Archive for March 11, 2020

ServiceNow Introduces Now Intelligence

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 11, 2020 by itnerd

ServiceNow today introduced the Now Platform Orlando release, featuring Now Intelligence, a new set of powerful AI and analytics capabilities. With Now Intelligence, ServiceNow empowers enterprises with new insights that enable employees to work smarter and faster, streamline business decisions and unlock new levels of productivity.

Worldwide, companies are focused on delivering great customer and employee experiences. And behind every great experience is a great workflow. That’s what ServiceNow enables. With Now Intelligence embedded into its Now Platform, ServiceNow advances its position as a pioneer delivering practical, purpose‑built AI and analytics to the enterprise. Now Intelligence enables employees to quickly and easily make decisions, solve problems, find answers and automate tasks – making their lives at work simple, easy and convenient.

ServiceNow is a strategic digital transformation partner to the world’s largest enterprises, including approximately 80% of the Fortune 500. These enterprises use the Now Platform as their “platform of platforms” to streamline work by integrating siloed, legacy systems and digitizing complex workflows and processes across their organizations. Adobe, Deloitte, Equinix, Red Hat, Nutanix, UnitedLex, whyaye!, Acorio, Autotestpro and Highmetric are examples of companies using the Now Platform to power their digital transformations.

With its Orlando release, ServiceNow continues to deliver consumer‑grade mobile experiences across the enterprise. And with Now Intelligence, the Now Platform delivers great experiences that:

  • Help people get work done smarter and faster by automatically surfacing context‑aware recommendations, predictions and insights to help teams act on the fly.
  • Deliver better self‑service experiences with intelligent, “always on” virtual agents across any channel, so customers and employees can quickly get what they need and take action.
  • Better predict issues and automate actions with virtual agents fully embedded in the Now Platform. Customers and employees are now empowered to initiate workflows with dynamic conversations that deliver results by automating requests for quick resolutions anytime, anywhere.
  • Enable better business decisions by driving transparency and alignment at all levels of the organization and providing teams and process owners with valuable insight into real‑time patterns and trends so they can make more informed decisions and quickly identify areas for improvement.

The Orlando release of the Now Platform delivers analytics, intelligence and mobility solutions enhancements across ServiceNow’s IT, Employee and Customer workflows. Key innovations in the Orlando release include:

Analytics Solutions

  • Cloud Insights helps IT teams optimize the cost of their cloud assets by making intelligent recommendations on managing usage across business hours, choosing the right resources and enforcing usage policies.
  • Advanced Risk Assessments make it painless for an organization’s front line to assess different risks within their daily work, so their second line can effectively adapt to change as they analyze and manage operational and other risks across the business.
  • Software Exposure Assessment enables security and IT teams to minimize the potential impact of zero‑day vulnerabilities by quickly identifying vulnerable software and related devices and servers, then initiating changes immediately through standard IT workflows.

Intelligence Solutions

  • Agent Affinity for Work Assignment allows customer service teams to assign work to the best agent using intelligent context to improve customer satisfaction. This can include assignment to a specific team that always services a specific customer, agents who have served the customer previously, or agents who have experience with related tasks.
  • Virtual Agent with Natural Language Understanding updates continue to build off innovations unveiled in the Madrid and New York releases, making it easier to create and maintain NLU models.
  • CI/CD supports the use of standard DevOps tools for on‑platform development at scale with team development, including enhanced developer collaboration with selective commits and collision avoidance, and simplified deployment processes for faster time to value.

Mobility Solutions

  • Mobile Agent enhancements deliver native mobile experiences so service desk agents and operators can resolve issues at any time, through any device. These capabilities are available on ITSM, ITOM and Field Service Management solutions.
  • Mobile Branding and Analytics allow customers to configure the Now Mobile enterprise experience in a customer‑branded environment, driving deeper engagement, and bring analytics into the services that pre‑hires, new hires and employees use most.
  • Mobile Targeted Campaigns provide employees with important and relevant information (like ‘tax time,’ site updates and local IT initiatives) right on their mobile devices using profile information, like department and job type. This proactive approach to employee communications increases satisfaction and reduces calls to the service desk.

