Reduce your operational costs and unnecessary investments with legacy modernization
Since the pandemic started tightening its grip on the world, businesses have seen an unmistakable acceleration in digital transformation. Legacy application modernization enables enterprises to have the agility and ability to respond to dynamic changes. Software technologies are being enhanced and deployed at an unprecedented scale, and most businesses have noted a high appetite for digital transformation.
Your business should also have an application modernization strategy to ensure business continuity and growth in a highly volatile market. Modernizing your existing applications or systems is the best way to monetize the current capital and avoid unwanted technology investments.
Legacy application modernization helps you get rid of accumulating technical debts and business paralysis. This blog discusses how application modernization enables businesses to transform digitally and scale up during the pandemic.
What is application modernization?
Application modernization involves updating older software for new computing approaches. These updates include new languages, frameworks, and infrastructure platforms. We can compare this update to renovating an older home, enabling it with better safety, structural integrity, ease of use, design, and so forth. This practice is also called legacy modernization. Legacy modernization extends the lifespan of your applications instead of replacing them wholly. Such an approach will allow your business to take advantage of technology innovations.
Most businesses have thoughtfully invested in their existing application portfolio. Some companies are ready to retire these applications and adopt the latest. However, this can be costly from both a financial and operational standpoint. Hence, “application modernization is the most sensible way to leverage newer platforms, tools, and frameworks.”
5 ways application modernization enables businesses to scale up during the pandemic
Owning and operating outdated software can present a variety of challenges during the pandemic. Outdated software can accumulate problems over time, resulting in employee and customer frustration. Here’s how application modernization helps businesses scale up during the pandemic.
1. Application Modernization reduces costs
Because of diminishing resources during the pandemic, “cost“ has been the most important driving factor for application modernization. For example, the more data you accumulate, the more you have to pay for the on-premise data center forcing companies to buy new storage systems more frequently.
It is expensive to own and maintain the infrastructure as they incur extra costs for cooling, space, and electricity. Apart from these expenses, you would need a dedicated IT team to maintain a vast storage system. Therefore, it is reasonable and beneficial to invest in timely application modernization that helps avoid all the costs mentioned above.
2. Enhances customer experience
With stiff competition, the market has turned into a battleground for businesses that sell similar products and services. In this scenario, customer experience is what will set a company apart. Continued use of an outdated system can hurt your customer experience because they have limited functionality. Legacy software affects efficiency and waiting time. Additionally, the security problems of legacy software can easily compromise your business and customer data, impacting your brand severely.
On the other hand, a customer expects your business to keep up with the latest trends and technology. Application modernization can enhance your customers’ experience by transforming the end-user interface, automating manual processes, and creating new features. Essentially, your business operations will be more efficient with more stable systems, quicker fixes, and better security. All of it together sets your business apart, ensuring your business thrives during the pandemic.
3. Enables you to create new features and services
You may have invested in software that is perfect for your current needs. However, the pandemic has taught us that change is inevitable. An application that is working well today may not perform so tomorrow. Every new patch, release, or update that is not purpose-built will be a problem for you. It is challenging to meet the changing customer needs during an economic downturn.
Thankfully, application modernization allows your business to create new features and services that align with your current and future goals. These new features and services can be purpose-built for your business to ensure the legacy application continues to provide value today and into the future.
4. Improves employee productivity
You cannot expect your employee to work with applications and systems that seem to take forever to respond or perform simple operations. Just as businesses expect efficiency from their employees, employees expect their companies to provide high-performance technologies in their offices.
Working on outdated applications can frustrate your employees, lowering their performance and hindering their success. Legacy and low-performing software can increase work stress resulting in missed deadlines. It can also affect overall productivity as it irritates and demotivates your workforce.
Application modernization can automate several repetitive tasks and processes, freeing up your employees to concentrate on more intelligent tasks. It will save time and increase the efficiency of your employees. Since modernization minimizes application problems, it allows you to develop more features designed to streamline your operations.
5. Erases technical debts
Technical debt creates friction between developers and their work. It may increase their job tomorrow, as the situation demands them to take the fastest and shortest approach to deliver the project today. Technical debt includes the implied cost of additional rework that developers have to bear for taking a shortcut today. It is translated into incremental cost and loss of agility because of prior decisions intended to save time or cost. Moreover, technical debt can build up to a point where developers will not be able to do anything to rectify it. Technical debt can result in increased maintenance costs and the inability to add new features. Since each part depends on the other, any attempt to fix one part might cause some damage to another.
Application modernization can erase technical debt because it eliminates the need to replace your existing systems completely. Thus, your company need not spend resources to maintain an outdated code. It will also reduce overall problems from technical debt. Legacy software modernization fixes your application’s glitches and makes it more robust and healthy.
Modernize your apps without burning a hole in your pocket
Your business can get up to speed with application modernization without investing heavily in all new systems. With application modernization, your business will see increased revenue in the long run. It boosts productivity and enhances the security of your applications.
Get started on your mission to legacy modernization. We at Fingent can help you make smart decisions and find the most effective way to modernize your systems without leaving a gaping hole in your company’s resources. Give us a call, and let’s get talking.
Stay up to date
on whats new
Get a free
Talk to our experts today
about your business
Identify the best approach to legacy system modernization
With changing customer behavior, enterprises have changed their norms and business applications. Now, retailers have to fulfill orders in a multichannel, multitouch eCommerce environment; consumer banks have to provide secure and user-friendly apps, and travel brands have reconfigured their approach to stay relevant in the face of disruptors.
All these changes require legacy system modernization.
What are legacy systems?
A legacy system may be different for each company, depending on their business. While many organizations prefer to leverage new software tools and run them on old systems, others update their applications one at a time. That said, few companies are still using both old software and old systems.
Legacy systems are considered old when the software fits the early 2000s, not 2020-21. However, not all legacy software or systems are defined solely according to their age.
What is legacy systems modernization?
Simply put, modernization means updating all or some of the IT stack to enhance your business processes and goals.
However, here are three definitions that will help you understand that legacy system modernization is more than just updating the system.
- Legacy software: The application(s) that your business depends on from the last year to the past decade or more.
- Legacy software modernization: Replacing and updating all inefficient systems, processes, and applications either partly or entirely.
