Windows Shared Hosting – Is It Right for You?

Shared Hosting | Best Shared Server Hosting Plans | Cheap Shared Hosting in India - CloudOYE|Cloud Hosting Cloudoye

While it’s not suitable for hosting all types of websites, Windows web hosting can be a powerful platform and for those with smaller sites, a Windows shared hosting plan can be the ideal solution. In this post, we’ll look at whether Windows shared hosting is the right choice for you and explain what to look for when choosing a hosting package.

Is Windows shared hosting right for me?

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One of the biggest mistakes made by people new to web hosting is to opt for Windows hosting on the basis that they use Windows on their home computers and are familiar with the way it works. When it comes to hosting websites, the choice isn’t dependent upon personal preference for one type of operating system over another, in this case, Linux or Windows: far more importantly, it depends on the operating system’s compatibility with the software you use to create your website. Some website software will only work with Linux and others with Windows – and while there are some, like WordPress, which can work on both, there is always one option which is more suitable.

Should I choose Windows or Linux hosting?

Microsoft helped me install Ubuntu Linux on my Windows 10 PC, and it's actually pretty good | ZDNet

Though Windows is the most popular operating system for PCs, when it comes to web hosting, Linux is the dominant force. The key reason for this is that, unlike Windows, a Linux operating system is open-source and free, as is the majority of website software that runs on it. If you are using CMS applications like Magento, Joomla or Drupal to build your site, you’ll need Linux hosting. And while WordPress, which has been used to build a third of the World’s websites, can be used on both, the huge majority of users opt for Linux hosting because WordPress is native to it and there is an abundance of online help for WordPress-Linux users.

However, you’ll need to use Windows if you intend to run Windows technologies as part of your hosting. This includes anything that needs the .NET framework, for example, anything written in ASP  or ASP.NET, or if you intend to work with Visual Basic. Similarly, you’ll need Windows hosting if you want your website to make use of Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Access or MS SQL.

Should I opt for shared hosting?

Shared vs Dedicated vs Cloud Hosting for Faster Websites

Shared hosting, whether Windows or Linux, is an entry-level solution designed for those with small websites and who have a limited need for storage, RAM and CPU resources. It’s ideal for the needs of many small businesses and is the least expensive form of hosting, making it a very cost-effective way to host a website.

Shared hosting works by hosting multiple user accounts on a single webserver and those users will be allocated a specific amount of storage space and share other resources like CPU and RAM. This is what enables the hosting to be so affordable.

Shared hosting is not without its constraints, however. As users have to share the server, they’ll have to use the operating system and server configuration provided by the host. This means users cannot optimise the server for their own purposes. At the same time, to prevent individual users hogging all the server’s resources, users might be prohibited from running resource-heavy applications, such as operating their account as an ad server or as a streaming service. Those who need additional resources should consider alternative hosting solutions such as VPS, dedicated servers or cloud hosting.

What to look for in a Windows shared hosting plan

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While every website will have its own needs, there are certain attributes that you should look for in your Windows shared hosting plan. At the top of the list is the ability to make use of Windows features, such as support for and .NET core, as well as the ability to create MS-SQL databases and to import and export data to and from them. For anyone wanting to run WordPress with a Windows server, it is also vital that the package allows you to run PHP & MySQL based applications.

For ease of use, look for a plan that comes with an intuitive, user-friendly control panel to manage your hosting and website, for example, by providing you with 1-click installation. A host that will provide free migration from another service provider can also be very helpful and can ensure your migration takes place without any technical issues.

As website hosting can be technically challenging, having the support of your web host to help you out in case of any difficulties is vital. Always look for a hosting plan that comes with 24/7 technical support included. This way, regardless of the time of day, an expert will be on hand to help you resolve any issues.


Windows shared hosting is an affordable, entry-level solution for those wanting to host websites that require the use of Microsoft and Windows-based applications and databases. Hopefully, this post will have explained whether you need Windows hosting, whether shared hosting is the right choice and what to look for in a Windows hosting plan.

30 Ideas For Engaging Newsletter Content

How to Create a Free Newsletter From Start to Finish | Sendinblue

Newsletters are a core element of email marketing and one of the most effective ways of generating new business. They also do wonders for maintaining brand loyalty and for bringing existing customers back to your website. It’s no surprise, then, that more than half of all businesses send out newsletters to their subscribers. However, finding constant things to include in weekly postings can be a challenge, especially if you want to cover a range of topics that keep readers engaged. With this in mind, here’s a list of ideas for engaging content.

30 ideas for newsletter content:

1) As with this post, send out a list of helpful tips to help solve a particular problem your customers might face.

2) Share thoughts about things you are looking forward to, such as the launch of a new product or an event you are attending.

3) Give advice to customers on areas you have expertise in, e.g., ‘How to build a garden shed in easy steps’.

4) Promote social proof – great customer testimonials, 1000 5-star reviews, positive social media comments, etc.

5) Make a video showcasing a product or service and include the link in the newsletter.

6) Publish an engaging post by a guest writer that is relevant to your audience.

7) Create a questionnaire or a poll. Follow this up the following week with the results. This is also helpful for market research.

8) Publish a humorous alternative to a yearly report, replacing boring financials with a more personal insight into the company. For example, the number of babies born, how many boxes of biscuits eaten, money raised from the swear box, etc.

9) Take some of the most frequently asked questions you get on social media and write them up as an interview or an FAQ

10)Celebrate company achievements: an award, a million followers, 10 years in business, etc.

11) Write a recommendation for something industry related – a book, an exhibition, a new tool.

12)Create a series of Top 10 posts covering what your customers and website visitors find most popular: e.g., top 10 Instagram pics, most wished for products, most watched YouTube videos, most liked blog posts.

13) Create a video or slideshow showing what happens behind the scenes in your company. A great way to show off hi-tech facilities, traditional crafts and the human side of your team.

