Category Archives: Outsourcing

  • 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 Power of Blockchain in Transforming the World

    How is blockchain transforming the world?

    The traditional ways of doing things, such as carrying out business transactions, are under attack. The technology behind that is blockchain is a technology that has created a lot of attention and excitement around the world. So what is this technology? It is a technology comparable to the internet; it is built to be robust. It stores identical information in the form of blocks that is across the network. Some of the greatest characteristics are that any single entity can not control it and it has no single point of failure. There are several ways in which this technology is transforming the world.

    There are more applications of this technology that have the capability of digital transforming the world as we know it and they go beyond the obvious things such as electronic currencies and money transfers. One of the major use cases includes electronic currencies and money transfers. They range from electronic voting, smart contracts & digitally recorded property assets to patient health document management and proof of ownership for online content.

    Increase Transparency

    One of the major features of distributed database is that it is transparent and incorruptible. Founded on the status of consensus, a state where it checks itself in an interval of ten minutes, it is a self-auditing system of digital value; the network reconciles every transaction that happens in every ten-minute interval. Each transaction that is carried out in the system is known as a “block.” There are critical properties that are the outcome of these operations/transactions; the data that is exchanged within the system as a whole is public; the database cannot be corrupted; changing a single unit of information in a database would require enormous computing power capability to take over the entire network. In theory, it may be possible to corrupt the data. However, in practice, it is impossible to carry out such a task. For example, taking control of the system to steal Bitcoins would also destroy its value.

    Transform the Internet and Global economy

    The distributed database protocol has altered hundreds of industries that depends on the intermediaries; they include finance, academia, finance, insurance, healthcare, legal, and real-estate amongst others. It eliminates the time it takes to process a single transaction and another regulatory requirement as is the case with banks and governments. The protocol is opening up the global economy; more people is in a position to conduct their business more often and efficiently. Most importantly, the technology behind this database is eliminating costly intermediary fees such as remittance space that become huge impediments for individuals and businesses.

    The protocol enables the digitization of assets. The primary objective that is driving public ledger is shifting from the internet of information where you can view, exchange and transfer information of value over the Internet; you can also transfer assets. This technology is transforming the global economy due to its elimination of the large intermediaries who is no longer play a significant role.

    Eliminating Intermediaries

    The protocol is placed to phase out the intermediaries that have been in use in previous years. In future, intermediaries such as the banks will not play their usual role when this technology finally takes over. The future of distributed database is where the trust is established through consensus and robust computer code rather than through central intermediaries. The nature adopted by the technology, decentralization, openness and cryptography, it allows you to conduct transactions that are based on trust and making operations on peer to peer basis, thereby marking the end for intermediaries. Eliminating intermediaries could also bring forth various benefits such as security. The cyber-attacks that are usually carried out on centralized intermediaries such as banks would be impossible to conduct successfully.

    Power The Internet of Things

    Blockchain can be closely related to the Internet of Things (IoT). The most significant development in this industry is concerned with the quantitative measurement of what in the past has been considered as qualitative phenomena. Apart from having the capability of tracking and authenticating device history, this technology that is powered by IoT can give a greater degree for devices enabling them to make different kinds of the transaction without having to depend on the third parties.

    Finally, this technology could provide to the rise of applications that plays a critical role in the future societies, that we do not have an alternative. With time more use case of this protocol will be adopted, and it is bound to transform the world as we know it.

  • 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

  • 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

  • mobile app idea

    How to choose perfect developers for your mobile app idea?

    Select perfect developers for your mobile app idea

    If you want your mobile app to work well, you need to have a defined process of filtering and choosing a good team of mobile app developers. It involves knowing what you want ahead of time. Once you know what you want from your app, you will have an mobile app idea what questions to ask your app developers.

    What do you want from the mobile app?

    When you know what you want from the app, you will communicate better with the app developers. The examples to keep in mind are having social media integration and login features. Other things to remember include giving out mobile apps for free or having a lite and premium version. You should also consider if you want the app compatible with Windows or Android or iOS or all.

    Do you want the app to make money? You need to tell this to the app developers, so they know what app to build for you. It could be a pay-per-download with a range of prices based on the features of the app. If the app is free, the app developers need to know too.

