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Microsoft Azure Cloud Services, Uncategorized

Advancing Azure service quality with artificial intelligence: AIOps

We are going to share our vision on the importance of infusing AI into our cloud platform and DevOps process. Gartner referred to something similar as AIOps (pronounced “AI Ops”) and this has become the common term that we use internally, albeit with a larger scope. Today’s post is just the start, as we intend to provide regular updates to share our adoption stories of using AI technologies to support how we build and operate Azure at scale.

Why AIOps?

There are two unique characteristics of cloud services:

  • The ever-increasing scale and complexity of the cloud platform and systems
  • The ever-changing needs of customers, partners, and their workloads

To build and operate reliable cloud services during this constant state of flux, and to do so as efficiently and effectively as possible, our cloud engineers (including thousands of Azure developers, operations engineers, customer support engineers, and program managers) heavily rely on data to make decisions and take actions. Furthermore, many of these decisions and actions need to be executed automatically as an integral part of our cloud services or our DevOps processes. Streamlining the path from data to decisions to actions involves identifying patterns in the data, reasoning, and making predictions based on historical data, then recommending or even taking actions based on the insights derived from all that underlying data.

 Infusing AI into cloud platform and DevOps – with AI at the center of Customers, Engineering, and Services.
Figure 1. Infusing AI into cloud platform and DevOps.

The AIOps vision

AIOps has started to transform the cloud business by improving service quality and customer experience at scale while boosting engineers’ productivity with intelligent tools, driving continuous cost optimization, and ultimately improving the reliability, performance, and efficiency of the platform itself. When we invest in advancing AIOps and related technologies, we see this ultimately provides value in several ways:

  • Higher service quality and efficiency: Cloud services will have built-in capabilities of self-monitoring, self-adapting, and self-healing, all with minimal human intervention. Platform-level automation powered by such intelligence will improve service quality (including reliability, and availability, and performance), and service efficiency to deliver the best possible customer experience.
  • Higher DevOps productivity: With the automation power of AI and ML, engineers are released from the toil of investigating repeated issues, manually operating and supporting their services, and can instead focus on solving new problems, building new functionality, and work that more directly impacts the customer and partner experience. In practice, AIOps empowers developers and engineers with insights to avoid looking at raw data, thereby improving engineer productivity.
  • Higher customer satisfaction: AIOps solutions play a critical role in enabling customers to use, maintain, and troubleshoot their workloads on top of our cloud services as easily as possible. We endeavor to use AIOps to understand customer needs better, in some cases to identify potential pain points and proactively reach out as needed. Data-driven insights into customer workload behavior could flag when Microsoft or the customer needs to take action to prevent issues or apply workarounds. Ultimately, the goal is to improve satisfaction by quickly identifying, mitigating, and fixing issues.

 

AI for Cloud: AI Ops and AI-Serving Platform showing example use cases in AI for Systems, AI for DevOps, and AI for Customers.

Figure 2. AI for Cloud: AIOps and AI-Serving Platform.

AIOps

Moving beyond our vision, we wanted to start by briefly summarizing our general methodology for building AIOps solutions. A solution in this space always starts with data—measurements of systems, customers, and processes—as the key of any AIOps solution is distilling insights about system behavior, customer behaviors, and DevOps artifacts and processes. The insights could include identifying a problem that is happening now (detect), why it’s happening (diagnose), what will happen in the future (predict), and how to improve (optimize, adjust, and mitigate). Such insights should always be associated with business metrics—customer satisfaction, system quality, and DevOps productivity—and drive actions in line with prioritization determined by the business impact. The actions will also be fed back into the system and process. This feedback could be fully automated (infused into the system) or with humans in the loop (infused into the DevOps process). This overall methodology guided us to build AIOps solutions in three pillars.

AIOps methodologies: Data (Customer/System/DevOps), insights (Detect/Diagnose/Predict/Optimize), and actions (Mitigate/Avert future pain/Optimize usage config/Improve architecture & process).
Figure 3. AIOps methodologies: Data, insights, and actions.

AI for systems

Today, we’re introducing several AIOps solutions that are already in use and supporting Azure behind the scenes. The goal is to automate system management to reduce human intervention. As a result, this helps to reduce operational costs, improve system efficiency, and increase customer satisfaction. These solutions have already contributed significantly to the Azure platform availability improvements, especially for Azure IaaS virtual machines (VMs). AIOps solutions contributed in several ways including protecting customers’ workload from host failures through hardware failure prediction and proactive actions like live migration and Project Tardigrade and pre-provisioning VMs to shorten VM creation time.

Of course, engineering improvements and ongoing system innovation also play important roles in the continuous improvement of platform reliability.

  • Hardware Failure Prediction is to protect cloud customers from interruptions caused by hardware failures.  Microsoft Research and Azure have built a disk failure prediction solution for Azure Compute, triggering the live migration of customer VMs from predicted-to-fail nodes to healthy nodes. We also expanded the prediction to other types of hardware issues including memory and networking router failures. This enables us to perform predictive maintenance for better availability.
  • Pre-Provisioning Service in Azure brings VM deployment reliability and latency benefits by creating pre-provisioned VMs. Pre-provisioned VMs are pre-created and partially configured VMs ahead of customer requests for VMs. As we described in the IJCAI 2020 publication, As we described in the AAAI-20 keynote mentioned above,  the Pre-Provisioning Service leverages a prediction engine to predict VM configurations and the number of VMs per configuration to pre-create. This prediction engine applies dynamic models that are trained based on historical and current deployment behaviors and predicts future deployments. Pre-Provisioning Service uses this prediction to create and manage VM pools per VM configuration. Pre-Provisioning Service resizes the pool of VMs by destroying or adding VMs as prescribed by the latest predictions. Once a VM matching the customer’s request is identified, the VM is assigned from the pre-created pool to the customer’s subscription.

