Author - Nhung Mai

ways ERP improves compliance

5 simple ways an ERP system improves compliance for your company

Maybe you’re wondering how an ERP improves compliance? Perhaps you’re scratching your head and trying to figure out what an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system has to do with accounting compliance. The truth is quite a lot. This is because an ERP increases the visibility, security, and traceability of your data.

Although an ERP can’t guarantee compliance, it is an invaluable asset for any company trying to consistently achieve compliance. Accounting standards are regularly updated to include new compliance regulations. Recently, increasingly prevalent billing structures like subscription billing or complex lease management mean compliance has become more complex. As a result, it can become harder and harder to ensure you’re ticking all the right boxes.

That’s where an ERP comes in. Reduce the time your team needs to spend on tasks that can easily be automated and manage all the moving parts that end up impacting compliance. In addition, you will also increase efficiency across your company’s numerous processes.

Here are just some of the ways an ERP improves compliance:  

1. Gives your company visibility and transparency

Compliance depends heavily on the ability to visibly and transparently manage business processes. One of the biggest struggles companies face is accurate revenue reporting and recognition. The increase in complex billing structures has only added to the complications of accurate and transparent reporting.

Traditionally, this type of data might be tracked in a complicated network of spreadsheets, often reliant on a small specialized team to put in long hours of manual and boring data entry. We know manual data entry can be riddled with errors due to its monotonous nature. Not only is this labor-intensive, but it can be overwhelming to extract the data needed. All of this can easily be managed within an ERP system.

2. An ERP improves compliance by reducing errors in your data

Automating repetitive tasks with an ERP system not only reduces errors but frees up your team. Giving your team the time to triple-check all compliance requirements. It’s hard to prove compliance when there are errors in data tracking and management. Manual data entry can also lead to the sorts of mistakes that can cause issues down the line.

An industry-specific ERP changes all that. It gives you the tools to streamline processes and set up universal standards for how records are saved and stored. As a result, you have more control over your data and can retain historicals, all within a single system. Therefore cutting down on the opportunity for error and making your data more reliable.

data-v-tech-2-ways-erp-improves-compliance-in-your-company-epicor-viet-nam

3. Better handles complex billing cycles

As touched on briefly above, an ERP will simplify even the most complex billing cycles. If you’re managing a recurring billing model, it’s possible to find an ERP system with built-in tools to make compliance easier. Automating your processes and streamlining your data will give you fast and effective access to reports.

4. Makes your data audit-friendly

Centralized and easily accessible reports streamline your end-of-period process and audits and help you get the right answers at the right time. An ERP allows you to perform audits quickly and efficiently without having to scramble to find the relevant data. This makes your accounting team’s life easier during pressurized times of the year (like tax season). It also gives them peace of mind when they can rely on the consistency and accuracy of the data they’re using. There’s nothing worse than having to spend valuable time and energy re-entering data that could have been automated.

5. Consistent reporting across multiple companies in your ERP improves compliance

The bigger your company gets, and the more properties you manage, the more complicated compliance gets. An ERP will introduce consistency to your reports across multiple entities or companies. As a result, it facilitates your compliance with more accessible data across all entities. Investing in an ERP that is built to scale as your company grows will be essential for fast-growing companies as it will enable you to keep track of data and remain compliant as you expand.

Finally, an industry-specific ERP improves compliance by knowing your industry better than you do

A company with a system built for your industry has probably worked with hundreds of companies with similar needs to you. When it comes to compliance there are going to be a number of commonalities between companies, and even more so, between those in the same industry. Investing the little extra needed to ensure your tools are built to handle the demands of your industry and ensure that your accounts are all in order, will save you time and money in the future.

Often, we see companies who’ve tried to use complicated workarounds with systems that haven’t been proven to work in their industry. Do your research and find an ERP that knows your industry or has add-ons specific to your industry. That way it will be built to tackle the complexities of the processes you need to make visible and transparent.


Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many enterprises and organizations in Vietnam and China. If you want to learn more about how an ERP system can help with compliance, please feel free to contact us.

Definitive guide to Cloud ERP

The Definitive Guide to Cloud ERP

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems have been around for decades, but only in recent years have cloud ERP systems been in the spotlight. In the past, ERP software was most often deployed on-premise. However, nearly 60% of large enterprises with ERP solutions up for replacement are projected to switch from traditional on-premise to cloud ERP deployments by 2020.

What Is Cloud ERP?

A cloud ERP solution hosts software and data on a remote third-party server. Companies generally pay a subscription fee to access the software through the internet. Vendors are responsible for software maintenance and updates. The data service provider manages the hardware and ensures data security and backup.

Companies are adopting new technologies at a faster pace than ever. The market for cloud ERP solutions is rapidly growing and promises flexibility, scalability, and agility. But how do they deliver on these promises?

Whether you’re considering a cloud ERP solution or actively in the market for one, you’ll want to do your homework and research the different deployment options.

To help you with this process, we’ve put together this in-depth guide on the types of ERP deployment, the issues you should consider when deciding between cloud or on-premise ERP solutions, and profiles of the top cloud ERP vendors. We’ve also included insights from industry experts, as well as definitions for the many technical terms people use when talking about cloud ERP software.

Types of Deployment

The three main types of ERP deployment are cloud, on-premise, and hybrid.

1. Cloud ERP

Cloud ERP solutions are typically hosted in a multi-tenant public cloud. Let’s define each of these terms:

  • Public cloud: Data is stored in a remote third-party data center that’s responsible for the maintenance, backup, and security of the hardware and data.
  • Multi-tenant: The vendor offers a single version of the software to multiple companies simultaneously and is responsible for maintenance and updates.

In addition, cloud ERP software may be specifically designed for the cloud or migrated to it.

  • Cloud-native: Software is built and optimized for the cloud.
  • Cloud-based: Software is migrated from legacy on-premise software to the cloud. If you’re selecting an ERP system that’s cloud-based, make sure the software’s underlying architecture has been optimized for the cloud; otherwise, it may be slower and less responsive.

Lastly, a less common type of deployment is hosted ERP, which is similar to cloud ERP in that the vendor maintains and updates the software. The difference is that cloud ERP software is web-enabled and accessed via the internet, but a hosted ERP solution is accessed through a virtual private network (VPN) or a physical client workstation/terminal.

2. On-premise ERP

On-premise ERP software is installed and customized on the company’s own hardware and servers. The company typically pays a one-time license fee and is responsible for maintenance, security, and backup of the software and data.

An on-premise ERP solution may also be hosted on a single-tenant private cloud.

  • Private cloud: Data is stored on the company’s intranet or hosted behind a firewall by a data center. The company is responsible for the maintenance, backup, and security of the hardware and data. If the hardware fails, the company needs to pay for replacements.
  • Single-tenant: Companies have dedicated access to their data and software, which can be integrated with other applications or services on the same cloud provider.

3. Hybrid ERP

Hybrid ERP solutions combine cloud and on-premise solutions, often from multiple vendors. This is becoming more common as many companies integrate newer cloud ERP software into their legacy on-premise system.

77% of enterprises have at least one application or a portion of their enterprise computing infrastructure in the cloud.

On-Premise vs Cloud ERP

When it comes to choosing between on-premise and cloud ERP solutions, there are many issues to consider. In the following sections, we’ll compare:

Implementation

  • Costs
  • Usability
  • Security
  • Upgrades

Here’s a broad overview of the ideal customers and benefits for each type of deployment.

Definitive-Guide-to-Cloud-ERP-Data-V_Tech-Epicor_ERP

Cloud ERP Implementation

Implementing an on-premise system is an extensive process. It typically consists of seven stages:

  • Research
  • Installation
  • Migration
  • Testing
  • Training
  • Deployment
  • Support

Cloud implementation can save time, money, and stress compared to on-premise implementation because it:

  • Doesn’t require the purchase and installation of hardware, data servers, and software
  • Doesn’t require significant customization
  • Needs fewer internal IT, data security and implementation staff
  • Integrates more easily with existing ERP systems and other applications
  • Still, the most difficult aspect of implementation is managing change for employees within the company, which is an issue no matter which deployment you choose.

Cloud ERP Pricing

On-premise ERP solutions have large up-front costs, including:

  • Software license ownership
  • Implementation team
  • Software customization
  • Hardware and software installation
  • Data security, backup, and storage
  • Support staff

In total, small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can expect to pay between $75,000 and $750,000 for an on-premise ERP solution. Costs for large businesses range from $1 million to $10 million.

On the other hand, cloud ERP solutions don’t involve owning and installing hardware and software. Instead, they generally use a software-as-a-service (SaaS) licensing and delivery model, in which:

  • The company pays a subscription fee that includes software access and updates, as well as data security, backup, and storage
  • The subscription fee is paid monthly or annually based on the number of users and level of features
  • The company only pays for what it needs and can scale usage easily if required
  • The vendor maintains and updates a standardized version of the ERP software, which usually doesn’t offer much customization

Overall, you’ll pay approximately $4,000 per month for a cloud ERP solution with 20 users.

Cloud ERP systems can cost 50% less than on-premise ERP systems for a 100-employee company over a four-year period.

Critics often note that while cloud deployments are cheaper at first, the monthly payments add up to a higher total cost of ownership in the long run. This is only true, however, if companies don’t need to upgrade their software.

We’ll discuss upgrades later in more detail, but be aware that as new technologies are incorporated into ERP systems, companies will need to upgrade more often to remain competitive.

Cloud software can be updated and integrated more easily than on-premise software, which may require expensive reimplementation or customization.

Another cost-friendly alternative is open-source ERP software, which is publicly available and free to install and customize. It’s commonly implemented on-premise, however, and many vendors only provide cloud deployments with a SaaS subscription.

Cloud ERP Usability

Most cloud solutions are designed with the user in mind, so they typically have intuitive interfaces and are accessible from mobile devices.

” A great capability of the cloud is its ability to deliver real-time data to users across multiple locations. Now people in disparate locations will communicate and collaborate using real-time data, and remote workers or employees in the field can stay connected to the most up-to-date insights.

Companies using mobile cloud ERP software also report improvements in data accuracy, and modern technology can minimize or eliminate mistakes by reducing the need for redundant data entry.”

Ray Rebello, Director of Product Marketing, Acumatica.

Many on-premise solutions were designed years ago, so interfaces may not feel as user-friendly. One benefit, however, is that on-premise deployments can be accessed even without an internet connection.

 

Cloud ERP Security

Some companies worry about security with a public cloud, but most cloud ERP vendors rely on reputable data service providers, such as Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM.

These providers offer 24/7 monitoring, and security breaches are rare. For companies with little to no IT or data security staff, using a public cloud may be safer and less stressful.

In addition, companies with their own data servers are increasingly concerned about ransomware attacks, which use malicious software to block companies from accessing their data. The attackers demand a ransom to restore access, and even if the company pays, the data may still remain blocked.

Public clouds offer data backup, so ransomware attacks become less catastrophic.

49% of organizations are planning to migrate disaster recovery to the cloud in the next one to three years.

