Tag: crm for manufacturing industry

Microsoft Azure Cloud Services, Uncategorized

Advancing Azure service quality with artificial intelligence: AIOps

We are going to share our vision on the importance of infusing AI into our cloud platform and DevOps process. Gartner referred to something similar as AIOps (pronounced “AI Ops”) and this has become the common term that we use internally, albeit with a larger scope. Today’s post is just the start, as we intend to provide regular updates to share our adoption stories of using AI technologies to support how we build and operate Azure at scale.

Why AIOps?

There are two unique characteristics of cloud services:

  • The ever-increasing scale and complexity of the cloud platform and systems
  • The ever-changing needs of customers, partners, and their workloads

To build and operate reliable cloud services during this constant state of flux, and to do so as efficiently and effectively as possible, our cloud engineers (including thousands of Azure developers, operations engineers, customer support engineers, and program managers) heavily rely on data to make decisions and take actions. Furthermore, many of these decisions and actions need to be executed automatically as an integral part of our cloud services or our DevOps processes. Streamlining the path from data to decisions to actions involves identifying patterns in the data, reasoning, and making predictions based on historical data, then recommending or even taking actions based on the insights derived from all that underlying data.

 Infusing AI into cloud platform and DevOps – with AI at the center of Customers, Engineering, and Services.
Figure 1. Infusing AI into cloud platform and DevOps.

The AIOps vision

AIOps has started to transform the cloud business by improving service quality and customer experience at scale while boosting engineers’ productivity with intelligent tools, driving continuous cost optimization, and ultimately improving the reliability, performance, and efficiency of the platform itself. When we invest in advancing AIOps and related technologies, we see this ultimately provides value in several ways:

  • Higher service quality and efficiency: Cloud services will have built-in capabilities of self-monitoring, self-adapting, and self-healing, all with minimal human intervention. Platform-level automation powered by such intelligence will improve service quality (including reliability, and availability, and performance), and service efficiency to deliver the best possible customer experience.
  • Higher DevOps productivity: With the automation power of AI and ML, engineers are released from the toil of investigating repeated issues, manually operating and supporting their services, and can instead focus on solving new problems, building new functionality, and work that more directly impacts the customer and partner experience. In practice, AIOps empowers developers and engineers with insights to avoid looking at raw data, thereby improving engineer productivity.
  • Higher customer satisfaction: AIOps solutions play a critical role in enabling customers to use, maintain, and troubleshoot their workloads on top of our cloud services as easily as possible. We endeavor to use AIOps to understand customer needs better, in some cases to identify potential pain points and proactively reach out as needed. Data-driven insights into customer workload behavior could flag when Microsoft or the customer needs to take action to prevent issues or apply workarounds. Ultimately, the goal is to improve satisfaction by quickly identifying, mitigating, and fixing issues.

 

AI for Cloud: AI Ops and AI-Serving Platform showing example use cases in AI for Systems, AI for DevOps, and AI for Customers.

Figure 2. AI for Cloud: AIOps and AI-Serving Platform.

AIOps

Moving beyond our vision, we wanted to start by briefly summarizing our general methodology for building AIOps solutions. A solution in this space always starts with data—measurements of systems, customers, and processes—as the key of any AIOps solution is distilling insights about system behavior, customer behaviors, and DevOps artifacts and processes. The insights could include identifying a problem that is happening now (detect), why it’s happening (diagnose), what will happen in the future (predict), and how to improve (optimize, adjust, and mitigate). Such insights should always be associated with business metrics—customer satisfaction, system quality, and DevOps productivity—and drive actions in line with prioritization determined by the business impact. The actions will also be fed back into the system and process. This feedback could be fully automated (infused into the system) or with humans in the loop (infused into the DevOps process). This overall methodology guided us to build AIOps solutions in three pillars.

AIOps methodologies: Data (Customer/System/DevOps), insights (Detect/Diagnose/Predict/Optimize), and actions (Mitigate/Avert future pain/Optimize usage config/Improve architecture & process).
Figure 3. AIOps methodologies: Data, insights, and actions.

AI for systems

Today, we’re introducing several AIOps solutions that are already in use and supporting Azure behind the scenes. The goal is to automate system management to reduce human intervention. As a result, this helps to reduce operational costs, improve system efficiency, and increase customer satisfaction. These solutions have already contributed significantly to the Azure platform availability improvements, especially for Azure IaaS virtual machines (VMs). AIOps solutions contributed in several ways including protecting customers’ workload from host failures through hardware failure prediction and proactive actions like live migration and Project Tardigrade and pre-provisioning VMs to shorten VM creation time.

Of course, engineering improvements and ongoing system innovation also play important roles in the continuous improvement of platform reliability.

