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.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Tale of Two Cities: JD Edwards ERP Integration and Interoperability with Salesforce.com CRM

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; 
it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness;
it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; 
it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; 
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; 
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; 
we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.
- Charles Dickens: “A Tale of Two Cities”
These words may resonate with the business analyst tasked to integrate JD Edwards with Salesforce.com.

On the one hand, both JD Edwards and Salesforce.com were designed with a certain amount of openness and loose coupling to allow for integration and interoperability. This is wisdom, this is light, this is hope. 

On the other hand, completely divergent table structures and lack of any direct integration means that most organizations seeking that integration plunge headfirst into deep technical programming efforts. This is foolishness, this is darkness, this is despair.

Fortunately, a solution exists that allows you to automate the design of business processes that span the chasm between JD Edwards ERP which is usually running in a data center and Salesforce.com CRM which runs in the cloud. It is not a small chasm. JD Edwards World is very down-to-earth based on the green screen world of the IBM i and RPG code.

Even EnterpriseOne takes us into the jungle of Java programming and C# programming. On the other hand, Salesforce.com integration requires
programming to complex Web Services involving SOAP and WSDL.

In this White Paper, we introduce Magic xpi Integration Platform for JD Edwards and Salesforce.com as a business process orchestration solution for ERP and CRM integration that requires no manual programming. 

We examine the four pillars of CRM and consider common touchpoints for either JD Edwards World or EnterpriseOne integration including transaction tables processing and Master Business Functions where available. It also discusses the importance of five key integration capabilities for Salesforce.com business process orchestration. 



Finally, it describes briefly the business process design, monitoring and execution capabilities of Magic xpi Integration Platform.

Download the free eBook now and learn more about our Magic xpi solution for JD Edwards.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Delivering Digital Experience: 4 Platform Essentials

You can't escape discussions about digital transformation and customer experience these days. As the chatter intensifies — and both topics integrate more tightly in analyst trend lines and reports — so does the inevitable attempt to converge these trends into digital experience (DX).

*Glenn Johnson

In simple terms, digital transformation can be understood as the changes brought on by the use of digital technology in all aspects of business.

Customer experience (CX) is all about the “sum-totality of how customers engage with your company and brand,” author, photographer and speaker Adam Richardson wrote in the Harvard Business Review.




The Dawn of DX


The logical intersection of these two megatrends can be thought of as digital experience: the automation and interactions of your brand platform with the customer.

The digital experience is more than marketing automation. It is the convergence of all enterprise systems in service to the customer and their needs.

But how can a business cope with the needed technology to transform customer experiences into digital experience?


An enterprise seeking to deliver digital experience in a way that delights customers, fosters loyalty and raises Net-Promoter Scores (NPS) will need to make sure they are prepared for the following requirements:

Select a CRM Platform with an effective API
Since CRM alone is never enough to accommodate all the requirements of delivering exceptional customer experiences, your CRM platform needs to offer an effective API so that you can interface all the other needed technologies in your enterprise for a total Digital Experience for your customers.

Choose a Multichannel Enterprise Mobility Platform
Select a mobile platform that provides the flexibility needed to develop integrated apps across multiple channels. App development tools that serve only one mobile device community or that are not paired well with back-end integration solutions will prove to be very difficult to implement.

A well-integrated mobile platform that allows you to develop once and deploy to iOS, Android, Windows, web and closed network environments will significantly reduce the complexity of app development and the skillsets required to build the apps used by your customers and employees.

Select Marketing Automation Tools Appropriate for Marketing Users
The classical marketing employee would typically be described as culturally and intellectually different from the typical computer programmer. Marketing automation tools that feel like programming are counter-intuitive to most marketers.

The ideal solutions provide the power needed for highly personalized Digital Experience marketing while at the same time not requiring time-consuming and complex programming.

Marketing campaign roll-outs simply do not have time for a six-month development project. The tools used by marketers need to make sense to marketers.

