Is it possible to migrate 100% of your data ecosystem to the cloud? Join Joe Caserta as he takes you on a complete journey to digital transformation mapping out on-prem data footprint and walking it to the cloud. Joe will also explain how the modern ecosystem supports Artificial Intelligence and will include business use cases to back each of his insights.
Software development cycles are increasingly difficult to predict, and the uncertainty can make teams feel as if they have lost control over the consistency of software testing. But this doesn’t have to be the case. In this article, I will detail here a number of ways to improve the predictability of software testing across multiple teams and projects that will lead to improved performance and greater success.
Facebook is broadening the scope of Workplace with 50 new integrations, allowing companies to link their Workplace deployments to numerous popular enterprise SaaS tools.
The new functionalities, unveiled today at the social network’s annual conference in California, include partnerships and tie-ups with some of the biggest business software providers in the market, such as Atlassian, ServiceNow, Adobe and more.
These integrations are part of Facebook’s effort to move Workplace away from its genesis as a Slack-style business collaboration tool to the business automation tool Facebook envisions it becoming.
“Basically what it means is that Workplace is going from collaboration and communication to automation and IT integration,” Facebook’s vice president of Workplace, Julien Cordoniou, told Cloud Pro.
“You’ll see the usual suspects; the apps and the integrations that people have to use every day to get the job done, and they’ll be using Workplace as the one app that will connect all of their other apps [to] help the job to get done much faster.”
Facebook’s reimagining of Workplace came partly in response to seeing software developer users using Workplace to collaborate, but Jira to track the progress of agile projects.
“A lot of companies are using Workplace on one side and Jira on the other side,” Cordoniou explained, “so what we did was to connect these two apps to use Workplace as the place of discovery and distribution and notification, but we’d take you to Jira as often as possible.”
Along with Jira, Cordoniou was keen to talk about the new integrations with Microsoft’s Sharepoint, Marketo and SurveyMonkey. The new integrations will be available only to companies who subscribe to Workplace’s ‘Premium’ tier.
However, the SaaS integrations that Workplace originally launched with in 2016 – Box, Office 365, Okta, Salesforce and others – are now being made available to the service’s ‘Standard’ tier users.
Although Facebook has announced a slew of new integrations for its enterprise platform, Cordoniou was keen to stress that Workplace is not an open ecosystem where anyone is free to upload their own apps and integrations. “This is a directory; a closed and highly curated directory,” he said.
While any large SaaS companies that have not already been approached by Facebook to create Workplace integrations are invited to get in contact, Cordoniou was clear that this isn’t an open opportunity.
“We want to work with the applications that people already use, so if you’re a major SaaS company and you’re not on that list, you need to contact us to join the directory – but that’s the criteria. This is not a call for every developer in the world,” he said.
Virtualization over the past years has become a key strategy for IT to acquire multi-tenancy, increase utilization, develop elasticity and improve security. And virtual machines (VMs) are quickly becoming a main vehicle for developing and deploying applications. The introduction of containers seems to be bringing another and perhaps overlapped solution for achieving the same above-mentioned benefits. Are a container and a virtual machine fundamentally the same or different? And how? Is one technically superior to the other? What about performance and security? Does IT need either one, or both?
Administrative tasks are an inescapable fact of business life, but they’re also the cause of a lot of wasted time and potential. It makes no sense to hire a talented, experienced employee and then have them spend half their days doing menial tasks.
The element of distraction can be destructive too. If workers need to instantly respond to incoming messages and work requests, their work will suffer. Researchers at George Mason University found that even brief distractions can significantly affect the quality of a person’s work. Recent research by Gloria Mark of the University of California found that it takes the average worker 25 minutes to get back to a task from which they’ve been distracted.
Clearly, if your business is to thrive, you need to minimise the amount of time your staff spend dealing with internal administration tasks – and the number of time-wasting distractions. And the answer could be as simple as IFTTT.
Short for If This Then That, IFTTT is a web-based automation platform. You can think of IFTTT as a virtual butler that carries out minor tasks automatically on your behalf without waiting to be told. It’s become very popular thanks to its simplicity, and its ability to inter-operate with a wide range of online consumer services: for example, you can activate pre-configured IFTTT “applets” to automatically download Facebook photos to Google Drive, sync your Alexa to-do list with Wunderlist, or be alerted when the International Space Station passes over your house.
But IFTTT isn’t just for home users. It can also hook into Slack, Trello and a host of other office platforms – which means it can save businesses a great deal of time and effort.
