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May 2020

7 Myths of Cloud Computing
7 Myths of Cloud Computing Raju G

7 Myths of Cloud Computing

The usage of cloud technology is increasing and so are the cloud computing myths. When first introduced, misconceptions about new technologies are common and cloud computing is no different. Although being cautious and approaching emerging technologies with some skepticism may not be very wrong, it is vital to separate the myth from reality. Most of the cloud computing discussions are filled with misinformation leaving doubts about the functioning and benefits of cloud computing.

Being fully aware of the advantages and issues to look out for of the cloud-based model puts a company in a better position to reap in the benefits of cloud computing.

Top 7 Cloud Computing Myths

Cloud Computing is a Costly Affair

Moving to the cloud may not initially save money. However, in the long run it is designed to reduce the overall IT spend. The cost incurred to move operations to the cloud depends on factors such as the amount of data to be stored, the number of users availing the service, and the scale  of enterprise application support and backup needed. The good thing is, cloud providers build the cost of security and maintenance into their service.

Where do you save?

Most cloud providers use a subscription model. Firms pay only for what they use. The cloud is capable to scale to the needs of the business quickly. Companies do not have to spend on servers that they require at a later stage. As usage decreases, so does the cost of cloud computing. Firms do not need staff for on-premises hardware updates and maintenance. Thus, the total cost of ownership reduces.

You Lose Control over Your Data on Cloud

If there is anything you lose control of, it is not of your data but of the liability of maintaining a physical server. After cloud migration, you will not be required to swap hard drives or install extra RAM as your business scales. Control of the data is still with the business as they regulate who and how users access the data and how efficiently the data can be used in work processes.

Chances of Cyber Attack Increases in Cloud Computing

Is cloud computing secure or not? Is this one of your worries? Like any other technology, cloud computing is vulnerable to cyber threats, data breaches, and DDoS attacks. However, businesses should be assured of their data privacy. Cloud providers have security measures such as encryption and sophisticated firewalls in place to fend off most attacks. Managed services provider will encrypt all data, both in transit and rest. Furthermore, they connect to the cloud via dedicated private lines, instead of the public internet thus strengthening the security aspect. Thus, when in the cloud, firms and their cloud provider share the security responsibility by following the best cyber security practices at their respective ends.

Migration to Cloud is Quick and Easy

Migration to cloud is relatively straight forward. However, moving to the clouds without the right groundwork, blueprint, and cloud strategy is risky. It is important to build a cloud-ready foundation before the actual migration. The best cloud transition strategy includes descriptions of guiding principles, required skills, organizational changes needed, oversight responsibilities, and the technology architecture that facilitates efficient transition and successful operation.

Cloud Migration is All About Unaffected IT Infrastructure and Minimal Impact

Cloud computing is almost like a major platform shift. It changes application capabilities with respect to agility, functionality, scalability, and cost. Failing to commit to cloud computing risks maintaining outmoded IT practices, placing the enterprise at a competitive disadvantage. The impact of cloud computing on retail business is immense. Retailers who lag behind in adopting cloud technology fail to compete with faster productivity and competitive pricing of their rivals who are powered by cloud computing. As a result, most are out of the business shortly after.

Cloud Computing is an Answer to All Business Processes

One of the most pervasive myths of cloud computing is that it is the way ahead for all processes of a business. On the contrary, unless there are cost savings on the agenda, moving a legacy application that doesn’t change much doesn’t need migration to a cloud-based model. Cloud computing fits best where there is a need for flexibility and the business has the ability to pay for only what is needed and when. Worth noting, every business can benefit from the public cloud, but most businesses need a hybrid combination of public, private, and dedicated infrastructure.

Moving to Cloud is End of the Road

Cloud is an operating model and technology. Therefore, to achieve success with the cloud, conglomerates have to understand the importance of managed IT infrastructure and adapt their operating process to fully leverage cloud ideologies. Companies can go for different approaches of cloud computing. They can opt for re-hosting often via infrastructure as a service or get a complete changeover to an application implemented by a Software as a Service provider. Whatever path is undertaken, it is essential to understand the model and have realistic expectations.

What else you need in your plan?

Once the migration has been successfully obtained, the work has just begun. Ongoing cost and performance management has to be considered. Firms must include post-migration actions in their cloud implementation plan.

Once you decide that cloud computing is the way ahead for the firm’s further growth, research on the do’s and don’ts. Determine what type of cloud service is best for your company and go for a reputed company known for the best cyber practices that will serve you what you need.

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6 Key Benefits of Cloud Computing in Retail
6 Key Benefits of Cloud Computing in Retail Raju G

How Can Digital Assurance Support New and Upcoming Digital Strategies

Cloud computing in retail provides retailers with a competitive edge over their eCommerce rivals by allowing them to have greater agility. The legacy systems used by offline retailers come with baggage that includes difficulty in integrating them with modern-day technologies and a costly affair to run the same. With cloud computing, retailers no longer have to worry about their legacy in-house systems.

