Find out what AI and machine learning can do for your business and how chatbots can save you time and money on the customer services side.

AI and Machine Learning

What do self-driving cars, Amazon Alexa, and Netflix’s movie recommendations all have in common? They each use a form of artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance their decision-making and provide a superior customer experience. As the fourth industrial revolution becomes more and more central to 21st-century living, companies are finding innovative ways to use AI and machine learning to improve the quality of our everyday lives.

AI comes in many different forms; from simple chatbots that can relieve the pressure on overworked customer support staff to global big data projects with life-and-death consequences.

What Is Machine Learning?

Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence. At its core, machine learning is automated data analysis where the systems that you have put in place use the data that is being gathered and processed to identify patterns and trends and make improvements without the need for human intervention.

A good example of machine learning is natural language processing, where chatbots learn about tone, context, and meaning through interaction with the human voice.


An AI chatbot is a computer program that simulates a regular human conversation online, but in fact, is between a human and a program. For example, Google’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa are sophisticated chatbots. They’re easy to build, useful, and helpful tools for superior customer support. Most people know they’re not talking to a human, but they’re willing to interact with a chatbot if it’s efficient, friendly, and charming.

How Chatbots Help the Customer Support Effort

Chatbots allow companies to interact with their customers in a casual, personalized manner without the expense of hiring extra staff to fulfill those roles. By handling most of the simple, everyday queries that customers may have, a chatbot saves time and money for a company, freeing up staff members to tackle more complex issues that require human intervention.

AI Data Applications

Most AI is deployed in those areas of a business that customers never see. AI data applications operate in the background, gathering reams of data in real time and offering solutions that feel seamless and natural, but are actually driven by extremely complex, sophisticated rule engines. For example, Walmart uses SAP’s HANA to reduce costs and increase efficiency across its entire supply chain, while General Electric uses Predix to monitor and predict when critical equipment might fail.

Companies can use the technology in many different ways, big and small; however, the only constraint is the knowledge and imagination of business owners who may be unaware of what AI and machine learning could do for their businesses.

One of AI’s greatest strengths is its ability to identify patterns in large amounts of data. Something that would take humans years to do, AI can do in seconds. 

 This is particularly useful in a number of ways:

Businesses around the globe are at a threshold moment in their adoption of this kind of intelligent software and AI learning. The proper use of AI and machine learning can provide an overwhelming advantage to your business if you understand what they can offer. But no organization can be expected to understand it all; that’s why it’s strongly recommended to partner with technology specialists, like Laminar, who can pinpoint areas of need in your business and recommend effective AI solutions.

Cloud migration inevitably involves serious organizational changes. Internal supporters, like technical evangelists, and external partners guide you through it.

Organizational change and transformation prepare two traps: a technical failure and a non-technical adaptation of the working routines that your employees have difficulties anticipating.

Workflow Digitalization: The Limits of Customization

Sales management, candidate management in HR, labeling in manufacturing, finance reports generation — almost every workflow would nowadays find an automation vendor.

But every company is different. And most of the out-of-the-box solutions were created with a kind of common denominator in mind. They provide templates that an average business can use. The problem is, there is no such thing as an average company. Each workflow digitalization and automation needs a customization effort to some extent. Even though the new platform will be adjusted for the company staff to enable easy use, they still have to learn at least a new user interface.

Each migration is aimed at sustaining and facilitating efficient workflows. Thus, sometimes it is necessary to get rid of less efficient ones or come up with a new design for them. It may seem an edge case at first glance, but changing working routines may cause consequent insecurity among employees.

How to Get an Organization-Wide Support

Stepping out of the usual path in everyday duties may be a bit frustrating for your employees. They are worried that their working performance will actually drop instead of an expected increase. It can even come to a soft resistance.

That’s why you should obtain some supporters that can spread the word about the bright sides of new technology and enlighten about a necessary adaptation period. Technical evangelists and early adopters help you to prepare the rest of the company’s staff for the forthcoming changes and raise their commitment.

Technical Evangelists

Technical evangelists are employees with a strong technical background but highly sociable and possessing an informal authority in the company. They enjoy explaining new technologies to other folks. They are far from being nerds; they help people to understand how cloud migration works without overwhelming anyone with unnecessary details.