Also, ServiceNow is extending the Now Platform to manage DevOps pipelines, connecting developers within IT operations with new insights and automating the manual and time‑consuming change approval process. This will enable customers to release features developed off‑platform more rapidly while retaining safety. ServiceNow DevOps, which was initially available through the ServiceNow Store, is now available as part of the Orlando release.

ServiceNow’s Now Platform Orlando release is generally available today. The ServiceNow Now AgentNow Mobile and ServiceNow Onboarding apps are available to download on the Apple iOS store and Google Play store. For more information, visit:  https://www.servicenow.com/now‑platform/latest‑release.html

When It Comes To Infotainment Systems, Car Dealers Need To Do More To Educate Their Customers On How They Work

Posted in Commentary on March 11, 2020 by itnerd

Roughly three times a month I get a call from someone who has just bought a new car, and the dealership didn’t do a whole lot to show them how to use the infotainment system that came with it. Thus after a few days of struggling with using trying to use it, they call me for help. This happens with people who spend $20,000 on a car, or they spend $80,000 on a car. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a mainstream brand or a luxury brand. And occasionally, I get a call from someone who has bought a car from a dealer who wouldn’t even pair their cell phone via Bluetooth. Or I get a call from someone who was expecting to get stand alone navigation, but none is present because it is driven via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

That’s lame.

My personal opinion is that when a car dealer delivers a car to a customer, they should be walking through the features of infotainment system along with the rest of the features of the car. And they should be getting customers to the point where they are comfortable with every feature of the car. I feel that if they don’t do that, the dealer isn’t doing their job. Another view of this is that it’s insane to me that someone makes a purchase worth tens of thousands of dollars and then they have to pay a third party, namely me, to do what the dealer should be doing.

Now if you’re a car dealer, or a car company who’s reading this story, I have some advice for you to put me out of business as I shouldn’t have to do your job. Hire a person who can specialize in how your infotainment system(s) works, and have that person communicate that to customers when cars are delivered, or even after the fact. This could be a teenager who needs an after school job, or someone working their way through college or university who needs some cash. The advantage of using a young person is that they are often well versed in how iOS and Android phones work, and will pick up how infotainment systems work instantly. This person would free up the sales person to do other things, such as sell cars. This to me is the best solution from where I stand as a person who can specialize in infotainment systems will provide the best customer experience. Because from where I stand, dealers are not delivering the best customer experience right now.

The other option that I see is that car brands need to provide specific product training so that salespeople who do the majority of car deliveries can teach a car buyer about one of the key features that car buyers care about. If brands aren’t in a position to deliver that training, then the dealerships can find someone like me to deliver that training to their staff. Now that doesn’t sound like a winning strategy on the surface. But keep this in mind. I am often called into situations where I have never seen the infotainment system in question. But after 5 or 10 minutes of playing with it, I can teach the client how to use it. Thus I feel that other people like me should be able to do the same. The advantage of having salespeople take this training is that they will not only be better salespeople as they will be able to articulate the features of the infotainment system before the sale, but they will be able to add value after the sale as they will able show new buyers how to use these systems.

Either way, car dealers need to do better for their customers when it comes to instructing them on how to use the infotainment systems that come with cars. It shouldn’t fall to a third party like me to do this for them as it leaves the customer with the impression that this isn’t something that matters that dealers. That’s not good, and needs to change sooner rather than later for the benefit of all concerned.

Guest Post: MailRoute Explains How To Secure Your Email If You’re Working From Home During The Coronavirus Outbreak

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 11, 2020 by itnerd

“During SARS, in 2003, I was working in Hong Kong and we were sent home with our enormous desktop computers. We were completely unprepared to be working from home for months,” says Rachel Plecas of MailRoute Email Security Solutions, leaders in email security and continuity.

“Businesses – and the bad actors who threaten them with spam and viruses – are far more sophisticated in 2020. All companies must be proactive and mitigate risk to business disruption right now, and your biggest vulnerability is probably your email.”
Security, speed, backup and streamlined workflow must all be considered.
Securing a home network to your office-network’s I.T. standards is hard when working via your residential ISP. More companies are choosing to send workers home during the Coronavirus infection, as governments and public-health officials rush to determine best practices for the health of all citizens, which means increased traffic across home networks.

