ETL Vs. EAI

Over recent years, business enterprises relying on accurate and consistent data to make informed decisions have been gravitating towards integration technologies. The subject of Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) and Extraction, Transformation & Loading (ETL) lately seems to pop up in most Enterprise Information Management conversations.

From an architectural perspective, both techniques share a striking similarity. However, they essentially serve different purposes when it comes to information management. We’ve decided to do a little bit of research and establish the differences between the two integration technologies.

Enterprise Application Integration

EAI is an integration framework that consists of technologies and services, allowing for seamless coordination of vital systems, processes, as well as databases across an enterprise.

Simply put, this integration technique simplifies and automates your business processes to a whole new level without necessarily having to make major changes to your existing data structures or applications.

With EAI, your business can integrate essential systems like supply chain management, customer relationship management, business intelligence, enterprise resource planning, and payroll. Well, the linking of these apps can be done at the back end via APIs or the front end GUI.

The systems in question might use different databases, computer languages, exist on different operating systems or older systems that might not be supported by the vendor anymore.

The objective of EAI is to develop a single, unified view of enterprise data and information, as well as ensure the information is correctly stored, transmitted, and reflected. It enables existing applications to communicate and share data in real-time.

Extraction, Transformation & Loading

The general purpose of an ETL system is to extract data out of one or more source databases and then transfer it to a target destination system for better user decision making. Data in the target system is usually presented differently from the sources.

The extracted data goes through the transformation phase, which involves checking for data integrity and converting the data into a proper storage format or structure. It is then moved into other systems for analysis or querying function.

With data loading, it typically involves writing data into the target database destination like data warehouse and operational data store.

ETL can integrate data from multiple systems. The systems we’re talking about in this case are often hosted on separate computer hardware or supported by different vendors.

Differences between ETL and EAI

EAI System

  • Retrieves small amounts of data in one operation and is characterized by a high number of transactions
  • EAI system is utilized for process optimization and workflow
  • The system does not require user involvement after it’s implemented
  • Ensures a bi-directional data flow between the source and target applications
  • Ideal for real-time business data needs
  • Limited data validation
  • Integrating operations is pull, push, and event-driven.

ETL System

  • It is a one-way process of creating a historical record from homogeneous or heterogeneous sources
  • Mainly designed to process large batches of data from source systems
  • Requires extensive user involvement
  • Meta-data driven complex transformations
  • Integrating operation is a pull, query-driven
  • Supports proper profiling and data cleaning
  • Limited messaging capabilities

Both integration technologies are an essential part of EIM, as they provide strong capabilities for business intelligence initiatives and reporting. They can be used differently and sometimes in mutual consolidation.

Personas Vs. Roles – What Is The Difference?

Personas and roles are user modeling approaches that are applied in the early stages of system development or redesign. They drive the design decision and allows programmers and designers to place everyday user needs at the forefront of their system development journey in a user-centered design approach.

Personas and user roles help improve the quality of user experience when working with products that require a significant amount of user interaction. But there is a distinct difference between technology personas vs. roles. What then exactly is a persona? What are user roles in system development? And, how does persona differ from user roles?

Let’s see how these two distinct, yet often confused, user models fit in a holistic user-centered design process and how you can leverage them to identify valuable product features.

Technology Personas Vs. Roles – The Most Relevant Way to Describe Users

In software development, a user role describes the relationship between a user type and a software tool. It is generally the user’s responsibility when using a system or the specific behavior of a user who is participating in a business process. Think of roles as the umbrella, homogeneous constructs of the users of a particular system. For instance, in an accounting system, you can have roles such as accountant, cashier, and so forth.

However, by merely using roles, system developers, designers, and testers do not have sufficient information to conclusively make critical UX decisions that would make the software more user-centric, and more appealing to its target users.

This lack of understanding of the user community has led to the need for teams to move beyond role-based requirements and focus more on subsets of the system users. User roles can be refined further by creating “user stand-ins,” known as personas. By using personas, developers and designers can move closer to the needs and preferences of the user in a more profound manner than they would by merely relying on user roles.

In product development, user personas are an archetype of a fictitious user that represents a specific group of your typical everyday users. First introduced by Alan Cooper, personas help the development team to clearly understand the context in which the ideal customer interacts with a software/system and helps guide the design decision process.

Ideally, personas provide team members with a name, a face, and a description for each user role. By using personas, you’re typically personalizing the user roles, and by so doing, you end up creating a lasting impression on the entire team. Through personas, team members can ask questions about the users.

