How to Enhance Your In-Store Experience & Become an Omnichannel Powerhouse

by Admin July 14, 2017

Creating a great in-store experience is critical in retail, but these days it must be part of a unified experience across all channels. Retailers need to create an engaging and convenient shopping experience at all touchpoints, including web, social media, email, mobile, digital, and in-store.

Bridging your online and offline shopping journeys allows you to connect seamlessly with your customers and keep them on the path to purchase, whether it happens through e-commerce, in-store shopping, click-and-collect, or direct-store-delivery. To compete in today’s changing retail environment, these omnichannel strategies are critical to any retail game plan.

So you need to engage your customers digitally and create an outstanding experience that begins online and continues in your store. But how do you bring together your digital and in-store experience to deliver great service and become a successful omnichannel retailer?

1. Provide Personalized Customer Service

Equipping your staff with mobile computers, including mobile point of sale and built-in barcode and RFID scanning, allows them to run critical business applications and access real-time inventory, pricing, shipping and delivery options, and even online product reviews. When it’s time to complete a purchase and pay for it, your associates can also provide fast and convenient checkouts anywhere in your store.

2. Provide Self-Service Options

Giving shoppers self-service options is important for many retailers. Depending on their preferences and the nature of your retail environment, you may want to add self-service kiosks for price and inventory checks as well as store maps that make it easy to find products. You can also use kiosks for convenient self-service checkouts.

3. Create Customer-Centric Fulfillment

Today’s consumers can shop anywhere at any time, and they now expect nearly instant gratification and ultra-convenient service. So it’s important to have a fulfillment strategy that supports in-store shopping, online purchases with in-store pickups, and home deliveries from your warehouses or local store inventory.

To make customer-centric fulfillment happen, you need to connect your online, in-store, and warehouse operations. Automatic data collection, tracking, and mobile computing solutions are the way to do this. With the right systems in place, you can provide your associates and customers with timely, real-time access to accurate inventory, shipping and delivery options, and the tools to ensure fast and convenient service, whether the shopping experience takes place online or in your store.

4. Deliver the Right Product, in the Right Place, at the Right Time

One of the secrets to Amazon’s success is its use of big data, software, and other intelligent tools to measure and analyze consumer traffic and behavior. This allows Amazon to anticipate product demand and deliver the right products wherever and whenever they’re needed.

Store retailers can use the same tools, plus mobile marketing and location tracking, to understand customer traffic and behavior. Using a combination of data, measurement, and analysis of online and in-store customer activity as well as trends, you can better manage distribution, inventory, in-store availability, and pick-up or delivery.

Taking the First Step

At ASI, we’re helping retailers implement these best practices and achieve omnichannel success. If you’re looking to create a better in-store experience and connect your e-commerce and brick-and-mortar operations to deliver the best possible service to your customers, we can help.

We offer IT systems design, consulting, and integration that will turn your retail business into an omnichannel powerhouse. Drawing on deep expertise and customized solutions, we blend strategic designs, proven Zebra mobile technologies, and world-class service and support to create omnichannel solutions for the future of retail.

Contact us now to get started and request a free consultation.

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General | Zebra

Understanding Omnichannel Retail: Why It Matters & How to Get Started

by Admin July 6, 2017

An omnichannel approach is now the most crucial sales and growth strategy for retailers struggling to survive and thrive in an increasingly competitive industry dominated by online sales. However, retailers need to understand omnichannel and carefully evaluate their options before investing in a strategy and the technologies to drive it.

Here’s a quick summary of some key omnichannel trends and considerations you should keep in mind for your retail business.

A recent study by comScore and UPS showed that shoppers made 51 percent of all their purchases online in 2016. This marked a turning point for retail and the first time in history that the majority of purchasing happened online.

As more statistics like these emerge, some analysts have predicted the death of traditional retail, citing an inevitable and precipitous decline sparked by the dominance of online retailers such as Amazon. But how do they explain Amazon’s move into brick-and-mortar retail?

