Building Automation Framework Using WinApp Driver and Maestro

Introduction

Desktop and mobile applications pose unique challenges in software testing due to limited automation tools. Identifying objects, actions, and user interactions can be particularly challenging. However, leveraging WinApp Driver and Maestro can overcome these challenges, leading to more efficient and effective testing processes.

Pain Points to be Solved

Solution Overview

WinApp Driver:

Windows Application Driver (WinAppDriver) is a service to support Selenium-like UI Test Automation on Windows Applications, offering a programmatic method to interact with the user interface of Windows desktop applications, thus simplifying the process of automating testing.

It provides a programmatic way to interact with a user interface implemented in a Windows desktop application, making it easier to automate testing. WinAppDriver functions as a Selenium-like automation framework, combining the strengths of two different technologies. It encapsulates much of the technology of the now deprecated CodedUI while incorporating the flexibility, ease of use, and adoption of Selenium.

Like Selenium, WinAppDriver consists of libraries that can be integrated into any Test Runner supporting Cucumber. For example, Selenium scripts can be developed and executed using Selenium Java.

Requirements:
Steps Involved:
Maestro:

Maestro is a mobile UI testing framework that allows users to create, manage, and execute automated tests for mobile apps. It provides a user-friendly interface for designing test scenarios, generating test scripts, and capturing test results. The solution offers a balanced approach with features catering to both novice and experienced testers. It supports multiple programming languages and integrates seamlessly with various CI/CD tools.

Requirements:
Steps Involved:

Benefits of Test Automation

Cucumber Framework

Description:

Cucumber, an open-source software tool written in Ruby, is a testing framework that supports behaviour-driven development (BDD). It allows you to write test scenarios in simple, human-readable language. The framework executes automated acceptance tests written in the “Gherkin” language. Gherkin is a domain-specific language for behaviour descriptions. Gherkin is business-readable.

Cucumber test automation involves two key components:
Cucumber serves as a connector between various teams, including:

Integration with WinApp Driver

Cucumber can be integrated with WinAppDriver to write feature files describing the application’s behaviour in plain language.

Features:

Organizations can overcome the challenges of testing desktop applications by utilizing WinApp Driver, along with tools like Cucumber, leading to more efficient, reliable, and scalable testing processes.

Use Case Scenario

To explain how the Cucumber framework executes scenarios related to an inventory dashboard, we can use a hypothetical scenario to test various features of an inventory management system’s dashboard. Here’s how it would work:

Feature File Creation: A feature file is created with a descriptive name like inventory_dashboard.feature. This file contains scenarios written in Gherkin syntax, describing different aspects of the inventory dashboard, such as viewing items, filtering data, or managing inventory.

Scenario Definition: Each scenario in the feature file describes a specific feature or aspect of the inventory dashboard. For example, one scenario might be about checking the availability of items in different warehouse locations.

Step Definitions: Each step in the scenario has a corresponding step definition in a step definition file. These step definitions contain the actual code that interacts with the inventory management system to perform the actions described in the scenario.

Running the Tests: The Cucumber framework reads the feature file and matches each step to a step definition. It then executes the steps in sequence, interacting with the inventory management system as specified.

Generating Reports: After the tests are run, Cucumber creates detailed reports showing each scenario’s results and each step within the scenario. These reports can be used to identify any issues or failures in the inventory dashboard’s functionality.

Following this process, the Cucumber framework can effectively test the inventory dashboard’s features and ensure it meets the requirements specified in the feature files.

The Role of Automated Testing in Software Product Development

According to a study by Capgemini,
automated testing can reduce testing costs
by up to 50% and time-to-market by 40%.

Automated testing involves using software tools to automate the repeated manual process of reviewing and validating a software product, traditionally done by humans. Nowadays, automated testing is a standard practice in modern agile and DevOps software projects right from the start. Yet, to grasp its true significance, it’s crucial to consider the hurdles encountered in software development prior to its widespread acceptance.

Before Testing was Automated

Back when manual testing was the norm, software companies typically employed a full-time QA team. This team’s primary responsibility was to develop ‘test cases,’ which were detailed checklists designed to ensure that specific features of a software project behaved as expected. After creating these test cases, the QA team would manually execute them whenever a new update or change was applied to the software project. Subsequently, they would report the results back to the engineering team for review and further development to resolve any identified issues.

The Setback in Manual Testing

However, this manual testing process was slow, expensive, and error-prone. The manual execution of test cases demanded substantial time and resources, resulting in delays in the software development timeline and escalated costs. Additionally, human error was always a risk, as manual testing could overlook specific issues or fail to catch bugs effectively.

Post Automated Testing

Automated testing has since revolutionized the efficiency and return on investment (ROI) of quality assurance (QA) teams. By putting ownership responsibilities in the hands of the engineering team, automated testing allows test cases to be developed alongside regular roadmap feature development. These test cases are then executed automatically by software continuous integration tools, significantly reducing the time and resources required for testing.

Furthermore, automated testing promotes leaner QA team sizes, as it streamlines testing processes, reduces manual effort, and increases the efficiency of test execution. This allows the QA team to focus on more sensitive features of the software, ensuring that critical issues are identified and addressed promptly. Automated testing offers the benefits of cross-platform testing, ensuring compatibility across different operating systems, and multi-language testing, ensuring software functionality in diverse linguistic environments.