- Re-platforming: Modernization begins with the platform on which your business applications are built. Moving your e-commerce platform from Shopify to Magento is an example of re-platforming.
There’s no denying that business leaders drive innovation at their companies. But they need the latest technologies to enable and support this innovation. They need fast applications, systems that support connectivity, and platforms that bring all these together. Most older IT companies fail to meet these modern needs. So, legacy system modernization is a must in such cases.
That said, digital transformation has pushed application leaders to find effective ways to modernize legacy systems.
Why do you need legacy system modernization?
Legacy system modernization is more than just updating the system. It is about bringing the entire organization to meet the digital environment.
Some of the reasons to consider legacy modernization are:
- It helps create and maintain a competitive advantage by building a solution that will help you stay ahead of competitors.
- Provides reliable processes with reduced risks, improves the system’s functioning, and improves performance.
- Ensures satisfied customers and happier employees by meeting UX and performance standards.
- It helps you scale in the future by transforming your IT stack into an agile platform for future change.
- Secures your IT infrastructure from internal security breaches and external threats
- From accounting software to CRMs, legacy systems introduce simpler integration with several new enterprise software used by various businesses.
- Addresses the financial inefficiencies of legacy system
- It helps realize growth opportunities, exceed customer expectations, and gain new customers by staying ahead of the enterprise software curve.
Have a look at some of the points in more detail.
Integrated, up-to-date, and user-friendly software and systems will save your company on downtime, transactions, and more. For instance, Javelin Strategy & Research observed that mobile and online banking transactions cost only $0.10 while offline processing cost around $4.25 for financial institutions.
Older software and systems can help you spend less on technology, but they end up incurring other overhead expenses.
Most organizations rely on third-party APIs to realize maximum enterprise value. For example, Zillow, a real-estate listing site, relies on the Google Maps API for full functionality.
Making sure your new software system is ready for integration will help meet the expectations of your customers, employees, and stakeholders.
Gartner recommends how to approach legacy modernization
Here is a three-step evaluation process provided by Gartner on how to approach the legacy system’s modernization.
Step 1: Use six drivers to evaluate your legacy systems
There are six main drivers for the modernization of your legacy system. These are the issues or concerns that the legacy application has created due to its architecture, functionality, or technology.
Three of these drivers are from a business perspective, such as business value, business fit, and agility. So, if your legacy system does not meet the new requirements, it will have to be modernized to fit properly and should be updated to provide more business value. Systems that are not agile enough to meet digital business demand are more likely to risk liability.
Step 2: Evaluate modernization
Once you identify the problem and select the opportunity, look at the modernization options. Here are seven options provided by Gartner. These options are ranked based on the ease of implementation- the easier it is, the less risk and impact it will have on the system and the business processes, the difficult, the more risk and impact it will have.
- Enhance and extend the application features by encapsulating its data and functions by making them available via an API.
- Be it cloud, virtual or physical, rehost the application component to other infrastructure without changing its code, functions, or features.
- Make minimal changes to the code but not the code structure, features, or functions to migrate to a new runtime platform.
- Restructure and optimize the existing code but not its external behavior to improve non-functional attributes and remove technical debt.
- Modify the code materially to shift it to new application architecture and exploit newer capabilities.
- Rebuild the application component from scratch while retaining its scope and specifications.
- Eliminate the former application and replace it while taking into account the new requirements and needs.
Step 3: Select a modernization approach that has the highest effect and value
The last step is to choose the modernization approach by mapping the seven modernization options concerning their effect on architecture, technology, functionality, costs, and risks.
It is important to weigh all the options to identify the extent to which they will all have the desired effect with less effort and maximum positive impact.
How can Fingent help update your legacy system?
Whether you are looking to re-architect your enterprise software or re-platform your entire system, or simply looking for new solutions that integrate with what you have going, we have you covered. We offer business process re-engineering and platform modernization services.
With expertise in various industries and a full-cycle in-house software development team specializing in legacy modernization, we can make your entire process efficient and personalized. Talk to our expert to know more about this.
Stay up to date
on whats new
Get a free
Talk to our experts today
about your business
How to plan a successful COVID-exit strategy and get your business on track?
If the 2008-09 global recession was due to financial meltdown and economic vulnerabilities, the 2020 economic crisis stemmed from the global pandemic and subsequent health emergency. Both incidents hold lessons that business owners and leaders should follow to fast-track their organizations’ recovery in 2021.
Economic growth in 2021 is likely to improve compared to the growth rate in the second half of 2020. However, it will still be uneven. Additionally, the timing and growth will vary for different products and services and geographic markets.
Given the uncertain recovery of the economy, leaders and business owners need to plan a successful strategy to lead their teams and organizations over the year. The focus should be a forecast of their companies’ revenue potentially earned in every quarter of the year.
That said, the COVID-exit strategy is not straightforward. Leaders and business owners will have to make a few difficult choices.
- How much should my organization change, and how fast?
- How far should I go to change my current strategy and adopt faster and more agile approaches?
These are some of the questions that you’ll probably need to figure out. However, remember that if your organization does not move quickly, it will lose itself in the crowd.
One of the best ways to transform is to apply the “all-in” approach to transformation. It means to go ahead with full speed. Whether your organization’s transformation should be about portfolio moves or performance improvements misses the point. If you want to succeed, you must consider both and make your transformation go big. This approach will help your organization emerge stronger and sustain the competitive edge for a long time.
This article discusses how leaders can build a successful COVID-exit strategy and begin a holistic transformation.
Three fundamental steps that organizations can consider
If your organization is successfully managing portfolio and performance moves simultaneously in a transformation, you can invest in three foundational steps:
- Getting an honest view of the business’s full potential across both portfolio and performance moves.
- Understanding the impact of those moves.
- Creating a program with a proper structure and sequence to maximize value creation.
While understanding the full business potential, leaders must know the importance of setting a high aspiration. According to McKinsey & Company, companies that put their gross transformation targets at 75% of trailing earnings are more likely to create value sustainably.
Incrementalism may be risky for organizations trying to break out from the COVID-19 crisis. Management teams seek safety to confront the current situation and avoid the discomfort of going in for the big moves. In reality, leaders must use this time and opportunity to challenge assumptions and overcome social barriers that block bold moves.
Successful digital transformation requires leaders to answer these questions
- Which line(s) of business does my company no longer own naturally?