A private, single-tenant cloud offers even more privacy, control, and customization than a public cloud. Although it’s not offered by many vendors, for companies that face strict data security regulations — in the health care and financial industries, for example — it may be the only option.

Cloud ERP Upgrades

One of the biggest mistakes companies make during implementation is not planning for future growth and scale.

On-premise ERP solutions typically have numerous customizations that make upgrading not only time-consuming and costly but also may require the company to shut down its ERP system and reimplement the entire solution. It’s unsurprising that many companies with on-premise ERP systems never upgrade.

On the other hand, because cloud ERP solutions are typically standardized, upgrades can be delivered seamlessly, automatically, and routinely.

” The last few years have seen more advances in technology than the previous two decades combined.

Incumbents must evolve. New entrants must rapidly scale. And all need to become intelligent enterprises that connect business processes with advanced technologies and software solutions for incredible customer outcomes.”

Richard Strattner Jr., Global Head of Product Marketing, S/4HANA, SAP

Cloud ERP solutions are also well-positioned to take advantage of and integrate new technology and services. In particular, vendors are turning toward artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) to deliver next-generation insights.

AI can be used to analyze shop floor data and guide warehouse selection, as well as configure-to-order and engineer-to-order processes. Wearables and data collection devices that communicate using IoT can transmit data that are used to improve overall equipment effectiveness, reduce equipment breakdown, and increase asset utilization.

How to Choose an ERP Deployment

Now that we’ve covered the implementation, costs, usability, security, and upgrades of cloud and on-premise ERP solutions, we’d like to highlight specific situations in which you might choose one over the other. There are benefits to both deployments, and your final decision will depend on the unique needs of your company.

Choose a cloud ERP system if you…

  • Can’t afford a huge initial investment
  • Need to deploy quickly
  • Don’t require much customization
  • Have little to no IT staff
  • Want to integrate the ERP solution with other services or software now or in the future
  • Have multiple locations that need to use the system simultaneously
  • Are comfortable outsourcing data security, backup, and storage
  • Prefer a web-based interface and better mobile access

” You often hear about the financial and IT advantages of cloud versus on-premise based ERP, but the real, big advantages of cloud ERP are business benefits.

Companies with true cloud ERP are able to innovate more rapidly, out-service the competition, and connect easily with customers, suppliers, and employees. The business and strategic benefits dwarf the others.”

Tom Brennan, Chief Marketing Officer, Rootstock

Choose an on-premise ERP system if you…

  • Maintain a large data center and IT staff
  • Require extensive customization
  • Have business processes, such as incumbent manufacturing execution systems and advanced planning and scheduling, that require a lot of bandwidth
  • Need access even during internet downtime
  • Want to retain control over the software and data
  • Are prohibited from storing data in a public cloud by industry regulations

Choose a hybrid ERP system if you…

  • Have an on-premise solution but want best-of-breed cloud solutions
  • Need to access data from your on-premise solution through a mobile or web-based cloud platform
  • Want to transition from an on-premise solution to a cloud solution more easily at a later date

Top Cloud ERP Vendors

The following vendors offer popular cloud ERP solutions.

Acumatica

Acumatica serves customers in the manufacturing, accounting, distribution, retail, and commerce industries.

Its Distribution Management module helps companies track inventory, improve customer service, manage quotes and orders, and more. Its Project Accounting module offers built-in accounting tools that manage timesheets, budgets, and project inventory. Both functions integrate with various modules, including customer relationship management (CRM), manufacturing, and financials, for visibility across an organization.

Acumatica has multiple deployment methods, including public cloud SaaS, private cloud hosting, and on-premise.

Epicor

Epicor - all about cloud ERPEpicor is built for organizations of all sizes – although it mainly targets mid-sized companies – involved in manufacturing.

The software offers features and functionality to handle accounting and finance, project management, CRM, inventory, pre-production materials planning, manufacturing execution, human capital, supply chain management, global business management, and more.

Customers can purchase modules individually or the entire suite. The software can be installed on-premise or in the cloud.

Infor ERP

Infor is designed to help distribution and manufacturing companies run core business operations. Its solution is primarily intended for SMBs but can scale to cater to the needs of larger organizations.

Modules include accounting, human resources, sourcing, project management, CRM, and supply chain. The Workforce Planning feature helps manufacturers and distributors optimize their headcount to meet scheduling criteria. The Advanced Planning & Scheduling features allow users to immediately determine if they have the workforce, machines, tools, and materials needed to manufacture a product.

The solution supports on-premise, cloud, and hybrid deployments.

IQMS

IQMS helps large discrete and batch-process manufacturers monitor and track manufacturing and business data and activities throughout the supply chain.

Modules include business intelligence (BI), product planning and scheduling, supply chain management, warehouse and shipping management, and CRM. Its Inventory module allows users to facilitate lean manufacturing processes by creating individual inventory master records for different locations.

IQMS offers flexible licensing models and can be deployed in private or public clouds, as well as on-premise.

Microsoft Dynamics AX

Microsoft Dynamics AX helps SMBs and large enterprises streamline the administrative and manufacturing processes of their business.

It supports build-to-forecast, made-to-order, and engineer-to-order supply chain models across both batch and discrete-process manufacturing processes. Its capabilities also include warehouse management, production management, product lifecycle management, materials requirement planning, business intelligence, and asset management.

The software can be installed on-premise or hosted in the cloud.

Oracle Netsuite

Oracle NetSuite is a cloud-based, integrated suite of applications from which a company manages financials, orders, production, warehouse, fulfillment, procurement, and human capital. The seven integrated modules aim to streamline business processes while contributing scalable functionality as a company grows.

Drawing from a common database, the ERP modules integrate with NetSuite’s other applications, like CRM, inventory, order management, and e-commerce to accelerate closings, ensure compliance, and provide real-time analysis.

Oracle NetSuite can be deployed in the cloud and integrated with legacy systems using a two-tier ERP system.

QAD

QAD Enterprise Applications supports global manufacturers in the automotive, consumer products, food and beverage, high-technology, industrial and life-sciences sectors.

Its modules include manufacturing, financials, customer management, demand and supply chain management, and analytics. The solution is FDA “qualified” and auditable for life-sciences customers and offers a suite of process maps that helps automotive customers meet critical industry standards, such as the Materials Management Operational Guideline/Logistics Evaluation.

The software can be deployed on-premise, through the cloud, or with a hybrid implementation.

Ramco

Ramco targets over 40 industry verticals such as manufacturing, energy, government, and real estate. Its solution may be too robust for small businesses.

It has modules in finance and accounting, supply chain management, production, quality assurance, project management, and human resources. The supply chain management module includes a supplier portal so a company’s vendors can access and act on up-to-date information. The production module is tailored to both discrete and process manufacturing.

Ramco can be deployed in public and private clouds, as well as on-premise.

SAP

Business One is SAP’s ERP software for SMBs in the consumer products, industrial machinery and components, professional services, retail information, and wholesale distribution sectors.

Its modules include financials, purchasing, inventory, sales, project management, operations, and CRM. The purchasing and inventory control module manages the complete order-to-pay cycle, including receipts, invoices, returns, and payments to optimize purchasing practices and control costs.

The solution can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud. Pricing is based on the number of users.

Source: Andrew Ly

Must-have in-demand IT skills

These in-demand skills are must-haves for IT departments

These in-demand skills are must-haves for IT departments

To determine the top IT skills this year, we analyzed the following:

  • Highest-paying job roles
  • Highest-paying certifications
  • Most challenging hiring areas
  • Top tech investment areas

With skills gaps plaguing the industry, these 10 skills are must-haves for all IT departments. It’s no coincidence that these skills make up a large percentage of the IT skills gap across the industry. Decision-makers are struggling to fill these job roles. The positions also pay well because of a lack of qualified professionals.

If you’re looking to make an IT skills investment or start a new career path this year, these are the areas to consider.

Cloud skills are in high demand and cloud salaries are the highest in IT. But the main reason cloud is No. 1 is because it intersects with every other skill on this list.

Cloud has quite simply changed the game. Cloud is the ultimate enabler, opening new channels of revenue by leveraging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). Other topics like data analytics, networking, project management, and cybersecurity—all have been greatly influenced by cloud adoption, which continues to soar. The public cloud services market is expected to grow 17.3% this year.1

This kind of growth has made it more difficult for IT decision-makers to fill cloud job vacancies. There’s a cloud skills shortage due in part to the skills needed to ensure seamless orchestration across multiple functions. There just aren’t enough experts to fill all vacancies.

But if you are one of the lucky ones to be cloud-certified, the salaries are quite beneficial. Three of the five top-paying IT certifications are cloud-based, with Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect ranking first this year.

Recommended training

Cloud Computing Training Courses

An analysis of worldwide identity and access management by the International Data Corporation (IDC) revealed that 55% of consumers would switch platforms/providers due to the threat of a data breach, and 78% would switch if a breach impacted them directly.2

There is too much at stake when it comes to your data. That’s why security is the top concern for a majority of organizations. Cyberattacks are escalating in frequency and sophistication. As a result, companies are scrambling to hire cyber professionals, and they’re not always succeeding.

For the fourth straight year, IT security is the most challenging hiring area for decision-makers.3 There aren’t enough of them to fill open positions. And more are needed due to specialization. There is no longer cybersecurity jack-of-all-trades.

But if you do have the skills, you will be compensated handsomely. Cyber-certified professionals make nine percent more than the average IT professional in North America.

“As the amount, frequency, and creativity of cybersecurity breaches grow, so does the shortage of cybersecurity professionals with the appropriate skills to defend the enterprise, government, and military networks,” said Brad Puckett, Global Knowledge global portfolio director of cybersecurity. “This global shortage of cybersecurity professionals has created an in-demand market for anyone who wants to rise to the challenge and build career-advancing skill sets.”

Recommended training

Cybersecurity Training Courses

Developer jobs are expected to grow continuously in the near-term. Application developer employment is forecast to grow 31% and software developer jobs are forecast to grow 24% by 2026.4 Overall, that’s more than 550,000 new developer jobs.

Developers are responsible for web, social and mobile applications. And as more and more people conduct business on their phones, the skills to build and manage apps are increasing in criticality.

According to the Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report, application development and programming jobs are associated with an average salary of $118,276 in North America—eight percent above average. Top programming languages like SQL, C#, Python, and JavaScript are also some of the most mentioned skills amongst over one million job listings, analyzed by IDC.5

Recommended training

Application Development Training Courses

The market for software-defined networks (SDN) is growing quickly, due to the flexibility and adaptability they provide. For those with an updated networking skill set, there certainly are opportunities for advancement and higher pay.

Cisco is the market leader in networking and wireless, and Cisco’s Routing and Switching certifications are some of the most popular throughout IT. This year, CCNP Routing and Switching rank among the top 15 highest-paying certifications at nearly $107,000 a year. CompTIA Network+ also has a similarly high average salary for 2019.

