“With significant help from our infrastructure, cloud solutions, process and security groups, our employees quickly pivoted to working from home”

The following is an article by Ravinder Arora, CISO at Infogain, featured in VARIndia. Follow this link to view the original article.

Preparedness to face challenges of data security:    

At Infogain, we have adopted cybersecurity strategies to take a smarter, more adaptive approach to protect critical databases, files, and more with a comprehensive data security platform. Due to the surge in cyberattacks in 2020, companies increasingly realize that they need to build application security into the entire lifecycle from development to runtime, which leads to development teams adopting DevSecOps practices at a pace.

As 2021 progresses, more application teams will take full responsibility for their security, with appropriate security team support. In addition, as responsibility and budgets shift, application teams will increasingly adopt a DevSecOps process, fully leveraging automation to maximize velocity and develop a culture of continuous improvement. This is the year when security teams in large and small organizations will break down walls and change the security culture at scale by applying DevSecOps with intelligence-based code solutions to automatically build secure infrastructure, replacing manual attempts to fix vulnerabilities.

The best practices adopted for remote working: 

The COVID-19 pandemic is a serious concern for all of us and helping our employees and their communities stay safe is our highest priority. With significant help from our infrastructure, cloud solutions, process and security groups, our employees across the globe quickly and successfully pivoted to working from home.  After a week of testing, 95% of our India-wide organization moved to work from home (WFH) with stellar results, including rapid VDI technology adoption, high productivity, and continued collaboration and communication with our clients.  Our work continues uninterrupted, with high productivity and continued business growth. Our ISS group and our Admin teams were instrumental in facilitating the transition to WFH.  We allocated hundreds of laptops, hosted hundreds of engineering support calls, and maintained 24×7 support for VPN configuration. We delivered relevant equipment to employees’ residences and provided a 24×7 quick response mechanism for admin services.  We also rolled out WFH guidelines for our employees, managers, and teams to help them acclimate to the new approach. A key component of our work from home model is ensuring our delivery team members work securely.   To ensure security for our clients. We defined and implemented a Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop-based approach, including a secured comprehensive desktop and app virtualization service running in the Azure cloud. This virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution gives us simplified management, multi-session Windows 10, optimizations for Office 365 ProPlus, and support for Remote Desktop Services (RDS) environments. Since we already provide Microsoft Azure Expert MSP level services to our clients, we were able to quickly leverage the relevant technologies to secure remote work practices among our internal delivery teams.  I am proud of the way our teams innovatively leveraged technology in an intense, rapid-turnaround situation.

Role of CISOs: 

The CIO and CISO have vital roles in ensuring the organization can function as pandemic containment measures are implemented. At Infogain, we believe that tech integration will be a major factor in organizations’ day-to-day operations, especially with remote working being here to stay. We need to ensure that businesses can work remotely and flexibly and that employees are confident in doing so. This may require us to revisit decisions on access rights, entitlements, and risk posture. In these unprecedented times, the role and activities of the CISO are directly relevant to companies’ CEOs and boards.

Five Ways Warehouse Clubs Can Improve Customer Experience

There is no doubt that e-commerce has transformed retail.  Consumers expect to find the products they want both in-store and online, to use technology to make purchases with the swipe of a finger, and to have their purchase delivered to their doorstep the very next day. As a result, warehouse clubs must continually seek ways to improve the customer experience to retain loyal customers and drive revenue. Here’s how:

Embrace Cloud Technology

Knowing how your customers behave creates the opportunity to reach them easier and in a more individualized fashion. Through data stored in the cloud, customer behavior can be analyzed and segmented based on the interactions they have with a brand, whether in person or online. A cloud-first mentality yields other benefits as well. By creating new processes to work in the cloud, Warehouse Clubs can focus on providing a better customer experience.

