Chain-Sys: What Is a Software Product Company?

Chain-Sys: What Is a Software Product Company?

Computers have been around for a long time, but the general public still doesn’t fully understand how they work. Because of that confusion, there are often many questions surrounding companies that offer computer products and services, especially when those products and services are amorphous. Read on to learn what a software product company like Chain-Sys is.

Software vs. Hardware

The first (and most important) thing to understand is the difference between software and hardware. It’s in this distinction that a lot of confusion around the nature of software comes from. You may think about hardware stores when you hear this term—in that case, hardware refers to things like nails, screws, and cabinet fixtures.

In this case, however, hardware refers to all the physical components required for a computer. This includes the RAM sticks, CPU, video card, hard drive, and more. On the other hand, software is the programs and processes that tell those pieces of hardware what to do. Your web browser, for instance, is a piece of software on your device.

Software: Product or Service?

With that said, many people aren’t sure whether companies that offer software provide a product or a service. That discrepancy is understandable, as products are traditionally known to be physical goods. We believe the best way to look at it is that software companies provide products and services. The design and upkeep of software is the service, while the software itself is a product (albeit a digital one).

Software Company Services

In addition to developing and maintaining software, many software product companies also offer IT services so that you can ask questions about the software. Some software companies may also provide services or products to assist with cloud data management or other processes—it depends on the company.

Now that you know what a software product company like Chain-Sys is, we hope you better understand what we do. If you have any remaining questions, we’re always happy to talk. Contact our team today!

Data Management – A Historical Perspective

Data Management – A Historical Perspective

It is always interesting to predict the future of technology and data in different ways and from different perspectives to make good decisions. We will therefore define here and present solutions on how Chain-Sys Products and Solutions can fit into an organization’s roadmap. But then prediction is a risky proposition! The best I would try to do is to trace the history of data, applications, and technology over the years since 1959, the year I was born. And I truly believe reading history is the best way to understand the present and predict the future to some extent.

data-management

Computers were built using vacuum tubes serving as switches in the fifties and occupied huge rooms, and cooling the heat from the tubes was a great engineering effort. You would have heard stories of how algorithms were run on such computers to crack the code used by the German Army during the second world war. You would have come across Turing Machines, named after Alan Turing, in your fundamentals of computer science courses. So, in the beginning, computers were used to perform computations and repetitive iterations to arrive at answers. Now we use computers to talk, store photos, do video conferences, play games, etc., activities that are far trivial for the wonders that a computer can actually perform.

Digital Transformation

In the early sixties a very innovative device or switch was discovered in the Bell Labs of the USA. This switch did not have glass enclosures or heated filaments; it was a transistor. This innovation made mainframe computers smaller and available to many organizations. Routine end of day bank postings were done by these machines instead of manual ledger postings. Data in magnetic tapes were crunched and written to other magnetic tapes and to print out voluminous reports. Payrolls were run this way too. In the seventies FORTRAN was the popular language for scientific programs and COBOL was the language for business programs. During this era, airlines were a glitzy and glamorous industry. They put up mainframes and terminals at various agent premises and enabled booking and ticketing. The mainframe also checked in passengers at airports, and allowed gate verification and flight closing.

In the seventies, Texas Instruments was the first to put several transistors, resistors, and capacitors in a single chip of silicon. That was the birth of the Integrated Circuit (IC). Soon, it was the Large Scale Integrated Circuit (LSI) and VLSI in the late seventies that came into existence. The Apollo 11 mission did not use any Integrated Circuits. All its systems consisted of transistor circuits on printed circuit boards. The late seventies saw the introduction of the microprocessor with its assembly language and mnemonics. The big players were Intel and Motorola with their respective 8080 and 6800 processors. These technological advances in processor technology and in magnetic storage technology led to the more widespread use of mainframes. Then there were minicomputers and microcomputers. The microcomputer was later named Personal Computer (PC). The relational database (RDBMS) was developed for computers during this time and this led to real-time transaction processing for businesses, as against batch processing. Thus, a need for a central database in each enterprise was felt.

