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Summer Fun: Data-Driven Guide to Navigating Your Summer

Summer is here and in full summer mode. Whether you’re on vacation or covering for someone on vacation, sit back, relax, and take a moment to see what this summer’s trends are and how they might be impacting your business.

Hot, Hot, Hot Data

Have you found yourself sitting on your porch exclaiming that this is the hottest summer ever?! You would be correct. According to Climate Central the planet has been gradually increasing year after year. In fact, “16 of the 17 hottest years on record have occurred this century,” reports Climate Central.org.

Get up to speed on your investments in sun umbrellas, swim suits, and pool supplies— the heat is here to stay. It is having an impact on consumer and summer trends that have been changing over the past years.

I Scream for Ice Cream

This heat is warming up markets. We all know the best way to cool down on a hot day is ice cream. It’s not only store sales that are impacted but, the sales of packaged ice cream rose 6.5% in the last year according to dairyfoods.com .

Ice cream isn’t the only industry tied to the sun that is increasing; Sun Care products are also on the rise. According to The Global Industry Analysts, Inc. the Sun Care Products industry is projected to reach $11.1 billion by 2020. Currently the largest market worldwide is Europe. The biggest upcoming markets are Asia Pacific, United States, and Latin America. Latin America has a projected sales growth of 10.2% through 2020.

These are just two industry examples of growing markets. It’s not just about the right market at the right time though, it’s also about how consumers are finding and buying.

Website Traffic Summer Blues?

While road traffic is getting increasingly worse every year (in congested cities it is growing by 15 minutes on the daily commute every year) your website traffic may be slowing down these summer months. With recent retail trends like the Retail Meltdown of 2017, there are a lot of opportunities to act upon with online shopping. More importantly, companies need to make sure they are capitalizing on their approach to mobile shopping. It will have a large impact on purchasing trends moving forward.

Not only are consumers online and mobile driven but also they are more informed. Be ready for customers who do all their prep work before larger purchases online as well as competitive shopping. Gone are the days where poor customer service can be swept under the rug with online reviews. There is increasing importance on product experts to provide product comparisons laid out for consumers.

Summer Job Money

Not all industries have a summer rain cloud over them. Overall consumer product purchases may be down but restaurants and travel are booming.

Hotel occupancy is booming. Domestic airlines have flown more passengers each year since 2010, and last year U.S. airlines set a record, with 823 million passengers. The rise of restaurants is even more dramatic. Since 2005, sales at “food services and drinking places” have grown twice as fast as all other retail spending. In 2016, for the first time ever, Americans spent more money in restaurants and bars than at grocery stores. according to The Atlantic.

We’ll see dramatic shifts moving forward in all industries, for some companies it will be sink or swim.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

On the other side of traffic gridlock issues, there is currently a booming tourism industry, making it important to know this year travel trends. There are seven that TrekkSoft points out for a successful tourism business: Millennials, Active & Adventure Trips, Female Solo Travel, Food Tourism, Responsible Tourism, Mobile Photography, and Business and Leisure Travel (“bleisure”).

Millennials are “officially the largest generation in history, beating out Baby Boomers.” They also have disposable income and love to travel. Expect them to share their opinions on travel online, and to do their travel research online.

Also, expect travel to be driven by how ‘Instagram worthy’ it is. Whether a destination is notable for its natural beauty or hotel beauty, expect popularity to grow through mobile pictures.

Happy summer, safe travels, and stay cool!

3ds-Max-2020

3ds Max 2020.1 Feature Updates

Autodesk 3ds Max 2020.1 is focused on enhancing your workflow by delivering you modernized tools such as keyboard shortcut management and detachable viewports. Plus, building upon our 2020 release chamfer modifier feedback, we have polished and provided an additional update to bring you a more predictable tool.

Detachable Viewports

Enhance your workspace experience by extending your viewports across various monitors.

Watch as 3ds Max team member Ken Larue takes you through the details:

Highlights:

  • Leverage multi-monitor set-up and float up to three additional viewport panels across multiple monitors
  • Each viewport panel can be separately configured

Updated default keyboard shortcuts and improved hotkey management

Easily customize, merge, and visualize shortcuts keys with a new hotkey system and hotkey editor tool.

