Application Retirement 101 – Drafting the legacy roadmap

Application Retirement 101 – Drafting the legacy roadmap

Application sprawl is one of the biggest challenges facing modern-day businesses. The reason can vary from uncontrolled data growth to outdated primary software usage. Toward this, legacy application retirement has become a first-order need today. Decommissioning applications optimize resources otherwise needed to maintain outdated data reserves. Industry analysts view application retirement and archival as top data growth management practices.

What is application retirement?

Application retirement is the process of shutting down inactive database applications.

Data is an invaluable enterprise asset. However, some legacy databases consume resources and maintenance costs despite no active use. It makes them more of a liability. While it might be tempting to let go of such applications, by doing so, you also lose access to the information they contain. You may need such information for driving insights in the future.

The smart way to approach this is to leverage the right data growth management practice. Decommission applications that have already rendered optimal usage. Subject the rest of the legacy databases to application archival. The latter sends selected records from an active store to a standardized archive. You can access, manage, and even retire the applications from this archive as per your need.

Why is application retirement needed?

  • Managing data growth – The explosion of data in recent times has contributed to large volumes of stored information. Alongside, it has also proliferated data-intensive applications which are costly to manage. It is good to standardize data growth management as a practice to address these areas.

Read why it is important to control application data growth before it controls your business.

  • Saving maintenance costs – Organizations run low on infrastructure resources if applications start growing beyond control. This necessitates extra hardware purchases which in turn increase management costs. Application archiving or retirement can cut such unnecessary costs. These make room in your budget for innovation and other business improvements.
  • Boosting resource efficiency – Legacy applications often continue to consume resources even after being replaced. Your infrastructure expands to accommodate all the redundant applications and data. And, such inefficient hardware utilization makes you spend more on infrastructure management than needed. Decommissioning applications that are no longer in use is a business-smart step toward this.
  • Ensuring data security – You must be cognizant of how data moves through your enterprise IT ecosystem. Lack of this visibility can increase risks of security breaches and compliance fines. Make application archival or sunsetting a part of your data growth management strategy for arresting such threats.
  • Adhering to legal mandates– Legal changes in structure can pose challenges in tracking the existing software inventory and related resource requirements.

In the case of a merger, for example, one organization’s applications are often managed as the primary software. The other organization’s programs remain in a non-production environment for reporting purposes. Though this addresses compliance concerns, it may create inefficiencies in infrastructure management. Application archival/retirement can come in handy under such circumstances.

Benefits of Robust Application Retirement
Benefits of Robust Application Retirement

Picking an application retirement strategy

There are volumes of applications in the IT environment today. However, so is the amount of data that has the potential of generating future insight. Justifying investment in an application retirement project can be challenging toward this. New demands are compelling today’s IT teams to address data growth management with fewer financial resources than ever before.

The time is ripe for thinking of application retirement in terms of a comprehensive strategy.

The first step should pertain to a thorough investigation of existing programs. However, simply identifying existing software is not enough. Instead, organizations should dig deeper. Analyzing the cost of programs and connecting to respective business values is a good starting point.

An effective application retirement strategy requires this level of visibility for saving mission-critical data and software. It also allots a sufficient amount of time for the discovery process. There are other benefits to this as well. For example, audits become easier for organizations that have a map of where their data is and how their applications relate to one another.

How to select the right technology for application retirement?

The application decommissioning process can be resource-intensive in the absence of appropriate tools. The retirement factory model can come in handy under such scenarios. This data growth management practice is known for its operation streamlining capabilities.

How to select the right technology for application retirement?

The retirement factory model helps in strategic application retirement. It leverages automation and pre-built templates for decommissioning legacy applications. As a result, manual processes are optimally eliminated while still allowing human insight and intervention as appropriate.

IBM InfoSphere Optim data lifecycle management effectively automates application retirement

IBM InfoSphere Optim data lifecycle management includes functionalities well-suited for a factory-based approach. Incorporating InfoSphere Optim into existing IT environments helps to automate archival job scheduling.

The application archiving functionality saves mission-critical information so that you can maintain compliance. The query workload support helps to access archived data in the future. This way, line-of-business users gain the efficiency of the factory retirement model. They do not lose any information that might be useful for compliance or analytics in the future.

