After achieving the elite AI and Machine Learning in Microsoft Azure specialization, Protiviti has launched new Microsoft Artificial Intelligence (AI) Center of Excellence and AI Solutions to help clients adopt responsible AI
MENLO PARK, Calif., Aug. 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Global consulting firm Protiviti has achieved the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in Microsoft Azure specialization. Microsoft solution specializations recognize partners for deep expertise in the designated capability areas and illustrate the partner has met demanding requirements to demonstrate solution competency, all validated by a third-party audit. With the AI and ML in Microsoft Azure specialization, Protiviti has shown proven capabilities enabling customer adoption of Al and implementing Azure-based solutions for Al-powered applications and machine learning.
As part of this Microsoft specialization achievement, Protiviti has launched a Microsoft AI Center of Excellence (MSAI COE) and new Microsoft-certified AI solutions. The MSAI COE is focused on researching and developing AI solutions that drive impactful change to businesses, and how they operate and serve their customers. It also brings together a high concentration of Microsoft MVPs, world-class data scientists, award-winning AI solutions, and Protiviti's risk heritage focusing on delivering trusted and secure AI solutions. Protiviti's MSAI COE will operate and deliver solutions that embed Microsoft's responsible AI principles: fairness, inclusiveness, reliability and safety, transparency, security and privacy, and accountability.
Within Protiviti's suite of 50+ AI solutions and accelerators, the company has developed Microsoft-certified offerings to help clients get started with generative AI, including: the Generative AI Roadmap and Generative AI Proof of Concept. The Generative AI Accelerated Roadmap is a four-week assessment to define objectives and develop a strategic plan for deploying Microsoft Azure-based Open AI-LLM applications across business functions. Generative AI Proof of Concept provides a six-week solution utilizing a proven methodology and a knowledgeable team to accelerate ideation to functional prototype.
"Protiviti is proud to collaborate with Microsoft to be a leading provider of AI enabled capabilities," said Christine Livingston, global leader of Protiviti's AI services. "Together with Microsoft, we look forward to helping organizations utilize AI solutions responsibly to drive impactful transformation in their businesses."
Microsoft's partnership with OpenAI and the acceleration of large language models have unlocked new ability to deliver transformational AI-enabled capabilities and experiences, while maintaining the security and privacy of organizational data. Protiviti's MSAI COE will enhance its 50+ proprietary models with the latest advancements in Microsoft and OpenAI technologies.
"We're excited to be a leader for Microsoft-enabled AI solutions and look forward to driving business value to our clients," said Tom Andreesen, Protiviti's Microsoft global alliance leader. "The MSAI COE will focus on leveraging the latest Microsoft AI capabilities and driving research and resulting solutions that consider the broad risk considerations in today's business environment and is well aligned with Protiviti's rich risk management and governance history."
To learn more about Microsoft AI, Protiviti and Microsoft will host a webinar on August 17 to discuss "Are You Ready for (Responsible) AI? How to Embrace the Future of Productivity and Limitless Innovation with Microsoft AI", register here.
Protiviti (www.protiviti.com) is a global consulting firm that delivers deep expertise, objective insights, a tailored approach and unparalleled collaboration to help leaders confidently face the future. Protiviti and its independent and locally owned Member Firms provide clients with consulting and managed solutions in finance, technology, operations, data, digital, legal, governance, risk and internal audit through its network of more than 85 offices in over 25 countries.
Named to the 2022 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® list, Protiviti has served more than 80 percent of Fortune 100 and nearly 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies. The firm also works with smaller, growing companies, including those looking to go public, as well as with government agencies. Protiviti is a wholly owned subsidiary of Robert Half Inc. (NYSE: RHI). Founded in 1948, Robert Half is a member of the S&P 500 index.
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The transformative power of artificial intelligence has led many ed tech vendors to embrace the technology in their product portfolios, from curriculum-building tools to advanced analytics, student engagement, and more. The possibilities are endless, according to Anthology Chief Product Officer JD White, but they must be explored in conjunction with a commitment to ethical AI standards and a eager eye on the student experience. We spoke with White about his company's vision for AI as well as practical considerations for embracing AI tools in the classroom.
