Keeping all of your devices up-to-date with the latest software updates is essential to maintaining your businesses functionality. When software becomes outdated, bugs appear, it can crash unexpectedly, and it becomes more vulnerable to cyber attacks. Automated deployment tools take the responsibility out of your hands and handle the process autonomously.
When looking at these tools, there are two main purposes that they are used for; enterprise deployment, and continuous release. While many of these tools can be used interchangeably, it’s important to understand the difference.
Enterprise software deployment tools are used by businesses to make sure that all of their systems are updated. If you are managing a large office with a bunch of different computers, you need to make sure everybody is using the same version. This makes it easier for your IT professionals to fix problems and prevents unwanted bugs from arising.
Continuous deployment software is a program which continuously deploys updates to devices. It operates on a DevOps principle whereby developers code updates in short cycles and are continuously releasing small software updates. This is different from enterprise deployment where large updates are made only so often and released as bigger packages.
The 7 Best Deployment Tools
There are a lot of products on the market, and many of them get the job done. However, when you’re operating on a large scale, you want to do more than just ‘get the job done.’ You want to make every integration quick, automatic, and seamless. So, with that being said, we’re going to give you our definitive tools list.
1. Xebia Labs XL Deploy
- Automatic rollback
- Highly scalable
- Can deploy to any environment
- Easy-to-use enterprise deployment
XL Deploy is Xebia Labs’ flagship product. It’s one of the best enterprise software deployment tools on the market. They have a highly scalable business model which allows system administrators to handle anything from a few small computers to an entire office building with hundreds of devices.
One of their best selling-points is their automatic rollback feature which can automatically un-deploy an update. Lot’s of times, when software is released, it’s buggy, or a developer forgot to add a key feature. Being able to quickly un-deploy is efficient and saves time and embarrassment.
2. Microsoft SCCM
- Secure deployment with endpoint protection
- Comprehensive asset management
- Is able to deploy operating systems
- Provides remote control capability to the configuration manager’s console
- Provides software metering so you can see how well your new updates are performing.
Microsofts System Center Configuration Manager is an enterprise development tool that is designed to save your business money. SCCM reduced the overhead cost of having to individually deploy software to each device. SCCM is installed on each computer with the systems administrator in control of the master version. SCCM keeps a comprehensive record of all of your business software assets, so you never lose important keys and saved data. Systems admins have complete control over which updates are allowed to deploy and which shouldn’t.
- Open-source software
- Multi-cloud deployment
- Schedule automated releases
- Supports popular cloud services: Amazon Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Open Stack, and more
- Pre-deployment testing
- Allows you to set up automatic notifications
Spinnaker is the ultimate free, open-source continuous delivery software. Netflix and Waze are two multinational corporations that are currently on their roster, and they regularly use Spinnaker to streamline and deploy all of their updates. They allow developers to test all of their updates with the integrated “Chaos Monkey” application that tests for worst case scenarios. One of the best things about Spinnaker is that they have an active community of users, so if you run into any problems, you are guaranteed to find a quick answer. Oh, and did we mention it’s free?
- Allows system admin to set up scheduled updates
- Can release to any environment
- Can service a few devices, hundreds of devices, and even an entire cloud
- Automated risk mitigation
- Detailed deployment plans
BuildMaster is one of the latest products by a software development company called Inedo. This is an enterprise deployment software that focuses on risk mitigation. To some, the built-in features that are constantly testing for faults in the update, questioning every install, and pointing out key details can be annoying. However, to others, they can be a lifesaver. BuildMaster is set up to ensure that you will never have a buggy release or accidentally deploy software and updates that aren’t ready.
5. Go Continuous Delivery
- Easily visualize your deployment pipeline
- Cross-platform testing and reporting
- Allows you to compare builds and updates
- Numerous plugins available for download
Go is a great open-source continuous deployment tool. What makes it so outstanding is its supreme visibility. Users can see every step of the deployment pipeline which makes it easy to find a problematic release and fix the problem Another great feature that they have is cross-platform testing. Before you deploy a new software or an update, you can use Go’s built-in testing to make sure that it can run on all of your environments without a problem. They also allow administrators to perform a build comparison which helps them to decide whether a new update is actually worth it or not.
- Simplifies Android and iOS app deployment
- Automatically-generated screenshots
- Makes beta deployment simple
- Allows you to easily deploy to Google Play or Apple App store
- Quickly sign your code
If you’re a mobile app developer, then you need to be using Fastlane. While you can do everything yourself, Fastlane simplifies the process and makes it a lot quicker. This allows you to spend more time writing code and less time jumping through hoops trying to manage technicalities.
