Digital Transformation in Banking – What Is Right for Your Bank?

Digital transformation in banking has been an important trend amidst economic uncertainties induced by the pandemic. Financial companies are dipping their toes in digital waters, eager to modernize their IT structure in 2022. It is no surprise that Gen-Z and millennials want their banks to be technology-driven with competitive digital solutions.

Digital and mobile channels are now critical for customer acquisition and satisfaction. The dependency on e-payments has increased all over the world. The global mobile payment market is expected to surpass US$ 590 Bn by 2032 at a CAGR of 30% for the forecast period 2022-2032. The United States alone expects a market valuation of US$ 42 Bn in 2022, with contactless payments growing by 150% in 2020.

Banks, too, are eager to modernize their IT infrastructure with technologies that would bring about a cultural, organizational, and operational change. They are now looking for improvisation in four distinct areas: process, technology, data, and organizational change. The focus is now on building an ecosystem that facilitates personal, automated, and cohesive customer journeys.

The cornerstones of successful digital transformation in banking

As banks gear up for the ‘next normal’ waiting for the pandemic to recede, they reset their digital agenda on the road to recovery. They are shifting towards digital channels to address scalability and reliability concerns while catering to customers’ growing needs.

Every project for digital transformation in banking, however, should work towards:

  • Engaging clients with tailor-made solutions and experiences
  • Empowering employees with tools and technologies to enable accessible, holistic information
  • Optimizing internal operations with automated, synchronized processes
  • Building a connected ecosystem

Top benefits include:

  • Faster time to market for product and pricing
  • Cost-effective ways to scale
  • Future readiness with agile and remote solutions
  • Digital competitiveness with capabilities like open banking and real-time payments
  • Better services to enhance product innovation and customer satisfaction
  • Lower risks with regulatory compliance and greater security
  • Greater efficiency and productivity
  • More business value with data insights and cognitive automation

Banking infrastructure modernization – Technologies and use cases

Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and Big Data – Financial companies are leveraging these powerful technologies to transform the customer experience with seamless services and safe transactions. They help detect and prevent payment fraud. They offer a 360-degree view of the customer and are believed to reduce delinquency rates by almost 76%.

AI can be applied for multiple banking infrastructure use cases such as risk assessment, fraud detection, asset management, credit intermediation, process automation, client onboarding and KYC (know your customer), and algorithmic trading. Global spending on these technologies is expected to double from $ 50 billion to $110 billion in 4 years from 2020 to 2024.

While AI and ML help increase the efficiency and accuracy of workflows, feeding ML models with big data helps decision-making around portfolio allocation, assessing creditworthiness, and making underwriting decisions. HSBC has been using AI for fraud detection, transaction monitoring, sanctions screening, and identifying insider trading & bribery.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – The operating activities in financial companies involve a multitude of standardized processes. RPA ensures optimal data processing and takes care of rule-based and repetitive tasks quickly and efficiently. It reduces human workload, minimizes errors, and enables cost reductions. Digital processing of business transactions also helps in fraud prevention in a big way.

SBI General Insurance has used RPA and AI to build a digital-first business model. It leverages technology to get a 360-degree view of customer activity across touchpoints to understand customer expectations and personalize their offerings. It uses predictive analytics to upscale its cross-sell initiatives and AI to personalize customer journeys. The company relies on RPA to keep track of total premium payments and implement tax liability confirmation.

Blockchain – Blockchain has secured a coveted place in a world of digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. It allows you to store cryptographic encryption in a block. All blocks have a unique value distributed across the network, and it is impossible to manipulate in any manner. Data integrity thus is an essential aspect of blockchain though it is popular for its speed and transparency.

Blockchain enables transactions almost in real-time and instantly saves changes, facilitating the exchange of massive amounts of data in the shortest time. Transactions are unchangeable, traceable, and protected from money laundering. Smart contracts stored on a blockchain help execute an agreement between participants without the involvement of an intermediary.

Such is the power of blockchain technology that China is kicking off an intensive blockchain trial involving 164 entities despite its checkered history with digital currencies. President Xi Jinping describes blockchain technology as “an important breakthrough for independent innovation of core technologies.”

Cloud computing – Financial companies now rely on external data centers to manage their workloads. Cloud computing technology has become an essential aspect of mobile banking and payment services. It also plays a crucial role in trading, evaluation processes, and customer relationship management.

As per a survey, 40% of banks have already deployed cloud computing, while 30% have deployed application programming interfaces (APIs). Cloud computing enables speed to market with new capabilities.

Singapore’s Asia Digital Bank Corporation (ADBC) has collaborated with Tencent to develop cloud-based banking technology to offer personalized experiences to customers. It also aims to provide small and medium-sized enterprises with digital banking services to ensure end-to-end, frictionless, and seamless processes.

First steps to creating sustainable outcomes

It is easy to navigate through the chaos despite economic uncertainties by building on core strengths and tweaking existing business models. Here’s what you can do.

Grow an ecosystem

Banks have long relied on the tried and tested method of ensuring growth. They have been introducing new and relevant products to existing customers. But those like Ideabank and ING have gone beyond their traditional core to strengthen customer engagement with a 360-view of customer data.

They now provide other services like accounts-receivable management and cash flow analysis to small and medium enterprise (SME) customers. Post Bank has gone a step further to capture a market share in nonbanking domains. It is now the largest provider of mobile phone services in Italy, using its already strong franchises to offer new services to existing customers.

Address multiple needs of customers with a financial supermarket

A mix of third-party offerings can help customers manage their financial needs via a single integrated channel.

That’s how aggregators sell 60% of the auto insurance policies in the United Kingdom. Bank Bazar in India caters to more than 23 million customers without having proprietary offerings.

Offer value throughout the customer journey

Banks and financial companies can grow if they decide to extend the scope of their services to add more importance at different stages of the customer journey.

Commonwealth Bank in Australia (CBA) created an augmented reality app to help customers use their phone’s camera to see the price and sales history of the properties they were interested in. The app with financial tools such as a mortgage calculator allowed the bank to extend its role in the home buyer’s journey.

Monetize the data with analytics

You can use customer data (location, lifestyle preferences, age, gender, etc.) to get insights and anticipate customer needs. Some of the biggest banks in Canada have collaborated with Toronto-based SecureKey to help customers access online services offered by the federal government using bank credentials. Banks rely on the data they have to verify identities before allowing access.

Credit card companies have access to the data of customers and merchants. This data helps them foster new partnerships and gain access to new potential customers.

Develop a product portfolio

Financial companies should also consider leveraging back-end assets to create value for smaller businesses. These businesses usually lack the reach or resources for core banking products and services. This makes an opportunity sweet spot for financial companies to develop and sell products through third parties.

ING has collaborated with Kabbage, a US-based startup, to provide value-added services in Europe. ING brought to the table its reservoir of capital and relationships with SMEs. At the same time, Kabbage leveraged its easy-to-use interface and risk-management algorithms to offer quick decisions on loan applications.

Modernize your banking infrastructure with Trigent

Regardless of the technologies you choose or the digital routes you wish to pursue, a good view of your capabilities is critical to ensure infrastructure modernization. We have extensive experience in helping financial companies achieve digital transformation goals. Our services and solutions are designed to help them at different junctures in their digital journeys to boost their digital capabilities.

