Data Analytics, Cortana Intelligence Suite, Data Visualization The Cortana Intelligence Suite is a fully managed data analytics platform that offers a range of services aimed at helping businesses find meaning in all of the data they are collecting. This post will dive into the services that are offered by the platform. Prior to discussing these services in detail, let’s take a quick lap around data analytics specific to goals, what to expect when building and maturing a competency for your business, and challenges businesses experience while on this journey. After laying this groundwork, we’ll discuss the Cortana Intelligence Suite in a bit more detail and provide a list of the services offered by the platform. Additionally, we’ll cover how the Cortana Intelligence Suite can offer the tools needed to implement a robust strategy to address the key challenge areas we’ve described. Read More…

The Bot Framework

Innovations in devices, platforms and applications have advanced many user experiences – and user expectations. Voice activated digital assistants like Siri and Cortana have given users new ways to interact with services and information.

In light of this, interfaces like trusty web forms may seem a bit dated… perhaps it’s time to consider a more natural, conversational interaction with users.

A Pizza Bot

A sample Pizza Bot interaction (image courtesy of Microsoft from this article).

Read More…

Cloud ComputingA few weeks ago, AIS’ Solutions Architect, Jason McNutt and Managing Director, Larry
Katzman spoke with Federal Tech Talk’s John Gilroy on Federal News Radio for a discussion around federal agencies moving to the cloud and to answer the question of “what happens once you get there?”

Listen to the interview.

John Gilroy states that “This is a critical question ask in the brave new world of the cloud. No human can conceivably be able to understand all the dependencies and updates that are needed for a complex cloud migration. This ability to manage the system is just as important once it is live. Jason McNutt talks about the capability of automation to be able to manage today’s complex systems.”

Federal Tech Talk looks at the world of high technology in the federal government. Host John Gilroy of The Oakmont Group speaks the language of federal CISOs, CIOs and CTOs, and gets into the specifics for government IT systems integrators. John covers the latest government initiatives and technology news for the federal IT manager and government contractor. Follow John on Twitter @raygilrar and hear more from Federal Talk Talk on federalnewsradio.com

Listen to the interview.

Office 365

In earlier posts we went over the Office 365 development platform and proposed an example application to demonstrate how we can leverage its resources and Azure Active Directory using the Graph API.

In the previous post we looked under the hood at securing our web application and API with Azure Active Directory, and using the Graph API to find users, check calendars and send email notifications.

In the final installment of this series, we’ll take a closer look at the Outlook Add-in for this application.

Office 365 Add-ins

As we’ve seen, the Graph API makes it easy to integrate Office 365 resources and functionality into your own applications. Add-ins allow you to pull external resources and services directly into Office applications like Outlook, Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

Office 365 Add-ins are implemented as independently hosted web applications that are hosted within Office applications (both the web-based versions or native applications). This means: Read More…

Office Graph In my previous post, I proposed an example application that leverages the resources available to us in Office 365 development platform and Azure Active Directory, as well as the in-application integration of Office 365 Add-ins.

Now we’ll take a deeper look at the Graph API and some of the implementation points.

Build Your Enterprise Graph

The Graph API empowers developers and enterprises to build new relationships and interactions between resources in Azure Active Directory, Office 365, and other applications and data assets.

As Microsoft’s enterprise cloud offerings continue to expand, so will the opportunities to weave these resources together in new and innovative ways. Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn will help it expand its social network graph, so it will be interesting to see how it plays into its Graph API in the future. Read More…

Design ThinkingTogether with Applied Information Sciences (AIS), the University of Virginia and George Washington University, Design Thinking DC (DT:DC) has launched the Summer of Design, a facilitated design thinking experience in which a diverse group of participants apply the principles of Design Thinking to real problems faced by organizations in our local community.

Why Design Thinking?
Design Thinking combines diverse fields, such as engineering, public policy, architecture, and economics to solve really complicated problems. It provides a framework that teams use to craft innovative solutions. Design Thinking DC (DT:DC) is an action-oriented community of innovative change makers who come together to share knowledge, experiences and find ways to leverage the substantial benefits of these techniques.

→ Learn more about Design Thinking DC (DT:DC) Read More…

Office_365_AppsEnterprises have a trove of business resources and data that are often under-utilized – users, calendars, contacts, emails, tasks, documents and other files. Often there are redundancies between what users do with Office applications and other enterprise applications, and a painful lack of integration.

In prior posts, I discussed the compelling new Office 365 development platform and introduced Matter Center to demonstrate how integrating web-based add-ins directly into Office applications like Outlook can lead to productivity gains and happy users.

In this post we’ll introduce a sample application to show a practical example of how we can use these technologies to bring enterprise applications together with these valuable resources.

Read More…

Office 365As a full stack software developer with a penchant for UI/UX, I must admit I was a little skeptical when recently tasked to investigate the Office 365 as a development platform.

What I found surprised and impressed me.

The Office 365 Development Platform

In tech we’ve gotten really good at spinning up web applications to help users solve problems and increase productivity. That’s great, but it can also leave users with all kinds of disparate applications and tools to interact with throughout the day. This contributes to a common productivity disrupter: context switching – that is, the need to frequently switch between different applications and user experiences.

Office 365 offers new compelling ways to integrate external services and custom functionality directly into the Office applications that people already use.

Imagine being able to perform many of your day-to-day tasks without ever leaving Outlook. Or accessing external content directly in Word, Excel or PowerPoint. Users can do more without having to Alt-Tab their way through the day, and developers can leverage a rich set of features and functionality without re-inventing the wheel.

What’s more, the functionality you add is available from anywhere on any device – Office 365 provides rich browser-based web apps as well as native apps for Windows, iOS, and Android.

Read More…

Internet of Things, IOT

The short answer is yes. Not only can it save your organization money, but can do so while delivering more functionality and freedom. AIS recently worked with a large machine-tooling company that had a machine optimization software solution that they wanted to re-platform in a lower-cost, more scalable and flexible way.

Their machine optimization system reports real-time and historical data on how cutting tools and machines are performing, and recommends improvement opportunities. However, it was built using traditional software development techniques and doesn’t take advantage of any platform-as-a-service (PaaS) capabilities and benefits.

They asked us to create a proof-of-concept (POC) solution utilizing Azure IoT and Analytics PaaS services. This POC would be used to prove that an Azure IoT and Analytics PaaS services-based solution could provide derived data results within +/- 10% of their current software solution and experimental results, as well as address a number of existing technical limitations and outstanding business needs.

Click here to read how we overcame this challenge.