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In the nineties, Oracle and Sybase competed for the database market. Microsoft joined the fray in the 2000s. Towards the end of the Clinton presidency, the Y2K hype was unleashed. Several software companies including IBM made their money fixing the year 2000 bug primarily in COBOL and other legacy programs. The 2000s saw the rise of outsourcing of business processes, especially call centers and back-office work. A lot of outsourcing went to India, among other countries. Local Area Networks, especially from Novell Netware, became popular. The email and Internet (WAN) came into the picture. Until it was only LAN, data security was not a big issue, except for employee discipline. Though initially the Internet was used to share information similar to brochures to anyone who had access to the internet and to send instant emails, pretty soon it was making the reach of any computer application global. Anybody anywhere in the world could access a business application and perform transactions. The travel agencies didn’t need dedicated lines to various airline’s mainframes anymore. They could access the applications using the internet, which became a common/public data highway. The common communication medium also brought in problems such as hacking, viruses, and threat to data security.

data-management

The database, especially the RDBMS, put into effect the concept of having data only one place across the enterprise. The importance thus shifted from computing to data. Master and transaction data started to be collected in large volumes and business processes were streamlined. Governments and enterprises, big and small started taking advantage of the database concept, and applications were developed in thousands. Often the programmers specialized in particular languages doubled up as analysts and organized business processes and data. Mr. Hasso Platner (founder of SAP) was writing MRP and other applications for various organizations on IBM mainframes. He was modifying his base code for each enterprise. Soon he developed a configurable program that could be set up for different organizations and thus, the R/3 ERP system was born. Oracle saw the business opportunity and developed Oracle Applications, later christened E-Business Suite.

The big ERP systems were deployed on-premise in big servers for applications, middleware, and database. Business and technical experts were needed in all major companies. Large amounts of data continued to be collected. Salesforce (Oracle had a big stake in it) made the Software as a Service model (later called Cloud Applications) popular and acceptable in the market. CRM was not considered a Core Application and salespeople purchased enormous amounts of Salesforce subscriptions. Now that the market was primed for Cloud Applications, Oracle introduced Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications. Though it was highly successful, Oracle has extended full support for the E-Business Suite R12 version all the way till 2030.

With all the data that has accumulated since the nineties till date, there was a huge potential for monetizing data asset(s), by selling (using) it externally or internally. The industry name for such monetization is Digital Transformation. Let’s explore Digital Transformation in further sections.

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Some of the questions that are commonly associated with Digital Transformation are:

  1. Is Digital Transformation for People or Applications?
  2. Is a more connected world needed for Digital Transformation?
  3. Where and how does data come into play?
  4. What are the basic building blocks for Digital Transformation?
  5. Is it better to upgrade to Modern Applications or to build new ones?

Connected People

Connected Applications

Connected Data

Collaboration

There is a joke making the rounds, which has a good amount of truth in it. Who brought about digital transformation in our Company? You think it is the CIO, CFO, CTO, or CEO. No, it is the Covid19 virus. Yes, the virus brought collaboration among people onto digital platforms such as chat, video chat, shared documents, and drives. Real organizational Digital Transformation demands more than “collaboration of employees”. It demands “Collaboration and Coexistence of all Business Applications”. It is a connected world after all. Portals-based software (State of the art collaboration between multiple companies, people, and application) are excellent for collaboration and eradication of duplicate efforts. A lot of the tedium can be shifted over to the computer. Nowadays portals need not be confined to suppliers, customers, employee HR, etc. Their power can be massively used to improve productivity by providing portals for each business role, one role at a time. These portals would feed the backbone of ERP systems.

Application to application communication (Master Data and/or Transactional Data) in real-time or batch is very much desirable in any enterprise which uses a multitude of best-of-breed applications.

