The Problem We Solve
In today’s digital everywhere economy, organizations are trying to transform customer and employee experiences on an increasing number of digital touch points.As they set out to achieve this onerous task that everyone is calling digital transformation, organizations face various challenges. Starting from reliance on legacy systems to siloed applications and systems to an increasing number of purchasing channels for customers, to the pace at which new technology is being introduced into the market, enterprises are facing an existential challenge.
Conscia centralizes and enriches data residing in disparate applications such as CMS, PIM, ERPs, etc. with an AI-powered data intelligence platform that sits on top of disparate data sources. It then broadcasts enriched, contextual data to all internal and external digital applications through scalable and easy-to-connect APIs.
Now, let’s dive deeper and take a closer look at some of the challenges that plague organizations.
Reliance on Legacy Systems:
A large number of organizations are still handcuffed by age old ERPs, home-grown and proprietary legacy applications to power their business critical functions such as order fulfillment, inventory management, supplier management and billing/invoicing. These systems were never built for today’s digital first reality and are slow to change, inaccessible, built on rigid relational databases and simply can not scale or perform to meet the demands of modern digital experiences.
One should ask – why not simply replace these legacy systems with more modern software applications that were purpose built to scale and perform in today’s digitally reality? After all, there is no shortage of such applications as new entrants seem to be appearing in the market daily. Well, this is not as easy as it sounds. These back-end legacy systems have evolved over the years by bolting on parts and modules that contain undocumented business logic and the tribal knowledge has escaped the organization with employees over the years. IT executives are painfully aware of this legacy baggage and its ongoing cost of maintenance to the organization. They also know that replacing these systems is an extremely expensive, often a multi-year initiative that is simply not practical as they scramble to compete for custom’s attention.
Gartner predicts that every dollar invested in digital business innovation until 2020 will require enterprises to spend at least three times that to continuously modernize the legacy application portfolio. According to an IDC study, about 71 percent of the IT budget slated for US federal civilian agencies will be spent on maintaining legacy systems next year.
The Disconnected Enterprise
Organizations are finding themselves with an increasing number of data and system silos as they venture out to purchase the latest and greatest technologies to add to their ecosystem and expand their capabilities in understanding the customer, engaging with them through digital channels and measuring their successes. Business functions such as PIM, CMS, ERP, CRM, CES, Marketing, Social Advertising, DAM, Loyalty, Site Analytics, Experience Management, etc are scattered across systems and this proliferation of technologies and applications, along with the desire to move to the cloud has multiplied the challenge of data silos. It’s the problem of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing because these systems simply don’t talk to each other. With this fragmentation, most organizations don’t have a chance of providing a consistent experience to their customers or to tell a unified story from customer acquisition to retention and support.
The proliferation of digital channels
Gone are the days when the only way a customer would experience a brand is by personally visiting one of its physical stores. Now the customer interacts with a brand through a variety of digital channels – the company website is just the beginning. From browsing products on a mobile application that are available at the closest branch to browsing the desired items on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook, adding to cart on the mobile phone and completing the purchase later through the online website, customers demand a seamless integrated experience across all channels. They expect content and actions to transfer from one platform of engagement to the next. According to Harvard Business Review, 73% of customers now use multiple channels to make a purchase.
A complex web of point-to-point integrations
The traditional approach of point-to-point integrations between applications and services creates an increasingly complex and difficult to maintain architecture that becomes slower to change as the number of integration points increase. With the proliferation of customer digital channels, quickly changing business requirements and new applications entering the MarTech landscape daily, it’s not an option to take on multi-year integration initiatives. By the time an integration initiative comes to its conclusion, it’s no longer valid because the business landscape has already changed and you’re already behind in your integration roadmap. According to a recent study performed by Gartner, consolidating channel silos, retiring legacy systems and application integration are the top challenges facing enterprises in their journey towards digital transformation.
