02 Nov

tCognition’s Project Execution Process

tCognition’s Project Execution Process

Project & Program Execution

tCognition delivers all of its Consulting & Professional services solutions following stringent guidelines and rules of client engagement in order to drive project or program success. As such, tCognition ensures that the following professional services and support provided hereunder are in accordance with the following guidelines unless otherwise discussed or negotiated with the Client Stakeholders.

Methodology

tCognition will follow an Agile/Scrum project management process that includes iterative feature development, continuous testing and quality control, weekly status meetings and daily stand-ups with full transparency in the project or program. Our technical background and consulting experience ensure that our customers get high-quality solutions delivered in an effective and efficient manner. Full life-cycle product development services, including project planning, business requirements definition, project implementation, and post-implementation support are provided using proven industry-standard methodologies and best practices.

Agile-Development

Change Control Management

tCognition recommends that every Application change requirement goes through an official change control management process. A Change Control Board (CCB) or Change Advisory Board (CAB) shall be constituted to include representation from the client stakeholders, infrastructure & operations team, change manager for the hosting environment, and tCognition lead. All change requests will be reviewed and discussed in periodic CAB meetings, and only approved change requests will be implemented in the production environment following proper, established procedures. Our resources are familiar with and will follow industry best practices such as ITIL framework while addressing change requests. Emergency changes will be processed through exception handling processes approved by the client. All changes will be tested and approved prior to production deployment.

Knowledge Transfer

All of our resources are coached to provide 100% comprehensive knowledge transfer to our customers on any task that we are involved. The tCognition team also builds several step-by-step training documents for all project areas. We provide these documents to our customers at no additional cost. Depending on client needs and preferences, Knowledge Transfer (KT) could be an ongoing process or a discrete phase of the project lifecycle. 

Contacts

Each of the Parties will provide detailed contact information for all key stakeholders or project managers necessary to interface with the other Party’s management and resources for technical and/or administrative issues, throughout the term or period of the engagement as identified Authorized Contacts.

Activity Disclosure

The Client will inform appropriate tCognition personnel of any delivery schedule changes, activities, or changed requirements that may impact the engagement. tCognition will not be held responsible for any issues or service loss resulting from tasks performed by the Client’s personnel or assigned parties on the contracted environments without prior written notification, and submission of a formal change order through the designated ticketing and tracking systems.

Connectivity

The Client will maintain all necessary connectivity into their systems or environments, providing the necessary security and VPN connectivity between their site(s) and the tCognition network. tCognition will maintain all necessary connectivity into its systems or environments to enable Client’s customers to communicate service issues to tCognition via phone, email and web portal, and to enable tCognition to access Client’s servers.

Monitoring

tCognition will utilize the Client’s monitoring system; as such, the Client will work with tCognition to provide all appropriate and necessary access, information, and training on Client’s monitoring systems. tCognition will also provide the Client with mutually agreed reporting based upon tCognition’s own metrics for measuring its performance hereunder.

Ticketing – Tracking

tCognition will utilize the Client’s ticketing system to track all requests; as such, the Client will work with tCognition to provide all appropriate and necessary access, information, and training on Client’s systems.

31 Oct

Sustainable Cloud Computing

Sustainable Cloud Computing

A push for sustainability and renewable energy has been sweeping the globe for years now, and two of the world’s biggest tech giants have recently jumped on the bandwagon! Earlier this month Microsoft struck a deal with General Electric to buy all the electricity from a new wind farm in Ireland to power its cloud computing services, and last week Amazon launched the company’s largest wind farm, designed in part to offset the massive power needs of the online retailer’s cloud-computing unit. How cool is that?

Microsoft and Sustainability

On Monday, October 9th, Microsoft Corp. announced a new wind energy agreement in Ireland. With the agreement, Microsoft will become one of the first multinational technology companies to support a new wind project in Ireland, buying all of the output from GE’s new 37-megawatt wind farm for the next 15 years, which will support growing demand for its cloud computing services in the country. The agreement will help support the growing demand for Microsoft Cloud services from Ireland, and as part of the deal, Microsoft also signed an agreement with Dublin-based energy trading company ElectroRoute; it will provide energy trading services to Microsoft.

In addition to producing energy, the project will also produce valuable data on energy storage. The two companies are set to take a deeper look into energy storage through analyzation of data from batteries integrated within each of the turbines to see how well the batteries can capture and store excess energy. They will then feed that energy back into the grid in order to smooth out peaks and troughs in wind energy production. The deal is part of a power purchase agreement (PPA), allowing companies like Microsoft to offset the huge amount of energy their data centers consume, often from less environmentally friendly sources, by pushing clean energy to the grid. This will be the first deployment of battery integration into wind turbines to store energy in Europe.

“Microsoft is proud to be deepening our long history of investment and partnership in Ireland with this agreement,” said Christian Belady, general manager, Datacenter Strategy at Microsoft. “Our commitment will help bring new, clean energy to the Irish grid, and contains innovative elements that have the potential to grow the capacity, reliability, and capability of the grid. This will make it easier to incorporate new clean power sources like wind energy, and that is good for the environment, for Ireland and for our company.”

Irish energy provider EirGrid said in a report this year that growing energy demand in Ireland is “mainly” from new data centers that are already putting a heavy load on Dublin infrastructure. EirGrid expects data centers to account for 15 percent of total energy demand by 2026, up from less than two percent in 2015. It also means that Microsoft will be using a clean energy source to power at least some of its cloud data centers in Ireland. That will likely result in a lower energy bill for Microsoft while reducing the pollution related to running cloud services.

This agreement continues Microsoft’s history of supporting sustainability projects in Ireland, including a new forestry initiative announced earlier this year and investments in energy efficiency measures and technologies that have greatly reduced its energy and water footprint. Once operational, the new wind project will bring Microsoft’s total global direct procurement in renewable energy projects to almost 600 megawatts. In 2016, Microsoft set clean energy commitments to power its datacenters and bring new renewable energy sources online in the communities in which it operates.

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Image from CleanTechnica

Amazon and Sustainability

Amazon announced on Thursday, October 19th that its largest wind farm yet—Amazon Wind Farm Texas—is now up and running, adding more than 1,000,000 MWh of clean energy to the grid each year, and some of you may have even seen Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos commemorating the opening in a huge way on Twitter! To-date Amazon has launched 18 wind and solar projects across the U.S., with over 35 more to come, and together, these projects will generate enough clean energy to power over 330,000 homes annually. These projects will also support hundreds of jobs and provide tens of millions of dollars of investment in local communities across the country. Amazon Wind Farm Texas includes more than 100 turbines – each over 300 feet tall with a rotor diameter more than twice the wingspan of a Boeing 787.

“Investing in renewable energy is a win-win-win-win – it’s right for our customers, our communities, our business, and our planet,” said Kara Hurst, Amazon’s Worldwide Director of Sustainability. “We now have 18 wind and solar projects across the U.S. with more than 35 projects to come. These are important steps toward reaching our long-term goal to power our global infrastructure using 100% renewable energy. We’d like to thank the leaders at LCE, the Scurry County community, and our partners across the country who are helping us continue to bring new renewable energy online.”