Born Digital versus Transformed

Many businesses were born “Digital”. For example, Amazon, eBay, Netflix, Roku, Google, Salesforce, PayPal, Expedia, Priceline, etc. They do not have an extensive network of employees to provide products or services to their customers. Most of their products and services are delivered over the web and income is realized electronically in return. Amazon started as an online bookseller. But over the years they converted many of their software processes and internal infrastructure management into saleable products. Many other companies existed long before “Digital” was a popular word. For example, Kelloggs, IBM, GE, Comcast, at&t, John Deere, Fiat Chrysler, Shell, Marriott, and many others. At times, the nature of the products and services they sell, do not allow them to jump into Digital Transformation. They can sell a car online, provide a lot of digital services inside the car, etc., but they have to do a lot of collaborative people teamwork to produce. When they use robots to manufacture their cars, they are doing some Digital Transformation. When they bring all their (most of their) Supply Chain Streamlined into a computerized system, they are undertaking the Digital Transformation journey. Moving tasks from the mechanical and human realms to the computer and digital realms, always provided cost savings, efficiency, and more profits. Compare the cost of making a mechanical grandfather clock vs that of a digital clock. Compare the cost of entertaining a group of people in a theater versus throwing bits and bytes at them through the internet and charging them for a digital movie rented on a streaming site. Storing information (books etc.) is cheaper in electronic format than paper. Digital transformation is not always a formula for success. The customers have to be ready for it.

Data-Driven Enterprise

Digital Transformation is essential to participate and win in the Data-Driven Economy. It was also known some time back by the name “API-driven Economy”, aka “Connected and Communicating Applications”. Data-Driven and API Driven, point to several digital applications and web services complementing each other and contributing to the business objectives. That means they are connected together, they talk to each other, and thrive on inputs from other applications. The synergy generated by the careful orchestration of all Business Applications is very useful and powerful. For example GPS and maps-based computer outputs and displays. They’ve made life easy for the general public and improved productivity in the business world. Another example would be monitoring your fleet of trucks across the country or continent.

Somewhere here we have to realize that “Digital” is just a buzzword to make people buy your stock. It is really the applications that are the stars in this transformation. We have been “Digital” since the mainframes of the 1960s.

When we agree to transform our Applications to participate in the “Data-Driven Economy”, we have to make sure the organizational data is clean, that it has a sufficient record of the past within our organizations, and that we are willing to bring additional insights from vast amounts of sentiments expressed by consumers on social media.

Customer Experience

Operational Agility

Culture and Leadership

Workforce Enablement

Digital Technology Integration

Digital Transformation should lead to “Operational Excellence” of the Organization and also “Decision Making Excellence”. Do we go on a boating trip without checking the weather app for rain and wind? We don’t. Then why as a business leader, would I be satisfied with minimal data inputs and hunches and gut feelings to make decisions. I should demand high-quality reports and facts in various dimensions.

Know thy data. Big enterprises have evolved over many years and through many acquisitions and mergers. They end up with hundreds of operational and analytics systems and huge amounts of data spread across. It is good to catalog the data and find it when needed.

Know thy Customer better. By knowing all aspects and different facets of the customer from different angles, we will be able to hold a more meaningful conversation with them and generate sales.

Going Digital

Digital Transformation is not about seeking one great and mighty application or building one, but about having a Digital Platform, which is flexible and allows the reuse of the various components. Analogy: Buying a Mattel Toy Car vs buying a Lego set. With the Lego set, you can build a car, which tomorrow you can reassemble into a “crane” or “clock tower”. ChainSys Smart Data Platform is similar to the Lego set. The pieces connect well amongst themselves and APIs of external ERPs/Enterprise Applications.

Schneider Electric reduced from 150 ERP Systems to 12 ERP Systems.

What is good for one industry may not be good for another. For example, Sentiment Analysis by retail giants, fashion boutiques, and designers can fetch immense returns. A software products company may not be able to leverage it, just by the fact that their business is B2B and not B2C.

Infrastructure and Building Blocks

Some of the ingredients to achieve Digital Transformation have been around with us for a long time. Robust and secure networks on the infrastructure side. Protocols to exchange information via Web Services. It is time we cook up something tasty with the ingredients. Put them together to work for our organizations. Chain-Sys has wrapped 1000s of APIs into Web Services, covering Oracle Cloud Applications, Oracle EBS, SAP ECC, SAP S/4HANA, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and others. That means you as an IT person can accomplish a lot with drag and drop, no code low code programming.

Moving your hardware and networking infrastructure to the cloud does offer reduced TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) and better network security and frees up your mind to focus on core business issues and problems.