Signing up to IFTTT
IFTTT works by interfacing with services you already use, so to get started you’ll need to set up an IFTTT account and authorise it to access these services on your behalf. You can do this at ifttt.com/join. Don’t worry, you don’t need to stay logged in all the time: once you’ve set up your applets, you can log out and close the browser and they’ll continue to operate. You only need to be logged in to edit applets and create new ones.
Certain applets run completely automatically, responding to external events and triggers such as an incoming email to a specified address. You can also create applets that respond to direct input from you: the easiest way to provide this input is via the IFTTT app, which is free for both Android and iOS.
Below is our rundown of the ten must-have IFTTT applets that will save your business time.
Top 10 IFTTT Applets for Business
If you manage team projects with Trello, this applet makes it easy to share captured whiteboards and documents with your colleagues. You’ll need to give it access to your Trello account, then select the board you want to add the photos to. By default, it adds them to a list called “DO Camera”, but we’ve created a dedicated list called “Photos”. To choose which list to send your images to, click the cog at the top of the IFTTT card and enter it into the List Name box. You can also decide whether to tag other board users, specify where the photo should appear in the list, and add useful metadata such as where the image was shot.
Now to get our photos into IFTTT. The easiest solution is to use a phone widget: open the IFTTT app on your phone and tap your new applet, followed by Widget settings. Tap the Add button to add a dedicated button for this workflow to the main screen. You can call it whatever you like, but we have chosen “Trello photo”.
Now, when we want to post an image to Trello, rather than using the regular camera app, we can simply tap the new widget on the phone homescreen and snap away. The photo will be automatically uploaded as soon as we close the widget. You can do the same thing with Slack using the applet at ift.tt/2ogACJg.
Connect IFTTT to both Google Calendar and your Slack account, and it can remind all participants – including yourself – of upcoming meetings without any manual intervention. Now nobody has an excuse not to be there on time. By default, reminders are sent 15 minutes before the event start time.
If you use Gmail, this applet lets you quickly triage email and make a note of messages that need actioning later. Once you grant IFTTT access to both your Google and Todoist accounts, starring a message in your inbox will automatically add a note to your Inbox list on Todoist. If you want to use a different list, create it in Todoist first, then select it from the drop-down on the IFTTT card. You can also set a default priority between one (urgent) and four (it can wait) – but you can’t set these individually, so whichever level you choose will apply to all messages you star.
Running late? Let the whole team know without taking your hands off the steering wheel: this applet lets you use “Okay Google” to post a note to Slack. And, of course, it can be turned to more uses than just informing your colleagues not to expect you. You could use it to quickly assign tasks, or add thoughts to a remote brainstorming session when they occur.
Many of us have to share assets across multiple services. This applet makes it easy, by automatically syncing the contents of one into the other. It’s particularly useful if you’ve created a public Dropbox folder to accept incoming files, or your camera automatically syncs to Dropbox over Wi-Fi, as everything is immediately shared with users of both platforms.
Simplify your accounts by setting up a dedicated Gmail address and asking all staff to email their expenses, receipts, orders and invoices to it before they become due. IFTTT will automatically add each one to a Google Spreadsheet, complete with a link to the first attachment. In this way, your staff can easily submit documentation whenever it suits them, and no-one has to waste time trawling through dozens of emails looking for paperwork.
This applet helps staff keep track of the hours they spend in the office, on client sites and elsewhere – valuable information if they bill by the hour. Once the applet is enabled, the IFTTT smartphone app will detect where they are and automatically create an entry on Google Calendar recording their location for that period, for easy billing at the end of the week, month or project.
Certain jobs keep cropping up, and it’s often helpful to track them on Trello so they don’t get missed. That means someone’s got to keep posting the same card over and over – unless you use this applet. Set up as many jobs as you like, and leave IFTTT to add them to your Trello lists at the appropriate times.
Save time by forwarding one person’s tweets directly to a Slack channel – very handy if someone’s attending a live event, as it allows everyone to stay updated without having to wade through a busy timeline or keep refreshing the Twitter app.
Many businesses use Twitter to track what’s being said about their company. Save yourself the chore of manually searching for relevant hashtags with this applet, which automatically searches for tweets containing a specified hashtag and adds up to 15 posts to the Google spreadsheet of your choice.
As the rate of cloud and SaaS adoption increases in businesses, IT teams are primarily concerned with data privacy, new research contends, with 64% of ITDMs believing that their organisation’s SaaS adoption is outpacing their ability to secure it.
But nearly half agree that their organisation is hesitant to adopt SaaS-based security solutions, according to a survey of 200 ITDMs by cyber security firm iboss for its 2018 Enterprise Cloud Trends Survey Report.
