Sunday, April 23, 2017

7 Ways to Digitally Transform Your Supply Chain

To keep the supply chain working at top efficiency, companies need not only a flexible and adaptable culture, but also a highly adaptable underlying IT infrastructure.

Companies invest a lot of time, effort, and money in developing systems to power the supply chain. The amount of data can be overwhelming. However, by connecting data and using an integration platform to orchestrate business processes between systems, data can be the differentiator that enables your company to disrupt processes to increase efficiencies and provide a superior customer experience.

Here are seven examples of how integrated data can introduce new efficiencies into the supply chain.


1. Improved demand forecasting
Better coordination between Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and sales systems can result in more accurate forecasts, leading to more efficient ordering and improved margins. Demand-­driven logistics based on accurate data reduces transportation costs and inventory while improving competitive advantage.

2. Cross-departmental planning
Integrated data enables business logistics professionals to make decisions based on a comprehensive and accurate picture of supply chain-related activities—sales, marketing, product lifecycle management, manufacturing, warehousing, procurement, finance, and transportation—across the organization.

3. Segmenting supply chains
Integrating data between your customer relationship management and ERP systems enables you to easily segment customers and products, and develop dedicated supply chains with specific service level agreements to create maximum value at the lowest possible cost.

Supply Chain
Image Credit: Mrsiraphol - Freepik.com

4. Decide between fast or flawless deliveries
Analyze all supply chain costs together for a unified picture so operational goals can meet corporate values and brand image. Having cost data and variables together in one system enables easy tradeoff analysis.

5. Achieving preferred shipper status
A company that integrates ERP with warehouse management software and yard management software to optimize transportation processes—such as enabling short dwell times and long tender lead times—will be a preferred shipper because those processes boost efficiency.

6. Support for procure to pay
Control and visibility over the entire life­cycle of a transaction—from the way an item is ordered to the way the final invoice is processed—provides full insight into cash flow and financial commitments. Integrating procure to pay functionality gives ERP systems the ability to extend to the final documents used to verify invoices and confirm that goods were received and signed for. 

7. Using Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems
Because PLM manages the development of a product and ERP manages the resource planning for production, it makes sense to integrate the systems. Once the design has developed to a point where resources need to be managed to produce the product, an ERP system should have the ability to import and share the latest product data with necessary departments for accurate financial planning.

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Data integration across systems can help optimize the supply chain and enable your organization to provide customers with the best possible service from order to delivery. 

An integration platform that enables businesses to connect data and processes across systems gives your organization the adaptable IT infrastructure it needs to digitally transform the supply chain.

Learn more about the Magic xpi Integration Platform



Written by Glenn Johnson

Glenn Johnson is Senior Vice President of Magic Software Enterprises Americas. Mr. Johnson is the author of the award-winning blog "Integrate My JDE" on ittoolbox.com and contributor to the Business Week Guide to Multimedia Presentations (Osborne-McGraw Hill). He has presented at Collaborate, Interop, COMMON, CIO Logistics Forum and dozens of other user groups and conferences. His interviews on software industry issues have been aired on the NBC Today Show, E! News, Discovery and more.

Benchmarking For Field Service Success

In the field service industry, operational efficiency is essential for empowering an organization’s most important attribute – its ability to satisfy its customers. In a Strategies for Growth survey published last year, 64% of UK/Europe respondents stated that developing and improving metrics or KPIs was critical to strive and attain best practice status, up from 52% the previous year.

However, there are so many different measurements it’s difficult to know which ones are the most important.

Here are four different types of KPIs that can be used to assess those aspects service delivery that can have the biggest impact on customer satisfaction.

1. Service Levels
Expressed as absolute numbers, averages and percentages. This data should be reliable, repeatable and relevant — and collected without unusual amounts of effort.
Examples include average response time, average repair times, level of compliance with service level agreements, and mean time to repair rate (MTTR), which measures the latency of the entire process from service request to completion.

2. Customer Opinions
Subjective assessments of the quality of field service expressed numerically. One of the most popular examples is Net Promoter Score: your customers’ willingness to recommend your organization to friends and colleagues.
Originated by Bain & Company it is a faster, more responsive alternative to annual customer satisfaction surveys and is calculated by taking the percentage of promoters (9s and 10s on a 10-point scale) minus the percentage of detractors (0 – 6 on a 10-point scale). While customer loyalty isn’t the sole growth factor, Bain & Company determined that, on average, companies with higher Net Promoter Scores grow at more than twice the rate of competitors.

