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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!

 

A Brief Guide to Microsoft Business Intelligence Ecosystem

A Brief Guide to Microsoft Business Intelligence Ecosystem

The building block of every IT system is ‘data’. Optimal and secured storage of data has always been the key concern for any organisation. The volume of data is growing every minute and it is a difficult task to manage it. This immeasurable digital data is named as big data.

The Internet, by reaching out to each and every computing platform has led to an outburst of information, thereby making big data too big to be handled. A scenario where the data grows beyond the reach of the present management techniques, will lead to total chaos.

Some of the challenges faced with big data are:

  • Managing data appropriately is a challenge for any organisation. The optimal use of data in an organised way is a priority task.
  • Accessibility and connectivity of huge data are a hurdle. Data points are not integrated and there is no precise platform to manage data between various projects.
  • The ever-growing data volume demands a larger technological landscape.
  • Security of big data is another important aspect that is of concern to companies.

The following chart explains the growth of big data in the recent years:

Big Data Stats

Fig 1. Graphical Representation of Rise of Big data

Business Intelligence – A Resourceful Solution for big data:

Business Intelligence (BI) provides a solution to big data in the form of data analysis process. BI includes a variety of tools, applications and methodologies that streamline management of huge data.

This system incorporates technologies that provide a correct decision making platform for the organisations.

Some of the important advantages of Business Intelligence solutions are:

  1. BI simplifies the process of data management, by collecting data from various sources and organising it, to create reports and for other data analysis requirements.
  2. BI accelerates the decision making process, thus enabling us to increase the productivity of internal business processes, enhancing efficiency and directing the flow of revenue.
  3. The simplicity of operation allows BI tools to be accessed by anyone from an IT professional to a business executive.
  4. BI provides data visualisation in the form of charts and other graphical methods.
  5. It simplifies advance data analysis functions like data mining, text mining, statistical analysis and predictive analysis.

Microsoft, the Leader in BI Solutions

A Business Intelligence Solution can be leveraged to its fullest, when it is able to collect data from all possible data points.

To be more specific, the solution should be able to provide all users with the required data, anytime. Microsoft has achieved this apical level by utilising the functionalities of various in-house tools.

Exhibiting exceptional competence, Microsoft has emerged as a leading name in the Business Intelligence Solutions segment.

The various formats of Business Intelligence Solutions from Microsoft are more than capable of meeting the growing expectations of the users.

The aspects that make Microsoft the leader are explained below:

Microsoft BI Development

There are various BI technologies provided by the Microsoft BI Development team. The customer can use them independently or utilise a suite of applications. This completely depends on the customer’s requirement.

A good example is Power BI for Office 365. Microsoft allows customers to build a BI system on applications like SQL Server, Sharepoint and Excel.

The complete assembly is called Power BI for Office 365. The result of grouping powerful tools has brought about a revolutionary change in managing Big data.

The various Microsoft BI technologies are:

  • MS SQL Server
  • Power BI for office
  • MS Power View
  • MS SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services)
  • MS SQL Server Analysis Services
  • MS Excel and Excel Services
  • MS SharePoint
  • MS Power BI
  • MS Power Query
  • MS SQL Server Data Tools
  • MS SQL Server Integration Services
  • MS SQL Server PowerPivot for Excel
  • MS PerformancePoint Services

Microsoft BI Stack

Microsoft BI Development has designed various BI tools and applications which the consumer can select from. The requirements of the customer are matched with a specific software tool.

Based on the requirements, Microsoft Business Intelligence can be classified into three categories vis. personal, team and organisational. All these types are interdependent and any change in one aspect can affect the other two.

As an example, an application like Performance Point server uses MS Excel, Office Sharepoint server and Excel services to complement its BI requirement. Every corporate BI system thus has dependable personal and team BI systems.

Personal BI:

It is basically related to fetching of data for individual use. Personal BI is independent and is not always connected to databases. The most commonly used personal BI is MS Excel.