- Which trends accelerated by COVID-19 could transform my business?
- What are the new efficiencies and business models developed by my company to meet the COVID-19 necessities?
- How can my organization benefit from the advantages of those new efficiencies and business models in the next normal?
- How has my organization’s health changed, and what elements and capability building will be required to maximize the impact of the COVID-exit?
While you are trying to balance portfolio and performance moves, you will also need to consider the sequencing. Portfolio and performance initiatives must go hand-in-hand. You must consider each move by defining the magnitude, timing, and risk of impact.
According to McKinsey & Co., stand-alone portfolio moves capture less than half of value creation, especially in areas such as deal premiums, performance upside, or growing new business. However, if your strategy is ill-conceived, even stand-alone performance moves can take time and maybe outweighed by acquiring the wrong business lines.
Two cases of “all-in transformation”
While you must consider both portfolio moves and performance improvements, which of these should you execute first? The answer depends on the organization and context.
How and when you implement your transformation elements must be guided by your organization’s various circumstances and potential at any given time.
We’re listing two cases of “all-in transformation” here. Both the examples highlight the significance of sequenced transformation in unlocking business value. In both cases, the organizations identified the required potentials, set high aspirations, and deliberately sequenced the portfolio and performance moves to achieve the results. However, the companies differed in how they advanced from there.
In the first case, the value creation and its sequencing were as follows:
- The company streamlined its cost structure, focused on resource allocation, and carved out a few of its competing lines after consolidating business units and simplifying the executive team. This reorganization enabled about 10% of total transformation value creation.
- Next, the company improved the effectiveness of its sales force which generated high revenue growth. It also implemented automation and simplifications to reduce overheads and adopted a strategic procurement approach to reduce external expenditure. These operational improvements enabled about 75% of transformation value creation.
- Lastly, the company invested in optimizing firms it had acquired and integrated a similar set of core capabilities.
The second case, though an all-in transformation program, took a separate route.
- After a significant merger, the company re-evaluated its core business portfolio and divested non-core business. This approach enabled the organization to focus on financial flexibility by using the proceeds to buy back stock. Overall, this performance move allowed the company about 75% of value creation.
- By streamlining its operations, focusing on revenue growth and margin improvements, the company’s performance transformation enabled about 25% of value creation.
From these examples, leaders need to understand that they cannot choose between a portfolio-first or performance-first approach while planning their exit strategy. The order is not important, but leaders will have to accept that they are going all in, set high aspirations right from the start, and let the realization of full potential determine what happens. Avoiding an ad hoc approach to value creation may have significant implications over the long-term. Research reveals that organizations that go for the “all-in” transformation approach are more likely to show lasting improvements and are nearly three times more likely to be ahead of their competitors.
After a year of uncertainties, CEOs and business leaders are aware that the COVID-exit path will not be easy. However, if companies adopt an all-in transformation approach, they can expect more dynamism and flexibility during the journey.
At Fingent, we use cutting-edge digital solutions and rapid innovation to help businesses reinvent the future. We’re closely monitoring the situation and helping businesses return to work with our technology consulting and innovation capabilities. Feel free to get in touch with us to know how we can transform your business digitally.
Stay up to date
on whats new
Get a free
Talk to our experts today
about your business
What comes under the scope of digital transformation? How does it differ from digitization and digitalization?
Digital Transformation vs. Digitization vs. Digitalization: Decoding the Concepts
The term digital transformation captivates every enterprise leader. Given the hype from software vendors and analysts, it’s hard to find an enterprise technology today that doesn’t self-endorse as a critical component of digital transformation.
While everyone seems to agree that digital transformation involves employing technology to accomplish business goals, there are differences of opinion among companies on what digital transformation is and isn’t. For a few, it means getting into e-commerce or moving into a cloud database. Some consider digital transformation as the adoption of advanced technologies like the Internet of Things or Artificial Intelligence to become more competitive.
With a lot of uncertainty prevailing on digital transformation’s scope and purpose, let’s take a closer look at what digital transformation means and not.
Digitization, digitalization, and digital transformation: Don’t confuse them
An excellent example of digitization is the conversion of paper-based forms and documents into electronic spreadsheets. Digitization enables businesses to cut costs to become more efficient. However, that’s the only competitive advantage it offers, either getting better or cheaper. Exactly what Microsoft Office did during its initial days by helping us compose and save documents easily.
With Big Data, Cloud Computing, and DevOps becoming ubiquitous, digitalization advanced businesses’ need to expand their online presence. A field service provider who never relied on software to run her company is now using an FSM suite to manage accounts, send invoices, create and schedule work orders, and generate reports. A digital strategy- such as a website or a mobile app- is inevitable for a business to stay connected with its customers in this digital world.
In addition to cost reduction and differentiation, digitization and digitalization are intended to simplify what a business does without drastic augmentation.
Digital transformation shifts the focus from the engineering mindset to the experience mindset. Peloton bike that offers an immersive cardio experience is a recent example of digital transformation. Peloton’s latest $2300 exercise bike streams customized workout content to its users through the large 22″ touch screen attached to it. Peloton applies user data tracking, engagement, and experience to replicate the studio-grade experience. This appeals to a vast customer base.
When most of the outdoor gyms were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Peloton transformed the indoor exercise experience for their customers with personalized content streamed live as well as on-demand.
“Digital transformation can simply be defined as the application of new and emerging technologies to make fundamental changes to your business model.”
Digital transformation: Three areas of focus
“It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change,” wrote Charles Darwin in 1809. For businesses, keeping up with the change is no longer an option but a condition. How can business leaders seize the opportunity and lead the change?
1. Build and deliver customer-centric experiences
Digital transformation reimagines and redefines the customer experience. It isn’t easy to find a sector that is not disrupted by technology today.
Dairy farming, one of the most traditional industries that still follows farming practices passed down from generation to generation, is now embracing emerging technology to get smarter.
“Connected cows” – cows wearing pedometers and Fitbit-style necklaces to monitor feeding habits, acid monitors to detect digestive problems, and other cow-monitoring mechanisms to oversee milk production, smooth calving process, and ensure cattle health is an example of digital transformation in a traditional industry. The “connected cows” farming has led to greater crop yields and simplified the management of larger livestock herds.
