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www.insightssuccess.com December 2018

The

Most Valuable Solution Providers 2018 Edition

Editor’s Pick The Impressive Impact of Organic Networking

Editor’s Prospective New-Age E-learning Methodologies that are Altering the Landscape of Learning

Reforming Organizations through its Disruptive Software Solution


Omnichannel Agent and Customer Engagement Solutions Simplify and personalize the customer experience, empower agents and achieve business success with one workspace for all channel interactions, application integrations, and CX reporting.


Simplifying the Complexities of Businesses with Evolved Microsoft Solutions

M

icrosoft has touched our lives significantly and continues to do so with the priceless solutions it offers, with the intent to simplifying our lives. Microsoft has traveled a long way since the launch of MS-DOS, in the 80s. From then, it has continued inventing, in terms of software, hardware, and cloud solutions. Over the years Microsoft has transformed into a technological brand and kept its competitors on their toes by consistent innovation and incorporation of evolving trends. Today, the digital disruption has caused a widespread revolution in every business sector. Microsoft offers a huge spectrum of products and solutions that are built on the basis and pillars of scalability, rich and innovative functionality. Microsoft’s advanced and refined product portfolio, supporting a diverse range of programming languages, frameworks, third-party tools, and systems, has reinvented business execution across industries. Microsoft, being a driver of technological innovation, designs customizable solutions and products that are designed for the digital world which is driven by big data, cloud, and artificial intelligence. Microsoft products and solutions vary from personal digital assistants to finding newer ways to benefit from the Internet of Things, cloud services, Blockchain, Microsoft data platform, SAP on Azure, Big data and analytics, and Office 365 suite. With the help of Microsoft Solutions, it also becomes possible to unleash the potential hidden in big data, whether it’s on-premises, in the cloud or at the edge – and reveal insights and opportunities to transform businesses. With Microsoft, it is possible to transform businesses with a unified data platform. The Microsoft data platform brings Artificial Intelligence to data and it helps to gain deep knowledge about businesses and customers like never before. With help of targeted integration and analysis of data Microsoft Solution providers strengthen the competitiveness of businesses. Microsoft solution providers easily integrate data into different apps and use a rich set of cognitive services to build human-like intelligence across any scale of data. It is possible to build intelligent apps backed by Microsoft’s innovations. Certified solution providers empower businesses to function


efficiently, better, faster, from anywhere, anytime. These providers specialize in delivering up-to-date Microsoft technology-based customer solutions all over the world. A certified Microsoft solution provider can assess business goals, identify a solution that meets business needs and it helps businesses become more agile and efficient. These solution providers help businesses take full advantage of the cloud, opening a wide array of newer opportunities to grow businesses and their revenue. Trusted Microsoft solution providers tap the power of technology, innovation to simplify the complexities of businesses. Certified Microsoft solution providers help businesses save time, money, and in the continuous growth of businesses by delivering required solutions. With all this, we can say that the amount of value that Microsoft solution providers bring to the table of any organization and for the purpose of improving businesses is priceless. And therefore having the right Microsoft solution provider to meet all business goals is absolutely critical. Recognizing this, Insights Success has shortlisted, “The 10 Most Valuable Microsoft Solution Providers in 2018.” Notable Microsoft Solution Provider TimeXtender is recognized globally as one of the fastest growing private software companies, which enables businesses to make quality business decisions faster with its flagship technology platform, Discovery Hub®. It has partnered with Microsoft to deliver Discovery Hub® on Azure. Discovery Hub® is now fully certified for Microsoft Azure and available in the Azure Market Place. By running Discovery Hub® on Azure, it provides business users with self-service analytics. The design of Discovery Hub® enables fully automated data preparation, providing data analysts with the accessibility needed to maximize advanced analytics and AI. We distinguished various other organizations which facilitate the world with their various unique Microsoft solutions. CAL Business Solutions has installed over 300+ accounting systems for companies nationwide, with a focus on Microsoft Dynamics GP and Acumatica for businesses in Connecticut and Southern New England; Colorado Technology Consultants, Inc. is a global provider of IT Consulting and Training services. It specializes in helping medium to large businesses leverage technology to reach a sustained competitive advantage; The Exceedra system supports a closed-loop, integrated business planning process and revenue management activities to drive better control, decision making and visibility across the enterprise; Salt Essential IT’s solutions empower its employees to work better and faster, from anywhere, anytime. Its services also stabilize its client’s operations while increasing their bottom line; Winspire Solutions has been providing clients of every size with consultancy, customization, training and implementation of ERP, CRM, SCM and Business Intelligence solutions. Additionally, this magazine contains articles that are the contribution of our in-house editorial team and industry pioneers which incorporates the importance of having certified Microsoft solution providers to improve the value that businesses deliver to the world. Let’s turn over and have an eye further!

Sharad Chitalkar


08

TIMEXTENDER Reforming Organiza ons through its Disrup ve So ware Solu on

- Cover Story ARTICLES

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36

Editor’s Pick

Energy Efficient Technology

The Impressive Impact of Organic Networking

Green Cloud Compu ng Saving Energy through Technology

CXO

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30

42

TECH-TALK Challenges and Risks in adop ng Digital Disrup on

Minimize Risk of Digital Transforma on Failure

Top 5 Email Security Threats


22

CAL Business Solu ons: So ware Systems That Work

Colorado Technology Consultants, Inc: Impar ng IT Consul ng and Training Services Globally

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Exceedra: 34

Integrated Business Planning and Revenue Management

Salt Essen al IT: Helping Businesses to Operate Be er since Incep on

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40

Winspire Solu ons: Delivering World Class ERP Solu ons


Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor Executive Editors Assistant Editors Contributing Editors Visualiser Art & Design Director Associate Designer Co-designer

Pooja M. Bansal Anish Miller Bhushan Kadam Jenny Fernandes Kedar Kulkarni Sharad Chitalkar Hitesh Dhamani David King Amol Kamble Nagesh Tembhekar Karan Gaikwad

Art & Picture Editor Paul Belin Jayant Khanna Senior Sales Manager Passi D. Business Development Manager Peter Collins Marketing Manager John Matthew Business Development Executives Steve, Joe, Alan, Omkar Sales Executives David, Kevin, Mark, Pranay Technical Head Jacob Smile Technical Specialist Amar, Pratiksha Digital Marketing Manager Marry D’Souza Online Marketing Strategist Alina Sege, Shubham Mahadik, Vaibhav K SME-SMO Executives Prashant Chevale, Uma Dhenge, Gemson, Irfan Research Analyst Chidiebere Moses Circulation Manager Robert, Tanaji Database Management Stella Andrew Technology Consultant David Stokes sales@insightssuccess.com

December, 2018 Corporate Ofces: Insights Success Media Tech LLC 555 Metro Place North, Suite 100, Dublin, OH 43017, United States Phone - (614)-602-1754 Email: info@insightssuccess.com For Subscription: www.insightssuccess.com

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The

Most Valuable

Cover Story

Solution Providers 2018 Edition

Reforming Organizations through its Disruptive Software Solution

Discovery Hub® is the future-proof analytical platform, enabling quality business decisions with data, mind and heart.


T

aking into consideration the drive to ceaselessly transform the ever-evolving IT ecosystem, formulation and delivery of reformative software solutions and services, and a profound knack for innovation, TimeXtender has been recognized as one of the most valuable Microsoft solution providers. TimeXtender, with headquarters in both Denmark and the U.S., instigates quality business decisions with data, mind, and heart. The company does this for one simple reason, “because time matters.” TimeXtender was founded in 2006 and is a privately owned company. It serves its customers, including Fortune 500, large-sized enterprises and mid-sized companies, through a global network of partners. TimeXtender, recognized globally as one of the fastest-growing private software companies, enables businesses decisions faster with its flagship technology platform Discovery Hub®. With Discovery Hub®, users get actionable insights, simplify their compliance journey and make better decisions in less time. Using this unified platform, business users, Business Intelligence (BI) and IT developers can collaborate on an agile, fully integrated information platform that supports iterative workflows to quickly create reports and dashboards. This lets business leaders make quality business decisions without impacting the core systems of the business. Exemplifying Microsoft Solutions Worldwide TimeXtender is devoted to developing ongoing technology advancements with Discovery Hub® for the Microsoft community. The company’s research and development staff has worked diligently to augment its Microsoft capabilities over the years. An example of this is TimeXtender’s recent announcement that Discovery Hub® now supports Azure Data Lake.