Take BJ’s, for example. They are a warehouse club chain based in Westborough, Massachusetts. In their quest to further improve member experience and provide convenient shopping options, BJ’s underwent a cloud transformation to improve the functionality of both it’s brick and mortar and online operations to provide a more personalized shopping experience for members. Their initial goal was to migrate applications and systems to the cloud to reduce its data center footprint. Those goals expanded to improving agility, to help IT respond to infrastructure requests faster, to replace heavyweight back-end applications with nimbler ones in the cloud, and to be able to innovate faster by leveraging cloud-based solutions.

Another example is Costco, a cloud partner with Microsoft Azure since 2017. Costco has been persistently adapting itself to leverage cloud services and transforming key operations onto the cloud platform.

Build an Efficient Supply Chain

Warehouse Stores such as Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s run extremely efficient supply chains stocking a limited number of products. BJ’s carries 7,200 SKUs, Costco carries 3,700, and Sam’s Club carries between 6000-7000. That’s compared to an average supermarket that carries an average of 40,00’s SKUs.

Other efficiencies in the supply chain include buying products directly from manufacturers and arranging delivery to 24 depots. At Costco and other Big Box Stores, these products then go warehouses using cross-docking techniques, a logistics system (Costco’s recent acquisition of Innoval) that aims to optimize shipments to stores from distribution points with minimal storage time. This approach reduces the costs of a multi-layer distribution system.

Using Technology to Deliver Multi-Channel Customer Experiences

Shoppers love their mobile devices and use it for a variety of channels. Sam’s Club has a tech hub in Dallas, referred to as Sam’s Club Now, where the company’s Scan & Go technology was tested before being implemented nationwide. Customers use their mobile phones to scan the barcode on products while placing them in their carts, and a receipt is tallied as they shop. On Sam’s Club’s app, customers can have their digital membership card, use Scan & Go, and get scanned out as they leave the Club. There’s no need for paper since the process is entirely digital. Sam’s Club also integrated the “where to find the item in the store” solution.

In addition, Sam’s Club has modernized; it’s In-Store Pickup service now known as Club Pick-Up. The service allows customers to build and save shopping lists online and place the order with Sam’s Club. When they are ready to pick up their items, customers can use the Sam’s Club app to alert the retailer that they’re on their way.

Embrace e-commerce—your way

Warehouse clubs have been placing a greater emphasis on e-commerce, and omnichannel capabilities, including developing same-day and two-day grocery delivery, rolling out buy online pick up in-store (BOPIS) services, and opening e-commerce fulfillment centers.

At Sam’s Club, e-commerce generated 4.7% of total net sales in the year ended January 31, 2019.

While most retailers are radically reshaping their strategies to contend with Amazon, Costco is focused on perfecting what’s been working for four decades. Competitors have invested heavily to bolster their online presence, and Costco has as well but remains focused on enhancing its in-store shopping experience. “We don’t want [customers] to get comfortable at just shopping at Costco online unless there is not a Costco within 100 miles.”

Despite the slow and steady approach to e-commerce, Costco has seen extremely strong growth in online revenue. The company’s e-commerce sales jumped 23.3 percent in its last fiscal year, and it’s one of the top 10 online retailers in the United States, capturing 1.3 percent of all retail e-commerce sales. Believing there’s a lot of traction to be gained online, Costco has started turning several of its closed stores into e-commerce fulfillment centers and are adding lockers to its stores to make buy-online-pickup-in-store more efficient.

Whatever the strategy, warehouse clubs need to balance in-store operations and e-commerce to support long-term growth.

Micro-fulfillment

Micro-fulfillment is an emerging technology designed to help retailers respond to increased consumer demand for rapid online order fulfillment while taking up a smaller amount of space than traditional fulfillment centers. It combines the speed of local delivery associated with in-store order picking with the efficiencies of robotics fulfillment from large automated facilities.

“We’re driven to make shopping at Meijer easy and convenient, so micro-fulfillment is another way our company is leaning into the future of retail,” said Sid Handa, Director of Strategic Supply Chain Initiatives for Meijer. “This micro-fulfillment technology will allow us to maximize space in our stores, help us expand our online shopping options, and ultimately keep pace with consumer demand for personalized shopping solutions that put their shopping preferences first.”

