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A Detailed Comparison of Magento Editions – Enterprise vs. Community

A Detailed Comparison of Magento Editions – Enterprise vs. Community

First launched in 2008, Magento is arguably one of the most popular and widely used eCommerce platforms that powers hundreds of thousands of online stores, and can be downloaded for free.

eCommerce

Tailored according to your specific eCommerce needs, this open source platform offers maximum performance and scalability, with advanced out-of-the-box capabilities, packed in a bundle of multiple editions two of which are Magento Enterprise and Magento Community.

Aside from the fact that one is free and the other is not, both Magento editions seem equally beneficial. Some businesses, however, prefer one to the other.

So, what is the difference between the two, what features does one have, that the other doesn’t, and how they perform against each other on different parameters is what we’ll discuss in detail today.

The purpose of this comparison is to ascertain which version is suitable for your organisation depending on what stage it is in, and future requirements.

Size of the Business

The first and perhaps the most important differentiator between the two Magento editions are the size and scale of the business.

Consider the amount of sales you make every month, the size of the inventory, the number of SKUs, and the market growth your business is experiencing.

With faster indexing process, speedy checkout feature, ability to handle large number of products, flexibility and better support for international business, Magento Enterprise is a real game changer in this scenario if you have lots of products or inventory.

Modular Code Base

On a core, technical level, though, those of you who are not afraid to get their hands dirty building and maintaining a website, Magento Community might be the best fit.

For those who need more control over the environment and need to leverage extensions and custom coding to meet your customer’s expectations, Magento Community has an amazing array of features that include code level access to files.

Unlike Enterprise or other Magento platforms, the Community’s code runs on your web server, and that ensures that your sensitive data and information stay secure and inaccessible to external agents.

Performance Enhancement

When it comes to performance enhancement, Magento Enterprise is an obvious winner. Every upgrade in the system is making this platform exponentially better and faster at re-indexing.

Performance

Unlike Magento Community that could take around 10 to 20 minutes to process a newly added product, Enterprise does it almost instantly.

Budget and Investment

If you are looking to start with an eCommerce solution on a limited budget, then Magento Community is your best bet.

Budget

Image credit: Flickr

It is relatively easier to set up and flexible for web developers and designers to work with. With a wide assortment of solutions within the edition and the ability to customise certain features without any cost, Magento Community is just the right solution for small-sized businesses and startups.

Even if some amount of investment is required in future development or modules, it will be far less than the amount of money required to develop an eCommerce system from scratch.

However, for those of you who need something more robust and unorthodox, and if money is not a problem and you want a more professional looking eCommerce solution from the start, then without a doubt, Magento Enterprise will win the race.

Comparison Chart

Here’s a comparison chart that we’ve designed to determine the right fit for your business with a sharp focus on the key differentiating elements of both the editions.

Magento Compare

While all the current solutions that Magento is offering are beneficial for businesses, every edition is designed to meet certain business needs.

Magento Community may very well be a good starting point with little or no investment, but for a long-term solution for a larger business with higher online sales, Magento Enterprise offers reliable professional support and is the right way to go.

It is important to keep this factor in mind that Magento is a large eCommerce system that is not well suited for every kind of business. It is best to obtain an expert’s advice on choosing the right system for your business to reap the right results.

So, before you delve into the world of Magento and begin to explore your options, don’t forget to request an unbiased professional opinion on the choice you wish to make.

Is your organisation currently using an eCommerce solution? What were the major limitations that made you consider Magento eCommerce solutions? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!

 

Why You Need a Business Intelligence Consultant

Why You Need a Business Intelligence Consultant

The decisions you make today have a strong bearing on the operations of your business in the future. In order to make sound decisions, your enterprise needs to have the latest operational intelligence information. This is where ‘Business Intelligence’ (BI) comes in and a qualified BI consultant will be able to track your company’s status and operational data very quickly and efficiently.

The global market for BI platforms is witnessing a constant rise that has made it rank among the fastest growing enterprise software industries.

As per Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for BI and Analytics platform from earlier this year, this growth is expected to take place at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 8.7% through to 2018.

BI Consulting Trends

Source: Gartner (February 2015)

Martin Butler, an industry expert, commented on the importance of BI by saying that “an organisation without Business Intelligence bears a striking resemblance to a ship without a rudder” in his latest report.

So in this article, we will look at the reasons your organisation needs a Business Intelligence consultant, along with some tips to find the right BI consultants and hire them at the right time.

Tasks Performed by BI Consultants

An ideal BI consultant for your business will have sound knowledge of the underlying data system, along with programs and tools that create the data. The primary job involves carrying out constant monitoring of the business data and generates timely reports that can be shared with your company’s management on a frequent basis.