The Benefits of Persona Development

Persona development has several benefits, including:

  • They help team members have a consistent understanding of the user group.
  • They provide stakeholders with an opportunity to discuss the critical features of a system redesign.
  • Personas help designers to develop user-centric products that have functions and features that the market already demands.
  • A persona helps to create more empathy and a better understanding of the person that will be using the end product. This way, the developers can design the product with the actual user needs in mind.
  • Personas can help predict the needs, behaviors, and possible reactions of the users to the product.

What Makes Up a Well-Defined Persona?

Once you’ve identified user roles that are relevant to your product, you’ll need to create personas for each. A well-defined persona should ideally take into consideration the needs, goals, and observed behaviors of your target audience. This will influence the features and design elements you choose for your system.

The user persona should encompass all the critical details about your ideal user and should be presented in a memorable way that everyone in the team can identify with and understand. It should contain four critical pieces of information.

1. The header

The header aid in improving memorability and creating a connection between the design team and the user. The header should include:

  • A fictional name
  • An image, avatar or a stock photo
  • A vivid description/quote that best describes the persona as it relates to the product.

2. Demographic Profile

Unlike the name and image, which might be fictitious, the demographic profile includes factual details about the ideal user. The demographic profile includes:

  • Personal background: Age, gender, education, ethnicity, persona group, and family status
  • Professional background: Occupation, work experience, and income level.
  • User environment. It represents the social, physical, and technological context of the user. It answers questions like: What devices do the user have? Do they interact with other people? How do they spend their time?
  • Psychographics: Attitudes, motivations, interests, and user pain points.

3. End Goal(s)

End goals help answer the questions: What problems or needs will the product solution to the user? What are the motivating factors that inspire the user’s actions?

4. Scenario

This is a narrative that describes how the ideal user would interact with your product in real-life to achieve their end goals. It should explain the when, the where, and the how.

Conclusion

For a truly successful user-centered design approach, system development teams should use personas to provide simple descriptions of key user roles. While a distinct difference exists in technology personas vs. roles, design teams should use the two user-centered design tools throughout the project to decide and evaluate the functionality of their end product. This way, they can deliver a useful and usable solution to their target market.

Are Information Technology Skill Badges Valuable?

Information Technology (IT) Skill badges are becoming more prevalent in the information technology industry, but do they add value?  I will be in the past I have only bothered with certifications where my clients or my employer thought they were valuable.  At some point in your career experience should mean more tests and training.  So, perhaps is time to consider the potential value of IT Skills badges (Mini-certification) and the merits behind them.

What Are Information Technology (IT) Skills Badge?

IT Skills badges are recognized as mini-certification, which are portable. IT Skills badges are achieved when an individual completes a project, completes a course, or make a distinguished contribution towards code repository on either GitHub or elsewhere. When a person earns this kind of certification, the IT Skills badges can be stored in a digital wallet. An individual can use it by either including it to his/her LinkedIn profile or website. The issuer has the authority of editing the badges. This feature is designed to bolster credibility.

Research shows that many IT job applicants show badges as an added advantage in his/her skills. IT skills badge are not a sure bet in job hunting that an applicant will land on that particular job because most job recruiters don’t focus on them.

Many IT industries want validated skills before hiring an applicant. IT Skills badges are complementary to certificates, but IT Skills badges can’t in any way replace certifications. Individuals with convectional certifications have high chances of landing on premium pay. As a result, badges don’t ensure the owner a pay boot in his/her job.

How Do IT Skills Badges Differ From A Certification?

Certifications are considered evidence by many of an individual’s skills. Does this mean that any other credential systems aren’t necessary for proving your skills? IBM’s study shows that technology is growing at a faster rate in areas like artificial intelligence, big data, and machine learning and the updating and creation of certifications can lag because of the time required to update or developing certifications is lengthy.

Another difference when it comes to comparison between IT Skill Badges and certification is that certifications are seen to be more expensive to both employers and employees. It is costly to achieve certification, and a lot of study time and books may be required. An in-depth done survey shows that employers are willing to pay a good portion to the right certification. Certificate value is drastically increasing value yearly as compared to badges.

Clients of IT companies consider engaging in a contract with the company after making sure that the company has a specific number of employees with specified certifications. IT Skills badges are at a disadvantage for hiring consideration. Most hiring managers, the likes of Raxter Company, don’t know the benefit of badges or even what IT Skills badges can do with IT Skills badges. IT Skills badges are new in the market; hence, most employers have little information about IT Skills badges. For instance, an applicant who in the past years has worked for IBM Company presents an IBM badge to Raxter interview panel, and the panel will not know what it means.

