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Millennia Group Blog

Going to the grocery store is a teaching moment

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

via Flickr - Brian, Thin MintsWe have all encountered the situation on our way into the grocery store where a young girl in uniform is selling cookies.  Or maybe it’s someone dressed as Santa ringing a bell.  In both cases, the story doesn’t end there because you have a second encounter when you exit the store.  So the issue is, which do you prefer, addressing the situation on the way in or dealing with it on the way out?

This post is not really about the Girl Scouts or the Salvation Army of course.  This is an analogy for how your company deals with its critical business information.  Either your company has a well-defined process and structure to identify information as it enters or it relies on advanced search capabilities to find information where-ever it may hide.  Or, oh no, it’s a free-for-all at your company.

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On the surface it may look simple

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

via Flickr - Cookieater2009Autonomous vehicles will make driving simple.  Get in, tell the car where to go, sit back and relax.  Artificial intelligence is going to read our minds and do our work for us.  The same goes for robots.  High speed data via 5G wireless will transform our lives by making these and other advancements possible. There are hundreds of steps and parts just to make a simple pencil.

The fact of the matter is that behind the scenes lots of hard work is happening to make something seem simple for the end users.  For example, what if artificial intelligence changes its mind or futuristic fabrics confuse the autonomous vehicle system so it doesn’t recognize a person in the street?  To keep it simple requires ongoing work by the engineers and tech teams.

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Blockchain vs AI vs Bob

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Via Flickr - by Bovee and ThillRegardless of the industry, at every trade show, in every webinar and at every lunch and learn the use of artificial intelligence or blockchain has been a topic.  It’s been stated and debated about how these technologies are going to revolutionize industries and change our lives.  That can be a bit unnerving.

However, there is hope for us, AKA Bob.  Blockchain might give us smart contracts built from nothing but data points.  No need to also enter the data into another system, the contract is the system.  AI will take the document (Word, PDF, etc) and it will interpret the information and populate the system automatically.  Poor Bob, who previously found, interpreted and entered the data, gets left out of the process.  But wait….

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Optimism sends a good message

Thursday, June 27, 2019

via Flickr, by Sergio AquirreWe recently sponsored and exhibited at two technology focused trade shows.  As most companies participating in these shows know, it’s a good way to see existing clients and to meet new prospects.  But its also a good way to stay informed about industry advancements and news, however optimistic.  There can be lots of very optimistic talk and presentations in the tech community.

Here’s the thing, however optimistic some people or companies might be, some of those plans and ideas probably make good sense and will someday become the standard.  Of the current crop of hot technology topics, such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, bots and robots, we are optimistic about…

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Tag and push is not a playground game

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

via Flickr - Mineola MinnesotaCompanies, large and small, have procedures or rules that employees are supposed to follow to complete certain tasks.  Each company determines the most efficient methods or methods that meet regulatory or compliance requirements.  These rules can be written in a manual, part of a checklist or built into software applications.

Rules incorporated into the code of software applications are relatively easy to build and highly effective.  One of the most difficult procedures to successfully implement, however, is document archiving.  When is a document the final final version and where should it be archived?  Making this decision and process easy should be every companies goal, but where to begin?

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Should power users drive the bus?

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

via Flickr - Ian DickWithout a doubt you have come across business or personal applications that are not easy to use.  Business applications in particular can be less intuitive because of the complexity of the tasks required.  But that complexity may be due to over-engineering.  We have all heard of the less is more concept.  But in software, less isn’t really less, its just essential. 

There are always situations where one user wants another function or feature.  The trick is to identify the essential functions and help power users understand approaches to solving unique tasks.  When the tasks are performed frequently but by a few users or less frequently but by many users, the solution should support those tasks very well.  Here are some things to think about to select a solution that nails the essential functions and supports the power user.

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I admit, machines are smarter than me

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Image via www.vpnsrus.comMachines are smarter than me, at least after some smart people have told it what to think and since it is continually trained to get smarter.  Maybe that computer really isn’t smarter than me, but it certainly has a better memory.  In the context of our current lives, that translates into not forgetting passwords and never forgetting where I saved that file on the network.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are all the rage in most industries, including the document management industry.  There is a convergence of systems offering auto-classification and indexing of your files.  Tagging the file with information that someone can use to find it later and dropping the file in some deep folder structure and forgetting where that was might go away.  That seems like a smart approach and deserves some investigation.

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Does Sears have a good idea?

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Via Flickr - Mikeg44311According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2016 and 2026 about 90% of job growth will be in service producing industries.  Sears is embarking on what might be a crazy idea that they can revive their retail model by making the stores smaller and what looks like increasing the level of service or service offerings related to what they sell.  Is this where the new jobs will come from, purchasers getting more service?

The U.S. BOL stats indicate that the number two jobs creator will be in Professional and Business Services and number 12 will be Information, including data processing and hosting.  Business software providers must fit into one of those two categories.  However, software providers, like Retailers, can suffer from a purchase decision based primarily on cost and functionality.  Should software firms follow Sears formula and not only provide technology but provide service?

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The Ideal plan may not seem ideal

Thursday, January 31, 2019

The prospect of getting a company to change a long established process is difficult, especially when that process touches multiple departments.  That should not discourage technology solution providers and businesses from having the confidence to make well thought-out ideas happen, even if seemingly idealistic. 

Despite excellent planning, some hurdles will take a long time to clear.  One or two parts of the plan may need to slip into a later phase.  Creating a plan that needs to deviate from the ideal solution in the short term may be disappointing, but could it be the ideal plan in the end?

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Try doing less, it really works

Tuesday, October 30, 2018
via Flickr - Juhan Sonin

It is usually with good intentions that a project is tackled with extreme attention to detail.  Every possible variation of input and output are considered and analyzed.  Focus groups are put together to gather information from all interested parties.  The process is time consuming but can result in some good data being gathered and a successful project outcome.  It is the right way to do things.

Now the hard part is trying determine how users will find that data if they need it again.  The data that was gathered may have dug up some minutia but also large sets of data that will be used every day.  The trick is to provide the everyday user with the ability to find information in a few clicks (simple interface) but also provide a way to find that one obscure piece of data.  Can a one size fits all search work? 

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