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Customer experience world catches up on CCPA regulations

The California Consumer Privacy Act went into effect Jan. 1 but will not be enforced until July 1. Those in the customer experience realms of sales, marketing, e-commerce and customer service who’ve already created GDPR compliance plans are a good chunk of the way to CCPA compliance, experts say.

CX teams who work for companies outside California may view CCPA compliance as a lower priority than GDPR, because it only represents one U.S. state. That is the case for a majority of clients of Blue Fountain Media, a New York-based digital agency specializing in marketing, e-commerce and overall customer experience, said general manager Brian Byer.

“This particular law isn’t going to be what drives the behavior across the entire United States,” Byer said. “Being a New Yorker, California is looked upon as being a little quirky, and once this becomes a federal mandate you will see a massive consumer effect. As of today, until somebody gets a massive fine, it’s going to be something consumers aren’t as cognizant of as, say, HIPAA compliance if they’re going to the doctor every week.”

Nationally, consumer data protection proposals are under consideration in Washington and Oregon as well, prompting some companies such as Microsoft to make CCPA compliance its national standard as it prepares for users to scrutinize cloud companies’ data-privacy practices as a patchwork of state laws may eventually lead to a national umbrella regulation.

CCPA regulations chart
CCPA regulations touch numerous teams involved with customer experience.

Differences, similarities to GDPR

For CX teams, protecting customer privacy under CCPA is similar to the European GDPR law, which took effect in 2018, in that a core principle involves consumers’ “right to be forgotten,” or requiring a company to delete their personal data.

The differences between the two laws are borne of the different mindsets of the European and California legal systems, said IDC legal analyst Ryan O’Leary. CCPA makes an exception for customer loyalty programs, which are not covered under the law, while the GDPR doesn’t. CCPA also puts more responsibility on consumers to opt out of their data use for commercial purposes, rather than the company that holds the data.

Another difference with CCPA is that it gives consumers separate control over sale of their consumer data, the extent of which will remain somewhat “up in the air” until regulators decide what will and won’t be enforced, O’Leary added. But California consumers, in effect, can tell a company to hold on to their data, but not to sell it.

If you’re not selling the data, but third parties you’re working with are leveraging your consumer data and going ahead and selling it, you could be held liable.
Ryan O’LearyAnalyst, IDC

“Businesses have to provide a clearly visible and worded opt-out link on their websites [for data sales],” O’Leary said, adding that cloud software platforms add more legal questions about who is responsible for data-selling violations — which can add up quickly, with fines of $7,500 per violation — for selling a consumer’s data after consumers have opted out. “If you’re not selling the data, but third parties you’re working with are leveraging your consumer data and going ahead and selling it, you could be held liable.”

That said, O’Leary added that he sees companies trying to limit the number of opt-outs — and therefore, the compliance load — by making it harder to do. Those can include benign “are you sure?” boxes, more onerous web forms, or even requiring consumers to call a contact center to opt out over the phone. It’s all legal, fitting in with CCPA’s mandate requiring companies to offer consumers two modes of contact for consumers to opt out of personal data retention.

What companies CCPA covers

Despite the fear of potential CCPA fines that could intimidate digital marketing and call center teams for mishandling consumer information, not every company is affected by the regulation. First, a company has to do business with Californians. Second, the law covers only companies that either do $25 million in gross revenue, receive personal information from at least 50,000 consumer or derive at least 50% of annual revenue from selling consumers’ personal information.

Some nonprofits may be excluded, according to Jackson Lewis attorneys Joseph Lazzarotti and Jason Gavejian in their analysis of the law, which also includes which data points that the law considers personal information, such as biometric data, education records and even “audio, electronic, visual, thermal, olfactory or similar information.”

For CX teams using cloud platform technology platforms, complying with CCPA and other potential consumer data-protection laws coming down the pike involves unifying consumer data and breaking down data silos — something they’re been working on already for business purposes, said IDC’s O’Leary.

“The first step in complying with these types of laws is to clean up your house and information governance practices,” O’Leary said. “We really need to stop thinking and working in silos. We need to start data mapping. There’s plenty of tools and consultants out there to help. … It will cost, but [consumer trust] is worth any cost to get a handle on your data, where it is and who has it.”