  • Hardware Failure Prediction is to protect cloud customers from interruptions caused by hardware failures.  Microsoft Research and Azure have built a disk failure prediction solution for Azure Compute, triggering the live migration of customer VMs from predicted-to-fail nodes to healthy nodes. We also expanded the prediction to other types of hardware issues including memory and networking router failures. This enables us to perform predictive maintenance for better availability.
  • Pre-Provisioning Service in Azure brings VM deployment reliability and latency benefits by creating pre-provisioned VMs. Pre-provisioned VMs are pre-created and partially configured VMs ahead of customer requests for VMs. As we described in the IJCAI 2020 publication, As we described in the AAAI-20 keynote mentioned above,  the Pre-Provisioning Service leverages a prediction engine to predict VM configurations and the number of VMs per configuration to pre-create. This prediction engine applies dynamic models that are trained based on historical and current deployment behaviors and predicts future deployments. Pre-Provisioning Service uses this prediction to create and manage VM pools per VM configuration. Pre-Provisioning Service resizes the pool of VMs by destroying or adding VMs as prescribed by the latest predictions. Once a VM matching the customer’s request is identified, the VM is assigned from the pre-created pool to the customer’s subscription.

AI for DevOps

AI can boost engineering productivity and help in shipping high-quality services with speed. Below are a few examples of AI for DevOps solutions.

  • Incident management is an important aspect of cloud service management—identifying and mitigating rare but inevitable platform outages. A typical incident management procedure consists of multiple stages including detection, engagement, and mitigation stages. Time spent in each stage is used as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) to measure and drive rapid issue resolution. KPIs include time to detect (TTD), time to engage (TTE), and time to mitigate (TTM).

 Incident management procedures including Time to Detect (TTD), Time to Engage (TTE), and Time to Mitigate (TTM).
Figure 4. Incident management procedures.

As shared in AIOps Innovations in Incident Management for Cloud Services at the AAAI-20 conference, we have developed AI-based solutions that enable engineers not only to detect issues early but also to identify the right team(s) to engage and therefore mitigate as quickly as possible. Tight integration into the platform enables end-to-end touchless mitigation for some scenarios, which considerably reduces customer impact and therefore improves the overall customer experience.

  • Anomaly Detection provides an end-to-end monitoring and anomaly detection solution for Azure IaaS. The detection solution targets a broad spectrum of anomaly patterns that includes not only generic patterns defined by thresholds, but also patterns which are typically more difficult to detect such as leaking patterns (for example, memory leaks) and emerging patterns (not a spike, but increasing with fluctuations over a longer term). Insights generated by the anomaly detection solutions are injected into the existing Azure DevOps platform and processes, for example, alerting through the telemetry platform, incident management platform, and, in some cases, triggering automated communications to impacted customers. This helps us detect issues as early as possible.

For an example that has already made its way into a customer-facing feature, Dynamic Threshold is an ML-based anomaly detection model. It is a feature of Azure Monitor used through the Azure portal or through the ARM API. Dynamic Threshold allows users to tune their detection sensitivity, including specifying how many violation points will trigger a monitoring alert.

  • Safe Deployment serves as an intelligent global “watchdog” for the safe rollout of Azure infrastructure components. We built a system, code name Gandalf, that analyzes temporal and spatial correlation to capture latent issues that happened hours or even days after the rollout. This helps to identify suspicious rollouts (during a sea of ongoing rollouts), which is common for Azure scenarios, and helps prevent the issue propagating and therefore prevents impact to additional customers.

AI for customers

To improve the Azure customer experience, we have been developing AI solutions to power the full lifecycle of customer management. For example, a decision support system has been developed to guide customers towards the best selection of support resources by leveraging the customer’s service selection and verbatim summary of the problem experienced. This helps shorten the time it takes to get customers and partners the right guidance and support that they need.

AI-serving platform

To achieve greater efficiencies in managing a global-scale cloud, we have been investing in building systems that support using AI to optimize cloud resource usage and therefore the customer experience. One example is Resource Central (RC), an AI-serving platform for Azure that we described in Communications of the ACM. It collects telemetry from Azure containers and servers, learns from their prior behaviors, and, when requested, produces predictions of their future behaviors. We are already using RC to predict many characteristics of Azure Compute workloads accurately, including resource procurement and allocation, all of which helps to improve system performance and efficiency.

Looking towards the future

We have shared our vision of AI infusion into the Azure platform and our DevOps processes and highlighted several solutions that are already in use to improve service quality across a range of areas. Look to us to share more details of our internal AI and ML solutions for even more intelligent cloud management in the future. We’re confident that these are the right investment solutions to improve our effectiveness and efficiency as a cloud provider, including improving the reliability and performance of the Azure platform itself.

 

Note blog reference: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-in/blog/advancing-azure-service-quality-with-artificial-intelligence-aiops/

Uncategorized

How Manufacturing Industry Transformed using Microsoft Dynamics 365

The future of manufacturing will be defined by the quality of investments companies are making today

In the not too distant past, efforts in manufacturing to optimize productivity and increase customer satisfaction were viewed as separate endeavors. Today, the convergence of physical and digital trends is disrupting these kinds of assumptions.

