Tag Archives: world

The cloud-enabled workforce: Prepping IT staff for success

In the world of IT, change is the new normal. Consider cloud computing: The cloud is not just changing how IT works, but also driving a shift in desired IT skill sets.

Modern-day IT staff needs to acquire a new set of domain skills for process automation, architecture, resource optimization and cost management to drive cloud-based initiatives, according to a recent guide published by the Cloud Standards Customer Council about how to help grow and develop a cloud-enabled workforce.

Fostering a cloud-enabled workforce also helps drive agility, efficiency and transformation, said Jeff Boleman, cloud lead and cognitive architect at IBM and a contributor to the guide. Boleman cited a CEB survey that forecasted a dramatic increase in the need for security and cloud hosting skills, making the development of a skilled, cloud-enabled workforce more pertinent than ever.

“It’s really about training, because, at the end of the day, you are owning what you do as a company; you need to be responsible for it and take charge of it,” he said during a recent webinar.

Developing a framework for cloud skills training: Six steps

Any strategy for ongoing cloud skills training should ideally align with the organization’s cloud transformation plans or an existing cloud strategy, said Lisa Schenkewitz, executive IT architect at IBM and a co-contributor to the guide. 

The first step to develop a cloud-enabled workforce requires understanding the existing culture. This necessitates an awareness of organizational values and the way people interact, as well as a basic understanding of what it is like to actually work in the organization, Schenkewitz explained.

“You can use that knowledge as a framework to understand other aspects of the company, such as how easy is it to change IT processes … and [get] a basic understanding of what it is to be on the cloud on the leadership level,” Schenkewitz said.

The next step is to understand the skills that are needed. Traditional IT skills might not be required in the new cloud environment, she said. Non-IT skills that might prove valuable include contract management, business process change and accounting experience, as well as domain knowledge for operations in the cloud, like DevSecOps, IT frameworks and IT governance processes, she said.

Adopt a consistent, intentional program to communicate, celebrate, sustain and embrace the habits of ongoing skills training.
Lisa Schenkewitzexecutive IT architect at IBM

Step three is to understand the organization’s existing skills and where the gaps exist. When talking to different team members, consider questions such as what existing skills can be used, whether there is an opportunity or desire for retraining and what skills are missing entirely, she suggested.

Organizations can then move on to understand and identify what needs to be remediated in order to be successful. Once a complete examination of the skills and process gaps is done, a plan can be devised to remediate them, she said.

Remediation planning and execution comes next. Schenkewitz advised looking for ways to effectively engage current team members and develop ways to attract new talents and skills, like offering internships and apprenticeships.

The final step is to be ready to embrace change.

“It’s going to be an ongoing rollercoaster ride,” she said. “But the most important thing to remember is to adopt a consistent, intentional program to communicate, celebrate, sustain and embrace the habits of ongoing skills training.”

Best practices for cloud skills training

William Van Order, fellow emeritus, Lockheed MartinWilliam Van Order

Letting IT take a key role in crafting some of the cloud education programs is essential, according to William Van Order, computer systems architect and fellow emeritus at Lockheed Martin in Bethesda, Md.

Apart from taking advantage of the wide range of knowledge-sharing tools in existence, he encouraged companies to “leverage as much of what you find out of the box in terms of training content,” but customize that basic training to fit their needs, added Van Order, who also led the development of the guide.

Recognizing the accomplishment of those who are willing to take control of their career development is also paramount, he said.

“Make sure that you integrate learning and knowledge training objectives into the performance objectives of your key staff so that you can measure that and recognize that,” he said. “That really sends a positive message to the workforce.”

Microsoft Inspire 2018

Inspire 2018: Opening doors for partner innovation, growth and differentiation

Organizations around the world are undergoing transformation fueled by cloud, artificial intelligence, mixed reality, and the Internet of Things. These technologies are helping businesses and society reach new heights – retail is becoming more personal, banking is becoming more seamless, and healthcare is becoming more predictive and preventive.

At the heart of these incredible stories of transformation – and more – are Microsoft partners. The Microsoft partner ecosystem is a group of hundreds of thousands of organizations driving positive, global impact. Building everything from line-of-business apps to industry-specific solutions on Dynamics 365 to gaming experiences, these companies are a natural extension of the team at Microsoft, delivering cutting-edge technology to millions of customers.