Applications

  • Typical Applications Scenario: Best-of-breed ERP systems on Premise, on Cloud, or Hybrid.
  • Top CRM and HRMS Applications on Cloud, Collaboration, and Productivity Applications from Microsoft, Google, etc.
  • In-house legacy systems, our website, social media and online commerce, portals provided by our suppliers and customers, internet sites, and apps we frequently refer to.

Apart from data integrations/data interfacing using templated Web Services from ChainSys, you can also orchestrate BPA (Business Process Automation) using Smart BOTS™. Hey if you find attacking through the backend difficult, attack through the front end. The same idea is used in automated testing.

Digital Transformation

The challenge is how to make these applications interact, with meaningful human oversight or governance.

Digital Transformation

One of the ways to quickly harvest the benefits of Digital Transformation, without much sweat and money, is to upgrade to the new offerings of Applications Vendors, preferably on the cloud. ChainSys has the tools to migrate your setups and data to the Cloud Applications. At the same time be aware that Customizations are going to be difficult and expensive in the Cloud environment. (You can check with ChainSys for some tricks to get Customizations to work for you fast and simply.

Digital Transformation is more than implementing or upgrading to a single great Enterprise Software. You need a flexible and easy-to-use Digital Platform, which can make your dream projects come to fruition fast and economically. Such a platform would allow you to use various low code no code features and reuse the components you build (think Lego building blocks). For example, the data quality you build for MDM should be available come time for data migration.

We just cannot get up and say one day, “Let’s buy all the Digital Transformation Software and Tools from Microsoft or Oracle for that matter.” We will end up just as a test and bug reporting center for those companies. We have got to be selective and integrate them well with the existing infrastructure, technology, and people.

As a software provider, ChainSys offers the following: Ready glue adapters between most enterprise applications, batched or real-time data exchange, governance, data quality Improvement, quality data to data lakes, AI/ML algorithms to predict business outcomes, planning engines, ability to visualize data in pleasing charts and diagrams, BOTs to do regression testing, etc. We provide the test recordings for the popular ERPs and BOTs to do Business Process Automation, involving multiple Applications. Basically, get/read data from one application, and load it into another application without human intervention, maybe with some amount of supervision.

Some companies are “Born Digital” and others achieve “Digital Transformation”. ChainSys’ objective is to bring “Digital Transformation” in a very flexible, effective, and cost-conscious manner to all the hard-working and excellent companies of the world.

Happy transformations to you all.

The FUTURE:

I’d like you in the audience to predict good stuff for humanity and planet earth in the near future and send them to prediction@chainsys.com. I will select the top three predictions, share them with all and also offer winning prizes.

Here is my prediction: As the pendulum has swung to the extreme end of globalization, data and applications shall drive the world back towards a more sensible, sensitive to the local environment, and personalized experience. The supply chain will adjust accordingly. Customer Experience (CX) will reign supreme. Technologists and programmers will chase away tedium in the workplace and make it more fun using collaborative portal-based applications.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY:

Ganesan is a postgraduate from the Electrical Engineering department of IIT Chennai with his bachelor’s from the Electronics and Communications Department of AC College of Engineering and Technology. He has extensive experience in VLSI design, Software Systems Design, and Development, Project Management, Marketing, and Business Administration, and Contracts. Currently is the Executive Director of Chain-Sys Corporation, USA. Before his current role with Chain-Sys, he was associated with Unisys Corporation, DSRC, Tata Unisys, and Bharat Electronics. Presented a paper on “Test Patterns” at the First International Conference on VLSI Design held in IIT Chennai (1984). He has traveled widely in the USA, India, Canada, Europe, Singapore, and the Middle East. His other interests are Story Telling, Creative Design, Painting, Swimming, Hiking, Canoeing, and Kayaking. He speaks Tamil, English, Hindi, and a little Telugu and Kannada.

Data Estate: Building Sophisticated Data Infrastructure Through Modern Technologies

Data Estate: Building Sophisticated Data Infrastructure Through Modern Technologies

Data, pandits say, is now the most valuable resource on the planet. Even more than oil. With the world advancing daily and adopting newer digital technologies with every passing minute, it hardly seems like an exaggeration. Today, data is the most valuable currency a company possesses.

