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The inability to harness the power of data and turn it into fuel for growth hampers the success of many SMBs.
Unlike large enterprises with massive budgets, SMBs are often unable to employ data scientists to build and maintain analytics operations and interpret data tomake fully informed decisions. Instead of investing in small business analytics strategies, they rely on instinct and experience,neither of which is foolproof.
Onepath, an IT services provider based in Kennesaw, Ga., sought to quantify the struggles of the SMBs it serves. It surveyed more than 100 managers and executives of organizations ranging in size from 100 to 500 employees to gauge their experience with analytics, and on Thursday released a report entitled “Onepath 2020 Trends in SMB Data Analytics Report.”
Key discoveries included that despite dedicating time and money to analytics,86% felt they weren’t able to fully harness the power of data, 59% believed analytic capabilities would help them go to market faster and 54% felt that theyrisked making poor business decisionswithout the benefits of data analysis.
Phil Moore, Onepath’s director of applications management services, spoke with SearchBusinessAnalytics about the report as well as the difficulties involved in small business analytics efforts.
In Part I of this two-part Q&A, he discussed the findings of the report in detail. Here he talks about the perils SMBs face if they don’t develop a data-driven decision-making process.
As the technology in business intelligence platforms gets better and better, will SMBs be able to improve data utilization as well as large enterprises?
Phil Moore: The Fortune 500s of the world have deep pockets and can hire their army of IT guys and go after it, but the small and medium-sized businesses tend to have far less volume of data unless they are in the unique position where they are a high-data business. But the core [of the SMB market] is around legal, construction, health care, doctor’s offices, and their data doesn’t get to the volume of larger organizations. They’re just looking for the metrics that help them run their business more efficiently, help them service their clients.
If you go to the other bookend and see an Amazon, of course they’re on a grand scale in terms of the size of their business. And they’re using analytics all up and down throughout their business, whether it be shipping, fulfillment, robotics, managing their warehouses. The SMB market won’t have the same types of complexities that the big guys have. The market is different.
Are there SMBs who are able to harness the power of data?
Phil MooreDirector of applications management services, Onepath
Moore: The survey shows that 86% of the companies that are taking a swing at analytics — that have some solution — say they’re underachieving, and they could be getting more out of their data. That leaves 14% that are delighted with what they’re getting. There are always leading guys, the cutting edge, the folks that are more technology-centric or that appreciate and understand the value of technology and how it can help the business. Those guys are going to lead the way.
What will happen to companies that don’t figure out a way to use data, and is there a timetable for when they need to get with it?
Moore: If you break down the SMB market into the different disciplines — health care, legal, construction — the folks that get and use analytics, their first benefit over their competitors is a better line of sight to their business. They’re going to be able to make crisper decisions, which lead to either faster delivery of something to the market or better customer service, which indirectly will lead to higher profits. Right away they get a competitive advantage over their competitors that aren’t using analytics, that are running their business by shooting from the hip — which is running it with their intuition and their knowledge and their experience. That knowledge and experience may get proven wrong with data, because the eye in the sky doesn’t lie. At some point, things get revealed in the data that lead to transforming business decisions.
For example, in the IT space, one of the transforming business decisions is how to go to market, changing from charging by the hour for every hour worked when a ticket is opened to offering a fixed-price, all-you-can-eat model. The data shows a fixed price will still be profitable if they optimize internal processes. So, IT companies are shifting, and the companies that are now going to market with a fixed-price, all-you-can-eat support model are crushing the guys that are still out there charging by the hour. The guys charging by the hour either have to transform or die. Those transformations that get driven by the data will happen in an industry-vertical way.
Is it critical small business analytics expenditures to be part of the budget right off the bat?
Moore: Yes, but the challenge we see is that they know they want to have analytics but they don’t know how to budget for it. Therefore, it becomes unaffordable. One of the things we’re trying to do is make it affordable so people can bridge the mental gap from wanting analytics but not being able to get it by offering a monthly, low-entry, very affordable template set of [key performance indicators], so once they see the value they know how to put a dollar figure on the value and then adjust their budget for the next year. If you go to a small business and tell them they need analytics and need to budget for it, they struggle with how much to budget. They put a line item in the budget but they don’t know what they’re getting, so it often winds up getting cut from the budget.
Editor’s note: This Q&A has been edited for brevity and clarity.