    Ask the app developers to show apps they created and list clients

    You need to be sure the developers know what they are doing. The app developer should have a list of people for whom they have created apps. The list includes the apps created. You cannot tell who has created an app by looking at it. That is why you need to speak to the developer’s clients. When you check references, you will know how responsible the app developers are. The reason you are checking the developers out is to ensure you get the services for which you will be paying.

    Speak to the team ahead of time

    Part of having clear communication is to talk to someone before hiring the person. Speak to the app developers face-to-face or on call and ask questions. It can be in person or via video messaging. You will get a feel for the team and how knowledgeable they are. The conversation will decide how the team works. You want to understand your developers, and you want them to get your message too.

    Find out what smartphone the developers use. You will get a clue of their knowledge on the topic. Whatever app the app developers claim to build, they should have it on their phone(s). They should also be familiar with how the app works and be comfortable discussing it. Asking these questions will set up a clear communication between the development team and you.

    Set up a timeline for each phase of the app development

    Ask the app developers when a part of the app finishes. It will give you a better idea of how far along the project is. You want to meet your deadline, so it is important to set these goals. Another way to handle milestones is to mark a date on the calendar you will speak to the app developers. You expect to get an update once you talk to them.

    When you know the project is progressing well; you will feel more comfortable paying their fee. The developers will know what you want once you have set these goals. Matured team of app developers would recommend using Agile Scrum & other advanced iterative models for developing apps and get quicker feedback while it is done. These practices allow you to change the app’s direction (if need be) faster and have more control on progress of app development.

    Find out the special features the app developers can create.

    The features attract users to the app. Know what features to include and see if the app developers can handle it. It is best not to assume the developers know it all. Examples of unique features include 3-D gaming, social media sharing, product coupons, location sharing, offline synching etc.

    Ownership of the app

    The app is important to you, so you need to show who will own it. One way to show who will own it is to draw up a contract between you and the app developers. Add a confidentiality clause to the agreement. Make sure you will own the rights to the source code and all the contents of the app.

    Testing the mobile app

    Ask the developers how they will test your app. Most people check apps on the phones they will be using. You should also get an easy to understand explanation of how the developers will test your app. You want to get rid of any glitches before the app’s completion. If they find any errors, see how they will fix the problem and how long it will take to complete.

    Conclusion

    Your app will generate an income stream. You want to make sure you have someone experienced doing the job. It means knowing what you want so you can communicate well with the app developers. Find out how many other apps the developers has completed. It is best to speak to the developer’s clients and ask questions. One question includes how responsible the developers are. You also want to know how long it took the project to finish. Another question you should ask is how competent the developers are.

    Hire Certified Mobile App Developers

  • Startups prototype creation

    Build Better User Experiences Through Prototyping

    Prototype development is a useful stage in the UI/UX development process, but many companies get it wrong. If done correctly, prototyping helps developers, designers and marketers iterate quickly on features and messaging. If botched, it can bog teams down in unnecessary choices and technical debt. Here are some tips to prototype effectively.

    Resolve to Throw Away the Prototype

    Prototyping is often thought of as the beginning of the software development process. In that light, the prototype is viewed as the software’s initial stage. The prototype will simply gain functionality and features until it is a more fully-built app or service.

    This is the wrong approach. A prototype should be treated as a standalone project. Handling prototypes as separate entities frees developers and designers from making tough technical choices that cannot meaningfully be decided so early in a product’s development. It also allows for testing ideas inexpensively, determining if they are viable before building out the necessary technical infrastructure.

    Don’t Get Bogged Down

    Software development is full of choices. A product’s database selection determines how its data will be modeled, stored and queried. UI frameworks dictate how it will look. Message brokers, container technologies, and many other factors all combine to determine how a product will look, act and be maintained.

    The prototype stage is not only the incorrect time to make these decisions, but it is also the wrong time to even discuss them. Prototypes should be as simple as possible, even going as far as faking features and interactions instead of relying on complex solutions and interactions.Prototyping is also a good opportunity to experiment with new technologies. Since it will ideally be short-lived, and since prototypes should be discarded, using new technologies gives teams the chance to evaluate their use in the larger project. It also lets developers and designers learn without worrying about mistakes being incorporated into a long-term development cycle.

    Identify and Test a Hypothesis

    The prototype is not the place to include every possible aspect of an app’s ideal design, every feature, every screen, and every corner case. Instead, it is intended to test a simple hypothesis.

