Archive

Custom software solutions key to engaging Millennial workforce

It is likely that children born today will never know a world without touchscreen functionality. Even for the generation known as the millennials, life has long been defined by how and where specific software assets can be leveraged. More often than not, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are going to be a key component of this equation.

Now that this segment of the population is reaching the age where they will be leaving school, they next move for many of them will be seeking employment with companies related to their fields of study. But the consumerization of IT has created a workforce that is not only enabled to achieve new levels of productivity, but wishes to do so from locations where its members feel the most comfortable.

“When people say that millennials ‘want it all,’ it means that millennials are trying to raise the bar on work-life balance and redefine what work means,” wrote InformationWeek contributor Toni Cusumano. “They share high standards for work quality, but they have equally high standards for the quality of their lives.”

In order to attract and retain top talent with an understanding of the modern world, custom mobile app development will be critical on an enterprise level. It has been well-documented that present day users of mobile technology will seek out their own solutions if none are presented to them. It will be critical for companies to provide apps that will create a secure, unified and immersive experience for millennial employees.

Flexibility and collaboration key to successful software initiatives
As the youngest generation to be a collective member of organizations, millennials are changing how work is defined. According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers report, “PwC’s NextGen: A global generational study,” a greater balance between home and office life is a major selling point for millennial employees. People of this age group are more likely to seek out and stick with companies that understand this and look to technology as a means to facilitate it.

“Millennials want work to mirror their personal lives and expect to have access to the same technology experience in and out of the office,” wrote Cusumano. “Companies should make it a priority to offer the best technology tools for collaboration, productivity and flexibility.”

This is why organizations need to seek out the resources that will make them look attractive to the modern workforce. Mobile application development must be a priority for any business that wants to enable top talent – not to mention keep it around.

Read More →

Enterprises must put mobile first

Having a mobile presence used to be somewhat of a novelty. Apps were a byproduct of the rise in popularity experienced by smartphones. Portable touchscreen interfaces were seen as a way to play games and to have a series of tools more readily available. But as more people have adopted these modern advantages, the way in which they interact with others – including businesses – has adapted to be better suited for the technology.

A lot of this has to do with the shortcomings of the mobile Web. According to Flurry, there has been a significant increase in daily app access by the average consumer since March 2013 – the result of present day users launching their favorite apps as much as 10 times per day. People are no longer satisfied with smartphone-based browsers, which can cause an inconsistent experience between devices.

Because so many people are seeking out apps as their primary form of connection to the Internet, there has to be a dedication on the part of businesses to put the mobile experience at the foremost of their concerns. While it would be inadvisable to neglect or entirely scrap desktop websites, organizations of all kinds have to look into custom software development for smartphone and tablet-using customers.

Mobile apps offer improved functionality

One of the biggest drawbacks to mobile browsers involves the fact that they are, at the end of the day, just browsers. Traditional endpoints – those with mice and physical keyboards – are what the Internet was originally designed to do. Smartphones and tablets do many of the same jobs, but they can leave many feeling like they are using a hammer on a screw.

Having to type in URLs on a tiny touchscreen can feel cumbersome when many of the same services can be more easily accessed through an app. Instead of having to work around the medium, developers can bend mobile platforms to better meet their requirements. Think of it as having a home-field advantage as opposed to being the away team – when the players know the stadium and have their fans to back them up, they are considered to have the upper hand in many instances.

Custom mobile app development is becoming the new standard for organizations of all varieties, and it is easy to see why. There is a greater potential for these outlets to succeed when they stand alone from the Internet itself, using it as a resource rather than as a channel in its own right.

Read More →

Gamification can lead to more engaging applications

It should serve as no surprise that people are using their mobile devices to play games. In fact, that seems to be one of the biggest things that smartphones and tablets are used for.

According to research firm Distimo, 41 percent of the app downloads that occurred in March through Apple and Google fell under the “games” category. Amazon experienced an even larger number of game downloads, with 61.3 percent representing game installations.

This speaks to how a majority of users are leveraging their mobile devices. But rather than throwing in the towel if custom software solutions are not in line with say, Angry Birds, maybe it is time to start learning from the games that populate a majority of touchscreen endpoints.

Gamification is the concept of taking the aspects of video games that make them appealing and applying those features to other kinds of software. This school of thinking can be leveraged both for customer engagement platforms and employee productivity tools alike.

Video games have lessons to teach that apply to custom software solutions.

Video games have lessons to teach that apply to custom software solutions.

Gamification is nothing new
While the digital capabilities may not have always been around, the concepts behind gamification have. Businesses across many fields have long tried to engage people through games and promotions. In the modern day, getting the same results is going to require a transition to cyberspace.

