Anant Corporation Blog

Our research, knowledge, thoughts, and recommendations about building and leading businesses on the Internet.

Webinar 2 Recap: How to Connect Online Business Software 101 (B2B)

Thank you everyone who joined us for our latest webinar! Last week, in the business software 101 series, we presented some of the basic methods available to businesses looking to integrate their web-based applications. An important thing to keep in mind is there are a multitude of applications available with different levels of complexity and customization to meet your business needs. The commercial and Service-asa-Software (SaaS) tools discussed were generally on the higher end of the customization and complexity scale (Ex: Cloudpipes, Neuron ESB, Elastic.io, and Mulesoft).

 

For demonstration purposes, Rahul showed participants and viewers how to create a relatively simple integration between Trello (a project planning tool) and Slack (a communication tool) via the use of Zapier (an application commonly used to integrate two or more web applications). This integration is one we use at Anant to quickly add cards to our Trello boards which we use for brainstorming and general product iteration. It is a useful integration for business users, assuming they use Slack, because they can easily push an idea directly from Slack to Trello without switching applications.

 

The integration above is useful for coming back to things later. Fortunately, we also share things on our blog and if you weren’t able to join us or want to review the materials again you can find them below for future reference.

 

 

We plan to continue the series next month with a webinar focused on the use of web portals and dashboards to display your business information in a single, unified location. We’ll also touch on common challenges businesses face in managing their information and look at some web portal and dashboard technology currently available. You can register here for the Friday, October 14, event that will kick off at 10am EDT.

 

If you can’t make the next webinar try one of our other events or join us for donuts on September 30 at our next business strategy breakfast roundtable.

 

Business Software 101 Series:

Webinar 1 – Building Online Business Software 101 (B2B)

Webinar 2 – How to Connect Online Business Software 101 (B2B)

Webinar 3 – Unifying Business Information with Portals and Dashboards (B2B)

Webinar 4 – Organizing Business Information with Enterprise Search & Knowledge Management (B2B)

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Is Your Business a Modern Enterprise?

“AOL Keyword ‘Anant.’”

Years ago, an advertisement ending with this phrase would have made our company modern (and potentially famous). Today, the expression is a bit ‘antiquated,’ to say the least, but it also shows how technology and business have evolved. A modern business, or a “modern enterprise,” survives on the ones and zeros coursing through the air and wires all around us. Many people make use of Google, Facebook, LinkedIn or similar cloud-based services everyday. Each of these sites has evolved to provide a service to us and has delivered it to us via the internet – a process often called “software-as-a-service” or SaaS for short. The ability to leverage internet-based technology to both improve and operate a company is vital to almost every company in business today. While the examples above are well-known, many business specific SaaS products are now available to help businesses meet both their needs and their customers’ needs.

 

As a company (hopefully) grows and begins to mature, the intricacy of its operations and composition can increase in complexity, necessitating a tweak in approach or outside help. A critical step when asking for help is to identify what you ultimately want to do; and diagnose what is, or what will, hold your company back (the “problem”). An issue many companies run into on their way to becoming a modern enterprise is copious amounts of data and process flows, but in different systems that don’t talk to each other or users who don’t fully comprehend what can be done with the information at hand. It is the companies who make the proverbial transition to a modern enterprise, the ones who connect their information and systems to their people and processes, who will survive and thrive. This evolution will impact all aspects of a company; finance, sales, services, operations, management and research; and it is important to understand what can be accomplished and with what tools.

 

designThe concepts and tools at play are relatively simple for in-the-know technologists and internet architects, but can be challenging even for some of the most technologically savvy around. It is a bit much to delve into today, but in the coming weeks we want you to better understand these foundational precepts.

To help, we’re providing free in-person presentations, online webinars, and explanatory postings in the coming months focused on these technological concepts and their impact on business. We look forward to helping your company become a modern enterprise as the new year approaches.

 

If you are interested in learning more about how you can apply the modern enterprise approach to your work today sign up for one of our 30 minute free consultations here! You can also tune in to our webinar later today (10am EDT) or catch up with us on 9/30 for a big data focused strategy breakfast.

 

Modern Enterprise Series

  • Is Your Business a Modern Enterprise?
  • Modern Enterprise: Modular Business Practices
  • Modern Enterprise: Planning & Discovery
  • Modern Enterprise: Design & Development

 

A photo by Rayi Christian Wicaksono. unsplash.com/photos/6PF6DaiWz48

Webinar 2: How to Connect Online Business Software 101 (B2B)

Software, software, software everywhere – and applications! Let’s face it, you probably couldn’t run your company without them. At Anant, we help clients connect their different pieces of software, apps and hardware to help make workflows more productive and more efficient. Next week, as part of our four part webinar series, CEO Rahul Singh will present on Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) to help you understand how these connections can be executed and why they are important to your business operations.

