Infogain’s Comprehensive Guide to Migrating Existing Web Applications to Azure App Service

Moving an existing web site to Microsoft’s Azure Web Apps has never been easier.  But if you want to leverage the cloud scalability of Azure, there are several things to consider before you make the move.

  1. Don’t Use In-Proc Session Management. In web development, it is very common to use sessions. Sessions are for local web servers which are not accessible outside of the server. Azure web apps are designed to be scaled out, meaning you will often have multiple instances running.  When running behind a load balancer, each request can be directed to any of the available instances which might not be the same one that holds the session state from the last request.  If your web app currently uses in-process session management, you’ll want to change that to save the session data external to the web app.

Alternate solution: Use distributed caching. Azure offers Redis Cache which is a managed caching service. Use Redis cache for more enterprise approach. Managed Cache and In Role cache are mainly for legacy approach. Redis is recommended. Learn how to use Redis Cache for ASP.NET Session here. 

  1. Avoid Windows Authentication in SQL Server. Windows Authentication and SQL Server is very common in Line of Business Applications. This allows easy access and setup. You can leverage AD security groups to allow access to backend SQL Databases. This solves additional coding efforts while defining various levels of security and access to database. However, this may not work if you move your application to Azure in platform as a service mode.


Alternate solution: Use SQL Authentication wherever possible. If you move your database to Azure SQL Database then you have only SQL Authentication available. Also, you need to understand the limitations of Azure SQL Database and SQL Server (on-premises). Please refer to the official documentation here. An alternate solution could be to use WCF service with Azure Service Bus to connect the on-premise database.

  1. Replace Windows Service. Often web applications use Windows Service to perform backend activities like cleaning up system or database job. In Azure, you have Windows Service when you have an application hosted in a VM (Infrastructure as a Service). But in most cases, this is not an elegant solution.

Alternate solution: The best approach is to take the CQRS pattern with Worker Role. Another option is to use Web Jobs with Web Apps. But avoid Web Jobs for large processing as it stays in the same machine where your Web App is. This might create bottlenecks for your web portal during long memory consuming activity. Learn more about Web Jobs here. If the processing is very large and needs a lot of computing resources, use Azure Batch.

  1. File Upload to local. In many Web Applications, there is a file upload feature such as an image or a document. The immediate solution is to upload these files and keep them in a local web server folder. However, this is not a good design in distributed scenario.

Alternate solution: Use Azure Blob Storage.  Learn more about .NET API of Azure Blob here.

  1. 3rd party component. Any 3rd party component which requires installation and should be in Global Assembly Cache (GAC) should be avoided. Otherwise you could go for Virtual Machine in IaaS mode.

Alternate solution: The only option of deploying it to Infrastructure as a Service. Otherwise you can also use Cloud Service and start-up task to deploy them. However, all the installers should have silent installation option.

  1. Select right platform for right kind of application. If you need to move Web App as Lift and Shift mode, go for IaaS. Web Apps is the best choice over Cloud Service.

Alternate solution: There is simply not a one-size-fits-all solution. Select a platform based on your business needs.

  1. Authentication and Authorization. When we move on-premises Web Applications to the cloud, the integrated Windows authentication goes away. Plan accordingly.

Alternate solution: Leverage Azure Active Directory as an immediate solution with Directory Sync. This, however, requires code changes as we need to use OAuth or SAML. This is the biggest road block in migration.  Learn how you can authenticate ASP.NET Web Application with Azure Active Directory here.

  1. Don’t create the deployment slot for Web Load Test. Once you create a deployment slot, it creates the web app in the same virtual machine. Running Load Test would consume the shared CPU and RAM which is definitely a performance issue if you are running a live site.

Alternate solution: Create a separate Web App for testing.

  1. Implement SSL. Implement SSL using a valid certificate from a recognized certificate authority. SSL is not something you think about on-premises, but you need to be mindful of security issues when moving to the public cloud.

Alternate solution: A valid certificate form CA and CNAME mapping with domain centric binding will ensure your authenticity. You can find the steps on how to implement SSL here.