    For instance, say a company is designing an on-demand app for delivering services. There are many features an app like this would require to be successful, from complex push notifications to screens for editing account details. The prototype should instead focus on testing the value proposition. Put in place just enough UI/UX development to determine if consumers find the platform helpful and useful. If they do, throw away the prototype and start building the final app.

    Conclusion

    Prototype development may seem like an expensive proposition. After all, why spend time developing an idea only to throw the work away? A common piece of advice is to measure twice, cut once. Building a prototype measures an idea, determining if it will fit expectations before making the potentially expensive mistake of building a thing that no one wants.

  • Agile development OTS Solutions

    Making agile development more predictive and less risky

    Healthy sales often depend on being first to market. Innovation and rapid deployment are important to tech and startup companies. This is why Agile software development methods are so popular. It can deliver software quickly while allowing for flexibility, feedback, and risk and change management.

    Making development predictable

    But fast turnaround is only the first phase. Speed has to be balanced against performance, reliability, and costs. Your product has to be sustainable in the long term. It has to integrate with existing systems, often across a variety of platforms.
    What this all boils down to is predictability – software development that can be consistently delivered on time and trusted to meet requirements, pass quality assurance testing, and bring value to partners and customers.

    The level of uncertainty

    Many companies adopt Agile or hybrid Waterfall approaches because they’ve seen and heard that it works for today’s development environments. But because it’s flexible, small and large companies may not be using it the same way or for the same reasons.
    These methods require defining and identifying requirements and risks, planning, estimation, and incremental development through Agile timeboxes. But discovering and designing as you go along is often too big and complex, depending on both the size of the project and the size of the team. Too many people. too many components, and undisciplined management can cause things to be overlooked. Changing requirements and priorities can make an iterative process essentially useless.

    Enterprise Agile software development depends on control and visibility to reduce uncertainty. Using velocity, story points, and release reporting help create early confidence on progress and more accurate timelines. Relying on the methodology itself to reduce time and costs is a fallacy.

    Redefining the process

    The software development process should involve doing enough investigation upfront to create more reliable plans and estimates. This in turn means more faith in commitments to meeting requirements while assuring higher levels of quality. Using Agile is not about responding to changes in plans, but sticking to a plan that can incorporate change. A better plan is more likely to accommodate change without disrupting the project.

    Agile software development can reduce the “cone of uncertainty” by delivering smaller, working pieces of code, and correlating the progress with project data through velocity. As the project moves forward, predictability comes with increasing ability to deliver on estimates, and the experience translates to future projects. There is still going to be a need for changes and priorities, but these can be viewed in terms of the incremental rather than the iterative process.

    Small projects may be better realized by iteration and fast, adaptive change, depending on the team and the requirements. But larger, more complex problems will have to involve predictability in obtaining results, and that’s gained from making everything align with an incremental, controlled process. Big projects may be slowed not by requirements, risks, or even the size of the team, but by bad planning.

    Want to learn more on techniques of agile development – learn here for comparison on scrum and kanban.

  • Mobile app development

    Top 10 things to keep in mind when developing a mobile app

    Maybe you have an idea for an app that could draw millions to your New York brand. How do you plan to build it? Which factors do you think are important? Here are the top ideas you should keep in mind before you start developing your own app.

    1. Uniqueness
    We all tend to get bored with the same old thing, including mobile apps. There are already millions of them out there. What people are looking for is something fresh and interesting that will hold their attention.

    2. Pricing
    Pricing a mobile app can be a bit difficult, as there are a number of factors to weigh. Think about how yours’ compares to charges for similar apps on the same platform or that are marketed in the same channels.

    3. Testing
    Be sure to test you app under as many scenarios as possible, even unlikely ones, as a reputation for bugs could sink it. Your app should be creative, reliable, quick, and easy to use. If coding and testing are a bit out of your league, turn to one of the premier mobile developers in New York for help.

    4. Budget
    Every phase in mobile app development costs money. Establishing a budget and using it properly is crucial. Make a plan and keep track of expenses so you can stay on track.

    5. Scalability
    There’s no way to predict which app will be successful and which will be ignored. In the event that it really sells, make preparations for the next step – mobile app development for multiple platforms. Start with a library of functional code blocks that can be easily changed as needed.

