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We’re all in this together: Miri’s brand of being herself – Microsoft Life

I grew up in the slums (Barrio Unión) of Caracas, Venezuela. My parents were missionaries who taught my siblings and me the importance of kindness and service to those who were less fortunate.

We didn’t have much growing up, but whatever we had we always shared with others. We set out to be that family that helped out, making compassion one of our key core values.

Kindness—the value of serving others, being aware of who has less than me and helping them—was cemented in who I became. It has become one of my two key staples of my “personal brand” and has been passed down to my kids.

My brand is also feminine. When you look up the word feminine, you see words such as gentleness, empathy, caring, sensitivity, and sweetness.

My mom raised me as a feminist and wanted to make sure that I became a strong, self-sufficient woman who—for example—didn’t even let men open doors for me.

I’m all for gender equality. And I also believe that we depend on other humans, and that we will always need to depend on others to achieve our success. I am meant to thrive with those around me, and femininity empowers me to say that I’m going to be dependent on my tribe.

I have two teenage boys, and my intent is to raise gentlemen. Yes, I can open my door, but I love when my sons or husband does it for me. Femininity is not about capability. I am guided by the philosophy that we shouldn’t do it alone.

Miri Rodriguez

“If you can’t love yourself, you can’t be in this harmonious place to share your brand.”

In my first role at Microsoft, I came in as a force to show I was a strong woman. However, I was always open to the idea of serving others and letting them serve me, which is a part of being both feminine and kind. This combination was confusing to people at times, but ultimately it was all about me staying strong to keep my brand evolving and staying my course.

Now—on my current team and as a storyteller for IT Showcase—my brand is received as refreshing. I can look at every relationship very methodically and see how my personal branding impacts and influences because we are always impacting one another, everywhere we go and especially at work.

This is something I talk about with those I coach for personal branding. I have 15 mentees across the world, including some Microsoft employees. It has been a transformative experience for me to help them find their authentic selves.

I’ve found that it has been helpful for my mentees to approach their journey through three milestones.  The first is learn yourself, which is a combination of three personality tests (i.e., Love Languages, Myers-Briggs, and Emergenetics) and a self-assessment of how you spend your time.

Then there’s liking yourself, which is aspirational of who you want to be in your brand. This can help you move from accepting to actually appreciating who you’re becoming.

And last there’s loving yourself. If you can’t love yourself, you can’t be in this harmonious place to share your brand. This milestone is truly the culmination of the process.

My goal is to make an impact and leave a positive legacy. I go into work constantly asking how I will make an impact. Did I make someone smile today?

Are you a Microsoft employee with a journey to share? Drop us a line from your work email at MicrosoftLife (at) microsoft.com.

The omnichannel contact center is now mandatory

In May of 1897, American writer Mark Twain was rumored to have died. When he was told about this, Twain said, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” If Twain had been a technology, he would have been voice communications. Every year, it seems, someone declares voice is dead, particularly in the contact center.

With so many communications channels now, voice is seemingly discarded in an omnichannel contact center. We now live in a world of texting, chatting, self-service and tweets, which must spell doom for voice, right? Well, not exactly.

Reports of voice’s death appear to be greatly exaggerated, according to the results of a recent survey by cloud contact-center vendor Five9 Inc. 

The online survey, conducted by research firm Zogby Analytics, polled 1,138 U.S. adults, ranging in age from 18 to retirees in their 70s. The survey asked these consumer respondents to assess the role of customer service in consumer behavior and purchasing decisions, as well as their communication preferences.

All age ranges prefer voice

In aggregate, 54% of respondents said the phone is their preferred mode of communication. Email, at 19%, and chat, at 15%, were distant second and third preferences.

You might look at this data and think this makes sense in aggregate, but the number must be skewed by older people, since millennials are obviously anti-voice. This is partially true, but not the whole story. The survey found a generational bias toward voice based on age, but the gap is not as big as you’d think.

Retirees, ages 70 or older, had the highest percentage of respondents whose top preference was voice, with 76%. As the age group declined, so did the preference for voice communications. But, in every case, voice was still the most preferred communications channel. 

Seventy-two percent of baby boomers, ages 55 to 69, selected voice as the top response. Generation X, ages 35 to 54, was at 48%. Older millennials, ages 25 to 34, were at 41%. And younger millennials, ages 18 to 24, used voice 38% of the time. In all age groups, except retirees, email and chat had double-digit representation, with the younger millennial group using those tools the most.