Provide IT with the Integration Tools Needed to Support the Digital Experience
The introduction of web, mobile, CRM and marketing automation tools in the enterprise creates a big requirement for integration. Point-to-point integration fails when systems change or are updated and they are increasingly difficult to maintain.

A proper integration platform provides a basis for event-driven business process integration that spans enterprise software systems to create truly coherent customer experiences and interactions that provide a 360-degree view of the customer to your employees and a 360-degree view of your business to the customer.


The Cultural Component

To be sure, these platforms will not invoke the cultural change needed to transform a product-centric culture into a customer-centric culture.

But having the right IT platforms in place will make it possible to support the changes in culture brought on by the increasing focus on customer experience and digital transformation.

In a transformed customer-centric culture, digital experience is an inevitable heir to the customer experience and digital transformation trends.


Originally posted at CMS Wire


About the Author

Glenn Johnson is SVP of Magic Software Enterprises Americas. He is the author of "Integrate My JDE" on ittoolbox.com and a contributor to the Business Week Guide to Multimedia Presentations (Osborne-McGraw Hill).

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Debunking 5 myths about IoT projects

How can enterprise win support for IoT projects while overturning traditional IT management concepts that aren’t appropriate for IoT project planning?

*Stephan Romeder - General Manager, Magic Software Europe

Some of the best project management strategies for IoT might not be considered best practices for traditional IT projects, but new innovations like IoT require creative project management strategies to help realise the full opportunity with an acceptable level of risk.

The first myth to smash is that the Internet of Things (IoT) is new. In fact the concept has been around since the mid 1980’s.

Machine-to-machine (M2M), as it is known in the enterprise, set the foundation for IoT decades ago. The difference is that now all of the smart connected devices are also connected to a network and they can communicate with several back-end IT systems for tracking usage and billing, etc. adding another layer of complexity.

Although some of the technology is old and proven to improve efficiency considerably while also improving customer service, many new applications can be disruptive. So while the impact can be big, the best strategy can often be to start small.


Therefore, this is a good base to debunk many traditional IT management concepts that simply aren’t appropriate for IoT project planning:

1. Start from the top

Beginning a large strategic IoT project with top level management input may not be the best strategy.

Since some technology is still at the experimental stage, small bounded projects will lower the risk and will disrupt operations less than large ambitious complicated projects.

In addition, until the benefits of IoT are well understood it might be more prudent to have only a few internal sponsors involved instead of trying educate, evangelise, and integrate input from several high level managers.


2. Focus on ROI

In the early stages it’s difficult to know what impact IoT will have on your business. Rapid prototyping can help you find out.

It’s important in the experimental stages to quickly pilot ideas, try new things, and learn from failures. Other variables are difficult to estimate, such as how valid or important data will be in the future, so the ROI can be difficult to gage without a full understanding of the shelf-life of the IoT system.


3. Analyse network requirements at the final stages

With the Internet of Things, everything is connected. This includes not only the connected devices themselves, but also the IT infrastructure that enables business to use IoT data and insights.

The ability to analyse, collect, store, and share data easily and reliably is essential.

Consistent connectivity is critical for the IoT solution to perform effectively, and this requires having the necessary network infrastructure in place. This necessitates that network requirements to be done earlier than usual.


4. Bring in suppliers after project definition

Vendors bring the infrastructure, sensors and networks; partnering with them can help speed your IoT proof of concept.

Since many aspects of IoT cannot be tested or proven in laboratories but only with real enterprise users and outside customers, bringing suppliers in early is important to test theories, discover new opportunities and reduce the risk of unpleasant surprises later.


5. Consider security risk after project completion

IoT means that more data will be available across a broad network, increasing the risk of data breaches which could pose a significant threat to individuals and enterprises.

Inherent limitations of IoT devices prevent the installation of anti-malware, antivirus and firewall agents, so security requirements need to be identified and considered up front to keep endpoints and data exchanges secure.

IoT offers the chance for enterprises to deliver new applications that provide real-time insights that help enterprises capture, understand and make more effective use of device data, but it also requires a new mindset when it comes to project management, with a willingness to be flexible, try new things, and build on experience.