The best combination of power and simplicity for controlling Hyper-V is its PowerShell module. The module’s installable component is distinct from the Hyper-V role, and the two are not automatically installed together. Even if you have installed the free Hyper-V Server product that ships with the Hyper-V role already enabled, you’ll still need to install the PowerShell module separately. This short guide will explain how to install that module and understand its basic structure. If you need to use directly control Windows Server 2012/R2 or Hyper-V Server 2012/R2 using the PowerShell module as it ships in Windows 10/Windows Server 2016 or 2019, instructions are at the very end of this post.
How to Install the Hyper-V PowerShell Module with PowerShell
The quickest way to install the module is through PowerShell. There are several ways to do that, depending on your operating system and your goal.
Using PowerShell to Install the Hyper-V PowerShell Module in Windows 10
All of the PowerShell cmdlets for turning off and on Windows features and roles are overlays for the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) subsystem. Windows 10 does include a PowerShell module for DISM, but it uses a smaller cmdlet set than what you’ll find on your servers. The server module’s cmdlets are simpler, so I’m going to separate out the more involved cmdlets into the Windows 10 section. The cmdlets that I’m about to show you will work just as well on a server operating system as on Windows 10, although the exact names of the features that you’ll use might be somewhat different. All cmdlets must be run from an elevated PowerShell prompt.
As I mentioned in the preamble to this section, there a few different ways that you can enable the Hyper-V PowerShell module. There is only a single cmdlet, and you will only need to use it to enable a single feature. However, the module appears in a few different features, so you’ll need to pick the one that is most appropriate to you. You can see all of the available options like this:
The reason that you see so many different objects is that it’s showing a flat display of the hierarchical tree that you’d get if you opened the Windows Features window instead. Unfortunately, this cmdlet does not have a nicely formatted display (even if you don’t pare it down with any filters), so it might not be obvious. Compare the output of the cmdlet to the Windows Features screen:
Windows 10 Hyper-V Features
You have three options if you want to install the PowerShell Module on Windows 10. The simplest is to install only the module by using its feature name. Installing either of the two options above it (Hyper-V Management Tools or the entire Hyper-V section) will include the module. I trimmed off the feature name in the images above, so all three possibilities are shown below:
# Install the Hyper-V management tool pack (Hyper-V Manager and the Hyper-V PowerShell module)
Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Hyper-V-Tools-All
# Install the entire Hyper-V stack (hypervisor, services, and tools)
Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Hyper-V-All
Tab completion will work for everything except the specific feature name. But, don’t forget that copy/paste works perfectly well in a PowerShell window (click/drag to highlight, [Enter] to copy, right-click to paste). You can use the output from Get-WindowsOptionalFeature so that you don’t need to type any feature names.
It’s fine to install a higher-level item even if some of its subcomponents are already installed. For example, if you enabled the Hyper-V platform but not the tools, you can enable Microsoft-Hyper-V-All and it will not hurt anything.
Using PowerShell to Install the Hyper-V PowerShell Module in Windows Server or Hyper-V Server 2012, 2016 & 2019
The DISM PowerShell tools on the server platforms are a bit cleaner to use than in Windows 10. If you’d like, the cmdlets shown in the Windows 10 section will work just as well on the servers (already the feature names are different). The cmdlets shown in this section will only work on server SKUs. They must be run from an elevated prompt.
Ordinarily, I don’t show cmdlets using positional parameters, but I wanted you to see how easy this cmdlet is to use. The full version of the shown cmdlet is Get-WindowsFeature-Name *hyper-v*. Its output looks much nicer than Get-WindowsOptionalFeature:
Server Hyper-V Features
There is a difference, though. Under Windows 10, all the items live under the same root. In the Windows SKUs, Hyper-V is under the Roles branch but all of the tools are under the Features branch. The output indentation, when filtered, is misleading.
The Server SKUs have an Install-WindowsFeature cmdlet. Its behavior is similar to Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature, but it is not quite the same. Enabling the root Hyper-V feature will not automatically select all of the tools (as you might have already found out). These are all of the possible ways to install the Hyper-V PowerShell Module using PowerShell on a Server product:
# Install Hyper-V Manager and the PowerShell module (HVM only available on GUI systems)
Install-WindowsFeature -Name RSAT-Hyper-V-Tools
# Install the Hyper-V hypervisor and all tools (method #1)
Install-WindowsFeature -Name Hyper-V -IncludeManagementTools
# Install the Hyper-V hypervisor and all tools (method #2)
Install-WindowsFeature -Name Hyper-V, RSAT-Hyper-V-Tools
# Install only the PowerShell module
# Install Hyper-V Manager and the PowerShell module (HVM only available on GUI systems)
# Install the Hyper-V hypervisor and all tools (method #1)
Tab completion will work for everything except the specific feature name. But, don’t forget that copy/paste works perfectly well in a PowerShell window (click/drag to highlight, [Enter] to copy, right-click to paste). You can use the output from Get-WindowsFeature so that you don’t need to type any feature names.
