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What We Learned at MuleSoft Summit London 2018

Posted on Wednesday 14th November 2018 11:05

Speaker at MuleSoft Summit London November 2018

The Influential Software team were among 2,500 people who attended MuleSoft Summit London 2018.

That makes this the biggest MuleSoft summit to date. And as we heard from the fantastic speakers, MuleSoft has even greater things in the pipeline.

To start with, we heard from MuleSoft speakers including CEO Greg Schott, EMEA Head Raj Mistry, and founder Ross Mason.

 

The recurring theme was how to take a mix of enterprise applications that looks like this…

Unintegrated applications are a ball of mud. Getting muddy at MuleSoft London Summit 2018

 

…and turn that opaque, hard-to-manage group of applications into something like this.

Applications integration - bringing clarity to API's and Integration - MuleSoft Summit London 2018 - Glass Ball

 

The good news is, this transformation isn’t magic!

As MuleSoft’s UK Partner, Influential Software has wrought this change for thousands of businesses.

Visit our dedicated MuleSoft site to find out more.

The core MuleSoft proposition is this: with integration and APIs, you can move from mud to crystal.

What’s more, you can make the shift reliably and at your own pace.

But before we get technical, why is this transformation so important?

 

The Challenges of Opacity

Over the years, many enterprises have taken on layer upon layer of applications to meet different needs.

The difficulty of managing these opaque layers creates extra strain on IT resources.

Your staff may resort to “shadow IT”, breaking up enterprise data among insecure SaaS platforms.

On top of this, issues quickly arise when you need to apply new security policies across these applications.

There may be data hidden within your “ball of mud” that could be turned into intelligence or services – but you can’t see it.

As MuleSoft’s Ross Mason put it at MuleSoft Summit London 2018, “For the modern enterprise, it isn’t about the large eating the small, it’s about the fast eating the slow.”

Can your enterprise afford to sacrifice its speed to unconnected systems?

 

MuleSoft Founder Ross Mason at MuleSoft Summit London 2018

The Benefits of Transparency

MuleSoft’s API approach solves all of these issues. By creating APIs throughout your application layers, you gain a 3D view of everything.

Now you can react quickly to cyber threats and manage any group of applications easily.

You can ringfence areas to respond to changing data regulations, or swap and change elements without disrupting other applications.

In short, you can leverage your existing architectures with transparency, security, and agility.

At MuleSoft Summit London 2018 we heard from Amitabh Apte, director of digital foundations integration at Mars, how APIs are transforming this global enterprise.

Without “big leaps” in architecture or infrastructure, Mars has expanded its APIs from initial piloting to a re-usable library of increasing value.

When Everything Is Connected Anything Is Possible - event display - MuleSoft Summit London 2018 News

MuleSoft Sneak Peek 2019

Mark Dao, MuleSoft chief product officer, began with the inspiring words, “There are no legacy systems – only legacy mindsets.”

The moral: every enterprise has a wealth of unmined applications, and you need MuleSoft to bring them to the surface.

And MuleSoft Summit London 2018 presented a raft of new products that are making this easier.

Dao introduced:

  • Advanced API Business Analytics, for analysing your API traffic and performance
  • Advanced API Portal, for driving engagement and conversion to API programs
  • Machine-Learning Based Automapper, for automatic data mapping suggestions
  • Anypoint API Manager, for tokenisation, applying policies across APIs, and setting up “edge domains”

While MuleSoft innovations coming in 2019 include:

  • threat detection
  • machine-to-machine protection
  • Anypoint monitoring

Introducing Your MuleSoft Integration Partner

MuleSoft Partner Logo - Integration Services

Is your enterprise ready to turn that ball of mud into crystal?

Ensure a reliable transformation with the guidance of an integration expert and MuleSoft Partner, Influential Software.

Visit our dedicated MuleSoft site to find out more.

 
 

Welcome to the 21st-Century Renaissance: Digital Transformation in the Creative Arts

Posted on Friday 2nd November 2018 11:24

If you think art is timeless, think again… the digital transformation in the creative arts is here, and it’s changing the way institutions and artists interact with their audiences worldwide.

Digital Transformation in the Creative Arts Image

Art and Industry: Not So Different After All

It’s popularly believed that artists work with pure ideas, far from the worlds of trade and industry. A quick look at art history, however, says otherwise.

Take the colour crimson, a pigment made from crushed insects. This imported substance was once so precious that Medieval Europeans accepted it as currency. More recently, we have the oil industry to thank for acrylic paints, used by artists such as Mark Rothko.

