Category Archives: IT Consulting

  • DevOps

    What’s the Impact of DevOps on Business Continuity?

    What is the Impact of DevOps on Business Continuity?

    The IT sector has benefitted a lot from DevOps innovation. DevOps Development involves creating a single system of systems that incorporate cultural and technical philosophies that regard software development. The idea is to enhance the speed of support services and applications. DevOps aims at bringing ten new changes daily. It can take organizations a long time before the can roll out a new application because of traditional processes of software development, standard InfoSec and IT tool maintenance updates.

    With that in mind, DevOps is a technology movement that not many people understand. However, it is gaining momentum, and it is crucial to understand the impact it is bringing in the business world.

    What is DevOps?

    DevOps is a philosophical or cultural movement that seeks to create better ways of achieving the best software development to operations and distribution results. It comes from the observations made by commercial web startups that poor software results are occasioned by the absence of operational cross-team alliances, which is why devop software development appears.

    DevOps Development is proving to be a good solution to different business problems through advancements of technology. Organizations are now enjoying the increased certainty of intent, safety, and quality. Although it seems like integrating DevOps into business continuity is becoming somewhat prevalent, it is not always seen as a highly valuable option. Organizational continuity is crucial especially if something major has happened. This implies that organizations have to change their business continuity competencies in the following ways with regard to devops software development impact:

    To maintain your business continuity, you must adapt to meet the competitive, supervisory, structural, technology or the new market prospects. Secondly, every business organization must provide stakeholders, suppliers, staff, and customers with an assurance that it will remain strong.

    With DevOps, organizations can come up with, test and release new technological changes every two weeks or less. As such, anything that is released must be ready for production. This is achieved through:

    • High-level (epic) business needs to be broken down coupled with a statement that shows the effect of the request.
    • Confirmation of the work being performed should be done by user stories tests also to ensure that they can be used anywhere.
    • The feedback should be availed to the development of infrastructure and cloud provider and product owner concerning the success of the tests performed.
    • Any outstanding matters must be fixed before the change is affected. Lack of a continuity test implies that the user story is the priority in completing near future sprints.

    Some companies have even adopted the DevOps philosophy to scale their operations as they enhance their services to their customers.

    Impact on the business continuity maturity assessment queries

    To understand the business continuity capabilities of your business organization, you can as several questions to those who can provide suitable responses. Try to find out.

    • The frequency of the tests for the code as it is created
    • If they do test before going live
    • The number of people that creates the code likes new applications, internet, as well as the visualization of infrastructure.

    The idea of business continuity is to ensure your business remains as such, which is why it is crucial to understand how devops software development works in a bid to maintain competitive advantage, compliance with regulations, a safe working environment for all and the need to access your products. These activities can be automated through technology especially in organizations whose business continuity practice is mature. This calls for mandatory changes, which are tested during the product life cycle.

    As such, DevOps has tools that support these capabilities, and they should be part of the development especially when testing the infrastructure or framework. The policies that concern business continuity management, practices, and processes can be factored when incorporating DevOps in your organization.

    When it comes to information, every business organization is turning to the cloud. As such, DevOps becomes a good opportunity. Other big organizations are using a modernized approach. The idea is to ensure that you are not left out as one of the frontrunners. This will help you in dominating the competition in the marketplace. With DevOps, there is a continuous integration and enhanced collaboration to ensure business requirements are in line with IT capabilities.

  • OTS Solutions

    OTS Solutions extends its presence in US – Opening a new office in Dallas TX

    Dallas, Texas – August 20, 2018 – OTS Solutions, a recognized provider of bespoke IT services, consulting and solutions, announced the opening of its new location in Dallas, TX. Although the company calls New York City home, this move is sure to reverberate across the national business landscape.

    Long-known for its diversity of skill and ability to deliver value, OTS Solutions is getting down to work in Texas. There, the company will offer business leaders a broad menu of forward-facing software application development services.

    The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is no stranger to the IT industry. Approximately 43 percent of the state’s workers are based here.[1] It’s a concentrated hub of innovation and competition, but according to OTS Solutions CEO Hemant Madaan, that’s a good thing.

    “Over time, OTS has proven itself adept at solving uncommon problems,” said Madaan. “Thanks to its history as a high-tech Mecca, modern Dallas is home to IT users and professionals with unique problems and needs. We think that our ability to tackle some of the world’s toughest dev enigmas will come in handy.”

    Local industry insiders might also note that this software development carries reputable credentials. In addition to being a Microsoft silver partner, OTS Solutions is an Apple Development Partner and an ISO-9001 consultant.

    By opening this Dallas IT solutions location to complement its facilities in Chicago, NYC and California, OTS hopes to improve the way Texas does business. The software development company is on track to empower entrepreneurs and stakeholders with more profound insights into how to leverage and customize their business applications.

    Contact us:

    OTS Solutions Inc.
    315 W 36th Street
    New York, NY 10018, USA
    +1 732 588 7500

  • IOT Security

    5 ways developers can improve IoT security on their devices

    Five Ways to Developers Can Improve IoT Security on their Devices

    Today, modern technological devices have changed the way we do things. With an increasingly high number of people using various devices to access the internet, online users are able to communicate more easily, purchase products online and access a wealth of information. However, just as the devices evolve, so do the threats associated with the Internet of Things. While it is clear that IoT security offers numerous benefits, system security remains a concern among both developers and users. Lack of proper security measures is likely to result in major vulnerabilities, with malicious actors exploiting IoT security weaknesses to compromise homes, enterprises and even governments. With more devices being introduced into the market, these threats are bound to increase. This is why mobile app developers should use innovation to improve IoT security.

    Focus on simplicity

    In most cases, hackers will target unprotected and under-protected devices when looking to carry out attacks. This is why all mobile app developers should consider effective ways of strengthening security on the side of the end consumer. The first step to achieving this would be to understand that some of the users of these devices are to tech savvy. This is why it may be important that you alert them of new IoT security breaches as well as guide them on how to maintain security. You can make it easy for them to update their gadget software and change their passwords in order to boost security.

    Ensure your gadgets are patchable

    The nature of malware attacks is such that they are constantly evolving. This is why ensuring IoT security will require that you keep up with the changing trends. Some of the IoT gadgets in the market come with pre-prepared passwords. This means that end users will find it difficult to change the passwords or patch their gadgets. One of your responsibilities is to ensure that gadgets are patchable so that all device users can update them, effectively resisting any possible attacks and breaches.

    Multifaceted approaches to security

    Although it is impossible to achieve perfect IoT security, there are several measures that you can take to strengthen security and minimize attacks. Rather than relying on a single approach to address security issues, mobile app development should embrace multi-faceted approaches to the problem. Since you can never be sure of the nature of threats that software and malicious hackers will present in future, modern techniques will go far in helping you meet the problem. If the approaches are to be effective, you should consider investing early enough during the development process. In the end, it will be more difficult for malicious hackers to exploit gaps.

    Encryption to secure communications

    In the world of the Internet of Things, hackers are constantly monitoring network traffic with the aim of identifying weaknesses in the system and carrying out attacks. Rather than allowing for communication in plain text, you should consider encryption during initial configuration. You should always use encryption tools that guarantee end-to-end security, making it hard for anyone looking to access or compromise data being transmitted across the internet. This will protect the various gadgets from destructive software while at the same time ensuring that data belonging to end users is secure at all times.