14) Share an eye-opening infographic about your business or sector that would engage your audience. Alternatively, create your own.

15) If you sell products, send out present ideas for special days like mothers’ day, fathers’ day and Christmas.

16) Celebrate achievements of employees when they pass exams, get new qualifications, win awards or get promoted.

17) Start generating interest in yet to be launched products and services by giving users a pre-release peek at what’s on offer. You can do this when upgrading existing products and services too. Great for generating feedback before things go live.

18) Make your subscribers feel special by sending them advanced notice of an upcoming sale – or even better, give them access to the sale before anyone else.

19)Promote the faces behind the brand by creating snapshot biographies of people within the company. Try to get a good balance between the person and the job they do.

20) Write posts about your existing customers which shows how you help them. Even better with images of them with your products or staff.

21) Set up a competition or a giveaway. These always generate a lot of interest. You can follow this up with another post announcing the winner.

22) Write a fun April Fools post about a spoof new product or discovery.

23) Create a post about useful things related to your business. If you’re a hairdresser, write about hair products, if you’re a joiner, recommend the best wood oils, paints and varnishes. You can then start selling them.

24)Been in the news? Share your fame with a wider audience by mentioning it in the newsletter. Remember to add a link if it’s online so your subscribers can see it too.

25)Promote any charities you support. If you are doing a spot of charity fundraising or helping a community project, you can create written posts, videos and photo-journals of what you do. This helps promote the charity and improves your brand’s reputation.

26)Help customers by passing on important industry-related news. For example, website developers can send out information about new hacking threats or accountants can talk about the impact of the chancellor’s budget.

27) Share greetings on important days, such as Christmas, Eid, Diwali and Hanukkah. There are plenty of others to celebrate too: Halloween, New Years’ Day, etc. If you have customers abroad, don’t forget their celebrations, too.

28)Make the most of the many special awareness days and weeks by posting appropriate images. Some, like National Chip Week, National Bed Week and National Doodle Day are great opportunities for fun posts.

29) Create a fun but relevant quiz to challenge your subscribers. There are plenty of free tools to make these on the internet. They are also great for getting an understanding of your customers.

30) Send out links to free, downloadable resources such as eBooks and ‘how-to’ guides that readers will find useful. For example, food retailers can provide recipe books.


Hopefully, the ideas here will provide you with plenty of inspiration to keep your newsletters varied, engaging and fun for your subscribers.

Digital Transformation and Enterprise Risk Management

Preparing Your Organization for Digital Transformation

Digital transformation and enterprise risk management can be thought of as parallel highways. That’s because any transformation effort will introduce new risks and change to the organization’s overall security posture.

As organizations continue their digital transformations, the transformation of security and risk management must be an integral part of that journey. Organizations must integrate security and risk management into DevOps and Continuous Delivery (CD) processes. The ultimate goal is to have resilient systems that can not only withstand cyber attacks, but also carry out mission-critical business operations after an attack succeeds.

People, Process, Technology (In Exactly That Order!) - Henrico Dolfing

Taking the analogy further, imagine that each of these highways has three lanes: one for people, another for process, and a third for technology.

People in an organization form its culture. For digital transformation to succeed, many organizations will need to transform the culture around risk. That might include inculcating respect for personal information, and organizations consciously building digital services with privacy in mind. The workforce needs to be adept in using digital tools such as cloud, APIs, big data and machine learning to automate and orchestrate the management of a digital security threat response.

Process relates to how an organization overhauls its business processes to be agile and yet secure at the same time. This might involve moving from ITIL behaviour to DevOps or other proactive operational approaches. Prevention is important, but the ability to respond to manage digital threats is much more relevant, as this proactive behavior coincides with DevOps principles.

Technology can present new risks, but can also help address risk. Many top technology companies, for example, are using technologies to automate processes in a way that’s secure. Some common best practices include building loosely-coupled components wherever possible on a stateless/shared-nothing architecture, using machine learning to spot anomalies quickly, and using APIs pervasively to orchestrate the security management of digital entities in a scalable manner.

From a CIO’s perspective, each new digital entity and interaction adds risk: Who is this user? Is this device authorized? What levels of access should be allowed? Which data is being accessed?

Security, Endpoints, and the Internet of Things - T2 Website

Leading organizations will securely identify these users, devices and other entities — including software functions and internet of things (IoT) endpoints — and they’ll do so end-to-end in an environment where services are widely distributed.

HBase vs Cassandra: A Comparative Look

HBase vs Cassandra | Top 9 Awesome Comparison You Need To Know

Selecting the best database management system is the key to ensure effective, streamlined app development process and a successful end outcome. However, choosing an ideal system for a project is not very easy for there are always a number of details to be considered at every turn. Especially when it impacts the performance of your project and the development process.

In this article, we will be taking an in-depth look into two such popular systems and look into how they stack up against each other: HBase vs Cassandra.

We will be exploring the essentials, architecture, performance, amongst other things.

  • What is HBase?
  • What is Apache Cassandra?
  • The Similarities Between HBase and Cassandra
  • HBase vs Cassandra: The Differentiating Factors
  • When to Use Which Database

Let us start with the overviews first.

What is HBase?

What is Apache HBase? | AWS

HBase is a distributed, scalable, column-based database with dynamic diagram for structured data. It enables efficient and reliable management of large data sets which are distributed among multiple servers.

HBase Architecture & Structure 

It is a one of a kind database which works on multiple physical servers simultaneously, which ensures a smooth operation even though the servers are not operating together. HBase data model uses two primary processes for ensuring ongoing operations:

A.  Region Server – It can support various regions. The region here stands for record array that corresponds to a specific range of consecutive RowKey. Every RowKey contains these elements –

  • Persistent Storage – It is a permanent storage data location in HBase. The files are used in the HDFS storage in HFile format. The RowKey sorts this data type and divides them in pairs, where each pair aligns with one HFile.
  • MemStore – It is a write buffer in which anything written to the HBase gets stored. When the MemStore reaches a specific size, the data gets written in a new HFile.
  • BlockCache – It is a read cache which enables you to save time on the data which is frequently read.
  • WAL – When the data is written into memstore, there is always a risk of losing it. WAL (Write Ahead Log) saves all the operations prior to its implementation. This way, the data can be recovered if something happens.