 

Even though the term “Enterprise Application Integration” itself seems daunting it is something you will be able to do (or want to do) to unlock opportunities for your company and yourself. Previously, monolithic applications, such as complex enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, attempted to create large frameworks of applications that would give you an all-in-one solution to your application integration needs. One of the main obstacles with systems such as these is they are largely inflexible. In a business environment where processes, amongst other things, are often prone to change, it is not sustainable to use applications which are inherently rigid.

 

With the advancement of Application Program Interface (API) technology, there is now a plethora of different application integration opportunities. Using APIs, companies have a much more feasible way to get applications to talk with each other, or with a central data warehouse (essentially, a repository for data from operational systems such as marketing, sales, etc.). Most of your common internet applications; such as Google Apps, Salesforce, WordPress, and Jira;  have APIs which can be programmed to suit your needs. However, there are pitfalls you need to avoid when connecting your applications together as well as important best practices to follow.

 

During the webinar Rahul will address benefits, pitfalls, and best practices while walking through the different options currently available for integrations.  Sign up is now open for the Friday, September 16, webinar! We’ll start at 10am and finish about an hour later. This webinar will be a 20-25 minute presentation and demonstration followed by an open-forum discussion around the topic of connecting online business software. We hope to see you there!

 

 


Come see us present in person at one of our upcoming events. If you’re in the DC area next week, Rahul will be moderating the monthly Data Wranglers DC event on Wednesday, September 14, where the presenter will speak about using Spark and Accumulo. You can sign up here.

Strategy Breakfast – Sweet Spot for Big Data

It was great to get together with Big Data enthusiasts last week at the Metro Offices co-working space. If you attended, please send a thank you to Robert Katz (@Robert_Katz) for opening it up. The conversation was an open forum discussion among professionals with backgrounds in digital marketing, law, and finance. There was general agreement that companies need to use data to make decisions; however, participants noted basic impediments such as understanding or identifying the underlying importance of a data point or metric, separating correlation from causation, and wading through unknown-unknowns.

 

Analytics

What was generally agreed on is there is value hidden within the information being collected and it is necessary to understand how to access and apply that data to help ourselves and clients stay ahead of the competition. At a basic level, spreadsheets and tools such as Google Analytics provide information about what is happening, but it is important to also understand why numbers are changing and if they are changing in an anticipated manner that indicate a stronger company going forward. This latter point touches on measuring the effects of actions taken by a company, primarily through marketing, and the ultimate return on investment of those actions, whether intended or unintended. The final point, exploring the ‘unknown-unknowns’, or ‘what is possible’, is what seemed to capture the greatest attention of many in the room. Never has there been the opportunity to compare and analyze so many data points and it is sometimes overwhelming to do so or even arduous as information is siloed in separate databases – a challenge Anant is helping businesses overcome.  

 

Big Data is a big topic and this group conversation will continue at the monthly breakfasts through the end of the year. While the focus for the next breakfast on September 30 has yet to be set, it will most likely delve into both successful and unsuccessful use cases of big data for data-driven decisions in a business environment. Please do not hesitate to contact us with other topic suggestions for either September or subsequent breakfasts. In the interim, you can sign up for the 30th or join us for a webinar on connecting online business software on September 16. We look forward to seeing you again or meeting and talking with you at one of our upcoming events.

Webinar 1 Recap: Building Online Business Software 101 (B2B)

Last week saw the kickoff of Anant’s webinar series focused on helping you maximize business intelligence insights hidden or locked away in your software and business information. We enjoyed hearing about the attendees’ goals and look forward to helping them be successful without worrying about how to manipulate all those pesky 1’s and 0’s. CEO Rahul Singh demonstrated the features of some common cloud business software technologies (commonly referred to as SaaS applications or “Software as a Service”), provided insights, and addressed guests’ questions.

At a high level, we showed everyone how to get information from one SaaS application to another without the need for a software engineering degree. For example, through Zoho we tackled the challenge of building a personalized interface for data collection. With the Zoho Platform you can build small business applications using Zoho Creator. Additionally, you can use Zoho Forms to construct easy to use and modify forms. Going further with these two applications you can use a tool such as Skyvia to synchronize your data between Zoho and a central database. Once implemented you are able to apply business analytics tools to that database to gather analytics from Zoho. Some of the analytics tools that our clients have found value in are Metabase and Kibana as they worked to improve their operational efficiency and more deeply understand their stakeholders needs and actions.

 

For those of you with the time to review the slides or watch the webinar take a look below!

 

 

The next one-hour webinar, focused on how to connect your online software applications together and integrate the resulting data for deeper business analysis and insights, takes place Friday, September 16, at 10am EDT. If you can’t wait until then to meet us or ask a question, join us tomorrow for breakfast or send us a question. Follow along as we continue to empower business users to create things without programming. 

What are some tools your business uses when building software or applications? What tools have played a role in improving your building process? Let us know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.