Overall, automated testing has become essential in modern software development, offering reliable test results, significant gains in team efficiency and boosted ROI for QA teams.

Types of Automated Testing

Unit testing: Unit testing focuses on testing individual units or components of a software application in isolation, ensuring each unit functions correctly per its design.

Example: In a CI/CD pipeline, changes to the shopping cart function prompt the pipeline to run tests to verify the correct calculation of the total price.

Integration testing: Integration testing verifies the interaction between different modules or components of a software system to ensure that they work together seamlessly.

Example: Ensuring that data flows correctly between a web application’s frontend and backend components when a user submits a form.

Functional testing: Functional testing evaluates the functionality of a software application by testing its features against the specified requirements to ensure they meet the desired outcomes.

Example: Verifying that clicking on a “Submit Order” button in an e-commerce application adds the selected items to the user’s shopping cart.

Regression testing: Regression testing is the most commonly automated process. It is performed to ensure that recent code changes have not adversely affected existing functionalities. It helps in maintaining software quality and stability over time.

Example: Checking that a software update to a mobile app does not cause previously working features, such as login or search, to malfunction.

Performance testing: Performance testing evaluates the responsiveness, speed, and overall performance of a software application under various conditions, helping to identify and eliminate performance bottlenecks.

Example: Simulating a large number of users accessing a website simultaneously to measure its response time and identify potential performance issues.

Considerations for Manual Software Testing in an Automated Testing Era

When deciding which software tests to perform manually, it’s essential to consider factors like the nature of the testing required and the ROI of automation.

Tests like exploratory testing, which relies on human creativity to uncover bugs in unscripted ways, can be more efficiently executed manually, as current automated tools for exploratory testing still need to be fully mature.

Similarly, visual regression testing, which detects visual design flaws in a software UI, often benefits from human observation due to the cost and limited adoption of automated tools in this area.

Building a test automation framework can require out-of-the-box thinking, considering factors like release frequency, available tools, and product market fit. Not all projects may benefit from automated testing; in some cases, a manual approach may be more effective, as there are no predefined steps.

Manual testing is necessary for scenarios where testing is required infrequently, such as validating color schemes in a user interface.

The Strategy of the Shift-Left Approach

The shift-left approach in software development refers to the practice of integrating testing earlier in the software development lifecycle, typically starting at the requirements or design phase. This helps in identifying and fixing defects as early as possible rather than waiting until later stages of development or during post-release.

Relevance of the Shift-Left Approach

Early Issue Identification: By testing earlier in the development process, issues and defects can be identified and taken care of before they escalate into more complex and costly issues to resolve.

Cost and Time Savings: Fixing defects early in development is generally less expensive and time-consuming than fixing them later. This can result in significant cost savings and shorter development cycles.

Improved Quality: By catching and fixing issues early, the overall quality of the software is improved, leading to a better user experience and higher customer satisfaction.

Better Collaboration: The shift-left approach encourages collaboration between developers, testers, and other stakeholders early in the development process, leading to a more cohesive and efficient development process.

Continuous Feedback: Testing early and often provides constant feedback to developers, allowing them to make informed decisions and improvements throughout the development lifecycle.

Alignment with Agile and DevOps Practices: The shift-left approach aligns well with agile and DevOps practices, emphasizing iterative development and continuous testing and integration.

The Role of Automated Testing in Software Product Development for Continuous Delivery

Continuous Delivery (CD) stands out as a crucial methodology aimed at swiftly delivering new code releases to customers. At the core of this methodology lies automated testing, a critical component ensuring the delivery process’s efficiency and reliability.

Another Approach: Shift-Right Testing

Shift-right testing is a forward-thinking approach that complements traditional shift-left methodologies. It emphasizes testing in production or after deployment to gather real-world feedback and enhance test coverage. This approach acknowledges the dynamic nature of software development and aims to improve software products’ overall quality and reliability.

Shift-Center Approach


Source: DevOps

Development teams prioritize time to market, while application security (AppSec) teams focus on ensuring secure software. This creates a balancing act, as security testing (AST) can only delay deployment, risking prioritizing time over security. The concept of “shift left” emerged as a response to organizations waiting to perform security testing until the end of development, causing delays. However, in the iterative and continuous nature of DevOps, which is more like a figure-8 infinity loop, there is no clear “left” or “right.” Instead, embedding software security solutions throughout DevOps, or “shifting center,” is a more practical approach to ensure security without sacrificing speed.

Integration of Continuous Delivery and Automated Testing

The CD is not a standalone process but rather part of a broader deployment pipeline. It is closely intertwined with Continuous Integration (CI), which precedes it. CI’s primary responsibility is to execute automated tests against any new code changes, ensuring that these changes do not disrupt existing features or introduce new bugs. Once CI successfully completes the automated test case, the CD process is triggered.

Benefits of Automated Testing in Continuous Delivery

Embracing automated testing has revolutionized the development process, enabling rapid, reliable, and scalable testing. Implementing automated testing frameworks has significantly reduced manual efforts, improved test coverage, and accelerated release cycles. The relationship between automated testing, CI, and CD yields numerous benefits for high-velocity software teams. Automated testing thus plays a pivotal role in maintaining quality throughout the development cycle. It ensures that new commits do not introduce any bugs, therefore keeping the software deployment-ready at all times.