Manufacturers today care about integrated digital and physical systems, improved visibility, increased efficiency, additional flexibility, and lower costs. They want to connect equipment and factories, leveraging data from the factory floor to the customer call center to improve every aspect of their operations.

But this is just the beginning. Digitization is fundamentally changing the way manufacturers do business, enabling a customer-centric approach while optimizing operations. Digitally empowered manufacturers engage customers throughout the product lifecycle from design to field service. They sell value-add services to complement the product sales, opening new revenue streams and strengthening their customer relationships. And they are revolutionizing delivery of these differentiated services, using technology like augmented reality to combine the eyes of a technician in the field with the insights of an expert back at headquarters.

Capitalizing on these trends isn’t limited to large, well-resourced manufacturers. Across all kinds of manufacturing operations, the opportunity to digitize and transform your business has never been more accessible.

Imagine your business transformed

The Microsoft vision for supporting digital manufacturing embraces the seismic shifts in the industry today. We’ve created solutions that provide a unified and flexible approach across front office and production floor processes. Our approach enables transformation in six ways:

 

Optimize supply chain operations through better visibility and collaboration

By collecting, integrating, and visualizing global supply chain data worldwide, manufacturers gain better visibility into their operations from production to sales. For example, one of the world’s largest industrial automation firms found that by automating the collection and analysis of data from remote installations across the petroleum supply chain, they strengthened their competitive advantage with a faster time to market. Improved access to supply chain data is also the basis for better collaboration across production, supply, service, and sales. 

Streamline the management of assets, products, and production

With a consolidated view that unifies process oversight and provides real-time insight, manufacturers can institutionalize efficiency gains and use connected devices to monitor and resolve issues remotely. One leading manufacturer of industrial robots enabled 24-hour continuous uptime using this approach. The additional insights into production and customer usage also allow manufacturers to provide value-added services like ongoing monitoring and proactive support.

Engage customers in powerful new ways

To deliver personalized and contextual engagement across any channel, manufacturers must provide customers with more visibility and build trust through fast and convenient responses. This engagement approach is built on a combination of predictive analytics, the ability  to deliver value-added services at scale, and guided or self-directed service that’s relevant to customer needs. With the implementation of a connected platform for sales through service, a leading home technology manufacturer not only solved potential problems remotely before customers ever felt the impact, but provided custom differentiated offerings based on unique customer usage and purchasing history.

 Transform service centers into profit centers

Thanks to the ever-decreasing cost of IoT sensors, sophisticated mobile devices, and cloud-based data aggregation, manufacturers can improve service quality and margins by offering remote monitoring and proactive maintenance services that supplement break/fix support. By more intelligently coordinating technicians equipped with mobile and virtual reality tools, companies can leverage existing expertise and minimize costly engagements. A leading tire service and manufacturing company found that by combining customer records, technician availability, and back-end inventory in a single mobile-friendly system, it could provide a seamless user experience as well as improve its service delivery.

 

understand their business more deeply, from customer usage through supply chain sourcing and production. With IoT-enabled parts, assets, and products, manufacturers can gain the insights needed to innovate. Data from connected products and equipment can empower developers, engineers, and technicians to collaborate. For example, teams can identify overengineered or faulty components and track product usage in the field to improve future designs. When a leading information and communication technology company implemented remote monitoring, they decreased time to production as well as accelerated the cycle of innovation using a data-driven approach.

Empower employees to work more effectively

When a company can provide 360-degree views of customer assets and work order history, technicians are empowered by a better understanding of not only the job in front of them, but of other similar and successful field service engagements. This goes hand in hand with empowering service agents to provide instant feedback, using machine learning to find and follow similar cases for successful troubleshooting, and scheduling a visit or evaluation. A leading auto manufacturer wanted to save money by unifying their siloed customer service and customer engagement while providing employees with better tools to understand customer sentiment. To accomplish this, it implemented a system to connect production and project management with their customer relationship management systems in order to deliver personalized service and recommendations to their customers. 

Introducing Microsoft Dynamics 365

For manufacturers, Microsoft Dynamics 365 ends the artificial divide between CRM and ERP systems and supplements necessary capabilities with rich analytics, embedded intelligence, and the convenience people expect from consumer apps on their phone or tablet. Dynamics 365 unites the front office and the back office with a single end-to-end system for managing every aspect of your business, at the pace and scale that’s right for you. Digital transformation isn’t accomplished overnight and leveraging current investments is a key component of any successful approach. With Microsoft, you can optimize across all your processes while laying the foundation for connecting advanced technology in the future.

 

Blog reference: https://cloudblogs.microsoft.com/dynamics365/bdm/2017/05/30/manufacturing-transformed-microsoft-dynamics-365
Retail ERP Software

7 Reasons to have a Retail-oriented Solution to Unite E-commerce and ERP

Solely brick-and-mortar retail is gradually have become the exception rather than the norm. Increasing numbers of consumers have welcomed the convenience of online retailers, allowing them to evaluate items in less time and make purchasing decisions rather than visiting various physical stores. In everyday market research, 81 percent of consumers use phones and tablets. In reply to these developments, businesses try to boost revenues by embracing ecommerce and spreading to other platforms.