Team BI:

Team BI is for a group of individuals working as a team. The system focuses on improving coordination and transfer of data amongst the team members. This helps in acceleration of the decision making process. The most well-known Team BI tool is Office SharePoint Server and Excel Services.

Corporate BI:

Corporate BI constitutes the Business Intelligence requirements at the organisational level.

It is a collection of tools to support coordination and promote goal congruence. It provides streamlined synchronisation of data and showcases individual efforts in the form of scorecards and strategy maps. The most commonly used Corporate BI is PerformancePoint Server 2007.

The graphical representation of the various levels of Microsoft BI solutions include:

 MS BI Stack

Fig 2. Graphical Representation of Various BI Frameworks

BI Containers:

The Business Intelligence Solution has two types of containers vis. the On-premises containers and Cloud containers.

On-premises containers are BI solutions that are implemented in a local setup. Examples of On-premises containers include MS office tools, Share point applications and SQL server.

The Cloud containers deal with the Internet and portable applications. Examples of Cloud containers are Excel Service Power BI and Asure IAAS solutions.

The Microsoft BI Ecosystem

The Microsoft BI Ecosystem is the environment created using various BI tools. The ecosystem supports the ever-changing needs of users

The various important aspects of Microsoft BI Ecosystem include:

Self Service:

This the most widely used feature of the Microsoft BI Ecosystem. The strength lies in its ability to reach every user.

A complete self-service BI solution is delivered through Excel and Office 365. This tool facilitates fast data search, analysis and visualisation. It helps the user in getting valuable insights from the data.

The Power BI for Office 365 allows an even more advanced level of data management. It allows easy sharing, access and integration of data using the cloud technology.

Dashboard and Reports:

Reports are one of the most important features of data analysis. The BI tool, SharePoint server provides a convenient platform for report generation and dashboard management.

Filtering of search attributes, interactive analysis and visualisation are the key features of these Microsoft BI solutions.

Analytical Solutions:

Analysis of data from various perspectives is another key feature of any important decision process. The Microsoft BI solution i.e. the SQL Server Analysis Services platform supports multi-dimensional analysis of data.

This feature can be used for visualisation, reporting and data analysis. It supports solution prototyping at the enterprise level.

Predictive Analytics:

Microsoft BI Ecosystem allows gathering of data from various sources including historical data. The data analysis is even more precise when a detailed gathering of data i.e. data mining is done.

This helps in projecting a concept more assertively. Some examples of predictive analysis can be the Data Mining Add-ins in Excel or SQL Server Development tools.

Bigger the Data, Sturdy is the Microsoft Solution

The various challenges that IT organisations faced earlier, while dealing with huge data, has found an optimal solution in form of Microsoft Business Intelligence Solutions.

The vast array of BI tools allow the users to customise the solutions as per their requirements. The previously forecasted scenario of unmanageable data at the local and cloud level can be precisely managed by Microsoft BI solution.

Being the pioneers in providing various IT solutions, Microsoft has also stood strong to lead its way towards Business Intelligence Solutions.

So when do you plan to embrace BI? Do you have any points to share? Please feel free to share your opinions below and thanks for reading!

CMS Review – Drupal Vs. SharePoint

CMS Review – Drupal Vs. SharePoint

Choosing the right content management system for your project depends on the amount of people working on your site, the size of your site and how frequently you will have to access it. There are, of course, many different options available, and in this blog post we are going to look at two different platforms to consider, Drupal and SharePoint. We will weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each CMS, and look at ways you may be able to use them to get the best out of your website.

What is a CMS?

Firstly, we’ll get back to basics and answer a simple question – what exactly is a content management system?

Essentially a content management system (CMS) allows the user to have full control over the addition of content, editing and organisation of their website through a conventional web browser. Without having to delve into code, a CMS can be entirely customisable and adapted to suit an individual or a business’ needs.