Omnichannel contact center links data

The data certainly underscores the importance of voice, but also the need for an omnichannel contact center. Most contact centers have implemented multichannel systems, but that’s not sufficient moving forward. 

Multichannel offers a range of discrete communication options, such as voice, chat, email and self-service. An omnichannel contact center is similar, except the data can be shared among the channels. 

Businesses need to prioritize evolving their contact centers to omnichannel systems.

For example, a customer may start an interaction using chat and enter a loyalty number and other information. After getting frustrated, the customer decides to switch to voice and places a call. With a multichannel service, all the information would have to be re-entered into an interactive voice response or relayed verbally to an agent. With an omnichannel contact center, the data is passed along to the agent, which saves time and alleviates frustration.

The Five9 survey also asked consumers about their expectation on the time taken to solve a support question. Nineteen percent of respondents expect to have their issues resolved in under five minutes, and 46% under 15 minutes. Multichannel systems can waste precious time, as they require the customer to provide the same information — often multiple times.

The growth of social media, chat and other communications mediums has sparked speculation that voice in the contact center is on life support. The data from the survey shows that voice is not only still alive, but it’s the preferred mode of communication across all age groups. 

However, at the same time, voice alone is not enough now. Businesses need to prioritize evolving their contact centers to omnichannel systems. 

Kubernetes adoption sends Rancher users back to eval mode

NEW YORK — In September 2017, Rancher Labs told customers it would discontinue its Cattle orchestration and scheduling framework in favor of Kubernetes for Rancher 2.0. This disclosure sent enterprise IT teams back to the drawing board and into strategy meetings to ensure they have no surprises on production container deployments.

At Velocity Conference 2017 here last week, Rancher users — one wholly on premises and the other 100% cloud-native — shared how the vendor’s Kubernetes adoption will guide their future operations.

“My hope is that Rancher does a good job integrating their existing API and their functionality into the Kubernetes world, so it’s not really impactful [to our teams],” said Andrew Maurer, IT manager for web platform ops at Cleveland-based Dealer Tire, which serves the automotive industry.

“We’re not sure what the benefit is yet,” Maurer said, but he’s familiar with the capabilities Kubernetes offers. Dealer Tire evaluated it along with Rancher, Mesos and Docker when the company ramped up containers six months ago.

Dealer Tire’s web platform ops team touts Rancher’s easy-to-use interface versus the complex workings of Kubernetes, a feeling shared by fellow Rancher adherents at Washington, D.C.-based Social Tables, which provides SaaS products for event planners and management.

During a search to replace Amazon Web Services’ Elastic Compute Cloud Container Service, Social Tables evaluated Kubernetes on AWS and the Kubernetes Operations (kops) provisioning tool, but ultimately landed on Rancher’s Cattle container management technology.

“We trialed Kubernetes on AWS via both Kelsey Hightower’s ‘Kubernetes the Hard Way’ and the kops provisioning tool, but ultimately were unsuccessful establishing a reliable overlay network,” said Michael Dumont, lead systems engineer in DevOps at Social Tables.

Editor’s note: Hightower, a key strategist for Google Cloud Platform, has called the “Kubernetes the Hard Way” project a way to learn how the Kubernetes components fit together with networking and role-based access control.

Now that Rancher has made the move to Kubernetes, Social Tables’ team plans to provision Kubernetes through the tech preview in Rancher 2.0 as soon as possible.

I’m very excited to get started with the Kube-native tools, like Helm, Draft and Istio, that are rapidly maturing.
Michael Dumontlead systems engineer in DevOps at Social Tables

“I’m very excited to get started with the Kube-native tools, like Helm, Draft and Istio, that are rapidly maturing,” Dumont said. Best-case scenario: Rancher’s rich user interface stays the same, and Social Tables picks up the “rich, consistent” Kubernetes API for its in-house tools, he said.

Kubernetes adoption wasn’t ever off the table for even enthusiastic Rancher users. To address growth and changing needs, Dealer Tire’s IT organization as a whole likely would have reassessed its container management tool set in 2018 and given Kubernetes a second look, Maurer said.

Maurer said he will rely on Rancher’s support to help the team through the conversion, while Dumont said he currently uses the community version without paid, enterprise-level support. It’s not only a technological change; Kubernetes adoption will affect Dealer Tire’s organization, such as who will make decisions about deployments and architecture, who will support the new technologies and who simply needs to be aware of changes occurring.