In November 2015, Amazon shocked the retail industry by opening its first brick-and-mortal retail store. A few months later, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon plans to open as many as 400 bookstores. The stores will be used to collect new data, stock shelves from nearby warehouses, serve as “experience centers,” and provide pick-up and drop-off points for 24-hour deliveries and returns.

At ASI, we’re hardly surprised by Amazon’s move into brick-and-mortar. It’s part of creating a true omnichannel experience, which means meeting your customers anytime and anywhere, both online and in stores.

Online channels, such as retailer websites, social media, email marketing, and digital as well as mobile marketing are keys to engaging customers as they’re shopping and comparing prices before they buy. In the store, face-to-face interactions and in-person experiences help convert online shopping and price comparisons into successful sales and repeat business.

In fact, a recent study reported in the Harvard Business Review found that only 7 percent of consumers are online-only shoppers, and only 20 percent are store-only shoppers. The remaining 73 percent are omnichannel customers, who are considerably more valuable than single-channel customers.

Omnichannel customers spend an average of 4 percent more on every in-store shopping occasion and 10 percent more online than single-channel shoppers. With each additional channel they use, they spend more in-store. For example, if they use four or more channels, they spend 9 percent more in-store than single-channel customers. Those who conduct online research on the retailer’s website or other sites before they buy spend 13 percent more in-store than single-channel shoppers.

As the study points out, omnichannel engages shoppers with your brand and ultimately draws them into your physical store. By giving them a seamless, multi-channel experience, you can capitalize on the higher value of omnichannel customers and give them an experience that online pure players can’t match.

Indeed, the best retail brands have achieved success, despite the online trends, by delivering a consistent experience across all channels and valuing the in-store as well as the online experience.

At ASI, we help our clients achieve this by providing consulting, technologies, and support to help them connect and optimize all of their marketing channels—including their website, mobile, social, and other digital experiences, as well as warehousing, inventory, delivery, and in-store operations.

Our recommendations often include implementing and integrating retail technology solutions from our partners at Zebra Technologies. Zebra’s mobile computers, barcode and RFID scanners, and printing solutions offer unprecedented data capture and analytics capabilities, which help you connect all of your retail channels, understand your customers, and develop innovative ways to serve them.

They also empower your staff to provide better service and in-store experiences by enabling better face-to-face engagement, better access to product and inventory information, self-service options, click-and-collect fulfillment, and loyalty solutions to encourage repeat business.

To learn more about omnichannel retail and find the right strategies and solutions for your business, contact us now to request a free consultation. We’d be happy to help.

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General | Zebra

Five steps to building a Composable Infrastructure: Part 2

by kriley June 30, 2017
Build your Composable Infrastructure with HPE Synergy

Composable Infrastructure—a new approach to architecture—powers innovation and value creation for the new breed of applications while more efficiently running traditional workloads such as:

Hybrid cloud infrastructure - Combining hardware infrastructure, software, and services to deliver a single platform that enables customers to be well positioned for the cloud

Application development - Allocate and de-provision compute, storage, and network resources per developer during the design, development, and integration phases of a project

Data management - Integration of real-time enterprise communication services that provide a consistent unified user interface and experience across multiple devices

IT infrastructure - Allocate and de-provision compute, storage, and network resources for traditional business applications such as system and network management, data file transfer, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), and security systems

HPE tells us that there are 5 main steps in getting your infrastructure to a composable state...

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Five steps to building a Composable Infrastructure: Part 1

by kriley June 28, 2017

In today’s hyper-connected world, windows of opportunity open fast and close even faster. In this Idea Economy, anyone can change the world, creating an age of relentless competition.

Every enterprise is at risk of missing a market opportunity and being disrupted by a new idea or business model. The winners in this world are companies of any size that embrace and execute good ideas to deliver value faster and better than their competitors.