Campus Technology: Anthology recently announced a partnership with Microsoft to incorporate generative AI into the Anthology ecosystem of ed tech solutions. Why choose Azure OpenAI?
JD White: Anthology and Microsoft have a long history of partnering together. In fact, it's this history that led Anthology to be the first Education ISV [Independent Software Vendor] invited in Microsoft's OpenAI work. This long-standing partnership, and our shared commitment to responsible AI design, made working together a natural fit.
By integrating Microsoft's AI features into Anthology's purpose-built higher education solutions, we are ensuring our solutions are scalable, secure, and seamlessly integrated into existing educational ecosystems, making them easily accessible to our global client base.
Overall, this partnership will enable our clients to take advantage of more AI-facilitated capabilities within our joint ed tech solutions and unlock new opportunities for personalized student engagement, advanced data analytics, and streamlined administrative processes.
CT: What's possible right now with AI-enabled tools — what are some practical ways institutions can make use of them today?
White: One of the uses we are most excited about is the course-builder aid for instructors in Blackboard Learn from Anthology.
The AI Design Assistant makes Blackboard Learn Ultra the first major LMS to extend generative AI capabilities to instructors and instructional designers, helping them build courses, source images, and create tests and rubrics more efficiently than ever.
The result is less time spent on course creation, and more time with the students. That's really the theme for the AI Design Assistant — inspiration. The tool is available to inspire instructors in course creation.
Practical uses of AI in course creation include:
As part of our commitment to responsible and ethical use of AI, all of these features were developed following Anthology's Trustworthy AI Approach. Humans are always in control. The institution and the instructor can choose whether to enable and use the features based on their institution's policies and preferences.
Government entities need to manage projects just like other businesses, but their security and compliance needs are especially high, which can limit the scope of their software search. Fortunately, the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP®) has reviewed and approved multiple project management tools that meet government security standards. In this guide, we’ve reviewed several FedRAMP® approved government project management tools as well as some other offerings.
While we have included pricing information here to help you benchmark costs, you should know that in some cases the FedRAMP® approved product version requires a special quote from the government sales department. For instance, the Smartsheet Gov product is different from standard Smartsheet plans and requires a custom quote for pricing.
SEE: 8 Best Project Management Software for Architects
Beyond security and compliance, you should make sure your government project management software has certain key features. Here are some of the features to look out for when comparing government project management software:
|FedRAMP® authorized||Multiple project views||Native time tracking||Templates||Free plan available||Pricing starts at|
|Smartsheet||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$7 per person per month|
|Trello||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||$5 per person per month|
|Google Workspace||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No||$6 per person per month|
|Clarity||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Contact for quote|
|Microsoft Project||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||$10 per person per month|
|ProjectTeam||Pending||No||No||Yes||No||$700 per person per year, sold in blocks of five|
|Lucid Software||Pending||No||No||Yes||Yes||$7.95 per person per month|
|monday work management||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$8 per person per month|
|Wrike||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$9.80 per person per month|
|ClickUp||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$7 per person per month|
Smartsheet is a project management tool that bases its design interface on the familiar spreadsheet format. If you’ve been trying to make Excel or Google Sheets work for your project needs, Smartsheet is the solution you’ve been waiting for. The Smartsheet Gov offering is both FedRAMP® and DoD IL4 authorized, making it a great choice for government organizations.
For more information, read the full Smartsheet review.
Trello Enterprise Cloud is currently the only Atlassian product that is FedRAMP® authorized for government use. Trello is known for its intuitive, visually appealing Kanban boards, which are extremely easy to use. This beginner-friendly app is a good choice for teams that want to get started with Kanban project management but don’t need a tool meant for power users or complex projects.
For more information, read the full Trello review.
If you’re attached to your personal Google apps, you’ll be happy to hear that Google Workspace is FedRAMP® authorized. This means that all your favorite Google apps — Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sheets, Slides and so on — can be used for and adapted to governmental purposes. While you can make certain Google apps work for more robust project management, we recommend using these tools mainly for document and file management, then syncing them with a dedicated project management tool of your choice.