Embracing the Future: Trends and Technologies in Automated Testing with CI Global

The future of automated testing is exciting, with advancements like AI, shift-right testing, containerization, low-code/no-code tools, and API testing reshaping the journey. Implementing Docker has transformed deployment practices, ensuring uniformity across various stages like development, testing, and production. Through containerization, improved resource utilization, scalability, and adaptability have been achieved, simplifying infrastructure management. Embracing Kubernetes for orchestration has optimized the management of containerized applications, enhancing scalability and resilience.

To stay ahead, connect with us to understand the complete testing cycle and determine which parts to automate, ensuring your testing practices align with changing market requirements and technological trends.

Case Study: Enhancing Inventory Management with Sage 100 Integration

Introduction:

ABC Distributors, a leading distributor of Japanese sake in the US, relies on Sage 100 Standard ERP for their business operations. To improve their inventory management and sales forecasting, they sought a solution to integrate Sage 100 with SQL Server and leverage predictive analytics.

Problem Statement:

ABC Distributors needed help understanding their inventory run rate and forecasting sales accurately. Their existing ERP system, Sage 100, did not provide advanced analytics capabilities, making it difficult to make data-driven decisions.

Challenges Specific to the Wine and Beverage Industry:

The wine and beverage industry presents unique challenges businesses must solve to succeed. These challenges include:

By addressing these challenges and leveraging technology and data-driven insights, businesses in the wine and beverage industry can position themselves for success in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Solution:

To address these challenges, ABC Distributors decided to build a connector between ProvideX and RubiCube, enabling data integration. The SQL Server’s based connector allowed them to leverage advanced analytics capabilities for inventory management and sales forecasting.

Critical for the Wine and Beverage Industry:

Understanding sales in the wine and beverage industry is significant. The industry can be very unpredictable with sales affected by many factors, such as changing consumer preferences, seasonal variations, and the impact of festivals and events. For ABC Distributors, having accurate sales forecasting and inventory management is not just about staying competitive—it’s about survival.

By connecting Sage 100 with advanced analytics, ABC Distributors was able to identify patterns, anticipate changes in consumer preferences, and maintain optimal stock levels for high-demand products. This proactive approach helped them stay ahead of the curve and capitalize on opportunities to enhance their profits.

Benefits:

Results:

ABC Distributors has significantly enhanced their inventory management and sales forecasting processes by integrating Sage 100 with advanced analytics capabilities. The solution has empowered them to make data-driven decisions, leading to improved efficiency and business performance.

Technology Adoption Trends in the Industry:

The wine and beverage industry increasingly embraces technology to drive efficiency and competitiveness. Businesses are turning to ERP systems to streamline operations, improve inventory management, and enhance customer service. Advanced analytics tools are used to gain deeper insights into consumer preferences, optimize pricing strategies, and accurately forecast demand. Data integration solutions are also becoming more prevalent, enabling businesses to centralize their data and improve collaboration across departments.

Connect with us to learn more about building analytics with data from Sage 100 for your business.

Unlocking the Power of Sage 100: Building Connectors for ProvideX

Sage 100, formerly known as Sage ERP MAS 90, has been a trusted solution for businesses since its inception in 1985. With its robust features and modern architecture, Sage 100 helps companies to manage their accounting and business processes efficiently.

A Comprehensive Solution: Features of Sage 100

Sage 100 offers a wide range of features, including:

One of the critical strengths of Sage 100 is its ease of use and powerful customization options. It provides a low total cost of ownership, making it an attractive choice for businesses of all sizes.

Breaking Down the Walls: Connecting Sage 100 to SQL Server

In enterprise resource planning, Sage 100 stands out as a stalwart solution for managing accounting and business processes. But for all its strengths, Sage 100 has a unique challenge: it doesn’t have a direct database connection. This means that extracting or integrating data with other systems, like SQL Server, isn’t as straightforward as one might hope.

The Old Meets the New: The Legacy of ProvideX

At the heart of this challenge lies ProvideX, an aging language that Sage 100 relies on. While ProvideX has served its purpose over the years, its limitations are becoming more apparent as technology advances. This is where the need for building connectors comes into play.

Building Bridges: The Need for Connectors

Companies can build custom connectors to enable Sage 100 to communicate with other 3rd party applications. One way of building a connector is by writing scripts to move data from ProvideX to SQL Server, a task that requires a deep understanding of both technologies.

The CIG Touch: Simplifying Integration

Building connectors is time-consuming for many Sage 100 users and requires niche expertise. Thankfully, solution providers like CI Global specialize in providing connectors for Sage 100. These connectors streamline the integration process, reducing the implementation cycle and minimizing downtime.

The Benefits of Integration

Integrating Sage 100 with SQL Server offers numerous benefits. It provides a more efficient way to access and analyze data, improves reporting capabilities, and enhances overall business agility. Moreover, it allows companies to leverage the power of SQL Server’s advanced features and scalability.

Data Availability Over the Web: Integrating Sage 100 with SQL Server enables businesses to make their data available over the web. This accessibility allows for remote access to critical information, facilitating collaboration and decision-making from anywhere with an internet connection.