Today’s infrastructure is too static and changes are too process-oriented, making it slow and complex. In the Idea Economy, infrastructure must be the engine of value creation, not the bottleneck to success. What has worked in the past isn’t going to work in the future, as IT must now be able to support two operating environments.

  • Traditional applications that are designed to support and automate existing business processes such as collaboration, data processing, analytics, supply chain, and web infrastructure
  • A new breed of applications and services that drive revenue and new customer experiences by leveraging mobility, Big Data, and cloud-native technologies

To be successful in the Idea Economy, it’s imperative for businesses to participate and capitalize quickly. How quickly IT can experiment, learn, test, tune, and turn ideas into value matters more than ever.

Introducing the first Composable Infrastructure

HPE Synergy, the first platform built from the ground up for Composable Infrastructure, offers an experience that empowers IT to create and deliver new value instantly and continuously.

It is a single infrastructure that reduces operational complexity for traditional workloads and increases operational velocity for the new breed of applications and services. Through a single interface, HPE Synergy composes physical and virtual compute, storage, and fabric pools into any configuration for any application. As an extensible platform, it easily enables a broad range of applications and operational models such as virtualization, hybrid cloud, and DevOps. With

HPE Synergy, IT can become not just the internal service provider but also the business partner to rapidly launch new applications that become the business.

The HPE Synergy experience enables IT to:

  • Run anything: Optimize any application, reduce CAPEX, and free resources with a single infrastructure with fluid pools of physical and virtual compute, storage, and fabric
  • Move faster: Accelerate application and service delivery through a single interface that precisely composes logical infrastructures at near-instant speeds
  • Work smarter: Reduce operational effort and cost through internal software-defined intelligence with template-driven, frictionless operations
  • Unlock value creation: Increase productivity and control across the data center by integrating and automating infrastructure operations and applications through a unified API

Need More Information?  Contact ASI!



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ASI at the NYC CS Fair

by Admin April 5, 2017

Check out ASI's Vivian Scott at the NYC CS Fair!

The NYC Computer Science Opportunity Fair (CS Fair) is New York City's largest annual college and career inspiration event for public high school students studying computer science. In its fourth year, the 2017 CS Fair will host over 2,000 students from 65+ schools across all five boroughs as well as 100+ companies, colleges and extra-curricular programs.







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General

ASI can help you improve ROI with hyper convergence

by Admin March 10, 2017

Taking the hyper converged plunge? Let ASI help improve your ROI.

More companies are diving into the benefits of hyper converged infrastructure to speed and simplify their IT service delivery. So many, in fact, that a Gartner study estimates that by 2020, more than 20% of mission-critical applications will be running on a hyper converged platform.1

In this report—published by Gartner in October of 2016—Hewlett Packard Enterprise is ranked as a leader in its Magic Quadrant for Integrated Systems. Among the benefits offered by HPE, Gartner calls out the broad portfolio of integrated systems and reference architectures, convergence to cloud, and a simplified path to composable infrastructure.

As an HPE Platinum Partner, ASI System Integration is certified and trained to architect and deploy HPE Hyper Converged systems. For companies looking to leverage this trending technology advancement for infrastructure advantage, we can help drive more ROI from your hyper converged investment in several different ways.

Simplify VDI configuration

There’s economy of scale to be gained by virtualizing your desktops for efficiencies like improving PC performance and reducing hardware costs. Yet the manual setup of virtualization for VDI can be time-consuming and may require a skillset that your IT team might not have. We can change all that by deploying HPE Hyper Converged 380 into your data center. It comes pre-configured with the resources you need to automate virtualization—along with storage density to support persistent and non-persistent desktops.

You can stand up a new VM in as little as fifteen minutes with an intuitive, user-friendly interface that can be navigated by an IT generalist. You can also reduce deployment error and risk with the support you receive from prescriptive order and installation guides for configuration accuracy.