“There is no magic in gamification – it uses the same motivational techniques that have been around for centuries,” wrote Forbes contributor Brian Burke. “Building self-esteem and re-enforcing it with peer recognition is a powerful means of unlocking motivation. Gamification leads players on an experience to help them to achieve their goals, and while that’s important, it’s not entirely new. The real news with gamification is the digitalization of motivation, and in the near term it will become a key part of every organization’s digital business strategy.”

Companies that are struggling to get their staff members and customers to use their custom software solutions may need to rethink how they are laid out. There is a certain kind of motivation that is unlocked in people while they are playing video games, and it leads them to feel invested in the app and the company behind it.

And this does not mean trying to come up with a hot new game and just slapping a brand name on it. True gamification is accomplished by taking certain aspects of the organization and figuring out how to incentivize them, even if only for points on a scoreboard.

When people feel like they are playing, they are going to feel more engaged. In order to maintain a degree of mobile relevance, gamification must be a part of custom mobile app development.

Read More →

Mobile Web just as dated as “Space Jam” URL

What do smartphone browsers and the “Space Jam” website have in common?

They are both outdated.

Time has not been friendly to both the URL for the ’90s NBA/Looney Tunes crossover and the mobile Web. In the case of the former, hype surrounding Michael Jordan’s first and only starring role on-screen died out once the movie went to home video, yet the website – launched in 1996 to promote the film – somehow remains live to this day. Every once in a while, someone on the Internet will point it out, along with all of its almost-archaic features and design. The site has, literally, not been touched since the days when the Chicago Bulls were the biggest basketball team in the world.

Something similar can be said about the mobile Web. Browser technology for smartphones and tablets has gone relatively unchanged since it started appearing with the devices that power it. With apps gaining in popularity and many major companies redirecting their efforts to custom software solutions rather than mobile-compatible websites, the shortcomings of general browser applications are starting to look as old as the animated GIFs that populate “Space Jam’s” portion of cyberspace.

Thankfully for Warner Brothers, the company does not have a serious stake in sales related to “Space Jam,” so the lack of updates on the official page is entirely understandable and forgivable. But the story is different for businesses that are investing a large percentage of their online presence in a mobile site. Due to the lack of a strong interface, organizations that do not seek out their own applications could be failing to present themselves as modern, relevant competitors on the market.

Mobile apps ending era of open Web
There has been a massive shift regarding how people surf the Internet within the last few years. As more mobile endpoints have been adopted, people are more likely to do most of their daily exploring through a touchscreen interface that arrived long after the Internet did.

This will be further complicated by the oncoming wave of wearable technology that is slated to be the next big thing in personal computing. According to eWEEK contributor Mike Elgan, the mobile Web manages to be lost even further in translation on tools like Google Glass.

This is bad news for organizations that have yet to investigate custom mobile app development over touchscreen browsers. As more people move away from “traditional” endpoints, those investing in mobile web development are going to feel as disadvantaged as His Airness did on a team consisting solely of cartoon characters – and Bill Murray.

Read More →

The Importance of Hiring Mobile Software Development Services

Before the advent of the mobile platform and the thousands of mobile devices now being used by consumers, it wasn’t as important to think about mobile users. But now, with so many people joining the mobile app revolution, mobile software development services has become of utmost importance when planning your corporate strategy.

Whether your users are on the iOS (Apple) platform, or the Android (Google) OS, the need for mobile software has never been greater.

But the reality is that few, if any of your staff will be versed in UX design, Objective-C, or HTML5; and that presents a problem. Who will design the software? How will you make your presence known on the web to the thousands of users who would like to access your content now on mobile devices?

If you are a company who needs to develop software for mobile devices, what are your options for mobile development? How do you meet the needs of a rapidly changing market? You could send some of your staff off and have them trained to learn these skills, or you could hire mobile software development services from elsewhere.

Here are the advantages to hiring this outside of your organization:

[list style=”arrow” color=”orange-lite”]

  • You get experts who are already working on mobile software development, instead of your own people who don’t do it on a regular basis (think: core competency).
  • You get a dedicated mobile software development solution that can be used over and over again for different projects and purposes.
  • You get creative, expert programmers who have been doing this for a long time and enjoy developing programs for businesses.
  • You get to have a solution that is under one roof and focuses on your projects as they are needed.

[/list]

There are many other reasons you should consider hiring mobile software development services for your mobile software needs. It doesn’t require that you pull your staff out of their regular responsibilities to deal with programming issues, and you and they can stay focused on your business with minimal down time. Even if you have a regular IT professional on staff, it would be wise to consider this solution. That way, your own IT professionals can focus on the technical problems of your business while the outsourced programmers work on your creative software projects.

If you would like to know more about hiring mobile software development services, let’s talk.

