is focused on extending broadband access to three million people in rural America by July 2022.

The FCC reports that more than 21 million Americans lack broadband access. According to Microsoft data, 162 million people across the United States are not using the internet at broadband speeds, including approximately 17 million people in Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. Watch Communications will deploy a variety of broadband connectivity technologies to bring these areas under coverage, with an emphasis on wireless technologies leveraging TV white spaces (e.g., unused TV frequencies) in lower population density or terrain-challenged areas to achieve improved coverage. The areas expected to benefit include 50 counties in Indiana, 22 counties in Illinois, and most counties in Ohio.

“Every person deserves the same opportunity. But too often and in too many places, these opportunities are limited by where people live and their access to reliable and affordable broadband access,” said Shelley McKinley, general manager, Technology and Corporate Responsibility, Microsoft. “Microsoft is working across the country to close this gap. We’re partnering with Watch Communications to improve broadband access in Indiana, Illinois and Ohio and build on the incredible work being done by state and local leaders on this issue on behalf of their citizens.”

“Public-private partnerships, collaboration and understanding local initiatives are key to enabling connectivity success. Providing rural broadband can be difficult, so working as a team to solve the digital divide requires partners. We are excited to partner with Microsoft on this initiative,” said Greg Jarman, chief operating officer, Watch Communications.

Improved connectivity will bolster economic, educational and telehealth opportunities for everyone in the region, and could be particularly impactful for this region’s farmers. Together, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio account for more than $38.5 billion in agricultural value, with all three ranking in the top 16 states by agricultural output, according to the USDA. With broadband access, farmers can take advantage of advanced technologies such as precision agriculture which can help better monitor crops and increase yields.

In addition, Watch Communications and Microsoft will work together to ensure that once connectivity is available, people know how to use it and can get the training needed to fully participate in the digital economy, access educational opportunities and access telemedicine.

***

State by State View

Indiana

This is Microsoft’s first Airband Initiative deployment in Indiana. The need for improved connectivity is acute — the FCC broadband mapping report shows that more than 673,000 people in Indiana do not have access to broadband, and Microsoft data suggests that more than 4.3 million people are not using the internet at broadband speeds in the state. The partnership between Watch Communications and Microsoft is expected to cover more than 1 million Hoosiers, more than 440,000 of whom are people in rural areas that are currently unserved.

Watch Communications was a recent award winner of funds from the FCC to extend broadband services in Indiana. As a result, Watch Communications has been working with Indiana counties to develop the deployment approach that best meets the needs of the local communities. In addition to broadband, Watch Communications has been working to use its network to design an IoT network to serve Indiana businesses.

This also builds on Microsoft’s presence in Indiana. Last October, Microsoft and the Markle Foundation announced the launch of Skillful Indiana, focused on bringing investment, training, tools, and innovative methods to support workforce development in the state. In addition, the Hope FFA chapter in Indiana was recently awarded Microsoft FarmBeats Student Kits, which will help FFA students develop essential digital skills for precision agriculture and IoT technologies.

Ohio

Watch Communications was a recent award winner of funds from the FCC to extend broadband services in Ohio. As a result, Watch Communications has been working with Ohio counties to develop the deployment approach that best meets the needs of the local communities.

“You can’t be a part of the modern economy or education system without access to high-speed internet, and we are taking steps in Ohio to extend broadband to those who are underserved across the state,” said Lt. Governor Jon Husted. “Thank you to Microsoft for being among the leaders on this and for being willing to consider innovative solutions to help extend opportunity to people in Ohio who need it.”

This is Microsoft’s second Airband Initiative deployment in Ohio, following an August 2018 agreement between Microsoft and Agile Networks. The need for improved connectivity is acute — the FCC broadband mapping report shows that more than 621,000 people in Ohio do not have access to broadband, while Microsoft data suggests that more than 6.9 million people are not using the internet at broadband speeds in the state. The partnership between Watch Communications and Microsoft is expected to cover approximately 2.5 million people, more than 288,000 of whom are people in rural areas that are currently unserved.