    Threat detection

    Hackers are always coming up with new ways of exploiting system vulnerabilities. This is why you should develop innovative ways of preventing them before they can carry out possible attacks. Web app developers should ensure that devices are built in such a way that they will detect possible threats in the event of attempted logins or malware. One of the best ways to achieve this would be to monitor networks so as to detect any suspicious activities. By being aware of security breaches in real time, there is a good chance that the necessary steps will be taken to protect both the Internet of Things device and the end user.

    Taking the necessary steps to promote security during mobile app development will go a long way in ensuring that devices that are introduced into the market are secure. Although efforts are being directed towards tackling IoT security issues, a lot more needs to be done. It is only in this way that the opportunities available to hackers will be reduced.

  • How to be a better startup founder in 2017?

    How to be a better startup founder in 2017?

    “How can I be the best startup founder I can be?”

    It’s a question every entrepreneur has asked themselves at one time or another. Unfortunately, it seems like every technique to improve your business either takes a lot of time or money (or both).

    Thankfully, there are many steps you can take to be a better entrepreneur in 2017; if you apply the following tips appropriately, we’re sure that your start up will really start up.

    Knowing Yourself: The Theory of Constraints

    There are no shortage of books that claim to teach you the “right mindset” for entrepreneurs. Many of them focus on positive thinking and growth mentality, which is a good place to start, but to be truly successful, you’re going to need to be honest (and occasional harsh) with yourself.

    If you’ve ever worked in manufacturing or production, you’re probably familiar with the idea of the Theory of Constraints (sometimes referred to as the “TOC”). Essentially, TOC is bottom-up approach to improvement in which you outline every single step of the manufacturing process, with the goal of finding the proverbial “weakest link”.

    This theory can apply to your personal life, too. Take a personal inventory of your traits as an entrepreneur. For the sake of explanation, let’s say that you have realized that you have the following problems:

    • Wasting too much time on social media or other “time-wasting” technology
    • Taking too long to respond to emails and messages
    • Having problems with employee retention

    We don’t know about you, but we’d definitely choose “employee retention” as the most serious issue, and therefore, the first one you should work on. By slowly rooting out your…shall we say “lesser qualities” one by one, you can efficiently and quickly improve your skills as a startup owner in 2017.

    Harnessing SEO and Knowing Your Competition

    As the owner of any sort of business, you need to know what makes your product or company unique. What are you giving your customers that your competition isn’t (or can’t)? This means it’s crucial to have a thorough understanding of the other businesses that are competing for your customers.

    These days, one of the easiest ways to do this is by checking out their website and social media presence. If you want to dig even deeper, you should do a Google search for “(your line of business) in (your area)”. See which websites pop up before yours on a simple search–those top few results are your fiercest competition.

    It’s an unfortunate truth of business these days that if you’re not in the first page of Google results for your kind of business, you’re invisible. If you want to fight your way to the top of Google, you should start researching SEO techniques.

    SEO (Search Engine Optimization) refers to an ever-changing series of techniques ranging from content to website organization, link-building, and more. With the necessary SEO knowledge and application of a few techniques, it won’t take you long to start making your way up the search engine ladder.

    If that all sounds a little complicated, we understand. We recommend Red Evolution’s excellent guide for entrepreneurs and development professionals who are new to the world of SEO.

    Growth Hacking and Bootstrapping

    If you’re an entrepreneur, or you work in development, you’re probably familiar with the term “bootstrapping”. It’s a term that refers to self-funded businesses. Although it’s really difficult to fund a business by yourself, every entrepreneur can learn from the mindset of successful, bootstrapped businesses, including:

    • Promoting maximum efficiency in the workplace
    • Keeping expenses as low and as lean as humanly possible
    • Putting in extra hours as the boss or manager to minimize payroll

    The last 2017-centered technique we’ll examine today is “growth hacking“. It’s not as complicated as it might sound–rather, growth hacking is a catch-all term for low-cost internet marketing strategies. A few of these include setting up automatic social media posts or inbound drip email campaigns.

    Although there’s no “one-size-fits-all” strategy for business success, with the right mindset, research, and techniques, you’ll make 2017 your business’s year!

  • Agile Scrum Development

    How to use Agile & Scrum to develop software efficiently?

    Development of computer technology and its advancement is the best event that ever happened to our society. It becomes useful and functions with the use of computer software and also with small devices. Life has eventually become easier and better. Appropriate software should be developed for best results. The software is a program that is run on a computer. It instructs the computer to perform specific tasks. This article will give you an insight of how to carry out the activity by the use of Agile & Scrum.

    AGILE

    Agile development refers to classifying procedures that are depending on their iterative growth to enhance software development. Agile development processes should be within the set Manifesto. The solutions and necessities develop if the self-organizing team collaborate with the cross functional team. The methods advocate for a management process that aid in the following;
    • Frequent examination and adaptation.
    • A qualified and well-supported teamwork by the leaders.
    • Accountability and self-planning.
    • Best engineering practices with the aim of delivering quality software.
    • A business model capable of fulfilling the customers’ needs and the goals of the organization.

    SCRUM

    It is a set procedure that is used in the development of software. The framework involves a lightweight process that is used in development. A particular set of tasks is done as directed to have consistency with the framework. Development cycles known as Sprints are required in the context process while pair programming requires XP framework. The process involves little work. It saves a lot of time.

    Specific notions and tasks such as time boxes, responsibility, and artifacts differentiate it from other procedures. Complicated software and product growth use it for management by practicing increment and iteration. Time is saved, and productivity is increased remarkably. Organizations can smoothly adjust to the ever changing demands. This creates a product that helps in accomplishing the actual business goals.

    Advantages to the firm
    • Deliverables increase in quality.
    • Adapt well to change.
    • Estimates provided are better and less time is used to create them.
    • More control of the project program and state.

    You must comprehend the following significant terms used for you to understand how to develop software efficiently;
    1. Team.
    This consists of database people, developers, product owner, support people, master, and a tester. They work together relatively and at intervals to create and apply the features.

    2. Sprint.
    The duration in which the work should be completed and presented for review or deployment is called Sprint. It lies between 2-4 weeks in most cases.

    3. Product Owner.
    The primary stakeholder of the developed application is the product owner. He or she is responsible for customer clarification. The team should be able to access the product owner whenever they need him.

    4. Master.
    The master coordinates the team and ensures that they produce and progress efficiently.

    5. User Story.
    The necessities implemented are called user story. They appear in the form of a short paragraph.

    6. Epics.
    The unspecified user stories reserved for the future are called Epics.

    7. Product Backlog.
    User stories get stored in a place called Product Backlog that is managed by the owner.

    8. Sprint Backlog.
    All the collected user stories that are worked on by the team at a particular sprint are known as Sprint Backlog.

    9. Story Points.
    Story points quantify and show the complication in the user story. The complexity gets presented as small, medium, or high.

    10. Burn Down Chart.
    It tracks the everyday work of the team to determine whether the progress towards completion of the user stories is achievable within a particular sprint.

    11. Velocity.
    The total of all story points stored by the team within a particular sprint is known as speed. It helps in judging the team’s efforts.

    METHODOLOGY.

