Scottish Summit 2023 - Conference
Navigating Success in the Power Platform Ecosystem! - Laiyba Mahmood, Dhanashri Patil, Sheridan Nye & Vivian Ross
Hosted by Laiyba Mahmood who is doing a degree on Digital & Technology Solutions and who works at Capgemini and was joined by Dhanashri Patil who is an experienced Dynamics 365 CE specialising in customer service and is a Power Platform Functional Consultant, Sheridan Nye works for Capgemini and is an experience consultant in IT and telecoms and has worked in tech field since 1997 and Vivian Ross has 10 years' experience of Dynamics 365 and is a Microsoft Business Applications MVP and focuses on marketing and Power Platform.
Laiyba asked the panel how did you start your careers in Microsoft Business Apps? Vivian said they started a long time ago, but they don't have an IT background but started in a marketing and sales background, everything they have learned is self-study and found things to improve on and dive deeper. Dhanshri used to work as a SharePoint consultant and that company shifted from focusing on SharePoint and they could choose to go with CRM or look elsewhere so they decided to give it a chance, they learned on the job and was a technology switch and went from senior to starting from new, they gave themselves six to eight months and it clicked and they started from sales and moved to customer service, along with where Microsoft were taking it further and started that journey. Sheridan worked with Microsoft solutions as they bought a house and the commute was no longer viable as were advising companies on technological change mostly in telecoms but weren't hands on so they decided to become an ICT trainer for a local college and started a program for young people to get into IT infrastructure, they hadn't worked with Windows Server as a telecoms / network person but had to learn, but it was so much fun, they had to build networks and kit, they had always resisted going back to hands on technical work as it seemed narrow but it is the right time for them to do this, they work with a large number of people in their new role and have gone from training to hands on consultant.
Laiyba then asked the panel there is a new role of citizen developers, what is a citizen developer? Dhanashri said these are non-technical people on the customer side who have a deep interest in solving problems and have a deep knowledge of their business processes and challenges that can be solved with quick applications, they understand the problem they want to solve and they can quickly create these using no-code or low-code technologies, these are developers who are keen to solve their business problems. Vivian said of citizen developers is they hate the term as everyone has an idea of what a developer is, it doesn't mean more business people it can be people on the customer side such as the IT department and they are going to take over a consultant position, those are the people you will give the experience and knowledge to. Sheridan mentioned Microsoft's vision for citizen developer is there should be subject matter specialists who can take advantage of drag and drop tools, this would be a huge boost to productivity but at the moment we aren't seeing that, you might have someone who comes from IT or data analysis, it is not realistic for the actual subject matter experts want to learn tools and what to use them no matter how accessible they are, IT can use these tools quickly but still have issue of subject matter experts who know business to work with IT and bridge that gap, have also seen teams of low code developers which isn't the idea either, natural language such as power pages where you can create a simple website, this is the way that Microsoft see it going. Dhanashri added that Copilot from Microsoft is this.
Laiyba asked how do you deal with imposter syndrome. Sheridan said to not feel like this, they think it comes up as certain decisions put a client on a particular trajectory, the platform itself can evolve but certain decisions can have implications for the business. Dhanashri said everyone has imposter syndrome in one form or another, this can stop you trying something so what can you do about it, you can speak to your manager or colleagues who are in the same position as you are and they may be able to help you, there could be solutions from there, you could also use your past successes and use last time you tried something maybe it didn't go well but you can learn from this, you made an attempt at least and can learn from this. Vivian said of imposter syndrome more they learn the less they know, but it is also about community such as technical communities as they are in the same boat as you are, they will have similar experience and can take advice from and talk to and even if they don't have anything to add they can listen, they don't think it is getting any easier, they may think why are they doing something but afterwards think it went pretty great, if you fail you learn from it and if it is success you feel good.
