Thursday, April 14, 2011

Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2011: Day 4 Morning Closing Session (Cont.)

Day 4: April 13, 2011

Where do I begin...

Minutes earlier, we were finding out about Houston having the honor of hosting the next Microsoft Dynamics Convergence event. If this was exciting, and if seeing the YEA kids performing was exciting, then I couldn't imagine what the last minutes would bring.

Doug then introduced guest speaker, Mr. Malcolm Gladwell, Staff Writer for The New Yorker and best-selling author. Now this was a real treat! If you haven't heard about Mr. Gladwell, his body of work often deals with the unexpected implications of research in the social sciences and makes frequent and extended use of academic work, particularly in the areas of psychology, and social psychology - see Wikipedia entry.

Malcom Gladwell, Guest Speaker
Mr. Gladwell's speach centered around how technology can aid in the decision making process. To illustrate his point, he brought to light research conducted in sports around teams holding home court advantage. Research conducted throughout diverse professional sports showed that 62% of the time teams with a home court advantage went on to win their match against the visiting team.

By the numbers however, home teams had no apparent advantage over the visiting team and showed no superiority. The research looked into the distance traveled by visiting teams, whether the local weather played a factor in visiting teams performance, or the crowd had an effect on players, and a number of other elements.

Finally, research concluded that the major game influencer for teams with home court advantage were the referees - though, Mr. Gladwell was quick to point out that the vast majority of referees do their job with integrity. Referees are influenced by the size of the crowd. Research conducted in soccer, showed that in soccer stadiums where there was a track field separating the crowd from the actual soccer field, the officiating calls were much more accurate and had little to no influence on the game outcome. However, in stadiums where there's no track field, referees would favor the home team in a larger percent of their calls or would whistle less calls in favor of the visiting team.

Malcom Gladwell
So, how does technology assist with the decision making process:

1. Technology can make decision making transparent. As humans, we are not good in explaining our decision making process. Technology helps in fact checking and correcting bias.

2. Technology can help in simplifying decision making. Human judgment fails when the number of variables increase. When the plainfield clarified judgment is restored. Overall, human judgment is fragile and succeptible to bias.

3. Technology protects from disruption and corruption by restoring fairness. Technology enables judgment.
In the case of sports, Mr. Gladwell noted that research showed that when the MLB instituted the strike zone box device to show whether umpires were making the correct calls or not, that umpires themselves were less prone to make the wrong call against the visiting team leveling out the plainfield with the home team.

Instant replay, allows NFL referees to have a private time to review a play, bringing and restoring fairness to the game.

Malcom Gladwell and Doug Kennedy - Q&A
 After the Closing Keynote Session, David and I got a run through the Expo Hall to take a picture of the Rockton Software crew. You can tell the Rockton crew had quite a bit of fun the night before. We snapped a picture and quickly left to go to the interactive discussion session, IDGP04-R2 Tips & Tricks for Maintaining Security in Microsoft Dynamics GP.

The session was manned by Bob McAdam, Andy Snook with the subject matter expertise of Microsoft's Terry Blazer. As the session went on, David and I became facilitators for the bits and pieces that came up on the Support Debugging Tool.

Mariano Gomez (IntellPartners), David Ahalt (MonaVie), David Musgrave (Microsoft), Andy Snook (FastPath), Bob McAdam (Tribridge), Terry Blazer (Microsoft)

The session, IDGP04-R2 Tips & Tricks for Maintaining Security in Microsoft Dynamics GP, ended with lots of questions from the attendees and got us excited about our 4:30 PM session to follow, but lunch time was upon us.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

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