To convince clients about UX, it is important to speak the client’s language

‘To convince clients about UX, it is important to speak the client’s language’

David Juhlin is a Senior User Experience Researcher at PTC, Bentley University located in the Greater Boston area in the United States. Juhlin, an MBA and MS in human factors, says he “operates with a deep understanding of both the business and customers.” In this interview he talks about his pre-project preparations, getting clients convinced about investing in the UX process, Design Thinking and a lot more.

What is your preparation process you follow before starting any project?

This depend on what time you have on hand. If you have time to read up and deepen your knowledge in the domain that is always great. This includes the technology and the industry dynamics the product (and company) is or will be a part of.

Another thing that is important, but I consider a part of a project is the stakeholder interviews. These will help you better understand the business landscape, what has been done in the past, and what they are trying to achieve. It can also help aligning everyone involved so everyone has the same expectations. At this point you might discover that the business sponsor want something innovate, the project manager wants an incremental improvement of the product and the developers has a third understanding. If these are not addressed ahead of time, you are set up for failure.

There is often reluctance among clients to invest in the UX process. How do you convince stakeholders to invest resources in this?

It is important to speak the client’s language. If they are the traditional project sponsor, they associate UX to cost and they want to see numbers proving there is a positive return of investment of including UX. The trap many UX professionals fall in is to try to show exactly this. If you add an additional $100k you’ll be able to sell X more of the product.

You need to stay away from too many specifics at the same time as you show them numbers supporting the importance of investing in UX. An example is to show them how customer experience can drive revenue or how customers are willing to pay a price premium for improved experience. Another way is to show how improved UX is driving up stock prices.

What’s your take on Design Thinking as a concept? Could you tell us your views on if and how it can be applied to various problems?

Design Thinking is very powerful, but sometimes it is over promoted but people who don’t know enough about it. This usually happens when people recently learned Design Thinking and just became a “believer”. It is always dangerous to just accept theories and not question them and really understand their strengths and weaknesses.

Design thinking is a great methodology for solving complex tasks that can’t be solved by logic. For example, Design thinking is not suitable if you are trying to find out how much drinking water will be needed in Sydney in 2020. In this case it is better to look at statistics and use logic to calculate a prediction. If the problem on the other hand is changed to “we know there will be a water shortage in 2020, how can we best solve this?” Design Thinking would be the right approach.The key thing in my mind for Design Thinking is that you need to start with a need. Understand what the pain is for users and then start from a blank page of how to solve it. It sounds so simple, but unfortunately most companies do this wrong. They identify the need as “users can’t do X in our software”. That is not the need. The need is “users want to do X”, but the company has already set limitations of the solution. Sure, we can innovate within that scope, but the best solution might not have anything to do with that software. Why this happens is because companies are set up according to products and software they sell and support. Not the user needs the company solve.

How would you balance the requirements between the user goals and business goals?

Let’s take an example of retirement savings. If you are saving for your retirement in one company, let’s say TIAA-CREF. TIAA will offer you funds they manage since they make money on those funds. Let’s say you are interested in a fund from investment company, let’s sat Vanguard. What should TIAA-CREF do? If they offer you the Vanguard fund, they’ll make less money since they don’t get their fund fees, but if they don’t let you buy it you might take all of your money and move to Vanguard.

The problem here is the incorrect problem statement. The company is considering between offering the competitors fund or not. I.e. weighing the user goal and the business goal. However, they have not considered why you wanted the Vanguard fund in the first place. If TIAA-CREF would create a better fund than Vanguard, all of a sudden both user goals and business goals align.

Companies stuck in this trade off thinking often view it as a zero sum game (if you win, they lose). What companies fail to see is if TIAA created a more appealing fund by lowering their fees they make less money off you, they might gain more customers.

Could you elaborate on your role and working process as an User Experience Researcher?

At this point my primary role is to discovery research, evaluate how well a solution solves user needs, and making sure users understand how to interact with a solution.

The primary goal of the discovery research is to bring insights to the team and help all team members empathize with their users. By better understanding the users’ main tasks, goals, motivations, and pain points, the team is better aligned and can be more productive in the other steps of the design thinking process.

