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245 Posts By OTS Solutions

  • Software QA & Testing External

    4 reasons third party QA team better for making better software?

    Four Reasons an External QA Team is Better for Software Development 

    Software development can be a costly endeavor, even for businesses that have already have a fully staffed development team. It may seem counter-intuitive, but one of the best ways to save money is to actually outsource developmental duties to external QA teams. If your goal is to make a better software product, then finding a solid QA team that has a proven track record can dramatically cut down on costs while also fulfilling all of the necessary development goals. The benefits of an external QA team can essentially be summarized in four main points.

    1. It Cuts Down on Costs

    As previously mentioned, quality assurance teams can cut down on development costs by dedicating less resources to the tasks at hand. As software engineering teams are focused on developing their specific software product, you don’t have to worry about them spreading out their resources or diverting time to other tasks that have nothing to do with the product. This, in effect, means the product will be ready to go in less time and with less of a hassle. For companies that already have in-house development teams, hiring an external third party can also cut down on costs by helping a complex project be completed quicker. The faster a product can enter the market, the less costly it will be to develop.

    2. It Streamlines Development Processes

    Software development is an inherently complicated process that can almost always benefit from streamlining. By bringing in a third party and working directly with them, you can see areas that need improvement within your own development team. This forced adaptation in a collaborative environment is far more valuable than just the product development alone.

    3. They Provide Greater Expertise

    While there are certainly many testers that work on a smaller software team for a larger company, they will never be as effective as a professional third party development team that solely works on software testing on a daily basis. By working for a wide array of companies, independent teams also gain unique insight into projects that other teams may not be as familiar with. This, in turn, means greater efficiency and design input on software projects than would otherwise be possible.

    4. You Gain an Objective Perspective

    By hiring a third party team to develop and test software, you can wash your hands of any issues that may turn up later. Of course, the real value lies in the testing team’s own perspective too. When you get too close to a project, it’s only natural that you begin to see the bugs as “features.” With a third-party look at the project though, bugs and glitches that were previously overlooked can be brought back to the forefront.

    While it’s certainly possible to develop software on your own, the benefits of a professional software testing team far outweigh any benefits from trying to complete the same project with your own resources.

  • Security testing for software

    Have you tested your product for security? What technology startups of today must take care of in terms of security?

    Don’t Neglect Product Security

    Software products are coming to replace employees and business processes at an increasing rate. While an app’s ability to handle automation is usually an asset, it also increases the need for testing software products before release. Since software often handles crucial personal, financial and business details, its security should not be neglected. Security testing is complex and should often be outsourced for best results, but here are a few of the most common security stumbles software products make.

    Secure the Password

    A username/password combination is the most common way to gain access to software products. You can and should advise your customers on how to choose good passwords, but that advice works both ways.

    For instance, we all might agree that writing passwords on a piece of paper near the computer is a bad idea, but storing them unhashed in the database is the same as writing them down, and many companies do just that. Anyone who compromises your server not only has access to your customer’s data, but might also get their password if you’ve not taken basic measures to secure it. Since many passwords are reused, a password breach on your site might translate into access to customer email or social media accounts.

    Guard Personal Information

    Passwords aren’t the only secure details your software may need to retain. You may find yourself storing street addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and other details that might transform a casual data breach into a significant disaster for your customers.

    Here, too, encrypting data may prove useful. Unfortunately, in cases where your site or app requires said data to function, encryption may impose a usability barrier if it must be decrypted to query. In some advanced cases, it might be prudent to store some information such as medical data with specialized services for that purpose.

    Be Careful What You Handle

    It may seem easy to process and store credit cards locally rather than working with an external provider. Unfortunately, doing so is complicated and opens your business up to many additional security threats and regulations.

    It is better to partner with external services in these instances. Not only do they comply with necessary regulations, but they also provide simple interfaces to ensure that data is transferred securely, and only what is necessary is retained in the local database. Additionally, when regulations change, your partner changes with them. After all, your first concern when testing software products shouldn’t be changes to credit card or medical regulations, but the growth and improvement of your app or service.

    Conclusion
    ]
    None of the above mitigations replace a solid security audit. But, in reality, most criminal acts aren’t elaborate heists. Instead, they’re simply a matter of someone slipping through the mistakenly unlocked door, thus gaining sudden and complete access. If customer trust is important to your business, security testing should not be neglected in the product development cycle.

     

  • Webinar - Startups idea to exit

    What does it take to grow your startup from idea to exit! [Webinar]

    Being a startup and technology entrepreneur is never easy. It all starts with a unique idea that you believe is a killer and will disrupt the things are done in market at present. But is it only an idea that takes you to make it into a successful unicorn? Not really!

    Starting and growing into a successful startup needs a complex mix of skills that need just not good strategic thinking and vision but excellent execution abilities. How does one figure out what to do, how to do, when to do without having done this earlier or having any mentor helping you?

    Now learn through our mentors and professionals who have done it all and helped many people like you earlier in our series of technology innovation webinars. First of it focused on taking you trough step by step process from idea to exit.

    register

    Date: June 22nd 2016

    Time: 1 PM EST

  • Load & Stress Testing for software

    How to use load testing as tool to test scale possibility for your software products?

    Checking Your Software’s Scalability: How Load Testing Helps
    The software industry is littered with success stories about the killer app that reinvented the marketplace and made its creators rich. For every one of those happy endings, there are a healthy handful of sadder stories about the program with tons of potential that died a messy death as soon as its operators tried to scale it up. If you want to avoid this ignominious fate, load testing your software product will ensure that scalability doesn’t turn into its Achilles’ heel.

    Load Testing Defined

    Load testing is an attempt to test your software in a realistic usage environment. The goal is to accurately simulate what will happen when the software is subjected to normal use at high volume. There are countless tools available to this, and many types of software – such as web applications – can be properly tested using an off-the-shelf testing tool. Examples include Apache JMeter (desktop) and The Grinder (Java-based). Some products, though, require specialized (or even scratch-built) tools to model their “live” operating conditions.

    Load testing can apply to any aspect of a program. The most common form of load testing today involves subjecting a piece of software to multiple user inputs; this is particularly vital for online software. Load testing also applies to your software’s capability to handle data, though. You need to verify that your program will accept your expected volume of input without choking.

    The Blurred Line Between Load And Stress Testing

    There used to be a sharp distinction between load testing and stress testing. As noted above, load testing is shows how your software performs under expected conditions. Stress testing is intended to push your software to its breaking point. Sometimes the same testing tool can serve both functions, but many are designed exclusively for one or the other. This is why a multi-tool testing platform (like Taurus) may be useful for organizing your testing procedures.

    In today’s programming market, you’re always hoping that the new software you’re developing will turn into the next Uber or Instagram. If you’re being optimistic, you’re not going to set an upper bound on the number of users or the volume of data you anticipate. Thus modern load testing often expands towards – or even becomes – a form of stress testing.

    What Proper Load Testing Reveals

    Good load testing does more than simply confirm that your software will work as intended. With the right tools, you can measure your program’s performance as it approaches or exceeds anticipated loads. Response times, resource utilization, and efficiency can – and should – be measured during load testing. Full load testing will also discriminate between “steady” loads and “peak state” loads; showing what your software is capable of sustaining in both the long and the short term.

    The benefit of load testing is that it will illuminate the limitations your software is going to face once it goes live. You can identify processes that serve to bottleneck the program as load increases; these can be addressed through design refinements to minimize their impact. You’ll also get a better understanding of how resource consumption changes with increasing loads; this information will be vital when you formulate plans to keep pace with an expanding user base.

    To get the most comprehensive results, it may be smart to outsource your testing requirements to a specialized team. Many firms have capitalized on their testing expertise to deliver more far-reaching and informative results than you can develop in-house. If you’re hoping for your software to expand to the largest scales, investing in an experienced testing team can be invaluable.

    Every software product should receive at least some form of load testing before it’s introduced to the public. The more careful and thorough you are during this process, the better prepared you’ll be for rapid expansion. Comprehensive load testing is the best – if not the only – way to make sure your software is ready to grow.

     

  • Chasing CTO co-founder for your startups

    What you must look for in a CTO or tech co-founder?

    What you must look for in a CTO or tech co-founder.
    Nobody occupies a more precarious position in the technology world than startups. You can have the right idea and the right plan, but if you’re not able to stay ahead of the tech that drives the rest of the industry, then it can all go away.

    The problem is that there is no universal path to ensuring your technological capabilities are everything they should be. In an ever-changing world of tech, it’s dangerous to follow any one mindset or approach when it comes to staying up to date. The best thing you can do is appoint a leader within your company who is able to stay atop of all technological trends and adapt as needed. You need a good CTO or knowledgeable tech co-founder.

    For any emerging startup, your upper-level technology hires (whether they be a technology co-founder or CTO) can serve as your anchor. As the tech industry shifts and grows, they can help ensure you stay exactly where you need to be. Their value is without question, but what is up for debate is what defines a good technology expert. While you must always take into consideration your startup’s specific needs, the following are traits that any tech management specialist will possess.

    Practical Engineering Experience

    Right away, you should look at whether your CTO candidate has experience developing software technology or software products from the ground level. Nobody understands tech quite like engineers that work with it day-to-day, and any CTO that doesn’t have a background of practical experience working as an engineer will have a hard time properly appreciating the full needs of the position.

    A Proven History of Success

    Nothing speaks quite as clearly as success. Promises and plans are one thing, but the closest you can come to a guarantee that your CTO is capable of delivering is ensure they’ve done it before. Whether it’s through pioneering the implementation of a new piece of software technology within your field or even participating in the development of defining software products, your CTO should have success on their resume that speaks for itself.

    Knowledge of Your Current Technology

    Although you are ultimately hiring a CTO to advance your current technology as needed, you still need to take into consideration whether your CTO candidate is truly familiar with your current technology. Even if you are planning to move away from your current set-up soon after their hiring, if your candidate isn’t familiar with what you are working with then it will make the transition period much more difficult.

    A Deep Network of Connections

    The exact importance of an employee’s network can vary from position to position, but when it comes to a CTO, it means everything. Because a big part of your CTO’s job description will involve them having the ability to stay on top of new trends and emerging concepts, a deep network of industry insiders will help you to feel confident they have the proper knowledge base needed to be aware of such changes.

    Additionally, don’t overlook the possibility of outsourcing your technology officer position at the start. Delaying a full-time hire is not only an excellent way to offset the high costs of a tech expert but can be a great way to practically field test what you are looking for in the position as your company grows.

  • Startup needs to be successful

    You Need More Than Passion and Money to Make Your Tech Startup Into a Unicorn

    What Makes a Startup Unicorn Successful? Hint: You Need More Than Passion.

    In the early 2000s, people were still trying to figure out this thing called the Internet. What did e-commerce mean for a business? What did people see in online dating? How was Google going to fix the spam link problems? Those issues are long gone as more and more people have become entrepreneurs simply by starting their own businesses online. Do these new entrepreneurs have what it takes to create a tech startup unicorn? What exactly does that mean? In truth, many people are jumping into the tech game without realizing that passion does not equal knowledge, and knowledge does not equal success.

    Unpacking Your Startup Idea
    Anyone who watches the show Silicon Valley on HBO knows that creating a valuable and useful startup is all about investors. Where a startup begins and ends is not the same. One major example is Facebook. Once started as a website akin to the old “hot or not” trendy sites for college students, it is arguably the most well-known and pervasive social media platform used around the world.

    This is why it is essential to unpack your startup technology early and understand what is simply great about your idea. Whether you are a developer with a software product, business graduate with a cool invention or single parent just getting started, every startup entrepreneur should think critically about each component of their startup starting with the product and go-to-market strategy. One way to do this is through a SWOT analysis. Here are some questions you might ask:

    • What is my main product?
    • What does my company value?
    • What do my customers love about the product?
    • What do customers love about my brand?
    • What channels will serve the product best to my customer?

    You may also want to get more specific depending on the product. For example, who buys this software product and for what purpose? What problem does this product solve, and how much is it worth to my users to solve that problem?

    Consumer-Facing or Business-Facing
    In the past you may have heard B2B or B2C as common keywords that distinguished whether a company appealed to businesses or everyone else. The key terms now are consumer-facing or business-facing.

    Simply put, consumer-facing startups are based on how products or services are seen by a customer. This is key in determining a customer’s experience with your company and also the best way to design and deliver a satisfying user experience that includes multiple touch points. Some of these touch points include:

    • Business processes
    • Budgets
    • Marketing
    • Order processing
    • Purchasing
    • Production
    • Customer service
    • Employee training

    Business-facing is based on how can serve and provide software to other companies and clients. This is still referred to as business-to-business or B2B.

    While you do not necessarily have to pick between these two, it helps to understand what the majority of your audience demographic will be so you can understand branding, content strategy, channel selection and audiences so that your startup gains visibility.

    Defining the answers to these questions can lead to bigger investments from business partners or bring in more users who will support your startup technology company’s growth in the early years.

  • Automated unit testing

    Software Development Managers – How automated unit testing helps in controlled incremental releases?

    The Indispensable Merits of Automated Unit Testing
    Does it work?

    Because of all the rhetorical noise that can come with a hugely complex industry such as software development, you can accidentally lose sight of this fundamental question. The fact is, the only thing that matters to your client is “does this program do what I need to do, and does it do it reliably?” The way to ensure this is a simple, yet elegant development solution: unit testing.

    When developing a new software feature, you might take the naive approach and hand your engineers a rough specification, and have them implement your ideas to the best of their ability. Then, although they might have even designed a good feature, sometimes it just isn’t what you or your client needed. The perfect solution to this is test-driven development and unit testing. Using this method, instead of making guesswork of what needs to be done and then testing it later, only to find that the feature isn’t quite right, you instead write the tests first, ensure that they fit exactly what you want your piece of software to do and only then begin development. Initially, all the tests will fail. But as your engineers code the feature, they code specifically to pass each test, and as a result they code exactly what you need to get your feature working, released, and useful.

    Unit testing is especially important in incrementally released software. As you continuously roll out scores and scores of new features, it can become impossible to make sure the entirety of your program is functional. On a piece of software that is even two years old, there can be hundreds and hundreds of features that need to be ensured to work. It cannot be assumed that if a feature worked in a previous release that it will always work, as software engineering is an inherently finicky task, and the most minute change can break features for reasons entirely unknown. This is true especially if you have to change the fundamental structure of the program in order to roll in the new feature, which happens more often than you might think.

    In addition, manual testing requires your engineers to repeatedly execute repetitive tasks. Saving your engineers’ time, especially by running overnight test suites, can in addition save your company a good amount of money.

