Making Decisions at 200 MPH

Making Decisions at 200 MPH

Making the right decisions is (obviously) great for growing your business, but it's only one part of the picture. Often times, you also need to make those decisions fast and at the right time, which means information needs to be shared quickly and with the right people. Microsoft Teams provides a single platform for accomplishing all of these things, bringing together the features and capabilities you need to accelerate decision making chat, video calls, calendars and meetings, team channels, integrated apps, and more all in one convenient location. Perhaps more so than any other competition, NASCAR is a sport where just one second can mean the difference between first place and a distant tenth. As such, racing teams like Hendrick Motorsports are always searching for ways to shave off another fraction of a second in lap times.  To maximize performance, Hendrick Motorsports uses a custom Lap Analyzer tool to intake and analyze streaming race car telemetry, and shares this data across various...
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IoT: Small Devices That Bring Massive Revenue

IoT: Small Devices That Bring Massive Revenue

Our personal devices are not just multiplying, they’re getting a lot smarter every day. Companies, now more than ever, have the power to be—literally—within an arm’s reach of their customers, and consumers have the power to choose which brands they let into their pockets and into their lives. For businesses, being always-on and available to their customers 24/7 isn’t a choice, but a mandatory part of going digital and remaining relevant today. To rise above the constant bombardment of content that users receive every second, brands must ensure that their messaging is impactful. They must also ensure that it is delivered to the right device at exactly the right time, all while keeping their customers' (and their own) data secure. Internet of Things (IoT) IoT isn’t a technology revolution, it’s a business revolution powered by technology. With thousands of devices going online each day and 73 percent of companies actively investing in IoT, the need for constant innovation and improved security is a...
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Maintaining Productivity With A Remote Workforce

Maintaining Productivity With A Remote Workforce

More than likely, you’ve seen the impact high-performing teams can have in business. What is the 'secret sauce' that enables some teams to flourish and others to flounder? That certainly can be a tricky question to answer. One thing is for certain, with an increase in work-from-home mandates and organization's desires to ensure productivity throughout their team - business leaders need to do their best to ensure they have an environment that fosters creativity, allows for the sharing of ideas instantly and easily across geographies and generations while staying in sync with colleagues. In a world where collaboration is how innovative work gets done, teams need work spaces and tools they’re comfortable using. It’s up to business leaders to make it easy for them to get both. The very nature of teams is evolving rapidly. There has never been a workforce with a more varied spectrum of workstyles, with more working millennials than ever, remote working commonplace, and productivity...
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Culture First – Digital, second

Culture First – Digital, second

When the same phrase is used so frequently and over an extended period of time, two things typically happen: first, it officially achieves buzzword status; and second, it begins to lose its meaning. Among the tech industry's pool of du jour buzzwords, perhaps none is more prominent and overhyped--if not misunderstood--than "digital transformation." In his insightful Forbes article entitled "Digital Transformation Is Not What You Think It Is," author Jamie Notter argues that it is culture, and not digital, that today's organizations should focus on when it comes to digitally transforming themselves. In other words, identify what cultural changes will help make your business successful, then adopt technology to support and advance those goals. Oakwood Case Study: Enterprise Digital Transformation for Customer Service Technology should adapt to your culture, not the other way around Ask a hundred different businesses what the phrase "digital transformation" means, and you'll most likely get a hundred different responses. For many organizations, digital transformation means integrating digital into every...
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Azure Synapse Analytics

Azure Synapse Analytics

One of the more significant challenges that organizations face today, in managing large data landscapes with multiple disparate sources and repositories, is simply managing that data and the ingestion processes, as well as modeling and reporting, often from equally disparate systems and technologies. LIVE WEBINAR: April 29th, 2020 Presented by Matthew Bowers https://youtu.be/w0eRgxaRUH0 Historically, if a technical or business user needed to manage and define a source system for managing structured, normalized data, they would need a database environment or operational data store.  If they then needed to model that data and transform it for additional data insights, they would need a tool like SSIS and load the data into a data warehouse, not always available from a single user interface. Reporting needs would have to be met, from yet a different application and interface. And as the environment becomes more sophisticated, and there is a need to bring in unstructured or semi- structured data, they there is a need for a different storage model, such...
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SQL Server in Azure

SQL Server in Azure

As all of us in the technology industry are fully cognizant of now,  Microsoft ended extended support for SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 (actually, back in July of 2019). What this means for you as an organization, is that there are no longer updates available for your mission critical database applications running on SQL Server 2008.  This includes important security updates and enhancements which leaves your environment vulnerable to potential hacks, breaches and other security issues.  It also means that you are now likely out of compliance with several industry standard, government regulations and laws.  This is further complicated by Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 extended support ended in January of 2020.  If you run SQL Server 2008 on Windows Server 2008, you will experience a double whammy!   This is just one of many use cases for considering an upgrade to SQL Server 2019, whether that be on premises, hybrid, or cloud. Some of the questions that...
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SharePoint Server 2019

