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  • 10 Minutes With: Alvin Le

    Meet Alvin Le, a Marketing and Information Systems student at the University of Washington who is currently interning at RedCloud. In this insightful conversation, Alvin tells us a bit about his tasks and projects, the skills he's leveraging from his academic background, and his observations about the RedCloud team's culture. Plus, find out his favorite app and how it enhances his dining experience! Why did you seek out an internship with RedCloud, and in the consulting industry? I met RedCloud Account Director Scott (Morton) at a University of Washington alumni event hosted by my fraternity and was immediately intrigued by his description of RedCloud. I connected with him on LinkedIn shortly after and reached out to ask if I could join RedCloud as a Consulting intern. Fortunately for me, Scott was extremely accommodating and made the process easy and enjoyable. As a Marketing and Information Systems student at the University of Washington, working at RedCloud offers the perfect combination of marketing and technology that I seek in a role. I’ve always wanted to work in consulting - I love the strategic, creative, and client-facing aspects of the industry - and I was actively searching for consulting opportunities aligned with my background and interests. I found that in RedCloud, and I look forward to being a sponge of knowledge. What are your main tasks and projects as part of your internship? As I’m only a few weeks into my internship, I’m still learning the ropes of my assigned tasks and projects. I currently have the opportunity to work alongside Scott and assist him with monthly SLA MOSA reporting and Studio MOSA reporting. I also assist Yan Ma, a Senior Product Marketing Manager at RedCloud, with weekly Microsoft 365 newsletters as part of Microsoft client work. I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge in my first few weeks, and I’m excited to continue working on such fulfilling projects. What skills have you used, or do you think you'll use the most from school in your internship? Much of my coursework is directly applicable to my role at RedCloud. Material from my Marketing classes allows me to understand the industry jargon, and my Information Systems curriculum gives me a good grasp of the technological landscape in which I work. I’ve previously worked on Marketing Consulting projects in school, which have developed the critical thinking skills, teamwork abilities, and growth-centered mindset necessary for a strong foundation in the field. I’m confident that I can leverage my resources at the UW Foster School of Business and past work experience to excel in this role and make a lasting impact on the RedCloud team. What is it like working with the RedCloud team? My experiences with the RedCloud team have been nothing but positive. Everyone I've interacted with has been friendly and helpful, from the recruiting process to onboarding and actual work dynamics. Though my work is primarily remote, it is easy to see that RedCloud emphasizes a close-knit culture that values its human resources. What have been some of the biggest takeaways you had from your internship so far? So far, my internship has taught me valuable lessons about professional communication, essential business processes, and the importance of efficient teamwork. By assisting seasoned consultants on my team, I observe and understand the professional synergies required to deliver weekly action items on time and of high quality. Along with industry-specific knowledge, I can apply these takeaways to future work experiences. Name a piece of tech you can’t live without or your favorite app? Currently, my favorite app is a restaurant-reviewing platform called Beli. Beli allows you to rate restaurants, bars, coffee shops, etc., you’ve visited using an intuitive algorithm that automatically ranks them. You can share your ratings with friends on the platform, read the reviews of others, and even make last-minute reservations. I would describe the user experience as a Yelp/Instagram hybrid. For an avid “foodie” like me, Beli encourages me to visit new restaurants with friends and family, adding a new factor of enjoyment and excitement to my dining experiences. I even used Beli to track the countries I visited when I spent a quarter abroad. I highly recommend this app to anyone who loves to explore their surroundings when traveling or food lovers who want to track where they eat through social media.

  • Inside RedCloud: Security

    As companies and organizations embrace technological advancements, they also expose themselves to an ever-expanding array of cyber threats. With threats emerging from various sources and targeting diverse attack vectors, companies of all sizes and make-up must remain vigilant and prepared to mitigate potential risks effectively. At RedCloud, we recognize the imperative of safeguarding valuable information across all digital frontiers, be it software applications, networks, the cloud, or IoT devices. Our Security Practice stands ready to fortify your digital fortress and shield your organization from the perils of the modern cyber landscape. How RedCloud Can Help We are committed to helping businesses improve their cybersecurity posture and mitigate risks effectively. Leveraging the latest data security technologies and best practices, our dedicated Security Practice offers a range of solutions tailored to each client's unique needs.  Our core services include: Network Security: Protecting the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of data during transmission across networks is paramount. Endpoint Security: Safeguarding individual devices such as computers, smartphones, and IoT devices is crucial in today's interconnected world. Information Security: Ensuring the protection of sensitive data, regardless of its location or transmission, is a top priority. Information Security Testing: Verifying the robustness of your data and applications, particularly in cloud environments, is essential. Application Security: Safeguarding software and applications against vulnerabilities and threats is paramount. Incident Response: Effectively managing cybersecurity incidents, including data breaches and cyberattacks, is critical. In a time where cyber threats are prevalent, taking proactive cybersecurity measures is crucial to safeguard organizational assets and ensure business continuity. With the support of RedCloud's Security Practice, our clients can navigate the intricate cyber landscape with assurance. Reach out to our practice lead today to discover how we can strengthen your organization's cyber defense and secure its digital future.