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First-Ever Xbox Gaming Tournament Hosted at 2018 Special Olympic USA Games – Xbox Wire

The Xbox Gaming Tournament at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games was a first in the world of competitive video gaming. Xbox and Special Olympics partnered to facilitate the pilot video gaming tournament at a Special Olympics event, featuring Forza Motorsport 7 on July 2nd at the USA Games in Seattle, Washington. Players across the nation came together throughout the month of April to compete in prelims for a spot in the final tournament and a chance to win a custom-wrapped Xbox One X prize.

The Xbox Gaming Tournament originated from a hackathon in last year’s Microsoft One Week, where employees spend an entire week to go work on passion projects. Stephen Smith, Karen Woessner Smith, and Thomas Labuzienski all came together to map out what a competitive video gaming tournament at Special Olympics would look like.

The goal of this pilot tournament was to make esports more accessible, reducing the high bar to entry which currently causes competitors to feel intimidated. Xbox and Special Olympics put together a smaller-scale tournament, with high-quality production value, in hopes this model can be leveraged at other venues to empower all gamers that want to compete and bring the joy of esports to more people.

The athletes were competing for a chance to win a 2018 Special Olympics USA Games custom edition Xbox One X, of which there are only TWO in the world!

Unified Teams and Prelims

The competitors played in Unified Teams, a model within Special Olympics where teams consist of an athlete with an intellectual disability and one without. During the prelims, athletes across the country competed on the same tracks, with the same cars and those with the fastest combined times advanced to the finals. After qualifying rounds in four states across the nation, four teams from Utah, three teams from Washington, and one team from Connecticut that qualified for the 2018 USA Games.

The athletes competed in Forza Motorsport 7, a racing video game published by Microsoft Studios; the game was chosen by the team for its multiple accessibility features and existing esports presence. Speaking of esports, members of our very own Forza Racing Championship team showed up in full-force to manage the pilot competitive gaming tournament to professional standards and maintain competitive integrity.

Tournament Semifinals Bracket

To kick off the tournament, we were incredibly fortunate to have the Chairman of Special Olympics, Tim Shriver, speak to his excitement about the tournament being at this year’s USA Games, as well as his intentions to take gaming global to the Special Olympics World Games. His message on evolving our thinking to focus more on everyone’s different abilities really touched home on the message of inclusion of the USA Games.

For the semifinals, all eight teams competed in the same tracks/cars in two separate groups, and were seeded by their preliminary times. There was a diverse array of courses and cars to test the athlete’s capabilities whether it be managing twists and turns, or dealing with different handling capabilities of different cars. Scores were determined by points, which were then tallied up across the three races to determine their final scores. The top two teams from each semifinal bracket proceeded to the final four to compete for the ultimate prize, the custom 2018 Special Olympics USA Games Xbox One X console.

Finals

With four teams remaining, three teams from Utah and one from Washington, it came down to the final seconds in an action-packed, nail-biting finish. The crowd erupted into applause as the leaders of the pack crossed the finish line. Team Dempsey, aka “Team Shake and Bake” from Washington state were announced as the winners of the first-ever gaming tournament. The team, Timothy Dempsey and Nicholas Rasmussen, didn’t know each other before the preliminary tournament in April. They coordinated schedules as time allowed over the last few months, and that practice really showed off as they were able to take home the gold. The friendship and teamwork between the two in this tournament speaks to the success of the Special Olympics Unified Teams program.

Tim and Nicholas were presented with the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games Custom Consoles by Alan Hartman, the head of Turn 10 Studios, creators of the Forza Motorsport franchise. Tim Dempsey summed it up best with his response to the question “how do you feel” that he was “speechless” – to see this first of its kind video gaming tournament finish up with such excitement and a full house of spectators speaks to the future of inclusion and the future of competitive gaming.

The winning team, Nicholas Rasmussen and Tim Dempsey of Team Dempsey AKA “Team Shake and Bake” with Beth Knox, President and CEO of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games. 

The Next Day…

The following morning, the athletes and other members of the Gaming Special Olympics team were invited to tour the Microsoft Studios where they were given a tour of both 343 Industries and Turn10 Studios. Alan Hartman personally gave the athletes a tour of the gaming studio and even brought out a couple McLarens for the athletes to take photos with!

So, What’s Next?

Partnering with Special Olympics to bring the Xbox Gaming Tournament to life was an incredible experience, and we’re thankful for everyone’s hard work and dedication. The tournament was packed to the brim with spectators, and we’re thrilled by the excitement surrounding competitive gaming tournaments. We hope to take the lessons we’ve gained from this pilot tournament and apply them to future opportunities to empower more gamers to compete.