As InfoSphere Optim has a suite of data lifecycle management applications, you can easily leverage it for keeping track of and retiring applications.

Read more about IBM’s application archiving and retirement solutions.

Launching a data governance initiative

Stalling application retirement initiatives can be tempting. There is always a lingering apprehension that these projects will not be cost-effective. However, controlling application sprawl using the retirement factory model is only likely to save resources in the long run. Not all sprawl issues stem from applications. So, software management can contribute significantly to the total cost of ownership (TCO) of technology. Efficiency gains need a solid foundation to launch a comprehensive data governance initiative.

In some cases, this initiative will mean investing in advanced technology. Some organizations may need to adopt new practices for optimizing their existing solutions. Regardless of the changes, an effective approach can accurately follow data through its entire lifecycle. It can facilitate application retirement through automation.

Read why investing in data governance has always been a strategic business move.

Estuate is a premier implementation partner of IBM InfoSphere Optim solutions

We have deep experience in the implementation of IBM InfoSphere Optim solutions. We also know our way around other IBM Unified Governance and Integration products. Archive little-used data and retire obsolete applications with our data archival capabilities. The archived data can be accessed at any time.

  • We are IBM’s go-to partner for IBM InfoSpere Optim solutions across many platforms and use cases.
  • We have a successful track record with over 350 InfoSphere Optim implementations.
  • We have in-house domain experts to provide business-specific consultation across various industry verticals.

Watch this webinar conducted by Estuate’s IBM experts. They speak on data growth management practices using IBM’s InfoSphere Optim solutions.

So if you are looking for robust data growth management solutions, we’re just this click away.

Do you think that application retirement is necessary for managing data growth? Can it make business operations smoother for you?

Customer Service Software in the Age of Modern Business

This is what a typical Zendesk dashboard looks like (Zendesk Support).

In any business, customer service forms the core of overall growth and development. With advancing business technologies, no wonder, customer service software and cloud-based CRM (Customer Relationship Management) support have taken center stage today. And especially with ever-evolving customer needs, a robust support system is indeed needed for assisting users in the journey of discovery, usage, and troubleshooting.

Putting all this stress to rest, thankfully there are cloud CRM software like Zendesk. A Zendesk implementation plan is the gateway to reaching ultimate customer satisfaction.

However before delving into what Zendesk brings to the business table, let’s take a closer look at the central theme of this discussion – Customer Service.

Why Customer Service Matters?

Let’s decipher with an example.Suppose, one day you go shopping for some formal clothes. On entering the shop, you see no sales assistant at the entrance. As you wander further, you notice that the clothes are not grouped in categories – casual wear and business blazers hang in the same stand & the sizes are all mixed up. And while you are trying to make sense of all of this, a sales assistant comes up and tries to convince you to purchase perfume @ 50% off. Say, you finally manage to make your way out with the clothes of your choice, but now you are unable to locate the billing counter. Exasperated, you exist without making the purchase.

Customer service is that business practice that never loses relevance. The above example of a physical store can easily apply to a business website. And, this is exactly where a customer service software comes in handy.

Customer Service Software: Your Key to Creating Customers for Life

Smooth customer experience (CX) is a business game-changer. However as you scale up in size, manually addressing all customer service requests can be challenging. For tracking & collating all requests at one place, driving action-packed reports from them and simultaneously optimizing the response rate – you need modern CRM support.To accommodate the expanding scope of customer service, the world’s leading cloud CRM company Zendesk has a range of offerings in its ambit.Here are some of the core benefits of plugging in an efficient customer service software like Zendesk:

Super-responsive helpdesk – A prompt resolution of queries is one of the sure-fire ways of garnering customer loyalty. Nearly 47% of all customers consider 24/7 support to be non-negotiable. To address the need, a sound CRM software makes the smart use of digital FAQ libraries, chatbots, and community forums. Even when your customer service team is off the clock, not a single query goes unacknowledged.However, too much automation without human touch can also make for a bad experience. Though customers should be empowered to avail self-service, they should not feel abandoned. The right choice of customer service software is critical here.