“I applaud Amazon’s leadership in supporting renewable power. Corporations like Amazon have become a major force in the transition to renewable power, and with their involvement, we look forward to producing power in Scurry County for years to come,” said Declan Flanagan, founder, and CEO of LCE. “Scurry County has long been a hub for the energy industry and we’re excited to expand our commitment to wind power generation with Amazon and LCE. The wind industry has boosted the Texas economy with jobs, revenue to area landowners, and property taxes that support our schools,” said Scurry County Judge Ricky Fritz. As of April 2015, approximately 25 percent of the power consumed by Amazon Web Services’ global infrastructure came from renewable energy sources.

In addition to its investment in renewable energy, Amazon’s commitment to sustainability includes innovations like Frustration-Free Packaging programs, which eliminated more than 55,000 tons of packaging last year, the District Energy system at its HQ in Seattle that heats more than 3 million square feet of office space using recycled heat from a nearby non-Amazon data center, and more. You can learn about Amazon’s sustainability and environmental work, here.

Image From istockphoto.com
Image From istockphoto.com

Will Others Follow Suit?

There has always been this notion that cloud computing should be greener than other forms of computing, but the fact is that really depends on the energy source. In recent years as the biggest companies from Apple to Facebook to Google to Microsoft have built new data centers, they have built them with energy efficiency in mind. As an example, Apple signed an $850 million agreement in 2015 to purchase 130 megawatts of solar power over the next 25 years, and when Facebook was designing its data center in Prineville, Oregon, even back in 2011 it was thinking about energy efficiency.

Microsoft has a huge data center at the Grange Castle Business Park in Clondalkin, just west of Dublin, that powers its North Europe Azure region and last year was given approval to build four more at the site, which is also home to a Google data center. Amazon and Apple are also planning huge data centers on the outskirts of Dublin. Ireland has been attracting other major tech companies over the past few years.

Amazon has facilities in Dublin, Facebook signed a deal to get wind power for its facility in Clonee, County Meath, and last June Apple announced plans to build a $972 million data center in Athenry powered entirely by renewable energy. “This deal is like an insurance policy for Apple; the sun will still be shining 25 years from now, so Apple can be sure they will be getting emissions-free power at the same reasonable cost — even in 2040,” Amit Ronen, director of George Washington University’s Solar Institute told Computer World at the time.

Probably the most prolific user of solar energy lately lies with department store juggernaut Target, who surpassed Walmart as the top corporate installer of solar power in the USA with 147MW installed on 300 stores. “More and more companies nationwide are beginning to invest in solar energy for both economic and environmental reasons,” Ken Johnson, vice president of communications for the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) told Computer World.

It’s in these large global corporations’ best economic interests to build green data centers that cost less to run, and if they produce a smaller carbon footprint in doing so, as well as becoming more caring citizens of the world, we all win.

What do you think about the future of Cloud Computing as it pertains to Sustainability and Renewable Energy? Do you think the motives of these tech giants are geared toward the good of the planet, or do you think they have their own best interests at heart? Let us know in the comments!

References:

  • http://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-just-bought-all-the-electricity-from-this-wind-farm-for-15-years-to-power-cloud-computing/
  • https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/09/microsoft-just-purchased-all-of-ges-newest-irish-wind-farm-capacity-for-the-next-15-years/
  • https://www.energymanagertoday.com/microsoft-general-electric-wind-ireland-0172404/
  • https://interestingengineering.com/microsoft-just-bought-all-the-electricity-from-ges-wind-farm-in-ireland
  • http://theinsidercarnews.com/2017/10/19/amazons-newest-biggest-wind-farm-now-up-and-running/
  • http://expressnewsline.com/2017/10/19/amazon-partner-launch-wind-farm-in-texas.html
12 Oct

4 Ways You’re Misusing Your CRM Data

4 Ways You’re Misusing Your CRM Data

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A properly used Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can turn a tiny operation into an industry leader. Some small businesses don’t make full use of their CRM data — or worse, don’t utilize a CRM system at all.

Auto dealers have begun to use data analytics to determine the right price points to attract the right buyers. But they often find their efforts stymied by one major problem: inaccurate data resulting from a lack of (or misuse) of CRM tools and a rushed process that fails to account for the right metrics.

Diving into small business data analysis can feel like a Catch-22. You can’t analyze the right metrics and glean the right insights without first gathering the right data. Leveraged correctly, though, a CRM solution will help keep your contacts organized and increase both the quantity and quality of leads. According to Software Advice, 74 percent of CRM users report seeing improved access to customer data through their systems. Digging into your own data may reveal that nurtured leads make substantially larger purchases than those who are not nurtured.

The facts are clear: CRM users outperform their competitors. So why don’t all companies employ these tools, and how can current users make the most of their systems?

The rocky road to better data.

CRM solutions providers have targeted enterprise companies for years. As the adoption curve matured, vendors started creating solutions focused on small and medium-sized businesses.

The difference between the CRM needs of a younger startup and an established enterprise is stark. Most systems lack the ease of use that lean small businesses require. Smaller companies barely have time to keep the ship afloat, much less dedicate precious resources to learning cumbersome systems.

When team members wear multiple hats, getting everyone up to speed on proper CRM use is a daunting task. Further complicating matters, small business owners often buy tools with more options than they need and usually fail to train employees to use those bells and whistles. Fancy features such as click-to-call, document tracking, direct mail integrations and e-commerce integrations sound nice, but their high price tag might not provide the kind of return your growing company needs.

Seeing the fruit of your CRM labor.

A CRM system isn’t a miracle cure for sales and marketing woes, but with time, education and a commitment to learning, you can transform a basic CRM solution into a revenue-generating powerhouse.

Your small business CRM system can either become a powerful tool or a graveyard where time and money go to die. Using your CRM data the right way can help boost revenue and deepen customer relationships. Here are four mistakes to avoid when it comes to utilizing that data.

1. Capturing the wrong data.

If your customer profile seems incomplete, you might not be capturing actionable information. For example, if your sales team focuses on email outreach, forms should require email addresses. But do your sales rely on email?

Experian reports that companies lose 12 percent of their revenue on average to bad data. Streamline your data collection processes to reduce that number — don’t ask for data you don’t need. If you have no plans to send direct mail, asking for contact addresses only reduces the number of people filling out your too-long forms.

We’ve found that phone calls are a fantastic way to begin a sales conversation. Our business development representative reaching out to leave personal messages yields higher response rates than cold, impersonal bulk emails. We still do a lot of email marketing, but because we’re able to segment based on user behavior, company size, location and other data that we’ve captured, our sales team can start relationships off on the right foot.

2. Focusing on the wrong metrics.

The fun parts of your data can easily distract you, but if you see a million site visitors and no form submissions, something is wrong. Eschew vanity metrics in favor of information that tells you where prospects are in your pipeline.

To avoid getting distracted by vanity numbers, Baseline recommends identifying metrics that impact your bottom line, establishing standard outcomes and measuring performance against those numbers. Provide the right metrics to the right departments. Marketers don’t care about close rates — salespeople do. Salespeople don’t care about click-through rates — marketers do.

What are your visitors clicking on? It’s important to figure out what’s working and what isn’t in your marketing strategy and constantly pivot to improve those metrics.