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Guarding the shop: Rewind backup protects e-commerce data

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for e-commerce … that is, until your site goes down and customers can’t shop anymore.

That’s where Rewind backup comes in.

Rewind provides backup for e-commerce sites hosted on Shopify and BigCommerce.

“Most people don’t know they need a backup,” Rewind CEO Mike Potter said.

For example, an e-commerce business that uses Shopify and deletes a product or blog post is not covered just because it’s in the cloud. Similar to cloud-based applications such as Microsoft Office 365 and Salesforce, the provider protects its infrastructure, but not always your data.

However, in Office 365, for example, users have a place for deleted items that they can access if they delete an email by mistake. That’s not the case in a lot of e-commerce platforms where “there is no trash bin,” Potter said.

Potter, who is also a founder of Ottawa-based Rewind, said he’s lost data before, so he understands the pain. Launched four years ago, Rewind had one customer lose everything right before Christmas but restored the store to a safe point in time from before the incident.

As a way to bring the backup issue to the forefront, this holiday season Rewind is offering a free version of its data protection software. Rewind: One-Time enables retailers to conduct a free one-time backup of up to 10,000 products and related data in their online stores. The Rewind backup offer is available for BigCommerce and Shopify merchants.

After an incident, Rewind: One-Time users can restore their data to the time they installed the product.

There needs to be a way for everyone to have protection in this holiday season.
Mike PotterCEO, Rewind

The one-time backup for BigCommerce includes product, brand, category, option set and option data, while the Shopify backup includes products, product images, custom collections and smart collections. The backups are stored indefinitely in the Rewind Vault, which is hosted in various Amazon regions. Data is encrypted in transit and at rest.

It’s the first time Rewind has offered this one-time backup.

“There needs to be a way for everyone to have protection in this holiday season,” Potter said.

A jump forward with Rewind backup

For Crossrope, an online jump rope seller and workout provider based in Raleigh, N.C., “it’s the biggest season of the year,” said digital marketing specialist Andy Lam.

“To have Rewind as a tool for backing up, it just gives us peace of mind,” Lam said.

Before adopting Rewind, one afternoon at the end of a workday, Crossrope made a change to its theme code that broke the site. Customers couldn’t add items to their carts and the company lost out on orders and revenue in the process.

The company had a manual backup saved from 30 days prior and spent a lot of time trying to restore the site manually.

“That kickstarted trying to find a better solution,” Lam said.

Crossrope heard from BigCommerce, its e-commerce platform of choice, about Rewind backup. It was the first backup company that Crossrope contacted.

“Because they were a full-fledged cloud backup tool, it was a no-brainer,” Lam said.

Now if there are any incorrect changes like the previous incident, Crossrope can “rewind” to a known good point in time, in just a couple of clicks. The company has been using Rewind backup for about four months and hasn’t had a major incident. Rewind performs daily backups for Crossrope, which Lam said is enough.

Screenshot of Rewind backup
Rewind backup enables merchants to restore their stores to a safe point in time.

“Now we feel safe,” Lam said. “I know they’re covering a lot of bases for us.”

While Rewind can restore the code in a couple of clicks, Lam said he is hoping the backup vendor can speed up product restoration.

A Rewind recap

Though e-commerce data loss can result from malicious acts and third-party integrations, human error is a common cause.

“We’ve seen everything,” Potter said. (Think of a cat jumping on a keyboard.) “You don’t get any warnings you’re going to have a disaster.”

Rewind claims more than 10,000 small and medium-sized enterprises as customers.

If they want backups more recent than the one-time protection, Rewind: One-Time users can upgrade to one of the paid options during the holiday season or beyond. Pricing ranges from $9 to $299 per month, depending on the size of the store and the number of orders. Many customers perform a daily Rewind backup, Potter said.

The Rewind: One-Time offer is available through Dec. 31, 2019. Customers who use it will have access to that backup indefinitely.

Rewind also provides backup for Mailchimp email marketing and QuickBooks Online accounting data.

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The story of ADLaM is now a limited-run hardcover book from Story Labs

The African language Fulfulde is spoken by more than 50 million people worldwide. But until recently this centuries-old language lacked an alphabet of its own.

