When Microsoft bought Seattle-based startup Ally.io in October 2021, it shared plans to integrate goal and key results (OKR) tracking software into its Viva employee experience platform. That was the last we heard of Ally.io until this week, when Microsoft announced a private preview of Viva Goals, based on software from the Ally.io acquisition.
According to a blog post by Ally.io Founder and Microsoft Viva Goals Vice President Vetri Vellore, Viva Goals aims to “bring clarity about the work of employees and how that work impacts on the company’s most important priorities”.
Viva Goals is just the latest module in the Viva suite. Microsoft launched Viva in February 2021 to improve “employee engagement, learning, well-being, and knowledge discovery, directly in people’s workflows.” It aimed to accomplish this in four main categories:
- Viva Connections: Internal communications and access to reference information.
- Viva Previews: Well-being indicators for individuals and managers.
- Living learning: An online learning marketplace that includes LinkedIn Learning and integrations with other sources such as Coursera, Cornerstone, and Saba.
- Live Topics: Wiki-like maps that summarize terms and link to internal experts and resources.
Goal-tracking software has seen a surge of interest in the last two years of the pandemic, as managers try to keep remote teams aligned and on track with specific goals and deadlines. Venture capitalists have poured money into the area as a result, with Ally.io competitors WorkBoard, Lattice, and Culture Amp all securing funding in recent years.
Viva Goals is expected to be generally available later this year and will come automatically with the Microsoft Viva suite subscription.
Hidden Dangers in ML Algorithms
A recent study from Cornell University suggests that it might be time for some companies to put the brakes on machine learning (ML) initiatives. Noting the widespread use of service providers to train machine learning algorithms, the authors cautioned about the relative ease with which malicious actors could introduce undetectable backdoors into classifiers.
A classifier is a type of machine learning algorithm used to assign a class label to a data input.
On the surface, these backdoors behave normally, but buried within them are mechanisms to change the classification of any input, with only a slight disturbance.
Spectrum IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) called the potential result a “catastrophic vulnerability” and quoted one of the study’s co-authors, Shafi Goldwasser, who warned organizations not to blindly trust a machine learning model that he did not train himself: “This finding is particularly important today due to the increasing reliance on external service providers to train machine learning models that are ultimately responsible decisions that have a profound impact on individuals and society as a whole.”
This is just the latest in a series of concerns raised as the adoption of AI increases within businesses – and in our personal lives.
According to the recently released IBM Global AI Adoption Index 2022, 35% of companies are currently using AI in their business, with an additional 42% saying they are exploring its use.
The report found that AI adoption is growing steadily, up four points from 2021, as AI is used to address labor and skills shortages by automating repetitive tasks. In the context of the Cornell study, the top cited barrier to AI adoption for businesses was limited AI skills, expertise or knowledge (34%) and the third highest barrier cited, the lack of tools or platforms to develop models (25%), are telling, as they point the way forward for hiring a service provider to help with algorithm training.
Google revisits the G Suite legacy timeline
This week, the company announced that it would again extend the deadline until December 2022. As of this writing, the current plan is as follows:
- Effective December 1, 2022 (previously June 1, 2022): You will no longer be able to edit the remaining sites in the classic version of your domain.
- Effective January 1, 2023 (previously July 1, 2022): Classic sites will no longer be visible unless they are converted to new Google sites.
The fate of the free offering introduced by Google in February to offset the impact of new services is unclear.
The company gave no indication of why it changed its original decision, but the process was complicated to say the least. One of the potential drivers of change – and this is pure speculation – is that the customer who was considering upgrading to the paid version of Workspace may have decided to pay a little more and switch to another vendor entirely. . Whatever the reason, it’s unlikely to help Google’s position in an already unforgiving space.
Miro releases development platform v2.0
Finally this week, San Francisco-based Miro announced the release of the next generation of its developer platform along with a number of new partner integrations, which the company says will help users collaborate from more inclusive way when working together and alone.
This is a major upgrade, including new frameworks for building custom apps and workflows inside and outside of Miro. Other new features include:
- Miro Development Platform Rest API: New tools for developing server-side applications for bulk user and map management and for content synchronization between Miro and other systems.
- Integrate Miro live: A framework to allow access to any Miro board directly from a third-party application, for synchronous and asynchronous work.
He also looked at new ways to bridge the gap between onsite workers and remote workers. Some notable additions include:
- Google Meet: Starting in June, Google Meet teams can simply open the Activities panel in Meet and launch Miro to start creating in a new board or collaborating in an existing one.
- Webex: Webex users will soon be able to launch their Miro boards directly into any Webex meeting to collaborate with teammates in their meeting space without ever leaving the Webex app.
Miro managed to find a perfect spot in the collaboration space. With remote and hybrid working becoming the norm, the digital whiteboard provider now claims 30 million users and counts nearly all Fortune 100 companies as customers.
The company raised $400m in Series C funding in January, giving it a valuation of $17.5bn and bringing the total sum raised to $476m since the company was founded in 2011. .