The evaluation of different solutions, help the team assess the usefulness of a potential idea or solution. This helps the team decide what ideas to scrap and which ones to move forward with into the next iteration. By evaluating early and often can prevent the team to invest a lot of resources on the wrong solution.

Evaluating solutions users’ interaction is critical to make sure the final solution is usable. This is often the step most people think of as UX research since it involves usability testing, heuristic review, or some other evaluation methods.

How is designing enterprise applications different from consumer applications?

The main difference is the difficulty of recruiting participants. For consumer products, almost everyone is a participant, but for an enterprise application, the participant pool decreases significantly. For discovery research, they are also more difficult to convince to participate since we often want to do ethnography and shadow them in their work environment. This mean that the company they work for sometimes gets involved to approve a site visit.

The applications are also more complex so it is important to collaborate with other team members to better understand the users and their journey. Both before conducting any research, but also as you unpack the research data.

Could you tell us about how you made your way into User Experience?

During my university education I took a class about environmentally friendly cars. In that class one teacher showed us the IDEO shopping cart video and I was hooked on the work methodology they used. After that I changed major and went in to human factors. Since then I’ve been working in the User Experience field.

Can you tell us mistakes That a UX designer should avoid?

We all know how important UX and design thinking is, but we rarely talk about how great other processes are as well. For example, Kanban is very good process for developers. As UXers, we need to understand others have their “religion” and we can’t just force our process on to them.

We often want them to take a leap of faith and go along with our Design Thinking process, but forget that their bonus is based on other things. If we want to get others on board, we need to either have top management to change how their bonuses are determined or find a way to weave our processes into their so we don’t disrupt their normal work.

Could you tell us about the culture at Bentley University and what makes it unique?

I would prefer to skip this question since I am now working at PTC and I can’t say too much about the culture since I just started there.

Have there been occasions when your user research has revealed insights that were not in line with the client’s expectations? Could you give us an example and how you tackled it?

Any client that been a part of the research should never be surprised since it is important to guide them through what happened. For example, after an interview you can have a quick chat about what they saw and ask what their main takeaways were. If they at this point say something that is incorrect, you can explain how they miss interpreted the information.

The primary time this can happen is when you present your research to stakeholders that was not there and observed. However, you often get agreement from the others who were a part of the research which builds credibility and help them accept what happened.

If you present to a client and there are executives or other high position people, you can have your connection at the company give them a heads up in case the results are contradictory to their expectations or might stir up some emotions.

A time I had to give a tough presentation to a client was after I had evaluated the ease of use of their new platform. We had done a comprehensive test after the first iteration which showed major flaws in the UX design. The development team (it was outsourced) worked on the product for another 2 months and we then did a second round of evaluation to make sure it had improved. However, they had not addressed a single issue highlighted in the initial evaluation and only focused on adding features which only compounded the terrible experience. Everyone observing the evaluation, knew it would be bad news during the presentation.

To mitigate this as much as possible, the client tried to warn people in the organization that the test did not go well, but it was still a tough conversation since the client had spent a lot of money on the development. At the end we tried to change the presentation into a conversation about moving forward. What should they do at this point? My recommendation was to either hire a consultancy to build the interface design or take the development in-house. One of their designers also showed a design of how it could look like in case they took the design in-house. They ended up taking it in house.

Chat bots, conversational interfaces and voice are all the rage leading to headlines like ‘Chat bots will kill websites, apps etc, etc’. What are your views on this?

These words are always hyped up. Sure, these things can take over some of the interfaces, but at this point I don’t think they can replace it all. The main reason for my skepticism is how our memory works. Most of these new interfaces can only hold a few options that we can keep in short term memory. This limits the amount of options these interfaces can provide.

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Growing in leaps and bounds

Growing in leaps and bounds – 24X7 BOTForce

With a brilliant blend of AI and Natural Processing Language amongst other components infused into BOTS, SpadeWorx brings to you 24×7 BOTForce digital services for you and your enterprise!

