Wednesday, January 10, 2018

GDPR Webinar – Get your Sugar ready with the Magic touch

Please join Magic and Sugar for an exclusive Webinar 


You are already ahead of the game and your SugarCRM system can play a crucial role in managing customer data. In this webinar, Magic’s own David Berlin will join Phil Winters, "The Father of Customer Intelligence", and Martina Knappe, the EMEA Marketing Director at SugarCRM. 

This well-rounded panel will show you how Sugar together with its GDPR Compliance Tracker and the Magic Software solution can support you on your very individual road to GDPR readiness. 




In a recent SugarCRM poll, 68% of respondents reported they were either not sufficiently informed or unsure about the GDPR and 53% were only partially prepared. 

Come join us to find out about:

• GDPR requirements with respect to personal data management and processing 
• How Magic can help you handle the challenges with consolidating data 
• Leveraging a visual GDPR Compliance Tracker Tool

Register Now 

18th of January 2018 
12 p.m. GMT / 1 p.m. CET


Monday, December 25, 2017

Top IT Disasters In 2017 - a recap of 2017’s biggest IT disasters

Stephan Romeder*

A reminder of how dependent we are on data systems.

This year has seen an inordinate number of IT meltdowns. Computer glitches have grounded planes, tampered with the stock market, ruined travel plans, and resulted in stolen credit cards. They have also led to life-threatening situations by disrupting healthcare and emergency services.

Here’s a recap of 2017’s biggest IT disasters to remind us how much we rely on and are dependent on data systems.




Stranded Commuters

Atlanta-based Delta, the second-largest U.S. airline, canceled 150 US flights on January 29th due to a computer systems outage. This is after Delta cancelled more than 2,000 flights over three days after a computer breakdown last August, according to Associated Press reports. At British Airways, serious problems with their IT systems led to thousands of passengers having their travel plans disrupted, with all flights from Heathrow and Gatwick cancelled.

In Melbourne, Metro’s automatic train control center failed on July 14th, causing train controllers’ screens to go blank, forcing all the trains to come to a halt since no one knew their location. Trains pulled up, either at platforms or in between stations, and sat there for over an hour while staff in Metro’s nerve center raced to identify the problem and get the system back online. Tens of thousands of commuters were impacted.


Stock Market Crash

The share prices of major tech companies seemed to be off the charts on the eve of the July 4th holiday, the result of a market data glitch caused by human error. Some websites incorrectly reported Amazon (AMZN) plummeting 87%, Apple (AAPL) dropping 14% and Microsoft (MSFT) soaring to 79% in the late hours of July 3rd. If the data was true, the recorded 87% plunge in Amazon stock would have wiped nearly $400 billion off the company's market capitalization. NASDAQ explained that the data that was sent out was part of 'normal evening test procedures'.


Healthcare Held Ransom

On May 12 of this year, a strain of ransomware called WannaCry spread around the world, hitting hundreds of thousands of targets, including public utilities and large corporations. The ransomware hit National Health Service hospitals and facilities in the United Kingdom, side-lining emergency rooms, delaying life-sustaining medical procedures, and causing havoc for many British patients.


Personal Data Leaks

In February of 2017, Cloudflare, an internet infrastructure company, determined that a glitch in its platform caused the leakage of potentially sensitive customer data, which was cached by search engines. Cloudflare provides performance and security services for approximately six million customer websites including heavy hitters like Fitbit and OKCupid. The problem was discovered on February 17, but the data leakage could have started as early as September 22, 2016.


Delayed Emergency Services

Computer glitches also interfered with Andersen County's emergency response times in South Carolina in the US. Screens froze while dispatchers typed information to be relayed to paramedics, firefighters or law enforcement officials. What the dispatcher typed didn’t show up on the screens, calls were rerouted to other dispatchers with working computer systems or the information was handwritten on a scrap of paper. The computer failures also made it almost impossible for dispatchers to find addresses or track ambulances.

**

The good news is that there are solutions that help monitor system performance and ensure that such disasters are avoided.

