As you may know, StrikeIron is an Informatica Cloud partner. We recently won another customer account that will be using the StrikeIron Contact Record Verification suite to clean their records as they move between Salesforce.com, a proprietary marketing database, and Eloqua via Informatica Cloud. To help this customer get started, we wanted to be able to run Informatica Cloud on a Mac as well as have a test platform that was remotely accessible from anywhere.
Running Informatica Cloud on AWS accomplished both of these goals. We could run the secure agent on the EC2 instance and then access the Informatica Cloud web front end from a Mac or any of our customer's computers without worrying about firewalls, etc.
This tutorial will go step-by-step through how to create an AWS EC2 Windows Server instance and install the Informatica Cloud Secure agent.
The first step is to create your Amazon AWS account on this page by clicking the “Sign Up” button in the top right corner. The instance created in this tutorial will run in the free tier so if you are a new user, it should not cost you anything. Once your account is created and approved we are ready to start.
Create the instance:
1) Log into your AWS account at: https://console.aws.amazon.com/console/home
2) You should be on the AWS Management console screen. Click the EC2 icon . This will take you to the EC2 Console Dashboard.
3) Click the “Launch Instance” button to display the Create New Instance Dialog.
4) Make sure the Quick Launch Wizard radio button is selected. There are three key pieces of information you will enter on this screen:
In the “Name your Instance” field type "InfaCloudTest” or whatever you would like to call this instance.
In the “Choose Your Key Pair” section, select the "Create New" radio button and name your security key pair “InfaCloudTest”. The key pair is used to create a secure password for your remote desktop. Click “Download” to download your PEM file to your computer. Note the location as you will need it later.
Finally, you will select the instance configuration. Choose the “Microsoft Server 2008 Base” with the 64 bit option selected.
Your "Create New Instance" dialog box should now look like this:
5) Click “Continue” to see the next step in the "Create a New Instance" process.
6) The next dialog should look like the following. You should not need to change anything but there are two important settings to note. First, make sure the Shutdown behavior is set to “Stop”. “Stop” means that if you shutdown the instance, all of your data will persist – just like a normal PC. If this option is set to “Terminate” your instance will be effectively formatted and will also disappear from your instance table next time Amazon does a cleanup sweep.
The next important item is the Security Group. Amazon creates a default security group for you. Depending on what endpoints you connect to, you may need to open up ports in the security group later.
7) Click “Launch” to continue. You will receive a confirmation box saying that your instance is launching. Click “Close”.
8) You will be taken back to the EC2 Management Console. On the top-right hand side, you will see a section called “My Resources”. It should now show that you have 1 running instance (you may need to wait up to 2 minutes then click refresh for it to show up).
9) Click “1 Running Instance” and you will be taken to the “My Instances” page as seen below. Click the check box to the left of your instance name (InfaCloudTest) to display the instance information in the bottom pane. Take a look at this information which includes the full domain name, security groups, and elastic IP if you have linked one (note: we do not need an elastic IP for running Informatica Cloud).
10) Right click on the instance and select “Connect” as seen below:
11) You will see a dialog box like below which contains the remote desktop login details for your instance.
12) Click the “Retrieve Password Link”. You may get a warning saying “Not Available Yet”. If so, you will need to wait up to 15 minutes.
13) Click “Choose File” and find the PEM file you downloaded in step 4.
14) Click “Decrypt Password”. This will display a dialog box with the login information.
15) Note the Public DNS, username, and password as you will need this information to Remote Desktop into the machine. You can download a shortcut file to a Remote Desktop Instance as well.
16) Now open your Microsoft Remote Desktop Application. This will be in the Application Folder if you are on a Mac (RDS comes with Office or you can download from: http://www.microsoft.com/mac/remote-desktop-client) or access via "Program Files | Accessories | Remote Desktop Connection" if you are on a PC.
17) For the computer name, enter the Public DNS entry (note: this will change each time you stop and restart and instance).
18) Remote Desktop will pop up a login box. Enter “Administrator” as the User Name and the password you copied from step 15 above. Leave the domain field blank. Click the “Add this information in your keychain” if you are on a Mac to remember your password.