3. Ignoring disorganization.

A well-organized CRM is as helpful as a disorganized one is harmful. If your CRM data is inconsistent (or worse, missing), you can’t transform that data into revenue. For example, if a customer profile lacks information about past communications, the onboarding team might not have the information it needs from sales.

It has been found that customers are willing to pay more for a superior customer service experience. Personalized customer interactions rely on relevant data to inform their development — and that means keeping your CRM data as updated, organized and accessible as possible.

4. Failing to act on good data.

An alarming number of businesses don’t act on the data they capture, even when it’s good data.

Quality CRM data should impact every aspect of the business from sales to marketing to support. Leveraging data can allow you to reimagine your buyer persona and start targeting the people most likely to purchase from you. Without action, the best data is as useless as no data at all. Metrics can help you understand how to create relationships, but they can’t forge those connections on their own.

To illustrate, consider how companies such as Amazon, Airbnb, and Patagonia treat their customers. Amazon connects people to a network of products and information they need. Patagonia provides outdoorsy types with a place to interact with each other and build community. Airbnb speaks to people who want to make new connections in new places.

How did they figure out and fill such clear-cut niches? By acting on their CRM data. If all these companies tracked were conversions, they’d never have arrived at such a valuable, deep understanding of the radical buyer: their ideal customer.

Successful companies don’t stop at data collection — they use their data to build relationships with customers that will last. With a robust CRM system, even the smallest companies can discover what their customers need and use that data to deliver welcome solutions.

Don’t fall prey to these common CRM mistakes. Using this advice, you can leverage your data collection and turn your CRM into the engine that drives both your relationships and your revenue.

NOTE: The above has been re-blogged from Entrepreneur.com

The tCognition Solution

Interested in working with a CRM Solution Provider?

tCognition provides enterprise-level CRM integration services, and for over 14 years we have been helping companies implement customer databases with meaningful workflows and verticalized experiences built-in. We represent and resell for some of the top CRM vendors in the industry including Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, and SAP and they trust us to implement and maintain their products for our clients.

Our developers work as a well-oiled machine and have over a decade of experience in fully marrying any platform that has an open API with the CRM of your choice! Send us an email to info@tCognition.com, give us a call at (617) 340-3046, or shoot us a DM on Twitter for more information.

25 Sep

Mobile Application Development Trends for 2018

Mobile Application Development Trends for 2018

Mobile App Dev 2018 Trends

Mobile Application Development Services Trends for 2018

Mobile application development services deliver various advantages including high quality and bug-free apps along with reduced time to market, and much more. Mobile application development services offer competitive solutions by following the latest trends, and companies will need to focus on these new trends that are set to rule the market. It’s also essential for businesses to understand these trends in order to achieve effective outsourcing mobile app development services.

Over the past decade, the concept of mobile app development has taken off in a big way. It is no surprise that the technology has become a lucrative business across the globe. So, what does the future of mobile app development hold? Check out some predicted trends in mobile application development services for 2018, below.

Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP)

An Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) is a project from Google and Twitter designed to make very fast mobile pages. At its essence, it’s basically a stripped-down form of HTML. An AMP enables the creation of websites and ads that are consistently fast, beautiful and high-performing across devices and distribution platforms. AMP supported web applications load much faster on mobile devices and decrease bounce rate in great percent. It also increases ad visibility offering extra benefits to publishers and helps them get more visitors on their web application. This is one of the most anticipated trends in mobile application development services today.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

Augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are “augmented” by computer-generated or extracted real-world sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. Virtual reality (VR) is a computer technology that uses Virtual reality headsets, sometimes in combination with physical spaces or multi-projected environments, to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulate a user’s physical presence in a virtual or imaginary environment.

Mobile augmented reality applications are gaining popularity due to the wide adoption of mobile and especially wearable devices and is transforming the world of education, where content may be accessed by scanning or viewing an image with a mobile device. As for Virtual Reality, Google and Facebook are battling it out, as smartphone VR is set to be the primary driver of VR volumes in coming years. End users are using AR & VR for fictional and entertainment field such as video games with an increased market share of $18.9 billion. Having knowledge in the AR & VR mobile app development will present many opportunities in coming years.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence (AI, also machine intelligenceMI) is intelligence exhibited by machines, rather than humans or other animals (natural intelligenceNI). Perhaps the biggest area being affected by the rise of AI is mobile. Mobile devices put AI at consumers’ fingertips via the likes of Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and Google Assistant, personal digital assistants embedded in your smartphone.

According to Gartner, by year-end 2018, consumer digital assistants will recognize individuals by face and voice across channels, and by 2020 smart agents will facilitate 40 percent of mobile interactions. In 2018 AI is predicted to grow extremely rapidly, thus the need for mobile AI development will grow.

Cloud Driven Applications

A mobile cloud application is a software program that is designed to be accessed over the Internet by many types of portable computing devices. Because mobile cloud apps are not downloaded, developers can just write one version of their mobile app (rather than having to create three different versions on iOS, Android, and Windows) and any device with a browser and Internet connection can use it.

According to a report, 90% of total mobile data traffic is to be driven by cloud based mobile apps by the year 2019. Cloud based apps are more secure and there is no risk of data loss. Developers able to write and manage APIs that use loosely coupled cloud services in the most cost-effective manner will be in high demand.

Cross-Platform & Cross-Device Development

The three main mobile platforms of today are iOS, Android, and Windows. iOS holds the #1 slot in terms of popularity and innovation, while Android comes in second with its low price device offerings, and Windows brings up the rear with its reliability. It’s important for developers of today to be versatile and to have knowledge across all platforms, however, so they can create apps that work easily on multiple platforms and devices for their clients and customers. In mobile app development, there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach.

Application Development For The IoT

The Internet of things (IoT) is the inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles (also referred to as “connected devices” and “smart devices”), buildings, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data. As the IoT continues to evolve, mobile devices will function as the main interface through which we do and will interact with IoT-enabled devices. The future of app development won’t be simply revolving around mobile phones or tablets. Day by day we are heading towards the era of cloud computing powering Smart-Everything and mobile app development linked to IoT products has become an exciting area to keep an eye on.

Tools For Developers

Picture this: developers building tools for developers to build yet more tools. It seems crazy, but the future will see developers building specialized tools for developers. Smarter mobile deep linking tools, for example, will be a big trend in the future. This technology will transform the user experience by better connecting different devices and/or platforms, and will enable us to discover new apps through relevant content on the web.

Software Development Kits (SDKs) In App Development

software development kit (SDK or devkit) is typically a set of software development tools that allows the creation of applications for a certain software package, software framework, hardware platform, computer system, video game console, operating system, or similar development platform. To enrich applications with advanced functionalities, advertisements, push notifications and more, most app developers implement specific software development kits. Some SDKs are critical for developing a platform-specific app. Common tools include debugging facilities and other utilities, often presented in an integrated development environment (IDE). It will be important for mobile developers to have proficiency in this area in the coming years.

tCognition and Mobile Application Development

tCognition understands how crucial it is for your business services to be accessible to consumers via mobile devices. We have been on the forefront of developing applications across diverse mobile platforms (iOS, Android, Windows, App Porting Services) for over a decade. With our deep domain expertise in developing and deploying optimized mobile applications, we can help your business create mobile apps that streamline your services and are easily accessible to your customers.

