Author Archives: Caylon Huckabay

Is your software safe across multiple platforms?

Is your software safe across multiple platforms? Hacking is a common topic recently, partly thanks to the recent Sony hack that played out in the news across the globe. Computer security is a complex topic which we are not trying to gloss over or explain thoroughly in 1 blog post, and though we’ve talked about white hats and black hats and security in terms of software in past blog posts, for sake of your time, let’s talk about security over many platforms this time.

No doubt, you have spent time thinking about what you would lose should malicious software attach to your business and how it could affect you and your customers. Let’s explore. Internet security does not begin and end with an anti-virus program. You need to make sure your accounting software, inventory, and financial information is protected from every angle AND on every platform. Is your company weakness through a mobile site or external application? It is important when developing new software and applications that you give serious concern to internet security.

Your software engineer should be able to talk intelligently and in more depth with you about this topic. Hackers are increasingly searching for cross-platform weaknesses and can infiltrate your security through a variety of weaknesses of other technologies such as Flash, old Word versions, Java, Adobe PDF, Adobe Flash among others. Once into your business there is a bit of chaos they can create, including destroying, hijacking or pirating valuable information that could even result in legal action at most and serious headaches, at least.

As your business grows and you develop new business software to accommodate your growth, security concerns are important. If you would like to talk to an expert regarding your private information and the software systems or online platforms you need or have, we have qualified agents that can help you grow while staying secure.

Custom Software Development Can Make You More Profitable

Custom software development can make you more profitable. There are lots of ways to increase profits, but properly managing your inventory is paramount for growth and profitability. If as a business owner, you don’t know exactly what your inventory looks like at all times, then you are at a big disadvantage in the marketplace. Poorly selling products eat up profits in the form of storage. If you aren’t turning that inventory at least 2-3 times a year, then it’s taking up space in your warehouse to not only turn a profit, but to take up the space of another item that would turn a profit…it’s a huge opportunity cost; or should we say a huge opportunity lost.

Analyzing your inventory data can tell you quite a bit if you can get your hands on it. Tracking your inventory through software built with your needs in mind can tell you things like how long items have been on your shelves, and if it’s been too long, then you know you need to mark them on sale or incentivize sales somehow. Analyzing inventory data can also tell you your best and fastest selling items and what items are most profitable.

Inventory processes can be linked to other processes in your software to accommodate your exact business needs. Link to shipping for on the spot freight charges calculated on the spot as your customer is ordering. Link to the accounting department and save employee time by circumventing double-entries.

It’s fundamental to say that least that if you manage your stock in line with your customer’s demands that your business will be operating at an optimum level. Custom developed software takes all your needs, wants and existing software and/or processes and automates functionality to give you the results you need and the ability to run your company more efficiently.

It’s another Bunch of ideas brought to reality!

 

App to Manage Employees, Track Jobs, and Record Details Better

Do you need help to manage employees, track jobs, and record details better? A simple answer could be “there is an app for that!”
Having an app for your business could manifest itself to be a tracker of time for employees allowing a streamline of data that corresponds to the bidding or billing process. Imagine, 1 program that helps a salesman bid the job providing printable forms with pricing, also uses geo-tracking to give a technician directions to get to the job, tracks time the technicians spend on a job and can bill and take credit cards and process said data into an accounting software.

There are service companies across the United States that could truly set themselves out as industry leaders by employing the latest technology into an app while simultaneously improving the business and its bottom line. Think of the hundreds of (insert service companies here) HVAC companies in the thousand different markets across the nation that could have access to up-to-the-minute data on the happenings of multiple technicians out in the field. GPS could locate a technician at any given time, and with your company app, a work time clock can even keep track of minutes spent per job. This truly is software development in all its glory!

At the end of the job, the HVAC technician (as used in the example above) can use the bidding information from the initial salesman to bill them and/or charge the homeowners credit card onsite. All information regarding the transaction is stored in the accounting piece of the software, and voila! From beginning of the sales cycle to the end, all the information is easily accessible through your internal facing app developed specifically for your business. This means, an app that is used for private purposes for the internal side of your business, and is not for public use.