Installation of the Hyper-V PowerShell module on Windows Server 2019
If the Hyper-V role is already enabled, you can still use either of the last two options safely. If the Hyper-V role is not installed and you are using one of those options, the system will need to be restarted. If you like, you can include the -Restart parameter and DISM will automatically reboot the system as soon as the installation is complete.
The Install-WindowsFeature cmdlet does have a ComputerName parameter, so it can be used with implicit PowerShell Remoting to enable the feature on multiple computers simultaneously. For example, use -ComputerNamesvhv01,svhv02,svhv03,svhv04 to install the feature(s) on all four of the named hosts simultaneously. If you are running your PowerShell session from a Windows 10 machine that doesn’t have that cmdlet, you can still use explicit PowerShell Remoting.
How to Install the Hyper-V PowerShell Module Using the GUI
It seems a bit sacrilegious to install a PowerShell module using a GUI, and it certainly takes longer than using PowerShell, but I suppose someone has a reason.
Using the GUI to Install the Hyper-V PowerShell Module on Windows 10
Follow these steps in Windows 10:
Right-click on the Start button and click Programs and Features.
Windows 10 Start-X
In the Programs and Features dialog, click Turn Windows features on or off
Windows 10 Programs and Features
In the Windows Features dialog, check the box for Hyper-V Module for Windows PowerShell (and anything else that you’d like) and click OK.
Windows 10 PS Module Selection
The dialog will signal completion and the module will be installed.
Using Server Manager to Install the Hyper-V PowerShell Module on Windows Server or Hyper-V Server 2012, 2016 & 2019
Server Manager is the tool to use for graphically adding roles and features on Windows Server and Hyper-V Server systems. Of course, you’re not going to be able to directly open Server Manager on Hyper-V Server systems, but you can add a system running Hyper-V Server to the console of any same-level system running a GUI edition of Windows Server (security restrictions apply). The RSAT package for Windows 10 includes Server Manager and can remotely control servers (security restrictions apply there, as well). While Server Manager can be remotely connected to multiple systems, it can only install features on one host at a time.
To use Server Manager to enable Hyper-V’s PowerShell module, open the Add Roles and Features wizard and proceed through to the Features page. Navigate to Remote Server Administration Tools -> Role Administration Tools -> Hyper-V Management Tools and check Hyper-V Module for Windows PowerShell. Proceed through the wizard to complete the installation.
Windows Server PS Module Selection
The module will be immediately available to use once the wizard completes.
A Brief Explanation of the Hyper-V PowerShell Module
Once installed, you can find the module’s files at C:WindowsSystem32WindowsPowerShellv1.0ModulesHyper-V. Its location will ensure that the module is automatically loaded every time PowerShell starts up. That means that you don’t need to use Import-Module — you can start right away with your scripting.
If you browse through and look at the files a bit, you might notice that the PowerShell module files reference a .DLL. This means that this particular PowerShell module is a binary module. Microsoft wrote it in a .Net language and compiled it. Its cmdlets will run faster than they would in a text-based module, but you won’t be able to see how it does its work (at least, not by using any sanctioned methods).
Connecting to Windows/Hyper-V Server 2012, 2016 & 2019 from PowerShell in Windows 10/Server 2016 & 2019
If you are using Windows 10 and Windows/Hyper-V Server 2016 or 2019, there’s an all-new version 2.0.0 of the Hyper-V PowerShell module. That’s a good thing, right? Well, usually. The thing is, the 2012 and 2012 R2 versions aren’t going away any time soon, and we still need to control those. Version 2 of the PowerShell module will throw an error when you attempt to control these down-level systems. The good news is that you can work around this limitation fairly easily. If you browsed the folder tree on one of these newer OS releases, you may have noticed that there is a 1.1 folder as well as a 2.0.0 folder. The earlier binary module is still included!
So, does that mean that you can happily kick off some scripts on those “old” machines? Let’s see:
Error Using Hyper-V PS Module on Downlevel Target
The error is: “Get-VM : The Hyper-V module used in this Windows PowerShell session cannot be used for remote management of the server ‘SVHV2’. Load a compatible version of the Hyper-V module, or use Powershell remoting to connect directly to the remote server. For more information, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkID=532650.“
What to do?