Businesses across the spectrum are keen to leverage on emerging mobile technologies and utilize its full potential by delivering value to their customers. Delivering world-class mobile applications, which stand apart from the competition, is the key value addition we provide to our customers. Our dedicated onshore and offshore teams of mobile developers have top of the line UX/UI, business problem solving, and project management skills, and provide high-quality global offerings at a price point that’s hard to beat.

Send us an email to info@tCognition.com, give us a call at 617-357-4636, or shoot us a DM on Twitter to learn more about our best-in-class mobile application development capabilities and offerings.

Resources:

08 Sep

Fix the Router, Fix the Network

Fix the Router, Fix the Network

The 128T Networking Platform Solution

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Which metaphor best describes your network infrastructure? An original equipment manufactured engine purring along like it’s run less than 10,000 miles? Or a patchwork of after-market parts running a little rough and you’re wondering what each new rattle or ping really means? If you were honest, it would be the latter – and you’re not alone.

At 128 Technology, they are rethinking routing. If networking functionality can be software-based, that means the whole model of routing can be re-evaluated. It means that state can be introduced into a router, which means everything AROUND the router in the old model can be taken and made native to the router itself.

128T also believe that routers can finally be much smarter about the packets they are forwarding. They can provide visibility into (and control over) key information describing a unique, bi-directional exchange between source and destination endpoints — what 128T calls sessions — and apply security, performance, and control functions to the entire session.

This means that routers can create rules for users and services and easily apply those rules in the router, enabling a far tighter alignment between the network and applications it supports.

Built-in Zero-Trust Security

While a move to HTTPS may have resulted in increased security (and for some, improved Google page rankings), many enterprises saw negative effects regarding network performance. This has to do with how Next Generation Firewalls (NGFW) treat HTTPS traffic and the prevalence of NGFWs across the internet.

Because of the way NGFW treat HTTPS traffic, it is very difficult to create networks with built-in Zero Trust Security (ZTS) using a NGFW – because the Zero Trust Network model requires the network to be segmented and have a routing/firewall device at the boundary of every segment. Imagine the expense and operational burden of doing that!

Since the NGFW functionality usually requires an expensive custom build hardware, their use as the sole network security device is typically limited to the edge. Still, because end-to-end encryption is enabled by default with HTTPS, the value of NGFW and other middleboxes which rely on cleartext layer 5-7 is going to come with latency caveats.

So, how is 128T fixing it?

They are fixing networking through their core foundational principles:

    1. Secure Vector Routing (SVR): is not another device nor conventional software defined router. SVR is a session-oriented approach for building context-aware networks that can easily, dynamically and securely stretch across network boundaries.
    2. Service Orientation: This service-centric approach is far more intuitive from a provisioning and administration perspective. Instead of mapping services through many networking layers to determine how to provision the network, 128 Technology’s data model is based directly on services, tenants, and policies.
    3. Zero-Trust Security and Session Orientation: Because every 128 Technology router has knowledge of every tenant, along with the service topology, access control and policy can be easily baked into every possible route on the network on a session-by-session basis. As a result, you can segment the network on an incredibly granular level, end-to-end across the entire network. So while traditional traffic isolation and segmentation requires complex physical network separation techniques and/or overlays, the 128T Networking Platform can provide greater isolation in a more dynamic (and more simple) manner.

How’s that for Zero-Trust?

By focusing on services across all network functions, the 128T Platform provides consistent management of services, tenants, and policies ensuring dependable security.

The simplicity of their data model and reduction in network complexity provide management agility to quickly deploy and integrate new, revenue-generating services. With fewer functions to manage and session analytics to quickly isolate problems, their solution reduces operational expenditures for enterprises.

By rethinking routing, 128 Technology uniquely delivers service-oriented management, transforming network operations.

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tCognition and 128 Technology

We’re proud 128 Technology partners!.

128 Technology understands that for many companies, the network is a core part of their business and in some cases the network is their core business. They have developed the software-based 128T Networking Platform (128T), which uses a Secure Vector Routing architecture to take everything around the router and introduce state into the router itself.

This approach disrupts the traditional networking paradigm, but doesn’t disrupt your existing network infrastructures. The benefits of implementing 128 Technology with tCognition are as follows:

  • Zero Trust Security: Firewall capabilities are native to the 128T Platform. Because every 128 Technology router has knowledge of every tenant, along with the service topology, access control and policy can be easily baked into every possible route on the network on a session-by-session basis. As a result, you can segment the network on an incredibly granular level, end-to-end across the entire network without any complex physical network separation techniques and/or overlays.
  • Reduce Costs: Traditional business models charge for overprovisioned bandwidth capacity and charge an annual maintenance fee. The 128T success based pricing model charges for network wide utilization, does not charge for scale out or dispersion, and will lower your CAPEX by roughly +60%. 
  • Easy to Manage: Session orientation is key for segmenting the network. This service-centric approach is far more intuitive from a provisioning and administration perspective. Instead of mapping services through many networking layers to determine how to provision the network, the 128T data model uses business logic and is based directly on services, tenants, and policies.

We look forward to working with and supporting 128 Technology in taking on the challenge of natively providing network-based security, control, and optimization of overly complex networks. Let us know how we can engage you in a discussion and show you how we can help reshape the way you design, deploy, and operate real-world networks by making them dramatically simpler, smarter, and more secure along with 128 Technology!

Send us an email to info@tCognition.com, give us a call at 617-357-4636, shoot us a DM on Twitter, or submit a form here to request a demo, ebook, white paper, and/or brochure.

29 Aug

Managed Service Provider vs. The Cloud

Managed Service Provider vs. The Cloud

Managed Service Providers

In many cases, contracting a Managed Service Provider brings more benefits than going it alone with internal IT.

Did you know that it takes 4.3 people to cover a position that needs to be manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

You are encountering the need for digital transformation for your business. Digital transformation knows no size — SMBs and enterprises alike are all trying to keep up and grow as fast as possible. Unfortunately, digital transformation growth also means staffing, expertise, and budgetary growth.

So how do you deal with the realities of getting the resources you need to manage your growth? You could go to cloud services and offload some of the jobs to the provider. You also have another choice, working with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) who manages your infrastructure.

What is a Managed Service Provider?

A Managed Service Provider (MSP) is an outsourcing partner who acts on a proactive basis providing management services. The MSP is responsible for your business’s operation and functions as manager while improving operations and reducing expenses. An MSP is an alternative to organizations that perform break/fix or on-demand outsourcing. The MSP also has staff with in-depth expertise to deal with planning and operational issues beyond those that can be handled by the business.

The business owns or has direct responsibility for the systems and networks being managed by the Managed Service Provider, though. The business and the MSP are contractually bound with a service-level agreement that defines the performance and quality metrics of their relationship that needs to be delivered by the MSP.

DIY or a Managed Service Provider?

A Managed Service Provider offers a number of advantages over a business doing it for itself. A MSP is managing the resources of multiple businesses and therefore has the scale with a lower-cost point. It can be cheaper to use a MSP than internal IT staff.