    Software development is as follows:

    a) Plan for a meeting
    The team gathers for a meeting. The product owner chooses a user story according to priority. They size the story based on its complexity after discussing it.

    b) Implementing of Sprint Tasks
    The team works on the user story until it is finished.

    c) Daily Meetings.
    The team should meet daily for at least 15 minutes to articulate on what each member did yesterday, plans for today, and any barriers available.

    d) Meeting to Review.
    The team member should come together to demonstrate the applied user stories to the owner after every sprint.

    e) Retrospective Meeting.
    The meeting is held by the team after every sprint to brainstorm on what went on smoothly, the rough times, learned lessons, and actions to take on specific items.

    CONCLUSION:

    The above methodologies may be difficult for some people at the beginning. Your application will start growing if you have enough practice and sufficient resources. Allocating the team members for self-study and presenting their findings every day offers an excellent platform for knowledge and skill enhancement on this development.

  • The Internet of Things

    How the IoT is changing business today?

    The Future of Industrial IoT And Your Business

    As far back as the assembly line, we have used technology to gather data in order to increase output, become more efficient, and more effective. We are just now entering the age of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

    For companies in any sector that take advantage of the use of technology, now is the time to get ahead of the curve. Fortune 500 companies are ill equipped on their own to handle the sheer amount of data that sensors produce, but Centers of Excellence aim to solve this issue.

    Centers of Excellence

    To properly analyze and execute upon the data created by the billions of available sensors that exist today, companies are putting together brain trusts known as ‘Centers of Excellence’. These are think tanks filled with directors, software engineers, hardware engineers, and various other positions that are experts in IIoT across global business sectors.

    Big Data

    Sensors around the world are producing big data. Uses for this data includes increasing the efficiency of manufacturing, refining current and creating new products, and lowering labor costs.

    Everyone is in search of a faster, cheaper, and more reliable way of doing things. Data captured and made use of through sensors are a surefire way to contribute to this goal.

    For example, if a Caterpillar machine has sensors that can capture and relay data such as movement, fuel, and hydraulic usage, engineers can improve upon current machine designs. This will allow them to refine their designs in order to make the machines more efficient, more effective, and more attractive for the consumer. After all, who wouldn’t want a more reliable and less expensive version of products that are vital to daily operation?

    Automation

    Labor costs are the first line item in the budget for nearly every business. Businesses need people to produce, operate, and maintain the products that they produce. For now, that is.

    Drones, robots, and driverless cars are already in use. While this may not be good news for the laborers, it is certainly good news for companies looking to cut costs and increase output. In fact, a driverless trucking company has already made a delivery of beer purely without the use of human labor. Imagine the ability to run your trucks 24 hours a day without the need for the human drivers to sleep. The ability for robots to run 24 hours a day forming, cutting, and welding sheets of metal to be used in various applications. Let us not forget drones that inevitably will fly commercial planes without the use of pilots.

    Data As A Product

    Big data is a name that doesn’t do it justice. With billions of IoT/IIoT devices and sensors now connected that each spit out a continuous stream of information, there is more information than people know what to with.

    In the future, when companies who are late to the party finally understand the need to join the connected devices and big data revolution, it will be another great opportunity for the early starters to cash in.

    The data that they collect today will be able to be sold to these late joiners in large packages for extremely high amounts of money. This is because they will have years of invaluable information collected and analyzed that late adopters will see as a necessity in order to survive, let alone thrive.

    Those companies that choose to jump the roadblocks and navigate their way with a compass early on will be able to sell their GPS-precise (so to speak) information at a premium.

    Final Thoughts

    The future of automation is close. Those companies that decide, and decide now, to get in on developing technologies on their own and through centers of excellence will cost them a lot of money now, but they will reap the rewards in the future. Their companies will understand what works and what doesn’t, thus being far ahead of the curve compared to late adopters. And when those late adopters finally arrive tomorrow, they will be met with a heavy price tag for guidance and data from those early adopters that took the risk today.

  • How are technologies changing the way people interact in the workplace?

    How are technologies changing the way people interact in the workplace?

    In today’s fast-paced working environment, technology holds the key to success. From thriving corporate environments to smaller, tight-knit startups, software and gadgets are vital. This helpful analysis shows off just how tech in the workplace has a valuable impact when it comes to collaborating on a team, communicating effectively, staying productive and much more.

    Innovation

    The internet is ripe with tools to promote innovation in the modern workplace. Many of today’s workers rely on free software and programs to brainstorm and iterate ideas. Krita, Google SketchUp, Inkscape and Pixlr are just some of the many robust visual tools that today’s companies should take full advantage of. With visual communication, it’s easy to approach problems from a new angle and ultimately innovate more efficiently and creatively. For the ultimate idea development in the workplace, these tools are absolutely essential.

    Collaboration

    It has never been easier to collaborate than in today’s world. Google Drive and Dropbox are perfect for file-sharing, while other tools available online even allow real-time collaboration. For workplaces that are either limited on space or want to connect with people in a wide variety of locations, RealtimeBoard and Ziteboard are a few of the many helpful, digital whiteboard collaboration tools. Additionally, workplaces that involve coding and programming have a slew of real-time collaboration tools as well. With options like Kobra, Cloud 9 and Code Pad, modern workplaces can experience the best of collaboration no matter whether every employee is in the office or if the organization involves off-site independent contractors.

    Research

    The internet makes it possible to stay up to date and research online content to maintain a competitive edge. Whether you need to understand market conditions before launching a new product or you’d like to stay on top of trends in the virtual reality industry, it’s easier than ever before. Sites like Twitter, Instagram, Medium and Facebook make it possible to consume valuable information on a daily basis. With plenty of niche sites created by passionate hobbyists and industry veterans, there’s a wealth of information that’s transforming the workplace on a daily basis. These days, employees are more likely to come across valuable, shareable information that promotes collaboration and innovation in the workplace.

    Connectivity

    One of the most important aspects of a quality working environment is effective communication and interaction. Whether attending conferences or simply keeping up with daily tasks, technology keeps employees connected. Tools like Slack, Skype, Whatsapp and more help everyone to stay on the page and stay in touch. With the increased use of wearable gadgets, it’s even easier for employees to stay on top of important work-related updates. Overall, today’s technological advances mean the entire workplace can stay connected and on top of tasks, even outside of the office.

    A Worldwide Connection

    Today’s technological tools mean a lot for employees and hiring managers alike. With instant online messaging and high-quality video calls, the job search has become more accessible to individuals no matter where they’re located. It’s easier to network online and connect with professionals around the globe. Likewise, employees are always looking to gain a competitive edge with online learning tools and worldwide job searches. The impact these tools have on how people interact in the workplace can be enormous when you consider how large the worldwide talent pool truly is.

    Productivity

    Although some of today’s naysayers may harp on digital communication, it surely has a positive impact in the workplace. Especially when it comes to larger companies, tech limits the necessity to track down relevant documents and individuals. Likewise, employees can avoid distractions and focus on work without lengthy or difficult communication with chatty coworkers. Although in-person collaboration is absolutely a bonus for a thriving organization, there are times when it’s more important to get down to work. With the flexibility of smartphones, laptops and answering machines, the workplace has easily become a much more productive environment.

  • Agile Scrum Development

    What key roles are necessary in agile scrum development?