Doesn’t emerging technology improve the farmer’s experience who first checks out her mobile or PC before heading to the stable in the morning?
2. Make the best of advanced technology
The early IT activities were focused on cutting costs and reducing human efforts by building relatively simple applications. With the growth and complexity of computing platforms and software applications, businesses have been showing the hunger to find the next big thing in technology that can enhance not just what they deliver but how they deliver. The ubiquitous digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Google Now, and Amazon’s Alexa can understand and recognize the context and enable businesses to improve customer interactions by not just being responsive but proactive.
Oncologists and pathologists use machine learning to discern patterns in symptoms to detect cancerous tissues or analyze bodily fluids. Mixed reality (MR) technology that breaks the barrier between physical and digital worlds is now getting mature enough to take digital data and place it in our actual environment. Ohio-based Case Western Reserve University uses Microsoft HoloLens devices to study human anatomy where an entire class can view the same life-sized 3D image at once. IoT applications that gather data continuously are programmed to improve the quality and productivity of life, society, and industries.
Robotic Process Automation, Blockchain, Augmented and Virtual realities, Artificial Intelligence- are all emerging technologies that enable digital transformation by enhancing customer experience. With numerous open-source libraries made available by tech providers like AWS, IBM Watson, Google Cloud, and various other vendors, it’s now possible for anyone to experiment and create POCs free of cost. The democratization of technology accelerates digital transformation.
3. Culture, organizational structure, and processes
“Transformation isn’t a plan or program; it’s a chain reaction of experiments,” says Joris Merks-Benjaminsen, Head of Digital Transformation at Google.
Fostering an environment of openness, business leaders can create a culture that allows ideas to flourish. Fluid structures, tools, and workplaces encourage employees to think outside the box and embrace change. Predictive models solely based on past experiences will only have a short-term impact. If you can offer more flexibility in the design and logic of a business case, people are more likely to invest their time, effort, and skills in things that matter for transformation.
Enterprise leaders can make way for transformation by:
- Supporting people focus on the future by establishing a stable long-term vision that includes well-defined challenges for them to work on.
- Implementing tools that facilitate cross-team collaboration and encouraging everyone to connect irrespective of hierarchy or position in the org chart.
- Adopting a “test and learn” approach, including “learning from mistakes” and rewarding experimentation. Small gestures of appreciation like awards and incentives inspire employees to practice acts of innovation.
Passionate leadership that cares about the customer and stimulates forward motion by encouraging entrepreneurship will successfully ride the transformation wave.
What digital transformation means today
Before Netflix, we used to scour shop racks in search of tapes, discs, and DVDs. Today, Netflix has transformed our content consumption experience by leveraging AI-driven content recommendations, live streaming, and endless libraries of digital content served upon our personal devices, topped with personalized suggestions, reviews, and attractive subscription options.
Digital transformation is not about how your business can sell more products to more people. It’s about making your customers spend more than they would otherwise. Rather than repositioning your brand as a seller of your products, you should aim at transforming to be a solution provider that helps solve your buyers’ woes and enhance their experience. If the first wave of transformation brought businesses online, the current wave of transformation requires businesses to innovate their selling process and offer new services and products that can solidify customer loyalty.
Need help with your digital transformation goals?
Fingent is setting up practices to actively leverage third-party developer innovation to reduce the time-to-market for our customers and us. One of our products, InfinCE, is empowering small businesses to achieve digital agility without the need to own infrastructure or an IT practice. ReachOut, another product, has digitized several field service businesses through automation of manual operations, digital inspection forms and checklists, and intelligent scheduling.
Fingent’s team is highly experienced in helping businesses solve their digital transformation challenges. We have partnered with businesses worldwide in their digital transformation projects. We can help you define your vision and create robust digital transformation plans that enable your business to transform and grow. To take advantage and get the ball rolling, please get in touch with Fingent.
Stay up to date
on whats new
Get a free
Talk to our experts today
about your business
Why Does the Retail Industry Need to Embrace Digital Transformation?
The term digital transformation in the retail industry means disruption, new services, and improved functioning of the existing system using technology.
As the customer journey is evolving, retailers have to adapt and evolve as well. Also, with the shift towards personalized shopping, retailers have to go beyond focusing on a single technology in order to create new and innovative business models.
Location-based services, mobile apps, and big data analytics have brought about a significant change in the retail industry. This post details the significance of Digital Transformation in Retail.
What does digital transformation mean for retail?
Retailers will have to look beyond marginal enhancements and redefine processes to create a connected engagement using technology. Digital transformation is not only about agility, innovation, data intelligence, customer centricity, and new value propositions but also about streamlining processes, reducing costs, and improving productivity across the transactional cycle.
Now, more than ever before, retailers have to rethink every aspect of their business. Right from sourcing, pricing, inventory planning, employee training to customer experience management, retailers have to find new ways to drive revenues and create innovative business models.
McKinsey states that COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies in the retail industry. According to their report, e-commerce penetration in the United States which was supposed to reach 24% by 2024 has rapidly grown from 17% to 33% in just two months since the lockdown.
“Contactless retail that leverages digital transformation technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and Virtual Reality (VR) increases customers’ confidence to shop during the COVID-19 pandemic”, says GlobalData. With changes in consumer behavior and consumption patterns, retail digital transformation trends are only likely to continue in the future.
Simply put, digital transformation in retail can improve customer retention and satisfaction by offering products and services according to their needs.
What are the benefits of digital transformation in the retail industry?
While digital transformation is not an easy one, a well-thought strategy can bring in the desired results. Also, it comes with several advantages such as:
1. Improved operations
Using cloud technologies helps improve operations within the company and enable the retail staff to respond to customers quickly which eventually improves client support. Availability of real-time data helps predict demands ahead of time and stock goods in advance.
AI tools are helping customers to shop without a cashier and enabling retailers to sell their products in physical stores as well as websites and mobile apps. Thus, AI-powered automation of retail processes such as locating items, tracking inventory and replenishing stocks, remembering customer preferences, etc. will enhance the customer experience.
Read more: AI To Solve Today’s Retail Profit Problems
3. Better communication
Retailers can form a better connection and improve their communication with their customers via social media, mobile apps, websites, chatbots, etc.