Yet each new site introduced by marketers raises the difficulty of their distribution chain. To integrate all channels information to make good enterprise-wide choices, they need new digital resources. To establish a consolidated database of all purchases, clients, and goods, several retail businesses prefer to incorporate their ERP implementation services with each of their distribution channels. There are however some clear benefits of using an integrated solution designed specifically for the retail sector over integration solutions for common use applications.

Below are some features of built-in retail integration solutions that show the requirement of customization for a common integration framework:

1- Flexibility Over Retail Vhannels

All businesses move toward cohesive user experiences. Retail-specific integration solutions enable different systems, like your point-of-sale (POS) and ecommerce system, to import and then use product descriptions into your Retail ERP Software. It means you have the same range of products throughout all the product lines, while constantly pricing and discounting those items.

2- Omni Channel Experience

Retail integration solutions offer services for Omni channel purchase-online pickup-in-store (BOPIS) fulfilment which enables customers to buy an item from one channel and deliver it from another platform. They might buy a product at a retail outlet, for instance, and have it shipped to their house, or they might order it online and pick it up at a local retail outlet. The retail-specific integrated system manages ZIP-code searches for shop inventory, and shares shop pickup information between systems.

3 – Inventory Clarity

Retail connectivity solutions provide an accurate representation of product availability by synchronization of inventory data throughout networks and systems on a routine basis. Entities can even merge individual warehouses and shops into satisfactory groups to enhance the control of the distribution chain.

4- Client Information Integration

Your Retail ERP system will exchange customer data with your online store and other channels, using a retail-specific implementation solution. Customer data must stay consistent over digital and physical platforms and will avoid redundant information. Such knowledge could be used to generate and monitor purchase requests, and to improve loyalty program management.

5- Unified Loyalty Program

A retail integration solution makes it much easier to operate a single loyalty program with consumer, pricing, and discount information integrated into your Retail ERP system. You will receive and redeem coupons, gift cards, and loyalty points across all platforms, creating better customer satisfaction and higher participation levels than a channel-specific rewards program.

6 – Single Integration Solution for Payment

A retail-specific integration approach increases time to value by offering preloaded integration with major payment service vendors. The use of one integrated system for processing payments, order processing, customer data, and product inventory offers greater efficiency and lower production costs than multi-integrator dependence.

7 – Managing Multiple Languages and Currencies

Retail integration technologies are planned for retail operations around the world. They have help for managing multiple languages and currencies, so you can quickly set up physical or online stores in new geographical regions.

Conclusion

Integration solutions intended for the retail sector provide many out of the box that would involve many months of costly customization to accomplish using platforms for general purpose integration. Trident Information Pvt Ltd provides a flexible and versatile integration solution which many international retailers use. For more information on the power of retail-specific integration, contact Microsoft ERP Partner Trident Information Pvt Ltd on https:/www.tridentinfo.com/contact/

 

 

Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Turn prospects into engaged customers with intelligent sales and marketing

The selling landscape is undergoing fundamental changes, many of them driven by the effects of B2B customers’ experience as everyday consumers. Many retailers have created personalized, nearly immersive, online experiences for each customer. Consumers shopping for goods and services continually experience fresh and delightful interactions, from highly customized offers and recommendations to frictionless channels to 24/7 interactions. Using Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales organisations are improving  their profit margins.

The impact of B2C on B2B

Today’s B2B buyers have high expectations, and those expectations will not be met if B2B buyers are accustomed to sophisticated consumer interactions in their personal lives. Executive B2B buyers are not impressed by marketing driven by large, relatively impersonal data analysis that leads to inconsistent and conflicting interactions or sales outreach that doesn’t cater specifically to their needs at the right time.

The source of the problem may be largely invisible to the companies perpetuating this issue. Many organizations believe themselves to be customer-centric, while their buyers may not agree. That’s a significant disconnect. Clearly, B2B has much to learn from B2C companies.

Customer experience – the rewards for getting it right

Many B2C organizations have strategically embraced modern technologies like customer data platforms (CDP) and artificial intelligence (AI) to gain a 360-degree view of their customers and follow through on those insights to optimize customer engagement.

The rewards for getting this engagement right are substantial. Many buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. In terms of the potential benefits a great experience can have on sales success, a McKinsey study reported that organizations can expect:

  • 10-15 percent lower customer churn
  • 20-40 percent increase in the win rate of offers
  • Up to 50 percent lower service costs

Take a new approach

B2B companies must move away from their legacy approaches based on large, relatively impersonal data analysis and move to solutions that unify relationship data across the full customer lifecycle. That way, they can gain insights that help build credibility and trust with buyers. They can run multi-channel campaigns to increase sales-ready leads, create personal experiences, and use guided process and AI to anticipate and respond faster to customer needs. They can build the ongoing, high-quality relationships that are necessary for long-term success.