 If you have questions about an app for your business, let us know.

It’s another Bunch of ideas brought to reality!

Different Types of Software

There are different types of software that is used in many applications today. You may not understand much about software other than software is what tells your computer what to do. Don’t feel bad about that. If you knew as much about software as we did, you wouldn’t need us. Of course, you understand that Microsoft Office and Norton Anti-Virus are software that powers your hardware to aid you in writing a presentation or protecting your computer from evil intentions, but understanding a little more about different types of software can help you make a more informed decision of what software development can do for your business and what problems it can solve to make your business stand out in a competitive industry and to make it more profitable.

Software can power your computer to do just about anything you want or need done. Software helps your business with things like accounting and/or tax preparation. Mail management and contact management software is prevalent in most businesses today. It’s this type of software that helps keep SPAM out of your inbox. Can you imagine if someone hadn’t dreamed up software to keep unwanted emails out of your inbox? It started with a simple idea by someone tired of junk mail that turned to software for a solution to the problem. That’s how software works. Find the problem, design a software solution. Problem solved.

There’s photo taking, sharing and editing software that has infiltrated every aspect of modern technology today. You can’t pick up a cellphone, go to a social media site or skim a magazine (because of air-brushed pictures) without seeing the evidence of competent photo software designed these days. Gone are the days of a point-and-click Kodak where half your pictures come back over-exposed, because today you can take a picture, edit, filter, approve and upload instantly for all the world to see. Software is responsible for every step of that scenario.

Businesses, factories, and industries small and wide should bow down daily and give thanks to the software engineers who have made information easily accessible and adaptable for almost every profitable purpose under the sun. Of course, software can be used negatively as well. Computer viruses would be good example of that, or your employee who takes software designed for positive purposes, like video games, and plays them on company time. That’s probably considered a negative use in most employers’ minds. But all in all, software has improved our lives beyond recognition from as little as 20 years ago. So take a minute and think about what problem you need solved in your business, or something that needs improvement for productivity and you may be looking at an industry revolutionizing idea in the making. No idea is too small, or problem too unimportant.

It’s another Bunch of ideas brought to reality!

Software Development on Big Data

According to an article in Software Development on big data, Alexandra Weber Morales writes, “Google, Apple and Amazon epitomize this content-delivery era, though the search-engine giant is the only one built primarily on data analytics.” She goes on to quote Tim O’Reilly, “data is the new oil, the question isn’t where to find it, but what to ask it”. 
 
What does that mean for business owners? We are now in the information age, and data is important information, so it becomes your focus to acquire data and do something innovative and profitable with it.  Business owners often undervalue a database, but the right algorithm can turn your data into profit if you get creative.  What do your customers want that they can’t get somewhere else? Answer that question, and combine it with the right algorithm and data, and your business will take off tomorrow.
 
“We’re about to get into the third stage of this industry, where algorithms are going to take control. The companies that can run algorithms at scale are the ones that are going to grow faster.” Bruno Aziza, Alpine Data Labs’ Chief Marketing Officer has said. Be on the pioneering edge of that, not trailing behind. You have a lot more data than you know, like data on your products, data on your clients, and industry data. Develop ideas on capturing more data, and what you can do with it. Next, talk to an algorithm expert (software engineer / software developer). Find the right combination and you’ll find your million dollar idea.

It’s another Bunch of ideas brought to reality!

Your Software May Be Causing You to Lose Out on Customers

Your software (or lack thereof) may be causing you to lose out on customers. You are living in a digital age where a consumer can order a customized “anything”, any time at their convenience, choosing from available inventory, while calculating shipping and practically shipping itself to the new customer’s doorstep. With some companies, appointments can be made online for services (ie cable, pest control, maintenance) by the customer, syncing with the technician’s calendar for when the technician is available in the customer’s area. Ordering custom made products, like baby bibs could even be enhanced with new software, because it could allow the customer to pick out certain parameters of their choice like shape, fabric, trim colors, and custom message.