Watch as 3ds Max team member Brent Scannell takes you through the details:

Highlights:

  • New Hotkey Editor tool replaces the Keyboard tab in the Customize User Interface dialog
  • Search for action by keywords or by current hotkey assignments
  • Clear current assignments and conflicts with undo history
  • Filter actions by current customization status, and by groups
  • Migrate legacy keyboard shortcut files without missing out on updates to the defaults
  • User hotkey settings are saved separately from defaults in a dedicated and accessible User Settings folder
  • Configuration selector allows easy and quick switching between hotkey sets

Chamfer modifier improvement

Building upon our 2020 Update users’ feedback, receive even more efficient and predictable modeling options.

Watch as 3ds Max team member Martin Coven takes you through the details:

Highlights:

  • By Weight chamfer type provides absolute weight on an edge, altering the shape of the mitered corners
  • Scale spinner globally multiplies the Weight values in the scale amount
  • Crease Weight averages between connecting edges provide a varying width over a span of edges
  • Depth Weighting allows control on a per-edge basis
  • Depth Type combobox features Fixed and By Weight which hides the modifiers spinner and fetches per-edge depth values from the mesh channel.
  • Depth spinner has been added to Edit/able Poly in the Edit Edges Rollout under Crease and Ribbon in the Edge Panel.
  • Radius Bias will alter shape of the chamfer in areas where there are acute corners, making them more uniform.
  • Spinner blends the chamfer size to the radius amount to handle sharp corners.

Additional Improvements

New Double-click selection allows you to be efficient and faster while modeling.

– Support added for EditablePoly, EditPoly modifier, EditableSpline and EditSpline modifier.​​

– Works with Unwrap UVW in both UV Editor and 3d viewports.​

– Includes modifier hotkeys to add selection or subtract selection and works in Maya Interaction mode​

– Objects to select all contiguous faces, verts, segments, etc.

Command Panel Improvements allow you to switch between different Edit Poly modes 70% faster

– Autocomplete for MAXScript is on by default in the MAXScript editor and works out-of-the-box.

– The new generateAPIList <stringstream> MAXScript API makes it easier to enable
autocomplete for MAXScript in 3rd party editors.

analytic-trends-2019

Top 10 Analytics Trends for 2019

2019 is the year that analytics technology starts delivering what users have been dreaming about for over forty years — easy, natural access to reliable business information.

1. Machine learning everywhere. We’ve reached the third great wave of analytics, after semantic-layer business intelligence platforms in the 90s and data discovery in the 2000s. Augmented analytics platforms based on cloud technology and machine learning are breaking down the longest-standing barriers to analytics success. They bring insights to users rather than forcing users to unearth elusive trends, and provide more intuitive interfaces that make it easier to get the data people need to do their jobs.

2. Embedded analytics accelerates. The historical line between operational applications and analytics continues to blur. Thanks to advances in machine learning, prescriptive “intelligent applications” have become a reality. These data-driven, self-learning business processes improve automatically over time and as people use them.

3. Cloud analytics adoption skyrockets. Cloud brings agility and faster innovation to analytics. As business applications move to the cloud, and external data becomes more important, cloud analytics becomes a natural part of enterprise architectures.

The advantages are particularly important for smaller organizations: the cloud offers affordable, on-demand access to analytical and data processing power that was previously reserved for much larger organizations with dedicated analytics teams.

However, some data will never move to the cloud — a nuanced approach is required, leveraging existing analytics investments while moving to hybrid on-premise / cloud analytics architectures.

4. Better user experience drives greater adoption. Advances in speech and text recognition mean users can finally ask business questions using everyday language. AI-assisted data discovery can automatically mine data for insights and propose appropriate views of what’s new, exceptional, or different.

Chat bots and personal assistants provide seamless access to the basic numbers used to run the business. And using real-time systems as a foundation, managers finally get dashboards with all the information they need to run every aspect of the business, in real time, at their fingertips.