AI for DevOps

AI can boost engineering productivity and help in shipping high-quality services with speed. Below are a few examples of AI for DevOps solutions.

  • Incident management is an important aspect of cloud service management—identifying and mitigating rare but inevitable platform outages. A typical incident management procedure consists of multiple stages including detection, engagement, and mitigation stages. Time spent in each stage is used as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) to measure and drive rapid issue resolution. KPIs include time to detect (TTD), time to engage (TTE), and time to mitigate (TTM).

 Incident management procedures including Time to Detect (TTD), Time to Engage (TTE), and Time to Mitigate (TTM).
Figure 4. Incident management procedures.

As shared in AIOps Innovations in Incident Management for Cloud Services at the AAAI-20 conference, we have developed AI-based solutions that enable engineers not only to detect issues early but also to identify the right team(s) to engage and therefore mitigate as quickly as possible. Tight integration into the platform enables end-to-end touchless mitigation for some scenarios, which considerably reduces customer impact and therefore improves the overall customer experience.

  • Anomaly Detection provides an end-to-end monitoring and anomaly detection solution for Azure IaaS. The detection solution targets a broad spectrum of anomaly patterns that includes not only generic patterns defined by thresholds, but also patterns which are typically more difficult to detect such as leaking patterns (for example, memory leaks) and emerging patterns (not a spike, but increasing with fluctuations over a longer term). Insights generated by the anomaly detection solutions are injected into the existing Azure DevOps platform and processes, for example, alerting through the telemetry platform, incident management platform, and, in some cases, triggering automated communications to impacted customers. This helps us detect issues as early as possible.

For an example that has already made its way into a customer-facing feature, Dynamic Threshold is an ML-based anomaly detection model. It is a feature of Azure Monitor used through the Azure portal or through the ARM API. Dynamic Threshold allows users to tune their detection sensitivity, including specifying how many violation points will trigger a monitoring alert.

  • Safe Deployment serves as an intelligent global “watchdog” for the safe rollout of Azure infrastructure components. We built a system, code name Gandalf, that analyzes temporal and spatial correlation to capture latent issues that happened hours or even days after the rollout. This helps to identify suspicious rollouts (during a sea of ongoing rollouts), which is common for Azure scenarios, and helps prevent the issue propagating and therefore prevents impact to additional customers.

AI for customers

To improve the Azure customer experience, we have been developing AI solutions to power the full lifecycle of customer management. For example, a decision support system has been developed to guide customers towards the best selection of support resources by leveraging the customer’s service selection and verbatim summary of the problem experienced. This helps shorten the time it takes to get customers and partners the right guidance and support that they need.

AI-serving platform

To achieve greater efficiencies in managing a global-scale cloud, we have been investing in building systems that support using AI to optimize cloud resource usage and therefore the customer experience. One example is Resource Central (RC), an AI-serving platform for Azure that we described in Communications of the ACM. It collects telemetry from Azure containers and servers, learns from their prior behaviors, and, when requested, produces predictions of their future behaviors. We are already using RC to predict many characteristics of Azure Compute workloads accurately, including resource procurement and allocation, all of which helps to improve system performance and efficiency.

Looking towards the future

We have shared our vision of AI infusion into the Azure platform and our DevOps processes and highlighted several solutions that are already in use to improve service quality across a range of areas. Look to us to share more details of our internal AI and ML solutions for even more intelligent cloud management in the future. We’re confident that these are the right investment solutions to improve our effectiveness and efficiency as a cloud provider, including improving the reliability and performance of the Azure platform itself.

 

Note blog reference: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-in/blog/advancing-azure-service-quality-with-artificial-intelligence-aiops/

Uncategorized

Is your business ready to take supply chain management to the next level?

When you lack deep visibility and insight into your supply chain, you leave money on the table

It turns out what you don’t know as a manufacturer can and will hurt you. For too long, manufacturers have settled for siloed and inconsistent information, as well as manual processes, to understand and manage their supply chain. Why? Because for a long time, these systems were good enough to keep production going.

But plenty of manufacturers don’t want to settle for good enough. IDC predicts that by 2019, 50% of manufacturing supply chains will have benefited from digital transformation, and the remainder will be held back by outdated business models or functional structures. Smart manufacturers understand that supply chain transformation is necessary. They are connecting assets across their factories, gaining visibility into their supply chain, and acting on insights from increased visibility to address inefficiency, as well as increase customer satisfaction and margins.

Don’t accept operational inefficiencies as a limit on your business

Supply chain management is complex, so doing it right requires a solution that simplifies and consolidates disparate information, while retaining flexibility. Data from the sales process, suppliers, order fulfillment, product performance, and customer service all matter for a full understanding of the supply chain. The core tools for accomplishing this fall into three categories: IoT-enabled visibility and services, powerful analytics, and cloud-delivered data visualizations.

Like many aspects of manufacturing, IoT is the starting point. The best way to lower production costs is by using a single IoT-friendly platform to integrate back and front office processes. Using IoT-based modeling to create digital twins, manufacturers can understand in real-time the amount of wear and tear on parts and adjust designs in response. This insight can help identify simple inefficiencies like sourcing a part from the company that’s always supplied it, rather than buying a similarly-performing part at a lower cost from another supplier.

Powerful analytics is the next step in transforming your supply chain. A truly intelligent system for supply chain management dynamically adjusts distribution, as well as production, to accelerate the speed of delivery. By using built-in analytics and machine learning, public data like weather conditions can be used to create richer, more accurate schedules and delivery forecasts. On top of that, opportunities to consolidate or expedite shipments can be automatically identified using artificial intelligence—passing lower shipping and order fulfillment costs on to customers.

