Business optimisation architecture – Example planning optimisation

business optimisationIn my previous article from this series I shared the logical view of the business optimisation use case for retail stores.

The process was laid out how I’ve approached the use case and how portfolio solutions are the base for researching a generic architectural blueprint.

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Business optimisation architecture – Common architectural elements

In my previous article from this series I introduced a use case around business optimisation for retail stores. 
The process was laid out how I’ve approached the use case and how portfolio solutions are the base for researching a generic architectural blueprint.
The only thing left to cover was the order in which you’ll be led through the blueprint details.

This article starts the real journey at the very top, with a generic architecture from which we’ll discuss the common architectural elements one by one.

Blueprints review

As mentioned before, the architectural details covered here are base on real solutions using open source technologies. The example scenario presented here is a generic common blueprint that was uncovered researching those solutions. It’s my intent to provide a blueprint that provides guidance and not deep technical details.

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Digital Transformation Challenges You Need to Address in 2021 [Podcast]

Editor’s note: This interview with Amancio Bouza was recorded for Coding Over Cocktails — a podcast by TORO Cloud.

Digital transformation allows organizations to adjust to new technologies and take advantage of their benefits in order to build business value. However, the road to digital transformation requires not only a technological change but a cultural one as well.

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What Does It Take to Test in DevOps?: QA Best Practices

Traditionally, testing has been perceived as a bottleneck in SDLC, something that causes delays in delivery. Organizations have long adopted the Agile/DevOps model, but not without its pitfalls and stumbling blocks, especially in achieving the ideal speed/quality balance.

For enterprise DevOps, it is vital to rethink testing approaches to achieve agility at scale. There is much of an overlap of roles, for instance between business analysts and QA testers. Is the tester’s role diminished because of this overlap or because of automation?

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12 Tips to Improve Your Web Design Skills in 2021

There are many reasons you might be wanting to improve your design skills this year. Perhaps you have extra time on your hands and want to put it to good use. Or maybe you’re new to web design and finding that there’s a lot you still don’t know how to do. It could also be that you recognize that the web is changing, and your skills could use some refreshing to keep up.

Whatever the reason, there are many ways to level up your web design skills in 2021. Here are 12 ideas to get you started:

Tip 1: Niche Down If You Haven’t Already

Jack-of-all-trades designers might be able to say “yes” to everyone. However, they’re going to be stretched very thin as they attempt to strengthen every skill needed to keep up with demand.

It’s much easier to become a trusted designer and to improve your skills if you have a smaller and more specific skill set to develop.

Just keep in mind that niching down doesn’t necessarily mean focusing on a particular industry. For instance, you might choose to be a UX designer instead of a web designer. Or you might specialize in designing ecommerce websites instead of monetized blogs. Just find something that you’re passionate about and will be good at doing, and zero-in on the skills needed for it.

Tip 2: Play Around in the Sandbox

Local development environments are useful for staging websites, doing redesigns, and testing updates safely away from live sites. But you can also use them for experimenting with new design techniques, trends, templates, plugins, and more.

Local by Flywheel is the one I prefer to use:

Here’s a good exercise to start with:

Take a website you like — something you’ve looked at in awe and couldn’t imagine ever building on your own. Then, put yourself to the test. See if you can recreate it in your sandbox.

Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t figure it out right away. Consult your resources and give yourself time to make sense of what’s going on and implement it with the available skills and tools.

Tip 3: Redesign One of Your First Projects

There’s always a clear evolution in a designer’s skill set, from the day they begin designing to the present day. And that’s a good thing. If your work doesn’t improve or change with time, then you’re going to have a lot of catching up to do when the stagnation begins to hurt your business.

Want to see how much progress you’ve made so far? Revisit one of your first projects and look at it with fresh eyes. I bet you’ll see a big change in how you design today from how you designed that site then.

Now, ask yourself what you would do differently. And then, go to your sandbox and do the redesign.

Tip 4: Work on a Passion Project

A friend of mine is taking a UX design course and needed some users to run through a prototype he created for the class. He could create anything he wanted, so he designed an app related to his other love: Music.

