Monday 30 January 2012

Positive Effects of Data Warehousing in Business Intelligence of Enterprises

Contemporary software systems aimed at helping managers in the decision-making process usually incorporate Data warehousing in business intelligence applications developed to identify, extract and analyze business data. High-quality and valuable data can be analyzed in a manner that helps enterprises gain competitive advantage over their rivals, enjoying all benefits predictive analysis can provide. Actually, business intelligence systems rely on historical data in large volumes, thus providing neutral view on information collected, while utilizing such data to forecast trends and estimate future market movements, for example.

A major property of business intelligence is its ability to equip corporate executives with valuable tools that facilitate and enrich decision making through analysis of large volumes of data that is otherwise non-analyzable. Data warehousing plays an important role in this process, providing the basis and means for retrieving such data and loading it into a repository, where the information can be cataloged and analyzed. Professionals and scholars are well aware that the ability to analyze huge volumes of data can produce amazing results in terms of future trends predictability and customer behavior forecasting. Data warehousing and business intelligence, in a broader context, provide the essential principles on which modern-day systems facilitating decision-making are made.

Using data warehousing and business intelligence tools, managers and business owners can track how projects and business programs are progressing and compare their progress against a previously adopted broader corporate strategy. Predictive analytics and predictive modeling have proved to be invaluable instruments when the matter in question is to design a working sales strategy or a targeted marketing campaign, for example. Business process modeling is another technique used in business intelligence, which also relies on data warehousing to collect enough historical data on which models are based.

Collaboration was the word of the day in the past decade, with a growing number of software vendors offering business intelligence systems that feature collaboration capabilities through data sharing tools and other instruments designed to provide collaborative virtual workspace. Even the rapidly gaining popularity of social networking platforms rely on data warehousing technologies; and a number of software vendors and developers offer business intelligence platforms that run entirely online, software-as-a-service, or SaaS, where business users can benefit from social networking functionality, in addition to traditional functionality characterizing such systems.

Usually, business intelligence systems are highly configurable reflecting the need to deal with different data and regulations across various industries. Data protection is another well-developed feature of most business intelligence systems due to the sensitive nature of business data gathered and managed through data warehousing techniques and systems. Access of third parties to such data can give them marked competitive advantages; thus, software developers pay special attention to data protection and security in the field of business intelligence systems.

Data warehousing is well known for adding value to other systems as well, most notably to customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Another valuable benefit is the ability of such systems to integrate data from multiple sources and across different systems into a single database, allowing data warehousing and business intelligence techniques to be used to give a broader perspective on what is really going on within an enterprise.

Monday 23 January 2012

Reasons Behind the Booming Software Development in India

Offshore software development and software development outsourcing are often cited as main reasons behind the rapid growth of software development in India. Nevertheless more fundamental factors influence this trend, while the global shift toward software outsourcing only highlights how basic principles of economics work. Outsourcing software development to third-party developers and software vendors in India is not an exotic option but a matter of lowering costs and gaining competitive advantage for a fair number of enterprises based in Europe and the United States, where local software developers are able to provide cutting-edge yet expensive solutions.

Selected countries in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe that invested wisely into their high school and tertiary educational systems during the past decades, now can enjoy flourishing software development industries, with global demand for software applications growing, while costs of developing software in the West is rising. Thus, software development outsourcing emerged as a solution in a very natural way, with enterprises across the world seeking less expensive yet reliable software solutions abroad.

India's strategic location in Asia, growing economy, and high educational standards allowed for creation of numerous local enterprises providing software development, IT management, and IT consulting services to business all over the world. Although Latin America and Eastern Europe are emerging as strong competitors in the field of offshore software research, development, and consulting services, India leads the pack with nearly half of all global software outsourcing contracts heading for this country. Such an unrivaled position is partially due to the huge number of local software developing companies that compete not only with software vendors abroad but tend to push prices down to the very limit, forced by the fierce local competition.

Payroll costs and labor efficiency in the West are among the hottest topics amidst ongoing economic downturn, while India does not seem to experience such problems. Local software vendors are able to provide extremely competitive pricing for high-quality services performed by well-educated specialists, which results in a constant flow of contracts from both local and international business customers. Thus, local software developers can focus on enhancing their service whereas their Western counterparts are forced to increase their marketing efforts and invest in marketing campaigns that have no immediate positive effect on their core service (a costly marketing campaign may boost sales but it does not help a company in developing better software products).

