Tag Archives: skills

Upskilling: Digital transformation is economic transformation for all – Asia News Center

“So, we are working with a number of non-government organizations to help build the skills of these youth, to build their digital skills. We know that today, about 50 percent of jobs require technology skills. Within the next three years, that’s going to jump to more than 75 percent. So we’re working to help build the skills that employers need to expand their companies.”

In Sri Lanka, decades of civil strife have now given way to sustained economic growth. In this period of calm and reconstruction, 24-year-old Prabhath Mannapperuma leads a team of techie volunteers teaching digital skills to rural and underprivileged children. They use the micro:bit, a tiny programmable device that makes coding fun. “Using a keyboard to type in code is not interesting for kids,” says Mannapperuma, an IT professional and tech-evangelist, who is determined to inspire a new generation.

Upskilling is also a priority in one of Asia’s poorest countries, Nepal. Here, Microsoft has launched an ambitious digital literacy training program that is transforming lives. Santosh Thapa lost his home and livelihood in a massive 2015 earthquake and struggled in its aftermath to start again in business. Things turned around after he graduated from a Microsoft-sponsored course that taught him some digital basics, which he now uses daily to serve his customers and stay ahead of his competitors.

Often women are the most disadvantaged in the skills race. For instance in Myanmar, only 35 percent of the workforce is female. Without wide educational opportunities, most women have been relegated to the home or the farm. But times are changing as the economy opens up after decades of isolation. “Women in Myanmar are at risk of not gaining the skills for the jobs of the future, and so we are helping to develop the skills of young women, and that’s been an exciting effort,” says Michelle.

The team at Microsoft Philanthropies has partnered with the Myanmar Book Aid and Preservation Foundation in its Tech Age Girls program. It identifies promising female leaders, between the ages of 14 to 18, and provides them with essential leadership and computer science skills to be future-ready for the jobs of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

The goal is to create a network of 100 young women leaders in at least five locations throughout Myanmar with advanced capacity in high-demand technology skills. One of these future leaders is Thuza who is determined to forge a career in the digital space. “There seems to be a life path that girls are traditionally expected to take,” she says. “But I’m a Tech Age Girl and I’m on a different path.”

In Bangladesh, Microsoft and the national government have come together to teach thousands of women hardware and software skills. Many are now working at more than 5,000 state-run digital centers that encourage ordinary people to take up technology for the business, work, and studies. It is also hoped that many of the women graduates of the training program will become digital entrepreneurs themselves.

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These examples are undeniably encouraging and even inspirational. But Michelle is clear on one point: Digital skills development is more than just meaningful and impactful philanthropic work. It is also a hard-headed, long-term business strategy and a big investment in human capital.

Microsoft wants its customers to grow and push ahead with digital transformation, she says. And to do that, they need digitally skilled workers. “This is about empowering individuals, and also about enabling businesses to fill gaps in order for them to actually compete globally … by developing the skills, we can develop the economy.”

AWS management tools: Partners gain visibility with buyers

Cloud consultants experienced in AWS management tools have new avenues to promote their skills. Amazon Web Services recently added four tools to its AWS Service Delivery Program, which the cloud provider unveiled in November 2016.

The program aims to help customers identify AWS Partner Network companies with expertise in specific skill or service areas. The AWS management tools added to the program are AWS CloudFormation, Amazon EC2 Systems Manager, AWS Config and AWS CloudTrail. According to an AWS blog post, 11 companies have been named Management Tools Service Delivery launch partners.

Among those companies is 2nd Watch, a managed public cloud provider based in Seattle. The company has obtained AWS Service Delivery launch partner status for AWS CloudFormation, AWS CloudTrail and AWS Config.

“Customers looking to leverage and understand how to use AWS Config, CloudTrail or CloudFormation will be able to find us [via the AWS partner portal] and understand we have more than just the basic knowledge of these products and how to use them,” said Jeff Aden, executive vice president of strategic business development and marketing at 2nd Watch.

Customers looking to leverage and understand how to use AWS Config, CloudTrail or CloudFormation will be able to find us.
Jeff Adenexecutive vice president of strategic business development and marketing, 2nd Watch

Aden said those three tools are commonly implemented across 2nd Watch’s customer base.

Companies that become an AWS management tools delivery partner can promote their offerings through channels such as the AWS Service Delivery website, the Partner Solutions Finder and the services partner page, according to AWS.

Other launch partners for the AWS management tools delivery designation include Cloudnexa, Cloudreach, Cloudticity, Cognizant, Datapipe, Flux7, Foghorn Consulting, Logicworks, REAN Cloud and Stelligent.

NAYA Tech, NuoDB in reseller pact

NAYA Tech, a database consulting and managed IT services company based in Sunnyvale, Calif., has entered a reseller relationship with NuoDB, a company that provides an elastic SQL database for hybrid cloud applications.