The company is closely aligned with Microsoft Azure and along with Azure Data Lake, supports Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Database Managed Instance, Azure Analysis Services, and Azure Data Warehouse. Discovery Hub® is also Azure certified and available in the Azure Marketplace. TimeXtender has been a Microsoft Partner, Gold Data Analytics and Power BI technology partner for many years. Transformative Technology Leader Heine Krog Iversen is the Founder and CEO of TimeXtender and has been involved in enterprise IT for more than 20 years. Through hard work, diligence, and persistence, Heine has transformed TimeXtender from a start-up organization in Denmark into a global company with employees and offices around the world. Currently, TimeXtender has more than 3,000 customers in more than 70 countries on six continents. Heine has worked tirelessly to educate the industry about the benefits of instant access to data for any person, from any location, at any time. Having access to data in a secured and governed manner helps business users make strategic decisions quickly and in an organized manner to help the business prosper. This capability for a company is absolutely essential for businesses of all sizes, across all industries, for one fundamental reason, “because time matters.” Also, Heine has greatly contributed to this industry shift of instant data access for business users as evidenced by the number of articles he has published and various events and meetings he has spoken at over the years. He has fostered myriad business relationships throughout global regions and is often called upon for his insights about the IT industry and matters surrounding corporate data. Embedding Discovery Hub® Globally TimeXtender’s Discovery Hub® is the next generation of data architecture, simplifying and automating the implementation and operation of the entire data infrastructure. With Discovery Hub®, there is no longer a


need to stitch numerous tools together, nor a need to think about data preparation or fuss with long manual development cycles based on complex architectural designs. Discovery Hub® is a comprehensive end-to-end solution that lets businesses easily merge data from a wide variety of data sources into a “single version of the truth,” thereby removing conflicting reports and silos of extractions and transformations. It allows automation to model data so that line of business users can easily understand the data. At the same time, data is properly defined so that all users of reports and analytics speak the same language. By combining this agile platform with a company’s preferred visualization tool (Power BI, Qlik, or Tableau), corporate business users have the full power of business intelligence in a structured, governed and secured environment – all within a self-service analytics framework that helps meet compliance needs. A Distinctive Competence Commenting upon the organization’s strategy for tackling competition, Heine believes that an unrelenting focus is paramount to achieving market leadership. “First off, it begins by maintaining a focus and longstanding commitment to doing what you excel at and not trying to be everything to everybody,” said Heine. “This focus has helped TimeXtender build one of the most respected technology platforms to help companies and their business users get instant access to their data for anyone, at any time, from anywhere.”

Simplify, Automate, Execute; because time matters and we engage fully charged.


Be the best at what you do!

TimeXtender’s culture is built with modernization in mind. The company listens closely to the market and its customers’ needs and continuously designs new functionality to service those requests and to ensure it is at the forefront of innovation. Moreover, it develops new innovation and brings those revelations to the market to help its customers advance in ways not previously considered. To this end, Discovery Hub® is the recipient of new advancements and capabilities on an ongoing basis with an aim to building innovative capabilities and modern functionalities, suitable for Microsoft Azure and cloud capabilities. Inspired by Technology Trends Prior to TimeXtender, Heine was a co-founder of another IT consultancy that provided business process optimization, workflow, ERP systems, and business intelligence services. From this experience, he realized that to implement business intelligence on top of ERP systems, organizations often had the same problems that needed to be solved by the same type of coding. The answer rested in automation. This discovery led to the founding of TimeXtender. Initially, TimeXtender tried partnering with some ERP consultancy firms but this idea was not a great match for the company as business models contradicted with the notion of automation. Given this, partnering with a new generation of companies was a better fit for TimeXtender. This led to alliances with Power BI, Qlik, and Tableau partners. These types of businesses had a modern outlook and believed wholeheartedly in the benefits of automation software as a scalable solution, and as the backbone behind visualization and analytic tools.


The company has a constant eye on emerging trends and industry developments. It intends to consistently deliver future-proof solutions for its customers by regularly updating Discovery Hub® and by working closely with Microsoft to help ensure it delivers on that promise. TimeXtender has an agile and flexible way of thinking and maintaining its roots of being a fast-moving, innovative startup. Ensuring Efficiency to Customers TimeXtender regularly hosts seminars, workshops and user groups to speak directly to its vast number of customers. These events are quite useful for the free flow of ideas, shared feedback and engaged learning. The company markets and sells Discovery Hub® entirely through its worldwide network of partners. These partners also provide assistance to local customers in their respective geographic regions.

technical discussions around the underlying technology. As innovation continues to progress, organizations will have a need to follow along. Today, TimeXtender considers it essential to move to a platform mindset, where it can separate the data modeling from what underlying technology a company is using. Discovery Hub® can be deployed on Azure or on-premise. When it comes to Azure, using several different database technologies including Azure Data Lake becomes evident. TimeXtender also comprehends that the days where the user had to do a 12-month project to redo their entire solution are over, and now this will be handled just by a click of a button in the software. TimeXtender is well positioned and is leading the way to help businesses around the world achieve just that.

TimeXtender has taken great steps to create and make available written technical documentation, video tutorials and hosted webinars about Discovery Hub®, and issues surrounding the development of a central hub and next-generation data architecture for companies. Company executives also attend, exhibit and speak regularly at various events around the world, making a concerted effort to meet with customers and partners at these venues.

We believe in serving our customers through a global network of partners.

Beholding the Future TimeXtender has helped change how the industry has been working for the greater part of the last 30 years, as people have stopped talking about the patchwork of tools or building a data warehouse as the end goal, and rather are focusing on the WHY, and are now building a Data Estate and Data Platforms. TimeXtender has contributed greatly as a market leader, convincing the industry that businesses can automate the work of preparing data for instant access, regardless of the number of sources. The company perceives itself as a pioneer in moving away from writing code and from having

Gratified Clientele With more than 3,000 customers worldwide using Discovery Hub®, TimeXtender is proud that its technology is being used in so many organizations across various global markets.

Following are two of the many testimonials from satisfied customers.

“Choosing Discovery Hub® by TimeXtender came down to ease of implementation, cost and the all-important: ‘Can it work with the ERP that we were implementing?’. “We also looked at other software, to see how that would stack up in terms of ease of implementation. But it was quite an easy decision to go with TimeXtender.” - Kerry McRae, BI team leader & stream lead at O’Brien. “We save the hours not on the analysis but on the operations to actually just make sure we get the data. I’d say that we spend maybe only 20% of the time we’d previously spent on preparation before Discovery Hub®.” - Peter Hansen, manager and BI architect at PANDORA.


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The

Most Valuable Solution Providers 2018 Edition

Company Name

Management

Brief

Booz Allen Hamilton Inc boozallen.com

Horacio Rozanski CEO

Booz Allen Hamilton is a global firm of 24,225 diverse, passionate, and exceptional people driven to excel, do right, and realize positive change in everything it does.

Colorado Technology Consultants coloradotc.com

Julie Yack COO & Founder

Colorado Technology Consultants, Inc. is a global provider of IT Consulting and Training services. It specializes in helping medium to large businesses leverage technology to reach a sustained competitive advantage.

Massey Consulting masseyconsulting.net

Philip Massey Founder & President

Massey Consulting is a full-service consulting firm in Raleigh, NC, specializing in accounting software products and services, such as implementations and integrations.

Microexcel Inc microexcel.com

Paul Simon CEO

Microexcel Inc., is a leading technology services and solutions partner for global customers. Founded in 2001, it provides end-to-end, innovative and comprehensive services that helps customers leverage high quality, flexible delivery models for cost efficiency, enhanced skill set, and deep domain expertise.

Salt Essential IT salt.na

Vanessa Maresch Business Development Manager

Salt’s solutions empower its employees to work better and faster, from anywhere, anytime. Its services also stabilize its client’s operations while increasing their bottom line.

CAL Business Solutions calszone.com

George Mackiewicz Founder & President

Since 1982 CAL Business Solutions has installed over 300+ accounting systems for companies nationwide, with a focus on Microsoft Dynamics GP and Acumatica for businesses in Connecticut and Southern New England.

