Archive for Novembro, 2019
We’ve seen incredible growth of Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform just in the past year. This momentum is driving a massive investment in people and breakthrough technologies that will empower organizations to transform in the next decade.
We have allocated hundreds of millions of dollars in our business cloud that power business transformation across markets and industries and help organizations solve difficult problems.
This fiscal year we are also heavily investing in the people that bring Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform to life — a rapidly growing global network of experts, from engineers and researchers to sales and marketing professionals. Side-by-side with our incredible partner community, the people that power innovation at Microsoft will fuel transformational experiences for our customers into the next decade.
Accelerating innovation across industries
In every industry, I hear about the struggle to transform from a reactive to proactive organization that can respond to changes in the market, customer needs, and even within their own business. When I talk to customers who have rolled out Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform, the conversation shifts to the breakthrough outcomes they’ve achieved, often in very short time frames.
Customers talk about our unique ability to connect data holistically across departments and teams — with AI-powered insights to drive better outcomes. Let me share a few examples.
This year we’ve focused on a new vision for retail that unifies back office, in-store and digital experiences. One of Washington state’s founding wineries — Ste. Michelle Wine Estates — is onboarding Dynamics 365 Commerce to bridge physical and digital channels, streamline operations with cloud intelligence and continue building brand loyalty with hyper-personalized customer experiences.
When I talk to manufacturers, we often zero in on ways to bring more efficiency to the factory floor and supply chain. Again, it’s our ability to harness data from physical and digital worlds, reason over it with AI-infused insights, that opens doors to new possibilities. For example, Majans, the Australian-based snackfood company, is creating the factory of the future with the help of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, Power BI and Azure IoT Hub — bringing Internet of Things (IoT) intelligence to every step in the supply chain, from quality control on the production floor to key performance indicators to track future investments. When everyone relies on a single source of truth about production, inventory and sales performance, decisions employees make drive the same outcome — all made possible on our connected business cloud.
These connected experiences extend to emerging technologies that bridge digital and physical worlds, such as our investment in mixed reality. We’re working with companies like PACCAR — manufacturer of premium trucks — to improve manufacturing productivity and employee training using Dynamics 365 Guides and HoloLens 2, as well as Siemens to enable technicians to service its eHighway — an electrified freight transport system — by completing service steps with hands-free efficiency using HoloLens and two-way communication and documentation in Dynamics 365 Field Service.
For many of our customers, the journey to Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform started with a need for more personalized customer experiences. Our customer data platform (CDP) featuring Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, is helping Tivoli Gardens — one of the world’s longest-running amusement parks — personalize guest experiences across every touchpoint — on the website, at the hotel and in the park. Marston’s has onboarded Dynamics 365 Sales and Customer Insights to unify guest data and infuse personalized experiences across its 1,500-plus pubs across the U.K.
The value of Dynamics 365 is compounded when coupled with the Power Platform. In late 2019, there are over 3 million monthly active developers on the Power Platform, from non-technical “citizen developers” to Microsoft partners developing world-class, customized apps. In the last year, we’ve seen a 700% growth in Power Apps production apps and a 300% growth in monthly active users. All of those users generate a ton of data, with more than 25 billion Power Automate steps run each day and 25 million data models hosted in the Power BI service.
The impact of the Power Platform is shared in the stories our customers share with us. TruGreen, one of the largest lawn care companies in the U.S., onboarded Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and the Microsoft Power Platform to provide more proactive and predictive services to customers, freeing employees to spend more time on higher value tasks and complex customer issue resolution. And the American Red Cross is leveraging Power Platform integration with Teams to improve disaster response times.
From the Fortune 500 companies below to the thousands of small and medium sized businesses, city and state governments, schools and colleges and nonprofit organizations — Dynamics 365 and the Microsoft Cloud are driving transformative success delivering on business outcomes.
Partnering to drive customer success
We can’t talk about growth and momentum of Dynamics 365 and Power Platform without spotlighting our partner community — from ISVs to System Integrators that are the lifeblood of driving scale for our business. We launched new programs, such as the new ISV Connect Program, to help partners get Dynamics 365 and Power Apps solutions to market faster.
Want to empower the next generation of connected cloud business? Join our team!