    There are scores of software development services created with automated unit testing and test driven development in mind. There’s one in any competitive IDE and one for virtually any language. Without a doubt, there’s multiple automated testing software development services for whatever technology you decide to develop your product with. Automated unit testing is a simple, elegant way to ensure a viable, reliable product, it reduces development costs, wasted time, guesswork, and headache for everyone involved, and all of the tools and services are already in place for you to integrate it seamlessly in your enterprise. In light of this, automated unit testing is, without a doubt, an indispensable practice to any software company.

  • co-development of software

    Know how Co-Developing Software Product Development is the Key to Balance Costs and Sustain Longer

    Why Co-Developing or Outsourcing Software Product Development Makes Sense
    Partnering with a software development company affords businesses the flexibility and responsiveness necessary to remain competitive in today’s fast-paced, constantly changing software product development market. What used to involve years-long project and development cycles can now be delivered in a fast, cost-efficient manner. For many companies, outsourced product development just makes sense.

    Here are four reasons why co-developing software product development makes sense for many businesses.

    Cost Savings
    The cost of maintaining a full IT staff dedicated to software product development is prohibitive. When you factor in the salaries, benefits, hiring and training processes, it’s easy to see why many organizations seek alternatives in the form of out-sourced development work. By relying on outsourced talent for development, companies can maintain the bare minimum of IT staff necessary to support, implement and guide the software products.

    Shorter Development Cycles
    Outsourced developers often have the resources and skills necessary to meet the aggressive time constraints of individual projects. They have the ability to staff-up with the right skilled developers to meet the demand. Not only does this shorter time to market present a competitive advantage for companies, but it also allows them to be more responsive to existing customer needs. Promises for enhancements and new features can be delivered sooner.

    Different times zones can also be a plus for productivity. Take for example the opportunity to develop during the day and test code at night. Or struggling to find more hours in the day that overlap, there is a chance to leverage teams in hat work in nearby time zones.

    Quickly find the Skills Needed
    As referenced earlier, outsourced product development companies have larger numbers of skilled developers than can be cost-effectively maintained in-house. The flexibility of being able to plug in different skills sets as the project demands becomes a boon to productivity and cost-savings. No longer do companies face the dreaded “switching costs” associated with getting staff trained on new technology and up to speed with the right development skills.

    Sustainability and Flexibility
    A companies ability to regularly bring updated, responsive software to market in a short time frame keeps it ahead, or in step, with the competition. The strategic strengths and sustainable development cycles mean the company will remain in a flexible and market-ready position for years to come. Co-developing software product development provides a strategic advantage.

    A software development company can also seamlessly switch from a waterfall development approach to an agile, iterative based product development life cycle. Agile has proven to deliver the better results for customers.

    Software development companies need their software product development cycles to be shorter and cost-effective while simultaneously providing the flexibility and responsiveness necessary to get to the top of the market. The costs associated with maintaining a large IT staff can hinder the profitability of many companies. Couple that with quickly out-dated skills sets and long project timelines and it’s easy to see why many organizations have turned to outsourced product development.

  • Software product development

    Why Software Product Development is Different Than Internal Software Projects?

    Why Software Product Development is different than internal software projects?

    Internal software projects can cover a wide variety of tasks, such as building a data warehouse or creating a custom application to be used internally by a business. Many projects might involve coding, but actually developing and producing software from an initial concept to successful release is an entirely different animal.

    Software Development Process

    The software development process, or life cycle (SDLC), is a structure for defining progress. There are a number of development methods which describe approaches to the tasks and objectives involved. These process models began with waterfall methods, which developed in turn into iterative, Agile, and extreme programming (XP) processes.

    Typically any software development includes stages of requirement analysis, specifications, software architecture, implementation, testing, documentation, training and support, and maintenance.

    In thee internal software projects, this cycle is completed for a version to be used by business and remains steady for a while till business needs new changes. However, software product development in many instances, development is never really completed, as there are numerous releases over time with new features and fixes as customer feedback is received and user needs change more frequently. With new cloud based SaaS products gaining foot in market, the cycles of development have become more agile and product companies are actually doing this shorter as possible to get more customer feedback as fast as possible.

    Driving Role

    With internal software projects, it is usually seen that CIO or IT heads get the requests for business software needed, which gets checked by them if available off the shelf. This is what drives to make decisions of creating this custom internally for their business OR if a off the shelf software package can be used to meet the needs with minimal or no customization.

    In technology startup space, CEO is more of an “idea man” or venture capitalist who hires or partners with a technology specialist to head up development. This is the CTO, or chief technical officer. In practice this is seldom a hands-on team leader but a technical adviser. In today’s development world of IT outsourcing, this is not someone with a vested interest in the technology startup, but a contracted, high-level consultant who can be hired as virtual CTO. The role may become more physical and they may need to bring a full time CTO in house once the product hits market

    Platforms & Technology Stack

    Today’s software product development can be extremely complex, and may need to run a variety of devices and platforms. Development teams must stick to their methodology to establish and meet requirements, plan system architecture, and coalesce constantly revised code blocks into a working product that satisfies all quality tests. Going at it with a poorly defined process will only lead to failure.

    In contrast, an internal project although being a very important requirement from business standpoint, does not necessarily need to support many platforms for user adaptability as most of the users may still be internal to business. Technology and architecture decisions however are equally important, still rank low as preference if compared with product development needs of a technology company.

  • Project management tools

    Team & Project Management tools for engineering managers of software companies

    One of the biggest challenges that faces any software development company is how to best manage the developers, engineers, requirements, code base, scope of work and even budget. It is easy to lose sight of these important factors while you’re developing the next greatest widget. Doing so, however, can cost your company money and even future work. It is key to find the right software development tools for your team.

    When researching, the first factor to consider is the type of software product development you do. Are you an app company that focuses on mobile? Do you develop tools for Government customers and worry about legal? Or maybe you develop custom IT solutions for small businesses. Regardless of what you develop, you need the tool that meets your company’s critical needs.

    Choice of programming languages at times make you decide against or for tools used for creating software, like IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) – .NET may be best coded using Microsoft Visual Studio, PHP / PERL / Python / Java have their own flares of specific generic IDE. One of such widely used IDE is Eclipse.

    Another consideration is your team size. Do you manage a small handful of engineers who all work together? Or does your team number in the hundreds across multiple worksites, maybe even multiple countries? Project management, tracking and transparency to stakeholders is the key to success for any project. The space of project management, collaboration tools has been exploding in past few years. We have options like Assembla, Trello, Jira, Basecamp, Asana, Git and many more such names all used by different teams for their own version of needs.

    Beyond just your team’s size, your infrastructure is key. Do you have physical servers on which you maintain your code base? Or do you develop in the cloud? This answer will be absolutely critical to choosing the right tools for your team. The infrastructure on cloud has its own options of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google, where one can host their code base and applications for production. Managing these instances or physical servers is also getting largely automated with tools like Chef.

    While cost is always a factor when looking at software development tools, be cautious that it doesn’t become your deciding factor. As with all IT solutions, the most inexpensive software management tool may not be the right fit. Almost always, the cheapest options have fewer features; while this may seem to be the right fit for your team now, always look towards future growth. As your team expands and diversifies, you do not want to have to purchase another software management tool. This is an easy way to waste your money and is best described by the old saying, penny wise and pound foolish.

    Don’t shortchange your software development company by choosing the wrong development tool. Whether you are looking at Integrated Development Environments (IDEs), Source Control Management (SCM) systems, unit testing frameworks, integration build tools, or Continuous Integration (CI) servers, you can find the right option for your team and project after deeper assessment and evaluating your needs in terms of size, criticality and scalability.

  • software development outsourcing

    It’s not Outsourcing that’s bad, It’s the way it’s done that creates issues

    You’ll hear plenty of software development managers and business owners swear that they’d never outsource. Not because they couldn’t use the extra help or they don’t think there’s enough talent, but rather because they’ve had horrible past experience or heard some terrible stories that make them decide it’s better to just forgo the hassle of outsourcing altogether.

    While there are definitely some circumstances when outsourcing work can hinder the overall productivity and quality of a final product, it can be an incredibly valuable and profitable decision if done right. Software outsourcing and outsourced product development doesn’t mean that the project is any less yours, only that you can save time and energy doing extra work and instead focus your energy on effectively delegating and managing your project team.

    Why Outsource?

    When you outsource, you’re hiring a company or independent contractor to do something that usually could have been done in-house. For many people this seems like a costly, time-consuming affair that is completely unnecessary and used solely for the purpose of accommodating lazy workers who don’t want to meet deadlines.

    In reality, outsourcing is a great way to stimulate the economy, network with other companies and leaders in relevant industries and maximize productivity and turnaround times in your own office.

    Offshore vs USA Outsourcing:

    There may be some horror stories from outsourcing offshore, but there are also plenty of benefits if you take the time to scout candidates or hire through a reputable outsourcing firm. What matters most when outsourcing is how you handle the situation from start to finish. Just because a contractor or company isn’t in your region doesn’t mean they don’t need to be kept as informed as your in-house team.

    Thankfully today we are no longer limited to email and can interview/work alongside our offshore employees via Skype and FaceTime. Holding weekly to monthly meetings depending on the scale of the project is an excellent way to stay on the same page and ensure that everyone is where they should be on the production schedule, regardless of their actual timezone.

    You should never hold an offshore contractor at lower expectations than one of your own employees. Many software outsourcing projects tend to involve the outsourced contractor being viewed as a third-party rather than a teamplayer and integral part of the product’s development. By stating your expectations explicitly from the beginning and having frequent check-ins with your offshore outsourced contractors, you’ll not only receive greater feedback and have more free room to request changes, but they’ll also be more inclined to work better knowing that they are being managed and treated as important as everyone else on the project team.

    If you’d rather stay local though, outsourcing an independent contractor or company stateside can be done via Skype or face-to-face. You can go through another firm or simply start to scout potential contractors on job boards, giving you greater control and a better chance at connecting with the right people the first time around. There are lots of software development company leaders who could benefit greatly from hiring contractors or other smaller businesses to perform certain tasks on a larger development product. Mainly, doing so will minimize the menial tasks and crossover duties that employees often have to take care of, and free up their schedules so they can focus on more specific, larger objectives.

    Recap:

    Outsourced product development is a controversial topic among many software development company leaders, but while there are a few horror stories out there, outsourcing is a great way to free up time for in-house work and allow projects to be broken down and divided into larger, easier tasks that ultimately wind up saving time and cost and improving the quality. The decision to outsource may not be for every business, but it can certainly work wonders for those who give it a try and get connected with the top workers and companies out there.

  • CTO challenges startup

    Challenges for a CTO of a Software Tech Startup

    Launching software tech start ups is as much a lifestyle as an investment for the company’s CEO, and requires vision and focus to shape the company toward achieving its goals. The first challenge for any tech company is finding the right team to realize his vision, and particularly the right chief technical officer to get things going. And the CTO will face many of the real challenges that keep workflow moving or networks secure.

    The Right Fit: This has to be the right person for the company and its goals. Will you be a partner or an employee? Will yours be more a consultancy or advisory board member, or day-by-day operations manager?

    As a company grows and addresses its growth issues, different skill sets may be needed. If you have a background in software product development, do you also have a background in hiring and managing development teams? If this is going to be a data-driven company, what kind of background do you have in database technology?

    Those who can’t take a leading role in all aspects of startup product development may find themselves being relegated to the background when specialists are called in. A hands-on or advisory role may be less suitable than a development or leadership role. Before committing, you have to understand what the company’s long term goals are, and what growth needs to happen to get there.

    Flexibility: Education and experience look great on paper, but how will that help you to meet requirements and tackle obstacles? A growing list of activities will likely be part of regular duties with software tech start ups:

    • Provide input on business plans
    • Cost and time estimates
    • Software product development
    • Systems analysis and design
    • Technical risk analysis
    • Technical research and evaluation
    • Establishing meaningful business metrics
    • Security integration and policies
    • Scalability
    • Internet marketing and social media integration plans
    • Development methods and resources
    • Operational plans and resourcing
    • Software and licensing
    • Network monitoring and server capability
    • Interviewing and overseeing personnel resources
    • Conferences and presentations to key partners or customers
    • Technical innovations, customer data protection, patents

    Any or all of these could be make-or-break situations for a growing company. Are the rewards fair and worth the headaches? https://www.simplyhired.com/salaries-k-startup-cto-jobs.html

    Taking Responsibility: Since the CTO plays a central role in company performance, it’s essential to be able to take responsibility and at least a share of the ownership of failures and stress across the entire company. The technical officer must thrive working with teams, training, setting standards, and being forthright with the CEO and other upper management.

    Trending: For technical staff on any level, being up to date on technology trends and new solutions can be a huge expenditure of time. A chief technical officer stays current with industry trends, and competent in understanding and evaluation new solutions. If you can’t find the time and motivation, a different company or different role might be better.

    A startup CTO must not only meet the divergent personnel and technical issues that come along with startup product development, but at the same time offer sensible direction and technical expertise that speed growth.

  • technology-startups

    Technology Startups – How to Go From Funding to Successful Exit

    Launching a startup is exhilarating, but when it’s in an industry as established and increasingly competitive as technology, it can be daunting to say the least. Don’t worry though. This article will help you navigate the unchartered seas of startup businesses and give you an outline on how to get from the drawing board to your own actual company. It won’t be easy, but with enough tenacity and time investment, your startup dreams can finally become the real deal.

    Why Technology?

    First and foremost, what are you doing here? This is one of the most important questions you need to answer for yourself and prospective clients because they will want to know. Stakeholders and investors can be (rightfully) scrutinizing, and it’s easy to get so caught up in logistics that you forget to contemplate some of the most basic questions. Whether it’s because you have background in development or programming and are inspired by an area you want to improve or have seen how well the industry is doing and want to climb aboard, know your facts and figure out how to present them in a manner that’s straight-forward, honest and engaging to anyone who asks.

    How to Fund Your Startup Properly

    You don’t need to take out thousands of dollars in loans and wind up further in debt than ever before your first client even walks through the door. Or you even have a door for them to walk through. Instead, you need to work in the industry that you’re trying to break into and find viable connections.

    You can scout them on LinkedIn but before doing that, you need to narrow your search down to local investors. It’s fantastic if you have high hopes and can easily envision your company at the top of its game in the next 5 years, but startups need a specific audience and region to service, otherwise they can appear unfocused to potential clients and investors.

    As to the actual method of fundraising, software tech startups come from many different backgrounds. Some people use their own savings, others turn to family and friends. Plenty of people turn to Kickstarter and GoFundMe, and there’s now even an app like Tinder called PIF for entrepreneurs and potential investors in a specific industry to connect and network.

