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Showing posts with label Product Engineering Services. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Product Engineering Services. Show all posts

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Why Retailers Should Recruit a Chief Omnichannel Officer Now

Thanks to modern technology and digital tools, the opportunities to interact with and buy from a brand today are ubiquitous. Customers want to shop anytime, anywhere. Omnichannel rules, and smart retailers are getting on board.
For the customer, the best of omnichannel creates a consistent and uniform experience across all touch-points — online, brick-and-mortar stores, social media, events, mobile and more — all the time. For the retailer, omnichannel reaches its pinnacle of effectiveness when each channel’s operations are connected at the back end and continuously provide integrated, customer-specific information coming into the organization. This highly valuable data can then be analyzed and acted upon, to build a sound strategy for new — and even more consistent — marketing and sales efforts going forward.
Transforming a multichannel entity into a true omnichannel organization is much easier said than done. It is a job that requires a dedicated, totally focused individual that has the responsibility — and seniority — to integrate multichannel systems (literally and figuratively) across all customer touch points: store operations, marketing, call center, and digital (which includes all forms of non-store-based commerce). This is made all the more difficult because traditionally — and naturally — most of today’s organizational structures have evolved into fairly ingrained silos.
Omnichannel

A chief omnichannel officer can help a retailer go from silos to seamless. Here are the specific responsibilities the officer should tackle:
Eliminate silos
Customer touch points today usually exist in the store as point-of-sale systems, online as e-commerce systems and on-the-go as m-commerce platforms, the contact center, and other systems. Up to now, sales and other information has been collected and stored right back within the different system silos.
Retailers still getting used to multichannel efforts have traditionally kept channels independent of one another. This approach is fine, but does it really provide a true picture of how r customer interacts with a brand all the time? A savvy chief omnichannel officer will eliminate silos and integrate all channels at the back end to then take the next step: making the most of data that is generated by the customer.
Get the most out of customer information
To turn customer data into real information assets in aggregate, a central repository that can syndicate useful product information back out to the various channels must be created, and that is one big job. Today, disparate CRM systems are left struggling to get a single, consistent view of the customer. Customer information is one of the most valuable of assets in retail but it in a multi-siloed organization this data is rarely utilized properly.
The lifeline of a truly effective omnichannel experience is data that is integrated in terms of every customer data touch point, and that means integrating existing systems without minimizing each systems’ effectiveness, which is a tricky IT challenge that should be up front and center to a chief omnichannel officer.
Get staff on the same (omnichannel) page
Technical problems apart, siloed skills among staff create their own issues. Disconnects exist between a retailer’s business and technical staff. Open conversations that focus on people, processes and technology are rare between the chief marketing officer and CIO.
Separate heads for all functions — marketing, finance, merchandising, HR, stores, etc. — all report to the CEO or president. As a result, very few people have a holistic understanding of the business, much less what it takes to create an omnichannel presence. What’s more, most high-level, C-suite executives are too tied up with other business issues to commit to the kind of focus necessary to drive the creation of a functioning omnichannel organization.
A key responsibility of an omnichannel officer should be to drive — from a senior level — a commitment to omnichannel throughout the organization, oversee accountability in that commitment, and ingrain omnichannel into the company culture. Change is hard, but breaking silos to achieve synchronization, alignment and ownership among staff is paramount.
The omnichannel chief must encourage active involvement, monitoring, facilitation and support from channel leaders. To do this and communicate effectively with function heads, the officer must have an understanding of all customer touch points, the organization’s holistic business needs, and a direct reporting status to top leadership.
Be interested in revenue generation
Transformation into an omnichannel organization might come faster if, besides managing the development of strategies that integrate the company’s systems, people and activities, the chief omnichannel officer takes on somewhat of a P&L role.
When recruiting for the position, discuss the possibility of responsibility for revenue generation activities along with a reasonable share of the profitability. In the ideal scenario, the chief omnichannel officer will look after the execution of omnichannel and will also be responsible for the ROI on marketing investment. In that way, he or she can inseminate an organic acceptance of omnichannel best practices across all departments, while at the same time encouraging digital growth in such a way that it doesn’t affect current high-performing channels.
No doubt, the idea candidate needs to be one talented and well-rounded individual. Someone with strong digital marketing experience and exposure to other key business functions is a good place to start, and should enable the individual to grow into the role properly in a short period of time.
Simply put, transforming an organization into an omnichannel powerhouse is an exercise in managing change. Placing the right person in charge near the top of your organization will make it clear to all that it is an initiative to be taken seriously. Setting the right tone with all stakeholders will speed sincere acceptance and motivate everyone to deliver. If a retailer can achieve this, the company is on its way to converting your investment in omnichannel into tangible long-term results and strategic market advantage.
Salil Godika is co-founder of Happiest Minds, a next generation digital transformation, infrastructure, security and product engineering services company. With 19 years of experience in the IT industry across global product and services companies, he previously was with Mindtree for four years as the chief strategy officer/M&A and held P&L responsibility of an Industry group. Before Mindtree, Salil gained 12 years’ experience in the United States working for various software product companies large as well as start-ups.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Key Security Tactics to Help Protect Your Business from a TalkTalk hack