IDC expects the SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network) market to grow exponentially going forward. The SD-WAN market reached $833 million in 2017 and will balloon to $4.5 billion by 2022.6 With this level of growth, networking skills are a safe and smart bet for IT professionals.

Recommended training

Networking and Wireless Training Courses

Analytics and data management are growing skill needs as organizations are striving to be more data-driven. This culture of information allows for better insight into patterns and trends. Thus, critical business decisions are made with data as the driving force. IT professionals with these skills are tasked with helping organizations solve problems and make more informed evaluations.

But it’s been a double-edged sword as organizations have struggled to manage the wealth of new data. By 2025, IDC estimates the world will create and replicate 163 zettabytes (ZB) of data, 10 times the number that was created in 2016.7 This new data is constantly accumulating, creating a host of storage and security risks that must be addressed. IT professionals are needed desperately to manage data growth. It’s a top challenge for decision-makers, and it’s exacerbated by the fact that they can’t find enough qualified individuals with this specific skill set.

Recommended training

Analytics and Data Management Training Courses

There is increasing pressure on organizations to align departments. This has become a more complex assignment given emerging technologies. IT, for example, maybe evolving at a different pace than other departments. Systems and enterprise architecture professionals are needed to ensure legacy programs and procedures align with modern practices. It’s a highly complex role that requires a lot of planning and coordination with different departments.

According to CompTIA, only 34% of firms currently build IT architecture strategies beyond 12 months because it’s difficult to predict IT environment changes.8 Though without architectural planning, investments likely won’t be prioritized correctly and long-term goals will be impinged by possibly outdated frameworks.

It’s no surprise that enterprise architects are compensated well. It’s the second highest-paying IT functional area. Business architecture certifications (e.g., TOGAF) have a highest-associated global salary.

Recommended training

Enterprise Architecture Training Courses

As skills gaps rise—they’re up nearly 50% in four years—project planning is more vital than ever. There are a lot of roadblocks preventing projects from being completed on time and within budget. It’s a project manager’s job to create, communicate, and execute a project strategy. Like it or not, IT is judged on the success or failure of projects.

Project managers ensure projects are highly visible to stakeholders. They must be able to communicate with leadership the skill needs and risks associated with a given project. It’s a delicate balance, as critical skills aren’t always readily available. IDC believes that by 2020, 90% of all organizations will have adjusted project plans, delayed product/service releases, incurred costs, or lost revenue because of a lack of IT skills, with losses worldwide totaling $390 billion annually.5 A good project manager keeps their focus on the big picture even as disrupters emerge and cause havoc within a department.

Project Management Professional (PMP®) is one of the most important professional certifications. It’s currently the second highest-paying certification in the U.S. ($135,798). Another project management certification, Certified ScrumMaster®, is No. 3 on the list ($135,441).

Recommended training

Project Management Training Courses

Fifty-five percent of IT professionals say workloads are higher year over year.3 With so much to do, the scramble is on to develop programs that automate the more time-consuming, menial duties. Enter artificial intelligence, which frees up employees to focus on more consequential responsibilities. It’s no surprise that AI and machine learning are key investment areas for 2019.

Cloud migration has amplified the need for automation. With a majority of organizations shifting to the cloud, manual migration tasks have been automated to save time. IDC examined the advancements in cloud migration programs, tools, and services, especially from cloud service provider AWS, Microsoft, and Google. Each provider has expanded its portfolio with AI-enabled automation and machine learning.

From IDC: “For businesses planning their move to the cloud, many of the manual, time-consuming tasks associated with migration have been automated and reduced from days to minutes. Automation reduces the arduous tasks of manual configuration, extensive customization, and in many cases, integration.”9

Of the 12,200-plus professionals we surveyed for our 2019 IT Skills and Salary Report, five percent were in a service desk or tech support. This particular skill set is in-demand due to the growing amount of hardware and software that organizations are utilizing and distributing.

There’s now more of a need to bring help desk professionals in-house so they can get hands-on and diagnose issues more easily. Tech support professionals are more likely to be remote, though it’s critical that they possess strong soft skills, such as communication and conflict resolution. Technical support is the fourth most in-demand tech skill.5

While both positions can be outsourced, companies are looking to bring these positions in-house to ensure a consistent message and experience.

Virtualization remains a useful way to reduce IT expenses and increase IT agility. It can also help accelerate the transformation to cloud computing.

Virtualization is a key concern for companies of all sizes—this year it is the No. 6 tech interest area worldwide. Decision-makers are still investing heavily in the concept, and staff is seeking out these skills. Citrix Certified Associate – Virtualization (CCA-V) is the 12th highest-paying certification of 2019, while VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage [V6.7] remains one of our most popular training courses.

The market for virtual machine software increased by 2.9% in 2017. IDC forecasts it to increase at an average pace of 4.6% from 2017 to 2022.10

Recommended training

Virtualization Training Courses

Though not technically IT skills, enhancing your soft skills can benefit all professionals. Improved soft skills, such as problem-solving, creativity, and interpersonal communication can help enhance your tech skill set and break down departmental silos.

“Soft skills are of great value in their own right,” says Eric Bloom, an adjunct analyst with IDC’s IT Executive Programs (IEP). “When they are tied to specific job types, they provide the dual benefit of enhancing employee effectiveness and promotability while enhancing employee performance by increasing each person’s ability to work effectively with others.”11

  1. Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Public Cloud Revenue to Grow 17.3 Percent in 2019, Sept. 2018
  2. IDC, Market Analysis Perspective: Worldwide Identity and Access Management, 2018 — The State of Identity, Doc #US44260118, Sept. 2018
  3. Global Knowledge 2019 IT Skills and Salary Report
  4. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
  5. IDC, 2019 IT Training Buyer Survey Spotlight: Impact of Skills Gap and the Need for Strategic IT Skills Development, Doc #US44842319, March 2019
  6. SD-WAN Infrastructure Market Poised to Reach $4.5 Billion in 2022, According to IDC, Doc #prUS44203118, Aug 2018
  7. IDC, Data Management: Success with a Method to the Madness, Doc # US44415618, Nov. 2018
  8. CompTIA, Planning a Modern IT Architecture
  9. IDC, Cloud Success: Migrate with a Plan to Mature, Doc #US44883619, March 2019
  10. IDC, Worldwide Virtual Machine Software Forecast, 2019–2022, Doc #US43407818, March 2019
  11. IDC, Maximizing Technical Skill Effectiveness Through Soft Skills Training, Doc # US43212717, Nov. 2017

Data V Tech Solutions Company is proud to be a leading ERP consulting firm that facilitates the personal development of each team member and helps them gain necessary IT skills. Join us and grow yourself!

14 marketing skills that can help you get hired this year

Marketing skills that can help you get hired this year

Here are the must-have skills you need in 2020 in response to the rapid expansion of digital marketing. Keep yourself updated and stay on top in your career.

1. Content Marketing

Content marketing with Data V TechA quick search on Facebook you will possibly find numerous groups for content writers. Bill Gates once said: “Content is king”, and it is happing right now, that we need many writers, especially high-quality ones. Whichever tools a company is using, it will need more customer-oriented content.

So start writing blogs and join various Facebook content writer groups as well as communities for the passionate about writing. Furthermore, there are several books on content writing that can help you capture audiences and gain more readership. Get yourself a position in the pool, or at least, get yourself informed about where and how to get the right writer.

 

2. Content Management System (CMS)

Content management system CMS with Data V TechContent management system is like a virtual business where you can easily learn on your own how to do the job. WordPress, Wix, and Drupal are some common CMS examples. They differentiate themselves somehow from each other. However, if you understand how a system functions, you can learn to manage all.

 

3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Most businesses are using CRM software to organize and manage interactions between the company and its customers. The software creates a real-time database bridging sales, marketing, and customer service. Popular CRM software includes Salesforce, Oracle, and, particularly in manufacturing, Epicor.

 

Epicor customer relationship management CRM

 

4. Mobile Marketing

mobile marketing - must have marketing skills in 2020It is anticipated that about 75% of all mobile users would have smartphones by the end of 2025, and the global size of the mobile marketing market is expected to continuously grow from 2020 to 2027. Mobile marketing refers to various channels on not only smartphones but also tablets, such as email, SMS and MMS, social media, websites, and apps. Thus, knowledge of mobile marketing would increase the value of your CV and support you significantly when you have to do the job.

 

5. Email Marketing

marketing resumeCompanies still need to increase, retain, and delight email subscribers. It is the fact that email marketing has never lost its value in terms of ROI. By June 2020 there have bill 3.9 billion of email users, which is projected to continue rising to 4.3 billion in 2023. Furthermore, every $1 on email marketing leads to an average return of $42.

Getting yourself familiar with various email marketing automation tools, such as Sendiblue, MailChimp, and Mailjet is one of the very first steps to master this channel. 

 

6. Video Production and Editing

Video Production and Editing - Must have marketing skills in 2020

 

Video is one of the critical parts of the future, as Mark Zuckerburg once said in 2018. Indeed, it is true in 2020. There were 63% of businesses using video as a marketing tool in 2019 and 81% in 2020. Thus, it would be a huge advantage if you master some video production and editing technique and understand how to utilize videos effectively on various channels. Either can you start with Windows Movie Maker or iMovie, or you can produce some short clips online, such as on Powtoon.

 

7. Paid Social Media Advertising

It is always attractive if you have experience in paid social media advertising, and even better if you know how to get the most out of your ads budget. The repetitive ads on social media channels, which now allow you to customize the demographic reach in order to focus on your target audiences, is particularly very popular in branding. This skill is also something you can invest easily for your own future if you are really into social media. Moreover, remember to check out the most popular channel in your destination before you pay.

marketing skills

 

8. Data Science

As many marketing channels have been automated, enormous data are available to many companies. Thus, they usually need someone to interpret the data and help them adjust their strategies, action plans, improve the product, or look for a new one. If you have a passion for data analysis and can do the job, there is a high possibility that businesses are searching for you!

 

9. Consumer Insights

Many companies require need consumer insights – “the study of how people make decisions about what they buy, want, need, or act in regards to a product, service, or company“. Here are some tips to practice this knowhow:

  • Decide your research topic, and make sure you know how to receive the data.
  • Manage your resources to collect data as well as analyze it within the given timeframe.
  • Identify the data collection method.
  • Analyze the data while identifying whom and what might be affected and what to do in response to the possible impacts.

 

To sum up, here are the must-have marketing skills in 2020:

  1. Content marketing
  2. Content management system (CMS)
  3. Customer relationship management (CRM)
  4. Mobile marketing
  5. Email marketing
  6. Video production and editing
  7. Social media advertising
  8. Data analysis
  9. Consumer insights

Source: Data V Tech

 

 

17 In-Demand Technology Skills to Learn in 2020

17 In-Demand Technology Skills to Learn in 2020

Looking to change fields and get into tech, but don’t know what skills you need to launch your career? Maximize your marketability by pursuing tech skills in demand for the future!