Abdoulaye and Ibrahima Barry were just young boys when they set out to change that. While other children were out playing, the Barry brothers would hole up in their family’s house in Nzérékoré, Guinea, carefully drawing shapes on paper that would eventually become ADLaM – an acronym for “the alphabet that will prevent a people from being lost.”

In the decades since, ADLaM has sparked a revolution in literacy, community and cultural preservation among Fulani people across the world. Abdoulaye and Ibrahima have dedicated their lives to sustaining these efforts, including expanding ADLaM’s reach through Unicode adoption. And thanks to support from a dedicated cross-company team at Microsoft, ADLaM is now available in Windows and Office.

My team at Microsoft Story Labs recently had the privilege of working with Abdoulaye and Ibrahima on a longform feature story about ADLaM. Today I’m happy to announce that we’ve printed a limited-run book version of that story that contains both the original English and an ADLaM translation, so the community of millions now using ADLaM can enjoy it in print. A few copies of the book will be available in a contest giveaway by Microsoft Design on Twitter. The rest will go directly into the hands of the amazing people behind the unique achievement that is ADLaM.

When you’ve been working in the digital realm for most of your career like I have, it’s kind of a treat to make something you can hold in your own two hands! But the biggest reward here was the opportunity to shine a light on remarkable people like Abdoulaye and Ibrahima who have achieved so much, and the team at Microsoft who lent a hand.

Steve Wiens

Microsoft Story Labs

Story by Deborah Bach & Sara Lerner. Design by Daniel Victor.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Player Spotlight: Meet Spencer Allen | Xbox

You don’t really fail until you quit.

In 2016, “I was at Sauvie Island, a popular park here in Portland,” says Spencer. “I ran and dove into the water—the next thing I knew, I was floating upside-down in the water and I couldn’t move, couldn’t turn around. I was drowning.”

Through hard work, he has regained some function in his upper limbs. As soon as he was able, he went back to school to get his degree in Civil Engineering. “I wanted to jump back into school and get back to it — just something to get my brain working.“

Any inventor knows it takes a lot of trial and error to create something you’re happy with. This might discourage most people, but for Spencer, “you don’t really fail until you quit.”

The Xbox Adaptive Controller allows users to connect switches, buttons, joysticks, and mounts to create a custom controller that suits their needs and abilities. There’s a level of DIY involved, and Spencer was up for the challenge. “It’s been a cycle of learning and doing.”

Gaming for Everyone

Learn more about how we’re making gaming more fun for billions of people around the world
by being inclusive of all, accessible for all, and safe for all.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

AI, blockchain top healthcare CIO’s list of emerging tech

Geoffrey Brown was sure finance was where his career was headed, until his mother-in-law became ill. That’s when he witnessed firsthand the “support and compassion” with which she was handled by the healthcare industry.

Brown, who had an IT career in banking, started volunteering with the same hospice program that helped his mother-in-law, until his involvement grew and he was eventually offered the position of healthcare CIO at Georgia Baptist, now Tenet Healthcare. Thirty-five years later, Brown is now CIO at Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta where he said he plays an increasingly strategic role. That includes keeping an eye on technologies he thinks will have a significant impact on healthcare, specifically artificial intelligence and blockchain. 

In this Q&A, Brown discusses how the healthcare CIO role has changed from an organization’s technical expert to leader of strategic initiatives, as well as what he thinks the CIO role will look like in the future.

How did you get your start in health IT?

Geoffrey Brown: I was already in the banking, finance industry, and that’s where I thought I wanted to go. But my mother-in-law, who was a nurse, was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was a young husband, and my wife and I made a decision to do home hospice care, and that whole experience with the visiting nurse and the doctors that came and the network of clinicians that supported her was something new to me. I had never been around that kind of support and compassion and it affected me. After she passed away, I decided to become a hospice volunteer.

In the financial industry, we had access to all types of technology. I was a programmer, so I automated some of my reporting back then. The director of the hospice program asked if I could do some of that work for the hospice program and that was my entry point. Back then you had to write programs; you couldn’t buy these systems off the shelf.