This set of AI applied automated solutions boasts of a wide range of benefits such as:

  1. Skimming of your legacy data and using machine learning algorithms to build predictive models.
  2. Using Natural Language Understanding and/or Computer Vision capabilities to analyze unstructured information.
  3. Employing workflow engines and business rules to digitize your business process.
  4. Leveraging conversational UI for simple but powerful user interactions Use big data and analytics for gaining key insights.
  5. Using big data and analytics for gaining key insights.

Its salient features include:

  1. Enablement of Process Automation with the help of BOTs (software robots).
  2. Employment of cognitive capabilities such as Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, Computer Vision and more.
  3. Integration with your legacy systems for learning, decision-making and orchestrating workflow.

Introducing our Cognitive RPA BOTS: Yūjin & Amigo

As part of our 24×7 BOTForce framework we leverage techniques of Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing to automate various stages of the process.

Say Hello to Yūjin and its features:

Automates ‘hiring’ process related tasks
  1. Based on JD, it analyses candidates across several job portals.
  2. Scores the profiles based on ‘AI’ algorithm and not just keyword based match.
  3. Sends e-mails to shortlisted candidates with invitation to chat with Yūjin for clarifications, if any.
  4. Yūjin will answer queries by candidates across subject areas such as company overview, culture, employee benefits, policies etc.
  5. Yūjin will also work with candidates to complete the online screening test (if configured and needed).
  6. Presents shortlisted candidates to recruiter with all reports and stats for further processing.

Meet Amigo and its benefits:

Handles employee support scenarios
  1. For using Amigo, employees need to be authenticated. Authentication is automated by integrating the BOT with company directory or equivalent mechanism.
  2. Amigo can handle support requests from leave management, travel requisition, IT requests to employee benefits etc.
  3. One can simply chat with Amigo to put request. Using NLP capabilities Amigo derives the intent out of it and processes that request.
  4. Amigo has capability of orchestrating workflows between requester and approver.

Whether HR-based or otherwise, SpadeWorx aims at creating solutions that appeal to businesses solely for the reasons of making work more efficient, saving energy and time and producing results that are absolutely effective.

Contact us to discover the power of 24×7 BOTForce –

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SpadeWorx is participating in HR Tech World Show at London on 21st and 22nd March 2017.

SpadeWorx is participating in HR Tech World Show at London on 21st and 22nd March 2017.

SpadeWorx is participating at the HR Tech World Show in London on 21st and 22nd March 2017. HRs from all over the world are coming together to talk about ideas on how to transform their organizations for the better. This expo is focused on identifying the technologies that have the greatest potential and value in the field of HR and aim at finding ways to apply the same. It is a happening place for optimism and wonder, where inspiration simply thrives! SpadeWorx HR Solutions aims at using technology to drive businesses and impact the HR sector in particular. In this expo, SpadeWorx will showcase its expertise on Cognitive RPA related to hiring, which is a critical component in HR. We will also exhibit our other digital accelerators for HR functions which are in use for large enterprises. This is going to be an exciting event and we hope to see likeminded people at the show.
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SpadeWorx SharePoint