5. Compliance drives true data platform adoption, supported by more flexible data management. As it has been for the last forty years, data collection, preparation, and standardization remain the most challenging aspects of analytics. The rise of compliance and privacy concerns are driving the adoption of more standardized approaches — for example, reducing the attractiveness of data discovery architectures that extract and manipulate data separately from core systems.

Real-time processing, data catalogues and new “data orchestration” systems allow organizations to retain a coherent view of data across the organization without having to physically store it in a single place.

6. Data literacy will continue to be a big problem. The biggest barrier to analytics success has never been technology. Giving somebody the best pencil in the world will not make them Picasso.

Analytics culture, skills, and organization continue to be the biggest barriers to turning information into lower costs or increased profits. Organizations must invest as much time and money in analytic skills and incentives as they do in technology.

7. There will be an increasing number of AI fails. Like any powerful technology, AI brings new dangers. Algorithms are sociopaths: they have no knowledge of what they are doing. AI brings amazing opportunities for improved productivity and augmented human intelligence. But it magnifies any existing problems with data quality and data bias and poses unprecedented challenges to privacy and ethics.

Comprehensive governance and data transparency policies are essential. Sadly, things will probably get worse before they get better — organizations must implement ethics processes, councils and external advisors before high-profile disasters hit the headlines.

8. End-to-end decision-making platforms emerge. Analytics has traditionally only paid attention to a small part of the end-to-end “data journey.” Information and insight is useless unless something actually changes in the business.

More holistic, end-to-end approaches to analytics are emerging, not only because of the combination of operations with analytics, but also with more proactive and seamless approaches to converting user analysis into concrete actions. This depends fundamentally on human judgement, consensus, and creativity, but it must be supported by better integration between analytics, traditional business planning activities, and social collaboration platforms.

9. AI and machine learning makes analytics more human. More powerful augmented analytics will eliminate a lot of the work around collecting and processing data, and identifying areas for further investigation. But ultimately people are the most important “technology” required to turn data into business improvement.

In an era where basic decisions can be increasingly automated, more strategic choices rely on uniquely human skills such as creativity, understanding of context, and leadership.

10. New experience analytics. Understanding and optimizing the customer experience is the bedrock of successful digital transformation. Traditional analytics focused on structured data flowing from operational systems. Newer analytic platforms have blended more unstructured data such as text, images, and raw sensor readings into analytic workflows.

The next step is to expand analytics to both operational data and “experience data” — the unique, subjective experiences of individuals as they interact with products, brands, and internal business processes.

Looking forward to 2020 and beyond. With ever-more devices capturing more nuanced data, with technology capabilities accelerating, and powerful machine learning still in its infancy, analytics is poised for a new golden age.

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TechTips: Benefits of Using SMS for Business Use!

  1. No need to install any apps to send and receive messages.
  2. It can reach all mobile users worldwide, independent of the Wi-Fi and telco provider.
  3. More reliable because no data connectivity is required for instant delivery.
  4. More secure due to spam filtering mechanism put in place by telco operators.
  5. Security passwords are sent via SMS OTP for e-commerce or online backing.
  6. Businesses still prefer SMS over consumer messaging apps.*

Why choose sendQuick?

  • Easy to deploy Plug & Play appliance.
  • Real-time Out-of-band delivery (SMS is sent via SIM card obtained from local Telco).
  • Automated Escalation with 2-way SMS.
  • API integration to any application.
  • User web interface for broadcast messaging.
  • Send messages instantly via SMS, Emails and Instant messenger apps such as Facebook, WeChat, Viber, LINE, Slack, and Telegram.
benefits-of-sms

Benefits of SMS Alerts in Healthcare Industry

A competitive landscape and rising healthcare costs necessitate healthcare providers to manage costs while maintaining high-quality patient care and support services. Also, with rising cyber-attacks, they need to secure endpoints for mitigating the risk of loss of data.

The use of mobile messaging for effectively managing data and communication is a proven method of reducing costs, improving workflow processes and optimizing patient care services.

Here are the top benefits of deploying SMS technology in healthcare institutions:

1) Booking/Appointment reminder

A 2-way SMS text is an effective way of scheduling and sending reminders to patients of their appointments. This frees up administrative resources and time resulting in cost savings.