Integration platforms gather all the data required for predicting, with a certain level of accuracy, the amount of processing power needed to help manage the highest volume of transactions, and make sure the necessary capacity is available with built-in backup systems for 24/7 reliability. By enabling systems to share data and automatically update each other, integration platforms streamline IT operations and lower the risk of manual data entry errors. A robust process-based integration platform can use certified connectors to bring together systems from all of the major vendors.

With more and more organizations relying on data to manage their businesses, IT governance will be a top priority in 2018. Integration platforms can be the extra insurance policy to prevent data disasters from disrupting and sometimes even endangering peoples’ lives. 




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


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.
Image from Freepik

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Will the Internet of Things Deliver?

Yuval Lavi*

Investing in extensive planning for building the right IoT infrastructure is well worth the effort.

Business leaders are investing in the Internet of Things (IoT) with the expectation that it will help their companies to increase customer satisfaction, improve quality, reduce costs and support new data-driven services. The Boston Consulting Group predicts that by 2020, $267 billion will be spent on IoT technologies, products and services. However, it is paramount that every IoT project go through a reality check so companies can garner a full understanding of the benefits and the risks.

In addition to assessing the full benefits of the IoT, the associated costs and risks need to be factored in to calculate a return on investment (ROI). The ability to tag and track all sorts of processes using the IoT does not guarantee that every smart connection will bring value. An ROI must be calculated for both the short and long terms, despite all of the unknowns for IoT projects.


Improving the Customer Experience

The IoT holds enormous potential, especially when it comes to improving the customer experience. This can have the highest impact on the bottom line, since it is directly linked to repeat purchases and positive recommendations to friends and colleagues.
Using sensors to track customer usage of products, the IoT can help brands build a far more insightful understanding of their customers' perceptions, expectations and needs to optimize the customer experience. The IoT provides important insights for all steps of the customer journey, from phone calls and the internet to face-to-face meetings at brick-and-mortar stores.

Customer service can also be improved using the IoT, by tracing shipments through the manufacturing and transportation process in real time, thereby providing more accurate and timely deliveries, with the ability for customers to access and view their order status online. Organizations can proactively replenish inventory based on exact physical data, minimizing the possibility of losing a sale due to merchandise being out of stock.


The IoT also has immediate benefits by extending equipment life and preventing product downtime. If a company is alerted when a component or part is not working properly or needs to be serviced before something breaks, this provides a huge benefit. The ability to predict product failure is even more essential for specialized equipment that, if it were to become inoperable, could potentially create lengthy work delays, which can result in damages and fines due to missed deadlines.


IoT Costs and Risks

In the early stages, it's difficult to know what impact the IoT will have on your business. Instead of a structured, top-down approach with management buy-in, rapid prototyping can help you determine the real value of how the new system will be used. It's important in the experimental stages to quickly pilot ideas, try new things and learn from failures.
Even though there are many opportunities to incorporate IoT technology in business work processes, companies need to take a hard look at the integration costs. Systems need to easily share data between customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and back-end financial and manufacturing systems. In addition, systems need to connect vast networks of sensors, controllers, beacons, smartphones, tablets and other devices.

To ensure that that ROI also continues in the long term, the system needs the ability to continuously define and update business rules based on additional data sources. Likewise, the infrastructure must be flexible to comply with emerging standards, so as to protect personal privacy and prevent hackers from taking over.

Integration platforms provide a more flexible environment that is optimized to manage vendors' technology stacks and all of the data sharing between different vendors' solutions. Various capabilities, including fault-tolerance, elasticity, monitoring and performance management, enable systems to automatically cache transmissions that cannot be sent, and to allocate extra resources to handle sudden peaks in demand. Standard mechanisms for managing data can help companies comply with standards and regulations.


The Internet of Things holds enormous potential, especially when it comes to improving the customer experience. Investing in extensive planning for building the right IoT infrastructure is well worth the effort. With all the potential improvements in customer service and efficiency, it's only a matter of time before IoT standards and best practices make the IoT commonplace and an expected part of doing business.