We drive IT modernization projects for the BFSI sector to make it agile while taking care of the complex regulatory and compliance requirements.

We can partner with you to simplify and standardize your IT infrastructure. Call us today for a business consultation.

5 Essential Technologies to get your Distributed Enterprise Future Ready

The global pandemic of 2020 permanently changed our working dynamics.  What is easily missed is how much the workplace has changed too.  Whether and how much work will return to the workplace (versus work from home) is a matter for a different blog.  Here, we want to talk about how the workplace has changed forever: especially the distributed enterprise. 

To be fair, the distributed enterprise is not a new concept at all.  From an IT/networking perspective, distributed enterprises always moved away from a centralized IT infrastructure to connected islands to maximize convenience, networking and efficiency, faster access, and localized control. 

In a borderless economy, where businesses fiercely compete for resources and market share, it is fair to expect re-architecting systems and networks to maximize customer benefits and increase employee flexibility.

How will you make the Distributed Enterprise future-ready? 

Here are our top 5 tech picks: 

Computing is moving to an Edge near you!

Powered by a significant increase in computing power and ubiquitous bandwidth, suddenly, it is possible to move the computing power to where it needs to be, rather than where it always was.  Be it in a user’s hands, PoS (Point of Sale) at a retail counter, manufacturing assembly line, or CSP (cellular service provider), the edge has moved closest to the point where it needs to be.  This comes with advantages such as faster response times, localized approvals saving a round trip to the central server, increased privacy, security, and reduced cloud costs.

Daihen, a Japanese manufacturer of industrial electronics equipment, realized that their Osaka plant could not handle data from dozens of sensors.  The data was being processed remotely by a cloud server, and response time was slow.  The solution came in the form of an Intelligent Edge solution from FogHorn that makes complex machine learning modules run on highly constrained devices.  The results were almost immediate: improved speed, higher accuracy, drop-in defect count, all of which encouraged them to increase investment in the Edge in the following year.

The Cloud is going hybrid

While the transition from an on-premises server to the cloud has been a work in progress, the cloud itself has metamorphosed entirely.  The distributed enterprise can now have a mix of premise, public and private cloud, as required based on business needs. 

The enterprise must be careful not to get locked into a hyper-scaler vendor’s vision of the future but keep options open to realize their own.  Since many of these paths are evolving, the enterprise needs to engage deeply and tread carefully while committing to future road maps. 

The CSP (cellular service provider) is also evolving and is now a major cloud provider with advanced capabilities in Service Edge and SD-WAN (software-defined Wide Area Network).  CSPs have blurred the line between enterprise and carrier cloud with their offerings.  With upcoming 5G rollouts, massive IoT networks, mmWave, and network slicing requirements, their cloud and edge capabilities will be of an entirely different scale.  Enterprises will need to understand how to best harness offerings from each vendor without compromising their requirements.

Enterprise software also has disaggregated from a monolithic form split into microservices (via containers) where code, debugger, utilities, and algorithms may be contained within the container and control routed appropriately to the parent code block as required.  Containers make decoupling of applications convenient by abstracting them from the runtime environment.  This way, they are deployed agnostic to the target environment.  These smaller services can be highly efficient and lend themselves to high scalability, but not without loading DevOps teams with the additional pressure of housekeeping. 

When Ducati, a global automotive giant, undertook a data center modernization project, they expected gains, but that was not how it turned out.  The hybrid cloud dramatically changed their perspective of what is possible.  The data awareness, speed, and minimal footprint across departments brought a new level of productivity that was not planned.

Hyper Automation

Currently, an emerging trend but likely will become mainstream as many of the required elements are already falling in place.  Hyper Automation refers to the coming together of systems, processes, software, and networking to automate most known processes with zero-touch human intervention resulting in ‘robotic process automation’ sequences. 

This advanced state of automation will require stable AI, ML modules, and integrating IT and OT (operation technologies in the IIoT world), where machines will make decisions and keep routine systems running.  Real-time monitoring and analytics are logged for a supervisor to check and intervene if necessary. 

Understanding documents through OCR (optical character recognition), emails using NLP (natural language processing), and enhancing automation using AI / ML data flows are increasingly common.  Banking and healthcare have seen successful deployments of OCR and NLP.

Data will soon be everywhere, but how about Security?

Security will become such an essential parameter for business success that the CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) might well, if not already, be the most important executive in the economy.  With billions of IoT devices from airplane tires to connected cars and heating systems at offices and production lines going online, the opportunities for a security breach just went up a notch.  And every incident will only dilute human trust delaying further progress and slowing down growth. 

With geopolitical scenarios going worse, cyber warfare being a reality, there is no telling when some of these will start impacting enterprise system security.  This is an ongoing new reality – almost as real as the pandemic. 

Quantum computing, the emerging innovation in high-speed computing, will be a threat too.  It is believed that current-day data breaches are being tapped and data being stored for analysis and targeting after quantum computing power becomes available (because current computing could take years to decipher this data).  Some cyber experts believe the advanced planning and methods of cybercriminals are years ahead of the capabilities of corporate IT security teams.  And that can be a cause for worry.

AIOps

When Gartner coined the term AIOps, it meant Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (or Algorithmic IT operations).  They referred to a “method of combining big data and machine learning to automate IT operations and processes, including event correlation, anomaly detection, and causality determination.”

AIOps is a set of methods or practices that makes rapid data processing possible for vast volumes of data, which then feed into an ML engine to predict issues.  AIOps will be very much a requirement for the DevOps teams.  They try catching up with data and problems across hybrid environments to support agile processes in ever-changing platforms and networked silos. 

US infrastructure provider Ensono provides infrastructure support to mission-critical processes of many top enterprises.  As its volumes started growing, it became important for Ensono to invest in AIops to ensure its ability to monitor client hardware and software would not be compromised.  Investing in TrueSight AIops helped Ensono decrease its trouble ticket numbers from over 10,000 to a few hundred per month.  This is the power of AI ops.

In conclusion, remember no one has a crystal ball into the future.  But going by current technology trends in the distributed enterprise, some things are clear: growth, chaos, and churn are predicted.  It helps to have a trusted consulting team of experts on your side to learn from, seek advice from, and leverage from experience.

At Trigent, our domain experts have delivered solutions, charted digitization route maps, and provided distributed enterprise workflow design and architecture for future growth to global leaders in every sector. 

We are happy to share our learnings.  Do give us a call.  Drop us a line.  We are listening.

5 Key Points Any Fintech Solutions Provider Must Keep in Mind to Succeed

Digitalization and COVID-19 have altered the financial landscape significantly making fintech solutions an absolute must for financial services. Fintech was initially considered as the technology that was applied to the back-end systems of financial institutions.

Fast forward to 2022, it lets you manage everything on your smartphone from helping you pay for your food to managing insurance and trade stocks. It allows you to lead your financial lives successfully without feeling the need to visit brick-and-mortar establishments.

The appetite for Fintech apps has grown to such an extent that they are now an integral aspect of financial management. User experience has been a key factor driving this growth. The use of online and mobile banking has increased worldwide with Asia leading the way.

Thai e-wallet TrueMoney grew tremendously during the pandemic and has been one of the most downloaded free Android apps in the country. Along with Japan’s LINE Pay, it is predicted to grow by over 200 percent between 2020 and 2025.