2) Diagnostic test reports

Non-confidential, routine health test results can be sent via SMS text to patients reducing patient follow-up calls and commute thereby enhancing operational efficiency

3) Queue system

An SMS alert is useful for informing patients of their queue number when there is limited space available in the healthcare institution or patients are experiencing longer waiting time.

4) 2-Factor Authentication (2FA) Security

A second layer of security via SMS One-Time-Password, 2FA mode can help mitigate cyber-security breaches and allow the doctors and patients to securely access information even from remote locations.

5) Emergency Call

If the patient’s health deteriorates or any code blue situation arises, the nurse can call the call centre who will then send out an SMS alert to the doctors cutting down crucial time to respond.

6) Internal Business Messaging

Use of personal mobile devices to communicate sensitive information can expose the healthcare institution to potential leakage of confidential data sqoope (by TalariaX) is a HIPAA compliant platform through which internal staff can share information securely.

7) Feedback and survey

SMS is a convenient and faster way to gather feedback from patients on the quality of services being offered by the healthcare institution.

TalariaX is a leading industry player in developing and providing enterprise mobile messaging solutions for improving business workflow and productivity. Our range of solutions includes IT Alerts and Notifications, 2-Factor Authentication with SMS OTP, Marketing & Emergency Broadcasting.

4-ways-automated-workflow

4 Ways To Implement An Automated Workflow For Routine Business Processes

Do you spend a sizeable part of your day executing time-consuming repetitive processes? Implementing workflow automation by streamlining business processes leads to efficiency and eventually cost-savings, thereby improving the bottom-line of a company.

Here are some of the tasks which different departments can (and should) consider automating to enable them to focus on other important activities:

For the business continuity management team:

Deploy an automated call-tree solution as a reliable crisis communication tool to ensure real-time, omnichannel notification outreach to all relevant stakeholders during emergency scenarios

For the operation team:

Reduce no-show rate and minimize revenue losses with automated appointment reminder messages trigger based on information captured in any calendar app

For the IT team:

Countless alerts from various applications and servers and the need for physical presence of staff for monitoring them is time-consuming and pointless. IT managers can deploy a unified notifications management platform which will monitor, centralize and deliver real-time rich alerts in case of crisis.

For the marketing team:

Rich alerts can be auto-triggered whenever an abnormality (i.e. out of the configured threshold range) is detected by a social network monitoring software, thereby respond to any crisis in a timely manner

Overall, business process automation saves time, effort and money by creating active engagements with staff, prospects and clients with interactive 2-way communications that in turn automates relevant workflow across various departments.

sendQuick has a range of solutions to address critical business needs including IT Alerts and Notifications, Business process Automation, Marketing and Emergency Broadcasting, and Remote System Monitoring

netapp-okada-article

Okada Manila

Okada Manila delights guests by delivering a data-driven customer experience with NetApp

This year, over 7.3 million guests will experience a new level of personalization at Okada Manila as they enjoy leisure in one of the largest casino resorts in the world. NetApp’s hybrid flash storage solutions ensure uninterrupted availability of Okada Manila’s business applications and reliable access to mission critical data.

"NetApp solutions not only simplify data management, but also provide a robust and flexible IT infrastructure that can adapt to changing business needs. With these capabilities, Okada Manila will be able to effectively cope with the growing volume and complexity of data, and continue being a data-driven organization."
Dries Scott
Chief Technology Officer, Okada Manila

Okada Manila realized early on that consistently providing such a top-notch guest experience is only possible with a data-driven approach to running all of its operations. However, this initially posed as a challenge. Since it has a multitude of customer touchpoints across its facilities, Okada Manila needed an IT backbone that allows the right data to be delivered to the right channel at the right time.

With NetApp’s hybrid flash storage solutions, Okada Manila systems will run optimally 24 hours a day, seven days a week as it combines highly reliable hardware, software and sophisticated service analytics to alert IT teams of possible issues that could lead to service outages.

application-modernization

Enterprise Application Modernization: Key focus areas

Application Modernization

This is the migration of legacy applications to new systems, applications, or platforms, perhaps integrating new functionality to older systems. Organizations modernize applications for many reasons; widening access scenarios, a digitalization requirement, or moving to a new IT infrastructure or API-based architecture. Whatever the reasons, modernized legacy systems must operate in sync with other application systems using, for example, Java or .NET.

