How To Better Manage The Challenges of Software Applications

Managing complexity, aligning IT with the business, and enabling agility are top priorities for CIOs who must deliver on software development projects. So, how can software applications be managed more efficiently? Introducing Integrated Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) within your organization helps you plan, manage, and execute the long-term maintenance of a software solution – from both a business and IT perspective. It helps companies manage resources spent on an application efficiently, by addressing the challenges.

FOUR KEY CHALLENGES OF APPLICATION MANAGEMENT
Management issues that are commonly faced across most international organization projects include;

  • Lack of visibility into project status
  • Ineffective team communication across functions and borders
  • Balancing business demands with project risk
  • Unpredictable delivery times and quality assurance

Addressing these challenges requires special integrated management principles that promote attention to detail, good visibility, effective communication, and business demands that are balanced with project risks. Integrated ALM is the solution.

THE LIFECYCLE OF AN APPLICATION & THE ELEMENTS OF ALM
An application’s lifecycle is the entire time during which an organization spends money developing, governing, and maintaining a given computer program. Integrated ALM helps companies manage resources spent on developing and managing an application more efficiently, because all the tools and stakeholders are synchronized. Everyone knows who, what, when, where, and why changes were made ‒ resulting in increased integration between IT and the business.

HOW CAN YOU SOLVE THE KEY CHALLENGES?
Integrated ALM proactively manages the elements that typically disrupt processes. It transforms customized software into a standardized solution, offering a framework for significant business benefits.

Better collaboration
Increased collaboration between business and IT means better alignment of business and IT.
Shared best practices and process learning results in shorter development cycles and increased productivity.

Increased efficiency
Through improved project management, there’s less scope creep. Strengthened integration means that the IT department increases its ability to build and adapt applications that support dynamically changing business requirements, rapidly.

Improved quality and decision-making
Quality improvements mean that the final application meets the service-quality requirements of your customers. Increased accountability enables stricter compliance with governance initiatives.

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Importance of monitoring app for your teen’s text messages

The discovery of smartphones and tablets is both a blessing and a curse depending on how you use it. Though it has bridged the gap between people across the world and made communication easier, this object of wonder can be harmful for teenage and adolescent minds when used in the wrong way. Teenagers are obsessed with this technological gift that is more likely to affect their physical and mental well being. Rather than spending time with story books or playing outside, children these days are hooked to their smartphones.

Parenting is difficult role that needs to be played with lot of love, care and affection. Smartphones are something that must be handed over to young minds under the discretion of a parent. Even if smartphones are provided for better communication and safety, the need to monitor smartphone activities of your kids is immense. Children these days need guidance at every step in their life so that they make life choices that prove to be good for their life. Sometimes parents are a little hesitant in invading the privacy of kids. They feel they are not giving enough space to their adolescent kids. But one has to understand that there is thin line between invading privacy of your kids and keeping them safe. As a parent, it is one’s responsibility to keep their dear ones safe from the hands of the online predators.

Texting: An addiction for young minds

It has often been seen that kids are glued to their smartphones texting their friends. Texting becomes an addiction especially when the topics of discussion are inappropriate for young minds. Kids are innocent minds; they tend to exchange ideas and thoughts without thinking of consequences. They trust people and love to be friends with people unknown. The digital world is not a safe place, there are criminals often disguised as a friend. In this era, where everything works at a fast pace, sharing personal pictures, videos, personal information to somebody unknown can be quite dangerous. Sometimes these people with whom our kids exchange messages turn out to be online predators who can affect our kids severely.  Sharing sexually explicit content, inappropriate pictures and videos is something you must prevent your kids from doing. Exchanging messages sharing personal information can be harmful for your kid and your family. The content shared by your kid can be used to defame your kid and can even ruin your kid’s future. They can be a victim of blackmail or may even be cyberbullied. Online cyber criminals would find a loophole to intrude in your private lives and steal your identity to do something harmful. Child text monitoring is something that every parent should follow religiously. This is very essential for a healthy future of your kids.

As a parent you should also be aware whether your child is a part of cyberbullying. They may use their phones to bully other kids. The punishment for cyberbullying can be severe depending on the age of child and also situation. Parents need to monitor their kids and keep a track of the kind of messages sent or received. Also if your child is at the receiving end of cyberbullying then it might be more harmful for your family. Kids tend to be more distressful and also violent at the same time. So it is high time for parents to save them from the dangers of digital world and gift them a beautiful future. The things that you need to do are as follows-

Set rules in smartphone usage:

You need to set restrictions as to when can your kids use the smartphone. Imposing restrictions with respect to timings can help your kids to devote more time to studies and less to smartphone. Keep smartphones away from your kids for a specific time period and let them spend time doing something productive.