Today’s organizations deal with voluminous data on a daily basis. Whether it’s data generation, storage, or harnessing data to make business decisions, data plays an integral role in multiple operations that are vital to the functioning of these companies. Different teams have access to, handle, and analyze this data on an ongoing basis, making data management a cumbersome task.

What is Data Estate?

Companies are drowning in data coming from heterogeneous sources and struggling to find a solution to structure it all. That’s why a term called Data Estate is trending in the industry nowadays.

Data Estate is nothing but all the data, from all the sources, that a company owns and is usually what needs modernization. It’s simply to build a data infrastructure, through modern technologies to ingest and store all your data with governance and quality protocols in place. This can be developed on-premise or cloud. You can even get the best of both worlds by using a Hybrid approach depending on the business requirements. This helps make organizations proficient in storing, managing, and leveraging your data for analytics including business applications, IoT, departmental data, and more!

How to Get Started:

Before you begin towards building a successful data estate, there are a few key questions that should be answered which will guide you in your journey of implementing an infrastructure.

  1. What is your end goal that you want to achieve?
  2. What are your short term and long term business requirements?
  3. What are your current Business processes and how do they integrate with your current data processes?
  4. Who will have access to the data and which data will these persons have access to?
  5. Would you like to go On-Prem, Cloud or Hybrid? Why?
  6. What will your construction Partners look like?
  7. It is a complex and challenging project. Make a roadmap with smaller tasks to achieve the end goal.

Seems overwhelming? But it’s really not. ChainSys will be able to help you answer all these questions and build the entire infrastructure for you including automation. Our end-to-end data management platform ensures data access in a clean and secure manner while standardizing all data to minimize the risk of data loss, duplication, etc. This ultimately translates into real-time results which harness the true value of your data while saving you money, time, and resources.

How ChainSys Can Help:

With over two decades in the industry, we have helped a plethora of clients from various industries including, energy, aviation, finance, technology, manufacturing, and more! Our data solutions are 360-degree right from the beginning, all the way to the end, some of which include:

  • Migration & Integration
  • Quality, Cleansing & Governance
  • Active Metadata Management
  • Enterprise Data Management
  • Analytics and much more

At ChainSys, our approach is customer-centric. We begin by understanding all the above requirements and build a customized team of experts that are experienced with your industry and uniquely suited to tackle your specific challenges. This team will then dive deep into your business and data processes, and your legacy systems and do all the necessary homework. Following which, we will not only draw out solutions specially designed for you but also build a roadmap to help us achieve your goals together, in a timely fashion. 

If you’re looking to level-up your data management game, get in touch!

To view all the Solutions we offer, click here.

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What Is Data Integration and How Does It Work?

What Is Data Integration and How Does It Work?

The free exchange and use of information is an essential element of any business that requires data in order to succeed. Unfortunately, many businesses of all shapes and sizes have problems because they use different systems to carry out various processes.

This strategy in itself makes sense—you want to use the best applications for finances, platform building, and sales—but these programs don’t always come in the same box. However, when you pick and choose applications across a business, it creates roadblocks between departments and works against the easy flow of data. Read on to learn about data integration and how it works to solve this problem.

Defining Data Integration

Data integration is the process of taking data from several sources and combining everything into unified datasets. This has uses both operationally and analytically, and it is often the first step in a wider data management process.

The objective of integration is to create a set of consistent data that is usable for everyone within your organization. Once all the data is integrated, you can use it to gain valuable insights and solve problems in new ways.

There is no limitation to which industries can use and benefit from data integration—if your company has data from disparate sources, integration can help you consolidate and solidify your strategy. When you have information from more sources, the value of your data skyrockets.

How Does Data Integration Work?

With data integration, there are data sources and target systems. Integration pulls data from various sources and routes them into your target system, performing simple cleaning processes along the way to prevent duplicate or redundant data.

For this reason, data integration is typically more complicated than simply directing numbers on a spreadsheet to move to a larger spreadsheet. A program must scour the different datasets to ensure you aren’t left with unnecessary numbers or inaccuracies. Who would have thought combining datasets could be so tricky?

Data Integration Solutions

Now that you have an understanding of data integration, let’s take a deeper look at the problems integration works to solve.