Learn more about the Magic xpi Integration Platform




*Written by Yuval Lavi 

Yuval Lavi is Vice President of Technology and Innovation at Magic Software. Yuval's mission is providing high-level professional services and a variety support tools (framework, performance profiler, migration, etc.) for all Magic products. in addition of overall responsibility for Corporate Customer Support and in charge of developing a Corporate Knowledge Center.



Originally published by IOT Journal

Thursday, November 30, 2017

We’re back at the UKOUG JD Edwards Conference!

Magic is once again exhibiting at the UKOUG JD Edwards Conference & Exhibition 2017. We’re excited about this year’s UKOUG JD Edward Conference where our team is getting ready to meet with users and help answer any questions about Magic xpi Integration Platform and Oracle’s JD Edwards. 

So what’s the UKOUG conference? It’s the UK’s premier independent JD Edwards conference hosted by the United Kingdom Oracle User Group (UKOUG). 

This year it’s taking place in Birmingham, England from December 5th until the 6th - and we’ll be there. 






There are lots of good reasons to talk to us about how we can help extend the capabilities of JD Edwards, and here are just a few: 

- Magic xpi has built-in, certified connectors for Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and JD Edwards World. This means that we can help you connect these with CRM, finance or any other ERP or enterprise systems -without having to know how to code. 

- We can automatically sync master data, work orders, bills of materials and more, across systems. 

- We can enable mobile workforce solutions for Order Entry, Proof-of Delivery, Field Service apps, and more. 

- If you want us to tailor a solution just for you, our wealth of experience in delivering software solutions and associated services is just what you need. 

- We’re an Oracle Platinum partner, have many satisfied JDE customers and have been called "The Gold Standard for JDE Integration" by the Oracle JDE team. 

All of these can make your life easier and speed up the way you do business! 


Do you want to meet with one of our JD Edwards integration experts at the JDE17 event? Just click here or feel free to stop by and see us at our booth (stand 25).

Thursday, August 17, 2017

IoT Reality Check - Keep your integration on track

Stephan Romeder*

Because the Internet of Things (IoT) can streamline work processes, reduce manpower requirements and improve customer service it’s becoming a more mature market in Europe.

According to a European Commission study, the market value of the IoT in the EU is expected to exceed one trillion euros in 2020. When executives across industries in Europe were surveyed, 27% said that they are in the process of implementing or have already implemented analytics and IoT use cases. An additional 25% of these executives are planning to implement IoT solutions in multiple cases and integrate them with their IT systems by 2020.

However, several hurdles need to be overcome before the full benefits of IoT can be realized. For starters, just because all sorts of processes can be tagged and tracked using IoT, it doesn’t mean that every smart connection brings value. A return on investment needs to be built for both the short term and the long term. In addition, recent cyber-attacks have resulted in mushrooming standards that need to be addressed.




Every IoT project needs a reality check to have a full understanding of the benefits and the risks.

Internet of Profits

Although there are ample opportunities to leverage IoT technology, companies need to take a hard look at the integration costs for systems that need to connect vast networks of sensors, controllers, beacons, smartphones, tablets and other devices. Systems need to easily share data between CRM, ERP, and back end financial and manufacturing systems with the ability to scale up, to process larger and larger volumes of data.

A general guideline is that IoT projects are successful if there is an ROI within a year. Take, for example, an industrial company that introduced sensors into a production line system to warn of a potential upcoming malfunction to reduce downtime for an assembly line. The project included the automatic creation of rules based on historical data to predict potential equipment failures. The project was a success with a strong ROI showing immediate benefits.

However, to ensure that that ROI also continues in the long term, the system included the ability to continuously define and update business rules based on additional data sources. An IoT platform helped streamline the integration of data from smart devices and enterprise systems, with a built-in IMDG to handle large volumes of data, enabling the system to evolve with new requirements.