Fastlane automatically takes screenshots of your application for app store development, takes care of code signatures, and submits it to the app store in minutes. Fastlane also makes it incredibly easy to deploy your app to authorized testers for beta releases. It’s also completely free and open-source, so you’ve got nothing to lose.
- App deployment manager
- Track user metrics
- Manage updates and deployment times
- Detailed crash reports
- Available for all major platforms
- Scalable for large companies
Whether you’re a solo app developer or you manage a large company, HockeyApp is the perfect enterprise software deployment tool for all applications. It’s owned and operated by Microsoft, so they have all of the tools they need to give their users the best experience possible. They allow app developers to easily deploy their apps to the App Store, Google Play, and other online sources.
One of the most useful features is that they allow you to track all of the user metrics which makes it simple to plan out future updates and integration. You can even view detailed crash reports which let you know exactly what you need to fix.
When performing a software deployment tools comparison, you need to factor in your specific needs. If you are a company looking to streamline your existing software updates and keep track of your digital inventory, then you will likely just need an enterprise deployment tool. However, if you’re a developer who is constantly releasing small updates then you need to be looking for continuous deployment automation tools. Whatever your need happens to be, you’re bound to find a solution in our definitive tools list. Happy coding!
Network Olympus: Why Use It?
IT Staff in Different Offices Can Monitor
If your IT team is spread out through multiple locations, who are responsible for helping monitor the network performance, the remote access enables for the staff in other cities, branches, countries, or offices to check the network performance – even if the software is installed on the headquarters.
This means that if the device is down at a remote location, a network expert can help you troubleshoot the issue without getting involved. And, he doesn’t have to ask you what you’re viewing on your end – he can see updated metrics and network maps himself.
Remain Mobile Without Neglect
Having the ability to access the network remotely means that your team doesn’t have to be on the site constantly. If you have to work from the local coffee shop or home, the remote access allows you to see the device status on your mobile device or laptop.
Mobile network monitoring helps users keep their network data, so they don’t have to risk outages due to lack of access.
Access Levels Are Managed For Better Security
Some network administrators might not like the idea of remote access due to the remote security threats lying behind it. One way to keep the network secure is through encrypted authentication and by making sure each user logs in with the same method.
Another form of protection against security issues is its ability to customize your user access. Most of Network Olympus remote monitoring tools will help you give access to the user or admin level to certain dashboards or maps. Managing the access to your users will help you keep the connection fully secure.
Also, get a tool that will consistently update and give patches to any security holes that surface. Although security threats are common, having good tools to notify your users once a patch has been released. This allows you to take advantage of improved security measures as much as possible.
With The Right Connectivity, You’ll Always Find Access
Network Olympus gives users more access due to its remote capabilities. As long as you’re on the network due to a point to point or VPN connectivity, you’ll be able to utilize and manage the connected devices within the network. Regardless of where they or you are located.
By giving more remote monitoring capabilities for you and your IT team, you’ll have enough flexibility to handle what the modern work world requires. And you can gain peace of mind that no matter where you’re at, you can see the network at a glance, whether it spans from a country, world, or city.
Basically, Network Olympus can be used to help you utilize your network. Not only does it have multiple features to help monitor your goods, but also helps keep your team on track. Thus, try to utilize it so you can keep your IT team running efficiently.
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Utilizing Hardware Inventory Scanner
Although there is a multitude of tools to help you keep track of your software, it can be difficult to do the same with hardware. But that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Taking care of your hardware inventory is important if you want to deliver physical products to your customers.
Recently, Amazon has created policies to help sellers sell physical products. For businesses, having a hardware inventory scanner will help you understand your products and know how much stock you have.
While it can be confusing to know what scanner is needed, having one will help you utilize your business effectively. As businesses progress, there will be more rules and regulations made that your company will follow. With a hardware inventory scanner, you’ll be able to stay on top of your stock and continue to adapt to the constant changing e-commerce industry.
Hardware and Portability
Remember, if you are looking for portability with your hardware inventory scanner, you have to look for one that has wireless connectivity. Not all inventory scanners are made to be equal.
There are some that work without being tethered to a power source but might not transfer the data wirelessly to the central database. If you want to receive and update data on the go, get a Bluetooth barcode scanner. Due to their fast updates, you’ll be able to receive analytics on your products within 30 minutes.