Between 2016 and mid-2019, U.S. employers were only able to fill six of every 10 open tech positions, signaling a huge technology talent deficit in the U.S. Furthermore, over 50% of company learning & development leaders in a Udemy survey said technical skills were their top priority for training in 2020.

Of course, tech is a broad field, and there are a lot of interesting directions you can go in. In this article, we’ll look at the various areas of tech, how much demand exists for each skill, and where to go to start your learning journey.

Without further ado, here are 17 tech skills in demand in 2020—plus where to get the online technical training you need to become a pro.

AI is rapidly changing the landscape of work, making it an exciting time for programmers to look for something new. Hiring growth for AI specialists has grown 74% annually in the past 4 years. Because of its increasingly widespread adoption, AI specialists earned LinkedIn’s #1 emerging jobs spot.

There is a crossover with machine learning here (which you’ll learn about next!), but the key difference is that AI is a broader concept pertaining to machines designed to act intelligently like humans, whereas machine learning relies on devices making sense of a specific set of data.

In 2018, 31% of businesses said implementing AI was on their agenda for the next 12 months. Their top use cases are incorporating AI in data analysis and user experience.

Quick facts about AI as a tech career:

  • Average salary: $122,000 average across various AI careers
  • The amount of jobs requiring AI skills has multiplied by 4.5 since 2013
  • Artificial intelligence specialties can benefit a variety of tech careers, from software engineers to data scientists to product managers.

Where to learn it: Artificial Intelligence MicroMasters Program on edX

Must-have IT skills in 2020

WHAT THE COURSE COVERS: 

This MicroMasters program encompasses 4 courses that explore distinct aspects and applications of AI. Understand the guiding concepts behind machine learning and AI, design your own artificial intelligence programs to solve real-world problems, learn about its application in physical robotics, and explore the world of animation and CGI.

COURSE FACTS:

  • Course Name: Artificial Intelligence MicroMasters Program
  • Platform: edX
  • Instructed by: Ansaf Salleb-Aouissi, John W. Paisley, Matei Ciocarlie, Eitan Grinspun
  • Price: $896.40 USD for the entire program
  • Skill level: Advanced (Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or Mathematics and have a basic understanding of statistics, college-level algebra, calculus, and comfort with programming languages.)
  • Enroll in the course here

WHY THIS COURSE?  

It’s a rigorous, graduate-level program of courses from an Ivy League university, representing 25% of Columbia’s coursework for a Master’s Degree in computer science.

Machine learning is one of the most innovative and exciting fields moving into the future, making it one of the most profitable skills you can learn. From Siri and Alexa to chatbots to predictive analysis to self-driving cars, there are a ton of uses for this futuristic tech.

Those who begin taking online courses in machine learning now will still be getting in relatively early, as demand is only increasing from here. According to McKinsey, 49% of companies are currently exploring or planning to use machine learning.

Machine learning can be applied to every industry, including healthcare, education, finance, etc. Translation? The possibilities are endless, and you can apply your machine learning skills to a role that suits your personality and interests.

Learn more about the difference between AI and machine learning and what to do if you want a career in machine learning in this interview with CTO Allan Leinwand.

Quick facts about machine learning as a tech career:

Where to learn it: Machine Learning on Coursera

In-Demand Technology Skills to Learn in 2020

WHAT THE COURSE COVERS: 

Broad intro to entire machine learning workflow, including neural networks, statistical pattern recognition, deep learning, unsupervised learning, anomaly detection, recommender systems, and more.

COURSE FACTS:

  • Course Name: Machine Learning
  • Platform: Coursera
  • Instructed by: Andrew Ng (co-founder of Coursera)
  • Price: Free! (for the audit option, no graded items) or $79 (with certificate & graded assignments)
  • Skill level: Beginner/Intermediate (requires a basic understanding of linear algebra)
  • Enroll in the course here

WHY THIS COURSE? 

It has a 4.9-star rating (out of over 125,000 ratings), was created by Stanford University, touches on the theories behind machine learning as well as its practical applications, and is taught by the cofounder of Coursera!

Two consistently in-demand tech jobs within Big Data include data science and data analytics. Revenue from Big Data applications and analytics is projected to grow from $5.3B in 2018 to $19.4B in 2026.

84% of enterprises have launched advanced analytics and Big Data initiatives to accelerate their decision-making and bring greater accuracy. This is part of why data science has earned a top spot on LinkedIn’s emerging jobs report all three years the report has been conducted.

Data analysis is the more entry-level skill, whereas data science gets more advanced, but the careers are still cousins. Industries needing data professionals span education, finance, health, software, and more.

Quick facts about data science and analytics careers:

Where to learn it: Big Data Specialization on Coursera

Must-have IT skills in 2020

WHAT THE COURSE COVERS: 

Drive better business decisions with an overview of how big data is organized, analyzed, and interpreted. Apply your insights to real-world problems and questions.

COURSE FACTS:

  • Course Name: Big Data Specialization
  • Platform: Coursera
  • Instructed by: Ilkay Altintas, Amarnath Gupta and Mai Nguyen
  • Price: $49 per month with Coursera subscription
  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Enroll in the course here

WHY THIS COURSE? 

Taught by San Diego Supercomputer Center experts, involves hands-on activities, and you’ll get a comprehensive knowledge of the entire Big Data industry so you can go on to choose a specialization in data analytics, science, engineering, etc.

Data engineering is separate from data science, but the former is what enables the latter to exist. Data engineers build the infrastructure and tools that data scientists rely on to conduct their own work.

Since 2015, the hiring growth rate of this technology job has increased by nearly 35% across a wide variety of industries.

There’s no better time for U.S. citizens to enter the field, due to changes in immigration laws. “Following recent government policy changes in the H1-B Visa application process, demand for US citizen data engineers has increased drastically and shows no signs of easing,” writes Sam Brown.

Quick facts about data engineering as a tech career:

Where to learn it: An Introduction to Google Cloud Platform for Data Engineers on Udemy

Must-have IT skills in 2020

WHAT THE COURSE COVERS: 

All the core services you’ll need to know for the Google Cloud Data Engineer test, the basics of how to use Google Cloud Platform

COURSE FACTS:

  • Course Name: An Introduction to Google Cloud Platform for Data Engineers
  • Platform: Udemy
  • Instructed by: Mike West
  • Price: $99.99 (but Udemy often has sales, especially around holidays)
  • Skill level: Intermediate (you’ll need a basic understanding of cloud technologies and SQL)
  • Enroll in the course here

WHY THIS COURSE? 

It’s the first course in a series geared at helping you get the Google Cloud Professional Data Engineer Certificate.

Data visualization is a way to help people understand the significance of data by placing it in a visual context. For instance, by turning spreadsheets or reports into charts and graphs that can be easily understood.

Think of this career as a bridge between technical and non-technical roles. You’re taking the data collected by analysts and transforming it into a form anyone can understand.

Quick facts about data visualization as a tech career:

  • Average salary: $98,264 per year for data visualization engineers
  • It’s in demand because employers can make sense of large amounts of data to drive real business results. For example, it can help them predict sales volume, understand what factors influence human behavior, identify areas in the business that can be improved, identify trends, relationships, patterns, etc.
  • It’s a blend of science and art: raw information meeting visually appealing mediums.
  • Data visualization is the key to “bringing the power of Big Data to the mainstream.

Where to learn it: Data Visualization for All on edX

In-Demand Technology Skills to Learn in 2020

WHAT THE COURSE COVERS: 

Learn how to design interactive charts and customized maps for your website using Google Sheets, Tableau, Highcharts, Carto, Leaflet, GitHub

COURSE FACTS:

  • Course Name: Data Visualization for All
  • Platform: edX
  • Instructed by: Jack Dougherty, Stacy Lam, David Tatem
  • Price: Free (add a verified certificate for $49)
  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Enroll in the course here

WHY THIS COURSE? 

The course is taught by Trinity College faculty, and real-world examples are drawn from their students working with community organizations in Hartford, Connecticut.

For any company that collects customer information or deals with sensitive data of their own, keeping networks secure is paramount.

When data breaches do happen, they can be big, newsworthy, and costly for the company to recover from. The number of data breaches increased by 50% in 2019, and companies famously hacked in the past include Sony, LinkedIn, Chipotle, and others.

These situations underscore just how critical it is for companies to keep their network security up to par, and make cybersecurity one of the most-needed jobs and one of the technical skills in demand in 2020. Within just one year, company demand for security engineers has increased by 132%.

Unfortunately for those companies, right now there is a shortage of people trained in network security. Fortunately for you, that means there’s a gap in the market you can fill.

If you’re curious about filling that gap, read my ultimate guide to starting a career in cybersecurity.

Quick facts about cybersecurity as a tech career:

Where to learn it: Essentials of Cybersecurity on edX

In-Demand Technology Skills to Learn in 2020

WHAT THE PROGRAM COVERS: 

The fundamentals of networks, systems administration, how to mitigate vulnerabilities, how to perform digital forensic analysis, risk assessment, etc.

COURSE FACTS:

  • Program Name: Essentials of Cybersecurity
  • Platform: edX
  • Instructed by: University of Washington
  • Price: $396
  • Skill level: Intermediate (must have a STEM Bachelor’s degree or 5 years of work experience in a technical environment)
  • Enroll in the course here

WHY THIS COURSE?

It’s a professional certificate program made up of four courses. You’ll better understand the field of cybersecurity, what roles are available, and what cybersecurity career path is right for you.

Cloud computing jobs are on the rise because more and more companies are switching from the classical server infrastructure to cloud solutions. According to Gartner, the market for public cloud services is projected to grow by 17% in 2020 to a total of $266.4 billion.

Amazon Web Services is one of these cloud platforms, featuring content delivery, database storage, networking, and moreover 50 services in total. Since it is currently the biggest platform, we’ll highlight some specific facts about AWS in this section (and give an extra course recommendation for it!).

AWS specialists are usually engineers, cloud architects, or system administrators. IT professionals who are AWS-certified earn more than their non-certified counterparts. It’s one of the most profitable skills an IT employee can learn to level up their tech career, as AWS specialists earn an average of $113,000 (the highest of all certifications in the United States and Canada)

Quick facts about cloud computing as a tech career:

Where to learn general cloud computing: Cloud Computing Specialization on Coursera

In-Demand Technology Skills to Learn in 2020

WHAT THE COURSE COVERS: 

Clouds, Distributed Systems, Networking. Learn about and build distributed and networked systems for clouds and big data.

COURSE FACTS:

  • Course Name: Cloud Computing Specialization
  • Platform: Coursera
  • Instructed by: Reza Farivar, Ankit Singla, Indranil Gupta, P. Brighten Godfrey, and Roy H. Campbell
  • Price: $49 per month with Coursera subscription
  • Skill level: Intermediate
  • Enroll in the course here

WHY THIS COURSE? 

Hands-on activities, taught by computer science professors

Where to learn Amazon Web Services: Amazon Web Services (AWS) Fundamentals for System Administrators on Pluralsight

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Fundamentals for System Administrators

WHAT THE COURSE COVERS: 

Core AWS skills and concepts needed to begin working with AWS and to achieve AWS certification.