Some of the best project management strategies for IoT might not be considered best practices for traditional IT projects, but new innovations like IoT require creative project management strategies to help realise the full opportunity with an acceptable level of risk.

Monday, December 12, 2016

How To Quickly Develop a Mobile App with Magic xpa

Hello there magicians! It's time to check out the latest illustrated tutorial for creating a mobile app with Magic xpa.

As an example, we are showing how to create a simple "LogOn" program. Take a look!


1) First, activate the Mobile Design mode by clicking this toggle icon and set the Public Name of your choice (LogOn) 



This mode presets the Form Designer with certain default values that are more common for mobile devices. 

Don't forget to check the "External" check box.


2) Then, set the Task Type to Rich Client, as it is a RIA program




3) Now add two Virtual Variables: User Name and Password





4) Zoom into the Form Designer and drop the two variables onto the form




5) In the toolbar, click on the Mobile Form Preview button - it gives you a preview of the Display forms that you are developing




This lets you play around with the placement and size of the controls and see how the controls will appear on various mobile devices. 


6) It's time to add the button and set the Placement Property



In the Placement property you set up whether the control is moved or resized when the parent form or parent container is resized. 

   It works! You can test switching between devices or orientation





7) Now press the Android icon to use Android devices or simulator




Once you toggle on, the running the application or the program will install the pre-built MagicDev.apk file on your device or simulator and will run the program or project.

*If you use a device, make sure that your device is connected to the network and that the firewall on your PC allows your device to connect to your PC.



8) That's it! You can now see the screen of the real device. The Magic application has started and the program is executed. 




Watch the full video! 





You can try Magic xpa for freedownloading our Single User Edition.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

ZF Lemförder SA Migrates ERP System and Optimizes Production Efficiency with Magic xpi Integration Platform

South African BMW parts supplier relies on Magic Software’s prebuilt connector for quick, reliable SAP ERP integration


ZF Lemförder SA (South Africa), part of the German ZF Group of companies, implemented the Magic xpi Integration Platform to migrate between ERP systems and to automate the exchange of data between its local production control system and its corporate SAP ERP system.  




THE CHALLENGE

ZF Lemförder’s production facilities operate non-stop 24 hours a day, 5 days a week, producing parts for 350 cars per day. The Just-in-Time Just-in-Sequence (JIT/JIS) supplier of auto parts to BMW SA was faced with the challenge of migrating its local ERP system to the corporate SAP ERP system. To continue its seamless operations meant that the company also had to replicate the automatic exchange of order and production data that had previously existed between its ERP and its local production system. 




THE SOLUTION

Today, Magic xpi is used as the hub for the seamless exchange of client and production information and processes between ZF Lemförder‘s corporate SAP system, based in Germany, and its local production system. Customer order details including bills of material, planned assembly dates and vehicle details are received via SAP, collected by Magic xpi and then sent to the local production system. After the parts are assembled, data is sent via Magic xpi to the SAP ERP to activate internal processes.

“We selected Magic xpi because of all the time it saves us. Its prebuilt SAP ERP connector allowed us to work quickly without deep technical knowledge and its simple web services connectivity enabled easy integration with our local production system. We estimated that developing the same functionality with point-to-point coding could have taken a year, while with Magic xpi it took only 3 to 5 months, including re-scoping due to the complexity of the project,” said Neels Van Rooyen, ICT Manager at ZF Lemförder SA. 




“The ease and reliability of working with Magic lead us to begin working with Magic xpa, their low code application development platform. We look forward to working with Magic’s application development and integration solution to create additional apps to further automate and digitize our business.”

“We are proud to provide ZF Lemförder SA with a reliable and cost-effective system integration platform that enhances the efficiency of their manufacturing operation,” commented Hedley Hurwitz, Managing Director at Magic Software South Africa. 

“ZF Lemförder is an example of the increasing number of companies that are relying on Magic’s End-to-End Enterprise Mobility Solution to increase competitiveness in the digital economy.”