One cannot deny the fact that retail as a service is expanding beyond traditional ERP, CRM, and supply chain management (SCM). In the cut-throat competition of today, the importance of managed IT infrastructure has never been more acutely felt. It is the driving force that can change the fate of the age-old retail industry and help them adapt to an ever-changing market. Brick-and-mortar retailers can benefit from various tools on offer to communicate better and faster with employees from other departments and locations. Effective collaboration between teams can result in streamlined business management by reducing miscommunication.

Where Does Cloud Computing Fit in Retail?

To stay ahead of their competitors, cloud retail analytics and social media can be used to identify customer preferences and behaviors to offer personalized shopping experiences. Effective use of big data requires handling and managing massive troves of structured and unstructured data. It also needs significant computing power and storage. To handle all this, the best option is cloud-based solutions as they come with on-demand storage and powerful computation and analytical capabilities.

Advantages of Cloud Computing in Retail

  • Streamlined Operations

Many offline retailers operate in a disjointed manner as they still depend on outdated legacy systems. This arrangement prevents them from efficiently integrating varied business operations such as inventory, shipping, development, and POS. If retailers move to cloud computing, they are capable of delivering seamless customer experience as per consumer demands. The impact of cloud computing on retail business means all departments and locations have real-time updates on the inventory, shipment, and other aspects of the business at their disposal. Since POS systems are moving from cash and cards to smartphones and tablets, retailers can implement cloud technology for a smooth transaction process and better customer experience.

  • Customized Shopping Experience

A big question that arises is can cloud computing manage inventory and shipping? Cloud computing empowers stores to instantly refer to the buying history of a particular customer, and check on the status of orders irrespective of when and where the order was placed. It gives retailers real-time access to all the data related to customers and their orders. This allows retailers to offer personalized recommendations, special membership offers, coupon codes, and other promotions and deals that add to the loyalty factor. Cloud technology can also help greet customers with a welcome message or deals of the day messages as soon as they walk in the store.

  • Cost-Effective Existence

The retail industry is one of the most rapidly evolving sectors. To cater to the fast-changing business demands, retailers need technology that must eliminate time spent on planning, procurement, budget approval for capital expenditure, development, and other operational aspects.  This is where cloud computing in retail comes in with a massive advantage over on-premises computing.

In cloud technology, retailers pay for what they use. They pocket in big savings on operational expenditure budget as they do not have to worry about hardware, software, and connectivity; even the system updates are taken care by the managed services provider. This aspect also cuts down on hiring employees to take care of the IT needs.

  • Scalability Advantage

All retailers experience peaks and troughs in business. Most often, businesses depend on promotions, time of the year, and even the weather. Thus, IT systems should be able to effectively handle the changing scenario. A cloud-based model enables retailers to contract the level of resources required for their actual usage and rapidly scale them up, when needed, in a more cost-effective way. Cloud computing in retail offers scalability at times of peak demand. Its cost flexibility is powered by the varied pricing option that depends on the increase or decrease of computing usage as per the requirement.

  • Better Supply Chain Visibility

SCM is one of the most critical business processes in the retail industry. A slip in any one of the processes can lead to irreparable damage. This is the time when retailers can look at cloud-based models. It connects every part of the business and thus provides better visibility into the supply chain and enterprise application support system.  It results in fewer stock-outs, optimized inventory levels, and enables retailers to capture real-time location data on inventory and compare their stock with that of other locations. Using cloud computing, retailers can assess each individual element of the supply chain, from order status to product marketing. Cloud technology can automatically record relevant data that retailers can then use to make changes to their business processes.

  • A Catalyst to Create New Products

Data analytics capabilities delivered by cloud computing in retail allow retailers to develop new products based on customer feedback. Retailers can use this technology to compile information from online sources such as other retailers and social media platforms to create fresh products for their customers. With all the relevant inputs, retailers get better equipped to judge what the current fashion trends are and which ones are set to become popular.

It is difficult to predict where the retail industry is heading towards in the coming years. The nature of the industry is all about changing customer buying habits. However, cloud migration can adapt to the changing ways easily while retailers find new ways to communicate with their customers and run the business.

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InfoVision is a Global IT Services and Solutions company offering Strategic Resources, Enterprise Applications and Technology Solutions. InfoVision’s specialized Technology Solution offerings include Mobility, Outsourced Product Development, Business Intelligence and Big Data Analytics, DevOps, IoT, Testing Services and Cloud Services. InfoVision’s Integrated Value Delivery capability is the combination of proven talent, technical depth, delivery discipline and domain expertise.

2020 © Copyright InfoVision. All rights Reserved.

How Can Retail Bounce back with the Implementation of Digital Transformation
How Can Retail Bounce back with the Implementation of Digital Transformation Raju G

How Can Retail Bounce back with the Implementation of Digital Transformation

The road to recovery for the retail industry in the post-COVID world will significantly accelerate digital transformation and will eventually increase demand in the digital assurance market. The speed at which the retailers adapt to the changing situation and the flexibility of their approach will be crucial in deciding the future of retailing.