    6. Feedback
    Your app should have built in analytics and channels for user feedback to let you know what needs changing or what really works. In fact, you should be concerned if there’s no feedback…

    7. Research
    You should do market research to gain insight into what the competition is doing and what the target audience wants. Note the strengths and weaknesses of other app marketing campaigns, scan customer reviews, and visit blogs. What people want, and where the competition lets them down, is your window of opportunity.

    8. Efficiency
    Try to achieve maximum efficiency in all areas of development, but especially in the app itself. If it’s too slow, that’s inefficiency. Find ways to conserve data use and speed up loads.

    9. Waiting
    Mobile service waits can slow down apps. Don’t leave users staring at a generic string indicator that might suggest nothing is happening. Try using animations or text to let them know what’s happening.

    10. Description
    When a prospective customer is checking out your app for the time, Google Play and Apple store only show the first couple lines of it’s description, so make those as compelling as possible.

    There’s a huge market for useful and innovative apps. But there’s plenty of competition, too. These tips should help, but if you’re overwhelmed, you might want to consider professional mobile developers in New York. Getting your mobile app development can be a daunting task. Read here to learn how to do it well.

  • co-development of software

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • software development outsourcing

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

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

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

    Why Outsource?

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

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

    Offshore vs USA Outsourcing:

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

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

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

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

    Recap:

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

  • outsourcing-solutions

    Getting Rescued from Bad Outsourcing?

    Escaping The Trap Of Bad Outsourcing:

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

    Risks Of IT Outsourcing:

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

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

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

    Making A Smart Break:

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

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

    Learning From Missteps:

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

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

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

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

  • The-Future-Of-Outsourcing

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

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

    The Approach:

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

    Selecting an Outsourcing Firm:

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

    Stages of the Software Development Process:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Third-Party Outsourcing

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

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

    Captive Operations

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

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

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

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

  • 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.

  • mshopping_1960x980

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

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

    A New Retail Landscape

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

    Custom Design Mobile Apps

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

    Some Strategies

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

    A New Era in Retailing

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

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

    Retail Ecommerce – Which is the right platform for you?

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

    Retail Ecommerce – Which is the right platform for you?

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

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

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

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

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

    The Size of Your Business

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

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

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

    Examples of high cost, high-end ecommerce solutions:

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

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

    Examples of low cost ecommerce solutions:

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

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

    How Much Control Do You Want?

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

    Examples of hosted ecommerce solutions:

    • Shopify
    • Volusion
    • BigCommerce

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

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

    Hosting your own

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

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

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

    Managed services

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

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

  • Back-to-the-Future-Title-Card

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

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

    Experience Matters

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

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

    Customer is King

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

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

    Convenience

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

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

    Take Away

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

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

  • featured_e-commerce

    ECommerce Comparison – Selling Through Your Own Store vs Existing Marketplaces

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

    Advantages of Selling Through a Marketplace

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

    Disadvantages of Selling Through a Marketplace

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

    Advantages of Selling Through Your Own ECommerce Store

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

    Disadvantages of Selling Through Your Own Store

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

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

    How to create your own online retail store

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

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

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

  • Online Payments

    Retail Ecommerce – Things to consider when accepting payments online

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

    Pick your payment method

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

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

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

    Pick your payment gateway

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

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

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

    Pick your online merchant

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

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

    Don’t rush

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

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

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

  • Tech Start Ups – Marrying Correct Technology Partner

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

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

    Information-Technology-Partner-for-Businesses

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

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

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

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

    Take Away:

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

    About Author:

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

  • OPEN-SOURCE-ERP

    Low Cost Business Automation with Open Source ERP

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

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

    opensourceerpsoftware1

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

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

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

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

    The Takeaway

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

    About Author

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

  • All You Need to Know About Software Product Analysis

    Developing software from scratch is a very complicated task that has various stages. It is a process in which a lot of brainstorming is required with several steps involved. It also takes a lot of time. The more complicated the function of the software, the more is the time required to create it. If you are an owner or manager of a company with an IT team that is developing software then you must make sure that it’s tested thoroughly before taking it live.

    product-analysis

    Software Product Analysis

    It is better to hire a software product analysis company that specializes in testing all types of software. It would give you the following benefits:

    • Helps your developers to learn

     When you decide to outsource software product analysis, you give your IT developers a chance to learn from their mistakes. You get out of the box opinions on areas where your software can be improved. You also get detailed analysis on various bugs so that they can be removed before making the software live. A professional outsourcing company would also give you ideas on how you can incorporate new features in your software. This will ensure that your software becomes the very best.

