Due to the prevalence of omnichannel retail, merchandisers are obligated to satisfy the inventory fulfillment requirements of brick-and-mortar stores and consumers. Instead of using human resources to scrutinize the distribution process, commodity-based companies are hiring database experts to implement business intelligence tools capable of providing actionable information regarding the supply chain.
What's redefining modern delivery systems?
E-commerce has allowed corporations to deliver their products to consumers residing in various parts of the country, creating variable demand for particular items. In order to anticipate customer desires, data analytics tools are being used to chart regional weather conditions, translate online surveys and monitor the distribution of materials. Jim Rice, a contributor to Supply Chain 24/7, stated that while transportation and storage processes cannot change the specifications of an item, they can revolutionize the way in which that particular product is delivered to a customer.
For example, a customized, direct-to-order method can transform consumer expectations. People don't want to wait to receive their purchased materials, even though an unspoken covenant was established the minute they finalized the order on a website. Therefore, database administration personnel employ programs that scrutinize which areas of the supply chain can be optimized to ensure that products are delivered as promptly as possible. The patterns these software solutions recognize are often overlooked by human eyes.
Enhancing global sourcing
Database engineering company Oracle recently announced the introduction of Oracle Global Trade Intelligence, a global commerce analytics application that provides organizations with the ability to leverage worldwide sourcing and distribution data to measure, predict and optimize the performance of their supply chains. Released in February, the program contains modifiable dashboards that enable enterprises to construct user-defined trade performance measurements that scrutinize import and export activities throughout the world.
Oracle experts and sourcing professionals are thrilled with the release, which also offers executives the chance to streamline communications between overseas departments. This process is expected to ensure that all materials are properly tracked, significantly reducing the chance of losing vital products. In addition, the program gives strategists the ability to anticipate the actions of both foreign and domestic competitors.
"Organizations are moving beyond automation of their global trade processes and are seeking ways to leverage their global trade data to make better business decisions," said Vice President of Value Chain Execution Product Strategy Derek Gittoes.
In the age of global commerce, it's imperative that companies possess programs akin to Oracle Global Trade Intelligence in order expedite the shipment of goods and reduce the cost for such products on the consumer's end.
Recently, the Heartbleed Bug has sent a rift through global economic society. The personal information of online shoppers, social media users and business professionals is at risk and database administration providers are doing all they can to either prevent damage from occurring or mitigate detrimental effects of what has already occurred.
What it does and the dangers involved
According to Heartbleed.com, the vulnerability poses a serious threat to confidential information, as it compromises the protection Open Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Security Layer technology provides for Internet-based communications. The virus allows anyone on the Web – particularly, cybercriminals – to view the memory of the systems protected by affected versions of OpenSSL software, allowing attackers to monitor a wide array of transactions between individuals, governments and enterprises and numerous other connections.
Jeremy Kirk, a contributor to PCWorld, noted that researchers at CloudFlare, a San Francisco-based security company, found that hackers could steal the SSL/TSL and use it to create an encrypted avenue between users and websites, essentially posing as legitimate webpages in order to decrypt traffic passing between a computer and a server. For online retailers lacking adequate database support services, it could mean the divulgence of consumer credit card numbers. If customers no longer feel safe in purchasing products online, it could potentially result in the bankruptcy of a merchandiser.
Think mobile devices are safe? Think again
Now more than ever, database experts are making concentrated efforts to effectively monitor communications between mobile devices and business information. As the Heartbleed Bug can compromise connections between PCs and websites, the same risk is involved for those with mobile applications bridging the distance between smartphones and Facebook pages. CNN reported that technology industry leaders Cisco and Juniper claimed that someone can potentially hack into a person's phone and log the details of his or her conversations. Sam Bowling, a senior infrastructure engineer at web hosting service Singlehop, outlined several devices that could be compromised:
- Cisco revealed that select versions of the company's WebEx service are vulnerable, posing a threat to corporate leaders in a video conference.
- If work phones aren't operating behind a defensive firewall, a malicious entity could use Heartbleed to access the devices' memory logs.