Isaac George, SVP & regional head of digital transformation company Happiest Minds UK, discusses the increased number of security threats UK organisations are exposed to following the TalkTalk hack.
Cyber crimes are not only occurring with mounting frequency in today’s wireless world, but they are also becoming increasingly sophisticated and widespread.
Just this month, major UK telecommunications, internet access and mobile network services company TalkTalk was the latest in a long line of brands to face media scrutiny after its website was breached by a significant and sustained cyber-attack.
The company said it was “too early to say” how many of its customers had been affected by the attack but credit card, bank account details, names, addresses, dates of birth, email addresses and telephone numbers could all have been accessed.
With a criminal investigation now underway, it is not yet known what the nature of the attack was, although early insight suggests that it may have been a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, where a website is hit by waves of traffic so intense that it cannot cope.
However, a second school of thought believes that the DDoS attack may have been a smokescreen to distract the organisation’s defence team whilst the cyber criminals set in practice their real objective of stealing data.
Should the second school of thought be accurate, this may even have been an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT).
What sets Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) apart is the nature and scope of the attack as they stealthily exploit vulnerabilities over a period of time.
Gartner puts it simply:
‘Advanced’ means it gets through your existing defences.
‘Persistent’ means it succeeds in hiding from your existing level of detection.
‘Threat’ means it causes you harm.
Once inside the network, APTs move around surreptitiously, seeking out sensitive data rather than disrupting systems and raising red flags.
These attacks are well coordinated and have very specific objectives that target key users within the organisation to gain access to high-value information – be it top-secret military or government documents, trade secrets, blueprints, intellectual properties, source codes and other confidential information.
Security, Mobile network services company, disrupting systems, cyber security systems, cloud services.

The worst part is that no organisation, irrespective of size or type, is immune to these attacks.
What is clear, whether it turns out to be DDoS, APT or another means of cyber-attack, the bottom line is that many of today’s businesses are relying on basic security defences like firewalls, anti-viruses and spyware that are dealing with APTs, and other means of attack, conceived years ago.
Which means it is only a matter of time before our traditional cyber security systems will be faced with the next generation of attacks and it is unlikely that they will succeed.
It is now imperative to develop a layered security approach that will amp up the security arsenal with a 360 degree visibility into all corners of the network.
Forewarned is forearmed – Key elements to APT defence
Unfortunately, there is no magic wand to combat APTs. The stealthy and random nature of APTs makes it a daunting task to predict attacks. Daunting, but not impossible.
The time has come for organisations to move beyond a perimeter-based ideology to a more comprehensive and multi-layer security approach that ensures continual protection even in the case of a breach. The critical elements to a successful APT defence lies in an intelligent combination of defence, analytics and a proactive incident response plan.
1. Know what to protect


The first step in any APT defence strategy is knowing what assets to protect. Once this data is sorted and classified, it provides a bird’s eye-view of pieces of your infrastructure across storage, security and accessibility across devices and endpoints.
2. Assess your security loopholes


The next step is to identify and categorise the most-at-risk information systems and high liability assets that link back to critical data. Assessing these systems enable us to prioritise protection and remedial plans against potential vulnerabilities. It is especially important that risk assessment is an on-going process to keep abreast with the ever-evolving threat landscape.
3. Shore up monitoring and detecting capabilities


