Im Oktober 2019 haben wir einen 2-tägigen Hackathon rund um Microsoft Dynamics 365 veranstaltet. Neben Kollegen aus ganz Deutschland waren auch Mitarbeiter aus europäischen Standorten dabei. In seinem Gastbeitrag beschreibt Jaromir Sponar von Konica Minolta Tschechien seine Erfahrungen. Jaromir ist bei Konica Minolta europaweit als Microsoft Partnership Program Advisor unterwegs.

Hier sein Rückblick zum Hackathon 2019 (in englischer Sprache):

Hackathon: it’s where your #PowerIdeas come to reality

A Hackathon gives you the creative room and freedom to think outside of your daily tasks. So much is changing just within the “Microsoft World”, so it’s important to stay on top of all the changes and come up with new ideas and creative solutions for our customers.

Microsoft intelligent cloud changed how

  • business applications can be developed. There is almost no reason to consider the size of the customer when choosing the technology these-days, as cloud applications are fully scalable and a 3-people-size company can utilize the same technology as a big multi-national and global companies – thanks to the power of Azure scalability.
  • applications are distributed: now it’s just a matter of opening Microsoft AppSource and you click’n’use the solutions immediately.
  • applications can be used by the end-users: a simple line-of-business app (aka LOB) can be connected real-time to multiple datasources and help to gather the data in structured way, to support the internal business processes when it comes to sales, marketing, customer service or finance, supply chain management or even IoT telemetry.

We love Microsoft technology at Konica Minolta and we love to challenge ourselves with the latest technologies. That’s why we have met in October for two days and played with some of the latest #PowerTools.

The goal of my group was quite easy:

“… help internal employees with servicing of some hardware …” by putting together PowerPlatform, Microsoft Office 365 (especially Microsoft Teams  and Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for customer service.

Some of them are today in so called “preview”, which means they are almost ready for general availability, but not yet officially released by Microsoft.

We have spent a few first minutes with setting up an environment, validating data sources for the prototyp and making sure the whole team understands what we want to achieve. Because each team member has different background and different level of understanding of these technologies, we had to align first, but after an hour or two, we came up with a draft “storyboard”.

hackathon 2019 storyboard

The process starts within one employees PowerApp on a mobile device, where we ask basic questions about “what is going on” and “which device are we talking about”.

We wanted to make the app more personal, so the connector to Office 365 (ADD) was used to show the profile picture and name. We didn’t want to spend much time on creating complex capture wizard-like forms, so we have decided to use only simple list of reasons. Of course, because all data are store in Common Data Services (CDS), you can later on apply SLA rules, escalation points, Case routing etc.

power app mobile
power app AI

We like to play and Microsoft gave us recently a nice new toy – AI builder. This feature is still partially in a preview program, but you can try it. There are different AI/ML models pre-trained like data classification, business card reader, etc. We have tried the Object Detection function. I naively thought, that if I’d trained the AI with a few pictures, PowerApps will be able to tell me if the  picture of a device is the exact device I was looking for.

I was thinking the model is Object “Recognition” and it’s Object “Detection” … which means … dear AI builder, tell me, how many of the Objects I have trained you for are on the picture I’ve took. In other words, AI builder is expecting (1) you will take a picture of a thing it was trained of and (2) it will just count how many of these objects are visible there.

Because it was Hackathon, we found a way to hack it 😉

We roughly took 50 pictures of Konica Minolta’s Workplace Hub and then marked all other object on the pictures as “Other”. Not an ideal state, but it can recognise the Workplace Hub very well and even to distinguish small details between standard multi-functional printers and the Workplace Hub.

We all know, how email notifications can be overwhelming, therefore we decided not to use email notification, but rather Microsoft Teams adaptive cards (btw here is an amazing design builder https://adaptivecards.io/designer/). The process was simple, when a ticket is successfully submitted by PowerApp and a case is created within CDS, next step kicks of Microsoft Teams notification with al related info and an option to talk to an agent (= bot in this case) to do some basic troubleshooting steps.

Microsoft Teams Notifier

Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service will be great tool to reduce the number of repetitive questions of users, but as of today, a lot of basic features are missing in the preview version.

Let me give you one example: Based on the value chose in the first step (Connection, Power, Printing, …), different bots with different skillsets are executed. Unfortunately, today, you are not able to pass the parameter at the beginning. Don’t worry, this feature is in the pipeline for GA.

 

You don’t need to know anything about coding or developing when configuring the bot. It’s all drag-and-drop with a Flow-like editor and even though I have see this app first time, I was able to train the bot after a few minutes of just playing around with the editor.

If the bot is not able to solve the issue, the ticket (=case) is automatically escalated to a live agent, which is utilising “big” Dynamics 365 for Customer Service and omnichannel framework with connection into Teams, websites, SMS, … and so forth.

In total, we have spent 6-7 hour of net time drafting this prototype and I think we created quite a nice and very simple solution. Of course part of it was faked (AI builder) and part of it was not counting in all possible options (chatbot) – but the thing is: We did create it basically within ONE DAY of work!
Can you imagine just one day of work – the whole infrastructure, platform, application development, process engine, integration to Office365, deployment to mobile devices …. ONE DAY for prototyping

This is the power of Microsoft Intelligent Cloud. This is the #PowerPlatform. This is why I like these technologies – helping companies by playing with powerful tools.

“You join here, not to be cool, but to make others cool.” Satya Nadella