On the other hand, India is outpacing the world with digital payments rising from $61bn in FY16 to their current value of $300 bn. The Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has witnessed a surge of 103 percent in transaction values in 2021 as compared to the previous year.

While those like Paytm expand the scope of their offerings with prepaid mobile recharge services, gold trading, and bill payments, the battle for market share continues to get fiercer with contenders like Google Pay, PhonePe, and WhatsApp.

Mobile apps are now the preferred touchpoint

Fintech mobile apps are seeing an increase in installations, session times, and retention rates with the rise in innovation and offerings. Some of the top fintech apps to consider include MoneyLion, Robinhood, Chime, Nubank, Mint, Revoult, Coinbase, N26, Finch, and Tellus.

Modern apps are now facilitating diverse functions and use cases such as lending, blockchain/crypto, insurance, regtech, payments, investments, trading, money transfer, wealth management, and mortgage. Fintech apps can benefit your business in a big way.

Some of the top benefits include:

  • Greater reach – You can reach a wider audience and keep them updated with the latest information.
  • Improved functionality – You can add features to improve your business and empower customers.
  • Unparalleled convenience – Customers can use apps on the go and are more likely to explore new services.
  • Enhanced operational efficiency – You can streamline operations by integrating software to offer lower prices and greater value to customers. This can make your business more efficient and increase revenue along the way.

Korea’s super app Kakao has given its users a robust mobile-only bank platform combining marketplaces and banking functionality. In just 24 hours of opening, it had managed to garner 300,000 subscribers thanks to its user-friendly and effective marketing strategies.

Key things to remember to turn your app endeavor into a success story

While building the perfect FinTech app, it is important to remember a few things that would ultimately determine the success of your app.

  1. Security is paramount

While every financial transaction is based on trust and reliability, the app is expected to be secure at all times. It needs to adhere to legal regulations and compliance practices. Consumer data needs to be protected and customers should be offered complete peace of mind.

Fintech is vulnerable to cyberattacks since it involves sensitive financial data. It is, therefore, crucial to add the required security layers and test the app thoroughly to ensure that the coding is foolproof.

Precisely why PayTouch leverages biometrics as a security measure allowing payments with fingerprint detection. Customers do not require cards or PINs, and can easily track all their transactions online.

Blockchain-based systems are now becoming popular due to their ability to deter attacks and make apps unbreachable. According to a PwC report, more than 50% of technology leaders believe artificial intelligence will drive change while 40% of organizations are looking up to blockchain to transform the way financial services are delivered. We believe both these technologies play a crucial role in keeping threats at bay.

  1. Everybody wants a Super App

Every consumer expects ‘One app to do it all’. One app, one sign-in are fast becoming the norm. Modern users want to do multiple things including buying gold, booking tickets, and managing investments. Precisely why Bank of America is all set to launch an all-in-one app to attract new customers, bolster its digital ecosystem, and improve customer service.

Considering that 1 in 5 adults in the United States invested in stocks or mutual funds between October and December 2021, the easy-to-use app is expected to reduce the pain points for customers ensuring a seamless digital experience.

An all-in-one experience can undoubtedly be enticing but super apps have thrived only in a few markets. A super app is touted as the Holy Grail of the digital economy, and those like PayTM and Flipkart are making a beeline to claim a bigger market share with a diversified portfolio. And yet they lack the dazzle to impress consumers.

Consumers prefer choice over brand loyalty and are willing to explore and compare before buying anything. Besides, companies are trying to build use cases beyond their primary domain of expertise instead of collaborating with others. Precisely why PayTM couldn’t carve its niche in eCommerce and Ola Cabs ended up dropping Foodpanda soon after acquiring it.

Not to forget UberEats which burned a whopping $3 billion only to give away its food delivery business to Zomato later. Rather than capitalizing on individual strengths, these companies are fragmenting the market.

Companies will have to work towards fostering partnerships and ecosystems. They will have to invest time in opportunity mapping and conduct an exhaustive study of the competitive landscape. The focus should be on developing the customer value proposition to ensure high user stickiness. A robust data analytics engine can help provide the necessary insights to get started.

  1. A frictionless customer experience should be the ultimate goal

A simple and easily navigable UX (user experience) / UI (user interface) is what is needed to ensure convenience and a frictionless customer experience. Intuitive, UX-driven payments are the need of the hour and streamlined navigation is the hook on which they rest.

Thailand’s Piggipo allows users to have their own financial advisor to help with budgeting and handling myriad other things. It allows subscribers to manage multiple cards via a single interface, track their spending, and schedule payments. It also allows them to set spending limits and check their credit card statement in real-time.

System performance is critical to delivering the perfect customer experience. Time is of the essence when it comes to use cases like payments processing. App developers must optimize system performance keeping the end-to-end impact in mind. They need to adopt agile methodologies like Scrum and Kanban to ensure rapid iterations, minimize risks, and enhance business value.

  1. Everything has to be customer-centric

Gojek understands this well and offers more than 20 services in diverse areas including transport, food delivery, and logistics. HUMANS.uz, on the other hand, offers a fintech service, mobile phone cellular services, and an online payment system along with a cashback for top-ups, savings, transfers, purchases, and bill payments.

Data analytics makes it easier to understand your consumers. Data insights can improve operational processes and transactional data can be used to offer better customer experiences.

For instance, you can use the data to risk-assess loan applications and offer them loans just when they need them. While traditional banks are still struggling to make sense of siloed data and get a good view of their customers, you can step up and serve your consumers with meaningful solutions.

Although every endeavor should keep the ‘customer’ at its core, other factors like time-to-market, scalability, and maintenance should not be overlooked.

  1. You must provide a solution to a market problem

According to the State of Finance App Marketing report, Asia & Pacific region has over 1230 fintech apps. In 2020, marketers had spent US$ 244 million to get new users taking the number of paid installations to 600 million. It’s easy to get lost in the crowd unless you pick a specific problem and address it effectively. Only then would you be able to have a competitive advantage and a greater market share.

That’s exactly what Square Inc. did. McKelvey (one of the founders of Square Inc.) was unable to process a sales transaction worth $2000 in 2009 since he didn’t accept credit card payments. The transaction costs made credit card processing extremely expensive for small businesses back then.

He teamed up with Jack Dorsey to create a hardware prototype that would solve this problem for smaller retailers and individuals. It was a square card reader that was sent to users for free to connect through the audio jack of mobile devices and facilitate payments. Square charged a nominal fee of 2.6% along with an additional transaction fee of 10 cents and the company was soon making humongous profits.

Interestingly, Square Inc. became a fintech success story even before fintech was born. The company attributes its success to the low transaction fees and the $0 fixed cost for card purchase. But none of this would have happened had the founders failed to see the advantage and the opportunity in payment processing.

The right technology partner could be your first step to fintech app success

It takes an experienced partner to understand the intricacies of fintech. The best-laid plans and the biggest ventures can fail too if they lack proper research and strategy.

A classic case in point is the fall of N26 that had announced its US operations amidst great fanfare in 2019.

With America’s oldest and most celebrated bank Axos as its banking partner, the Berlin-based fintech promised an unparalleled digital banking experience to its customers. Yet, it recently announced its decision to close its US operations.

So, what went wrong?

