Tag Archives: Management

Capacity Management 101: Best Practices to Align IT Resources with Business Goals

Syncsort’s recent acquisition of Metron has put a spotlight on Capacity Management and the capabilities provided by the athene® software solution. But what, exactly, is Capacity Management, and why is it important?

What is Capacity Management?

The primary goal of Capacity Management is to ensure that IT resources are rightsized to meet current and future business requirements in a cost-effective manner. One of the more common definitions of Capacity Management is provided for in the ITIL framework and further divides the process into three sub-processes: Business Capacity Management, Service Capacity Management, and Component Capacity Management.

Top-Down, Bottom-Up Approach

When teaching people in a practitioner-level course, we typically teach the three sub-processes in a “top-down, bottom-up” approach. What does that mean?

  • Top-Down: Business needs drive the creation of services, which leads to the purchase of components that have the computing power and other resources that make Information Technology solutions a reality at their company.
  • Bottom-Up: When monitoring and analyzing the infrastructure, start with the components. Ensure each of these are right-sized and appropriate for the job. They underpin services – are those meeting SLAs? The services keep the business running – are the forecasts accurate and do the services and components have to be upgraded or further rightsized to optimize IT spend?

Conceptually, it sounds pretty straight-forward, but exactly how are these concepts put into practice in a modern data center?

blog banner webcast CM for the mainframe Capacity Management 101: Best Practices to Align IT Resources with Business Goals

5 Components of Capacity Management

The activities that support the Capacity Management process are crucial to the success and maturity of the process. Some of these are done on an ongoing basis, some daily, some weekly, and some at a longer, regular interval. Some are ad-hoc, based on current (or future) needs or requirements. Let’s look at those:

1. Monitoring

Keeping an eye on the performance and throughput or load on a server, cluster, or data center is extremely important. Not having enough headroom can cause performance issues. Having too much headroom can create larger-than-necessary bills for hardware, software, power, etc.

2. Analysis

Taking that measurement and monitoring data and drilling down to see the potential impact of changes in demand. As more and more data become available, having the tools needed to find the right data and make sense of it is very important.

3. Tuning

Determining the most efficient use of existing infrastructure should not be taken lightly. A lot of organizations have over-configured significant parts of the environment while under-configuring others. Simply reallocating resources could improve performance while keeping spend at current levels.

4. Demand Management

Understanding the relationship of current and future demand and how the existing (or new) infrastructure can handle this is incredibly important. Predictive analytics can provide decision support to IT management. Also, moving non-critical workloads to quieter periods can delay purchase of additional hardware (and all the licenses and other costs that go with it).

5. Capacity Planning

Determining the requirements for resources required over some future time. This can be done by predictive analysis, modeling, benchmarking, or other techniques – all of which have varying costs and levels of effectiveness.

blog capacity management 101 Capacity Management 101: Best Practices to Align IT Resources with Business Goals

Capacity Management Information System

The centerpiece of a mature and effective Capacity Management process is the Capacity Management Information System, or CMIS.

The CMIS allows for easy access to Capacity and Performance data for reporting, analysis, predictive modeling and trending, troubleshooting (Incident and Problem Management).

For over 30 years, athene® has been a leading solution for implementing, automating, and managing a mature cross-platform Capacity Management process. Syncsort’s acquisition of Metron ensures that athene® will continue to provide for legacy platforms, such as System z and IBM i as well as provide valuable support for newer technologies and platforms, including Cloud environments.

One way for organizations to evaluate their Capacity Management process is to complete our Maturity Survey. Answer 20 quick questions about your organization and its processes, and you’ll immediately receive an initial maturity level as well as a comprehensive report with suggestions on how to improve your maturity.

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Capacity Management Goes Straight to the Bottom Line

A key result of implementing a Capacity Management process within an organization is the return on investment (ROI) that results from the effort. Face it – if an organization doesn’t save money (or avoid spending money), then the CIO and other senior management won’t be interested in the effort.

blog banner webcast CM for the mainframe Capacity Management Goes Straight to the Bottom Line

At one of our financial services clients, the Capacity Manager has been dutifully tracking the cost savings and “money not spent” for the past few years. The numbers are staggering, and show how important a formal, mature Capacity Management process is to an organization, no matter the business and no matter the size.