For more information, read the full Google Workspace review.
Before we dive in, you should know that Microsoft Project is not currently FedRAMP® authorized. However, many other Microsoft apps — including Microsoft Office 365 and Azure Government — are FedRAMP® authorized, so we wanted to include Microsoft Project on the list. Microsoft Project is designed to be used in conjunction with other Microsoft products such as OneDrive and Teams, so it’s the best choice for departments that are already committed to the Microsoft ecosystem.
Microsoft Project offers five total plans: three for the cloud-based subscription and three for the on-premises solution. A 30-day free trial is available for the cloud-based solution.
For cloud-based subscriptions:
For the on-premises platform:
For more information, read the full Microsoft Project review.
ProjectTeam is a construction project management information system (PMIS) that is currently under review for FedRAMP® authorization. It is designed to assist government organizations and private-public partnerships in planning, designing and executing construction projects. Because of its focus on construction, it is not suitable for more general project management use cases.
Lucid Software is the creator of Lucidchart (intelligent diagramming application), Lucidspark (virtual whiteboard) and Lucidscale (cloud visualization solution). Lucid’s government software offering is currently under review for FedRAMP® authorization. While it doesn’t provide traditional project management software, Lucid offers tools that are powerful resources for helping your team brainstorm ideas and visualize processes.
Lucidspark and Lucidchart offer the same a la carte pricing options to users:
Lucidscale is available in two pricing plans:
monday work management is not currently FedRAMP® authorized, but we wanted to include it on this list anyways because it’s widely considered one of the best project management tools on the market today. It combines robust project management features with relatively affordable pricing plans and a nice user interface that isn’t too intimidating.
For more information, read the full monday review.
If you were intrigued by the project portfolio management abilities of Clarity but the rest of the tool sounded like overkill for your needs, then you might want to check out Wrike. Wrike is not currently FedRAMP® authorized but does include a host of features that are designed for power users who need to manage multiple complex projects at once.
A free trial is available for each of the following plans:
For more information, read the full Wrike review.
If you are looking for a tool that combines robust project management with affordable pricing, ClickUp should be at the top of your list. While not currently FedRAMP® authorized, ClickUp offers an impressive array of features that will satisfy many teams, especially considering that paid plans start at only $7 per person per month.
For more information, read the full ClickUp review.
Security and compliance are usually the number one concern when choosing any kind of software for a government project. Make sure that your top choices are either compliant with FedRAMP® or otherwise meet all necessary security standards. Keep in mind that many project management tools reserve their highest levels of security for premium and enterprise accounts, so be sure to account for that in your budget.
Government project management software should make it easy to manage your personal to-do list. You should also be able to assign tasks to others, set due dates, view completed and upcoming tasks and more within the tool itself.
Any project management tool worth its salt should offer at least a handful of standard project views such as grids, spreadsheets, Gantt charts, timelines and/or kanban/board/card views. Make sure you read the fine print, though: Some of these tools reserve the most popular views to higher tier plans (like monday work management) or require a third-party app or extension (Trello).
Project templates can significantly speed up the setup phases of a project and also inspire your team to try out newer, more efficient ways of organizing information. Any government project management tool should include templates that are relevant to the sector and provide you the ability to create and save custom templates.
Even the most robust project management tools won’t have every single feature you need, which is why these tools should integrate with the rest of your software stack. Some project management platforms also offer the ability to build custom integrations thanks to API access, which sometimes comes with added costs.
Choosing government project management software is a complex process. You will need to work with your IT and security teams as well as other relevant stakeholders to ensure the software meets your functional needs while also supporting necessary safety and compliance protocols.
Start conversations about security early on so that you don’t waste your time researching and test-driving software that doesn’t meet the necessary criteria. Thankfully, some of the most popular project management tools are already FedRAMP® authorized or in the process of earning that authorization. Don’t forget to consider other factors as well, like the ability to create custom workflows and dependabilities that accurately capture governmental processes.
Additionally, make the most of product demos, free accounts and free trials so you can develop a full understanding of the software before committing to a paid plan. Implementing a new government project management software solution or importing data from one platform to another is no small feat, so you want to be confident in your decision before you make the leap.