While he could’ve easily thrown together some carbon copy of Spotify or SoundCloud, he came up with a completely new concept. And it was really impressive, to the point where I urged him to put it into production and see if he could list it in the app stores.

I think it’s when we’re really passionate about something that we’re willing to push past our limits. So, carve out some time to tackle that passion project you’ve been toying around with and see where it takes you.

Tip 5: Share Your Designs on Dribbble and Ask for Feedback

One of the reasons UX designers do user testing is how valuable users’ raw input is. While it would be nice to think that design is a completely subjective matter, that isn’t really the case when usability becomes compromised due to design choices.

Understanding what users like and dislike is an important part of taking your design skills to the next level. And a good way to do that is to share your designs on Dribbble.

Here’s an example of UI8 asking for feedback:

Tip 6: Create a Design Toolbox

I’m a huge fan of automation and shortcuts powering things behind the scenes in business.

After all, one of the reasons you become a web designer is so you can design, right? When you’re bogged down with administrative and logistical tasks, that’s time spent away from doing what you enjoy.

One way in which you can streamline your backend processes is by putting together a design toolbox. Your preferred CMS. Flexible templates or apps you use from project to project. Website testing tools. And so on.

As you do this, it’ll force you to examine how you build websites. Are you really working as efficiently as possible? Are there newer apps or systems that’ll help you design better sites? And as you improve your design toolbox, you’ll improve your design skills.

Tip 7: Subscribe to Your Favorite Blogs

I have a hard time recommending this one, only because I’m reluctant to sign up for yet another newsletter. That said, I do see the value in subscribing to some blog newsletters as I don’t always remember to revisit their websites and check out the latest content.

What I’d suggest you do is pick one or two design blogs that have a good variety of content and publish regularly. And then pick one small business or freelance blog.

WebdesignerDepot, of course, is a good one to start with as it comes at a good frequency, recommends great reads from all around the web, and is fluff-free:

I’d also recommend signing up for one that’s focused on your niche as well as one for business.

As a freelancer, I’d vote for the Freelancers’ Union newsletter. There’s always something timely and useful in there.

Tip 8: Listen to a Podcast

I just adopted a second dog, so I’ve spent a lot more time on walks while house-training her. At first, I was stressed about it because it was time spent away from work. However, I started to fill that time with podcasts and found that it helped me work better for the rest of the day.

One reason is that I’ve been listening to work-related podcasts, which are always chock full of helpful tips. Another reason is that it gives my eyes a rest from looking at the screen so that when I come back 15 or so minutes later, I feel refreshed and ready to go.

Rebekah Carter has a good set of web design podcast recommendations to get you started.

Tip 9: Take a Free Online Design Course

There’s an overabundance of information online. If you want to brush up on CSS, there are hundreds of YouTube courses that cover it. If you want to learn how to use a new WordPress plugin, you’ll find dozens of great tutorials across various online course platforms, YouTube channels, and even people’s blogs.

There’s no need to go back to school to become a better designer. Here are five places where you’re bound to find free courses for web designers.

Tip 10: Read a Book on Design Principles or Theory

It’s easy to lose sight of design principles when your clients are clamoring for a website that will make them a lot of money, get them a lot of readers, and so on. Sure, you can design a UI and UX that works, but do you remember why the design choices you made are effective?

Choose a book — just one to start — that’ll help you reconnect with the roots of good web design. Not only will you get a good refresher on web design principles or design theory, but you might learn something brand new.

Here are some of my favorite books for web designers:

Tip 11: Find Your People

Now more than ever, finding a community of like-minded web designers, developers, or freelancers is important. It’s not just about having a group of people to vent to when clients drive you nuts (though that’s great, too).

It’s about finding a group that brings something new to the table and enriches your understanding of web design and what it means to be a web designer.

If you’re on Facebook or LinkedIn, start there. There are tons of web design and freelance groups that have productive discussions every day. If you prefer to meet up with local designers and developers, check out Meetup.