Finally, consolidating all this information won’t completely optimize your supply chain without the ability to easily visualize and manage it. That’s why a real-time and mobile-delivered view is so crucial. Understanding how to solve problems is hard enough; there’s no need to complicate it further by using different systems to identify where problems are occurring. Decision makers on the factory floor or in global headquarters need instant access to relevant information, and the collaborative power to communicate with or work alongside employees anywhere in the world. These investments in operations put manufacturers in position to embrace new technology and adjust to whatever business challenges they may be facing.

Get the tools to transform with Microsoft Dynamics 365

The power of a supply chain management and operations platform that combines all these capabilities at cloud speed and scale is obvious. Companies positioned to digitally transform their supply chains will see accelerated time to market and reduced cost to enter new markets or scale new lines of business. Microsoft supports flexibility in deployment, enabling you to leverage existing investments while expanding with either a cloud or a hybrid model that includes both on-prem and cloud systems. That can shorten deployment from months to days and ensure security and analytics capabilities are consistent across every location and tuned appropriately for every team.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 ends the artificial separation of ERP and CRM and makes it easy for employees to collaborate and even role-switch to engage customers or address supply chain issues. Only Dynamics 365 unites the front office and the back office with a single end-to-end system for managing every aspect of your business, all backed by industry-leading enterprise cloud. That means manufacturers can develop at the pace and scale that’s right for them, while taking advantage of current investments such as existing productivity and technology stacks. With Microsoft, consistent development practices and R&D investments combine to offer manufacturers rich analytics, embedded intelligence, partner-created applications, and the ability to collaborate worldwide.

Retail ERP Software

How AI and AR can help retailers stay in business in moments of crisis

Store closures and social distancing have caused a rise in demand for virtual tools and technologies that bring the shopping experience into consumers’ homes. Beauty brands, which were among the first to try out AI and AR to enhance the consumer experience, are increasingly using the technology to suggest products based on people’s preferences and unique characteristics, including skin tone and face shape, as well as to help customers virtually try on products before committing to a purchase. Even before the Covid-19 crisis, the technology had already proved its worth. Figures from Perfect Corp, which develops virtual makeup technology, show that virtual try-on technology generated 2.5 times higher e-commerce conversions for brands and decreased return rates by more than 8%. Trident is offering Cloud Based Retail ERP Software to manager retail operations effectively

As the technology develops and becomes more sophisticated, consumers are progressively trusting in AI to help them make purchase decisions.

“Consumers trust AI to curate a choice of products, services and experiences that reduce complexity and make life more fulfilling,” writes Andrew Cosgrove, Global Consumer Knowledge Leader & Lead Analyst at EY. “AI knows its “owner” so well that it suggests new and unexpected product ideas or experiences they love.”

Digital suddenly finds itself one of the main commerce channels for retailers. We expect AI and AR are here to stay, as more consumers become aware of their virtues when it comes to convenience, and as these technologies can help retailers to continue trading regardless of what happens in the real world.

Here are four ways to make AI and AR work for your business:

1. Bring the in-store shopping experience to your customers’ homes

AI and AR take online shopping to a whole new level by making it possible for consumers to choose from selected products picked out just for them, try out new experiences and test products in ways they wouldn’t have been able to previously – all from the comfort of their homes.

Early pioneers of AI- and AR-powered online shopping include opticians, who realized that consumers still want the option to try on glasses and see what styles suit them before committing to a purchase. Virtual fitting technology has made this possible, with some retailers further elevating the experience using AI to automatically suggest the perfect frame to suit your face.

Indeed, AI lends itself to verticals where consumers may find themselves bogged down in complex choices. Instead of having to scroll through hundreds and hundreds of beauty products, for example, new services such as My Beauty Matches use AI-powered algorithms, and using the consumer’s previous searches, purchases, and known preferences, they suggest items from large databases (in this case, there are over 400,000 products) that couldn’t be easily browsed by the consumer.

Advances in machine learning help brands to identify consumer styles and preferences to gain a granular level of customer understanding, so they can optimize each customer’s individual journey.

“In one of the worlds we modeled, consumers valued time much more than money,” Andrew Cosgrove, Global Consumer Knowledge Leader & Lead Analyst at EY, said. “Their personalized AI learned about their unique preferences and used those insights to buy most of the things they needed. This allowed them to spend their time shopping only with brands that reflected their values and purpose.”

2. Find the right items across infinite aisles of products

The most successful AI and AR experiences today tend to be delivered by retailers that have large item assortments and the ability for consumers to personalize their choices. Home goods and furniture retailers are a clear use case, with many using the technology to help customers choose products that will fit beautifully into their homes and match their existing décor.

Online furniture retailer Wayfair is known for using AI to target customers with personalized recommendations. The company’s search algorithm extracts the customer’s style preferences from their search history to present a selection of furniture that is likely to appeal. Another service allows customers to take a photo of a furniture piece they like and match it to a similar item in the Wayfair inventory, which holds millions of products.

AR then takes this a step further by giving consumers the ability to virtually see how products will look in situ before committing to a purchase. Returns on investment have been demonstrated with increased conversion and reduced returns.

AI is proving its worth in fashion too, helping customers choose clothing that will fit them best by analyzing previous purchases and suggesting sizing based on their profile. Iconic jeans brand Levi’s uses an AI-based chatbot to help customers find the perfect pair of jeans. It asks consumers their preferences when it comes to fit, rise, amount of stretch and wash, and asks what size they are in another brand to determine the best size in Levi’s and suggest the right pair.