According to reports by the Indian government, India's software export is growing at the tremendous rate of 30 percent a year, urging the United States and the European Union to adopt protectionist measures to curb outsourcing of software research and development to third-party countries like India. Although such measures are welcomed in certain business circles and among white collar workers engaged in the software industry, governments in the West have to face the inevitable: enterprises will continue to look for cheaper high-quality software products and services abroad until software vendors in Europe and the United States are able to cut costs and adopt more reasonable pricing for goods and services they offer.

On the other hand, Silicon Valley companies are still in possession of cutting-edge technologies and face no serious challenge neither from European nor Asian peers. Therefore, India-based software vendors are more orientated toward IT servicing and consulting, and software development in India is still in the stage of providing supportive services to large-scale corporations based overseas.

Tuesday 17 January 2012

IT Software Consulting Should Provide Applicable Strategic Solutions

Demand for IT software consulting is growing as virtually all and every enterprise tries to adopt a combination of software solutions that increase efficiency, help boost sales, and lower overall costs of running a business. It is a multimillion business that is well-developed in technologically advanced countries like the United States and most of Europe, while a rapidly growing number of IT consultants from outside these countries are emerging as major market players.

IT advisers and software developers based in Asia/Pacific region, mainly in India, as well as peers in Central and Eastern Europe are growing in strength and offer high-quality services at an affordable price, giving their Western counterparts a run for their money. IT consultancies based outside Europe and the U.S. and Canada gradually evolved into reputable service providers offering highly competitive services in the field of software estimation, management, implementation, administration, and deployment. Lower payroll costs, growing number of well-educated professionals as well as literally unlimited access to modern technologies helped IT consultants in India and other outsourcing centers worldwide in developing solutions that are applicable by small and medium sized enterprises and multinational corporations alike.

During the past couple of decades, IT software consultancy and IT outsourcing are among the main driving forces behind a flourishing worldwide market for software services as well as development and implementation of configurable and customizable software solutions aimed at business customers. Recently, cloud computing gave a boost to this sustainable trend, allowing corporations to outsource even more business processes and procedures to remote third-party IT consultants. Nevertheless, traditional IT consultancy services are still dominating the market for software consultancy services.
Usually, startup software consulting firms offer specialized services; but even seasoned Silicon Valley veterans admit that IT consultants from India and Eastern Europe managed to grow into full-scale services unbelievably fast, riding the wave of new technologies and enjoying lower business costs. Typically, payroll costs are responsible for a major portion of overall business costs of an IT consulting firm because IT experts are among the highest paid professionals.

IT professionals outside Western Europe and North America, however, earn significantly lower than their Western world counterparts, thus enabling IT software consulting service providers in India, Eastern Europe, and Latin America to price their services at highly competitive rates. On the other hand, one should bear in mind that different software outsourcing centers specialize in different types of services, with many U.S.-based corporations outsourcing their R&D activities mainly to India, for example.

Furthermore, modern IT consultancy services are covering many aspects of a business and often involve management advisory services as well as thorough due diligence required to estimate, plan, and implement the best fit. It was in the past when IT software consultants were engaged mainly in implementation, maintenance, and support services. Contemporary IT software consulting is more about deployment of applicable and working strategic solutions, rather than implementation of a single software product, thus making the IT consultants major players in today's business process.

Monday 9 January 2012

How the Concept of Portal Intranet Workflow Is Working

Portal intranet workflow cannot be dissected outside a specific corporate or industry environment because workflows and workflow management are industry-specific and can serve different purposes within different contexts, scholars and professionals agree. Workflow and workflow management  are only one of many constituents of a corporate web portal, where the power of modern-day intranets is used to deal with complex tasks that involve collaboration between work groups, content management, and workflow management software within enterprises of all sizes.

Contemporary enterprises rapidly pile tons, actually terabytes of information that should be managed efficiently and accessed according to hierarchical access level trees. A corporate intranet portal is able, in theory, to provide the means to combine access points, applications, and information processing and analyzing tools that should create a valuable tool for accessing, processing, and publishing content (virtually everything can be considered content, starting from customer support forms, to invoices, and personal work calendars). Thus, corporations can gain significant competitive advantage by automating various tasks and crating algorithms to deal with their rapidly, and inevitably growing documentation.

