Recently we collaborated with Microsoft and Prospect Silicon Valley (ProspectSV) on a project to assess the viability and value of several Azure services. Specifically, we were asked to demonstrate how the cloud-based platform could be used to retrieve, store, visualize and predict trends based on data from multiple sources. In order to demonstrate these capabilities, we built an ASP.NET MVC application leveraging the following Azure components:

  • Azure App Services
  • Azure Machine Learning
  • Azure Power BI Embedded
  • Azure Storage

Figure 1: ProspectSV Application Architecture depicts how the system uses these four Azure components. This diagram also describes which external data sources are used and where that data is stored.
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These disciplines can play a significant role in building stable release processes that help ensure project milestones are met.

Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (DC) are rapidly becoming an integral part of software development. These disciplines can play a significant role in building stable release processes that help ensure project milestones are met. And in addition to simply performing compilation tasks, CI systems can be extended to execute unit testing, functional testing, UI testing, and many other tasks. This walkthrough demonstrates the creation of a simple CI/CD deployment pipeline with an integrated unit test.

There are many ways of implementing CI/CD, but for this blog, I will use Jenkins and GiHub to deploy the simple CI/CD pipeline. A Docker container will be used to host the application.  The GitHub repository hosts the application including a Dockerfile for creating an application node. Jenkins is configured with GitHub and Docker Plugin. Read More…

Microsoft’s Cortana Intelligence Suite provides a seamless transition from raw data to intelligence: Real, meaningful data for real, meaningful business decisions. 

With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), the need for real-time processing and data analytics has become paramount. As a part of the Cortana Intelligence Suite, Microsoft offers Azure Stream Analytics (ASA) as a fully-managed cloud service for analyzing complex event and data streams at near real time. Read More…

Business leaders are constantly looking at how they can use the underwriting process to improve profits.

What if insurance underwriters or the underwriting processes could look into the past at a more detailed level and predict exactly how a risk would perform in the future? What If underwriters were provided with a solution that would provide meaningful insight into customers’ risk characteristics? Data analytics, data mining and predictive modeling can provide this ability to enhance business processes and improve profits for Insurance companies.

Our experienced technical team recently pulled together a white paper on this topic.  These guys have worked with one of the largest personal property insurers in the country for several years, and have loads of experience in implementing cost-saving solutions for this industry. In this paper, they discuss auto and property/casualty insurance underwriting, how big data analytics can influence an increase in sales and revenues for companies and introduce a high level Microsoft based solution implementation that can solve this business problem.

Download your copy today and share with you team!

standardized test“Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby and Cindy go to a movie and sit next to each other in six adjacent seats. If Marcia and Jan will not sit next to each other, in how many different arrangements can the six people sit?”  GMAT Sample Question

Thankfully my standardized test-taking days are far behind me, but this kind of problem is typical of what one might find on an advanced level standardized test math section. It also so happens to be representative of what mathematicians refer to as a constraint problem.

Constraint problems (also commonly known as constraint satisfaction problems or CSPs) refer to a family of mathematical optimization problems. Wikipedia defines constraint satisfaction as follows: “…the process of finding a solution to a set of constraints that impose conditions that the variables must satisfy. A solution is therefore a set of values for the variables that satisfies all constraints.

chocolate-factory-pictureWith that aside, I’d like to continue with a simple illustration that might help put some understanding behind these abstract definitions. For a moment, just imagine that you are the owner of a chocolate factory…

As a chocolate factory, your company is the sole supplier of three types of chocolate to a retailer whom we shall call “Bradburys.”  The three types of candy are Darkness, Heaven, and Therapy (these don’t actually exist as far as I know but can help with your imagination, YMMV). Now as CEO of your chocolate factory, your task is to maximize profit by keeping production costs low and output high. Seems straightforward, right? However with chocolate production, as in life, things are a little bit more complex.

Your factory has three machines – each producing only one type of candy. This limits the overall production for each type of candy to the capacity of the machine that can produce it. You also have a limited budget, and since chocolate doesn’t grow on trees (OK, technically cocoa does, but you know what I mean), you have to make financial decisions about what quantity of the different chocolates you are willing to produce. And just to make it even more complicated, some chocolate candies can be sold more profitably to Bradbury’s than others. Hmm, some tough decisions to make… Read More…

Custom application development is one of AIS’ many strong suits, and we’re constantly expanding our repertoire. Recently we successfully delivered a custom-designed scorecard and dashboard, as well as a SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) data cube, which provided self-service Business Intelligence for one of the nation’s leading pain medication monitoring organizations. Ameritox’ senior management required a user-friendly solution that was consumable on a variety of mobile devices like Apple iPads and other tablets. Our experience in Microsoft BI, .NET development and mobile solutions enabled us to deliver a solution that allows the organization to effectively track their specimens on a daily basis.

Click here to find out exactly what we did to ensure success on this project!

After watching demos on Power View I was excited to begin using the tool, as we recently configured SQL 2012 SSRS and PowerPivot with SharePoint 2010 for an internationally-focused client. But after playing around with my PowerPivot model in Power View, I realized the Map chart type that I had been so looking forward to using…was not available.

Turns out we had installed SQL 2012 but not SQL 2012 SP1. Power View gets a number of important upgrades in SP1, including much-needed filtering that’s missing from the earlier version, as well as my eagerly anticipated Map chart type. Read More…

Visio is a product that all of us in the business solutions world should eventually master. Graphics make very complex information easier to convey and grasp quickly. At this year’s SharePoint Conference, the Visio product team outlined some of the updates they’ve made during the Office 2013 release cycle. The updates for the Office 2013 release center on three major themes: More Professional, Easier Collaboration and Powerful Platform.

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