‘Defining moment’ for Seattle as Microsoft, Amazon, others support Special Olympics USA Games

Michel Kozoris raises his arms after competing in the Special Olympics World Summer Games in 2011. (Photo via Special Olympics)

Seattle-area tech companies are making a statement about building an inclusive workforce as the city hosts one of the largest sporting events in the region’s history.

More than 3,000 athletes will arrive in the Emerald City next week for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games and compete across 14 sports. The event, now in its 50th year, not only spotlights the talent of athletes with intellectual disabilities, but perhaps more importantly promotes inclusion beyond the playing field.

“In many ways, this can and should be a defining moment for the Seattle community,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in an interview with GeekWire. “It’s a great opportunity to show the nation that we aspire to be a real city and region of inclusion.”

This group raised a Special Olympics flag atop the Space Needle in Seattle on Friday morning. From left to right: Beth Knox, CEO, Special Olympics USA Games; Allen Stone,singer/songwriter; Devon Adelman, Special Olympics athlete; Brad Smith, Microsoft President; and Taye Diggs, singer and author.

Microsoft is the presenting sponsor of the games. The Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant is a long-time supporter of the Special Olympics through donations of software, technical assistance and even cell phones over the years.

But the company is stepping up even more with the games in its backyard this year. It’s a reflection of Microsoft’s broader focus on accessibility — one that got away from the company until Satya Nadella took over as CEO in 2014, Smith said. “We lost our industry leadership position in terms of meeting the needs of people with disabilities,” he said.

That renewed commitment has helped spur a larger culture shift across the company, Smith said. He pointed to products like the new Xbox Adaptive Controller and the company’s $25 million AI for Accessibility Initiative as examples.

More than 2,000 employees will be volunteering at the games next week. Microsoft’s Xbox division is also hosting the first-ever video game tournament at the USA Games.

“If you think about our mission of empowering everyone, then fundamentally we have to do a good job of meeting the needs of the billion-plus people on the planet that have some kind of disability, temporary or permanent,” Smith added. He and Nadella will speak at the Opening Ceremony on Sunday at Husky Stadium with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

Devon Adelman, a Special Olympics USA Games athlete and ambassador, speaks at Microsoft’s Ability Summit in May. (Photo via Microsoft)

Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, and other companies are participating in the first-ever job fair at a Special Olympics USA Games this year called “Journey of Employment,” where athletes will gain career advice and meet with potential employers. It’s designed to raise awareness for a talent pool that organizers say is often overlooked.

“These partners are committed to creating inclusive work cultures and to helping improve the unemployment rate for people with disabilities,” said Special Olympics USA Games CEO Beth Knox.

The unemployment rate of people with disabilities was 9.2 percent in 2017, double that of the rate for those without disabilities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And even with government support, nearly 29 percent of disabled, working-age Americans live below the poverty level, according to U.S. Census data. That line is set at $12,082 for one person.

Artists known as “They Drift” created a mural that was placed on Amazon’s campus in Seattle as part of the “Choose to Include” campaign for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games. (Photo via Amazon)

Amazon will also be heavily involved next week. The e-commerce giant is sponsoring the closing ceremony near its campus in South Lake Union and will have more than 400 employees volunteering throughout the games. It is also donating boxed lunches for athletes throughout the week via FareStart and launched a neighborhood restaurant campaign this month called “Choose to Include.”

Amazon says it is committed to inclusive hiring. It runs an Alternative Workforce Supplier Program that identifies people with disabilities for hire in the company’s fulfillment centers. The company also partners with Northwest Center, a Seattle-based nonprofit supporting mentally and physically disabled adults and children that provides employees to Amazon. Many of its products and software services offer accessibility features, too.

“At Amazon, diversity and inclusion are an inherent part of our culture,” said Beth Galetti, Amazon’s senior vice president of human resources. “The unique talents, experiences, and backgrounds of our employees are the driving force which enables us to build and innovate on behalf of millions of customers around the world.”

Amazon’s Spheres glow purple in Seattle this past March as the company joined others in marking 100 days until the Special Olympics USA Games begin in the city. (Amazon Photo / Jordan Stead)

Bellevue, Wash.-based wireless carrier T-Mobile and coffee giant Starbucks are getting involved as well. T-Mobile, which has more than 7,000 members in its Access for Disabilities Network, created a text-to-give program that enables donations for the games.