3. Efficiency Measures
Performance expressed in terms of a ratio. For example, percentage of billable technician time. This measurement keeps track of how much time your techs are actually working on servicing your customers rather than filling out timesheets, attending meetings or handling other activities unrelated to productive work.
Other important field service metrics include First-Time-Fix Rate (FTR), which measure how often technicians successfully close a ticket on the first call which is often dependent on having the right parts based on relevant available information. 

4. Service Complexity
Looks at the combination of people, products and systems to simplify processes to improve performance. This is one of simplest metrics to measure — and also one of the most crucial. It breaks down the average response time of your organization into the number of distinct steps between service request and final invoicing. 
For instance, the customer calls to request service, a dispatcher manually enters a work order to the system, then a work order is generated, then the field tech is assigned and dispatched, then the tech arrives on-site and completes an additional form, etc. Breaking down service into a series of steps helps identify how many different systems and people are involved to identify redundant tasks and areas that can benefit from automation.




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KPIs can also be used to identify opportunities to connect and streamline processes between systems. For example, better integration between systems can help reduce MTTR by implementing automatic triggers and event handlers between ERP and FSM to improve efficiency of dispatching, route optimization and field tech productivity.

These four categories of KPIs can help highlight integration bottlenecks and point to process improvements needed for operational excellence. 

Measuring and continuously improving operational excellence is important for any industry.  In the field service industry, benchmarking all four dimensions of operational excellence is even more critical since excellent customer service is essential for a company’s growth and continued success.

Are you interested in business automation, integration and mobilization solutions?

Check out Magic Software's offerings.


Written by Stephan Romeder

Stephan Romeder, is the General Manager of Magic Software Enterprises Europe, a leading provider of multi-channel application development, application integration and enterprise mobility solutions. He is also the Managing Director of Magic Software Deutschland, covering Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Stephan began his career at Magic in 1996 increasing sales and earning many sales and business awards as he worked his way up the corporate ladder by combining a strong focus on innovation with a commitment to developing long-term relationships with customers, partners and employees.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

6 Reasons to Adopt a Culture of Digital Disruption

We are living in a topsy-turvy upside-down world that is suddenly post-modern and something more. Old assumptions of doing business are colliding with new business models and rapidly changing technology paradigms that threaten traditional business thinking with hidden barriers, digital delusions and more. 

A seemingly infinite world of zero costs is pushing us all forward towards digital disruption. Truly savvy business leaders and organizations are taking this unprecedented opportunity to leverage hidden opportunities in this changing world.

Here are 6 reasons to brace for digital disruption:


1. Business Models are no longer linear
As businesses like Uber and Airbnb demonstrate, buyers and sellers no longer need be connected by a linear sales model but rather via an infinite network. Digital technologies connecting mobile devices and Internet application platforms are creating real-time buyer and seller networks that bypass the middle layer of distribution and radically reduce cost and improve service.

2. Technology Paradigms are no longer centralized
The notion of the mainframe computer was to provide a massive single source of computing to serve a single organization. The Internet, mobility, cloud services, and active-active clustering are exponentially increasing the power of computing potential and business process effectiveness for organizations with the vision to harness the capabilities and recognize what’s real.

3. Hidden Barriers are crippling responsiveness
At a time when businesses need to be absolutely agile and responsive, they are discovering hidden barriers intrinsic to outdated technologies that prevent competitiveness and reduce responsiveness to market demands and customer needs.

4. Digital Delusions are trapping businesses in older legacy models
Too many businesses are falling for vendor-speak that attempts to dress-up old technology as part of a new trend that is supposed to lead to digital transformation, when in reality, it furthers vendor lock-in and reduces agility. Recognizing these digital delusions and hidden barriers is essential to unlocking the true potential of a post-modern digital economy.

5. Infinite Capabilities at Zero Cost are begging to be unleashed
When business models and missions align to create service-oriented, real-time networks, delivery infrastructure approaches infinite capability at near zero cost. Pairing mobile apps with cloud application servers and leveraging existing core IT infrastructure in newly integrated configurations can bypass traditional cost models and accelerate revenue streams exponentially. The possibilities are right there in almost every type of business, you just have to able to see how to disassemble what you have and recompose it using the new paradigms.