COURSE FACTS:

  • Course Name: Amazon Web Services (AWS) Fundamentals for System Administrators
  • Platform: Pluralsight
  • Instructed by: Elias Khnaser
  • Price: Free
  • Skill level: Intermediate (requires working knowledge of virtualization, networking essentials, and general systems administration)
  • Enroll in the course here

WHY THIS COURSE? 

You’ll have a solid understanding of how various AWS services are architected and how you can use them.

Virtual reality and augmented reality—the collective term is extended reality, or XR—are trending to be useful for more than just entertainment in the future. Marketing, advertising, health care, and manufacturing are some industries that have already begun adopting XR technology.

According to Hired’s 2019 State of Software Engineers report, demand for AR and VR engineers surged by an incredible 1,400%. But a little under just one year prior (from Feb ‘18-Feb ‘19), job searches had actually decreased by 13.48% for these roles. This implies that while jobs in this area are skyrocketing, the number of job-hunting candidates hasn’t had time to keep up, presenting a good opportunity for those who want to train for this top tech skill now.

In the near future, AR is looking to outpace VR for growth and profitability. Reports predict that the global VR gaming market size will be worth $22.9 billion by the end of 2020, while AR will be worth a stunning $133 billion by 2022.

Quick facts about Extended Reality (XR) as a tech career:

Where to learn it: Extended Reality (XR) – Building AR | VR | MR Projects on Udemy

In-Demand Technology Skills to Learn in 2020

WHAT THE COURSE COVERS: 

Learn how to make VR and AR apps with 3D game development. You’ll gain a better understanding of the complex landscape of extended reality, build your own 3D world, and deploy your own applications.

COURSE FACTS:

  • Course Name: Extended Reality (XR) – Building AR | VR | MR Projects on Udemy
  • Platform: Udemy
  • Instructed by: Packt Publishing
  • Price: $124.99 (although Udemy often has sales on)
  • Skill level: Beginner/Intermediate (Some prior familiarity with AR/VR frameworks will be useful but not mandatory.)
  • Enroll in the course here

WHY THIS COURSE? 

It’s a relatively short course (5 hours of content) that will level up your game development skills.

In the broadest sense, the term IoT encompasses everything connected to the internet, but it is increasingly being used to define objects that “talk” to each other.

“Simply, the Internet of Things is made up of devices—from simple sensors to smartphones and wearables—connected together,” says Matthew Evans, the IoT program head at techUK.

Everything that’s connected to the internet can be hacked, which is why security is one top concern with these devices. California and the UK have both recently introduced legislation to make IoT devices safer and more secure. Cybersecurity professionals who specialize in IoT will likely be highly sought after for this reason.

Quick facts about IoT as a tech career:

Where to learn it: Internet of Things (IoT) on edX

In-Demand Technology Skills to Learn in 2020

WHAT THE COURSE COVERS: 

Design IoT solutions and networks, identify components required, understand how data management fits in, analyze security risks, and ultimately produce a fleshed-out idea that’s ready to prototype

COURSE FACTS:

WHY THIS COURSE? 

The MicroMasters program—taught by a range of professors, specialists, and lecturers from Curtin University—includes 6 self-paced IoT courses, live discussions, remote access to real laboratory equipment for practical sessions. The program is credit-eligible for Curtin University Master’s degrees.

While they’re in the same family, UI and UX are different. UI (user interface) specialists design interfaces for websites and apps to be visually appealing, flow well and be easy for users to navigate. UX (user experience) specialists do a lot of research and testing to consider every element of how the user will interact with the company and website, coordinating with developers and UI designers.

This type of career is perfect for those who want a creative-meets-analytical type of role (graphic design meets A/B testing and so on).

Ultimately, UI is better for those who want to focus on the visuals, layout, and general look and feel of a page or product. UX is better for those who want to use analysis and testing to help a business seamlessly meet their users’ needs.

Quick facts about UI/UX as a tech career:

Where to learn it: User Experience Design Fundamentals on Udemy

In-Demand Technology Skills to Learn in 2020

WHAT THE COURSE COVERS: 

The critical elements of user experience–strategy, scope, structure, skeleton, and surface. Learn the basics (e.g. what UX design is and why it’s important), strategy/theory (e.g. use of color and typography), and implementation (e.g. how to create wireframes).

COURSE FACTS: 

  • Course Name: User Experience Design Fundamentals
  • Instructed by: Joe Natoli
  • Price: $94.99 (but Udemy often has sales, especially around holidays)
  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Enroll in the course here

WHY THIS COURSE? 

It has a 4.3-star rating from over 7,000 ratings, with 67,405 students enrolled. The instructor has been helping Fortune 100, Fortune 500, and various government organizations with UX design for nearly three decades.

There are 3.5 billion smartphone users in the world today, and that number is continuing to grow every year. This means that companies who want to stay relevant don’t just need websites; they need apps. Having mobile development skills also comes with the perk that if you can build apps for others, you can build and sell your own as well–so it’s an ideal career path for aspiring entrepreneurs.

One interesting direction that mobile apps are headed in is augmented reality. Apps like Pokémon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite game engage with the real world, blending technology and reality.

If you want to start learning mobile development without committing to the Team Treehouse tech degree spotlighted below, check out these 21 mobile app development courses.

Quick facts about mobile development as a tech career:

  • Average salary: $96K+ (with starting salaries as high as $75K)

  • At the time of writing, there are over 49,000 mobile developer jobs posted on Glassdoor.

  • The global app economy is predicted to be worth $6.3 trillion by 2021, up from $1.3 trillion in 2016.

  • The future of mobile development goes beyond phones: wearable technologies, the Internet of Things, beacon technology, an increase in the use of VR/AR, and more.

Where to learn it: Team Treehouse’s Beginning iOS track

Must-have IT skills in 2020

WHAT THE COURSE COVERS: 

Swift is the language of iOS, created by Apple. You can use the language to build applications for the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and more. Build your own apps or land a full-time job at a company that uses Swift.

COURSE FACTS:

  • Course Name: Beginning iOS
  • Platform: Treehouse
  • Instructed by: Pasan Premaratne
  • Price: $25/month
  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Enroll in the course here

WHY THIS COURSE? 

Learn how to program from absolute scratch using Swift and learn many fundamental concepts that will get you started writing code immediately. (No prior programming experience is needed.)

Originally devised for the digital currency Bitcoin, blockchain has evolved. The tech community is now finding other potential uses for the technology, such as peer-to-peer payments, crowdfunding, file storage, identity management, digital voting, etc. Learn more about blockchain/cryptocurrency jobs in this article.

“With platforms like Ethereum taking the lead, more and more companies need developers who understand the blockchain, smart contracts, and can build decentralized applications,” writes Anna Belaya.

Some of the blockchain skills you should know to include networking, cryptography computing, database design, and programming languages ranging from Java, JavaScript, and C++ to Go, Solidity, and Python.

QUICK FACTS ABOUT BLOCKCHAIN AS A TECH CAREER:

Where to learn it: Blockchain Specialization on Coursera

Blockchain Specialization on Coursera

WHAT THE COURSE COVERS: 

Broad intro into what blockchain is, including how to design and program smart contracts and decentralized applications

COURSE FACTS:

  • Course Name: Blockchain Specialization
  • Platform: Coursera
  • Instructed by: Bina Ramamurthy
  • Price: $49 per month with Coursera subscription
  • Skill level: Beginner/Intermediate (requires knowledge of at least one modern, high-level programming language)
  • Enroll in the course here

WHY THIS COURSE? 

Includes hands-on activities and is taught by a computer science professor at University at Buffalo.

If you’re okay with a little uncertainty in your career (and you enjoy science fiction), quantum computing is a field to consider. “The industry has a ways to go,” writes Sophia Chen. “They have a timeline, sort of, give or take a few decades. And at the moment, their roadmap has at least one glaring pothole: a lack of trained people.”

However, this provides an opportunity for you to help move the needle forward. Jeremy O’Brien, physicist and professorial research fellow at the University of Bristol, says that quantum computers could outperform everyday computers in less than 10 years.

Quick facts about quantum computing as a tech career:

  • Average salary: $82,965
  • Current quantum computing roles include software engineers, researchers, experimental scientists, and programmers.
  • You can contribute to Qiskit Terra and Qiskit Aqua code and algorithms to start getting involved with quantum computing and get noticed by hiring managers.

Where to learn it: The Introduction to Quantum Computing on Coursera

The Introduction to Quantum Computing on Coursera

WHAT THE COURSE COVERS: 

Mathematical models of quantum computing, quantum algorithms, and more.

COURSE FACTS:

  • Course Name: The Introduction to Quantum Computing
  • Platform: Coursera
  • Instructed by: Сысоев Сергей Сергеевич
  • Price: $49 per month with Coursera subscription
  • Skill level: Intermediate (requires knowledge of complex numbers and linear algebra)
  • Enroll in the course here

WHY THIS COURSE? 

“We will build a simple working quantum computer with our bare hands, and we will consider some algorithms designed for bigger quantum computers which are not yet developed.”

As a robotics engineer, you can specialize in software or hardware roles, working on virtual or physical bots. Physical robotics can encompass medical equipment, exploration bots, animatronics for films or amusement parks, automated manufacturing equipment, and more.

Virtual bots can exist in software and online to help automate tasks like customer service, virtual assistance, etc. You’ll notice an overlap with AI in this space.

Quick facts about robotics as a tech career:

Where to learn it: Robotics Specialization on Coursera

Robotics Specialization on Coursera

WHAT THE COURSE COVERS: 

Learn how robots operate, adjust their movements across a variety of terrains, serve useful real-world functions in scenarios like disaster recovery and healthcare, and so on. For a course project, you’ll learn how to program a robot to move and fly.

COURSE FACTS:

  • Course name: Robotics Specialization
  • Platform: Coursera
  • Instructed by: Jianbo Shi, Daniel Lee, Daniel E. Koditschek, Kostas Daniilidis, Vijay Kumar, CJ Taylor, Sid Deliwala
  • Price: $39/month with Coursera subscription
  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Enroll in the course here

WHY THIS COURSE? 

This specialization is comprised of 6 courses taught by a collection of professors from the School of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.

There’s no single job description of product management; roles will likely look different across different companies and product types (software, apps, physical products, etc).

One thing in common is that at its core, product management is about making a product the best it can be. That may entail considering market demand, conducting surveys and potential user tests, acting as a liaison between developers and designers assigned to the product, etc.

Especially if you’re working on a technical product, having the ability to understand and speak tech terminology will make you more successful.

Learn more about how to become a product manager here (a podcast episode with Sam Gimbel, who started out by studying neuroscience and became a product manager and later the co-founder of his own businesses).

Quick facts about product management as a tech career:

Where to learn it: Become a Product Manager | Learn the Skills & Get the Job on Udemy

Become a Product Manager | Learn the Skills & Get the Job on Udemy

WHAT THE COURSE COVERS:  

Learn all the skills involved in product management, from idea through execution. You’ll become familiar with the processes and tools involved in market research, prototyping, metric measuring, understanding core tech concepts, leading a team, and more.