Flexible ticket management – Funnel all customer queries, issues, and suggestions in a single place, categorize them in sub-groups, troubleshoot immediately or schedule – a robust cloud CRM support kickstarts an automated workflow for your business and minimizes the room for human errors.A Zendesk implementation plan additionally incorporates macros for easier process automation – freeing up your customer support team to take up tasks that require greater human interaction. It is also quick in assigning a unique reference/ticket number to each query, making tracking and resolving easier both in the short and long runs. Better lead-to-conversion ratio follows suit.

Advanced analytics & custom reports – A good customer service software is often defined by its analytical prowess. It helps you capture trends in the customers’ purchase behavior and foster relationships by leveraging data-driven information.Zendesk CRM support encompasses customer analytics to help you interpret how your clients interact with your brand offerings. It further provides insights on how this experience can be improved. The customer service software is best-in-class in offering data visualization using easy point-and-click functions and intuitive dashboarding.

This is what a typical Zendesk dashboard looks like (Zendesk Support).

Cloud-based CRM Support Dashboard – part of Zendesk Implementation Plan | Source: Zendesk

Also, Zendesk APIs are configured around REST which provides a great deal of flexibility in terms of resources and methods.

Third-party integrations – Higher the number of third-party software you can integrate with your core business with, higher the avenues you can cater to. Zendesk makes space for over 100 third party integrations. Salesforce, Google Analytics, and SugarCRM being classic cases in point. This helps you to quickly respond to the evolving market demands and identify what fits your business needs the best.

Customized offerings – When it comes to customer service, personalization is the key. Every end-user likes brand offerings to be tailor-made to their needs – zone, country, industry, age group, etc. Toward this, Zendesk accommodates multi-locale configurations (time-zone & languages) and group rules (auto-redirection according to query), among other key offerings. Such personalization augments product eligibility, compatibility, and eventually up- and cross-selling.So if you want to add a personal touch to your brand, invest in robust CRM support. Having a Zendesk implementation plan is a great start.

World-class branding – Collate all of the above features, put them in one customer service software, and leverage. You are sure to arrive at a smart and reputable brand image that is reflective of your holistic values, mission, and vision. Your web/mobile interface is the first place where your potential customers meet you. It must be distinguished enough to set you apart from your competitors.And, a cutting-edge customer service software will help you achieve that. Zendesk implementation plans have a complete helpdesk customization option (CSS rebranding) in its kit. When utilized optimally, it can be an absolute game-changer.

It’s Flexible, It’s Easy, It’s Zendesk!

The cloud CRM software accommodates all of the above features and beyond. When empowered with Zendesk, not only are your customers happy, your sales, marketing, and customer service teams also communicate better. They work more cohesively toward the business goals. You bulk up on efficiency, and cut down on cost.

Estuate is Zendesk’s Master Implementation Partner

From implementation, training, consultancy, optimization, Zendesk apps, and integration, we are Zendesk’s most trusted Implementation Solution Provider.

Our Zendesk implementation plans are customized according to your business needs.

  • Zendesk Sell
    Get a clear vision of your sales pipeline, and keep your team focused on the highest value leads & deals with our Zendesk Sell support.

Our Zendesk expertise reflects in our consistent KPIs:

  • Core global system integration partner of Zendesk
  • Quick and secure migrations from any reporting platform
  • Out-of-the-box integrations and accelerators
  • 100+ successful Zendesk projects
  • Consistent CSAT: 97%
  • Cross-industry expertise
  • Flexible delivery models

So if you are looking to unlock the next level in customer service, we’re right here to help.

What are your thoughts on having a customer service software? Do you think it helps?

Best practices for successful Salesforce CPQ implementation

In our earlier articles, we have discussed choosing the right CPQ (Salesforce) for our business. In that, we have known how salesforce CPQ use can maximize sales efficiencies and can help in generating greater revenue. Not just that, you can also find tips on selecting the right CPQ for your Industry. But just selecting and using the software is not enough; instead, we need to focus on implementing it effectively into our business so that we make the most out of that software. So in this article, we shall understand some of the best practices you can follow so that CPQ implementation brings in success to your sales business.