Laiyba then asked how do they stay motivated? Sheridan said they are motivated form learning and like learning from other people and like the challenge of things outside of their comfort zone and working with the clients well is essential but there is good potential there. Dhanashri motivation comes from working towards a goal, breaking things down into smaller achievable targets, consider work you are doing for the larger community and how is it going to benefit the end user as you are going to change the way the customer is going to work with their clients and see the bigger impact on a larger scale, may be someone who deals with government organisations more efficiently, this gives you more motivation in your work, having targets helps with motivation and also know what works well for you. Vivian said finding things you find interesting when you are really really struggling with something, if find something interesting you will find motivation, having people around you that have same interest and common goal that push you and can also have competing moments with a colleague to help push the other person to help the other, but making it fun, as long as it is fun it is good, if it is not fun you can't find motivation.
Laiyba followed by asking the panel why they become a Microsoft specialist and not another platform? Sheridan said it made sense for them as they were using Microsoft technology but you can't just ignore other things like AWS, specialise in something you are good at, when just starting out that is a big decision, specialising in Microsoft there is so much change and new things coming out and competitive things and Microsoft is the leader in AI, are still choosing multiple platforms such as Azure and Power Platform and Dynamics as well and specialise in all three, get a lot of advice from people already doing it and see what they say. Dhanashri said they always stuck with Microsoft technologies in one way or another, they moved between Microsoft technologies that connected together that made the journey easier, get the flavour of what is on offer, whatever you choose what is the long term roadmap, will it keep you challenged and what does it mean to your career growth, Copilot and Power Pages is a game changed and every few months there is something new to keep you motivated to learn something new, older things are scaling up rather than becoming redundant.
Laiyba asked Vivian how is working in UK compared to Denmark? Vivian said it wasn't too different except that Denmark is ahead an hour and no one else starts work until 10am their time but they also have to finish work a couple of hours later, but they work in a remote team, they don't have to commute from Copenhagen to London every week, so they can work with US or any other European country.
Laiyba asked Sheridan since they have had quite a few career changes and as a journalist why choose Power Platform? Sheridan said they started as an engineer for BBC television news and were working with top television news journalists and from there became a technical journalist, that is a natural path to become an analyst - the find out the truth kind of mindset, people like them hook up with a company like Microsoft, it is not narrow at all and opens up a whole set of opportunities, if thinking tech is becoming too narrow then think about pre-sales and business developer, where do you see yourself, it may be business development and may become head of the company. Vivian added they often get other things like PowerPoint added to them.
Laiyba asked Vivian about their day-to-day work, which is PowerPoint! But it is a functional solution and do pre-sales and technical consultancy where needed and PowerPoint, along with meeting with many teams but can often feel are in meeting all the time, but they like projects where are hands on but can often be seen as the expert and be asked “tell us something smart now”, if they can do what they like and can add value whether is a PowerPoint or a technical solution this makes them feel good. Are they happy where they are now? Sheridan is very happy to come back to hands on technical work and they really enjoy it, it is hard work but challenging and get to work with really smart people. What are key differences between the key roles of Solutions Architect, Functional Consultant but Vivian mentions there is no one solution, and Dhanashri mentioned it depends on what you are doing btu you don't have to wait for the title to play that role as long as you are not stepping onto someone else's role but Functional Consultant is more customer facing along with making sure things are not going out of scope and bring your product expertise, you are asking questions and educating at same time and becoming bridge between customers and developers, you are enabling people and utilising their skills. Vivian added that you can have a title, but you will have skills in other places but if you have a team lead who can acknowledge the skills people have, they can take advantage of these.
Laiyba asked the panel how can someone starting to progress in their career? Dhanashri said to be bold and to learn faster and allow themselves to fail, failing early is better than not trying, communities out there are very strong and should follow others to help grow your network and knowledge along with own career growth. Vivian mentioned you can get far if curious, don't get hung up on titles or ladders, you could freelance to build your own ladder, do what interest you, chose something that makes sense and interests you, if want to be more technical develop those skills and follow the right people, you can't do anything so choose at some point what you want to focus on, know how to connect things and to consider those in your solutions. Sheridan mentioned that when you join a project it may be overwhelming and don't know what they are talking about so absorb documentation like a sponge and initial aim is to be a safe pair of hands as someone running that will appreciate that and there won't be too many expectations and they want someone who is reliable and will speak up, is thinking and asking pertinent questions.