How to Select a Hardware Inventory Scanner
When looking up options for barcode scanners, there are a few options that you need to consider. Here are the three most common forms of scanners that you can obtain:
- Laser: This is the most popular scanner type. It creates a laser to scan the black and white codes placed in a barcode.
- Linear Image: Just like laser scanners, linear image scanners read 1D codes. However, it does this by taking a picture of your barcode and analyzing the information in your image.
- 2D area images: These scanners act like linear images, except they can read 2D and stacked barcodes. And they can scan barcodes in almost any direction.
The products that you have to scan and type of barcode you use should determine what type of hardware you need. For instance, if your product uses UPC codes, the laser scanner might be able to do the trick.
If you do have stacked barcodes, you’ll have to pick a scanner with some compatible hardware. And if you start to use UPC codes, you can use a laser scanner to do the trick. And if you hold your stock in an environment such as manufacturing facility or industrial warehouse, it might be worth investing in a barcode scanner.
To conclude, we believe that hardware inventory scanners are a major aspect of your business. This means that you have to get a scanner to help keep track of your physical products. By doing so, you’ll be able to get your inventory well documented and stored to help improve your total sales.
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How to Generate Leads More Effectively with CRM Software
CRM software or customer relationship management software refers to the suite of applications that helps organizations in managing all their CRM efforts and channeling them in the right direction. The software helps organizations generate leads faster and more effectively and help them nurture these leads through the different steps in the sales funnel. It comes with a variety of modules and add-on applications designed to make CRM streamlined and efficient. As this post states, the software helps organizations target more accurately and generate leads through social channels; but that is not all it could do. In this post, we will discuss more about the solution and how it can be useful for organizations.
The other major task that CRM software helps with is the sales funnel/pipeline management. The sales funnel is the series of steps that a potential customer is put through till he or she becomes a paying customer. Sales funnels are particularly useful when the sales cycles are long, and the prospects need to be serviced differently at different points in time. Some of the usual levels that prospects go through in the funnel are a prospect, lead, qualified lead, opportunity, and customer.
At each step of the funnel, different kind of actions are needed – the prospects might need to be given a certain amount of information, the lead should be given a chance to offer his or her contact details, the lead should be qualified according to some parameters, the opportunity be offered proposals and discounts, and so on. As such, different people will be managing different parts of the process, and all of them should collaborate with one another for the steps to move on without any hitches.
With the CRM software, you can closely monitor the process across its various steps, and remedy any situation to ensure that the funnel is being implemented smoothly.
Social Media Promotions
Social media promotions or campaigns are one of the most important drivers of leads for businesses. If your social media efforts were good before, CRM software will make them better. You can integrate all your social channels like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on with your CRM system and monitor your work. You can track all your efforts easily from one place, which saves a lot of time and allows users to generate insights more effectively. Often, the results of social media campaigns can be difficult to understand – the CRM solution will help quantify and operationally them. As more and more companies look to step up their Social CRM efforts, an online CRM tool is a must to get the best results from them.
Also integrated can be the survey application, which allows marketers and customer service reps to gather better insights into customer behavior and understand customer satisfaction levels. Surveys can be launched, and results collected and analyzed from within the software itself.
Email Campaigns & Newsletters
Email campaigns and newsletters are an important part of marketing plans in organizations around the world. When you don’t have a CRM solution, running an email campaign would require you to use multiple tools and systems. You need the email addresses from the contact management application, a mass mailing application, and analytics to analyze the responses. However, the CRM software is all of that rolled into one. From the same place, you can manage all your contacts, run email and newsletter campaigns, and analyze the responses to see how effective your campaigns have been, and which aspects are to be changed to make it better. Also, the software will automatically handle subscriptions and allow respondents to unsubscribe if they feel like it.
You can run these campaigns in multiple ways – you can use a coded HTML page or build the campaigns from the scratch in the application.
CRM is one process where lots of decisions need to be taken. Some of the routine questions which demand answers are – what is that segment that I should target, what are the discounts, if any, that I should offer, how should I qualify my leads, which kind of marketing medium gives me the best results, and so on. In the absence of effective data management and analysis techniques, these questions are answered, and decisions are taken, based on gut feelings and trial and error mechanisms.