  1. Scale-out not Scale-up. Increasing the VM capacity does not guarantee the best performance. Select the distributed approach.

Alternate solution:  Use Auto Scaling if possible rather than waiting for things to break. Test, test and test until you are satisfied.

Migration consideration and methodology

Several things should be considered when moving an application to Microsoft Azure, including:

  • Application compatibility: Analyze if the application is an architectural fit for Microsoft Azure before moving.
  • External / internal dependencies: Check for external application dependencies and determine if they are accessible through Azure.
  • Application class: Verify how the application is classified in the business. Business critical and LOB applications demand high availability.
  • Application integration: Check whether the candidate application is integrated with other on-premise applications and shared services.
  • Database compatibility: Analyze whether the existing database is the best fit to migrate to Azure.
  • Application maintenance / management: Identify how the logs are maintained and where they are stored.
  • Scalability / elasticity: Identify whether the application design supports scalability as Azure supports it.
  • Compliance requirements: See if there are enterprise compliance and regulations that govern whether the data can be moved / stored outside the enterprise’s control.
  • Cost: Verify whether the moving application is cost-effective for the enterprise.
  • Security: Clarify whether the same level of security can be provided after migrating to Microsoft Azure in terms of data security, authentication and authorizations. 

Migration strategy / approach

UI analysis: Analyze if the UI interface can be migrated to Azure directly in the PaaS model.  Web applications and web services in non-cloud solutions can be mapped to Microsoft Azure web roles, while the non-web applications are kept on-premise. Re-engineering work is required to modify the existing web application code to use Windows.

Azure SDK: This ensures that it runs on Microsoft Azure as hosted Cloud services. In addition, if any third-party framework / class library that is not supported by Azure is used, the library may need some modifications or, will have to be re-written.

Infogain can help you with the migration process. Contact cloudservices@infogain.com.

Infogain (www.infogain.com) provides front-end, customer-facing technologies, processes and applications that lead to a more efficient and streamlined customer experience for enterprises in the US, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and India. Offering solutions for the high-tech, retail, insurance, healthcare and travel & hospitality verticals, Infogain specializes in areas such as software product engineering, digital service automation, cloud, mobility, testing and business intelligence & analytics. The company has 9 delivery centers and close to 4000 employees globally. Infogain has a customer retention rate of 90%+ over a five-year period.

Infogain and Zinnov Roundtable Event: Cognitive Testing Automation

June 29th, 2018
Hyatt Regency, Santa Clara

Infogain and Zinnov are hosting a roundtable session on “Unlocking the Business Value of Cognitive Testing Automation”, this exclusive, invite-only event will host 15+ CXOs, senior executive and IT leaders driving technology-related initiatives within their organizations. The main goal of the event is to provide a platform to discuss the growing applications of cognitive test automation, its benefits, and the strategies and best practices for its implementation. 

Event Agenda highlights:

  • Keynote by Vikas Mittal, ‎Head – Testing Expert Centres and Solution Delivery – Business Assurance Services – ‎Infogain
  • Keynote by Ravi Nemani, SVP, Product Delivery – ‎Mitchell International
  • Keynote by Sateesh Chilukuri, VP of Software Development at TriNet
  • Moderator-led discussion and case studies
  • Networking lunch 

Key Objectives:

  • Address how enterprises can leverage AI/ ML technologies to advance the testing process further
  • Discuss and debate on key topics such as – benefits of intelligent test automation, enterprise adoption and industry trends
  • Hear from your peer’s experiences – challenges and success stories
  • Learn from technology experts, industry veterans and influencers about strategies for successful implementation of cognitive test automation 

To learn more about Infogain’s testing solutions, or to request an appointment with the Infogain Team, please email us at SalesTeam@infogain.com.

Watch Infogain’s  Testing Automation video

Delivered Significant Savings in License Cost and Test Execution Effort

Client:

The client develops software used by the automotive industry to manage collison & medical claims.