B.  Master Server – It is the primary server of Apahe HBase. It manages regions distribution across Region Server, monitors regions, manages running of the ongoing tasks and performs a series of other necessary tasks.

To coordinate the action between services, it uses Apache ZooKeeper – a service for configuration and service sync management.

What is Apache Cassandra?

Apache Cassandra - Wikipedia

Cassandra belongs to the NoSQL-system class and is designed for creating reliable, scalable repositories of data arrays which are represented as hash. It works with key space, which aligns with the concept of database scheme in relational model. There can also be multiple column families that relate to the concept of relational table.

Apache Cassandra Architecture 

The idea behind the Cassandra architecture is to have a P2P distributed system which is made of nodes cluster in which a node can accept the read or write requests. Every node in the cluster communicates the state information about itself and the other nodes through P2P gossip communication protocol. This together forms the basis of Cassandra data modeling and analysis.

At the center of the Apache Cassandra data model lies a Log Structured Merge storage engine. It comes with key elements like:

  • Memtable
  • Commit log
  • SSTables
  • Compaction

The overview of both HBase database management system and Cassandra must have given you an idea of how similar the features of HBase and cassandra can be.  

The Similarities Between HBase and Cassandra

1.  Database 

Database Management Software | Overview and Best Tools List in 2019

Both HBase and Cassandra are NoSQL open-source databases (like Aerospike database). Both of them can handle large data sets and non-relational data, which includes images, audio, videos, etc.

2.  Scalability 

Software scalability and how is it better in custom software

Both HBase and Cassandra have a high linear scalability feature. Under the feature, users who want to handle more data only need to increase the nodes number in cluster. This makes them both equally good choices for handling huge data.

3.  Replication 

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In case of both HBase and Cassandra, there is a safeguard which prevents the loss of data even after it fails. This is done through the mode of replication. The data which is written on one node gets replicated on multiple nodes in a cluster. Because of this, if a node fails, a redundant node is always present for accessing data.

4.  Coding

Coding Vs Programming For Beginners: What Is The Difference?

Both the databases are column-oriented which implement similar write paths. Columns are mainly the center storage unit in a database. Users can add columns according to their requirements. Additionally, the right path starts with logging a write operation to log file. It is basically done for ensuring durability.

Now that we have looked into what makes them similar, let us shift our attention to the difference between HBase and Cassandra.

HBase vs Cassandra: The Differentiating Factors

1.  Data Models

6 tips for creating effective big data models - TechRepublic

While the terms of both the databases are more or less, there are some fundamental difference between HBase and Cassandra.

The column in Cassandra is like HBase’s cell. Its column family is also more like HBase table. On the other hand, HBase column qualifier is a lot like Cassandra’s super column.

One of the Cassandra key characteristics is that it only allows for a primary key to have multiple columns and HBase only comes with 1 column row keys and puts the responsibility of the row key design on the developers. Also, Cassandra’s primary key contains partition key and the clustering columns in which the partition key might contain different columns.

2.  Architecture

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HBase has a master-based architecture while Cassandra has a masterless one. It means that HBase comes with a single failure point, while Cassandra does not. The HBase client communicates directly with slave-server without contacting master, this gives a working time once the master is down.

Moreover, in the Cassandra and HBase comparison, the former supports both data storage and management, while in case of the latter, the architecture is only designed for data management while it relies on other systems/technologies for storage, server status management, and metadata.

3.  Performance – Read & Write Capability

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When the comparison is drawn between Apache Cassandra performance and Apache HBase performance, it is done on the front of read and write capability.

Write: Both HBase and Cassandra’s on-server write paths are fairly alike. There are some differences though which makes Cassandra better, like the difference in names for the data structure and the fact that HBase does not write to log and then cache simultaneously.

Read: If you are looking for consistent and fast reads, you should go with HBase. Since it writes on only one server, there is never the need of comparison between the various nodes’ data versions.

Even though Cassandra can handle over 129,000 reads in one second, the reads are targeted and there are high probability of them being inconsistent.

4.  Security 

Security Services - Cisco

Both HBase and Cassandra offer not only database-wide access control but also granualty of a certain level. Cassandra allows row-level access while HBase goes a step ahead and offers cell-level access. Cassandra sets the users roles and their condition, while HBase comes with an inverse move in which the administrators assign visibility label to the data sets and then informs user groups which labels they can view.

5.  Infrastructure 

HBase makes use of the Hadoop infrastructure which consists of moving parts such as HBase master, Zookeeper, Name and Data nodes.

Cassandra comes with several different operations and infrastructure. It also uses different DBMS in addition to the infrastructure. A number of Cassandra apps also use Storm or Hadoop. Additionally, its infrastructure is based on a single node type structure.

6.  Support 

3 Characteristics of Amazing IT Support | IT Weapons | Toronto | ON

The support specific Cassandra and HBase comparison looks like this – HBase doesn’t support the ordered partitioning, while Cassandra does. Ordered partitioning leads to making the row size in Cassandra to 10s of megabytes.

7.  Nodes 

In the case of Cassandra, the users have to identify nodes as seed nodes. These serve as the points for inter-cluster communications. In the case of HBase there are several master nodes. They monitor and coordinate actions of region servers.

8.  Internode Communication 

Both HBase and Cassandra have internode communication. While Cassandra uses the Gossip Protocol, HBase uses Zookeeper Protocol where a single node acts as boss through with the other nodes gets the necessary data.

9.  Transactions 

When it comes to HBase vs Cassandra comparison in terms of transactions, Cassandra comes with the feature of lightweight transactions. The mechanisms used here are Row-Level Write Isolation and Compare and Set. While, on the other hand, HBase works with two different mechanisms known as Check and Put and Read Check Delete.

