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.
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.
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.
Virtual reality tours may become the last resort for many businesses, especially hospitality and tourism, to fight against customers’ uncertainty.
With the nationwide lockdown still in force in many places, customers have stopped making plans and are cautious about going out. How do you retain them?
360 virtual reality tours did a good job before the pandemic, but now they may become the last resort for many businesses.
Which Industries Are Most Affected?
COVID-19 made some industries literally fight for survival. Every business based on serving customers in person has suffered.
Hospitality and tourism had particularly hard times. Their revenue generation completely ceased due to the lockdowns. Recently, restaurants could welcome their visitors again. But hotels are still closed in numerous states, says the interactive map launched by New York Times.
A Pursuit for Better Marketing
Even before the pandemic, these industries had to put a lot of effort into showing their customers what to expect upon arrival. Brochures, websites, video ads, advertorials, and other paid reviews worked to provide as much persuasive information as possible.
With COVID-19, the task has become more ambitious. Customers are now less willing to undertake the risk of making a reservation and then having to cancel it. This means that if you’re in these industries, you need to provide a precise understanding of what your customers’ experiences would be like, so they can be sure that it’s worth a risk.
And you need to guarantee that, in these situations of long-term revenue gaps, you use your financial resources for the right thing.
3D Virtual Reality Tours
An Underused Marketing Strategy
3D tours were not unusual for entertainment facilities that offer exclusive experiences, for instance, adventure parks and indoor climbing centers. Embedded into websites, they helped new customers get an idea of the place since no particular benchmark exists for such facilities.
In contrast, most of the traditional entertainment and hospitality locations didn’t use 3D tours at all. With the rising uncertainty among customers, hotels and restaurants might change their minds. They need to pull back their clients.
A simple 3D tour may not be enough, however, since we all have a baseline understanding of what a restaurant or hotel offers. Besides, 3D tours can’t simulate any interactions or encounters with other people inside the location.
Personalization Reaches Its Perfection
As a hospitality business, you should seriously consider 3D VR tours as an enhanced technical alternative. Customers don’t simply want to look at the place they plan to visit; they need a realistic experience of visiting it.
Let’s think about it from a different perspective. Old-school marketing materials emphasize advantages that marketers find important. For instance, a nice view from the hotel room. But a particular customer may be more interested in the room itself and how it’s equipped. A virtual reality hotel tour helps customers focus on what is actually essential for them and for their decision.
A 3D apartment tour replaces a real visit without losing on quality of the presentation. A VR restaurant tour can show your guests how the food would look on their plates. They can meet your chef in person even before they arrive!
Overcoming Your Customers’ Uncertainty
Hospitality customers are faced with two major concerns:
- Will I actually like the place?—Does it look like I imagined?
- Will I be able to go there?—Is a new lockdown still possible?
You can’t help them with the second set of questions, but you definitely can give the right answer to the first questions: Is your place actually worth visiting?
An experienced AR/VR team, such as Laminar Consulting, can build for you a virtual reality apartment or a restaurant virtual tour. Let virtual reality speak for itself.
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.
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.
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.