Despite claiming to be for everyone, it was for no one since it lacked a definite market niche. There was no feature differentiation and challenger banks were already offering what they could. In a strong regulatory environment, it is important to define your customer and differentiate the customer experience.

In contrast, Chime and Varo were very clear about who they were catering to – low to middle-income consumers – irrespective of whether they spent their whole time on their smartphones or not.

Build your fintech solutions with Trigent

Emerging tech holds the key to fintech app success. At Trigent, we make organizations digitally ready with next-gen technologies like AI, IoT, and blockchain.

We can help you navigate through the many challenges of fintech app building. Call us today for a business consultation.

Why educational institutions should consider Salesforce Education Cloud to streamline student services

When BI Norwegian Business School sought to establish itself as an international market leader, they knew they had to update their technology and streamline student services. They chose Salesforce Education Cloud to centralize their communication channels and elevate the student experience. 

With the new digital capabilities and a transformed ecosystem, BI created a single point of access for students and a unified platform for its staff. Marketing and communication automation gave them a 360-degree view of students and activities to help deliver a relevant and personalized experience. In just a few months, it resolved 87% of the 11,000 service requests in first contact.  

Needless to say, educational institutions can break new ground with Salesforce Education Cloud!

Modern educators need the power to assist a student at the right time, the ability to keep parents informed about their ward’s progress, and the proactiveness to respond with agility and empathy. 

Salesforce Education Cloud enables all this and more to facilitate continuous learning and improvement. It makes it easier for institutions to collaborate, communicate, and create better experiences for all. 

Drive student and institution success from anywhere with successful CRM integration. Let’s talk

Salesforce Education Cloud is shifting the tide for educational institutions

Salesforce is empowering students, educators, and administrators to attain personal growth and institutional success. Educational institutions have embraced a digital-first mentality keeping students’ needs at the forefront during decision-making. The pandemic has served to accelerate the pace of digital innovation across all facets of the ecosystem. 

Want to know more? Read: How universities are using AI to power operational efficiency

 IDC has categorized 29% of Educational institutions as ‘digitally determined’ who are charting their digital journeys with multiple innovations for virtual learning and see Salesforce Education Cloud as a key component in bringing the ecosystem together.

What is Salesforce Education Cloud?

Salesforce took a giant leap in the world of CRM (customer relationship management) with Education Cloud. It helps educational organizations prioritize the student experience to ensure long-term student success. 

It helps them future-proof themselves while keeping pace with the shifting needs. It gives them insights into student activity and preferences, enables them to identify meaningful connections, and builds communities around students, parents, alumni, and other stakeholders. Most importantly, it keeps the complexities at bay. 

As Mark Lombardi, president of Maryville University, puts it, “Everything in the classroom should be challenging, but everything outside should be a service and should be easy.” 

With the help of Salesforce Education Cloud, Maryville University has improved the admissions process making it faster, easier, and more accessible to all prospective students. It has successfully used Service Cloud to provide an omnichannel service and Pardot for targeted communications. 

It has also built the Enterprise Application Solution for Yield (EASY), a free, open-source application solution on the Salesforce platform and is the recipient of a Campus Technology Impact Award for the extraordinary impact it has created using technology on campus.

Salesforce Education Cloud enables institutions to create a central hub of information that enables connected experiences at scale, every step of the way. From recruitment and admissions to career guidance and alumni engagement, it transforms the entire student experience with technology. 

A world of benefits 

Salesforce Education Cloud has something to offer to students and educators throughout the K-20 student lifecycle and beyond. 

According to the Total Economic Impact study by Forrester Consulting, it has been helping higher education institutions improve revenue, enrollments, savings, and retention. 

With Salesforce Education Cloud, educational institutions have been able to

Continuous improvement

Salesforce Education Cloud helps build strong communities with fast-response communication and student interactions.

Despite its remarkable retention rate, Santa Fe College struggled to wiggle out of its ‘second-choice’ school position among applicants. By leveraging Salesforce’s Pardot, Social Studio, and Community Cloud solutions, it was soon able to improve its outreach. It attained an increase of 250% in engagement, 60% in digital inquiries, 75% in campus tour requests, 15% in admissions applications, and 4% in enrollments. 

Connected campus

With the increasing use of mobile devices, it has become imperative for colleges to adopt mobile-first initiatives that make websites more responsive, build apps, and have a connected campus.

The University of San Diego was quick to realize this and turned to Salesforce Education Cloud to build mobile apps that can empower students. These apps help them track performance, activities, and even emotions about their chosen academic courses. The CRM and mobile apps have ensured better student engagement and communication beyond conventional classrooms.

Also read: A realistic look at the effectiveness of AI in the education sector

Better communication

Salesforce Education Cloud boosts productivity in a big way, helping schools and colleges break down silos and automate workflows. 

The London School of Economics and Political Science has been migrating all their data to the Salesforce platform to garner actionable insights and foster meaningful communication. With access to new metrics, it has increased the open rate of personalized emails from 25% to 40% and an increase in the click rate from just 2.9% to an impressive 11.23%.

Incredible features to unlock the power to do more

With an array of features and capabilities, Salesforce Education Cloud is opening new pathways for student success. In a day and age where educators spend more time addressing non-academic needs, it gives them the power to engage and retain students.

Some of its top features include:

  • Centralized and streamlined operations to enable digital engagement for effective communication.
  • Marketing automation to map critical milestones in the student journey and facilitate other functions such as campaign management, social marketing, personalized communication, event management, and online chat support 
  • Loan application management to coordinate with third-party vendors for loan approvals and manage communication on loan processing.
  • Admission Connect, an admission CRM software, creates customized solutions for smooth admissions.
  • Education Data Architecture (EDA) for a 360-degree view across the entire educational journey
  • The K-12 Architecture Kit to build a holistic data model for monitoring student interactions with other stakeholders
  • Einstein analytics to identify areas that need attention, track enrollments, and enhance engagement outcomes.

Salesforce Education Cloud: The ‘cost’ factor

As part of its Power of Us program, Salesforce offers ten subscriptions to eligible organizations at no cost. It provides an extensive range of packages packed with excellent CRM features to match your unique requirements. The EDA Basics Module available on Trailhead can be a good starting point to know what it’s all about. 

An easier way, of course, is to let our technology experts help you. 

Build a truly connected campus with Trigent

We have been helping educators prepare for tomorrow with the unmatched capabilities of the Salesforce Education Cloud. 

As you gear up to test the digital maturity of your institution and transform the learning experience, you count on us to pass with flying colors. We will partner with you to strengthen student journeys with deeper insights and greater engagement.

We can help you adopt a data-driven culture to drive digital engagement. Call us today for a business consultation. 

Identifying the Best Cloud Architecture for Fast Content Access, Optimized Bandwidth Usage, and Content Security

The importance of identifying the best Cloud architecture

Massive volumes of data consumed through multiple devices have forced the media industry to revisit how they manage content. Personalization is the expectation now and at all times. It has given birth to many operational challenges compelling media companies to transition from traditional broadcasting to a digital distribution model. Cloud solutions play a critical role here, helping the industry build a robust ecosystem to manage everything from data creation to consumption while ensuring flawless user experiences.