Laiyba finished by asking the panel where could someone be in two years if starting on Power Platform? Vivian mentioned no one knows but you could be anywhere, but don't focus on the specific product as two years ago no one worked on the things that are being worked on today. Dhanashri said the industry is changing so need to be flexible and in this fast changing world have targets in six months and align self to trends in the industry, it is a good age when young to try things and make mistakes and can have control of this, you can try out Solutions Architect, Functional Consultant or even Developer and then see where you are happy but this may not be the same in three of four years' time so be flexible. Sheridan mentioned that need to pick up generic skills and be able to work in a fast paced environment, AI is exploding everywhere, there is huge demand for people's skills but this could change, as a self-learning developer it can take time but then can “ask write me something like this” and it can explain every line, keep mind on what is going on and be adaptable.
Public speaking for geeks: how to rock the stage! - Lorenzo Barbieri
How to avoid people being bored to death by boring presentations when they were a Microsoft evangelist and were at presentations and were seeing people were really, really bored.
Things have changed so are now delivering an online presentation and these are even more boring that real ones. It is not about the content but how we speak to other people. When you start speaking you need to sell the value of the session, as people need to decide if they stay at the session, if you start with sponsors and about yourself but you need to find the right time for this, so you don't lose anyone, so for example they moved the sponsor slide to the third slide.
There is no public speaking chromosome, they have mentored people who are really bad at presenting, and they became really good presenters. Need to know are you doing it in the right way?
Why wast the most important moment of presentation to introduce yourself as people don't care about you, your company and the history of the business unless it is relevant to the session, people care about the value. They moved their speaker bio to the last slide rather than the third slide. They saw someone doing this and wanted to be like them as they just put their business cards on the desks at the front or on podium as were at the event to talk about the subject so don't put your contact details in the first slides of the presentation.
Give people immediate reason to listen and make then crave for more “I'm sorry what is your name” is the best as you know people want to contact you. You are not going to conference for sake of going you want to sell something or talk about something.
Some icebreakers: Tell a story - that shows value, ask a question - that uncovers value, Tell them why you're there - not only your title of your presentation and say how you delivered what you have said, scare them - but only if you know how to continue. This can work when needing to sell something, best talk was one from Bill Gates he had a jar of mosquitoes with malaria and set them free, but it was not true. Scaring people is one of the most powerful techniques, but you have to give them a direction, you can't just scare them, you say you have a solution or need to find a solution.
Rehearse first and then you can look at it. Every time, all the best speakers do this, don't do it in front of a mirror as there is a loop when do something bad you do worse and worse if there is an issue, you could do a Teams call with yourself or with a friend and get feedback from them and look at any issues such as using too many spaces and moving too much, it won't make you perfect in the first session but is one of the most powerful techniques. Microsoft book one week for most important speakers to do rehearsals for talks before a conference. Do a dry run without anyone or with other speakers although this is not possible every time, but conferences have mentorships for new speakers who can help with this and content.
You must be among people, also when you're on stage need to learn to have good eye contact. Don't be a robot or sprinkler, be natural and try to look at the audience, but for large audience could feel intimidating so have a row in the middle and start looking there. When doing an online talk have the camera positioned in the right way, when look at slides are looking at the camera to make it seem like you are looking at people, you can have a lateral camera and need to concentrate on content where can be viewed from another angle so are looking somewhere else but when looking at screen then switch to other camera.
Picturing the audience naked? This doesn't work! People are not at a conference to judge them and see them fail, people come to see the value of the content.
Doesn't need to be a presentation... set it as a conversation, try to tell a story about the subject, such as about problems of security and how to solve the problems, it could be an example, set the content as a conversation not a presentation.
Don't be afraid of interruptions, when doing it at home something may happen during the presentation, but also may need to understand why things are happening.
Introversion is not an excuse - the stage is the safest place for you. Where you are on stage you can say you can take a question later or can decide what to do, the speaker decides where the audience puts their attention. Once realise this it is okay, may not be able to handle interruptions and questions so can say unless question is really important and leave it to the end.