6. Simple Ideas Are Best
Twitter is basically the ability to be able to send texts or SMS type messages to more than one person at a time. Snapchat is the ability to be able to share pictures without storing them. Uber is the pairing of riders to drivers without owning vehicles. Google is the ability search for and find anything on the internet. The best ideas are incredibly simple and can be expressed in just a few words. What idea will digitally disrupt your industry? 

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Digital disruption is inevitable. Whether you are driving the change in your industry or being victimized by it is entirely up to you. It’s your choice. 

Will you be a victim of digital disruption or its conqueror?

Learn more about the Magic xpi Integration Platform



Written by Glenn Johnson

Glenn Johnson is Senior Vice President of Magic Software Enterprises Americas. Mr. Johnson is the author of the award-winning blog "Integrate My JDE" on ittoolbox.com and contributor to the Business Week Guide to Multimedia Presentations (Osborne-McGraw Hill). He has presented at Collaborate, Interop, COMMON, CIO Logistics Forum and dozens of other user groups and conferences. His interviews on software industry issues have been aired on the NBC Today Show, E! News, Discovery and more.

Originally posted at Customer Think

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Why flexibility in cloud services is key to ERP success in today’s age

In the fast-moving digital world, being able to quickly adapt to disruptive business processes and changing business needs is key to success and survival. While organisations might be able to adapt their strategy and culture, they also need their business systems to adapt to these new processes and requirements. The need for flexibility and near real-time response to changing business processes is especially essential for an organisation’s core ERP system.

Here are five reasons why ERP needs to be flexible.

Hybrid cloud configurations
Today companies should be prepared to extend their core ERP systems with a variety of cloud-based services to take advantage of best-of-breed and supplemental capabilities. They also may want to support a two-tier ERP model in which companies run more than one ERP system, often a primary one at headquarters and additional cloud ERP services at subsidiaries.
Companies should have the flexibility to create efficient, seamless workflows across multiple ERP systems, add-on services, and different applications, including CRM, WMS, and PLM – regardless of whether they reside on-premises or in the cloud.

Changing business models
Companies shouldn’t have to limit the way products and services are offered because their under pinning system is inflexible. For example, with the growing demand for subscription services, insurance companies are providing insurance coverage for young drivers by the day and jet engine manufactures are sell air time instead of the engines themselves.
An inflexible ERP system that can’t support dynamic business practices such as new revenue models and depreciation methods can be a serious inhibitor to positive changes. No company wants to be limited to outdated business models because of its ERP system.

Mobile ERP
The ability to perform day-to-day business functions on the go, including approving purchase requests, signing contracts, and viewing inventory levels boosts efficiency considerably. Mobile ERP applications benefit everyone from sales people to warehouse workers to CEOs who want immediate access to financial reports.
Enterprises must be prepared to mobilize relevant ERP data and processes, update data based on real-time transactions and support offline use cases.

Secure ERP data
Weak ERP security can lead to a loss of assets and compromise data privacy. Securing ERP data also needs to take into account the possibility of integrating with public clouds and tools.
In order for sensitive data to be protected, ERP systems need consistent secure integrations to back end and reporting systems.

IoT data tsunami
Companies wanting to leverage data from IoT systems for predictive maintenance, predictive analytics, and optimized manufacturing, could be flooded with huge volumes of data coming from sensors.
ERP systems can connect the device data with business data and must be able to process, analyse and show all this data in real-time. Elasticity with the ability to scale up quickly will become essential as more and more ERP business processes are data driven.

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Given ERP size and complexities, and the introduction of new technologies as part of digital transformation, there is always the need to modify and expand ERP systems. Planning ahead to include the necessary flexibility, and using solutions that are fully interoperable is the best way to be prepared for new data, security and reporting requirements that come with digital transformation.

Interested in integration? Meet the Magic xpi Integration Platform




Written by Stephan Romeder

Stephan Romeder, is the General Manager of Magic Software Enterprises Europe, a leading provider of multi-channel application development, application integration and enterprise mobility solutions. He is also the Managing Director of Magic Software Deutschland, covering Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Stephan began his career at Magic in 1996 increasing sales and earning many sales and business awards as he worked his way up the corporate ladder by combining a strong focus on innovation with a commitment to developing long-term relationships with customers, partners and employees.

Originally posted at CloudTech

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

8 big trends that will impact IT in 2017

In 2017 disruptive technologies that were previously buzz words will become a reality, there will be a rise in cyberattacks, and the new administration, in addition to going digital, will most likely change policies and regulations, requiring modifications to IT systems. With all of these changes, enterprises will continue to look to IT to be an enabler of digital transformation for increased efficiency and competitiveness.