Application modernization is a strategic decision factoring in organizational needs, priorities and budgets. Considerations include modernizing the application experience and access method and driving create new workflows around the application through integration and automation.

They may modernize the application code itself with analytical tools to increase programmer productivity, and improve performance. Modernizing dev, test, and production methods and platforms, either for individual applications or as part of a composite application, while leveraging new business models with COBOL investments is another thought.

IT Process Modernization

DevOps and Agile IT processes have improved application development, but the software development lifecycle for host-based application can still be slower than other platforms’ pace, especially when applications must be integrated. This requires application delivery process modernization.

Using DevOps and Agile to improve application development has significantly and positively impacted =the application development process. Nevertheless, the software development lifecycle for host-based applications can still be out of sync with the platforms with which these applications need to integrate.

This has resulted in a de facto hybrid approach to application delivery. Organizations need to extend the advantages, such as delivering applications ‘at the speed of business’, to all applications, whatever their value or platform.

Infrastructure Modernization

For infrastructure modernization to succeed, organizations must prioritize the application host platforms in terms of development, test, and production; whether it is a large host system, a distributed environment, the Cloud, or hybrid.

Organizations doing so can implement fit-for-purpose infrastructure to support traditional and new applications, whether current, Cloud-native, or next-generation applications. Additionally, Infrastructure modernization requires an organization to establish strong security for applications and data.

The IDC white paper Modernization: A Flexible Approach to Digital Transformation is clear; “With end-user platform refreshes running at a cycle of once every 3–5 years, an organization’s delivery platform of choice can be up for renewal at any given time. Large host systems such as mainframes may have a life span of 10–20 years. But oftentimes, the applications they support continue to outlive multiple platform refreshes. [So] there is a constant, cyclical re-evaluation of a business’ core systems — the applications and the platforms upon which these applications are developed, tested, and deployed.”

The Move to the Cloud

Modernizing applications, IT processes, or infrastructure, is a good time to evaluate their potential need to move to the Cloud. This Forrester report on Cloud adoption and modernization opines that, “Moving a core business application to a generic Cloud platform isn’t a pain-free sourcing change.

“Many applications can experience performance degradation, but organizations with existing technology management operations simply cannot start from scratch and rewrite everything for the Cloud. The more intensive the adjustment requirements, the more cost-intensive the move …will be.

“Organizations must devise a strategy for evaluating candidate apps —determining what, if any, changes should be applied to ensure the move is successful and the performance and cost balance is met”. Additionally, Forrester hosted a webinar with Micro Focus on this topic, Exploring Complexities to Cloud Migration & Modernization.

the-power-of-offline-marketing-in-retail

The Power of Offline Marketing in Retail

GDPR: The Renaissance of SMB Receipt Marketing

Today, because more than half of retail sales are influenced by digital – and GDPR influences data collection – a new trend is emerging: Retailers are turning to offline marketing.

GDPR (or the General Data Protection Regulation) has had implications for foreign small businesses and retailers, and now similar regulations are coming to the United States.

While large retailers may have the funds to dedicate to safeguarding their big data, SMBs tend to have smaller budgets and fewer staff to manage such procedures. How do these stores continue to successfully communicate with customers – and stay protected against regulation?

Receipt Marketing: A Secret Weapon to Boost Customer Engagement

Independent retailers may create email marketing campaigns or implement a basic loyalty program, but there’s another thing they could be doing: receipt marketing.

Apart from customer service at physical stores, what’s the one thing shoppers always take away with them? A receipt, which is an intuitive and significantly underutilized marketing channel!

Customer retention, loyalty and engagement are all built upon developing relationships, being memorable, standing out and creating a connection. What if a cute or funny message on a receipt could do that? What if coupons, discounts, QR codes and thoughtful messages on receipts could build rapport with your audience?