Big Data

Big data is just what it sounds like—vast quantities of data. You’ll hear a lot of people say, “the more data, the better.” While that sentiment certainly has a basis in truth—if you have more data about your customers, you can better tailor your products and advertisements to them—it comes with its share of conundrums.

The two issues that surface regarding big data are data volume and data variety. A robust system takes care of the volume problem, but variety is still an issue—enter integration. Integration helps you organize and decipher vast quantities of data, no matter where that data comes from.

Semantics

A massive issue with rudimentary integration, or integration without cleaning and consolidation, is that you’re likely to be left with duplicate data. Even simple integration systems can catch exact duplicates, but what happens when different pieces of data describe the same thing in different ways?

For instance, perhaps one source comes from overseas, where dates are listed as DD/MM/YYYY; meanwhile, another source comes from the United States, where dates are written as MM/DD/YYYY. You don’t need both variations, so integration steps in to clean things up. This process makes it easier to recognize patterns and avoid being bogged down with unnecessary information.

Data Silos

Data silos are a thing of the past that we’re still tripping over today. As with many other data solutions, you can see the good intentions of data silos while also feeling frustrated by the problems they cause. Essentially, data silos refer to data sources stored in specific locations.

Say a company has a Toledo branch and a Tucson branch. Each location has its own unique set of data that the larger company doesn’t have easy access to since the data is stored on-site. Integration—especially cloud data integration—can take those unique data sources and bring them together in a way that your entire business can take advantage of.

Accessibility

Why create more work than you need to? The best strategy is to make something once, then deliver it to as many people as need it. One central data source eliminates redundancy and reduces confusion while also promoting collaboration.

Benefits of Data Integration

Now that you’ve seen all the problems data integration solves, let’s consider some of the integration’s benefits.

Reduced Costs

The more processes you can automate, the less your employees will need to work to complete tasks. This opens up their schedules to complete new and different tasks, which means you can continue to pay your employees the same amount while receiving more deliverables. The longer the human workflow, the more you end up paying.

Efficiency

Building on the previous point, this boosts the efficiency and productivity of employees companywide. Where some workers could only focus on basic, busy work tasks, they now can dive into more complex work. This gets your customers the results they’re looking for while providing more fulfilling work for your employees.

Better Data Quality

When you work with clean data, overall quality increases. It’s easy to struggle through data with redundancies and inaccuracies without really realizing what’s happening until a computer signals otherwise. All incoming information is validated with integration, which means you don’t need to worry about creating unnecessary roadblocks for your employees.

Upgraded Decision Making

No good decisions are made based on a lack of information. With integration, you and your employees will have everything needed to make educated choices for your business. This is why integration coupled with data analytics is the ideal team—the easier your data is to parse, the better your insights will be.

Enhanced Customer Experience

No one wants to wait around to get answers. With integrated data, your customers will receive the information they’re looking for without spending a lot of time doing it.

Now that you know what data integration is and how it works, consider adding data integration to your information pipeline. Whether you have multiple data management systems or a single coherent system, the integration will bring all your information together for a prime view of all the information at work in your business.

6 Signs You Need a Data Catalog for Your Business

6 Signs You Need a Data Catalog for Your Business

Most companies nowadays have access to terabytes of information. Depending on your industry, you may be working with even more! What happens when you need to access a specific data point, and you can’t seem to find it? Unfortunately, the most likely outcome is that you miss out on the opportunity to leverage that data to further your company’s success.

That is unless you utilize a data catalog. Read on to discover six signs you need a data catalog for your business.

What Is a Data Catalog?

The simplest way to think of a data catalog is as a library catalog. When you have a specific book that you want to find in the library, you can check the catalog and search for the book’s title, author, genre, or Dewey decimal code to find it. Your company’s data can work in much the same way—instead of searching based on title or author, you might find data based on fields like customer name or location.

So, how does this work? To understand a data catalog, you need to understand metadata. In short, metadata is data about your data. To continue with the library analogy, a book’s actual content would be considered “data,” while information like the title, author, genre, and number of pages are examples of “metadata.”

A great data catalog makes it easy for you to access data, no matter where it comes from. Through the use of metadata, finding what you’re looking for is a simple and painless matter—just like finding out whether the novel you’re looking for is checked out or not.