The answer lies in a new feature of PowerShell 5, which fortunately comes with these newer OSs. We will first get a look at what our options are:
Available Hyper-V Modules
You could run this without ListAvailable to determine which, if any, version is already loaded. You already know that PowerShell auto-loads the module and, if you didn’t already know, I’m now informing you that it will always load the highest available version unless instructed otherwise. So, let’s use the new RequiredVersion parameter to instruct it otherwise:
The results of this operation:
Successfully Controlling Down-level Hyper-V Hosts in PowerShell
Is this good? Well, it’s OK, but not great. Popping a module in and out isn’t the worst thing in the world, but can you imagine scripting that to work against hosts of various levels? While possible, the experience would certainly be unpleasant. If you’re going to interactively control some down-level Hyper-V hosts, this approach would work well enough. For serious scripting work, I’d stick with the WMI/CIM cmdlets and explicit remoting.
If you have any questions about using the Hyper-V PowerShell module including installation, optimization or anything else, let me know in the comments below and I’ll help you out!
This blog was originally published on July 2017 but has been updated with corrections and new content to be relevant from March 2020.
As technology continues to evolve, we are faced with an incredible opportunity to leverage the power of new solutions and human expertise to unlock some of the biggest challenges we face in society. It’s why Microsoft invests in AI for Good initiatives, which support and empower those working to address humanitarian, environmental and cultural challenges by creating a more sustainable and accessible world.
What’s more, we believe the future is in the hands of students around the world who are increasingly driven by a sense of purpose and who want to have a positive impact on the world and their communities. That’s why I am incredibly excited to share that we are bringing Imagine Cup Junior to secondary students worldwide, providing an opportunity for students to take part in a global challenge while learning about the power of Artificial Intelligence and its responsible use to change the world.
Introduction to Imagine Cup Junior 2020 from Anthony Salcito, Vice President, Microsoft Education
Imagine Cup Junior is an extension of the hugely popular Imagine Cup – a global competition that empowers the next generation of computer science students to team up and use their creativity, passion and knowledge of technology to create applications that shape how we live, work and play. The introduction of the Imagine Cup Junior challenge will now enable younger students, starting at age 13 up to 18, to learn about technology and come up with ideas for improving the world around them, while building 21st century skills like communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.
This year’s challenge is focused on Artificial Intelligence and introducing students to Microsoft’s AI for Good initiatives so they can think of solutions to issues that matter to them. This includes AI for Humanitarian Action, AI for Earth, AI for Cultural Heritage and AI for Accessibility.
The challenge is designed to be approachable for all students and educators, and it does not require any existing knowledge of technology or cloud concepts. We’ve created a host of materials, including templates and AI resource guides, that will help make it easy for educators and students to participate. The beauty of Imagine Cup Junior is that students can be entirely new to the concept of AI and build the competence to continue learning about technology and its impact throughout their school years. And for those students eager to learn more, we’ve created an extra opportunity to get hands on with Azure and the Wick Editor to bring their concepts to life.
To get started, educators need to register at www.imaginecup.com/junior which will provide access to the Imagine Cup Junior resource kit including educator guides, student guides, templates and slides for the following modules:
Module 1 Fundamentals of AI
Module 2 Machine Learning
Module 3 AI Applications in Real Life
Module 4 Deep Learning and Neural Networks
Module 5 AI for Good
Included in the resource kit is a “Build your project in a day” kit, with videos from members of Microsoft’s Education, Artificial Intelligence and Cloud teams. This can be used in class to inspire students and coach them on how to get started, and perhaps even spark excitement to one day work in the field of AI. Students can participate in teams of between three to six people.
Registration opens today to allow educators time over the holidays to get creative with incorporating the challenge into class curriculum. Submissions for team projects will be open from February 3, 2020 and close April 17, 2020. To ensure the privacy of students, all submissions must be made by educators/instructors on behalf of their students. While we can’t wait to see ALL the amazing ideas of students around the world, Microsoft will be proud to recognize the top three ideas from each region – America’s, Asia, and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). They will win a Windows 10 device and receive an Imagine Cup Junior trophy.
Challenge rules and regulations can be found here.
It is never too early to get started, and we hope by cultivating student creativity and passion for technology it will spark interest in and support the development of careers at the cutting edge of technology.
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Sorry – offer withdrawn decided to go a different way. GLWS
We’ve seen incredible growth of Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform just in the past year. This momentum is driving a massive investment in people and breakthrough technologies that will empower organizations to transform in the next decade.