But in the 21st century, we’re at the dawn of a new renaissance: the digital transformation in the creative arts. New forms of collaboration and representation are changing art institutions as much as the art itself.

So what exactly is digital transformation, and why do the creative industries need it?

What Is Digital Transformation in the Creative Arts?

Digital transformation means both a culture shift towards innovation, and embracing new technologies such as the Internet of Things, blockchain, and machine learning. We can already see how these are changing customer expectations and allowing organisations to use data as never before.

The digital transformation process has four elements: decisioning, innovation, automation, and connectivity. Supporting all of these is a fifth element, enablement.

  • Decisioning: the ability to collect, integrate, manage, and transform data into insights and outcomes.
  • Innovation: a fundamental shift towards long-term creative thinking, with the customer experience always in mind.
  • Automation: this leaves your employees free to think big, instead of fixing manual errors or duplicating labour.
  • Connectivity: cloud computing, integration, API, and data management work together as one unifying force.
  • Enablement: ensuring every part of the organisation has the culture and knowledge it needs to leverage the four elements above.

For artists, these elements open up a world of collaborative and data-driven experimentation. For art institutions, they offer unparalleled understanding and interaction with their audiences.

Digital Transformation - Virtual Reality Art Image

Digital Transformation in Art

The publicly funded arts sector is facing budget cuts and greater demands from funders. At the same time, their audiences are seeking new ways of connecting with culture.

Art institutions and artists have realised that if they don’t embrace these technologies, they risk being sidelined by the new generation.

Major art institutions have announced DT initiatives in recent years, with Tate stating its plan to “embed digital skills, processes and a digital culture across the organisation to make digital a dimension of everything that Tate does”.

Digital technologies are also enabling radical changes to our perception of art. In April of 2018, a group of artists created an Augmented Reality (AR) app that transformed Jackson Pollock’s paintings in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Digital Transformation in Publishing & Literature

For publishers, digital transformation gives editorial managers agile tools to avoid bottlenecks, fast-track approvals, and streamline development. In turn, this means writers can be published faster, cleaner, and with the greatest reach.

But can digital transformation help writers in their actual work – writing? Jodie Archer and Matthew Jockers, authors of The Bestseller Code, have shown how AI can predict the next fiction bestsellers. In an industry where John Grisham was turned down by 16 editors, AI might make a big difference in aligning publishers with what readers want.

Major UK publishers – including Taylor & Francis, Harper Collins, Bloomsbury, and Oxford University Press – have asked Influential Software’s publishing consultancy to transform them into digital enterprises.

Digital Transformation in Music

We might say that digital has not been kind on the music industry. Many bands and labels are struggling against the tide of streaming music and free downloads.

Rather than accept decline, one band decided to take the challenge head-on. As Progressive metal band Ne Obliviscaris say on their Patreon site, “We have inherited a broken system that is no longer what it once was, yet has not found a definitive new way forward…. So where to from here? Well, we want to create an interactive fan experience unlike any band that has come before us.”

The band crowdfunded its world tour in 2014, with a special offer that the funders would receive two limited edition EP’s. They also created an online membership scheme where fans can get free tickets to shows, access to live interviews with the band, tutorials, dinner with the band, and VIP access.

Digital Transformation in Architecture Image

Digital Transformation in Architecture

Architects have been using digital design tools for a long time. But until now their models were either on-screen or small-scale.

With mixed, augmented, and virtual reality, they can put themselves and clients inside the building before the building work has even begun.

These digital tools allow teams and clients to explore design choices from an informed perspective. Architects say that these previews minimise on-site changes and remedial work after construction.

Are You Ready for Digital Transformation in the Creative Arts?

As these examples show, digital transformation is not hype – it’s happening.

The Influential Software team has lived the digital revolution first-hand, with over 25 years of experience in the industry. Our expert consultants, service providers, and developers work in tandem to ensure UK businesses have the tools and knowledge to exploit digital. That expertise is invaluable when embarking on your transformation.

If you’re eager to learn more about our services, contact a member of our digital transformation team.

Power BI Update Q3 2018: Service and Mobile

Posted on Saturday 25th August 2018 11:07

Microsoft Adds New Features and Functionality

Microsoft Power BI has seen important changes with the Power BI update July and August 2018. On the basis of user feedback, Power BI has been improved with new features for better functionality.

So what’s new in Power BI?

The features of the latest Power BI update include improvements in visuals, filters, data gateway, and multi-geo capabilities.