Advance to cloud faster

While cloud computing is moving at the speed of business—it can cost a small fortune if not done correctly. ASI can deploy an HPE Hyper Converged 380 appliance pre-configured with HPE ProLiant DL380 Servers—powered by Intel® Xeon® processors and VMware—to support hybrid cloud adoption via the HPE Helion CloudSystem. With it, you can leverage the cloud to pool and distribute resources while maintaining control of storage and compute components in your data center. The integrated, pre-defined nature of the appliance reduces complexity, and speeds the process of provisioning resources to drive workloads.

Manage with less IT impact

Let us help you minimize the IT impact of infrastructure management. The software-defined nature of HPE Hyper Converged systems can enable IT agility by consolidating hardware siloes to lower infrastructure management cost and complexity. Disparate resources are integrated and configured to work together to support specified workloads with fewer errors and little deployment risk. It taps into software-defined simplicity to break through hardware barriers that take time and resources to overcome.

What ROI benefits of hyper convergence is your business missing? Contact us to learn how we can configure HPE Hyper Converged Systems to reduce virtualization complexity, streamline cloud adoption and simplify IT management for cost savings and operational advantage.

1 Report, “Magic Quadrant for Integrated Systems,” Gartner, Oct 2016

© 2017 ASI SYSTEM INTEGRATION

Intel, the Intel logo, Xeon, and Xeon Inside are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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General | HPE

three ways to gain IT velocity to accelerate innovation

by Admin March 10, 2017

Three ways to gain IT velocity to accelerate innovation

Innovation is happening everywhere, and it’s moving at record speed. Time-to-market timelines are condensed. Business lifecycles are shorter. And the window of opportunity to monetize ideas is closing faster. Now—more than ever—you can't let a siloed, legacy infrastructure running at the speed of yesterday prevent your business from gaining a market advantage. And, thankfully, it doesn’t have to. Because there’s a cost-effective and relatively simple way to rev-up your infrastructure in the form of hyper converged platforms.

1. Speed of deployment

Hyper converged appliances are purpose-built infrastructure appliances. They are pre-configured factory-integrated compute, storage, networking, and management components that drive a range of workloads – from general-purpose—to VDI—to cloud. This tightly-woven integration replaces the disparate resources typically required to reduce the labor needed to provision resources for mission-critical applications. Thus, a business can innovate without technology barriers. With solutions like HPE Hyper Converged systems built on a federated architecture, interoperability is optimized so workloads can be provisioned up to eight times faster than with traditional hardware.

2. Speed of management

Manual oversight of IT systems is time-consuming and doesn't assure rapid IT response times. Hyper converged products like HPE Hyper Converged 380 are configured with software-defined management and HPE OneView that provides a 360- degree view of your infrastructure components – with point-and-click management control. It simplifies management tasks like creating VMs, updating firmware and drivers, and adding capacity. For instance, hyper converged management ease makes it possible to add VM capacity in just 15 minutes with a few clicks.

3. Speed of data access

Legacy data centers put limits on how fast data can move, but that’s not the case with hyper converged platforms like the HPE Hyper Converged 380. These systems are built on HPE ProLiant DL380 Servers, the world’s best-selling server, flash-optimized for accelerated data access—and powered by Intel® Xeon® processors for speed. Federated architecture assures interoperability that is essential for seamless data transfer.

The IT experts of ASI System Integration understand the role IT plays in business innovation. We're a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Platinum Partner that can provide the skills, experience, and expertise to re-tool your infrastructure for faster IT service delivery leveraging products like HPE Hyper Converged 380. Contact us to learn more.

© 2017 ASI SYSTEM INTEGRATION

Intel, the Intel logo, Xeon, and Xeon Inside are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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General | HPE

HPE FTW in Hyper Converged

by Admin March 10, 2017

Our top pick for hyper converged? Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Here’s why.

It’s a question we hear often: “How can I get a greater ROI from my IT spend?” It’s a common request and one that has an easy answer: Hewlett Packard Enterprise. That's because HPE Hyper Converged platforms are delivering phenomenal ROI in the form of data center simplicity, agility, scalability, and efficiency.