Know whom your kids interact with:

It is very important for parents to know about the people with whom their kids interact regularly. Being aware of the friends group of your teenage kid can help you to know and identify people that may harm your kids. For safety, security and well being of your kid it is very important that you know your kid’s comfortable zone.

Spend quality time with them:

Spending quality time with your kids is very important especially when your kids are growing. Their adolescent period is that crucial time when you need to be with them. Spend some quality time with them so that they can trust you and share everything with you. The more time you will spend with them, the less they would feel lonely.

Go for a monitoring app:

A child smartphone monitoring app can help you to keep track of the messages sent or received. Though it is advisable to spend more time with your kids, parents should go for a monitoring app that can help them to keep a track of their kid’s activities. Kids are smart and they might hide things from you, so go for a monitoring app that logs messaging activities. You can sit relaxed and from a secured online panel keep a track of all the messages sent and received along with the contacts. In a discrete manner you can check all the messages that your kid is sending to people. Also if required you can block certain contacts and prevent your kids from calling or texting them. If you feel that your dear one is spending too much of time texting, you can even lock text messaging feature for a certain time in a day.

Keeping your kids away from all sorts of online danger is something very important. You need to educate them about how internet, smartphones and tablets can be useful and also harmful at the same time. It all depends on how they use it. Technology has come up with amazing discoveries, but one needs to be wise enough to use it in a fruitful manner. The need to educate them about reality is very important especially when they are growing up. So be their friend and stay with them through thick and thin, be their trustworthy friend and prevent them from doing anything wrong.

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Canon unveils new consumer-tracking data analytics solution to help retailers

Retail stores can improve revenue by using new consumer-behaviour tracking technology linked to cloud-based video analytics, according to a spokesman for the Japanese consumer electronics giant Canon.

Shunichi Morinaga, president and chief executive of Canon Hongkong, said increased sales revenue at physical retail shops is one benefit of the system which monitors consumers using real-time data analysis.

For example, one technology called a people counter can analyse roughly 1,600 customers in a specified area using surveillance video, which then converts the data into useful business metrics.

Another technology uses facial recognition to analyse a consumer’s age, gender, and ethnicity. This approach can help businesses to assess demographic distribution and develop consumer profiles.

Anther approach uses heat-mapping technology to enable shopping malls managers and real estate developers to track foot traffic. The tool can be used to identify popular areas and attain rent optimization or be used to better allocate resources.

For retail shops, a heat-mapping solution provides insight on peak shopping periods, and seasonality, enabling shop owner to improve manpower management and resource allocation.

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What are the top five cloud ERP benefits? A use case review

Cloud ERP projects are not miraculous cure-alls. But looking back on the last year’s use cases, there are notable benefits across vendors and projects. 

There is still considerable debate about what cloud ERP means – both from a functional scope and architectural perspective. Many vendors placed under the “cloud ERP” umbrella rarely compete against each other. Some reject or downplay the term.

There are reasons to consider an on-premises ERP solution, not the least of which is functionality.

Still, there are cloud ERP themes worth exploring. Some criteria that could be imposed are:

  • Benefits must be from my use cases from the last 9 months (or so).
  • Benefits must surface across multiple use cases.
  • Some of the vendors mentioned are diginomica partners, one is not. I will keep vendor mentions to a minimum to focus on themes.

Top five cloud ERP benefits

1. Simplifying tools improves adoption – and streamlines processes. Many customers were using a collection of scattershot tools, making daily tasks complicated. Converging work onto a cloud ERP system with a practical – if not always beautiful – interface helps. From a panel of non-profit customers at Intacct Advantage, Mizmun Kusairi, Vice President, Strategy & Finance at GuideStar said:

We wanted to delay our audit and our 990 filing, because I thought our accounting and finance team needed a new solution… We were using a really outdated on-premise system that people had to take turns logging into. When someone was in it, someone else would say, “I can’t get that report to you Miz, because Terry’s using that system now”… It’s just having that real-time access in a cloud-based system, accessible from everywhere. (Non-profits speak to their mission, and why cloud ERP matters).

2. A single source of truth allows for problem solving rather than spreadsheet chaos. “Single source of truth” is an exaggeration for most. Usually a couple other systems of record are still in play. But “towards a single source of truth” is still a result.

Stacey Rohrbaugh and her team at Lendkey Technologies were in their own version of spreadsheet hell. LendKey’s homegrown system had served them pretty well, but growing pains exposed the problem. Rohrbaugh:

In 2014, it just became so clunky with everything being in spreadsheets. Download this, export this, marry it all here… We started getting investors who were asking for economic loan information. “What is your acquisition cost? What is your profitability on this asset class?” We simply couldn’t do that just by tracking everything in Excel. (How LendKey created a different kind of loan business – with a cloud ERP engine).