  • Lunch and Learn Recap: Delivery Excellence

    Recently, RedCloud’s Client Engagement Director Scott Ekman and Delivery Excellence Practice Lead Chris Syberg hosted an engaging "Lunch and Learn" session for our team focusing on our rapidly evolving Delivery Excellence (DE) practice. Team members at RedCloud HQ joined in person, and numerous of our consultants from across the country joined via Teams to learn more about recent advancements within the DE practice, as well as some updates on related new and growing client projects. As outlined by Scott and Chris, at RedCloud, we view Delivery Excellence as an investment in our people and processes, ensuring customers get real value from RedCloud. Our hybrid business + technical approach to project management leads to improved project outcomes, better collaboration among team members, and more successful projects overall. Through this approach, DE offers our clients some key advantages to bring projects and programs to life, including rapid Time to Value, Solving the Right Problems through holistic understanding and effective problem solving, differentiating between “activities” vs. “impact” to improve our Ability to Execute and taking a deliberate and incremental approach to drive Program Management Maturity. Also, importantly, the presentation demonstrated how DE is not a rigid set of steps we take in a “one size fits all” fashion—rather, it is a flexible platform of Project/Program Management best practices, standards, and enablement tools to ensure we are delivering the right solutions to the right problems. By leveraging our expertise and resources in this area, we help clients drive sustainable growth and competitive advantage in today's dynamic business landscape. Another big THANKS to Scott and Chris for sharing their expertise and inspiring our team to leverage these resources across all of our Practices. We look forward to the next opportunity in 2024 for our team to share and learn from each other. Learn more about our Delivery Excellence Practice here and contact Scott and Chris to hear more about career opportunities and client solutions.

  • A Power App as a Slide Puzzle!?

    A couple of months ago, a few members of our Data & AI Team went down to the Microsoft Power Platform Conference where they proudly hosted a booth in the expo area. It’s always a competition at expos to best design a booth that draws positive attention. Being Power Platform fanatics, we decided to engage with the conference attendees with live demos! We had a number of business-related demos, but we also wanted to provide some fun with a little competition. After watching too much Survivor, the idea of a digital slide puzzle popped into our heads and quickly came to fruition. Cool features Image manipulation: SVG images were used so that new images could be easily added. When a game starts, the selected SVG image is segmented into the required number of puzzle pieces. Users Profiles: When players first play, they set up a gamertag and profile so that they can participate in the leaderboard and come back to improve their time. Data: Every game and move is recorded and tracked so that leaderboards can be segmented by the image, puzzle size, moves, time, and gamer. Helper controls: Users can choose to view the final image or turn on puzzle piece images to help solve the puzzle. Progress: Players can see their progress on the fly with how many pieces they have put into the right place Galleries, galleries, galleries: The puzzle board is made up of two nested galleries that dynamically adjusts to the slide puzzle dimensions. Something you may not have know Did you know that not all randomly distributed slide puzzles are not solvable? In fact, if pieces are randomly distributed, half of all puzzles are not solvable. Therefore, we needed to randomize the puzzle, check solvability, and then adjust the randomized order to make it solvable. (Read this if you really want to nerd out on math) How building games helps It goes without saying that the Slide Puzzle’d Power App is not going to be sold to a customer. However, that does not mean that these do not provide value. First off, as a Power Platform developer, building games exposes you to new challenges that require you to discover or create new methods in development that you wouldn’t have normally thought of when you’re in a strict business environment. For example, time was a critical component of this app, which stretched the developers to master the use of Timer controls, which then translates to business-related projects. And at the end of the day, games can be fun!