10.  Documentation 

Cassandra’s documentation is a lot better than HBase’s documentation. Because of this, working on and learning Cassandra also becomes easier.

11.  Query Language 

CQL | Delivering Powerful Commerce Solutions

Both HBase and Cassandra shell are based on the JRuby shell. Cassandra query language, is very specific. It is CQL (which is modeled in the line of SQL). Compared to HBase query language, the functions and features of CQL are far more rich.

The differences between HBase and Cassandra shows that there is no concrete answer to which database is better of the two. It all boils down to when to use which.

When to Use Which Database 

HBase vs Cassandra. On the surface, it may appear that… | by Skywell Software | DataDrivenInvestor

The Cassandra and HBase use cases can be differentiated on the grounds of application type they are used in and the outcome expectation that an app development company has.

Use HBase if you need consistency in the large scale reads and if you work with a lot of batch processing and MapReduce for it has a direct relation with the HDFS.

HBase’s use cases consist of online log analytics, write-heavy applications, and apps that need a large volume, such as Facebook posts, Tweets, etc. Additionally, there is a large set of use cases related to Cassandra Hadoop integration.

Use Cassandra if high availability of large scale reads are needed. Also, since it requires a very minimum setup with less administration overhead it is a lot easier to get the process started in. It also offers greater flexibility in CAP theorem tradeoffs.

Some examples of what is Cassandra used for can be seen in the development of messaging systems, e-commerce websites, and real-time sensor data.

In short, use HBase data model and implementations when you have to analyze for big data or have to perform aggregations. Use Cassandra if you have to emphasize on interactive data and real-time transaction processing.

Improving meeting by integrating them & Collaboration Technology

The future of work in technology | Deloitte Insights

Are your meetings like the weather? You know, everyone complains about them, but no one seems to be able to do anything about it. We’ve all endured long, boring meetings that feel endless. And we’ve all struggled through an exhausting, frantic week overfilled with back-to-back meetings. The higher your job title, the more time you likely spend in meetings. Some CEOs, for example, do little else.

Even worse, many meetings fail to achieve their goals. Nearly half the respondents to a recent survey of office workers called too many meetings their No. 1 time-waster. In another survey, respondents rated about 1 in 10 meetings as poor.

Despite these challenges, your organization can dramatically improve its meetings. The key, which I’ll explain in more detail below, is using collaboration products and services that are integrated. Rather than working individually, these integrated products and services can provide you with a true meeting solution that’s seamless from beginning to end.

Wrong-way down

If the solution is that simple, then why have past attempts to improve meetings failed so miserably? Two main reasons:

1. Process focus

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Many past approaches at improving meetings focused too heavily on avoiding certain behaviors. For example, some business leaders forbade the use of PowerPoint. Others ruled that no meetings could run longer than 30 minutes. Still others ­— including celebrity execs Mark Cuban and Elon Musk — went as far as instituting policies of no meetings at all!

But few of us have the level of autonomy needed to completely forbid the use of PowerPoint or hour-long meetings. Even if we did, PowerPoint can be useful, and long meetings are sometimes necessary. As a result, these process approaches rarely work.

2. Standalone tech

5 Stubbornly Standalone Tech Toys - TheStreet

Until recently, the marketplace was overwhelmed with far too many collaboration products. Most of these products were designed for standalone use, meaning they could not be easily integrated with other products. While some level of product integration was possible, that work had to be done by the user. Unfortunately, many users already had IT budgets and staff stretched thin, so they tended to put this integration work on the back burner, often permanently.

The integration solution

What’s new is the emergence of collaboration solutions that are truly integrated. Now you can deliver a seamless process from the minute a meeting is booked all the way to its post-meeting notes. Integration also means that all meeting participants can benefit from this seamless experience, regardless of their location and which devices (and operating systems) they use.

The Surprising Science Behind Successful Remote Meetings

Here’s an example of how your meetings could be enhanced with an integrated solution:

  • Before the meeting: The meeting organizer tells their AI-powered voice assistant to review the participants’ smart calendars, select a date and time that works for all, review the meeting-room calendar to find an available room at a convenient location, and finally email invitations to all intended participants. Each participant can join via a common interface — and on any device from any location.
  • During the meeting: Meetings can be started automatically, either by recognizing the chairperson’s device or with a voice assistant. Remote workers participate via integrated video and chat solutions. The entire team collaborates using a smart whiteboard and document-sharing capabilities.
  • After the meeting: Videos, text-based notes, PowerPoint decks and other meeting materials are automatically shared with all participants, regardless of whether they use a PC, tablet or smartphone – and regardless of which operating system (Windows, iOS, Android, etc.) these devices run on.

In the near future, meetings could become even more productive with the help selected technologies now in the early stages of development. For example, AI transcribing services will provide written transcripts, accurately capturing and identifying the spoken contributions of all participants. Similarly, auto-summarization tools will automatically generate a short set of text notes after a meeting ends, informing participants of the project’s status, new tasks and more.

Get help here

While selecting an integrated meeting solution is easier than it’s ever been, that’s not to say it’s simple. Today’s solutions are not one-size-fits-all. You still need to consider your organization’s unique needs and requirements. Only then will you be able to select the best possible solution. A trusted partner like Anteelo can help you evaluate integrated meeting solutions and find the one that’s right for your needs.

Digital IT support gets smarter, transform employee experience

How Will Technology Shape HR in the Future - Great People Inside Sweden

When companies prioritize their digital transformation initiatives, modernizing IT support might not be at the top of the list.  But there’s nothing that creates a bigger drain on employee productivity and ultimately impacts business outcomes more than a disruption in an employee’s critical work activities, compounded by an unsatisfactory interaction with IT support and service desks.