Changing Consumer Behavior in the Age of COVID- 19

Earlier, the retailers used to measure digital transformation with respect to its capability to address customer’s expectations. But the virus has left a lasting impression on the consumer behavior in digital retail. Today, as per a study by Ernst and Young, one out of three1 customers have strongly agreed that they will re-evaluate their expectations and no longer take certain things for granted. Similarly, a study by Prosper Insights & Analytics suggests that 95% of them expect companies to implement physical protection and distancing measures while 30% of them plan to shop more online in the future. The changing consumer behavior has forced retailers to rethink their model digitally and solve the post-COVID consumer sentiments related to health and safety.

Unlocking the Challenges with Digital Transformation

Digital transformation can bridge the gap between retailers and consumers created by the disease. It can help retailers to unlock challenges and win back the trust of their customers. Retailers need to shift from their old model of “profit, people, planet” to a more responsible model of “planet, people, profit”. Retailers must also improve the quality assurance practices of their business to tackle the complexities of the market. They have to leverage the efficacy of the digital assurance market to ensure smooth functioning of the different parts of the digital ecosystem.

Here are some ways in which retailers can bounce back while implementing digital transformation:
  • Getting Ready for The New Normal

Life will not be the same again for retailers as we emerge from the impact of this pandemic. Digital transformation trends in retail predict that even when the disease is gone, people will become hypersensitive about getting sick from daily activities which were once considered safe. Sharing a table in a restaurant, trying out a new outfit in a trial room, swiping a credit card in a showroom may not be a part of the new normal. Digitalization can create a new ecosystem for retail enterprises that multiply the joy of shopping by eliminating the fears from the minds of consumers.

  • Measuring Digital Transformation to Ensure Success

To ensure that their transformation journey is on the right track, retail companies should measure digital transformation in four key areas – fulfilment and last-mile execution, transparency, workforce management, and pricing. Simple efforts like improving presence by establishing digital channels, investing in data, integrating pandemic outbreak models with supply chain, and enabling staff to run the store from home can prove to be beneficial. They must also invest in digital assurance practices available in the market to retain their core competency while developing new technologies.

  • Expanding Digital Footprint to Increase Customer Footfall

As more and more people choose online shopping, retailers need to expand their digital presence. A coherent digital engine can drive customer interaction and engagement. Retailers need to translate sales by offering customers a convenient shopping experience on digital platforms. They should take advantage of digital ubiquity in retail to promote innovation and empower customer acquisition.

  • Automating for a Safer Shopping Experience

While the new standards of safety will require retailers to introduce automation in operation and sales, they need to replace people with technology wherever possible. From automated store access systems to safer touchscreens and POS – retailers need to judiciously apply automation to make the customer comfortable in their store.

  • Thinking Hyper-local

With people less likely to travel further, local stores will be the first choice for customers. A recent report by McKinsey shows that local convenience stores in China have performed well at the beginning of the pandemic, just as they did at the peak of it. Retailers must realize that in a post-COVID world, it will be very important for them to make their offering hyper-local. Digital technologies can be useful in bringing about this change faster and smoother. Walmart-owned Flipkart has recently partnered with brick and mortar store Spencer’s to boost its last-mile delivery network.

  • Collaborating to Grow

Technological enhancement can now add to the ROI of retail even faster than before. Partnership with competent technology partners will play a pivotal role in ensuring a turnaround for retailers. The technology-led projects must be prioritized by companies to undo the consequence of the pandemic and get ahead in business. The effectiveness of this collaboration will be an important measure of digital transformation.

  • Delivering Customer Convenience

Deloitte’s 2020 Retail Industry Outlook suggests that consumers are now more willing to pay a premium for convenience and shipping speed. It is important for retail brands to augment digital infrastructure to arrive at the perfect mix of speed, convenience and cost. Retailers need to learn from Amazon which has been successfully using this formula to be the market leader.

  • Streamlining Supply Chain

The pandemic has brought the vulnerabilities of the supply network systems to the forefront. Many retailers have failed to meet their customer demand for their products due to lack of data. Digital transformation helps to sustain retail business by providing valuable insights about the supply chain and letting retailers predict the future demand accurately. Automating processes in the supply chain can increase efficiency and reduce cost, thereby saving crucial time & money for innovation in these testing times.

Conclusion

COVID-19 is one of the biggest survival challenges faced by the retail industry. digital transformation in retail can be the perfect remedy to overcome the challenge. Increased dependence on digital assurance market, improved tools to measure digital transformation and pragmatic steps to implement technology can all help the retail industry to bounce back from this unprecedented crisis. You need to have a bold vision and a solid digital strategy to get going.

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InfoVision is a Global IT Services and Solutions company offering Strategic Resources, Enterprise Applications and Technology Solutions. InfoVision’s specialized Technology Solution offerings include Mobility, Outsourced Product Development, Business Intelligence and Big Data Analytics, DevOps, IoT, Testing Services and Cloud Services. InfoVision’s Integrated Value Delivery capability is the combination of proven talent, technical depth, delivery discipline and domain expertise.

2020 © Copyright InfoVision. All rights Reserved.