    Your First Clients:

    Another reason why sticking to a local market can be so beneficial for tech startups is that it’s much easier to advertise directly to an audience. If you’re just another software tech startup that services the whole world, people on the Internet will have a much more challenging time finding you among the masses.

    While it’s certainly possible to use job boards and forums to advertise your company outside of your area, sticking to a local region the first year or so of your business can help generate a buzz and gain referrals that will contribute to the validity of your brand image. When much larger clients start coming to you in the future and say, “Show me what you’ve done so far”, you’ll have no problem presenting them with a slew of successful projects and testimonials from satisfied customers.

    Managing Growth:

    Through digital marketing campaigns and referrals, tech startups are able to grow overtime from a couple entrepreneurs working from home to a well-established business that can hold its own in the tech industry. There’s always something new that a software development company can offer, and it’s your job to find that one niche you can perfect and give to your clients. Once you understand exactly what you’re most apt to give, finding the customers who are looking for exactly that will become much easier and help your startup flourish.

  • QA_Testing

    How QA & Testing Effort has Changed in Software Product development in Past Years?

    The beginnings of software engineering came at the start of the computer age, with government insistence on exacting standards from large technical defense contractors. Today, at virtually every level, quality assurance testing has become a critical part of software development. But how has that role changed?

    Waterfall to Agile:

    The software world has been moving into leaner methodologies to streamline product development. Engineers who used waterfall development strategies have slowly gravitated to Agile methods such as Scrum or Extreme Programming. Agile techniques have overtaken software development and the role of QA engineers since the Agile Manifesto appeared: https://www.agilemanifesto.org/

    At one time a big allotment of time was designated for “testing”, and developers simply sent blocks of code to QA testing and moved on. Now programmers and QA engineers work together to produce quality code at each stage of development, while considering end-user feedback before moving forward. Today the QA engineer is an essential part of the development team.

    Software development methods: https://noop.nl/2008/07/the-definitive-list-of-software-development-methodologies.html

    Single to Multiple Platforms:

    Not too long ago a software development company produced applications for use on one or two platforms only. Today’s applications, in a world of smart phones and Internet, often must have a server component and an API compatible with both mobile and desktop devices. In addition, each application must work across a variety of popular platforms, such as iOS, Android, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox, to name a few. Even a simple application must be tested across these different platforms, requiring quality assurance testing engineers to have familiarity or specialized knowledge of all of them.

    But Agile, too, is forced to adapt as extensible, open-source software platforms become more of a norm. Unified process methodologies were created to provide a more extensible framework for development, and QA engineers have more testing to do as development embraces open-source solutions: https://www.opensourcetesting.org/

    Manual to Automated Testing:

    Browsing the Web these days, it’s hard to imagine the dull, non-interactive pages of early HTML pages that displayed text and photos and did little else. Today Web applications are full-service word processors, spreadsheets, translators, photo editors, and much more. These applications are often as sophisticated as many desktop versions, and also must work well not only the variety of browsers, but many scripting languages like JavaScript, Python, or Ruby. A software development company will often have many specialists writing the same functionality in different code.

    Unfortunately there is no easy compilation step to check syntax over a wide variety of languages:

    QA testing today can rely on automated checking tools to ensure that applications run together seamlessly, no matter what script is used, to meet standards from load-testing to multi-browser support. These tools also include essential features such as unit and load testing, or regression. Today’s QA needs not just some developer skills in software code and scripting, but specialized knowledge of these testing tools that would otherwise make todays complex, multi-platform approach to software development a nightmare.

    Every project manager, regardless of background, has to be familiar with a growing variety of development methods and testing tools to get the most prolific results from his team in the shortest time span possible.

    Software development is changing to the point where it’s the QA engineers and not developers who play a critical and central role.

  • Technology-Start-Ups

    Exit Planning for Your Software Venture Without a Strong Technology Partner is Like Shooting Yourself in Foot

    Why you shouldn’t shoot yourself in the foot and skip making an exit plan for your company

    You wouldn’t shoot yourself in the foot on purpose, right? Well, that is exactly what you would be doing if you put together your exit plan for a software company without including a strong technology partner. Let me explain how this is similar.

    An exit plan is a laid out ahead of time idea for what to do when it is time to remove yourself from a business venture. This is an important step in business planning as a guide for what you, and investors, can realistically expect from your venture, and what will happen if this does not work out. For a software company, having a strong technology partner that can pick up where you leave off, can prevent having to completely dissolve your venture, or leave it in the very best of hands.

    Here’s why. A strong technology partner is one that has proven itself as a technology advisor, has strong similar experience. They can expand your product and service using the vision you had st initially and modify it as new technology comes available. Outsourced product development might be a great option that you may choose to look at while finding this technology partner.

    Outsourced product development is a cost effective way to minimize overhead, and should be included as an option for an exit strategy. Investigate the options with potential technology partners to see what options are available and build your plan around the partner that fits your needs best, should you need them.

    When investigating potential technology partners, learn about their technology product engineering strategies, how they work, and how they could integrate and use their products or services with yours. Knowing this ahead of time will show investors that you are serious, know what you are doing, and even if things go wrong, you have a plan.

    Not having this plan in place, and not including a technology partner that is known for it’s technology product engineering, will prevent you from knowing how, or even when, to get out of a bad situation with the best outcome. You could lose everything and miss a very important opportunity to grow your business, or at least save some part of it, by not taking the time to investigate, learn, and plan ahead.

    You value your foot, and will take all necessary precautions to avoid injuring it. You need to do the same for your software company. It takes a little time and effort to research and find the best options, but in the end, it’s worth it. You won’t have a hole in your foot, or your business.

  • Agile-Development-Kanban-or-Scrum

    Agile Development: Kanban or Scrum, which is better?

    In an age of rapid technological progress, staying competitive requires a change not only in your products and technology, but in the processes used to develop them. This is especially true in the world of software development.

    In the past few years, the software industry has adopted agile development practices, which emphasize frequent launches rather than a few large product releases every year. Such practices help teams stay nimble and adaptable to rapid market changes. Two popular frameworks for implementing software agile development are known as Scrum and Kanban.

    Scrum:  With this methodology, the work is done in short bursts that are usually about two weeks in length, and it is divided up among people serving in three different roles.

    The first role is that of the Product Owner, who is responsible for maintaining the business strategy for the product. The second role is the Team, which is usually a group of fewer than 10 developers responsible for building the product. The third role is known as the Master, who acts as the bridge between the Product Owner and the Team. The Master also ensures that the Team stays on task by preventing the Product Owner from introducing new requirements in the middle of a development cycle.

    The benefit of this approach is that it allows the developers to do what they are good at while still enabling the Product Owner to drive the overall strategy. In addition, having one person act as a facilitator between the Product Owner and the Team helps to avoid wasted effort caused by poor communication.

    Kanban:  In this methodology, the emphasis is on continuous improvement and minimizing the cycle time. The work is planned out using “cards” that list the backlog of tasks that need to be accomplished. When a team completes a task, they simply take the next card and start working. Meanwhile, the product owner can add, remove, or re-prioritize items in the backlog at any time based on the needs of the business.

    Which one should you choose?

    Of the two methods, Kanban has less structure, which can be either a benefit or a drawback. In a very small team where communication is unlikely to be an issue, you can benefit from the added agility of this method. This is especially true if you are working on a brand new product that has yet to find a product-market fit, because you can quickly try new things, measure the results, and adapt. This allows you to easily experiment to find out what works.

    In a larger company, the focus on communication makes Scrum ideal. When your company finds a product that customers like, this approach can help you focus on what works while maintaining good communication between the product owner and the developers.

    Each approach to software agile development has pros and cons. Whichever approach you use, there is no doubt that agile development has numerous benefits over the old methods of software development, including more agility, flexibility, and improved communication with your team.

  • Remote-teams-for-product-development

    How Setting Remote Teams can Actually help in Increasing Efficiency of Product Development?

    How Setting Remote Teams Can Increase Efficiency on Product Development:

    Product development is a time and energy consuming aspect of business that requires all hands on deck. Successful product development requires project managers, designers, developers, marketers and more, and it seems like it would make the most sense to have them all in the same place working together. While the traditional in-house approach to product development still works for millions of companies around the world, remote development has its own advantageous worth exploring.

    What is Remote Development?

    Remote development means that the members of your development team can work from anywhere. It can be their own homes near the office or a country away. Remote product development hones in on each individual party’s skillset and decreases distractions and unnecessary crossovers, maximizing efficiency and improving the overall quality of your final product.

    Remote Software Development:

    The team effort that goes behind software development can actually be improved upon through remote software development. Apart from granting more freedom and space for your current team members to focus on their responsibilities with minimal distractions, software product development remotely is a booming industry with thousands of qualified professionals looking for work around the world. You can recruit experienced developers in your industry that you would have no way of collaborating with otherwise.

    How Remote Product and Software Development Benefits You:

    IT solutions can be done in-house and oftentimes, face-to-face consultation is necessary to get the job done. However, we’re in an era that allows us to connect with virtually anyone in the world in a matter of seconds. The IT solutions at your disposal aren’t limited to your business location. A software development company can strengthen their international presence by hiring remote software developers and IT professionals to work directly for their company. With tasks that are normally delegated to other employees being taken care of by remote workers, your team can work on developing the highest quality of software in the fastest amount of time.

    Software Product Development and Remote Workers:

    You may be hesitant to send your employees off on their own and expect them to report back in on time or to hire people who you have no way of meeting in person. However, remote software developers are just as diligent as the ones you have working at a desk in the office. There are also specific softwares you can use to make sure that everyone on the product development team is working when they should be and meeting all of their deadlines.

    A software development company that reaches out and embraces remote workers for their next product development endeavor won’t just be able to better prioritize their objectives and reach their goals faster, but they will also be establishing useful industry connections that can lead to company growth and new professional opportunities.

  • CTO-and-CIO

    How is a CTO Role Different than CIO?

    Differences between CTO and CIO:

    As head of an organization or in top level management, you may be faced with a challenge trying to understand the differences between a Chief Information Officer and a Chief Technical Officer. A clear understanding of the two job roles will help you access whether your business needs them or not. Overseeing the people in these positions can be harder as some of them may not have a thorough understanding of their roles. Every business need not have people in these job positions, but as they grow they may need people for these job roles depending on their type of business. People in leadership, especially in technology, need to understand the two job roles to make the right decisions.

    Similarities

    The reason distinguishing the two job positions is hard is because they share a lot of similarities. Both must have strong leadership skills, a clear understanding of the main underlying technologies, sound operation and management skills, business-oriented mindset, and efficient communication. The way they handle the similarities is what differentiates the job roles. Smaller organizations that only have one of these positions, must have a manager that complements with skill sets that are lacking. For instance, a startup may only have a Chief Technical Officer and will only be focused on startup product development. In such a case, a manager to complement the role for internal processes will be needed.

    Chief Information Officer

    The job roles of the CIO are focused on an organization’s bottom line. They use their strong leadership skills, a clear understanding of the main underlying technologies, sound operation and management skills, business-oriented mindset, and efficient communication to improve the efficiency of internal operations. The CIO manages organization’s technology infrastructure, oversees internal IT operations, aligns business processes with technology, focused on internal users and business units, works with vendors that provide infrastructure solutions, and aligns the organization’s IT infrastructure with business priorities. The key responsibility of the Chief Information Officer is to ensure the organizations runs efficiently by providing effective communication and maximizing productivity. For instance, for a software company, they ensure efficient use of internal resources for software product development.

    Chief Technology Officer

    The roles of the CTOs are focused on an organization’s top line. They use shared similarities CIOs to develop technologies that aimed at product development. The CTO is the organization’s technology architect, oversees the engineering group, uses technology to enhance the organization’s products, focuses on external users (customers/buyers), works with vendors that provide solutions that improve the organization’s products, and aligns the organization’s product development with business priorities. Based on the software company example, they are focused on software product development to meet the needs of the customer.

    Conclusion:

    It is evident that the two roles can easily overlap. A closer look at the job roles of each, the Chief Information Officer needs to be skilled and organized to deliver. On the other hand, the Chief Technical Officer has to be creative and innovative. That is the reason small companies will focus on the product, for instance, a startup will have a CTO for startup product development.

  • Right_Outsourcing_Can_Reduce_Burn_Rate

    How Outsourcing Software Product Development Done Right Can Actually Reduce Your Burn Rate and Speed Your Release Cycles

    Ever since the agile development model took over in many firms, being able to justify it from a cost standpoint has thrown some of the work that would be traditionally outsourced into technology product engineering methodologies that are more traditional and quantifiable in terms of return on the dollar spent.

    Yet agile non-withstanding, there is still a concern on the part of many experienced managers about being able to bring their projects in on time and under budget when using an outsourced team.

    Here are some tips that can help your software development company forge ahead with the partners that you choose to create your next application with:

    ROI doesn’t lie:

    At a large software firm, both the development models and the way that internal engineers interacted during projects used to change as management was looking at finding the best match for current conditions. For someone then taking those results and trying to apply them to their next project with outsourced product development, it became a tricky thing to find a way to compare apples to potential apples, given the stripped-down nature of the outsourced product development methodology. Just the same, once a model was developed and validated, it proved to be very useful in providing both a forecast and a system of checkpoints when it came to both cost and schedule, guiding the outsourced team to victory in terms of completing project milestones and meeting the budgetary goals.

    Re-think communication:

    Although many development models rely upon the meetings to keep a team cohesive and focused, the nature of a software product development firm that uses electronic and video communications with its offsite workers favors leveraging online communications to keep the team abreast of how a project is progressing. It therefore should not be as necessary to require as many meetings in order to meet your project deadlines. One SQA team tried an experiment at a large computer firm, avoiding all development meetings and merely reading the online notes, communicating via IM and e-mail and phone, and putting together automated scripts in advance of the product’s release. As a result of that strategy, they were able to meet their positive ROI goals without having a negative impact on software product development. Had they attended several meetings, the time that they spent during those meetings would have meant that they ended up costing the company more than they would have on similar projects in the past where automation was not part of the process.

    The upshot is that communication remains very important. Electronic communication, however can be leveraged to help meet technology product engineering goals.

    How is their project organized?

    Another thing that software development company managers can look at when they are
    interacting with their offsite counterparts is how their outsourced team is managed. As the client, if you have spent millions of dollars developing the most efficient engineering processes around, it is never wrong to throw your weight around by asking to validate just how your contractors plan to accomplish your goals. You do want to be careful regarding how fine a brush you use because they are not your employees- yet getting an overall feel for how they will organize the project is still within your purview.