Yair Rozilio, CEO and founder of NAYA Tech, suggested NuoDB’s technology will have applicability across multiple industries, noting that NAYA Tech has an opportunity to offer its services to both enterprise customers and startups. Specifically, the company plans to focus on industries with a pressing need for an elastic, cloud-centric transactional database.

“We’ll focus first on independent software [vendors] offering SaaS solutions that require immense scale, and also expand into other areas such as the financial and communications sectors,” Rozilio said.

Rozilio said NuoDB suits two types of customers for which NAYA Tech can provide services. For customers with existing applications that need greater scale, elasticity or lower cost than their current databases, NAYA Tech offers a migration-as-a-service turnkey solution. In this model, the company takes a customer’s existing database architecture and applications and migrates them to NuoDB. For customers looking for the appropriate database technology to power next-generation data architectures, NAYA Tech offers design and implementation services, Rozilio explained.

NAYA Tech plans to train dozens of its core database technology consultants on NuoDB, Rozilio said. He said those consultants include solutions architects, database administrators and developers experienced with relational and NoSQL database technologies.

Stephen Fahey, senior vice president of sales at NuoDB, based in Cambridge, Mass., said the company has worked with a number of international resellers and consultants, but noted its relationship with NAYA Tech represents its first reseller agreement based in the U.S. 

BackupAssist rolls out ransomware protection

BackupAssist, a Windows server backup and recovery vendor, introduced CryptoSafeGuard, a new ransomware protection product for the SMB market. The company sells its products through resellers and managed service provider partners.

CryptoSafeGuard, which combines with the vendor’s backup software, aims to protect customers from ransomware infections, complementing existing security products such as firewalls “by providing an extra layer of protection to the backup,” said Linus Chang, CEO of BackupAssist.

“We are not trying to replace existing [security] solutions. We are actually providing an extra safety net,” he said.

“Recently, [ransomware] has evolved into a threat for all businesses,” and the threat is growing exponentially every year, said Troy Vertigan, BackupAssist’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Businesses have a higher chance … of being taken down by ransomware more than the risk of a flood or a fire,” he noted.

Customers of the company’s BackupCare subscription service will have access to the CryptoSafeGuard through version 10.1 of BackupAssist’s software.

Hurricane relief for partners

ConnectWise, a company that offers remote monitoring and management, professional services automation and other products for service providers, is raising funds to assist partners affected by Hurricane Harvey. In a blog post, ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini said the company aims to “help our partners survive as entrepreneurs and reestablish their successful businesses.” The company plans to raise $750,000 and will match donations to ConnectWise.com/HelpNow.

Other news

  • Datatec Ltd., the parent company of Westcon-Comstor, has closed the sale of the distributor’s North America and Latin America business to Synnex Corp. The deal also includes the sale of a minority share in Westcon-Comstor’s EMEA and Asia-Pacific business to Synnex. Datatec’s plan to sell the Westcon-Comstor assets was disclosed in June 2017.
  • In other acquisition news, VRP Consulting, a Salesforce consulting firm and digital transformation services provider based in San Francisco, has purchased CodeSWAT, a Salesforce consultancy in Santa Clara, Calif.
  • SolarWinds MSP, an IT service management technology provider, revealed it has purchased SpamExperts, an email security company. SpamExperts currently offers services for email archiving, as well as spam and virus filtering. SolarWinds MSP said the acquisition will expand its SolarWinds MSP Mail technology.
  • Data protection company StorageCraft launched a $100,000 Recovery Guarantee for qualified partners. The guarantee covers the recovery of virtual or physical machines, either on premises or in the cloud, according to StorageCraft.
  • The NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars have tapped TierPoint LLC to provide colocation and other managed data center services. TierPoint in 2015 acquired its Jacksonville, Fla., data center and has since completed an infrastructure and security upgrade, according to the company. Shifting from AFC South to AFC North territory, TierPoint also announced it will build a second data center in Baltimore. The planned 35,000 sq. ft. facility will see an initial investment of more than $10 million.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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

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

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

Announcing the 2017-2018 Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts

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

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

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

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

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Announcing the 2017-2018 Microsoft Showcase Schools

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

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

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

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

Recognizing our 2017-2018 Microsoft Schools

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

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

Learn more about getting involved: 

DevOps tools training sparks IT productivity

Enterprises have a new weapon to combat the IT skills shortage where new hiring and training practices fall short.

Most IT pros agree the fastest path to IT burnout is what Amazon engineers have termed “undifferentiated heavy lifting,” which is repetitive and uninteresting work that has little potential for wider impact beyond keeping the lights on. DevOps tools training, which involves IT automation practices, can reduce or eliminate such mundane work and can compensate against staff shortages and employee attrition.