COURSE FACTS:

  • Course name: Become a Product Manager | Learn the Skills & Get the Job
  • Platform: Udemy
  • Instructed by: Cole Mercer, Evan Kimbrell
  • Price: $194.99 (but Udemy often has sales, especially around holidays)
  • Skill level: Beginner, but familiarity with basic business concepts is helpful
  • Enroll in the course here

WHY THIS COURSE? 

In addition to teaching the skills, the course dedicates time to the job-search process as well, giving tips on the resume, portfolio, interview, and what to look for in product management jobs. Over a thousand students who have taken this course now work as product managers.

Salesforce is one of the world’s top 10 software companies by annual revenue, so there are a lot of opportunities for work in this space. CRMs, or customer relationship management solutions, provide companies with efficient ways to manage their sales, marketing, and customer support.

Developers are able to build on existing Salesforce infrastructure to create applications and projects specific to the needs of their company.

#7 on LinkedIn’s emerging jobs report was a Sales Development Representative, which mixes a traditional sales role with Salesforce technology expertise. As it’s not a purely technical role, it can be a good place to start within the broader universe of Salesforce.

On the podcast, listen to Zac Otero talk about transitioning into tech as a self-taught Salesforce admin.

Quick facts about Salesforce as a tech career:

Where to learn it: Salesforce Development Training for Beginners on Udemy

In-Demand Technology Skills to Learn in 2020

WHAT THE COURSE COVERS: 

Programming in Apex (the language of Salesforce), creating a Salesforce developer’s account, and all the features you can implement.

COURSE FACTS:

  • Course name: Salesforce Development Training for Beginners on Udemy
  • Platform: Udemy
  • Instructed by: Deepika Khanna
  • Price: $199.99  (but Udemy often has sales, especially around holidays)
  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Enroll in the course here

WHY THIS COURSE? 

Assumes no prior Salesforce experience and provides real-world examples to illustrate the concepts you’re learning.

Having a foundation of programming language skills can open doors for you in a lot of different ways.

On Glassdoor’s list of top jobs for 2020, careers requiring coding skills are well-represented. Front-end engineer is their #1 best job, Java developer is #2, the software engineer is #7, etc. Full-stack engineering has seen 35% of hiring growth every year since 2015.

When it comes to specific skills, there are some notable trends:

Of course, the language that’s best for you to learn depends on your specific goals.

Courses to Learn 17 Programming Languages

  1. HTML and CSS: HTML5 and CSS Fundamentals on edX (Free — add verified certificate for $99)
  2. JavaScript: JavaScript Path on Pluralsight ($29/month with a Pluralsight membership)
  3. Python: Introduction to Python Programming on Udacity (free)
  4. Java: Introduction to Programming in Java on edX ($297)
  5. C#: C# Path on Pluralsight ($29/month with a Pluralsight membership)
  6. PHP: PHP Essential Training on LinkedIn Learning ($24.99)
  7. Go: Programming with Google Go Specialization on Coursera ($49/month with a Coursera membership)
  8. Scala: Introduction to Scala on Team Treehouse ($24/month with a Team Treehouse subscription)
  9. Ruby: Learn to Code with Ruby on Udemy ($199.99 but Udemy often has sales)
  10. Typescript: Introduction to TypeScript 2 on edX (Free — add verified certificate for $99)
  11. Kotlin: Kotlin Essential Training on LinkedIn Learning ($24.99)
  12. SQL: The Complete SQL Bootcamp on Udemy ($194.99 but often on sale)
  13. Swift: Swift Fundamentals on Pluralsight ($29/month with a Pluralsight membership)
  14. R: R Programming: Advanced Analytics In R For Data Science ($199.99 but often on sale)
  15. C: Introduction to Programming in C Specialization on Coursera ($49/month with a Coursera membership)
  16. C++: C++ Essential Training on LinkedIn Learning ($44.99)
  17. Objective-C: Foundations of Objective-C App Development on Coursera ($39/month with a Coursera membership)

Data V Tech Solutions Company is proud to be a leading ERP consulting firm that facilitates the personal development of each team member and helps them gain necessary IT skills.

Regional internet of things RIoT mitigates COVID-19 crisis

Regional Internet of Things group RIoT plans webinar to fight virus

In this time of fear and confusion, NC RIoT will be sharing a message of hope and progress as leaders in the tech space share how the Internet of Things and Data can mitigate the effects of the current COVID-19 crisis and prepare for others in the future.

This virtual event will explore novel ways that technology and data can be used to combat pandemics & protect public health.

RIoT [the Regional Internet of Things users group] has always expressed its belief in technology’s role of promoting economic growth, but now more than ever, we’d like to highlight its role in defending public health. Although living in a modern, connected world has enabled the quicker spread of the virus, our modernity can also be our white knight if we start putting our advancements to better use in the public health sector. Tune in to the discussion to learn more.

Featured Speakers Include:

+ Tom Snyder (Executive Director – RIoT) – Moderator

+ Veena Misra (Center Director – ASSIST) – Wearable sensors for persistent health monitoring

+ Brian Bender (Chief Science Officer – Intake) – Personal health monitoring

+ Ashlee Valente (Senior Scientist – Torus) & John Harer (CEO – Torus) – Analytics for massively complex systems like global health

+ Steve Bennett (Director of Public Sector Practice – SAS) – AI for faster vaccine development

+ Emil Runge (Director of Programs – BARDA/First Flight Venture Center) – Funding opportunities for COVID research

+ Michael Levy (President – Digital Health Institute for Transformation) – Keeping mental health front of mind

+ Nick Jordan (CEO – Smashing Boxes) – Data use across EHR systems

+ Manal El-Ramly (Director, Board of Directors – Newsco) – Information dissemination via the screens all around us

Can the Internet of Things play a role in the future when we are challenged by the next contagion? WRAL TechWire reached out to Tom Snyder, executive director of NC RIoT, a large and growing users group focusing on research and commercialization surrounding IoT device and application development, for his analysis.


Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many enterprises and organizations in Vietnam and China. For direct consultation, please feel free to contact us.

The Potential of ERP Amid a Pandemic

The Potential of ERP Amid a Pandemic

Automation on the plant floor can keep production flowing to refill store shelves. But the biggest problem manufacturers face right now is a disruption to the supply chain.

In the middle of a global health crisis, the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic portends a drastic shift in the way the world will work in the future.

Whether it’s the need to ramp up production of hand sanitizer or convert automotive plants to produce more respirators, manufacturers are under pressure now more than ever to do more with less. The production floor is operating with skeleton crews to minimize possible exposure to the virus, and plant managers are in need of a better way to maintain visibility into the process. All of this points to the potential of implementing more automation on the plant floor.

In fact, the making of toilet paper is a highly automated process, as shown in the National Geographic documentary “Chasing Paper,” which highlights Sofidel, a manufacturer of toilet paper and paper towels. So, even if operators aren’t in the plant, more paper is on its way, people, do not panic.

The biggest bottleneck in the great paper chase—or for any product right now—is the supply chain. New research indicates that a weakened supply chain is the biggest business disruption related to COVID-19.

According to ABI Research, the impact of Coronavirus is both global and unpredictable, and the supply chain shock it is causing will most definitely and substantially cut into the worldwide manufacturing revenue of $15 trillion currently forecasted for 2020 by the global tech market advisory firm.

The virus will have both short- and long-term ramifications for manufacturers. “Initially, plant managers and factory owners will be looking to secure supplies and be getting an appreciation of constraints further up the supply chain plus how much influence they have on their suppliers,” explains Michael Larner, principal analyst at ABI Research. In the longer term, manufacturers will need to conduct an extensive due diligence process as they need to understand their risk exposure, including the operations of their supplier’s suppliers. “To mitigate supply chain risks, manufacturers should not only not source components from a single supplier but also, as COVID-19 has highlighted, shouldn’t source from suppliers in a single location.”

As a result, ABI Research forecasts that the supply chain impact of COVID-19 will spur manufacturers’ spend on enterprise resource planning (ERP), to reach $14 billion in 2024. While many ERP platforms include modules for inventory control and supply chain management, in light of the outbreak, many manufacturers will also turn to specialist providers. “Supply chain orchestration requires software to be more than a system of record and provide risk analysis and run simulations, enabling manufacturers to understand and prepare for supply chain shocks,” Larner said.

ERP providers agree that COVID-19—and panic buying which quickly exhausted the supply chain—has exposed a major vulnerability in manufacturing operations.

“Business processes need to be re-evaluated as this situation has turned the supply chain on its head,” said Steve Dombroski, senior manager for the consumer, food, and beverage market at QAD, a provider of adaptive ERP software. “Traditional methods of building safety stocks and buffer inventories have been replaced with Just-In-Time (JIT) item location forecasting to minimize re-deployment of inventories and to minimize inventory costs. Running JIT on inventories down and upstream through the supply chain caused delays.” This points to the need for manufacturers to address adaptability across the supply chain. “Manufacturing companies utilize two supply chains today; the physical supply chain consisting of all products and the digital supply chain that contains all information. Synchronizing both supply chains with all manufacturing, distribution, and procurement processes will enable companies to be flexible and agile.”

So, while all eyes are on automation, like robotics and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) sensors, to flow product through the line, none of that matters if the manufacturer doesn’t have a steady flow of raw materials. “COVID-19 demonstrates that manufacturers need to be as focused on their supplier’s capabilities as they are on their factory floor,” ABI’s Larner concludes.

Source: Stephanie Neil


Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many businesses in manufacturingdistribution, and retail in Vietnam and China. Particularly, the supply chain management module of Epicor ERP is one of the strongest features of this solution and has been utilized and continously improved for over 40 years, even during this Covid-19. For direct consultation, please feel free to contact us.

facts about Internet of Things (IoT) to prevent future pandemics

These Facts Will Change Your Mind About the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things market expands way beyond smart homes and can even be used to prevent future pandemics.

Thanks to advances in technology and the proliferation of connected devices, the Internet of Things era has arrived.

It’s been years in the making but appears poised to go mainstream. According to the consulting firm McKinsey, the number of IoT-connected devices is forecast to hit 43 billion by 2023, almost three times the number of devices in 2018. Companies and consumers are using IoT to control their heating and cooling systems remotely, doctors use it to monitor patients, and manufacturers track products across the supply chain.

There are a lot of reasons why IoT is growing in popularity. Convenience and on-the-go-access are two big ones. But there are also those jaw-dropping reasons that will surprise even the biggest IoT skeptic. Here’s a look at four of them.

1. It can help prevent the spread of diseases like COVID-19

The novel coronavirus outbreak is having a devastating impact on people around the globe. Spain, Italy, and France are effectively shut down, and schools and businesses across the United States are closed. The stock market has been whipsawing between huge gains and losses, and the global economy is taking a major hit.