  • AI, Consultants, and Community: RedCloud's 2024 Outlook

    With the New Year upon us like a breath of fresh air, many of us put together a list of resolutions to improve ourselves, our careers, our homes, or our relationships, etc.. The big question is always will those resolutions turn into solutions? ​At RedCloud, we have a list of our own resolutions for the firm and our approach to this dynamic consulting industry, beginning first and foremost with our continued support and empowerment of our consultants. Our people are the lifeblood of our success and the reason our clients come back with smiles, kudos and future projects. A Quick 2023 Review But before we look ahead, here’s our top highlights from 2023 that will guide us forward: Expanding Practices and Client Solutions: 2023 was a year spent keeping our eyes on the latest tech trends and tools, and further developing and expanding the solutions we offer, particularly in our Privacy, Data and Analytics, and Business Solutions and Intelligence practice areas. Our client roster flourished, our office footprint expanded, our geographical presence exploded, and our service offerings have diversified. These milestones are not just markers of success; they are reasons to celebrate! Appreciating our Diverse, Nimble Team of Professionals: We’re proud that we’ve maintained a diverse and talented workforce, and even prouder of the work. 2023 brought opportunities and changes to our business, but our consultants stayed nimble, adapting to the ever-evolving demands of our industry and our clients. RedCloud continues to prioritize relationships above all else and values people as individuals, each with their own unique story. Sustaining Sustainability: In the way we operate our business, interact with our clients and support our employees, RedCloud is committed to achieving environmental sustainability to address the impacts of climate change and support a successful future for our planet. 2023 saw us hone our carbon emissions tracking and reporting process and sustained our commitment to . . . well, sustainability. In 2024, we’ll make even greater progress against our goal to reduce our emissions by 55% in the next few years; now that’s a resolution we’ll be keeping. Our 2024 Outlook We’re seeing some trends and priorities emerge in 2024 that will help guide RedCloud’s work and vision for the consulting industry: Solutions Evolving Alongside New Technologies:  In the ever-evolving world of technology, staying ahead of the curve is not just a goal – it's a necessity. In 2024, RedCloud’s practices are positioned well to help our clients understand the impact and implement emerging technologies like AI to provide innovative solutions, helping them navigate and leverage these advancements. Investing in Our People: In 2024, we again recognize that our greatest asset is our people. We’ll continue to provide professional development initiatives to connect our consultants (even though they may be geographically spread), and give them the training and latest skills to ensure that our firm remains a leader in the industry. We understand that investing in our team's growth is synonymous with investing in the success of our clients. Investing in our Community: Our long-standing commitment to youth and education in the communities in which RedCloud operates will not waiver in 2024. We will continue to make time for our team to give back to the communities in which we live and work. This is embedded in our company culture. RedCloud's long-standing partnerships with local organizations such as Toys For Kids and Junior Achievement of Washington provide our team with a variety of opportunities to give back every year. ​As we step into 2024, the horizon looks bright for RedCloud. Embracing new technologies, maintaining a people-centric focus, investing in our local communities, and building a sustainable future are key pillars that will continue RedCloud’s upward trajectory, providing unique, rewarding opportunities for our team, and delivering excellence for our clients.