There is only one difference between an introvert and extrovert regarding public speaking is introvert needs time before and after session, to enter the flow and regain energy. So, if you were asked to do a session an introvert will say no and will need time to find more energy and could do their bit later on in the presentation. They had an example where they could deliver a session but removed anything they couldn't do. When you do a session, you feel energised such as Public Speaking for Quiet People on YouTube. The speaker's room in most conferences is the green room because people are feeling nervous, if you feel like that it is normal, but people are not there to judge as are there due to the value of the presentation so concentrate on the value.
Just try to be yourself is bad advice - you need to be the best version of yourself, wear something that makes you feel good, use your style but be okay with the dress code of the event. You need a ritual to become the best version of you or at least such less. Wonder Woman Position - perfect before the session to recharge energy, you can use it sparingly during the session, but it is one of the best power poses. Fake it to you become it and you can also warm up your voice with the right exercises.
Learn from the best speakers! School didn't help… You don't have to deliver in the same way as a great speaker, but if see one doing a nice trick or in a nice way, or are doing something in a different way such as using OBS to remove the background or do prerecorded things and can remove things from the demos that didn't go well if it is prerecorded, you could even dress the same and record different camera angles or even have the introduction and conclusion done this way. Can also learn from presenters that you don't like, every time you go to a conference you can learn something from good speakers, normal speakers who aren't doing anything bad but think what you can do to improve the session.
Albert Mehrabian's Rule - effectiveness of communication of 7% words, 38% tone of voice and 55% facial expressions is only valid when communicating feelings otherwise it is misinterpreted if about content. Change your words to change your results! Don't say “I don't know whether I have explained myself properly” or “Do you understand me” but instead “Let me know what you think about … and which topics you would like to analyse in depth” and ask if people want to know more and can answer more detailed question, deliver everything you wanted to do but if anyone wants more they can ask. Don't say “I don't want to steal your time”, “I don't want to take up too much of your time” or “Am I in your way?” or “Is this a bad time”. Talk about the value, try to end session on time, don't keep people there when they don't want to be, use the right words and think about the right words to say.
Memory is a bad ally! Can't remember everything by heart, can invent something if you forget something, but don't count on memory and don't come up with excuses. You need to memorise only the beginning and the end of the presentation. You have 30 seconds to deliver your value and to look at your audience to decide what to go with then. The at the end have a explicit end such as thanks along for coming and ask if need more information, if people don't applause then can ask any questions. You can finish by closing and wait a few seconds and then ask for questions any questions to denote that the session is over, and people will judge the session and Q&A apart not together.
If you don't remember something important, put it on the slide, don't hide it in the speaker notes, if you need notes have a piece of paper no one cares if have a piece of paper, print this, and use a big font, can even avoid using the speaker view. If need to put something on the screen, have it appear when it is relevant and people will look at the slide before looking at you.
Use PowerPoint, Keynote, don't let them use you! Bullet points are like real bullets - they kill people, they can have an impact on how people will perceive a session. When presenting to international audience be aware of cultural differences, make sure everything fits the culture of the country. Pay attention to animation, transitions, and videos. Accessibility matters and the Scottish Summit template mandated accessibility features, can have temporal disabilities also that only apply at certain times like holding a baby with one hand.
Did you count how many stories I've told you? Stories are key but some can be real, and some are adapted, and brains don't care if story is real or fictional such as The Hero's Journey, but the most important part of the story is that it should be realistic, and people will trust you are story is realistic.
Data-Driven Storytelling - numbers don't tell a story, people will interpret the figures with their own thoughts. If don't tell a story people will come up with a different story. If people don't remember the story, then you didn't get the message across. Strategies include arrive early, use power pose, relax, if problems put hand on stomach and breath with diaphragm, if interrupt someone with issues offer them a water, then give them a prompt to start again. Cognitive diffusion and expansion, if have thoughts about not being able to do the session but can think of something that will disconnect you from the problem but use something that will make you happy. There is no secret ingredient - can look at the free ebooks from the presenter of Public Speaking for Geeks Succinctly and Beyond Public Speaking for Geeks Succinctly.