And in beauty, brands are using the technology to offer services such as instant foundation shade matching and advanced skincare analysis, as well as matching consumers with products and looks that will suit their complexion, style and occasion.

3. Anticipate consumer demands

One of the major benefits that retailers can draw from AI and AR experiences is the amount of data they can collect about their consumers along the way. This data, if collected appropriately, can be used to improve the accuracy of stock and inventory requirements forecasts throughout the year.

“As consumers browse, test features and make purchases, they are providing retailers with an entirely new set of data points,” writes Hamaad Chippa on Retail TouchPoints.

Retailers can then use this information to rethink product assortments for a better shopping experience, or to develop highly targeted marketing campaigns that lead to greater conversion rates. For example, a customer who just bought a whole load of supplies from a pet store for their new kitten is likely to want to sign up for home deliveries of cat food.

AI can also help retailers target consumers with promotions that are more likely to lead to purchases based on past browsing and purchase history.  “Whether that is 10% off online, 15% in-store or free shipping, customers automatically receive the promotions that are most likely to make them convert,” writes Imtiaz Mohammady on Forbes.

4. Optimize inventory, both present and future

Retailers are increasingly using AI to gain a better picture of what stock they hold currently and what they will need in future. Although many are used to interrogating their data to anticipate demand and make accurate forecasts, AI is taking the game to new heights by helping them to better prepare for unexpected events and predict and prevent potential supply chain disruptions. Advanced forecasting and replenishment tools can help react to changes, recalculate new quantities to reorder for stores and warehouses, and adjust the supply systems to keep up with demand.

Supermarkets in particular are turning to AI models to help keep store shelves stocked. Companies such as Walmart have been trialing robots that scan aisles for missing products. And in its Walmart Neighborhood Market store in Levittown, New York, the company is exploring the possibilities of AI and using real-time information to help store associates know more precisely when to restock products, so that items are available on shelves when they’re needed.

“Customers can be confident about products being there, about the freshness of produce and meat,” Mike Hanrahan, CEO of Walmart’s Intelligent Retail Lab, said in a press release. “Those are the types of things that AI can really help with.”

Technology to overcome challenges

Retailers need to be able to offer rich and convenient customer experiences, and both AI and AR are very quickly opening up new possibilities that could transform retail, making it more adaptable to diverse situations.

In the not too distant future, AI and AR could help to make retail experiences even more personalized, unique, collaborative and social. Without moving from their sofa, customers may be automatically sent a selection of outfits and beauty products curated just for them in anticipation of an upcoming family party. They will simply scroll through the selection, try everything on virtually, mark down what they want to purchase, and wait for everything to arrive well in time for the big event – no hassle, ultimate convenience.   Contact us for Retail ERP Software demo or write us at info@tridentinfo.com

Uncategorized

How Manufacturing Industry Transformed using Microsoft Dynamics 365

The future of manufacturing will be defined by the quality of investments companies are making today

In the not too distant past, efforts in manufacturing to optimize productivity and increase customer satisfaction were viewed as separate endeavors. Today, the convergence of physical and digital trends is disrupting these kinds of assumptions.

Manufacturers today care about integrated digital and physical systems, improved visibility, increased efficiency, additional flexibility, and lower costs. They want to connect equipment and factories, leveraging data from the factory floor to the customer call center to improve every aspect of their operations.

But this is just the beginning. Digitization is fundamentally changing the way manufacturers do business, enabling a customer-centric approach while optimizing operations. Digitally empowered manufacturers engage customers throughout the product lifecycle from design to field service. They sell value-add services to complement the product sales, opening new revenue streams and strengthening their customer relationships. And they are revolutionizing delivery of these differentiated services, using technology like augmented reality to combine the eyes of a technician in the field with the insights of an expert back at headquarters.

Capitalizing on these trends isn’t limited to large, well-resourced manufacturers. Across all kinds of manufacturing operations, the opportunity to digitize and transform your business has never been more accessible.

Imagine your business transformed

The Microsoft vision for supporting digital manufacturing embraces the seismic shifts in the industry today. We’ve created solutions that provide a unified and flexible approach across front office and production floor processes. Our approach enables transformation in six ways:

 

Optimize supply chain operations through better visibility and collaboration

By collecting, integrating, and visualizing global supply chain data worldwide, manufacturers gain better visibility into their operations from production to sales. For example, one of the world’s largest industrial automation firms found that by automating the collection and analysis of data from remote installations across the petroleum supply chain, they strengthened their competitive advantage with a faster time to market. Improved access to supply chain data is also the basis for better collaboration across production, supply, service, and sales. 

Streamline the management of assets, products, and production

With a consolidated view that unifies process oversight and provides real-time insight, manufacturers can institutionalize efficiency gains and use connected devices to monitor and resolve issues remotely. One leading manufacturer of industrial robots enabled 24-hour continuous uptime using this approach. The additional insights into production and customer usage also allow manufacturers to provide value-added services like ongoing monitoring and proactive support.

Engage customers in powerful new ways

To deliver personalized and contextual engagement across any channel, manufacturers must provide customers with more visibility and build trust through fast and convenient responses. This engagement approach is built on a combination of predictive analytics, the ability  to deliver value-added services at scale, and guided or self-directed service that’s relevant to customer needs. With the implementation of a connected platform for sales through service, a leading home technology manufacturer not only solved potential problems remotely before customers ever felt the impact, but provided custom differentiated offerings based on unique customer usage and purchasing history.