    What key roles are necessary in agile scrum development

    Agile scrum development methods are an alternative to stage-gate project management, including software application projects. Stage-gate methods of management depend on project managers delivering artifacts that record a completed task. A list of required artifacts for each stage is established, usually by a PMO, that needs to be created, reviewed, and approved before the next stage of the project’s life-cycle can be started. A change to the project must be submitted via a project change request or PCR. Changes are strongly discouraged and take a long time to approve.

    The agile scrum development approach assumes that changes will occur during the product’s life-cycle and are welcomed as long as they improve the customer experience. In other words, what the end customer wants and needs will change over time as they get to interact in phases (or releases) with the solution. Agile scrum development teams start working with a product owner, or user representative, as early as possible, to determine what is called the minimum viable product or MVP. The MVP is an understanding with the product owner of the minimum functionality required to do something useful and from which incremental development, or releases, will proceed until the full set of requirements is delivered. Scrum teams are made up of five to seven members, with role flexibility in mind. Work is done in “sprints” lasting three to five weeks, at the end of which there should be a fully tested product with additional functionality.

    There are only three key roles in a scrum team: product owner, developer/tester, and ScrumMaster.

    Product Owner

    The product owner represents the product users and their vision of what the product functionality is to be. One way they convey this vision to the agile scrum development team is through product backlog “grooming” meetings, or prioritizing features list (a.k.a. user stories) for the product. A product owner delivers a solid understanding of users, the business competition for those customers, and a product roadmap with a vision for the future. Product owners must collaborate and compromise, since it’s the scrum team who selects from the backlog priorities the amount of work they commit to during each sprint, trusting that they know best what they are capable of. In return for that commitment, the product owner makes a reciprocal commitment of not coming up with new requirements during a sprint. Requirements are allowed to change (and change is encouraged) but only outside the sprint.

    An individual in the product owner’s role is expected to be actively engaged with the scrum team, be business savvy, and skilled in communicating different messages to different people, internal and external to his organization, sponsors and stakeholders of the project at any given time.

    Developer/Tester

    In non-agile, traditional software development, a programmer’s role (Developer) is sharply separated from a tester’s role (Quality Assurance). In agile scrum development teams where members are encouraged to be flexible and knowledgeable with many tasks, at any given time, if necessary to meet the sprint commitments, everybody works together to improve and build quality into the product. Developer’s don’t program and hand-out their work to be tested. Tester’s don’t just run test scripts, identify defects, and log them for fixing. They work and complement each other and roles may rotate sprint by sprint, per each member’s strengths, weaknesses, and desire to learn new things. It will be difficult for individuals to meet the acceptance criteria of what they are developing and consider a story “done” without early-on tester collaboration and tester’s won’t be effective without immersing themselves and understanding the developer’s work. There are no set/fast rules, it goes down to team working agreements per sprint.

    ScrumMaster

    ScrumMasters serve as mentors and champions of the scrum way of doing things. They also organize meetings associated with it such as sprint planning, backlog grooming with the product owner, stand-up meetings, reviews, and retrospectives. The ScrumMaster role is similar to the traditional project manager but without complicated process and procedures to follow. ScrumMasters are flexible and ideally can take any scrum role to complete a task required to move the sprint forward.

    Summary

    Agile scrum development team roles must be assigned wisely to individuals. Look for members cultural fit and acceptance of their responsibility in the sprint. Let the team come up with their own working agreement decisions and trust their daily procedures for communication and collaboration.

    Click to hire dedicated agile scrum development team

  • How will technology change our lives in twenty years?

    How will technology change our lives in twenty years?

    Technology is constantly advancing and changing, sometimes at a shocking pace. While we often think we know what the future holds, we are often surprised by what does and doesn’t actually happen. While the 1995 hit movie Back To The Future made some wild predictions about life in 2015, such as the availability of hover boards, it did actually hit quite a few technological advances right on the nose. Flat panel, widescreen TV’s mounted on walls were in fact a daily part of our lives in 2015, as were video chat systems, wearable devices and even tablet computers with fingerprint scanners. You don’t necessarily have to have a crystal ball to predict future technological advancements, you just have to see the seeds being planted today to understand how they will develop in the future. Here are 3 ways technology development will change our lives in the future.

    1. Disease prevention

    Watches and wearable devices are currently on the market that can monitor our heart rate and how many calories we burn when exercising. Tomorrow’s software will allow wearable tech to monitor blood sugar levels, oxygen consumption and even changes in hormone levels. Your watch can tell you when your stress levels are rising, when you need to eat and what would be the best food choice at that time for optimal health, when you are getting dehydrated or even when its the optimal time for pregnancy. Today we are getting much better at curing cancer, in 20 years, our wearable tech may actually be able to help prevent it in the first place.

    2. Minimal drive time

    We are already seeing cars that can park themselves and self-driving cars are definitely on their way, but current technological advancements are already decreasing our need to even use cars in the first place. As it is, features like video conference and cloud computing are allowing more and more businesses to offer their employees the freedom to work remotely, not to mention hire someone from India as easily as someone from Indiana. Not only does this cut down on the amount of time spend commuting every day, but it also cuts down significantly on the number of people that even need cars in the first place.

    Public transportation is also making rapid advances as are car sharing services and even hire services like Uber and Lyft. The time may come when individuals won’t even need driver’s licenses anymore because they either don’t drive at all or their car drives itself. With less cars on the road – and possibly even less roads – this will also lead to fresher air and less pollutants in the atmosphere. This may also lead more people to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. Fewer cars will almost also lead the trend away from giant shopping centers and mega marts in favor of smaller, local stores within walking distance – which will also have an increased benefit to overall health.

    3. Less time spent on routine tasks

    Just 20 years ago, when you went to the grocery store, a checker had to remove each article from your basket and manually ring in the price of each item into a cash register. Today, checkers simply run a bar code over a scanner – if there is even a checker at all. Checking out has become so easy, many people opt for a self-checkout rather than waiting in line to have someone do it for them.

    In the future, there will be no checkout lines at all, as scanners will simply scan any items you leave the store with and automatically debit your financial account. Many items will actually be ordered by your appliances and simply delivered to your home, most likely via a drone or even a robot. Even your visit to the doctor will start off with a drone or robot checking your vitals, hormone levels and perform a number of baseline tests, which will include accessing the information from your personal health monitor.

    All in all technological advancements are moving towards automation to take over our most mundane daily tasks, as well as the most mundane tasks in business, science and medicine.

  • 5-Reasons-Why-Startups-Fail

    What are the major reasons for start-ups’ failures?

    It is a sad fact that only 10% of start ups actually become profitable enterprises. It would be great if people venturing into the world of startups would genuinely learn from the mistakes of those that came before them, but like so many other cautionary tales, people often think that what happened to others can’t or won’t happen to them or they are the exception to the rule. For those that are eager to learn from the mistakes of others, however, here are 5 of the biggest reasons for a startup to fail.

    1. They create a product people don’t actually want

    The tech world in particular is littered with apps that no one genuinely wanted or had a use for. Some of those apps were able to be salvaged by others and used for purposes the original designer never thought of, but sometimes redesigning an app takes almost as much time as designing it did in the first place. Even outside of the world of technology, however, for every Croc or Post It note, there is a superhighway littered with inventions like hula chair, phone fingers and the pet spa.

