The continued cost of the war in Ukraine and those it leaves behind

I'm traumatized.

My grandson is now an orphan and I want to give him a good future.

When the war in Ukraine broke out, I had to leave for Germany with my son because it was very dangerous to stay there.

I was working in a nuclear company in Kyiv.

I am a Ukrainian refugee, and I am looking for any kind of professional education in IT.

I am 54 years old, Ukrainian refugee.

Due to the circumstances in our country, I cannot work in my specialty. For more than 10 years, I have been teaching applied mathematics at the University.

I am a professional athlete.

These are quotes from our applicants for our continuing cohorts for displaced and vulnerable Ukrainians.  Our simple application has standard input fields for names and contact details.  It also has two additional questions:

  1. Why do you want to join our training cohort?
  2. Is there any additional relevant information you'd like to share with us or to clarify any of your above answers?

The answers have gone through some automatic translations, but I think the sentiment is still very clear.  People need help to start over.  They are eager to move forward and do whatever it takes for a new chance.

OIP (2)

Refresher on what we do and how we do it.

The Microsoft collection for Business Applications Professional skilling has been translated to Ukrainian (AI-assisted automated translation with manual review for minor edits).  This program gives a great introduction to the tech-adjacent knowledge and skills you need to start a career in tech.  It’s good in English, it’s good in Ukrainian.

The free cohorts take place in Telegram groups.  We tried Microsoft Teams but that proved to be a challenge on many levels because of many restrictions and issues with access to reliable connections and devices.  But the students are already in Telegram, so we go to where they are.

Each week students have an assignment from this translated content.  They also watch relevant (and subtitled in Ukrainian) videos.  And there are two questions per week (via a simple Microsoft Form) that they respond to.  These questions are great for relating the weekly topics into real-world actionable knowledge.  The questions are available in both English and Ukrainian.  I built a Power App with some swanky translation capabilities so students can respond in either language.  And then the swanky translation capabilities translate our feedback we’ve entered in the Power App from English to Ukrainian and send the student an email with feedback from an industry expert in their language.

The 6-week program exposes students to the world of Microsoft Business Applications, capabilities of the Dynamics 365 family of products, and career options. We hope to spark an interest to help them decide what is a good next move for them.  Many love the CRM side.  Many love the ERP side.  Even a few are interested in BC.

The next cohort is our biggest yet with a few hundred students enrolled.  We’re very fortunate in being able to recruit qualified volunteers to lend a hand to help us keep up. 

Everyone who applies is accepted.

Six-weeks is the plan, but anyone who needs more time gets all the time they need.

We’ve automated as much as we can and still provide personal touches and interactions.  We are all volunteers with full-time jobs but together we are making a small difference.  Thanks go out to Vlad, Dima, Kat, Olena, Andrew, and Britta for all they do to help keep this going.  Neither Britta nor I know Ukrainian language, but technology makes it feel seamless to participate.

After the 6 weeks, students stay in the Telegram groups and help the next group.  It is an amazing community that I am lucky to participate in from the sidelines.

What is your call to action?

  1. Send your Ukrainian friends and colleagues to us. They can join and learn.  Or they can join and help. https://365l.ink/UkraineSignUp
  2. Say yes if when I reach out to you with a specific ask. As the groups increase in size, we may need more help with weekly feedback to students.
  3. Find room in your organization for one of our grads as a new hire or apprentice. 

Part of our automation sends students an email to invite them to the Telegram group upon enrollment.  One student replied and I keep it pinned at the top of my inbox.

“Thanks you very much for your answer. It did me so much happy.”

It did me so much happy too.  It really did.


Introducing the Biz Apps Classroom podcast

Yes, it’s true.  Literally everyone now has a podcast, including me.

Biz apps classroom

Jason Gumpert and I go way back.  We’ve always been supportive of each other’s efforts, but never had a chance to work together.  But a random hallway conversation at an event in Charlotte changed that.  One of us suggested we do a podcast.  I really don’t know who it was, maybe he remembers.  So we launched the Biz Apps Classroom, our take on all things learning and training in our Biz Apps space. 