For LendKey, an Acumatica customer, cloud ERP put them on a better path. She credits the new system with landing some big clients:

The reason we’re able to do that is we now have fancy robust reporting, and we can tell [clients] their return on acquisition. We now have all the metrics with their portfolio performance, their borrower information. I think it’s helped us in the sales process of getting future clients.

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Acumatica takes award for Best ERP Software

PCMag editors stated that Acumatica is a “solid choice for enterprise-scale accounting, ERP, and inventory management.”

Local Acumatica premier partner, One Channel has announced that the Acumatica Cloud ERP has received PCMag Editors’ Choice Awards for Best ERP Software, Best Inventory Management Software, Best Enterprise-Class General Ledger Accounting Software, and the Best Business Mobile Apps.

Acumatica as the true cloud ERP, provides Small to Mid-sized Businesses (SMBs) with an effective solution to manage their business through a full suite of integrated business management apps.

These apps range from Customer Management, Project Accounting, and Distribution Management to Manufacturing Management, Field Services, and Commerce Edition.

One Channel CEO, Bernard Ford said: “ERP is business management software that allows you to automate your business processes and run your organization in an integrated, cohesive manner.”

PCMag editors stated that Acumatica is a “solid choice for enterprise-scale accounting, ERP, and inventory management.”

They reviewed that the overall ERP functionality and breadth of modules available to support financial management needs.

“Acumatica provides all these features and more natively in its suite of products. It offers a full-services approach and recognises that every business has unique and complex requirements,” Ford said.

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Why streaming data is the future of big data, and Apache Kafka is leading the charge

Not all data is fit to be streamed. Not yet, anyway. But one big data exec argues that the universe just keeps expanding for streaming data.

Justin Langseth, founder and CEO of big data visualization startup Zoomdata  had some interesting insights to share over the rise of Kafka and what enterprises need to consider when they decide to embrace streaming data

You’re going to need more batch-bell

Is it too soon to talk about completely displacing Hadoop and big data lakes of information?

Langseth: All data is originally generated at a point on the “edge” and transmitted in a stream for onward processing and eventual storage. No data is generated “in batch.” On the other end, people want to make business decisions based on the most recent data, as well as how its fits into historical context.

So…streams on the left, and streams on the right.

If both the generation and consumption ends require a stream-orientation, more and more people are wondering why anything in the middle needs to be anything other than stream-based as well. Originally, batch was developed because a scribe in a marketplace thousands of years ago ran out of room on their scroll and needed to start a fresh scroll. When computers came around, the only way to transport data was to FedEx it on tapes, and if you’re going to do that, it’s more efficient to do it with more than one record at a time. So batch was born.

Hadoop represents the last hurrah for batch-oriented processing. There are just too many reasons why it’s much easier, faster, and more secure to handle the end-to-end data pipeline as streaming all the way. So if you have valuable business and data processes happening in a batch-oriented system, you clearly shouldn’t just throw them away tomorrow. And if those are based on Hadoop, that’s fine too. But if you’re building something new today, there are strong arguments to avoid any batch steps and just stream end-to-end.

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AI-powered analytics unlock commercial relationship data

Details of the deals that a business has with other organizations are usually locked up in contracts or other documents such that valuable information is either not readily available or easily overlooked.

California-based Pramata is launching a suite of analytic applications that can identify critical information in existing contracts and combine it with data from business systems such as CRM and billing to benefit commercial relationships.

“Most software products give you tools and then ask you and your teams to do all the work populating the tools with your data,” says Justin Schweisberger, Pramata’s chief product officer. “Pramata is the only business application that combines the software platform, analytics and normalized customer data to make an immediate business impact and capture each revenue moment. The addition of human-assisted AI ensures customer data is always complete, accurate and up-to-date, and our new applications solve targeted business problems resulting from gaps in the customer lifecycle.”

All of this is combined with visualization capabilities and dashboards to bring the data to life and enable it to be easily shared and pushed across teams and business functions.

The analytics are currently in invitation only beta and will be rolled out to existing customers over the coming months.

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How IBM is using analytics to help companies make better products

Global head of IBM X-Force Red Charles Henderson shares how IBM plans to improve security in connected cars.

IBM has been using the Internet of Things (IoT) in car testing for “a long time,” according to Charles Henderson, global head of IBM X-Force Red.

TechRepublic’s Dan Patterson met with Henderson to discuss how IBM plans to use its Watson technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to protect the connected car.