You may be surprised by how many groups there are and the kinds of meetups they have planned.

Tip 12: Attend a Virtual Conference

Did any of you attend a design conference last year? I did. I virtually attended Adobe MAX — from the comfort of my home, in my pajamas, for three days.

I scheduled my assignments around the sessions I wanted to attend and didn’t have to pick one over the other (i.e., “Do I make money or do I learn something new?”).

Some of the sessions showed us how to do more with Adobe’s tools, while some of them featured design and business leaders who shared personal insights on how to work more effectively. It was a great way to shake up my normal routine and to get a ton of information about the future of web design in a short period of time.

Which of These Tips Will You Use to Improve Your Design Skills?

Like I said before, there’s a lot you can do to improve your design skills. Just be careful not to overdo it.

Pick one or two things on this list to start with. If you have more time in your schedule and you’re excited about what you’ve learned so far, add a couple more.

Just take it slowly. Your brain will only be able to absorb so much at once. Plus, the last thing you want is to burn yourself out on skills training and not have the energy to complete your work.


Featured image via Unsplash.


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L’Intelligence Artificielle pour accélérer vos processus financiers

De nombreuses études (1) estiment que les organisations financières dédient plus de 50% de leur charge de travail à la collecte et l’analyse de données. C’est pourquoi l’automatisation est un outil à fort potentiel.

Avec la plateforme SAP S/4HANA, l’ERP nouvelle génération, SAP introduit un ensemble de techniques  permettant à la machine d’imiter une forme d’intelligence réelle, l’Intelligence Artificielle.

Les domaines d’application sont nombreux et peuvent être mis au service de la transformation de la fonction finance.

Le Machine Learning  pour optimiser la réconciliation bancaire

La réconciliation bancaire est un exemple de processus qui implique de nombreuses actions manuelles, notamment pour les flux d’encaissements :

  • des volumes importants de paiements à réconcilier manuellement malgré des règles prédéfinis,
  • des paiements sans références factures, des données de base incomplètes, des paiements avec écarts qui complexifient les actions de réconciliation,
  • des règles spécifiques à mettre en place en fonction des pays, des formats, des modes de paiements.

SAP introduit dans la suite SAP S/4HANA, une solution innovante basée sur du Machine Learning et permettant d’atteindre des taux d’automatisation proche de 97%.

La solution apprend des données et actions historiques, c’est-à-dire des répétitions (patterns) dans un ou plusieurs flux de données (extraits de comptes électroniques, avis de paiements, banques partenaires/sociétés,…) et en tire des prédictions de réconciliation en se basant sur des statistiques.

Les critères de réconciliation sont ainsi continuellement affinés et  les nouveaux cas, les exceptions, traités en autonomie. Les taux d’automatisation considérablement améliorés contribuent à réduire les coûts de déploiements et coûts opérationnels.

L’analyse prédictive pour améliorer la prise de décision

L’évolution constante des modèles économiques  impose aux directions financières de gagner en efficacité et en agilité. Elles doivent anticiper les impacts sur les revenus, la profitabilité, l’affectation des ressources afin d’orienter la stratégie de l’entreprise.

La plateforme SAP S/4HANA embarque des scénarios d’analyses prédictives permettant d’établir des prévisions de chiffre d’affaires très fiables via des algorithmes se basant sur des données actuelles et historiques, internes et externes à l’organisation tel que le pipeline des ventes, les tendances du marché, l’évolution du PIB d’un pays, etc.

Ces prédictions effectuées en temps réel alimentent le processus de planification budgétaire et sont déclinées à tous les niveaux de l’organisation où des ajustements peuvent être effectués.

A cela s’ajoutent des outils de simulation permettant de visualiser l’impact des choix stratégiques tel que les changements d’organisation, le développement de nouveaux produits, etc.