Four principal goals

Turning prospects into engaged customers is a process. In order to achieve these goals, organizations must focus on 4 key priorities:

  • Nurture more demand
  • Personalize buyer experiences
  • Build relationships at scale
  • Make insight-driven decisions

Each of these drives results by using deep reservoirs of data in making technology feel more human.

Nurture more demand

Relying only on conventional, basic email marketing as the primary source of leads is simply not effective enough. In fact, the more focused and demanding the customer universe is, the more essential it is to gain deep insights into what those customers expect. Northrop & Johnson,  a leading global yacht brokerage, competes for multi-million dollar customers using technology its industry has been slow to adopt. Using Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing has created a decided competitive advantage: Vital insights into their customer base have helped to drive a 70 percent increase in charter sales.

In any industry, companies need to generate leads across multiple channels, nurture large numbers of leads while prioritizing each one, and use data-driven insights to deliver leads that are sales-ready. Nurturing more demand is critical to growth.

Dynamics 365 for Marketing helps generate, nurture and prioritize sales-ready leads.

Personalize buyer experiences

It’s time to end friction, inconsistencies, and the “do you know who I am?” part of the customer experience. Companies can acquire a holistic view of buyers, predict buyer intent, and orchestrate a connected, personalized journey for customers.

In an era where guests have more choices than ever for leisure and entertainment, Tivoli delights its guests by using Dynamics 365 Customer Insights to stay one step ahead of expectations and transform the guest experience. With its deeper understanding of guests, it can add new chapters to its long tradition of imagination and innovation.

Dynamics 365 for Marketing enables you to personalize buyer experiences and predict buyer intent.

Build relationships at scale

Mutually beneficial relationships don’t simply happen with more data. Companies need to build credibility to establish and grow relationships with customers.

Together, Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn enable the company to have increased information about, and impact on the sales relationships that are added to its sales pipeline, even as that pipeline experiences exponential growth month over month.

Dynamics 365 for Marketing helps you build relationships at scale.

Make insight-driven decisions

Here’s where sales and marketing can truly align: utilizing data to uncover insights that lead to better-informed decisions throughout the sales process. This can improve performance, empower employees, and enable the company to gain increasingly effective strategic insights.

With more than 1,500 pubs serving guests throughout the UK, Marston’s launched a business transition by bringing together guest data that was scattered across multiple systems into Dynamics 365. With their locations’ guest data now unified, Marston’s will gain a complete view of guests, which can be harnessed to generate customer satisfaction and strategic insights. This approach helps drive improved performance throughout the company, including the opportunity to empower employees – an often-overlooked aspect of a company’s success.

Dynamics 365 for Marketing enables you to make insight-driven decisions to improve performance, empower employees and gain strategic insights.

Aligning sales and marketing: The intelligent way to succeed

It’s possible to create exceptional experiences, drive more qualified leads, and increase revenue if an organization has the vision, process, and technology to harness all the data available. This requires high-level technology with well-defined business goals and sales and marketing applications fueled by keen intelligence. We have a compelling offering to accomplish just that with Microsoft Dynamics 365. Get in touch with our representative to request a demo for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales & Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing

Blog Reference : https://cloudblogs.microsoft.com/dynamics365/bdm/2019/09/19/turn-prospects-into-engaged-customers-with-intelligent-sales-and-marketing/

Restaurant Management ERP

Slash costs in your restaurant with the right software system

How do you manage costs in your restaurant business? Are you operating as efficiently as you could be?

We know how difficult it can be to maintain optimal efficiency and make money in a time of razor-thin margins and intense competition. By their very nature, restaurants are characterized by predictable, seasonal factors as well as by unpredictable ones, including changing customer preferences and fluctuating running costs. But there are ways to get a better handle of your business, helping you to plan ahead more effectively, become leaner and reduce costs in the process.

For many restaurant owners, the answer lies in choosing a modern unified technology platform that provides a complete overview of your business operations from Point of Sale (POS) to back office. Indeed, research by the National Restaurant Association in the US found that over 80% of restaurants are turning to technology like online ordering and reservations and restaurant analytics to help them run their business successfully and efficiently.

The same report found that four in five restaurant operators agreed that:

  • Technology helps increase sales
  • Technology makes their restaurant more productive
  • Technology provides a competitive advantage.

If you’re in two minds as to whether a restaurant management system could help your business grow, rather than simply cost you money, here are some specific areas in your business where the right technology can make a real difference:

Optimize staff management

If your staff schedules are currently handled manually, in spreadsheets or even on paper forms, you could be missing out on a trick. Staff management software has the capabilities you need to ensure rosters correspond with table bookings and helps you plan for the right amount of labor you need. The result is optimized schedules, which means you don’t have too many employees at work during quiet periods, and yet you have enough on hand to see you through the busy times.

If you select a unified system for your restaurant, the staff management functionality can be part of the same platform used to manage the rest of your business. This allows you to make truly informed decisions using historic sales data and drilling down by location, day of the week and time to see patterns emerging and better determine when you will be busy or quiet.