“What we noticed was that the industry largely consumed the testing in a nature that wasn’t the best for their overall security posture,” Henderson said.

Similarly, in cars and IoT devices, the technologies that make up these products are made by different companies, and therefore are tested separately, which makes it difficult for the companies responsible for putting together the end product.

“It’s a bit like herding cats trying to get all the testing on the same page,” Henderson said.

As a solution, IBM has structured the testing in a programmatic method, in order to perform discrete testing as products are being built. Once products are put together, IBM performs solution-based testing in a manager portal.

The company organized testing in a fashion that is more up to date, Henderson said. “In many ways I think we just modernized the backend management of testing and made it easier for these companies to consume,” he added.

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Disney Uses Big Data, IoT And Machine Learning To Boost Customer Experience

Your favorite Disney character could find you and greet your child by name. Candid photos of your family enjoying the park can be taken throughout the day and sent to your hotel room each night. What if you wait too long in a line?

Disney is known for fiercely protecting the magic behind the curtain that makes the “Most Magical Place on Earth” hum. Even though we may not know all their secrets, we do know Disney masterminds are leveraging Big Data in innovative ways to improve the experience of those who walk through the gates of their parks. There are also some intriguing developments with using data that will excite Disney movie fans. Let’s take a look at how big data is changing the entertainment behemoth of Disney.

The Magic of MagicBands

In 2013, after years of development and testing, Disney World launched its MyMagicPlus program. Now, every guest to Disney World gets a MagicBand, a wristband that is equipped with RFID technology and a long-range radio. These bands communicate with thousands of sensors and stream real-time data to hundreds of systems that make the entertainment venue a giant computer. All this data is designed to help Disney cast members anticipate all your desires so they can give you an incredible experience. The bands act as hotel keys, credit cards, tickets, FastPasses and more. With a simple swipe of the band across sensors located throughout the park, the giant system knows where you are, what you’re doing and what you need.

The goal of the tech team who developed the MagicBands was to “root out all the friction within the Disney World experience.” Even before you leave town you can set reservations for certain attractions (where you won’t have to wait in line—hallelujah!) And added bonus for Disney: Your choices get added to its data vault. Once you arrive on site, one of the biggest challenges of any amusement park is how to minimize the wait times for rides and attractions. When people are waiting in line, they aren’t spending money on food or shopping. As each guest swipes their band at a ride, vital intel is being shipped real-time to the operations team. This allows decisions to be made about adding staff or incentivizing guests to head to another ride or attraction. This re-rerouting of guests makes more efficient use of the park and even allows for exemplary customer service to be delivered. As data fuels a better experience, the trepidation and creepiness of machines knowing so much about you, melts away as families experience a trip of a lifetime.

Imagine all the possibilities. A family pre-orders dinner from their hotel room, and when they arrive at the restaurant not only are they greeted enthusiastically—and by name—their food is instantly delivered. All of this transpires because the system triangulates the family’s location and alerts the wait staff of their arrival.

The possibilities for improving the experience of Disney guests are endless.

Your favorite Disney character could find you and greet your child by name. Candid photos of your family enjoying the park can be taken throughout the day and sent to your hotel room each night. What if you wait too long in a line? The system knows and could deliver you a free voucher for your trouble.

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How startups are taking to the disruptive phenomena called IoT

A tap on your phone screen and you can switch on/off the switches in your house, have mobile access to your office’s surveillance cameras, these are some of the facilities that Internet of Things has in store for a future which is around the corner.

As clamour grows in favour of Internet of Things or IoT, the much-debated topic has arrived into the business sphere and companies are scurrying to grab as much market share as possible. Here are a few companies who have already taken to the next disruptive innovation.

Scanalytics

B2B startup, Scanalytics has developed a SoleSensor pad which can measure the footfalls in retail stores, thereby providing real-time analytics about performance in a particular store, region and even zone.

IFTTT

A second stage startup, IFTT has developed an innovative app which maintains a network of connection between smart devices. All you require is an internet-enabled mobile device to control all other gadgets or functionalities in the house. IFTTT realised that a major challenge in the field of IoT was that specialised apps are required to control each smart device via the internet. Hence, they came up with a unified app which can control almost all devices. Wouldn’t it be cool if you can activate your microwave just in time to heat your food while you come back from work.

214 Technologies

This company boasts of a smart doorbell named ‘Chui’ which uses facial recognition in place of keys, radio frequency chip and passcode to unlock a door. Moreover, unlike other smart lock systems, ‘Chui’ also offers audio-video captures along with notifications option on Android and iOS devices. 214 Technologies’s innovative locking system can be programmed to open doors to a select list of pre-fed visitors as well.

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