Exceedra exceedra.com

The Exceedra system supports a closed-loop, integrated Chris Rice business planning process and revenue management activities to VP Sales & Marketing drive better control, decision making and visibility across the enterprise.

IT-Logix AG it-logix.ch

Samuel Rentsch CEO, Partner

Through the targeted integration and analysis of data, IT-Logix AG helps companies in Switzerland to strengthen their competitiveness.

TimeXtender timextender.com

Heine Krog Iversen Founder & CEO

TimeXtender is recognized globally as one of the fastest growing private software companies, which enables businesses to make quality business decisions faster with its flagship technology platform, "Discovery Hub®.

Jitendra Kulkarni Founder & CEO

Winspire Solutions has been providing clients of every size with consultancy, customization, training and implementation of ERP, CRM, Supply chain Management and Business Intelligence solutions.

Winspire Solutions winspiresolutions.com


ABOUT THE AUTHOR David Cahn is Global VP of Marketing for Elemica, the leading provider of a Digital Supply Network for process manufacturers.

David Cahn Global VP of Marketing Elemica

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December 2018


CHALLENGES & RISKS IN ADOPTING

DIGITAL DISRUPTION T echnological innovation is happening at a faster rate than ever before, causing digital disruptions for many businesses. A digital disruption is a transformation that is caused by emerging digital technologies and business models. These innovative new technologies and models can impact the value of existing products and services offered in the industry, actually disrupting the current market and causing businesses to reevaluate their competitive advantage. Ignoring digital disruptions can impact businesses. Remember Polaroid? The company led the market with its cameras that created instant pictures. Yet in 2001, the Polaroid Corporation filed for federal bankruptcy protection because the company failed to make the smooth transition from analog to digital cameras. The corporation decided to bet on their past innovations and, as a result, lost to companies who jumped on the digital bandwagon. By keeping abreast of changes in demand, businesses can follow the trends and adjust their strategies to embrace these changes, which will help them to thrive and grow profits. Today’s digital disruptors are companies like Amazon and Uber, who use technologies to out maneuver the competition and build growth. Disruptors can be startup companies or long-established businesses. A wait-and-see attitude will not give a business sufficient time to make a comeback when the disruptor begins to dominate the industry.

December 2018

Companies must continuously reinvent their business using digital disruptive technology or watch from the sidelines while they lose market share. Yet, many businesses still struggle with acceptance, and others don't know where to start the journey. Accepting Digital Disruption Digital disruption is fueled by next generation technology, such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, the Internet of Things and software-enabled platforms that tie all these technologies together. C-level executives understand that any industry can be profoundly affected by digital disruption and no one can afford to ignore the threat. In other words, digital disruption rewrites the rules of business.

Digital disruption begins with acceptance of digital transformation using digital technologies within operations and ecosystems. Today’s technology allows all business stakeholders to share a single network, connecting and collaborating on supply chain operations from one end of the enterprise to the other. Each trading partner has access to information generated through the network in order to gain visibility to all aspects of production, procurement, transportation and distribution. With the proper information, executives can make qualified decisions that drive improvements in the business. Accepting digital disruptions within the enterprise means the business is no longer worried by the disruption and

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instead leverages strategic planning and technologies to drive the business. Disruption is accepted into the culture of the organization so innovation is a day-to-day experience. Instead of concern, the business will be better able to sense and respond to changes in demand and disruptions to mitigate any risk.

technique is through some type of portal for order capture and invoicing for inter-business automation. Finally, some leading DSNs provide email as a simple onboarding method to digitize an inter-business process without requiring supply chain partners to have any integration software. Benefits of Digital Disruptions

Often a business has to decide whether to respond to the digital disruption or not. While it is not conducive to ignore the disruption, businesses may not always have to respond. Instead, the business can complement the disruption by adding value to it. An example would be to create technologies that augment the disruption, such as software (added value) for an iPhone (disruptor). Beginning a Digital Transformation Journey To start the journey, management needs to design a strategy for digital transformation that involves people, processes and partners. The strategy should be broken down into process steps that contain material, information and people flow. Each employee knows that the product moves from process A to process B in a specific quantity, at a specific time, to a specific location. Because of digital technologies, people have visibility into what is happening with each step, giving them the ability to uncover bottlenecks that can cause delays or poor product quality.

Digital transformation helps customers know where their “stuff” is at all times, similar to the conveniences derived from mobile apps, where a taxi is ordered and the route visualized on the phone screen. Emerging next-gen end-toend visibility applications in concert with a network of interconnected buyers, suppliers and logistics providers are enabling companies to lower working capital and operating expenses, mitigate risk and improve customer satisfaction by breaking down silos within the organization. With digital transformation, the supply chain is now a completely integrated ecosystem accessible by all stakeholders. With end-to-end visibility as the key driver for an effective supply chain improvement strategy, businesses must rely on building more collaborative relationships across their network of trading partners. Gaining end-to-end visibility across transportation processes can deliver 6% or more in transportation savings, remove the equivalent of 15 people from operating costs by improving productivity, and reduce the Cash-to-Cash cycle by 4 days or more.

Today’s technology allows all stakeholders to share a single network, connecting and collaborating on supply chain activities from one end of the enterprise to the other. Each trading partner has access to information generated through the network in order to gain visibility to all aspects of production, procurement, transportation and distribution. With the proper information, executives can make qualified decisions that drive improvements in the business.

Digital systems gather data, which can be used for predictive analytics and machine learning to continually improve the organization. More informed decisions can be made by management. Disruptions from digital technologies can reshape markets and help with launching new products or services for less cost.

Digital Supply Networks (DSN) are part of a digital transformation journey, providing a technology foundation for improving inter-business processes, expanding supply chain relationships, increasing revenues and reducing operating costs. DSNs create greater opportunities by integrating suppliers, customers, and logistics service providers in various ways depending on the level of interbusiness processes that are performing.

With a digital transformation in the supply chain, silos dissolve and every part of the ecosystem has full visibility to what is happening from end-to-end. Supply and demand signals can travel through the network uninhibited, alerting the appropriate parties to low levels of raw materials or inventory, or seasonal spikes in demand. Because trading partners get this information in real time through the digital supply network, they can react accordingly. Digital disruptions from digital transformations will results into huge gains in customer satisfaction, profits and efficiencies.

One method is to connect via ERP-to-ERP integrations with high-volume suppliers and customers to streamline and automate sell-side and buy-side transactions. A second

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December 2018


CAL Business Solu ons: So ware Systems That Work George Mackiewicz Founder & President

A

successful business solutions company bases their reputation on providing technology and expertise to help their clients keep pace with current business innovations and prepare for their future growth. CAL Business Solutions, a Connecticut-based company focused on Microsoft Dynamics GP (Great Plains) and Acumatica accounting software, specializes in implementing the right software systems at the right price. George Mackiewicz, Founder and President of CAL Business Solutions, started the company in 1982 and has built a practical, hardworking team that has implemented over three hundred accounting systems, both on premises and in the Cloud, nationwide.

recommend its product if it is not the right fit. They will be glad to make recommendations, even if it means losing the project. They sell clients what they actually need and only products that will enhance their present business processes and position them for future growth. CAL sells Microsoft Dynamics GP which, with over 47,000 businesses using it, is the best ERP mid-market solution on the market. Having worked with it for 20 years, George feels it is the most stable product on the market. CAL also sells Acumatica, an ERP solution designed for the Cloud. Between the two products, George feels that CAL is offering the best of both worlds. Leader’s Contribution George began as a programmer on the technical side, creating the solutions in the early stages of the company. Back then there really wasn’t any packaged ERP software; everything was custom. In the early 1990s, pre-packaged software came on the market. George already had a view of software from an architect’s

Honest Approach CAL Business Solutions strives to be realistic yet flexible with every project. Their honest approach to evaluating what a company really needs has gained them customer loyalty. CAL Business Solutions won’t

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December 2018


The

Most Valuable Solution Providers 2018 Edition

standpoint and was able to ask: “How was it built? How does it run? What are its features? What will it do for customers?”

and sales achievement. When you choose CAL, you choose an organization with an impressive, proven track record.

Whereas other companies might concentrate on the bigger features, like how does it fit into the Microsoft stack, George’s early experience enabled him to look at the core and how it functioned. He focused on how it works and what features of the core product are things that will make his potential customers more competitive.