Starbucks has hundreds of employees who are volunteering at the event. For the past three years, Starbucks has received a 100 percent score on the Disability Equality Index survey sponsored by the American Association of People with Disabilities and the U.S. Business Leadership Network.

“Going forward, I would like in my lifetime to see where you hire somebody – a barista who has autism and it goes viral and it’s on the “Ellen” show – that that doesn’t get the attention anymore. That it just is commonplace,” Starbucks manager of Equal Opportunity Initiatives Marthalee Galeota said in 2016. “We have one world – one accessible world where disability is adaptability, it’s humanity, it’s innovation and it’s our global responsibility.”

Smith, Microsoft’s president, said the tech industry should consider how products take into account the needs of people with disabilities, while pursuing new breakthroughs that meet their needs in new ways.

He also said employers should involve people with disabilities in the creation of products. One phrase used in the community is “nothing should be created for us, without us.”

“The key to long-term product improvement for this important community is actually to do a much better job of bringing them into our workforce and making them a key part of our overall ecosystem,” Smith said.

You can get tickets to the USA Games or sign up to volunteer here.

New tools unveiled to monitor, manage and optimize SAP environments


The world of the SAP intelligent enterprise requires new tools to monitor, manage and optimize SAP environments as they evolve to include new SAP platforms, integrations and advanced technologies.

SAP’s vision of the intelligent enterprise includes SAP Data Hub, which incorporates integration and data management components, and it shows the company can embrace modern open source platforms, like Hadoop and Spark, and hybrid and multi-cloud deployment, according to Doug Henschen, an analyst at Constellation Research.

This openness, along with extending cloud initiatives to Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and IBM private cloud instances, necessitated a move to bring customers hybrid and multi-cloud data management capabilities, Henschen said.

“The Data Hub, in particular, facilitates hybrid and multi-cloud data access without data movement and copying,” he said. “This is crucial in harnessing data from any source, no matter where it may be running, to facilitate data-driven decisioning.”

At SAP Sapphire Now 2018, several vendors unveiled new tools — or updates to existing ones — that address some of the challenges associated with moving SAP systems to the intelligent enterprise landscape.

  • Tricentis Tosca’s continuous testing method is designed to keep pace with modern SAP environments, unlike traditional testing methods, which were built for previous versions of SAP applications. These legacy testing systems may not always adequately support S/4HANA and Fiori 2.0, so many SAP users have to use manual testing to validate releases, according to Tricentis. Cloud-enabled Tricentis Tosca 11.2 now supports a variety of the newest SAP versions, including S/4HANA and Fiori 2.0.
  • Worksoft announced the release of Worksoft Interactive Capture 2.0, which is test automation software for SAP environments. Worksoft Interactive Capture 2.0 operates on the principle that it’s critical to keep existing SAP applications operating as new systems and applications are being developed. Worksoft Interactive Capture 2.0 allows business users and application functional experts to create automated business workflows, test documentation and test cases.
  • Virtual Forge announced its CodeProfiler for HANA can now scan the SAPUI5 programming language. CodeProfiler for HANA provides detailed information on code quality as a programmer writes code, similar to spell check on a word processor, according to Virtual Forge. This allows coders to identify and manage performance, security and compliance deficiencies early in the HANA application development process. Reducing or eliminating performance decline and application downtime is particularly critical, as HANA enables real-time business applications.
  • As more organizations move their SAP environments to S/4HANA — or plan to — it becomes important to understand how users actually interact with SAP applications. Knoa Software showed a new version of its user experience management application, Knoa UEM for Enterprise Applications — it’s also resold by SAP as SAP User Experience Management by Knoa. The product allows organizations to view and analyze how users are interacting with SAP applications, including activities that lead to errors, never-used applications and workarounds that are needed because an application’s software is bad, according to Knoa. The latest version of Knoa UEM for Enterprise Applications allows companies that are migrating to S/4HANA to analyze usage on a range of SAP applications, including SAP Fiori, SAP Business Client, SAP Enterprise Portal and SAP GUI for Windows. It can also be used for SAP Leonardo application development by determining how customers actually use the applications and developing a business case for the application based on accurate measurements of user experience improvements in the new apps.
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance is a huge issue now, and Attunity released Gold Client for Data Protection, a data governance application for SAP environments. Gold Client for Data Protection enables the identification and masking of personally identifiable information across production SAP ECC systems, according to Attunity. The software helps organizations to find PII across SAP systems, which then enables them to enforce GDPR’s “right to be forgotten” mandate.