  • 10 Minutes With: Consultant Michelle Pudas

    Meet Michelle Pudas, a 10-year veteran at RedCloud, currently an integral part of Microsoft's Security GTM team, juggling diverse responsibilities that include supporting solution play leads, managing core asset development for Microsoft's field sellers, and contributing to essential Microsoft security events. Beyond the thrilling projects, Michelle is proud of her work creating success for her clients at Microsoft, cherishing the connections she's fostered and the wealth of knowledge gained. Balancing work and personal life, she dedicates focused time each day and prioritizes activities like exercise. Read on to learn more about Michelle and her invaluable contributions to RedCloud and our clients. Describe your role and what you do in a nutshell. I am currently supporting three solution play leads on the Security GTM team at Microsoft.  I primarily project manage the development of core assets for the Microsoft field sellers that help them drive Microsoft’s security business with their customers. I am also responsible for managing monthly community calls with GTM managers worldwide and supporting the team’s efforts around key Microsoft security events like Ignite and Microsoft Secure. What do you enjoy most or find especially interesting about your current project? The people, for sure!  Aside from the amazing people I work with on my immediate team, I love that I get to work with such a wide variety of people from various groups around Microsoft. From product marketing managers for some of Microsoft’s most strategic security products to GTM managers worldwide who bring their different perspectives from around the world and the various people who manage and run all the programs for the solution plays and the field teams that ultimately drive the business. I have met some amazing, hard-working people, and they really make going to work each day enjoyable! What are you most proud of in your career so far? I am proud of the longevity I have had supporting our clients at Microsoft and the connections I have made along the way. I was an FTE at Microsoft for almost 20 years and have now been consulting at Microsoft for 14 years. I have met so many great people, have worked in so many different areas of Microsoft, and have learned so much. In my consulting roles now, I often help new Microsoft employees navigate the ins and outs of the company and help them get up to speed faster. How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance in your role? I set time on my calendar each day for ‘focus time’. This is a time when I don’t take meetings.  I use this time to get stuff done. So much time at Microsoft can be spent in meetings, making it hard to get the actual work done. This really helps keep me on track to complete tasks. I also block out time on my calendar for exercise or other personal time as needed. This all helps me keep a good balance between work and personal life. Tell us about something interesting you've learned recently. During the holidays, I discovered the design software Canva, and I used it to help create “experience gifts” and “gift certificates” for holiday gifts. I like being creative, but I’m not very artistic. This is the perfect tool for that. My family was very impressed 😉 What is something memorable you've accomplished as part of a team? Corporate events are always memorable. A long time ago, I worked with an amazing group of people to put together an offsite event for our team. We had many late nights and last-minute printing of hundreds of PowerPoint slides (we used to do that back in the day), and it seemed like we would never get it all done, but we did, and it turned out great! There was a lot of stress, but it was a great feeling of accomplishment when it was done. If you could suggest a book for the entire RC team to read, what would it be and why? Boys in the Boat. This is a story about hard work and the competitive spirit. I think that can appeal to a lot of different types of people and interests. Read the book before you see the movie 😊 What's a piece of obsolete technology you still have a soft spot for? Microsoft ActiMates!  I love those things (and I still have all of them – Barney, Arther, DW, and the Teletubbies). Microsoft released these in the late 90’s and when my kids were little in the early 2000’s, they played with them and loved them. I was fortunate enough to work in the retail organization at Microsoft when these were released and was able to attend Toy Fair in New York to meet with retailers and show them all the cool things these guys could do! It was incredible technology at the time and a unique and memorable experience for me in my career. What's one thing people don't know about you that they would be surprised to discover? Maybe the above 😊 or that I was on the TV show ‘Romper-Room’ when I was 5 years old. What, if anything, are you currently binge-watching? Or reading? I haven’t had much time for binge-watching, but when I do have time, I’d like to finish watching Ted Lasso. I’m currently planning a trip for our family to Europe in May after my daughter graduates from college, so I’m reading a lot about Europe right now.

  • RedCloud’s "10 Min With" Year in Review

    In 2023, our "10 Minutes With" blog series has been a voyage full of insights, enlightenment, and even a few surprises. We’ve featured interviews with the brilliant minds (and talents) at the heartbeat of our team. From seasoned veterans and fresh faces to trailblazing visionaries and more, each dialogue delved deep into the distinctive viewpoints and journeys that make RedCloud who we are. So, if you're eager to uncover the insights, motivations, and expertise that power RedCloud, dive into some highlights from our 2023 "10 Minutes With" series. Prepare to be inspired, motivated, and intrigued by the stories and experiences that define our team. Senior Product Manager Bradley Millington Embark on a journey with Bradley Millington, an essential member of the RedCloud team. Discover his unique approach to mornings, the secrets to maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and insights into the distinctive company culture at RedCloud. Join Bradley for a glimpse into his vibrant life beyond the office walls. Read Bradley's Insights. Senior Consultant Alka Garg Meet Alka Garg, a seasoned professional shaping the realms of data privacy and tech consulting. In her recent interview, Alka shares insights into her role in developing and maturing RedCloud's Privacy and Security practice. Explore her journey, the seamless onboarding process at RedCloud, and the pillars of trust, integrity, and culture that set us apart. Discover Alka's Story. Alumni Chris Frost Join us for a special Q&A session as we catch up with Chris Frost, a valued member of the RedCloud alumni. Learn about his career path, updates since his time at RedCloud, and the qualities that made him a true friend to our team. Connect with Chris. Account Director Lou Hazim Lou Hazim, our Account Director for the Privacy & Security Practice, has rejoined RedCloud with over 20 years of consulting experience. Explore Lou's passion for enhancing Cyber Security Posture and his role in expanding the success of his practice area. Get to Know Lou. Intern Siqi Zhao Get to know our summer intern, Siqi Zhao, as we sit down for an insightful conversation. With a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering, Siqi brought tremendous self-driven ambition to the table. Meet Siqi. Senior Consultant Tugcem Kurbanzade Meet Tugcem Kurbanzade, a Senior Consultant leveraging her expertise in Microsoft Power Platform technologies to help our clients. Join us as we explore Tugcem's journey since joining RedCloud last year. Discover Tugcem's Expertise. Senior Associate Marco Gastelum Welcome back, Marco! Explore the journey of Marco Gastelum, a senior associate on our Business Solutions and Intelligence team. With deep consulting experience, Marco is set to contribute to the success of RedCloud. Connect with Marco. Production Designer Chris Munson Join us in celebrating Chris Munson's first anniversary with RedCloud. Discover how Chris quickly settled into his role as a vital member of our team after joining during a busy transition period. Explore Chris's Impact. We're continuously seeking enthusiastic individuals eager to embark on our path of innovation and distinction. If you feel you possess the qualities to contribute to our dynamic team, don't hesitate to get in touch! Be a part of sculpting the future of technology and innovation alongside us. The starting point for the next chapter of your career could be right here at RedCloud.