Mature Solution Microsoft Dynamics GP Microsoft Dynamics GP is the core financial and business platform which can also interface to unique vertical platforms. The fact that this product can be utilized in so many ways to help so many companies makes for some pretty amazing stories and shows how good the

CAL Business Solutions is focused on maintaining long term relationships with their customers and on helping them achieve success. Best interest of their clients A guiding principle for CAL Business Solutions is the idea that it does not have to dominate an entire industry. They strive to be not the biggest partner, but the best. They want to be a company that other partners, customers, and even business people that are not its customers, recognize as a good source of information and direction. CAL has helped hundreds of organizations improve business productivity. Their customers appreciate their honesty, and they have formed hundreds of long-term relationships. Also appreciated is their expertise. CAL has been recognized by Microsoft for outstanding customer commitment

December 2018

We want each client to feel that they are talking to a Partner that is looking out for their best interest, not just trying to make sales.

Microsoft Dynamic GP platform is. Microsoft Dynamics GP is a mature solution that is not going to be changing a lot in the near future even with Microsoft’s investment in other platforms. CAL will continue to expand its competencies to take care of not only its present clients but also companies that are still looking for that mature ERP system.

CAL wants to find ways to take the core platform that its customers are comfortable with and find new ways to apply it to their business’s changing needs. The new cloud based PowerGP Online allows CAL to do that. Testimonials of Clients “We put together a dream list of technologies we wanted to implement. CAL Business Solutions researched our dream list realistically and brought to the table solutions that were forward-looking, could be implemented in a realistic timeframe, and at a budget that made sense. CAL Business Solutions has delivered everything they said they would. They’ve succeeded in making us self-sufficient.” - Jason Kloter, President, Kloter Farms “I must say that CAL Business Solutions has restored my confidence in software providers. They know the product, don’t waste time, and don’t bill me unnecessarily. As a business owner, that matters. CAL does business the way we do business: stand behind the product and the work and make the customer happy.” - Robert Amenta, President, Modern Tire

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Editor’s Pick

The

Impressive of

Impact

Organic Networking T

he main reason for the invention of website, Internet and technology devices that provides the platform for software to run and connect with each other is mainly to make networking of services, products and people possible. Technology leaders such as Cisco, Arista and Apple are dedicating their resources to provide various business enterprises and the masses the ability to communicate their values through technology mediums called as Networking. The works and provisions of these organizations are very outstanding, and are believed to last for ages. This is because the growth of technology is not going out of style so soon, but rather it is believed to continue into the future. Technology networking strategies is good, but to make it more eective there is the incessant need to incorporate organic strategies. You may be asking what I mean by Organic Networking or Strategies. The organization that will survive in the market in the near future, considering the increasing rate of competition are the ones who take the necessary steps, to develop more human connection for their business, more than they do for machines such as provided by AI. The Factors to Consider for an Eective Organic Networking: Even as our age is encouraging more of technology strategies, if we must survive the future of it all, then we must connect more people, than we do for machines. As an

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December 2018


innovative networking solution provider, it is going to pay more, when you include human intelligence and physicality in your networking strategies over machines. Imagine a day that the machines are going to have a serious breakdown, and the owner organization do not have the capable persons to figure out the cause of the breakdown and possibly provide a feasible solution? What will be the fate of the organization? This means that, there will be a great loss of value and possibly a strike off the industry. I know you would never want that to happen. So, plan from now, to never pay for the loss in the future. Balance Your People to machine Deployment Social Medias are for networking, Newspapers and various Medias are also for networking, but there are people behind the arc of this innovation. The more you incorporate AI and machine learning strategies, always remember the need for Control Engineers and those are human beings. The most successful organizations identify the major importance of December 2018

people networking and how best to utilize human intelligence in their business quest. For example; if you write an article and share it on a website, who do you expect to read your article; human beings or machines? It is obvious that the organic networking aspect of computing will never go out of style; else, there will be a day in the future that digital connection and values will be measured on the number of bots that read your articles and/or that paid for your services. So, remember to balance the rate of your people to machine deployment, by acknowledging the need of human networking over technology networking. The Need for Organic Sense in Networking and the Future: Technology is the miracle of our age, Artificial Intelligence is a major molding factor of this development, IoT is the liberator from machine isolation by providing the platform to interconnect millions of them over the virtual platforms, but humans make these things possible.

Networking is an innovative concept with high profile technology terms. If one does not implore deep interest and concentration while exploring this realm, there may be a serious distortion of original motive of indulgence, and this can lead to serious breakdown of enterprise infrastructure. Sometimes, it maybe direct and other times, it will be indirect, but in all, it will always have an impact. The future of technology is very bright, and that is mainly dependent on how available we make the resources to help manage what we have today in the near future. For this to be possible, the networking solution providers must incorporate more of organic sense in their solutions and industry advancements. Technology will advance, more machines will be connected, devices will be programmed to run independently, but in all these things, the humans in the network will still rule the universe. The more organic you make your networking strategies, the lesser the fear of a disastrous future for your organization.

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Colorado Technology Consultants, Inc: Impar ng IT Consul ng and Training Services Globally

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n an interview with Insights Success, Julie Yack, the COO & Founder of Colorado Technology Consultants Inc, shares her company’s journey and insights about its specialized solutions and services. She has broadly discussed CTC’s core competencies and explains how the company is established in the global market. She also mentions CTC’s current status, its vision and various functionalities used in developing technology globally. Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between Julie and Insights Success: Give a brief overview of the company, its uniqueness and its vision. Colorado Technology Consultants is an ever-evolving company. Our roots are in custom software development and we currently have a very comfortable presence in the world of Microsoft Dynamics, and things related to Dynamics like Azure, IoT and more. In addition to training and curriculum, we do select project work. Sometimes that looks like a small implementation, sometimes that’s a rescue implementation and sometimes it’s an audit and review of an organization.

“ Julie Yack COO & Founder

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Globally providing solu ons and training for the future.

December 2018


The

Most Valuable Solution Providers 2018 Edition

What are the cutting-edge products/solutions offered by Colorado Technology Consultants?

Technology Consultants envision sustaining its competency?

We are the first experts in an emerging product or release. Our relationships allow us early access to many of these new technologies so we can be prepared ourselves. But it also offers the chance for us to quickly bring others up to speed.

For years there has been a severe shortage of talent in Dynamics, particularly a shortage of good developers. We tried to address some of that by offering training and have successfully trained several hundred professionals. With the Power Platform and the emergence of a strong citizen developer story, I think we have a cycle or two of figuring out how this will affect projects longer term. Some developers will feel a little left out. But, there is still a big need for developers in this space. As one developer on our team once told me, with this platform (XRM), I can focus on the fun stuff because the tedious parts are handled by the platform.

Give a detailed description of your personnel’s influence over the company and the valuable Microsoft solution. I and David Yack are the two founders of Colorado Technology Consultants We both are recognized as global experts in the Microsoft stack, specifically in Dynamics, Azure, and related technologies. We both have been awarded as Microsoft MVPs and additionally David is a Microsoft Regional Director. The size of CTC has ebbed and flowed over the years, but always intentionally stayed small. It is important for all of our clients to have direct access to a decision-maker. Describe the experiences, achievements or lessons learnt that have shaped the journey of the company. I wish I could say we’re on some long established and planned journey. We are a group of fairly smart people with good intentions that work hard every day. We are thankful for the opportunities that hard work has offered and have made some great friends along the way. Our team members stay with us for a long time, in an industry (tech consulting) where loyalty is hard to find. For us, our biggest accomplishments are the people.

About the Company Colorado Technology Consultants, Inc. is a global provider of IT Consulting and Training services. The firm specializes in helping medium to large businesses leverage technology to reach a sustained competitive advantage. CTC’s capabilities span a vast array of technologies but it primarily focuses on Microsoft .NET solutions. In 2017, CTC celebrated its 15th year of serving customers to drive innovation with technology. CTC’s unified technologists focus on emerging technologies and prominently works with its clients on advanced solutions. They are frequent trainers, speakers and often write about Microsoft technologies. CTC is fortunate to have its staff recognized by Microsoft as both Most Valuable Professionals and a Regional Director. About the leader

What are the challenges faced while providing Microsoft solutions and how is Colorado Technology Consultants serving to tackle them? For us one of our challenges is staying the right size to continue to properly care for our clients. It can sometimes be tempting to say yes to every opportunity. But, in order to stay true to our roots, sometimes that means saying no to a job where we would struggle to succeed. In those situations, we make every effort to make an introduction to a like-minded solution provider so that the needs are still met.