- Smartphone users accessing business files from iPhones and Android devices may be exposed, as hackers can view whatever information a person obtained through select applications.
Upgraded deployments of OpenSSL are patching liable avenues, but remote database services are still exercising assiduous surveillance in order to ensure that client information remains confidential.
The rise of the Internet of Things and the bring-your-own-device phenomenon have shaped the way database administration specialists conduct mobile device management. Many of these professionals are employed by retailers using customer relationship management applications that collect and analyze data from smartphones, tablets and numerous other devices. This level of activity creates a web of connectivity that's difficult to manage and often necessitates expert surveillance.
Managing the remote workplace
Merchandisers are challenged with the task of effectively securing all mobile assets used by their employees. Many of these workers have access to sensitive corporate information, whether it be a product development files, customer loyalty account numbers or consumer payment data. According to CIO, some organizations lack the in-house IT resources to effectively manage the avenues through which intelligence flows from smartphones to servers.
As a result, small and midsize businesses often outsource to remote database support services to gain a comprehensive overview of their BYOD operations. David Lingenfelter, an information security officer at Fiberlink, told the news source that the problem many SMBs face is that their employees are using their own individual mobile devices to access company information. Many large enterprises often provide their workers with such machines, so there's inherent surveillance over the connections they're making.
Moving to the home front
Small, medium and large retailers alike are continuing to use CRM, which provides these commodity-based businesses with specific information regarding individuals. IoT has launched the capabilities of these programs, delivering data from a wide variety of smart mechanisms such as cars, watches and even refrigerators. Information being funneled into company servers comes from remote devices, creating a unique kind of mobile device management for database administration services to employ.
Frank Gillett, a contributor to InformationWeek, noted that many consumers are connecting numerous devices to a singular home-based network, providing merchandisers with a view of how a family or group of apartment mates interacts with the Web. In addition, routers and gateways are acting as defaults for making network-connected homes ubiquitous.
"These devices bring the Internet to every room of the house, allowing smart gadgets with communications to replace their dumb processors," noted Gillett.
However, it's not as if the incoming information submitted by these networks can be thrown into a massive jumble. In order to provide security and organize the intelligence appropriately, remote DBA providers monitor the connections and organize the results into identifiable, actionable data.
Despite the fact that fair warning was given to Windows XP users several months before Microsoft announced that it would terminate support services for the outdated operating system, a large number of businesses continue to use it. Citing security concerns, database administration services have urged these professionals to make the transition to Windows 8.1.
Why it's a concern
The last four patches were delivered to XP users on April 7. Michael Endler, a contributor to InformationWeek, stated that the the 12-year-old OS still has twice as many subscribers as there are for Windows 8 and 8.1 combined. It's believed that general reluctance to switch to the new systems is rooted in how comfortable XP users have become with the solution. The problem is, IT professionals are expecting hackers to launch full-scale assaults on the machines hosting these programs in an attempt to harvest information belonging to individuals, as well as the companies they're working for.
To the dismay of consumers, a fair number of banks and other organizations handling a large flow of sensitive customer data are still using XP. However, many of these institutions have hired the expertise of database support services to provide protection and surveillance for their IT infrastructures. Endler noted that select XP subscribers will still receive backing from Microsoft, though they'll be shelling out millions of dollars for the company to do so.
Making a push for the new OS
In an effort to convince others to switch to the new Windows 8.1 update, Microsoft took a couple of strategic initiatives. Firstly, the corporation offered $100 to XP users still operating through the 12-year-old system to help consumers cover the cost of obtaining up-to-date machines. In addition, CIO reported that Windows 8.1 users won't receive patches or other future updates for the OS unless they install the new update. In other words, if businesses don't favor the changes the company has been making to 8.1, there's no way they can receive security fixes, leaving many to rely on database administration to mitigate the issue.
In contrast, Windows 7 and 8 users will still continue to receive the same assortment of patches they've been accepting. Though Microsoft has garnered generally positive attention for its integration of cloud and mobile applications into its brand, the company's business techniques have been met with criticism. It's likely that the software giant is simply employing these strategies to assert itself as a forward-acting corporation.