Dig Deeper on SAP development

For Sale – corsair M65 Pro RGB (price drop second time)

purchased about 6 months ago from pc world, but really used for a month or two, as I prefer Logitech for office work.

the box might be a bit tatty. but the mouse is in a very good condition and comes with receipt.

Price and currency: was £40, was £35, now £30
Delivery:
Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: ppg bt
Location: Peterborough
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – corsair M65 Pro RGB (price drop second time)

purchased about 6 months ago from pc world, but really used for a month or two, as I prefer Logitech for office work.

the box might be a bit tatty. but the mouse is in a very good condition and comes with receipt.

Price and currency: was £40, was £35, now £30
Delivery:
Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: ppg bt
Location: Peterborough
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – corsair M65 Pro RGB (price drop second time)

purchased about 6 months ago from pc world, but really used for a month or two, as I prefer Logitech for office work.

the box might be a bit tatty. but the mouse is in a very good condition and comes with receipt.

Price and currency: was £40, was £35, now £30
Delivery:
Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: ppg bt
Location: Peterborough
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

IoT investment into field management software slow in coming

BOSTON — In today’s connected world, data is everywhere. McDonald’s knows that it sells roughly 75 hamburgers every second across its locations. Airline companies know that a plane lifts off every two seconds in the U.S. What’s the use of this data, however, if companies can’t access it or act on it to provide better efficiency or prevent downtime?

Field management software provider ServiceMax Inc. is hoping its alignment with asset performance management through General Electric’s Predix platform helps customers tie their data to actionable outcomes with the hopes of IoT investment, the main theme at the Maximize 2018 Boston conference, a day-long event taking place in a select number of cities throughout the year.

“The mission of field service management is less service equals more,” said Scott Berg, CEO of ServiceMax, to the roughly 300 attendees. “Customers think of uptimes and outcomes — your customers bought something to produce. They don’t want you there in the first place.”

In the opening keynote, Berg touched on the unfulfilled promise of IoT. Roughly $3 trillion will be spent on IoT investment and connectivity and service by 2020, according to Deloitte, yet there’s still a disconnect or unfulfilled promise according to Berg.

“What people want to evolve to is a predictive model for maintenance,” he said.

‘Technical hell’

The IoT movement is already here — its scope depending on the industry you’re looking at. According to 2017 research by Gartner, the consumer segment is the largest user base of connected devices, with smart TVs, security cameras and electric meters among the consumer devices that have taken an IoT approach.

The B2B market for IoT is also substantial; a seemingly endless array of machines require updates and maintenance. By 2020, Gartner expects there to be more than 20 billion connected devices between consumer and business uses — all requiring some form of field management software to help monitor and alert users when something goes awry.

While this influx of connected devices is real and upon us, there still exists this unfulfilled promise of the return of an IoT investment for some customers — mainly due to the initial cost of the investment to upgrade or replace connected products.

What people want IoT to evolve to is a predictive model for maintenance … Before IoT, the customer was the sensor.
Scott BergCEO, ServiceMax

Several attendees at the Maximize event, ranging from customers to vendor partners, cited the initial investment required to make manufacturing tools or construction machines smart. If a manufacturing company is investing in its equipment today, there’s a good chance that IoT capabilities and field management software will be a cornerstone of that growth.

But many companies that on the surface fit the description for IoT capabilities don’t see now as the right time for an IoT investment — whether that’s due to market maturation, the cost of upgrading inventory to be connected or if their use cases don’t reap the benefits of IoT measurement and the need for field management software.

“A lot of IoT is applied at medical device and life science [companies], and it’s ‘Look at this problem we’ve discovered and we fix it and the problem goes away,'” Berg said in a roundtable with media and analysts. “What’s lost with that is the [field management software] benefit doesn’t live on; it doesn’t repeat and learn from itself.”

This one-and-done aspect of some IoT projects should “scare C-level executives to death,” according to Eddie Amos, CTO for GE Digital. “If you go out and build a one-off customized solution, you’re in technical hell forever.”

A predictive model for maintenance

What this movement toward more connectivity and IoT investment means for customers — and the customers of field management software — is less maintenance and more timely repairs.

“Before IoT, the customer was the sensor,” Berg said.

And while field service management is evolving to a more proactive maintenance approach, the industry is still a long way from complete predictive maintenance.

“We can tell you based on algorithms that there may be an issue,” Amos said. “But you still need to go out and service it. Right now, it’s about getting the right people at the right place at the right time.”