The traditional, non-standardized service desk is facing a variety of challenges. Digital solutions are increasing across the entire IT landscape, introducing extensive change and escalating requests for support. When service desks themselves move from manual to digital processes, they will need more skilled expertise (which many enterprises lack), along with a disciplined approach to understanding how to apply and introduce automation – tasks made more difficult by constrained budgets.

Meanwhile, the nature of workforce support is changing in today’s gig economy as companies rely more on contractors who expect an intuitive and agile experience when dealing with the service desk – and as expectations among all employees for superior customer service continue to rise. People want personalization. They want to connect on their own terms, whether that’s getting proactive guidance from a virtual agent, talking to a smart bot, choosing self-service from a system that anticipates their needs, connecting to a human agent, or receiving face-to-face support.  And they want their problem resolved quickly and painlessly – ideally without even having to ask for help.

What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

Forward-thinking companies are increasingly moving to digital service desks that take advantage of AI, machine learning and advanced data analytics to more efficiently and effectively respond to the expectations of today’s workers. Moving to a modern service desk also lays the groundwork for a future in which the service desk proactively detects and fixes problems before they occur, without the employee even knowing about it. And eventually, the service desk will become more like a personal digital assistant, anticipating employee actions and automating low-level functions through technologies like robotic process automation (RPA).

Of course, companies can’t accomplish these goals all at once. The preferred method of transforming the service desk is to take a phased approach that provides quick wins and builds a solid foundation for next steps.

Characteristics of a digital service desk

What is an enterprise help desk? 4 big business benefits - Zendesk

Here are the three phases of a good digital IT service desk journey:

  1. Reactive: In this phase, companies take advantage of embedded analytics, AI and machine learning to provide a self-service experience that is intuitive and simple to use, while at the same time is contextually aware and adapts dynamically to the employee’s environment. On the backend, unified support is unified across IT, HR and facilities functions to provide an end-to-end channel that is engaging and fast. An always-on virtual agent or service bot offers an “on demand” dedicated support agent that can converse in natural language to help employees instantly. The agent is plugged into the company’s knowledge bases and ITSM system.
  2. Proactive and predictive: Captured analytics from the employee device provides data that enables machine learning and AI tools to identify issues that are likely to crop up. The system then automatically takes action to resolve the issue. This smart support detects and proactively prevents disruptions before they occur, keeping employees productive and lightening the load on the service desk.
  3. Digital assistant: The final step would be an advanced use of analytics, AI and RPA to understand an employee’s work routine and orchestrate actions on that employee’s behalf. Taking mundane tasks off an employee’s plate gives them more time to be amazing by focusing on what they do best to benefit the business.

There are many benefits associated with transforming the traditional service desk:

  • Providing exceptional customer service in a support desk context is a cornerstone to empowering workers, making employees feel more engaged and valued.
  • The use of automation, AI and self-service channels frees up support staff for higher level activities and helps the IT department control service desk costs.
  • Finally, business outcomes are improved because employees are operating at peak efficiency.

Digital support desks enable enterprises to deliver new levels of employee experience, optimize support and establish a competitive edge – everything today’s enterprises demand.

Digital transformation on the basis of risk: From hype to reality

Is Digital Transformation Hype or Reality? - Part 1 of 4

The digital movement is real. Consumers now possess more content at their fingertips than ever before, and it has impacted how we do business. Companies like Airbnb, Uber, and Waze have disrupted typical business models, forcing established players in different industries to find ways to stay relevant in the ever-emerging digital age. This post is not about that. Well, not in the strictest sense.

There are countless articles explaining the value of being digital. On the other hand, there are very few articles about how to get there. Let’s explore how to get there together, through an approach that I have named Risk-Based Transformation. RBT’s strength is that it puts technology, application, information, and business into one equation.

An approach that fits your specific needs

Smart Cities

I’m relocating very soon, and with that comes the joys of a cross-country journey. Being the planning type, I started plotting my journey. I didn’t really know how to start, so I went to various websites to calculate drive times. I even found one that would give you a suggested route based on a number of inputs. These were great tools but they were not able to account for some of my real struggles, like how far is too far to drive with a 5- and 3-year-old.

Where are the best rest stops where we can “burn” energy — ones that have a playground or a place to run? (After being cooped up in a car for hours, getting exercise is important!) How about family- and pet-friendly places to visit along the way to break up the trip? What about the zig-zag visits we need to make to see family?

The list goes on. So while I was able to use these tools to create a route, it wasn’t one that really addressed any of the questions that were on my mind. Organizations of all sizes and across all industries are on this digital journey but often the map to get there is too broad, too generic, and doesn’t provide a clear path based on your unique needs.

A different approach is needed, one in which you can benefit from the experience of others, whilst taking the uniqueness of your business into account. Like planning a trip, it’s good to use outside views in particular to give that wider industry view; however, that’s only a piece of the puzzle. Each business has its own culture, struggles, and goals that bring a unique perspective.

RBT framework

To help with this process, I have created a framework for RBT. At a high level, RBT takes into account your current technology (infrastructure), application footprint, the value of the information, and risk to the business. From left to right, the least weight to the highest. This framework gives a sense as to where to start and where the smart spend is. See flow below:

Risk-based Vulnerability Management | Tenable®

Following this left to right, you can add or remove evaluation factors based on your needs. Each chevron has a particular view, in a vacuum if you will, so the technology is rated based only on itself. It will gain its context as you move through each chevron. This will give you a final score. The higher the score, the higher the risk to the business.

Depending on your circumstances, you can approach it David Letterman style and take your top 10 list of transformation candidates and run it through the next logic flow (watch for a future blog on how to determine treatment methodology). Or, as we did with a client recently, you can start with your top 50 applications. The point is to get to a place that enables you to start making informed next steps that meet your needs and budget to get the most “bang” for your investment.