We reviewed these government project management software solutions based on a number of criteria, including pricing, ease of use, user interface design and the learning curve. We also weighed additional features such as automation, project views, templates and time tracking. We evaluated these platforms by consulting demo videos, user reviews and product documentation.
Read next: 8 Best Healthcare Project Management Software
By Benjamin Raizel
In an increasingly globalized marketplace, mistakes in payment compliance can cost companies millions.
Over the last quarter, federal regulators slapped several major corporations with seven-figure fines for allegedly violating U.S. sanctions, an indication that the Treasury Department could continue to step up enforcement of its sanction regime in the upcoming year.
In April, Microsoft paid more than $3.3 million in fines after the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) uncovered some 1,300 alleged violations of sanctions against Russia, Cuba, Iran and Syria.
Swedbank paid $3.4 million in June after its subsidiary was found to have allegedly completed nearly 400 transactions to clients in Crimea. Regulators found that the Swedish bank had violated U.S sanctions after using American corresponding banks to process the transactions.
In May, the skincare company, Murad was fined $3.3 million for allegedly exporting goods and services to Iran. Murad applied for licenses to conduct global exports, but OFAC claimed it did not receive an application for Murad’s business with Iran.
For companies domestically and around the world, violating international sanctions regimes —particularly those imposed by the United States and European Union — can carry significant consequences that impact more than just the bottom line.
Swedbank fired its CEO after OFAC announced its fine in April. One month later, the chairman of the board, Lars Idermark, resigned. At Murad, the former senior company executive who signed agreements with the Iranian distributor paid $175,000 in fines to OFAC.
It is not just multinational corporations and banks that must navigate the complexities of conducting business and issuing payments around the world.
Any company engaged in international commerce runs the risk of violating, perhaps inadvertently, the array of sanctions cast against foreign governments, financial institutions, and individuals. It has become increasingly common for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to do offshore clerical tasks. But can a small business in California pay a web designer in Cuba without committing a crime?
And it’s not just sanctions that companies need to consider. Tax codes and currency restrictions can vary considerably between countries. Understanding compliance in Brazil is extremely challenging in comparison to the United States, and as global payments increase, how can companies remain up to date with regulations?
The answers can sometimes be murky. For many SMEs, addressing these questions often involves retaining attorneys or sanction risk consultants at considerable fees.
Business leaders in one unlikely sector, however, have amassed a wealth of experience in contending with these challenges.
How can companies prepare for a shifting global economy?
If there are any executives who understand the difficulties of issuing payments in a global marketplace, it’s those who have worked in esports.
Esports is a rapidly growing business. Players compete in hundreds of competitions, some with prize pools of up to $9 million, and log in from around the world. To facilitate these tournaments, esports companies must confront currency exchanges and regulations on a global scale.
Han Park is the CEO of Payment Labs a company that helps tournament organizers issue prize payouts that comply with tax and financial requirements. Prize payouts usually differ significantly depending on where recipients are located.
“Sending payments to individuals all around the world is complex and highly regulated because you have currency related issues, anti-money laundering regulations, tax complications, data privacy and security laws, and methods of payments,” Park said.
So how does a company combat all these possible violations?
Trust the Experts
Understanding arcane regulations and engaging international bureaucracies can often lead to mistakes and information lost in translation. For a company like Murad, missing signatures from one executive proved costly.
“Just like when companies hire law firms, and are deeply methodical in finding the best firm, companies should be very intentional when choosing what systems to assist in navigating anti-money laundering regulations and data privacy concerns,” he said.
Promote Compliance, Educate Employees, and Update Platforms
Businesses should constantly update their sanction compliance programs and educate employees on transactions to flag.
Park recommended implementing know-your-customer policies, identity verifications and real-time tax ID checks to ensure payees meet requirements.
“These systems make our solutions easy-to-use for both the business and its payees, while mitigating risks and challenges that are usually associated with business-to-person payments,” he said.