While there’s no sign of a slowdown in Kubernetes adoption, Maurer stressed the importance of tool choice for IT operations.

“I don’t necessarily like tying our wagons and investing everything we’ve got into one technology — we get pigeonholed into whatever that technology provides,” he said. Instead, when the team needs a feature, such as secrets management, they evaluate options for what works best.

“I don’t believe that one company has everything,” Maurer said.

Meredith Courtemanche is a senior site editor in TechTarget’s Data Center and Virtualization group, with sites including SearchITOperations, SearchWindowsServer and SearchExchange. Find her work @DataCenterTT or email her at mcourtemanche@techtarget.com.

Wanted – MacBook Pro 15″ Retina

I’m about to upload my Late-2015 15″ Retina.

Unfortunately no warranty, but Apple told me that it can be repaired under bank or home insurance cover. They fix it, send you the paperwork, you get the rebate from the insurance/bank.

If you can tell me how to do the battery count, i’ll reply with the details.

Condition, as you’d be buying from Apple brand new. I have OCD and keep all my items in good tact. My MacBook has always been carried in a protective ouch in my bag two and from work.

Reason for selling, way too powerful for what I need, resorting to a tablet.

Wanted – MacBook Pro 15″ Retina

I’m about to upload my Late-2015 15″ Retina.

Unfortunately no warranty, but Apple told me that it can be repaired under bank or home insurance cover. They fix it, send you the paperwork, you get the rebate from the insurance/bank.

If you can tell me how to do the battery count, i’ll reply with the details.

Condition, as you’d be buying from Apple brand new. I have OCD and keep all my items in good tact. My MacBook has always been carried in a protective ouch in my bag two and from work.

Reason for selling, way too powerful for what I need, resorting to a tablet.

Wanted – MacBook Pro 15″ Retina

I’m about to upload my Late-2015 15″ Retina.

Unfortunately no warranty, but Apple told me that it can be repaired under bank or home insurance cover. They fix it, send you the paperwork, you get the rebate from the insurance/bank.

If you can tell me how to do the battery count, i’ll reply with the details.

Condition, as you’d be buying from Apple brand new. I have OCD and keep all my items in good tact. My MacBook has always been carried in a protective ouch in my bag two and from work.

Reason for selling, way too powerful for what I need, resorting to a tablet.

Wanted – MacBook Pro 15″ Retina

I’m about to upload my Late-2015 15″ Retina.

Unfortunately no warranty, but Apple told me that it can be repaired under bank or home insurance cover. They fix it, send you the paperwork, you get the rebate from the insurance/bank.

If you can tell me how to do the battery count, i’ll reply with the details.

Condition, as you’d be buying from Apple brand new. I have OCD and keep all my items in good tact. My MacBook has always been carried in a protective ouch in my bag two and from work.

Reason for selling, way too powerful for what I need, resorting to a tablet.

Wanted – MacBook Pro 15″ Retina

I’m about to upload my Late-2015 15″ Retina.

Unfortunately no warranty, but Apple told me that it can be repaired under bank or home insurance cover. They fix it, send you the paperwork, you get the rebate from the insurance/bank.

If you can tell me how to do the battery count, i’ll reply with the details.

Condition, as you’d be buying from Apple brand new. I have OCD and keep all my items in good tact. My MacBook has always been carried in a protective ouch in my bag two and from work.

Reason for selling, way too powerful for what I need, resorting to a tablet.

Wanted – MacBook Pro 15″ Retina

I’m about to upload my Late-2015 15″ Retina.

Unfortunately no warranty, but Apple told me that it can be repaired under bank or home insurance cover. They fix it, send you the paperwork, you get the rebate from the insurance/bank.

If you can tell me how to do the battery count, i’ll reply with the details.

Condition, as you’d be buying from Apple brand new. I have OCD and keep all my items in good tact. My MacBook has always been carried in a protective ouch in my bag two and from work.

Reason for selling, way too powerful for what I need, resorting to a tablet.

Wanted – MacBook Pro 15″ Retina

I’m about to upload my Late-2015 15″ Retina.

Unfortunately no warranty, but Apple told me that it can be repaired under bank or home insurance cover. They fix it, send you the paperwork, you get the rebate from the insurance/bank.

If you can tell me how to do the battery count, i’ll reply with the details.

Condition, as you’d be buying from Apple brand new. I have OCD and keep all my items in good tact. My MacBook has always been carried in a protective ouch in my bag two and from work.

Reason for selling, way too powerful for what I need, resorting to a tablet.