While there are many different hyper converged vendors, none provide the integrated, end-to-end interoperability that HPE does, and that benefit translates into a solution that works in more environments with fewer barriers.

Here are a few things that make HPE Hyper Converged solutions stand out:

Components—HPE Hyper Converged solutions integrate best-in-class compute, storage, networking, and management components into a single appliance that’s software-driven. It’s built on the HPE ProLiant DL380 Server—powered by Intel® Xeon® processors—known for supporting near-continuous availability for mission-critical workloads. These components are pre-selected for optimum performance and thoroughly tested and backed by HPE's global support teams.

Integration—The precise combination of components assures reliability in a platform that can serve a broad range of demands. There are configurations available for general, remote office, and cloud-based workloads. These purpose-built devices simplify IT deployment, and eliminate incompatibility that can cause bottlenecks and downtime. A tightly woven fabric of data mobility eliminates silos for a highly orchestrated and efficient IT delivery system.

Value—HPE Hyper Converged solutions are future-proof. You can scale up your configuration as your business grows, simply by adding nodes of capacity. HPE OneView lets you manage the system from a single, centralized console that can be accessed from any desktop or mobile device. And the investment that's spent on this software-defined solution lays the foundation for the adoption of a fully composable infrastructure.

Recognition—Hewlett Packard Enterprise has decades of innovation to its name, and has collaborated with the major technology players. HPE has perfected software-defined architecture to allow for a flexible solution that can support a wide range of workloads for enterprise and line-of-business workloads across enterprise and SMB sites. And, HPE has been named a leader in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Integrated Systems. Most recently, the HPE Hyper Converged 380 system has won CRN’s 2016 Infrastructure Tech Innovator Award for excellence.

HPE Hyper Converged systems can be deployed in just about any data center to support any workload requirement. As an HPE Platinum Partner, ASI System Integration is certified and approved to deploy HPE Hyper Converged 380 into your business. Contact us to learn more.

© 2017 ASI SYSTEM INTEGRATION

Intel, the Intel logo, Xeon, and Xeon Inside are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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General | HPE

Benefits of Hyper Converged IT

by Admin March 10, 2017

What’s so simple about hyper converged IT? Everything.

Infrastructure simplicity is a front-burner initiative for just about every IT manager and it is easy to see why; complexity in the data center costs time and money. It takes away from time that can be spent innovating for the business, and puts IT initiatives at risk if infrastructure inefficiencies cause bottlenecks and downtime.

Complexity can be overcome with a very simple change to the data center in the form of hyper converged appliances. These powerhouse devices can tame the complexity of even the most chaotic data centers, by replacing siloed, inflexible legacy resources with software-defined, flexible resources that can be managed centrally and deployed on command.

The HPE Hyper Converged 380 is one such device that can go a long way to simplify your infrastructure. It is built with HPE ProLiant DL 380 Servers—powered by Intel® Xeon® processors—and contains factory-integrated compute, storage, networking, and management components purpose-built for heavy workloads. It eases the burden of manual configurations plagued by incompatibility. So, what are the benefits of a hyper converged platform to reduce infrastructure complexity? Here are three key points.

Ease up on your IT staff—The HPE Hyper Converged 380 comes with centralized management that displays all your infrastructure into a single clear view. It uses HPE OneView to display a user-friendly dashboard that makes it easy for IT generalists to make updates and troubleshoot infrastructure problems. And management tasks are performed with point-and-click ease. VMs, for example, can be added in just five clicks, and updates can be done in as little as three.

Dig deep into insight—The big payoff of the HPE Hyper Converged 380 is the software-defined intelligence that provides instant analytics and diagnostics into system performance. With it, staff can remotely monitor and fine tune system performance with end-to-end insight into trouble spots, and help plan for future demand with real-time insight.