Business Results

  • Saved $1 Million in annual license cost for Microsoft Visual Studio used earlier for test automation by moving to UAP
  • Shorter application QA cycles from 3 weeks to 3 business days
  • Improved customer’s confidence in the build and reduced time-to-market

Helping Humans and Bots Work Together: Infogain & Automation Anywhere

One by one, industries are quickly adopting Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Infogain and Automation Anywhere work together to help organizations take the mundane, repetitive, rule-based tasks and make them easier with the use of bots.  RPA saves time, improves accuracy and increases profitability. Infogain automates processes across enterprises, including four key areas of IT operations, finance, core operations and customer service. A few examples:

  • Automated processes in the Oracle Merchandising System (ORMS) to reduce manual efforts and improve productivity among merchandising teams.
  • Automated operations processes to dramatically improve core operations processes for employee activities for a Bay Area unicorn company.
  • Digitized bots to automate finance and operation process across multiple countries that yielding 80% savings for certain automated financial processes.

Infogain offers enterprise automation strategy, end-to-end implementation and management leading to many benefits, including:

  • Lowered cost of operations with cost savings of up to 25-30%
  • Improved accuracy and efficiency with quality and compliance
  • Non-intrusive and non-disruptive implementation that allows business to run as usual
  • Easily adoptable by departments that lack skilled resources and/or IT personnel
  • Improved employee morale due to redeployment of people from mundane processes

View Infogain’s RPA Demo:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlQxlL6g-Mk

Partnership Success – Automation Anywhere Bot Store & Infogain Bots

Out partner Automation Anywhere offers a Bot store with bots that have sophisticated AI and cognitive functionality. Infogain customizes these to further accelerate the automation of processes at our clients.

Now it’s Your Turn

Talk to us today and accelerate your company’s digitalization process with RPA.

Specialty Retailer Optimized their Hybris eCommerce Platform with Infogain

Solutions & Scope of Work

  • Inventory Management Optimization and real time updates
  • Efficient and cost effective dual shore team
  • Implemented processes to increase sales, customer experience and higher customer conversion
  • Test Automation of B2B and B2C web and mobile platforms
  • Implemented processes to reduce abandoned carts
  • Implemented Point-to-Point Tokenization

Infogain Enables Real-Time Predictive Sales Business Intelligence (BI) to Enhance Productivity for Trilogy

Infogain Helps Trilogy to Deploy an Interactive Business Intelligence Tool for its Enterprise Lead Management System

 

The client is a U.S-based provider of enterprise-class software and service solutions to Global 1000 companies in the automotive industry. The client’s Enterprise Lead Management System (ELMS) delivers the highest quality new and used vehicle leads to dealers and automotive manufacturers. Infogain partnered with the client to develop and deploy a BI tool for its ELMS. The Infogain team developed a rich functional BI interface that provided end-to-end analysis and basic analytics of Lead performance along with operational day-to-day reports.

Join us in Bangalore and Deep Dive into Digital Transformation

June 20-21, 2018
Bangalore, India

Infogain is honored to be a Silver Sponsor at this year’s Confluence June 20-21, 2018 in Bangalore. Mr. Ramesh Subramanian, CTO will join on June, 20th for the keynote panel discussion “From Here to There – Journey to the Peak of Digitalization” beginning at 11:40 am IST. The panelists will discuss the Digitalization journey and the challenges and pitfalls that companies are facing in this journey.

More info: http://confluence.zinnov.com/india/agenda

To schedule a meeting with Infogain, email us at confluence@infogain.com

Infogain’s Guide to Customer Loyalty Models

How Infogain developed a Loyalty Model of our own

Are you an iPhone or Android person? Do you swear by Coke over Pepsi? Mac or PC?

What was it that made you choose one over the other?

Customer Loyalty is all about turning satisfied customers into brand advocates, to achieve this, it is critical to strengthen the bond with customers and it is necessary to compel customers to participate in loyalty programs—most commonly through the use of credit cards that provide rewards and incentives for the amount of money you spend.

Loyalty Analytics

Loyalty Analytics has become a significant area of study. Rewards programs that are solely based on discount economies can chip away at profitability, especially when they are not aligned with customer preference and needs.