In the case of Grexo Technology Group’s CEO, Bobby Yates, IT services Company in Texas doesn’t know the apparent value of IT skills badge. He further challenges it by saying that most applicants have presented the badges to him. But he surely doesn’t know the importance of them towards his requirements from the applicants. He further says that he doesn’t consider badges as a valuable hiring tool as compared to certification.

Dupray’s Tremblay, on the other hand, seconds the elimination of badges as an essential tool for hiring by saying that he will not know if the applicant is cheating to him. As a result, he values the certification as a real prove of skills towards IT.

How To Obtain IT Skills Badges

Most Companies’ hiring panels consider IT Skills badges as nothing towards job requirements. But some companies’ managers like O’Farril and others challenge them by finding them worthy when it comes to IT workers investment. CompTIA’s Stanger, on the other hand, backs badges by referring to them as a complement to a basket of certifications, good resumes, and real-world towards job experience. He adds by saying that it is a form of strengthening the education chain. Raxter on his personality considers IT Skills badges as a selling point. As a result, IT Skills badges are essential to present to some recruiters.

The following are the top five tips that will aid an individual towards his carrier advancement in getting the most in IT skills badges.

1. Avoid listing badges which are easily obtained. Anything that can take less than 40 hours to complete it is unworthy of mentioning it in your professional resume.

2. Always consider those courses that directly aline with the type of jobs for which you are applying. IT skills badges that directly complements to your job requirements are worth taking. Irrelevant badges may, to an extent, reduce the chances of being recruited.

3. Make sure to pair the badges attained with your education or real working experience.

4. Don’t insist on the importance behind your badges. Not everybody will like to hear. Real work experience always takes the lead.

5. If you can’t defend your knowledge, experience, and skills or hiring managers will consider unqualified. ITSkill badges and certifications show that you had enough knowledge to pass the qualifications, but employees want people who can and will excel at doing the work as part of a team. requirements

Do IT Skills badges have value in the hiring process?

IT skills complement IT certification and act as an added advantage in hiring panel, mostly when your certification is almost similar to the other candidates. IT Skills badges add some value towards a good resume, real job experience, and certifications. Some recruiters consider IT Skills badges worthy when it comes to the hiring process. Recruiters think them as a selling point.

So it’s essential to take IT Skills badges that relate to your job application to spice your application form. Remember to keep in mind the top five tips when you decide to have one. In other words, IT Skills badges are somehow worthwhile to consider in IT workers investments.

IT skills badge from a social media perspective

Social Media badges are virtual validator of successful completion of a task, skill, or educational objective. IT Skills badges can either be physical or digital depending upon what other people in a particular community value or market. IT Skills badges are more prevalent in a collaborative environment, and social media as well as portals and learning platforms, including team participation, certification, degrees, and project accomplishments.

In conclusion, many IT skills are available for your earnings. To gain more on IT Skills badges, you can visit IBM, Pearson VUE, a global learning company, and others who have partnered in offering IT Skills badges. You will be able to find a range of IT Skills badges from which to choose.

A 720-Degree View of the Customer

The 360-degree view of the consumer is a well-explored concept, but it is not adequate in the digital age. Every firm, whether it is Google or Amazon, is deploying tools to understand customers in a bid to serve them better. A 360-degree view demanded that a company consults its internal data to segment customers and create marketing strategies. It has become imperative for companies to look outside their channels, to platforms like social media and reviews to gain insight into the motivations of their customers. The 720-degree view of the customer is further discussed below.

What is the 720-degree view of the customer?

A 720-degree view of the customer refers to a three-dimensional understanding of customers, based on deep analytics. It includes information on every customer’s level of influence, buying behavior, needs, and patterns. A 720-degree view will enable retailers to offer relevant products and experiences and to predict future behavior. If done right, this concept should assist retailers leverage on emerging technologies, mobile commerce, social media, and cloud-based services, and analytics to sustain lifelong customer relationships

What Does a 720-Degree View of the Customer Entail?

Every business desires to cut costs, gain an edge over its competitors, and grow their customer base. So how exactly will a 720-degree view of the customer help a firm advance its cause?

Social Media

Social media channels help retailers interact more effectively and deeply with their customers. It offers reliable insights into what customers would appreciate in products, services, and marketing campaigns. Retailers can not only evaluate feedback, but they can also deliver real-time customer service. A business that integrates its services with social media will be able to assess customer behavior through tools like dislikes and likes. Some platforms also enable customers to buy products directly.