Improved Data Accuracy: By connecting Sage 100 with SQL Server, businesses can ensure that data is consistent and up-to-date across all systems, leading to more accurate reporting and decision-making.

Faster Access to Information: Integration allows for real-time access to data stored in Sage 100, enabling employees to retrieve information and respond to customer inquiries or business quickly needs promptly.

Better Decision-Making Capabilities: With integrated data from Sage 100 and SQL Server, businesses can analyze information more effectively, leading to better decision-making and strategic planning.

A Step-by-Step Guide

For those looking to integrate Sage 100 with SQL Server, here’s a simplified guide:

Tips for Integration:

To successfully integrate Sage 100 with SQL Server, consider the following tips:

Ensure Data Compatibility: Ensure that the data structures of Sage 100 and SQL Server are compatible before integrating. This may require mapping fields and ensuring that data formats match.

Test the Integration Thoroughly: Before going live, thoroughly test the Integration to identify and resolve any issues. This will help ensure a smooth transition and minimize disruptions to your business operations.

Embracing Integration with CI Global

Integrating Sage 100 with SQL Server is a strategic move that can unlock new possibilities for your business. While the process may seem complex, the benefits far outweigh the challenges. You can streamline your operations and drive growth in the digital age by leveraging the right tools and expertise.

Remember, the future of ERP is Integration. Are you ready to break down the walls?

Integrating Apps with Garmin Watch

Concerning fitness and health tracking, integrating wearables with web applications has become crucial for providing users with a comprehensive experience. This case study explores integrating a popular fitness wearable, the Garmin Watch, with an existing web application. The focus is on enabling users to sync their Garmin wearable with a sports analytics app to retrieve and display activity data.

About the Client:

A leading sports analytics platform focused on Ice Hockey, helps users track and analyze their fitness activities. With a strong user community, Sports Central aims to boost user satisfaction by adding a new feature: ‘Integration with Garmin.’ Users would need to download the Garmin Connect app, syncing their wearables regularly with the Sports Central app. Using push notifications, the web app effortlessly fetches data, offering a smooth experience for ice hockey enthusiasts and enhancing their fitness tracking capabilities.

Problem Statement:

The existing web application needed to have the capability to sync with Garmin Watches, limiting users who rely on these wearables for tracking their fitness activities. To address this, the client sought a solution to integrate Garmin Watches into the web application, allowing users to access and analyze their activity data effortlessly.

Solution Suggested:

To address the integration challenge, the proposed solution involved the following key steps:

Build

Pain Point Before Integration After Integration
Limited Data Access Users were unable to access Garmin Watch activity data within the web application. The integration resolved this limitation, allowing users to retrieve and analyze their Garmin Watch data seamlessly within the sports analytics app
User Engagement Enhancement The absence of Garmin Watch integration might have eventually led to decreased user engagement With the new feature, users can actively engage with the web application by syncing and analyzing their Garmin Watch data, potentially increasing overall user engagement.
Comprehensive Fitness Tracking Users needed to use multiple platforms or apps to gather a complete overview of their fitness activities. The integration provides a unified platform within the web application, streamlining the process of tracking and analyzing fitness activities with Garmin Watches.

Users can download the Garmin Connect app on their devices and regularly synchronize their Garmin wearables with the sports analytics app. The web application will retrieve data using push notifications, facilitating real-time integration between the two platforms.

CI Global: Smart Integration for Enhanced User Engagement

The successful integration of Garmin Watches with the existing web application not only addresses the limitations of the current platform but also opens up new opportunities for user engagement and satisfaction. By seamlessly connecting the two platforms, CI Global assisted the customer in staying poised to offer a more comprehensive and feature-rich experience to its user base, ensuring their sports analytics application’s continued success and relevance in the competitive market. Secure OAuth authentication and a well-defined integration approach ensured a smooth and reliable connection between the web application and Garmin wearables.

Connect to know more.

Driving Success: A Guide to POS Analytics for Retail and Restaurant Growth

The Point of Sale (POS) system does more than handle transactions; it acts as a valuable source of insights. Point of Sale Analytics, or POS Analytics, collects, analyzes, and understands the data generated during customer transactions at the point of sale. It involves dissecting information to understand better how a business performs and what customers prefer.

Point of Sale Analytics: Significance in Retail and Restaurant Businesses

The right KPIs for POS Analytics provide real-time visibility into sales patterns, customer preferences, and operational efficiency. By harnessing the power of POS Analytics, businesses can make informed decisions, optimize inventory management, enhance customer experiences, and ultimately drive sustained growth.

Read this blog to know more about the right KPIs to track to tap into the potential for positive transformations.

Sales KPIs for POS Analytics in Retail

Retailers and consumer goods manufacturers have the enormous responsibility— and opportunity—to reinvent themselves and reimagine their next normal. As per the findings in the McKinsey report, numerous companies face a shortage of consumer and retailer point-of-sale data. The available assets, including internal financial, product, and customer master data, are often stored in isolated legacy systems, posing challenges in terms of accessibility and harmonization. Consumer goods companies do not have well-established data governance processes for utilizing, securing, and sharing data across the organization in accordance with privacy regulations.