While IoT can’t stop COVID-19 (the disease caused by the coronavirus) from spreading, it can be used to prevent future pandemics. In an IoT world outlined by the financial consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, a network of sensors placed throughout the world would be used to monitor individuals for infections, acting as an early detection system. That would reduce uncertainty in the stock market and provide governments with proof to quickly act on and stop the spread.

Implementing this on a global scale isn’t likely anytime soon. Some countries, China included, will be able to do it within their borders. Add facial recognition and GPS to the mix, and Frost & Sullivan’s global research director for IoT, Dilip Sarangan, says countries would be able to monitor those who have contracted the virus and track whom they come into contact with. That could prevent virus outbreaks from becoming pandemics. “While this may sound like a police state to many, ultimately, leveraging IoT and [artificial intelligence] AI may be the most logical way to prevent highly infectious diseases from spreading rapidly in a world that is getting smaller every day with air travel,” said Sarangan in a recent report.

There’s a slew of companies that can benefit from these early defense systems, including equipment makers and network operators. In the U.S. the wireless network providers AT&T (NYSE:T), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), T-Mobile USA (NASDAQ:TMUS), and Sprint (NYSE:S) are big beneficiaries as data is transmitted across the world.

2. 5G will proliferate the number of connected devices

With COVID-19 spreading around the world, commerce has come to a screeching halt, and that’s particularly true in the smartphone market. Hit by supply chain issues in China and a lack of demand as the number of people in quarantine grow, several mobile-phone-related companies including Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) have issued guidance warnings for their current quarters.

Despite the business interruptions, the buildout of 5G will eventually pick up, driving what is expected to be a huge smartphone upgrade cycle. It’s also expected to increase the number of devices connected to the internet, thanks to the speed and security 5G brings. With 5G networks, data can be sent back and forth between millions of devices in seconds, something not possible with existing 4G networks. That will result in billions of new devices outside of smartphones and tablets that connect to the internet.

The melding of 5G and IoT will be behind the adoption of smart cities and connected cars. It will also enable doctors to remotely treat patients and help robotic surgery become the norm. Gartner expects there to be 5.8 billion connected devices by the end of this year. That’s up 21% from the 4.8 billion at the end of 2019.

3. More than $1 trillion will be spent on IoT

Love it or hate it, the IoT market is exploding with no end in sight. Trillions of dollars are being spent on IoT start-ups as investors clamor to get in on the leaders of tomorrow. The interest is coming from an array of venture capitalists who are pouring tons of money into the market — for good reason. According to IDC, yearly spending on IoT is projected to surpass $1 trillion by 2022, growing at a double-digit rate. That bodes well for equipment providers like Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO). With global traffic poised to triple thanks to 5G, Cisco and its peers will be able to provide the hardware needed to facilitate the movement of the data.

There are a lot of IoT use cases, but the ones drawing the biggest investments are those focused on the business market. IDC projected IoT spending by the manufacturing industry would hit $100 billion in 2019, while production asset management will attract $4.2 billion, smart home $44.1 billion, and freight monitoring $41.7 billion. The areas that are expected to see the fastest growth and thus the biggest investment dollars through 2022 include automation, electric vehicle charging, agriculture field monitoring, bedside telemetry, and in-store marketing, IDC predicted.

4. Most consumers and businesses want government IoT security regulations

The combination of IoT and 5G will transform society for the better, but that doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing ahead. There are a lot of security risks to consumers and businesses that can’t be left unchecked.

It’s something that both businesses and consumers are worried about. According to a recent survey of consumers and businesses by digital security company Gemalto, 90% of businesses and consumers believe the IoT industry should be regulated by the government. What’s more, 61% of businesses think IoT regulation should dictate who is responsible for securing the data throughout its journey.

Of the consumers polled, 65% said they are worried a hacker could take over their IoT device. Meanwhile, 60% said they are afraid their data will fall into the wrong hands. Those fears aren’t unfounded. Security from Kaspersky Labs spotted more than 100 million attacks on IoT devices in the first half of 2019 alone.

Without a doubt, risks abound as more devices are connected to the internet. But with such wide-ranging benefits and investor interest, even IoT naysayers can’t deny the market is poised to explode. Those four jaw-dropping facts alone prove it.

Source: Donna Fuscaldo


Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many enterprises and organizations in Vietnam and China. For direct consultation, please feel free to contact us.

end of enterprise resource planning

The end of enterprise resource planning

end of enterprise resource planninghe Harvard Business Review ran an article in 1990 by management consultant and former Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer science professor Michael Hammer titled “Reengineering Work: Don’t Automate, Obliterate.” Hammer, recognized as the seminal theorist of reengineering, the consultant-driven discipline of streamlining work processes, encouraged businesses to radically restructure rather than rely on information technology to automate work.

This proved impossible. While the 1990s is now viewed as an epoch of business reengineering, the revamp of work processes advanced hand in hand with the rise of centralized corporate IT, enabled by enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

The 2020s, on the other hand, appear poised for the final takedown of monolithic business IT in response to a new revolution in work processes spurred and enabled by digitization. IT managers in the chemical industry, among the first industries to opt for ERP systems, are preparing for a new wave of change in business management software.

To understand the likely changes ahead, it helps to look back at the provenance and evolution of IT systems currently in operation at most chemical companies.

The computing infrastructures that emerged some 30 years ago supported efficiency gains, the kind also targeted by business reengineering. But ERP software installations also caused years-long headaches for many companies as they converted from hodgepodge mixes of software to monolithic IT systems covering most financial aspects of business and plant operations.

During this period, SAP, a German software firm started by former IBM engineers, rose to prominence in ERP. Starting with its first customer, the UK’s Imperial Chemical Industries, SAP swept the chemical sector. By the early 2000s, many major companies had lashed their operations to the firm’s R/3 software.
By today’s standards, the IT platforms of the early 21st century are museum pieces. Cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and big data have fundamentally changed IT and the workplace.

SAP and other major vendors of ERP software, including Oracle and JD Edwards, have introduced successive generations of their products over the years that chip away at the monolithic, comparatively lethargic control of early IT architectures. In the process, a modular approach to IT has emerged in which specialized software for specific work functions can be added to a centralized, often multivendor network of business management software with an ERP system at the core.

Industry watchers agree that the next step is to re-engineer the core.

“Enterprise resource planning has evolved far beyond its original purpose and scope,” the consulting firm Gartner writes in a report issued last year. “It now represents different things to different organizations, but in all cases is no longer focused on ‘resources’ or ‘planning.’ ” The view is echoed by Forrester, another consulting firm, in a recent report: “Today, we see the beginning of a new era of operational systems that are so different that calling them ERP no longer makes sense.”

The abbreviation is still in use, however, despite the alternatives floated, such as Forrester’s DOP, for digital operations platform. Gartner characterizes the current, modular state of business software as postmodern ERP. Mike Guay, a senior analyst with the firm, describes a “hybrid approach” in which specialist companies like Salesforce.com, a provider of customer relationship software, can add modules to an ERP system.

Guay notes that ERP vendors have partnered with and acquired specialized software providers to offer hybrid networks. SAP, for example, acquired SuccessFactors, a cloud-based human resources management services provider, and now offers the service as an adjunct to its core software.

In Guay’s view, today’s generation of postmodern software is starting to give way to something more abstract. This fourth generation of ERP—counting hodgepodge computing and monolithic software as the first and second—will dismantle the familiar image of centralized control.

GENERATIONS

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software’s path is from dispersed to monolithic to dispersed again.

end of enterprise resource planning

1980s to 1990s: Best of breed

 Functionally focused software

 Multiple vendors

 Lack of central control

can businesses stop automating

1990s to 2000s: Monolithic

 One core software product

 Centralized information technology

 Oversight by the corporate IT department

can enterprises stop automating

2010 to the foreseeable future: Postmodern ERP

 Networking of specialized software

 Maintenance of a central ERP backbone

 Access to cloud-based software and services

 Oversight by independent business departments

can we stop automation

Emerging architecture: Beyond ERP

 Supporting digitized business functions

 Greater automation with artificial intelligence

 Functional applications easily added to core IT

 Breakdown of business function silos

 Programming and oversight by power users

▸ Rise of functional applications

Source: Gartner.

“In 3 to 5 years,” he says, “IT focus will shift from doing most of the development in IT departments to architecting an environment in which the end-users — the power users in their departments—will actually be able to build applications. Low-code/no-code development platforms are emerging as a standard in the market right now.”

Liz Herbert, a vice president, and principal analyst at Forrester says business software is now driven by the speed at which data can be processed. “ERP conjures up overly complex, slow-moving technology that may not live up to expectations,” she says. “Technology has changed dramatically. It is much more cloud-based, much more built for intelligence, more for flexibility and easy extensibility by business users. Not everything has to rely on programmers and IT departments.”

Artificial intelligence will play an increasing role in business IT, Herbert says. AI was initially harnessed to improve error detection and automation accuracy, but the technique is ramping up. She points to two examples at SAP: Ariba, software for managing materials procurement that employs IBM’s Watson AI technology, and Concur, a travel and expense system that applies AI to vetting expense reports using data from receipts.

The latest iteration of SAP’s ERP software, S/4Hana, reflects the changes the consultants see. It stores tables in columns rather than in standard row arrangements, vastly increasing the speed of data analysis, the firm says. The database allows transactional and analytical work to be done simultaneously.

Joe Binkley, SAP’s director of cloud platform product marketing, notes that S/4Hana employs in-memory data processing, in which data is stored in random-access memory rather than disk storage or relational databases. “It means we are able to dramatically recast our systems and do things in seconds that used to require waiting days to complete.”

Dave Dunn, head of marketing for chemicals at SAP, says the company remains the dominant supplier of ERP software in the sector, counting 6,500 users it categorizes as chemical companies. A modular approach to adding software, such as Salesforce.com and SAP’s own adjuncts in areas like materials sourcing, has advanced with upgrades to R/3 in recent years. This includes a version called ECC consisting of a suite of business management software modules that put the tool to reach for smaller companies.

“Only the large guys could afford it years ago,” Dunn says. “With S/4 and ECC, a load of smaller, mid-tier companies has implemented SAP because it is simpler and much faster, to implement.”

Melanie Kalmar, chief information officer at Dow, says the company is focused on simplifying work processes and making it easier for customers to do business with Dow. – Credit: Dow

Dow, an early adopter of ERP, has rolled with the changes at SAP for decades. The company gained somewhat of a renegade reputation years ago by skipping an upgrade to R/3 when most of its cohorts converted. Dow eventually undertook a multimillion-dollar conversion to a version of the SAP software to which users add targeted software products, essentially the first step into Gartner’s postmodern ERP world. Since then, Dow has pushed further.

“Over the past few years, we have migrated capabilities to software-as-a-service solutions,” says Melanie Kalmar, chief information officer at Dow, referring to a technique of accessing software from cloud-based providers and paying a service fee rather than purchasing it. “Our current focus is all about simplification in how we do work. This means making it easier for our customers to do business with us while providing capabilities for our employees that make their job easier and them more empowered.”