Another factor to consider is how you can use the software to keep track of your budgets and make sure you’re not paying out more than you should be. We know how difficult it can be to check and confirm the hours worked by each of your employees, especially when you are likely dealing with so many. But a staff management system can automate this for you, confirming actual hours worked are the same as those planned and highlighting any discrepancies for you to follow up on, minimizing errors and costs. With the functionality to analyze how much you are spending by employee, work code, shift and role, you can compare actual costs and performance against your business plan, and minimize unnecessary extra expenses, such as overtime.

Simplify staff training

In this industry, we know that workers tend to be transient – maybe you have lots of students or temporary workers on your payroll. High staff turnover can be a real pain point and loss maker for your business, especially as recruiting and training staff is both time consuming and costly. But there are ways technology can help you control this better, and reduce the costs and pain of getting new staff on board.

If the systems you use are intuitive and easy for all employees to understand, you won’t have to spend as long training them on how to use them in the first place. Some retail management systems allow you to set up your POS so it mirrors your menu, making it far simpler for staff to find their way around while also helping to reduce mistakes. To simplify training even further, it could pay off to choose a system that uses a logic your staff is already familiar with. The LS Retail restaurant solutions, LS First and LS Central, are built on well-known Microsoft technology. This means new employees can be up and running quickly, as any experience with Microsoft software such as Office or Windows means they already know where to find menus and information in the system.

Having one enterprise-wide platform, rather than multiple software solutions strung together, also means you only need to train your staff up once. This not only saves time and cost but gives you greater flexibility too. If you need to move staff from the bar to the restaurant floor, you can do so with ease. No extra training required to use a separate system; no time wasted.

Increase table turnover and order value

Is your restaurant floor running as smoothly as it could? There are some steps you can put in place to subtly speed up the process, allowing you to serve more customers without making your diners feel rushed. Mobile POS devices are a great way of doing this. As they connect your servers directly to the kitchen, kitchen staff can act on orders as soon as they are taken at the table, speeding up food preparation. Your waiters can get an alert on their POS devices when orders are ready, and they can also take payments on the device as soon as diners are ready to leave – no waiting for card readers or an available cash register.

If you select the right mobile POS, your staff can also handle conversational ordering, where they take orders in the same way that customers reel them off – extra cheese on their burger and no mayo, with large chips, for example. Everything can be quickly inputted into the POS, speeding up service time and reducing errors. At the same time, because staff have all menu information right in front of them, they can improve their upselling potential by suggesting upsell items and upgrades as they take orders.

Streamline kitchen operations

A unified platform complete with a kitchen management system could help your restaurant serve up food more quickly and efficiently than ever.

In the kitchen, having Kitchen Display System (KDS) screens connected to the system can guide staff through the entire food preparation process. The system can automatically route orders to the correct preparation stations, organizing dishes according to urgency and preparation time. The system can also flag meals that are late, and point out if there are any extra requests, cooking preferences, or allergies to pay attention to. And if you choose a system like LS Central where the KDS are connected in real time to the Point of Sale, your front of house staff can always keep track of the status of each order without having to disrupt work in the kitchen.

The result is a streamlined operation where staff turn out high quality meals quicker, and have less chance of making mistakes and causing customers to complain.

Cut down on waste

Are you making the most of the stock you have? A unified restaurant management platform gives you the functionality you need to monitor perishables and track stock levels by recipes and portions, helping you to keep a close eye on your inventory and reduce the amount of waste you’re putting in the garbage can every day.

Some managers look through their daily waste to determine consumption patterns and check if produce is being used to its fullest, but a restaurant management platform can do all that for you, quicker and more precisely than you could. It doesn’t end there. The best ones on the market can track food production and monitor what is thrown away to identify waste patterns. If the trash is full of fries, it’s likely that your kitchen staff have been making up too many. Or maybe it’s full of half-used vegetables: is there any way you can optimize the waste of fresh produce? From use of food to menu design, there are many ways you can make your restaurant more efficient. A good restaurant management system can help you pinpoint the areas of improvement, so you can plan ahead more effectively and make smart buying decisions.

Reduce IT costs with a unified platform

If your business is struggling along with outdated technology that hinders you, rather than helping you succeed, then now is the time to rethink what you’re doing. Today, modern restaurant management systems integrate all parts of the business, from kitchen to POS to head office and more, into a single platform. This way you get a complete picture of your business, understand your strengths and weakness, and can more easily streamline your processes.

We know that the idea of ripping out and replacing your old systems can daunting. Many restaurateurs worry about escalating time frames and costs. But if you choose the right partner, they can guide you through the process and help you realize a fast return on investment.

 

Blog Source : Ls Retail – https://www.lsretail.com/blog/slash-costs-in-your-restaurant-with-the-right-software-system

Restaurant Management ERP

How can Trident’s cloud platform manage your restaurant effortlessly?

Mortality in restaurants is a fact with several young firms shut down. What if the software could transform how restaurants are running by offering profound insights for more profit? Trident’s cloud-based restaurant management solution makes it possible by concentrating on advancing the bottom line and back-of-house productivity.