Here are eight key trends on the horizon for 2017:


1. US government deregulation 
Under a new administration and Republican Congress, major changes in regulations are expected to impact numerous industries. The ripple effects across IT systems will likely require significant changes in business processes, and may even necessitate wholesale replacement of Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) and other specialized systems in industries such as healthcare and banking where the deregulatory expectations are particularly high.

2. Rise in state-sponsored cyberattacks
Businesses should be prepared for a rise in state-sponsored attacks like the much publicized Russian-backed hackers’ break into mobile phones used by Democratic Party officials. Backed by budget, manpower, and determination, nations don’t have to worry about recouping costs or generating profit, so state-sponsored cyberattacks targeting mobile devices and enterprise systems will only increase in 2017.

3. IoT security as first priority 
Recent IoT security breaches will put security top-of-mind for enterprise IT departments in 2017. As billions of connected things are deployed, botnets will continue to multiply if devices aren’t secured. Security measures will be taken to prevent attacks from hacked consumer CCTV cameras and other connected devices that caused outages for Twitter, Amazon, Tumblr, Reddit, Spotify, Netflix, and others earlier this year. In addition, corporate IoT deployments will be hardened to prevent Stuxnet type attacks.

4. Geo-fencing for mobile app push notifications 
Geo-fencing will become a more common feature for mobile applications, especially push notifications used for sending shoppers incentives, reminders of rewards, and surveying customers about their shopping experience. Retailers will be able to build email and in-app campaigns for shoppers who have previously appeared at specific locations.

5. Digital customer experience as important as the product  
Consumers will consider a convenient and intuitive shopping app experience to be as important as the quality of the product or service they buy. Experiences beyond the ordinary that include augmented reality, virtual marketplaces, peer-to-peer collaboration, and 360-degree integration will be in demand.

6. App modernization for consistency 
Existing on-premise apps will continue to be morphed into mobile apps with a push to create a consistent look and feel across all platforms, including tablets, mobile, and the web. 

7. AI will be everywhere 
Corporate giants like Google, IBM, Yahoo, Intel, Apple, and Salesforce, are competing in the race to acquire private AI companies, with over 40 acquisitions taking place in 2016 alone. This year, AI will be used to discover insights, predict outcomes, suggest next steps, and anticipate sales opportunities for businesses.

8. Displacements due to digital transformation and demonetization displacements 
No company wants to go the way of Blockbuster or Polaroid cameras. Risk-adverse businesses that postpone innovating and adapting processes to match the needs of the digital economy may quickly become obsolete, no matter how trusted their products and services once were. Demonetization and the digitization of currency will drive new consumer revolutions across numerous marketplaces, presenting both threats and opportunities to which businesses must quickly adjust.

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The year ahead will present new opportunities and challenges accelerated by change in policies and disruptive technologies. Having a flexible, scalable, robust integration platform will make it possible to support the changes in culture brought on by focusing on the customer experience and digital transformation. Being flexible and adaptable to rapidly implement and integrate technologies will increase competitiveness and lead to essential differentiators for market leaders’ success.


Learn more about the Magic xpi Integration Platform



Written by Glenn Johnson

Glenn Johnson is Senior Vice President of Magic Software Enterprises Americas. Mr. Johnson is the author of the award-winning blog "Integrate My JDE" on ittoolbox.com and contributor to the Business Week Guide to Multimedia Presentations (Osborne-McGraw Hill). He has presented at Collaborate, Interop, COMMON, CIO Logistics Forum and dozens of other user groups and conferences. His interviews on software industry issues have been aired on the NBC Today Show, E! News, Discovery and more.

Originally posted at The Enterprisers Project

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Magic Customers Are Doing More with Magic xpi – Shouldn’t You?

We’ve found that many Magic xpi customers start with one specific integration project in mind and then, because they find it so easy to use and like it so much, they keep finding additional uses. 

In fact, at leading organizations around the globe, like Sennheiser & Suntory Beverage & Food Europe (Orangina /Schweppes), Magic xpi has become their central integration platform. 