Comprehensive monitoring off all inbound, outbound and internal traffic network is imperative to contain the scope and impact of a potential attack. Additionally, advance detection and real-time analytic tools in conjunction with traditional security solutions enable organisations to identify malicious activities as and when they occur.
A truly effective solution lies in the ability to differentiate normal and anomalous traffic patterns or activities generated by any IP-based device that connects to the network. By applying threat intelligence through analytics, these real-time insights allow for immediate isolation and remediation to stop the attack in the early stages.
4. An informed user is a safe user


The fact that APTs are often employed in the form of phishing emails, employees are the most susceptible targets. It does not take much to trigger a malicious code through an enticing link or attached file.
Security education and training makes employees aware of the potential security pitfalls of BYOD and cloud services. It also places some level of responsibility on the employees themselves to ensure that sensitive data remains secure.
5. Put an APT incident response plan in place


It is absolutely vital for an organisation to have a carefully crafted and up-to-date incident response plan in place.
It helps guides the organisation in quick identification and response in controlling a potential breach. This is what ultimately determines the effectiveness of the organisation’s response to an attack.
Staying ahead of the APT curve


The complex nature of APTs pose huge challenges to our standard security defence systems. On the flip side, they provide a much-needed impetus to reassessing frameworks and utilising solutions that are scalable to protect the entire organisation.
This latest attack against TalkTalk’s website is a huge wakeup call to the business community at large around the perils of delaying taking positive action against cybercrime. Is it not easy to secure your business against every type of attack, but the fact remains that a multi-pronged and layered approach to security is no longer an option but a must-have.
If you need convincing, you only have to look at the huge financial and reputational losses that will ensue for TalkTalk.

Isaac George is the SVP and regional head at infrastructure, security and product engineering services company Happiest Minds UK


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Disruptive Technology Roundup - Product Engineering Services


Cloud computing is the foremost among the disruptive technologies that rule the IT industry.  Organizations are leveraging public cloud for reducing the infrastructure costs and also for a faster delivery of technology projects. Since the data moved into the cloud is often dependent on the application that creates and maintains it, it is vital to integrate the SaaS apps in the cloud with the existing on- premise software. Configuring these multiple SaaS applications to share data in the cloud is crucial in determining the success or failure of cloud projects. Instead of choosing the richest SaaS application, organizations should consider the performance of the app and its ability to integrate into an overall portfolio. It is crucial that the app purchasing decisions need to consider operational performance metrics beyond features and functionality, and how new SaaS apps will contribute to the way the business runs in the future. In this age of Big Data, where large chunks of data are analyzed for churning out Business intelligence and insights, organizations should consider the SaaS vendors that provide access to their own data with better performing and efficiently integrated SaaS applications. 

Businesses are moving into an age of innovation and disruption with the influence of new age disruptive technologies including IoT and Big Data. When everything and everyone gets connected into an integrated global network, the safety of data from unauthorized access, dissemination, and usage is a matter of greater concern. Organizations are now searching for new ways and means to protect their assets from cyber security breaches. At a time when traditional security measures become inefficient, a major rethink of the existing cyber security systems and strategies is the need of the hour. The global cyber security industry is going through a fundamental change and is growing to address the cyber security challenges in the age of IoT. With IoT creating innovations and disruptions in the business world, parallel innovations are happening in the cyber security space also to address the IoT security threats.

Technology space is witnessing a major upheaval with the new disruptive technologies changing the way businesses are carried out. Cloud, Social, and Mobile are converging and accelerating one another to give rise to a constant access paradigm consisting of:

Continuous Services – solutions will increasingly need to be cloud-based to ensure they are always available on-demand and can be consumed on demand.

Connected Devices – proliferation of the number and types of devices that allow users to be continuously or intermittently connected to the internet and with one another.  
Product Engineering Services

With a combination of agile methodology, experienced architects and pre-built components, Happiest Minds deliver Product Engineering Services on 4 specific domains: Enterprise Domain catering to Enterprise ISV customer, Customer Platforms focussing on E-Commerce and Media & Entertainment, IoT focussing on Industrial and Automotive & Building Automation and Data Center Technologies (DCT) focussing on Software Defined Networking and Data Centres. A strong team of technical experts to offer Architecture and Engineering services, well-defined methodologies, frameworks and product engineering processes and standards make Happiest Minds a preferred partner for Product Engineering Services.