6 Ways How Digitalization is Transforming Retail Market
6 Ways How Digitalization is Transforming Retail Market Raju G

6 Ways How Digitalization is Transforming Retail Market

The evolution of the retail consumer in the last decade has been phenomenal. With the growing popularity of retail digital transformation market, the consumer journey has been revolutionised. Today’s consumers expect more from their products and are always in search of unique brand experiences. Digital transformation is key to live up to their expectations by differentiating your brand and staying ahead of your competition. It can help you dive deep into the mind of your customers, understand their needs and personalise your offerings. This transformation journey can be long, but the right digital maturity model can give you a roadmap.

Here are 6 ways how digital solutions for retail are transforming the retail market: 

  • A Futuristic In-store Experience

Modern consumers consider the retail store as an extension of their digital touchpoints. Digital solution for retail is helping retailers to give them a connected shopping journey that starts much before they step into the retail store. Implementation of relevant in-store technology is offering an immersive shopping experience, ensuring customer engagement and loyalty. It is allowing retail brands to analyse consumers behaviour in digital retail and to use that data in devising customized experiences & promotions. Other innovations like Interactive digital displays are enabling hassle-free buying by letting customers browse through store catalogue. Nike’s flagship store ‘House of Innovation 000” is a great example of how the store of the future will look like. 
  • An Omnichannel Marketing Strategy

Latest innovations in the retail digital transformation market have opened new avenues for marketing. The universal use of technology means every marketer must have an omnichannel marketing strategy. Data is the new currency to win over customers. Accurate metrics and multi-stage interactivity have made traditional marketing funnel obsolete. Today’s marketers are more in control of their prospective customers. They are automating marketing campaigns, personalising content, tracking responses, and accordingly suggesting products based on the interests of individual customers. Precise data and enhanced interactivity with customers are making it easier for them to constantly adjust and sharpen their marketing plan and stay agile. UK-based fashion retailer, Oasis has seamlessly merged its website, mobile app and store to simplify the shopping experience for its customers.
  • A Proactive Customer Support

A digital-first world has given birth to a new breed of customers who are channel-agnostic. They do not rely on a single channel to make a buying decision or resolve issues. New-age retail can no longer afford to be reactive. They need to be proactive by facilitating seamless integration of traditional and digital channels. More and more retailers are now adopting a connected approach where all touchpoints are simultaneously used to support customers. Social, online, mobile and IVR all work in a unison to establish an enduring customer relationship at every stage of the digital maturity model. Moreover, digital monitoring devices are providing vital inputs and round-the-clock access to customer transactions, interactions and social engagements. Thus, retail digital transformation market is making traditional CRM solutions more insight-driven and efficient. Retail giant Amazon is nurturing a strong customer community to minimize customer calls, create word of mouth marketing and drive brand advocacy.
  • An Agile Supply Chain

Digital transformation in retail can add value to the bottom line by making the supply chain transparent and flexible. As per an MIT research on digital supply chain, adopting digital solution for retail supply chain can reduce up to 50% of process cost and increase revenue by 20%. Retail digital transformation market is mitigating risks and increasing efficiency of the supply chain by helping retailers predict demand during peak and off-peak seasons. It is making collaboration easier and distribution effective. Technologies like RFID, BLE and IoT sensors are enabling improved agility, reliability and effectiveness. Supply networks, customer networks and logistics service providers – all depend heavily on digital technologies to ensure non-stop delivery. Retail giant Walmart has digitized its supply chain to fit its digital maturity model. The company uses RFID technology to generate numerical codes that can scan merchandise from a distance.
  • An Efficient Procurement System

Procuring and fulfilling orders are critical processes that determine the success of any retail brand. Digital solution for retail helps in monitoring such processes with absolute precision. Internet of Things and Blockchain is providing real-time data to add value to the procurement function. Several disruptive technologies like AI, VR and cyber tracking are making strategic sourcing accurate. Enterprises can also gain valuable insights on customer ratings, social sentiments and customer demands across channels using these technologies. Since most retailers are keen on catering to specific demands, category managers are now using digital tools to understand emerging market trends to get as close to personalized assortments as possible.
  • Smarter Workforce

As the customers are becoming smarter every day, the role of retail employees is changing too. They need to remain updated to respond to more complex and demanding customer needs. Retail digital transformation market is empowering retailers to automate mundane processes which allow store employees to save time and make decisions faster. Enhanced digital infrastructure is offering real-time stock information to employees, predicting daily footfall and upgrading staff skills. Modern software systems are managing complex staffing issues like task assignments, dissemination of corporate communication, allotment of extra shifts and acceptance of shift-change requests. Digital transformation has, therefore, not just made employee management efficient, but has created a smarter workforce that is ready to face the challenges of digital ubiquity in retail with confidence. Timberland is using near-field communication technology to create a store experience where customers do not have to depend on store executives for product information and offers.

Conclusion

Digital transformation helps to sustain retail business by successfully adapting to changing consumer behaviour. As a retailer, it is essential for you to develop a digital maturity model to guide your business through every step of your customer’s journey. It is time to accelerate digital transformation in retail and deliver exclusivity to customers.