This also builds on Microsoft’s presence in Ohio. Microsoft’s TEALS program is helping to deliver computer science education to Ohio students. In addition, the Arcadia FFA chapter and Triad-OHP FFA chapter in Ohio were recently awarded Microsoft FarmBeats Student Kits, which will help FFA students develop essential digital skills for precision agriculture and IoT technologies.

Illinois

This is Microsoft’s second Airband Initiative deployment in Illinois, the first being a September 2018 agreement between Microsoft and Network Business Systems to bring broadband internet to people in Illinois, Iowa and South Dakota. The need for improved connectivity is acute — the FCC broadband mapping report shows that more than 680,000 people in Illinois do not have access to broadband, while Microsoft data suggests that more than 6.6 million people are not using the internet at broadband speeds in the state. The partnership between Watch Communications and Microsoft is expected to cover more than 275,000 people, more than 80,000 of whom are people in rural areas that are currently unserved.

About Watch Communications

Founded in 1992, Watch Communications is an Internet Service Provider (ISP) using a combination of fixed wireless and fiber technologies to serve residential and business customers throughout Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Watch Communications began as a wireless cable TV provider and expanded service offerings in 1998 to include Internet. Since its creation, Watch Communications has focused on unserved and underserved small and rural markets.

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]

Lindsey Gardner, Watch Communications Media Requests, (419) 999-2824, [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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Dreamforce brings Salesforce products upgrades

Users can anticipate more Einstein AI features to be integrated with Salesforce products and more news about the CRM vendor’s recent acquisitions and how they will play pivotal roles in the Salesforce platform.

Salesforce is expected to unveil the Einstein and acquisition developments at Dreamforce, the company’s annual customer conference in San Francisco that attracts nearly 150,000 attendees.

Analysts said they expect substantial upgrades to core Salesforce systems and more use cases for Einstein and how recent acquisitions of CloudCraze and MuleSoft fit into the Salesforce ecosystem.

“Salesforce is trying to tell the story that they are the customer success platform for all companies, B2B, B2C and companies that operate in both industries,” said John Bruno, an analyst at Forrester.

Bruno added that he expects more keynotes than usual from companies like Adidas that show how Salesforce products allow companies to work with a variety of customers, from both the business and consumer sectors.

“I think you’ll hear a tight story around exactly how Salesforce and CloudCraze and Commerce Cloud fit for B2B and B2C companies,” Bruno said. “Is it going to be prime time ready? No, but they will target that story because Salesforce hasn’t told that story great.”

Attendees at Dreamforce 2017 in San Francisco
Users can learn about new upgrades and features for all Salesforce products at Dreamforce conference.

New Quip Slides system

Meanwhile, Salesforce said Sept. 17, a week before Dreamforce, that it will be showing at the conference PowerPoint-esque upgrade to its content collaboration platform, Quip, called Quip Slides.

Quip Slides is an AI-assisted platform to help workgroups create interactive presentations mainly for internal meetings and training. It features real-time collaboration, charting, live data, feedback prompts and engagement insights.

Another feature in Quip is Salesforce partner-built Live Apps, which enable work teams to embed Box and Dropbox files into Quip.

Integrating the Integration Cloud

The CloudCraze acquisition was just one of several the San Francisco-based CRM giant made to improve its suite of products. Salesforce spent $6.5 billion to acquire MuleSoft and build out what it’s calling the Integration Cloud.

What Salesforce is recognizing is there’s a whole different set of roles for how you manage customers now.
John Brunoanalyst, Forrester

Paul Greenberg, founder and analyst at The 56 Group, said he sees the name “Integration Cloud” as a misnomer, but that he thinks the MuleSoft purchase is a pivotal acquisition to bolster Salesforce.

“Despite its silly name as Integration Cloud, MuleSoft was a smart acquisition as it gives Salesforce access to all these different layers of service and does a lot of things Salesforce couldn’t previously do,” Greenberg said. “For integrations to succeed, it’s not just about building on the Salesforce platform. Without MuleSoft it was harder to build out integrations.”

With many organizations working to upgrade legacy systems and update their processes and provide  customers with a modern experience, the ability to connect legacy systems to current platforms is often laborious. Salesforce hopes its Integration Cloud will help ease that transition.

“We’ve ended up in a hybrid world,” said Michael Fauscette, chief research officer at G2 Crowd. “We’ve created so many data silo issues and it’s incumbent on the platform players to provide the ability to get past that.”