One of the most important yet ignored tasks performed by any BI consultant is finding and listing down requirements. The consultant can devise relevant strategies and focus on achieving better results for your business if they have a sound understanding of your business needs.

A smart BI consultant will focus on the business and then determine the technology and tools that need to be used in order to convert a vast pool of data into valuable information.

Having dealt with a number of enterprises, we realise the importance of having a level-headed BI consultant that can offer alternate solutions to emerging challenges with well-defined reports.

This goes a long way in helping the management make informed decisions that turn out to be successful in the long run. Therefore, you can term your BI consultant as the ideal partner for the decision makers of your business.

Rising Need to Hire BI Consultants

As needs are becoming more dynamic, it is getting increasing difficult to make the right, long-term decisions without a strong source of information and intelligence.

You need professionals that can provide updated operational data and information in an efficient manner upon demand. Your management cannot be expected to continuously monitor the data reports and use them to make informed decisions. It requires a specialist to provide the right kind of data and information and this is why you need a qualified BI consultant.

There is no perfect time to hire a BI consultant. You need to get hold of one as early as possible in order to increase your chances of making better decisions that yield quality results for your company. In addition, the sooner you hire a BI consultant, the easier it will be for them to develop an understanding of your requirements.

Skills to Look Out for While Hiring a BI Consultant

  • Must be an expert on your company’s underlying data system (IBM DB2 or Microsoft SQL Server or similar)
  • Should have sound knowledge of SQL, database functions and data modelling
  • Must be able to query recursively at a fast pace (to generate quick reports on demand) and execute analytic functions for complex inter-row calculations
  • Must have good knowledge about the source program (Sage ERP or Microsoft Dynamics GP or similar) used to generate data reports
  • Must possess excellent communication skills to understand the business requirements clearly, highlight the gaps and showcase valuable information on time

If you are going for a BI project for the first time, you definitely need professional help from agencies that have prior exposure to BI technologies and tools.

Also, you can opt for recruitment agencies that offer experienced BI professionals on contract or for permanent hires. However, you can also opt for BI consultancy firms that provide quality support for all your data-centric BI needs.

There is no room to experiment when it comes to BI for your organisation as a single bad decision can have very far-reaching consequences. Hiring a well-qualified BI consultant or a team of such consultants is a small investment that will pay rich dividends for your business in the long term.

The time and money you spend on hiring the right BI team will eventually help your business grow and increase profitability through well-informed decisions.

So do you plan to hire in-house BI consultants, or outsource? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!

Growing Importance of Data Scientists – Where Do We Stand Today?

Any guesses as to what has been named as the ‘sexiest job of the twenty-first century’? According to the Harvard Business Review, it is the job of a data scientist. Surprised? With the amount of data we are generating coupled with the rapid increase in technology, it is no surprise that we need an expert to make sense of all this data and do much more. A data scientist is soon going to become a basic need for most companies. So what exactly does a data scientist do?

Who is a Data Scientist?

The basic job of a data scientist is to analyse data. He does this himself, but he also builds automated systems that do so. Statistics and machines play a big part in the process. A data scientist needs to needs to be good with numbers, but also needs to have a scientific bent of mind.

The job of a data scientist is required today than ever before. Think of the Internet – think how much data is generated there. The number of YouTube videos uploaded each minute, the number of Facebook posts liked every minute, the number of products bought online every minute; and this does not even cover a tenth of the activity that is conducted on the Internet. This kind of data can give invaluable insight and information to a company, depending on what they are looking for. But how do you look for what you want in such a complicated maze and so much sheer volume? This is what a data scientist does.

Data scientists can also make predictions. These predictions are based on science and statistics, and recent trends. For example, Jonathan Goldman revolutionised the click rate on LinkedIn by introducing the ‘People you may know’ feature. At the time, LinkedIn had just begun recently and the problem was that people were not connecting with the people already on the site, the growth was restricted to people inviting their friends and family. Goldman was intrigued by the different connections on the site and the threads between people. Undoubtedly there were people who knew others in their field of work, but how could you connect them?  Based on his instincts and some sound statistical study, he refined and implemented the feature. He further added other ways of guessing and predicting connections, and there was a sudden boom in the interactions between visitors and the click throughs.

Such is the effect proper data analysis can have.

Big data and its increasing importance

Big data simply implies data that is ‘big’ – i.e., too huge to process through traditional methods. The modern data scientist makes sense of big data and with the help of recent trends can help a company develop features that can make it extremely useful and customized to a user or a consumer. He can also give insights about almost any stage of the company’s growth, or the impact of a major change or shift in policy or outlook.