There is always the issue of the IT budget. The more money you put into a staff, the less capital you have for infrastructure. By opting for the MSP path, you can shift IT funds away from operating expenses, thereby delivering greater budget flexibility.

The Managed Service Provider can also offer increased efficiency. They usually operate with best practices, standardize what they do, perform analytics, and use automation wherever possible. These can be done by the business but unless you are a really large business, you often don’t have the staff, resources, or the budget.

Another value is that the MSP has access to skills that are not available to you. Or the skills may be available, but you can’t afford them.

The service-level agreements (SLA) from a MSP can be better and more enforceable than the SLAs you can generate internally. MSPs also have a way of measuring the SLAs and determining where the deficiencies are. It may even lower your risk when implementing new services. Finally, a MSP may improve your security, business continuity, and compliance management.

Thinking Managed Service Provider?

As soon as you consider outsourcing all or part of your IT functions and responsibilities, you worry about risk and you look for trust. There are a number of points you should consider when selecting a MSP:

  • Research the MSP to determine the skills they have and their experience delivering their services.
  • The MSP needs to have a proactive technology-based approach to delivering the services. Break-fix mentality doesn’t work. Ask what types of automation are used by the MSP that help reduce human intervention (possible errors) and improve the quality of service and productivity.
  • There are plenty of standards in IT. Look for the MSP’s alignment with the best practices and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) standards.
  • Since a lot of this work is based on the expertise and knowledge of the MSP staff, learn about their knowledge management.
  • Determine the visibility you are offered for monitoring their service delivery.
  • It is very likely you have more than one vendor on your premises. Has this MSP managed those vendors and have the necessary experience? Does the MSP have strong relationships with those vendors?
  • You may have IT and network resources that cover a wide geographic area. Does the MSP have the services locally available where you have resident IT/network facilities?
  • Inspects the SLAs. They should not be goals, but rather, mandates. Look into what happens if the MSP does not meet requirements. The SLAs may not be that enforceable. Make sure the SLAs cover a wide range of performance metrics, not just simply reliability and availability.
  • Digital transformation means that you are constantly looking at new technologies and new ways of doing business. Develop a relationship with the MSP that allows you to add, delete, or modify the relationship as you move into more digital transformation.
  • Can the MSP act as a consultant, helping you look at new methods of innovation? Are they constantly looking forward to technological developments that can be added to the MSP arrangement?
  • As with any business, is the MSP financially stable? What is their present reputation in your industry?

Any arrangement you have with an MSP should have a time limit. You may not like this idea, but you must consider what happens if the MSP does not deliver what they promise. You have to look at how to migrate to another MSP or bring back the IT functions into your organization. You should also be investigating cloud services that may eliminate some of the services provided by the MSP. Overall, what you really want is a flexible, affordable, contractual arrangement with the MSP.

The above excerpt has been reblogged from No Jitter.

tCognition: A Managed Service Provider

Do you want to spend more time driving business value with cloud managed services and less time managing day-to-day operations?

Since inception, tCognition has positioned itself as a mature Managed Service Provider (MSP) practice, offering 24 x 7 x 365 multi-lingual global support for a wide range of Information Technology environments spanning the gamut of the OSI stack. Whether physical or virtual, premise or Cloud-based “as a Service” solutions; tCognition’s Managed Services solutions provide comprehensive Life-cycle support to meet the dynamic needs of an enterprise client.

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Diversity is a common theme in describing tCognition’s professional services delivery, and the Managed Services practice is no different. tCognition provides a sundry of skilled technology resources with credentials to meet any industry challenge or requirement for service level execution in controlled data and access environments.

Regardless of complexity, regulatory or governing standards, tCognition provides seamless program leadership through dedicated contributors familiar with industry best practices, rules of engagements (ROEs), and mission-critical systems. Each tCognition client-facing resource possesses learned behavior to immerse themselves in cultural and situational circumstances to drive successful relations and issue resolution in support of vertical markets such as Investment & Custodial Banking, Financial services, or Insurance; Pharmaceutical & Healthcare (HIPAA), Retail, (PCI), or D.O.D. (ITAR).

Within the scope of defined managed services, tCognition proactively assume responsibility for the oversight of all applicable software applications and supporting hardware infrastructure, providing network and system performance monitoring, security, access, and identity governance; availability, backup, and disaster recovery services. tCognition also provides 24×7 help desk, technical and functional support for mission-critical enterprise applications, desktop, database, storage, mobility, and communications.

We would love to help your business save money, grow revenue, and become more effective in achieving its core goals by serving as your Managed Service Provider! To learn more about how we can help your organization, send us an email to info@tCognition.com, give us a call at (617) 357-4636, or DM us on Twitter.

09 Aug

AWS Summit – New York – August 14th

AWS Summit – New York – August 14th

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The AWS Summit brings together the cloud computing community to connect, collaborate and learn about AWS. In this one day event, you can choose from a multitude of learning opportunities covering a broad range of topics and technical depth. Will you be attending next week’s AWS Summit in New York? Check out what you’ll get out of the event, below!

Why Should You Attend?

The AWS Summit brings together the cloud computing community to connect, collaborate and learn about AWS. Whether you are new to the cloud or an experienced user, you will learn something new at the AWS Summit. This free event is designed to educate you about the AWS platform. Develop the skills to design, deploy, and operate infrastructure and applications.

More than 40 technical sessions ranging from introduction to deep dive. Plus small scale hands-on workshops. Attend one-hour breakout sessions led by AWS subject-matter experts and/or top AWS customers. You’ll find introductory sessions, deep dive technical content, customer stories, and new launch announcements in these sessions. Workshops engage attendees in a small-scale, hands-on session that provides a more tangible way to learn. These sessions are two hours long and are capped at about 80 attendees to maximize networking and learning opportunities.

Get hands-on training opportunities in paid bootcamps and free self-paced labs. Bootcamps are full-day training sessions that offer you a chance to learn about AWS services and solutions through immersive exercises and hands-on labs. Delivered by experienced AWS Instructors and Solution Architects, these bootcamps allow you to work directly with AWS knowledge experts to get your questions answered. Choose from four, full-day technical bootcamps on Tuesday, August 15 at the Convene Midtown West located at 117 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036. Cost to register is $600 per bootcamp. Registration is required in advance. Reserve your spot today!

Note: All students must bring their own laptop (Windows/OSX/Linux all supported)—tablets are not appropriate. It is also recommended to have the current version of Chrome or Firefox installed.

Hands-on Labs help you evaluate and learn how to work with AWS solutions through step-by-step self-paced instructions on an AWS Console in a live practice environment. Choose from 120+ lab topics that range in level from introductory to expert and take approximately 30 to 60 minutes to complete. Registration is not required; walk-ups are welcome.

Demonstrate your technical proficiency by getting AWS Certified onsite and receive special recognition. AWS Certifications recognize IT professionals with the technical skills and expertise to design, deploy, and operate applications and infrastructure on AWS. Exams are offered in multiple languages at testing centers around the world. Demonstrate your technical proficiency and receive special recognition by getting AWS Certified at the AWS Summit in New York City. Please note that Associate exams cost $150. Professional and Specialty exams cost $300. As seating is limited, please register for your onsite exam in advance.