In the early days of SaaS, security was one of the primary concerns limiting adoption because the SaaS delivery model was relatively new, and companies felt uncomfortable storing sensitive data outside their own security measures.
Although the SaaS model has matured and has so far proved to be highly stable and secure when compared to on-premises solutions, it is easy to understand why there are still outstanding concerns around it.
Three-quarters of ITDMs told iboss that their organisation’s data was more secure using on-premises, purpose-built appliances rather than a SaaS solution. The most likely reason for this is because they feel that their data is less secure when using a SaaS solution, because such solutions store their data on shared servers – a reason 66% of respondents agreed with. A quarter also thought that security wasn’t a priority for SaaS solution providers.
‘The Real SaaS Manifesto’ explores the security characteristics to look for when evaluating SaaS solutions and detailed checklists to help. Download it here for free.
“While these concerns aren’t unfounded, they also aren’t completely legitimate,” argued iboss CEO Paul Martini, analysing the findings of the report. “There are an array of cloud types and delivery models that both laymen and tech pros aren’t aware of that address many of the top concerns found in the survey head-on.”
Of course, there are many vendors who are committed to security, and to keeping their clients’ data safe, with incoming GDPR data protection rules meaning that they could be held partially responsible for any breaches. Part of the solution is being diligent when choosing an SaaS provider, especially if they will be processing personally identifiable information or financial data.
A good vendor will be transparent in their security practices and be able to demonstrate multiple layers of security to protect customer data. This can include physical site security of the data centre facility, as well as application and database security, where defences are core to the software development process.
As enterprises are embracing the cloud, SD-WAN is more likely to be on the table for their technological roadmaps.
This is the primary finding from a survey conducted by analyst firm IHS Markit. The WAN Strategies North America study found almost three quarters (74%) of organisations polled conducted SD-WAN lab trials in 2017, with many of these moving into production trials and, eventually, live production, this year.
Investments in wide area networks more generally continue undimmed, with the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT), company and traffic growth, and greater network control all cited. WAN bandwidth usage is expected to grow over 20% each year according to respondents, while total WAN expenditures rose almost 20%, to $300,000 per respondent, last year.
“As companies shift a greater portion of their IT infrastructure into the cloud and expand their physical presence to go after new markets or be closer to customers and partners, the need for reliable, secure and high-performance WAN and internet connectivity has never been greater,” said Matthias Machowinski, IHS Markit enterprise networks senior research director in a statement.
“However, companies don’t have unlimited budgets to fund growing WAN bandwidth consumption, which is why a majority are planning to deploy software-defined WAN in the next three years, to better control how their WANs are used,” Machowinski added.
The rise of SD-WAN has certainly been noted among industry watchers. Writing for this publication in February, Gayle Levin, director of solutions marketing at Riverbed Technologies, discussed the key steps and benefits of software-defined WAN in a cloud-first strategy.
“At the end of the day, cloud-first strategies are designed to provide the best possible user experience. The network is of limited value if the user experience is poor or inconsistent,” wrote Levin. “Effective SD-WAN tools provide deep visibility into application performance, network flows, congested areas, and which users devices are connected to the network, enabling IT to effectively deploy and manage their applications and the underlying infrastructure.
“Whether using leading IaaS offerings or something from the vast set of SaaS applications, software-defined WANs are essential to corporate agility and security,” Levin added. “Optimising applications by rapidly establishing and tearing down connections simply cannot be done without centralised network management and orchestration.
“Cloud first needs cloud networking.”
Find out more about the IHS Markit report here (client access).
- 80% of the positions open in the U.S. alone were due to attrition. On an average, it costs $5,000 to fill an open position and takes on average of 2 months to find a new employee. Reducing attrition removes a major impediment to any company’s productivity.
- The average employee’s tenure at a cloud-based enterprise software company is 19 months; in the Silicon Valley this trends to 14 months due to intense competition for talent according to C-level executives.
- Eightfold.ai can quantify hiring bias and has found it occurs 35% of the time within in-person interviews and 10% during online or virtual interview sessions.
- Adroll Group launched nurture campaigns leveraging the insights gained using Eightfold.ai for a data scientist open position and attained a 48% open rate, nearly double what they observed from other channels.
- A leading cloud services provider has seen response rates to recruiting campaigns soar from 20% to 50% using AI-based candidate targeting in the company’s community.