1. You Have Data Silos

The first sign that you need a data catalog for your business is apparent if you have data silos. Many businesses don’t know exactly what this term means, and therefore don’t understand whether they have a data silo, so we’ll break it down.

A data silo is a repository of data that is isolated from the rest of your organization. Usually, this subset of your data is controlled by a particular department or unit—it’s called a data silo because a grain silo protects grain from the outside world. While this process can indeed provide a small form of protection, it causes more problems than it solves.

Why do data silos exist if they cause problems? When a company is large enough, different units and departments are often forced to operate independently, with slightly varied goals for the organization as a whole. This is especially true when you don’t have a master data management system in place—a way to unify all your data.

Data silos tend to be incompatible with other sources of data, and they also make it difficult for other units or departments to access the data. While sequestering data may make it a little safer from online threats, it also makes it tougher to access internally.

A data catalog (especially when paired with master data management for security) allows you to govern your data more effectively while promoting collaboration and maintaining integrity.

2. It’s Difficult To Find Data Quickly

Perhaps the biggest sign that you need a data catalog is in the length of time it takes you to access your company’s data. When you instruct your analysts to perform a task like generating a report, how quickly does that come back to you? With a data catalog, your employees can find the data they need with a few short keystrokes and have a report in your inbox within a few hours.

Without this tool in your belt, you may receive your reports too late to act on them. So much of the business world requires quick pivots and agility that slow systems can directly affect your bottom line.

3. You Want To Make Better Use of Machine Learning Tools

If you have machine learning and artificial intelligence at your disposal, you’re shooting yourself in the foot by not also making use of a data catalog. That’s because machine learning tools can use your data catalog to provide you with data inventory in a timelier manner. Just as a data catalog helps your employees easily access data, artificial intelligence will benefit in the same way.

4. You’re Looking for More Out of Your Data

Data analytics is a key part of any company’s path to success. However, even the best analysts in the world won’t be able to effectively use your data if they can’t find the information they’re looking for. Data cataloging helps your analysts achieve their full potential, and thereby helps your company reach its newest peak.

5. You Have Unoptimized Departments

When you keep your data in silos, it serves only to help one department at a time. This can lead to certain departments performing well while others fall by the wayside and suffer. Data cataloging, integration, and master data management bring all sorts of datasets under one large roof and allow every employee equal access to data.

Now, every department can make decisions based on data rather than needing to act on intuition alone. While intuition is a crucial aspect of the success of any company, data-driven intuition helps to eliminate risk and helps employees hone their intuitiveness.

6. You Want To Improve Data Governance

While collaboration between your employees is good, it should also be controlled. This is why data silos form in the first place—to keep proprietary data in the right hands. A data catalog creates traceable data lineage, which helps you track the changes and usage of a given piece of data. This way, if someone uses or edits data they aren’t supposed to, the catalog will record that so you can address the issue.

Using Snowflake for Integration

A data catalog comprises data from all types of sources, and Snowflake integration brings that data together while avoiding the common pitfalls of disparate data. Snowflake enhances analytics and also makes use of a caching paradigm to deliver quick results. On top of all that, Snowflake helps you take down silos and provide better access to data across your entire organization.

Now that you have a better understanding of the six signs you need a data catalog for your business, contact Chain-Sys Corporation with any additional questions about data cataloging. Our team is standing by to help!

Benefits of Salesforce Integration with Business Apps

Benefits of Salesforce Integration with Business Apps

The Salesforce ecosystem is one way to instantly transform your business. Once you have team members trained on the ins and outs of Salesforce’s various systems, your company will be more flexible and efficient than ever before.

One of the key pieces of Salesforce is integration. But before we can dive into the benefits of Salesforce integration with business apps, we must first discuss APIs and provide an explanation of Salesforce integration.

What Is Salesforce Integration?

Whenever you bring two or more systems together in the Salesforce ecosystem, you are performing an integration task. The main goal of integration is to streamline different processes by combining them and removing all the unnecessary parts.