Experience The Hub, a high-energy expo with top AWS technology and consulting partners, and access to AWS engineers and architects. Join your fellow AWS Summit attendees in the The HUB — AWS’ Partner & Solutions Expo and the center of Summit activity — where you’ll find leading cloud technology providers and consultants who can help you get the most out of the AWS Cloud. Plus, stop by the AWS Booth to get your questions answered by AWS engineers and product leaders.

Featured Keynote Speakers

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Adrian Cockcroft, Vice President Cloud Architecture Strategy, Amazon Web Services

Adrian Cockcroft has had a long career working at the leading edge of technology, and is fascinated by what happens next. In his role at AWS, Cockcroft is focused on the needs of cloud native and “all-in” customers, and leads the AWS open source community development program.

Prior to AWS, Cockcroft started out as a developer in the UK, joined Sun Microsystems and then moved to the United States in 1993, ending up as a Distinguished Engineer. Cockcroft left Sun in 2004, was a founding member of eBay research labs, and started at Netflix in 2007. He initially directed a team working on personalization algorithms and then became cloud architect, helping teams scale and migrate to AWS. As Netflix shared its architecture publicly, Cockcroft became a regular speaker at conferences and executive summits, and he created and led the Netflix open source program. In 2014, he joined VC firm Battery Ventures, promoting new ideas around DevOps, microservices, cloud and containers, and moved into his current role at AWS in October 2016.

Cockcroft holds a degree in Applied Physics from The City University, London and is a published author of four books, notably Sun Performance and Tuning (Prentice Hall, 1998).

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Dr. Matt Wood, GM, Artificial Intelligence, Amazon Web Services

Dr. Matt Wood is part of the technical leadership team at Amazon Web Services, pulling from over a decade of expertise in distributed systems, architecture, web-scale analytics, big data, machine learning and high-performance computing to help customers bring their ideas to life through technology. After medical school, Dr. Wood completed his Ph.D. in machine learning and bioinformatics, joined Cornell as a research fellow, and contributed to the next generation DNA sequencing platform at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Since joining Amazon Web Services in early 2010, he has played a role in introducing many significant new features and services to customers on the AWS Cloud, including AWS Lambda, Amazon Kinesis and Amazon Machine Learning.

 

Can’t attend the AWS Summit live from New York? Join the AWS Summit – New York from the comfort of your home or office. AWS is live streaming the Keynote on August 14 at 9:30 AM Eastern Time. Watch the keynote and hear about exciting updates on AWS Solutions, and great customer stories. To watch the live stream, simply submit your name and email address in the fields at the link above. AWS will send you more live stream information closer to the event.

Cloud Hosting (AWS)

tCognition is one of Boston’s fastest-growing Technology Services Companies, tackling some of the toughest technology challenges facing the enterprise today. Consider hosting your ERP on Amazon Web Services (AWS) with the help of our certified developers and see how we’re approaching cloud migration in today’s digital age. We will work with your business to provide the ideal customized solution for your unique needs, and by working together we will create a roadmap to help accelerate your growth toward a comprehensive digital transformation.

For more information about how we can help your organization make the transition, email us at info@tCognition.com or give us a call at (617) 357-4636.

07 Aug

Is Marketing Automation Right for Your Organization?

Is Marketing Automation Right for Your Organization?

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We’re proud to partner with ClickDimensions, the top-rated, Microsoft-certified marketing automation solution for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. ClickDimensions helps you learn more about your prospects by showing you what interests them on your site as well as making it easy to capture information about them once they are ready to share. To ClickDimensions, “partner” isn’t just a word; it’s a valued relationship.

The ClickDimensions Marketing Automation tool encompasses all of the below features:

Fully Native

ClickDimensions wasn’t adapted for the Microsoft ecosystem. It was created for it.

Fully Supported

ClickDimensions is full-service, not self-service. Their expert onboarding, training, and support teams ensure that our customers get started and get results quickly.

Fully Committed

ClickDimensions devotes 100% of their efforts to marketing automation for Dynamics users. They only benefit when Microsoft, and we also excel.

Watch the video above to see a demo of ClickDimensions’ most popular features or submit the form on this web page to schedule a live demo.

10 Ways to Achieve Email Marketing Success with ClickDimensions

Think email marketing is dead? Far from it. According to research firm MarketingSherpa, 72 percent of those surveyed named email as their preferred method of communication from businesses. And marketers love email as much as their customers and prospects, ranking email as the most effective tactic for awareness, acquisition, conversion, and retention (Gigaom Research).

While email marketing is still very much alive and well, the tactics for garnering opens and inspiring action are evolving. As the top-rated marketing automation solution for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, ClickDimensions is well versed in the ways of modern email marketing. Here are 10 of their tips for ensuring the success of your email marketing campaigns:

Send quality content.

Gone are the days of sending emails just to send them. Today, people expect messages that are tailored to who they are and what they want to hear from your company. There is a person on the other end of your email, not just a sales opportunity, and your emails should reflect that. Keep your messages short and to the point. Also, think about your message from your audience’s perspective, and ask yourself what’s in it for them. Whether it’s a special discount, a link to download an eBook, or another offer or announcement, your emails should deliver genuine value to the person reading it.

Mind your subject lines.

In terms of deliverability and open rates, subject lines can make or break an email marketing campaign. To help ensure your email doesn’t trigger spam filters, avoid words like “free,” “guarantee,” “reminder,” and “help.” In addition to these spam trigger words, avoid using all caps and special characters. Once they’ve successfully made it to the inbox, the most successful email subjects are under 50 characters. Questions, call to actions and subject lines that convey a sense of urgency are also effective at improving email open rates.

Optimize pre-headers.

There are three things that recipients will see when your email hits their inbox: the sender name, the subject and the preheader. The subject line is what grabs your readers’ attention, but as an extension of your subject line, the preheader can really help you increase opens and clicks. It’s a great place to utilize personalization, as seeing their name in the preheader can help your subscribers hone in on your email, even in the most crowded inbox. Whether you go the personalization route or not, your pre-header copy should always clearly and concisely convey the message in your email.

Utilize split testing.

Split testing, or A/B testing, is a method of testing two versions of an email against one another to see which one performs better. You can use the results of these tests to improve future email marketing efforts and send emails that really resonate with your audience. What should you change in your email variations in a split test? Try using different subject lines, layouts, send times or content. Split testing can demonstrate how even small changes can have a big impact on opens, clicks, and conversions.

Change your design.

We all need a change of scenery from time to time, and your email subscribers are no exception. Something as simple as switching up fonts and colors, while still remaining within your brand’s look and feel, can be the change you need to get your audience engaging with your emails again. A new layout can also be a refreshing change of pace, especially for longtime email subscribers. If you have been using a two-column design, for example, try switching to a layout featuring a body section and a sidebar instead to see what results change can bring.

Get animated.

Love them or hate them, animated GIFs have established a strong presence in the online community. Before you dismiss GIFs as a social media gimmick, consider using them in email marketing campaigns. They are easy to load, easy to create, run automatically without requiring a play button and provide a little something extra that can help increase engagement. GIFs are perfect for explaining how something works or for drawing attention to an otherwise static image.

Resend emails to non-openers.