Take any application today – almost all of them involve data. Take the example of any shopping portal. It benefits from knowing what you have been looking for, the kind of products you like and which categories you shop most in. Not only does data analysis make it easier for a company to do what encompasses their regular job in a better manner, but it also allows you the possibility to build new and exciting things which were not possible before. Google is a master at this game. Ever typed a wrong spelling into a Google search and noticed Google correct it automatically? It is not just spelling errors that it corrects, Google has a huge database of contexts and phrases which make the search engine top notch and so effective to use.

Look at Amazon. When you look at a product on the website, they show you products that you may like. This feature correlates the product that you are looking at with the browsing or purchase habits of other consumers who looked at other products after this one, and offers you similar recommendations.

Big data is taking over the Internet, and in a big way.

Why do you need a data scientist?

There will be a point in the future when every business will require a data scientist. As every business and every company is getting involved with the Internet in some way or the other, the demand for data scientists will rise exponentially. As of now, however, you may or may not need a data scientist. The question you have to ask yourself is, am I making a product right now that requires a scientist specifically focusing on the data? You need to figure out whether you use conventional data or big data. A key point to remember is that any business that is associated with the consumer directly will benefit greatly from a data scientist.

A Definitive Guide to iOS Enterprise App Development

A Definitive Guide to iOS Enterprise App Development

According to Statista, an online statistics portal, Apple claims that the number of iOS apps downloaded from the Apple store has crossed the 100 billion mark in June 2015 (from July 2008).

Now that’s a staggering figure, isn’t it?

Enterprise Mobile Apps_Chart

Source: Statista

The regular mobile apps that you find on any app store are the ones developed to directly target consumers around the world. They are based on some simple tasks, like learning English and simple mathematical formulas, to complex tasks, like managing expenses and maintaining calendar appointments.

But, enterprise mobile apps are those that are dedicated specifically for teams within an organization and enterprise customers instead of for just direct consumers

These business apps are made for companies of different sizes and are more data-centric . Developing these apps involve fulfilling stringent requirements with regard to company security, administration and maintenance.

According to Apple, around 98% of the Fortune 500 companies have an iOS application which clearly shows that enterprises are keen on investing wisely in business apps from a long-term point of view.

Let’s check out the best practices for developing iOS apps for enterprises.

Hire Qualified iOS App Developers

Would you trust an individual app developer, who has made some regular apps, to develop an enterprise app for your company just to save costs?

Of course not! Right?

When the stakes are high, you need well-trained and qualified developers who have significant knowledge of iOS app development for businesses.

Being an experienced app development team ourselves, we realise the importance of getting the enterprise app development process streamlined from the start. And a key component to this is to hire (on contract or on a permanent basis) the right iOS app developers from proven mobile app development agencies.

Determine an Appropriate App Development Method

There are different ways in which your company could get its enterprise app built, based on your peculiar requirements.

This depends on whether you need an HTML5 app, a native app or an app that lies somewhere in between.

The following are some unique methods or techniques for iOS enterprise app development:

Bespoke App Development

Major companies opt for enterprise apps that are custom built.

The perfect way of achieving this is by using a device-side iOS Software Development Kit (SDK). You then need to appropriately integrate the back-end systems or applications with the mobile app, which often raises some security concerns due to the involvement of user authorisation and connectivity.

To deal with mobile apps and its integration with back-end apps, some changes to the back-end systems or hand-coding and logic building are required.

Cross-Platform App Development

You can build native apps (which meet most of the capabilities of a mobile) or HTML5 apps or hybrid apps (a combination of native and HTML5 apps), using cross-platform tools.

These tools include Configure.IT, PhoneGap, Telerik, Apache Cordova and more.

Even if you are developing an enterprise app for the first time, you can try a comprehensive platform like Configure.IT, because it offers automatic coding capability, app preview facility, direct API connect and similar features.

Backend-As-A Service

Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) solves the concerns for back-end integration in an enterprise along with proper user authentication and security.

These services can be used by you in addition to the cross-platform tools to design and develop integrated business mobile apps that will be compatible with any device.

With this method, you can easily integrate with cloud apps, but integrating with on-premise resources is a tad difficult.

Platform-As-A-Service

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is one of the latest model-driven methods used for integrated enterprise app development.

It consists of complete application lifecycle management abilities to model the business logic with code generated in the background and it makes it easy to integrate with on-premise and cloud apps.