Technical evangelists are often social hubs. You would know them already from informal team events or can quickly find them. When approaching a technical evangelist, remember to talk about the advantages of the platform migration for the employees and focus less on the business numbers.

Early Adopters

While technical evangelists won’t be dealing with the new technology after the migration, early adopters will. Those are mostly the power users of a new platform, such as senior specialists and team leaders. Once you’ve convinced them, they will find a way to sell new digital workflow software to their colleagues.

Of course, early adopters need to hear about the same kind of advantages before they express their readiness to help you. They should bear a message that a cloud migration process has a destination beneficial for all employees.

An Organizational Change Is a Masterwork

When you decide to roll out new digital workflow solutions in your company, help your employees to feel secure about the forthcoming changes. The most novel technology won’t work as expected if your best employees leave the company due to insecurity. It will require a lot of effort to subvert their fears and resistance.

Since you need to concentrate on change management, you may consider outsourcing the technical part of the cloud migration. Laminar Consulting provides cloud migration services on any scale, from small businesses to big enterprises. We can assist you in project planning and implementation leaving you enough time and resources to deal with the other aspects of cloud migration.

Laminar helps you to focus on essentials. Simply scroll down this page for one of the contact opportunities.

Learn how AWS continues to innovate by leveraging process automation, AI, ML, and IoT to build additional functionality to help your business.

“When you have a period of discontinuity like a pandemic, companies take a step back and they rethink what they’re doing,” said incoming AWS CEO Andy Jassy at the AWS re:Invent 2020 in December 2020.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) continues to innovate and reinvent itself by leveraging process automation, AI, ML, and IoT to build additional functionality. Here are just a few of the ways that businesses are using AWS robotic process automation for better data analysis and business insights.

These are just a sampling of the ways businesses can automate using AWS to improve efficiency and productivity.

If we’ve learned anything during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that we have to be agile in our approach. Who would have imagined the need to increase employees working remotely by 44% during 2020? It took an innovative approach to leverage cloud-based technology to make it happen.

“It is the cultural mindset,” Jassy said. “The shift of being in the digital world where you have to iterate every single day to survive.”

Create the Optimal Cloud Environment for Your Business

Designing a cloud environment to fit your data needs takes focus and attention to detail. At Laminar, we do the heavy lifting so you can concentrate on taking your business to the next level. We create the environment for your IT infrastructure to excel with advancing technology to fuel your business growth.

Contact Laminar today to get a quote or learn more about AWS process automation.

Cutover, Staged, or Hybrid: Understanding Migration Types

Learn how to decide on the right type of cloud or data migration and choose between cutover, stages, and hybrid.

Cloud or data migration may become a breakthrough for your company. Each business needs a unique migration scenario to make this innovation work for a profit.

Before Drafting a Migration Project Plan

Your employees enjoined using the same CRM or ERP for years, even despite its quirks. But one day, the clumsiness of it grew unbearable for the business.

That’s how companies typically come to data or cloud migration. In a few lucky cases, moving the storage or database is enough. Why lucky? Because your employees won’t get involved, except for the developers and system administrators. When you have to replace the interface, too, it means a long adoption and a lot of learning for the end users.

To avoid pushing your people too hard and ensure technical success, you should first choose the right migration type. Doing so ultimately influences everything in your project plan: the schedule, the cost, people involved, vendors to contract, and of course, the final result.

Data Migration Scenarios

Different classifications are possible, but we are currently interested in one based on the project timing.

Cutover, Known as the Big Bang

How does cutover migration work? Company staff keeps working with the existing system, while a team or external partner develops a whole new one. Once the new platform is ready, you set a day when you cut off access to the old system and replace it completely with the new one.

Such a plan for cloud migration suggests switching your cloud technology with a single move. Thus, it has been proven to be a bit risky and deserves its second name: the Big Bang.

Staged Migration

This is definitely a more relaxed data migration strategy. With the staged migration method, you divide all users into groups and migrate their accounts in bunches. The first bunch—usually, the power users—will help developers catch the last imperfections and fix them before adopting the technology in the entire company.

This strategy has no strict timing and no “point of no return,” and should be a strong consideration by migration beginners. It works well for migrating email accounts since it rarely matters if everybody in the company uses the same email settings or not.