We have allocated hundreds of millions of dollars in our business cloud that power business transformation across markets and industries and help organizations solve difficult problems.
This fiscal year we are also heavily investing in the people that bring Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform to life — a rapidly growing global network of experts, from engineers and researchers to sales and marketing professionals. Side-by-side with our incredible partner community, the people that power innovation at Microsoft will fuel transformational experiences for our customers into the next decade.
Accelerating innovation across industries
In every industry, I hear about the struggle to transform from a reactive to proactive organization that can respond to changes in the market, customer needs, and even within their own business. When I talk to customers who have rolled out Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform, the conversation shifts to the breakthrough outcomes they’ve achieved, often in very short time frames.
Customers talk about our unique ability to connect data holistically across departments and teams — with AI-powered insights to drive better outcomes. Let me share a few examples.
This year we’ve focused on a new vision for retail that unifies back office, in-store and digital experiences. One of Washington state’s founding wineries — Ste. Michelle Wine Estates — is onboarding Dynamics 365 Commerce to bridge physical and digital channels, streamline operations with cloud intelligence and continue building brand loyalty with hyper-personalized customer experiences.
When I talk to manufacturers, we often zero in on ways to bring more efficiency to the factory floor and supply chain. Again, it’s our ability to harness data from physical and digital worlds, reason over it with AI-infused insights, that opens doors to new possibilities. For example, Majans, the Australian-based snackfood company, is creating the factory of the future with the help of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, Power BI and Azure IoT Hub — bringing Internet of Things (IoT) intelligence to every step in the supply chain, from quality control on the production floor to key performance indicators to track future investments. When everyone relies on a single source of truth about production, inventory and sales performance, decisions employees make drive the same outcome — all made possible on our connected business cloud.
These connected experiences extend to emerging technologies that bridge digital and physical worlds, such as our investment in mixed reality. We’re working with companies like PACCAR — manufacturer of premium trucks — to improve manufacturing productivity and employee training using Dynamics 365 Guides and HoloLens 2, as well as Siemens to enable technicians to service its eHighway — an electrified freight transport system — by completing service steps with hands-free efficiency using HoloLens and two-way communication and documentation in Dynamics 365 Field Service.
For many of our customers, the journey to Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform started with a need for more personalized customer experiences. Our customer data platform (CDP) featuring Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, is helping Tivoli Gardens — one of the world’s longest-running amusement parks — personalize guest experiences across every touchpoint — on the website, at the hotel and in the park. Marston’s has onboarded Dynamics 365 Sales and Customer Insights to unify guest data and infuse personalized experiences across its 1,500-plus pubs across the U.K.
The value of Dynamics 365 is compounded when coupled with the Power Platform. In late 2019, there are over 3 million monthly active developers on the Power Platform, from non-technical “citizen developers” to Microsoft partners developing world-class, customized apps. In the last year, we’ve seen a 700% growth in Power Apps production apps and a 300% growth in monthly active users. All of those users generate a ton of data, with more than 25 billion Power Automate steps run each day and 25 million data models hosted in the Power BI service.
The impact of the Power Platform is shared in the stories our customers share with us. TruGreen, one of the largest lawn care companies in the U.S., onboarded Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and the Microsoft Power Platform to provide more proactive and predictive services to customers, freeing employees to spend more time on higher value tasks and complex customer issue resolution. And the American Red Cross is leveraging Power Platform integration with Teams to improve disaster response times.
From the Fortune 500 companies below to the thousands of small and medium sized businesses, city and state governments, schools and colleges and nonprofit organizations — Dynamics 365 and the Microsoft Cloud are driving transformative success delivering on business outcomes.
Partnering to drive customer success
We can’t talk about growth and momentum of Dynamics 365 and Power Platform without spotlighting our partner community — from ISVs to System Integrators that are the lifeblood of driving scale for our business. We launched new programs, such as the new ISV Connect Program, to help partners get Dynamics 365 and Power Apps solutions to market faster.
Want to empower the next generation of connected cloud business? Join our team!
The incredible momentum of Dynamics 365 and Power Platform means our team is growing, too. In markets around the globe, we’re looking for people who want to make a difference and take their career to the next level by helping global organizations digitally transform on Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. If you’re interested in joining our rapidly growing team, we’re hiring across a wealth of disciplines, from engineering to technical sales, in markets across the globe. Visit careers.microsoft.com to explore business applications specialist career opportunities.