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InfoVision is a Global IT Services and Solutions company offering Strategic Resources, Enterprise Applications and Technology Solutions. InfoVision’s specialized Technology Solution offerings include Mobility, Outsourced Product Development, Business Intelligence and Big Data Analytics, DevOps, IoT, Testing Services and Cloud Services. InfoVision’s Integrated Value Delivery capability is the combination of proven talent, technical depth, delivery discipline and domain expertise.

2020 © Copyright InfoVision. All rights Reserved.

How Can Digital Assurance Support New and Upcoming Digital Strategies
How Can Digital Assurance Support New and Upcoming Digital Strategies Raju G

How Can Digital Assurance Support New and Upcoming Digital Strategies

Digital assurance is a necessary parameter to consider when adopting digital technologies to transform your business. It goes beyond quality assurance practices and ensures smooth interactions between various components of the digital ecosystem. The benefits of digital assurance practices show up in the form of resilience of the product, enhanced customer satisfaction and better brand equity.

Adopting digital technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Internet of Things (IoT) , Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cognitive computing in retail can be truly successful when supported by digital assurance practices.

Digital Assurance Drives Quality

 

Digital assurance is an all-encompassing strategy for ensuring that the adopted digital technologies of an organization are relevant to them and will continue to garner a higher return on investment (ROI) over a period of time.

With digital transformation programs, organizations are confronted with multiple quality concerns across different technical areas such as mobile solutions, omnichannel solutions, big data and analytics solutions and so on. In all of this, the foremost thing a customer seeks in a product or service is quality. User experience and security are extremely important and will always need extra attention.

 Digital transformation brings with it a multitude of challenges in various aspects like network capability, performance, interoperability and security.  Consequently, digital assurance and testing become imperative for the success of any technology adoption.  Finally, robust digital testing services help the business to derive the best outcome from their IT architecture consistently.

Importance of Digital Assurance for Business Growth

 

Consumer behavior in digital retail is setting the pace and direction in the evolution of the retail industry. Every organization today understands that they need to have a robust plan in order to provide the customer with a flawless experience. This is achieved through digital assurance and testing which helps in the following ways:

  • Mitigates digital risk and builds resilience

Several inherent risks might arise during implementation of new digital strategies. These risks may include malware, data theft, workflow failures or even faulty integration. Having a strong digital assurance service is the key to addressing these issues.

  • Validates products from customer’s perspective

When accelerating digital transformation in retail certain rudimentary testing protocols maybe overlooked thereby missing some of the inherent flaws. Such oversight can be a setback to an otherwise delightful customer experience. Digital assurance ensures viewing the product from the customer’s perspective to catch flaws that would be missed otherwise.

  • Builds Brand Value

Digital assurance helps companies to set up and maintain a culture which spells of quality products and services. A sound digital assurance set up identifies and eliminates any bugs and glitches in the developmental stage itself.

  • Customer Retention

The digital transformation trends in retail are growing in leaps and bounds today. As a result competition in the digital world is brutal and customers have a myriad of options. Dissatisfaction with a product or service can lead to a customer shifting loyalty to rival brands. System crashes, latency, and virus attacks will work as deterrents to customer retention. Digital assurance serves to eliminate these glitches completely.

  • Drives Compatibility

Digital transformation in retail and other industries and must offer a uniform and seamless experience to customers across all platforms. So whether it is a smartphone or a laptop or a desktop computer or a tablet, the features and functionality of the software application should be the same. It is only through digital assurance while adopting digital technologies, that such compatibility can be achieved.

Cognitive Computing in Retail with Digital Assurance – Looking Ahead

Thanks to digital ubiquity in retail, the retail landscape is more complex and competitive today. Providing an omnichannel strategy for customers today has become the most basic capability for retailers. Companies desirous of  gaining a winning edge over their competitors can leverage the power of cognitive insight to offer a more personalized customer experience. There is now a bigger shift underway that is being driven by cognitive technologies such as Robotics Process Automation (RPA) and cognitive AI. Cognitive computing systems use AI and the powerful combination of enterprise data as well as data in the cloud to mine knowledge. They help to mimic brain functions such as learning, reasoning, recognition, language processing and other cognitive functions.  Their role in digital transformation is that they can be integrated with other technologies.

Conclusion

All the new and upcoming digital technologies are generating a huge amount of data. While data gives insight into the customer’s needs and wants, sound digital assurance practices empower them to use it across systems to impart great user experience.

The software enabled processes that drive the retail industry today need comprehensive testing and quality assurance to guarantee the desired results, of a flawless experience for the customer.

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InfoVision is a Global IT Services and Solutions company offering Strategic Resources, Enterprise Applications and Technology Solutions. InfoVision’s specialized Technology Solution offerings include Mobility, Outsourced Product Development, Business Intelligence and Big Data Analytics, DevOps, IoT, Testing Services and Cloud Services. InfoVision’s Integrated Value Delivery capability is the combination of proven talent, technical depth, delivery discipline and domain expertise.

2020 © Copyright InfoVision. All rights Reserved.