    2. They compartmentalized too early

    Genius inventors often don’t have a head for marketing, while marketers may not be great number crunchers. Eventually, there comes a time when you definitely want to compartmentalize and hire people to be brilliant in different areas without your direct supervision. But entrepreneurs have to pay attention to and be fairly skilled at everything. You have to pay attention to all the “boring stuff” like contracts, finances, leases, permits, codes and even patent law. Yes, you need people who can explain all these things to you, but you also need them to not stop explaining it until you fully and completely understand not only the topic at hand, but how it affects the overall big picture.

    3. They grew too soon

    This might possibly be the #1 with a bullet reason most startups fail. Most often entrepreneurs that think they have a new, hot product or service want to get it on the market now. In reality, the most successful inventions, businesses and companies spent years in development before getting up and running. What’s true in the business world is also true in almost every other field as well. Musical acts that become an “overnight success” have generally spent years laboring away in crappy bars and nightclubs and practicing in garages and storage units before finally hitting it big.

    4. They didn’t grow fast enough

    Yes, this is something of a conundrum. The point is, before you are ready to start your business or company, there is a certain amount of preparation and maturation that needs to happen. Before you are ready to grow, you need to be prepared for growth, because once you start growing you need to grow fast to achieve critical mass. The point is, there is a lot to be said for laboring in relative obscurity for years before becoming and “overnight success.” The time you spent laboring in the dark is preparing you for your moment in the sun, because when it comes, you want to milk it for all it’s worth.

    5. Their team wasn’t solid

    This is another reason why you might not want to try and push your way into the limelight too quickly. Every major corporation was once a startup and the most successful ones were almost all started by a team of people that had a long history together and well-developed relationships. Apple was of course founded by the Steves Jobs and Wozniak, Bill Gates had Paul Allen and Phil Knight of Nike had his old track coach Bill Bowerman. Even wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg had his Harvard roommate Eduardo Saverin.

    Not all of these relationships stood the tests of time, in fact sometimes the team you need to grow a company is very different from the team you need to get it up and running the first place. The point is, most successful startups have been the result of a team effort, not a single individual. Ironically, in many of these cases, the team that stuck together through the toughest of times often fell apart once they achieved success.

  • scrum agile methodology

    How to derive effective results using Scrum agile methodology?

    How to derive effective results using Scrum agile methodology

    Agile is an alternative to the traditional waterfall or stage-gate project management in software development. Traditional  scrum agile methodology follow a step-by-step sequence such as initiation, planning, execution, control, and monitoring, and finally closing. Scope, budget, and schedule are determined early in the project and closely managed during the project’s duration with clearly defined change processes. Traditional project management expects that once a scope of work, budget plans, and activity milestones are created and reviewed by sponsors and stakeholders, changes will be few and difficult to implement.

    The scrum agile methodology approach to software development instead emphasizes that the requirements of the solution to be delivered, in other words, what the end customer wants and needs will change over time. Instead of waiting or expecting to know it all at the beginning of the project, agile teams tackle this unpredictability through incremental, iterative work, and lots of feedback from the customer.

    Agile teams are commonly known as scrum teams, emphasizing small (5 to 7 members), with simplicity and flexibility in mind for each member’s role. As a team organizational method, it requires constant empirical feedback, team self-management, and the delivery of fully functioning, properly tested product increments within short time iterations of between three to five weeks called sprints.

    There are usually only three roles: product owner, developer/tester, and ScrumMaster. The product owner represents the customers of the solution, for example, a software application, and his role is to provide constant feedback and influence team decisions taking into account what is best for the customer. Developers are expected not only to program but also to test their own work and that of other team members if necessary. ScrumMaster’s are closely related to project managers, and
    in a sense, that’s what they are, but without the baggage of processes and procedures imposed by a traditional scrum agile methodology. Instead, ScrumMasters are expected to participate and facilitate teamwork by taking any task or role required to move the project forward.

    ScrumMasters are also expected to own the effective planning and execution of meetings that support agile development: backlog grooming, sprint planning, daily 15-minute stand-up, sprint reviews, and sprint retrospectives. A backlog is a collection of project/business requirements called user stories. Each user story is a self-contained, easy to understand narrative, that when worked upon in a sprint delivers a new software application capability. User stories that are not being
    delivered in a current sprint are “stored” in a backlog, and the list is “groomed” at the end of each sprint to remove, update, or become part of the next sprint deliverable. After the backlog grooming exercise, at the sprint planning meeting, the team decides which user stories will be delivered on the next sprint.

    In sprint review meetings, teams show what they have accomplished and are ready to ship. The sprint retrospective meeting is done before the next sprint is started. This is an open, honest, all-team discussion of what went well and what went wrong. At the end of the meeting, the team agrees on what could be changed to make the next sprint more productive.

    In order to derive effective results from teams following an scrum agile methodology, there are important considerations to take into account.

    Build teams wisely with hiring decisions and team design that ensure acceptance and cultural fit of its members. Training, mentorship, and coaching should be made available and if necessary part of new hiring decisions to create a support structure for implementation of agile development. Trust the team to make decisions and stay away from their daily process. The only way to build an effective scrum team is to let them organize themselves at their own pace and with their own collaboration processes and working agreements.

    Protect the team from disruptions during the sprint, especially from over-eager product owners who may want to introduce changes in mid-sprint.

    Make it a continuous process to identify and eliminate waste, encouraging lean processes and practices. Automate as many manual processes as you can. Create incentives wisely to boost morale and reward positive behavior recognizing in a balanced approach both teams and individuals for on-time results, high quality, creativity, collaboration, leadership, and process improvements. Create opportunities for growth with rotating team roles.

    Build software using scrum agile methodology

  • How can companies save cost with the help of cloud?

    How can companies save cost with the help of cloud?

    Data management is a core component to any business’s success. From inventory control to client invoicing, computers make the business world a reality in today’s connected times. However, stacking servers and updating software on a regular basis at each business can add up in cost over the years. Businesses are quickly realizing the strength of cloud computing as technology improves on almost a daily basis. By outsourcing data management to various third parties, companies can save thousands of dollars. Take a close look at the reasons behind these cost savings so that you can look forward to a stress-free office with cloud capabilities.

    Ample Storage Space

    Businesses managing their own computers will often run into storage problems. They face a choice of deleting some files or increasing their storage space. Both of these decisions take time and money away from the company. When businesses turn to third-party resources, such as Microsoft Azure, the storage factor isn’t an issue. In essence, companies rent enough server space for their needs. Many cloud-computing companies have options where businesses can upgrade their storage for a nominal fee. With virtually unlimited space, companies save on costs by avoiding any data setbacks.

    Fewer IT Hires

    When computers first entered the business world, their incorporation heralded in the field of IT or information technology. Computer-savvy employees suddenly had jobs because they were necessary for data management and possible software development. These professionals, however, can be expensive hires. Large businesses may need entire departments dedicated to IT tasks. With the use of cloud-based computing, businesses can reduce or eliminate their IT department. Only a few professionals are necessary as permanent hires to oversee this third-party relationship. Companies save thousands of dollars on payroll savings alone.