Our latest case study, ROI for the CIO: Capacity Management Goes Straight to the Bottom Line puts some of those numbers out there and also shows very clearly why starting or maturing a Capacity Management process is so important.

In addition, you can learn about how organizations have begun to review, evolve, and mature the CM process to keep up with the demands of today in a world where the mainframe continues to be an integral cog in an enterprise’s IT environment. Watch the webcast now!

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Building the World’s Best Fraud Management Team

Fraud Management Team FICO Building the World’s Best Fraud Management Team

When just one of your products protects more than 2.6 billion payment cards worldwide, you need a world-class team. At FICO, we not only have the best fraud product team ever – led by my fellow blogger TJ Horan — and an unbeatable analytics team — led by FICO’s chief analytics officer, Scott Zoldi — but we have the best team of salespeople and consultants in the business.

And our fraud management team is growing. In fact, across product development, sales and our Fair Isaac Advisors consultancy group, our fraud team has grown by 23% over the last year, to nearly 200 people.

The growth in the product team is critical, as we innovate in areas such as our new machine learning algorithms that improved CNP fraud detection by 30%. They build not only our FICO Falcon Fraud Manager solution but our solutions for application fraud, cybersecurity and more. Their work is the reason why Chartis recently named us a category leader in enterprise fraud and AML solutions. Their innovations in AI are the best fraud detectives in the business, as noted in a new Lafferty article.

For our sales team, we just added Mark Anderson and Mark Wert to support our fraud solution sales to processors and Canadian clients, respectively. Both Marks graduated from Feedzai to the big leagues.

We needed to grow our consultancy team based on our customers’ demand. In 2017 alone, FICO fraud advisors worked with 64 businesses in 28 countries across six industries.

Our fraud advisors have done more than 600 advisory projects for clients in banking, insurance, healthcare, auto, retail, telco and government across 45 countries. They came from the industry and ran fraud, strategy or analytics for some of the best banks and insurers before joining our team. We have folks in the US, UK, Canada and Singapore.

All these teams pulling together help our clients achieve extraordinary results. Just for instance, UBS Card Center in Switzerland just won a FICO Decisions Award for their work using our AI, machine learning and adaptive analytics innovations to stop 74% more fraud.

When it comes to helping businesses fight fraud and financial crime, nobody does it better.

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ICYMI: The Changing Landscape of Capacity Management for the Mainframe Webcast

In case you missed our recent live webcast, The Changing Landscape of Capacity Management for the Mainframe, it’s now available on-demand.

During the webcast our expert Nick Varley reviews strengths and weakness of traditional mainframe Capacity Management and why organizations are reviewing their current capacity management strategy and tools.

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He also discusses how changes in scope and processes require a philosophy change amongst capacity management professionals, the incorporation of Business and Service views and planning for new technologies.

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Discover how organizations have begun to review, evolve, and mature the CM process to keep up with the demands of today in a world where the mainframe continues to be an integral cog in an enterprise’s IT environment. Watch the webcast now!

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Syncsort + Trillium Software Blog

Latest NetSuite Release Introduces Quality Management

websitelogo Latest NetSuite Release Introduces Quality Management

Posted by Gavin Davidson, Product Marketing Director

Designing, manufacturing and delivering a product of high quality doesn’t happen by accident, it requires a companywide commitment. In the 17.2 release, NetSuite is pleased to introduce the Quality Management System (QMS), which has been designed to help deliver the highest quality products without the overhead typically associated with traditional QMS solutions. This new offering is available now to all NetSuite users and is targeted at the following user profiles:

  • Quality Administrator
    • It’s the responsibility of the Administrator to establish and maintain the quality specifications that should be adhered to, create inspection profiles of tests that are typically carried out together and the workflows that determine how exceptions might be handled.
  • Quality Manager
    • During the day-to-day running of your business, the Quality Manager is responsible for monitoring the overall effectiveness of your quality program, detecting trends in test results and ensuring overall compliance with your companies quality objectives and standards.
  • Quality Engineer
    • Collecting all that key data is the job of the Quality Engineer or Inspector. NetSuite will automatically notify them when something needs to be inspected and guide them down the appropriate path of resolution when it comes to dispositioning failed and non-compliant materials.