    Outsourcing software product development can be rewarding to your firm when it meets the goals that you set for it. By using specific management techniques, you can create an environment where your contractors will be set up for success.

  • Retail CRM

    Retail CRM – Knowing Your Customer Better

    Why You Need to Know Your Customers Better:

    Today, retail businesses have a lot of competition. Not only are there brick and mortar storefronts, but they also have online shopping outlets to deal with. While it may seem that sites such as Amazon are impersonal because they do not actually interact with someone face to face, there is one thing that they do that really knows how to bring people in: they know their customers.

    Customer Relationship Management, or CRM in retail, are strategies that businesses use to manage and analyze customer interactions and information. The goal of this is to help improve the relationship with customers, and bring them back in time and time again. Retail software is available to assist with CRM by collecting this data and providing reports that a retail business owner can do.

    What does it mean to know your customers?

    If you want to start practicing CRM in retail, you need to start doing things to build strong relationships with your customers. One way you can do that is to find ways to personalize your customer’s experience. Just look at Amazon; they have gone to great lengths to give people a customized experience. Not only do they provide wish lists, they also give recommendations based on recent searches and provide emails that list products of interest. Even though the process is automated, it still makes a person feel as if they are truly listening to their needs.

    If you want to have the same type of customer retention, it would be best to try an implement strategies that allow you to get to know your customers better. If you are not sure of how to do that, you can always look to a CRM software for help.

    What can CRM software do for you?

    Retail software can help you collect data that helps you build that unique customer experience by automating the tasks you use to interact with your customers. In layman’s terms, CRM software keeps track of the people who work for you and the people who you sell to. It assigns and converts leads, keeps track of orders and produces invoices and develops a knowledge base that allow you to run campaigns. By analyzing the type of information that comes through on, you can get insights on the things that your customers want from you, and then use that to build a better experience.

    CRM in retail is key, especially if you want to build your retention rates. While you can build a strategy on your own, you can automate many of the tasks by using a CRM software.

  • outsourcing-solutions

    Getting Rescued from Bad Outsourcing?

    Escaping The Trap Of Bad Outsourcing:

    Information technology plays a pivotal role in every industry these days. Your own company probably needs specialized IT solutions in order to be competitive. When you don’t have the in-house resources to build these tools, software development outsourcing is a natural solution. Employing an off-site software development company can be risky, though. What do you do when the team you hire proves to be unequal to the task? Here’s a guide to getting out of the bad outsourcing trap.

    Risks Of IT Outsourcing:

    While there are a great number of IT tasks that are well suited to outsourcing, some jobs simply can’t be handled by off-site teams who don’t understand the needs of your company. It’s very difficult to exercise tight oversight on outsourced software development, and this can lead to unsatisfactory results. This risk is multiplied with extremely sensitive work, especially when your own organization doesn’t have the technical resources or the time to thoroughly review outsourced work.

    Perhaps the greatest risk of trusting a bad outsourcing partner is losing control of your organization’s sensitive data. In some cases, an outsourcing company may even be able to deny you access to crucial information you need to continue working.

    When you’re not satisfied with the performance of your software development outsourcing team, you may discover one last disappointment: Many outsourcers who do shoddy work also provide little in the way of customer service. It can be difficult to get satisfactory or timely responses to your complaints with a bad outsourcing company.

    Making A Smart Break:

    Because of the risks outlined above, it’s very important not to act rashly when you divest yourself of an outsourcing company that’s failed to meet your needs. As frustrating as it can be, you should give your outsourcers every chance to correct their mistakes. You don’t need to sit idle while you do this, though.

    You should thoroughly review your contract with your outsourcing partner so that you have a complete understanding of their responsibilities — and of exactly where they have failed to provide service. You should also take steps to recover any and all data that’s in the outsourcing company’s hands. If they are responsible for critical tasks, you may have to lay on resources to handle the work before you let them go. While this can be expensive, it’s preferable to cutting all ties abruptly and finding yourself unable to do business.

    Learning From Missteps:

    Obviously, being let down by an unprofessional software development company is a great disappointment. It is generally seen in this industry that you get what you pay for and a cheaper outsourcing company may not be the best fit for your needs. Freelancers and newbies must be considered to stay away from.

    However, not every outsourcing unit and project is a failure. There have been numerous successful projects that have worked for many. The idea is to find a perfect fit partner and carry these steps very meticulously.

    Let your experience guide your search for more effective IT solution provider this time. Query potential replacement firms carefully about every aspect of your outsourcing work where the previous company fell short. Documenting your grievances with the old company will help here; you can use their failures to craft a more stringent set of requirements for your new partners.

    Not every business partnership is destined to be satisfactory to both parties. If you have a disappointing experience with software development outsourcing, make the best of the situation by choosing your next IT partner with more care.

  • Tech Start Ups

    Tech Start Ups – Why UI / UX has Become Make or Break Decision Now?

    If you’re working in the software industry, you already know that UI design is important for any product or service. Now the latest word is that any software development company that wants to be competitive needs to invest in UX design as well as UI work. Is this true? Do you need to start scanning the job sites for UX experts? The answer is yes, and this is why:

    Breaking Down The UI / UX Team:

    User Interface (UI) design is a pretty familiar concept in the world of software and web development. You already know these graphically-talented pros as the specialists you turn to put a pretty face on your products and services. User Experience (UX) design is the hot buzzword in the development world now, though. Just what is it — and more importantly, why is it important to you?

    UX design is the number-heavy, analytical muscle that backs up UI decisions. UX encompasses how and why your users see the designs developed by your UI team. It’s about shaping, analyzing, and improving how your users interact with your products and services. Moving into the future, capturing market share is going to require great UX work just as much as it requires great products.

    A Core Component Of Success:

    A software development company that’s looking to build great web solutions (or any other kind of software product, really) obviously needs skilled UX and UI specialists to get the job done. These pros aren’t outsiders that you call in at the end of the product development cycle, though. UX needs to be a key consideration as early in the development process as possible.

    Your entire team — both UX experts and the rest of your programmers — should be thinking about your user experience long before development is complete. UX design is complementary; it can alter the shape of your web development process and dramatically improve the final quality of the products you have to offer users.

    Start Strong; Get Stronger:

    The other reason you need to get serious about adding UX and UI muscle to your permanent team is that these disciplines do not (or should not) pack up and go home at the end of the development cycle. UX design is an iterative process. While a UX professional should be able to give you a workable, well-polished UX before you go live, he or she can also refine that design based on user feedback. As your user base grows and changes, you need to make sure your company’s web development evolves to keep up.

    Your UI specialists have plenty of work to do once you’re serving users, too. The insights gathered by the UX team will lead to improvements — everything from minor tweaks to major overhauls. All of those changes need to be crafted, and you want the crafting to be done by the same team that developed your UI in the first place.

    Strong UI / UX work isn’t just the cherry on top of the software sundae your team has created. The best web solutions in the world won’t reach their full potential if they’re burdened with a shabby user experience. The reverse of that statement is also true: Outstanding UI / UX work can help shore up a weak product and help you improve it. These are the key reasons why you need to make sure your team includes real UI and UX expertise.

  • The-Future-Of-Outsourcing

    Losing Trust on Outsourcing Software Development? Let us Teach You how is it Done Correctly!

    Effective software development requires time and a great deal of expertise. While many entrepreneurs of technology related companies posses the capacity to develop their own software, the time required to do so would detract from other duties essential to business growth. It is understandable to be reluctant to entrust such an important task to a third party, so this posting will help ease your mind and discover how to effectively outsource your software development needs.

    The Approach:

    While it is true that there is a growing mistrust in outsourcing due to many failed projects in the past, this is more reflective of the importance of understanding the process itself. There are many excellent outsourcing agencies that will truly result in a positive experience throughout the entire software development stage than a company embarks upon. As opposed to working with freelancers, consider moving towards outsourcing companies with a positive reputation. Such companies will have a set process in place and stick to it. They will focus on effective communication with the clients, have professional credentials in place, and will understand the important of working as a team.

    Selecting an Outsourcing Firm:

    Naturally, choosing an outsourcing company is the most critical part of this process. Many people can write code, but not everyone understands business and is able to effectively communicate with the average small business entrepreneur. Communication is a key spoke in this wheel as it works to ensure that the needs to the company are being met at all stages of the project. In addition, the company that works on software development for any given firm needs to understand that particular industry. This is how one can make certain that the final product is truly reflective of the needs that company has.

    Stages of the Software Development Process:

    There are several key stages of the software development process that today’s entrepreneur needs to be aware of. This begins with an assurance that the developer understands exactly what the requirements for the end product is. Once this is done, an effective outsourcing company will develop a waterfall piece of software that ensures the program itself can grow right alongside the firm.

    As deadlines are critical, it is also important to set important milestones that must be accomplished by certain drop dead dates in order to keep the project on schedule and on budget. This is especially important in the technology realm, where innovations and advances are taking place at a breakneck pace today. By outsourcing software development, you can attain the services of a professional company focused on your software needs, while you get to spend your time focusing on the next and greatest advance in your own company.

    In summary, outsourcing your software development needs does not have to be a scary prospect. It does not require you to give up control of the process; rather, it frees up your time to focus on other pressing items, while ensuring that professionals are working behind the scenes to make sure your software is as highly effective and innovative as it can be.

  • Dashboards for Business Intelligence

    Dashboards & Business Intelligence usage in Retail Organizations

    Better Intelligence = Better Business: Great Retail Dashboards:

    In the modern retail landscape, there are more paths to success than simply keeping prices down. Business intelligence — the science of collecting, analyzing, and using data from all aspects of your organization — can give you powerful insights into how your retail company really works. Software tools like digital dashboards allow you to keep your finger on the pulse of your organization and make wise decisions quickly.

    Dashboards Defined:

    A digital dashboard is a powerful management tool that collects vitally important information and presents it all in a compact, easy-to-use format. Dashboards are a crucial piece of business intelligence software in the retail sector, as they allow you to quickly observe the current flow of your organization. Dashboards must necessarily update their information in real time – or close to it.

    The software that you use to organize and update your dashboards needs to be highly flexible (see below). When they’re designed and used correctly, dashboards can be invaluable decision-making tools. Conversely, a poorly-implemented dashboard can be useless or even deceptive.

    Building an Integrated System

    Some retail companies rely on integrated business intelligence software that can manage all aspects of retail information. This is rarely a suitable solution for larger businesses, though. It’s likely that different departments in your company use different tools to best accomplish their goals. Fortunately, most modern retail software is designed with the intention to work with a wide range of other software suites. This is usually accomplished via API (Application Programming Interface) compatibility. APIs allow data to flow from one piece of software to another in a useful, automated format.

    For example, your POS software routinely tracks the details of every sale your company makes. If that information never leaves the POS software, it’s virtually useless to other parts of your organization. If POS data is output through a standardized API, though, it can be seamlessly picked up by all sorts of other software — including your dashboard programs.

    Buying Flexible Tools

    As noted above, dashboards are only useful when they’ve been properly designed for your specific needs. This means you need retail software with a great degree of flexibility. Care must be taken to preserve simplicity, though. The most flexible software suites are often the most unintuitive. Striking a balance between open-ended and easy-to-use software is one of the biggest challenges in retail IT.

    When it comes to dashboards, the software tools which are easiest to use typically constrain your options. If you want to build a truly customized dashboard, the assistance of IT professionals is usually required. This adds a layer of complexity to the implementation process — it means you can’t use your business intelligence software right out of the box — but it’s invaluable for building truly effective tools.

    In the end, software for business intelligence is all about speeding up the kind of in-depth analysis that used to require weeks of consultation to achieve. With the right software tools, you can put powerful real-time insights about your business at your fingertips. Dashboards are just one of the many business intelligence tools available to you.

  • BOT_Model

    Build, Operate and Transfer Model – Getting Software Product Development Done Right

    The Industry That Never Sleeps:

    Software product development is a fast industry. What worked yesterday may be obsolete today. Because of this, your programmers never sleep, the research and development never ends, and as part of the leadership of a software development company, you are constantly balancing risks and returns.

    Yet despite all this endless work, the obstacles of software development continue coming. Profits are low, turnover of new software is too slow, and losses keep piling. The pressure never ends.

    Have you ever asked yourself, “Why isn’t there a better way to do develop software?”

    Turn to the Government:

    It may be time for you to take a page from the government playbook. Historically, government infrastructure programs have always faced dual problems. First, governments naturally could not keep up with all the latest trends in construction and engineering. Think about how quickly every single technology changed during the Industrial Revolution! Overnight, old technologies became obsolete and if a government had spent millions of dollars on that obsolete method, they were simply out of luck. Second, the government could never justify spending millions of public dollars on research in an age of democracy and transparency. Without guaranteed returns, public outrage would increase with every dollar wasted.

    If you are leading a development company, these challenges may seem similar to what you are facing on a daily basis. So what did governments do? Faced with the dual challenges of rapid technological change and minimal research and development capacity, governments cleverly turned to the build, operate and transfer model of public project development. Example: https://www.thehimalayantimes.com/?s=Promotion+of+public-private+partnership. In this model of development, governments outsourced pieces of new public projects to third party contractors. Governments paid a fixed fee that gave contractors a fair return on income, and the contractors would build and operate the physical asset for a fixed term. After the term ended, the contractors would them transfer ownership of the asset to the government.

    How does this help me?

    Why was this a win-win, and why will outsourcing development be a win-win for your software development company? Outsourcing removes the two major risks of software product development. First, by finding expert firms in their field to develop and operate a software, your company will be assured to purchase the latest technology for your project. After all, if you hire an expert C+ developer, then you can be sure that he will know more about C+ then your Java programmers.

    Second, because you are purchasing this expert, the research and development is already included. You will have gained the many years of experience that developer has with one simple hire. Soon you will have a new, cutting edge software developed at a predictable fixed cost, for which you will not have to pay operating fees for as long as you want, and you will be in a better position to reap the benefits.

    So why did governments turn to the build, operate, transfer model for product development? For the same reason your software development company should use BOT models in your software product development. You will enjoy more flexibility, operate with lower risks, and develop products faster with one simple hire.

  • Retail CRM

    Retail CRM – Are there any Cheap Alternative out there?

    Customer relationship management software has helped manage customer interaction since the 1980s. Most sales teams, however, only use a portion of CRM’s capability. With costs ranging from $50 to $500 per user each month, you wonder if it’s affordable for startups and small businesses.

    Choosing CRM software

    Regardless of business size, when your library of customers has become burdensome, CRM software for retail might be a wise choice. It helps managing clients and sales, or even online marketing. Better customer service is an important aspect of getting more customers. Today’s CRMs offer many levels of service via different approaches.