TVU Networks has witnessed a whopping 243 percent increase in SaaS use in 2021 compared to 2020 due to the rapid adoption of cloud-based and remote workflows. As per a joint report1, ‘The show goes on in the cloud’ by PwC and Microsoft, production delays and the under-delivery of episodic content lead to over $3.5 billion in lost ad revenue for broadcasters and underlines the severe impact it could have on the industry. 

While a lot of groundwork remains to be done, Media and Entertainment (M&E) businesses that were once hesitant to embrace emerging technologies are now eager for a digital transformation. The pandemic has already thrown them a curve making them realize the importance of moving away from legacy production systems towards a more dependable cloud infrastructure to stay afloat in a socially distant environment.

Media & Entertainment companies are now transitioning with Intelligent cloud transformation

Entertainment companies are doing everything in their power to deliver content the way their consumers want. While media segments like video games and streaming enjoyed good returns during the pandemic, others have suffered. 

M&E companies are now transitioning from big screens to bite-sized content, breaking free of the limitations of legacy production systems. The conversation is now around technologies that can demonstrate greater value and ROI. 

Intelligent cloud transformation has emerged as the Holy Grail for M&E companies while they attempt to accelerate innovation and increase revenue. The focus is now to automate routine tasks, explore digital delivery chains to augment revenue, and harness technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create content libraries

The cloud in media has emerged as a viable solution to reach out to consumers and monitor how consumers engage with the content. Jennifer Cooper, Global Head of Media and Communications Industry Strategy & Solutions, Microsoft2, points out, “The disruption created by COVID-19 has agitated the industry into accelerating innovation and digital transformation in areas that were previously only in planning stages of cloud migration. The stage is set for an industry-wide metamorphosis.” 

Need help with identifying the best cloud architecture to accelerate content performance and increase revenue? Let’s talk

Why is IT modernization a top priority today?

Online video consumption has grown considerably, with viewers resorting to smartphones and tablet PCs for their entertainment needs. Today, everything from animation and visual effects to high-definition videos and high-resolution audio creates colossal data that can be overwhelming for legacy IT architectures. 

Some of the top challenges companies are currently facing include:

Evolving expectations of consumers – The discerning consumers now expect greater flexibility and choices from an industry that is already having a hard time dealing with the dips and spikes in viewership. It has become crucial for M&E companies to deliver content across a wide range of channels and formats. Cloud computing is now inevitable for companies to manage their volatile demand. Those like the Walt Disney Company quickly shifted to the cloud to digitally transform their content production, media supply chain, streaming, and data analytics process. They also built up a virtual studio to collaborate with artists across the globe.

Faster time to market – M&E companies have understood the only way to stay competitive is to produce and distribute original content in an agile but cost-effective manner. Direct-to-consumer (D2C) models like OTT streaming and subscription-based services are on the rise raising the US household average to nine paid subscriptions across music, videos, and gaming. Cloud deployments are the smart choice since they allow M&E companies to store, manage, and deliver content digitally and shift workloads seamlessly across public and private infrastructures.

Rising costs – Low-cost OTT (over the top) companies that cater to consumers directly via the Internet have struck a blow to the bottom lines of traditional M&E companies. These highly cost-sensitive times aim to unlock trapped value and cost efficiencies by moving away from legacy silos and inefficient workflows. These companies are now turning to cloud computing to minimize sunk costs associated with content storage and delivery.

High streaming performance – Even a six-second delay in streaming an ad can cost M&E companies a lot of money. Thanks to the growing number of subscription-based services that allow ad-free viewing, it has become highly challenging to grab and hold viewer attention. As these companies ensure minimal delays and downtime, the cloud enables architectures that support high performance and availability. The intense competition in the streaming space has led to several mergers, with the latest duo to seal a deal being WarnerMedia and Discovery.

A remote workforce – When businesses went into survival mode during the pandemic, they had the additional stress of managing a remote workforce. In an attempt to rise above the unprecedented volatility, ViacomCBS5 came up with a unique hybrid work model for its employees to enable them to spend some of their workweek time at home. The rationale was to cater to customers and take care of the employees. ViacomCBS created a cloud-based hub to automate workflows, lower costs, and optimize delivery over any distribution channel. M&E companies have been deploying cloud solutions to keep the business running via cloud-based telephony, messaging, and conferencing.

Enhancing capabilities with cloud

Despite the initial apprehensions of getting on to the cloud, forward-thinking companies like Netflix are now comfortably using the cloud to enhance their capabilities. The cloud infrastructure helps broadcasters adjust their sails as they work towards post-COVID norms. Apart from providing a single platform for all applications to broadcasters and M&E companies, it also enables greater operational efficiency and integration. 

You may also like: 6 Cloud Migration Mistakes that Businesses Need to Avoid

If you are still unsure about having cloud architecture, we give you a quick lowdown on its numerous benefits. 

Scalability to manage complex needs

To deliver content to any device at varying connection speeds, M&E companies need to format multiple video files with streamlined workflows that encode, transcode, and securely store content. The complicated workflows call for excellent scalability. Legacy applications are incapable of handling them since they are resource and labor-intensive which leads to high maintenance costs. On-premises streaming does not offer the required computing capacity and bandwidth to deliver content seamlessly. 

On the other hand, cloud infrastructures empower companies to host rendered files for delivery. Since cloud servers are present worldwide, content is delivered via the closest hub, minimizing streaming latency. Cloud infrastructure also proves to be cost-effective since companies can simply add more cloud resources to scale up services rather than purchasing anything upfront. 

Sony Pictures Imageworks is a classic case that turned to Google Cloud Platform to enhance its capabilities and augment its infrastructure. Steve Kowalski, VP of Systems Engineering for Sony Pictures Imageworks6, explains, “In the past, we had to expand our on-premises infrastructure to support those peak periods. We’d try to rent 10,000 or 20,000 extra computer graphics rendering machines to get us through 10 to 15 weeks a year of peak production activity. We’d need extra graphics workstations for the 150 or more artists we added during peak periods. But the companies that rent the equipment typically want much longer time commitments.”

Greater control through data management 

Every M&E company needs to understand the complex behaviors of its audiences. The smart ones resort to cloud computing to ingest and manage big data and get insights to drive audience engagement and loyalty. This large volume of data, both structured and unstructured, helps companies optimize supply chains, monetize content, and improve user experiences. 

The cloud offers scalability to on-demand data analytic tools to extract and transform data required to make data-driven decisions. With millions of active users in several countries, Spotify has managed to grow its number of subscribers by 29% in a year by embracing the cloud. It can now iterate quickly based on data insights by moving its 1200 online services, data processing DAGs (direct acyclic graphs), and 20,000 daily job executions to the cloud.

Ensure security and compliance at all times

In addition to customer data, M&E companies need to safeguard digital content from piracy. We read about cloud security breaches frequently, but these breaches often occur due to companies’ flawed policies and technologies. 

Instead of doubting the potential of the cloud in providing a safe infrastructure, M&E companies must invest time and effort in finding the right service provider to minimize the attack footprint. Security breaches are often the result of errors in configuration and unpatched vulnerabilities and can be easily avoided by choosing the right service provider. 

CineSend, a provider of secure video storage, encoding, and delivery solutions, has scaled to deliver cutting-edge video experiences and support its customers with cloud adoption. Its scalable cloud-native solution has empowered it to attain 1,000% video streaming business growth in 2020. Most importantly, it has built a secure video streaming platform that allows it to encrypt customer data at rest while letting customers host their events remotely.