Get a Work Model for iOS App Development

Although there are several models available which you can opt for but the most popular and effective approach to the enterprise app development process is the agile methodology.

It involves a systematic process from gathering the requirements through making a strategy through creating the app design to actually develop and deploying the app.

Deploy and Test the App

Developing an iOS app for your enterprise is initially done on an iOS simulator. As part of the deployment process, you need to get the app on your physical Apple mobile phone. You can then do the beta testing for your enterprise app before it is officially made available to users.

It is extremely important for your company to plan for the future and ensure appropriate maintenance of the deployed enterprise app.

Every app has to go through numerous innovations after real-time usage and it helps to have professional expertise at hand.

So, your company needs to have a budget for maintaining the iOS enterprise app which will go a long way in improving its efficiency and overall productivity for your organisation.

It is clear that your company needs to plan for enterprise apps and start the development process as soon as possible. The future is friendly mobile apps and to stay ahead of your competition, your firm needs to have highly efficient, secure and innovative iOS apps.

So, what are you waiting for?

Choosing A Mobile Development Company– Best Things to Do

Smartphones have changed our world. A decade or two ago, mobiles were just portable landlines – used primarily for calls and the occasional text. Today, it is an unforgettable part of our lives, something that helps us do everything from waking up in the morning to remembering appointments to playing games to burning calories to listening to music to keeping a track of pregnancy cycles. All of this is made possible by mobile applications.

What does your organization do to leverage ahead? Statistics suggest that 32% of UK customers make a purchase on their phone. Add to that the fact that  you can find an application for almost any task you might want to do – from learning a foreign language to waking up a stranger across the world with a song. Mobile users are expected to reach more than 43 million in the UK by 2017 and people are increasingly using their phones to access everything from search engines to shopping websites. Mobile solutions are needed for everything.

Developing App For Your Business

You need have an app for your business. Whether it be to improve organizational productivity or market your own app, you need a good app strategy.  You have two options – you either hire a freelancer or a company.

The best decision would be outsourcing to a company. Why? A freelancer may be great in a specific area but won’t have as much experience as a gamut of experts that a company has. A good company will also have acquired its reputation and grown by working for different kinds of businesses.

The Steps Involved

So once you have decided to outsource your app building to a company, which one do you choose? It is extremely important to choose the right company. The basic rule for investing in something is that your investment should get a return, and not everyone can do that. Do your basic research on the company.

  • Ask them for a portfolio. More importantly, ask for the links of published apps.
  • If a company has developed hundreds of apps but none of them have been published in the app store/playstore, what use is that?
  • You can also ask for a customer portfolio to get an idea of the past and present projects and clients.
  • Finding similar projects and clients who were given successful results by the company can provide you some confidence.

You should also discuss about their process development update – how well do they communicate while in the process of building an app? It is important for them to listen to you carefully so that the end product you get is in line with your expectations. Keeping you in the loop achieves this. And of course, in the midst of all this, do not forget to ask about the charges that will be levied. A good company will be forthright about what it will cost, and will not levy hidden charges or confuse you in fine print.

Finalizing the Company

So now that you know what to ask the company that you outsource to, how do you finalize the company itself? There are a number of important tips that can help you choose the right company.

First of all, the company you choose should have a vast and diverse experience. This is important because this shows that they have already encountered developmental problems that may occur in the process of developing your app; and overcome them. Vast experience also means they have learned from beginners’ mistakes, and will build a good product. Finally, a vast experience also shows that they have got good feedback and word of mouth for clients to keep coming to them. If so many clients have liked them, they must be doing something right.

Now once you have looked over the entire experience, narrow down to experience with the kind of app you are looking to get designed. Now don’t be too narrow here. Let’s say you are from a fashion house and looking to get an app designed that is based on dressing models in your new collection and having them sashay down the runway. You should not look for experience with ‘fashion apps’ in the company’s portfolio, rather you should look at their quality of gameplay. If they have done that well in the past, chances are they will do it well for you too. Of course, this also depends on what kind of app you are getting – if it is a general one or a highly specific one.

Cost is an important consideration, yes, but we wary of prices that are low. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Sometimes companies with lower prices have inexperienced or junior engineers working for them. The price should be just right, neither exorbitant nor cheap.

You must make sure that the company that you pick has specific experience in mobile app  development and specialises in everything mobile. Just any software developer can’t do your job. Developing for mobiles and developing for, say, the PC, are different ball game altogether.

The company you choose should not only offer development but also innovation. Once you convey your idea and expectations from the app, the company should be able to build on that framework and communicate with you. Simply developing on what you said without putting in their own experience and ideas into it shows an uninspired approach.