    When looking at retail software solutions, you have to weigh such factors as scalability, difficulty of implementation, and available support, Consider the vendor’s experience in your area of business, and itemize what specific goals you have and the tools you need. But the first issue is always your costs.

    Free Software

    Free CRM system software comes in two options – free, but limited, and open source. Limited versions are essentially trial packages that set limits on the amount of users, storage, features, or other capabilities. You can upgrade later, usually for a fee.

    Open source software means fully functional CRM retail software . The drawback is that most of these open source companies don’t offer installation or support, so you may need someone to take a leadership role in installing, configuring, and training. Some of these companies do offer support – often for additional fees.

    Either way, if you can find the right CRM system software to fit your resources, free is preferable to investing in one of the enterprise products out there.

    Budget the Options

    There are affordable versions available for under $25 per user per year, which is a huge savings. Find retail software that’s easy to use and implement. The last thing you want is to purchase something that’s going to require time to learn, or worse, that employees won’t use.

    Gauge the investment relative to the value you’ll get from it. Look for CRM software for retail offering a small business version. But there should be room for future growth. What staff and hardware will you need to implement it? You may prefer something you install on your own servers, or something cloud-based you can access over the Internet.

    CRM retail software has the reputation of being too technical for people who need to focus on customers. This may be true especially for owners of smaller businesses who don’t have the IT resources to install and customize programs properly. That doesn’t mean you should give up on benefits that it can bring. A little detective work will uncover cheaper and simpler alternatives that meet your needs.

  • IOT in Retail

    IOT in Retail – How will It Change the Future of Shopping?

    The rise of Internet on Things IOT, in the retail business, has led to many game changing efforts to create opportunities in various industry domain and create the new company model. Information technology has revolutionized the retail industry, starting with e-commerce software development propositions and now The Internet on Things. Physical devices are increasingly interconnecting as well as creating a thriving and intelligent network of data and technology, which is referred to as Internet of Things. It has been projected that by 2020, a data network will interconnect more than 50 billion devices.

    Customer demand for product availability, convenience, and both contextualized and personalized interaction will drive business owners to adopt The Internet on Things. In the retail business, IOT and Retail Software covers a broad spectrum that includes product tracking, customer engagement, and interactive operation, an efficient service such as hyper-local message targeting, shoppers intelligence, mobile payment, inventory management, and asset management. This article provides an incursion of how Internet on Things IOT will change the future of shopping.

    Efficiency operations that can be inferred from The Internet on Things devices that collect data and present it as real time information in an actionable and meaningful ways. Connected devise from Point of Sale (POS) and cameras to beacons and readers can help to drive better and easier shopping experience to shoppers. In a retail environment, the smart screen can provide customers with more information depending on w what they are looking at, this influence shopper’s decision positively.

    Internet of Things can be used to trigger content based on multiple contributing factors such as underperforming stock that are running out of assets, environmental conditions, time of the day, online trending and other potential variables.

    Retail mangers can also merchandise and markets their products based on buying and shopping patterns inferred from online search trends and browsing, loyalty programs, Bluetooth low energy beacons. These networks are married to the dedicated or partner-shopping app, which through heat maps generates consumer’s moves around the stores.

    Internet of Things also offer the opportunity to engage and connect with customers through shopping channels, retailers can easily connect with potential clients and gather purchasing intentions and preferences from The Internet on Things channels. Besides this, they can be used to plan, measure; excuse marketing campaigns and bring your marketing vision to life. Through various retail Software, a retailer can engage potential customers with personalized campaigns, build the pipeline, and display the impact of marketing effort.

    In the modern world, customers are living in the interconnected world, and they are often well informed even before they enter a store to make a purchase. Since customers are shopping on their terms, it is critical for retailers to find ways through which they can do to provide better and extraordinally shopping experience. This call for excellent customer service such as POS when it comes to providing that service through dynamic e-commerce software development and valuable customer service based IOT.

  • Product Development

    Don’t Just Outsource Your Product Development: Treat It Like Your Own External Team

    Although there are a quite a few benefits to outsourcing project work in product development, there can also be pitfalls that set efficiency against cost savings, resulting in more work for your firm. One of the most popular ways to counter potential problems is to set the environment in your organization so that outsourced product development workers are treated like an external team.

    Here are some ways to approach making changes that can enhance your results on your overall approach:

    Focus on synergy:

    One successful software product development firm adopted a strategy of keeping team leads in the United States and then outsourcing all development to their outsourcing partner in India. They were able to achieve productivity gains through synergy by focusing on finding a partner that could meet their cost/performance requirements. Once they made their decision, they spent extra time and budget on developing a strong working relationship with their counterparts, introducing the software product development people overseas to their company culture and work processes. They begin to see a return on their investment after the first few months of project work and have not looked back.

    An important part of emphasizing synergy can be to have your key managers or executives spend time with the people that you will be working with in advance of engagement start. The more that they can learn about capabilities and tendencies, the smoother the ride will be.

    Metrics are important:

    If you talk to tech executives involved in software product development you will likely hear tales of partners that worked out and others that turned out to be a larger cost than they might have paid if they were doing things in-house. The curious thing is that although North American firms have been outsourcing for a few decades, finding a partner that meshes well with your expectations in the short term and the long term is not an exact science.

    Metrics, therefore become a pretty important part of helping you to establish and maintain control of the development process from a cost standpoint. An important component of project work is looking at integrating ROI into what you do with your outsource team. If you have solid data from previous projects, you should be in a good position to homogenize it and use it to build potential comparisons with your upcoming work. It is a good idea to see if you can separate the data beforehand, keeping any projects that didn’t emphasize building external teams apart from data from projects where you might have. That way, when you run your numbers as your project progresses, you will be able to see precisely how much your synergy efforts are paying off.

    Overall, the trend of late among companies that outsource is to continue to look at ways to integrate their partners more. And whether that takes the form of keeping your managers local and managing the teams directly or building relationships with multiple vendors so that you can utilize their strengths, the upshot is that if you do integrate more, treat outside engineers as your own team and use metrics like ROI to help guide your performance, you will get better results.

  • Virtual CTO

    Struggling to Get a CTO on Board? Virtual CTO is Coming to Your Rescue

    If you run a software development company, it can be difficult to find and afford the right chief technology officer. These executives earn almost $12,500 per month on average, according to PayScale. They also receive considerable benefits, bonuses and commissions. Even if you have enough money to pay this officer, you might not be able to find a qualified professional locally. Fortunately, a virtual CTO can solve these problems.

    Explanation:

    Rather than occupying offices in your headquarters, virtual officers work remotely. They share their technology expertise and help guide your company via email, specialized websites and/or the phone. Each VCTO works part-time for a variety of separate firms. This means that you only need to pay this person for as much work as you truly need.

    Advantages

    Virtual chief officers don’t only cut your software development company’s salary expenses. They also eliminate the need for a physical office with costly equipment and furnishings. Your business doesn’t have to provide a VCTO with a pension, medical insurance, an Internet connection or even a parking space. This saves your company a considerable amount of money and reduces paperwork.

    Location:

    One reason why a virtual officer costs less is that he or she can live in any region. For instance, perhaps your software firm is located in a high-wage city like San Diego or New York. A local CTO will demand considerable amounts of money because of the high living expenses. On the other hand, a VCTO could reside in northern Maine, West Virginia or another area with a low cost of living.

    Experience:

    Hiring a VCTO doesn’t just benefit your software development company by saving money. It also gives you access to someone who has worked with a wide range of technology firms. He or she will have experience with a tremendous variety of technological problems. This increases the likelihood that such a person will be able to offer beneficial guidance in almost any situation.

    Recruiting:

    Another advantage of a virtual chief technology officer is that you won’t need to spend a lot of time and money on recruitment. It’s far easier for small and moderately large companies to attract top-notch CTOs when they don’t have to employ them in full-time positions. You can find a VCTO without placing costly “Help Wanted” ads in the local newspaper.

    To sum it up, virtual executives provide a more efficient option for most software companies. They greatly reduce salary and benefit costs while giving such firms a wider range of candidates to choose from. Furthermore, this solution ensures that you’ll gain a chief technology officer with considerable knowledge and expertise. You can end the struggle to find a qualified chief technology officer by signing up for a VCTO service today.

  • Planning a research & development

    Planning a Research & Development Team for your Software Product

    Getting Ready to Launch a New Software Product in the New Year? Here’s How to Form Your Research and Development Team

    When you’re in the software development industry, you know that getting your product to market is one of the most important initiatives for being successful and making money. But if you’re product rushes to market too quickly, you’ll lose money in the end. That’s why it’s so important to plan with your software product development team. If you’re among the many technology startups in NYC who are looking for tips on how to find the balance between getting a product to market and doing it in the right amount of time, read on to learn our top three tips for getting there.

    Tip #1: Set Small Goals that Lead to Big Ones

    When you are planning for a software launch, your software product development team members must all be on the same page about the goals at hand. Set your goals too lofty and no one knows what to do. That’s why it’s a good idea to set small yet strategic goals that build on one another and point to a set of larger goals. Your team will feel more motivated — and they will be more specific and pointed in the execution of those goals.

    Tip #2: You Hold Team Members to Their Duties

    There are many moving parts on a software development team — with many members in different roles. You have project managers and engineers and designers. Make sure each member knows his or her role and duties. When you set a deadline for something to be done and that team member agrees to it, there need to be consequences if it doesn’t happen. Missing a deadline can be major money and hold up the software launch. You need accountable and smart people on your team.

    Tip #3: Select the Best You Can Get

    When it comes to software development, you need really bright people on your team. So try to hire the very brightest and creative people you can. You bring engineers who can build the software and work out its quirks. You need a really great project manager who exhibits great leadership skills and organizational skills. You also need a team that works well together. Sometimes fit matters a lot more than experience — but it’s important to know when you can let one go a little more for the other. In the end, you want to put out the very best software product for your consumers, so you need team members on the side of the software from day one until the day the project launches.

    Many Technology startups in NYC are a bit mysterious in their tactics for planning the initiatives of their R&D teams. But the more the collective group can share, the better we are together — and hopefully, the better our products will be in the end. It may be even wiser to hire a consulting group or company that focuses on startups to help setup a great R&D team together and work on development cycles for the product. Good luck, and let the research begin!

  • maps-local-search

    Multi Store Management Software – What You Must Look Before Choosing the Best Suitable Solution

    In today’s, global retail environment, retail business and customers are increasingly powered by digital technology and multiple channels that are available right at their fingers tips. Today, success comes from connecting with customers. The explosion of increased connectivity brings along an overwhelming wave of information and data.

    More importantly, when business involves multiple locations; Multi Store Management Software can help you to achieve what is considered to be “bird eye view.” Point of Sale (POS) can be designed for users with several retail stores, such that you can manage the server in your premise headquarters and establish virtue access that accommodates other locations.

    Multi Store Management Software should offer retail solutions that accommodate all goods and services you sell and include the ability to add or remove products from sales menu or even update pricing at different locations from POS terminal. It should also treat customers appropriately based on where they shop. This is because it can structure membership management from different stores in accordance with performance; this can help in tailoring promotions uniquely.

    Moreover, Multi Store Management Software can enable users to stay on top of inventory from afar, since these retail Software’s have the capability to be managed by mobile devices that use wireless network and can later be plugged into the computer for download. Regardless of where you are located, managing inventory across multiple sites with Multi-Store Management Software becomes a piece of cake. This article provides an incursion of factors to be considered before choosing Multi Store Management Software.

    Features:

    Every retail type business is characterized by different features from another. Some retail Software’s are unique to a particular type of industries while others suit a range of retails business structures. For example, a retail store may require software with different features from a cafe. Retail owners are needed to determine the most important features and look for technology solutions that suit them e.g. tracking batches, taxes, and may be iPad compatibility.

    Set-up cost and hardware compatibility:

    Setting up technology solutions can be a costly process, users may need to consider both hardware and software requirement. Hardware requirement for retail solutions may include receipt printer, cash drawer, barcode scanner, and credit card terminal. In addition, software compatibility with hardware is fundamental. The retail software should also be evaluated concerning, if it is a physical or cloud software, if its price changes with the number of terminals connected, and licensing fee, including reoccurring fee.

    Usability:

    In a retail environment, Retail Software’s usability is crucial. Retail solutions should be easy to use, such that users can carry out processes like sales, returns, and quotes without having to refer to the user manual or making mistakes that can compromise the integrity of sales data.

    Reporting:

    Making right decisions requires right information, this makes reporting in a retail environment to be crucial. Retail solutions should be able to track products, branch, sales by rep, and even customers. Information inferred from retail technology solutions can be used to generate more sales.

    Integration with the third party Softwares:

    When choosing retail solutions, there is more to consider other than the retail software itself. For example, retail technology solutions should be able to integrate with accounting software thus reducing the margin for error and double data entry. In addition, integration can help orders to be centrally managed, while maintaining accurate stock figures.

  • software-product-development

    How a Traditional Software Project Development Different than Developing a Software Product?

    A systems development cycle (SDLC) for a long period has been the conceptual model for developing software; it has defined phases. The stages include user requirement definition, analysis and system designs, system requirement definition, testing, maintenance, and implementation. These models are commonly referred as plan- driven models since they emphasize on planning continuum. However, the modern world is experiencing rapid advancement in the field of business and technology. Software product requirements are changing continuously, and they may not be clear.

    Product development approach used by companies face the need to adapt themselves to complex environments, which call for continuous transformation on how they develop a software product. Under the current circumstance, business agility is the fundamental elements in gaining market success and strategic advantages. Achieving modern software demand, organizations need to have agile techniques, architectures, methods, and tools that can react to real time changes and requirement. Agile methods are increment; they can accelerate delivery of quality product through continuous planning, feedback and close communication between developers and customers. This article proposes an incursion on how traditional software development project differs with developing a current software product.

    The nature of software development is highly complex undertaking; it characterized by various requirements and need for specialized and diverse skills. It is common to find organization often overwhelmed by inherent complexity requirement. Often the process is poorly defined and unpredictable due to undefined inputs and outputs, and thus, the process is considered unrepeatable.

    Since inception, rational and engineering based approaches such as Waterfall method had been employed to develop projects. These traditional models assume that problems can be well defined; hence, the process can be optimized, and extensive up-front planning is conducted to measure variation in the development cycle. From customer’s perspective, these traditional approaches have pro and cons. The definite advantage is its scalability since large projects may need an active plan. However, its shortcoming is based on assumptions that customer requirements are always understood completely and that they do not change, which is rarely the case. Further, the process takes too long, such that by the time they reach to end users, users requirement have changed.