Embrace cloud technology with Trigent

As a trusted partner for several industries, including the M&E, we can transform your business by enabling faster content delivery and greater engagement. Our services will empower you with insights to ensure quick decision-making and enhanced operational efficiency. 

Discover a whole new way of managing your infrastructure with our technology partners by your side. Call us today for a business consultation.

References

  1. https://www.techrepublic.com/index.php/article/the-cloud-becomes-a-delivery-mechanism-for-the-media-and-entertainment-industry/
  2. https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/alliances/microsoft/azure/show-goes-on-in-cloud.html
  3. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-ott-devices-and-services-market-report-2021-2026-featuring-akamai-technologies-amazon-apple-brightcove-google-hulu-limelight-networks-microsoft-netflix-roku-tencent-301436184.html
  4. https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/cloud-computing-market-234.html
  5. https://variety.com/2021/film/news/viacomcbs-return-to-work-bob-bakish-1234928556/
  6. https://cloud.google.com/customers/sony-pictures-imageworks 

6 Cloud Migration Mistakes that Businesses Need to Avoid

Businesses worldwide are busy moving their legacy applications to the cloud in the wake of the pandemic. While reducing infrastructure costs and enhancing security remain important reasons for many, it is crucial to assess the individual business environment to understand why cloud migration is important for you. 

Cloud migration needs to be seamless and simple for it to be effective. Cloud adoption has tangible benefits as over 70% of companies have already moved some of their workloads to the public cloud, as confirmed by Gartner1. Yet, it predicts that 60% of infrastructure and operations leaders may experience cost overruns by 2024 that may end up hurting their on-premises budgets.

As per a Cloud Security Alliance report2, 90% of CIOs have experienced failure or disruption in data migration projects caused by complexities encountered while migrating from on-premises environments to the cloud. Only 35% of the survey respondents met their migration deadlines. The 2019 Fortinet study reveals 74% of the companies moved their applications back to on-premises on failing to attain desired returns.

This brings us to the most pertinent questions – why do these migrations fail, and what can you do to ensure a successful cloud migration? And most importantly, why is cloud migration an essential endeavor for organizations?

Address challenges and migrate to the Cloud seamlessly. Talk to us now

Advantage Cloud – Why migration from legacy systems to cloud is important for an organization

There are several benefits of migrating to the cloud as it gives businesses much-needed flexibility and scalability. The Coca-Cola Company achieved 40% operational savings while reducing maintenance costs and improving performance by migrating to the cloud. 

Cloud-native startups are already collecting data from their customers and markets to accordingly align their offerings and implement product updates in the production stage. 

SaaS is preferred by many who wish to add or delete features based on customer feedback. Subscription-based models that allow marketing teams to have more enriching interactions with end-users and implement changes across marketing, sales & pricing, and customer support functions are proving to be extremely valuable. 

According to Gartner, end-user spending on cloud services will grow at a CAGR of 21.7% taking it from $396 billion in 2021 to $482 billion in 2022. Explains Brandon Medford, senior principal analyst at Gartner, “Organizations are advancing their timelines on digital business initiatives and racing to the cloud in an effort to modernize environments, improve system reliability, support hybrid work models and address other new realities compelled by the pandemic.”

To meet retail’s new mandates, the largest grocery chain in the U.S. Kroger, recently unveiled a privacy-compliant collaborative cloud that offers a granular view of customer behavior. 

Planning for successful cloud migrations

Cloud migration calls for a lot of planning to ensure a positive business and operation impact.

When Netflix decided to go all-in on the cloud, most were unaware of the existence of the cloud. But it had problems that needed immediate attention, and thus came its famous Simian Army that unleashed the Chaos Monkey. It is a software tool developed by Netflix engineers to simulate failures of cloud instances and test the resiliency and recoverability of their Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Proper planning is the key to successful migrations and should consider various aspects from the present and future perspectives. Remember, you need to build the cloud for the future, anticipating growth and new business models. A simple ‘lift and shift’ may work for some while others may need a complete overhaul of application architectures through re-architecting. To avoid downtime and performance degradation, you need to understand cloud migration best practices. 

But before you start anything, you need to ask the right questions. Why do you want to move to the cloud, and what do you expect? Is your workforce ready for this transition? What migration strategies will work for your business? 

Here are a few mistakes you must avoid at all costs to ensure smooth cloud migration. 

Failing to understand organization networks and infrastructure

Every solution provider will offer unique attributes making it highly overwhelming for businesses to choose solutions based on their business and data needs. Lack of proper understanding causes breaks in the systems, and some data may be left behind. This can disrupt functions and lead to additional costs and frustrations.

For instance, Sime Darby Industrial Sdn Bhd (SDISB) faced scalability and security issues due to config limitations in their Cloud infrastructure. Periodic lags and downtime arising from these misconfigurations caused major disruptions driving up costs for the company.  A personalized, end-to-end solution by a partner was needed to help SDISB improve its Cloud e-commerce site performance.

Trying to migrate everything in one go

While migrating data and workflows, simply prioritizing a ‘life and shift’ approach to move workloads without modifying or analyzing them may not be the best move. You may have to rewrite and re-release applications in a cloud-native manner or replace them based on a proper assessment. Workloads need to be assessed first before initiating a migration project. 

Besides, every storage and solution will have its own merits and limitations that need to be evaluated, and the right backup strategies would play a critical role. Organizations like OVHcloud, Europe’s largest cloud provider, had already taught us a lesson in data backup the hard way when its data center suffered a catastrophic fire. Those who had purchased the backup and disaster-recovery services offered by the company were able to resume operations while others suffered.

The right migration partner can play a crucial role here. A proof-of-concept or minimal viable cloud is recommended to get a realistic view of the migration. This will eliminate the threat of losing essential data or causing breaks or breaches arising from inefficient migration. 

Not having the right migration partner

The migration partner you choose will largely determine the success of your cloud migration. Rather than choosing them based on familiarity or low pricing, you should focus on their experience. A partner with certified experts across Cloud Vendor solutions will provide you with a design that is right for your business rather than pushing a specific technology. Handing the migration project to internal teams may be feasible only if the team has relevant prior experience and expertise.

You may ask your migration partner for a cost proposal along with the necessary recommendations following proper assessment of your data and infrastructure to commence the project on the right foot.

Failing to map dependencies

Incomplete application assessment also leads to encountering dependency bottlenecks later. You need to discover and account for the interdependencies between on-premises systems early on to ensure there are no hiccups along the way. Failure to do so would lead to incorrect grouping and order of application migrations, eventually leading to burgeoning costs and cascading delays. It will also lead to perennial performance issues and cause your migration costs to go off the rails.

Failing to factor in hidden costs

You need to pay close attention to transformation costs that may involve upskilling, increased salaries for cloud management roles, changes in organizational structure, operating procedures, new practices, etc. 

Adobe found this out the hard way in 2018 when its engineers realized that a single computing job on Microsoft Azure was racking up charges of $80,000 per day. A week later, this had accumulated to a bill of more than half a million dollars.

No matter what the cost, budgeting must include indirect project costs to ensure the organization operates optimally without any financial stress.