Continuing with business transformation

In addition to the expected unveiling of Integration Cloud and B2B commerce use cases, Salesforce is anticipated to continue its strategy of bringing together different customer-facing departments to help curate better customer experiences.

“I don’t think it’s a fully mature or fully conscious Salesforce strategy, but Salesforce is drilling down toward more personalization,” Greenberg said. “Salesforce’s Connections conference was the first step to that public story where we saw Marketing Cloud, Sales Cloud and Service Cloud becoming cross clouds in more significant ways than ever before.”

Bruno, from Forrester, agreed that organizational transformation and how Salesforce products can help is a major theme for Salesforce.

“What Salesforce is recognizing is there’s a whole different set of roles for how you manage customers now,” Bruno said. “I can see themes where [Salesforce] recognizes businesses have changed, customer engagement has changed and they are trying to provide solutions to account for that.”

More than just Salesforce products

Beyond the larger topics around its new acquisitions and customer empowerment, all of the core Salesforce products are expected to receive upgrades and users will be able to attend sessions with roadmaps outlining the future for Salesforce products.

“A core part of Dreamforce is about unveiling new innovations and it’s what customers have come to expect,” said Brigitte Donner, VP and conference chair for Dreamforce, at Salesforce. “We have more product keynotes planned than ever before.”

Donner added that the theme for Dreamforce is “change,” extending beyond just Salesforce products to larger social issues, with the first climate summit planned at Dreamforce this year, as well as Salesforce bringing back an equality summit.

Dreamforce takes place Sept. 25 to 28. Check SearchSalesforce.com for daily conference coverage.

Microsoft Hackathon 2018 winning team: ‘Think bigger – and believe you can change the world’ – Stories

The Hackathon, a company-wide event in its fifth year, had more than 23,500 global participants this year – twice the number from the first Hackathon in 2014. Hackers teamed up on more than 5,850 projects this year, up from 4,760 projects last year.

Winning projects have led to successes, including Seeing AI, the Xbox Adaptive Controller and Learning Tools, just a sampling of the projects initially driven by a team’s spark of passion. Motivation to participate in what is now the world’s largest private hackathon often comes from employees with family members or friends who are coping with various physical hardships, and who can be helped by technology.

The Hackathon began – and has continued – as a way to engage employees worldwide in both a learning culture and in a growth mindset, and to encourage great ideas from people in all roles  across the company.

“We’re getting better at hacking as a company, and we’re seeing a higher percentage of the projects that come out of the Hackathon that have potential business value to our company, which is exciting,” Ramos says.

While many people think hackathons are “just for dreaming up flying cars or smart toasters,” he says, many of the hackers say having fun is the No. 1 reason why they participate.

The winning team’s project “is a product that is a natural for Microsoft,” Ramos says. “It leverages our commitment as a platform and productivity company, and it capitalizes on something that we feel is unique to us.”

It’s “also an idea that this team has a passion for,” he says. “There are a lot of great ideas in the Hackathon – and so, when a great idea also meets up with a great team of people, that’s a nice combination as well.”

AT&T Spark highlights big changes in networking market

SAN FRANCISCO — AT&T is revamping more than its massive network to deliver high-speed, low-latency 5G services to businesses and consumers. The company is also remaking its relationship with networking vendors.

At the heart of the change is an open-source-first policy that has redefined the role of tech vendors that historically supplied the service provider with proprietary hardware and software. Now, AT&T is telling its suppliers, which include Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung, they have to become software developers and system integrators.

“There is a place for all of those hardware vendors in this new ecosystem to become integrators, to become hardeners,” Amy Wheelus, vice president of AT&T’s Network Cloud, said this week during an interview at the service provider’s 5G AT&T Spark conference.

A hardener, which is a word Wheelus takes credit for, is a tech company that bolts features onto open source software, such as security and the management applications necessary to troubleshoot and fix network problems. Open source technology, such as OpenStack and Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP), is the foundation of AT&T’s Network Cloud, a cloud computing platform under construction to support future 5G applications.