    To address the shortcoming posed by traditional method in Software product development used a set of light methods referred as “Agile” was developed. This method uses various scientific tactics to overcome dynamic limitations. One of the methods is to use Empirical Process Control, based on “soft thinking”. The other method is usually, to refer to Product development approach used in an organization as complex adaptive system and designs team structure around it. The process changes from linear cycle model into an evolutionary delivery model that is characterized by periodic reflections, short interactive cycles, adaptations, and continuous integration of codes into the software product under development. Also, agile product development calls for constant collaboration with customers through their input and feedback at various checkpoints.

    Successful transition of organizations to agile methods of Software product development used may depend on careful consideration of personnel and processes aspect that may need to be changed in an organization. Moreover, an organization may need to consider a combination of both Agile and traditional methods based on projects size, customer readiness, complexity, and a need for speed.

  • agile-product-development

    Developing Software Products: Agile or Traditional Model?

    When it comes to software product development, organizations are faced with a persistent need to have the ability to adapt themselves to complex environments and needs. This need for the ability to quickly adjust can be defined as system agility. Much in the same manner that all other areas of life are dynamic, so is the life cycle of software development models. As the overall environment changes in a startup or product requirements that may evolve, the needs will change, and the manner in which that software is developed will also change to conform with the needs of the stakeholders and users that use it. Maintaining this type of agility requires architects with agility, as well as agile tools and methods. When it comes to software product development, the idea is to sustain the discipline necessary for optimal quality, while possessing the agility necessary to meet the need for constant change.

    While it may seem that the agile software product development method would be an automatic choice for most instances, there may be times in which a traditional model will be more conducive to producing the software product that is needed.

    Working with a Traditional Model

    Traditional models call for a more precise approach in which teams will work according to a highly detailed plan that consists of a comprehensive list of detailed characteristics in addition to specific tasks that will have to be completed within a specified period of time, because the specificity is related to the product and its lifecycle. This type of model is 100 percent dependent on the requirement analysis and precise planning at the initiation of the lifecycle. Additionally, any type of changes that take place will have to be filtered through a strict change management process and may cost more.

    Understanding the Agile Model

    Agile methodologies are reflective of the use of adaptive software development mechanisms and practices. The agile model uses an adaptive approach in which there is no detailed list of pre defined requirements, but only those user stories that are absolutely necessary for the development of the software product. When it comes to product development cycles, the demand for change favors the adaptive model, because it has the potential to extend the lifecycle of the product. When a software product is highly specified and locked into the constraints created by a more traditional development approach, it is likely that the product will quickly become outdated. The digital world is a rapidly evolving force, which means that the tools and mechanisms that users depend on must evolve.

    In the past, the use of traditional methods meant that the only evolutionary process for software products was to create a new one; however, agile software product development models allow for the development of software products that have the agility to be readapted as the need arises. With evolving new ways of delivering software as service using cloud, no wonder Agile has become most preferred way to perform software product development in modern times.

  • Captive vs. Outsourced – Which is the Right Option for Software Development?

    When it comes to software product development in the modern age, most companies will settle for one of two primary models, opting for either a captive approach or outsourcing the work to a third-party provider. There are a number of different factors that must be considered in order for a business to determine which option is best for them. Some variables that must be considered when determining whether to outsource software development or use captive operations include customer needs, associated risks and relative costs.

    Each option has its own benefits and setbacks, so understanding each will be key to ensuring that the right option is chosen for your business.

    Third-Party Outsourcing

    Third-party outsourcing is reflective of the classic client-vendor relationship, which is strictly governed by contractual obligations, in addition to service level agreements. Whenever a company chooses to outsource to a software product development company, some form of strategic and tactical reasoning, such as short-term cost-efficiency or staffing flexibility, usually motivates the decision. For instance, if your company has current expertise to develop your software, but your current staffing situation doesn’t allow for a major overhaul, porting to new platform (mobile version etc.) or increasing speed to achieve newer releases, then third-party outsourcing will likely be a better option.

    The most common form of outsourcing used when setting up a software development project is generally project-based outsourcing. This however changes a lot when it comes to outsourcing software product development. One must look at outsourcing software product development activities to be a core strategic move and form an extension of their own product development team in longer run. This type of outsourcing can be carried out on site or off site, depending on the specific needs associated with the product.

    Captive Operations

    Where outsourcing often provides a cost-effective method for producing necessary software programs, it was earlier rarely considered when certain core functions and critical activities were involved. Businesses have been motivated to create their own captive operations in low cost countries to take advantage of cost without compromising on IP security and other critical factors, as they believe to controlling these operations directly.

    This has worked well for many vendors but with time, the hassles and issues faced like local red tape, difficulty of doing business in remote countries, business costs, taxes, rising costs in developing countries have all added up and many times overshadowed the captive advantages for many companies, forcing them to shut down their captives and going the third party route.

    With the evolution of cloud and reliable project management and team collaboration tools, companies today can take advantage of using the third party outsourced software product development vendors without really compromising and losing control over their core software development and security requirements.

    While there is no cookie cutter approach to determining which development process will be best for you, the general rule would call for you to start outsourcing with non-critical and cost sensitive smaller chunks of product development and slowly look at outsourcing vendor(s) more as your own extension and as your partners for core product development activities & support. While captive operations provide the control that is needed for critical projects, it may turn out to be very expensive approach. One can even look at options of matured models by niche outsourcing product development companies that may help you build, operate and then transfer the software development operations to your own captive if needed with time.

  • Taking offline retail to online

    From Offline to Online Retail – Step by Step Guide to Transition

    Congratulations on making a wise business decision. It might be a bit intimidating at first to imagine taking your company online. You may not be sure where to start. Take a deep breath and figure out first how you will market your products online. Obtaining a domain name and creating a website is probably one of the most important things you will do to establish your company’s presence on the Internet. Before you do this, you definitely need to analyze your current operations by asking the following questions:

    1) What part of your business can be done online?
    2) How are the customers obtaining your products now?
    3) What shipping procedures do you have in place now?
    4) How are you tracking customer sales and repeat customers?

    Once you answered those questions, you need to draw up a plan that will enhance your online presence so potential customers can reach you.

    Step One: Know Your Current Operations and Status

    You’re probably already analyzed the potential benefits of going online with your business. It is definitely good to go over these benefits and decide if you are going to open up your own online store or piggyback on a known site to see if your product sells well online.

    Step Two: Decide What Products You Want to Sell Online and Have A Way to Ship Them Quickly

    An important component to retail e-commerce development is to have an understanding what products sell better online compared to products that don’t sell as well online. You need to also understand how your products will be shipped. Quick and efficient delivery wins customers.

    Step Three: Decide on Images and Content for Your Website

    Content is king, but images are important too. Your company’s reputation is on the line. Present a poor impression online and your reputation is toast. This is an important element in retail e-commerce development.

    Step Four: Getting to the Nuts and Bolts of Your Online Presence

    Laying a good foundation is essential to your business. To efficiently run an ecommerce store, you need the right e-commerce software. Decide now to build a website that has a stable domain name, a good platform and unique web designs that will boost your web traffic. The right e-commerce software can help you analyze your target audience, understand your products’ selling points and help you drive sales.

  • Group of Business People Meeting About Teamwork

    Retail CRM – Knowing the Customer Patterns and Making Informed Decisions

    Online retail requires IT solutions that go above and beyond expectations of business models and processes. There are various software solutions that help businesses manage their leads. When a business obtains a lead, those leads are prospects. It is essential for management to understand the requirements of analyzing consumer behavior and how to use that data to turn prospects into actual clients or subscribers.

    When it comes to CRM, businesses must know the why, what, how, when, and where of the buying patterns in clients and consumers. Understanding consumer behavior, especially online, requires a comprehensive CRM that yields useful data by revealing customer patterns. It succeeds when it helps executives and management make informed decisions. Consumer behavior is defined by the actions involved in purchasing decisions revolving around services and goods as well as the disposal of those services and goods.

    Consumer behaviors always have a degree of variables that are unknown and unpredictable due to the sporadic behavior based on real emotions and rationale for buying goods and services. It is human nature to be volatile, and selfish sometimes. All people are consumers, and every day goods and services are bought. Not all consumers have the same tastes, and if they did, they have different reasons for those tastes. Most people adapt, adopt, and change their buying patterns every day.

    For instance, one day one person might buy one type of toothpaste brand, and another time, the same person might buy a different brand. Some people will stick to one brand that they prefer, and they may prefer it because it was what they were raised with or it might be what their friends recommended. There is one thing that all consumers have in common, and that is the fact that they fit in a certain demographic that allows businesses to target relative audiences.

    What the appropriate measures, marketing executives and business managers can understand nuances of what differentiates their business services or products in order to understand their client’s needs. Once the consumers are sorted out, a strategic develops a niche that helps consolidate their target marketing efforts in order to solidify consumer relations. This is essential in gaining an edge and competitive advantage that lets marketing staff determine what makes consumers react to the environment which they are exposed. The adage, “They do not care how much you know until they know how much you care,” rings true. With the right software, businesses can automate their marketing processes into a turnkey solution that obtains and retains customers.

  • SolutionWordPuzzle

    Retail IT Leaders – Must have software solutions for your business

    The Must-Have Software Solutions For Retailers 

    Today, the expansion of the Internet has increased the pace of global commerce in startling ways. Around the world, retailers encounter new challenges as a result of this situation. If your company expects to remain competitive in this dynamic market, you require some basic software solutions in your IT investment mix. Don’t overlook these must-have products when you plan for your retail software IT needs:

    1. Security Software

    The ever-changing landscape of viruses, malware, trojans, phishing scams, spam and other threats to website security pose a potential hazard for any business enterprise which maintains an online presence. Although some Cloud Management providers offer comprehensive security for cloud-based applications, companies still need to consider this issue carefully. Even with excellent protection for databases in the cloud, it usually makes sense to secure individual computers within a company, too. Malicious software programs and thefts online can damage a retail reputation and result in costly claims.

    2. E-Commerce Software

    Companies today require E-Commerce software that enables seamless automated online sales. The type of product you select will likely depend upon the size of your enterprise and the fulfillment procedures you maintain. Just as a single shoe size won’t fit every customer, enterprise E-Commerce software packages deserve careful evaluation. A startup with a limited budget will likely not possess the same needs as a well-recognized retailer with an established chain of B2B vendors. However, some excellent software programs today assist retailers in adding ECommerce sales to existing revenue platforms. E-Commerce software includes both tailored and custom-designed versions.

    3. CRM Software

    As the Internet has grown in importance, the variety of excellent Customer Relationship Management programs has kept pace with this expansion. Today, retail outlets can locate some exceptional packages targeted towards their particular marketing needs and preferred promotional strategies. Some companies also obtain customized CRM programs. Just as most retailers now depend upon online sales as a source of revenue, in addition to in-store business, the intelligent use of CRM marketing programs may help enhance your company’s bottom line.

    4. Retail Mobile Apps

    Companies seeking IT solutions need to consider the growing importance of retail mobile apps. The expansion of beacon technology has increased the availability of very sophisticated commercial metrics programs. Developing customized, tailored mobile apps to furnish information to in-store consumers who carry mobile devices may boost store revenues. Many of these programs work well for promoting online retail services, too.

    5. Social Media Integration Software

    Today, even retailers may benefit by maintaining smoothly functioning databases to track sales metrics and promotional campaigns. Using software programs to help integrate social media and SEO campaigns with these programs offer many enterprises an opportunity to take the best advantage of low-cost Internet marketing techniques. Many of these programs work seamlessly with compatible CRM software. Outsourcing to ensure excellent integration with legacy systems may prove helpful in some cases.

    6. ERP Software

    ERP integrates every business automation need required to operate a business of any size in a single platform. With some large players like Microsoft, SAP, Oracle playing in the space, there is a wide variety of software available that can be tailored to any enterprise need and can be installed at multiple locations. ERP software of modern times can cover all business processes ranging from end point of sales, inventory management, supplier management, commerce integration to order processing. Once your business scales up, this is the most essential and complex piece of software you must look to implement helping you control things efficiently.

    7. POS Solution

    Retailers today are trying to achieve an omni-channel approach where their consumers should be able to have a similar experience irrespective of the platform they use for purchasing the goods. It is hence more essential that those old cash registers must become compliant to organization wide Point of Sales (POS) approach of the business. Choice of this software solution is very critical and may break or make your business’ ability to interact with the consumers. It is highly recommended to use an experienced IT solutions provider to choose from plethora of options available in this space.

  • POS-Solutions

    What a retailer must look into before finalizing a POS solution?

    Retailers: Here’s What You Need to Know Before Finalizing a POS Solution 
    Point-of-sale (POS) devices and software enable a business to conduct business. While the basic requirements for a POS may be to conduct transactions, they can and should do more than that. A POS should become a vital part of your business strategy. It should enhance your day-to-day operations while helping you to conduct significantly more business than you could any other way.

    The innate problem with POS solutions is that they are not created equal. Some offer more features, while other offer too many. This can make that final decision concerning what POS to purchase into one of the most difficult ones you might ever make.

    Let’s explore some of the must-have qualities your POS might need to have before you finalize your choice.

    1. Your POS System Should align with How Your Business Works

    The first trait you should look for in a POS solution is the fact that it aligns with the way your business currently operates. It should be designed to be implemented with minimal training.

    This isn’t to say that a POS cannot offer advanced features. If your business needs these features, then it should allow them to be used optionally.

    The thing to understand is that your POS solution should only be as complicated as it needs to be for your employees and customers to interact with it.

    2. Appropriateness for your Industry

    Different POS software can be designed to be used with different industries. There are very few solutions designed to be used everywhere due to the specifics that various industries require.

    Retail POS systems, for example, should include:

    • The ability to enter custom discounts and coupons. Gift cards and other promotions should be included in this.
    • Support for product-specific details like color and weight.
    • Customer invoices for service like warranty work.
    • An implementation of a customer loyalty program. This can be in the form of rewards or discounts.

    To contrast this, hospitality industries such as restaurants need a POS that can:

    • Allow for multiple check payments.
    • Integrate some form of floor seating charts and assigned servers.
    • Produce multiple receipts for separate parties.
    • Track inventory based on ordered menu items.

    3. Is It Reliable?

    Reliability is the key when it comes to POS. Unreliable systems make for lost sales, which means that you earn less than you should.

    Ensure that your POS can communicate over the Internet for maximum reliability. Seldom should a reliable POS solution be “cut off” when it uses the Internet.

    A connection via the Internet will also help foster e-commerce sales and the like. This allows your POS to expand your ability to profit.