4. Enhanced customer experience
Digital transformation influences customer experiences and makes them better. Technical tools help increase the productivity of the employees and make services more efficient. This helps customers get not just high-quality services but also ensures a pleasant buying journey. While digital transformation is customer-centered, it also helps your business become better and stay ahead of the competition.
5. Boost revenue
Digital transformation offers retailers a chance to reach a wider target audience and thus increase their channels of income.
Why is the retail digital transformation more relevant now?
While the shift towards e-commerce is not new, the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated it. In the United States alone, approximately $600 billion represented online sales that accounted for 56% of overall retail growth in 2019.
Here are some more reasons why businesses have to mandate digital transformation and tweak their customer journey to respond effectively.
1. Life post-COVID will see a surge in online shopping
With increased emphasis on social distancing and personal safety, there will be several changes in consumer demands, saving patterns, spending style, and buying channels. Business leaders must plan their digital transformation and make profits in the post-COVID era. Business recovery and sustenance will depend on digital channels during the social distancing phase. Businesses should consider establishing digital channels and improving presence, invest in data, and improve models for customer demands. Additionally, business leaders can integrate pandemic outbreak models with supply chain demands and empower employees to work from home efficiently.
2. Transparency in supply chain
The pandemic has affected the supply networks across the globe and has caused many retailers to be unable to meet consumer demand for their products. So, retailers will have to be more transparent about their inventory and plan their online and offline customer experience.
3. Retailers with a digital presence will be more successful
Given the current pandemic situation, most people are indoors and spending only on essential items. So, retailers having a digital presence are already ahead of the competition. Such retailers are taking advantage of the pandemic situation and capturing the market share through innovation and customer acquisition. Businesses need to continue with their digital transformation program instead of closing their business and filing for bankruptcy.
4. Customers are rooting for their favorite brand
Most people are affected by social distancing, maintaining personal hygiene, queuing up for entry in stores, and other restrictions. So, customers are rooting for their favorite brands and expecting them to provide better services while taking safety measures. This increases the demand for digital transformation of retail more than ever.
Top 3 retail digital transformation trends to embrace
Retail digital transformation has already started and many companies have benefited from it. However, digital transformation is not a short-term process as technologies keep evolving and retailers will have to keep track of the latest trends. We have shared some of the latest trends to watch out for.
1. Augmented Reality (AR)
AR technologies and tools are helping customers to try and view things from the comfort of their homes. For instance, Toyota’s Augmented Reality shopping experience allows you to try 10 different cars before selecting the right one.
Another great example is IKEA. They let their customers choose furniture using their app. Customers just have to point the camera to the right place at home and the app will suggest options that suit your decor.
2. Mobile applications
Mobile apps help you connect with customers in a better way. It allows customers to check on the products, read reviews, etc. Additionally, customers can contact the support team in case of any issues.
Mobile apps are also good for further development as they allow you to add new features and enhance the services you provide.
3. Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual Reality technology has immense potential to develop and grow in the retail industry. VR can enhance customer experience and take it to the next level as it will allow customers to check homes, cars, etc., without even stepping inside. The retail giant Walmart employs VR headsets in over 4,500 of its stores for managing grand shopping events like Black Friday. VR training has boosted the confidence and productivity of Walmart’s associates and has increased their rate of retention.
It can be said that simply having a retail store will not help you anymore. You must integrate digital transformation from your physical store to your online store and social media accounts.
Instead of spending days researching your options, we can help you save your time and money. Let us know about your retail business needs and we’ll come up with the best digital transformation strategies suited for you. Contact us today.
Stay up to date
on whats new
Get a free
Talk to our experts today
about your business
Attaining Digital Transformation Success with AIOps in 2020
Your IT infrastructure is the key pillar of your organization and this dependency will only increase steadily in 2020. You need help to cope with this massive dependency, and digital transformation will play a crucial role in this. Now, in order to make your digital transformation successful, you need something powerful, radical and looking up to the next-gen. That is what AIOps is.
Related Reading: How Digital Innovation Transformed Today’s Business World
This blog will discuss how organizations can apply AIOps to drive digital transformation and make your IT operations a success for the future of your business.
Defining AIOps and Its Crucial Role
AIOps was initially used by Gartner in 2017 as an acronym for Artificial Intelligence for IT operations. AIOps is a beautiful synchronization of machine learning, analytics, and AI. These technologies are brought together in order to derive meaning from massive datasets. It pools all kinds of data gathered from different sources and uses advanced AI and ML operations to enhance a wide range of IT operations. The insights derived are far beyond what human analysis could achieve.
As IT infrastructure is becoming progressively complex with the demands of digital transformation, this potential of AIOps is becoming critical to successful IT development. Traditional methods of managing your complex infrastructure could increase your costs, create maintenance issues and increase possibilities of slowdowns. AIOps can equip your IT teams to overcome such problems, trends, and slowdowns. It allows your teams to prioritize and focus on the most important information while AIOps reduces normal alert noises and identifies patterns automatically without human input.
Related Reading: How IT-as-a-Service Boost the Digital Transformation of Enterprises
In fact, AIOps is becoming a necessity for every organization. Gartner predicts that 30% of large enterprises will adopt AIOps by 2023. According to another research, AIOps platform market is expected to grow to $11.02 billion by 2023. Hence, the question larger organizations should ask themselves is not “if” they need to adopt AIOps, but “when.”
How is AIOps Driving Digital Transformation?
Since digital transformation includes cloud adoptions, quick change and implementation of new technologies, it requires a shift in focus. Instead of users struggling with traditional services and performance management strategies and tools, AIOps offers organizations a perfect model to handle digital transformation. It can help your team to manage the speed, scale, and complexity of changes, which are the key challenges of digital transformation.
Here are some essential steps to effective AIOps:
1. Act Fast
Timing is everything in business and hesitation in the adoption of technologies can set you back more than you can imagine. Even if you feel that you aren’t ready to adopt AIOps yet, read about it and familiarize yourself with the vocabulary and capabilities of AIOps. It will help you make an informed decision when it is the right time.
2. Start Small
All in or all out doesn’t necessarily apply to digital transformation. Starting small could actually prove beneficial to your organization. This would mean that you focus on what is practical and achievable. Your initial use cases could include application performance monitoring, dynamic baselining, predictive event management, and event-driven automation.