Julie Yack is one of the founding partners of Colorado Technology Consultants, Inc. Julie has been named a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for her efforts in the Dynamics professional community. She is a Microsoft CRM Certified Professional, Microsoft Small Business Specialist and a Certified Scrum Master. Julie accomplished her MBA in 2010 and currently she has been a vital part of several large scale publications. She was a contributing Author for Voices for Change: Women’s Words to Politicians.

What according to you could be the potential future of Microsoft solutions and how does Colorado

December 2018

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Minimize Risk of Digital Transformation Failure in place to accomplish a successful and smooth delivery on Digital Transformation promise, and to avoid loss of money and prestige. Every kind of transformation project comes across a certain resistance; a mobile application delivered with no issues will minimize this resistance. Better Application through Continuous Testing Most of our customers in Continuous Software are switching to agile project delivery in order to rapidly evaluate and provide for the internal and external demands. The traditional test processes, which are done at the end phase of a project, remain insufficient for the agile management. For better quality and a rapid outcome, testing and development has to be a continuous process of DevOps course. Thanks to test automation scripts throughout the whole development process, softwares and applications can be tested before going through end-user tests with minimum amount of problems.

G` j ` m St qf t s Chairman

O

ne of the greatest agonies in test automation is the time and effort spent to continuously testing what has been developed. The simpler and the more straight-forward the mobile applications look to the customer, the more complex they are in the background. As the number of of mobile platforms and devices increases, enterprises need to provide their developers with effective way to test across the platforms — testing fast, verifying the code quickly. Why is it so important? Because continuous digital transformation is an inevitable part of growing the business. Often more than 60% of customer interactions happen through the smartphones. What is the number like at your business? Anyway, an effective mobile testing needs to be 30

One of the key trends in the market is the increase of native application development, which enables the usage of mobile devices in a broader spectrum. With the increasing demand towards more complex, stronger functionalities and interface, the responsive design techniques are outdated. To provide an optimum result for mobile testing, conducting the tests with actual devices, a device lab, has a large importance. The problem here is how the manual testers and test automation systems will share devices. This is solved by creating a mobile device lab according to producers, models and operating systems. Renting a device lab on cloud, uploading your scripts and running your tests in a parallel execution costs you serious amount of money. We couldn’t ignore the fact that this method makes our customers’ apps less profitable every minute. If you create an actual device lab by purchasing every kind of smartphones out there, you still ned a web interface to run all those scenarios and scripts to manage your mobile device lab. Continuous Software developed an interface, where you can run your scripts on different devices with its own cloud December 2018


device lab, observe text execution and integrate with source control systems. You can use it with your own mobile device server, or you can connect your device to your mobile lab with client integrations. As a result you’ll be able to observe your text execution in real time with detailed results, clickable stack trace exceptions and screenshots, and see how much of the resources (CPU, Memory, System Logs) your app consumes. No matter which language your scripts were written or no matter which tool was used to write them, by integrating with open source automation servers this interface allows you to include mobile testing to your continuous DevOps process. Continuous Software Our first business line is application testing. Today we offer a wide range of services such as Manual Sourcing, Test Automation, Performance Testing, Security Testing, Service and Network Virtualization and Mobile Application Testing and Mobile Device Lab Management. Our philosophy lies on the successful implementation of test automation frameworks, enabling the rapid creation of test automation scripts that are stable and easily maintainable. Our scalable test automation framework optimizes every level of application from network to code- speeding up he execution and reducing test maintenance. Our success comes from working together with organizations to optimize every level of application- from the network to the code. We have solved the complexities of software testing through our unique solutions and helped a multitude of enterprises in accomplishing desired results. We believe our Mobile Device Lab will be a game changer in the industry. Case studies One of Top 5 Banks in Turkey This bank has decided to make a transformation project with Mckenzie. Part of the transformation project they found out that one of the biggest bottleneck is Software testing. As they were planning to use Agile project management approach within this initiative; testing was becoming even more critical for the success of the project. That is why they have decided to implement Test Improvement Project. They have identified 5 areas and Continuous Software has been involved in all these five workgroups which are Functional Test Automation, Performance/Load Testing, Service Virtualization, Test Environment Management and Test Data Management. The project scope covered core banking, alternative channels, international banking and credit cards application suites, they all are in-house developed application based on Java, .NET and IBM Mainframe. This was a teamwork, which we have worked together with the bank’s testing team. Development team has also participated to the project when it was needed. We have identified sample applications, December 2018

designed processes, decided on technologies that will be used and finally implemented the best practice within sample applications to prove the solution. We have guided the bank’s team and prepared documentation for them to continue after project has been finalized. During the project we have used HPE UFT, HPE Loadrunner, IBM Service Virtualization, CA Test Data Management and HPE Codar and OO solutions for respective areas. One of the Top 10 International Banks Entered to Turkey by acquiring an old bank, which was not able to invest in IT for a long time. After the acquisition, they have been audited by BDDK (Banking Regulation Authority) and BDDK gave them a deadline to resolve their compliance issues. Within a very limited timeframe to implement an end to end automated Devops process which starts from demand collection till deployment of the applications to production environment. The solution had to be fully automated, no human interaction other than development of the application and be traceable on each level of the process. Continuous Software delivered end-toend DevOps project to make sure to have a complete process from demand to production deployment. Created five different pipelines for core baking (oracle forms), alternative channels (java), credit cards (.NET) and ATMs (.NET). Jenkins, SVN, Nexus, HPE Codar, HPE ALM, HPE UFT, HP PM, HP SM are implemented in project scope. Thanks to Continuous Software, this bank passed the audit successfully and avoided to pay a big amount of penalty. Management Levent Ozalp is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of OPTiiM. He created 3 startups in Turkey, 1 in Ireland and 1 in UK from military tech to system integration. Having launched Continuous Software now boasts 100+ employees and customers all over Turkey, Middle East, North Africa and Europe. Hakan Turgut is the Continuous Software Chairman. His 30 years career span took him to executive positions in IBM, CA and Nortel. He brings maturity and wisdom to the team. About the Author: Levent Ozalp is a serial entrepreneur. He created 3 startups in Turkey, 1 in Ireland and 1 in UK from military tech to system integration. Having launched OPTiiM now boasts 100+ employees and customers all over Turkey, Middle East, North Africa and Europe. Hakan Turgut is the OPTiiM Chairman. His 30 years career span took him to executive positions in IBM, CA and Nortel. He brings maturity and wisdom to the team.

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The

Most Valuable Solution Providers 2018 Edition

Exceedra: M

Integrated Business Planning and Revenue Management

icrosoft certified solution providers specialize in providing up-to-date Microsoft technology-based customer solutions all over the world. Exceedra is one such solution provider company which develops and distributes business planning and trade promotion management solutions. The company offers sales and operational planning, joint business planning, trade promotion optimization, customer business planning, and deductions and claims management solutions. It caters to the consumer packaged goods sector.

optimization analysis to improve the overall performance in trade promotion management for CPG companies.

Exceedra is the leading Global provider of integrated business planning and revenue management systems for CPG. This includes Trade Promotion Management (TPM), Trade Promotion Optimization (TPO), Customer Business Planning (CBP), Joint Business Planning (JBP), Demand Planning, and Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP).

Chris has helped many clients make improvements to their trade planning processes and systems, to provide trade solutions to various CPG customers such as; Abbott Nutrition, ACH Food, Agropur Cooperative, Bayer, California Olive Ranch, Corby Spirit & Wine, McKee Foods & Twinings.

Commitment towards Driving Value

This platform is a key enabler of agile decision making in an integrated business planning process supporting S&OP by providing live forecast actualization, scenario planning, snapshots, and reporting.