The incredible momentum of Dynamics 365 and Power Platform means our team is growing, too. In markets around the globe, we’re looking for people who want to make a difference and take their career to the next level by helping global organizations digitally transform on Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. If you’re interested in joining our rapidly growing team, we’re hiring across a wealth of disciplines, from engineering to technical sales, in markets across the globe. Visit careers.microsoft.com to explore business applications specialist career opportunities.
Today, I’m sharing the progress we’re making toward our goal to increase diversity at Microsoft globally. Our 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Report is our most comprehensive to date, and reflects our data, our journey, our learnings, and our employees’ stories. With this year’s report, we renew our commitment to our mission to consciously and intentionally include everyone.
In 2019, we made progress on our diversity and inclusion objectives, as reflected in the numbers. But there is another part of our journey that year-over-year data can’t convey: the depth of our commitment and the range of programs in place to keep diversity and inclusion at the heart of the work we do. And although we’re gratified to see the movement, we know we cannot take our focus off the work that needs to continue.
In addition to the numbers, the report reflects day-to-day learnings, and how we’re applying this knowledge to build trust and adapt as we go. For example, this year we enhanced some of the ways we measure and analyze our data to give us a more detailed look at specific areas where we’re hoping to improve.
Here are some of the new additions to this year’s reporting:
- The Inclusion Index, shared publicly for the first time in this report, is an internal sentiment measure that helps us understand the effectiveness of company efforts by measuring employee perceptions about their experiences at Microsoft.
- Equal pay data is being expanded to reflect the global representation of men and women in the U.S. plus the five largest markets outside the U.S. based on employee population. This data represents almost 80% of our workforce, giving us a more nuanced understanding of our pay practices globally.
- We’ve distinguished directors and executives from each other in the category we previously labeled as “Leadership,” and called out metrics for women and racial and ethnic minorities among managers and individual contributors, to better examine representation throughout the workforce.
I do want to note that the data listed below does not include our broader Microsoft family of companies — LinkedIn, GitHub, Compulsion, Playground Games, Ninja Theory, InXile, Obsidian Entertainment and Undead Labs. The full report shows snapshots of data with and without these companies as well as a look at LinkedIn’s and GitHub’s reports that were also released today.
From June 2018 to June 2019 we saw encouraging gains in the representation of our employees. In terms of race and ethnicity, we saw modest year-over-year growth in total representation in all categories, including in tech and in leadership roles at both the director and executive level. Overall, racial and ethnic minorities represent 46.7% of the U.S. workforce, up 2.2 percentage points from 2018.
This year, continuing a positive trend dating back to 2016, there were steady increases in the representation of women globally at the company in all the aspects we measured, including tech and leadership roles. Overall representation of women increased 1.1 percentage points to 27.6%. At leadership levels, women currently represent 37% of our company’s executives responsible for leading a geographic market, with women currently leading three of our largest global markets.
We aspire to a workforce and culture that truly reflects the societies where we work, around the world, and there is clearly more we need to do.
In the U.S. women earn $1.001 for every $1.000 earned by their counterparts who are men, and racial and ethnic minorities earn $1.006 for every $1.000 earned by their white counterparts. As we expanded our equal pay data to include data on women and men from the U.S. plus the five largest markets outside the U.S. — collectively representing about 80% of our workforce — we see that women in those combined geographies earn $0.999 for every $1.000 by their counterparts who are men. At Microsoft, we are committed to the principle of equal pay for equal work for our employees and strive to pay employees equally for substantially similar work.
Our Microsoft Inclusion Index, shared publicly for the first time, reflects that 88% of employees agree that they experience positive aspects of inclusion at Microsoft. With our scale and global reach, this is a positive indicator, but we know we have a responsibility to engage those who are not part of that 88%.
Our broad responsibility
With our corporate mission, our scale, and our global reach, we have a responsibility to do far more than just raise awareness about inclusion. We are uniquely positioned to drive the conversation, to have a meaningful, tangible impact on how people experience Microsoft products and services, and how they engage within our workplace and with the company in general. Our responsibility is not just to those who work with us, but to the larger technology industry, the industries we serve and the communities where we live.