Work like AT&T’s, which is also underway in other service providers’ data centers, is changing the relationship between carriers and networking suppliers, said Rajesh Ghai, an analyst at IDC.

“There’s a big architectural change that is happening in telcos today,” he said. “[And] there will be a huge systems integration and services component to it.”

The wish list from AT&T Spark

What AT&T and other service providers want matters to networking vendors. That’s because the suppliers’ largest customer base — enterprises — is gradually trading their on-premises software for applications running in the cloud. The trend is shrinking the enterprise market, while increasing the buying clout of cloud providers — such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft — and service providers preparing for massive 5G rollouts.

As a result, AT&T, Vodafone, Verizon and other large service providers “are going to be much more prescriptive in how we want [technology] to evolve,” Wheelus said.

For AT&T, that means commodity x86 hardware for running all Layer 4-7 network services, such as routing, load balancing and firewalls. AT&T is using ONAP to turn those services into virtualized network functions. Under the VNFs is the OpenStack cloud computing platform.

AT&T also wants makers of Layer 4-7 software to rethink the design of their products. For example, rather than selling load balancers for specific purposes, AT&T wants one product that it can configure for multiple tasks using open source orchestration tools, like Ansible and YAML.

“We don’t need eight different load balancers from eight different companies,” Wheelus said. “I need one load balancer, and then I fine-tune it.”

5G hype vs. reality

Is [there] a hype cycle? Yeah, maybe it’s a hype cycle.
Amy Wheelusvice president of AT&T’s Network Cloud

While revamping its network for 5G, AT&T is rolling out 5G radios and other infrastructure in U.S. cities. By early next year, AT&T plans to have 19 cities wired for 5G, including Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

What’s missing, however, are the applications that will deliver services that take advantage of 5G’s unique capabilities. At Spark, AT&T and its partners showed marketing videos touting the potential for better home gaming and entertainment and innovation in medicine and manufacturing. But none of the services exist, and it’s not clear how they will become a reality.

“Is [there] a hype cycle? Yeah, maybe it’s a hype cycle,” Wheelus said at AT&T Spark.

Nevertheless, AT&T claimed it is making progress on future products at its 5G development centers in Atlanta, Palo Alto, Calif., and Plano, Texas. The 5G infrastructure rolling out in the 19 cities is where AT&T will eventually test the services under development.

“We’re just getting standards-based equipment [for the cities],” Wheelus said.

With so much experimentation underway, no one can predict whether the billions of dollars AT&T and the rest of the tech industry are spending on 5G will generate a healthy return on investment. One of the first indicators will be the success of mobile services built for 5G-enabled smartphones, which analysts predict will arrive in 2021.

The potentially more lucrative services for businesses — the kind that is shown today in slick videos at 5G conferences — will take longer to hit the market. Those products are unlikely to be widely available until 2025, analysts said.

For Sale – Samsung 860 EVO 500GB (New)

Un used and no longer needed. Price includes delivery to mainland UK.

More than happy to help out with warranty. Feedback speaks for itself

Collection welcome.

Any questions, let me know

Price and currency: 85
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: BT/PPG
Location: Farnborough
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Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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Amazon, Intel, NBCUniversal spill buying secrets at HR Tech 2018

LAS VEGAS — Amazon’s talent acquisition organization has more than 3,500 people, including 2,000 recruiters, and is very interested in testing out new technology. That is probably welcome news to vendors here at HR Tech 2018. But Amazon and other big HR technology users warned against being dazzled by vendors’ products and recommended following a disciplined and tough evaluation process.

“I think it’s important to stay abreast with what’s happening in the market,” said Kelly Cartwright, the head of recruiting transformation at Amazon. “I’m really, really passionate about doing experiments and pilots and seeing whether or not something can work,” she said, speaking on a talent acquisition technology panel at HR Tech 2018.

It’s important to “block out time and take those [vendor] calls and listen to what those vendors have to say because one of them actually might have a solution for you that can be a game changer,” Cartwright said.

A warning about new HR tech

But Cartwright also had a clear warning for attendees at the HR Tech 2018. It won’t help to make the investment in a new technology until “you really clarify” what it is you want to use it for, she said.