If you’ve ever tried to deploy a QMS solution, you know that trying to do so is quite the undertaking – these are typically point solutions that are integrated to an ERP system, but end up only being used by employees who are directly involved in the quality process. As mentioned above, adherence to quality requires a companywide commitment, so by building a QMS system in NetSuite on the SuiteCloud Platform provides unparalleled value to our customer base and offers them the ability to quickly and easily deploy a solution that is accessible by all – and uses the same interface that they know and love.

When it comes to determining the true Cost of Quality, product companies rightly tend to focus on analyzing product defect cost – in reality, the correct method should be to take a holistic lean approach and look at removing waste from every business process. The Total Cost of Quality of your business can be optimized ONLY by ensuring that all business processes follow a similar flow and many NetSuite customers have said that once you learn how to process one transaction type, you can do them all with very minimal additional input.

So, when you decide to use our embedded QMS solution to help increase the quality of the products that you design, manufacture or deliver – promise me that you’ll make that the start of your pursuit of optimal Total Cost of Quality, not the end of it. Learn more about NetSuite’s latest release, 17.2.

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What Exactly is Customer Experience Management?

gettyimages 534827625 e1510935521779 What Exactly is Customer Experience Management?

Everyone knows that a business cannot succeed without its customers and in order to keep them happy, you have to take the time to get to know them, who they are and what they want out of the services you provide. Many businesses use CRM software to help foster stronger relationships with its following by using it to track customer information. Knowing their purchase history, social media activity and the amount of times they have communicated with your company, helps you marketing toward them more intuitively. However, it isn’t the only software made to help strengthen a business/customer relationship. Let’s talk about another acronym, CEM.

What Is It?

Customer experience management is the collection of processes used by a company to oversee and organize all interactions between a customer and an organization through the customer lifecycle. The customer lifecycle means the progression between a customer considering, purchasing and ultimately maintaining loyalty to a product or brand. This software basically helps businesses focus on the needs of its customers through keeping a close eye on all interactions from beginning to end.

What’s unique about this software is that it makes a business view itself from the perspective of the customer. Because of that, decisions made by businesses can be made with the customer’s thoughts and emotions in mind, acting as a heavy influence. Customer experience management’s goal is to optimize interactions from a customer’s prospective and create customer loyalty. As mentioned at the beginning of this post, your customers are the most vital part of a business and their thoughts and opinions matter.

Difference Between CRM and CEM

In certain ways, both CRM and CEM may seem like they are the same type of software. They focus on the satisfaction of the customer and are both tools that are made to capture customer data. While they do bear resemblance to one another, the end goal for both software’s are completely different. Since we already know that customer experience management software tracks and oversees all interactions between a customer and organization throughout a customer lifecycle, let’s explain CRM.

Customer relationship management refers to strategies used by companies to manage and analyze customer information and communication. Information such as contact information, social media communication and purchase history to create sales opportunities can all be maintained in the system. Knowing this information allows a business to market and provide top notch customer service to its clientele.

The difference? CRM is a great tool for gathering data on your customers, getting to know them in terms of data and numbers. CEM allows you to see your customers are people who act as the most important part of your brand.

Is It For You?

If you are interested in knowing more about your customer base, customer experience management may be a good fit for you as it is designed to collect and analyze customer feedback and data. There are many benefits to paying close attention to what your customers believe and listening to them may benefit a business in the long run.

In the world of software, there are a ton of acronyms that float around in daily conversation. It is easy to get overwhelmed with this constant source of information. While it is easy to feel swamped with details about them all, they are important to know, especially if you are a business owner looking to closely incorporate customers into your business decisions.

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Understanding Change Management within an Organisation

Stephen R Covey said that “Priority is a function of context.”

When implementing change within an organisation, it’s unlikely that you’ll get priority until the context of the change is explained. Something that often gets neglected is the understanding of what change is, the impact it’ll have and whether or not it should be managed. To answer the last part of that statement: should change be managed? The answer is a resounding, emphatic YES!