19) You may receive a warning that the server name on the certificate is invalid. Click “Connect”.
20) You should now be logged into your AWS Windows instance and see a Windows desktop.
Installing Informatica Cloud:
21) Start up Internet Explorer. Select “Don’t use recommended settings” if prompted. Internet Explorer comes with very tight security settings on Windows Server so I suggest you navigate to http://google.com/chrome and download Chrome to save some time and frustration. You will likely have to add several google domains to the Trusted Sites list when prompted to download.
22) Navigate to www.informaticacloud.com and click “Login Here” in the top right corner.
23) Login using your Informatica Cloud credentials.
24) Click “Configuration”. Click “Agents”.
25) Click the yellow “Download Agent” button.
26) Select “Windows” as the platform and click “Download”.
27) When the agent_install.exe dialog is complete, click agent_install.exe and “Run” in the Windows security box.
28) Select the default values for the Informatica Cloud Agent install wizard and click “Done” when complete.
29) Enter your Informatica Cloud credentials and click “Register” in the setup box.
30) After approximately 30 seconds, you should see that the Secure Agent is up and running on the Windows Server.
31) You should see the Agent populate on the Informatica Cloud site in the Configuration | Agents section.
32) If you are going to use files or database on the AWS Windows Server, you will also need to add a connection to the EC2 instance. For example, to read/write flat files on the Windows Server, in the Informatica Cloud web app, click “Configuration”, and then “Connections”. Click the yellow “New” button:
33) Create a target directory on the Windows Server, "c:\infacloud" in this case, and fill out the new connection information as seen below:
Your Informatica Cloud instance is now ready. You can create Contact Validation, Data Synchronization, and other tasks.
I hope you found this tutorial helpful. Please leave any questions or comments below or feel free to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of StrikeIron's direct customers integrate our various API-delivered data services into applications, Web sites, and business processes entirely on their own, usually with a single line of code or two - a testament to how easy this is to do. These product offerings available on the Cloud can be integrated into anything that can consume a SOAP or REST-based Web service (which is just about anything).
However, StrikeIron has also developed technology integration partnerships with many of today’s top software and Internet solutions platforms, solutions which are all enhanced by integrating Data-as-a-Service capabilities from StrikeIron.
Having these capabilities, such as real-time address verification, email verification, sales tax rates, foreign currency rates, SMS text messaging, and phone verification, pre-integrated into various other platforms that are already in use by large customers every day can be a very compelling solution. It is a win-win-win scenario for our customers, partners, and our technology.
One such partner is Informatica. Informatica has integrated several StrikeIron services for the purposes of contact data validation within its Informatica Cloud platform, as data validation is a very important step in the integration of data between various platforms. These services can be used via the Informatica Cloud StrikeIron plug-in, or as directly integrated within the Informatica Cloud platform per our most recent partnership. In the latter case, some of our services are available for use simply by checking a box directly within Informatica's Cloud application. This makes it very easy to have high quality, validated data arriving at a target destination, having been cleansed as an intermediate step while in transit from its source. You can view a recorded Webinar here.
StrikeIron delivers real-time data services that provide specialized business functionality from the "Cloud". These include many different solutions such as using constantly updated reference data to validate, verify, and enhance customer data, provide communication services such as text message notification solutions, ecommerce related services such as sales tax rates, foreign currency rates, and several other data-oriented services.
These solutions are put to use by our customers in the form of XML-based Web services. These are actually application programming interfaces (APIs) that give our customer access to this functionality over the Web, out in the Cloud, and without the requirement of having to manage any of the supporting back-end data sources (we take care of that). Because of the flexibility provided by offering SOAP and REST protocol Web services, these solutions are platform independent and work with just about every development environment in existence.
Many of our Web services-savvy customers take our APIs and build them into their custom Websites, applications, and business processes utilizing the development environment of their choice. This enables them to customize and optimize the access to our Web services and their functionality as they see fit, including usage levels that fit their requirements.
However, many of our customers often make use of system integrators who have been given the task to solve a certain problem, acquire any necessary technology and execute on that technology to deliver a desired result. Very often, these system integrators' search ends with StrikeIron as the solution. They "try out" our services and solutions with their current environment on behalf of their customer, and then as they determine that it fits their requirements, the actual production usage begins.