At Infogain, we provide Azure App Engineering services to build modern applications, modernize existing applications, or to migrate applications to Azure Cloud. Our services aim to achieve optimal cloud adoption benefits for applications based on business criticality, complexity, and cloud suitability of apps.

“Lift and Shift” Oracle Knowledge Management Implementation Completed in Seven Weeks

Background

One of the largest providers of financial management and software services, the client, located in Redwood City, CA, provides online and mobile banking solutions. The client used Oracle Knowledge Management as part of their customer support environment.

Business and Technical Challenges

The client was a unit of Intuit, Inc. but was being spun off as a separate company. As part of this move, they needed to migrate their knowledge management systems to an independent environment and data center. One core system which needed to be migrated was Oracle Knowledge. This required a rapid deployment “lift and shift” type engagement with critical deadlines that could not be slipped. A typical engagement for this type work is 20 weeks, but the client needed to complete the transition within 8 weeks.

National Specialty Retailer Reduces Costs and Achieves Greater Efficiency with AMS-Shared Support Services from Infogain

Solutions and Scope of Work

Infogain was already a trusted partner, having supported the client’s Oracle Retail Stores Solutions Suite (ORSS) applications and delivered various improvements including as Returns Management implementation and enhanced key customer and security-related functionality. Based on Infogain’s strong delivery, defined processes and pro-active initiatives, the client elected to expand Infogain’s responsibilities to include Oracle Retail Merchandising (MOM). The scope of work included:

  • Process improvements to reduce costly manual efforts that will lead to greater efficiency
  • Implementing onsite-offshore shared support service model for Retail Applications Maintenance Services
  • Leveraging Infogain’s CoE in Retail domain for to Database Administration

Oracle Knowledge Management Implementation Leads to Better Customer Experience

Business and Technical Challenges

The client’s current system included a .Net-based customer relationship management system used by approximately 100 agents plus a self-service portal for use by the client’s customers worldwide. Information available to the agents included more than 500 documents developed by more than 40 authors. Using their current system, agents were challenged to find and retrieve information in a timely and efficient manner. Additionally, the client lacked mechanisms to monitor and evaluate content usage. The client’s overall business and technical challenges included:

  • Slow response times to searches and inquiries
  • Lack of specific results based on the user’s roles and permissions
  • Inefficiency due to the volume of documents and authors’ information located in different portals
  • Insufficient overview of customers’ needs

Oracle Knowledge Management Upgrade in 7 Weeks

Business and Technical Challenges

The client was a unit of Intuit, Inc. but was being spun off as a separate company. As part of this move, they needed to migrate their systems to an independent environment and data center. One core system which needed to be migrated was Oracle Knowledge. This required a rapid deployment “lift and shift” type engagement with critical deadlines that could not be slipped. A typical engagement for this type work is 20 weeks, but the client needed to complete the transition within 8 weeks.

Infogain’s Solution

Infogain developed an accelerated plan to accommodate the customer’s short timeline, compressing the usual phases into a streamlined execution model. Infogain’s team worked around the clock and completed the work in less than 7 weeks. This deployment included content migration, search setup, dictionary configuration, the porting of customizations and upgrading to Version 8.5.1.

Oracle Knowledge Upgrade Steps Up Customer Service

Background

The client is a global technology company that works in partnership with a broad range of industrial and commercial customers to design and supply advanced technologies that optimize their operational performance and profitability. From oil refineries and power stations to mining companies and appliance manufacturers, the company’s software, systems and controls enable its customers to monitor, control and automate their products and processes.

Solution & Scope of Work

Infogain’s knowledge management experts worked directly with the client’s team to evaluate business requirements and compare them with the capabilities in the latest release of Oracle Knowledge. Based on their situation, our team documented and quantified anticipated benefits, then delivered a roadmap, recommendations and plan of action.