SharePoint 2016: Providing an Exceptional Office 365 Experience

SharePoint 2016 has outdone itself with a set of new, effective features that have been introduced. From enriching hybrid search experiences to One Drive redirection, SharePoint has aced the game of document management systems. An amalgamation of all the new hybrid features in one sentence could be – a brilliant and seamless user experience in terms of two environments: On-Premises and Office 365. From a Hybrid experience point of view, following are a few noticeable and improved features that we think are perfect for end users. Hybrid Search Feature: An enterprise has a hybrid environment if their content applications are common between on-premises and Office 365. It is now easier to find content, no matter where it lives thanks to a unified search. The cloud hybrid search solution provides the ability to crawl and parse on-premises content and then process and index it in Office 365. When users query the search index in Office 365, they receive search results from both on-premises and Office 365 content. Hybrid App Launcher: The extensible hybrid app launcher is designed to help you get to your Office 365 apps and services from SharePoint Server. Your Office 365 Delve and Video Apps and you customized Office 365 tiles will pop up in your SharePoint Server app launcher once you have enabled this feature. Changes in UI have also been introduced to enhance the hybrid experience. User Profiles: User profile information will be stored within both, the SharePoint server and Office 365. When a user wants to edit or view his information, that user will be redirected to his profile in Office 365. This will enable users to have to his information in one place. These users will be called Hybrid users and their profiles as Hybrid profiles. Links to OneDrive: You can now redirect documents to OneDrive for Business. Users can continue using their Documents and other similar folder and it doesn’t require changing their daily work habits in order to use OneDrive for Business. Using OneDrive for Business for your documents gives you a backup of your data in the cloud and gives you access to your documents from any device and also when a user clicks on OneDrive, he’ll be redirected to his Office 365 My Site and no longer to his On-Premises. Easy To Consume: It is now easy to consume data because of SharePoint 2016’s well integrated feature. SP’s easy-t-format attribute helps effortless consumption of data for application developers utilizing this system. The hybrid offering by SharePoint has made every user’s experience better and has positively enhanced their skills. Help us help you upgrade to the latest version of SharePoint 2016 and make use of its improved hybrid features today! The future is NOW with SpadeWorx. Get in touch to know more!
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Team Outing At Adventure Plus

Team Outing At Adventure Plus

The SpadeWorx Team went for an all-day company outing and activity at Adventure Plus, located in Yeoli, Taluka Bhor (about 50km from Pune) and boy, what a day it turned out to be – simply spectacular! Adventure Plus is an adventure sports park that is quite different from the rest! Being the first of its kind in India and the largest in Asia, it boasts of a number of adventure activities that cover land, water and air and is guaranteed to give anyone an adrenaline rush and provide a day of amazing fun. That’s exactly what was in store for the SpadeWorx Team. Everyone was super excited throughout the day and participated in all the activities…well almost all! We endured the sunny weather and contributed in accomplishing the team task with collaboration, banter and fun. Not only the activities but also the park’s natural environment made it the perfect destination for taking time off from work and engaging in light moments and conversation to get their batteries charged again. The team in charge of organising the trip had done a commendable job in taking care of every need – right from transportation to food to the minutest details that were required to run the show, they took care of everything to ensure that the experience was memorable. Check out the photos of our trip on our FB Social Page. It was truly unique, challenging and exhilarating experience that left us wanting more.We hope to have many more such experiences in future! Good Job Team SpadeWorx!
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Machine Learning

Machine Learning

Machine Learning is a form of Artificial Intelligence that enables a computer system to learn without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning sifts through data to look for specific patterns and uses there patterns to program actions accordingly. Machine Learning (ML) is quickly expanding and is growing in recognition owing to the fact that ML can play a key role in a wide range of critical applications, such as data mining, natural language processing, image recognition, and expert systems. ML provides potential solutions in all these domains and more, and is set to be a pillar of the future!

There exists two types of machine learning: Supervised and Unsupervised. Among the different types of ML tasks, a crucial distinction is drawn between supervised and unsupervised learning:

Supervised Machine Learning Unsupervised Machine Learning
The program is “trained” on a pre-defined set of “training examples”, which then facilitate its ability to reach an accurate conclusion when given new data. Unsupervised Machine learning uses those type of algorithms that try to find correlations without any external input. The program is given data and must find patterns and relationships therein.

Why Machine Learning?

  • Machine Learning churns out high quality predictions/insights that are useful while making decisions without any human interference or intervention.
  • Machine Learning digests large volumes of data that would otherwise take a lot of time and effort if done manually, interprets and then releases predictions or provide insights that are conducive to the productivity of the enterprise.
  • In simpler terms, Machine Learning is one such tool that guarantees results that contribute towards the productivity of an organization.

Who’s using it?

  • Financial Services
  • Government
  • Health Care
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Oil & Gas
  • Transportation

Real world examples of Machine Learning:

  • The self-driving Google car is an intelligent form of Machine Learning.
  • Online recommendation offers such as those from Amazon and Netflix are Machine Learning applications for everyday life.
  • Knowledge about your customer’s feedback on Twitter is Machine Learning combined with linguistic rule creation.
  • Fraud detection is a form of Machine Learning used in Financial Services and the Government.