3. Restructure Your Team
Successful adoption of AIOps might require restructuring the roles of your team. This would ensure that the best resources are used for the right jobs. Also, identify experience gaps and fill those gaps by providing the necessary training.
4. Leverage Available Resources
Your organization might already have data and analytic resources. Since these teams are already skilled in data management, their skill set can be effectively leveraged for AIOps.
5. Increase Proficiency by Developing Core Capabilities
Developing core capabilities such as machine learning, open data access, and big data can prove beneficial. For example, the massive amount of data generated by digital transformation can be overwhelming. Since the AIOps platform must support responsive ad-hoc data exploration and deep queries, developing this capability can also help you build up progress towards the use of AIOps.
6. Track Business Value
Make sure that the value of AIOps is tied to your overall business objective. The key performance indicators must correlate with best practices and should remain measurable. Ensure that your business is able to obtain a complete and referenceable history of such values.
What Is Your Plan of Action?
AIOps might be taking its first steps, but it is what will eventually drive your digital transformation with unmatched speed and stability. Selecting the right use cases might be challenging initially and might require significant process reengineering. Fingent can help you get there. Call us to find out more.
Stay up to date
on whats new
Get a free
Talk to our experts today
about your business
The transformative impact of blockchain remains much underestimated. While the concept is now associated with Bitcoins, the underlying technology could very well become the most important disruption since the arrival of Internet.
Blockchain in its purest essence is a distributed database, containing digital data. Users may access, inspect, or add to the data, but cannot change or delete it, making it tamper-proof. The original information remains as it is, leaving behind a trail, or a chain of transactions. Any single transaction would be a “block” in a never-ending chain, with the chain distributed across the internet, outside the control of anybody. Businesses leveraging block chains have an easier and safer mechanism to conduct transactions.
How Viable is Blockchain in the Supply Chain?
One area where blockchain technology is in the throes of making a big disruption is the supply chain of industries. In the existing system, the database is updated every time a movement or change takes place in the supply chain. With blockchain, every time a product changes hands, the transaction is documented, creating a permanent history of a product, from the point of origin to sale. In a traditional supply chain, each stakeholder maintains their respective records. With block chain, the records are distributed across the cyberspace, allowing for smart contracts. The distributed database runs on multiple servers, constantly checking the security and integrity of each transaction.
The application of blockchain technology in supply chain manifest in many ways:
- Real-time live recording of the quantity and transfer of assets, such as trailers, pallets, and containers
- Continuous tracking purchase orders, receipts, shipment related notifications, and other trade-related documents
- Assigning digital labels to physical goods, such as bar codes, serial numbers, RFID tags, and more. Blockchain allows connecting digital product information such as the source of origination details, batch numbers, factory and processing data, expiration dates, storage temperatures and shipping detail in a robust and inseparable way.
Blockchain brings about greater transparency in the supply chain. The log reveals the origins and touch points of each product, disseminating information on the manufacturing process, movements, and delivery, to all stakeholders. Such in-depth and finer details are not easily available now, and the potential applications of such transparency are earth-shattering:
- For perishable commodities, such as fish, blockchain records for each process, such as how and when the fish was caught or raised, whether it has been handled in a compliant manner, whether harmful formaldehyde was used in storing it, and more, increases consumer confidence and safety manifold. Walmart’s new Food Safety Collaboration Center in Beijing, where the company tied up with IBM and Tsinghua University to apply blockchain technology, to ensure food supply chain traceability and authenticity is a case in point.
- Blockchain logs make explicit the genuineness of a product, as in whether the product is really organic as claimed.
- An audit of blockchain logs make explicit whether the product was made using child labor, whether workers were paid fair wages, and whether there are any other ethically and/or legally reprehensible associations.
- Blockchain logs enhance safety. For instance, customers can track the components in their vehicle has come from an authorized manufacturer and has passed all recommended tests, increasing confidence, and reducing the risk of injury.
- In the case of defective products, the trial makes it easy to pinpoint the source of the problem and make effective amends. For instance, Blockchain production records enable tracing the place and time when a specific automobile airbags were made, allowing automakers to reduce their liability.
The trust and transparency that block chain infuses across the value chain become a new nexus for value exchange.
One major impact of blockchain in the supply chain is improved security and accountability.
- The chain of logs ensures the authenticity of the product, and customers can verify the same automatically. With transactions tracked from the origin, a duplicate product or an unauthorized transaction is immediately flagged as counterfeit or theft.
- The permanent registry and verification assign tamper-proof individual identifiers to high-value products such as jewelry, making theft easily attributable. It also helps identify insurance fraud, which is a $60 billion industry in the USA.
- Blockchain serves as an escrow account, requiring all parties to confirm transactions. It eliminates the need for third parties, usually involved in the mix to ensure both parties honor their part of the contract. A shared, indelible ledger with codified rules also eliminates the need for audits.
The blockchain is on its way to enable more agile and secure value chains, with closer cooperation among stakeholders.
The application of block chain in supply chain contributes greatly to process improvements.
- Blockchain logs make it very easy to detect errors or problems, and subject the supply chain movements to analytics to improve efficiency, on a dynamic basis. It also facilitates effective planning to improve processes.
- Blockchain delivers a decentralized architecture, which creates opportunities to innovate. For instance, intelligent block chain contracts query other nodes in the blockchain for the best pricing, delivery times, and other particulars. Smart shippers are already finding ways to leverage innovations to increase profits and strengthen relationships across the supply chain.
The application of blockchain technology enables tapping into rules-based intelligence, for executing business functions. Stakeholders may apply intelligent program code to embed conditions and other logic into contracts and other transactions, implemented automatically, with 100% accuracy. Manufacturers and other stakeholders can spare themselves of the copious amount of time, money, and other resources they presently spend to negotiate and communicate with other stakeholders.
The effectiveness of blockchain technology, however, depends not on blindly applying the technology per se, but developing solid and reliable apps that leverage the technology. The blockchain is only a facilitator, and it still requires cutting edge mobility solutions to power your supply chain to greater heights. Get in touch with a reliable partner for your business and mobility solutions requirements.
Stay up to date
on whats new
Get a free
Talk to our experts today
about your business
Digital technologies have permeated and disrupted almost all sectors, and logistics companies are no exception.
