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.
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.
Microservices solve problems of clumsy all-around applications. The isolated, functional modules with APIs are simple to develop but can be complex to deploy.
IT circles primarily talk about all-around applications. Meanwhile, microservices has become a new and mysterious term being passed around. Should you pick up this trend in 2022?
How Do Microservices Work?
Microservices are parts of an application—single-function modules that work independently. From a technical point of view, each of them runs its own process, occupying its own piece of memory storage. Although they remain integral components of one application, you can install them on separate computers or servers.
The majority of microservices speak to each other through REST API, mostly communicating in a decentralized way. Rarely, one microservice would play a hub role, collecting and forwarding messages from the others.
Advantages of Using Microservices
If you often hear about bugs bringing e-commerce or SaaS businesses to a halt for hours, microservices may offer a solution. Their isolated nature means you can precisely locate a failure in a workflow. After fixing it, it requires less effort to deploy only a microservice instead of an entire application.
Isolation also solves a lot of scaling issues, providing flexibility for intensively growing businesses. You don’t have to upgrade the whole application; however, you may only need to upgrade one or a few microservices. It helps to remove bottlenecks from the workflow swiftly.
Moreover, microservices can be built using different programming languages. You can hire people with better programming skills and not because they’re into a particular language.
As a result, you get a higher release speed and your IT architecture is resilient and always up to date at a lower cost.
With microservices, deployments happen so often that you have to coordinate them very carefully. Furthermore, since microservices are independent at performing their tasks, they must be tested as a whole before rolling out new ones.
You will definitely run into the necessity to use a deployment automation tool. One or more specialists in your team will get busy with orchestrating development life cycles. You may even need to hire a development operations engineer. That adds to the final invoice.
Yet, if you have frequent system failures and microservices could eliminate them, you should do a thorough calculation. You must compare the costs of a new architecture to the expected revenue loss from the breakdowns. You can use historical data to estimate a possible benefit or an absence of such. For instance, take the average number of orders per hour and multiple them by breakdown duration.
How to Build a Microservices Architecture?
Before you start, you need to analyze existing software and choose a decomposition pattern. We recommend looking at business functions that they perform: how parts of one application contribute to the revenue. For instance, order and delivery management are good candidates for disintegration and becoming microservices. They have different business functions and can be reincarnated as independent modules.
In this way, you should go through all of your applications and create a project roadmap.
You implement microservices architecture step by step. Whereas parent applications keep going, you replace their features one by one with more isolated modules. Indeed, you can always engage a partner company to make this journey safe and short, from planning to deployment.
Conclusion: Where Are Microservices Used?
Microservices architectures are a good fit for steadily growing companies that have in-house developers or plan to actively form a developer team. Microservices work especially fine for e-commerce and SaaS brands that constantly experience turbulent changes. Such businesses can react better if they have many “joints” instead of a single monolith platform.
And you don’t have to wait until 2023 to start the microservces development: Laminar will help you move toward the new architecture in a leap.
Companies can use AR to boost their efficiency. VR prototyping, employee training, and virtual office environments become essential for future success.
Virtual reality has gradually developed an image of something similar to a nice playground. But it can be used for quite serious purposes. Companies must consider the following use cases they can benefit from.
Before you launch an expensive product, you always create a prototype that should be very close to reality. It works well with consumer products, ranging from electronics to vehicles. But what about prototyping immobile facilities, or other “heavy” and resource-consuming products? How do you know what it feels like for your customer to stay or move inside it?
3D tours used to be one of the methods for answering these questions. But they now have a solid and eventually mature rival: virtual reality prototyping. In the construction industry, AR does not only allow to virtualize the result but also the very construction process. The whole factories can be simulated to help investors in making an informed decision. And companies can acquire project financing easier.
Augmented reality prototyping enables manufacturers to save money and perform a virtual test drive before building a physical prototype. Moreover, such simulations can be used by dealers or retailers to attract customers, even during a pandemic.