Hybrid Migration

With this migration method, you isolate independent features or workflows and migrate them separately. For instance, you move your calendar to a new cloud and keep using the old provider for email. Sometimes, companies run two systems in parallel, synchronizing the databases to ensure that all employees have access to the same data.

The hybrid approach may lead to confusion among end users. Not everyone can keep in mind which system does what and where one should enter new information.

Factors to Consider Before Migration

An efficient migration plan should evolve out of the considerations concerning timing, resources at your disposal, and specifics of the workflows that you’re migrating. A few basic questions that you should discuss with your stakeholders in advance:

Most of the answers depend on the company size. A large enterprise is more likely to have an experienced developer team. But it also bears more risks in case of a failed migration. These can be negated by adopting a new cloud gradually.

Smaller companies may lack development expertise, but they’re easier to move at once. Most likely, they don’t need a highly customized solution and can obtain a ready one to roll it out quickly.

Indeed, we propose a few basic questions to clarify before migration. Technical issues are specific to each company. For a secure cloud migration, we kindly recommend getting advice from Laminar, an established consultant with a proven track of trouble-free data and cloud migrations.

Harness The Untapped Power of Cloud Analytics

Business analytics tools, built into most cloud services, offer cloud business intelligence via real-time analytics dashboards once you learn how to use them.

Everyone understands the saying “knowledge is power.” But not everyone understands that the cloud technology they use to run their everyday operations comes with business analytics tools and real-time analytics dashboards embedded in it—they need to know where to look.

In many organizations, the cloud analytics functions in their CRM simply sit there unused. That’s the digital equivalent of leaving money on the table. When companies work with an experienced digital partner who understands how to configure dashboards and interpret what the data is revealing in real time, it gives that company a profound advantage over their competition.

You can start to access real business intelligence by employing these three simple methods:

Configure Your Dashboards to Get Exactly What You Need

Decide what data is most important to your business and then monitor it continuously.

Make sure that your dashboards are providing relevant data in a simple format that everyone can access and understand. At the same time, you should minimize the data that’s meaningless to your business so that it doesn’t become a distraction and lead you in the wrong direction. Setting up clear and simple dashboards is the first step to cloud business intelligence.

Iterate Often in Order to Find the Best Solutions

Don’t just observe your data. Adjust according to what it’s telling you. And if it doesn’t work, then change it.

The beauty of analytics is that you can keep making adjustments in order to get better and better results. Suppose you’re analyzing a marketing campaign. Perhaps the data reveals that you’re performing best on the east coast, and it identifies which are your least successful keywords.

For your next campaign, replace the underperforming keywords and allocate some budget into targeting the east coast. Launch the campaign and watch the analytics to see the results. Over time, your performance should get increasingly better.

Monitor Performance for a Clearer Understanding of Your Staff

The people who work for you are your most valuable assets.

Your analytics can help you understand who is performing best and who is struggling. That’s one more use of analytics that is too often overlooked. Configure your dashboards to optimize for human resources and to better understand your clients’ needs. For example, you could learn insights such as:

It’s up to you to know what data is most important to help you grow and to optimize your dashboards to reveal that data.

Analytics Are Simple, Affordable, and Valuable

The smart use of analytics is a simple and affordable way to boost productivity, and it requires minimal disruptions to the way your organization operates. Plus, there’s a very good chance that you are already paying for the analytics that are embedded in the cloud services you’re using. Take the first step in digital empowerment by committing to data-driven decision-making as an integral part of your team’s process.

Laminar understands what smart analytics can do for your business, and we’re obsessed with helping you extract real value from your everyday cloud products and services. Working together, we know we can help you take your operations to the next level in an affordable, sustainable, and profitable manner.

Out-of-the-Box or Custom CDP: Which One Fits Your Business?

Customer data platforms: building a custom one vs. buying a vendor solution. Learn about the advantages and obstacles of both implementation approaches.

Customer relations, customer journey, customer tracking … Shouldn’t there be a way to bring these ingredients together for a blockbuster marketing attack?

What Is Customer Data Platform (CDP)?

CDP solutions have settled in the analytics market just recently. Their architectures are quite diverse, and it’s mainly their purpose that unites them under that umbrella definition.

From a technical point of view, CDPs are data lakes, data pipelines, and business intelligence tools at the same time, but tailored solely for marketing purposes. In their core functionality, CDPs are customer data hubs that feed marketing channels with discovered insights.

CDP software, or more often, a CDP cloud solution, works with both first-party and third-party data. It can consume web, app, and event tracking data and contact and past campaigns data from your CRM, as well as marketing data that you buy from an external provider.

Why Do You Need a CDP?

Once the data is ingested, the CDP provides analytical insights to use for further customer segmentation. Depending on the vendor, CDPs can also assist in tag management and website personalization. They can handle bigger data volumes than other marketing technology solutions.

Moreover, their USP feature is identity resolution: de-anonymization of the customer data.

Although most of the CDPs don’t have functionality for sending out newsletters or booking online ads; they do provide a ground for marketing outreach. For instance, a CDP can build a single customer view, which is an ultimate dossier on a client that specifies their buying behavior and past touching points with your brand.

Out-of-the-Box vs. Custom Solutions

There are quite a few CDP vendors competing heavily. Consequently, one may think that a custom CDP is a must. This isn’t completely untrue.

In fact, like with any other software, you have to balance between expected business value, available resources, and possible risks. Companies with dedicated developer teams choose to build custom platforms. Indeed, their stakeholders have to lose one or two years while they create these platforms from scratch.

As a reward, custom CPDs provide advanced integrations that won’t miss any precious drop of customer data. Quite often, matching offline and online visits means lots of trouble for a generic CDP solution.

If you need results quickly, don’t hesitate to get an out-of-the-box CDP. For instance, you feel that the market turned favorable for your business. Then you’d better start digging into your customers’ profiles immediately with a ready CDP solution.

A Nice Alternative

“You cannot have both!” is not the case here. You can use a hybrid approach to introducing a CDP. It’s possible to buy an off-the-shelf solution and keep only the core features, like data pipelines, identity match, and intuitive user interface for marketers. Customizing the rest with your in-house developers may turn affordable.

If not, and you have to hire more people, consider buying a few niche CDP solutions. it can get messy, can’t it?

Thus, before you commit to any solution, create a thorough plan for CDP implementation and set your priorities.

How to Plan a CDP Implementation

Any good IT project starts with a few workshops you hold with your most important stakeholders. During these rounds, you should gather prerequisites and expectations for the future CDP—incoming data you have and what kind of output data your marketing channels need.

After that, you can begin by evaluating the integration. Answers to the following questions will shape the future project direction:

The technical concept must reflect your business goals and enhance existing workflows, but remain realistic. If existing out-of-the-box CDPs barely match with it, you need a custom one.

The planning stage predestines your project to success or failure. A competent implementation partner, such as Laminar, foresees possible challenges and helps you stay on the right track to roll out a revenue-generating CDP solution.

Doing business in the cloud creates competitive advantages and cost-savings opportunities. Learn five success factors to deploy a cost-efficient cloud strategy.

If you’re not doing the majority of your business in the cloud, you’re likely missing competitive advantages and cost-savings opportunities. More than 93% of enterprises are using a multi-cloud strategy, while 87% have a hybrid approach combination on premises.

Spending on cloud services and infrastructure increased 34% last year and it’s not stopping. Digital migration and transformation continue to be at the top of most business agendas worldwide in 2021.

Five Success Factors for a Cost-Efficient Cloud Strategy

A well-designed cloud application framework is the key to deploying successful cloud solutions. When you have the right infrastructure, your business runs smoothly, whether you have employees working on premises, remotely, or in a hybrid situation.

We employ these five core principles as part of designing a cloud cost optimization framework.

  1. Define Operational Objectives
  2. Reliable and Redundant Systems
  3. Secure Cloud Storage
  4. Efficient Resource Management
  5. Cost Optimization Cloud Services

Define Operational Objectives

The first step in creating a robust, reliable infrastructure to manage your data, apps, and business needs is to define your operational objectives. The better you understand your needs, the better you can optimize your investment. For example, keeping nonsensitive data in a public cloud while reserving sensitive data and mission-critical applications for the private cloud can help keep costs down.

It takes a careful analysis of your business use-case to determine best practices for your organization.

Besides determining your needs, your cloud strategy should also include:

Reliable and Redundant Systems

Downtime is not only a productivity killer, but there’s a financial cost as well. Gartner estimates that unplanned downtime costs an average of $5,600 per minute. That can range from $140,000 to more than half a million dollars per hour, depending on organizational size.

System monitoring, redundant systems, cloud connectivity, and automated backups are just the starting point for building a resilient IT architecture.

Secure Cloud Storage

When moving data to a cloud infrastructure, two-thirds of IT professionals say their most significant concern is security. A well-designed cloud application framework deploys best practices for security with a separate security layer.

Your deployment should include a focus on employee education. 99% of cloud security failures happen on the customer end and not with the cloud provider, according to Gartner.

Efficient Resource Management

Just making the move to the cloud won’t solve your business problems. It takes a holistic approach to develop your infrastructure, applications, IT, and resources to create an optimal environment.

Cost Optimization Cloud Services

Nobody wants to spend more than they need to get the results they’re after. One benefit of the cloud is that you pay for what you’re using now with the flexibility to add more capacity when necessary. Other cost optimization strategies include:

Rightsizing your computing services and optimizing them can be tricky. For example, there are more than 1.7 million possible combinations for cloud administrators when it comes to sizing instances.

Get Expert Help to Optimize Your Cloud Costs

If you don’t have the internal skills you need, the personnel to design your IT architecture, or the capacity to manage it, you’ll benefit from an expert set of eyes to help guide you.

When it’s time to figure out how to optimize cloud costs, experience can make a significant difference.  Contact the technology enablement experts at Laminar for a free consultation to see how you can optimize your cloud costs while futureproofing your business systems.

Learn how to modernize your business applications and achieve high flexibility with the hybrid cloud approach

When you start to hear about delays, broken schedules, and unresponsive servers in your company, it’s time for a digital transformation.

And even if everybody talks about clouds, you may be cautious about moving your entire IT system into a cloud. We want to suggest a reliable compromise: a hybrid cloud approach.

What Is the Hybrid Cloud Approach?

The hybrid cloud approach allows you to use the synergy of on-premise and public cloud solutions. With a hybrid cloud, some workflows run on your private server or on-demand private cloud, whereas others run in a public cloud.

You can shift workloads between your private computing resources and cloud environments, distributing them efficiently.

The workflows, or rather the applications that incorporate them, talk to each other using different methods—mostly the APIs. The collaboration between applications located in separate environments is enabled through virtualization and containerization technologies. They wrap up each software and make it feel native on any platform.

Role of DevOps in This Approach

Although a hybrid cloud infrastructure comes with management software to steer the workflows, you should have a development operations (DevOps) engineer on your side. Cloud DevOps keeps track of all existing private cloud solutions and public cloud services, maintains them, and prevents conflicts and counterproductive resource utilization. This person or team) monitors the integrity of single applications and their performance.

In addition, DevOps coordinates deployments to ensure the completion of development life cycles: costly and risky projects with a lot of dependencies.

Why Move Toward the Hybrid Cloud Approach?

Public cloud services outscore their stationary private counterparts by many factors. Once your company begins growing, you suddenly need to speed up your workflows on short notice and without any cost explosion.

But you may still prefer to keep the most sensitive data on a server physically located in your office building. At the same time, you may implement applications that require quick response and scalability through cloud deployment.

If all above is the case, then the hybrid cloud approach may be the best option.

Modernizing Your Business Applications

Migration to cloud technology is a perfect chance to upgrade your existing applications. You can replace legacy ones running in your data center with native cloud applications. Many providers offer out-of-the-box solutions for enterprise resource planning, logistics, customer relationship management, and much more.

Apart from this, you can stick to custom-developed applications and let them breathe freely with the power of edge computing.

Three basic options are available for modernizing your applications:

The right way is always unique for your business.

How to Achieve Flexibility With the Hybrid Approach

As mentioned before, with a hybrid cloud approach, your workloads aren’t rigidly bound to either cloud or private servers. You can move them between environments, sparing resources and preventing system overloads and database crashes.

Flexibility means reliability. If you can orchestrate your capacities and deliver your customers what they need and when they need it, you’ll become a reliable business partner.

Hybrid cloud architecture won’t restrict you from performing secure, authorized deduplication: a procedure for tidying up your data storage. And it works with confidential data that can’t directly match with other methods.

You will find a lot of advice saying you should move to a cloud model. But what you really need is a precise understanding of cloud computing, your business needs, and the intersection between them.

Laminar has a proven track of successful cloud migrations and can demarcate for you a reasonable migration scope and support you by its implementation.

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