 Transform service centers into profit centers

Thanks to the ever-decreasing cost of IoT sensors, sophisticated mobile devices, and cloud-based data aggregation, manufacturers can improve service quality and margins by offering remote monitoring and proactive maintenance services that supplement break/fix support. By more intelligently coordinating technicians equipped with mobile and virtual reality tools, companies can leverage existing expertise and minimize costly engagements. A leading tire service and manufacturing company found that by combining customer records, technician availability, and back-end inventory in a single mobile-friendly system, it could provide a seamless user experience as well as improve its service delivery.

 

understand their business more deeply, from customer usage through supply chain sourcing and production. With IoT-enabled parts, assets, and products, manufacturers can gain the insights needed to innovate. Data from connected products and equipment can empower developers, engineers, and technicians to collaborate. For example, teams can identify overengineered or faulty components and track product usage in the field to improve future designs. When a leading information and communication technology company implemented remote monitoring, they decreased time to production as well as accelerated the cycle of innovation using a data-driven approach.

Empower employees to work more effectively

When a company can provide 360-degree views of customer assets and work order history, technicians are empowered by a better understanding of not only the job in front of them, but of other similar and successful field service engagements. This goes hand in hand with empowering service agents to provide instant feedback, using machine learning to find and follow similar cases for successful troubleshooting, and scheduling a visit or evaluation. A leading auto manufacturer wanted to save money by unifying their siloed customer service and customer engagement while providing employees with better tools to understand customer sentiment. To accomplish this, it implemented a system to connect production and project management with their customer relationship management systems in order to deliver personalized service and recommendations to their customers. 

Introducing Microsoft Dynamics 365

For manufacturers, Microsoft Dynamics 365 ends the artificial divide between CRM and ERP systems and supplements necessary capabilities with rich analytics, embedded intelligence, and the convenience people expect from consumer apps on their phone or tablet. Dynamics 365 unites the front office and the back office with a single end-to-end system for managing every aspect of your business, at the pace and scale that’s right for you. Digital transformation isn’t accomplished overnight and leveraging current investments is a key component of any successful approach. With Microsoft, you can optimize across all your processes while laying the foundation for connecting advanced technology in the future.

 

Blog reference: https://cloudblogs.microsoft.com/dynamics365/bdm/2017/05/30/manufacturing-transformed-microsoft-dynamics-365
Uncategorized

Maintain business continuity with Dynamics 365 Field Service

In today’s dynamic business climate, field service teams are still expected to maintain infrastructure and customer equipment, often with fewer onsite technicians and limited face-to-face interaction with customers. That means adjusting one’s field service model to continue providing proactive service—sending in the right people and tools at the right time—while being prepared with the processes and technology to do more with less from the field.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist can help organizations provide proactive service at the speed, volume, and quality customers expect, while reducing latency and cost burdens of onsite service. To drive these key business outcomes, we’ve invested in the following areas for the 2020 release wave 1:

  • Increasing technician success by enabling field service inspections, technician time tracking capabilities, and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist
  • AI-infused insights to improve incident categorization and connected IoT capabilities
  • Enhanced proactive service delivery with tighter integration between Field Service and Microsoft Power Automate, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, and Intune for Field Service Mobile
  • Optimized resource scheduling with the new, next generation scheduling board

Increasing technician success

We know that for onsite visits, enabling technicians to achieve a first-time fix is the ultimate goal, while also leveraging the technician’s valuable onsite time to drive increased proactive customer service. To that end, we’ve added the following capabilities:

  • Now in preview, the new Inspections feature allows technicians to analyze and capture essential data while performing Field Service inspections, which can better assure quality, safety, and end-customer visibility.
  • Enhanced the technician’s ability to track their time in both automated and manual ways, directly within Field Service rather than in separate applications. In addition to the ability to track time, we’ve enhanced it with time capture precision to ensure the most granular data is available to derive the insights that can help to ensure better scheduling and utilization.
  • We have updated Dynamics 365 Remote Assist with enhanced data capture and sharing. When technicians use a Microsoft HoloLens headset when performing inspections or fixing equipment, they can record and share the session with experts located elsewhere, enhancing real-time team collaboration with the ability to review onsite work, helping to improve quality of service and first-time fix rates.

Technicians can now share files with experts who are helping them with their site visit

These new Field Service and Remote Assist features help ensure technician success and optimize resource utilization, creating confidence in an uncertain business landscape.

AI-infused insights

We’re enhancing Field Service with AI to help technicians properly categorize incidents, which leads to improved business metrics like parts inventory and availability, technician scheduling, and increased first-time fix rates—driving down the overall cost of service for customers.

Device telemetry and service maintenance data helps to make intelligent decisions around dispatching technicians, however analyzing and prioritizing IoT alerts can be challenging. To address this, we’ve enhanced IoT alerting in several ways to increase proactive service delivery.

  • Using AI-generated suggestions (preview) based on the past service history data, organizations can easily identify which IoT alerts are most important and can drive the biggest impact to increased proactive service delivery through connected field service.

AI-generated suggestions (preview) can help organizations identify which IoT alerts are the most important

  • We’ve also added time series insights and a summary of the measures for the alert making it quick and easy to view and analyze the service history and take action.

AI generated suggestions are based on past service history data

Enhancing proactive service delivery

Improving proactive service with remote delivery helps to increase customer satisfaction and reduce overall service costs. We’re enhancing proactive service delivery with tighter integration between Field Service and several enabling Microsoft technologies, including:

  • Integration with Power Automate (preview) to expand the automation workflow capabilities to the massive library of connectors and robust logic building user experience.
  • Aligning asset management capabilities and integration with Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management to complete the field service workflow scenarios, end to end, all in Microsoft Dynamics 365.
  • Intune for Field Service Mobile to enable IT organizations to easily manage the Field Service Mobile app.