Optimization and efficiency, combined with speed and seizing the moment are the keys to success in today’s highly competitive advantage. Technology is the key enabler allowing companies to realize these aspects.
Leveraging Technology for Strategic Planning
A report by transport and logistics analysts Oliver Wyman reveals transportation and logistics companies increasing revenue, yet having reduced profits, over a 10-year period, and come with the recommendation to “standardize and streamline structures and processes, developing industry oriented and innovative solutions, thinking and acting in terms of networks.” Technology is the key enabler in this regard.
On average, transportation companies invest about 5% of their annual revenues in digital operations, with the main focus on digitizing their customer interface. The thrust these days is especially on mobile apps and solutions, to offer a personalized experience for their customers, and track the movement of vehicles accurately. However, side-by-side companies are also increasingly using digital technology to unlock new business models, focused on the creation of value-added services and innovative solutions.
The Use of Big Data to Improve Operations
The need to cut cost and take real-time action, in a competitive environment where margins are wafer thin, require logistics companies to take greater control over their supply chain and ensure the processes take place seamlessly, at great speed. Towards such ends, logistics companies are increasingly applying Big Data technology, to capture and analyze data, to streamline their operations and optimize the supply chain.
Computers apply algorithms to crunch Big Data, unlocking insights and opportunities not possible before. Such insights enable streamlining operations and optimization of the supply chain.
- Data based automation, especially automated load building and optimizing the inbound and outbound movement of cargo, enable optimal usage of available resources, reduction of waste, and facilitate lean operations.
- Effective real-time fleet management solution facilitates “uberization” of trucks and other delivery vehicles, where empty containers may be utilized immediately by matching it to the nearest load. Mobile solutions enable greater transparency into the operations.
- A comprehensive data based inventory and supply chain management system unlocks silos, and facilitates end-to-end visibility to inventory, orders and shipments across the supply chain. Such transparency allows improved tracking of inventory movement, facilitates the reduction of network-wide inventory levels, and enable managers to respond dynamically and in real-time to any events or issues that disrupt or hinder the supply chain.
- Analytical data makes explicit greenhouse emissions and carbon footprints of truck and machinery operations, allowing companies to take steps to become carbon-neutral, thereby contributing to the cause of “Green logistics.”
- The combination of machine learning with supply chain management enables turning reams of passive data into actionable business intelligence. Logistics companies apply the wealth of data related to the movement of their goods and trucks to identify patterns related to customer trends, identify what works well, unearth market insights, and gain competitive advantage.
Digital Improves Security
Supply chain disruption is the number one global business risk for logistics companies. Technology enables fortifying the supply chain in many ways.
- Digital locks make the inventory more secure, offer a robust layer of security, in addition to physical security.
- Optimal route planning, combined with real-time tracking of cargo movement through mobile apps enable routing of cargo by avoiding congestion points and trouble spots, to minimize risks and interruption.
Internet of Things (IoT) Enhances Operations
The earliest applications of RFID and nascent IoT technology have been in asset tracking and warehouse management. For instance, rather than simply tracking inventory of pallets and crates, enterprises use sensors, beacons, RFID and other technology to gather information on the state of the connected item, such as when the “thing” requires maintenance, the expected life of the “thing,” and more.
IoT contributes to highly integrated warehouse management solutions, enabling precision movement and accurate tracking of movement of goods. The applications of IoT instruments in logistics are virtually endless, ranging from tracking transportation goods in a temperature controlled way to ensuring the correct package reaches the correct location at the specified time and more.
The trends in the immediate future include connected and ‘autonomous’ trucks, warehouse robotics, and smart warehouse solutions, all of which will improve efficiency manifold, speed up operations, and improve accuracy.
Technological Innovations Unlock New Possibilities
Logistics companies use technology not just to improve efficiency of operations, but also transform the way operations take place in itself. The use of robots in large warehouses, and to handle hazardous goods is already widespread, as is the driverless, remote-controlled vehicles.
The next big thing is the use of drones, especially for last mile delivery. The U.S. Government is already piloting a drone-based traffic monitoring system. Countries such as Spain, France, and The Czech Republic and others have several research projects looking into the use of drones for traffic management. The widespread use of drones would speed up things considerably, reduce the hassles, strain and inefficiency associated with maintaining an army of delivery boys, and also reduce costs considerably.
A start has already been made, with Amazon Prime Air already making legit deliveries using drones, in less than 30 minutes from the time customers place an order. When the technology becomes widespread, logistics will change like never before.
Improved Customer Satisfaction
Proactive transportation and logistics companies go beyond improving their operational efficiency and retaining greater control over their operations, to enhance customer satisfaction.
Technology propels a shift to a customer obsessed operating model, enabling the delivery of personalized and customer-focused logistics, with faster cycle times.
Hyper-connectivity facilitates not just big data, but also speed data. Speed and timeliness, manifesting in seizing the moment enable companies to match customer expectations and deliver competitive differentiation over its competitors.
It requires considerable expertise in both business operations and the latest cutting edge technology to roll out successful technological solutions acceptable by the rank and file. By partnering with us, you can piggy-bank on our vast and extensive experience in delivering highly intuitive apps and other solutions for transportation and logistics firms. Our rich talent pool, combined with extensive experience allow us to add value to your strategy, and roll out seamless apps that make your processes highly efficient, allowing you to cut costs, unlock new possibilities, and take customer satisfaction to new levels.
Stay up to date
on whats new
Get a free
Talk to our experts today
about your business
Many businesses regard IT as a cost center, not offering any tangible returns for the dollar spend. Such reasoning may seem misplaced in today’s tech-centric age where more and more people are online, and technology creeps into almost all business processes. However, such misgivings may not be off the mark when factoring in the current state of IT in many enterprises.
Enterprises need to apply technology solutions the right way to realize potential gains from IT, with a coherent technology strategy for realizing business goals. This is a far cry from the present reality in many organizations where IT, rather than fulfilling its anticipated role as a key business enabler, is caught in a “process trap,” and a spending black hole.
Adopt these strategies to ensure IT investments create value.
Leverage Technology Solutions to Optimize Resources
It is a dog fight out there for new customers, in today’s highly competitive business environment. Most businesses are under stress to improve their margins. Margins can improve by increasing revenue, which is tough, and by reducing expenditure, which technology solutions can enable.