As a recognized thought leader in the industry, following the success of the Revenue Management & IBP events in London, Exceedra hosted the first forum in Chicago Illinois, with over 60 registered attendees. The forum offered a day dedicated to discussing the role that price and promotion play in driving and achieving profitable growth, with a selection of interactive working sessions designed to help identify the drivers behind success. Delegates listened to real life CPG companies: ACH Food, California Olive Ranch, Keurig Dr Pepper, and pladis UK, along with presentations and learning from leading consultants: Simon-Kucher & Partners, Clarkston Consulting, and The Partnering Group. Presentations throughout the day focused on the main challenges consumer goods companies face on the journey to true IBP.

Over the last two decades, Exceedra has grown from a small integrated business planning company, operating primarily in the UK to an awardwinning, global organization. It utilizes optimization analysis tools, bringing Integrated Business Planning solutions to Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) customers around the globe. Exceedra understands that for an Integrated Business Planning and Demand Management system to be valuable, it must meet today’s requirements, i.e. providing immediate benefits in capability, speed and efficiency in the planning and execution process. Exceedra is committed to driving value for its consumer goods clients globally, by integrating business planning and

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Agile Decision Making

A global company with offices in the US, UK and Australia, Exceedra is set to disrupt the global market, and its goal is to become the de facto solution for Integrated Business Planning and Revenue Management for Consumer Goods companies worldwide. Leader with Extensive Experience Chris Rice is a 30+ year CPG industry veteran with extensive experience in sales and marketing from a manufacturer and solution provider perspective. This vast experience of him comes from varying roles at IBM Demand Tec, Information Resources

Inc, CAS and Quaker Oats Company. His Expertise areas include TPM, TPO, Post Event Analysis, strategic trade and marketing planning, shopper insights and retail execution.

Forums and Webinars

December 2018


‘‘

‘‘

To deliver a successful project in this space, it is essential that the software is viewed as a key enabler to the overall process.

In addition to hosting and sponsoring various events globally, Exceedra runs a variety of webinars throughout the year, and as such it helps the company retain its strong market position. Microsoft Solutions Exceedra utilizes a variety of Microsoft technologies within its sales planner solution which range from middle tier & back end development to front end reporting. Exceedra has some extraordinary capabilities embedded within the system using the Microsoft Power BI reporting tool, allowing users of the tool pre-built reports and customizable views alongside pivot tables. Such Microsoft tools allow Exceedra to help CPG organizations manage their trade spend effectively. In regards to hosting, Exceedra offers CPG consumers on premise or hosted /private cloud hosting in partner with the Microsoft Azure application. Azure allows the freedom to build, manage and deploy applications on a global network. Future Market Solutions Looking to the future, the firm will continue to grow and build upon its current success. Exceedra Software continually researches the challenges that its customers face in the ever-changing retail landscape. To ensure that clients receive truly cutting-edge solutions, Exceedra invests a significant proportion of its revenues in Research and Development. The firm continually research advancements

December 2018

Chris Rice VP Sales & Marketing

in technology both from development and deployment perspectives so that clients can receive the solutions they need to succeed. Exceedra will continue to invest in the use of Azure and a predominantly Microsoft stack for its reliability, consistency, popularity and extensive knowledge base available through both Microsoft Documentation and popular development forums such as Stack Overflow. Shining Reviews “We researched the market and established Exceedra as the leading provider for Integrated Business Planning and Trade Promotion Management.” – Sales Director, Tyrrell’s. “Exceedra offers all the functionality we require to support our integrated planning processes.” – VP of Sales ACH Food. “Exceedra is easy to use, very intuitive, and enables us to develop our business in these competitive times.” – Sales Director, Hain Daniels Group. “The Exceedra solution provides us with much greater Forecast Accuracy as a result of improved visibility of both availability and stock.” – Planning Group GM, Panasonic.

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Green

Energy Efcient Technology

Cloud Computing Saving Energy through Technology

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he rapid expansion in data centers, due to the exponential growth of the cloud computing has caused the dramatic increase in energy consumption and its effect on the environment in terms of the carbon footprints. To reduce the power consumption, it is required to develop some energy efficient solutions. The Green Computing is the practice of executing policies and the procedures to improve efficiency of the computing resources in such a way as to reduce the energy consumption and environmental impact of their utilization. Green Cloud Architecture is rising from these trends leading, not only to energy efficiency, but also a carbon emission aware concept. In order to reduce energy consumption, a greener environment needs to be built. Among all industries, the information communication technology (ICT) industry is arguably responsible for a larger portion of the worldwide growth in energy consumption. The goal of green cloud computing is to promote the recyclability or biodegradability of defunct products and factory waste by reducing the use of hazardous materials and maximizing the energy efficiency during the product's lifetime. Energy to be saved The objective is to reduce power consumption of the data center. It offers the features like online monitoring, live virtual machine migration, and optimization of Virtual Machine Placement. Through this proposed Green Cloud Architecture, energy up to 27% can be saved. The need to manage multiple applications in a data center creates the challenge of on-demand resource provisioning and allocation in response to time-varying workloads. Data center resources are statically possessed to applications, based on the peak load characteristics, in order to provide performance guarantees and to maintain the isolation. Energy-efficient resource management has been first introduced in the context of battery fed mobile devices, where energy consumption has to be reduced in order to improve the battery lifetime. Techniques which are developed for mobile devices also can be applied or adapted for servers and data centers; this kind of systems requires specific methods. The primary method is to consolidate the Dynamic Voltage Frequency Scaling technique in an efficient way to maximize the resource utilization and to minimize energy consumption of the datacenters which will result in the reduced

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December 2018


December 2018

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carbon footprints and thus will help more in achieving the Green Computing. The Green Benefits Cloud computing is the way to save money and energy for the business. Users emphasize Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and can improve their manageability and facilitate the maintenance of the resources. It means that benefit of business enterprises implicates to avoid spending on software and infrastructure resources, and allow business clients to focus on earning money rather than being weighted down with infrastructure concerns. Therefore, operating this model allows reducing the consummation of the power energy without spending money on running the servers. Moreover, with no servers to repair, the absence of hardware to upgrade and no software to install, labor costs are also reduced. With SaaS software accesses usually through a browserbased client, i.e., it can run on virtually any authorized computer, making desktop and laptop resources easily replaceable. Thus, when the user also saves on the support, it doubles the impact and in fact increases green role in business. The employees can work remotely, traveling and moving from one place to another because they have fast access to the internet and the ability to use all the services at hand, on the other hand, it reduces the consumption of fossil fuels and the harmful pollution that results from vehicle emissions as well. The reduction of energy and power consumption has become a first-order objective in the design of modern computing systems. The roots of energy-efficient computing, practices can be traced back to 1992, when the U.S. environmental protection agency had launched Energy Star, a voluntary labeling program which was designed to identify and promote the energy-efficient products in order to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions. Computers and monitors were the first labeled products. This has led to the widespread adoption of the sleep mode in electronic devices. The term “green computing” was introduced to refer to the energy-efficient personal computers. Interesting Research Findings While deploying data center, the sole concern is high-performance, and this demand has been fulfilled without paying much attention to the energy consumption. An average data center guzzles energy as much as 25,000 households. There is a necessity to move the focus to optimizing for energy efficiency while maintaining high service level performance than optimizing data center resource management for pure performance, as the energy cost is increasing while the availability dwindles. According to certain reports, the total estimated energy bill for data centers in the year 2010 was $11.5 billion and energy costs in a typical data center doubles every five years. For the development of cloud computing and it to sustain green technologies is exceedingly essential. Of the numerous green methodologies enquired, the DVFS technology is a highly hardware oriented approach and hence it is less flexible. Cloud computing is a highly scalable and cost-effective infrastructure for running an enterprise and the web applications. But the critical issue is the drastic surge in the energy consumption of data centers which is triggering by the growing demand for cloud infrastructure. Hence, the energy-efficient solutions are required which results in less number of carbon footprints and thus help in achieving greener computing.