I encourage you all to read the full report to explore much more detailed data, insights, employee stories, and initiatives, as well as our learnings to see how we’re applying this knowledge.
Imagine an autonomous vehicle navigating a smoke-filled mine looking for survivors, personal belongings or any other clues to find anyone who might be alive. It identifies objects it sees and decides which paths to take first. As it reaches the limit of where it can explore, a drone sitting on the vehicle flies off to explore the hard-to-reach corners of the mine. All of this is done without any communication with the outside world. Believe it or not, this isn’t science fiction! Team Explorer from Carnegie Mellon University and Oregon State University did exactly this to win the first event of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Subterranean Challenge.
Today we live in the age of data-driven artificial intelligence (AI), where machine intelligence systems solve difficult problems by considering hundreds of millions of trials or training episodes. Hard problems in perception and decision making that were considered too tough by the community even in the recent past are today being successfully solved using techniques such as reinforcement learning (RL).
I’ve often thought about how advances like these in machine perception and automated decision-making could help us do things like build intelligent robots, and in particular tackle the challenges of optimal control of dynamical systems. And since my early days as a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon, I’ve been fascinated by the tight loop between perception — using computer intelligence to sense surroundings — and action — using this feedback and data to make decisions. Today, our work teaching computers to play games (e.g., mastering Ms. Pac-Man) has the ability to fundamentally change the way we will build control systems in the future. The potential applications could impact a wide range of industries with profound impact on safety and productivity — going well beyond just the self-driving cars that dominate today’s news cycles.
Today’s engineered devices and systems use rules-based logic to bring together the scientific principles, technology and mathematics which have been painstakingly discovered over time by subject matter experts and engineers. But what if our engineers of the future could build control systems infused with machine intelligence that go beyond rules-based logic, and respond in real-time to changing environments to accomplish their goal? Technologies such as RL that are seeing tremendous success in solving video games will be key to building real-world sequential decision-making mechanisms and will power our next generation of autonomous systems.
Helping engineers build action-perception loops for the real world
Translating the success of RL in video games to real-world autonomous systems carries big challenges — for example, no one loses a life making the wrong move in a video game! AI can’t learn from its failures as easily in the real world, where the potential cost of mistakes can be huge. Additionally, newer AI techniques are data hungry. For example, it takes hundreds of millions of tries before a seemingly respectable policy can be trained for many of these gaming tasks. So, operating physical systems like machines or chemical processes for millions of cycles to generate data to train AI can be a very expensive proposition.
Today, I’m excited to talk about how new breakthroughs in the world of machine teaching and creating high-fidelity simulations will enable you to tackle these challenges.
Machine teaching – a new paradigm to infuse domain knowledge to help improve learning
Our researchers have been hard at work on developing machine teaching, which infuses expert domain knowledge and harnesses human expertise to break a big problem into easier, smaller tasks. It also can give AI models important clues about how to find a solution faster, dramatically accelerating model training time. There’s still AI underneath the hood, but you as the expert provide examples, or lesson plans, to help the learning algorithms solve the task at hand. Since you are the one giving the lessons, describing the goals, desired behavior, and safety boundary conditions, the resulting AI models are also far more explainable and auditable once they are deployed. I know I wouldn’t want a “black-box” AI model running the control loop for my systems!
Borrowing a quote from Alfred Aho and Jeffrey Ullman, “Computer Science is the science of abstraction, creating the right model for thinking about a problem and devising the appropriate mechanizable techniques to solve it.” I think of machine teaching as the abstraction we are creating, the right model for thinking about applying domain expertise to AI systems. It can help you to bridge between the model-first mindset of engineers and the code-first mindset practiced by software developers.
High-fidelity simulations – A critical path to gather experiences at scale
Similar to machine teaching, simulations offer a way to generate synthetic data that can train machine intelligence systems at scale and without taking unnecessary risks. Simulations are a safe and cost-efficient way to train AI models, if you can model the key elements like the devices, the sensors and the environment interacting with your system. That allows you to simulate all possible scenarios, including edge situations — such as when a certain sensor or actuator fails — to teach the AI how to adapt to those situations.