What has to happen first in investigating HR trends and new technologies is to “start with a clear problem that you’re trying to solve for,” Cartwright said. She illustrated her point with example questions: Is the problem improving diversity in the pipeline? Or is it ensuring that there are enough potential candidates visiting your recruiting website?

Endorsing this approach was Gail Blum, manager of talent acquisition operations at NBCUniversal, who appeared with Cartwright on the panel.

Blum said NBCUniversal may not always have the budget for a particular new HR technology, but vendors increasingly are offering free pilots. Companies can choose to take a particular problem “and see if that new tool or vendor has the ability to solve that,” she said.

Attendees walk through the expo area at the 2018 HR Technology Conference
New HR tech is in abundance at the 2018 HR Technology Conference & Expo

New tech that doesn’t integrate is next to useless

Critical to any new HR technology is its ability to integrate with existing talent systems, such as an applicant tracking system, Blum said. She wants to know: Will the system have a separate log-in? “That’s always something that we ask upfront with all of these vendors.”

“If you are requiring everyone to have to go to two different systems the usage probably isn’t going to be great,” Blum said, who said that was their experience from some previous rollouts. If the systems don’t integrate, a new technology addition “isn’t really going to solve your problem in the end,” she said.      

There was no disagreement on this panel at HR Tech 2018 about the need to be rigorous with vendors to avoid being taken in by a shiny new technology.

We ask really invasive questions of the vendors.
Allyn Baileytalent acquisition capability adoption transformation leader, Intel

If Intel is going to partner with a talent vendor “it’s a long-term play,” said Allyn Bailey, talent acquisition capability adoption transformation leader at the chipmaker.

“We ask really invasive questions of the vendors,” Bailey said. “The vendors really hate it when we do it,” she said.

But Bailey said they will probe a vendor’s stability, their financing and whether they are positioning themselves to gather some big-name customers and then sell the business. “That freaks me out because my investment with that vendor is around that partnership to build a very customized solution to meet my needs,” she said. 

TechTarget, the publisher of SearchHRSoftware, is a media partner for HR Tech 2018.

Beyond our four walls: How Microsoft is accelerating sustainability progress – Microsoft on the Issues

Our planet is changing — sea levels are rising, weather is becoming more extreme and our natural resources are being depleted faster than the earth’s ecosystems can restore them. These changes pose serious threats to the future of all life on our tiny blue dot, and they challenge us to find new solutions, work together and leverage the diversity of human potential to help right the course.

The good news is that progress is being made across the globe, and non-state actors, from cities to companies to individual citizens, are setting bold commitments and accelerating their work on climate change. But it’s also clear that we all must raise our ambitions, couple that with action and work more swiftly than ever.

At Microsoft, we fully understand and embrace this challenge. That is why, this week, at the Global Climate Action Summit, Microsoft is sharing our vision for a sustainable future — one where everyone everywhere is experiencing and deploying the power of technology to help address climate change and build a more resilient future. We are optimistic about what progress can be made because we are already seeing results of this technology-first enablement approach.

Today, we are unveiling five new tools, partnerships and the results of pilot projects that are already reducing emissions in manufacturing and advancing environmental research and showing immense potential to disrupt the building and energy sectors for a lower-emission future.

These include:

  • A new, open-source tool to find, use and incentivize lower-carbon building materials: To create low-carbon buildings, we need to choose low-carbon building materials. But right now, choosing these materials is challenging because the data is not readily available and what we do have lacks transparency to ensure it’s accurate. We are the first large corporate user of a new tool to track the carbon emissions of raw building materials, introduced by Skanska and supported by the University of Washington Carbon Leadership Forum, Interface and C-Change Labs, called the Embodied Carbon Calculator for Construction (EC3). We’ll use this in our new campus remodel. Our early estimates are that a low-carbon building in Seattle has approximately half the carbon emissions of an average building, so this could have a substantial impact on reducing carbon emissions in our remodel and eventually the entire built environment. We’re proud to not only be piloting it, but that this open-source tool is also running on Microsoft Azure.
  • The results of a “factory of the future” and solar-panel deployment at one of our largest suppliers of China: We partnered with our supplier’s management team to develop and install an energy-smart building solution running on Microsoft Azure to monitor and address issues as they emerge, saving energy and money. Additionally, Microsoft funded a solar panel installation, which generated more than 250,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity in the past fiscal year. This integrated solution is estimated to reduce emissions by approximately 3 million pounds a year.