SharePoint Server 2019

The business climate has changed. People expect to be productive across networks and devices, while boundaries between business units and roles have blurred. Moving forward, people want to communicate without collaborative barriers. For businesses, you want your collaboration, communication, and productivity solutions to be both cost-effective and flexible. SharePoint Server 2019 is designed to help you achieve new levels of reliability and performance, delivering features and capabilities that simplify administration, protect communications and information, and empower your users to work across devices and screens. SharePoint Server 2019 is the next-generation server product, building on the solid foundation delivered with SharePoint Server 2016 and investments in Microsoft Office 365 to: Enable productive experiences across desktop and mobileProvide a scalable and flexible collaboration and communications platformIncrease productivity with an intuitive user experience SharePoint is preferred by businesses who need an adaptable solution that delivers rich and productive experiences. As with SharePoint Server 2016, SharePoint Server 2019 has been designed, developed, and tested with the Microsoft...
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Maximizing The Potential of Business Data with Power BI and Azure

Maximizing The Potential of Business Data with Power BI and Azure

While many organizations know what they should or would like to be doing with their business data, most still only use this data outside their everyday operations for things like yearly planning sessions or monthly reviews. A major reason for this is that many organizations simply aren't aware of how real-time visualization of data can produce actionable insights that can be used every day, or even how to make such capabilities a reality Today, organizations everywhere are dealing with an explosion of data. As this volume of data grows, technologically savvy organizations demand an end-to-end analytics solution that is fast, secure, and easy-to-use so they can quickly turn their data into actionable insights.  Power BI and Azure offer an unmatched combination for analytics that enables organizations to maximize the potential of their data. With Azure, companies can take data that is being ingested into Power BI and use Azure to perform real-time analytics, leverage AI to improve business processes, and more.  By using Power BI with...
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Data Estate Modernization

Data Estate Modernization

Many organizations today are experiencing the growth pains of a legacy data landscape and architecture for managing their analytics and reporting needs.  Many of the issues related to this obsolescence derive from the now outdated architecture of the enterprise data warehouse that no longer delivers digital value or data insights to drive business innovation.  While these legacy systems originally provided significant value by allowing the integration of data from multiple sources, provided a basis for better decision making, and allowed for robust enterprise reporting, they are no longer up to the task of driving that same business value with newer and more modern data sources. "Most existing legacy enterprise data warehouse systems were originally designed and architected for online analytic processing (OLAP) and reporting systems. These systems (many of which are outdated today) were often architected for highly normalized and structured data only".  Forbes Magazine - 2019 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcIEJvpkKAY&t Other challenges with legacy data warehouses include things such as:  heightened risk of...
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Microsoft 365: Security YOU Can Trust

Microsoft 365: Security YOU Can Trust

As organizations like yours embrace the many opportunities presented by cloud and mobile computing to connect with customers and optimize operations, they take on new risks. One of the biggest challenges in digital transformation is ensuring security, privacy & compliance. Oakwood is here to help! Before we dive in too deeply on the reasons Microsoft 365 should be your trusted security solution, let's highlight just some of the reasons in which you'll want to engage with a proven Microsoft Gold Partner like Oakwood. Most organizations are... Lacking the security talent to get ahead of security and compliance risksUnable to identify, assess, and mitigate security risksUnfamiliar with security best practices and the overall threat landscapeConfused with many offerings and featuresUnable to correctly respond to compliance obligations in a timely fashion What is Microsoft 365 Exactly? Microsoft 365 (M365) is an integrated solution that includes; Office 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security, and Windows 10 Enterprise that empowers everyone to be creative and work...
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SQL 2019

SQL 2019

One significant challenge with maintaining a large, enterprise data estate, leveraging multiple data sources, both structured and unstructured, is the inherent performance issues related to data flow and data movement.  While traditional extract-transform-load (ETL) processes still have relevant business and technical use cases, the delays and performance degradation often encountered with these processes can be significant, time consuming, resource challenging and carry the potential for significant technical debt.   While newer extract-load-transform (ELT) processes alleviate this in some instances, it can still present technical challenges in the quest to be nimble and responsive to the business in providing quality data across the enterprise.  Where the use case for traditional ETL or ELT processes is not as strong or compelling, there may be other options. Other issues inherent in traditional data warehousing, large enterprise data estates are managing sensitive data sets from multiple locations, storage costs from maintaining multiple large data sets in a variety of formats on various platforms, as well as significant data governance complexity. What is another option for addressing these challenges?  Enter...
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The Modern Classroom: Empowering Education

The Modern Classroom: Empowering Education

The world our students learn in today is vastly different than when we went to school.  They have more access to information and technology than ever before, but it is the skills around the effective use of that technology to analyze, evaluate, and create that will set them up to become lifelong learners.  Transformation and evolution in education can mean any number of things.  For example, taking learning beyond the classroom, personalizing those experiences to reach and challenge all learners, providing several ways to interact with content like hands-on or game-based learning as well as immersive experiences using Virtual and Augmented Reality.  Transformation in education is not without its challenges.  Microsoft understands the teacher's role in the lives of their students as critical to the child's academic, social, and mental well-being.  Teachers are tasked with increasing student learning outcomes as well as the instructional capacity of their peers  This is what they do for every student they have regardless of their academic,...
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