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December 2018


The

Most Valuable Solution Providers 2018 Edition

Salt Essential IT: Helping Businesses to Operate Better since Inception

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ave you ever tried to cook a meal without salt? Probably not, because salt is an ingredient that helps make food tastier. Similarly, Salt Essential IT helps businesses operate better, make more money, and boast with happy employees by providing collaboration, connectivity and support services. The organization’s services are crucial elements that allow businesses to provide better services to their customers. Salt’s solutions empower its clients’ employees to work better and faster, from anywhere, at any time. Its services also stabilizes operations while increasing client’s bottom line. Salt is known to make the impossible possible for its customers. It paves the way with new, innovative technologies and IT solutions in its markets. Shaping the Journey Salt moved from single to multiple Data Centers, from dedicated servers to virtualization, and from simple back-up through disaster recovery to business continuity. Constant transformation all the time with one constant: Microsoft all the way. Now Microsoft is 365 and Salt is embracing it. Out with hosted exchange, in with Exchange 365! Welcome to Teams, work from anywhere, meetings from across the town, country or the globe, access staff and people wherever you are. Combine Microsoft and local Cloud from Salt, and data is in safer places, more accessible and at a less cost than ever before. Out of the box and smart ways to do business, increasingly affordablility: Salt practices these transformations and passes them on. In a country with a low market density, the population is sparse and everywhere else is a mission to get to, the technology is moving business practices to productive spaces not imagined a few years ago. Like most other organizations Salt has also faced few hiccups and some tough decisions had to be made. Stunning successes and expensive mistakes, comfort zone shifts for

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many who want to stay where they are, brands and products have come and gone, value gained, value lost. Two constants: Microsoft and Salt. Cutting Edge Products When it comes to offering solutions, Salt always provides the best in class; Email eXchange Point – With this solution, Salt’s customers get guaranteed uptimes and access to email, while ensuring security and compliance. Its solutions are known to have saved businesses up to 50% on IT costs. Security eXchange Point – This set of products keep employees connected to their Cloud services reliably and securely, from any location or device. With an added layer of security, leveraging off Microsoft Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) enables user management, firewalls and backups. Salt guarantees 99.99% access to services. It has achieved savings between 25% and 75% on monthly ICT bills. Desktop eXchange Point – With this solution, Salt offers its customers the latest versions of both Microsoft Office and Windows, these Cloud based services help its employees to be more productive, and the business to be more responsive. Information eXchange Point - This is a secure platform with associated services that allows users to access their desktop application from anywhere, and from any device, irrespective of the type of connectivity being used. This solution is built using Microsoft Office 365 Business, InTune, OneDrive for Business, and Skype for Business, now being unified with Microsoft Tools™ Redefining Leadership Vanessa Maresch the Manager of Business Development has been a Saltie for 11 long years. During her time, she drove the business with a single goal in mind; to make sure that Salt becomes a Microsoft Partner. She was a key player in adopting the move to the Microsoft Cloud by driving Salt

December 2018


Salt paves the way with innovative new technologies and IT solutions in our markets. —Vanessa Maresch Business Development Manager Salt Essential IT

These four are what the organization calls the Core Salties, but it has a phenomenal team of experienced and fiercely dedicated Salties that make this animal run like clockwork.

to become the first and only Cloud Solution Provider Direct Partner in the country during 2016. Vanessa has also made sure that Salt could deliver all its solutions to all the Namibian businesses, including the enterprise space. As a result, Salt became an Enterprise Direct Advisor in 2011. Her work to ensure that Salt is only one of two Service Provider Licensing Advisors (SPLA) in Namibia, has cemented Salt’s place in the market as the only Microsoft partner being able to deliver Microsoft Cloud services to all segments of the Microsoft Customer Ecosystem. But no woman is an island. Sonja Coetzer recently joined the Salt team as our Solutions Advocate, fresh from the ranks of Microsoft. Sonja was intimately part of the journey to guide Salt in the right direction. Vanessa and Sonja have worked together over the last three years to attain this unique status for Salt. Peter Muller, the Managing Director, embraced the positive change that the Microsoft wave presented to the company and fully supported the journey. Frans Herle, who has been part of Salt for 19 years, makes it seem impossibly easy to manage the company’s three data centers from which its customers receive full Business Continuity including Work Area Recovery.

December 2018

Tackling Roadblocks and Planning for a Better Future Microsoft’s One Commercial Partner program helped Salt to design and build solutions that are secure and addresses the current market. Salt worked closely with its Microsoft Partner Development Manager, its extended Microsoft teams, and a business strategist to outline critical action points to deliver world class solutions. A 3-year journey with dedicated Salties, the company defined its solutions and services, incorporating its unique IP that enabled Salt’s customers to grow their business while shaving off ICT costs. The last element of the company’s story is its loyal customers who have stuck by the organization throughout, and helped to pilot solutions. Microsoft’s vision to empower every person and organization on this planet to achieve more in order to offer enabling and inclusive solutions through partners, created a new direction for partners. Salt understood this and as such aligned itself accordingly. The company acquired resources to drive IP based solutions that enables its customer to achieve their core business goals and objectives while reducing the total cost of ownership. Salt’s development plan on Cloud Productivity and Cloud Platform competencies are at the heart of its business and leverages from all training and certification platforms available via Microsoft. A regular review of Salt’s competency is performed as part of its Partner Business Plan review.

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Top

Email 5

Security Threats

early 95 percent of all successful attacks on enterprise networks targeted organization’s users through email. With the industry of cybersecurity evolving so rapidly, hackers are consistently changing their tactics, keeping it almost impossible to keep up with.

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spreader modules. The negative consequences from an Emotet infection can be temporary or permanent loss of sensitive proprietary information, disruption of regular operations, financial losses incurred to restore systems and files, and potential harm to an organizations reputation.

With today’s growing security landscape, email threats are one of the most common strategies utilized by cyber criminals. What started off with spam emails sent to your junk folder, has evolved to a more robust tactic to deliver destructive content straight to your inbox. Here are the top five email security threats that we’ve seen so far this year:

Ursnif Banking Malware A new version of the infamous banking Trojan Ursnif made its appearance again earlier this year in June. This malware is well known in the cyber security community and was the most active malware code in the financial sector from the end of 2016 into early 2017. This malware is capable of stealing users' credentials, credentials for local webmail, cloud storage, cryptocurrency exchange platforms and ecommerce sites.

Emotet Banking Trojan Emotet is an advanced, modular banking Trojan that primarily focuses as a downloader or dropper of other banking Trojans and continues to be among the most costly and destructive malware affecting governments, private and public sectors. Emotet can evade most signature-based detections, and because it is Virtual Machine aware, it generates false indicators when ran in a sandbox. Additionally, Emotet has several methods for maintaining persistence, including auto-start registry keys and services as well as Dynamic Link Libraries to continuously update and evolve its capabilities. Initial infection of this malware occurs when a user opens or clicks a malicious download link, PDF, or macro-enabled Microsoft Word document included in the malspam. Once downloaded, Emotet establishes persistence and attempts to propagate local networks through one of its incorporated

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Once Ursnif infects a new machine it will attempt to spread to other users in the address book of the compromised email accounts. It tricks the victim into opening the malicious email because the message is presented as the reply to an existing conversation conducted by the victim in the past. For example, if you receive an email that was a replay to a previous conversation from a while back, you can look at the “To:” field in the email and see if it's replied to a large number of unsuspecting users. Another feature about this malware is its ability to keep track of company names and title the malicious document “VICTIM_COMPANY_.doc” in order to look legitimate. Once the victim clicks enable macros, the second step of the infection process begins, which launches a malicious

December 2018


TECH-TALK

s

cript that downloads and executes a payload from a server controlled by the attackers. Once installed, Ursnif can operate without being noticed by both the user and the operating system. Extortion Campaign Extortion campaigns have been around for quite some time but there was one that was in full swing across the globe that used a clever twist to trick unsuspecting users into paying a ransom. The attacker for this extortion campaign claims to have installed malware on your system and has also used your webcam to record you watching porn. The attacker then goes on to threaten the release of this video to everyone in your contacts unless you pay the Bitcoin ransom. The basic premise of this type of extortion attempt has been around for quite some time, but the addition of the Username/Password combination in the subject line has unsuspecting users worried. While researching this campaign, Nuspire’s Security Analytics Team (SAT) came across multiple different counts of affected users claiming the Username/Password combination was something they had used eight years ago. In this case, the attacker has somewhat automated the attack to create a script that pulls directly from usernames and passwords of a given data breach that happened eight years ago. Therefore, every victim who had their password compromised as part of that breach, is now getting this same email at the address they used to sign up for the hacked website. Hopefully, if you were affected by that data breach you updated your username/password combination. Granted, the people who didn't bother changing this information, this attack directly affects them, but rest assured this attacker doesn’t have a recording of you that they plan to send out to your contacts. It is merely scare tactics to make some easy money, and upon investigation of multiple Bitcoin addresses associated with this campaign, the attacker was indeed making easy money. This attack could evolve in the future and use more up to date data breaches which in turn could scare more users into paying the ransom, so be on the lookout.