The idea behind this framework is to use data in the right context to present an informed view. For example, you can build your questionnaires on SharePoint or Slack, or another collaboration platform that also allows the creation of dashboard views. You can build dashboards in Excel, Access, MySQL, or whatever technology you’re comfortable with in order to build an informed data-driven view, evaluating risk against transformation objectives. The key is that you need to assign values to questions in order to calculate consistent measurements across the board.

A living framework

Real-Time Maps with a Raspberry Pi, Golang, and HERE XYZ - HERE Developer

Many years ago, when you plotted your cross-country drive on your map it was based on information from a fixed time. This was the best route when I drew the line on the map. Now, personal navigation devices hooked into real-time data change that course based on current conditions. In the same way, the RBT model is a living framework; it should have regular iterations in order to have course corrections as you go forward.

The intent of this framework and thinking is to build a context that makes sense for your needs, and then present data in a context that allows for better planning. That better planning should lead to a more efficient digital journey as we all continue to stay with, or ahead of, the curve.

If you have enjoyed this, look forward to my next post. There I will detail how the RBT framework is applied and the treatment buckets methodology.

Learn to deploy the game-changing Windows Virtual Desktop

What is VDI? | Virtual Desktop Infrastructure | VMware Glossary

The recent surge in ransomware and data breach incidents illustrates the vulnerability of IT workplace environments and the huge impact that these attacks can have on the entire organization. In response, companies are increasingly looking to desktop virtualization as a way to run the desktop OS in a remote data center where it can be better protected against such attacks. Historically, the implementation, operation, and management of a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) have been complex, and when done incorrectly, can create risk.  In a typical VDI deployment, a significant amount of infrastructure has to be managed and maintained, including the servers/virtual machines, load-balancers, networking systems, and endpoints. VDI is costly in terms of IT staff time, hardware, and software licensing. On top of that, companies need to make sure there are high-availability and disaster recovery systems in place so that end users are still able to work in case of a system outage. And unfortunately, in many cases, real-world deployments have failed to deliver the consistent performance that end-users require. But all that is about to change thanks to Microsoft’s announcement of Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD). This disruptive new service enables companies to run Windows-based VDI in the Microsoft Azure cloud, with multiple Windows 10 users active simultaneously on the same virtual machines, and with each user’s data isolated from every other user.

Why Windows Virtual Desktop is a game-changer

Windows Virtual Desktop provides significant benefits over on-premises and competing for cloud-based deployments:

1. Reduces cost: Compelling new licensing models reduce complexity and provide significant cost savings. For one thing, companies don’t need to maintain separate Windows Server licensing agreements. For another, WVD includes Windows 7 extended support — without requiring added end-of-life support payments — so companies dealing with legacy applications that only run on Windows 7 can still benefit from moving to cloud-based VDI as part of a broader digital transformation effort.

8 Things That Will Be LESS Expensive in 2018

2. Provides safe, secure access in a simplified environment: A free control plane – the software that orchestrates the creation and management of desktop and app session hosts — authenticates users and determines where to direct their desktop connections. This means companies no longer must set up separate virtual machines for functions like web access, diagnostics, application gateways and request brokers.

What Is SASE - Secure Access Service Edge? - Cisco

3. Drives efficiency with integrated Microsoft components: WVD, co-resident with Office 365 and your OneDrive data in Azure, drives fast response time and efficiencies. Microsoft will continue to optimize performance, as they own all the components.

Microsoft Windows' future is all about users

4. Facilitates workforce flexibility: From a business perspective, WVD opens up new employee use cases, securely and cost-effectively embracing the gig economy movement of using independent, short-term contractors, for example. With WVD, contractors can bring their own devices to the office and establish secure connections to the Azure cloud in order to access the applications and data they need to do their jobs.

Workplace Flexibility Can Impact How You Attract, Hire, And Retain Talent

How to optimize your WVD deployment

Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) Deployment | Support Remote Workers

WVD is an important addition to an enterprise VDI ecosystem, a true game changer that can help companies cut the costs and complexity associated with desktop lifecycle management, as well as deliver rock-solid security.

However, enterprise VDI ecosystems frequently are complex because they contain some workloads that still need to stay on-prem for various security, privacy, regulatory, or availability reasons.  A modern desktop and application virtualization solution will need to manage all these delivery systems together as a whole.

Here are three ways to get the most out of your enterprise Windows Virtual Desktop deployment:

  1. Accelerate adoption: Start your deployment using your existing control plane to allow easy adoption and easy workload balancing with your current delivery infrastructure. While this approach comes at an additional cost, it facilitates rapid adoption.  For simple out-of-the-box WVD support, Citrix Virtual App and Desktop Services is ready for WVD from day 1.
  2. Track and manage the user experience: Add end-to-end user experience monitoring across all delivery systems — optimizing both the network and the endpoints which is particularly important when rich collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams is in use. And as these new delivery models are introduced, you can use these monitoring tools to compare and contrast cost alongside performance.
  3. Review your endpoint strategy: Use the change to revisit endpoint management and leverage new advancements in hardware and software thin-client systems. Harden endpoints to reduce the attack vector and simplify management at the device level through a next-generation edge device OS. Leverage management systems to gain an insightful, end-to-end view from endpoint systems.

In short, WVD is a major disruptor in the desktop virtualization space and an important component to consider including in your digital workplace transformation journey.

WVD offers a secure and cost-effective cloud-based digital workplace solution. However, given the complexity of deployment, you might also want to consider partnering with an experienced managed service provider that delivers an end-to-end solution with WVD and the relevant components – and makes sure WVD meets your specific business, IT and employee needs.

Dynamic nature of work- Digitally Transforming

The changing nature of work - The Monday Briefing

Long-anticipated, digital transformation is redefining jobs and roles. Digital technologies have transcended simple process acceleration and are deconstructing our old notions about work and the workplace.

Multiple gigs instead of one role

How to manage multiple gigs at the same time – Wired

Mobile technologies in particular have catalyzed the development of the gig economy. What constitutes a job, who is an employee, and how work gets done is being completely reshuffled by the ability to work anytime, anywhere — because the digital workplace doesn’t recognize physical or occupational boundaries.