 

Power BI Features Update

As one of the leading BI consultancies in London, we at Influential Software are excited to promote the new features in Power BI. Recent months have brought extra functionality and user-friendly improvements to please mobile and service users.

The features of the Power BI update July and August 2018 include improvements in visuals, filters, data gateway, and multi-geo capabilities. Read on to browse the full details of the Power BI update July and August 2018.

Preview: Multi-Geo Support for Power BI Premium

July saw Microsoft announcing a public preview of Multi-Geo for Power BI Premium.

Multi-Geo enables Power BI administrators to deploy a Premium capacity to one of nine geo locations globally. In the current preview, your Power BI datasets and cached queries are stored in the region you choose for your capacity. Dataset credentials and Excel workbooks, along with other additional metadata, are stored in the geo associated with your Power BI tenant.

Power BI plans to migrate this functionality into the Multi-Geo capacities within the coming months.

APIs and PowerShell Cmdlets

IT administrators can now effectively govern their Power BI deployment with a new set of Admin APIs, along with a .NET SDK and a PowerShell module. These functions give administrators visibility into every aspect of their BI environments.

Persistent Filters on Custom Visuals

After the introduction of persistent filters in March, Microsoft has now introduced this for reports with custom visuals as well.

Visuals now supported with persistent filters are:

  • Chiclet slicer
  • Hierarchy slicer
  • Timeline slicer
  • Attribute slicer

Preview: New Workspaces Experience

The app workgroup preview shows that it will be easier to manage access to workspaces through security groups, distribution lists, and O365 groups.

These changes will empower large enterprises to easily manage their BI content at scale.

Updates to Power BI features - workspace

Custom Visuals API v1.1 and Older Deprecation

Microsoft announced that custom visual API version 1.1 and older will be deprecated from September 1, with support remaining for API 1.2 and later.

Power BI Report URL Filter Improvements

Users can now define more complex query string parameters with enhanced URL filtering capabilities on reports. This enables the creation of shortcuts to pre-filtered reports and also providing hyperlinks to consumers.

On-Premises Data Gateway July and August Update

The custom data connectors in the Enterprise gateway, announced in the July release, have continued to improve in the latest release of the on-premises data gateway.

Preview: Power BI Premium Capacity Monitoring

The Premium Capacity Monitoring app enables capacity administrators to monitor the health of premium capacities and spot any factors that might affect end users.

The app displays all dataset refreshes, dataset evictions, and queries in the capacity for the preceding seven days, alongside system metrics.

Power BI update improves Premium Capacity Monitoring app

Single Sign-On in Power BI Mobile Windows App

With single sign-on (SSO), you can access all applications and resources through a single user account. You can now use your primary organisational account to sign in to your domain-joined devices and Power BI Service.

Phone Report Layout Editing in Power BI Service

You can now create phone report layout directly from Power BI Service. It’s as simple as switching to edit mode and clicking the Mobile Layout option in the top bar.

Phone Drill-Through for Table and Matrix Visuals

Mobile users can access the drill actions with Table and Matrix support for tooltips.

Any Questions about Power BI Features?

For further details of the Power BI update, visit the Microsoft Power BI blog. Want to know more? Our dedicated Power BI team is on hand to answer any inquiries about features of the Power BI update July and August 2018, licensing, and business benefits.

 

How Can I Unleash the Full Potential of IBM Cognos Analytics?

Posted on Thursday 31st May 2018 5:25

IBM Cognos Analytics is a really great piece of kit for helping to drive future business decisions. But with so many features, including an intuitive user dashboard and extensive reporting functionalities, are you sure you’re getting the most out of your investment? We offer a few simple tips to help businesses unleash the full potential of IBM Cognos Analytics.

Get the full potential of IBM Cognos Analytics

There is no doubt that IBM Cognos Analytics is a piece of business intelligence software that many rely on for valuable insights into their operations. As with any tool of this nature, insider knowledge is the key to unlocking its potential. Of course, the sheer scope of capabilities is sometimes a little overwhelming at first. If you need a few tips on using IBM Cognos Analytics to its full potential, keep reading.

Team Training

Cognos features, such as the intuitive user dashboard and fantastic reporting functionality, are designed to drive innovative and sustainable decisions. While it is simple enough for you or your staff to dive straight into the data, it is worthwhile to source some tailored training. This will enable you to get expert advice on the features your business will most benefit from in Cognos, as well as helping you use them effectively.

There really isn’t a better way of ensuring ROI than properly training your team.