Viva Learning - Distributing knowledge with the help of your own videos - Ferdi Lethen Oellers
Speaking about Viva Learning, they help people to work with Microsoft 365 and get more productivity. They are a Microsoft MVP working in Germany with five years' experience with Microsoft 365. Their passion is to help people as behind the computer still sits a human and will be talking about knowledge and why is it important for companies, what is content, change with videos in Microsoft 365 and benefits for companies.
What does it mean? Knowledge - People know what they need to do to do something, it is more than knowledge on how to do something is understanding and expertise that a person possesses about certain facts, concepts, theories, or experiences. Knowledge is people based as people have knowledge, when you stop getting better, you stop being good. If employees don't have quality learning it is not any good.
What is the challenge? In the area of knowledge - Underestimated topic, employees do not like to host their public knowledge, knowledge sharing is rudimentary. Need to change mindset, it may be cool that you have knowledge as are protected but can better work with others if they know those things too so then won't be overloaded and frees up time to get new knowledge. Employees - where can I find learning content, what knowledge do I need, knowledge is often located in an unstructured intranet “black hole”, who has the knowledge and where is the learning information, may have a lot of information but it can't be found easily, and people don't want to search an intranet for information.
Which content types are in companies in the area of knowledge - what is the information of the content? Content types can be presentations in PowerPoint, Text Content in Word or PDF or Reports in Excel. Would you look at a 20-page document and read it? People don't want to do this for just one piece of information. Why don't I look at the document? I can't find it right away, loos of time for everyday tasks, different types of learners, the content does not help - “Videos are the new Book”. What has Microsoft changed in Terms on Videos - Microsoft Stream on SharePoint. Videos are not in SharePoint they are in Microsoft Stream and put these in SharePoint with a link, but Microsoft have done a new application with Viva Learning which is built on SharePoint and can be hosted there. You can also synchronise videos to Teams as the central platform for sharing that content.
Benefits for companies - distribute your knowledge in the company, videos can be slimmed down to the essentials and with free version of Viva Learning can synchronise videos with Microsoft Teams. You can structure this with what you want, the big benefit for Viva Learning is to deliver this and integrate videos available for employees with Viva Learning. You also get all LinkedIn Learning videos for all employees with Viva Learning for free.
Viva Learning - You can also add other learning providers and pay for these such as Pluralsight, Udemy etc. You need to provide information in columns otherwise the content will not be synced. For the thumbnail for a video this needs to be a public image, it cannot be one hosted within SharePoint itself as it won't show up otherwise. You can share videos with a link or on Teams either in a private Chat or a Channel.
Cognitive Services Extravaganza! - Gosia Borzęcka
Gosia works for Avanade and is an Office 365 developer.
What is artificial intelligence? Reasoning, understanding, and interacting. How to get knowledge into system and how to work with this if not a data scientist. Can have a pre-trained AI, using Project Oxford, part of Microsoft AI platform.
Cognitive Services APIs are for decisions, language, speak, vision and open-AI services and for decision have anomaly detector. Where can shoes between Univariant and Multivariant approach to this. Can also have Content Moderator for image moderation, text moderation, video moderation and human review tool as can put anything to AI but need a human to check if it is correct or not.
Content Moderator is used with an API key then can pass in items and then can have content moderation insights from this. Image moderation can check for adult or racy content, detecting text with OCR, detect faces and have a custom list of things to check, this will return a score along with other classification. Text Moderation can check for profanity, can do classification, check for personal data, or perform auto-correction along with custom lists of data to check for. Personaliser can be used for recommendations based on other things and can learn automatically from rewards where developers can build a reward score for this.
Cognitive Services for Language allows for entity recognition, sentiment analysis, question answering and conversational language understanding along with translation. Can perform language detection, extract key phrases and more. Question answering with no code experience, automatic extraction, multi-turn conversations with active learning and can scale as you need and chat in 50 languages. You can define how chat will behave such as professional, friendly, friendly, witty, caring, or enthusiastic.