Professionals who believe that business intelligence is simply another buzz phrase thrown around by database experts are often left at the bottom of the totem pole of corporate production. These naysayers often perceive analytics tools to be an extraneous expense, but the technology is in fact becoming a necessity for corporations intent on surviving in an increasingly competitive market.
Reducing the amount of transfers
According to Campus Technology, Valdosta State University in Georgia recently improved its overall student retention rate thanks to business intelligence applications provided by database heavyweight Oracle. Before implementing the solutions, the institution retained a mere 67 percent of its first-year student body, costing the University an estimated $6.5 million in annual revenue.
With the assistance of a database administration service, the organization began integrating the analytics tools in April 2012 in a two-part transition procedure:
- In the first phase, VSU implemented Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition, a program possessing interactive dashboards, ad hoc queries and strategy management.
- The second stage occurred in the fall of 2012, in which the university launched Oracle Endeca Information Discovery. The software enabled administrators to collect and scrutinize student data from various sources.
After correlating the information gathered from Enterprise Edition and Information Discovery, VSU database administration noticed that pupils who eat breakfast on campus have a 10 percent higher retention rate than the majority, while freshmen who worked on campus had a 30 percent greater chance of staying at the school. As a result, the institution promoted on-campus eateries and invested $200,000 in student employment. A year later, VSU kept 2.5 percent more students than it did in previous years.
Interest is increasing
Interest in the technology has increased over the years, especially among companies in the retail industry. TechNavio reported that the global business intelligence market in the merchandising economy is anticipated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9.19 percent over the next four years. Due to the incredible volume of data retained by commodity-based businesses, remote database support providers are introducing more complex data processing tools to their systems.
"Basically, BI means getting the right information to the right people at the right time to support better decision-making and gain competitive advantage," TechNavio noted.
Universities across the U.S. strive to make their institutions more appealing than their rivals. This could mean lowering tuition rates, promoting certain curricula or renovating dorms. However, school administrators could get a better idea of where to allocate resources after consulting the algorithmic conclusions of BI.
Contemporary data warehouses are going beyond the basic store-and-save capabilities IT departments are used to seeing. However, due to increased usage of data collection and analysis tools, database administration services have managed more complex infrastructures that are better able to host these programs. An increase in server usage and action diversity has created an intricate environment demanding more assiduous maintenance and surveillance than was previously necessary.
The next big thing?
The organization's push for JSON is rooted in the prevalence of the Internet of Things. Companies are now using smart devices to amass millions of data points derived from the unique perspectives of each mechanism. The database experts claimed that the open standard format can offer organizations the agility needed to remain competitive. Business models, marketing campaigns and project developments can be quickly assembled from the human-readable text of JSON.
To the satisfaction of innovative database administration professionals, Teradata 15 is expected to possess greater application development features. Without having to attain new parallel programming skills, creators can now access a more diverse array of data and construct programs through a robust environment.
Organizing the disordered
One aspect of IoT data is that it is largely raw, unstructured and unorganized. As a result, IT-driven corporations are reassessing the value of NoSQL databases, which have been built to better handle the digital information produced by a wide array of smart devices, websites and other resources. According to Forbes, Oracle experts have claimed that this newfound interest presents a great opportunity to the world's second largest software company. The source noted IDC Research's prediction that 90 percent of all data produced this decade will be disorganized.
A traditional relational database management system is incapable of processing the heterogeneous, non-alphanumeric data that has grown quite prevalent of late. Forbes acknowledged the value of deploying a blog, which may possess carefully placed advertisements that drive the proprietor's revenue. Database analytics tools that skillfully select these instant marketing campaigns can only be supported by NoSQL, as it offers users horizontal scaling.
RDBMS is slowly fading out of the mixture, giving way to a new breed of operations better acclimated to the current disorganized data climate. In turn, database support services will answer with new assessment and management tools capable of handling NoSQL operations.