However, with CRM software, this need not be the case anymore. The software equips CRM specialists with the tools they need to be able to answer these questions after a thorough analysis of the data so that their decisions will be data-driven, and more effective. Since data is already collected and made available for any kind of analysis, all your CRM specialists need to do is click a few buttons to become information experts. Also, sharing these insights and analyses with peers becomes much easier with the CRM solution – reports can be automatically compiled and shared in a matter of minutes.
Say you want to segment your customers based on a parameter like location or the average lifetime value they bring to you. You simply use the analytics tool to query the software to provide you with a list of all those who come under that particular segment. You can then save this segment and tailor strategies for them going forward.
One of the greatest advantages that CRM software offers is mobility. A mobile app gives users the flexibility to organize themselves anywhere, anytime. In preparing themselves to pitch to a customer or in figuring out information that a prospective client wants, mobility is of great help.
Ideally, the different departments involved in CRM must work together and collaborate closely. Each department has different parts of the puzzle, and unless they all share, they will not be able to come up with the complete picture. This kind of close collaboration is very rare in organizations. What is more common is territorial warfare and blame game. Each team blames the others for not doing enough – the sales reps say that they do not have enough leads to work with, and the marketers say that the sales reps are not able to close the leads they generated for them. In the end, the organization suffers.
This also happens due to different teams using different systems to manage their operations without pooling their efforts. This is where the CRM solution is very helpful. It brings all these different departments onto a single platform and allows them to work closely. Since data is collected and stored centrally, it can be called on demand. If marketers collected any data that can help salespeople close deals more easily, they will now automatically have access to this data.
The same way, if salespeople come up with some unique insights, they can automatically share these with the marketers and customer service reps so that they can target and serve customers better. Using in-built communication tools, users can communicate with one another easily. There is also the scope to create groups and workspaces for better teamwork. A CRM solution offers unmatched collaboration opportunities for all the CRM specialists.
Online CRM solutions are not closed systems – they offer integration capabilities that make organizations’ operations seamless and well-coordinated. Also, integrated solutions allow for an automated transfer of data, which saves a lot of time. And since the systems are integrated, there is no problem of incompatibility among systems, which is a big concern when multiple systems are used to manage different parts of the process.
There are many add-on solutions that are good candidates for integration with such as the single sign-on application, which allows people to log into multiple solutions at once and analytics tools for advanced analysis. If you need any capability from your CRM solution that is not already present – you can always integrate a solution and get it.
In CRM, data plays a huge role and is often the line that separates successful and unsuccessful transactions. Data allows CRM specialists to prepare themselves better, and when they are prepared, their efforts will be that much more effective. CRM software helps organizations store and manage all their CRM data from a central interface. With an online CRM solution, employees can access this data from anywhere, equipping them with the capability to work from anywhere, and complete their tasks anytime.
Salespeople, marketers, and customer service reps – all of them will find the software very helpful in managing the data. Since data is digitized and stored on the cloud, it can be accessed on demand. Also, there is a great need for collaboration among these divisions – after all, they all will be working with the customer at different points of time, and if they are to make these interactions more fruitful, they should be aware, and this happens through sharing.
The software offers a centralized secure database and makes data entry easier. There is a lot of automation built into the software – from data entry to storage and retrieval of documents, automation is present everywhere. All in all, you can get rid of all your data management woes if you use CRM software.
Another feature of the software that makes life much easier for CRM specialists is automation. Automation is present in almost all of the tasks in CRM. From data entry to analysis to lead qualification to pipeline management, many tasks can be automated using the software. Say you want to qualify your leads. From the data you collect from your prospects, you can automatically sort them based on their requirements. You can also assign leads automatically – the software can be programmed to route certain kinds of leads to certain people.
This automation makes it very convenient for CRM specialists – they need not worry anymore about the mundane tasks taking up most of their time. They can focus their energies on the tasks that matter most such as closing deals and coming up with better ways to target prospects and turning them into leads.
CRM solutions are a big help to all the stakeholders involved. While the benefits to CRM specialists are obvious, the software also helps senior management keep a close on happenings. Senior management can be automatically kept apprised of all the developments – as soon as a lead is generated or a deal is closed, reports can be sent regarding the same to the pertinent stakeholders.
Online solutions have made business productivity software available to organizations of all sizes – no more does one need huge initial investments or the resources to maintain the software. Online solutions can be deployed in minutes, and organizations can start using them immediately. There are numerous options available in the market today, and all kinds of organizations can get a solution with the exact specifications they need.