[button title=”Let’s talk mobile” type=”linkbutton” color=”orange-lite” target=”_self”]
Read More →

Early wearable technology happenings not indicative of platform’s future

With smartphones and tablets having become commonplace fixtures in everyday life, attention has turned towards the next big mobile platform. Wearable technology, from watches to glasses, is beginning to gain steam as the logical evolution of personal computing. There has yet to be a widespread acceptance of these tools, but early adopters have warmed up nicely to machines like the Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch and the beta testing version of Google Glass.

But while it is well-accepted that wearable tech will have a clear place in personal computing of the future, some are still puzzled by the slow pace of adaption by the general public. The truth is, however, that wearables are already seeing success in a different market – in the enterprise. From medical facilities to shipping warehouses, organizations around the world are examining how these tools can better meet the needs of their staff members.

As far as the consumer world goes, wearables are still very new. There has yet to be a device released to a wide enough audience. Take MP3 players, for example. The technology failed to truly catch on until the introduction of the iPod. Now, many people cannot even imagine a life without music on the go. Wearables have serious promise and functionality, but there has not yet been enough of a push behind new endeavors aimed at unlocking their potential.

That should not, however, be a matter of concern over the destiny of the technology. A study conducted by Endeavor Partners concluded that a vast majority of wearable users are satisfied with their devices and continue to leverage them in daily life. This means that they are undoubtedly appearing in workplaces all over the world.

Enterprises will need to embrace this trend before being overtaken in the same way that many were by smartphones and tablets. Part of this will involve seeking out custom software development for both employee and customer engagement.

Planning will be critical for arrival of wearables
One of the lessons learned from the first wave of the bring-your-own-device office was that staff members cannot be left to solve problems and obtain software on their own. There has to be guidance from management and the IT department in order to ensure a productive, digitally-secure workplace.

“Just as with other brought-in devices, if employees can use them to do work, they will,” wrote Forbes contributor Susan Kuchinskas. “While it may be too early to tell which wearables will take off with consumers and thus find their way behind the firewall, you can do two things to prepare. First, review your existing policies for brought-in devices and rewrite them if necessary to cover wearables. Then, talk to your vendors about their plans to secure this new generation of wearable technology.”

It is going to take innovative applications for wearables to to achieve the same status as smartphones and tablets. This puts modern organizations in an interesting and lucrative position to help push wearable technology further into the public sphere. Custom mobile app development will be more crucial than ever if businesses want to get in on the ground floor of the wearable revolution.

Read More →

Google Glass apps will open new doors for functionality

As the age of the mobile device moves from smartphones to wearables, one tool in particular has stayed well in the public eye. Google Glass, while still in its beta testing stages, has been the topic of much attention and speculation. Some people believe that Glass is representative of big things to come. Others, however, see it as a gaudy fad destined for failure. Whatever the opinion may be, there is a considerable hype surrounding Glass, and it stands to make waves upon its eventual release.

One place in which Glass is expected to have a significant role is in the workplace. The professional world is one that is less encumbered by aesthetics than the general public, and the foreign appearance of Glass is less likely to deter users.

Because of this, Google has launched a program called Glass at Work, which is designed to inspire innovation around the workplace – more specifically in medical facilities. The ability to have a hands-free smart device in a healthcare environment could lead to new opportunities to leverage the technology. According to The Register contributor Iain Thomson, this measure could help Google find a market in businesses and organizations around the world.

It will be the accomplishments of Glass at Work between now and the device’s official release that will help define custom software developments for Google Glass – and maybe wearable technology, period. Google Glass developers participating in the business program are essentially laying out the trajectory of apps that will be created moving forward.

Healthcare professionals most receptive of Glass
One industry that has been particularly enthusiastic about the oncoming wearable revolution has been the field of medicine. Hospitals all over the country have been experimenting with Google Glass, and in the case of Beth Israel De​aconess Medical Center in Boston, it has already been used to save a life.

According to The Boston Globe, a patient required immediate attention for internal bleeding. Dr. Steven Horng was able to call up a list of the patient’s medical allergies so that he would not accidentally be given blood pressure drugs that would harm him. The amount of time saved by not having to rifle through files or wait for the patient to remember is credited with preventing his death.

These are the kinds of uses that wearables like Google Glass will be capable of, even if they do not catch on as consumer devices. As it has already been proven, Glass stands to make a place for itself in the enterprise, namely in the healthcare field. Companies and organizations will need to pursue the custom software solutions that will allow them to leverage it.

Read More →

Things to Consider before you Hire a ColdFusion Programmer

When building databases or websites, ColdFusion can be an especially useful platform. Before you hire a ColdFusion programmer, here are some things to keep in mind in order to ensure you get the very best from this professional.