Building A Low Cost Business IT Infrastructure for Regulatory Compliance
Building A Low Cost Business IT Infrastructure for Regulatory Compliance Raju G

Building A Low Cost Business IT Infrastructure for Regulatory Compliance

IT infrastructure refers to the combined suite of hardware, software and network resources required to operate an enterprise information technology environment. Maintaining the whole gamut IT infrastructure for regulatory compliance is a herculean task but one which is non-negotiable.

It is commonly believed that information security is an issue that only the IT department handles. However, there can be legal and reputational ramifications for the whole organization in case there is a data breach.

Factors such as risk management process, compliance controls, monitoring and testing, reporting, issue resolution should be considered when putting together IT infrastructure for regulatory compliance.

Why Should IT Infrastructure be Compliant with Regulations?

As businesses expand, to offer more services to customers, they can find themselves running into regulatory challenges they never considered when they started out. Failing to meet  the strict standards of regulatory compliance can present serious challenges to businesses like a Government fine or customer lawsuit.

The overall goal of IT regulatory compliance is to build a technical, procedural and strategic framework that provides the means to attain and uphold a company’s legal and ethical integrity.

At this point, the importance of managed IT infrastructure becomes clearer because it helps in building compliant frameworks  thereby avoiding:

  • Damage to corporate image or customer trust
  • Loss of revenue, market opportunity or stock value
  • Remedial expenditure by way of legal costs, fines, lost productivity and so on

IT Infrastructure Budget

The goal of an IT infrastructure budget should be to strike a balance between maximizing productivity and minimizing risks and costs. Some of the things to be borne in mind while working out the budget for investing in IT infrastructure for an organization are taking stock of required items (such has the hardware, software, cloud subscriptions, backup processes, network and IT security) and calculating the spend (the popular method is to calculate the spend as a percentage of revenue)

How to Build a Cost Effective IT Infrastructure for Regulatory Compliance?

It is as important to have the correct regulatory compliance procedures in place as it is for them to be cost effective. The enterprise application support should ensure that the laws are being followed as well as being supportive to the business continuity plan of the organization.

Some points to bear in mind in this regard are:

 

  • Pick the Right Team Size

The right decision for this depends on various factors such as server count, staff size, communication process flow, client base and growth projections.

  • Build It for Scalability

The company infrastructure needs to be able to adapt in order to accommodate growth and change with processing and storage in mind. Managed cloud services are today the need of the day when it comes to storage.

  • Keep it Simple and Document Everything

It is best to avoid excessive complexities and over engineering. A mandate needs to be put in place such that there are permanent solutions to technical problems. It is also extremely important to document every single task to ensure a fall back system in future and enhance the communication process flow while saving time.

  • Choose Supportive and Trusted Software Vendors

Opting for and managing trusted hardware, software, SaaS vendors can be instrumental in having a cost effect IT infrastructure.

  • Conduct IT training for non IT staff

The entire staff should be given training touching upon all aspects of the IT infrastructure. This will ensure that all the staff have some basic knowledge in overall functioning thereby improving communication process flow while ensuring compliance  when a project/work is underway.

  • Consider IT Infrastructure as a Service

A third party provider that is efficient in compliance management can host user applications, hardware, software, servers, storage and other IT components on behalf of the company.

  • Have an IT Infrastructure Expert to Set It Up

Planning and implementing the IT infrastructure such that it is regulatory compliant is no small task. Bringing on board an expert in this field will bring in years of expertise with respect to auditing, designing and implementing the IT infrastructure.

Cloud Services Aid Regulatory Compliance

Regulations require firms to collect, store and process data across multiple products. Expansion into new geographies creates additional challenges for an organization.  The amount of data that is being generated every day is growing at a steep pace prompting many to wonder where all this data can be stored. As more and more companies begin to use the Internet of Things(IoT), artificial intelligence and edge computing strategies, data collection and storage  offer several challenges. Today there is a strong trend towards cloud migration due to lowered cost in storage and its collaborative features.  The impact of cloud computing on retail business is not only limited to seamless and scalable applications but also in providing   several security and compliance features. The cloud contact center for example, is a treasure trove of personal information, which makes the cloud contact center security a crucial aspect .

Cloud Contact Centre Security

The security of contact centers hosted on a cloud depends on various factors:

  • Updated technology: Ensuring that the contact center staff are using the latest technology to engage with customers and are in the know about security and technology updates is important
  • Infrastructure security :Opting for a design which has a built in security system seems to be a better option than securing an existing system.
  • Using multiple layer protection: A solid cloud contact center security should combine data loss prevention software and encryption.
  • Round the clock support: A cloud provider’s business thrives on the fact that it is available 24*7.
  • Strong Identification Policy: A strong password policy combined with biometrics help to strengthen security

Conclusion

A good IT compliance system involves the realities and intricacies of today’s highly connected environment. More than ever, IT compliance demands strong governance frameworks, appropriate policies and protection from any untoward incidents.

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InfoVision is a Global IT Services and Solutions company offering Strategic Resources, Enterprise Applications and Technology Solutions. InfoVision’s specialized Technology Solution offerings include Mobility, Outsourced Product Development, Business Intelligence and Big Data Analytics, DevOps, IoT, Testing Services and Cloud Services. InfoVision’s Integrated Value Delivery capability is the combination of proven talent, technical depth, delivery discipline and domain expertise.