Hopefully it’s interesting 😊

We are three and a half episodes in, and so far so good.

Episode 1:  Introduces the podcast and Julie and Jason

Episode 2: Why Microsoft certifications matter

Episode 3: Goals

Episode 4: (in progress talking about role-based training).

Ideas for future episodes are always welcome.  We hope to talk about training cohorts, our efforts for displaced and vulnerable Ukrainians, value of hands-on training activities, strategy for in-person or virtual training, and more.  We’ve got some guests lined up to help keep it a little more interesting.

We hope to post episodes about every other week, with a fair bit of grace until we hit our stride.

Share your feedback and your ideas, it’s how we get better.


Here’s the story of shortcuts.

About a million years ago, we opened a business banking account with Bank ABC. 

At the time, they had two primary types of accounts, personal and business.

So far so good.

Personal accounts had data fields for all the expected pieces of information one might need for a personal account.

The business accounts had all you might need for a business account.  Or so they thought.  Turns out businesses are owned by people.  People have separate information from the business.  No big deal, we can have attachments and notes.  In the note we put the names and details of the business owners and an attachment of their scanned signature cards.

Then Bank ABC merges with Bank DEF.

Then Bank ABCEDF is acquired by Bank XYZ.

Let’s smush the old data model into the new data model.  Great, all done.  Nothing to see here.

A few years later during a random account review it is discovered that a particular business account of a million years has no people associated with it, no authorized users.  There was an attachment of a scanned image with two illegible signatures on it, but no names with the signatures.

Turns out somewhere among the mergers and acquisitions, notes did not come with the business account information from older accounts that were opened when records were mostly analog and a little bit of digital.

A good bank manager found this, found us, and convinced me she wasn’t a scammer and got us to the bank in person to get our personal information appropriately related to the business information.  And then we signed paper copies of signature cards (sigh).

There are a few things to learn here.

Don’t store structured data in an unstructured place.  Build the appropriate relational data structure that you need.

Don’t cut corners when moving to a new system.  It really doesn’t matter that there were mergers and acquisitions along the way, it was a new system.  A simple review of notes on common data tables could have shown there was more data that needed to be dealt with.

At some point this would have become a blocker for access to our own money in our own business account.  Hire good people who can do good work and prevent this from happening and correct it when it does.


The most effective use of AI is a whisper

Copilots.

Large language models.

GPT this.

Open AI that.

The world is full of excitement for AI. 

And the world is full of doom-and-gloom for AI.

While there are many over-the-top scenarios we’ve seen, the most effective uses of AI for everyday business is in small pieces.  Add some AI here.  Streamline some work over there.  Surgical. Specific.  Purposeful.

The best uses of AI happen when combined with critical thinking directly from humans.

At 365.Training we’re using AI both directly for the benefit of the users while they are training, but also behind the scenes.  I guess that ultimately benefits the user, but less directly.

365AI

365Ai is your training copilot- While in a course, you can ask contextual questions of the copilot.  The models are of course powered by the large language models, but also grounded with our own information.  We make sure that the copilot in a specific course can answer topic-specific questions and not get sidetracked on other topics. The copilot is relevant and there when you need it.

 

mydigest- We’ve got a few different places where we’ve inserted AI. 

MyDigest Only
TL;DR- We’ve manually curated sources (more than 150 of them so far), and we have AI generated summaries of the items in your feed. 

Tldr

Categories- We use AI to help identify content topics and the job roles that are relevant for the items.

My view with counts

Your filters- you select topics, roles and importance and we calculate a score and combine that with our scoring of items and apply that to make your custom feed.

My filters

Your digest email- we apply similar logic as above and curate a custom email on the schedule you define.

Mydigest email

We’ve also used some of the Copilot capabilities of GitHub to help accelerate some of the more tedious parts of development to get us to market faster.