In this new gig model, one person is no longer constrained to one role. An employee can wear many hats and be involved in activities that span many roles; much of the work that gets done is accomplished by teams who switch roles and tasks seamlessly. Collaboration happens intuitively and digitally across corporate, physical and geographical boundaries. As workers exercise more independence and pick jobs they’re truly interested in, businesses can focus resources and investments and gain the flexibility to contract with specialists as needed.

Center of innovation and change

Center for Innovation & Change - University of Evansville

Here’s another difference: The workplace is becoming an important center of innovation and changes through vehicles like crowdsourcing and cross-corporation collaboration. Employees want companies to rethink how they manage and reward employees. Companies that understand the digital workplace have learned to embrace those employees who are interested in change and technology and to adopt them as beta customers to accelerate innovation. Early adopters can help companies spot new use cases, products and technologies that can have broad application in the enterprise.

Crowdsourced help

10 Tips for Getting the Best Results from Crowdsourcing | Volusion

These trends and others have given IT organizations a lot to think about. IT can choose to stay the course with traditional policies and approaches, but this likely won’t end well. Today’s users won’t think twice about bypassing IT in favor of preferred devices and channels. Crowdsourced assistance is maturing and becoming more common. In the IT support space, for example, users are more likely to Google the answer to a problem — or contact a friend — than to wait for the company’s help desk to respond.

To prevent the inevitable friction between IT and users — and ultimately shadow IT, information silos, and productivity loss — IT should embrace crowdsourced help and introduce curation and knowledge management processes to ensure the correct answer is easy to find and productive help aligns with IT governance.

For example, gamification has been successfully used to reward good assistance and encourage participation from anyone with valuable experience. Whether in the form of badges, leaderboards, or points, employees are encouraged to help each other. An employee-run forum for technical support can award points to those employees who help others resolve their issues and close support tickets. Whether using points received for great help or awards based on the number of resolutions, a contributor can spend their reward in the company store.

Showing users their usage patterns can shape behaviors as well. A dashboard that details the number of Skype minutes a user consumed (encouraged) versus more expensive conference bridge minutes (discouraged) is a simple way to guide users toward the tools that are the most efficient and effective.

The workplace has changed, and with it, worker expectations. To get all the benefits from the new innovation-driven workplace, IT needs to offer employees the experience they expect or face the wrath of a digital mob.

All-Inclusive Checklist for Mobile App Development

Custom Mobile App Development for Business to Overcome COVID-19

Has the app industry enticed you into submitting to its popularity? Are you now at a phase where you know you want to join the crowd but are unsure where to start? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Many have been where you are now. Your worries related to which platform to choose, whom to trust to not rip you off financially in the promises of an amazing app, how would you make money off your app, how will you see that people actually use your app, etc. are shared by thousands of first timers around the world.

While, it is still easy for those halves who have years of experience in the mobile market, who are well-versed with different aspects of mobile app development as mentioned in this mobile app development guide, and have launched their own app; for your half, who is new in the game, you have to lot to gear up for.

But it’s okay. You have stumbled over the right place.

We have something that no one will let you on this easily and in one place.

Keep reading to fast-track your glorious app development journey:

We have created a checklist, which covers the  complete mobile app development process from its ideation stage to the stage it’s uploaded on the store. Here, we have itemized various elements that one must consider before initiating their mobile app development effort. Irrespective of whether it is done in-house, or with the help of a mobile app development company, the checklist will help in preparing you successfully developing a mobile app.

Here’s how to use it:

First select what stage you are at in the App Development process and then cross off or answer the points that are mentioned against each stage. This will give you an idea of how prepared you are for every stage.

Without further ado, let me take you down the ultimate Mobile App Development Checklist.

But before that, a quick prologue.

When you partner with a third party mobile app development company, they share a scope which entails all the parts of the checklist, superficially, which you are going to read right now. So, when dealing with a mobile app consultant, use this checklist as a means to finalize one company out of the lot you mean to interact with for developing your app.

Discovery Phase

How Discovery Phase of App Development Can Help Your App to Survive Crowded Market

This is the stage which preludes the app development process. This is where the app idea is checked for its viability. At this stage you analyze your target market, look at the similar apps and see what features are being offered to your target group.

If you have associated with a company, this is the part where they will sharing a scope with you that will be developed on the basis of competition analysis.

Here, you will be looking out for the :

1.  Do you know who your target group is?

2. Do you know the problem your target group is facing?

3. Is there any other company offering solutions to their problems through mobile app?

4. Do you know who are the app’s competitors?

5. Have you listed down the features the competitors are offering?

6. Have you read the reviews on their app?

7. Do you know the monetization model the competitors use?

8. What app monetization would you use in the app? [Here’s a guide on this]

Technology Requirement

The Beginner's Guide to Mobile Application Requirements Documents - Simple Programmer

Once you have the understanding of the features that you need to add in your app and the behavior of your target market, the next part is to look at the basics of what your app would be. This stage will set the foundation of what you plan to offer.

9. Will your app work on Android?*

10. Is your App for iOS?

11. Will you make an app for both, now or will you wait to see its performance?

12. Is the app native or hybrid?

13. Will your app be integrated with device’s features?

14. Will it need cloud based infrastructure?

*the reason I have mentioned Android and iOS separately is because both of them come with their set of advantages and shortcomings. And even though, majority of the businesses are moving to Android, it would be completely your choice of which platform you wish to hit first.

User Interface Details

User interface design - Wikipedia

After finalizing the details related to the platform your app would be based on and the type it would be, the next step is to think about the look and feel of the app. If there is one crucial element that can affect how your app is received by the world, it is the User Interface. When you reach this stage, this is the checklist for designing an app.