An enterprise portal usually features personalized views and is intended to be used in a multi-user environment where managers and personnel can easily interact, collaborate, and utilize various embedded or third-party applications. Workflow management, within such a context, is taking advantage of integration of tools used to automate and handle various tasks, including scheduling, project tracking and reporting, making revisions of different documents, etc. Most workflow management systems rely heavily on alarms and alerts related to various tasks; therefore, software vendors incorporate advanced alarm modules into workflow management systems intended to be integrated into an intranet portal. Alerts generated by the system may be related to possible issues or risks to projects under way but can also signal that new content is added to the intranet portal or important information has been changed or edited.

Workflow management deals with repetitive tasks and portal intranet workflow can be considered an example of a machine (not a physical machine but a mechanism to collect, process, and disseminate content) where content is processed according to preset rules and managed in a strictly planned manner. In a business context, portal intranet workflow involves repetitive application and performance of a thoroughly designed plan to accomplish particular goals. In this regard, scholars gradually realized that information flows are far more adaptive than their mass and energy counterparts, while information flows are also characterized by their low cost compared to mass and energy flows.

Thus, an enterprise portal, with the help of workflow management software modules, improves the overall efficiency within an organization by alerting individuals or groups that a task should be performed and transferring the task between those responsible for its completion until the project is complete. This is an extremely simplified model of workflow management, though.
Portal intranet workflow is usually also subject to strict access rights rules to eliminate risks of accessing, editing, or deleting content that is intended for restricted use only.

Monday 2 January 2012

Basic Advantages Provided by Enterprise Data Warehousing

Modern-day enterprises have to deal with large amounts of information, often processed in real-time, thus enterprise data warehousing emerged as technology aimed to satisfy the needs of rapidly growing number of business customers. Data warehousing is applied in various business software solutions designed to support and facilitate overall decision-making process, enabling managers to easily retrieve and analyze data. Initially, data warehousing solutions have been regarded as relatively costly technology, affordable only to large corporations, but the maturing of this type of software architecture and the emergence of software outsourcing reduced markedly the cost of implementation of data warehousing solutions.

Low entry and maintenance costs determine a major benefit enterprise data warehousing solutions provide to both small and large corporations. Furthermore, data warehousing can be applied in, and is a required element of, a wide range of software applications designed to support financial forecasting, call record analysis, trend analysis, logistics and inventory management, etc.

The three-layer software architecture of a data warehouse and its ability to maintain a copy of information obtained from the source transaction systems used within a broader software solution enables the software to integrate data from multiple source systems. This functionality is extremely advantageous for fast developing businesses witnessing noticeably growing flow of information from various data sources that cannot by easily processed by average customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Thus, a single common data model is introduced and utilized, which provides obvious competitive advantages to business customers.

In fact, contemporary business analytics can hardly cope with the increasing information flow without the help of data warehousing solutions, which also provide data warehouse encryption required by an overwhelming majority of large business customers. Furthermore, business data should be restructured in a way that makes sense to business users, while spreadsheet solutions are not able to deal with the complexity of the task in the framework of medium-sized and large businesses.

An enterprise can do well without deploying data warehousing solutions and still enjoy sustainable business development if the long-term corporate strategy does not envisage expansion to large and crowded markets and rapid growth of customer/supplier relationships. Actually, this is true for most small-sized enterprises that can run their day-to-day business with the help of common CRM solutions.

On the other hand, medium-sized and large businesses cannot cope with increasing pressure from competitors without deployment of some type of enterprise data warehousing solution to improve the overall data management and analytical capabilities of their respective business management software. Integrated data warehousing systems are therefore becoming widespread within a variety of industries, ranging from retailers, to manufacturers, to financial institutions.

Only a limited number of large corporations were able to afford an expensive business software solution incorporating data warehousing technology during the late 1980s and early 1990s; but two decades later the IT industry has also matured and software vendors from Asia/Pacific region and Central and Eastern Europe provide cheaper alternatives to solutions offered by Western software developers. Application development outsourcing and the emergence of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offer opportunities to businesses to further lower costs of enterprise data warehousing and obtain both ready-to-use and tailored hardware and software solutions in a very competitive market.