Although simulated test drives have a lot in common with computer games, they are a serious instrument in raising your sales KPIs.
Virtual Reality for Training Employees
You may know that simulations are also great for training. Previously, a person would sit in front of a screen. In the best case, he or she would be provided an isolated space to avoid possible distractions. But, when you have VR goggles on, you do not even need this, since your side vision is also immersed in the training simulation. This boosts effectivity of training programs.
Moreover, VR goggles or headsets are very compact in comparison with the equipment that was used for simulation training before. You can store more of it easily in the training facility and train more employees at the same time. You can send the VR headset to someone who is working from home.
Indeed, the biggest advantage of VR employee training is its closeness to the real environment. VR can emulate difficult situations. It is actively used to train police officers and merchandisers that have their shifts during Black Friday sales.
The AR technology may be starting a new era in customer service preparing support employees to handle unusual situations.
A Virtual Reality Office
While some people may be enjoying a permanent home office mode, many teams have been suffering from the absence of shared office space. Brainstorming does not work as well online as it does offline. You cannot see the reactions of your colleagues quickly enough. Introvert persons keep silent throughout the sessions since they miss a moment to speak up.
Besides, a social component is important for team building. Video conferencing helps to concentrate on dry facts but personal communication is completely out.
Augmented office environments enable you to recreate the working atmosphere and bring the post-COVID team spirit to a new level. There are numerous applications that help to simulate a meeting in a physical meeting room. Your employees won’t be looking at a flat screen, they will be sitting in a virtual 3D room surrounded by their co-workers.
This environment won’t be looking like a cartoon copying your usual office space. It will be augmented. You can hold workshops and have name badges floating near participants. You can have your collaboration tools open and work on projects together.
Fascinated by VR?
Want to make your company an industry leader? Contact Laminar to implement your corporate VR strategy.
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.
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.
- Amazon Connect Services
AI can transcribe a phone call in real time and perform sentiment analysis, then describe mitigation steps or automatically escalate calls.
- Amazon ComprehendUsing Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning, Amazon Comprehend finds relationships in text. Its data sentiment analysis tool analyzes text for sentiment, language, syntax, and key phrases.
- Amazon Outposts Edge
Amazon Outposts is shifting workloads to the edge with an on-premises box. Amazon Outposts architecture extends the AWS infrastructure, services, APIs, and tools to virtually any data center, colocation space, or on-premises facility for a consistent hybrid experience.
- AWS CloudFormation Modules
With AWS CloudFormation, you can define your infrastructure and apps using modules. These modules are reusable building blocks that encapsulate resources and configurations that can be applied across an organization. Many of the modules are being built and available through the open-source developer community.
- AWS Lambda
AWS Lambda allows organizations to run code without provisioning or managing servers. You can run code on nearly any type of backend service or application without administration. You upload the code and AWS takes care of everything else to run (and scale) your code with high availability. Only pay for computer time. When the code isn’t running, there’s no charge.
- AWS Batch
AWS Batch allows fully managed batch processing at any scale. You can easily run hundreds of thousands of batch computing jobs simultaneously. AWS process automation dynamically provisions the resources needed based on volume and requirements of the batch jobs without human intervention.
- AWS Elastic Load Balancing
AWS Elastic Load Balancing automatically distributes incoming traffic across multiple Amazon instances. This improves your fault tolerance in applications and automatically reroutes traffic to healthy instances while restoring unhealthy instances. You can balance loads across single or multiple availability zones to improve app performance.
- Amazon IoT Events
As a fully managed service, Amazon IoT Events can connect a nearly unlimited number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. AWS process automation can detect and respond to sensor and app events in real time. It avoids having to build expensive custom apps to trigger additional events.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Lift and shift: move your application into the cloud without any interventions into it
- Partition: inside the same application, you move some of its workflows into the cloud
- Refactor: let your developers rewrite the source code completely to make the application cloud-native
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.