Customer Analytics


Customer analytics will construct more detailed customer profiles by integrating different data sources like demographics, transactional data, and location. When this internal data is added to information from external channels like social media, the result is a comprehensive view of the customer’s needs and wants. A firm will subsequently implement more-informed decisions on inventory, supply chain management, pricing, marketing, customer segmentation, and marketing. Analytics further come in handy when monitoring transactions, personalized services, waiting times, website performance.

Mobile Commerce

The modern customer demands convenience and device compatibility. Mobile commerce also accounts for a significant amount of retail sales, and retailers can explore multi-channel shopping experiences. By leveraging a 720-degree view of every customer, firms can provide consumers with the personalized experiences and flexibility they want. Marketing campaigns will also be very targeted as they will be based on the transactional behaviors of customers. Mobile commerce can take the form of mobile applications for secure payment systems, targeted messaging, and push notifications to inform consumers of special offers. The goal should be to provide differentiated shopper analytics.

Cloud

Cloud-based solutions provide real-time data across multiple channels, which illustrates an enhanced of the customer. Real-time analytics influence decision-making in retail and they also harmonize the physical and retail digital environments. The management will be empowered to detect sales trends as transactions take place.

The Importance of the 720-Degree Customer View

Traditional marketers were all about marketing to groups of similar individuals, which is often termed as segmentation. This technique is, however, giving way to the more effective concept of personalized marketing. Marketing is currently channeled through a host of platforms, including social media, affiliate marketing, pay-per-click, and mobile. The modern marketer has to integrate the information from all these sources and match them to a real name and address. Companies can no longer depend on a fragmented view of the customer, as there has to be an emphasis on personalization. A 720-degree customer view can offer benefits like:

Customer Acquisition

Firms can improve customer acquisition by depending on the segment differences revealed from a new database of customer intelligence. Consumer analytics will expose any opportunities to be taken advantage of while external data sources will reveal competitor tactics. There are always segment opportunities in any market, which are best revealed by real-time consumer data.

Cutting Costs

Marketers who rely on enhanced digital data can contribute to cost management in a firm. It takes less investment to serve loyal and satisfied consumers because a firm is directing addressing their needs. Technology can be used to set customized pricing goals and to segment customers effectively.

New Products and Pricing

Real-time data, in addition to third-party information, have a crucial impact on pricing. Only firms with a robust and relevant competitor and customer analytics and data can take advantage of this importance. Marketers with a 720-degree view of the consumer across many channels will be able to utilize opportunities for new products and personalized pricing to support business growth

Advance Customer Engagement

The first 360 degrees include an enterprise-wide and timely view of all consumer interactions with the firm. The other 360 degrees consists of the customer’s relevant online interactions, which supplements the internal data a company holds. The modern customer is making their buying decisions online, and it is where purchasing decisions are influenced. Can you predict a surge in demand before your competitors? A 720-degree view will help you anticipate trends while monitoring the current ones.

720-degree Customer View and Big Data

Firms are always trying to make decision making as accurate as possible, and this is being made more accessible by Big Data and analytics. To deliver customer-centric experiences, businesses require a 720-degree view of every customer collected with the help of in-depth analysis.

Big Data analytical capabilities enable monitoring of after-sales service-associated processes and the effective management of technology for customer satisfaction. A firm invested in being in front of the curve should maintain relevant databases of external and internal data with global smart meters. Designing specific products to various segments is made easier with the use of Big Data analytics. The analytics will also improve asset utilization and fault prediction. Big Data helps a company maintain a clearly-defined roadmap for growth

Conclusion

It is the dream of every enterprise to tap into customer behavior and create a rich profile for each customer. The importance of personalized customer experiences cannot be understated in the digital era. The objective remains to develop products that can be advertised and delivered to customers who want them, via their preferred platforms, and at a lower cost. 

What is a Private Cloud?

The private cloud concept is running the cloud software architecture and, possibly specialized hardware, within a companies’ own facilities and support by the customer’s own employees, rather than having it hosted from a data center operated by commercial providers like Amazon, IBM Microsoft, or Oracle.

A companies’ private (internal) cloud may be a one or more of these patterns and may be part of a larger hybrid-cloud strategy.