Some consumer goods companies, recognizing these inadequacies, mistakenly believe that they must change their entire data infrastructure simultaneously. Giving priority to the enablers that offer the highest value is more effective and ensures the consistency of enablers across various domains.

Let’s take a look at three fundamental sales metrics:

Total Sales:

Definition: The cumulative revenue generated from all sales transactions within a specific timeframe.
Example: If your clothing store earned $50,000 monthly, that constitutes the total sales figure for that period.

Average Transaction Value:

Definition: The average amount a customer spends during a single shopping transaction.
Example: If 100 transactions occurred in a day, and the total revenue for that day was $5,000, the average transaction value is $50.

Items per Transaction:

Definition: The average number of items a customer purchases in a single shopping transaction.
Example: If 50 customers made purchases, and 200 items were sold, the items per transaction would be 4.

Sales Reports and Analysis

The right KPIs can help you generate the following reports.

Aging – Managing Shelf Life:

Example: Imagine you manage a grocery store. By analyzing sales data, you notice that certain perishable goods have been on the shelf for an extended period. This prompts you to adjust stocking strategies to minimize waste and ensure the freshness of products.

Careful Stocking Strategies:

Example: A retail electronics store examines its sales reports and recognizes that specific brands or models are consistently popular. This insight guides them to strategically stock more of those items to meet customer demand effectively.

No Stock Reports for Inventory Optimization:

Example: A home goods store monitors instances of items being “out of stock.” This analysis helps them optimize inventory levels, ensuring popular items are consistently available.

Mode of Payment Analysis:

Example: A fashion boutique notices an increase in credit card payments. This insight encourages them to ensure their point-of-sale system supports various payment methods, enhancing customer convenience.

Door Delivery, Pick Up, and Walk-In Orders:

Example: A department store discovers through POS analytics that a significant portion of their orders come through Dunzo for doorstep delivery. This prompts them to optimize delivery partnerships and streamline in-store processes for walk-in customers.

These examples showcase how a nuanced understanding of retail sales metrics and strategic analysis can empower businesses to refine their operations and drive growth.

Sales KPIs for POS Analytics in Restaurants

Boosting the operational efficiency of stores includes various initiatives, including minimizing food wastage, optimizing staff schedules, and increasing the speed and precision of customer order fulfillment. For restaurants, it’s crucial to streamline processes related to digital delivery orders, in-car pickups, and drive-through operations—channels that experienced a surge during the pandemic and are now integral to the industry. These efficiency enhancements cut costs and align with evolving customer preferences.

Let’s take a look at three fundamental sales metrics:

Total Revenue:

Definition: The overall income generated from all sales transactions within a specified period.
Importance: Indicates the overall financial health and performance of the restaurant.
Example: If a restaurant earned $30,000 in a month, that represents the total revenue for that period

Average Order Value:

Definition: The average amount spent by a customer per order.
Importance: Reflects the average customer spending, aiding in menu optimization and upselling strategies.
Example: If a restaurant serves 500 customers weekly, and the total weekly revenue is $15,000, the average order value is $30.

Table Turnover Rate:

Definition: The number of times a restaurant’s tables are occupied and vacated during a specific period.
Importance: Measures the efficiency of service and how quickly tables are utilized, impacting overall revenue.
Example: If a restaurant has 20 tables and serves 100 customers daily, the table turnover rate is 5 (100 customers ÷ 20 tables).

Sales Reports and Analysis

The right KPIs can help you generate the following reports.

Average Per Cover:

Definition: The average revenue earned per customer served.
Example: If a restaurant serves 200 covers daily and generates $4,000 in revenue, the average per cover is $20 ($4,000 ÷ 200).

Number of Covers:

Definition: The total count of customers served within a specified period.
Example: If a restaurant serves 1,000 covers per week, the number of covers for that week is 1,000.

Menu Item Sales Analysis:

Purpose: Identify popular and less-ordered menu items.
Example: Discovering that a specific pasta dish consistently sells out can prompt the chef to feature it more prominently or create variations.

Dining Time Analysis:

Purpose: Evaluate the duration customers spend at tables.
Example: Recognizing that lunch service sees quicker table turnovers than dinner may lead to adjusted staffing schedules for optimal efficiency.

Sales by Daypart Analysis:

Purpose: Understand sales patterns during different times of the day.
Example: Observing a surge in breakfast orders during weekdays may inspire introducing a breakfast promotion to capitalize on demand.

Customer Order Channel Analysis:

Purpose: Differentiate orders from dine-in, online delivery, etc.
Example: Identifying a significant increase in online delivery orders can prompt the restaurant to optimize online platforms or consider exclusive promotions.

Customer Satisfaction and Feedback Analysis:

Purpose: Evaluate customer reviews and satisfaction scores.
Example: Noticing recurring feedback about slow service might lead to staff training initiatives or procedural changes to enhance overall customer satisfaction.

CI Global: Your Partner for POS Analytics

At CI Global, we provide cutting-edge solutions tailored to your unique needs. Our Point of Sale Analytics expertise empowers you to unlock valuable insights, optimize operations and inventory management, and elevate customer experience. Partner with CI Global for a transformative journey towards data-driven excellence in the competitive world of commerce.