  1. Make sure the programmer you choose is up to speed with the latest versions of this program, but also knows legacy versions and the challenges of updating your system. In order to do so, he or she will need to keep up with the latest developments as they occur, so hiring someone who has consistently been involved with ColdFusion for some time can be especially helpful. By hiring a programmer who is familiar with the latest changes, you will also ensure that errors will be identified and corrected quickly.
  2. It can be helpful to get a list of types of projects a programmer has worked on before. That way, you can get a better idea as to the type of service he or she will provide.  If the person has worked with an agency, this is a great point of contact to obtain a reference that goes beyond one job.
  3. Ask whether or not a particular programmer is a member of any ColdFusion user groups, as this will give you an idea as to his or her level of expertise and dedication to the technology. You can also feel more confident knowing that this programmer’s skills are up to date, since members of these user groups are likely to share new information and best practices with each other.
  4. You should also find out if a programmer has written any articles that have been published on ColdFusion programming. The fact that an individual has been published means that particular programmer is regarded as somewhat of an expert among his or her peers, which means your project will be in capable hands.

Here at On3 Software, our goal is to provide you with the top-notch ColdFusion programmers who will ensure you the very best results possible. To find out more, contact us.

Read More →

Gamification trend will influence custom software development for enterprise

It used to be that work and play had no business crossing paths in the office. There was a distinct line drawn between the tasks required to meet mission statements and those necessary to beat the high score. Games had no place within enterprise other than to possibly provide momentary distraction from a long day of filing and meetings.

But what is quickly being realized is that video games may have more uses in the workplace than was previously thought. Applications designed for business productivity are often – for lack of a better word – boring. They may be functional and easily utilized in office settings, but they fail to engage employees in a way that truly drives them to succeed.

The process of blurring the lines between games and business is called gamification, and it is starting to catch on as a viable method to base custom software solutions on.

“The sweet spot for gamification is shared goals,” wrote Gartner vice president Brian Burke, author of “Gamify – How Gamification Motivates People to Do Extraordinary Things.” “If a business can identify the goals it shares with its audience or provide its audience with goals that are meaningful to them, then it can leverage gamification to motivate these players to meet those goals, and the company will achieve its business outcomes as a consequence.”

As more people become acclimated to modern technology and its facets become more common, there will be an increasing need to figure out how to best design apps for both employees and customers. Engagement is the key to any strong program, and by using gamification, organizations can create a truly immersive experience.

Gamification useful in hiring process
Like the software it is built off of, gamification has countless applications. While the focus will generally be on increasing productivity or retaining customers, “gamified” companies can launch platforms that are designed to find the most qualified candidates for employment out of a potentially enormous talent pool.

“While it may seem somewhat out-of-the-box, companies that offer unique ways to showcase applicant skills and passions are actually giving job seekers the upper hand, as they no longer need put all their eggs in one basket and rely on a resume alone,” wrote Mashable contributor Rocco Sannelli. “Job seekers looking to work at innovative companies should consider embracing this creative hiring technique.”

When seeking out custom mobile app development, companies will have to figure out the best way in which to engage any given user. Gamification can play a strong role in making that happen.

Read More →

Mobile devices need to be at the forefront of business decisions

Mobile devices have taken the world by storm. Seemingly overnight, people were no longer tethered to their desktop computers. More users of smartphones and tablets began looking to these tools as their primary solutions for private and professional reasons. This led many companies to begin leveraging mobile capabilities in a way that was supplemental to the PC experience.

But now that there has been such a swell of use of – and uses for – mobile devices, there is a school of thought that says the fundamental definition of computing has completely changed. Mobile capabilities were once just a novelty, but have now begun to overtake traditional means of task completion.

“First we got Wi-Fi, then we got cellular data, but mobile was always distinct, always secondary,” wrote ZDNet contributor Max Baxter Reynolds. “Now we’re operating in a world where there is no distinction. Plus it’s not like mobile has “taken over” and normal desktop computing is in second place. What we’re seeing is a world where a connected device is a connected device, regardless of its classification.”

Moving forward, companies will need to consider mobile their primary platform in order to retain relevance and succeed. This will require investment in custom mobile app development in order to enable customers and employees alike.

Mobile web is dead
According to Diginomica contributor Jon Reed, the Internet is not going anywhere anytime soon. But as the technology has progressed, so have the means through which it is accessed. The shortcomings of mobile browsers have been made apparent by the advanced functionality of applications.

“Apps have traction in the enterprise because you can carve out (or build) a key piece of functionality and improve/rethink the user experience while you’re at it,” wrote Reed. “If user experience isn’t paramount to enterprise software design already, it will be soon. But that doesn’t mean the browser is dead in the water – even for mobile users.”

Not everyone uses the same mobile browser, meaning that experiences can vary significantly from one person to another. This is especially troubling if a person decides to switch Internet apps – the look will be familiar, but the feel will be very foreign. This is why cross platform app development will be critical for engaging the users of these different devices – less stands to be lost in translation when compared across multiple devices.

Read More →