5 Best Practices for IT Delivery Excellence

Modern technology trends are driving a new wave of digitization. Companies around the globe are moving on from traditional, mainframe technologies to faster and smarter new-age tech trends. 2018 was a remarkable year with some groundbreaking technology advancements. While Artificial Intelligence, Cloud and Internet of Things were the most popular digital transformation trends, other emerging technologies such as Blockchain and Machine Learning were widely adopted and explored globally.

It wouldn’t be wrong if we said 2018 was just the beginning of a global digital transformation era. More rapid and large scale digitization is on the cards this year. According to a Gartner report, the worldwide IT spending is projected to grow by 3.2% in 2019, reaching $3.816 trillion. It is interesting to understand which technology trends are businesses most inclined towards. In this article, we have summed up the top 6 technology trends that are expected to drive worldwide digital transformation in 2019.

Smart Spaces

The Internet of Things is a sensational technology. Within just a short span of its emergence, the technology has captured global markets and there are as much as 17 billion connected devices in the world today. In 2019, you can only expect the IoT fever to go a notch higher, with smart spaces coming into picture.

A smart space is an environment in which humans and technology-enabled systems interact in increasingly open, connected, coordinated and intelligent ecosystems. It is all about furnishing physical spaces with connected devices, sensors and IoT-driven technology to create smarter and more efficient surroundings.

5G Mobile Technology

Mobility is an ever evolving technology that takes a generation leap every few years. Every new generation of mobile technology is faster, smarter and more intelligent than the previous one. The much awaited 5th generation mobile technology is all set to disrupt the world of telecommunications this year.

With innovations like wireless connectivity, extraordinary speed of nearly 1 GBps, powerful latency up to 1 millisecond and numerous other striking specifications, 5G technology is a total game changer, and 2019 is merely the beginning of a revolution in the world of telecommunication, gaming and mobile.

Ethical Digitization

Cybersecurity is a worldwide concern, and digitization at the cost of data privacy is not an acceptable thing. In early 2018, the European Union enforced the iconic GDPR law to protect the data privacy of EU citizens. It has inspired economies across the globes to strengthen their data privacy laws and influenced businesses to rethink the concept of digitization, making data privacy a prerequisite for all digital transformation initiatives.

In 2019 and the years to come, stronger worldwide data privacy laws will govern digital transformation and enterprises are likely to implement tougher and more effective data privacy measures.

Machine Learning

Machine Learning, AI and Natural Language Processing have just begun to influence business processes and customer interactions. These are technologies that enable machines to act, think and interact just like humans.

A survey conducted by O’Reilly indicates that 49% companies want to explore and deploy machine driven business practices in 2019. However, despite all the hype around AI and ML technologies, it is still a budding technology and has a long way to go.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Pokemon Go and PUBG became worldwide sensations because of the unique virtual experiences they offer to users. VR and AR technology trends have reshaped the gaming world already.

While Virtual Reality presents a way to enter a virtual world through devices and applications, Augmented Reality adds a virtual element to a physical environment that isn’t actually there. In 2019, VR and AR technologies are all set to redefine several other industries such as training and learning, consumer entertainment and smart automobiles.

Augmented Analytics

In this Information Age, analytics is the real power. It allows enterprises to achieve business goals efficiently and make profitable decisions. Like all technologies, analytics is constantly evolving and setting innovative new trends.

According to Gartner, the future of big data lies in augmented analytics. Augmented Analytics utilizes data produced from digital business systems, such as financial software, HR automation and ERP practices and offers unique and hidden business insights above and beyond general analytics. Although Augmented Analytics is still in its early development stage, it is a promising technology trend and has immense scope for digital enterprises.

This rapid advancement in technology solutions is a blessing for businesses that wish to grow quickly and gain a competitive edge. While some have already started exploring and adopting these recent trends to stay on top of the competition, some are in consideration phase and some are still stuck with old school technology. Nevertheless, the fact remains that digital transformation is not a choice today, it is a business essential and the sooner you make a move, the better it is.

6 Game-Changing Apps for Small Businesses

A decade ago, we couldn’t have imagined that our cell phone could find us the restaurant of our choice, book movie tickets, navigate us to any place we wanted to go, book cabs for us or let us transfer money without visiting the bank. We could never have imagined that almost anything could be possible with just a few clicks! Today, we cannot imagine a life without a smartphone, without these applications.

