What’s Next for Water AMR/AMI?

What is the next generation view for Automated Meter Infrastructures (AMI) currently being placed into service?

Have utilities fully optimized the benefits of these systems and the networks that support them?

Most utilities are very familiar with the value AMI systems have brought to utilities. Points such as improved financials from the billing and customer service perspective deservedly get front row seats. Another benefit that has been realized is value added services to both the utility and customer such as better system non-revenue management and customer consumption awareness.…

Limit the seats at the table: a mid-market perspective on decision making during M&A transactions

brad haller 120

Execution of an M&A transaction generates thousands of decisions, most of them with minor impact to the investment thesis. But these small and medium decisions often bog down the decision-making process when the distribution of authority is ill-defined and leadership is consistently seeking consensus and/or input from the broader team.…

Project Siena – A Hidden Gem of Ignite

Project Siena screens and design

Often in life, the things we enter into with no expectations turn out to be the most interesting. Such was my experience with Project Siena. During Microsoft Ignite 2015, my colleagues and I attended a session on Project Siena because our initial seminar choice was full. I entered the seminar having never even heard of Project Siena; I left inspired and very impressed. (I highly recommend watching the recording of the seminar by Jeffrey Shomper and Ben Hodes on Channel 9.)

What is it?

Trust, But Verify: Why you cannot outsource your responsibility to the cloud


I work with dozens of companies on the development of their IT delivery strategy.  The acceptance and attitude regarding cloud adoption has changed dramatically over the past few years.  Previously, IT and business leaders were suspect of cloud technologies and hesitant to use them for anything other than low-business impact workloads.  Now, the approach is often a “cloud first” mindset with a push to drive production applications and workloads into cloud environments.  While cloud-centric deployments often provide great benefits, recent examples have led me to believe that, too often, IT leaders inadvertently – and inappropriately – have outsourced their responsibility for key components of IT delivery to their cloud partners. …

The (Phased vs.) Big Bang Theory

Lessons learned from Uber’s latest power play

When Uber rolled out UberEATS, its newest offering, my project manager and I had to try it out, to be “early adopters” of this cool, new thing. The premise is straightforward: you can now have an Uber driver deliver lunch to your office for a $3 fee via the simple, cashless platform of the Uber app. But unlike other food ordering apps out there, UberEATS is offered only to limited parts of three cities – LA, Chicago and New York – and you can only order one pre-determined menu item from one of two restaurants.…

Why Technology Will Not Yet Replace the Workforce Manager in the Contact Center


Workforce Management (WFM) systems used to be out of reach for small or budget-constrained contact centers.  With advances in technology, they are now more affordable.  The latest WFM systems are comprehensive and sophisticated, including features like optimized call routing, improved intra-day forecasting and voice analytics.

With the availability of more comprehensive WFM tools, some may question if the Workforce Manager position is still needed within the contact center. Technology has allowed us to go beyond what any human being could do – balancing multiple agents’ preferences, schedules and skill sets with forecasted future call volume, and handling time per agent simultaneously.…

Tips on Selecting Microsoft Analytics Data Platform

Clients frequently ask us to help with analytics data platform selection. At the Ignite 2015 Conference in Chicago earlier this month Microsoft summarized …

Office 365: Balancing Costs and Benefits

Brian Aletto_LoRes_120

Many of the discussions revolving around moving e-mail, instant messaging, and Share Point workloads to Office 365 revolve around issues of functionality, reliability, and licensing costs.  A key part of your Office 365 planning effort should also be a full evaluation of not just hard costs, but full measures of new feature benefits, and cost avoidance to see the true return of your Office 365 solution.

Hard Costs

An Office 365 deployment is often easier to budget than a traditional deployment of Exchange, Lync, or Share Point. …

Big data and Football: Using Pig to Analyze Pigskin


With the 2015 NFL Draft now complete, and minicamps now in full swing, it’s prime time to continue our NFL blog series. For this section, we will take a deeper dive into the technologies and processes used to stage the data up for ingestion by SSAS, and ultimately Hashi using D3.

From the previous post, we have the following process flow which outlines the overall technology integration path from beginning to end. What was generalized as the Hadoop stage can be broken out and detailed by several sub-steps.…

Utilities Must Make the Customer Experience Pivot

A couple years ago I facilitated a day-long “chief customer officer” summit for about 25 senior utility leaders. Dozens of utilities have chief customer officers and many more are doing the learning and work needed to compete in today’s dynamic, digitally disrupted, customer-empowered world that is upending many industries.

Why are some utilities embracing the customer experience pivot?

  • Digital disruption upends relationships. Like other industries, the embedding of an internet connected operating system in core products and services change the relationship between provider and customer.

Technology Trends From Build 2015, Microsoft’s Developer Conference


In early March I attended Microsoft’s Build 2015 conference in San Francisco.  This three day conference is tailored to developers and is full of news, announcements, and sessions covering the new and cool, or not so cool depending on  your perspective, technology across all of Microsoft’s platforms including Windows, Azure, Office 365, and more.    Coming out of the conference I was energized and excited to explore the new tech released and available like Visual Studio 2015 RC, Visual Studio Code, Azure Service Fabric, and ASP.NET vNext.  …

Insurance Agency Visualization and the Power of Analytical Segmentation

Turning raw data into insightful information can be a massive undertaking. Once data is collected and ready for processing, deploying machine learning algorithms to recognize mathematical similarities in the dataset makes the data analysis-ready, but is still only the beginning. A machine learning algorithm will only tell us that the data follows certain patterns; the real analysis begins when we start determining how and why it follows such patterns. In order to do so, an analyst must have strong statistical skills to determine the significance of the patterns observed by the algorithms, be well versed in the business model and industry specific to the client, and also be able to present the findings in a manner that is quickly understandable to the client.…

For Today’s Companies, Office Space is More Than Just Location, Location, Location


For a consulting firm, office space is often viewed as a necessity and a large monthly expense, as rent is typically the second biggest expense behind payroll.  It’s a place for the employees to gather to do their work and catch up with co-workers.  From this viewpoint, it is a necessity.  From my viewpoint, it’s a enormous asset.  An office space and its design speaks volumes about the company culture and its brand, becoming a critical component in the recruiting process.…

What Medical Teams Can Learn From Lollapalooza

Every summer, music festivals and other production events bring priceless memories and life changing experiences to millions of attendees. These events (Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza, etc.) are not only a good time, but also a great display of coordination, regulatory compliance, dynamic teams, and effective use of talented individuals with special social and technical skills. The outcome is a great show, but every show is a complex choreography of action and multi-disciplinary teamwork that at its best becomes invisible, going completely unnoticed by those in attendance.…

Gaining Real-time Insights from Your Data with Azure

Azure and Power BI

After attending the Microsoft Ignite conference last week in Chicago, what became readily apparent to me was the vast number of products geared towards this new onset of “streaming data”. I saw various implementations of Internet of Things (“IoT”), and how sensors are amassing large amounts of data as companies grow. Sensors can be used to measure any type of data: humidity, temperature, vibration, light intensity, wind force, salinity, and much more. Third party consumer devices for smart phones such as fit bands can constantly send heart rate, sleep patterns, and steps taken to any end points that are set up.…


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