According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Brand Management, there is a three-dimensional approach for auditing brand loyalty:

Behavior loyalty: A consumer prefers to buy certain brand and continue to purchase that brand and earns points toward discounts. A model based on behavior alone inflates price sensitivities.

Cognitive loyalty:  A consumer is conditioned to buy a brand with reduced sensitivity to the price and will even pay a premium for their preferred brand.  Cognitive Loyalty is linked to perceived quality of certain features which the customer feels is more advantageous than competition. (Think Mac vs. PC)

Attitudinal loyalty involves brand intimacy. A consumer acts as a brand ambassador by referring the brand on social media. Attitudinal loyalty is non-transactional in nature, as brand ambassadors expect to be rewarded for their non–purchase actions such as referrals on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets.

When Loyalty Models fall short

Infogain was contacted by a large conglomerate which operates Retail, Insurance, Loyalty and other business lines. A Loyalty program for an Oil & Gas – Distribution & Marketing company

was not paying off, as customers were not using points from the program to re-purchase fuel. The program became a cost center rather than being a profit center.

Infogain studied the Amex Membership Milestones program which had experienced a similar problem. They had launched the Milestones program due to competition pressure—not desired customer behavior. The Milestone membership program also turned into a cost center rather than being a profit center. When Amex understood the link between rewards and desired customer behavior, it began encouraging profitable customer behavior, including referrals and social sharing.

The Infogain Loyalty Model

The Infogain Loyalty model addresses behavioral, cognitive and attitudinal motivators and will reduce churn and increase repeat purchase. In order to convert a rewards program center into a profit center from being a cost center, it is critical to link rewards with desired behavior:

  • A person who repurchases a product regularly by redeeming points is behaviorally loyal
  • A customer who is ready to pay a premium price for product exhibits cognitive loyalty
  • A person who is happy about the product and refers the product to others exhibits attitudinal loyalty

Infogain suggests a Fixed Effects Model to measure the impact of past loyalty programs and to capture the differences that exists in locations, thereby reducing the location bias. Infogain set the dependent variable as “Profit  Ratio” and borrowing the concept of linking the rewards to desired behavior from the Amex Case:

Profit Ratio = Revenue earned from re-purchase / Cost of loyalty and rewards. Profit ratio should be greater than 1 for profits, at 1 there is a Break Even Point

How Infogain’s Customer Loyalty Model increased the repeat purchase ratio of the Oil & Gas – Distribution & Marketing company

It is difficult to measure cognitive loyalty. If the customer is ready to pay a higher price for the fuel at the oil and gas company, they will not worry about accumulating points there.
The perceived value – cognitive loyalty could be anything from:
1. Employee quality and delight
2. Car wash or other facilities available in the station
3. Ambience
4. Other products like Techron

Conclusion


Loyalty Programs should be a win-win proposition.

The value created should always exceed the costs created on a balance sheet, and companies should understand the links between value created for customer and value created for company, else profits will only be illusory and cost will be real.

Loyalty is not only concerned with rewarding customers with personalized offers through loyalty programs, but also with turning satisfied customers into successful brand advocates.

To learn more about the Infogain Loyalty Models, contact analytics@infogain.com.

About Infogain

Infogain is a global business oriented IT consulting provider of front-end, customer-facing technologies, processes and applications, leading to a more efficient and streamlined customer experience. We want our clients’ interactions with their customers to be fast, efficient, and cost effective.

With close to 4,000 employees in the United States, India, the Middle East, U.K., Singapore and Malaysia, we service 5 of the world’s largest 50 companies, and 24 of the Fortune 500. we have million-dollar engagements with over 25 customers, many of which have been with us for 5 years or more.

The Impact of AI in Transforming Talent Management

Have you ever imagined the future of work? Do you envision robots in workplaces and Artificial Intelligence replacing human tasks?  Which people skills will be valued most?

JobBuzz Workplace 2025: Technology, Talent & Transformation Conclave 2018 hosted India’s leading CEOs, CTOs and CHROs to discuss how organizations must prepare for disruptions in recruiting, employer branding, employee engagement, learning, technology and the future workspace.