How do you AI in your everyday world?


My digest updates

So much great feedback!  Keep it coming.  Use the Ideas page on the 365.Training site or reach out to me directly.

So, in case you haven’t heard, my digest at 365.Training is a place to stay up to date on all things Power Platform and Dynamics 365.  We’ve got over 150 sources for you, all in one place.  My original blog post on it is here.

My digest fills your head with knowledge

So, some updates for you.

Email digest from my feed. You can set the frequency of your digest email from none to daily, weekly, monthly or after 10 days of inactivity on the site.  Your default is set to none, so if you want to get an email digest, navigate to the settings page via the gears icon on the ribbon.

My digest email

Mydigest email

 

You can now listen to our AI-generated TL:DR summaries.
Play the TL;DR

Suggest a new source.  On that top ribbon, click the plus+ and let us know a great source we may have missed. You can also keep track of your suggestions, and the outcome on the My suggestions tab.

Suggest a new source

Time to consume.  Once you’re drilled into the summary of an item from your feed, we’ve got an estimate of how long it will take you to consume the item from the source.

Time to consume

You can listen to a podcast directly from our site.  Not every podcast provider supports this at this time, but most of the ones we share will have that option for you.

Listen to podcast


Once you’ve set your filter preferences, and are viewing your feed, you can also now choose what type of content you’d like to see right now.  Use it just like you use our just-in-time my view filter.

Content type filter

Load more items to your feed. When you first get to your digest, we give you 50 items on your feed.  If you make it to the end and want to load the next 50, use the mark all read at the bottom of the feed. That will effectively dismiss all items on your feed and reload with the next 50 items.

Load more items

Still haven't tried my digest?  Go give it a try now https://mydigest.365.training 

MyDigest Square


365Ai now available from anywhere in a course

We added 365Ai a short time ago.  It' s a great tool for getting your questions asked in the context of a course at 365.Training.  We've just released an update that allows us to dock 365Ai to the course dashboard so you can access it at any time.  It's now available in several courses that have already been enabled for 365Ai.

365Ai


I made a quick tutorial.


introducing my digest by 365.Training

A few weeks ago, Dave came into my office and starts scribbling on the whiteboard.  Has a great idea.  And we all agreed.  And so, we jumped into the deep end and a few weeks later, we launched my digest by 365.Training.

MyDigest Only

What is my digest?  It’s your one-stop place for news, updates, blogs, events, podcasts, videos; all things current about Power Platform.  You build your interests in your saved filters and the feed only gives you things you are interested in. You can save items with notes, organized in your own folders.  You can snooze and item to read later.  You can do ad hoc views to narrow the scope of what you’re viewing right now, without changing your saved filters.

We’ve curated over 100 sources and add more pretty much every day. 

We just launched this crazy idea last week.  So, we’re in our beta phase while we work through any minor bugs and improvements.  During this beta, every logged in user has access at no cost.  We’ll sort out how we monetize it later.

Let me know if you have sources we should add or other ideas to make it better.

Go to my digest

I made a quick tutorial of how to get the most of my digest. 


I've updated several courses at 365.Training

I’m always thinking about what new courses the community needs.  I recently went through my library of courses at 365.Training and keep coming back to the fundamentals.  But curated fundamentals.  Courses specifically targeting practical skills. So, instead of making new courses, I’ve re-paved my most popular (and I feel most valuable) courses.

What does that mean?  First all the labs have been updated and fully retested.  Second, I’ve streamlined the talking parts, reduced it to what you need to know to understand what you are building in the labs.  And third, I’ve added summary videos of the labs, and made this video available as a preview. You don’t have to subscribe, or purchase the course before you know more about what you are doing in these courses.

You’ll see that nearly all of these include something called 365Ai.  That’s our training copilot that is there with you while you train.  You can ask 365Ai topical questions without having to leave your training dashboard.  Give it a try, I think it’s pretty swanky.