But don’t take our word for it, you can hear it from them:



Sennheiser




“Basically we are using Magic xpi to build interfaces around our ERP system which is JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and to connect several different systems including Sugar CRM, Websphere Q, different databases, different sources….” Marius Tempelmeier, Software Developer, Sennheiser


Mundipharma





“When we first originally purchased Magic xpi we thought we would be utilizing it for only our applications on our smartphones. It was a real eye opener when we realized it could also be used for integration between systems.” 
Daniel Stasiak, Senior Consultant, Mundipharma 

“Magic xpi Integration Platform’s prebuilt adapters and broad connectivity enables us to optimize interfaces between applications and lets Magic xpi serve as a central data hub, making our IT infrastructure and maintenance more efficient.” 
Berthold Berg, Head of Enterprise Applications, Mundipharma 


Orangina Schweppes (Suntory Beverage & Food Europe)

“Magic xpi is now used as a centralized platform for all application integrations in all Suntory Beverage & Food Europe Business units: Orangina Suntory France, Lucozade Ribena Suntory Ltd, Schweppes International Limited.”
Thierry Serra, ‎IT FO/CRM Application Domain Leader Europe, Suntory Beverage & Food Europe


Moose Toys

Moose Toys is using the Magic xpi Integration Platform to handle most of its integration needs, including complex EDI integrations with leading global retail customers in US and Australia. In addition, Magic xpi will be used for integrations with various applications including Oracle Cloud applications, Oracle’s JD Edwards and Oracle Demantra.


Mahindra & Mahindra

“Mahindra & Mahindra has increased operational efficiency and productivity by using Magic’s integration platform to easily automate communication with trading partners and make information about third-party products accessible within our SAP system.”
Vijay Mahajan, Head, Center of Excellence-Corporate IT, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. 

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If you are also using Magic xpi to do more, share your story with us in the comments. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

8 Key Trends for CIOs in 2017

In 2017 new emerging technologies will be implemented raising new opportunities and challenges. IoT, Geo-fencing, AI and the Digital Experience will be at the top of CIO’s agendas, while at the same time there will be a movement back to classic development methodologies, such as Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), to enable extensive integration across systems and consistency across delivery platforms.

Here are 8 key trends we see on the horizon for 2017.

1. Move to secure IoT 


Security measures will be taken in 2017 to prevent incidents such as the hacking of CCTV cameras and other connected devices that caused outages for Twitter, Amazon, Tumblr, Reddit, Spotify, Netflix and other web sites last October.




2. Geo-fencing for mobile apps 


Geo-fencing will become a more common feature used in different types of applications for providing incentives for shoppers, sending reminders of rewards, surveying customers about their shopping experience, and possibly for monitoring customer visits to competing stores. Even more importantly, by restricting access to devices or applications when a user is outside a set perimeter, geo-fencing will become another line of security defence.


3. Bringing back SOA 


While SOA’s been around for ten years, in 2017 it will be more essential than ever. Managing and capitalising on the interrelated nature of technologies while maintaining control will be the biggest challenge for enterprise architects in 2017. Enterprise SOA will evolve next year to manage connected-everything computing platforms.


4. Monetisation of IoT 


There will be a race to create IoT applications that provide consumer value and revenue streams, by employing all necessary system integrations, usage tracking and billing modules. More companies will follow the lead of huge manufacturers that have already announced the availability of smart products, such as Phillips, whose light bulbs can be controlled by smartphones and Audi Connect that uses built-in WiFi to deliver real-time traffic and weather alerts to commuters.


5. Delivering the ultimate digital experience 


The convergence of digital transformation and customer experience is creating the digital experience. In 2017, delivery of excellent digital experiences will become more important to where consumers will consider a convenient and easy-to-use interface and consistency across touch points, just as if not more important, than the quality of the product or service they buy.


6. Application modernisation 


Existing on-premise apps will continue to be morphed and integrated into mobile apps and even desktop apps, to provide innovative and efficient processes and user experiences.  


7. AI will be everywhere 


Next year AI will be used to improve business opportunities and outcomes by discovering insights, predicting outcomes, suggesting next steps, and anticipating sales opportunities.


8. More companies will lose to digital transformation 


Technological disruption is creating a great divide between winners and losers. No one wants to go the way of previously trusted products and services such as Blockbuster or Polaroid cameras. However, companies that are slow to adopt new technologies and processes will continue to become obsolete.


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The year ahead will present new opportunities and challenges accelerated by disruptive technologies. Companies will be focusing on the customer experience and digital transformation of processes. Having a robust, flexible, and scalable integration platform that enables the rapid integration of applications and technologies will enable CIOs to increase competitiveness and provide essential differentiators for market success in 2017 and beyond.

Originally written by Stephan Romeder, General Manager of Magic Software Europe and posted on IT Pro Portal.