Risk of IoT Breach

Last October, after the Mirai botnet attacked connected DVRs, CCTVs and routers to block access to several high profile websites, IoT security concerns became a burning issue. Several different organizations have published their own guidelines and standards to try to avoid these breaches. Each IoT implementation needs to address current and future policies to reduce risk and ensure compliance. Here are a few examples:
- European network and infosec agency ENISA released a paper recommending IoT security measures, from simple devices all the way up to complete systems including connected cars and factories. They proposed a requirement for an EU “Trust Label” for IoT devices.
- The GSMA, together with the mobile industry, has delivered a comprehensive set of IoT Security Guidelines, promoting best practices for the secure end-to-end design, development and deployment of IoT solutions. 
- The project IEEE P2413, Standard for an Architectural Framework for the Internet of Things (IoT), has a sub-working group that has proposed IoT security standards for cryptography, devices and sensors, networking, and infrastructure.

The IoT wave is introducing new efficiencies with a fast ROI, but there are also considerable risks that need to be considered before making significant investments for the long term. In addition, the infrastructure must be flexible to comply with emerging standards, and it also needs to make the necessary connections with Big Data, thousands of sensors, and all of the analytics that are needed for smart decision making.

However, doing extensive planning for building the right infrastructure of IoT is well worth the effort. With all the potential improvements in customer service and efficiency, it’s only a matter of time before IoT standards and best practices make IoT commonplace and an expected part of doing business.

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.



Originally published by Innovation Enterprise

Monday, July 24, 2017

Industry 4.0: Harnessing the Power of ERP and MES Integration

Yuval Lavi*

By integrating ERP and manufacturing data for more accurate demand forecasts, companies can reduce inventories by avoiding overproduction.


In today’s competitive global markets, having a lean manufacturing process is more important than ever. Sharing information between the manufacturing floor and business systems can enable manufacturers to achieve new levels of efficiency. With the industrial Internet of Things (Iot) revolutionizing manufacturing by leveraging intelligent, connected devices in factories, there are even more opportunities to fine-tune operations with better data and process integration.

In a recent survey by Accenture of more than 1,400 global business leaders, 84% confidently asserted that they could create new income streams from implementing IoT solutions. BI Intelligence expects the installed base of manufacturing IoT devices to swell from 237 million in 2015 to 923 million in 2020. By that year, manufacturers will spend approximately $267 billion on the IoT. 

Indeed, the anticipated efficiency returns from digitization over the next five years across all major industrial sectors are substantial: nearly 3% in additional revenue and 3.6% in reduced costs per year, according to a recent PwC survey. By proactively leading the digitization effort, industrial manufacturers can earn a growing portion of these gains.

Since enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems contain information regarding inventory and customer demand, and manufacturing execution systems (MES) control how to build it, integrating the two worlds could help increase operational efficiency and enable organizations to become more flexible and more responsive to customized and changing demands. In addition, real-time information exchange between the business layer and the production layer could help increase overall equipment efficiency (OEE), reduce cycle times, and provide management with greater visibility for improved decision-making.


Here are six ways integrating ERP with MES can help make manufacturing leaner:


1. Real-time Production Adjustments

Demand changes that are recorded in ERP systems can be fed into manufacturing schedules to ensure quantities of products manufactured are more closely aligned with demand for leaner and more efficient manufacturing. Most shop-floor machinery is now powered by embedded sensors and control mechanisms. Wireless sensor and actuator networks (WSAN) provide servo and motor control via IoT along with traditional computer numerical control (CNC) methods that allow for in-progress production adjustments on the factory floor.

RFID tags, which have been used to help connect partners and move goods from a logistics and supply chain management perspective across organizational boundaries, can also be used on the factory floor in order to track work-in-progress materials, route those materials efficiently, enable parts requirements, handle JIT replenishments, and manage the availability and utilization of assets. When coupled with other data regarding materials as they flow through the factory and eventually to customers, RFID tags and other tracking mechanisms can provide plant operators with insights that enable them to efficiently process raw materials, right through to the finished product.

2. Accurate Demand Forecasts

Underestimating demand means running out of product when customer demand is at its highest, reducing a company’s revenues while hurting customer relationships. Insufficient inventory or stockouts are detrimental to both short- and long-term revenues since delays in delivery schedules can tarnish a company’s perceived reliability and long-term customer relationships.