Apps are making our lives so much easier. They’re time saving, extremely convenient and so easy to access and use. They’re not just changing our daily lives, but also redefining the way businesses operate. There are literally thousands of business apps that help in streamlining day-to-day business activities, boosting workforce productivity and carrying out operations smoothly.

There are business apps that provide customer support, enhance customer relations, interact with employees, manage inventories, assign tasks, track performance, manage remote workers, the list goes on. In this article, we’ve listed the 6 best applications that are a total life-saver for small and medium-sized businesses.

Accounting & Book-keeping: Intuit Quickbooks

Book-keeping and accounting is an inevitable activity of any business. With changing technology trends, businesses need to move on from traditional book-keeping methods to modern accounting software. Quickbooks is a comprehensive accounting and business management suite designed by Intuit for small and medium-sized businesses.

It is an easy-to-use book-keeping interface that allows you to record financial transactions, expenses, sales, income, payroll etc. It also generates automated spreadsheets, reports, graphs and financial statements. Plus, it is fast, easy-to-use and comes with customizable menus and toolbars, allowing you to access tools as you like.

Team Communication: Slack

Communication is an essential factor for the success of any project; more so in boundary-less workspaces, where people from different countries and timelines work together. Slack is a complete project collaboration application that allows teams to get together and communicate effectively in order to get work done.

This all-encompassing team communication tool comes with numerous features including private and group messaging, easy-to-take notes, automated reminders, powerful search options, voice and video calls and integrated file sharing among individuals and groups.

Workflow Management: Asana

Managing a project could sometimes be overwhelming, especially if you have critical deadlines or people working remotely for you. Asana is a Cloud-based web and mobile application designed to make project management easy for small and medium-sized businesses.

Asana allows you to assign tasks to individuals, set deadlines and reminders, monitor activity progress, visualize automated reports, share them with your teams and keep project workflows organized. It has a user-friendly interface and is also easy-to-integrate with hundreds of other software and applications.

Inventory Management: Shopventory

Managing inventories efficiently is a critical business activity for all retail businesses, whether they operate online or offline. Shopventory is a Cloud-driven inventory management application that helps brick-and-mortar as well as e-commerce retailers manage inventories effectively and maintain the right stock levels at all times.

It is an easy-to-use application with a range of striking features such as vendor management, inventory level alerts, inventory forecasting, multi-location and real-time inventory management, stock reconciliation, statistical reporting, analysis and several customizations.

File Storage: G Suite

As business adopt paperless methods of carrying business operations, the need for storing and managing digital records safely rises. G-Suite is the enterprise edition of Google Drive introduced by Google to help businesses create, store, manage and access unlimited business information including documents, sheets, slides, forms, presentations and sites over the Cloud.

It also allows businesses to connect internally through Google Apps such as Hangouts, Google+ and Hangouts Meet, and manage users, devices and information over a secure platform.

Business Administration: Zoho One

If you’re looking for an all-in-one application that can single-handedly manage all important business activities for you, Zoho One is perhaps what you’re looking for. With 40+ business apps in one packaged suite, Zoho One helps small businesses run all aspects of their operations including accounting, inventory management, CRM activities, help desk, employee communication, HR operations, recruitment and more.

Additionally, the software comes with native applications that are compatible with both iOS and Android mobile devices, allowing users to work from anywhere, anytime.

Smart businesses are using the power of mobility to optimize day-to-day activities, enhance operational efficiencies and achieve business goals quickly. If you too wish to adopt smarter ways of running your small business, just pick up your smartphone and get started.

Key factors to consider while selecting an IT Service Provider

Advancements in technology often lead to impactful changes in the business world. We’re now in a digital era, where all modern businesses, irrespective of their nature, size and industry depend on technology in some form or the other. The technology needs of a business could be as basic as having a computer network with high speed internet access or something as complex as Cloud-based data servers or automated cyber security or even customer service chat bots.

For most businesses, especially the ones that are not typically IT-driven, it is not that easy to exercise an in-house IT department that can meet changing technology needs. It is therefore, a good idea to hire a professional IT service provider who can cater to your technology needs proficiently while letting you focus on your primary business goals. Professional IT service providers also help manage the networks, users, services, and devices, allowing you to carry out your business operations seamlessly.