Lutter contre la fraude et la cybercriminalité

La crise sanitaire et économique inédite que nous vivons ouvre aux fraudeurs de nouvelles failles pour parvenir à leurs fins. De nombreuses attaques n’étant jamais identifiées, il est impossible de déterminer avec précision les pertes pour les entreprises. En 2020, d’après l’ACFE Report to the Nations (2), la fraude et la cybercriminalité ont causées des pertes estimées à plus de 3 Milliards € dans 125 pays  (~5% du chiffre d’affaires des entreprises concernées, avec une moyenne de 415 K€ par attaque en Europe).

Avec SAP S/4HANA, SAP propose des solutions pour contrôler des volumes importants de transactions, identifier en temps réel les menaces et transactions frauduleuses et ainsi limiter les risques de pertes financières.

L’Intelligence Artificielle émet des recommandations permettant d’affiner continuellement les règles de contrôle et l’identification de nouveaux schémas de fraude sur la base de données historiques internes comme externes. Les taux d’efficacité dans la détection des anomalies et des fraudes se trouvent considérablement améliorés.

Au-delà des multiples scénarios disponibles en standard, SAP complète son offre SAP S/4HANA par une plateforme d’innovations dans le cloud (Business Technology Platform) qui permet de développer des applications et extensions autour du cœur SAP S/4HANA.

À travers la Business Technology Platform, les départements financiers ont accès aux technologies innovantes tel que le Machine Learning, l’analyse prédictive, les chatbots ou encore la Blockchain, à partir desquelles ils peuvent imaginer de nouveaux cas d’usages.

(1) A future that works: Automation, employment and productivity, Mckinsey&Company

(2) Report to the Nations, ACFE

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10 Best Free Stock Image Sites For 2021

When photographers take images to sell commercially, like every other business, they want to maximize their returns, so they adapt their ideas to meet commercial trends. As a result, stock always looks like stock, and that minor deception introduces a small amount of doubt in users.

But the rise of camera phones, and the increasing affordability of DSLRs, has led to a growth in people who aren’t monetizing every shot. What that means is if you know where to look, you can find images that are less posed, more natural, less clichéd, and far more diverse.

Here are ten places to look for engaging, and trust-building stock images, all free to use…

1. Pexels

Pexels has a huge collection of high-quality images that would not feel out of place on a ‘premium’ site. You’ll also find a ton of free videos. Pexels’ search feature is particularly well-tuned. Pexels also runs regular challenges, with cash prizes for photographers; reviewing the past competitions is a great shortcut to finding original images.

2. Reshot

Reshot is one of the better stock sites on the web, with a wide selection of curated images. There’s a distinctly Instagram feel to the images on Reshot; they don’t feel staged, in many cases, they don’t look like stock at all. That gives them an authentic feel that many ‘premium’ stock sites fail to deliver.

3. Unsplash

Unsplash is one of the largest collections of free images on the web. It has a good collection of standard stock and a growing collection of more creative, experimental images. Its free-forever approach is backed by product placement instead of adverts or premium sections, which means you may find the more marketable images include easily identifiable brands.

4. Life of Pix

Life of Pix highlights one photographer per week to feature ten images; that adds a competitive angle to the site as photographers submit premium shots to get noticed. Unless you’re very fortunate, the ideal shot for you isn’t going to be found in the current set, but click the ‘Gallery’ link, and you’ll have access to all the shots that have previously been uploaded.

5. Nappy

Unlike ‘premium’ sites that are set up to turn a profit, free stock sites often set out to address a hole in the market. Nappy was set up to redress the underrepresentation of black and brown people on many stock sites. At least some of your users fall into this demographic, and it’s a great idea to show them they’re valued by using images like these.

6. Burst

Burst is a stock site provided by Shopify to help new entrepreneurs find stock to help them sell products. Anyone can use the shots, but there is a natural inclination towards commercial rather than editorial images. There’s a good mix that rivals many paid sites and some less obvious shots.

7. Picography

If quirky and offbeat isn’t right for your project — and it may very well not be — then check out Picography for a more middle-of-the-road collection of free stock images. There’s a wide selection, but they do tend to feel more stock-like than many other collections.