Most of our system integrator relationships have come to us this way, and then as they have success and enjoy our capabilities and reliability, they begin to utilize StrikeIron on many different projects and with many different companies. We provide a significant level of support to system integrator partners to help them meet the needs of their customers.
To demonstrate this ongoing commitment to system integrators, today we are announcing a partnership with Astadia, a cloud computing systems integrator and top partner with Salesforce.com, Eloqua, and Informatica. They will use their expertise in a wide variety of SAAS and Cloud applications to bring StrikeIron's data quality solutions seamlessly into their customer base. We are very excited about this partnership and look forward to working more closely with the Astadia team.
There is often a need within an organization to move data from point A to point B. One example is when user-submitted data, collected from a Web site, is moved into a CRM system. This typically results in a "lead" being created. Contact data from the user is collected in response to a form being filled out requesting more information about a certain offering, a question needing answering or another action indicating some level of interest in a company's products. All of these types of inquiries are fundamental interests of sales professionals.
The moving of the actual data to a CRM system could be in the form of a nightly batch load or as each single lead is collected. Either way, it is more important to ensure that only valid, complete information is loaded into the CRM system in order to optimize the time and increase the likelihood of success for the sales professional on the other end of the system.
A lot of time can be wasted by a sales organization by following up on phantom leads or leads with incorrect information. Ongoing communication and lead nurturing can also be severely affected if contact information is not valid or current. And finally, expensive, time-consuming "data cleansing" activities might have to be initiated downstream if an organization waits until volumes of incomplete or inaccurate data collects and builds within a CRM system over a long period of time.
One way to prevent this from happening is by using Informatica's Cloud product in conjunction with StrikeIron's Contact Record Verification Suite. StrikeIron has developed a plug-in for Informatica to manage this data migration process. The Cloud product uses Informatica's classic data integration technology in a SAAS scenario, enabling data to be loaded from many various systems, including Web-to-lead data into Salesforce.com. StrikeIron's Contact Record Verification Suite plug-in performs the actual phone number, address and email validation checks along the way. The joint offering is very easy to get up and running – no software to install, no hardware to prepare and no reference data to acquire.
This Cloud-based load-and-validate approach ensures that more accurate, complete and validated data actually gets into the CRM system with minimal effort, optimizing the time of sales executives. This process provides better communication and access with customers and prospective customers while preventing costly data cleansing activities to be performed down the road.
- Here is a video demonstration showing the joint solution: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4-s6kRam6c
- Here is more information on the joint solution: http://www.strikeiron.com/Partners/PremierPartners/Informatica.aspx
Contact us at email@example.com for more information.
Leverages Informatica Cloud to enable high quality, verified contact record data via StrikeIron’s Contact Record Verification Suite
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The "Cloud" has been seeing a lot of momentum this past year, and one place where that is readily apparent is in the stock price of companies making major strategic investments in Cloud technology and associated offerings, as well as aggressive go-to-market plans with those offerings.
To demonstrate this, take a look at the one-year stock price increase of eight major cloud vendors versus the Dow Jones Industrial Average. These eight growth companies were selected because of their software-as-a-service (SAAS) or infrastructure-as-a-service (IAAS) focus. They are Informatica (INFA), Salesforce.com (CRM), Amazon (AMZN), Netsuite (N), Rackspace (RAX), Success Factors (SFSF), Akamai (AKAM), and VMWare (VMW). These securities have seen on average an 81% price increase over the past year, versus a paltry 6% versus the Dow Jones Industrial Average (which at least has gone up).
Will it continue? There is still a long way to go in this space, so probably so.
StrikeIron is going to be sending a large contingent of team members out to the Salesforce.com Dreamforce event December 6th-9th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. It is being billed by Salesforce as the "Cloud Computing Event of the Year".
We will be showcasing our native Force.com applications, where we have seamlessly integrated several of our data verification offerings into the Salesforce.com CRM platform, including address verification, email verification, and the Do Not Call list (checking in real-time for outbound compliance).