You only get one chance to get your subscribers to open an email, right? Not necessarily. While you should do so sparingly and intelligently, try resending emails to those that don’t open them the first time. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean sending the exact same email multiple times. Keep the subject matter the same, but change the subject line, preheader text and even elements of the content, like the text for the call to action or the images, so it seems like a brand new email experience.

Build your lists.

Even the best email list with the most engaged subscribers degrades over time. People change email addresses, lose interest or opt out of your communications. According to MarketingSherpa, the average email database will degrade by an average of 22.5 percent every year. To combat that decline and its impacts, companies must constantly focus on building their email lists. Something as simple as adding easy-to-find email sign up boxes throughout your website can help tremendously. Social media is also a great place to build your lists, either by promoting giveaways or content downloads.

Re-engage old customers.

New email subscribers seem to love every message you send, but over time that interest fades. Before you know it, a formerly engaged subscriber barely blinks before deleting your emails. Rekindling the relationship won’t be possible for every subscriber, but you can win some back with re-engagement campaigns. These campaigns can come in many different forms, but they should communicate the message that you recognize they haven’t interacted with your company’s email in some time and that you want them back as an engaged subscriber. Try asking them how you can improve their email experience or giving them a special offer that is presented as it is just for them and their fellow longtime subscribers.

Utilize marketing automation.

Adoption of marketing automation has soared in recent years, and for good reason. Marketing automation allows companies to gain greater insights into their customers and leads in order to more effectively nurture, delight and sell to these individuals. Marketing automation software encompasses more than email marketing, from the ease of designing emails to robust nurturing campaigns, email is one of the many ways companies can utilize and benefit from marketing automation.

If you are interested in learning more about how the ClickDimensions marketing automation solution embeds email-marketing features directly into Microsoft Dynamics CRM, contact ClickDimensions today. They would be happy to show you examples of successful email campaigns during a demo of the top-rated marketing automation solution on the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace. Contact sales@clickdimensions.com or call +1.888.214.4228 today!

01 Aug

Serverless Computing: Microsoft Azure Functions

Serverless Computing: Microsoft Azure Functions

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Azure Functions is the serverless computing service hosted on the Microsoft Azure public cloud. Azure Functions, and serverless computing, in general, is designed to accelerate and simplify application development.

Traditional application development demands a consideration of the underlying IT infrastructure. For cloud computing, an IT team must create, monitor and pay for cloud computing instances — regardless of how much work that instance actually does for the business.

The idea behind serverless computing, also known as function as a service, is to eliminate those infrastructure considerations for the user. With serverless, a user can simply create and upload code, and then define the triggers or events that will execute the code. Triggers can come from a wide range of sources, including another user’s application or other cloud services, such as databases and event and notification hubs.

Once a trigger or event occurs, it is the cloud provider’s responsibility to load the code into a suitable execution environment, run the code and then release the compute resources. There are still servers involved, but the user no longer needs to provision or manage compute instances. In addition, rather than pay for those compute instances and other associated resources each month, users pay for serverless computing based on the amount of time a function runs in a given billing cycle.

Azure Functions uses

Serverless computing functions are typically not complete, full-featured applications. Instead, functions handle specific, short-lived tasks. Most functions involve some form of data processing, such as image or order processing, as well as file maintenance or data collection from the internet of things (IoT) devices.

Some examples of how an IT team uses Azure Functions include:

  • The Azure Event Hub can deliver different events that trigger functions related to conditions in the cloud environment or a user account.
  • A generic web hook can process HTTP requests, which allows triggers to come from websites or GitHub repositories.
  • Message traffic can trigger functions. For example, messages that arrive in an Azure Storage queue can trigger functions.
  • Timers can also trigger Functions, which allows users to execute regular tasks, such as file cleanups, on a regular schedule.

Users can also chain functions together, or associate one with another, to create more comprehensive application program interfaces (APIs) and micro-services applications.

Functions integrates with Azure software as a service (SaaS) offerings, including Azure Cosmos DB, Azure Mobile Apps, and Azure Service Bus.

Developing code for Azure Functions

Azure Functions alleviates the need to provision, manage and pay for long-term compute resources in the cloud, which enables organizations to focus more on code development. This makes many of the features in Azure Functions beneficial to software developers.

Azure Functions supports functions developed in C#, F#, Node.js, Python, PHP, batch, bash and any executable file format. Azure Functions also supports the NuGet open source package manager and the Node Package Manager for JavaScript, allowing developers to use popular libraries.

Developers can code Azure Functions directly within the Azure portal, but can also manage continuous integration (CI) and deploy code through GitHub, Microsoft Visual Studio Team Services and other development tools, such as Xcode, Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA.Security is required to ensure that only valid requests from authorized users or triggers will drive functions. Azure Functions secures outside HTTP triggers with OAuth systems, such as Azure Active Directory, Microsoft Account credentials and more.

Azure Functions pricing, limits, and requirements

Businesses can currently select between two pricing plans for Azure Functions: consumption and Azure App Service. In the consumption pricing plan, users pay for the time that each function actually runs. The other plan is for users that already employ Azure App Service to run web, mobile and API-based apps. These users can run Azure Functions at no added cost.

Azure Functions has no limits on payload size, deployment package size, and code or dependency size. However, each Azure Functions host instance is limited to 1.5 GB of memory, and the default execution time limit is 5 minutes — although, users can increase this to 10 minutes.Azure Functions does require an Azure Storage account that must support Azure Blob, Queue, and Table storage services. Azure Functions uses Azure Storage to manage triggers and log function execution. The storage demands for Azure Functions may present an added cost to users. Azure Functions competes with other serverless computing offerings, including Amazon Web Services Lambda and Google Cloud Functions.

Article re-blogged via TechTarget.
20 Jul

The Leading CRM Platforms: What’s Right for You?

The Leading CRM Platforms: What’s Right for You?

Customer Relationship Management- A Comparison

A Quick Overview of the Leading CRM Platforms

There are many Customer Relationship Management (CRM) products to choose from, each offering a broad range of functionality. A CRM platform is no small investment. Even if your organization’s CRM needs are modest, the time and effort expended to identify, purchase and implement the right software can be considerable. But you’ve done the groundwork, assessed your needs, compiled your requirements and gotten buy-in from all stakeholders to acquire this technology. The final challenge? Choosing the right CRM platform.

Keeping track of the various Customer Relationship Management platforms and their constantly evolving capabilities can be intimidating. But the variety, cloud choices, and scalability of CRM systems is, at the same time, encouraging — it underscores the fact that, like the internet, CRM is a great equalizer. It levels the playing field, potentially giving smaller companies the same competitive advantages as larger organizations.

The 12 leading Customer Relationship Management platforms are as follows: Adobe Marketing Cloud, HubSpot CRM, Infusionsoft, Marketo, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Oracle Customer Experience (CX)X Cloud Suite, Pega CRM, Salesforce Sales Cloud, SAP CEC Suite, SugarCRM, Zendesk and Zoho CRM. The below (excerpt shared from TechTarget) breaks down which CRM platforms are best depending on the size of your organization.

Customer Relationship Management Platforms for the Enterprise

Many large companies opt for Customer Relationship Management suites that match their size and scope; platforms that scale up well and offer a broad range of functionality that can be exploited across the enterprise. Beyond this, companies also factor in how well the platform can integrate with existing enterprise-scale applications and the product’s automation functionality.