If you’re just starting with Salesforce CPQ or looking for support with Salesforce CPQ implementation, you’ve come to the right spot. But before we roll on to the steps for successful CPQ implementation, let’s have a brief understanding of what CPQ is? Why it is very much needed and how its benefits.

What is CPQ?

CPQ is the abbreviation that stands for “Configure, Price, and Quote.” CPQ is a sales tool that expands the customer relationship management framework. It is a more organized tool that promotes the selling process through a precise generation of quotes for orders. It is the best solution that helps sales representatives organize the right product combinations, manage discounts, plan pricing, automate approvals and deliver customer-based specific quotes.

The need for CPQ software and its benefits

CPQ has become one of the essential selling tools needed for today’s fast-growing market. CPQ simplifies, speeds up, and organizes the sales process, enabling you to sell more products more quickly. CPQ software facilitates the work of sales representatives by consolidating sales data and providing them with a distinct view of what they can offer to the customer. The tool also suggests them with any extra configurations, add-ons, training sessions or complimentary products.

Watch this video to understand the importance of Salesforce CPQ.

In the recent study report done by Salesforce, we can see that the use of Salesforce CPQ and Billing has delivered improved accuracy, efficiency, and speed in their Quote to cash process.

The market results show that sales business has witnessed

With our extensive experience in CPQ implementations, we have outlined some of the best practices that will lead you to effective Salesforce CPQ implementation.

Establish CPQ targets

Firstly, you need to set realistic targets for CPQ based on your sales process needs. The targets you set will help you decide whether the CPQ delivers the real Return on Investment (ROI). You need to set specific objectives like lowered time spent on selling, the shortened processing time for quotes, a standard increase of the order value, precise quote generation, improved win, and renewal rates. On achieving these goals, you can set the new targets that will further optimize the process continuously.

Design and prioritize CPQ features

Knowing your customer is vital to successful sales. Design the product model carefully to create configurations that best suit consumer purchasing behaviours and execute a process geared towards reducing process delays. Prioritize your sales targets and incorporate selected Salesforce CPQ features that can satisfy your essential business needs. Intuitively bundle products; to help sales reps integrate products and services to address particular customer demands uniquely.

Upgrade data and initiate system integrations

When you have set your product model and pricing, you need to concentrate on what data is required for the CPQ process and from where it should be derived. Ensure that the information is updated and verified for reliability and accuracy. Import product tax rates, discount rates, price packages, and template details into the CPQ and ensure a smooth integration of the Salesforce CPQ with your other ERPs via API integrations.

Measure and improvise progress

Salesforce CPQ is a complicated tool with multi-functional features and is more challenging to drive adoption due to its complexity. The ideal way to ensure continued engagement with the project is to set some intermediate targets to ensure rapid progress and tracking the impact of the CPQ implementation. You can measure the metrics by conducting sales team satisfaction surveys capturing various tool aspects.

Have the staff trained and the tool tested

Sales practitioners should be well-trained and qualified to implement the CPQ tool in order to achieve full benefits from the tool. A well-trained staff can maximize guided sales, perform smart catalog searches and geo-based sales to boost productivity by expediting routine tasks. The CPQ requires thorough pre-implementation testing of functionalities, integrations and workflows with real-life scenarios.Salesforce CPQ is undoubtedly one of the market’s most flexible tools that can improve your ability to streamline sales operations.

In your CPQ implementation journey, Estuate can be your ideal Salesforce CPQ implementation partner who can help you make the most out of your CPQ. Estuate has implemented many enterprise-grade CPQ ventures for some of the most prominent and competitive organizations over the last decade. Our skilled salesforce consultants work closely with stakeholders, and IT teams to reduce the time and complexity involved in delivering CPQ solutions.

Salesforce Integration with Business Applications and its Significance

Salesforce is a cloud-based CRM solution tool that brings enterprises and consumers together. It is one such widely recommended Customer Relationship Management software for business as it offers seamless integration with other business applications such as Marketing, E-commerce, ERP, Supply chain, and so on.

Salesforce integration plays a significant role as its integrated CRM platform benefits firms in delivering enhanced and customized products as per customer expectations. It offers powerful products to boost marketing, sales, IT and other various services.