We also will be showing our Informatica Cloud Contact Record Verification plug-in, where data being loaded into Salesforce.com from various sources can be validated and enhanced as it is being loaded into the system (daily lead loads for example). This can provide for dramatically better data quality within Salesforce, which is often cited as the #1 problem with CRM ROI.
And then of course we have several other data-as-a-service and data verification offerings that are easy to integrate into any application. While the underlying technology for cloud-based name, address, email, and telephone verification is the same, there are of course many cases where you would want to do this outside of Salesforce, but still to the benefit of CRM and other applications.
We will have engineering (including our CTO), marketing, and business development folks (including myself) available for anyone who wants to explore our technology, asks questions, and discuss partnership opportunities.
We hope to see you there!
Members of the StrikeIron team were at Informatica World this week showcasing the new Contact Record Verification Suite Cloud Plug-In we've jointly built with Informatica. It enables high quality, accurate, and current data to be loaded into Salesforce.com from many diverse sources, including flat files, Excel, databases, or other applications such as Oracle's eBusiness Suite. As data is moving from the source data into Salesforce.com, phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses are verified, validated, and enhanced using StrikeIron's Web Services. This includes a check against reference "truth" data that it is matched against in StrikeIron's data center - all seamlessly via the Web.
This means that once the data arrives at its Salesforce.com target, it is more accurate, current and complete than it was at its target. It will therefore provide for a much more effective CRM experience once the cleaner, more accurate data is residing within the Salesforce system. Combined with Informatica Cloud's scheduling capabilities (for nightly lead loads for example), this creates a very compelling solution for addressing Salesforce.com data quality, time and time again cited as a top issue.
The plug-in is simply a "maplet" in Informatica parlance, which directs each record to a StrikeIron verification process and data enhancement step prior to being loaded into Salesforce. This means that it could also be used in other Informatica products if desired, such as Power Center, IDQ, and MDM.
The key point is that CRM systems are only as good as the data within them.
Here is a datasheet for the product: https://community.informatica.com/mpresources/docs/Infa_cloud_StrikeIron_DS.pdf
Here is a video demonstration on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4-s6kRam6c&feature=player_embedded
The joint solution is available now - contact us to try it out (trials available).
Informatica's Cloud Data Integration Solutions enable the management of data from the cloud or within the cloud for a broad range of applications and use cases.
For example, data can be moved using Informatica's Cloud Data Integration solution from legacy systems during an initial implementation of Salesforce.com's sales force automation product so an organization can leverage existing data when they launch Salesforce.com internally. Also, it can be used to import lead data from a broad range of file formats into Salesforce.com for existing implementations, greatly simplifying this process.
Also, data can be synchronized from other applications such as between Oracle's eBusiness Suite, Microsoft Dynamics, SAP, SAS, JD Edwards, Siebel, Peoplesoft, Pivotal and other enterprise applications, cloud-based applications and enterprise data sources, as well as many different databases and data formats. It can even be integrated into Amazon's EC2 cloud platform. This is achieved via "adapters" that Informatica has developed over time, many of which come from their PowerCenter solution. These adapters enable the moving of data assets between and/or into these different applications that are present within an organization.
Use cases include data/back office synchronization, data importing and exporting, customer master synchronization (MDM), CRM integration, data replication, data archiving, and legacy application retirement to name a few.
Now, as all this data is being moved around between applications and sources, this is an ideal time to ensure validity of the data, as well as ensuring it is accurate, standardized, complete, and current. This is where StrikeIron comes in with its Contact Record Verification Suite, validating, correcting, and enhancing addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and other geographic information. This ensures that the best possible data is running at the core of all of an organization's business processes.
StrikeIron's Contact Record Verification Suite is essentially a set of cloud-based plug-ins that Informatica has integrated into its platform as another "adapter" or "plug-in" that can sit in the middle of data moving between applications to or in the cloud, including multiple data formats and databases.
In this particular video, the phone number validation component is being used as part of the Informatica Cloud Data Integration Solution to validate phone numbers and add other geographic information such as zip code and time zone as lead data is being moved into Salesforce.com from an Excel spreadsheet:
If you'd like to see how this can be achieved within your organization, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 919-467-4545.