The essence of every company’s revenue growth plan is based on how well they attract, nurture, hire, grow and challenge the best employees they can find. Often relying on manual techniques and systems decades old, companies are struggling to find the right employees to help them grow. Anyone who has hired and managed people can appreciate the upside potential of talent management today.
How AI and machine learning are revolutionising talent management
Strip away the hype swirling around AI in talent management and what’s left is the urgent, unmet needs companies have for greater contextual intelligence and knowledge about every phase of talent management. Many CEOs are also making greater diversity and inclusion their highest priority. Using advanced AI and machine learning techniques, a company founded by former Google and Facebook AI Scientists is showing potential in meeting these challenges. Founders Ashutosh Garg and Varun Kacholia have over 6000+ research citations and 80+ search and personalization patents. Together they founded Eightfold.ai as Varun says “to help companies find and match the right person to the right role at the right time and, for the first time, personalize the recommendations at scale.” Varun added that “historically, companies have not been able to recognize people’s core capabilities and have unnecessarily exacerbated the talent crisis,” said Varun Kacholia, CTO, and Co-Founder of Eightfold.ai.
What makes Eightfold.ai noteworthy is that it’s the first AI-based Talent Intelligence Platform that combines analysis of publicly available data, internal data repositories, Human Capital Resource Management (HRM) systems, ATS tools and spreadsheets then creates ontologies based on organization-specific success criteria. Each ontology, or area of talent management interest, is customizable for further queries using the app’s easily understood and navigated user interface.
Based on conversations with customers, its clear integration is one of the company’s core strengths. Eightfold.ai relies on an API-based integration strategy to connect with legacy back-end systems. The company averages between 2 to 3 system integrations per customer and supports 20 unique system integrations today with more planned. The following diagram explains how the Eightfold Talent Intelligence Platform is constructed and how it works.
For all the sophisticated analysis, algorithms, system integration connections, and mathematics powering the Eightfold.ai platform, the company’s founders have done an amazing job creating a simple, easily understood user interface. The elegant simplicity of the Eightfold.ai interface reflects the same precision of the AI and machine learning code powering this platform.
I had a chance to speak with Adroll Group and DigitalOcean regarding their experiences using Eightfold.ai. Both said being able to connect the dots between their candidate communities, diversity and inclusion goals, and end-to-end talent management objectives were important goals that the streamlined user experience was helping enable. The following is a drill-down of a candidate profile, showing the depth of external and internal data integration that provides contextual intelligence throughout the Eightfold.ai platform.
Talent management’s inflection point has arrived
Every interaction with a candidate, current associate, and high-potential employee is a learning event for the system.
AI and machine learning make it possible to shift focus away from being transactional and more on building relationships. AdRoll Group and DigitalOcean both mentioned how Eightfold.ai’s advanced analytics and machine learning helps them create and fine-tune nurturing campaigns to keep candidates in high-demand fields aware of opportunities in their companies. AdRoll Group used this technique of concentrating on insights to build relationships with potential Data Scientists and ultimately made a hire assisted by the Eightold.ai platform. DigitalOcean is also active using nurturing campaigns to recruit for their most in-demand positions. “As DigitalOcean continues to experience rapid growth, it’s critical we move fast to secure top talent, while taking time to nurture the phenomenal candidates already in our community,” said Olivia Melman, Manager, Recruiting Operations at DigitalOcean. “Eightfold.ai’s platform helps us improve operational efficiencies so we can quickly engage with high quality candidates and match past applicants to new openings.”
In companies of all sizes, talent management reaches its full potential when accountability and collaboration are aligned to a common set of goals. Business strategies and new business models are created and the specific amount of hires by month and quarter are set. Accountability for results is shared between business and talent management organizations, as is the case at AdRoll Group and DigitalOcean, both of which are making solid contributions to the growth of their businesses. When accountability and collaboration are not aligned, there are unpredictable, less than optimal results.
AI makes it possible to scale personalized responses to specific candidates in a company’s candidate community while defining the ideal candidate for each open position. The company’s founders call this aspect of their platform personalization at scale. “Our platform takes a holistic approach to talent management by meaningfully connecting the dots between the individual and the business. At Eightfold.ai, we are going far beyond keyword and Boolean searches to help companies and employees alike make more fulfilling decisions about ‘what’s next", commented Ashutosh Garg, CEO, and Co-Founder of Eightfold.ai.
Every hiring manager knows what excellence looks like in the positions they’re hiring for. Recruiters gather hundreds of resumes and use their best judgment to find close matches to hiring manager needs. Using AI and machine learning, talent management teams save hundreds of hours screening resumes manually and calibrate job requirements to the available candidates in a company’s candidate community. This graphic below shows how the Talent Intelligence Platform (TIP) helps companies calibrate job descriptions. During my test drive, I found that it’s as straightforward as pointing to the profile of ideal candidate and asking TIP to find similar candidates.