Different languages, things can depend on where you are from such as bread bun is cobs, buns, baps, barm cake or bread roll. Have to understand how something is working and need to add custom things to understand particular things. Language Studio allows you to try out how it works and can try it for free. Custom Text Classification allows you to classify text based on a defined schema from labelled data to train a model and can then improve the model when it is being used and keep check and train this, you need to keep checking how this is working.
Cognitive Services for Speech can include speech to text, text to speech, speech translation, speech recognition and speech studio. Can also have custom speech where you can prepare data for this as needed. Text to speech allows text input to be analysed and can use a neural acoustic model and neural vocoder so it sounds more natural when audio output. Speech translation allows speech to be translated to other languages and can get the sounds and perform machine translation and can have some bias in translation to other languages. Can use this from Speech Studio and see how this all works. Speaker Recognition can tell who is speaking based upon the voice including using voice characteristics.
Cognitive Services for Vision with computer vision, custom vision, face API and spatial analysis and can be tested from Vision Studio. OCR can get where the text is on an image and do bounding boxes where the text is, it can also read handwriting. Face (& Emotion) can detect and analyse faces in a crowd, group faces, find similar faces and verify a face. Machine learning needs to analyse faces bit by bit to know where parts of the face are. Facial recognition cannot be used to infer emotional states or identify attributes that could be misused but analysing faces has now been retired. Can check for accessories, blur, exposure, glasses, head-pose, mask or for occlusion. Can do face detection but for face recognition you need to fill out a form to say why you need to do this in your application. Custom vision allows you to add labelled images and train a model based upon these images and don't need to do any coding.
Cognitive Services with OpenAI services including GPT-3/4, Codex for generating and understanding code and DALL-E to generate text from prompts but cannot generate a logo. You can use models like DaVinci, Curie, Babbage, and Ada. Tokens are based upon the words input in general and based on this is how many tokens you can have but it could be expensive if want to use more tokens. You can use OpenAI for content generation, summarisation, code generation and semantic search. Where are cognitive services used? Such as bot services, cognitive search, form recogniser and video indexer. They are also used in Office 365 so anything that will be used will be coming there for Cognitive Services along with Power BI and Power Apps along with others. Copilot is a personal assistant that can help you in various applications but will need to check what it has generated is good and supports plugins.
Responsible AI should be fair, reliable & safe along with privacy and security with inclusiveness, transparency and accountability for services that are being used and Microsoft have this for their Cognitive Services. Cognitive Services are easy to use with REST APIs and SDKs and you can try any queries for services to see what they will do and can read documentation to find out how it is working and what you can get from the services.
20 Coding Best Practices for Low Code Developers - Matt Hopkinson
They are a senior Power Platform Consultant for HCL Tech and are founder of West Yorkshire Power Platform User Group.
- Make code read like a good book, when reading code and having looked at different apps, you can't see what is coming next, you should be able to understand and follow it though, make it so anyone can understand.
- Agree and a naming convention and stick with it! You don't want to see different naming conventions for the same thing.
- Use descriptive naming, Label52 is not a descriptive name so you can read the code better like a book.
- Use comments but only when they're really needed, can more descriptive code be used instead, but if do use them keep them simple and don't leave old commented-out code, get rid of this, if really stuck use version control.
- Do not directly reference controls on other screens, use a variable or a named formula as it actually goes into the other screen, goes through code there and gets that information that way so is very slow.
- Don't ignore errors, they will multiply like a virus, when they come along fix them and sort them out even if it is a warning.
- Test your code and test it again - get multiple people to test it
- Have someone review your code, that someone doesn't need to be another developer, sometimes that someone should not be a developer so if they can understand your code, it must be good code.
- Make your app accessible - not just making it accessible for people with disabilities, when using accessibility checkers then it also makes it more accessible for other people, so that anyone can get on there.
- Don't clutter, don't have 200 controls on one screen as not only does it kill performance it makes it really hard to see what someone is doing.
- Manage your data locally, people going to database and getting it to do lots of work to push information to you where it is having to get that information, if you are using this regularly then put it into a collection and have it locally and control it locally or with things you are putting up the other way.