Salesforce and Microsoft made their CRM reputations doing this. Along with Oracle and SAP, they offer strong core features, such as sales, marketing, and service support, as well as automation functionality and an array of newer features, including embedded analytics and AI. Each of the leading CRM platforms has strong social CRM features for leveraging social media and an online community for enhanced customer engagement on multiple channels.

When it comes to integration, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is hard to beat. As its cloud-based SaaS Office 365 platform proliferates, integration has been Microsoft’s ongoing theme, and Dynamics hasn’t been left out. Deep ties to its productivity suite, including Excel for ad hoc analysis and Outlook for integrated communication, make it a natural choice for the enterprise that already relies heavily on those applications. Microsoft also offers AI functionality baked into the entire Office 365 platform.

This means that Dynamics also includes that extra functionality, part of its general quest to unify its ERP and CRM products into a single product. An early offering here is Customer Insights, which combines internal and external data sources and integrates them with internal metrics for automating customer-centric actions and tasks. There’s also Relationship Insights, which leverages Microsoft’s Cortana Intelligence Suite and serves as a sort of virtual sales assistant, offering a customer relationship status at any point in the customer lifecycle.

Salesforce has just announced its new Partner Relationship Management, an intelligence multi channel community application for Sales Cloud that facilitates integrated channel management. It integrates Einstein, the Salesforce cloud AI, to rapidly surface data for more productive channel management and recommended product support content.

Oracle’s more modular approach in its CX Cloud platform is its new Adaptive Intelligence Apps, which optimize marketing channel performance, personalize product recommendations and enable predictive service support. SAP CEC Suite’s omnichannel functionality is enhanced by its AI-driven marketing recommendations feature and real-time marketing segmentation for message personalization.

It was inevitable that the internet of things (IoT) would take root in large-scale Customer Relationship Management. Microsoft Dynamics leverages IoT to enhance field service, and Salesforce has partnered with Cisco for the same purpose. Oracle Adaptive Intelligence Apps exploit IoT data for predictive functionality, and SAP CEC’s omnichannel customer connection system now includes IoT. Look for all of these features to expand over time.

CRM Platforms for Midsize, Small Organizations

Many enterprise-level Customer Relationship Management vendors provide systems scaled for midsize companies — and, on paper, for smaller businesses (though they’re often too complex and unwieldy at that end of the scale). Like Salesforce, SugarCRM, Adobe Marketing Cloud, and Marketo cater to all three. Among the exceptions are Microsoft Dynamics 365, Oracle CX and Pega CRM, which are available to only medium-sized and large organizations.

Often, the discriminator is the price; a midsize company may have many functional needs but can make only a midsize investment. Several vendors address this. For example, HubSpot and Zoho are well-suited for SMBs and are modestly priced. Infusionsoft, though a bit more expensive, caters to only small organizations.

One of the trade-offs for the lower price tag is reduced integration. The enterprise-level platforms offer broad third-party integration, while mid-level platforms tend to offer fewer integration options. Many of the smaller platforms, such as Infusionsoft and Zoho, include social media integration, sales and marketing automation, and analytics.

Niche Customer Relationship Management Products

There are CRM products for companies that want only a limited subset of functionality. One example is social media integration, or tools that tap into multichannel customer communications to augment the traditional Customer Relationship Management utility already in place. Many CRM vendors, including HubSpot, Marketo, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, SugarCRM and Zoho, offer social media-specific options.

Service applications are another common stand-alone area that organizations of any size may wish to augment independently of the CRM software already in place. The best-known of these is Zendesk, a modestly priced, cloud-based support product that’s designed to expand service options while fine-tuning the customer’s experience. Although the product is standalone and has limited functionally, it can be integrated with other applications, such as HubSpot. Zendesk gathers service information on customers and passes that data to HubSpot, which helps bolster marketing operations.

Customer Relationship Management is evolving rapidly, as digital infrastructure and device mobility flourish. As functionality improves and integration deepens, the market’s offerings will become even more sophisticated and flexible.

There is, for most organizations, an ideal or near-ideal product available. But finding it is a matter of thoroughly reviewing the needs of the enterprise and the potential of the market, and then cultivating a strong grasp of customer engagement. With the right tools, CRM can be game-changing.

This above content comes from an excerpt of  TechTarget’s article.

Our Offerings at tCognition

Customer Relationship Management

If you had to determine what the most essential part of your business was what would you pick? Would it be your logo, your unique take on the market, your employees’ skills? You would likely come to the realization that none of those things really matter unless you have customers to interact with. That’s where customer relationship management (CRM) software comes in.

tCognition provides enterprise-level Customer Relationship Management services and deployment services. For over 13 years we have been helping companies implement customer databases with meaningful workflows and verticalized experiences built-in for our clients. We represent and resell some of the top CRM vendors in the industry and are trusted by them to implement and maintain their products.

We have a data-driven, infrastructure-friendly approach to Customer Relationship Management Services and we’ve formed CRM Partnerships with some of the top brands in the industry, such as Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft. Our unique approach to implementation incorporates any custom out-of-the-box integration, true CRM vendor selection engagement, or Business Process Management workflow.

tCognition can integrate any given platform to any CRM platform with an open API. Our onshore/offshore development teams create complex customized integrations at an extraordinary value. We can also create integrations that are often only possible with third-party middleware. Better still, we can even create integrations that operate and synchronize data in real-time.

Implementation Process

We have a structured approach to every Customer Relationship Management implementation we perform. Each implementation includes a proprietary process starting with gathering requirements. From there, we complete the vendor selection process by finding the right platforms. Once the right platforms are identified, we then move on to the next steps.

Vendor Selection

Requirement gathering is always the first step of our vendor selection. We factor in long-term risk management strategies (such as identifying the stability of any given vendor), change management (what legacy systems – or old software platforms – are going to factor into an implementation). In addition, we can help identify non-CRM technologies like marketing automation and financial / ERP tools to be integrated later on down the road.

Customization

tCognition develops apps within Customer Relationship Management that power your business to perform effectively in today’s competitive business environment. We offer custom application development services utilizing proven software tools and technologies. We are known for high quality, cost-effective software application development services inside and outside of CRM.

Integration

tCognition can integrate any given platform to any Customer Relationship Management platform with an open API. Our onshore/offshore development teams create complex customized integrations at an extraordinary value. You can confidently rely on us to integrate any and all marketing, financial, and customer support platforms, just to name a few.

User Adoption

Implementing a Customer Relationship Management solution is one thing, getting people to use the system is a whole different ballgame. tCognition’s fulfillment teams make sure that your CRM and other business platforms are utilized to their full capacity. This is the last step of any implementation, and perhaps the most important.

Support

We won’t leave you out to dry after any implementation is complete. We have a large support staff capable of overseeing fulfillment and ongoing support services. Unlike some other resell partners, you will always have a real person on the other end of the phone when you call us. We aim to create an all-encompassing business system for your company, and want each part of your system to operate in a seamless fashion that “speaks the same language” as your CRM.

Interested in learning more about our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) integration and implementation capabilities, and how we can help your organization? Call us at (617) 357-4636 or email us at info@tCognition.com.