Drupal vs. Sharepoint

Before we look too deeply into a comparison between the two management systems, it would be a good idea to revisit exactly what each system offers its customers.

Released in 2001, Drupal is today considered to be one of the leading content management systems for businesses around the world. Released as an open source project, the software is available for free and comes with an unlimited licence for customisation and re-distribution. This is part of Drupal’s appeal – the ‘building blocks’ approach allows users to have flexibility when it comes to their site.

Drupal

 

 

 

Microsoft Sharepoint comes from a slightly different perspective. Originally produced and developed as a document management system, it has seen numerous development cycles and iterations to make it into the product it is today. There are many different SharePoint products available from Microsoft to enhance the content management of your website – and much of it is based around the cloud and access of a wide range of information from a wide range of devices.

SharePoint

 

 

 

How popular are Drupal and SharePoint as CMS platforms?

The graph below indicates how successful more recent iterations of Drupal have been. Of all sites running Drupal, Version 7 has 69% of the share – with sites such as Twitter and Weather.com being notable examples that highlight the scalability and size of Drupal’s strengths.

Drupal-Comp-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The matrix shown underneath from w3techs.com highlights the market position of Drupal and SharePoint as a CMS – showing that both are preferred by many high traffic sites, even though widespread adoption has not yet occurred to the extent seen by Joomla or WordPress.

Drupal_Comp_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benefits of Drupal

As well as the flexibility and ‘building blocks’ approach mentioned earlier, there are many other benefits to using Drupal for your website

  • Wide graphic design capability and possibilities – including responsive design
  • Unlimited amount of customisation between the front and back end of your site. The administrator portions of the site can be fully altered to suit your needs
  • No limits in terms of scalability
  • Intuitive content structure, minimizing the learning curve for new administrators

Benefits of SharePoint

SharePoint is an excellent way to store, share and manage a large amount of documents. It is mainly used for Intranet services and eCMS solutions.

  • Flexible and customisable document management
  • Cloud services
  • Top-down collaboration for large amounts of content
  • Best used when treated as a database rather than a ‘one size fits all’ CMS solution.

It has been argued by many developers that using Drupal and SharePoint combined will yield the best results from a CMS system – although of course as with any content management system carefully consideration will be needed to ensure you are getting the best from any platform you decide to use.

In many cases should you wish to use SharePoint exclusively as content management system for your website, significant workarounds and add ons will have to be installed. Where is does excel however is in document management and collaboration – you can easily keep track of who is creating and sharing what within your system, and it is therefore highly useful to internal systems, such as the Intranet within organisations, for example.

Summary

Choosing the right CMS can determine to a large extent how you wish to use your site, and how you wish your site to be grown and scaled in the future. Both SharePoint and Drupal have enormous benefits to the users in terms of content management – and Drupal in particular has many customisable options to benefit your site as it grows. If, however, you are looking for a CMS that provides first-class document management, for instance if you are building an Intranet site, then SharePoint is becoming an increasingly obvious choice.

If you need any help choosing your CMS, expert web developers and content management experts can point you in the right direction and in the long run save you time, money and energy migrating. If you make the right decision from stage 1, you are likely to have an excellent and long-term relationship with your CMS.

Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Invest in Modernising Your Intranet Applications Now

Intranet portals have been in existence for several years in many organisations, institutions, schools etc. Businesses have realised the benefits, an intranet site offers, to the thousands of employees connected to it, as well as to the company, in general.

Intranet enable the employees get password-based access to a centralised corporate database on the company’s LAN (Local Area Network). These intranet sites have proved themselves useful from the standpoint of easy navigation to the company’s employee contacts list, time tracking applications, company event details, messages from the CEO or from the top management etc.

A major advantage of the company intranet portals has been the use of web-based applications, which have allowed the companies to avoid investing in software licenses for individual employee desktops / laptops.

All employee records are maintained on the intranet for restricted access by the HR team and the employees themselves.