Applying Logistics Regression to Find Key Influencers in Inventory Run Rate

Logistic Regression assists industries like wine and beverage in determining the factors that impact the speed of inventory movement. This case study discusses the methodology to discern key influencers affecting the wine and beverage category’s inventory run rate.

Client Background

The client, a leading supplier, faced the challenge of enhancing efficiency within the distributor-retailer network. The primary objective was to increase the inventory run rate and demand for products while navigating multiple distributor warehouses. The challenge lay in discerning the pivotal factors influencing inventory run rate.

Client’s Objectives

The client sought a comprehensive understanding of the intricate facets affecting inventory run rates. They sought to mitigate stagnant inventory by emphasizing high-performing items and to refine stocking strategies across diverse locations. By leveraging this detailed analysis, they aimed to optimize inventory turnover, reduce overstocking, identify factors to improve demand forecasting accuracy , and customize strategies to bolster overall effectiveness within the competitive wine and beverage domain.

Solution Provided

CI Global leveraged its expertise in analytics & logistics and utilized logistic regression techniques to analyze the wine and beverage sales and logistics domain. Using ML.NET, (a framework for building machine learning models) the team crafted a strategic approach to uncover the key influencers impacting inventory run rates.

Methodology

The methodology used for the solution involves a strategic application of logistic regression for:

Key Factors Analyzed

  1. Brand and Item: CI Global scrutinized the impact of diverse brands and specific items on inventory run rates. This involved assessing the movement pace of distinct brands and individual items within warehouse stocks.
  2. Varietal and Bottle Size: Examining varietal variations (e.g., red, white) and bottle sizes provided invaluable insights into their influence on warehouse movement. CI Global’s analysis elucidated how these variations affected turnover rates, which helps in inventory management.
  3. Warehouse Location: CI Global meticulously evaluated the role of geographic locations in influencing inventory turnover and sales patterns. This scrutiny allowed the client to discern regional preferences and demand variations, optimizing inventory distribution across diverse locations.

Insights and Impact

  1. Optimized Inventory Management:

    CI Global’s logistic regression analysis precisely identified slow-moving inventory items, enabling the client to streamline warehouse stocks. This strategic insight allowed them to prioritize high-performing items, reducing overstocking and creating space for faster-moving, high-profit products. By optimizing stock levels, the client improved warehouse efficiency and maximized product potential.

  2. Strategic Decision-Making:

    Leveraging insights from regression models, the client made informed, data-driven decisions on product categories, brands, and geographic segments. This strategic approach empowered them to tailor strategies and inventory management, especially during peak seasons, optimizing stock allocation and enhancing product performance in the market. The ability to target specific segments and categories led to more effective marketing initiatives and resource allocation, ultimately driving increased revenue.

  3. Understanding Product Demand:

    The client understood the demand for certain products by pinpointing influential factors impacting inventory run rates. This involved timely restocking of high-demand products and minimizing slow-moving inventory, directly impacting profitability. The ability to swiftly adapt inventory levels to demand fluctuations optimized the stocking of certain products, resulting in increased revenue and improved bottom-line performance.

CI Global – Analytics Precision for Efficient Inventory

Applying logistic regression in the wine and beverage industry unlocks profound insights into the factors influencing inventory run rate. The case study illustrates how strategic analysis of brand, item, varietal, bottle size, and geographic location aids in identifying key influencers and driving informed decision-making to meet product demand and operational efficiency.

For personalized analytics solutions to propel your business forward in the competitive market, be it retail, healthcare, entertainment, etc, connect with CI Global today and unlock the potential within your domain.

Building Multi-Language Capabilities In Products

In today’s interconnected world, bridging language barriers is more critical than ever for businesses seeking to thrive in diverse markets. Building Multi-Language Capabilities in Products isn’t merely a matter of vernacular adaptation; it’s a strategic imperative. This blog delves into catering to diverse audiences understanding the challenges and boundless opportunities. From the technical nuances to understanding cultural sensitivity, this guide navigates how to enable seamless communication across borders.

Understanding the Importance of Multi-Language Support

Multi-language support in product development provides a range of strategic advantages such as:

  1. Expanded Audience Reach: Embracing multi-language support broadens horizons by reaching a global audience. Breaking language barriers enables connection with diverse demographics worldwide, promoting inclusivity and greatly expanding the user base.
  2. Enhanced User Experience: Tailoring products to multiple languages goes beyond just translation; it crafts an experience that resonates with users on a cultural and linguistic level. This makes users feel like they belong and understand, which makes them happier and more likely to stick with the product.
  3. Competitive Edge in Global Markets: In a fiercely competitive global market, offering products in multiple languages is a strategic advantage. It shows that a brand cares about being reachable and fitting in with different cultures. This makes the brand stand out and look good compared to other choices out there.
  4. Improved Market Penetration: By accommodating various languages, products become more relatable and approachable to different regions and cultures. This helps businesses get into new markets and connect better with customers all around the world.
  5. Cultivation of Brand Trust: Speaking the language of your audience—literally and figuratively—builds trust. It shows that you respect where they come from and makes them feel sure that you really want to help and understand them, no matter where they are.

What do Companies need to do to build MLC in their Product?