Beverage Industry Leader Adopts Microsoft ERP Platform to Optimize Processes and Performance
SEATTLE, Aug. 15, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Talking Rain Beverage Company, the leading beverage company and makers of Sparkling Ice, Sparkling Ice +Caffeine, Talking Rain AQA and more, today announced their decision to embark on a strategic Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) transformation program with Microsoft and Infosys. This strategic initiative represents a significant milestone in Talking Rain's journey towards enhancing its core business capabilities, creating a focused organizational workflow, and achieving true business transformation.
Talking Rain is embarking on this business transformation program to revolutionize its operations and enable scalability to meet customer and consumer demands. The chosen ERP solution, Microsoft's Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management, combined with Infosys' expertise as the implementation partner, provides Talking Rain with the tools necessary to optimize customer service, Improve core finance processes, enhance supply chain capabilities, and drive overall efficiency improvements across its organization value chain.
This modern, cloud-based solution will unlock increased capabilities, propel the company to new heights and allow for long-term scalability. With enhanced access to real-time data and robust process, Talking Rain will be able to make informed decisions benefiting the brand's network, customers and partners while ensuring accurate reporting.
"By integrating with Microsoft and Infosys, we are aligning ourselves with leading technology and expertise in the industry," said Luke Fisher, Chief Financial Officer at Talking Rain Beverage Company. "This collaboration ensures we can continually enhance our capabilities to overdeliver on our customer and consumer expectations. This ERP transformation program will help take Talking Rain to a whole new level, enabling us to operate effectively on real-time data, make smarter decisions and scale for years to come."
"Every company right now is looking at the enterprise and analyzing how to take advantage of AI," said Dave Horner, Vice President of Technology at Talking Rain. "It is critically important to have a solid ERP as the foundation for transformation and to partner with technology providers that have AI embedded in their roadmaps. Being able to leverage the combined Research and Development investments of Microsoft and Infosys was a key factor in our decision making process."
Karmesh Vaswani, EVP and Head of Consumer, Retail and Logistics, Infosys, said, "The beverages industry is undergoing positive and disruptive transformation with new consumer connections and renewed enterprise execution that play at the intersection of business process capabilities, consumer and channel insights and actionable AI. Through this integration, we are committed to accelerate the transformation at Talking Rain and pave their path to leapfrog on business performance management and speed of innovation."
Swamy Narayana, General Manager at Microsoft, and head of Customer Experience Programs for Dynamics 365 added, "Talking Rain's integration of Dynamics 365 to manage their operations will unlock the immense AI-powered features designed to help Talking Rain achieve its digital transformation goals."
Talking Rain's commitment to implementing the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management ERP platform reflects its dedication to leverage technology and strategic collaborations to optimize its operations and provide superior experiences for its customers.
For more information on Talking Rain Beverage Company, please visit https://www.talkingrain.com/.
About Talking Rain® Beverage Company
Talking Rain is a Washington-based beverage company that has been an industry leader in the beverage space for 35 years. The company's portfolio of brands includes the bestselling sparkling water, Sparkling Ice®, Sparkling Ice® +Caffeine, and Talking Rain AQA®, all of which offer better-for-you beverage options in a variety of flavors. With a commitment to developing best-in-class brands and driving meaningful community engagement, Talking Rain is creating connections with every sip.
Talking Rain is building a sustainable future in an ever-changing market space. The company is committed to connecting with like-minded partners who prioritize corporate, social, and environmental responsibility so together, they can educate and inspire the continuous work that supports these efforts. Talking Rain aims to create a lasting impact in the community through innovative carbon reduction initiatives, positive social programs, and philanthropic support.
Infosys is a global leader in next-generation digital services and consulting. Over 300,000 of our people work to amplify human potential and create the next opportunity for people, businesses and communities. We enable clients in more than 56 countries to navigate their digital transformation. With over four decades of experience in managing the systems and workings of global enterprises, we expertly steer clients, as they navigate their digital transformation powered by the cloud. We enable them with an AI-powered core, empower the business with agile digital at scale and drive continuous improvement with always-on learning through the transfer of digital skills, expertise, and ideas from our innovation ecosystem. We are deeply committed to being a well-governed, environmentally sustainable organization where diverse talent thrives in an inclusive workplace.
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SOURCE Talking Rain Beverage Company