  • RedCloud's Data & AI and Digital Solutions Year in Review

    As we bid farewell to another remarkable year, it's time to reflect on the groundbreaking developments that have defined the landscape of Data & AI, and Digital Solutions - a high-growth practice area for our RedCloud team in 2023. From high-profile conferences to in-depth explorations of emerging technologies, our team dived deep into the evolution of Microsoft 365 and the Power Platform while delivering solutions for our clients that create time and resource efficiencies and allow companies to make smart, informed business decisions based on data. Let's revisit some of 2023’s standout moments from our Data & AI and Digital Solutions teams. AI, AI, and more AI: Microsoft 365 Conference Highlights Recap Day 1: Benny and Yusuf share exclusive insights from the Microsoft 365 Conference, highlighting the emphasis on AI integration into business applications and security measures. Read More Day 2 Highlights: Day 2 brought Copilot and Viva announcements to the forefront, unveiling Copilot's monumental impact on code development and its integration into Microsoft Teams for meeting summaries. Dive Deeper Day 3 Recap: Exploring the underutilized capabilities of Office Scripts in Excel, we highlight their potential in automation and integration with Power Automate for efficient report generation. Discover More Maximizing Value with AI Chatbots RedCloud Senior Associate Matt Little took center stage, delving into the technology and strategy behind AI chatbots. Focused on Power Virtual Agents (PVA), he highlights the growing significance of chatbots in enhancing user experiences. Organizations can explore PVA through a free 30-day trial, empowering them to embark on their chatbot journey. Get Insights Power Apps 2023 Release Wave 2 Highlights As we entered the second half of the year, anticipation surrounding the upcoming features in the Power Apps 2023 release Wave 2. Significant investments in Copilot, modernizing apps by default, and enabling enterprise scale demonstrated Power Apps' commitment to cutting-edge features and empowering users. Dive into the Highlights Power Automate: Process Mining with Next-Generation AI August 1st marked the general availability of Power Automate's Process Mining, infused with next-generation AI. We detail how organizations can gain a deep understanding of their business activities, optimize processes, and achieve continuous improvement through automation and low-code apps Explore Updates RedCloud at Microsoft Power Platform Conference 2023 Our team's experience at the Microsoft Power Platform Conference in Las Vegas took center stage in October. Key takeaways highlighted the conference's major focus, especially focusing on Copilot and AI-powered features. Furthermore, we offer insights into new use cases, the evolving role of Copilot as a user-facing virtual agent, and the groundbreaking integration with OpenAI's ChatGPT. Read Conference Highlights Create a Power App in 10 Minutes with Copilot To round off the year, Copilot in Power Apps became generally available for app makers. Yusuf provides a step-by-step guide on how to create a Canvas Power App and Dataverse table in just 10 minutes, showcasing the efficiency and guidance offered by Copilot in the app creation journey. Build Your App Power Automate Tools: Retrieving Date & Time of a Specific Change Addressing ad hoc needs that go beyond manual capabilities, our team dove into the power of Power Automate in capturing specific changes, such as capturing date and time in a SharePoint list. It highlights the efficiency gains achievable through automation, demonstrating the platform's versatility. Learn More As we close the chapter on 2023, we invite you to explore these highlights in detail. Check out the original blog posts to dive into the in-depth insights, learnings, and experiences that have shaped our understanding of business solutions and intelligence. Stay tuned for more in 2024, as we continue to unravel the latest in technology, insights, and updates. Cheers to a year of innovation and growth! - RedCloud’s Data & AI and Digital Solutions Teams