Features of Salesforce Integration:

  • Online Fundraising – Salesforce integrated CRM and fundraising solutions play a key role in informing the fundraising strategy of your organization. With the seamless fundraising data flow into the CRM, you can offer targeted fundraising opportunities and improve the organization’s strategy.
  • Data Virtualization: Salesforces lets you access and manage customer data proactively. Virtualization provides powerful ways to aggregate and collaborate data from different sources from a single location. It brings data from diverse systems in sync and presents a consolidated view of your customer.
  • Data Management: It is easy to integrate salesforce with external points or apps as its Platform uses open APIs such as REST and SOAP. Huge amount of data load and deletion can be managed through these API effectively.
  • Platform Events: Salesforce Platform Events presents custom notifications between salesforce and other external sources that are secure and scalable. These powerful platform events enable you to centralize integration and relate changes accurately with other systems.
  • Salesforce Connect –This tool enables simple and easier access to backend legacy data into the Salesforce environment. This powerful tool accelerates processes and helps in transforming firms from financial services to retail.

Benefits of Salesforce Integration

  • Sync-Up your enterprise data for better judgments- Integrated data enables your management team to make better business decisions to achieve a competitive edge.
  • Accelerate Salesforce CRM acceptance: Integrated systems for customer 360-degree data view, lets salesforce users view the accurate data they require.
  • Automate your business operations to produce faster results.

Through Salesforce Integration, organizational performance is gaining new heights. It ensures that the same data is available in all applications and saves valuable person-hours by removing the need for human intervention to copy and paste the data. It increases accuracy and reduces human effort which in turn improves enterprise productivity. It helps enterprises build a stronger base for customer service and maintain a long-lasting customer relationship.

Integrating different but related business systems help organizations achieve greater levels of operational consistency, efficiency, and quality.

5 Web Development trends to watch in 2019 and beyond

In the recent years, the software engineering landscape has evolved phenomenally. Companies across the globe have realized the importance of digitization and are implementing adopting new age software to optimize business processes and enhance functionalities.

At the same time, this highly dynamic landscape is constantly influenced by changing technology and market trends. Technology trends like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Cloud services have already transformed web development practices. It is interesting to observe more recent trends in this space and see what lies in store in 2019 and the near future.

JavaScript Programming Languages

JavaScript continues to be the developers’ choice programming language this year and seems to have a vast scope for programming high-end, on-demand web applications. It is because the language is evolving rapidly with some remarkable frameworks, libraries and designs. JavaScript is the world’s fastest growing programming languages and the coming years will see a major shift towards the use of Angular, React and Vue.js technology frameworks.

Mixed Reality

Augmented Reality adds virtual objects into the real world. Virtual Reality changes the real environment by creating a digital world. Mixed Reality, also known as Extended Reality or XR is a blend of AR and VR technologies, where virtual environment is combined with real environment more seamlessly. The XR market is likely to reach $1.2 billion by 2024 and is being widely used for developing advanced software applications, web designs and integrated wearables.

Progressive Web Apps

Progressive web apps are typically a modernized and more efficient version of a traditional website. PWAs are designed and developed using modern web capabilities to offer a mobile app-like experience to web users. These apps load faster, more cost-effective to develop, can be installed easily and perform better than regular websites. PWA is a bridge between web apps and mobile apps and a large number of companies are now implementing it to enhance online engagement.

Single Page Applications (SPAs)

The emergence of Single Page Applications is a new revolution in web development. Some examples of SPAs are Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and Google Maps. Enterprises around the world are now adopting this breakthrough technology to offer better customer experience. These are web applications developed using advanced JavaScript algorithms to eliminate client-server communication, allowing pages to load huge data in a single page view and run faster than multi-page applications.

Blockchain for Cybersecurity

As data breaches and cyber crime incidents continue to increase, website and application security remains to be an essential area of concern for all businesses. Blockchain is a ground-breaking technology that uses encrypted blocks to perform secure transactions online. 2019 and the coming years will see the use of blockchain technology for safe, decentralized data storage and prevention of fraud and data theft.

In a fast paced digital business world, implementing result-oriented software in your business infrastructure is a key catalyst to rapid digital transformation and developing highly responsive, customer-friendly websites is a profitable strategy to grow in a digital world.

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