    Stability is another factor in the reliability of a POS. Crashes do happen, but they should be limited to less than one time per day. This becomes especially important when you have to rely upon your POS to get customers in and out of your store during busy seasons like the holidays.

    Is Your POS Solution Right For You?

    If you have even one doubt about your POS solution, then it may not be the right one for you. The wrong solution puts your sales and business at risk.

    Expert IT Consulting companies like OTS can provide you with IT solutions, retail software and POS software that meshes with the needs of your business.  OTS will help your business succeed from a technology standpoint, be that with online retail or in a more conventional sense while tying in e-commerce.

    Technology can push your business forward when you use it properly. When you’re ready to see what technology can do to increase your sales and minimize your hassles, contact us.

  • local-seo-multi-locations

    Retail Software – Keeping all your multiple locations synched

    Businesses with multiple locations have special considerations that single-site software can’t address. Companies that have an online retail presence have further additional challenges that come from managing an e-commerce store. The following reasons should help you understand the importance of finding the right multi location retail software for your company.

    Centralized Reporting

    When all your retail locations sync to either a central location or the Cloud, you can view your entire business at a glance. Most reporting functions allow you to begin with an overview of company-wide sales performance and then drill down to see location-specific data. Without centralized reporting, you only see the performance of each store.

    Uniform Pricing

    By managing prices globally, you avoid the complications that arise from having different prices at every store, and you save time. Rather than have staff at every location entering and updating prices, you can have one person do it for your entire company, avoiding the frustrations that develop when your stores compete against each other.

    Inventory Management

    When you have a global view of inventories, you can efficiently use your resources to move inventory between stores before reordering. When the time comes to order merchandise, the software lets you order for all your stores at once, saving time and allowing the use of your purchasing power to buy at lower prices. You can also use global reporting to optimize your merchandise mix at the local level, so stores that don’t sell much of an individual item can free their space for better-performing merchandise.

    Organizational Troubleshooting

    When you have a multi-location software package, you can easily compare the performance of your retail locations. You can quickly identify your retail locations that need attention. You can either improve or close stores that drag your company, so you can focus on the areas of your business that generate the most profits.

    Online Integration

    Many retail businesses have realized they need an online presence to take advantage of modern savvy shoppers. Many companies choose to operate their virtual storefronts as separate companies because they don’t have the software that manages multiple locations.

    When you have software that supports centralized inventory management, you can avoid the expense of maintaining a separate stock room by drawing from the same goods that stock your stores. Also, the same person who prices merchandise for your brick-and-mortar stores can easily manage online pricing by configuring a separate price structure.

    Now that you know some of the benefits of multi location retail software, rather than struggling with software not intended for businesses with multiple locations, you should consider either outsourcing your IT solutions or finding software solutions that meet the needs of your business that you can manage in-house.

  • mshopping_1960x980

    Retail – How a well thought mobile app strategy helps modern retailers

    Retailers: Use A Careful Mobile App Strategy 
    Today a well thought out mobile app strategy enables retailers to compete more successfully for both in-store and online revenues. These useful tools promise to help some brick-and-mortar companies reverse years of gradual losses to ECommercecompetitors. How do Mobile Apps enter into modern retail marketing? What features should these software applications include? What strategies should businesses employ in implementing them more effectively?

    A New Retail Landscape

    Every year, an increasing number of shoppers head to malls and grocery stores carrying sophisticated mobile devices. A growing segment of these consumers use their iOs Apps, Android Apps, Windows Apps and more to seek out bargains. They may visit stores specifically to find certain products stocked there that they have identified via an Internet search. Additionally, a rising percentage of outlets today use wireless beacon technology to draw visitors into the store and promote products known to interest them. Visitors may gravitate to items offering coupon discounts or special promotions, for instance. Retailers who fail to take advantage of these technological innovations risk losing market shares to more aggressive, technically-savvy competitors.

    Custom Design Mobile Apps

    By seeking custom-designed retail apps, often developed with the assistance of IT Consultants, retailers obtain the ability to tap into this attractive Mobile ECommercemarketplace. Many larger stores already maintain 24/7 Online Retail operations. A well-designed tailored retail app helps your store complement and enhance these sales efforts. You can use Software Solutions that provide you with convenient tailored management platforms to track marketing and promotional campaigns campaigns very cost-effectively.

    Some Strategies

    Before making a significant investment in Retail Software, managers should consider consulting with knowledgeable IT professionals to fully explore all the available IT Solutions that might contribute to promotional efforts. Strategies for implementing retail apps vary widely sometimes, depending on your company’s marketplace, resources and staffing expertise. For example, some retailers hire IT consultants to manage retail applications for them, other companies perform this function completely in-house. You may wish to consult with an IT firm in order to gain a better appreciation of all of your potential options and marketing strategies. IT consulting holds value.

    A New Era in Retailing

    The popularity of Bluetooth-equipped devices, “smart” phones and wearable technology suggest that high tech Mobile Commerce will remain significant for retail stores far into the future. With so many exciting new ways to inform shoppers about sales and pertinent product information, retailers find information technology an increasingly productive way to convert store visitors into customers.

  • ecommerce-best-practices-for-small-biz

    Retail Ecommerce – Which is the right platform for you?

    Before choosing an ecommerce solution, you have to know what you need from one. 

    Retail Ecommerce – Which is the right platform for you?

    There are literally hundreds of ecommerce platforms and options available. Making a choice can seem daunting, and making the wrong choice can cost you more than money. Before finding the ecommerce solution that’s right for you, it helps to know what you need an ecommerce solution for.

    • What are you selling? Is it items, a service, or both?
    • Are your products digital or physical?
    • What’s in your inventory?
    • Do you already have a website?
    • Do you need to set up a new one
    • Is your site centered on your shopping cart?

    Answering these and other questions will help you to narrow your choices. There are ecommerce solutions that,

    • Favor one type of selling platform over others
    • Only allow for specific forms of payments
    • Work well as software or plugins to existing platforms
    • Exist as their own full-service platforms

    So look out for the ones that promise to do what you need them to do.

    The Size of Your Business

    The size of your business has a lot to do with the kinds and brands of platforms your company should consider. For example, an enterprise solution like the WebSphere Commerce Suite (WCS) is ideal for retail businesses that routinely spend several millions in operating costs.

    Such solutions come with high costs for testing and implementation. At the same time, such an expensive solution comes with far more by way of features, flexibility, and complexity.

    By contrast, a small business, startup, or single owner business can benefit from smaller options such as Zen Cart, Opencart, and various “eshops,” like Shopify. These solutions are easy to set up, and can cost as little as nothing to only a few dollars to implement. However, they lack features, and aren’t built for handling large volume business.

    Examples of high cost, high-end ecommerce solutions:

    • IBM WebSphere Commerce Suite (WCS)
    • Oracle (ATG)
    • Intershop
    • Demandware
    • SAP Hybris
    • Netsuite

    Larger businesses should look to these as examples of what they’re looking for.

    Examples of low cost ecommerce solutions:

    • Magento
    • Virtuemart
    • Drupal
    • Prestashop
    • Opencart
    • ZenCart
    • WooCommerce

    New business and businesses with low volume sales should see what these lower tier options offer.

    How Much Control Do You Want?

    Some ecommerce solutions will allow you to create a storefront from which you can sell your products or services. These hosted solutions are ideal if you don’t want to handle all the minutiae of site upkeep and backend manipulation.

    Examples of hosted ecommerce solutions:

    • Shopify
    • Volusion
    • BigCommerce

    Businesses that don’t mind hosting on third party services and at times giving away pat of earnings should see these options.

    These services also offer self-hosted and unbranded services. So they’re nice for those with a business that has potential for further growth. However, when your shopping platform is hosted on another’s service, it’s subject to another’s rules.

    Hosting your own

    On the other hand, if you host your ecommerce site yourself, you have absolute control over it. What you may not realize is that control comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility. It’s on you to keep the site updated, keep the content fresh, source images, and deal with any technical problems.

    This isn’t such a big deal when you’re working with a handful of SKUs and a narrowly defined business. It becomes a large endeavor if you’re trying to move hundreds of items.

    More importantly, you’re in charge of your own security. If you’re not familiar with how to secure a site, or you’re not familiar with things like PCI security standards, then you definitely shouldn’t go it alone.

    Managed services

    You can outsource the server and data requirements to a cloud provider, dedicated retail IT services, and IT consulting firms that offer ecommerce options. You can maintain full control of the design and function, while a third party deals with bandwidth, servers, and technical resources. These managed solutions offer you more freedom, and typically more support than commercial hosted sites.

    You can look into many ecommerce comparisons, but no matter the platform, it’s all about what you need and what you can afford. It’s about who offers quality and delivers on promises. It’s not about which service gets the highest star rating on a website.

  • 1444313235omnichannel2

    Omnichannel – What is it and how is it shaping modern retail?

    “New Retail” Blends the Physical With the Digital Through Omichannel Strategies
     

    The retail landscape is swiftly shifting, and many retailers risk being swept away by the profound changes that will come to define the marketplace over the next decade. In order to compete in our increasingly globalized and digital world, retailers need to create seamless shopping experiences for their customers that permeate nearly every marketing channel. The buzzword for this new, multi-channel marketing presence is “omnichannel marketing,” and it is profoundly altering the way retailers will do business in the first half of the 21st century.

    By harnessing the power of digital technology, and tapping into the free flow of information and ideas, retailers can create omnichannel shopping experiences for their customers. But what exactly is ominichannel marketing, and how can retailers, large and small, get on the bandwagon?

    Omnichannel marketing falls under the digital concept of “New Retail,” which is a collection of strategies implemented by retailers to react to the challenges of operating in an increasingly digital world. Omichannel retail, simply put, is the blending of physical and digital retail spaces. It is a concept that allows retailers to take advantage of the strengths associated with both physical and digital retailing models.

    Through the utilization of advanced, digital tools, online retailing is upending the old, brick-and-mortar retail model. Digital retailers such as Amazon have lower fixed costs associated with their operations, allowing them to offer consumers reduced prices, compared to their physical-store competitors. Today, only 10% of retail sales are conducted online; however, the number of online shoppers is expected to explode over the coming years. Retailers who effectively harness the benefits of both physical and digital models will be most successful.

    The key to a successful omnichannel retail solution resides in advanced IT and software solutions. With the right tools, physical retailers can enhance the shopping experience of their customers by adding digital elements. Some examples of this might include “smart carts,” which can track a consumer’s behavior as they progress through a physical shopping space, or utilizing touch screens in store, so that shoppers can interact with digital information while simultaneously viewing a physical product.

    By deploying a retail infrastructure that includes advanced IT solutions, cost-effective hardware, and retail software, stores can implement omnichannel retail strategies that will allow them to outcompete those who choose a one-or-the-other approach. These solutions allow consumers to simultaneously engage with retail brands in physical stores, on websites or mobile applications, through digital catalogs, as well as through social media.

  • Back-to-the-Future-Title-Card

    Back to the Future – How Will Technology Shape Retail in Future

    Doc Brown and Marty McFly gave us some amazing insights of future and surprisingly many things actually have become a reality from the movie; I still believe they really never touched upon how would we be shopping in future. From smartphones and mobile devices to digital currencies and online payment methods, technology is rapidly changing the way we interact in our shopping experience.

    Experience Matters

    It is rightly said that in shopping, customer experience in interacting with your product or the sales person is the most important aspect that makes them buy from you. I believe that in future the emphasis will completely be on the aspect of customer experience.

    Already in today’s world, we have technologies available that can be extended to give the customers near real in-store experience when they shop online on web or through their mobile. Companies of future will try to bring virtual experience in store for some products that can be tried using holographic and VR headsets. It will not be long when you can move in a large shoe brand store and stand in front of a mirror and see the shoe style changing in your feet by tap on the mirror.

    Customer is King

    Once you are able to provide that needed customer experience with your products, it is the possibility of treating your customer in most personal way that will swing the game in your direction. We have all seen this happening already with personal touches in small shops when the owners know their customers well. Technologies of future will make the same experience possible now for any size of retail shops from small to large with multiple locations.

    Retail stores of future will automatically greet customers personally as they walk in the store. With real customer data crunching showing real-time insights to sales representatives will make them greet and act with the customer better. Consider walking in a store looking to buy stuff for your trip that you posted on Facebook or Tripadvisor and the executive offers to help you finding stuff for the trip or suggesting things as per temperature at the destination.

    Convenience

    From internet based shopping on beds or couches of your homes to now being able to shop using mobile phones and devices; retail in future will change further to provide more convenience to consumers.

    Retailers of future must think of implementing technologies that will give more convenience for customers both using internet and in the stores. Imagine walking with a shopping bag of items that you have picked through the store which get checked out of the money stored in your store wallet card automatically without standing in long queues all the time.

    Take Away

    There is no doubt that landscape of retail has changed a lot and will change more rapidly with technology changes happening everyday. Insights above on key principles of retail are just only a glimpse of what can be achieved to sell more and better.

    Many of these things are already happening or will be soon seen in near future. Being a retailer you should already start gearing up if you have not as yet taken steps in modernizing your business and processes. Missing out on the potential benefits and increased sales revenue that the latest retail technology and software solutions are able to provide can find business owners missing out on far more than they might expect. So I suggest to contact your trusted IT partners and fly back to future right away….

  • featured_e-commerce

    ECommerce Comparison – Selling Through Your Own Store vs Existing Marketplaces

    Is it better to sell your products through your own store or through an existing marketplace like Amazon.com, eBay.com or Etsy.com? When making this decision, it’s worthwhile to take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy.

    Advantages of Selling Through a Marketplace

    • It’s typically easier to get started selling through a marketplace than it is to start your own ECommerce store from scratch.
    • Some marketplaces do their own advertising and marketing. This creates a possibility of customers finding your store through their efforts.

    Disadvantages of Selling Through a Marketplace

    • You give up a substantial percentage of your revenue to the marketplace.
    • Many marketplaces will not allow you, or any of their third-party sellers, to market directly to customers acquired through their platform. What this means: They consider the customer to be their customer, not your customer. This limits your ability to solicit repeat purchases, and repeat purchases are essential to the success of many small businesses.
    • Your business is subject to the policies of the marketplace; you might or might not like or agree with their policies.
    • The marketplace can make changes to their policies, platform or procedures at any time. This will directly affect your business, but you will not have any say in the decisions they make.
    • The marketplace has the power to revoke your privileges to use their site at any time, and you have no control over their decisions in this regard.