  • 10 Minutes With: Senior Product Manager Bradley Millington

    Meet Bradley Millington, an integral member of the RedCloud team, whose approach to mornings involves a silent rendezvous with coffee until his brain shifts into high gear. As a consultant, Bradley revels in the lower stress levels that come with his role, relishing the ability to balance between his client work and his personal pursuits and family. In our latest “10min With” Interview, Bradley sheds light on his surprising discoveries, the secrets to maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and the distinctive company culture at RedCloud. Discover the unique facets of Bradley Millington's professional journey and personal pursuits as he shares insights into his work at RedCloud and provides a glimpse into his vibrant life beyond the office walls. What's your morning routine like before starting your work day? To be honest, I've never been much of a morning person, which is why my morning routine consists of ingesting coffee in total silence until my brain activates enough to form complete sentences. I've also taken to a steady routine of oatmeal and blueberries for breakfast, which is my attempt to make a healthy dietary choice while keeping my cholesterol in check. Lastly, I always start the day by reading through the top stories in the New York Times. I gave up social media for this habit during the pandemic and never looked back! Have there been any surprising discoveries about yourself through your work at RedCloud? I've been pleasantly surprised by the lower stress levels I've experienced working as a consultant, rather than a full-time employee. After a full day on client work, I can turn my attention to my hobbies and family each evening, and I'm not on the hook to fill out that pesky performance review every 6 months! I can be satisfied knowing I deliver value to the client each day, without it completely taking over my life. How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance in your role? See above! I am also very lucky to be working for a team that values flexibility and gives me space for things like doctor's appointments and mid-day errands when necessary. There is a lot of trust among my colleagues that we will each do our part while also giving space to conduct our lives. On top of that, my team freely shares glimpses into their personal activities in chat or small talk at the beginning of meetings, which brings a healthy dose of humanity to the workplace. My colleagues have also included me in their social gatherings outside of the office. I recently competed in a 5k run with my extended organization and also participated in a backyard potluck BBQ with my immediate team. Building these social connections has made my time at work all the more relaxed, fun, and rewarding. How would you describe the company culture at RedCloud, and how does it impact your work at the client (MSFT in this case!)? I really appreciate how RedCloud welcomes consultants into their culture, inviting us to company gatherings, lunch-and-learns, and other company events. They could have reserved these for non-contract-based employees, but they don't, and it really makes a difference. Because of this, I feel more connected to RedCloud despite the fact that most of my time is spent immersed in my client's team culture. In my day-to-day work, I tell everyone (especially consultants from other companies) how great my company is and how supported we are. What's a piece of obsolete technology you still have a soft spot for? I'll admit that I still buy most things as physical media instead of their digital equivalents. I still have the cassette player I bought when I was 16 years old, right next to me in my home office. Believe it or not, many self-produced musicians are still making cassette releases because they are both cheap and nostalgic! I am not alone. What's one thing people don't know about you that they would be surprised to discover? I organize hardware-based electronic music events all over Seattle - sometimes 15 or more in a year. It's a personal passion, and I've met so many incredible artists and creatives in my community by doing this. My most recent event was "Sound of the Machine" on Oct 21 at the Georgetown Steam Plant, an immersive audio-visual experience consisting of 17 artists performing in a National Historic Landmark building. Last year, I produced "Velocity" - an all-day synthesizer festival consisting of educational seminars, workshops, a manufacturer trade show, and artist performances across three stages. I also host art shows at my studio in Fremont, outdoor performances in Seattle's parks, and a monthly open stage at Substation in Ballard. You can keep up with what I'm doing by following @modularseattle on Instagram! Speaking of work-life balance - this is what it looks like. ;-)