Machine Learning Process:

Feel free to contact SpadeWorx to introduce the benefits of Machine Learning into your business!

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Open House March 2017 – SpadeWorx

Open House March 2017 – SpadeWorx

Although our Open House this month started on quiet note with just few people turning up, the crowd picked up rapidly as the session progressed. Employees from other locations like Bangalore and California also joined this Open House session. Two new employees who joined us this month introduced themselves to their colleagues, briefed them about their education and shared their past work experience and hobbies. The SpadeWorx Family extends a warm welcome to them! On the first Friday at the Director’s Open House address, Mandar – Director and CTO briefed the employees on the current happenings in an interactive on-to-one with questions straight from the employees, which was actually a novel way for us! Questions on our 24X7BOTForce framework and how it maps to different employee support services were posed by many. SpadeWorx had recently participated at the IndiaSoft Expo in Hyderabad in the month of February and the employees were curious to hear our experience and learn what we showcased there. Mandar explained to them about the relevance of technology and how it’s changing the workforce landscape. Jitendra Wase, Director and COO also accepted questions straight from the employees present and answered every doubt and query. We had recently conducted the Employee Satisfaction Survey in the month of February 2017 and this data was presented in the Open House where suggestions were given by employees on some counts. It was good to see marked improvements on the Employee Satisfaction front and the overall scope across the spectrum as compared to Last ESS survey. Priyesh Rawat was selected as “Star of the Month” for February for his remarkable execution on a project and its delivery. Hearty Congratulations to Priyesh! All the employees seemed quite excited when we announced the annual company outing to be held on Saturday, 4th March as a Fun Activity. Such activities are perfect to gain a healthy work-life balance!
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SpadeWorx participated in the IndiaSoft Expo 2017 held in Hyderabad

SpadeWorx participated in the IndiaSoft Expo 2017 held in Hyderabad

SpadeWorx participated in the IndiaSoft Expo held in Hyderabad, India between 13th – 14th February 2017.

More than 150 Indian IT companies that offer a host of solutions with value additions such as three dimensional growth in skills, technology and expertise attended and showcased their products and services offerings.

SpadeWorx presented two specific launches at this expo, one being the 24*7 BOT Force – Platform.

BOT Force is a framework driven PaaS service offering by SpadeWorx. Companies can incorporate BOT Force in various business scenarios.

SpadeWorx showcased three such scenarios at the IndiaSoft Expo:

1. Business to Consumers (B2C) 2. Business to Employees (B2E) 3. Government to Citizens (G2C)

These operational demos were well received by the visitors and they expressed great interest in gaining more information about our innovative offerings

Another specific launch at the Expo was the “Intelligent APP Factory”. SpadeWorx showcased its different approach in developing applications as being framework driven, embedding artificial intelligence into application making and as being physically web driven combined with app analytics.

There were healthy discussions between visiting delegates and the SpadeWorx team on how SpadeWorx can help them with their specific requirements mapped to the offerings that were showcased.

All in all, it was a great expo that gave visitors good insight and experience into a world of innovations from SpadeWorx and prompted them to explore the avenues of sourcing the best IT products & solutions for the growth of their enterprise.

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Sharepoint Migration

SharePoint Migration

SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Online are the two newest upgrades of SharePoint launched by Microsoft in a bid to improve efficiency and functionality for its users. The new versions of this multifaceted document management system have a multitude of new and more beneficial features that sets it apart from its predecessors.

Following are a few of the features that have been revamped or upgraded to enhance user experience.

OneDrive Redirection:

Though this has been available in SharePoint 2013, with SharePoint 2016 you can redirect your ‘My Sites’ to your Office 365 subscription’s OneDrive for Business host. In other words, if a user clicks on OneDrive, he’ll be redirected to his Office 365 My Site and no longer to his On-Premises.

Sites you follow in one place:

Now users can click on “Follow” both On-Premises and on their Office 365 and see them all in one place under the “Sites” app in the App Launcher.

The wizard to configure either of the simple scenarios above work very well, as long as you follow the requirements.

Hybrid Cloud Search:

The Office 365 Search will take your On-Premises SharePoint Search Index so that it can give you results from both for the same query. A unified search will be possible.