The reason for this is simple: change tends to focus on the organisational level. However, what’s not understood is that organisations don’t change, individuals do. Each organisational change impacts how specific employees do their jobs and includes, but not limited to:

•    Location
•    Processes
•    Systems
•    Reporting structure
•    Mindset/attitudes/beliefs

So what is change?

According to Prosci (www.prosci.com), change is the movement out of a current state, through a transition state, to ultimately reach a future state. The future state is ultimately better than the current and examples include:

•    Costs are lower than they were.
•    Revenues are higher than they were.
•    Errors are fewer than they were.
•    Efficiencies are larger than they were.

Because of the focus on change at the organisational level, reasons for a change tend to be poorly articulated. Consider this: How clearly are the individual changes required by projects and initiatives defined in your organisation?

I recently watched a webinar and in a poll that asked that exact question of participants, the results were:

image thumb Understanding Change Management within an Organisation

The results weren’t that surprising but alarming nonetheless! How can the ROI of change be high if there’s no understanding of what the requirements/impacts of it will be at an individual level? Individuals drive organisations and achievement of the reason for the change is dependent on if individuals understand and are able to make the transitions required?

Jeff Hiatt, developer of the ADKAR model and founder of PROSCI, defined 5 tenets of change management:

  1. We change for a reason.
  2. Organisational change requires individual change.
  3. Organisational outcomes are the collective result of individual change.
  4. Change management is an enabling framework for managing the people side of change.
  5. We apply change management to realise the benefit and desired outcomes of change.

There is a myriad of change management approaches but I believe that when implementing change, you need to start with why. “Why would you do that?” “What is your desired outcome?” and most importantly, for the individual, “What’s in it for me?”

I look forward to discussing the remaining tenets with you soon!

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Released: SQL Server 2017+ and Replication Management Packs (7.0.0.0)

We are happy to announce the final release of SQL Server 2017+ and Replication Management Packs! These MPs can be used to monitor SQL Server 2017 on both Windows and Linux and SQL Server 2017 Replication on Windows. Below, let’s look at some of the new features we added to these MPs. All the details regarding the new functionality can be found in the Operations Guide that can be downloaded along with the Management Pack.

Cross-platform Monitoring

You can now monitor SQL Server 2017 on Windows and on Linux!

Version Agnostic SQL Server MPs

We understand that with many SQL Server versions in market and with new server releases becoming more frequent, it is becoming harder to manage a separate MP for each server version. We are moving to version agnostic MPs to address this issue. This will be valid going forward. The new MP is named SQL Server 2017+. The ‘+’ in the name indicates that it will be used to monitor SQL Server 2017 and the releases that come after that. Current in-market MPs (2008 through 2016) will not be changed and the 2017+ MP cannot be used to monitor older releases. We are making this change for SQL Server and Replication MPs.

Agentless Monitoring

SQL Server 2017+ Management Pack introduces Agentless Monitoring mode support. This monitoring mode is designed to support SQL Server on Linux but it also works for Windows deployments. We’ve received multiple requests from our customers to support agentless monitoring for SQL Server that can be useful for production OLTP workloads or in case the organization’s policy denies deployment of SCOM agent to the monitored host or making any changes to it.

With the Agentless Monitoring mode there is no need to deploy SCOM Agent on the SQL box. Instead, the monitoring workloads will be transferred to management servers included in the SQL Server Monitoring Pool. This allows to remove SCOM Agent and data processing overhead from the SQL box and move it to the SQL Server Monitoring Pool. Also with the agentless monitoring mode, you can use SQL credentials for authentication that simplifies security configuration.

Engineering Improvements

  • Usage of scripts is discontinued in favor of .Net Framework modules, which enables more efficient resource usage.
  • For getting information on health and performance, SQL Server Dynamic Management Views and Functions are now used instead of WMI calls. This provides better efficiency and connectivity.

Downloads available:

Microsoft System Center Management Pack for SQL Server 2017+

Microsoft System Center Management Pack for SQL Server 2017+ Replication

Microsoft System Center Management Pack for SQL Server Dashboards

We are looking forward to your feedback.