Added care required to move legacy applications safely onto the cloud

It’s easier to safely move legacy applications to the cloud once you analyze the complexities involved in different types of data and apps. For instance, moving your corporate email service to a public cloud SaaS service is pretty straightforward. What’s challenging to migrate is an application that was developed years ago. The fact that your entire business relies on it can only make it even more difficult. 

There could be bespoke applications developed in-house, but the new cloud offerings cannot align with these customizations. A classic case is Autodesk’s SaaS offering that runs just one version of the software and is not compatible with customized applications or third-party add-ins. What’s more, businesses that have unique ERP applications often struggle with cloud solutions that cannot accept such personalized versions. Organizations can avoid this turmoil by choosing one of these options to ensure safe and swift migrations.

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) wherein applications can be moved as is or with minor tweaks to operate from the service provider’s infrastructure.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offers a secure database or development environment for organizations to install and manage their customized applications or code. 
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) wherein all responsibilities are managed by the service provider to offer a tailored service to organizations for cost efficiency, scalability, and flexibility. 

The right migration partner will help you with suitable cloud solutions and strategies and even offer customized ones to ensure migration success. The infamous data scraping breach or the breach that cost Facebook huge losses, including a $5 billion penalty, have taught us essential lessons in cloud security.

No matter which migration partner you choose, make sure they adopt a security-first approach. After all, security cannot be an afterthought and is the only way to reduce the attack surface and the breaches arising from it. Ensure you regularly maintain the patches and updates, configure cloud-native solutions correctly, and secure the network for vulnerability management and incident response.

Simplify your Cloud migration journey with Trigent

Our domain experts at Trigent assess your portfolio and business needs to determine the pain points and ways to address them. As a cloud migration specialist, we blend unique methodologies with purpose-built assessment tools to decide the right migration strategy for your business. Accordingly, we devise a detailed transformation roadmap prioritizing apps to be migrated and treatments to migrate to the cloud using best practices seamlessly. 

Allow us to assess your cloud readiness to help you rapidly scale and succeed with the right cloud solutions. Call us today for a business consultation.

References

  1. https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/6-ways-cloud-migration-costs-go-off-the-rails
  2. https://www.ciodive.com/spons/why-do-cloud-migrations-fail/600946/

AI in Education – A Realistic Look at the Effectiveness of AI in the Education Sector

A realistic view of the current adoption rate of AI in education, and pointers on how to ensure that it works, amidst the digital-learning hype.

When the kids in Montour school district (PA, USA) turned up to school that day in the fall of 2018, they were in for a surprise. They were told they would begin a brand-new course on Artificial Intelligence (AI). What on earth was AI? And what could it mean to kids in classes 5 and 6?

But this was a serious matter. MIT Media Lab and Media, Arts and Science Department at MIT, had come together and proposed to ‘catch them young’. The idea was to make an early introduction to concepts and practical AI lessons for middle school kids. All students from classes 5 to 8 would go through the AI Ethics program to identify use cases of gender / racial biases, privacy, and fairness. By the end of the 3-day course, they would know if such biases were embedded into the programs they would work on.

Welcome to generation AI. This makes millennium kids look antiquated. This new breed is sensitized to the good of AI and is aware of where it could go wrong. 

That is not all. Montour School district STEM teacher has co-developed a six-week program with Carnegie Mellon Dept of Computer Science called AI in Autonomous Robotics for 7 and 8-grade students. The implementation rigor here is quality stuff as kids are asked to solve real-world problems. 

Amper Music, the world’s first AI music composer and producer, has worked with music faculty at the school to develop a 10-day AI Music program for class 7 and 8 students. This school district is certainly leading the AI drive firing on all cylinders.

A host of universities, AI software firms, educators, and AI experts are coming together like never before to create early engagement for school kids into the AI world. And unlike what most of us would have thought: It is not only about STEM. In fact, the philosophy is to move from STEM to STEAM (with a liberal dose of Art – music, media, entertainment) thrown in for good measure. And this is happening in several pockets across the US.

AI in education sector – AI is here to stay, and the US campuses are already doing it

Across the United States, AI penetration within the education sector is tangible but may not be visible to the untrained eye. While varying in level of experimentation, schools and higher education institutes have embraced the tech and decided to learn how to harness its powers. 

Pittsburg-based Carnegie Learning1 offers AI-based personalized math, applied sciences, and language programs for post-high school students to rediscover learning. The entire program is personalized and self-paced, giving a new approach to STEM learners post-K12 schooling. The results demonstrated in some school districts in Washington and Texas prove the program creates a positive impact.

Duolingo2 is an amazingly popular AI-based customized language learning tool that allows anyone to learn a language. This is based on machine-driven instructions optimized for students based on millions of similar learning sessions held earlier. And most of the learning is for free.

California-based Content Technologies3 is a pioneer in AI and has developed several advanced AI systems for education. The Cram 101 is an AI tool that converts any textbook fed to it into chapter-wise byte-sized summaries, true or false type questions, learning concepts in record time. The company has developed similar tools for different disciplines such as nursing education, high school, and so on.

Some of the interesting outcomes of the approach of starting them young came from a US scientist, Ms. Druga, who built Cognimates, an AI platform for building games and programming robots and training AI models. Cognimates was incubated in MIT Media Labs. 

In a three-year study, where kids were taught to program bots to play games such as Rock and Scissors and build gaming applications using AI. One of the most profound observations came from Druga: When the kids came out after a session and said – “the computer is smart, but I am smarter”.

This was a powerful endorsement of how a young student comes away with a high level of confidence in the programmability of the computer to do what she wants it to do. This clearly establishes the argument about why AI perhaps should be started early on in school.

Next steps in playing this right – How can AI be used in education?

In general, schools and Universities must do the following to stay abreast of the AI curve and help imbue its benefits within the communities.

1.   Create a qualified AI resource team within the institution so they can track AI developments in peer institutes, vendor implementations and research the use cases.

2. Understand own deployments, migration of data systems into the AI realm, define implementation road map and create necessary stakeholder education of the new systems that will come.

3.   Educational institutions should also work with boards, government agencies, and accreditation bodies to define a structured AI curriculum for higher courses. This may require an industry interface also. This combination will create a Special Interest Group -university-industry – regulator group that will work together in ensuring the best interests of all concerned.

4. Faculty training, student and parent education, and awareness programs in terms of how the implementation could affect them need to be made available. Privacy and security rights of all stakeholders are paramount and need to be protected. How the schools intend to ensure data protection as machines become more powerful and open to sharing, receiving data from remote tutors, servers dynamically need to be shared transparently.

The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) launched the AI for K-12 Working Group (AI4K12) to define for artificial intelligence what students should know and be able to do.

There are several such movements developing effective programs to deploy at various levels. These can help institutes understand better where AI is headed and how to ride this new technology wave to harness its full benefits.

Start your AI journey with Trigent

AI could well be the elephant in the classroom but if it’s a friendly elephant that can help enrich your life, you wouldn’t complain, would you?

At Trigent, we provide intuitive and easy to use AI solutions that ensuring seamless adoption of the latest technology. With the AI-powered tools from Trigent, you will be able to accelerate your digital transformation initiative in your organization successfully.

Want to know more? Get in touch with us for a quick consultation.