Automating manual tasks, doing away with time-consuming and man-hour intensive processes is among the core mandate of software. Reducing operational costs by eliminating waste and inefficiency, reducing cycle times, accurate invoicing, and more, all brought about by automation and process improvements, adds direct value, and contribute tangibly to the bottom line.
Today’s enterprises can further go beyond such basics, and leverage emerging technologies such as BYOD, big data and mobility solutions to offer technology solutions that empower the workforce to collaborate anytime, anywhere, with seamless access to data. Such interventions streamline day to day activities, and increase productivity. Marketing automation alone offers a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead. Application of technology solutions to other areas would realize similar, if not greater, gains
The cloud, with its scalable subscriptions, offer scope for big savings, sparing enterprises the hassles and costs of setting up their costly on-premises servers and other solutions, more so when demand for such resources may be seasonal. Companies could move workloads such as web and email to cloud hosts to overcome the network bandwidth challenges they face.
IT has the potential to add direct value in security and regulatory compliance front as well. Using software to cross-check whether various checks and balances are in place to ensure compliance reduces the drag on available resources. Aggregating data from various sources to generate compliance reports automatically allow the workforce to focus more on their core activities. Over and above such regulatory mandates, developing an effective network strategy, complete with encryption, network monitoring, and other protocols, as appropriate, keeps the network safe from data thieves, intellectual property bandits, ransomware gangs, and threats of various hues lurking in the cyberspace.
Non-compliance and breach can attract huge fines, besides other damages. Breaches cost global companies $3.79 million, and 60% of business closes within six months of a major data breach. Adopting a technology strategy on this front offers an effective safeguard against such disasters.
A big drag with IT is a huge slice of the budget, as high as 70% to 80%, invariably spend on maintaining existing assets, leaving very little on the table for innovation and transformational activities.
A break-out from this logjam require widening the focus to explore new technology, new products, new vendors, and new partners, aimed at identifying new solutions that enable the company overcome historic barriers of cost and geography. At the very least, focus on discovering newer cost-effective solutions and delivery channels to replace incumbent solutions. The added bonus with such efforts may be solutions to break into new markets or leapfrog competitors.
In other words, reposition the technology strategy from the usual “on-demand service provider,” to IT becoming a strategic partner in the company’s quest for innovation and growth.
Invest in Transformational Capabilities
New and emerging technologies such as cloud computing, big data, analytics, IoT, and more offer scope for not just transforming business processes, but also for unlocking new business opportunities. For instance, deploying analytic tools that generate deep insight from transaction data makes marketing more efficient, while deploying predictive analytic tools to anticipate customer needs enables marketers to go one-up on competition and increase sales.
However, businesses would also do well to be aware that there’s a lot of snake oil being sold in the form of new technologies and strike partnerships with established and credible solution providers. We offer a host of cutting-edge technology solutions that allow your business to become more efficient, and your workforce to become more productive. Partner with us to formulate a technology strategy that would ensure your IT investments truly add value, and transform your business.
Stay up to date
on whats new
Get a free
Talk to our experts today
about your business
If you thought “digitizing” your business was all about incorporating some kind of technology into your processes, and that replacing your people and papers with technology would do the trick, then you are in for some new information. That’s right.
Digital business transformation has more to it than you probably imagined. It is more about doing things in different ways and producing new and improved business designs, all with the common goal of blurring the lines between the physical and virtual worlds.
Digitization is not just dehumanizing or mechanizing work
Most people understand digitization to be either an extension of automation or pretty much the same thing. But according to Gartner, the goal of digitization is to create and deliver new value to customers and not just improving the quality of already existing services.
For example in a hospital, nurses and doctors use clipboards and forms for access to patient details, to jot down further medicine details and the like. Merely replacing these paper forms with tablets and other devices is not digitization in itself. Internally, there are improvements in terms of efficiency and effectiveness, when compared to paper-based manual transcription and for patients too, the quality of already existing care is improved.
Though there are a thousand benefits to the entire health organization by doing just that, like better accuracy and speed while entering data into the Electronic Health Record systems, it does not actually count for digitization as here the patients do not experience any additional value.
Instead, what if the entire care and control system is redesigned with the help of smart machines and the Internet of Things (IoT)?
The smart devices can be programmed to do most of the data collection, analysis and monitoring of the patients themselves, which leaves only the talking, the touching and empathizing to be done by the nurses – basically what we humans do best. The devices can monitor the patient’s health conditions continuously and keep checking for any vital signs of discomfort or variations, and alert the nurses and doctors well ahead in case of an issue.
Technologies like, hands-free conversational interfaces, can be used for data entry in hospitals, rather than typing in the data manually, thereby utilizing what comes naturally to human beings to make work easier. All these technologies help them in being proactive in their approach, thereby delivering more effective care and the end result is thus, better outcome for the patients as well as the doctors.
So, it is evident now, that digitization is not just dehumanizing or mechanizing work. It is rather a way or means for people to go back to their more “natural state”.
Digitization is not just dehumanizing or mechanizing work. It is rather a way or means for people to go back to their more “natural state”
Letting humans revert to what they are best at
With all the smart devices that can think for themselves in place, you might wonder, “so what is the need for people or what is our role in an organization?”
It is not about completely eliminating people from the scenario or taking them out of the processes. It is more about redefining their roles and getting them to do what they are best at. That way, they don’t have to be stalled with other tasks like data entry and paperwork, that bring down their efficiency and productivity.
Janelle Hill, vice president and analyst at Gartner says, “We now have the ability to use machines to support and augment people to help them realize their potential, not have them bogged down in paperwork and systems data entry. We need to think about how to identify the right work for the people.”
A digital business environment provides innumerous opportunities for innovation and improvements, which can help organizations in winning over customers with additional value and gaining the competitive advantage. Such value though, can be created only through a complete rethinking and redesigning of work itself. People need to be assigned work they are good at, while leaving the rest to be done by the smart machines. Thus, the full value of digitization can only be achieved through proper definition of work and not merely by inserting digital technologies into the existing processes.
“People need to be assigned work they are good at, while leaving the rest to be done by the smart machines. Thus, the full value of digitization can only be achieved through proper definition of work and not merely by inserting digital technologies into the existing processes.”