Shawn Pope Cyber Security Engineer

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Shawn Pope is the Cyber Security Engineer of Nuspire Networks, a state-of-the-science managed network security provider for some of the largest and most distinctive companies around the world.

GandCrab Ransomware GandCrab holds the top spot in ransomware, partly because it’s used by the Magnitude botnet. Although GandCrab is usually spread via spam email, it has recently been distributed via compromised websites and is now

December 2018

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a

ppending the .KRAB extension to the encrypted files.

Towards the end of April 2018 a campaign with the subject line “Your Order #{Random Digits}” was circulating. There is limited content in the body of the email and has an attached ZIP file which includes a Word document that contains malicious macros that download and execute GandCrab ransomware. GandCrab is under constant development where new versions are consistently being released at an aggressive pace. Its basic functionality is well document and does the same typical things ransomware does, including encrypting files with the. KRAB extension, changing the user’s background, and leveraging Tor for communications. One of the interesting elements of Gandcrab is its use of namecoin domains for Command and Control (C2) communication. These are easily identified by the .bit top level domain (TLD). Since attackers rely heavily on Tor and namecoin domains to help evade identification, it is a no brainer for them to use a decentralized DNS service that does not rely on central authority. This also increases the difficulty of having domains shut down and identifying those that are potentially behind them. Phishing By the end of Q2 2018 Microsoft had taken over the top spot from Facebook for the number one target of corporate phishing attacks. Reason being, it’s highly profitable for hackers to compromise an Office 365 account. Hackers see email-based attacks as an easy entry point into data, files, and contacts from other Office 365 apps, including SharePoint, OneDrive, Skype, Excel, and CRM. We see all different types of Phishing attempts from quite possibly the worst attempts to exact replicas of a legitimate Office 365 login page. Unfortunately, Phishing will always

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exist and can slip through the gaps in email filtering due to the fact that new domains/URLs are popping up every day to host fake login pages. This is where user awareness training is extremely important. Educate your users, roll out training exercises where employees with fake Phishing emails and see who clicks on them and who doesn’t. Because Phishing has become so popular, education will pay off in the long run. Solutions Aside from training and educating employees on malware, and ransomware that might come in through a user’s email, there are a few other solutions to take into consideration that can prevent these attacks from entering your network. 1. Use antivirus programs with behavior and heuristic detection capabilities, with automatic updates of signatures and software on clients and servers. 2. Implement a spam filter to filter out known malspam indicators such as malicious subject lines, and block suspicious and blacklisted Ips. 3. Mark external emails with a banner denoting it is from an external source, this will assist users in detecting spoofed emails. 4. Implement a block policy for file attachments that are commonly associated with malware such as .dll, and .exe, and attachments that cannot be scanned by antivirus such a .zip files. 5. Implement Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC), a validation system that minimizes spam email by detecting email spoofing using Domain Name System (DNS) records and digital signatures. 6. Implement a solution that can send the unknown/suspicious files to the sandbox for further investigation and analysis. 7. And most importantly employee training on social engineering and phishing. Urge employees not to open

December 2018


Winspire Solutions: Delivering World Class ERP Solutions

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erspective of an IT Consultant and that of end users running the business are quite different. Technology can be learned quickly, but domain expertise takes years to develop. Winspire brings these two perspectives together to provide the best to its customers. Winspire specializes in providing industry vertical ERP solution in Distribution, Equipment Rental and Project Management Industries. It mainly focuses on South East Asia, Middle East and India markets. Along with ERP, Winspire also provides CRM, Business intelligence, E-Commerce, Cloud Infrastructure and Productivity solutions based on Microsoft Technologies. Its uniqueness lies in its high level of domain expertise in its chosen industry verticals with team members who have actually worked in those industries. End to End Solutions Winspire provides end to end solutions including Microsoft Dynamics NAV, AX, Dynamics 365 Business Central, Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, Dynamics 365 sales and Marketing, LS Retail, Power BI, Jet reports, Azure, and O365 for the industry verticals mentioned above. Besides, the company has its own e-commerce solution and industry vertical add-ons. It has its own IP for Distribution and International Trade which has several unique features including in-depth functionality to manage large scale and complex distribution business. The IP also has functionalities like principal and channel / end customer scheme management, e-commerce, advanced warehouse management including mobile based solutions, transportation, trade finance management, etc. Similarly, Winspire has highly verticalized solution for Equipment rental Industry, localized payroll solution for

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Singapore, UAE and India. Testimony from its current customers of these solutions gives required confidence and comfort to its prospective customers. A Proven Leadership Winspire is the masterpiece of Jitendra Kulkarni, the Founder and CEO. Jitendra started Winspire in 2006 after leaving his job as a CEO of a billion dollar Distribution Company. The company was initially started with a clear focus on cost effective ERP solution for Distribution Industry. This was mainly due to his personal expertise and long experience of running a large distribution company. He evaluated various options and found Microsoft solutions the most suitable since they are easy to use and customize. Another reason for choosing Microsoft was its partner friendly approach and a great partner eco-system. The distribution industry solution was initially designed by him. Presently, Jitendra focuses on keeping abreast of what is happening in the industry in terms of new technology, business models and decide on the strategic direction of the company. He believes that continuous learning and transformation is the key to remaining relevant and this job is best done by someone who has the best view of the company. Another area he focuses on is recruitment and mentoring, since that is the foundation to success. Drivers of the Growth During the course of time, Winspire learnt that staying focused is of vital importance. It helped the company develop higher level of expertise, which improved its productivity and helped it bring down the cost. Winspire got early success by focusing on distribution vertical. In a span of 3 years, it had over 40 customers in distribution.

December 2018


The

Most Valuable Solution Providers 2018 Edition

Winspire helps customers lay a strong foundation towards their Digital transformation in order to positively alter the economics of their business.

Similarly, Winspire also believes in the importance of maintaining start up culture of innovation, risk taking, freedom, and empowerment. As the company grows, there is a tendency to become complacent and shift focus to dayto-day operations to drive the numbers. A company needs conscious efforts to maintain this culture which is so crucial for continued success. According to Winspire, in consulting and services business, trust plays an extremely important role since it is a long term relationship. For Winspire to be successful, its team had to earn customer's trust both in terms of the quality of its solution and itself as a company. Admirable Recognitions Over the years, Winspire has received several awards / recognitions including partner of the year from Microsoft in 2010, 2011 and 2014, Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce (SICCI) leading Enterprise Award in 2013 and 2016, and Asia Top outstanding Enterprises award from Enrich in 2014.

Jitendra Kulkarni Founder & CEO

example, what works in Singapore may not work in Middle East and vice versa. Thus, Winspire tweaks its strategy by considering geography. Transition to Cloud Solutions Jitendra believes that there is no other technology company which has as much global impact as Microsoft has. Its resilience, ability to respond to changing technologies and its marketing prowess has helped it remain dominant in the market for over 40 years. It is investing heavily in Cloud, AI and Machine Learning and businesses are already witnessing great results on the cloud front. Another plus of Microsoft solutions is that its spread of solutions like OS, office, cloud, database, Business Applications, LinkedIn, Skype and many more are integrated with each other and provide unmatched value to the customer. Winspire has already made transition to cloud solutions and is looking at adopting AI and Machine learning in the near future.

Effects of Technological Changes With the fast pace of technological changes, Winspire always faces the challenge in adapting to the new technologies, training the team, and rolling out these to the market. There are always some teething problems when something new is introduced. Likewise, getting the right talent for a particular solution /technology is always a challenge. Secondly, different geographies are at different level of maturity when it comes to technology adoption. For

December 2018

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The 10 Most Valuable Microsoft Solution Providers 2018  

With all this, we can say that the amount of value that Microsoft solution providers bring to the table of any organization and for the purp...

The 10 Most Valuable Microsoft Solution Providers 2018  

With all this, we can say that the amount of value that Microsoft solution providers bring to the table of any organization and for the purp...

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