Achieving greater equality with a data-driven approach to diversity
Eightfold.ai can quantify hiring bias and has found it occurs 35% of the time within in-person interviews and 10% during online or virtual interview sessions. They’ve also analyzed hiring data and found that women are 11% less like to make it through application reviews, 19% less likely through recruiter screens, 12% through assessments and a shocking 30% from onsite interviews. Conscious and unconscious biases of recruiters and hiring managers often play a more dominant role than a woman’s qualifications in many hiring situations. For the organizations who are enthusiastically endorsing diversity programs yet struggling to make progress, AI and machine learning are helping to accelerate them to the goals they want to accomplish.
AI and machine learning can’t make an impact in this area quickly enough. Imagine the lost brainpower from not having a way to evaluate candidates based on their innate skills and potential to excel in the role and the need for far greater inclusion across the communities companies operate in. AdRoll Group’s CEO is addressing this directly and has made attaining greater diversity and inclusion a top company objective for the year. Daniel Doody, Global Head of Talent at AdRoll Group says “We’re very deliberate in our efforts to uncover and nurture more diverse talent while also identifying individuals who have engaged with our talent brand to include them” he said. Daniel Doody continued, “Eightfold.ai has helped us gain greater precision in our nurturing campaigns designed to bring more diverse talent to Adroll Group globally.”
Kelly O. Kay, Managing Partner, Global Managing Partner, Software & Internet Practice at Heidrick & Struggles agrees. “Eightfold.ai levels the playing field for diversity hiring by using pattern matching based on human behavior, which is fascinating,” Mr. Kay said. He added, “I’m 100% supportive of using AI and machine learning to provide everyone equal footing in pursuing and attaining their career goals.” He added that the Eightfold.ai’s greatest strength is how brilliantly it takes on the challenge of removing unconscious bias from hiring decisions, further ensuring greater diversity in hiring, retention and growth decisions.
Eightfold.ai has a unique approach to presenting potential candidates to recruiters and hiring managers. They can remove any gender-specific identification of a candidate and have them evaluated purely on expertise, experiences, merit, and skills. And the platform also can create gender-neutral job descriptions in seconds too. With these advances in AI and machine learning, long-held biases of tech companies who only want to hire from Cal-Berkeley, Stanford or MIT are being challenged when they see the quality of candidates from just as prestigious Indian, Asian, and European universities as well. Daniel Doody of Adroll Group says the insights gained from the Eightfold.ai platform “are helping to make managers and recruiters more aware of their own hiring biases while at the same time assisting in nurturing potential candidates via less obvious channels.”
How to close the talent gap
Based on conversations with customers, it’s apparent that Eightfold.ai’s Talent Intelligence Platform (TIP) provides enterprises the ability to accelerate time to hire, reduce the cost to hire and increase the quality of hire. Eightfold.ai customers are also seeing how TIP enables their companies to reduce employee attrition, saving on hiring and training costs and minimizing the impact of lost productivity. Today more CEOs and CFOs than ever are making diversity and talent initiatives their highest priority. Based on conversations with Eightfold.ai customers it’s clear their TIP provides the needed insights for C-level executives to reach their goals.
Another aspect of the TIP that customers are just beginning to explore is how to identify employees who are the most likely to leave, and take proactive steps to align their jobs with their aspirations, extending the most valuable employees’ tenure at their companies. At the same time, customers already see good results from using TIP to identify top talent that fits open positions who are likely to join them and put campaigns in place to recruit and hire them before they begin an active job search. Every Eightfold.ai customer spoken with attested to the platform’s ability to help them in their strategic imperatives around talent.
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory?
The United States spends around 17-18% of its GDP on healthcare every year. Translated into dollars, it is a mind-boggling $2.9 trillion. Unfortunately, that spending will grow at a faster rate now due to baby boomers becoming an aging population, and they are the largest demographic in the U.S. Unless the U.S. gets this spiraling healthcare spending under control, in a few short years we will be spending almost 25% of our entire GDP in healthcare trying to fix people’s failing health, instead of spending it somewhere else where it is desperately needed. Obviously, we can’t stop the aging population, but we can make the healthcare system more efficient. In the past, digitization of patient records was just for record keeping purposes. But with the advances in IoT, predictive analytics, cognitive computing and the mighty APIs to connect them all together, things have changed dramatically.