- Keep your collections small, people sometimes get a whole table or more into collections will slow the application down, filter data down to smallest amount you could possibly use.
- Limit code on start - this will slow the application down and make it seem that it is not doing anything as they have front-loaded everything they need.
- Delegate whenever possible, delegate hard work to back-end source where can get the data from where you need it, also think about what you will be delegating and pay attention to delegation warnings.
- Load multiple datasets concurrently - it will load information sequentially normally but if put concurrent there and these will all be obtained at the same time rather than one after the other.
- Patch in batches - You might have a lot of controls and every time someone needs to save something it will need to go to data source to persist this so you could pull this all into a collection and hold them this way, then at certain point you can patch the whole collection to the data source.
- Create components - Build reusable elements such as don't do a header or footer twice as you can just keep using a component over and over again.
- Enable Delay Output in Text Input - So when using text input for search and are typing it will start searching as are typing, so can use a Delay Output where it will wait for a second before it does the search which means you can type more before it searches, although would have issues with slow typing.
- Don't repeat yourself - don't repeat code, don't reuse the same code again, put it in a variable, you could put in a formula as a named formula.
- Keep it simple - simple to read code makes happy developers.
Generative AI and Power Platform - Muhammad Atif & Faiz Muhammad
Muhammad is VP of solutions and services at Mazik Global co-founder of PUG - Microsoft Dynamics 365 Community. Faiz also works at Mazik Global and is a solutions architect and community speaker.
Generative AI - This has been an incredible year for AI, and we can feel the change that is happening around us and we can see impact on us and around the globe. The pace and overall impact are huge, and it will impact each industry such a customer service, warehouse, health care and every sector. This is an exciting prospect but can often be worried that it is going too fast, the outcomes and utilisation is scary, the opportunities to harness this, if keep it in governess then the opportunity and use cases is very high. Microsoft is heavily investing in this platform so you can see the potential, we should become an AI value creator and use this technology.
History of AI began with the idea of The Turing Test in 1950 and has gone throughout changes from idea to implementation over the decades for so many use cases. AI achievement after 70 years is ChatGPT which is a single text box where you can write something and get something back but a lot of effort has gone into this and is something we can leverage.
Meet the new Generative AI that allows you to create original content, speaks natural language, synthesise large amounts of data and iterates with human in the loop.
AI is a discipline which is a branch of computer science dealing with the creation of an intelligence system and machine learning is a subfield which is a method or program that is creating model and is done using existing data, ChatGPT was trained with a large amount of data right up to 2021. This trained model will help to predict future outcomes that we are trying to achieve, when talking about Machine Learning is without explicit programming, we can get specific outcomes. Supervised learning implies the data is already labelled and are learning from the past to predict future values and unsupervised learning is where data is unlabelled and is looking about seeing if it naturally falls into certain groups.
Deep learning is a subset of machine learning which is helping machine learning solve a complex problem, based on a neural network that allows them to process more complex patterns than traditional machine learning, this will help learn the data and based on that it will help to generate some sort of outcome. Can use discriminative technique to classify with a discriminative model such as is a dog or cat or a generative technique using a generative model to create an image such as of a dog.
What is OpenAI? This is a large language model which is a subset of machine learning. OpenAI is an AI research laboratory, in late 2022 they launched ChatGPT but to create it in 2021 they looked at over 500 billion tokens across the internet it put these together into a layer with a neural network that can start predicting words to create ChatGPT, but with ChatGPT 4.0 keeps looking at the data. It is more like an interactive thing that also supports and API that can be used with it. OpenAI has unprecedented vertical growth as it got 100 million users within two months, it took Facebook over four years to get that and the internet over seven years to reach that and mobile phones over sixteen years. You don't need to write code you could ask ChatGPT to write code and then just change or correct as needed.
OpenAI and Microsoft results in the creation of services that allow summarisation and reasoning over data, for writing code generation and introduce the era of Copilots. With their security you can put things in Azure AI and use prompt engineering to do what you need. Microsoft have invested in orchestrations that can be used. GPT-3 vs GPT-4 it will work out what will happen for example if you cut some floating balloons off an anvil.