Optimizing resource scheduling

Resource Scheduling Optimization (RSO) automatically schedules jobs to the people, equipment, and facilities best equipped to complete them. Updates include:

  • new, next generation schedule board (preview) and resource management features to help service teams more quickly and efficiently manage technicians at all stages of the service journey. The new schedule board has a modern user experience with greatly improved performance and a fluid drag and drop functionality.
  • A simplified and improved experience for managing technician work hours and time off, including a Microsoft Power Apps control that lets customers modify technician time through even more simplified app experiences. In addition, we’ve added requirement dependencies to schedule work orders in sequence increasing first-time fix rates and technician and customer satisfaction.

The new schedule board has a modern user experience with greatly improved performance and fluid drag and drop functionality

  • new dashboard for managers and dispatchers to surface insights that can help them monitor utilization and identify optimizations for time utilization.

A new dashboard for managers and dispatchers helps them monitor utilization and identify optimizations for time utilization

Delivering more agile, simplified, and proactive field service

Siemens Smart Infrastructure intelligently connects energy systems, buildings, and industries to adapt and evolve the way people live and work, helping companies make buildings safe, comfortable, energy-efficient, and economical. Siemens is deploying Dynamics 365 Field Service to support more than 12,000 employees—including 7,500 service technicians—with the tools, processes, and agility they need to quickly and proactively handle customer issues and ensure smooth communication. Now, by taking advantage of capabilities such as proactive service delivery, resource scheduling, AI-infused insights, and more, Siemens is empowered to be more nimble and able to react to disruptive changes while continuing to provide high quality service to their customers. To learn more about the Siemens journey, read the customer story.

Like Siemens, Microsoft can help you and your service teams continue to meet ongoing demand for service despite new challenges. Explore the resources below to learn how Dynamics 365 Field Service and  Dynamics 365 Remote Assist help ensure your ongoing success so you and your team continue to flourish long after this crisis.

You can contact Trident Information Systems for Demo of Dynamics 365 for Fields Services

Blog Source : https://cloudblogs.microsoft.com/dynamics365/bdm/2020/04/28/maintain-business-continuity-with-dynamics-365-field-service/
Uncategorized

Cloud Kitchen Concept : Why Should you invest in Cloud Kitchen Business

About Cloud Kitchen Concept & Business Model

Taking the scenario of online food industry, the introduction of cloud kitchens has boosted the online food ordering system. The word ‘Cloud Kitchen’ may sound new to you, but technology has evolved so rapidly that the Cloud Kitchen sector has become the most profitable based on the initial capital requirements, ROI, etc. We are offering Cloud Kitchen software to manage cloud kitchen operations effectively.

Cloud Kitchen business model  

A Cloud Kitchen is primarily a restaurant kitchen that runs on its own or in a hub & spoke system. The main base or portal is primarily for taking online orders from various online food ordering sites and delivering them to the door. The concept of cloud kitchens has brought technological advancement and the opportunity to order food right from our fingertips.

Functionality of cloud kitchen 

The Cloud Kitchen operates in a hub & spoke configuration as you can see from the image above. The key goal of the center is to accept online orders and deliver them to the customer from the nearest spoke. A spoke here is the base kitchen of the center where orders are routed and food is supplied from the nearest spoke kitchen.

How Cloud Kitchen work 

As previously explained about Cloud Kitchen, a cloud kitchen works in a number of ways. Cloud kitchens may have their own order by setting up a website for their customer to place an order or an app to do the same.
By registering with online food portals to accept orders such as Swiggy, Zomato, FoodPanda, Uber Eats, they will cover a quarter of customers and the other half of customers.

Why you should invest in cloud kitchen 

If we think about Cloud Kitchens, there are a lot of reasons to open. A recent study from Limetray found that entrepreneurs would like to open a Cloud Kitchen over a dining-in restaurant as their next outlet. So, let me share some of the advantages of opening a cloud kitchen business.

Scalability: Restaurant business model is the sort where, if a restaurant is going to boom in sales, immediate investment must be made to open a lot of franchises or improvisational outlets. In the same way, classic dining-in restaurants will take advantage of the cloud kitchen model to check their restaurant in new areas and demographics to get a answer from the end customer without spending a lot of money on investment.

Exclusivity: If you consume media from the internet, just like Netflix originals & Amazon prime exclusives, the Cloud Kitchen business model gives you the opportunity to offer end-user exclusivity and create unique ideas that keep food buds engaged rather than the same old food recipes.

Lower spending: the cloud kitchen model has much lower company expenditure and operating costs. Even, compared to classic dining at the restaurant location, there is no issue here that the cost is also that. There is also no major expenditure in ambience, signs, waiters, tables and chairs, etc.

Competitive pricing: Now that we don’t need the requisite investments listed above, Cloud Kitchens can spend their key financial capital by creating new dishes, new menu items, different pricing and, most importantly, by growing their digital presence online.

So if you are looking to manage cloud kitchen operations then Trident is offering cloud kitchen technology solution, you can contact with out consultant here

Retail ERP Software, Retail POS Solution

7 tips to deliver better online grocery shopping

The boom of online grocery shopping has been a long time coming. In 2015, more than one third (37%) of shoppers in Asia-Pacific regularly shopped for food online, Nielsen reports. Although in the rest of the world online grocery shopping was less common, there was already a growing trend, which has only become more pronounced. According to projections by Deutsche Bank, online grocery shopping is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.2%, which is significant if compared with a 2.5% CAGR for total grocery sales.

Supermarkets have had time to prepare for the shift to online, but not all of them have stayed on top of trends. When, due to necessity, consumers worldwide moved massively towards online shopping, some supermarkets found themselves suddenly out of the race. Today, the businesses who didn’t believe and invest in omni-channel are facing the harsh consequences of their decisions.