You will be required to use the Office 365 Search for this to work. If SharePoint 2016 On-Premises users query against their On-Premises Search service, it’ll continue to only give them local results.

However, once available, this will allow users to fully embrace Experiences like Delve in Office 365 and more to come in the future.

App Launcher and UI changes in SharePoint 2016:

SharePoint 2016 introduces the App Launcher, as well as changes to the UI, to help it match the Office 365 experience.


It is now possible to install whichever role that you please on particular SharePoint 2016 servers. Not only will this install what’s primarily required there, but also make sure that all servers that belong to each role are compliant. You’ll also be able to convert servers to run new roles if needed.

Zero Downtime Patching:

The size and number of the packages have been immensely reduced. The downtime required by SharePoint servers to update has also been removed.

Increased File Size for uploads:

The previous storage limit for SharePoint was 2GB. However, now you can store files that are far larger in size. Although there isn’t any limit, Microsoft has strongly recommended it stays at 10GB.

Quick Site Creation:

By using a template, you will be now able to create Site Collections in 1 second. This compares well to SharePoint 2013 that takes up almost over 40 seconds sometimes. This will require a level of configuration with PowerShell to set up.

Spadeworx encourages and helps migration of SharePoint to its latest version i.e. SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Online without disruption of data and day-to-day operations. Spadeworx offers a well defined migration plan for users who wish to upgrade to updated versions of this versatile application. It is an entry into a whole new world of wiki-based pages, easier announcements, tagging, and an entirely new multimedia asset library! These are sufficient enough reasons to move to a friendlier and fresher version.

SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Online differ from its previous versions in various aspects, few of which are mentioned above making your experience on SharePoint far more productive and useful. These are just a few of the features picked out from a long list of them. Enhance the potential of your company by using an upgraded and better version of SharePoint i.e. SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Online. A thorough and defined migration plan is created that involves following steps.

Before Migration:
· Collect Migration Planning Information
· Design MOSS Taxonomy
· Design Moss Architecture
· Migration Strategy Planning

During Migration:
· Pre-Upgrade Steps
· Physical Migration

After Migration:
. Regression Testing
. User Acceptance Testing
. Production Movement

With zero loss of data and maintenance of integrity of information, SpadeWorx assures the cleanest and most seamless migration it can offer!

The future is NOW with Spadeworx.
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Top 5 Reasons you should attend the webinar on : Reimagine Productivity and Efficiency using JumpStart SPA.

Top 5 Reasons you should attend the webinar on: Reimagine Productivity and Efficiency using JumpStart SPA

Backbone of manufacturing industries depends entirely upon Production planned, Shop floor worker’s Productivity and efficiency which in turn reflects batch of products it can push out to meet the supply demand of the market. Almost all the manufacturing industries are having centralized system like SAP, ERP to manage their finance, purchase, sales, and administrative details. Appraisal and evaluation process of staff members which are categorized as White Collar Employees are managed using these tools.

Production and dispatch is totally dependent upon productivity and efficiency of factory workforce which are normally called Blue Collar workers. Currently in most of the organization Skill and Performance of Blue Collar Workers are done through offline medium with little or no transparency in the process and is dependent upon people opinion. This may lead to some gaps in assessment which has incremental effects.

Reason 1. Learning new skills is what makes us human but can we improve how we go about learning new things in new situations?

Reason 2. Learning how to learn can help you to understand what works for you and what doesn’t when you set out to learn new skill say for example for work, training or everyday life.

Reason 3. Understand the root cause of the reduced employee productivity and efficiency in a production environment.

Reason 4. Key skill assessment: Improving your own learning and performance, you will learn to recognise, use and adapt your skills confidently and effectively in different situations and contexts

Reason 5. How you can maintain employee data including evaluation and training reports yearly.

This Product is designed to cover opportunities of improvement in production department of any manufacturing Industry by making centralized database of factory workforce, measuring capabilities and filling skill gaps by online and offline trainings to the factory workforce.
Join to Watch Live demo on 3rd Feb 2017, 11AM – 12 Noon PST

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