Microsoft 365 Copilot uses Microsoft Graph along with the Large Language Models and Microsoft 365 Apps and can have things like Bing Chat Enterprise that can use information from your company and keep this private and you can build your own Copilots with their Copilot stack. If using Azure OpenAI then your data stays private, and it is not being used to train any models. Dynamics 365 Copilot allows you to integrate with use cases such as sales, marketing, services, supply chain and operations. Mazik Group has even implemented their own Copilots that work with Power Apps.
What is Azure API Management and Why should I care about it? - Dias Manjaly
They work for Vanquis Bank in London. They are an associate solutions architect and are passionate about Microsoft Azure and Power Platform.
Buzz Words - APIM, Azure APIM, API Gateway, Gateway Technology, Azure API Management and API Management Platform.
Ben Turmeric lives in London and uses Debit Card for everything and means a subscription company asks for money and the debit card is always giving money, but they noticed they had a fraud transaction and rang the bank and said it was a mistake, but they said no as it is definitely them! In the UK fraud is 40% of crime, so he realised he needs more security in his transactions. Section 75 is part of the consumer credit act means if you use a credit card you have more protection and allows you to make a claim to get your money back but there isn't on debit cards. So, he switched to Credit Card where applicable to get more security, so subscription hits the credit card with the section 75 protection and the debit card is hidden which means a happy ben!
In digital transformation world you will have a partner company where you send data to a company, and they acknowledge this or the other way around and will do this with APIs usually. What is an API? Backend is kitchen, Front end is the tables and APIs are the waiters. Advantages of APIs are they are reusable, can have smooth integration with fast transactions and get data without front end in a secure way.
C-Insure is a car insurance company in London and there is Coriander Bank who have a partnership with and have made a deal where they can send money directly to the bank, so a payment transaction is sent to C-Insure with the payment details that need to be consolidated with a Payment Consolidation service. C-Insure scrum team had a meeting about this, they shouldn't be giving a direct link they should have some security in-between but have challenges such as a deadline and resource constraints for this extra layer of security so will do it in phase 2. It is important to make things secure, so they continue their solution design process so they can make it secured and hidden where can use Azure API management before the payment consolidation service so that Azure API management service is hit first. Also if you have a change at a later date to change it to a new API, so if they used a direct link you would need to let the other party know and may have to pay for this but if you have a layer in between you can keep the front-end of the API the same, is decoupling the back end from the way the API is accessed so is secured and hidden.
High Level design is requests are sent to API Management Services then could hit an Azure Function for the functionality which data will end up in a SQL Database and could also have this extracted to a CRM. API Gateway. Azure API Management allows for management of APIs and has comprehensive security and compliance built in and can manage APIs across clouds and on-premises. API Management is the most important service used by companies who are using Azure especially for those companies who want to decouple their APIs.
Azure API Management has a developer portal and can be used by app developers, apps use the API gateway and manager uses Azure Portal. Features include extra layer of security, IP whitelisting, policies, API headers / authentication, monitor API health, monitor API usage, authorisation from Outside to APIM and APIM to Internal, security certificate and for decoupling and saving costs. Defender for APIs is in preview and is a new extra layer of security to Azure APIM service, it continuously monitors Azure APIM and identifies potential security vulnerabilities and recommends actions to mitigate. Exposing APIs is a common thing, if you don't have one then have to rely on your user interface so if have an API you can work with more companies and allow access to more things. Authorisation Mechanisms include an API Key Subscription with a default name so this should be changed, then it uses OAuth 2.0 and can use OpenID Connect.
Can also have Power Platform Connectors there is a demo to integrate OpenAI with Power Platform using Azure API Management.
Case Study of Cargolux how expose services supporting flight operations, aeroplane maintenance and cargo management programmatically using Azure AI management offering secure customer access for fast automated transactions. It makes sense when exposing an API make sure it is secure, never expose it without making it secure whether are using Azure, Google Cloud Platform or AWS.