The successful pilot of a grid-interactive energy storage battery: ​Solving storage is a critical piece of transforming the energy sector. That is why we’re excited to share the results of a new pilot in Virginia, in partnership with Eaton and PJM Interconnection. We used a battery that typically sits in our datacenter as a backup system, hooked it up to the grid to receive signals about when to take in power, when to store it and when to discharge to support the reliability of the system and integration of renewable energy. With thousands of batteries as part of our backup power systems at our datacenters, this pilot has the potential to rapidly scale storage solutions, allowing datacenters to smooth out the unpredictability of wind and solar.

  • New grantees and results from our AI for Earth program: Since we first introduced this grant, training and innovation program last year, we’ve experienced 200 percent growth. We are now supporting 137 grantees in more than 40 countries around the world, as well as doubling the number of larger featured projects we support. We’ve seen early results, too, allowing many people outside the grant program to benefit from our work, allowing us to process more than 10 trillion pixels in ten minutes and less than $50.
  • New LinkedIn online training module for sustainability, the Sustainable Learning Path: LinkedIn is providing new training courses to enable people everywhere to learn and gain job skills to participate in the clean energy economy and low-carbon future. The Sustainable Learning Path offers six hours of expert-created content; initial courses include an overview of sustainability strategies and introductions to LEED credentials and sustainable design. All six courses are unlocked until the end of October, in celebration of the Global Climate Action Summit, and can be accessed here.

While these are just the first proof points of the potential of technology to accelerate the pace of change beyond our four walls, they build on decades of sustainability progress within our operations.  These include operating 100 percent carbon neutral since 2012, purchasing more than 1 gigawatt of renewable energy on three continents, committing to reduce our operational carbon footprint by 75 percent by 2030, and a host of other initiatives. As meaningful as this operational progress is, we know it’s not enough. As a global technology company, we have a responsibility and a tremendous opportunity to help change the course of our planet.

As we look to the future, we’ll realize this opportunity in a few ways. We will use our operations as a test bed for innovation and share new insights about what works. We will work with our customers and suppliers to drive efficiencies that lead to tangible carbon reductions. We will continue to increase access to cloud and AI tools, especially among climate researchers and conservation groups, and work together to develop new tools that can be deployed by others in the field.

We are not naïve. Technology is not a panacea. Time and resources are short, and the task immense. But we refuse to believe that it is insurmountable or too late to build a better future, and we are convinced that technology can play a pivotal role in enabling that progress.

That optimism is borne out of our experience, lessons learned and the drive to create a better future that is core to Microsoft. At GCAS, I will be joined by 10 Microsoft and LinkedIn sustainability leaders, who will be sharing more details about this approach and the news outlined at panel sessions throughout the week, showcasing some of our technology solutions at events we are hosting and supporting the effort with more than 50 employees volunteering their time at GCAS. We are also proud to be an official sponsor of GCAS.

You can find our Microsoft delegation at the following events during the summit, as well as many others throughout the week. And we encourage you to follow us @Microsoft_Green for a full view of our conference activities and engagements, and the official hashtags for news of the event at #GCAS2018 #StepUp 2018.

Find Microsoft at the Global Climate Action Summit — event highlights

September 11, 8:00 a.m. PT: Sustainable Food Services Panel (LinkedIn hosting)

September 12, 9:00 a.m. PT: We Are Still In Forum

 September 12, 2:00 p.m. PT: “Energy, Transportation & Innovation – a Conversation with U.S. Climate Alliance Governors & Business Leaders” (Microsoft hosting)

  • Speaker: Shelley McKinley, General Manager for Technology and Civic Responsibility at Microsoft
  • Watch the livestream: https://aka.ms/CEO_Governors_Live and use #USCAxGCAS to submit questions on Twitter during the event

September 13, 9:00 a.m. PT: World Economic Forum: 4th IR for Earth

  • Speaker: Lucas Joppa, Chief Environmental Officer, Microsoft

September 13, 1:30 p.m. PT: GCAS Breakout Session – “What We Eat and How It’s Grown: Food Systems and Climate”