At the core of enabling seamless integration across diverse languages lie the vital components of multi-language capabilities. This framework pivots around two fundamental pillars:

Understanding Globalization vs. Localization vs. Culture

Understanding the nuanced differences between globalization and localization is pivotal in crafting products for diverse markets. Globalization involves designing products quickly adapted to various regions and languages, while localization tailors these products to specific cultural nuances and linguistic preferences. Acknowledging and respecting cultural differences within these frameworks ensures products resonate authentically across diverse demographics.

Unicode and Character Encoding

Unicode support is critical for effective multi-language display. Its significance lies in its ability to represent and process text from different writing systems and languages within a single encoding standard. Established Unicode support ensures that characters from diverse languages, whether Latin-based or ideographic, can be rendered accurately, enabling seamless communication and comprehension for users worldwide. Its implementation ensures that a product’s interface and content are accessible and legible across various languages.

Technical Foundations for Multi-Language Support

Building strong technical foundations is crucial for effective multi-language support in products. This encompasses:

String Externalization and Resource Files

Separating text strings from the codebase is foundational for streamlining translation efforts. This approach facilitates easier translation and adaptation by centralizing all textual content, allowing efficient modifications without altering the core code. Using separate files or techniques to move text outside the main code is crucial. It helps quickly change words to fit different languages without affecting how the product works.

Language Selection and Switching

Empowering users to choose their preferred language effortlessly is essential for a seamless multi-language experience. Implementing intuitive methods, such as language selection during onboarding, in-app settings, or automatic language detection based on what they like or where they are, makes it easier for users. Switching between languages within the interface ensures a fluid user experience, allowing individuals to navigate effortlessly and engage with the product in their language of choice.

Collaborate with Localization Experts

Working well with translation teams and language experts is important to make sure that a product’s translation is accurate and fits different cultures. These experts know languages well and understand cultures, which is crucial for making translations that go beyond just words. This teamwork links the product with its different users, making sure the message feels true for each language community. By providing these experts with comprehensive context and guidelines, they can capture the brand’s style and meaning, making users all over the world feel more connected.

Ensure Consistency and Adaptability

Making sure that users get the same experience in every language is important to earn their trust. Working closely with translation teams helps keep the design and how the product works consistent, making it easier to use and familiar for everyone. Listening to feedback from different groups of users helps make ongoing improvements. Companies use this feedback to make the design better, consider different cultural details, and meet what users want as things change. Doing this keeps people interested and shows that the company really cares about making things that users like.

CI Global – Connecting your Company to the World

The journey toward creating accessible, user-centric experiences goes beyond language barriers, delivering your product across diverse audiences. At CI Global, we understand the power of linguistic diversity and its impact on global outreach. Elevate your product’s global presence with our expertise in multi-language support. Explore how CI Global can enhance your product’s accessibility and resonance worldwide.

Automating Creation of ACH Reports by POS Systems

In the franchise business, Royalty/ACH reports are essential to ensure smooth financial operations. However, manually generating ACH reports can be daunting and tedious, especially when there are a large number of stores. In this case study, we will show you how CI Global helped a Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) automate the creation of ACH reports by integrating a cloud-based POS system. We will also highlight the solution’s benefits, the challenges it addressed, and how it improved the ACH report submission process’s efficiency, accuracy, and compliance.

The Customer

The customer is in the QSR industry with 20+ stores across multiple locations spread across multiple states. Each store has a point-of-sale (POS) system that records the sales transactions and generates reports. A crucial aspect of their financial obligations involves submitting a weekly Automated Clearing House (ACH) report to the corporate office. This mandatory report is essential for franchise royalty compliance. The ACH report involves calculation of royalty for each store by including not only the sales but the marketing and operational cost also. The parameters are set by the corporate office and vary from store to store.

What are ACH Reports and Why are they Important for Franchise Businesses?

ACH reports play a pivotal role in franchise business operations. These royalty reports outline the fees owed by franchisees to the franchisor for utilizing the brand, system, and support provided.

Key points:

Challenges Faced by the Customer

These are some of the challenges that were faced by the customer.

Downloading the sales report from the POS system

The customer had to log in to the POS system of each store and download the sales report for the desired period. This process was tedious and time-consuming, as the customer had to repeat the same steps for 20+ stores. They also needed to securely store and organize the downloaded royalty reports, necessitating extra effort and space management.

Applying the franchise cost formula to each sales report

The customer had to apply the franchise cost formula to each sales report, which involved calculating the royalty, operational cost, and marketing fee based on a percentage of sales. They had to manually enter each store’s sales data and percentage values, which was prone to errors and inconsistencies. They also had to ensure the franchise cost formula was updated and accurate.

Consolidating the ACH report for all 23 stores

The customer had to consolidate the ACH report for all 23 stores, which involved adding up the franchise cost for each store and creating a summary report. The customer had to format and present the report clearly and professionally. The manual process took about three days to complete every week, posing a notable drain on resources and productivity.