    No Hardware Updates

    Keeping up with hardware changes through the years is expensive. A computer or server might be three or four years old, and its components aren’t compatible with the latest technologies or software updates. Businesses end up paying for regular hardware updates as a result. Cloud-based computing has no such updates because the clients don’t support the hardware at their offices. The service provider houses and updates the hardware as necessary. These costs are part of the service package that’s offered to each business. There’s no downtime when the cloud-based company updates their hardware as clients continue to upload information from their remote computers.

    Remote-Employee Inclusion

    Because of Internet connectivity, many employees work remotely from the field or home office. In the past, they had to manually upload their data to the company’s computers each day or week. Remote workers didn’t have instant access to the main server. With cloud-computing services, remote workers are more efficient than ever. They can instantly see the business’s entire database without stepping into the main office. Because these workers don’t need to contact another employee and ask questions about database information, companies save substantial money.

    Data Backup Covered

    Losing data of any size is incredibly serious at a company. That information must be replicated and preserved somehow afterward. This reaction process takes time and money away from businesses every single day. With cloud-computing services, your data is backed up on a frequent schedule. It’s nearly impossible to lose data with these services because it’s their main job to focus on. Computing customers simply need to upload their information so that it’s available for regular backup processes. Time and money losses can be taken out of the equation.

    The Psychological Factor

    It’s difficult to run any business with so many worries that normally include IT priorities. When cloud-based computing is in place, business owners and managers can focus on other concerns. They’re not dividing their attention between various tasks so the business saves money as a result. In fact, a calm mind might create the next great advancement so that the company can move even further ahead. Being overwhelmed with internal issues can only drag a company’s momentum down with increased costs ahead.

    Picking a familiar name for cloud-based applications, such as Amazon Web Servcies, is a simple way to dive into this sector. Get to know the process, and you can slowly alter your needs in the future. Cloud-based computing will only grow larger as the Internet and businesses continue to expand across the globe.

  • Agile Software Development

    Why is agile software development important?

    Why is agile software development important

    Agile software development solutions evolve through self-organized teams. It encourages fast and flexible changes through adaptive planning. While other methodologies have their proponents, there’s little doubt in any Agile software development shop that this method works well. To understand why agile project management is important, you only need to look at the rewards it provides.

    Scrum and Sprints

    In Agile, a sprint is a fixed time period where certain goals are met. At each sprint, your team and often the client will meet to discuss what’s to be accomplished and what criteria need to be observed.

    Scrum agile methodology is the repeatable framework. A scrum team consists of cross-functional members, a Scrum Master or project leader, and a product owner, or person representing the client or stakeholder. All work together on sprint completion. Scrum principles allow your team to work on various features in shorter sprints as requirements emerge, rather than following a sequential process that can easily be derailed if long phases of work have to be rolled back.

    The Benefits of Agile

    Iterative
    Since agile software development is iterative in nature, features are delivered in increments, so that testing, approval, and revenue can be realized early and continue with project development.

    Quality
    One of the key benefits of agile software development comes from integration of testing throughout the development cycle. Regular, specific testing during all phases ensures that quality issues are more likely to be identified, and allows time for corrections. Meeting quality standards at each increment also ensures that the finished product will meet your customer’s requirements.

    Transparency
    Agile principles encourage user involvement and a cooperative approach. This allows stakeholders to monitor progress and examine the product for assurances that your are satisfying expectations.

    Lower Risk
    Incremental testing, user involvement, and releases make it easier to identify issues. Any changes can be captured and dealt with at any early stage of development. This drastically lowers the risk that the final product will not meet requirements.

    Flexibility
    In many other approaches to development, significant changes can result in overhauls of planning, funding, and specifications that delay progress or inflate costs. With agile project management, change is an expected part of the process. Requirements evolve as the product evolves. Transparency and incremental progress allow your clients to make timely decisions.

    Cost Effective
    Establishing adaptive policies within fixed time frames make it easier to stand by fixed budgets. Variation comes iteratively in the evolution of the product, and does not impact cost. The agile philosophy of early release of features also means the competitive edge of faster time-to-market.

    Customer Engagement
    Direct involvement of stakeholders or their representatives, along with the level of visibility into progress and response to change, creates a better relationship between your business and the client. This leads to greater customer engagement with the process and greater likelihood they will consult you on future projects.

    Better Environment
    Agile software development methods provide a better experience for software developers. Rather than dwelling on specifications and long-term planning, teams get together regularly to discuss issues and progress with each sprint. The team can make decisions and explore options on their own. This provides you more motivated and focused teams.

    Kanban

    Kanban agile methodology is more loosely structured than Scrum. It works as a model introducing change as incremental improvements. In Kanban, work is planned on a visual board as states which every work item must go through. This generally includes In Progress, Testing, Ready for Release, and Released columns. Variation may be allowed through horizontal pipes, or “swim lanes”, but Kanban is focused primarily on managing work in progress.

    Scrum vs Kanban

    You won’t find it difficult to introduce Kanban to any Agile project. Scrum agile methodology offers a tighter structure for more focus, control, and direction where these things may be lacking and development is off track. But if there are already efficient, productive processes in place, Kanban agile methodology can improve your process over time without requiring any radical change.

    Some critics of agile point out that it is less predictable, and teams and product owners don’t always mesh productively. Collaboration is essential to success. Where that’s the case, the possible benefits of agile software development make it an important strategy you should consider.

    Contact for Agile Software Development

  • Innovation ideas for CIO

    7 Foolproof ways for Technology leaders to promote Innovation in their Organization

    Digital transformation has altered workplaces so that they are unrecognizable from their ancestral counterparts. Everything from marketing to software development has been impacted by Web 2.0 and the sheer speed and precision with which data passes in the modern day. If you’re a CIO or other technology leader, how do you make sure innovation in your organization keeps you not only up to date, but moving ahead of your competition? Here are 7 surefire ways to to increase innovation in your organization.

    Bring your departments together.

    Intellectual stagnation is a creativity killer. If your team hears the same ideas from the same people day in and day out, your innovation will stall to a creeping halt. Bring your departments together to offer fresh perspectives and new ideas, and to change the course of conversation for the better. The networking team or even the janitorial staff may have a gleaming idea for the software development team that would have never been shared otherwise.

    You start the conversation.

    No one wants to stick their neck out first, especially when it comes to creative ideas. Fear of judgment and ridicule may dominate the silence. So, you start the conversation. Offer ridiculous ideas. Show them that no idea is off limits, and that building on them is key. Ask them questions, and get them talking. Make your meeting room a safe, fun place for ideas to brew.

    Write down your ideas. Keep them. Review them often.

    Make brainstorming sessions a habit. Have your organization write down all their ideas, however big or small, on a regular basis. Don’t just toss the ones that look silly. It may be the creative spark to answer a big question that has not yet even arisen. Keep them visible, perhaps on a community board, and incentivize those people who come up with the most ideas. Innovation is a numbers game, so the more ideas, the better.

    Think fast, implement faster.

    While your brainstorming sessions should be speedy and consistent, your implementation must also be quick for true innovation to occur. Test new ideas in the real world. This allows your team to course correct, which is vital for innovation. Even if one is a flop, then you can move forward, choose a new path, and not waste any more time. If your ideas are stuck behind a barrier, you’ll never know, and your competition will have already tested, failed, and found the winning idea while you’re waiting.

    “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.” –Thomas Edison

    Know what you’re after.