However, with plenty of IT vendors in the market with diverse specializations and numerous offerings, it could be a challenge to select the most ideal IT service partner for your business. In this article, we have compiled the key factors to consider before you pick the right IT service provider.

Technical Expertise

First things first, make a detailed list of all the IT services and support that your business needs and begin your hunt by shortlisting vendors who have proven technical expertise around those areas. A professional IT service provider will have the hardware and software skills, technology certifications and enough technical staff who can cater to your IT needs. You can do this by browsing their website (it is good if they have one) or contacting their sales reps.

Industry Experience & Testimonials

Hiring a technology vendor is usually a long-term obligation. It is therefore best to partner with a provider who has enough experience in your industry and has been testified by its previous customers. A vendor who has previously helped businesses like you with their IT requirements is likely to understand your business processes and technology specifications well. Additionally, look for any testimonials, reviews and feedback of previous customers. Prior domain experience and positive feedback are essential factors as they establish reliability and credibility about a vendor’s quality.

Pricing Models

An investment in IT services is a critical business expenditure and must be done wisely. Different service providers offer different pricing models like per-device pricing, per-user pricing, al a carte pricing, all-you-can-eat pricing and more. Before you sign the deal, you must understand which model suits you the best. You can take help from expert IT consultants to identify an ideal pricing mix and go for a model that can satisfy your IT needs cost effectively.

Proactive Management

You need a provider who’s not just there to troubleshoot your IT glitches but is proactive enough to take measures that prevent technology errors so you can carry business operations smoothly. A proactive IT service provider is one who can identify a problem before it occurs, react without any delays, fix issues immediately and remotely monitor your systems in real-time so that any fire can be put out before it affects your business processes.

Strong Security

With data breaches on an all-time high, the last thing you want is to end up losing your mission-critical business data to some bugs. Data security should be one of the most primary factors to consider while hiring a third-party IT vendor. An ideal IT service provider should not only be able to offer you new-age IT solutions at affordable prices, but should also be able to detect IT risks, prevent data breaches and fight them in case of adversities. It is advisable to look for a partner with proven information security and information systems certifications to its credit.

It is crucial to find the right IT vendor for your business requirements, because it is a long-term commitment and a lot rides on how well your IT requirements are catered. Whether you’re thinking of revisiting your IT strategy by hiring professional experts or outsourcing your IT needs for the first time, consider these key factors before you select your ideal IT service provider.

Cloud spending to go up by 17.3%” says Gartner

Cloud is more than just a buzzword today. This groundbreaking technology advancement that has revolutionized the traditional ways of running a business. It introduced us to a world where if you have a computer and internet, you could run any business successfully. Cloud offers a plethora of virtual services such as data storage, networking, business intelligence and analytics to help us carry out critical business operations conveniently over the internet.

Over the years, there has been a tremendous shift towards enterprises switching from mainframe technologies to Cloud-based business platforms. Cloud computing is an ever-evolving ecosystem. It is smart, flexible, economical and secure; all you need in the 21st century to grow and scale up your business.

A recent Gartner report predicts that worldwide public Cloud services market will grow by 17.3% in 2019 to a total of $206.2 billion, up from $175.8 billion in 2018. In this article, let’s take a look at the top Cloud computing trends that are driving this growth.

Cloud Business Process as a Service

Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) is an emerging technology trend in the Cloud ecosystem. It is typically a modernized form of business process outsourcing that is carried out over the Cloud. The most popular BPaaS offerings include payroll solutions, advertising, marketing, HR functions and administration services.

Cloud vendors are now also offering tailored Cloud application services to help streamline business operations. Gartner predicts a rising demand for BPaaS packaged solutions and a revenue growth of 7.9%, to reach $50.3 billion in 2019.

Software as a Service

Gone are the days when you would have to purchase and install software on your local server. Today, it is possible to access and use sophisticated software solutions, such as ERP, CRM, Document Management, Quality Management etc. by simply renting them from a Cloud Service Provider.

SaaS is perhaps the most convenient and affordable way of deploying and managing software that you require for your business. It is also the largest segment of the Cloud market, with an expected revenue growth of 17.8%, about $85.1 billion this year.