How has the role of healthcare CIO changed?

Brown: In the early days, you were probably the most knowledgeable person in your organization around any form of technology. How you were promoted back then and the way you rose up was by being someone who was capable of understanding the technology and working with engineers and the programming, network-type staff, yet able to translate information to the business teams and the operational staff in an effective manner. Fast forward a few years, and as technology became more intertwined with healthcare, the role shifted from being tactical to strategic. Now, you’re in a more visionary, strategic, planning role and you have to be able to put teams together to execute on those visions, strategies and plans.

What challenges do healthcare CIOs face today?

Brown: There are three different areas that jump out to me. One is we’ve got to do things that ensure productivity, that we are bringing the right technologies into play to drive our services and provide consistency with how we formulate things — from our clinical workflow processes, so that we have standardized processes that are repeatable, all the way through our revenue cycle for billing and collection. You have to stay current and make sure you’re providing the latest access to systems and technologies for staff to be efficient in the work that they do.

The second area is around external threats. You hear people say cybersecurity, but I use the general term of security and protection of your digital assets. That’s a big part of what we have to stay conversant with. We have to make sure we’re following all of the right best practices and also getting ahead of that curve.

The third area is around the strategy component of it. You may hear terms like blockchain, AI and the ways those things are connecting and providing more efficient ways to manage care, to interact with the public, etcetera. We need to take a look at where we are, spend a fair amount of time in that space, and make sure we’re positioned to empower our staff to be the best they can be around those types of things.

What technologies and trends do you put stock into? What are you keeping an eye on?

Brown: We spent a fair amount of time in previous years building up our data analytics and reporting capabilities. I think we are doing very well in that space, and we’re starting to probe into predictive analytics. The analytics can only take you so far, and that’s where the artificial intelligence kicks in. We are less mature in artificial intelligence, but the application for it is huge and that’s where we’re placing some future bets. Also in our call centers, AI has become so good in some areas … around routine types of things.

We are less mature in artificial intelligence, but the application for it is huge and that’s where we’re placing some future bets.
Geoffrey BrownCIO, Piedmont Healthcare

With blockchain, there have not been great applications for it in healthcare. But I predict there will be and it will certainly be around security … because of its ability to identify various elements, resources, definitions of use scenarios, which will allow you to match up people and data in ways that are more secure than current methodologies.

The third area, that quite frankly will always be there, are infrastructures associated with our cyber challenges.

What project have you led at Piedmont as healthcare CIO that you consider impactful?

Brown: During the five years I’ve been here, we’ve doubled the size of our organization through mergers and acquisitions. Part of that process required us to integrate those organizations into the Piedmont systems — such as human resources systems, procurement and supply systems, financial systems, our electronic health record — so we could make sure if a patient came into Piedmont that, as rapidly as possible, their information would be known throughout our system statewide. Our health system is spread out across the state, so it was critical from a strategic perspective to make sure we had [consistent] policies and practices, which talk about providing care depending on the condition a patient presents with and to make those things happen as quickly as possible. We’ve been able to successfully integrate the technology — and, I think most importantly, the cultures — in a very successful manner.

Where is the role of the healthcare CIO headed?

Brown: I find myself more and more at the front end of thinking about how do we grow the business, how do we get waste out of the business, and operations, how do we enable our markets in more effective ways. I do see it becoming more and more intertwined with the business of the organization. I see us moving deeper into spots around analytics, predictive modeling and those types of things so that we can manage our resources, anticipate patient needs more than we can today, and support our physicians around decision-making using data as a driver. I see the strategic piece becoming more and more important as time goes on.

Editor’s note: Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

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With new cloud technologies, Lexmark evolves printers into smart IoT machines | Transform

Printers tend not to be top of mind in the digital age, until you need that critical document or can’t ship an order without an invoice. When employees have printing issues and calls to the help desk spike, a robust print environment suddenly feels vital.

Lexmark, a global printing and imaging solutions leader, understands the importance. Based in Lexington, Kentucky, the company is transforming its printers and services with artificial intelligence, cloud technologies and an IoT (Internet of Things) platform to simplify and improve printing for customers. But first, Lexmark had to transform itself.