September 13, 3:00 p.m. PT: Meeting the Paris Goal: Strategies for Carbon Neutrality (Microsoft hosting)

  • Speaker: Elizabeth Willmott, Carbon Program Lead

September 13, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. PT: We Are Still In Reception at Microsoft

September 14, 8:30 a.m. PT: Clean Energy in Emerging Markets (Microsoft hosting)

September 14, 11:00 a.m. PT: Climate Action Career Fair (LinkedIn hosting)

  • Speaker: Lucas Joppa, Chief Environmental Officer

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The new business imperative: A unified cloud security strategy

As more businesses begin to explore the benefits of moving on-premises data and applications to the cloud, they’re having to rethink their traditional approaches to data security. Not only are cybercriminals developing more sophisticated attacks, but the number of employees and users who can access, edit, and share data has increased the risk of breaches. In fact, Gartner indicates* that “through 2022, 95 percent of cloud security incidents failures will be the customer’s fault. CIOs can combat this by implementing and enforcing policies on cloud ownership, responsibility and risk acceptance. They should also be sure to follow a life cycle approach to cloud governance and put in place central management and monitoring planes to cover the inherent complexity of multicloud use.”

Instead of relying on a patchwork of third-party security solutions that don’t always speak to each other, potentially leaving systems vulnerable to attack, companies are now adopting a unified, end-to-end cloud security defense. This typically involves choosing a cloud provider that can integrate security controls right into existing corporate systems and processes. When these controls span the entire IT infrastructure, they make it easier to protect data and maintain user trust by offering increased compatibility, better performance, and more flexibility.

Protection that’s always compatible

A holistic, cloud-supported threat warning and detection system can be designed to work seamlessly across every asset of an IT environment. For instance, built-in security management solutions can give IT teams the ability to constantly monitor the entire system from a centralized location, rather than manually evaluating different machines. This allows them to sense threats early, provide identity monitoring, and more—all without any compatibility issues.

Container shipping company Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has gone this route. As in many businesses, MSC’s IT environment is spread across a variety of locations, networks, and technologies, such as container ships, trucking networks, and offices. Its previous security strategy employed a mixture of third-party solutions that often ran into compatibility issues between different components, giving attackers a large surface area to probe. This made MSC vulnerable to threats such as fileless attacks, phishing, and ransomware. However, after transitioning to a unified cloud security solution, it has been able to guard against attacks using protection that integrates effortlessly into its existing environment.

Reliable performance, more efficiently

The more complex an IT environment gets, the more time employees spend testing, maintaining, and repairing third-party security solutions. A unified cloud security approach improves performance by not only providing a consistent, layered defense strategy, but by also automating it across the entire IT infrastructure. At MSC, software and security updates are now done automatically and deployed without delay across the cloud. Information about possible threats and breaches can quickly be shared across devices and identities, speeding up response and recovery times so that employees can focus on other issues.

Security with flexibility to grow

Scalability is another factor driving adoption. A cloud environment can easily scale to accommodate spikes in traffic, additional users, or data-intensive applications. A patchwork of third-party security solutions tends not to be so nimble. At MSC, security controls are integrated into multiple levels of the existing IT infrastructure—from the operating system to the application layer—and can be dynamically sized to meet new business needs. For example, continuous compliance controls can be established to monitor regulatory activities and detect vulnerabilities as they grow.

A unified security approach: becoming the standard

The best security solutions perform quietly in the background, protecting users without them noticing. Unified cloud security does this while also reducing the resources required to keep things running smoothly. “Once you have true defense in depth, there’s less chance of having to single out a user and impact their productivity because you have to reimage an infected machine,” said Aaron Shvarts, chief security officer at MSC Technology North America.

After moving its workloads to Azure and upgrading its previous third-party security solutions to the native protection of Windows Defender, MSC now has a defense strategy that suits the complexity of its business. Learn more about Azure security solutions and how Microsoft can help you implement unified security across your cloud.

To stay up to date on the latest news about Microsoft’s work in the cloud, bookmark this blog and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

*Gartner, Smarter with Gartner, Is the Cloud Secure?, 27 March 2018, https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/is-the-cloud-secure/