Overestimating demand means companies have to invest upfront in a lot of extra inventory, which then can’t be quickly turned around into a profit. Excess inventory—whether raw materials, work-in-progress, or finished goods—ties up cash in the business that can be put to better use elsewhere. With inventory typically comprising between 25% and 40% of assets, demand uncertainty is often the single largest influence on stock levels. By integrating ERP and manufacturing data for more accurate demand forecasts, companies can reduce inventories by avoiding overproduction.

3. Just-in-Time Delivery 
Just-in-time (JIT) delivery and the surgical precision it requires have been around for quite some time, but now that supply chains are becoming increasingly intertwined with the Internet of Things, brands have a very large untapped opportunity to use the data. Supply chain managers can track inbound and outbound inventory with incredible detail, and that visibility allows brands to react immediately to changes. ERP schedules can be more realistic by incorporating quicker production times based on the latest improvements on the shop floor.

Wireless sensor networks provide data that impact just-in-time schedules, such as work-in-progress, parts inventory, and more. Likewise, any downtime due to damaged or defective equipment can be reported to the ERP system to push back delivery dates, if necessary. Even in transit, sensors on containers or trucks deliver real-time insights to products across the supply chain.

4. Avoid Rush Orders

By integrating ERP and MES, manufacturers are able to reorder from suppliers before inventory falls below a set level. Satisfying customers by delivering demands at an agreed time can lead to customers’ trust in a company’s competence.

Rush orders are one of the main types of supply chain risks because of their negative impact on the overall performance. Avoiding rush orders not only minimizes the possibility of production delays, it also prevents additional charges incurred by ordering materials at the last minute and by requesting expedited deliveries.

5. Seamless Change Orders

Better system integration supports more efficient execution of change orders. Any product changes requested by customers need to be transferred to production systems as soon as possible to avoid delays in fulfilling orders. Likewise, new manufacturing processes that impact production times and expenses need to be shared immediately with enterprise systems so that any pricing or product delivery information can be updated.

6. IoT Equals Quality

Manufacturing execution systems (MES) help streamline factory-floor operations by managing and monitoring all work-in-progress, including providing real-time visibility, and enabling traceability of both materials and products throughout their lifecycles, facilitating corrective actions for defective products. If there is a quality issue on the floor, real-time notification to the business systems via IoT sensor networks can be made to trigger necessary corrective actions via real-time events and scheduled tasks.

Integrating predictive maintenance data with ERP systems to optimize workflow scheduling can help manufacturers minimize the impact of equipment unavailability by dynamically adjusting the production run. If defective material is detected, it can be removed from inventory and returned to the supplier. The manufacturer can save money by eliminating scrap due to defective raw material and by reduced exposure to recalls and possible liability issues.

-----------------------

The integration of MES with ERP systems enables manufacturers to orchestrate work orders and other resource needs. Integrating real-time data about the availability of materials across the entire supply chain with ERP systems can help manufacturers minimize unnecessary interruptions and delays. As manufacturing processes become more complex, having the ability to track all related product data from design to delivery is essential to maximizing manufacturing efficiency.

As manufacturers’ MES and ERP systems are often built by different software vendors and speak different languages, integrating the systems can be a challenge. With the growth in the amount of data used to improve the production processes, the cross communication and interaction between components has increased. To reduce the cost of communication and to increase the efficiency of these systems, middleware is becoming more essential. A code-free integration platform that automates the technical data transformations and provides a visual drag-and-drop interface to orchestrate the needed application programming interface (API) connectivity can greatly speed up and simplify connectivity between these systems. 

Integration platforms help ensure a free flow of information to achieve leaner, more efficient and effective manufacturing.


Learn more about the Magic xpi Integration Platform




*Written by Yuval Lavi 

Yuval Lavi is Vice President of Technology and Innovation at Magic Software. Yuval's mission is providing high-level professional services and a variety support tools (framework, performance profiler, migration, etc.) for all Magic products. in addition to overall responsibility for Corporate Customer Support and in charge of developing a Corporate Knowledge Center.

Originally published by IndustryWeek