Cloud Management and Security Services

Switching to the Cloud calls for a solid Cloud management system. Also, as more and more businesses continue to adopt the Cloud, the risks pertaining to data privacy and security tend to become more apparent.

Cloud Service Providers now offer holistic Cloud management and security services to ensure administrative control over private, hybrid and public Clouds as well as security of information, data, and applications hosted on the Cloud.

Integrated Infrastructure and Platform as a Service

Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service are two major offerings of Cloud computing. While IaaS offers businesses with a virtual computing infrastructure that allows them to design, develop, test and deploy web applications, PaaS offers a range of middleware solutions such storage, networking, business intelligence and database management solutions.

Modern businesses prefer to have the best of both IaaS and PaaS in one integrated package. “Demand for integrated IaaS and PaaS offerings is driving the next wave of cloud infrastructure adoption,” Sid Nag, research director at Gartner foretells.

In conclusion, businesses aiming for complete digital transformation know that the first step towards it is switching to the Cloud. Consequently, the demand for Cloud and Cloud-driven services has risen phenomenally, and it is only expected to go up in the years to come.

What to look for in your Mobile Business Intelligence tool?

Selecting the right Mobile Business Intelligence tool is essential for outstanding business growth. Here are 4 key factors to consider while choosing a mobile BI tool for your enterprise.

Information is power today! However, since most of this information is scattered and raw, businesses need tools and methods to turn this data into actionable insights and make profitable decisions.

This has multiplied the importance of analytics and business intelligence for data-driven businesses. There are several factors that urge businesses to invest in Business Intelligence. It improves visibility of data, enables clearer decision making and brings businesses closer to established goals.

In the recent times, Business Intelligence paradigms have increasingly shifted toward equipping more employees with critical information. The proliferation of mobile technology has helped facilitate this trend, resulting in new considerations for BI software. There are literally hundreds of mobile BI tools that have emerged over time, which is why it is important for companies to approach BI procurement with a clear framework. Here are some key features to look for in your mobile BI tool for a profitable business growth.

Architecture

Your tool should be accessible and properly formatted on all mobile devices and operating systems, including smartphones and tablets. This becomes primarily important because users of business information are spread across various devices and technologies, and every user must be able to make use of BI insights effectively. Many BI vendors are now offering customized mobile intelligence solutions to cater to varied business specifications.

Usability

Accessing BI on a mobile device implies the user’s expectation for simplicity and convenience. Particularly as businesses find more use for predictive analytics, mobile BI should have robust tools for generating new reports as well as sensible dashboards, making viewing and searching business information easily. Look for a tool that has a clear, easy-to-use design, and is able to offer the convenience of using a web-based dashboard on a small screen with minimum effort.

Integration

Companies benefit most with BI tools that integrate with device-specific features such as GPS and other mobile applications. Touch gesturing, integration with cameras, messaging and social media applications and geo-locational functionalities are some common integration features that most businesses seek in modern mobile BI tools. The ability to integrate BI software with other critical applications allows businesses to expand usability of information beyond analysis.

Visualizations

Analyzing raw data is crucial, but user-friendly reporting is equally essential for successful BI implementation. Effective BI tools transform key information into graphs, charts and other visualizations so users can easily make sense of it. Greater visibility leads to better understanding and improved decision making for employees and other stakeholders.

IT Assistance

Another key consideration before selecting a mobile BI tool is the availability of support services at all times. Mobile applications seldom undergo performance failures and breakdowns. Your BI vendor should be able to assist you with any issues and be available for immediate troubleshooting.

Pricing

When multiple BI tools with promising features and competitive prices are available in the market, selecting an ideal tool becomes a challenge. The pricing of a BI tool varies depending on the specifications required and business size. Go for a tool that delivers the maximum business value and fits your budget. An overpriced tool might increase your business cost and a cheap tool might not deliver the desired business benefit.

Mobile technology is growing at an unbelievable pace and so is Mobile Business Intelligence. Industries and businesses of diverse nature are now adopting mobile BI to attain a competitive edge, improve workflows and grow with technology. If you’re looking forward to blending the smartness of BI tools with the convenience of mobility, you know what to look for in your Mobile Business Intelligence tool.

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