Greg Caplain of alt-work facilitator RemoteYear.com shared that 51% of people report working at least part time remotely and as many as 31% of people are working at least 80% of the time remotely, before the virus outbreak. Chances are some people in your office already work remotely some or all of the time, so these tips apply to all employees.

TIP #1: Confirm Your Connection
Confirm that you’re using an IMAP or SMTP connection. MailRoute founder and CEO Thomas Johnson explains: “For email, make sure that you have enabled TLS/SSL for your IMAP, POP, and SMTP connections in your email client. Keep your communications private.”

TIP #2: Separate Your Work Email from Personal Email
Consider using a different computer, or at the very least, a different login and user account for your work and personal uses. It’s not uncommon for malware to come in from a personal email, and then infect a corporate network.

TIP #3: Don’t Trust Open Networks
Avoid public WiFi. Consider using your phone as a personal hotspot instead.
Here are more tips from the experts on remote or distributed work environments:
“Culture is so much more than what goes on in an office. It’s really the sum of what everyone does all the time — all those little decisions, the way people communicate, the way people text, expectations for how you reply to things, how meetings happen.” — Matt Mullenweg, founder of Word Press on “Distributed” podcast.

“The truth is, just because somebody’s at their desk in front of a computer typing away or whatever they’re doing, it doesn’t mean they’re working. The only way to tell if somebody is doing their work is to look at the work itself: It’s words, it’s graphic design, it’s programming, it’s customer service. It’s things that you can evaluate from far away. You’ve got to look at the work at the end of the day.” – Jason Fried, cofounder and CEO of Basecamp.

“The office during the day has become the last place people want to be when they really want to get work done. In fact, offices have become interruption factories. A busy office is like a food processor — it chops your day into tiny bits. Fifteen minutes here, ten minutes there, twenty here, five there. Each segment is filled with a conference call, a meeting, another meeting, or some other institutionalized unnecessary interruption.” –Cole Stryker, “Distributed”.

“Heading over to the computer first thing after you wake up — or worse, pulling it into bed with you — is a mistake. I know: You just want to fire off one quick thing. But I promise, you’ll get sucked in. And getting sucked in at 6 or 7 AM means you’ll have put in a 10-hour day by 4 or 5 PM. Do that all week, and you’re bound to burn out,” declares Liz Presson, remote-working expert and founder of WorkingRemote.ly

About MailRoute:
MailRoute was founded in 2003 by the team that created the first email-filtering service (sold to Microsoft as their first cloud offering). The company is privately held and owner-operated by the leading team of innovators in this industry.

Citrix Announced As A Leader In Virtual Client Computing

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 11, 2020 by itnerd

Citrix Systems, Inc. has announced that it has been named a leader in virtual client computing (VCC) solutions in the recently published IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Virtual Client Computing 2019-2020 Vendor Assessment (Doc #US45752419, January 2020).

Designed to assess the market for VCC solutions, the report evaluated 10 vendors on two key criteria: strategy and product capabilities. Citrix was identified as a Leader for the:

  • Alignment of its strategy with expected market trends over the next five years and ability to adapt to unanticipated changes.
  • Completeness and competence of its core functionality and competence of extended functionality.

A Unified Platform for Work

The company was specifically recognized for leveraging Citrix® Virtual Apps and Desktops alongside its network, endpoint management and security offerings to create an integrated, user-centric digital workspace. According to IDC analyst Shannon Kalvar, “This unified platform allows for rapid innovation.”

A Modern Solution Built on Flexibility and Choice

The assessment also called out Citrix’s investments in hybrid cloud enablement and management of virtual apps and desktops, including traditional on-premise offerings and hosted solutions, along with integrations with public cloud vendors. “Combined with recent innovations in Citrix’s HDX streaming protocols, the Citrix platform can support a wide range of deployment scenarios and workload locations,” Kalvar noted.

A True Digital Workspace

Together with Citrix Workspace™, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops goes beyond traditional desktop virtualization, enabling companies to serve up personalized access to the systems, information and tools their employees need in one, unified experience and dynamically apply security policies based on a user’s behavior and environment so they can work when, where and how they want with the confidence that their applications, information and devices are safe.

To learn more about Citrix solutions and the value they can deliver for your organization, click here. To download a complimentary copy of the IDC report, click here.