    This facet of innovation should lie near and dear to your brand. Who are you as a company? What are you known for, or what do you want to be known for? “Make new ideas,” doesn’t work.

    “How do we make our product faster?” “How do we increase customer engagement?” Questions like these frame the creative problem at hand, then you can ask your organization for innovative ideas. A worthless innovation that doesn’t solve a problem is not an innovation at all; it’s just fluff. Keep your innovation targeted.

    Ask your customers.

    In the age of digital transformation, your customers and fans are a simple click away, so ask them what they want! Is there a common complaint among buyers in your industry? What can you do about it? Things like Twitter surveys, or simply asking your newsletter subscribers what sorts of things they’d like to see or what problems they would like to have solved can provide a cornucopia of fresh brainstorming material.

    Nurture the creative process.

    A happy home for the creative process is not within the confines of a spreadsheet or Word document. Creativity thrives on freedom and sharing. It may look to a passerby just like staring at the ceiling. It may take the form of a conversation with someone across the office. As long as you are implementing your ideas quickly so there is always a push forward towards project goals, it is safe to give your employees some space to think.

    There is a reason companies such as Google are known both for their fun office spaces and employee culture as well as their leadership in innovation. The two concepts are inseparable.

    Some ways you can help foster creative activity are to let your employees, at will:

    • Go for a walk
    • Have a chat with their neighbor
    • Work outside
    • Listen to music through headphones

    Let the buzz of employee satisfaction carryover into their productivity, and see how quickly change and innovation become staples of your work environment. Let them out of the box, and their ideas will follow.

  • CIO Holidays

    Top 5 things on mind of CIOs this holiday season

    There has not been a time when IT has been as important as it is now. The battle for business among the IT companies is at its peak with every player seeking to get an edge over their competition. CIOs and software development experts are at pains to give their bosses this edge and this holiday; it is safe to say they will have plenty to think regarding digital transformation and how they can make their presence known. But, the top five concerns on every CIOs mind this holidays should surround these five.
    1. Innovation

    Virtually any CIO in the market is looking to innovate; it is unfortunate that when most try, it ends up in disappointment. Nevertheless, it never takes away the need to innovate. Now more than ever, they need the innovation be it in mobile apps, software development or even in data integration. Innovation and how to implement it successfully is the single greatest priority that every Chief Information Officer is left to struggle with.

    Every person in any IT capacity understands the essence of innovation and how important it is. No matter how small or big, any CIO that can crack a new way to innovate and rake in better results for their companies will be on the winning team. However, to achieve any success, resources like ideas, highly qualified teams and money are all needed.

    2. Business Productivity and Efficiency

    This is something that rings at the back of every business minded person. You want to drive up productivity without having to invest in an equal amount of resources. While most individuals in management only think about this, CIOs are tasked with actually realizing the dream. Even though innovation features top at the list of digital transformation CIOs are at pains of coming up with productive and efficient ways of going about their business. The only reason why this does not feature further up on the list of things that CIOs have to figure is because of its lower revolutionary nature compared to innovation.

    With a valid idea, most institutions are willing to throw caution to the wind pump funds in following up the idea. Which is why business productivity and efficiency will rank second in the priorities that professionals will be trying to figure out.

    3. Security and privacy

    Whether it is in line with simple mobile apps or state of the art websites, every IT user has one concern, safety, and privacy online. Of course, that means that the establishment with the most comprehensive approach to securing online presence stands to be the most profitable.

    Additionally, with more people opting for online storage of information using cloud services, the demand for security and privacy to secure sensitive information by both businesses and individuals is at an all-time high. Whether it is for their companies, for second parties or as consumer products, online security is something most CIOs will be considering. Especially given that more people are embracing the idea of storing information online as opposed to local storage.

    4. Technology Alignment with Business
    Business and technology has been the theme for years and has continued to be. Aligning your business with recent IT trends is one of the most efficient ways to grow. In recent time’s business have opted for more of social marketing as opposed to the old advert methods. This is just one of the ways that the online world is changing business.

    The task that CIOs are laden with is not only creating mobile apps or engaging in cutting edge software type of development but to ensure that IT understands what the business does, the role it’s going to play and above all, knowing what the priorities are. CIOs will also need to figure and understand how their creations affect the profit margins and business delivery and strategize on how emerging technologies can enhance the operation of business. After all, IT and software development is a business in itself.

    5. IT Cost Reduction and Controls

    If your innovation is not offering the users a more affordable and efficient and effective option or alternative to save data or any other IT-based function, then, you’re headed it the wrong direction. With the ground covered, the focus is now on the ability to produce faster, cheaper and easier to maintain IT options. To achieve the same edge as competitors, CIOs should adopt the same focus. Among the options that many will be trying to consider include a different set of management best practices, personal communication skills and even governance and policies.

    Digital transformation will always be a continuing factor that requires continued thinking, brainstorming, and innovation. It is not easy to come up with new ideas, but without a doubt, this is a process that most CIOs have embraced and have made part of their lives. The only factor that keeps changing is what they have to prioritize. This holiday, these five seem to be at the top of every CIOs mind and list of priorities.

  • Digital Transformation with OTS

    How are digital initiatives shaping CIO strategies of tomorrow?

    Over the next few years, the primary focus for organizations will be on digital transformation. Business leaders now recognize that they must provide agility, scalability, and innovation to be competitive in a digital environment.

    The burden that falls to you as CIO is to provide more capabilities and performance. At the same time, you’re required to provide maximum resource availability to satisfy both business and consumers. Driving a digital transformation at the same time can be a challenge.

    To achieve this transformation you’ll the inclusion of IT in business strategy not just as a service provider, but an essential stakeholder. CEOs and business owners may have to make additional sacrifices and commitments to see that you can realize this transformation efficiently. This includes enterprise-wide collaboration on some or all of the following digital initiatives.

    Focused approach

    Given your challenges in integrating automated systems, IT is not as flexible as other business operations. It’s difficult to introduce innovation to an accepted infrastructure that’s in almost constant use due to the internet and mobile apps. But transformation requires agility.

    As more leaders recognize the digital demands of future business activity, you should be finding increased funding and more support. You must learn to foster a prioritized vision for your IT objectives, where even demands like security and data management take a second place to focus on development and integration.

    Digital revenue

    More third-party application are becoming available, so that it’s more difficult for companies to find alternative that provide genuine benefits over the competition. Technology itself is becoming more interconnected, such as self-driving cars and Wi-Fi enabled smart appliances. You must adapt to a more complex way of doing business.

    Companies are beginning to place emphasis on technical partnerships and mobile apps to provide marketability. Your deliverables must embrace popular mobile devices and an increasing number of open-source platforms. Integrating with wider and already accepted technologies provides your company new revenue streams that differ from traditional ideas of product marketing.

    Data Governance

    In the era of big data and cloud-based business analytics, information has become one of the most valuable assets at any company. Using data to maximize profits and improve efficiency is an important aspect of your role in the foreseeable future. As the volume of data grows, you will look for more automated approaches to business intelligence.

    A CIO may see analytics as a key asset of future business, but many stakeholders are not convinced of the value in investing more heavily. Data mismanagement has led to outdated or lower quality data yielding inaccurate results. Future benefits from analytics will require that you implement a data governance framework, and get top executives engaged in data-driven decision making.