Regarding your business, consider applications and systems that require one another to complete a task. For instance, you may have one system that holds your data and another that needs the data to perform analyses and provide results. Wouldn’t it be simpler if you didn’t have to access two separate systems to get the required result? That’s where integration comes in.

Application Programming Interfaces

An application programming interface, or API, is the method through which two applications communicate. You utilize APIs every day without ever realizing it—that’s because the APIs are so well-integrated into your devices. Whenever you fire up an app on your phone that accesses the internet and presents information from a server, APIs facilitate this effortless transfer of data.

Thus, it is through APIs that Salesforce integration is possible.

Salesforce Integration Architectures

Salesforce integration is a well-trodden path, meaning you’ll have several options available when the time comes to integrate. It’s essential to understand the integration architectures at your disposal before undertaking an integration task since each comes with its own benefits and drawbacks.

Hub-and-Spoke Integration

To visualize hub-and-spoke integration, think of a wagon wheel. In the center of the wheel, you have the hub—an area where all the spokes collect. In this case, the hub acts as a centralized system that is the means of communication between all the connected systems.

Those connected systems are like the spokes of a wheel—they all connect through the hub, but they don’t directly touch each other. While this means you only need to build a single connection from each system to the hub, there’s something to be said for direct connections between systems.

Point-to-Point Integration

Point-to-point integration removes the hub from the equation—all that matters are the various systems and their interconnectivity. This certainly creates a tricky task for your business’s integration builders and maintenance workers. When you add a new point to the integration, time must be spent connecting that point to all the applicable systems.

In a real-world scenario, this could look like shipping, tracking, and billing systems. Billing needs to connect to shipping, which then needs to connect to tracking. However, if there’s a need for billing and tracking to connect, your team will need to build another integration. The work can pile up quickly, and this system is not ideal for interchangeability.

Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) Integration

Enterprise service bus, or ESB, integration takes the hub-and-spoke model to the next level. The center point of an ESB system can facilitate processes between systems like routing, orchestration, transformation, and security. All your systems connect to the bus with easy-to-disconnect plugs, allowing for scalable integration over time. With ESB integration:

  • Routing can easily transport messages from one system to another;
  • Orchestration allows you to put transactions in a specific order;
  • Transformation lets you translate messages into other system languages prior to routing; and
  • Security can perform authorization and authentication checks before messages enter your systems.

Increased Productivity

Now, consider the benefits of Salesforce integration, starting with increased productivity. This goes back to streamlining your systems. Why make your employees access multiple systems separately when putting those systems together saves time and energy?

While toggling between two systems doesn’t take all the time in the world, imagine how much time employees can save in a week—or a month!—by utilizing an integrated system.

Effective Decision Making

Accurate data and effective decision-making are directly connected. If it takes a long time to get data in front of you, or if the data you look at isn’t spot-on, you might find yourself making questionable decisions. Integration makes it easier for you to review accurate data and make informed decisions.

Automated Workflow

Repetitive tasks are things of the past when you use Salesforce integration. With click workflow automation, Salesforce can bring business apps and systems together to accomplish busy work that employees don’t want or need to do. Automating workflows makes processes happen more quickly while also bolstering the morale of your team members. After all, no one wants to do menial labor for hours on end.

Deepened Customer Connections

Customers expect more now than ever before; they want businesses to cater to them personally, and integration makes this possible. The key to strong customer connections is understanding who your buyers and users are. A system that can easily look over data from several sources gives you a complete picture of your customer base. From this point, you can quickly determine the various pain points and needs of all your customers.

When you make deeper connections, you increase your business’s customer retention. You may find it easy to bring customers in, but keeping them is the trick. Integration helps you tailor your systems to your customers so they’ll want to stick with you for the long haul.

Better Online Sales

Ease of use is a big factor for customers. Salesforce integration is all about making things easier, and that extends to your business’s online sales platforms. Customers are more inclined to purchase when you make buying easy.

All these benefits come part and parcel with Salesforce data integration. Salesforce is a system designed to be exceptionally useful no matter what you’re using it for, so you can customize it to your every need.

Now that you know these benefits of Salesforce integration with business apps, make Salesforce a powerful tool in your kit. With so many unique systems that work together to produce effective results, Salesforce is an instrument you can’t afford to miss.