“Automation tools aren’t used to eliminate staff; they’re used to help existing staff perform at a higher level,” said Pete Wirfs, a programmer specialist at SAIF Corp., a not-for-profit workers’ compensation insurance company in Salem, Ore., that has used Automic Software’s Automation Engine to orchestrate scripts.

The company has used Automation Engine since 2013, but last year, it calculated new application development would add hundreds of individual workflows to the IT operations workload. Instead, Wirfs said he found a way to automate database queries and use the results to kick off scripts, so a single centralized workflow could meet all the project’s needs.

As a result, SAIF has expanded its IT environment exponentially over the last four years with no additional operations staff. The data center also can run lights-out for a few hours each night, with the automation scripts set up to handle monitoring, health checks and route alerts to the appropriate contacts when necessary. No IT ops employees work on Sundays at SAIF at all.

“There’s no end to what we can find to automate,” Wirfs said.

DevOps tools training standardizes IT processes

SAIF’s case illustrates an important facet of DevOps tools training: standardization of a company’s tools and workflows. A move from monoliths to microservices can make an overall system more complex, but individual components become similar, repeatable units that are easier to understand, maintain and troubleshoot.

“The monoliths of the early 2000s were very complicated, but now, people are a lot more pragmatic,” said Nuno Pereira, CTO of iJET International, a risk management company in Annapolis, Md. “DevOps has given us a way to keep component complexity in check.”

In modern monitoring systems, DevOps tools training can curtail the notifications that bombard IT operations pros through centralized tools, such as Cisco’s AppDynamics and LogicMonitor. These are popular among DevOps shops because they boost the signal-to-noise ratio of highly instrumented and automated environments, and they establish a standardized common ground for collaborative troubleshooting.

“[With] LogicMonitor, [we can] capture data and make it easily viewable so that different disciplines of IT can speak the same language across skill sets,” said Andy Domeier, director of technology operations at SPS Commerce, a communications network for supply chain and logistics businesses based in Minneapolis.

Four or five years ago, problems in the production infrastructure weren’t positively identified for an average of about 30 minutes per incident, Domeier said. Now, within one to two minutes, DevOps personnel can determine there is a problem, with an average recovery time of 10 to 15 minutes, he estimated.

Standardization has been key to keeping up with ever-bigger web-scale infrastructure at DevOps bellwethers such as Google.

“If every group in a company has a different set of technologies, it is impossible to make organizationwide changes that lift all boats,” said Ben Sigelman, who built Dapper, a distributed tracing utility Google uses to monitor distributed systems. Google maintains one giant source-code repository, for example, which means any improvement immediately benefits the entire Google codebase.

“Lack of standardization is an impediment to DevOps, more than anything else,” Sigelman said.

Google has standardized on open source tools, which offer common platforms that can be used and developed by multiple companies, and this creates another force-multiplier for the industry. Sigelman, now CEO of a stealth startup called LightStep, said DevOps tools training has started to have a similar effect in the mainstream enterprise.

Will AI help?

DevOps tools training can go a long way to help small IT teams manage big workloads, but today’s efficiency improvements have their limits. Already, some tools, such as Splunk Insights, use adaptive machine-learning algorithms to give the human IT pro’s brain an artificial intelligence (AI) boost — a concept known as AIOps.

“The world is not going to get easier,” said Rick Fitz, senior vice president of IT markets for Splunk, based in San Francisco. “People are already overwhelmed with complexity and data. To get through the next five to 10 years, we have to automate the mundane so people can use their brains more effectively.”

People are already overwhelmed with complexity and data. To get through the next five to 10 years, we have to automate the mundane.
Rick Fitzsenior vice president of IT markets, Splunk

Strong enthusiasm for AIOps has spread throughout the industry. Today’s analytics products, such as Splunk, use statistics to predict when a machine will fail or the broader impact of a change to an IT environment. However, AIOps systems may move beyond rules-based systems to improve on those rules or gain insights humans won’t come up with on their own, said Brad Shimmin, analyst with GlobalData PLC, headquartered in London. Groups of companies will share data the way they share open source software development today and enhance the insights AIOps can create, he predicted.

The implications for AIOps are enormous. Network intrusion detection is just one of the many IT disciplines experts predict will change with AIOps over the next decade. AIOps may be able to detect attack signatures or malicious behavior in users that humans and today’s systems cannot detect — for example, when someone hijacks and maliciously uses an end-user account, even if the end user’s identifier and credentials remain the same.

But while AIOps has promise, those who’ve seen its early experimental implementations are skeptical that AIOps can move beyond the need for human training and supervision.

“AI needs a human being to tell it what matters to the business,” LightStep’s Sigelman said, based on what he saw while working at Google. “AI is a fashionable term, but where it’s most successful is when it’s used to sift through a large stream of data with user-defined filtering.”

Beth Pariseau is senior news writer for TechTarget’s Data Center and Virtualization Media Group. Write to her at bpariseau@techtarget.com or follow @PariseauTT on Twitter.