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NetSuite Adds Container Management to Supply Chain Software

websitelogo NetSuite Adds Container Management to Supply Chain Software

Posted by Gavin Davidson, Product Marketing Director

Modern supply chain management invariably means dealing with multiple vendors, contract manufacturers and partners across multiple time zones and geographies. This often results in many of your assets ageing in-transit from one location / geography. Being able to track these is critical to maintaining your service level commitments. Consolidating your inbound shipments into common records that represent the containers they were packed into offers a number of benefits for NetSuite users and is the focus of the new Inbound Shipment Management feature that was unveiled in the 17.2 release. Inbound Shipment Management includes many enhancements that have been requested by our manufacturing, distribution and retail customers including:

  • Inbound Shipment Record
    • The new inbound shipment management record is the central element that will be used to capture all the related information. As its created and maintained, it will link the open purchase orders from potentially multiple vendors into a single record that can be used for simplified status updates until receipt.
  • Container Loading
    • Once a user generates the Inbound Shipment Management record they can easily identify the PO Items that have been loaded into the container and can filter by vendor and PO or Item while doing so. This process establishes the link between the PO Line and the container.
  • Status Updates
    • The transit time for the container can often be significant and the items contained within it might be required for multiple commitments: sales orders, further transit, assemblies etc. and so it’s important to be able to quickly and easily update the container status throughout the process. Changing the Inbound Shipment Status field on a regular basis makes everyone aware of exactly what’s happening.
  • Container Receiving
    • When the container finally reaches its destination, the entire contents can be received with a single click. Of course, if you need to make partial receipts, perhaps because unloading is scheduled to take place over a number of days, that’s also possible.
  • Landed Cost Management
    • Being able to properly apply landed costs to the items that were in the container is a critical piece of the puzzle and will continue to be enhanced over the coming releases.

All of this functionality can not only be manually updated, but it can also be automatically updated using .CSV imports, web services and SuiteScript where appropriate. All this goes to ensure our customers have complete visibility of all products at all times. Learn more about the latest NetSuite release, 17.2.

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Data Management and Integration Using Data Entities – Part 2

Data Management Part 2 300x225 Data Management and Integration Using Data Entities – Part 2

In part two of our Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations: Data Management and Integration series, we will cover detailed information on data management and integration using OData Services.

This type of integration is real time in nature and mainly conducted in scenarios where business requirements are around office integration and third party mobile apps integration. OData stands for Open Data Protocol, which is an industry standard Representational State Transfer (REST) based protocol for performing CRUD operations (Create, Read, Update, Delete) and integration with Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations.

OData uses REST application programming interfaces (APIs) and OAuth 2.0 authorization mechanism to receive data to and from integration systems and Finance and Operations.

111317 2255 DataManagem1 Data Management and Integration Using Data Entities – Part 2

With OData Services for Finance and Operations, you can seamlessly integrate with all types of web technologies, such as HTTP and JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) and it lets developers interact with data in a standard yet powerful manner using RESTful web services.

OData endpoint

Data Entities that are marked Yes for the IsPublic property are exposed as an OData endpoint. When the IsPublic property for an updatable view is set to TRUE, that view is exposed as a top-level OData entity. Developers can consume this OData endpoint in their external application such as a .Net application for integration scenarios.

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Integrating Client Application with OData:

OData integration REST API uses the same OAuth 2.0 authentication model as the other service endpoints. Before the integrating client application can consume this endpoint, developers must create and register the application ID in the Microsoft Azure Active Directory (AAD) and give it appropriate permission to Finance and Operations as per the steps below:

Go to Azure Portal > Azure Active directory > AppRegistrations

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Click New Application Registration and select “Web app/API” for application type. Enter your Dynamics 365 URL for sign on.

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Click Create and make sure to note the application ID. Click on the app and go to the “Required Permissions” page.

111317 2255 DataManagem6 Data Management and Integration Using Data Entities – Part 2

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Click add and select “Microsoft Dynamics AX.” Go to the select permissions tab and select all the permissions available.

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Once the Application is created and registered below activities are performed in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. A Data project using the Data Management Framework can be used to create Import Export jobs for loading the data-to-data entities of extraction of the Data.

Click the Dynamics 365 URL > Go to System Administration > Data Management > Click on Import

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In our next part of this series, we’ll look at Asynchronous Integrations. Stay tuned and subscribe to our blog to receive the latest posts in your inbox!

Happy Dynamics 365’ing!

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM