There are 7 easy steps to efficient workflow automation. Bonus: Why automate and which questions do you need to ask before starting.
Workflow automation isn’t only about making things move faster. It’s about keeping your business processes systematic, transparent, and easy to manage.
Why use workflow automation and how to complete the transition successfully: Read on to learn the answers.
A typical workflow automation example is an approval process. What does it look like prior to automation? A few people excessively exchange emails; nobody knows which version of an Excel sheet or Word document is the last one—the project manager keeps asking what stage the process is at.
How does workflow automation work?
It creates a digital track of your business process and pushes an input message through a sequence of stages. Each stage is assigned to an employee or team. Once the tasks in the stage are complete, the process moves to the next stage automatically.
You are only seven steps away from this new digital reality.
7 Steps to Workflow Automation
Based on many years of consulting experience, we have identified a few universal workflow automation steps.
1. Find Patterns in Your Business Routines
You should revise your business processes and find out which tasks are performed in a unified way. Indeed, you know your business better than anyone, but an automation consultant may point you to some hidden potential and should be a part of the transition from the very beginning.
2. Define Your Business Goals
What does workflow automation do in your case? It saves costs, makes it more transparent, and accelerates other processes. For instance, if transparency isn’t your aim due to the confidentiality character of information, your implementation partner should know about it.
3. Talk With Future Process Owners
People who will initiate the workflow should provide their feedback at an early stage. You may as well ask your implementation partner to undertake this part and conduct interviews with your employees.
4. Draw the Prototype
Remember to include a security matrix. You may want to make some stages visible only for a few selected management roles.
5. Choose Your Workflow Automation Tools
Decide on out-of-the-box or custom tools, cloud or on-premise tools, and an all-around or niche platform.
6. Review Proof of Concept
Your consultant will translate specifications into a prototype and walk you through the implementation.
7. Test and Train
Select a few users to test the delivered result and create training materials based on their first-hand experience. Then let all other users familiarize themselves with the digitalized workflows.
Now you’re ready to roll it out within the entire organization.
7 Questions to Clarify Before Automation
Steps 1 and 2 from the previous section deserve special attention. The more precisely you describe your routine processes, the better the outcome.
We prepared the following checklist:
1. Where and how should the process start: an email, an online form, or a customer call?
2. Which information is mandatory to include?
3. Who is involved and what are their roles (manager, editor, observer)?
4. What are the stages and what are the responsibilities in each stage?
5. Should the workflow be granted access to other processes or databases?
6. How does the process end?
7. How should it be archived?
The checklist is designed for companies of all sizes to help start implementing workflow automation, even for small businesses.
We will be honest with you: Implementing workflow automation involves costs and efforts on your side. You’ll need to spend some time answering questions of your implementation partner and discussing mockups. Your employees will need some time to learn new routines.
However, in the short run, you will see the first benefits of saving time and managing bigger workloads. In the long run, the cumulative effect of all spared efforts and money will result in an ROI increase.
Laminar can assist you at every stage of your digital transformation and will ensure you get the most efficient workflow automation tools.
Consumer behavior is changing dramatically. In 2023, you need to provide a superior user experience to keep your consumers engaged and improve conversions.
We learned a lot about user behavior during the pandemic. People got more comfortable with the technology to work at home. Families replaced gatherings with online meetings, parties, and even virtual weddings. Consumers increasingly turned to online shopping and home delivery.
We also saw consumer brand preferences shift dramatically. Consumers buying high-priority items like sanitizer, masks, and even toilet paper didn’t purchase based on name brands or price, they bought based on availability. Companies that could provide the products people wanted with minimal effort thrived. Others that failed to meet customer demands didn’t do so well.
Today, companies are competing more on the user experience than ever before. To win customer loyalty online, you need to deliver a seamless, interactive, and engaging user experience.
In 2023, it’s all about creating a great user experience. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are some of the most promising technologies that have emerged in the past few years to deliver that experience and improve conversions.
Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality
The future of VR in business is bright and the time is now. When users can interact with information and blend digital with the physical world using AR, engagement skyrockets.
Since research shows that 20% of sales are influenced by engagement on mobile devices, mobile VR and AR are a big deal. IKEA lets customers see how furniture looks in their homes virtually in 3D before they buy it. Warby Parker lets you try on glasses. Sephora shows you how makeup will look on you.
Look for VR technology in the future to become even more commonplace as consumers embrace the tech. Already, 61% of shoppers say they want retailers to offer AR tools and 40% say they’re more likely to spend on products if they can experience them virtually.
Privacy and Ethical Design
More than a dozen new consumer data privacy laws went into effect in the past two years. Hundreds more are pending in legislatures across the country. Chrome, Safari, and Firefox are dropping third-party cookies. Google says it will no longer allow cross-browser tracking in its ad network. Retargeting individual consumers with digital ads is on the verge of extinction.
With that backdrop, your privacy policies and design principles are now taking center stage due to online privacy concerns. It’s why more than 42% of U.S. adults are using ad blockers. Violate your customer’s privacy at your own peril.
Surprisingly, this is still an issue in 2023. Even though more interactions occur on mobile than desktops (and have for years now), too many sites still don’t cater to mobile users. It’s a serious issue. Nearly 40% of visitors will give up on a website if it’s not mobile-friendly, according to Adobe.
Think about it this way. 60% of potential customers start their search on Google… on their mobile devices. When they click through to your site, you better offer them a great mobile user experience. If your website doesn’t format properly, load almost instantly, or allow them to fulfill their purpose easily, you’re losing customers.
Voice and Virtual Assistants
Consumers are now growing accustomed to interacting using voice. Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant have set the bar high. Smart TVs and remotes make it easy to find shows and channels using your voice. Customers expect to engage with voice, VR voice assistants, and chatbots to complete tasks quickly.
Providing a superior user experience now requires making it as easy as possible for users to navigate and get what they want as quickly as possible.
Friction is created when a force resists the relative motion of surfaces sliding against each other. When consumers are doing business with you, friction is a bad thing.
If there’s a long line at the checkout counter in a retail store, you’ll increase frustration and lose customers. When your checkout process in your online store is complex, you’ll lose sales. If you can’t reduce friction on your app, you risk users deleting your app and heading to your competitors.
Simple, seamless, and intuitive solutions are essential principles in 2023.
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.
Predicting Trends and Identify Patterns
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:
- Detecting fraud by spotting transactions that don’t fit a pattern and can be flagged for further investigation
- Identifying buying patterns in different branches of a store so that management can respond appropriately with a proper stock allocation
- Recommending further purchases for consumers, based on their previous spending behavior
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.
Learn why you need to incorporate a cryptocurrency payment gateway into your applications and the most important features a crypto wallet should have.
With every passing day, it seems cryptocurrencies are moving a little closer to the mainstream. More and more people own crypto, and countries, such as El Salvador, are starting to accept it as legal tender. Multiple Reserve Banks around the world are experimenting with their own digital currencies.
Although Bitcoin has proven itself as a very successful store of value, there still hasn’t been an absolute breakout use for Bitcoin or any other digital currency. Very few people are using crypto as a daily currency right now, but it feels like just a matter of time.
The fact that a company as large and influential as Facebook has devoted so much time and money to develop its own coin, called Diem (formerly Libra), tells you all you need to know about the future of currency and the direction online payments are going.
The Likelihood of Widespread Crypto Adoption
It’s starting to feel inevitable. Simply consider this opening paragraph from the influential politics website Politico in early June 2021. “The Federal Reserve is taking what may be the first significant step toward launching its own virtual currency, a move that could shake up banks, give millions of low-income Americans access to the financial system and fortify the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.”
Those types of stories are popping up almost every day. Ecuador is the first country to accept Bitcoin as legal tender. Brazil is not far behind, and the European Central Bank is developing a digital currency, too.
While it’s still unclear which of the many cryptocurrencies are going to emerge as the standard for the next wave of finance, it seems clear that quick, blockchain-based digital payments that don’t require an interface with the banking system as we know it today, are going to be a reality.
Vital Features of Any Crypto Wallet
As an app developer, it seems prudent for you to consider how you would incorporate a crypto wallet into your user interface. For example, there are certain features you should consider as non-negotiable at this point in the development of cryptocurrency.
Security is paramount. Your users need features like biometric authentication, 2FA, and double-layered passwords in order to access their wallets. If a wallet isn’t secure from cyber threats, then it’s a nonstarter.
Multiple Currency Compatibility
Avoid putting all your eggs in one basket. You may have a particular favorite coin but it makes more sense to remain agnostic and allow the users to pick what currency they use.
QR Code Scanner
Your wallet should be able to differentiate between multiple addresses and send and receive transactions between them. The best way to do this is through a QR code scanner.
It’s frustrating to not receive a notification when a transaction takes place. Build in push notifications across different platforms for every transaction through the crypto wallet.
There’s nothing more off-putting than a confusing payment gateway with too many features. This isn’t an area where users want to spend too much time—they just want it to work and be safe. Make sure your design is intuitive and transparent and it integrates well with the rest of your software.