  • Cyber Security: 7 Ways RedCloud Can Safeguard Your Business Against Attacks

    Cyber security refers to the aspect of protecting an organization, its employees, and its assets against a variety of cyber threats. As businesses become increasingly reliant on technology in today’s digital landscape, improving cyber security is of paramount importance in the face of constant threats from cybercriminals. Here are seven key reasons highlighting the significance of enhancing cyber security posture and where RedCloud can help: Protection of Digital Assets: Businesses accumulate a vast amount of valuable digital assets, including sensitive customer data, intellectual property, financial information, and operational data. Strengthening cyber security posture ensures the protection of these assets from unauthorized access, theft, or compromise. Mitigation of Financial Losses: Cybersecurity incidents can result in significant financial losses for organizations. Data breaches, ransomware attacks, or system disruptions can lead to financial damages, such as the cost of remediation, legal fees, regulatory penalties, customer compensation, and reputational damage. By improving cyber security posture, businesses can reduce the risk of financial losses associated with cyber incidents. Preservation of Reputation and Customer Trust: A data breach or security incident can severely damage a company's reputation and erode customer trust. Consumers are increasingly concerned about the privacy and security of their data, and they are more likely to patronize businesses with strong cyber security measures in place. By prioritizing cyber security, organizations can build and maintain trust with their customers, enhancing their reputation in the market. Compliance with Regulatory Requirements: Numerous industries are subject to specific data protection regulations and compliance standards. Organizations must adhere to these regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), to avoid legal consequences and penalties. Improving cyber security posture ensures compliance with these regulations, protecting businesses from legal repercussions. Reduction of Downtime and Operational Disruptions: Cybersecurity incidents can lead to significant operational disruptions, including system downtime, loss of productivity, and interruption of critical business processes. By enhancing cyber security posture, organizations can proactively identify and mitigate vulnerabilities, reducing the likelihood of successful attacks and minimizing operational disruptions. Protection against Evolving Cyber Threats: Cyber threats are constantly evolving, with hackers developing new techniques and tools to exploit vulnerabilities. Improving cyber security posture involves staying updated with the latest threats and implementing robust security measures to counteract them. This proactive approach helps organizations stay ahead of cybercriminals and reduces their risk exposure. Safeguarding Business Continuity: A cyber incident can severely impact business continuity, leading to a loss of revenue, disruption of operations, and a negative impact on customer relationships. By improving cyber security posture, organizations can enhance their resilience to cyber threats, ensuring uninterrupted operations and minimizing the potential for business disruptions. The importance of improving cyber security posture cannot be overstated. It is crucial for businesses to prioritize and invest in robust cyber security measures to protect their digital assets, mitigate financial losses, preserve reputation and customer trust, comply with regulations, reduce downtime, stay ahead of evolving threats, and safeguard business continuity.

  • Create a Power App in 10 Minutes with Copilot

    This year (October 2023), Copilot in Power Apps became generally available for app makers. In this blog, I’m going to walk you through how to create a Canvas Power Apps and Dataverse table in 10 minutes, with Copilot. Power Apps + Copilot ​Imagine having a trusted partner by your side as you embark on your app creation journey. Copilot in Power Apps is just that—a reliable AI companion that walks you through the entire process, from data table creation to app screen design, and finally, app publishing and sharing. It's like having a personal assistant that uses advanced AI and industry best practices to provide tailored guidance based on your unique data and preferences. But that's not all. Copilot doesn't just show you the way; it offers valuable tips and feedback to help you enhance your app-building skills. Step 1 | Creating the Dataverse Table In this scenario, we’re going to create a task tracking app. Using Copilot, we'll do the following: In the prompt, we're going to enter "task tracking app" ​Once the table is generated, we'll use Copilot to add a "notes" column by typing in "add a column for notes". Then hit send. ​ Step 2 | Create the Canvas Power App Once your table has been created, click Create App Once the app is created, you'll have a responsive canvas app connected to the new Dataverse table with a gallery allowing you to select a record and see the form for that record on the right. Step 3 | Use Copilot to Make Edits Next we'll use Copilot to change the icon colors. You can select a specific icon and then in the Copilot chat, type in "Change the selected icon to red". And just like that, Copilot updates the icon color for us. See this Copilot guide on current supported prompts: Editing Apps with Copilot Step 4 | Change the theme with Modern Controls To use modern controls and themes, click settings. Then click Upcoming Features and check the box for Modern Controls and Themes Now you can easily change the theme for your apps as well as use any of the new modern controls. Step 5 | Save & Publish! From here, click Save and then click Publish! Your app is now ready to go. This is just the start of Copilot for Power Apps and there's plenty of amazing features coming to the platform in the future. We'll keep you posted on the latest Copilot updates and how to best use AI to improve productivity for app makers!