Experience Power Platform- This course takes you through a series of hands-on exercises all designed to give you practical experience building with the tools of Power Platform.  This course includes 365Ai.

Zero to model-driven- This is a hands-on labs-based course to build a model-driven Power App.  In this course you'll learn how to build a functionally complete model-driven app for Happy Tails doggie daycare. You do not need any prior Power Apps experience. This course includes 365Ai.

Zero to canvas- This is a hands-on labs-based course to build a canvas Power App. In this course you'll learn how to build a functionally complete canvas app for Happy Tails doggie daycare. You do not need any prior Power Apps experience.

Zero to Power Pages- This is a hands-on lab-based course to build Power Pages. In this course you'll learn how to build a functionally complete site for Happy Tails doggie daycare. You do not need any prior Power Apps experience. This course includes 365Ai.

You can buy any of these courses ala carte…or subscribe and get all of these and more included.  Use my link for a 30% discount on your annual subscription.  https://365l.ink/365Julie

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We’re adding training cohorts at 365.Training

Some people learn best on their own.  But many prefer to learn with a group.  We’re launching training cohorts to give our subscribers access to a training community to help them on their professional journey.

You will be assigned learning each week to help you complete the courses in an order we’ve determined is logical to gain the skills of the particular cohort.  You’ll be free to take any of our courses at the same time, or before, or after. You can join additional cohorts also. 

You will be part of a community.  Each cohort has a private Teams available with dedicated channels for each course in the cohort.  Our instructors will be available for questions and discussions throughout the cohort. We’ll also have office hours for interactive conversations along the way.

Our goal is for quarterly cohorts, but will schedule more often if we need to.

First up is our cohort for beginners in October, then one for developers in January.

Keep an eye on this page for other cohorts as they get scheduled.

What does it cost?

Joining a cohort is free to our paid subscribers.

How big are the cohorts?

To be honest we’re not exactly sure.  We need enough students to encourage great conversations, but not so many that you’ll get lost.  We’ll keep an eye on enrollment and do our best to keep the numbers right.

Interested in subscribing?  Have a look here.

Got a group?  Want a private cohort?  Have a look here.

365LogoSquare


Biz App professional skilling cohorts-Ukrainian edition/Когорта навчання "Професіонал з біснес-додатків". Версія для українців.

Когорта навчання "Професіонал з біснес-додатків". Версія для українців.

Після вдалого старту нашого пілотного проекту, ми із задоволенням розширюємо реєстрацію. Якщо ви чи хтось з вашого оточення шукає підтримку при зміні професії, приєднуйтеся. Наші фахівці працюють з передовими технологіями та знанням мов, щоб ваше навчання було максимально комфортним. Цей курс є адаптованим варіантом англомовних груп і містить матеріали на двох мовах: англійській та українській. Навчання самостійне з контрольними етапами. І, до речі, це абсолютно безкоштовно. Якщо ви бажаєте вчитися, але не готові зобов'язатися на 6 тижнів відразу, немає проблем. Матеріали основані на ресурсах Microsoft Learn, https://aka.ms/BAPskilling. Можете розпочати з цього сайту, а потім приєднатися до нас. 

Щоб дізнатися більше про курс, перейдіть за цим посиланням.

Для реєстрації в групі, клікніть сюди.

Biz App professional skilling cohorts-Ukrainian edition

After our successful pilot we are happy to open registration more broadly.  If you or someone you know is looking for help transitioning to a new career, join us.  Our team of professionals includes native speakers and some good technology to make this experience as smooth as possible.

This cohort is a modified version of the English-language cohorts.  Content is presented in both English and Ukrainian.  Learning is self-directed with checkpoints.  It is free.

If you’d like to learn but can’t commit to a 6-week cohort at this time, not to worry.  The program is based on the official collection from Microsoft Learn, https://aka.ms/BAPskilling . You can start there, and join a cohort later.

For more information about the training, visit here

To apply for a cohort, visit here