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CIO Insights: Time to Commit Higher to Self Service Customer Experiences
CIO Insights: Time to Commit Higher to Self Service Customer Experiences Raju G

CIO Insights:
Time to Commit Higher to Self Service Customer Experiences

Although digital transformation in retail can take several directions, there can only be one starting point, the customer. Transformations in customer experiences that focus on self-service are inevitable. Consequently, companies are building up their IT infrastructure, systems integration, expertise and data capabilities in order to enhance customer experiences. As companies push further ahead with their digital strategies, it is increasingly evident that CIOs play an integral role to deliver enhanced customer experiences. Technology based disruption has become pervasive and CIOs, with their vast knowledge, are in the best position to influence the adoption of best practices in IT based on emerging trends.

Need for Self Service Customer Experience

Gone are the days when people called up airline offices, in order to make bookings or wait in queues to purchase movie tickets. These reduced human interactions have not been put in place to reduce expenditure exclusively; but driven by the fact that customers prefer to do things themselves.

 Customers today prefer to gather information on their own as well as solve their problems themselves to the extent possible and at their pace.

There will always be instances where customers need to speak to a real person for a request or an issue. The secret is in knowing which types of issues require a live interaction and which do not and then quickly routing customers to the appropriate channel for further action.

A research carried out by Nuance has shown that 67% of respondents preferred self-service over speaking to a customer service executive. The study also reveals that 59% of customers feel frustrated if their issues are not resolved through the self-service channels and they are compelled to go through live interactions. It is clear here that self-service is where retail experience is headed. Organizations need to utilize this kind of information and  preempt appropriate channels to customers. This will ensure a happy and satisfied customer driving up profits.

Numerous advanced technologies can help companies improve the quality of customer experiences through Artificial Intelligence(AI), managed cloud services, and analytics. Enterprise application support goes a long way in assisting organizations to offer self-service customer experiences par excellence.

Best Practices for Implementing Self Service Customer Experiences

When self-service is done right, it allows the customers to find information and resolutions quickly. This also reduces the number of calls or emails the support team receives.  Some of the best practices adopted in achieving better self-service customer experiences are:

  • Personalized Interactions

Consumers share a lot of information through various interactions with the organization. This information, when analyzed, can help in providing the consumers with tailored and customized services based on their preferences.

  • Guided Conversations

Customers love choice. When it comes to interaction with chatbots, it is important to give customers the option to quickly select guided options based on common issues or questions. The option to continue in the native language is an equally important option in such interactions.

  • Omnichannel Experience

Customers want companies to be available whenever and wherever they want for support and purchase. Omnichannel by means of cloud computing is a strategy to reach out to customers, whether it is in stores, their mobile devices, on the web and so on. Connecting phone support to digital channels, bots and self service provides a single messaging thread, which the customer can pick up at any point of time in order to exercise a choice or resolve any issue without having to start from scratch. Impact of cloud computing on retail business is most evident in the omnichannel experiences.

  • Escalation Channels

When launching any self service solutions, several brands make the mistake of failing to offer escalation options. It is important to allow customers to be able to move from the digital channel to speaking with a customer service representative when their issues require a little more service than what a chatbot can offer. An escalation via text chat, voice or video call can help to resolve the issue in a seamless manner.

  • Continuous Reinvention and Adaptation

Products, policies and information are constantly changing. While self-service is the go to option today it is not a set and forget about it endeavor. The most efficient way to manage this is to keep a track of questions that currently do not have an answer to which help for new content to be created.

  • Analysis of Self Service Data

Questions which come in from the customer through self-service channels are a great source of information for any organization. An analysis of all such data gathered can help to spot trends in customer preferences and further opportunities of cross sell and retention.

  • Technologies That Are Enabling Customer Self Service

 As digital technology evolves, customers have grown to expect new standards of excellence and performance.  Here are some of the most talked about technologies which deliver the best of customer experiences and self-service.

  • Virtual Reality(VR)

VR engages customers by providing them with experiences of a product or a service.

  • Augmented Reality(AR)

AR based self service allows customers to use their smartphone to access a company’s knowledge base, FAQs, manuals and training material thereby helping their buying decisions with any human interaction

  • Artificial Intelligence(AI)

AI based analytic systems and customer facing systems improve customer service, enable personalization and cater to individual customer requests.

  • Chatbots

Chatbots backed by advanced technologies sport an algorithmic learning feature which allows them to learn from previous conversations and tweak responses.

  • Internet of Things(IoT)

IoT allows for cross platform synergy and engagement which has catalyzed growth of new products. Brands can now use this technology to promote direct ties between real world activities and digital communication to deploy promotional campaigns across platforms. The impact of IoT on enterprises is thereby gaining traction.

  • Phygital Checkout

Removing barriers to transactions from the shopping experience is a great draw in the current COVID-19 scenario. Phygital is one of the biggest digital transformation features that offers cross channel fulfillment.  The customer is able to  purchase from the comfort of his home or elsewhere and subsequently pick up the item at their convenience without having to wait for delivery.