  • RedCloud at the Microsoft Power Platform Conference 2023

    Earlier this month, thousands of low-code developers and Microsoft Power Platform enthusiasts traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada for MPPC 2023.  There, they were introduced to the latest and greatest features for Microsoft Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI, Power Virtual Agents, and Power Pages. To no one’s surprise, the major focus throughout the conference was how Power Platform Users will now be able to make better use of Microsoft Copilot and other AI-powered features. ​ In this blog post, we will share learnings and experiences from the three members of RedCloud’s Digital Solutions team (Benny Swedberg, Yusuf Shariff, & Matt Little) who were stationed at a booth in the Conference’s Exhibition Hall. Key Takeaways: Copilot and AI-powered features New and exciting use cases for Microsoft Copilot and AI-powered features were the talk of the Conference.  Up until now, Copilot has largely been used as a developer’s tool, which could be prompted to build the bones of new Solutions based on the provided context. What we learned at the Conference was that not only is Copilot now better at doing this sort of development work, but it has also evolved to where it can be employed as a user-facing virtual agent within an App, BI Report, or Page. AI can also now work as an IT Governance tool, with the introduction of Power Automate’s new Process Mining feature.  Process Mining visualizes the Power Platform processes happening in your Organization, and provides customized reports/KPI monitoring, process comparisons, and root cause determinations for process inefficiencies. Organizations seeking to get an enterprise-wide view of how the Power Platform is being utilized, and how to continuously improve efficiencies and costs, should take note of this new and intuitive feature. What we were most excited to learn is that Power Platform Solutions can now be coded to make API calls directly to any version of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, with added context being passed to it that is invisible to the user.  The result is near-instant responses that have been curated to exactly meet the purpose of the Solution.  Having the full breadth of the Internet’s collective knowledge at your fingertips, and having it applied within the context of your specific business process or workflow is a mind-blowing leap forward for this technology. One such example of this that we learned about, was prompting ChatGPT using the “Tree of Thoughts” method.  The trick to this method is in understanding how ChatGPT’s probabilistic model works.  If you give ChatGPT some data/context and ask it for the most likely outcome, it will give you the answer that has generated the highest confidence score. However, the data/context you gave may cause ChatGPT to “hallucinate”, meaning it has been led astray and produced an answer that humans will recognize as incorrect. More accurate/logical answers will result from employing the “Tree of Thoughts”, which means prompting ChatGPT to take on the personas of multiple experts each with a different theory on the probable outcome, and then having those experts perform an exercise where they take turns critiquing each other's theories until they have all arrived at a consensus for the most logical outcome. Seeing ChatGPT reason with itself until it arrived at a more correct response, was a stunning revelation in how to make use of this tool going forward. Highlights: Visiting the RedCloud Booth The Conference’s Exhibition Hall was buzzing with activity all 3 days, as dozens of vendors set up booths to demo their products and introduce their services. The RedCloud booth featured Tablets that were pre-loaded with Power Apps for conference-goers to play around in, and Marketing collateral to take home with them as a reminder of RedCloud’s expertise & offerings. Along with demo-ready Business Applications, RedCloud received praise for providing Power App-based games that could be played for prizes in the form of a Slot Machine App and a Slide Puzzle Challenge. More than 150 players registered their information to play our games, and winners were awarded with Funko Pops, which quickly came to be known as “the best swag at the conference.” Community Recognition: RedCloud wins for best UX Design! On the final night of the Conference, the second annual “MPPC’s Got Power” talent show was held. With hundreds in attendance, each Talent Show applicant was given a 5-minute timer to present and compete in the Categories of: Low-Code Solutions, Storytelling, or Hidden Talents. RedCloud’s own Yusuf Shariff took the stage to demo his Slot Machine Power App, which features complex logic, timers, and animations to perfectly mimic the experience of playing a Las Vegas Slot Machine. Yusuf was praised for his lighthearted and comical presentation style, and ultimately was awarded for having the best UX Design of the night. The panel of Microsoft judges said, “Yusuf really stretched the capabilities of the Power Platform and showed us things we didn’t even know it could do!”

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