In the generic scenarios above, a simple business concept is embraced that simplifies and automates the customer experience to the point that the experience is so finely tuned to exactly what your customer wants, it elicits more sales. When a customer can get exactly what they want, when they want it…well, you got an easy sale! We have become a society that feels deserving, and we want everything fast, like yesterday. Now ask yourself, if a customer finds your company’s website online at 4:44 am, what kind of user experience will they have? Will they have questions, and need more information in order to place an order right then and there? Can they even buy anything from you at 4:44 am? If you can’t get their money right then online, you may have just lost the sale.

Don’t fall behind in business today. Don’t be forced out by industry and competition. Maybe it’s time to think about upgrading your online software for customer use. How can custom developed software enhance your customer experience and elicit a sale online? If you’re not sure, talk to a software engineer or a software development company for software solutions for a better customer experience online. Make it easy for the customer to give you their money, and they will.

What You Need To Know Before You Buy New Software

Do you know what you need to know before you buy new software? You made the decision to switch from a package software product, to enhance software you are already using or to finally start automating things in your business, so now what do you do? Below are a few things to consider before hiring a software development company that will be tasked with a crucial project that could potentially help your company grow. Be smart. Don’t waste your money!

Seek well-rounded experienced developers.

In business today an edge is needed, like being an industry leader or having a customer experience so great that word spreads almost virally. Your edge should be considered and built into every business decision you make, including your software development. It is difficult to get an edge in software development if you don’t have a well-rounded and experienced developer. Not only should new software be designed with capabilities even you can’t imagine, but the code needs to function as designed and be tested and refined and well-rounded experienced developers know how to plan for this and execute it well.

Don’t go for the cheapest.

Imagine that you are being sued by a large corporation and they seek millions of dollars which could send you into bankruptcy potentially causing you to lose your house, car and all your worldly possessions. Would you hire the cheapest lawyer you could find? No, of course you not. Nor should you skimp when developing new software. Maybe it should be stated that ESPECIALLY when developing software, you shouldn’t skimp. Though developing new software can easily fall in your budget, it’s not an expense you want to pay more than once when it’s not necessary. Do it once, and do it right, and then you will only have to pay to maintain it with ongoing developments are needed. Usually you get what you pay for, so if cheap is the determining factor in your software project, you will more than likely be disappointed with the final product, or even worse if it doesn’t meet your needs. The project was most likely born out of need, and if your needs aren’t met, what was the point?

Consider remote talent.

In this internet age, you don’t have to be limited to using the best because of geography. Try searching for talent in other areas. People of the same geographical region can start to think alike, and when you’re trying to create something new, fresh ideas are paramount. This doesn’t mean that the best isn’t on your street. It simply means that the best person for the job may be across the country. Don’t limit yourself because you didn’t think outside your zip-code.

Know what you want and who to hire.

You don’t have to know everything you want in order to get it, but before your project is too far into the design phase, you should know what you want in order to know what you’re getting. What this means is, you will come to the table with ideas and your developer will give you some as well and then you have to decide what you want the engineer to actually produce for you. Once you know what you want, you need to take a hard look at the developer. Does he specialize in what you want or is he an expert to deliver that product to you? You should know what it is you want, and know that the person you hire can deliver it to you, as promised. Do your due diligence!

Custom Software Development is a Big Industry!

Custom software development is a big industry! At last check, there were close to 50,000 establishments involved in it. Together these firms employ approximately 550,000 people and generate over $61 billion in revenue. Computer programming is actually one of the largest segments of the broader IT services sector.

Custom software development services are used mostly as an alternative to using a packaged product that may or may not meet your needs and/or hiring an in house programming staff to write needed programs for your business.  The problem with an over-the-counter software solution is it does not always satisfy your business objectives. Trying to support a system when it only partially supports vital processes in your business can often times be more bothersome than not being automated in the slight.