Conclusion

The emergence of cutting edge technologies will further add to the concept of self-service customer experience. The CIOs role isn't just about technology enablement but also interacting with customers to understand their needs and pain areas. As CIOs better understand the customer, harness their organization’s data and foster strong alignment with the business plan of the organization, they can drive an effective customer centric strategy for the business.

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Pandemic Proof your Agile and DevOps
Pandemic Proof your Agile and DevOps Raju G

Pandemic Proof Your Agile And DevOps

DevOps and agile, characterized by accelerated deployment and efficient IT operations, are new ways of software development that have gained popularity in retail and other industries. DevOps grew out of the agile movement which was focused on applying streamlined business organization practices to software development. It then extended agile processes by combining development and operations into a single unified set of practices. Agile and DevOps can together accelerate digital transformation and impact how work gets done.

What is Agile and DevOps?

Agile is a project management and software development approach that is essentially iterative in nature. It helps teams provide value to their customers faster by delivering work in small, but consumable, increments.  DevOps is a software development methodology that removes the barriers between two traditionally siloed teams, development and operations. In some companies, there may not even be separate development and operations teams with engineers carrying out both the functions. With DevOps, the two teams work in tandem, optimizing the productivity of developers and the reliability of operations.

The Agile methodology begins with clients clarifying to the project team the details of how the end product will be used and what problem it will solve. Once work begins teams cycle through a process of planning, executing and evaluating the work being done. This continuous collaboration is key to team members as well as stakeholders to make decisions in the right direction. Whereas DevOps is a combination of practices and tools that increase an organization’s ability to deliver applications and services at higher velocities. This methodology is definitely favored over the traditional software development and infrastructure management processes of the yesteryears

Business Continuity During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

The responsiveness of DevOps during this pandemic is being put to test as retailers scramble to adapt to drastic changes in consumer behaviors and buying patterns. Besides these,  organizations are also trying their best to handle  remote workforces, COVID-19 related phishing scams, limitations in supply chain and so on. A recent survey titled, Critical Gaps in Business Continuity Plans: Exclusive Survey Results, reported that while 62% of businesses had business continuity plans, 48% of those respondents said that those plans cannot sustain beyond 2 or 3 weeks.

Organizations unprepared for this kind of pandemic have been subject to disruptions such as network outages, data loss, security breaches and revenue loss.  Some of them have learnt the hard way  that software no longer merely supports their business; but is an integral component of every part of the business, and this is exactly why DevOps matters.

SARS, Ebola, Swine flu and now the COVID-19. Even when the current pandemic fades out, the threat of a new virus is real and establishing a pandemic proof business continuity plan cannot be seen as unnecessary. 

DevOps in Pandemic Situations

DevOps can be implemented in various areas to ensure smooth operations during crisis such as a pandemic.

  • Cloud Computing

If your company has been considering managed cloud services, now is the time to explore the options and make strategic moves. Cloud computing can increase business capacity and facilitate remote access to vital business functions especially now since redundancy and scalability are important. DevOps links with cloud computing provides a standard and centralized platform for testing deployment and production.

  • Redundancy in the Form of Backup

System failures are not an option in critical environments such as during the current pandemic.  Redundancy in the form of a  backup increases the reliability of systems. Organizations need to think whether they have back up resources that can continue to process data without interruption.

  • Monitoring of Data Centers

This would be the time to monitor IT operations closely in order to spot extremes and help with scalability and capacity planning. Enterprise application support systems need to be at their optimum performance levels.

DevOps in Retail

As discussed, DevOps in retail are important because they improve the software delivery and operational performance.

 Consumers today demand personalized services and delivery from online to mobile to instore, all integrated into one shopping experience. Based on current customer trends, there are three ingredients for success in the retail industry today

  • Adoption of DevOps in retail
  • Technology (With support for cloud and application programming interface(API))
  • Process (This would involve adopting agile and lean methods to support experimentation, collaboration and learning)

The most effective DevOps transformations take a holistic approach which means taking care of the organization in all aspects. The impact of cloud computing on retail business by means of digital transformation has been well documented. Similarly, the impact of IoT on enterprises such as transportation, travel, hospitality and so on is out there for everyone to see. DevOps teams in software companies have been accelerating the software development life cycle (SDLC) by embedding agile processes in the workflow.

Conclusion

Efficiency and managing large scale infrastructures and traffic spikes with smaller teams will remain a top priority for enterprises during the current pandemic. An organization’s IT infrastructure and data security cannot be compromised in times such as this. Consequently making DevOps pandemic proof is essential for business continuity.

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InfoVision is a Global IT Services and Solutions company offering Strategic Resources, Enterprise Applications and Technology Solutions. InfoVision’s specialized Technology Solution offerings include Mobility, Outsourced Product Development, Business Intelligence and Big Data Analytics, DevOps, IoT, Testing Services and Cloud Services. InfoVision’s Integrated Value Delivery capability is the combination of proven talent, technical depth, delivery discipline and domain expertise.

2020 © Copyright InfoVision. All rights Reserved.

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