It’s Cheap, Easy, Safe and Humanizing

Because digital marketing doesn’t always produce results for brands with a strict budget, offline marketing that reaches all customers could be a more rational place to invest your customer engagement dollars.

Just think of the possibilities! Your messaging can be timely and feature endearing calls-to-action that brighten your customer’s day. And the best part? This type of offline marketing has no privacy infringements – just enticing offers and a personal touch that makes SMBs feel genuine.

Customer Incentives for Return Business

Receipts can be a great place to highlight special offers to boost future store, restaurant and kiosk traffic.

Offline Meets Mobile: QR Codes

QR codes embedded on receipts, cards and in-store posters mean offline marketing can sync up with mobile offers.

Persuasive Discount Offers and Time-Sensitive Offline Messaging

Receipt marketing is a great way to reach a lot of eyeballs at an extremely low cost. Discounts with time-sensitive offers can create some of the best results and are a part of the most persuasive loyalty campaigns.

microfocus-header

Digital Transformation and Micro Focus

Micro Focus enables modernization and digital transformation through a broad solution portfolio, characterized in this IDC white paper as “a holistic view of the whole application.” This is the idea that the application includes both the code, the access experience, and importantly, security.

“[The] Micro Focus perspective is that customers can approach modernization in [different] ways, incrementally, and with or without the need to change the underlying code — all depending on the level of modernization required as dictated by business requirements and priorities.”

The Micro Focus solution portfolio supports a successful modernization strategy in different ways:

Mainframe and COBOL

Back to IDC; “[The] Micro Focus COBOL and mainframe product portfolio … provide[s] support across the application delivery lifecycle, and while it can … be deployed as a holistic solution, it comprises products designed specifically for the key technical phases involved.”

The technologies in this portfolio include; analyzer technology (Enterprise Analyzer and COBOL Analyzer), development technology (Enterprise Developer and Visual COBOL), flexible mainframe testing technology (Enterprise Test Server), deployment technology (COBOL Server and Enterprise Server), and application delivery management and control technology (ChangeMan ZMF and Enterprise Sync).

Host Connectivity

Micro Focus organizes its Host Connectivity portfolio into three groups of solutions: access, integration, and management and security. These solutions include Reflection, InfoConnect, Rumba+, Extra!, Verastream, Databridge, Reflection for Secure IT, Host Access for the Cloud (formerly ZFE), and Host Access Management and Security (MSS).

To quote IDC again “Micro Focus solutions for accessing host applications have long since moved beyond the origins of ‘terminal emulation.’ It is now about modernizing application access from user experience, security, and data protection perspectives

“The Micro Focus Host Connectivity portfolio … is about modernizing and connecting core, business-critical applications to the rest of the organization, instead of replacing them, to create new value such as through digital transformation.”

In summary

To wrap up all three posts, let’s summarize the advice from Gartner, Forrester, and IDC about these modernization trends based on other organizations’ experiences. In Use Continuous Modernization to Build Digital Platforms from Legacy Applications, Gartner states “application leaders responsible for a strategy to build a digital business platform should exploit and extend the value of [their] legacy applications by removing obstacles, rather than viewing and treating those applications as a problem”. On a similar note, the Forrester report Exploring the Complexities of Cloud Migration and App Modernization opined that to keep pace with technology adoption, organizations must “consider how they manage transfer/move activities. Technology and business leaders must be laser-focused on what they want to achieve and remember to align business systems to the business strategy”.

So there seems to be a clear theme of making more of what an organization has now and aligning it with what they will need in the future.

IDC sum it up in their white paper Modernization: A Flexible Approach to Digital Transformation, acknowledging the “shift from a ‘rip and replace’ approach toward modernization strategies that are aimed at gaining significant business value in the form of agility, new business capabilities, and a reduction in TCO and risk.”

Why this matter:

Assistance on the journey to digital transformation comes in two strands.

There are the analysts who offer guidance on modernization, while the Micro Focus portfolio of mainframe and COBOL solutions provide support across the application delivery lifecycle, while the host connectivity solutions give access to the mainframe, while providing security and data protection.

These solutions align with that guidance to offer organizations a way to modernize applications, IT infrastructure and processes, while maintaining access to legacy applications.

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