    Advantages of Selling Through Your Own ECommerce Store

    • You are able to keep and allocate the revenue generated by your business; you decide which business expenses are worth paying for.
    • You are able to retain and use all the data from your business, including customers’ contact information. Thus you are free to continue marketing to existing customers within the framework of existing laws in your area.
    • You have complete control over your store policies, and you are able to change or adapt them as it suits your business needs.

    Disadvantages of Selling Through Your Own Store

    • Setting up a store is complex and requires skills that may be beyond your capability. However, this is not a long term or serious disadvantage; you can easily outsource the setup for your store in the current marketplace.
    • You are completely responsible for customer acquisitions and marketing of your business. This is also not a serious disadvantage; the truth is, even if you were to use a platform like Etsy.com or eBay.com, you would need to do substantial amounts of marketing. If you are going to spend time and money on marketing a business, it’s a good idea to spend that time and money marketing a business that you fully own and control.

    Keep in mind that you do not need to decide between creating your own store or using a third-party marketplace. You do have the option to use both strategies, and utilizing both can be advantageous for sellers.

    How to create your own online retail store

    If you decide to create your own ECommerce retail store, you have many options for getting it set up.

    • It’s helpful to seek IT consulting for guidance that will be specific to your business needs. Retail IT consultants can help you simplify all the complex decisions and details that could overwhelm you otherwise.
    • You can research software specifically created for retail ECommerce.
    • Hire a retail IT consultant to choose the most optimum retail software as per your needs.
    • Hire a IT consultant / software development company to help you.

    Hopefully this gives you a better idea of your options when it comes to choosing whether you want to sell through a marketplace or your own store. We hope this information will be helpful to you as you decide on the best approach for your business.

  • crm_best_practives

    CRM in Retail – Why is it becoming an absolute essential tool for success?

    You may have heard about CRM, or customer relationship management. What you don’t know is just how important it has become in the retail space. On the face of it, CRM sounds just like what a retail business should already be doing- building and managing relationships with customers.

    However, the real value of paying specific attention to the new tool of CRM software, that have made the process and workflow of actually developing those relationships much easier. As the saying goes, the best customers are the ones you already have. In retail, repeat business and loyalty matters. CRM solutions are the best way to promote that loyalty through carefully managing the experience of each customer.

    Why CRM?

    The CRM software tools now provide you ability to manage your customers, sales, orders, invoices, and products in more structured and automated fashion. Further business usage of this large CRM dataset can be achieved by analyzing and visualizing through various meaningful reports. This has brought totally new insight to various functions of marketing, product design, customer support, inventory management and even branding.

    CRM software can tap into an interconnected dataset made up of each customer’s history of interaction with the retail brand. That opens up the possibility to optimize business processes to make sure every customer has a good experience, because it’s that positive experience that encourages people to keep coming back.

    The Basics of CRM

    There are four main aspects of business that CRM tools can help unify: sales, marketing, technical support, and customer service. All of these are ways in which the business interacts directly with individual customers, so they all provide golden opportunities to leave a good impression. CRM can automate tasks like calling up customers to remind them to renew subscriptions or track a customer’s past interactions with the support team.

    That lets the business build up a picture of who its most valuable clients are, what needs motivate their customers, and which frustrating aspects of the product lead to the most calls to customer service or tech support, among other things. CRM tools allow the business to treat every customer with the familiarity of a long-time regular, and that’s the kind of approach that solidifies relationships.

    How to implement?

    Nothing matters more than figuring out how to build relationships with customers that will last, and that’s why CRM’s ability to coordinate goals and insights cross several departments is so valuable.

    CRM software tools take time to learn and implement in any organization, not because of their complexity but merely due to change management it requires across the businesses. Bringing in an experienced IT consulting firm that already know and understand CRM software can be major savings of both time and money.

  • Online Payments

    Retail Ecommerce – Things to consider when accepting payments online

    Once your Ecommerce website is up and running, it’s time to figure out how to accept online payments for all the products your customers will be purchasing through you. There are a number of easy steps that can be taken in order to ensure an easy checkout process for your customer. Plus, with software outsourcing and software consulting, accepting payments with your retail website is easier than ever.

    Pick your payment method

    How do you want to be paid? That should be the first question you ask yourself. There are a variety of payment methods that can be utilized on any given Ecommerce website. Popular payment methods include:

    • PayPal
    • Credit/ Debit Card
    • Bill Me Later
    • Google Checkout
    • Check
    • Cash on Delivery

    Now, you don’t have to use every payment method available. However, offering at least three payment methods is recommended so that your customers aren’t stuck only using one. This is incredibly helpful for customers who may not have a PayPal or credit card (or prefer not to provide their information over the web), and prefer sending in a check instead. A variety of payment methods just mean more ways for you to get paid!

    Pick your payment gateway

    Without a payment gateway, there’s no way to verify information and authorize payment in real time. With a payment gateway account, you get a service that facilitates between the customer’s account and your account, which allows you to receive payment. There are literally hundreds of different payment gateways, including:

    • VeriSign
    • Sage Pay
    • net
    • Paypal
    • 2Checkout

    Integrating a payment gateway might not be a straight task and you may need an experienced IT consultant and software programming company to do it for you. They usually integrate different types of payment gateways to build a system for you that works again and again. Using a middle man like that really cuts down on the time you spend creating and using a payment gateway account.

    Pick your online merchant

    Once you’ve decided what retail IT software you’re going to be using for your shopping cart, payment gateway, payment method, and more, it’s time to get an online merchant account. Without an account, customers have no where to put the money they give you when they make a purchase.

    This step is extremely crucial, as there are many online merchant services to watch out for. Make sure to read the fine print and avoid using any online merchant services that require an additional fee for credit card use or hidden charges. Also, make sure to stay aware of the other fees that go along with having an online merchant account, including account fees and minimums, termination fees, statement fees, annual fees, and much more.

    Don’t rush

    Take some time researching your options for all of the software you’re going to need. The software plays a role in the theme and design of your website, so choose carefully and make sure that each different software ties in with your overall goal for the website.

    As simple as it may appear with a complete plethora of tools and software available in the market, it may still be a scary but essential step in your journey to sell online.

    If you feel a little confused or feel that putting this in the hands of a professional will make everything run smoother, look into employing an IT consultant. An experienced IT consultant should be well capable of making the choices for you so that you can get the best and well secured experience of online payments for your consumers.

  • Tech Start Ups – Marrying Correct Technology Partner

    Most business ideas today are involved in Internet or computer technology one way or another. It may not be the business or the service itself, but still technology and Internet plays an important part for core operations management in each department of business management. This is one reason for which we see businesses evolved and succeed around cutting edge technologies these days.

    This makes it very important for any new entrepreneur to have a good technology partner similar to finding and marrying a right life partner. When you have a technology expert in your team, they are very effective in assisting you at any point of time, plus can save your effort when it comes to the technology aspect of your business.

    Information-Technology-Partner-for-Businesses

    With the startups running lean and thin on finances initially, it is not advised to bear the heavy expense and burden in having a technology partner on board. One of the best ways that you can mitigate this risk is to have the correct tech partner through a reliable outsourcing vendor. This brings a ready available team of experts for your disposal suggesting and guiding you through technology challenges in business.

    Such technology partners come with many advantages over having a single person or having your own team of technology specialists in house. Some of these advantages you must check before choosing right partner are,

    • Having the right mix of technology skills to support your business idea and technology needs in long run
    • Acceptable service level expectations in contracts
    • Accreditations and certifications required to achieve technology vision
    • Past experience with similar kind of technology deliveries
    • Required expertise and skill set in key people to communicate at vendor’s side
    • Right price mix to support the long term association
    • Capacities to ramp up or down the size of team to reduce go to market time cycles.
    • Possibility of speaking to someone in your own time zone for critical situations
    • Ability to reach escalation matrix when needed with minimal support time
    • Ability to mitigate the risk by providing necessary insurance and legal requirements for your company.

    While planning a new software product, it becomes even more important outsourcing and having right technology partner. The most important aspect for a technology startup is to work in a lean manner and create the product in incremental manner, which needs that it is released in parts earliest to market and tweaked according to feedback. Right technology outsourcing vendor can help by providing skills and team to reduce these timelines and take the product to market soonest and in efficient manner.

    Take Away:

    With all these advantages of using a technology partner, biggest disadvantage is time and effort required to find a vendor that suits your needs and is the right fit for you. As a new business startup, an entrepreneur now must make finding a right technology partner as one of the key strategic decisions on their must-have list.

    About Author:

    Author is CEO & Managing Director at OTS Solutions specializing in mentoring technology startups in guiding and helping them form successful technology products. Feel free to contact OTS Solutions if you are looking for an efficient and right technology partner for your startup using +1 818 937 4164 OR sales@otssolutions.com

  • OPEN-SOURCE-ERP

    Low Cost Business Automation with Open Source ERP

    For medium and large businesses, it is imperative that they take advantage of today’s advanced technologies, including ERP software. ERP stands for enterprise resource planning, and when in software form, there are various applications that can be used to effectively capture, store, analyze and use a wide range of business data, including product planning, inventory control, marketing and sales, etc. ERP software is especially advantageous to product development and human resources.

    Medium and large companies prefer to use open source ERP because the pograms can easily be customized, and they also provide a cost-efficient way to manage resources. Open source ERP can be scaled and customized to meet a company’s specific needs, whereas commercial systems come with an existing interface that makes it difficult to perform upgrades. It’s also with open source ERP that a company doesn’t have to perform its own upgrades. Instead, it can be fully reliant on the software provider. Gone are the days of having to employ an internal IT team. With open source ERP Odoo, companies can outsource their ERP functions to a team of specialized engineers at a low cost, sometimes for free.

    opensourceerpsoftware1

    Odoo is also highly modular, meaning you can deploy the program with only a few modules and then add on additional ones as your company grows. It’s also with this open source ERP that you’ll enjoy fast integration, which is paramount in today’s competitive atmosphere. The less downtime that you have to endure, the better, and Odoo takes only a few clicks to get started. You won’t have to worry about having a lack of standardized business processes because all of them can be streamlined with Odoo.

    If your company is considering open source ERP, there are major cost savings to be enjoyed. You don’t have to pay for a license to the software, nor do you have to shell out money for software maintenance expenses. Many companies that deploy open source ERP find that programmer fees are very low, and when the ERP uses open source databases, a completely license-free option becomes available.

    Organizations that are already using open source ERP state they enjoy the higher quality programs. Open source means that developers and programmers have reviewed and contributed to the coding on an ongoing basis, always making the ERP better. Since commercial systems make it difficult to perform upgrades, open source ERP Odoo comes out on top for having little to no downtime when upgrades have to be made. This advantage means that upgrades can be performed more frequently than with most commercial systems.

    It’s important to keep in mind that most open source ERP software programs come in two forms: a standard edition and an enterprise version. The standard edition is open to the entire web community to use for free of charge. The enterprise version is usually rich with advanced features, and it does come at a monthly cost. By first trying out the standard edition, companies can determine whether or not the ERP will satisfy their specific needs. If it does, then perhaps the enterprise version will make for a smart investment.

    The Takeaway

    If you’re looking for a way to automate and streamline your daily operations, you definitely need to deploy an Open Source ERP solution like Odoo. It can be customized to meet your needs, and as your needs change, the software can be tweaked to grow with your company.

    About Author

    Author is technology expert at OTS Solutions specialising in open source business solutions for Small & Medium Businesses. Feel free to contact OTS Solutions regarding any open source business solutions like Odoo ERP or vTiger CRM using +1 818 937 4164 OR sales@otssolutions.com

  • Custom Software Development: Tending to Client’s needs in a Customized Manner

    The term custom software is quite popular these days as it caters to a client’s requirements in a personalized manner. In today’s fierce market competition it is essential to be effective and customized software solutions make it possible.cloud-apps-vs-custom-software

    It has to be noted that every software development firm works hard in order to maintain healthy and good relationship with its clients. Custom Software helps in the process and allows the software development company to attend every client individually. Many benefits can be associated with customized software development and one of them is the fact that these tailor-made solutions are designed by using all the latest technologies. Required modifications can be also be made in such software solutions if asked by the client.

    Software is in very much demand these days and the main reason for the ever growing demand is that every business organization has specific needs. A customized software solution is indeed very cost-effective and time saving as it is exactly what the business needs, nothing less and nothing more. When the software solutions are tailor-made as per the needs of the business then the business’s performance is bound to be better and profitable.

    The whole process of custom software is beneficial in ways more than one. It helps a business enterprise in getting better results in much less time. The conventional method of software development were obviously not every advanced and did not offer tailor-made services. The customized solutions are definitely very efficient and also help the business in saving precious manpower. There are many companies today that offer customized software solutions to their clients.

    Some people might worry about the safety of these customized solutions but there is nothing to worry about. These solutions are cent percent safe and secure. However it has to be noted that a business must hire only a good and reliable software development company to do its bidding. Among many ways to find such companies, internet is probably the most used one. Almost all software development companies have their websites on the internet and offer all their information on these websites. Some of the websites also offer testimonials from their previous clients which help in judging the work of the company.

    Customized solutions are the latest trend these days and it is all thanks to advanced technology that software development companies are able to provide them.

  • crm-software

    CRM Software: A Boon for Every Business

    Maintaining healthy customer relationship is probably one of the hardest tasks for a business enterprise. However, the business cannot overrule the same and that is when crm software comes in handy.

    The term crm is an abbreviation for customer relationship management and this particular software is gaining popularity by the day. CRM Software does many things and one of the most important jobs is to maintain and keep a track of the contact details of the business clients and customers. It is needless to point out that this software is much faster and convenient to use when compared to conventional methods of customer relationship management. The software options available today are quite advanced in nature and are equipped with the latest features for enhanced efficiency.

    Any and every department of an organization can benefit from crm software as it is developed and designed in a manner that it can synchronize with all the areas and make tasks such as sharing and collaborating much simpler and easier than before. The main purpose of using this software is that it enables the organization to store important data such as invoices, customer contact details all in one place so that they can be accessed when required. As discussed earlier that this software has many latest and amazing features. One such feature includes sending customized emails to different set of customers.

    It has to be observed that in conventional method of customer relationship management it is indeed very difficult to classify the customers into groups and deal with them accordingly. However in crm software it is very much possible and thus marketing of goods and services can be carried out in an efficient manner. One of the major advantages of this software is that it saves a lot of time and money plus it also increases the productivity and profits of the business. There are many options available in the market when it comes to customer relationship software.

    In order to choose the right one it is essential for a business to understand its requirements and then select the software package. Some of the points to keep in mind are discussed further. The first things to note while choosing this software are its usability and level of integration. Both the points must be fulfilled as otherwise the purchase would not yield expected results. This software can be of great help if used in the right manner.