    Collaboration

    Digital initiatives are likely to fail as business grows due to a lack of collaboration and effective integration. Digital transformation tends to be seen as simply a series of your specialized projects. Businesses that aren’t open to digital integration across the enterprise won’t have a clear picture of how you transform internal processes. Sales, marketing, HR, and other departments tend to compete for resources that detract from overall development. This is especially true if certain parties favor outsourcing or third-parry solutions rather than internal transformation.

    You may find it difficult to architect a program of digital transformation without the consensus and participation of management as a whole. You must convince the various stakeholders to participate and collaborate in a mutual solution that benefits the whole organization. Digital transformation can be seen as an ongoing IT function where specific ideas are married to your technical knowledge.

    Speed, quality, and innovation

    Until recently, you may have been reluctant to take up an equal partnership in upgrades that only benefit other interests. Other departments may have no grasp of the time, money, and effort required in your software development projects. But in the near future all business partners will be open to innovation in pursuit of the common goals of quality results and fast delivery.

    The Agile methodology works well not only in software development, but progress in other technical projects. Many companies are slow to deploy these principles, or to fully benefit from them, for fear that you might produce changes too rapidly to adjust to. But those companies that don’t embrace and adapt to rapid change are likely to fall behind. Transformation in the future needs to focus on not just your defined requirements, but speed of integration.

    Most managers feel that IT should play a more pivotal role in business strategies, but few IT leaders are influencers today. In the future, however, you will find that more key executives will understand that you provides not just a core service, but the impetus and leadership for essential technical progress.

  • OTS Software Solutions for Internet of Things - IoT

    Internet Of Things (IOT) – New frontier in technology or a new threat?

    Is the Internet of Things (IOT) the greatest new technological frontier in a generation, or the next great threat? The answer, of course, is both. IOT has the potential to be both a godsend and a plague, depending on how we use it. On the positive side, IOT opens new doors to software development that allow a level of personal interconnectivity and convenience heretofore inconceivable. On the negative side, it opens new doors that hackers can use to launch newer and greater cyber attacks.

    IOT: The New Frontier

    The Internet of Things, simply put, is the integration of Internet-enabled computer technology into articles of clothing, automobiles, household items, personal accessories, and other everyday objects to perform a variety of everyday functions previously left to us human beings to handle.

    These IOT-enabled items are embedded with sensors that read data like temperature, time, humidity, light, sound, motion, pressure, weight, etc., and communication devices like RFID (radio-frequency identification), QR codes, or wireless technology to send this data for analysis and receive instructions for any necessary response. This allows for machines to take over doing many of the monotonous, repetitive tasks of daily living for us, so that we can get about to bigger and better things.

    The Internet of Things offers many exciting, practical benefits that almost seem to border on the realm of science fiction, such as:

    • monitoring your vitals directly from your clothing
    • tracking your children’s whereabouts directly from their book bag
    • keeping your refrigerator stocked with automatic calls to the store to reorder items you’ve run out of
    • starting the shower when your alarm goes off and warm the water to your ideal temperature
    • turning on the porch light and house heat remotely when you’re on your way home from work

    These are examples of the advantages of IOT to consumers, which in turn benefit businesses by making their products more relevant and appealing. However, there are still other, perhaps even more powerful, ways that the IOT can benefit businesses.

    All of those little computers connected to the Internet that are integrated into consumers’ everyday belongings can also be used to collect product and user data, and transmit it back to you, the business owner. In this way, businesses have access to unprecedented data about how exactly their products are being used.

    This in turn, of course, can then be used to update and improve those products in future iterations to fit even more seamlessly with the way consumers prefer to utilize them. In short, IOT may be the biggest boon to market research since Google Analytics.

    Thanks to IOT our civilization can look forward to the following imminent innovations, some of which we’re already beginning to see take shape:

    • automated homes
    • smart cities
    • smart environments
    • industrial automation
    • health monitoring

    IOT is truly a frontier in technology, as it provides vastly improved efficiency, saving both time and money, while improving the usefulness and durability of the machines we use to facilitate our lives. Therefore it improves our quality of life by allowing us more time, money, and energy for more creative and rewarding pursuits.

    It does, however, present one worrisome drawback.

    IOT: The New Big Threat

    The problem that many in the IT world see with an IOT-enabled world is that every computer connected to the Internet, no matter how small, can be hacked.

    Just like every personal computer has its own unique IP address, so too does every communication device embedded into IOT articles. Each IP address is a unique point of communication, like a doorway opening in two directions. This creates a point of access that hackers can exploit. In this way, IOT makes previously safe items and objects suddenly vulnerable to cyber security threats.

    A hacker could take control of the computer embedded into an IOT device and use it to communicate instructions to other, more powerful, machines nearby. This is how hackers cover their tracks: by routing their manipulations through a network of other people’s machines, making it nearly impossible to trace them back to their original source.

    When more and more systems of our cultural infrastructure are infused with (and dependent on) IOT, a plethora more information will become available to anyone who knows how to access it. This means big data on a city’s water and power usage, for example, could get into the wrong hands. And if law enforcement integrates IOT into their systems, then criminals have that many more inroads to create potential havoc.

    It also means personal privacy is at risk, as all the information our IOT-enabled belongings collect about us can potentially be accessed by the wrong people and used to cause us trouble. Not only could a hacker learn things about us that we don’t want them to know, they can even change data, with consequences ranging from inconvenient to life-threatening.

    Cyber security teams have been dealing with just this type of problem for as long as the Internet has existed. The difference now, with the advent of IOT, is a proliferation of mini and micro computers all over, making it easier and easier for hackers to slip through security nets.

    Fortunately as fast as software development teams are putting out new apps to make more everyday objects more convenient, they’re also working just as fast to keep up with the security risks these new technologies present. Nevertheless any businesses considering implementing IOT in their infrastructure or product offerings, needs to consider both security and privacy concerns moving forward.

  • OTS Solutions news - K8 selects OTS Solutions

    OTS Solutions Selected as Virtual CTO & Technology Partner by Chicago-Based K8 Ventures

    OTS Solutions is proud to announce its partnership as virtual CTO for Chicago based K8 Ventures, LLC, a tech-venture firm with a focus on early stage companies. OTS is currently working on the production version of BAMM – Before and After Meeting Manager, a smart mobile and web based personal assistant that enables users to plan, book and manage their schedules with people and third parties. BAMM will be available in the App Store and Google play.

    Kurt Johnson, CEO, says, “Our partnership with OTS creates capital efficiency. OTS’ knowledge and scale ensure portfolio companies build quality products at market speed. We are excited to make BAMM available in both iOS and Android, and look forward to a successful October 2016 launch.”

    Hemant Madaan, CEO of OTS Solutions, has called the partnership “A strategic combination of two innovative companies that can ideate, innovate, and deliver to the market high-impact software solutions.”

    From its New York headquarters, OTS Solutions has been helping over 200 high growth startups & businesses around the globe in developing award winning web & mobile software apps for the past 14 years. Learn more

    K8 Ventures, LLC, is located in Chicago, IL and works with early stage companies as an accelerator and investor. With the company creation supply chain, go-to-market know-how, K8 has achieved significant capital efficiency and is redefining how early-stage capital is invested.

    Read full press release in media here – https://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/10/prweb13752805.htm

  • 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.

  • 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.

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    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.