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Lori Angalich

Recent Posts

API Management Best Practices: Create and Facilitate Communities

By Lori Angalich | Thu, Apr 26, 2018

As discussed in our previous post on API Management Fundamentals, the success of an API initiative is dependent on much more than developing great APIs. One of the most important components of a successful API program is diligent monitoring and measurement.

Performance metrics—such as the number of downloads, uptime, and amount of use—help gauge the success of your API with hard numbers. They can alert you to problems from the outset. For example, you may notice a steep drop in data flow that can indicate a bug in the API.

The metrics may also help pinpoint misuse of the API, such as excessive requests for certain data. Ideally, you will provide unique API tokens for users, which will identify who is making calls to your API. An API Management platform can provide these insights and capabilities.

While this is all very important information, the primary focus of these metrics is on trends and usage patterns. These metrics don’t help to determine precisely how to improve APIs for users, fix the problems they may be encountering, or identify the functionality they would like to see. Without a means to capture this feedback from users, the success of the API program may be hindered, and companies miss out on tremendous opportunities. 

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API Management Fundamentals: View APIs as Products, Not Projects

By Lori Angalich | Tue, Apr 03, 2018

If you build the API, they will come…and then what? Building an API doesn’t stop at releasing the API. While an API is not a piece of software in the traditional sense, API management is critical to ensure that it is helping your organization meet its intended goals.

An API needs the proper controls in place, as well as routine maintenance and monitoring to make sure it’s operating the way it was envisioned. Issues that crop up can be dealt with before they become big problems. Additionally, managing and monitoring the API can help determine ROI and provide valuable user information that helps your organization optimize the API for its audience.

According to an Enterprise Management Associates survey on the API economy, most organizations use API gateways and platforms as their primary methods of tracking API transactions. Additionally, almost half of the companies surveyed have created a dedicated API Manager role within the organization, often under the IT umbrella.

This has become necessary as most of the companies surveyed are delivering and managing dozens of APIs to both providers and consumers. 

The API process is a lifecycle, and that requires ongoing testing, upgrades, and post-deployment support, among other services.  Let’s explore some the basics around managing APIs.

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3 Ways Artificial Intelligence Improves Omnichannel Order Fulfillment

By Lori Angalich | Wed, Mar 21, 2018

Omnichannel commerce brings new challenges to order fulfillment. Think of all the channels your customers use to shopyour website, online marketplaces, stores, paging through a catalog, or calling your contact center.

Add in all your inventory locations—including DCs, warehouses, fulfillment partners, and retail locationsand you may run into difficulty fulfilling orders as flawlessly as customers expect. All the order touchpoints such as point-of-sale systems, contact centers, and e-commerce platforms need to sync with your order, inventory, warehouse, shipping, and reporting systems. Otherwise, orders may need to be canceled or delayed, which affects customer loyalty and chips away at profitability.

Flexibility is key when it comes to omnichannel order fulfillment and order management systems that enable it. Static business rules—such as a customer located in California should receive products from the nearest fulfillment center in Arizona— no longer makes sense when inventory is sourced from retail locations as well.  Now, you also need to consider the store inventory, as well as the demand for a product in that geographic area.

That same customer, located in Northern California, orders a popular product online that sells out quickly in the retail store in his area. Instead of shipping from the store in his area that has low inventory (and risking losing an in-store sale as a result of being out of stock), artificial intelligence can determine that it’s better to ship the product from a store in an area that isn’t experiencing the same level of demand.

Sound confusing? It can be. But this is the next generation of order management and fulfillment, which uses artificial intelligence and cognitive capabilities to determine the best source for items and ship them in the most profitable way possible. These capabilities can transform the way orders are fulfilledreducing costs and increasing profitability, while ensuring customers are happy. Here are a few examples of how this works.

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How Artificial Intelligence Can Transform Supply Chains

By Lori Angalich | Mon, Mar 19, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer the province of science fiction: it’s here, and it can be leveraged by your supply chain to transform the way your company sources materials and delivers finished products.

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APIs in Action: How Innovative Companies Leverage APIs

By Lori Angalich | Thu, Mar 15, 2018

Application programming interfaces (APIs) are changing the ways companies do business. From integrating deeply with legacy backend systems to pulling in new data sources, organizations are finding new uses for existing data—and with it, more opportunities for revenue.

As the Internet of Things (IoT), omnichannel strategy, and hybrid cloud continue to evolve, APIs will be the glue that holds systems together and the key that simultaneously unlocks the door to opportunity.

Many organizations are looking to APIs to solve their integration challenges and move toward a more digital organization. According to MuleSoft’s Connectivity Benchmark Report, 72 percent of enterprises already have an API strategy−and generating revenue is the top priority.  

As your organization moves forward with its own API strategy, it may help to draw inspiration from some of the most forward-thinking companies already leveraging APIs to better serve customers, employees, and partners—including the world’s most popular music streaming service, a logistics company that needed to serve a new market efficiently, and a retailer that needed to create better in-store and online experiences for customers.

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Choosing the Right Order Management System for Great Customer Experiences

By Lori Angalich | Wed, Mar 07, 2018

It’s no secret that customers expect a seamless and personalized experience, whether interacting with a company via a mobile device, computer, in-store, or on the phone with a customer service representative.  As consumers (and B2B customers) ourselves, we have little—if any—patience for inconsistent information and impersonal interactions.   

This not only applies to our shopping and purchasing experiences, but to our post-purchase experience as well:  timeliness and accuracy of order status updates, if our order was delivered or available for pick up as promised, the quality of our interactions with representatives, and the ease of returning items.