Trident takes into consideration all facets of restaurant management, including Inventory Management, costing of food and beverage, purchase orders, Table Management, Billing System, Point Of Sale, Vendor Planning, Price Monitoring, Costing of Food, Menu Management, and Reporting/Analytics.

Still uncertain of restaurant management technology premised on the cloud? Like the idea, but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve covered you up. Below we will discuss how Cloud-based restaurant management software transforms the industry for seven reasons:

1) – Access information anywhere 

The mobile in your pocket or a laptop with a web browser and internet access are all you need to get started. Simply download the web site’s mobile app or account. To use the app you don’t need to be in the office, live with the hassle of VPNs or private networks.

2) – No more hefty long contracts

Why tie-up with a long, costly technology vendor contract and have technology that may soon be out of date? On-site technology requires long-term investments, contract service, and a much higher Total Ownership Cost.

The food industry is highly unpredictable, with frequent restaurants open and close. If you’re just beginning, you probably won’t be able to commit to fall tens or even hundreds of thousands of rupees on new technology.

Restaurant management technology focused on the cloud removes the need for a big upfront investment and the lower monthly cost helps you to show the ROI from day one.

3) – Flexible Payments 

When cash flow is a problem for your corporation (which is a concern for most businesses), then flexible terms of payment is a big thing.

You charge for your software-as-a-service (SaaS) with cloud-based restaurant management technology. For example, both month-to-month and yearly contracts are provided by some vendors. When part of the contract you are charging for, the latest technology, new functionalities and updates, infrastructure improvements, etc. are all included.

4) – Scale

The advantage of SaaS is that depending on your requirements, you can simply and quickly scale up or down. Open a new site, insert your current contract and get up and running before the end of the day.

You can add users, integrations, locations, new features, etc. with just a few clicks. No technician’s visits. No long cycles of implementation. No significant investment to store servers in hardware or storage.

5) – Integration with POS System

The ability to easily integrate with other applications is one of the strongest strengths of cloud-based restaurant management systems. Through APIs and other methods of integration, the cloud-based restaurant management technology can communicate with each other, share the data, and provide smarter, quicker, and simpler than ever before insights through stores and systems.

6) – Security 

Cloud computing is much safer than data stored on your computer or an internal database.

It has advanced security checks such as two-factor authentication for logging in, deterrent controls to alert potential hackers about protections, preventive controls which make accessing the cloud information more difficult for unauthorized users, and detective controls to react to intrusion events.

If anything ever occurred to your restaurant’s servers – like a flood, a fire, or a theft, you may not see that data again. Restaurant software based on the cloud often comes with built-in backup and redundancy.

7) No need of It professionals

If you are on-premise managing legacy systems, you need to understand what you’re doing. From routing, safety, restoration, debugging, and so on, nobody can go into a database office and start ripping cables.

You don’t need to employ an IT professional with cloud-based restaurant management technology. All you need is access to the provider of internet and software that is committed to supporting and guaranteeing your excellence.

Microsoft Gold partner Trident Information Pvt Ltd grants all of the above-mentioned advantages. For getting all the advantages you can contact our experts on https://www.tridentinfo.com/contact/ and add a query on our website.

Retail ERP Software

Don’t let your retail system destroy your holiday season – LS Retail

Holiday season trading is big business for retailers. As retailers up their efforts to draw in more shoppers and take full advantage of “the most wonderful time of the year,” it pays off to be prepared. NRF expects retailers to hire between 530,000 and 590,000 temporary workers during the holiday season, and to spend millions of dollars on window displays and marketing. But many forget one critical aspect that can make the difference between a profit-making and a loss-making season: the status of their technology.

From slow e-commerce sites to out-of-stock scenarios, here are some disastrous but all-too-common seasonal-related problems that retailers face, what causes them, and what can be done to prevent them.

Issue #1: Your technology can’t sustain the high volume of transactions/increased workload

The cause: Tech outages can be extremely costly – but for many retailers, they are a familiar nightmare. A study by LogicMonitor found that 96% of organizations have experienced IT-related disruptions, and 10% of organizations have had 10 or more outages in a three-year period. Common causes of down systems include network failure, usage spikes, human error, software malfunction, hardware failure and third-party outages. An increasingly common cause of outages are disconnected legacy software systems.

“One of the issues for some retailers is the fact that systems are, in fact, a patchwork of different technologies and functions added over time,” Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData, said to RetailWire. “As the demand put on them increases, they occasionally fall over. For others, it can be about capacity – which is why a lot of retailers have failures at peak times such as Black Friday.”

The solution: Retailers should look to replace their technology siloes, which are complex to maintain and costly to support, with a single retail system. A unified system can provide them with a complete overview of their business and all its data. On top of that, the technology is delivered by a single provider, which means full support, and simpler and quicker upgrades.