For example, we built an open source simulator for aerial and other robotic vehicles called Aerial Informatics and Robotics Simulation, or AirSim for short. AirSim allows the simulation of a wide variety of environments, lighting conditions, sensors and fusion of sensor data. AirSim’s ability to create near-realistic autonomy pipelines is how Team Explorer secured its win.
Most of our customers use highly specialized simulation software for their specific use cases. We’re working with leading simulation makers in the industry like MathWorks to bring these simulators to Azure. MathWorks is the leading developer of mathematical computing software, including MATLAB and Simulink, used by millions of engineers and scientists to design complex embedded and multidomain systems. These partnerships will enable you to easily produce the large volumes of synthetic data needed to quickly train AI models for your specific use case.
The possibilities are endless, and the time is now
We’re continuing to bring AI to engineers and designers that will harness their expertise and trustworthy autonomy as the foundation for accelerated innovation. Customers like Delta, Shell and Toyota are already starting to use and benefit from this approach. From industrial applications to search and rescue operations like in the DARPA challenge, the applications of this technology will be endless. We hope you will join us on this journey to start inventing the future!
Visit: Autonomous systems with Microsoft AI
Learn more: Game of Drones Competition at NeurIPS 2019
Today we live in a world where every company is a software company, and technology is deeply woven throughout company workflow and individual productivity. In this world, the role of IT and developers is becoming increasingly important, and that is why we are so excited to welcome more than 26,000 IT implementers and decision makers, developers, data professionals and other people across industries to experience the latest Microsoft technology at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando, Florida.
In the next week, we’ll unveil a broad range of new tools and services to help companies and individuals put their data to work for them, help employees build expertise quickly, and allow businesses to take advantage of key Azure tools no matter what cloud provider they’re using.
It’s also a time when intelligent insights and security are paramount. AI is infused into updates and powerful new features in many of the tools you already use every day, and so is our firm commitment to security and privacy. You’ll see how our approach of investing in built-in capabilities, cloud-powered intelligence and integration is helping customers address some of the biggest security and compliance challenges they face.
Here are a few highlights from today:
- We’re announcing Azure Synapse Analytics, a new service that merges the capabilities of Azure SQL Data Warehouse with new enhancements that will help customers put their data to work much more quickly and securely by pulling together insights from all data sources, data warehouses and big data analytics systems.
- We’re launching a preview of Azure Arc, which offers Azure services and management to customers on other clouds or infrastructure, including those offered by Amazon and Google.
- We are sharing a public preview of a new robotic process automation capability in Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow) called UI flows, which lets users turn manual tasks into automated workflows by recording and playing back human-driven actions across software that does not support API automation, with point-and-click experience. With this update, Power Automate is a comprehensive, end-to-end automation platform.
- We’re announcing Project Cortex, the first new Microsoft 365 service since the launch of Microsoft Teams, and a cornerstone of Microsoft’s vision to transform knowledge and learning for customers. This new tool is a cross between a powerful organizer of enterprise content and a digital concierge that brings people the information they need in the context of their workflow.
- We’re delivering new experiences across Microsoft 365 that put people at the center so they can do their best work. A few of my favorite new experiences that will make my life easier are:
- Play My Emails in Outlook for iOS Cortana uses natural voice and language recognition to intelligently read new emails aloud and share scheduling changes, making it possible to catch up and act on emails even when your hands are busy with other things.
- New voice enhance in Stream uses machine learning algorithms to detect and eliminate unwanted background noise in any video with just one click.
- With the new Teams Chat button in Outlook it’s easy to move back-and-forth email conversations out of email into a Teams chat.
- We’re introducing the new Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Bing, enhanced with unique solutions including one that brings together the internet with your intranet via Microsoft Search in Bing, as well as powerful default privacy protection and the ability to move from web research directly into Microsoft Office applications.
If you aren’t able to join us in Orlando this week, you can watch CEO Satya Nadella’s keynote live or on demand, as well as check out all the highlights on our news page. And there are also more than 1,000 great sessions available to watch virtually.
Microsoft Ignite is the place to get a comprehensive look at the future of enterprise technology, as well as inspiration, training and connections that help attendees drive their businesses forward. It’s going to be a great week!
Photo by Brian Smale