Some of you may have difficulty understanding what that looks like. A custom software solution helps you to integrate your needed data from multiple applications or platforms and integrates it with your business processes which often can reduce the administrative effort / costs by producing reports, streamlining processes and minimizing data input. In simple English, less time will be spent by your employees producing reports, figures, financials etc. because custom software packages produce those things for you. Only 1 input of data may be needed and now information can be simply passed along a channel through any processes like sales process, inventory process, accounting process etc.

Take your business to a new level of efficiency with software solutions. Take your company into the future with custom developed software. You have questions and we have answers.

It’s another Bunch of ideas brought to reality!

Calling All Silicon Prairie Companies

Calling all Silicon Prairie Companies: SXSW has us wondering how many Silicon Prairie businesses are living up to their reputation. There are Silicon Prairie companies representing our moniker at SXSW, but we need to remember that we are called the Silicon Prairie for a reason. In the Midwest is an area rich in entrepreneurship whereas it’s also accompanied with an information technology edge; hence the coined term ‘Silicon Prairie’.  How does your Midwest company measure up to Silicon Prairie expectations?

When evaluating the direction for your company’s future, do you take technology into account? If you’re going to be a leader in your industry, you should stay ahead of the IT curve. Do you offer your customer an online interactive experience with your company or product? Do you have your business processes streamlined enough to make each experience for your customer a smooth and positive experience? If you answered no to either of these questions, and you are a Silicon Prairie company, then you should seriously consider changing your goals.  Most entrepreneurs don’t go into business thinking they want to build a small company and barely eek out a living. Go big or go home.

Custom developed software can be that difference in your company. Software is a viable solution for many of today’s businesses looking to take their company to the next level. It really doesn’t matter what industry your company is in, because it can still be improved by software developed with your future goals and needs in mind. So, next time you proudly tell someone you are a Silicon Prairie business, be confident that you are a cutting edge business helping define Silicon Prairie at its best. Think of where your business could go, then call us. If you can dream it, we can code it!

It’s another Bunch of ideas brought to reality!

Software is a Big Deal These Days: Software Development and the Customer Experience

Software is a big deal these days. In the olden days of software, consumers had to get in their cars, drive to a store where they would discuss with a salesperson all the ins and outs of different software before deciding on one in which they would pay for and then take home and install on their desktop. Gone are those days. You are living in an era where tons of free software is available to customers in order to enhance their experience and entice the buyer. If you are operating your business with limited software available to your client, then you may be limiting your sales. The buying experience certainly drives future sales, and old school business techniques can be a turn-off in this fast paced technological society. Buyers want everything now with a touch of a button sitting in their pajamas at home.

It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, whether you’re a wholesale ceramic tile importer or you’re an engineering firm, you don’t want to be behind the industry eight ball at all cost. There are ways to streamline your business processes while keeping your customer purchasing. Custom software development takes all your needs into account while building your ideas of where the business could go in the future. This has positive effects for both the business employees and the customer. Using our same examples from above, imagine your software taking orders online from a tile setter who can’t sleep at 2 am, and your software checks inventory, figures tax, shipping and any other costs before charging a card that the tile setter stores in your system, informs the customer when the pick up or delivery could be made while suggesting point-of-purchase related upsells based on related items to their sale. Think of coming in every morning to orders ready to be fulfilled and you didn’t have to pay someone to take the order, check with the warehouse worker on inventory, write up an invoice, enter the data into the system, run the credit card… The automation can be limitless! The customer experience is priceless.

This is a fast paced nation of consumers lacking patience. Get an edge on the customer experience. Software development provides amazing software solutions that may have been beyond your realm of comprehension, because you’re not a software engineer. Talk to a professional software developer today to get an idea of how to streamline your business processes while reinventing your customer’s experience. Be a leader in your industry!

It’s another Bunch of ideas brought to reality!