“The solution is unified commerce, one version of software servicing all channels,” retail industry thought leader Ken Morris said in the RetailWire roundtable. “Until retailers wake up and embrace this vision, we will continue to see these types of outages as it is almost impossible to keep this multi-tiered Frankenstein’s Monster running without more people or less complexity.”

Issue #2: Part of your system goes down, and you can’t promptly pinpoint which part, or you don’t have the resources to fix it quickly

The cause: Again, the cause are ageing, disconnected systems unable to communicate with each other, with unsupported hardware and software. Outdated tech will complicate the day-to-day running of your organization and put a strain on your resources. On top of that, if a part fails, it can be extremely hard to identify where your system is down. Without knowing what to fix or when the disconnection happened, how can you get your system back up and running, and minimize disruption to your business?

One of our clients, discount fashion retailer Gallo Clothing, faced this exact scenario one Christmas eve – its busiest sales day of the year. The store was full of shoppers when suddenly the cash registers stopped working. Gallo’s systems had stopped communicating with each other, but where had the glitch happened? The company couldn’t identify and fix the problem straight away, so managers instructed staff to process all transactions manually. With cashiers forced to write every item and price and calculate the total for every single shopper down, each sales transaction became painfully slow, and the queues grew longer and longer. Customers began to complain, and others left the store to shop elsewhere. Some never returned, unwilling to give the business another chance.

The solution: Retailers no longer need to put up with unreliable, siloed software systems that threaten the smooth running of the business. But they must be willing to invest in their future, rather than patching up old systems and hoping they won’t fail when they need them most.

“Retailers have spent years not spending enough on technology and building a robust future-proof architecture,” roundtable panelist Oliver Guy said to RetailWire.

The good news is that modern, unified commerce technology platforms aren’t as expensive as retailers may think, and they can also deliver a fast return on investment. Gallo Clothing now uses LS Retail technology as the foundation for its businesses. Not only has it not experienced any issues since the implementation of the solution, but it has also achieved record profits. The company says it’s because the system is so fast and efficient. Gallo’s president told us: “In the years since implementing the LS Retail software, we’ve seen more customers, sold more products and had much shorter lines.”

Issue #3: You can’t react fast enough to customer demand, and end up disappointing customers with out-of-stock items

The cause: Out of stock items are one of consumers’ biggest gripes. They’re also hugely damaging to a retailer’s bottom line. The “Out of stock, out of luck” study by global research and advisory firm IHL Group found that retailers are missing out on nearly US$1 trillion in sales because of out-of-stock items. And almost a third of shoppers ended up turning to Amazon when the product they wanted wasn’t in stock at their local store

Many retailers admit that the reason they experience out-of-stock scenarios is because they don’t have a complete view of their inventory, their data is unreliable, and they lack the tools to analyze their data and make accurate forecasts.

The solution: You can no longer get by with running weekly or even daily reports to keep track of their business. Today, you need a real-time view –  especially during busy trading periods.

Luxury fashion retailer Club 21|Armani Exchange gained this visibility when they upgraded their financial, admin, warehouse management, buying & merchandising, CRM and POS systems to a single software environment.

Clare Vella, retail director, told us about the first Black Friday after implementing their new LS Retail software. “It was 10pm on Friday evening. We were watching the sales hourly, and one store was seeing an enhanced level of trade coming through,” she said. “We were able to respond to this by calling the warehouse and getting an emergency delivery to that store, which was critical at that point. We increased our sales by well over three times the amount we could have done within that store that weekend by being able to respond in real time.”

Issue #4: You can’t easily accept returns across channels, or see where the item a customer bought/wants has ended up

The cause: While many retailers claim to have a true omnichannel strategy, meaning all their channels are seamlessly integrated, the reality for most is that they operate their physical stores and e-commerce as separate entities. But this siloed approach throws up a number of challenges, including a disconnected customer experience, lack of visibility across the organization, and an inaccurate view of inventory.

When a customer buys something online and then wants to exchange or refund it in store, your systems may be holding you back even if you’d like to facilitate the transaction. Perhaps the customer has paid online using PayPal, and your in-store staff can’t see the transaction, or don’t know how to issue a refund. Or maybe a shopper comes in specifically to swap an item, only to find that it is out of stock. All of these issues are caused by a disconnect between retailers’ online and in-store systems.

“The underlying issue is making sure that systems can talk to each other in near real time, which is needed to ensure that transactions and inventory can be fully reconciled, and that the business and its customers have reliable information on their accounts,” the ECR Community said in its report “Buy online, return in store”.

The solution: When you manage all channels using a single system and database, each customer account can be kept updated in near real time. And because inventory, logistics, sales and returns systems are linked through individual product identification and customer accounts, each item can be traced and located at any point in time. The result is that you’re able to work at speed, minimize product losses and ensure all transactions are reconciled.

Importantly, regardless of the channel they use to browse and shop, customers won’t be disappointed by out-of-stock scenarios as your online store draws from the general ledger to pull up real-time stock information.

Blog Source : https://www.lsretail.com/blog/dont-let-your-retail-system-destroy-your-holiday-season

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