Online shopping has been gaining ground quickly among all ages and geographies, and there is no reason to believe this popularity will fade in the upcoming months. This means there is no better time than today to invest in improving your e-commerce capabilities.

Here are seven tips to get you started.

1. Focus on speed and ease of use

Simplicity and usability of the platform should be your top goals:

  • Make it easy for people to registerfind the products they need, add items to the cart, review and edit the order and pay.
  • Enable filtering per sub-groups of items to speed up search. Your customers would rather not have scroll through a hundred-item long list of “bread and pastries” to find the apricot-filled croissants they are looking for.
  • Make sure you include all relevant product information. Feature high-quality pictures, and clearly label brand names, price, ingredients with nutritional value and allergens, and pack size.
  • Include expiry dates wherever possible. If a shopper knows that the Greek yogurt lasts three more weeks, they might buy three packs instead of one.
  • Support returning shoppers. Give customers the possibility to recreate previous orders quickly and activate shopping lists where people can add staples and family favorites. Allow registered customers to see their buying history and to share the basket with other family members.
  • Ensure short page load times. If your site is too slow to load, buyers may abandon their cart without completing the purchase.

2. State the important information up front

How annoyed will your online shopper be when he finds out that his postcode is not eligible for delivery, after he spent a full hour adding products to the cart? For retailers, it pays off to be clear and provide all needed information from the start. Buyers should be aware of shipping prices and timesdelivery restrictions, geographical areas included in the service and special conditions before they have added a single item to their cart.

When it’s time to check out, make sure that all the steps are clearly labelled, and that shoppers know what’s coming up in the process. Consider adding lines that clarify where the customer is at, such as “You can still modify your order in the next step” or “By clicking here, you confirm your order and accept to pay. You won’t be able to modify your order afterwards”. Consider adding a progress bar that shows the various steps (“Customer details” -> “Shipping” -> “Payment information” -> “Review order” -> “Complete and pay”).

Once the order has been placed, include an “order completed” page where all the key information is summarized: items purchased, delivery and payment information, time of order, and what the customer should expect (an email? A call? A link to track the shipment?).

3. Think of the different platforms

Today, more consumers access websites from mobiles than from computers. According to data from marketing site The Drum, last year 63% of traffic and 53% of sales on retailers’ eCommerce sites happened via mobile. As the preference for mobile shopping is only going to get more common, you should ensure that your website performs well on mobile devices. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • Is my e-commerce site responsive?
  • Are the buttons big and easy to tap? Are the text fields large and easy to type into?
  • Are pictures clear? Can people easily zoom in to see extra details? Is it easy to move through different images?
  • Is all information visible on small screens, or do some lines disappear or end up off screen?
  • Can customers easily move between items and categories?
  • Is the payment process simple and easy to follow?

Many consumers start a transaction on a device and continue it on another one. If when they resume the transaction they lose all the items they had already added to the cart, they may not be bothered to start over again – and you’ll lose that transaction. Enable saving the cart for logged in customers, so they can easily pick up transactions on different devices, at their pace and convenience.

4. Make it easy to navigate

On your e-commerce site you can easily display a larger product selection than in your physical locations. If you decide to go for the “endless aisles” style, make sure you organize the selection so that customers can easily find what they need.

  • Offer top-level categories that can be accessed from the top menu.
  • Enable customers to filter and sort items by price, brand, group, review scores, etc.
  • Make sure information is easy to skim through. Use bullet points and organize information consistently (first ingredients, then package size, then weight, then expiry date…) so users can find what they need at a glance.
  • Make sure the “buy” button is clearly visible. Add a checkmark or confirmation text to clarify when an item has been added to the basket.
  • Include a search function with predictive suggestions and auto corrects (“Did you mean…?”). Your customer may call “cilantro” what you call “coriander” on your site; you wouldn’t want her to leave without it just because the search gave no results.

5. Offer flexible delivery

Offer several delivery options and time slots, and be specific with your delivery times. The best practice is to offer precise delivery windows, and allow people pick the one that best fits their schedule. The more precise you are, the more likely you are customers will decide to shop with you. Nielsen’s “Global Connected Commerce Report” advises offering 30-minute interval windows – provided you can stick to your promises, and ensure delivery within the selected time frame.

How should you ship the products? Food retailers worldwide have been experimenting with different delivery methods. Which one(s) you should implement will depend on your customers’ demands, as well as on the local context and competitive landscape. Do your customers prefer to get their products delivered home? Would they rather use a third-party delivery station, such as a refrigerated locker? Do they want to order online and pick up in-store? Can you support picking up products at the curbside, or even via drive-thru? The more delivery options you can offer, the likelier you are to satisfy all demands. What if you don’t have the infrastructure to manage timely delivery and distribution of your goods? Then you should consider partnering up with distribution agents. This model, made popular by tech companies like Instacart, has already been successfully adopted by many supermarkets.

6. Guarantee high quality

Research by Nielsen shows that concerns over the quality of fresh items and worries about the risk of spoilage during delivery are two of the main barriers to online food shopping. To help consumers overcome these concerns,

  • Offer delivery options that preserve product quality. Refrigerated lockersone-hour delivery, and click and collect within a specific pick-up window are some of the options to ensure freshness while offering customers high flexibility.
  • Provide detailed information for fresh produce. This means including not only a description, but also freshness labels that say how many days the product will last after it is delivered.
  • Solicit feedback, and feature customer reviews under each product your website.
  • Allow customers to exchange the products, or get their money back, if the food does not meet their expectations at delivery.