Coming Soon: Influential Software’s Cognos Analytics Training courses! 

Harness the Power of Cognos

As a business intelligence tool, Cognos Analytics offers many functions to assist with decision making within your company. Once you have got to grips with all of these, make sure to use them! For example, harness the power of IBM Cognos Analytics to generate reports that draw together data from various sources, allow different users to work on a collaborative report in a safe manner.

Keep Your Cognos Analytics Updated

As with all software packages, IBM Cognos Analytics regularly releases new versions. It is worth keeping up with these, as new versions have updated functions that can really help your business, as well as security patches. By sticking with an older version, you are in effect limiting what the software can do for you.

Is your business using the most up-to-date Cognos Analytics release?

Use Reports to Drive Yourself Forward

The only way you can use IBM Cognos Analytics to its full potential is by taking the data and reports it generates, and using them to create insight into your business. This is at the heart of what business analytics and intelligence are all about. Once you have the necessary reports, make sure to share and discuss them to inform future plans or engage in problem-solving.

Get the Full Potential of IBM Cognos Analytics

Need some help unleashing the full potential of IBM Cognos Analytics? Get in touch with us today and let us show you how this tool can create invaluable change for your business.

Photo: Cloud Solutions - Creative Commons by NEC Corporation of America licensed under Creative commons 4

What If IBM Cognos Analytics Could Answer Your Business Intelligence Questions?

Posted on Thursday 24th May 2018 12:30

Business Intelligence software is now essential for enterprises and growing businesses alike, but what if you are not getting the results you need? Before you despair, ask this: what if IBM Cognos Analytics could provide the inspiration needed to drive your business? It has centralised, easy-to-use Business Intelligence dashboards that cut through data quickly. This gives your business the ability to reflect and forecast, providing a basis for well-informed and confident decisions. So it seems we have an answer: IBM Cognos Analytics.

'What if' IBM Cognos Analytics

Business Intelligence software is now mandatory for organisations wanting to enjoy strategic and profitable growth. BI is the only way to support and sustain lean and agile operating systems.

However, company growth doesn’t just come from better efficiency. Successful organisations have a vision. They also have the confidence to innovate and take well-planned risks. Does that mean business inspiration relies on the best data analytics tools as well?

BI and ‘Out Of The Box’ Thinking

IBM Cognos Analytics is a great launch pad for business discussions and thinking that includes a “What if…?” Businesses that thrive on innovation are constantly looking for new product or service ideas, as well as new markets to pursue. In that case, the last thing you need is an ocean of information to navigate – or a complicated piece of software with whistles and bells.

When inspiration is one of your driving business needs, having a centralised, easy-to-use business dashboard helps cut through data quickly. For example, you can use IBM Cognos to design and create your own intuitive BI dashboard. Configure it to provide the sort of autonomous and simple-to-access analytics that are your specific “food for thought”.

Be warned though: not all BI offerings have this “self-service” flexibility and versatility.

Team Inspiration and Collaboration

Inspired and inspirational companies know the importance of unlocking the creativity and motivation of their team. Some of your potentially profitable “What if…?” leads may come from anywhere in your organisation. Your teams need a tool that is readily available to explore and share ideas. That’s another reason why choosing the right BI system is crucial.

For example, IBM Cognos Analytics provides quick access to information via its drag and drop dashboard, that any user can navigate on any device. They can hop on for either enterprise-wide reporting or “dip in” to specific areas of interest or concern.

As it’s web- or cloud-based, users can then report, share, and collaborate on their ideas instantly. So “What if” IBM Cognos Analytics could deliver this and more? You need never miss a good idea again!

For Data You Didn’t Know You Needed

You can hit a brick wall in your innovation. Creativity can dry up. This is another time when data analytics can become your “new best friend”. For example, IBM Cognos Analytics is particularly adept at drilling down into data and uncovering information your organisation may have previously missed. In fact, you could end up with insights you didn’t even realise you needed!

Having access to these hidden depths and angles can make a big difference in well-informed and confident decisions. And for answering the question, “What if….?”

‘What If’ IBM Cognos Analytics Has the Answers You Need?

What if you contacted Influential Software to find out more about IBM Cognos Analytics? There’s one way to find out.

Influential Software is an IBM UK Partner. We offer complete IBM Cognos Solutions: IBM Cognos Licence Sales, IBM Consultancy, and even Cognos Analytics support packages to suit.

Photo: Black this time, a nice change by StartAgain licensed under Creative commons 6