The Conscia Platform
Building an Intelligently Connected Enterprise
The traditional approach for digital transformation is to refactor or replace legacy systems with newer, more modern technologies. This typically involves a multi-year migration project and most often than not, no one truly understands the impact to the ongoing business operations. Especially with the imminent threats to industries such as retail from giants such as Amazon and Walmart, a project that takes years or months to complete is simply unacceptable.
With an increasing number of touch points, applications, aging systems, it is imperative to have a sound integration strategy – it is impossible to create a digital brand and build long lasting relationships with your customers without having your internal systems providing a united front to the outside world. The Conscia platform serves as the digital backbone for your enterprise by sitting on top of your existing systems and applications and providing an easy-to-connect and scalable API gateway to internal and external digital channels.
Conscia allows you to take an agile approach to digital transformation, one that allows you to connect your existing legacy systems to modern interfaces without the concern of performance. It gives you the freedom to continue using your legacy systems for critical business functions while exposing aspects of the legacy applications through APIs to the digital channels.
So, you may be wondering – there are several integration vendors out there. So what differentiates Conscia from the rest?
Rapid Encapsulation of Legacy Systems with schema-less integration
Traditional ETL tools require an immense amount of effort in data mapping between source and target systems, an activity that can take months, if not years to complete. The main reason for these long drawn out data mapping timelines is that these ETL frameworks require rigid schema mapping in the data transformation chain. A change in one location in the chain can throw off the entire downstream process and require multiple changes to accommodate for a single upstream change in the schema. Conscia’s schema-less data integration framework connects to and processes data from source systems with ease. The schema of the source data is automatically guessed and moves through the chain seamlessly and without the need for schema definition. Any upstream changes to the schema flow automatically downstream. Conscia allows you to encapsulate legacy systems at unprecedented speeds allowing you to keep pace with the demands of the digital era and make large strides towards digital transformation.
Self-Service Business tooling with a zero-code ETL framework
Traditionally, business analysts define the business logic and data mappings and IT goes off and completes the development effort to perform the desired data transformations. This gap in vision and execution causes major set backs in these integration projects as there is almost always a difference between the output provided by the transformation process and business expectations. Conscia bridges this gap by providing business-friendly tools to involve business teams throughout the integration process. A business or systems analyst can use self-service tools to explore, enrich and cleanse data independently of IT. These individuals understand the data mapping and business logic and should be front and centre of the ETL process having full visibility and control into the way data moves from one application to another.
A Scalable API layer
Several players have recently entered the market providing a ‘lipstick on the pig’ solution to modernizing legacy systems. Although, traditional application connectivity platforms provide restful API Gateways connecting legacy and existing applications, the challenge with this approach is that the legacy systems are often slow and their data models are simply not ready for consumption by digital interfaces. Exposing data within these legacy systems with APIs doesn’t solve the underlying problem of performance and scalability as the bottleneck continues to be the legacy systems themselves. Conscia solves this problem by offering a scalable, API-led layer that syncs with enterprise applications and exposes the underlying data without creating load on these systems in real-time.
Optimized data quality with AI-powered data enrichment
Content and data are the heart of user experience, and with that comes the undeniable truth, garbage-in, garbage-out. Applications and experiences are built dynamically from the data residing in systems of record such as PIMs, CMSes and ERPs. Data in legacy systems is frequently inconsistent, incomplete or inaccurate. Conscia provides AI-powered data transformation and enrichment tools to enrich, standardize, autocomplete your data to power a richer, more meaningful user experience.
Digital transformation is an ongoing process and there is no overnight solution for it. As the market and the business requirements evolve, organizations must be able to transform their technology ecosystems quickly and iteratively. Boiling the ocean and replacing the entireinfrastructure with a single platform is not practical as no one application or software can satisfy all of the business needs of any organization. Conscia provides a plug and play architecture that allows you to modernize your existing infrastructure in chunks while maintaining momentum. It allows you to connect the old with the new and provides a practical and expedited roadmap to digital transformation without disrupting your ongoing business operations.