The ticket-based employee service app or portal is one of the common apps in a company’s intranet that enables employees to receive immediate help, with regards to any issues, with their computer hardware, IDcard, project IDgeneration, new software installation, international or domestic travel, etc.

Intranet forums or communities help employees get in touch with each other socially and understand what’s happening across various departments of the organisation.

Having dealt with many innovative intranet product enhancements, it is of paramount importance for us to keep coming up with new ideasto revamp / modernise the existing intranet system in organisations.

Reasons to Revamp Intranet Portals

If you think there is no need of revamping your existing Intranet portals, these reasons will make you think otherwise.

  • Although the investment for intranet portals is restricted only to the web server on which it is hosted, it is still possible to reduce costs further and leverage more benefits out of cloud infrastructure services such as Salesforce, Amazon, Azure etc.
  • Instead of simple social intranet forums or communities, a comprehensive social networking platform with 24×7 access is required for businesses.
    This is because, apart from helping employees stay in touch and know about various events and happenings quickly across the business line, the social intranet apps can go a long way in assisting the HR or the resource team. It helps find the right internal candidates for various short-term and long-term projects, within a short span of time.
  • With the rising trend of mobile websites, it is now imperative for companies to extend mobility to their intranet websites as well.

Tips to Modernise Intranet and Social Apps

Let’s check out some innovative ways to modernise a company’s intranet applications.

Increasing the Social Quotient

Enterprise apps, like Yammer, help employees stay connected and share critical information in various modes across geographical boundaries.

It is necessary to spice up the existing corporate social networking apps as the world thrives on social networking outside the corporate arena.

With this provision available within the organisation, the employees will be motivated more than ever before and this will help improve the overall business productivity.

Improved Mobility

Your company’s intranet might be accessible from mobile devices to the few employees at top-level positions.

But it is necessary to have this intranet mobility for each and every employee in the organisation.

If employees can raise travel requests, fill time cards for weekly effort tracking, book meeting / conference rooms, check the monthly training calendar and send nominations for training programs etc. on the move, it will allow your company to save precious working time.

Online Forms for Better Feedback

One of the major contributions to your company’s improvement and progress often comes from employee feedback. It is necessary to tap useful statistics from employee feedback and opinions, not just annually, but even more frequently.

This can be easily done through feedback or survey forms created using a good e-form builder app for the intranet. You can seek employee opinions for any new business services, new office locations, event ideas, and training programs to name a few.

Conditional Triggers and Intelligent Workflows for Automation

When it comes to managers and the HR department of a company, a major part of working time is spent on approving requests, providing permissions, checking feedback from project teams and more.

When the employees fill any of the online forms, conditional triggers and intelligent workflows for seeking permissions, triggering notifications etc. prove useful.

This helps automate the entire form-filling process for various employee-based activities in an organisation.

Enhancements to Employee Directory

Probably the first thing that comes to your mind when someone asks you to define intranet is access to the employee directory.

Instead of having traditional data such as employee name, address, telephone number, email id, project, and service line mentioned in the directory, you can focus on offering much more through this database.

Some useful tips to enhance the employee directory are listed below:

  • By sharing their vehicle numbers along with their starting points, employees can co-ordinate for car pooling and make their daily commute hassle-free.
  • Similarly, allowing employees to maintain their social network IDs (for Facebook, Twitter etc.) in the directory will enable them to quickly connect outside the office as well.
  • Accommodation information can be maintained for employees willing to share rented flats with their colleagues.

The purpose behind sharing the tips for a modernised intranet is to help realise that, as much as the technologies, products and services offered by a company need to be frequently upgraded, it is imperative to keep upgrading the intranet system as well, to keep up with the needs of the hour.

It is a lifeline for the employees within your organisation and if they are happy, content and connected, your business is bound to grow in your desired direction.

So what do you think about modernising your intranet? Have you planned to do it soon? Please share your comments below. Thanks for reading!