This is a commonly asked question. I will try to answer it in the simplest possible manner. Of course, this is as of May 2018. Things change very fast. So please check online for the latest status. Power BI Free does exist. In two forms. One is built into Excel and one is a subscription option. Continue reading Is Power BI Free ?
This content is relevant only if you are a CIO (or IT decision maker). Here is the video of the session I conducted at CIO Power List event on 4th May, 2018, at Conrad, Pune. Shadow Analytics has been around ever since “shadows” – also called end users – are around. Everyone knows about. Some people tried to eliminate it. Nobody succeeded.
This 30 minute video explains how to use Shadow Analytics as an opportunity to empower rather than restrict users and improve effective utilization of data.
The demos included in this Shadow Analytics video are:
Flash Fill, Insights, Explain the increase and Q&A.
What is Shadow Analytics?
It is all kinds of data capture, clean-up, manipulation and report generation performed by end users without IT intervention.
If you generate a report from a business system (which is built or managed by IT), it is alright. But if you copy paste data from multiple such reports into Excel and then generate a new report, it becomes “Shadow Analytics”.
As you can imagine, it is difficult to eliminate it. Irrespective of how much time and effort you have spent on creating the most flexible ad-hoc reporting systems, it is impossible to provide every possible variation that users want. Therefore, Shadow Analytics has always been there and is likely to survive in the foreseeable future.
Problems associated with Shadow Analytics
Primarily two problems. It is extremely error prone and time consuming. There are lots of related problems. The root cause is that data is handled in a casual manner without regard for its recency and in a completely undocumented manner.
This can lead to wrong decisions, delayed decisions, increased operational risk and enormous wastage of precious time.
It is impossible to handle and correct the data sources and deliver data to users in a manner which is so easy that they stop doing the manual capture and clean-up altogether.
Once clean, accurate and updated data is available as input, creating reports can be done by end users in a more informed and productive manner.
This is a very convenient feature available in Outlook. You may be using it even without knowing about it. Outlook can analyze your incoming emails and create calendar entries (events) based upon them. Four categories are understood as of now, flight bookings, hotel reservations, car bookings and package delivery.
This is based upon machine learning algorithms – no human is looking at your emails. Once a mail is detected as an event, a calendar entry is created automatically. Here is an example of a travel booking.
This mail was automatically processed by Outlook and the following calendar event was created:
In addition, it created a reminder 3 hours before the departure time. That’s nice but there is more. Exactly 24 hours before the flight departure, I received an email reminder for checking-in. This reminder did not originate in my calendar. It came from a generic reminder service.
Customize automatic processing
To change these settings, go to Outlook web access – Options (the gears wheel) – Automatic processing. Notice that the Package Delivery option is not selected by default.
Although it sounds fairly simple, the internal working of this feature is quite complex. Why? Because there are thousands of different formats for hotel and flight booking mails. It has to understand the relevant fields and create the calendar events. This is where machine learning is helping us – behind the scenes.
PowerPoint provides 500+ icons in SVG format. I recently published a blog which has a downloadable version of all icons in a PPTX file. Scalable vector graphic format icons cannot be edited inside PowerPoint. You cannot treat them like any other PowerPoint shape. But now, we can convert icons into shapes. Once converted to shapes all the PowerPoint shape features available. You can also use the Merge Shapes option to combine or subtract shapes. Here is how you do it:
insert a new shape, resize it as required , right click on it and choose Convert To Shapes.
Read the dialogue which appears and click Ok.
The icon may get converted to one or more shapes. If it has more than one shape, it will be in a grouped state. So it is a good idea to right click on it and try Ungroup. If Ungroup option is inactive, there is only one shape.
Here we have three shapes. Now the shapes can be used like any other PowerPoint shape.
What to do with the shapes?
Once Icons are converted to shapes, there are few things which can really add value. Color and animation. I will write separate blog for this but here is an example.
The icon above is from the Analytics category. It is a speedometer icon which is often used in performance management. Management dashboards showing KPIs often use this type of speedometer graphic. Here is how we can enhance the speedometer icon after it is converted to shapes.
With Animation, the needle can be made to move to show the current state of performance.
More stuff on icons coming soon…
May be you already know this. But still, read for just 2 minutes more to clarify your thoughts. Teams is an app which streamlines teamwork. That is the obvious definition. But this is an incomplete description.
Coordinating with multiple persons is Teamwork. Agreed. But there are a plethora of apps available to collaborate with others. What is special about Teams?
Teams is an app which helps you work with all types of Technologies. So it is not just teamwork with other people, it is with multiple technologies as well.
Of course. The name of the product suggests that it should be used when you are working with others. You + one or more other people makes a team. Agreed. We should use Teams when working with others.
Can I use the Teams app to work only with myself? The answer is YES.
Here is a list of articles I have written so far about effective usage of Microsoft Teams.
If you would like me to cover some missing topic or a specific area of your interest, please post it as a comment. This is a live book. As I add more articles about Teams, this list will be updated.
Microsoft Teams is a convenient way of working with colleagues without cluttering mailboxes. You post a conversation inside the Teams app and others can reply to it.
The common mistake is that instead of replying to your question, people start a new discussion. Here is how you prevent the mistake. Click on the Reply button.
Learn more about Microsoft Teams – Knowledge Pack.
If you are trying to use Microsoft Teams, you will face this practical problem. The problem is that all your team members must notice the messages that are posted in the Teams app. Nothing is visible in the Inbox. This may lead to missed messages and delayed responses. Start noticing the notification!
See this article to know When to use Microsoft Teams first. This article lists scenarios where using Teams is counterproductive or plain simple wrong!
Do not use teams if one or more of the items listed below are true.
- If there are too many people involved, do not use Teams. Technically, the limit is 2500. But you decide practically. Teams is designed for extensive interaction between team members. If there are lot of people, you cannot expect extensive interaction. Think about using Yammer. It is good for predominantly push and interaction-on-demand kind of functionality.
- If the team means the whole department and you already have a departmental Team Site in SharePoint. Use that site. Do not use Teams to create another Team. Why? Because, behind-the-scenes it creates another SharePoint site. Defeats the purpose.
- This one is obvious but still makes sense to mention it: If all team members do not have access to the Teams app, do not use Teams. In this case, you will need to do double communication manually. I will not call it inefficient usage – it is misuse.
- If the communication and coordination with the team is required but not critical, do not use Teams. Non-critical, but functionally necessary stuff can continue using traditional email.
- Do NOT use Teams unless every member is aware about its actual benefits. If you try to force it on ignorant people (Ignorant about Teams, I mean!) , it will not work. Educate them first. The best way is to show a nice and compelling demo.
If only few people in the team use the Teams app and others do not, it defeats the purpose.
- If all members have not understood that they have to check the Teams app as frequently as they check for mails in the Inbox.
The benefit of Teams is that it does not send anything to your inbox. Conversations and communication happens within the Teams app. If some members forget to see the activity in the app, they are effectively not working as a team.
That is all I can think of as of now. If you know more scenarios where Microsoft Teams is contraindicated, post them as comments.
Testing Quiz Feature. Pls Ignore.
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