7. Make it all work together seamlessly

When you are selling products online, you will be judged for more than just the quality of your products. If your website crashes, if the delivery service runs late, if a product description is incorrect, if the refrigerated locker where you deliver products breaks down, customers will hold you responsible. Convenience is a core element in consumers’ decision to shop for grocery online. A poor experience, a snag in the process, and you risk losing a customer forever.

It pays off to analyze and future-proof your whole chain, from production, to the technology you use, to accuracy of product information, to physical delivery, and ensure that every step of the process is smooth, efficient, and up to standards.

Online grocery shopping has moved beyond its tipping point. Although it’s hard to predict what will happen tomorrow, we can expect that grocery e-commerce will continue its upward trend. Retailers who want to shape the market and win over competitors must move quickly and fearlessly. If you need advice getting ready for the digital future of grocery shopping, do not hesitate to contact us.

Uncategorized

Reduce supply chain disruptions with AI, IoT, and mixed reality

Disruptions in global supply chains have significantly increased over the last decade, fueled by a myriad of triggers ranging from trade wars, demand surges from social marketing, natural disasters, and most recently, the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

Updates to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management in the 2020 release wave 1 help organizations proactively transform every aspect of manufacturing and supply chain operations to reduce disruptions. These new and updated capabilities drive automation and reduce downtime using IoT and mixed reality, and provide the agility to re-plan production in real time to dynamically changing demand. In fact, the agility enabled by Supply Chain Management is currently being leveraged by a consortium of major UK industrial, technology, and engineering businesses from across the aerospace, automotive, and medical sectors that has come together to produce medical ventilators for the NHS.

Reducing the risk of supply chain disruptions

As the threat of disruptions increase, companies are pressured to ask if the supply chain is ready for the next event, pushing them to build a more resilient supply chain to ensure business continuity for them and their customers in the most cost-effective manner. More companies will start buffering for risks and move from a “Just-in time” mentality to a “Just-in case” mentality. Factories will need to transform rapidly to adapt to change, serving a wider range of products produced in smaller batches with lower set up time, faster throughput, and the ability to quickly respond to fluctuating demand and customer expectations. Companies are likely to move from single supplier to multi-supplier and single location to multi-location models for mission critical parts even if it is cost prohibitive in order to reduce the impact of supply chain disruptions.

To reach this optimal state of agility and delivery speed, manufacturers need to adapt every aspect of the supply chain to enable tools, equipment, and people to become instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent—a state of persistent adaptive learning and optimization as more data is available to tighten links between manufacturers, suppliers, and customers.

The latest release from Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management enables customers to reach this optimal state by proactively transforming their manufacturing and supply chain with predictive insights and intelligence from AI, IoT, and mixed reality—across planning, production, inventory, warehouse, and transportation management—to maximize operational efficiency, product quality, and profitability.

Train workers faster with integrated mixed reality learning experiences

Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management is now integrated with Dynamics 365 Guides to help mainstream mixed reality for manufacturing. Companies can deliver a faster ROI by getting the workforce trained sooner with fewer trainers and with an interactive learning experience. Workforce efficiency can skyrocket with step-by-step instructions that guide employees to the tools and parts they need and how to use them in real work situations, available at a glance on a Microsoft HoloLens device that keeps their hands free to do the work.

Dynamics 365 Guides can not only eliminate costly errors in production but also improve workforce safety. Companies can significantly reduce asset downtime by making asset maintenance skillset-agnostic and avoid costly waiting time for a specific expert to perform maintenance on an asset. The guides are extremely easy to author and do not require any coding. A guide can be authored by simply writing the step-by-step instructions on a PC followed by picking and placing the holographic parts and inbuilt icons on the machine where the work is happening.

Learn how to use Dynamics 365 Guides
Introducing Dynamics 365 Guides for HoloLens 2

Dispatch the right resources at the right time

Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management is now integrated with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service. Customers can significantly reduce downtime of geographically dispersed mission critical assets by automating field service operations so that the right resources—workforce, machines, parts, and tools—are available at the right place, at the right time, to proactively maintain them.

Companies can improve the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) of their geographically dispersed mission critical assets by performing predictive maintenance based on real-time performance data from IoT and field data from Dynamics 365 Field Service. Traditionally, disparate systems hinder the ability to accurately forecast demand for critical and expensive parts frequently used in both service and new production. Due to lack of forecasting for service demand, companies constantly take parts from production to fulfill the service demand, and vice versa, to deliver good customer service. This often creates a shortage for new production and significantly impacts on time delivery to new customers. As a result, the company is unable to deliver a delightful customer experience on both fronts. This integration will eliminate the need for disparate systems and significantly improve the forecast accuracy of these mission-critical parts due to real time tracking in the service supply chain.

Seamlessly integrate IoT capabilities

Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management now offers out-of-the-box IoT capabilities that leverage Microsoft Azure IoT Hub to connect signals from mission-critical assets with business transaction data. Manufacturers can improve uptime, throughput, and quality by proactively managing shop floor and equipment operations with a real-time view of their entire production and stock. This will significantly reduce costly downtime of business-critical equipment by performing predictive maintenance before disruptive failures occur. There is no coding required to implement these out-of-the-box IoT scenarios on your manufacturing floor today.

Learn more on how Majan is using Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management
Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management and IoT Intelligence customer spotlight with Majans

Improve on-time delivery with real-time production planning

The Planning Optimization Add-in for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management enables companies to improve on-time delivery by performing production planning in real time, accounting for dynamically changing customer demand, material availability, and capacity constraints across multiple sites and warehouses. It also enables customers to improve inventory turns by right-sizing inventory levels based on dynamically changing customer demand and capacity constraints. This helps eliminate excess and reduces slow moving inventory. Planning Optimization Add-in for Retail and Distribution is available and Production planning is currently in preview.

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