Dow will continue adding “best-in-class” applications to its ERP system, Kalmar says while eliminating applications that fall short. “There is no plan to move away from our core ERP capabilities or to move away from our strategy of one global ERP instance,” she says.

DuPont is similarly working to adapt its core SAP system to a new generation of business IT. “We are constantly working to simplify yet modernize our enterprise-wide systems, including our legacy ERP,” says Steve Larrabee, chief information officer for the company. “Artificial intelligence, particularly in the R&D and manufacturing spaces, has helped significantly advance the roll of IT-based technology as a key business and value driver.”

Larrabee adds that modernizing and evolving from a monolithic ERP system does not lessen the importance of a core IT infrastructure. Centralized data, or “master data,” support old and new technologies, he says, and are necessary to “provide real-time information both to optimize our working processes and guide our decision-making.”

Evonik Industries, another longtime SAP user, is also sticking with its core system. “For Evonik’s core transactional business processes, like ‘order to cash’ or ‘plan to produce,’ a reliable and on-time information flow is key,” says Bettina Uhlich, the firm’s chief information officer. “You just want to have the right data at the right time in the right place. For this, well-integrated IT architecture is a key success factor. We see the monolithic ERP as an advantage.” She points to the company’s success in integrating the ERP system of J.M. Huber’s silica business, which Evonik acquired in 2017.

But Evonik also moves in the postmodern ERP world described by Gartner. “Business IT architecture can now draw from a far bigger solution portfolio than just SAP,” Uhlich says. “This might make it more challenging for the IT department, but it is clearly an advantage for the business.”

And challenges lie ahead. A move underway at Evonik to convert to SAP’s S/4Hana by next year will be more thorough than a mere software upgrade, Uhlich says. It will be a conversion of Evonik’s core ERP to a wholly new architecture.

Not all SAP users are Goliaths like Dow and Evonik. Borchers, a paint additives company, has been a customer since 2008, shortly after Lanxess sold the business to OM Group. When OMG sold Borchers to investors in 2017, Borchers upgraded to an SAP product called Suite on Hana—essentially ECC software running on the same database as S/4Hana.

Borchers plans to fully upgrade to S/4 by 2022, says Jonathan Mortlock, the firm’s chief information officer. He wants to act before SAP terminates maintenance coverage for Suite on Hana, at which time he foresees a rush of upgrades by companies that are all competing for support from SAP.

And there are plenty of other ERP software options for small to midsize chemical companies. Datacom, a supplier of distribution and process management ERP software, is one example. It began serving the chemical industry with its Chempax software in 1981.

Sage Group, a UK-based supplier of ERP software, is another. The company’s software is often sold by firms that adapt its software for specific markets. Net at Work, for example, enhances Sage software with functionality geared to chemical companies in a product called Chem at Work.

MFG Chemical, a midsize specialty chemical company based in Dalton, Georgia, installed its first ERP system, Datacor’s Chempax, 9 years ago. “It basically houses all our supplier information,” says Andrew Hopkins, MFG’s quality assurance manager. Formulas and raw material lists and prices are stored and managed on the system, which accesses data from a network drive or central data server.

MFG also uses software called OESuite supplied by a company called Operational Sustainability. It coordinates information on changes to production procedures and functions independently from Chempax.

MFG is considering implementing a materials resource planning (MRP) module that already resides in its Chempax system, Hopkins says. While the company would likely benefit from MRP, which keeps track of orders and inventory, he says it would be a complex installation given the number of customers and products the company deals with.

Bettina Uhlich, chief information officer at Evonik Industries, says the firm will move to SAP’s latest ERP software, S/4Hana, by next year. – Credit: Evonik Industries

Reducing complexity remains a key target in business software development. Vestiges of monolithic ERP remain in place at most companies, as do vendor service agreements and a need for support in upgrading or adding to systems. Software developers aim to simplify upgrades by allowing businesses to configure IT in a distributed fashion that includes gateways to customers and suppliers.

As new software options emerge, users are expected to have more discretion in adding applications using low- or no-code techniques that have moved into IT architectures since they were introduced about 20 years ago.

No-code approaches are especially likely to surge in next-generation business computing. Software developers such as Itesign, a German start-up targeting a midyear product launch, envision a future in which IT departments equip corporate networks with menus of options from which users choose applications to add to their work processes, according to CEO Jan Philippe Wimmer.

Those IT departments of the future, Forrester’s Herbert notes, will be headed by business analysts as opposed to computer technicians. In fact, she envisions a complete dissolution of the core ERP system, a shift that will challenge IT departments to keep add-on applications from reverting to the kind of IT hodgepodge that led to monolithic ERP software in the first place.

But industry watchers agree that the ERP model born in the age of reengineering has already been obliterated. “It is no longer about systems solely within an enterprise,” Guay and colleagues write in Gartner’s recent report. ERP “has simply become a three-letter acronym for something that most people cannot describe other than to name a vendor or a list of modules. Whether or not we continue to use the acronym remains uncertain.”

Source: Rick Mullin


Epicor ERP is one of the few software that has already applied the low or no-code approach. Indeed, many Epicor users of Data V Tech in China and Vietnam, rarely have to face any of code-related hassles thanks to the experience of the consultants and the flexibility as well as customizability of the system per se. More importantly, Epicor has sucessfully built up reputation in the chemical industry in the world. For further information, please feel free to contact us. We will get back to you the soonest.

COVID-19 Pandemic as a Big Data Analytics Issue

Understanding the COVID-19 Pandemic as a Big Data Analytics Issue

Big data analytics techniques are well-suited for tracking and controlling the spread of COVID-19 around the world.

The rapid, global spread of COVID-19 has brought advanced big data analytics tools front and center, with entities from all sectors of the healthcare industry seeking to monitor and reduce the impact of this virus.

Researchers and developers are increasingly using artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing to track and contain coronavirus, as well as gain a more comprehensive understanding of the disease.

In the months since COVID-19 hit the US, researchers have been hard at work trying to uncover the nature of the virus – why it affects some more than others, what measures can help reduce the spread, and where the disease will likely go next.

At the core of these efforts is something with which the healthcare industry is very familiar: Data.

James Hendler, RPISource: Xtelligent Healthcare Media

“This is, in essence, a big data problem. We’re trying to track the spread of disease around the world,” James Hendler, the Tetherless World Professor of Computer, Web, and Cognitive Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and director of the Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications (IDEA), told HealthITAnalytics.

At RPI, researchers are using big data and analytics to better comprehend coronavirus from a number of different angles. The institute recently announced that it would offer government entities, research organizations, and industry access to innovative AI tools, as well as experts in data and public health to help combat COVID-19.

“We’re working with several organizations on modeling and dealing with the virus directly using a supercomputer, and we’ve been creating some websites where we track all the open data and documents we can find to help our researchers find what they’re looking for,” Hendler said.

“We also have some work we’ve been doing in understanding social media responses to the pandemic. One project, in particular, has focused on tracking data from Chinese social media as coronavirus spread there in mid-January, and then comparing it to American data.”

Between recognizing signs and symptoms, tracking the virus, and monitoring the availability of hospital resources, researchers are dealing with enormous amounts of information – too much for humans to comprehend and analyze on their own. It’s a situation that is seemingly tailor-made for advanced analytics technologies, Hendler noted.

“There are several big data components to this pandemic where artificial intelligence can play a big role,” he said.

“One component is biomedical research. A lot of work is going on to try to develop a vaccine to find out whether there is any current drugs work against COVID-19. All of those projects require molecular modeling, and many of them are using AI and machine learning to map things we know about the virus to things in pharmacological databases and genomic databases.”

Several big-name organizations have launched projects like these – Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and others have recently offered researchers free access to open datasets and analytics tools to help them develop COVID-19 solutions faster.

“AI can eliminate many false tracks and allow us to identify potential targets. So instead of trying 100 or 1000 different things, we can narrow it down to a much smaller size much faster. That’s going to accelerate the eventual finding of the vaccine,” Hendler said.

Researchers are also leveraging AI to evaluate the effects of COVID-19 interventions on individuals across the country, Hendler stated.

“A second component has to do with natural language processing and social media. What can we extract from social media that can help our scientists? What can we learn about how people are bearing the burdens and stresses of the pandemic?” he said.

“With SARS and other outbreaks, we never really had to figure out how different social distancing techniques are impacting the spread in different places. You can’t just compare numbers, because there are a lot of other factors to consider. AI is very good at that kind of multi-factor learning and a lot of people are trying to apply those techniques now.”

At UTHealth, a team developed an AI tool that showed the need for stricter, immediate interventions in the Greater Houston area. And at Stanford University, researchers have launched a data-driven model that predicts possible outcomes of various intervention strategies.

Using big data and analytics tools of their own, Hendler and his team is aiming to do something similar.

“We have a lot of time-series data from China, we have information about airline transportation, and we have population models for each country. Now we’re looking at doing this in our own region, and seeing if we can track and predict the spread based on the kind of social measures taken within different regions,” he said.

“We want to prototype that in our region and then scale it up to the US, and then eventually, the world.”

AI can also help organizations draw on research from the past, applying this knowledge to present and future situations.

“A third area where AI can make an impact is in mining scientific literature,” Hendler said.

“In past years, you had hundreds of grad students reading papers and trying to figure out what was going on. At many universities, there’s a lot of effort to say, ‘What can we learn from what’s already been published?’”

While AI and other analytics technologies appear to be the best possible tools for assessing and mitigating a global pandemic, researchers can’t always access what they need to build these models.

“The ideal data is hospital data that would tell us who is experiencing certain impacts from the virus,” Hendler said.

“For example, one project we’d love to do would be to correlate environmental or genomic factors to the people who are getting advanced respiratory problems, which is what’s killing most people with this disease. Is there a genetic component to that? Is it something where environmental factors are some kind of comorbidity? But can we get that kind of data because of HIPAA restrictions.”

Instead, research teams should focus on extracting insights from the information they do have available, Hendler said.

“Information about how people are moving, the effect of travel restrictions or stay at home orders, how many people have what – that’s data we can get. The more details we can get, the better, and a lot of that data are starting to be shared because you don’t have to say who the people are, just where the people are,” he said.

The unprecedented impact of coronavirus around the world has sparked the need for unprecedented partnerships, and these collaborations will contribute significantly to finding viable solutions.

“In healthcare, academia, and industry are mostly set up for people to stay in their own lanes. But people are rapidly beginning to realize that attacking this problem is going to require a collaborative effort,” Hendler concluded.

“To make any real progress in this situation, you need to bring together people who understand the computation and AI, people who understand the biological and biomedical implications, and people who understand population models. It’s a very interdisciplinary problem, and to make any headway, we need the data and we need the team.”

Source: Jessica Kent


With the assistance of ERP software, many manufacturers in Vietnam and China remain active during this pandemic without accelerating the spread of the pandemic. This solution has proved its high value during this crisis as it allows workers to work from home and connection as well as internal/external communication to continue seamlessly.

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