The future of microtransactions is going to look very different from how it looks today. We are on the cusp of a profound shakeup to the financial system, and while it may be too early to say how, it’s not too early to start thinking about how a cryptocurrency payment gateway can be part of your site or application in the near future.
The future of virtual reality is tied to its ability to lessen the damaging effects of social distancing.
For years, virtual reality has not been able to build up the momentum it needs to go fully mainstream. We know it’s there, and are intrigued, yet it hasn’t fully caught on. But now, social distancing with VR presents a unique opportunity to solve a problem that we’re all dealing with in a fresh and unique way.
Social Distancing With VR
The act of self-isolation has proven to be one of the most effective ways to fight the pandemic. But we are fundamentally social creatures, and the cost to our mental health has been tremendous. Around the world, there are reports of dramatic increases in depression, loneliness, and isolation.
The future of VR rests in its ability to bring us together safely. Facebook and VR will bring us together, build community, provide crucial support, and give us a shared, protected, virtual environment that will feel immersive and fulfilling, but still keep us safe.
Facebook and VR
Facebook is the dominant player in the future of VR, and its purchase of Oculus Rift in 2014 for $2 billion was a seismic event in the VR industry. In hindsight, that merger doesn’t look as great as it did for either side. Facebook’s reputation took a hit in the years that followed, and the first-generation Oculus didn’t catch on. But CEO Mark Zuckerberg is still bullish on the technology, and he recently stated he believes that the Oculus Quest 2 will be the breakout product that justifies the price tag from all those years ago.
According to industry-leading publication RoadToVR.com, Zuckerberg was quoted as saying “many of the company’s feature priorities for future VR headsets are guided by the desire to deliver ‘social presence’—the feeling of being physically near someone even at a distance.”
What Is Social Presence?
In the digital age, social presence is defined as the feeling of community that a learner experiences in an online environment. A feeling of community is one thing the pandemic has taken from us. That feeling of immersive togetherness could be the “killer app” that drives the widespread adoption of VR headsets.
Unlike text-based communication, VR offers a diverse set of social cues through audio, visual, haptic, and—to a certain extent—olfactory information.
A Stanford University study noted that “this dimension of presence differs from telepresence, as it is not related to how vividly one experiences his or her surroundings, but rather, how connected one feels to his or her virtual body, emotions, or identity.”
What Will Next-Gen Oculus Quest Offer?
If there’s one thing that could salvage Facebook’s reputation, it would be a cure for loneliness. Could Oculus Quest 3 and 4 deliver that?
The Oculus Quest 2 is already a hit. Expectations are that Oculus Quest 3 will be available in late 2022. “You kind of need to know what your next three products are going to look like all at the same time,” said Zuckerberg. The next generation should boast better battery life, processing power, and resolution. “The Quest 3 will come equipped with a 120Hz refresh rate, although time will tell whether upcoming VR titles can take full advantage of the upgrade given that most games still don’t yet support that higher refresh rate,” predicts TechRadar.
In the foreseeable future, enforced lockdowns may be a regular part of life. That could drive demand for tech that brings people together and creates immersive communities. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the feature that finally helps virtual reality breakthrough is not a game that takes us into a fantasy world, but instead is a feature that lets us experience the kind of normality that we all took for granted for so long?
Virtual reality takes us beyond our limitations. At Laminar, we use technology to move companies past their limitations. Get in touch today and find out what we can do for your business.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Do we have any pressing deadlines for finishing the migration?
- Can we actually survive a failed cutover?
- Do we have interdependencies between existing workflows?
- Do we have any independent groups among users?
- Do we have an IT team that can work on the migration for several months?
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:
- What time of the day you get the most queries
- Where and when you make the most sales
- When your website traffic is highest
- Who in your call center is most efficient at dealing with customers
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:
- Which data do we bring into the CDP?
- How much data cleaning do we need?
- How do we map the data?
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.
- Define Operational Objectives
- Reliable and Redundant Systems
- Secure Cloud Storage
- Efficient Resource Management
- 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:
- System monitoring for performance and health
- Event handling
- Automating routine tasks
- Policies and procedures
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.
- Automated failover
- Business continuity
- Disaster recovery
- Redundant infrastructure
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.
- Military-grade encryption
- Identity and Access Management (IAM)
- Secure end-user devices
- Philosophy of least access
- Threat identification and mitigation
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.
- Workload management
- Performance monitoring
- Scalable and flexible architecture
- Load balancing
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:
- Avoid overspending on unused capacity
- Private vs. public cloud
- Tracking usage, adoption, and cost anomalies
- Active management of software licenses
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.