  • Home-Grown, where the company has built its own software and or hardware could infrastructure where the private could is managed entirely by the companies’ resources. 
  • Commercial-Off-The-Self (COTS), where the cloud software and or hardware is purchased from a commercial vendor and install in the companies promises where is it is primarily managed by the companies’ resources with licensed technical support from the vendor.
  • Appliance-Centric, where vendor specialty hardware and software are pre-assembled and pre-optimized, usually on proprietary databases to support a specific cloud strategic.
  • Hybrid-Cloud, which may use some or all of the about approaches and have added components such as:
    • Virtualization software to integrate, private-cloud, public-cloud, and non-cloud information resources into a central delivery architecture.
    • Public/Private cloud where proprietary and customer sensitive information is kept on promise and less sensitive information is housed in one or more public clouds. The Public/Private hybrid-cloud strategy can also be provision temporary short duration increases in computational resources or where application and information development occur in the private cloud and migrated to a public cloud for productionalization.

In the modern technological era, there are a variety of cloud patterns, but this explanation highlights the major aspects of the private cloud concept which should clarify and assist in strategizing for your enterprise cloud.

Related References

What is cloud computing? 

Cloud computing is a service driven model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on demand network access to a shared pool computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal administrative effort or service provider interaction.

Related References

A Road Map For Migrating To A Public Cloud

Cloud Migration
Cloud Migration

A Road Map for Migrating to A Public Cloud Environment

Today, most organizations are looking for ways to cut down their sprawling IT budgets and define efficient paths for new developments. Making the move to the cloud is being seen as a more strategic and an economically viable idea, that is primarily allowing organizations to gain quick access to new platforms, services, and toolsets. But the migration of applications to the cloud environment needs a clear, and well-thought-out cloud migration strategy.

We are past the year of confusion and fear on matters cloud environment. In fact, almost everyone now agrees that the cloud is a key element of any company’s IT investment. What is not yet clear is what to move, how to move, and industry best practices to protect your investment in a public cloud environment. Therefore, a solid migration plan is an essential part of any cloud migration process.

Here are a few things you should pay close attention to when preparing a cloud migration planning template:

  • Data Protection

When planning to migrate to the cloud, it is paramount to remember that it is not a good idea to migrate every application. As you learn the baby steps, keep your legacy apps and other sensitive data such as private banking info off the cloud. This will ensure that, in case of a breach on your public cloud, your sensitive data and legacy systems will not fall into the hands of unsavory individuals.

  • Security

Security of the data being migrated to the cloud should be just as important as on the cloud. Any temporary storage locations used during the cloud migration process should be secure from unauthorized intrusions.

Although security can be hard to quantify, it is one of the key components and considerations of any cloud service. The very basic security responsibility includes getting it right around your password security. Remember that, while you can massively increase the security around your applications, it is practically very different to deal with on-cloud threats and breaches since you technically don’t own any of the cloud software.

Some of the security concerns that you’ll need to look into include:

  • Is your data securely transferred and stored in the cloud?
  • Besides the passwords, does your cloud provider offer some type of 2-factor authentication?
  • How else are the users authenticated?
  • Does your provider meet the industry’s regulatory requirements?
  • Backup and Disaster recovery strategies

A backup and disaster strategy ensure that your data will be protected in case of a disaster. These strategies are unique to every organization depending on its application needs and the relevance of those applications to their organization.

To devise a foolproof DR strategy, it is important to identify and prioritize applications and determine the downtime acceptable for each application, services, and data.

Some of the things to consider when engineering your backup and disaster recovery blueprint include:

  • Availability of sufficient bandwidth and network capacity to redirect all users in case of a disaster.
  • Amount of data that may require backup.
  • Type of data to be protected
  • How long can it take to restore your systems from the cloud?
  • Communications Capacity enablement

Migrating to a cloud environment should make your business more agile and responsive to the market. Therefore, a robust communications enablement should be provided. Ideally, your cloud provider should be able to provide you with a contact center, unified messaging, mobility, presence, and integration with other business applications.

While the level of sophistication and efficiency of on-premise communications platforms depends on the capabilities of the company IT’s staff, cloud environments should offer communication tools with higher customizations to increase productivity.

A highly customized remote communications enablement will allow your company to refocus its IT resources to new innovation, spur agility, cut down on hardware costs and allow for more engagements with partners and customers.

Simply put, cloud communications:

  • Increase efficiency and productivity
  • Enables reimagined experience
  • Are designed for a seamless interaction.
  • legal liability and protection

Other important considerations when developing your cloud migration planning template are compliance with regulatory requirements and software licensing. For many businesses, data protection and regulatory compliance with HIPPA and GDPR is a constant concern, especially when dealing with identifiable data. Getting this right, the first time will allow you to move past the compliance issue blissfully.

When migrating, look for a cloud provider with comprehensive security assurance programs and governance-focused features. This will help your business operate more secure and in line with industry standards.

Ready to migrate your processes to a public cloud environment? Follow these pointers develop a comprehensive cloud migration planning template.

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