8. ISO Republic

ISO Republic has a broad range of images and videos to choose from. Again, the images tend to be more stock-like than some other options, and you do have to dig around to find the best. ISO Republic is a good place to search when you want to swap like-for-like with a ‘premium’ stock source.

9. Kaboompics

Kaboompics specializes in lifestyle images. If you’re hoping for a woman sipping a frappuccino while making commanding business decisions, you’re in the right place. Kaboompics is a one-woman show, so the perspective is a little narrower than the ideal, but the free images are consistently high-quality.

10. StockSnap

StockSnap has a good balance of images. Many professional photographers use sites like StockSnap to upload the images they choose not post to ‘premium’ sites for one reason or another, so you’ll often find premium-quality shots for absolutely nothing.


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[SKP’s Novel Concept #04] The World of Meld Advertising

There are numerous benefits of having a unified advertising mechanism for the business of an organisation. Today, most of the advertising that is done across various media is disparate and not having a unified mechanism for generation, distribution, maintenance, reporting, or collection. To bridge this gap, I conceptualized and coined the term Meld Advertising (Referred to as ‘It’). Meld Advertising brings out all of these in the form of providing tools to automate most of these processes and to directly connect with all unique advertising channels. The tools help in the creation, beta, subscription, payments, real-time reporting, cost-effectiveness, and overall maintenance of the advertisements.

It helps all types of users including the end contractors who work on actually putting up advertising for diverse media. These include all tools which facilitate the entire workflow of advertising. It also recognizes that usage of effective tools, which are simple to use and create advertisements online, will lead to a faster execution of marketing campaigns. Also, ready-made templates, tie-ups with other advertising tools, and online expert help will allow for a more efficient generation of advertisements.

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SAP acquiert AppGyver, le pionnier du développement no-code

SAP SE (NYSE : SAP) a annoncé aujourd’hui l’acquisition d’AppGyver Oy, un pionnier des plateformes de développement no-code (sans code) qui permettent aux utilisateurs sans compétences de codage de créer des applications pour des usages web et mobile.

Grâce à cette acquisition, SAP est mieux à même d’aider ses clients et partenaires à adapter efficacement leurs systèmes informatiques à leurs besoins spécifiques et à optimiser la convivialité de leurs applications. Les solutions d’AppGyver feront partie de la SAP Business Technology Platform. Elles élargiront l’offre de SAP dans le domaine de l’intelligence des business process et viendront compléter l’offre low-code de SAP fournie par le partenaire Mendix Tech BV, qui fait partie de Siemens AG.

« AppGyver nous aide à étendre nos capacités no-code et à établir une offre complète dans ce domaine », a déclaré Michael Weingartner, président de SAP Business Technology Platform Core, SAP. « À l’avenir, nous pouvons proposer une gamme complète d’outils de développement d’applications simples et intégrés qui permettent aux clients, aux partenaires et à nos propres équipes d’améliorer l’automatisation des processus et de renforcer l’expérience utilisateur des applications SAP. En ajoutant les solutions d’AppGyver à nos propres capacités no-code, nous facilitons la création de workflows, de formulaires, l’automatisation des processus robotisés et la gestion des cas légers. »

Cette acquisition élargit la nouvelle offre de SAP, RISE with SAP, dont la SAP Business Technology Platform et l’intelligence des business process sont des éléments clés. RISE with SAP aide les entreprises à réaliser des transformations business globales qui les rendent résilientes, agiles et intelligentes.

SAP et AppGyver ont convenu de ne pas divulguer le prix d’achat ou d’autres détails financiers de la transaction.

Visitez le SAP News Center. Suivez SAP sur Twitter @SAPNews.

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Running an IT Company During the Pandemic: 5 Key Insights From the CEO of Erbis.

2020 was a transformative year for many industries, and IT and software development was no exception. Customer demands and behavior have changed in many ways, causing companies to quickly react and adjust to these shifts.

Aside from the unpleasant side of the pandemic, such a dynamic environment has led to new solutions and better business models.

Source de l’article sur DZONE