15. Do you have the wireframe ready?

16. Have you decided on the App orientation? Landscape or Portrait?

17. Does the app easily transitions from one orientation to another?

18. Have you finalized your benchmarks?

19. Have you worked on the transition between screens?

20. Are the call to action button standing out from other elements?

21. Are the design elements in line with the culture of the region the app is in?

Until now you must have got a clear idea of what your app would look like and where. Beyond this point, we will now see who and how would convert this concept into a functioning app that would be used by the world. And what all would follow your app after it has been developed.

Development Criteria

The 4 stages of app development - Business of Apps

This is where your app transforms from an idea into an app that would soon be available on millions of devices. Every concept that you had envisioned up until now will start taking shape here. Here is your checklist for a successful mobile app development

22. Are you making the app in house?

23. Are you hiring a sound mobile app development company?

24. If hiring, is the company in your region or based internationally?

25. If making in-house, do you have a team and expertise?

26. Do you have a cost range set for your app development process?

27. Do you know how much time would it take to develop the app?

28. Have you settled on the development process? Iterative, Agile or Waterfall

29. Have you paid attention to your app’s backend development?

Performance Metrics

6 Essential Performance Metrics to Start Tracking RIGHT NOW - BetterPT Blog

Once you have settled on the decision whether to develop an app in house or employ an external agency, the next step is to make a checklist to measure its performance. This is what you need the answers to

30. Do you know how the app behaves in case of special events like low battery, less network coverage, Airplane mode, less storage?

31. Does the app has a web service?

32. Does the app have a server side component?

33. Does the app have scope to be scalable vertically or horizontally?

34. Do you get notification of app crashes in real time?

Security Measures

5 Security Measures Your Company Can't Ignore - StartupNation

If there is one part of your app that can make users look beyond the performance and design and everything material, it is concrete security. Our industry is full of examples of data breach and security lags. It goes without saying that your app should not be the next example of an app that could have been made secure.

While any experienced app development company would know of the concrete ways to make an app secure, Here’s what to check from your behalf –

35. Do you have secure sockets layer incorporated in the project?

36. Does your app has two point user authentication in place?

37. Do you have control on who would have an access to your app?

38. Will there be sub-admins?

39. Does your app comply to industry security standards, like HIPAA or PCI DSS

40. Is your payment gateway integration done right?

Testing Checklist

Importance of Mobile App Testing

Nearing the end stages of the app development process, testing comes into the picture. At this stage, you measure the outcome of your app development process with what you had envisioned before it all started.

Are your target users interacting with the app as you meant them to? Is it behaving like you want it? Are there any bugs and misses? You will get an answer to all these questions at this stage. Let’s see the points that you will be checking off at this stage –

41. Is your app performing same on different device and OS versions?

42. Are you testing your app on your tech team?

43. Are you testing your app on real, non-technical users?

44. Have you checked your mobile app Localization strategy?

45. Is your app ready for the next device update?

46. Is your app ready to be scaled to the next OS Update?

47. Do you have a test plan in place with tests like QC testing, Unit testing, and User Acceptance Testing?

In continuation to this, here are the things that you need to consider when testing your mobile app.

With this, you have the complete checklist for developing a mobile app. But there is one element that is still left to be worked on and that is your app brand. All these elements will fail to deliver if your app is not able to entice your target segment into using your app.

Here is the branding checklist of a successful app –

Branding Requirement

Logo Design Requirements | Branding Strategy Insider

These are the elements that would define your brand impression and attract people to install your app among the sea of thousand other apps. Here’s what should be perfect in your app, before you publish it in the Apple or Google Play Store

48. Does your App icon follows the app store guidelines?

49. Are your App images are clear and contextually right?

50. Is your App Store Optimization done right? (More on this, here)

51. Are you sure your App name is not taken, unique, not unheard?

52. Have you added real screenshots in the app description?

53. Have you added tutorial videos on how to use the app?

54. Have you crossed over the various multilingual app challenges?

A quick recap:

Till now, we have seen all the elements that you will have to check pertaining to the different stages of App development process. Now, we will see how to shortlist a company out of the thousands of app development agencies in the world.

While, the internet is full of articles and guides related to this, here is a quick digestible checklist for you to finalize a brand, sooner.

Finalizing a company

Points to remember while finalizing books of accounts of pvt ltd company for FY 2018-19

If after reading through it all, you’re unsure of how you would finalize a company that can be given the responsibility to handle not just these but many other related tasks in the long run, don’t be unsure any more.

Here is a checklist to help you with the selection and finalization process.

55. Are they present on the app development companies’ review and rating sites like Clutch, Appfutura, Extract etc?

56. Are they in your time zone?

57. Are they based out of some other location?

58. Have they worked with Start-ups before?

59. Do they have experience in platform your app is based on?

60. Have they worked with the features that are to be included in your app?

61. Do they offer designing services or just the development?

62. Do you know of the team size?

63. Will they communicate with you on your mode? Skype, phone, email etc.?

64. Will there be a common report to track performance?

65. Do they follow your style of the development process?

66. Do they submit apps in the store? [If not, here’s how to submit app to Google Play Store]

67. Do they outsource any part of app development?

68. Do they take full payment upfront?

69. Do they take payment stage wise?

Mobile App Metrics

10 Key App Metrics You Need to Track for Your Mobile App

Even after it’s all done and your app has been made live on the app store, the crucial part of analyzing how the app is performing remains. There are number of standards that your app will have to fulfill before being validated as the top ranking app in the charts.

Here are the questions that you have to prepare your app to answer –

70. What is the number of your app downloads?

71. How many new visitors are on your app?

72. How many active users are there on your app any given point of time?

73. What is the average session interval of your app? The time gap between when user opens an app and when he starts using it?

74. Do you know of the time users are spending on your app?

75. Do you know at what stage are they leaving your app?

76. Are you able to calculate the Lifetime Value of a user?

77. Do you know how many people are your app able to convert in buyers?

78. Are you tracking the app store ratings and reviews daily?

79. Have you fixed a time for support response?

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