Sounds obvious, but if you’re reading this blog post, you understand that meeting these expectations consistently is no small feat. Delivering flawless omnichannel shopping and post-purchase experiences can be exceedingly complex from technology, process, and training perspectives—especially for companies with multiple business models and brands, multiple marketplaces, a large number of items, and numerous store locations, warehouses, distribution centers, and fulfillment partners. 

An omnichannel order management system (OMS) can play an essential role in meeting these expectations.  Today’s sophisticated order management and fulfillment systems are capable of much more than capturing an order through and sending it to a back-end system for processing.  Some can meet a wide range of customer demands, orchestrate order fulfillment across channels, facilitate an experience that engenders customer loyalty, and assist in maximizing profits for the company as well. In addition, these systems can provide critical business data to better inform decisions surrounding merchandising, returns, inventory, marketing, and other functions. 

Most likely, if you are selling products online, you are already employing some sort of an order management system. It might be part of your ecommerce platform, ERP, or CRM system—or perhaps a home-grown, proprietary solution. However, as you may have recognized, these systems often fall short of meeting customer expectations.

If this is the case—and you want to improve the customer experience by leaps and bounds—consider some of the most critical components of an omnichannel order management system as you evaluate your options.  Here are some questions you should be asking.

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Unleashing 3 Key Benefits of Greater Supply Chain Visibility

By Lori Angalich | Tue, Feb 27, 2018

 It’s 11:00 p.m. Do you know where that critical shipment is?

When an important shipment containing parts essential to your flagship product is delayed in transit, the delay can resonate throughout your manufacturing process and impact orders. If you don’t know the problem exists in your supply chain, you’re left scrambling to fulfill orders and maintain production levels. Lack of supply chain visibility puts your business at risk, affecting not only your bottom line but also your company’s reputation.

According to research firm Gartner, supply chain visibility is a top priority among supply chain leaders and Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) across a wide range of industries and geographies. And for good reasons: visibility into your supply chain not only lets you mitigate late shipment scenarios but also helps you proactively mitigate these problems. Supply chain visibility can also help you identify risks and potential savings.

When visibility is combined with business intelligence, predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI)—organizations can gain unprecedented supply chain insights that can transform their operations.

While there are too many benefits to cover in a single blog post, let’s explore three benefits of supply chain visibility that are top-of-mind. 

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API Basics for Business: What They Are And Why They're Important

By Lori Angalich | Tue, Feb 20, 2018

With all the chatter about digital transformation and digital economy, application programming interfaces (APIs) have moved into the spotlight. As organizations are striving to transform by connecting their disparate systems, adding new capabilities on top of legacy software, and expanding into new channels, geographies, and business models—APIs can help solve integration challenges and enable organizations to focus on growing the business…not on IT issues.

APIs can open up numerous business opportunities and play a critical role in a company’s digital strategy. However, many enterprises aren’t leveraging them effectively to make their data stores and applications more accessible—and are therefore missing out on opportunities to serve internal and external customers better.

Also, this can mean missing out on significant revenue opportunities. The 2017 MuleSoft Connectivity Benchmark Report reports that over 50 percent of companies surveyed already are making money from their APIs or plan to in the near future. Additionally, 80 percent of large companies—those with over 10,000 employees—already make more than $5 million a year from APIs. If your organization doesn’t have an API strategy, it’s time to look at what APIs are and what they can do for you. Let’s explore this.

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8 Great Reasons to Attend IBM Think 2018

By Lori Angalich | Thu, Feb 15, 2018

Did you know that IBM merged a number of their top conferences—Interconnect, Amplify, World of Watson, Edge, and Connect—into one in 2018?  If you haven’t already heard about it, IBM Think is IBM’s new flagship business and technology conference, taking place March 19–22, 2018 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

It’s a global event where over 40,000 business and technology innovators, leaders, and thinkers will gather in one place to share ideas, discuss topics like Artificial Intelligence, Cloud, Supply Chain, Blockchain, Omnichannel Commerce, Data Analytics, Integration, Security, IoT, and more—and enjoy some exceptional networking, entertainment, and fun along the way.  

While there are many reasons to attendincluding a few mentioned in the video belowyou may be most interested in reading the highlights so that you can make plans quickly (the event is just weeks away). So, as someone who has attended quite a few conferences over the years, I’ll share in this post what I believe are some of the best reasons to attend. These are in no particular order.

 

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IBM Amplify Spotlight: Are You Causing Your Customers to Shop Elsewhere?

By Lori Angalich | Fri, Mar 17, 2017

IBM Amplify 2017 kicks off next week, and we're excited to be participating again as sponsors and presenters.  

For one of our sessions, we've teamed up with John Stelzer, IBM Senior Omni-channel Strategist, to share insights gained from comprehensive research on the topic of omnichannel retail. This includes several studies:

  • IBM Consumer Expectations Study, which covers what consumers expect
  • IBM 2016 Customer Experience Index, which describes how retailers are actually doing
  • IBM/Aberdeen Group 2016 InBalance Retailer Survey, which describes how retailers think they're doing

This session offers a rare opportunity to hear correlations and comparisons between these studies, see what's most important to consumers today, understand what has changed in recent times, and (if you're part of a retail organization) assess how your capabilities compare to other retailers.  

If you're attending IBM Amplify, read on to learn more about this session and add it to your agenda.  We hope to connect with you at Amplify and see you at the session!

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