 References

  1. https://www.carnegielearning.com/why-cl/success-stories/
  2. https://www.duolingo.com/info
  3. http://contenttechnologiesinc.com/

Digital Asset Management System – A must-have for all businesses

What are digital assets?

Wikipedia definition: “​​A digital asset is anything that exists in a digital format and comes with the right to use”. For example – video, music, documents, images, presentations, digital tokens (including crypto), data, or anything an organization or individual owns or has the right to use.

As we move ahead with digital transformation more and more businesses are increasingly dependent on digital assets. Today, even existing physical assets such as documents and prints are actively digitized. Digital assets are convenient as they occupy less physical space, are easy to retrieve, and can be transported/transferred easily.

Businesses who have already made the shift to digital assets include, 

  • Legal / Law firms
  • Advertising Agencies, Media houses
  • Broadcasting
  • HR and Recruitment firms
  • Movie Production houses
  • OTTs

Major industries such as retail, manufacturing, import-export houses, insurance, finance, and logistics companies are all in various stages of digital transformation.

With increasing convenience comes its own set of problems, and in this case, it is the management of the digital assets that we create and convert from the existing ones. This is especially true for Business Service companies that create, use and distribute different types of documents and related content. 

What is digital asset management?

Every individual and organization starts by organizing their files and their assets in a traditional hierarchical system on their local computers,  USB storage devices,  and of late on the cloud ( Google Drive, email, Dropbox, etc.). Once there is a need to share these assets and use them in collaboration, they resort to shared drives and transfer these assets via email, etc. 

While this kind of organization works on a small scale, the system gets easily overwhelmed with an increase in the number of users and assets.  

Eventually, the challenges present themselves:

  • Single paradigm of classifying our assets – different users / functional-units classify assets differently. E.g. Sales dept will want contracts classified by customers or geography while the accounts teams may want them classified by chronology, billing, risk etc. In short, one size does not fit all.
  • Sharing assets with others – Providing access to “other teams” or third parties is initially simple and can be monitored. However over time, as the content and the teams involved increases, it can spiral into a complete chaos. The most ideal use case would be to provide access to specific assets and probably for a finite amount of time. This brings us to the next point.
  • Security of assets – In 2015, all the first four episodes of the Game of Thrones season surfaced online before it even got aired because the Media outlets provided the episodes for viewing as a part of the review process. This was catastrophic. Sensitive content especially of monetary value needs to be secured and there should be an audit trail to trace any leaks.
  • Version control – While presentation.ppt,  presentation1.ppt, presentation-ver2.ppt would work for an individual or at a small team level, it would require additional tracking effort or worse cause confusion under unwanted circumstances.
  • Automation – Digital assets typically go through a standard workflow including (not limited to) publishing onto websites, pushing to 3rd parties, Watermarking, QA  QC, Approvals etc which could be potentially automated to provide better efficiency.

Enforcement is a key challenge in a discipline-based system and things get cumbersome. There are several Sophisticated DAMs available in the market and when the time comes it is best to get one in place. 

When is the right time to consider a DAM?

Adopting the right technology at the right time is significant for the growth of any business. Here are some points that will help you identify if it is the right time to adopt a DAM in your business 

  1. Are digital assets a significant part of your business?
  2. Does your workforce spend a lot of time looking for files?
  3. Have you had to do a work from scratch when it could have been repurposed from an existing asset?
  4. Are you making duplicate purchases of assets because existing assets cannot be found?
  5. Are unapproved files being used fairly regularly?
  6. Are you losing time validating the “Final version” against the other versions?
  7. Are you spending a significant amount of  time on tasks that can be automated such as watermarking, resizing, transcoding etc?
  8. Does sharing large files require a process which is not as easy as sending email?
  9. Are you finding difficulty in identifying a secure store for your assets?
If you have 3 or fewer “yes”You still have some time. Keep a sharp lookout for the most common cases mentioned. 
If you have 4 – 6 “yes”It is time to start looking for a DAM. It is also a good time to get familiar with a Digital Asset management system. 
If you have more than 6 “yes”Now might be a good time to get your DAM in place.

The losses and risks associated with the loss of Digital Asset Management systems are becoming a standard around the world. The cost of loss and efficiency is real and it has a direct impact on your business.

Hence ensure to be proactive rather than reactive. Also keep in mind that once you have identified the DAM and Vendor, there is still time left (you are the best judge of this) for Deployment, Migration, and User-acceptance. Ensure you plan it well to make this initiative successful. 

Find the right DAM

Once the decision is made to go in for a Digital Asset Management system, there are several choices that need to be made. Broadly they are based on capability/features and cost model.

Features and capability

Consider the following features:

  • Types of assets you will store on the DAM. E.g. Audio, documents, images etc.
  • Attributes of indexing for search and retrieval. E.g. content keywords, Approval status, date, value, vendor etc
  • AI based DAMs can automatically tag features for indexing such as contents of scanned documents, image contents, video and audio content keywords which makes content ingestion a much simpler step 
  • Any automated processes you would like to run on the assets – watermarking, transcoding, resizing
  • Federated Authentication – Consider a DAM that will be able to integrate with your existing authentication system so that the existing system Admin processes will take care of your access management and the users will not have to remember another set of credentials
  • Sharing and permissions – the access various users have to the assets or groups of assets
  • Compatibility with your existing platform and software
  • Any APIs that need to be integrated with the DAM

Buy vs Hire

There are many solutions that can be bought off the shelf, configured, and deployed onto the cloud of local infrastructure based on your requirement. If you already have IT infrastructure and personnel then this is probably a good approach. 

OR

Several DAM solution companies offer a SaaS model where you can just pay a monthly fee and everything is handled. This is typically a good option if you don’t want the upfront expenses or don’t have a dedicated infrastructure team.

Migrate to a Digital Asset Management System

By now you should have zeroed in on the Digital Asset Management system if not already purchased one or subscribed to one.

  • Make sure all the use-cases of all the teams involved are handled. All integrations are in place and all the automated processes are working with their respective types of assets.
  • Ensure you have a buy-in from all the stakeholders involved about the move and set a date.
  • Create the required structure and the attribute lists.
  • Ensure all potential users get their credentials on the new system 
  • Provide training to all the personnelle who will access the DAM
  • Move / Import all existing Assets to the DAM and ensure all new assets are added to the new system.
  • Decommission the old system. This is a very important step as “old habits die hard” and familiarity makes users go back to the older system.

Some popular digital asset management software

Here are some popular DAMs as per industry leadership sites. Most of these are SAAS-based models. These are pay-as-you-go models and can be a good starting point.

  • Bynder 
  • Canto
  • Digizuite
  • Image Relay
  • Northplains
  • Widen Collective

For the more adventurous ones who already have IT infrastructure and a team that can manage the system, here are some open source options:

  • Islandora 
  • Phraseanet
  • Pimcore
  • Daminion Standalone Basic – The basic standalone is free. They also have a managed service which is a paid model.

A good approach here is to involve your technical team to check on technical skills compatibility and also evaluate the features and their maturity. Even better is to deploy a working copy and test out all the use cases required by all the teams. Most of the open-source projects come with APIs and defined frameworks to extend their functionality.

Confused? 

Get in touch with us for a quick free assessment of your requirement and suggestion for a suitable solution. 

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