The organization underwent a massive digital renovation last year, with an upgrade to Windows 10 and migration to Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365. The move enabled Lexmark to reduce its IT expenses by 25 percent and the number of IT-related problems by 40 percent. It also affected the company’s entire 9,000-person workforce in 170 countries and all business operations, from sales to distribution to manufacturing.

“It was part of a strategy to enable our associates to be more collaborative and responsive, so we can deliver an excellent customer experience,” says Brad Clay, chief information and compliance officer at Lexmark. “We want to become a more agile organization and part of our vision statement is to develop customers for life.”

headshot of Brad Clay
Brad Clay, Lexmark chief information and compliance officer. (Photo by Mark Mahan, courtesy of Lexmark)

The new, streamlined technologies have helped Lexmark evolve its printers into smart,  IoT machines and deliver innovations like Cloud Print Infrastructure, a new subscription service for customers to pay for only what they print. So instead of buying and maintaining the physical infrastructure of printers and print servers, customers can now access a secure cloud print environment managed by Lexmark and powered by Azure. They can simplify IT complexity related to print.

“This is really moving print to that next level,” says Clay. “Our ability to leverage the Microsoft cloud allows us to deploy industry-leading offers at a price point that wasn’t possible before.”

Machine learning algorithms on Lexmark’s IoT platform can factor in a customer’s busy print times, such as the end of a quarter or start of a new year. They can predict maintenance before a printer needs repairs and calculate the right time to order more toner before a cartridge goes dry. Real-time data from connected printers will also feed into Lexmark’s Dynamics 365 connected field service solution, launching this year for intelligent, end-to-end customer service.

“It’s about making the digital thread – design, manufacturing, delivery, customer support – more complete and full-featured, and connecting the entire process for a customer,” says Clay. IoT data will also help Lexmark monitor the life cycle of its products to improve the design, manufacturing and deployment of new models.

A large part of Lexmark’s agility and productivity now stems from Microsoft Teams, a teamwork hub in Microsoft 365 that integrates chat, calls, video, meetings and file sharing. The app replaced a set of disconnected office tools that required Lexmark associates to constantly switch systems.

“We continuously ran into barriers and it became awkward,” says Sven Dellagnolo, Lexmark director of global sales enablement. “I would have to exit one environment and open another and presume the other person could do the same on their device. Then someone wasn’t on the right version, it would crash in their browser, or somebody’s login wasn’t working. Teams solved all of that.”

The app has strengthened collaboration for all groups at Lexmark but has been especially helpful for global teams like Dellagnolo’s that work across continents. Organized channels and archives help associates quickly catch up on workflows from different time zones. An embedded translation feature reduces language barriers between Lexmark teams in North America, Asia and Europe. With 50,000 meeting participants, 17,000 one-on-one calls and 4 million chat messages hosted in Teams each month, Lexmark has bolstered what Clay calls a “culture of empowerment.”

close-up of a badge swipe in front of a printer
Lexmark printer employee badge authentication.

“Tools like Teams help us become a faster learning organization and share what we learn to make us more productive,” he says.

For Lexmark, modern cloud technologies enhance the company’s long history of research and development, and deep understanding of customers, who range from small businesses to the largest global banks and retailers. The tools help deliver solutions that make life easier for Lexmark’s customers, from simplifying the IT of printers to enabling secure printouts with employee badge authentication.

“Purchasing Microsoft technology is beyond just operating efficiently for ourselves,” says Dellagnolo. “It really translates into how we solve our customers’ problems.”

Top photo: A Lexmark printer. All photos courtesy of Lexmark. 

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Author: Microsoft News Center

For Sale – DELL Latitude 5480

For sale is my DELL Latitude 5480.

Warrantied until December 21 2018
Onsite Warranty until January 30th 2021

Excellent Condition. Only selling as I’ve just purchased a MB Pro.

Specification
14” FHD Screen
Windows 10
Intel i5-7200 CPU @ 2.5GHz
8Gb RAM
256Gb SSD

I no longer have the original box nor receipt.

I’ll post pictures this evening once home from work

Price and currency: 400
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: BT
Location: Chorley, Lancashire
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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