Ayan Mukerji, Infogain’s President and COO, gave an eye-opening presentation entitled “The Impact of AI in Transforming Talent Management.”

Here are key takeaways from the presentation:

What is driving the adoption of intelligence and automation? Cost.
Artificial Intelligence(AI):

  • Lowers the cost of Knowledge: With free and limitless access to data in terms of breadth of topics and depth (amount of data), the right use of information can enable desired intelligence in automated systems.
  • Lowers the cost of Compute:
    • Storage is drastically decreased from over 100K dollars per GB in the 1980s to 2 cents per GB in 2017
    • Processing: The rapid growth in computing power has enabled miniaturization of smart devices. Smart devices have more computing power than all of the computers combined in 1969.
  • Lowers the cost of prediction: Today, ML algorithms are widely accessible and free. TensorFlow is a leading open source library. AWS and Azure offer similar repositories.
  • How is skill linked to automation?

    Think “Intelligence-driven, judgment-oriented”.

    Tarun Amarnath, a high school student at Saint Francis High School in Mountain View, CA, for example, worked on a model to diagnose schizophrenia using multimodal brain imaging data.

    Numerical data collected from MRI and fMRI brain scans can be analyzed to determine whether a patient has schizophrenia without performing invasive surgeries or having a doctor present.

    • This study was published in Microsoft’s Cortana Intelligence Gallery and has been viewed or downloaded by more than 1,000 data scientists around the world
    • The accuracy of this method is about 80%.

    Describing Intelligence-driven, judgment-oriented process

    All human activities can be described by five high-level components:

The Skill and Judgment Continuum in HR

  • Recruitment is more rules-based – minimum qualifications, years of experience and exposure to technologies. Another similar aspect is Reporting & MIS – for example, the number and types of leaves that can be taken vary with roles and by location.
  • Performance Management and Career Development are more dynamic and require exercising judgment, while also displaying sensitivity, as each employee’s case is different from the other.

The Benefits of Automation in Talent Acquisition

  • Companies can realize huge savings when automating tasks that are rules-based and repeatable, such as sending notifications when leave has been applied for and approved.
  • The automation of each step in the process of talent acquisition saves both cost and people hours. The people hours saved can be used by HR teams to do more value-added work and/or work that requires creativity.

AI in HR: Who is using it and how?

There is a diverse customer base of AI in HR in a variety of industries, including media, aviation, apparel, telecom, hotels, and retail/e-commerce. Examples include:

  • HireVue
    • Video interviewing, scheduling and assessments
    • Customers: Hilton Worldwide, Unilever, Under Armour, Vodafone
  • Pymetrics
    • Quizzing candidates and employees, identify strengths and weaknesses, and match with certain types of jobs
    • Customers: Tesla, Unilever
  • InFeedo
    • Helps employees feel valued with predictive analytics; one example is of a bot that chats with employees and finds those who are unhappy or likely to leave
    • Customers: TimesInternet, Vistara (Indian airline), GE Healthcare, Makemytrip
  • ai
    • Primarily for technical hiring; coding assessments, personalized outreach (made possible with AI), video interviews
    • Customers: Facebook – also KPMG, TCS
  • Pomello
    • Quantifies culture; culture mapping, discover underlying motivations, identify at-risk employees, create customized KPIs
    • Customers: Hershey’s – also Dolby, Evernote

How is Digital Disruption impacting the Talent Management Process?

The Impact of AI in Transforming Talent Management – Case Studies

How can your business benefit from AI for Talent Management?

Those interested in further discussions on this can contact us at digitaltransformation@infogain.com.

Infogain (www.infogain.com) provides front-end, customer-facing technologies, processes and applications that lead to a more efficient and streamlined customer experience for enterprises in the US, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and India. Offering solutions for the high-tech, retail, insurance, healthcare and travel & hospitality verticals, Infogain specializes in areas such as software product engineering, digital service automation, cloud, mobility, testing and business intelligence & analytics. The company has 9 delivery centers and close to 4000 employees globally. Infogain has a customer retention rate of 90%+ over a five-year period.

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