    • Keeps your employees happy

    When you introduce a good software that helps your employees to reduce their workload, they are bound to appreciate it. This will result in better results, helping your company to move forward at a rapid pace. On the other hand, when you launch software that has not gone through software product analysis and thus has a lot of bugs, your employees will feel devalued. This can eventually hamper their productiveness.

    • Satisfies your customers in a better manner

    An internal software that has gone through detailed software product analysis, speeds up your company’s processes. This will eventually satisfy your customers in a better manner. You must know that customers always prefer speedy delivery of the product or service they are seeking and if you give it to them; they would likely become more loyal to your brand.

  • Rise of Software development Outsourcing Company

    Due to the widespread adoption of information technology and its resources in an organization’s processes, in the last decade there has been a rise in the number of software development companies. Most of the organizations that seek IT support in their business find it beneficial to outsource their requirements. There are several reasons because of which an organization outsources their IT requirements; one of the major reasons is the expertise. Since the major part is technical so there is always the need of technically experienced professionals to analyze and fulfill the requirements.

    Today no sector whether it be Telecom, Education, Manufacturing, Mining etc. is untouched by information technology and its applications. The information technology not only optimizes the business but also helps in making it profitable by decreasing the wastage of resources. The resources here refer to time, money as well as human resource. This is the major factors to run a business successfully. IT today plays a very important role in the growth of any business irrespective of the nature of their business. Information technology boosts the processes involved in business.

    Since IT is playing a critical role hence the importance of the final product increases itself. Hence in the case of software web development, quality plays a very crucial role. India due to its quality IT products specifically in case of software’s has gained worldwide leadership. Indian IT market is popping up with so many software and IT companies both large and small scale. The reason for India being a reliable name for software outsourcing is the research work done on software technology. We have developed compilers, middleware and scripting technologies that have increased the programming speed leading to faster development of software. We have developed the best technology for detecting bugs and malwares in programs irrespective of their development platform. This has also enhanced the quality of the end product.

    The availability of skilled professionals is also a major reason why India has emerged as a super power in the field of information technology. India produces has skilled IT professionals that become the backbone of IT industry later on. The IT industry is totally dependent on the skills of the professionals involved. According to a NASSCOM survey India faced a shortfall of skilled professionals in 2010, this happened because Indian IT industry was at boom while the education system was not producing the skilled professionals at the same rate as required.

    According to a recent survey it has been revealed that 70% of income for information technology sector comes from overseas, while it employees 1 million people directly and provides employment to around 2.5 million people indirectly. Indian IT sector specifically domestic market has shown a growth rate of 12% after the global slowdown of 2008-2009 which is more than as compared to any other sector in the country. India’s IT sector has developed at a rate which is more than the development rate of IT sector in United States.

    One of the major reasons for such a growth is outsourcing. Most of the business that Indian IT sector got is from outside the country that happens because of the availability of best technologies and skilled professionals as cheaper cost as compared to anywhere around the globe. Indian IT companies are foreseen as pioneers in the software design and development because of the innovation and the zeal to provide best to cater the needs of clients.

    The major clientele to Indian IT sector is from United States and Europe this is because the Indian IT professionals apart from being technically well versed also have good command over English language that eventually lower down the barriers between them and their clients. The communication is the key to provide the best end products. If a company or a professional can understand the exact requirement of their client than only they can develop a product that fulfill the clients requirement.

    Outsourcing has not only provided jobs to Indian IT professionals but has also let to an increase in the GDP of the country. Keeping this in view the government is also focusing on policies that in future will add up to the IT sector which includes foreign direct investment in IT sector. The govt. policies also plays very important role in development on any particular sector. In case of IT sector govt. is focusing on making the business rules simpler and faster so that any company that want to invest in Indian IT sector would not face any barrier. This along with many other factors has proved to be a boon for Indian IT industry. This has been a major reason for the rise of outsourcing companies specifically in software market. Outsourcing though has become an issue with countries who are outsourcing their software projects but the profitability provided by Indian IT industry has helped overcoming hurdles involved.

    The right choice of Outsource Software Development, Software Outsourcing India can help your business succeed, Contact OTS Solutions – Software Company India.