Rein in costs—Data center inefficiencies like over-provisioning can drive up costs and eat away at your bottom line. Hyper converged appliances let you scale resources on demand, starting with as little as two nodes, or as many as 16. This eliminates the costly practice of having to invest IT dollars in future IT capacity. Software-defined resources can be configured for any workload, making the most of your hyper converged investment.

ASI System Integration is a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Platinum Partner who can configure and deploy HPE Hyper Converged appliances into your business with a solution that’s aligned with your needs – and your budget. We have three decades of experience and the highest levels of certifications for infrastructure optimization. Contact us to learn more.

© 2017 ASI SYSTEM INTEGRATION

Intel, the Intel logo, Xeon, and Xeon Inside are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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General | HPE

what's the price of cloud migration?

by Admin March 10, 2017

Cloud migration costs high? Reduce, with hyper converged appliances.

Gone are the days of the "no-cloud" IT policies in which cloud migration was off limits for mission-critical workloads. Today’s enterprises are embracing a cloud-first strategy for all kinds of workloads—including mission-critical ones. As a case in point, a press release from Gartner estimates that by 2020,1 corporate no-cloud policies will be outdated and about as rare as a “no internet policy” is today. Why the change of heart? Cloud is powering the innovation economy.

1 Press release, “Gartner Says By 2020, a Corporate "No-Cloud" Policy Will Be as Rare as a "No-Internet" Policy Is Today,” Gartner, June 2016

Yet the on-ramp to cloud adoption can get expensive, due in part to the high cost of compute, storage, bandwidth, and software licenses that can add up quickly. Cost control is possible with a hybrid approach to cloud. It works by leveraging the cloud to pool and distribute resources while using hyper converged appliances in the data center to power the workloads. It's a win-win situation that delivers self-service access to cloud-based pools of resources that you can access on the fly, and scale compute and storage with price predictability as your needs change.

Take, for example, the HPE Hyper Converged 380 appliance, powered by Intel® Xeon® processors. It comes in a cloud-ready configuration that’s purpose-built with the factory-integrated compute, storage, networking, and management components required to provision cloud-based workloads—with lower cost than traditional cloud deployments.

Save on compute

Don’t let a cloud service agreement lock you into more compute than you need now. By leveraging a cloud-ready hyper converged appliance in your data center, you control how you scale and finance compute resources. The HPE Hyper Converged 380 offers a pay-as-you-grow scale-out capacity that can deliver four times the compute of traditional cloud hardware in 75% space. It lets you purchase as little as two nodes and expand up to 16 as your business grows.

Save on storage

Don’t over invest in hardware you don’t need. Hyper converged appliances, like the HPE Hyper Converged 380, built with HPE ProLiant DL380 Servers—powered by Intel® Xeon® processors—lets you access storage capacity on affordable x86 servers that allow you to reduce your hardware acquisition costs by as much as 50% over the cost of purchasing a scale-out, shared storage array. There's no need for a centralized SAN; storage blocks can be added to the system as needed to increase capacity, drastically lowering your startup costs.

If you like the idea of hybrid cloud, you’re not alone. Gartner predicts that half of all large enterprises will have hybrid cloud by 2017.2 Let ASI System Integration fast-track your hybrid cloud migration with lower cost, and more control. We’re a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Platinum Partner with the skills and training to deploy hyper converged appliances like the HPE Hyper Converged 380 into your infrastructure to reduce the cost of powering your cloud-based workloads. Contact us to learn more.

1         Press release, “Gartner Says By 2020, a Corporate "No-Cloud" Policy Will Be as Rare as a "No-Internet" Policy Is Today,” Gartner June 2016

2         Press release, “Gartner Says Nearly Half of Large Enterprises Will Have Hybrid Cloud Deployments by the End of 2017, “ Gartner, Oct 2013

© 2017 ASI SYSTEM INTEGRATION

Intel, the Intel logo, Xeon, and Xeon Inside are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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General | HPE

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