Solution Provided by CI Global

CI Global implemented a transformative solution by integrating Linga POS, a cloud-based Point of Sale system with RubiCube, to automate ACH report generation for the client. Linga POS is a comprehensive POS system that provides features such as inventory management, loyalty programs, online ordering, and analytics. Microsoft Fabric’s Data Lakehouse, a platform combining the best of data warehouses and data lakes was used to provide reliable and scalable data storage and processing
The devised solution capitalized on the synergies of Linga POS and RubiCube to automate ACH report generation. The solution involved the following steps:

Results and Benefits

The solution provided by CI Global resulted in several benefits for the client, such as:

  1. Time and effort saving
  2. The solution eliminated the need to manually download and process the sales reports, which saved much time and effort. The client estimated that the solution reduced the time required to generate the ACH report from three days to a few minutes, significantly improving productivity and performance. The reduced efforts also increased profits as the automation saved almost a week of effort in resources every month.

  3. Increased accuracy
  4. The solution ensured the accuracy and consistency of the ACH report, which reduced the risk of manual errors. It also verified that the ACH report was consistent with the sales data and the franchise cost formula, avoiding discrepancies. The solution increased the quality and reliability of the royalty report, which enhanced its reputation and credibility.

  5. Meeting standards and visibility
  6. The report fulfilled the statutory obligations that required the client to pay a certain percentage of their sales to the corporate office as franchise fees. It also gave the client a clear and detailed insight into how each store and the entire chain performed regarding sales, revenue, and profitability. The report helped the client to monitor and evaluate their business operations and customer satisfaction.

CI Global – Empowering Projects of Future

The solution reduced the manual effort, increased the accuracy, enhanced the visibility, and improved the compliance of the franchise payments. The client was satisfied with the solution and appreciated the value of the royalty reports delivered. CI Global’s expertise and professionalism are evident in this case study. If you want to learn more about our services or how we can help you achieve your goals for your Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) or retail hubs, visit our website and get in touch with us today.

Leveraging POS for Data Analytics

In today’s business market, combining Point of Sale (POS) systems with data analytics is a game-changer. With the rise of consumer experience-focused markets such as the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry, understanding the shifts and patterns of buyers’ preferences has become more crucial. Think of it as merging two super utilities: the POS system, which records all those transactions, and data analytics, the enabler that helps make sense of that info. It’s not just about past sales; it’s about using that data to figure out what customers might want next and how to run things better. This helps businesses predict future trends and enhance customer experience.

Let us explore how blending POS systems with data analytics reshapes the way businesses understand their customers and make more innovative moves in the ever-changing world of commerce.

Understanding POS Systems

A point of sale (POS) system is a comprehensive software and hardware solution designed to assist businesses in handling transactions, managing inventory, and generating reports. It seamlessly integrates with other devices and platforms, such as credit card readers, mobile phones, and cloud services. A POS system generates various types of data, such as

Importance of Data Analytics in Business Operations

Data analytics is pivotal in modern business operations by providing crucial insights. Without leveraging data analytics, businesses risk operating in the dark, lacking vital information to understand consumer behavior and internal processes. This absence of analytical insights can hamper a company’s ability to optimize strategies, leading to inefficient resource allocation and potential financial losses. Data analytics also streamlines the decision-making processes by providing clear, data-driven analytics, aiding in identifying patterns, trends, and correlations that might not be immediately apparent. It has become integral to business operations by enabling businesses to recognize and manage risks, proactively adapt to market fluctuations, and improve overall productivity.

Integrating POS Systems for Data Analytics

Integrating Point of Sale (POS) systems with data analytics involves a blend of tools and techniques that uncover various insights crucial for businesses.

Techniques like data mining, predictive modeling and trend analysis help derive meaningful observations from this combined data. This integration isn’t merely about merging data but unlocking actionable information. By providing insights into consumer preferences and guiding strategic decisions, it empowers businesses to make thoughtful choices and enhance operational effectiveness in a highly competitive market.

Benefits of Integrating POS with Data Analytics

Let’s explore the advantages of integrating POS with data analytics, focusing on how it enhances business insights and strategy.

Tracking And Optimizing Product Mix

Integrating POS systems with data analytics offers a decisive advantage in tracking and optimizing the product mix for businesses. POS systems and data analytics integration helps businesses to:

Pricing And Promotions

POS analytics insights yield substantial benefits in pricing and promotions for businesses. POS systems and data analytics integration enable businesses to:

Segmenting and personalizing customer offers and communications

Combining POS systems with data analytics helps tailor and personalize customer offers, suggestions, and communications for businesses. POS systems and data analytics integration help businesses to:

Automating And Accessing Reporting And Dashboarding

Merging POS systems with data analytics provides a notable edge in automating and accessing reporting and dashboarding for businesses.

CI Global – Pathway to more Innovative, Data-Driven Success

As the holiday season approaches, businesses are gearing up for increased customer activity and dynamic market shifts. The continued evolution of POS and analytics integration offers a transformative pathway, allowing businesses to harness valuable data from transactions, inventory, customers, and employees. The opportunity for making better decisions and being more effective, particularly with the use of analytics, is right ahead of us.

Now is the time to equip your business for the festive rush, understand customer behaviors, and predict their preferences. Seamlessly blending efficiency and innovation, our solutions streamline operations and provide crucial insights for strategic decision-making.

Gear up for a successful December by embracing the power of data-driven strategies. Visit our website and explore how CI Global can be your partner in achieving data-driven success for your Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) or retail outlet this holiday season and beyond.