All posts by Santex

How to Overcome Tech Challenges As a Startup

technology startupsWhen a business is still in the early stages, it will face a number of challenges. At Santex, we provide solutions and support for overcoming those challenges. Startups are burgeoning in the United States, with more than 100 million startups being founded each year, according to a national report by GEM. This report, from Silicon Valley Bank, says that nearly two out of three US startups believe that 2018 will be better than last year, with hiring at a five-year high.

While being a startup in 2019 is great in many ways, the journey is not without its pitfalls and challenges. This post will cover some of those challenges and how your startup can overcome them.

Customer Satisfaction

No matter what type of business you’re running, whether it’s a startup or a well-established company, customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance. With continuous advances in technology, customers have higher expectations and demands that must be met. Since both current and prospective customers have so many options, they can leave your company in the dust if they aren’t satisfied by what they’re getting.

In order to stay ahead in the customer satisfaction game, your startup needs to do quite a bit of pre-planning. With technology enabling better user experience and 24/7 customer support, keeping people happy means going above and beyond the bare minimum.

Market Competition

For most, if not all startups, the competition is fierce. There are hundreds of companies across the United States offering the same products and/or services. Because of this, it’s vitally important to stand out from the competition however you can. What can you do that will help you stand out? For starters, you need to keep an eye out for what your competitors are doing. This will help you have a competitive edge when you create your own strategy.

At the same time, it’s also essential for startups to be willing to collaborate with one another in order to succeed. A collaborative environment can lead to great rewards now and in the future. A good startup also needs to be open to the possibility of failure. Fear of failure can sometimes paralyze a startup which can actually hamper growth and innovation.

Industry Growth Is Ongoing

As a startup, your business will constantly be growing and changing, especially in the first couple of years as you work to find your footing. Your business will need to grow alongside the needs of your customers, which goes back to pre-planning for the present and planning for the future. Your business will need to stay one step ahead of your customers, modifying your offering based on their wants and needs.

However, there’s no denying that this rapid growth can be challenging, requiring you to adapt to new technologies and roll out new products quickly. This is where Santex can help, by providing resources and support that will help your startup as it grows.

Adding Value With Scalability

When it comes to scalability, it’s important to add value as you’re scaling your business. This is easy to do because, especially in the early days, there is low risk when it comes to tech. Much of the tech that startups use has already been developed. Because of this, many startups are able to skip the new technology development phase and get right to providing value for their customers.

Moreover, if product-market fit happens early, the startup can end up dominating the market early on. The best way to truly add value is to ask your customers what products or services they would benefit from having. From there, create a plan to roll those out in a scalable manner.

Talent And HR: A Winning Combination

When it comes to having a solid startup, one of the most important components is hiring and retaining top talent. Hiring top talent from the start is a critical element of growth, but it also puts a serious strain on the limited resources of a tech startup. Outsourcing some tech development to a competent software development company like Santex may be a smart strategy at this stage.

Another important component of a good startup is having a good startup culture. This will mean different things for every company, but it can includes things like providing good work/life balance for employees, making sure every employee is aligned to the company’s vision, and being willing to make unconventional hiring choices.

Working With Limited Resources

All startups are working with limited resources, especially in the first year, but often beyond that, into year two and even year three. Because of this, it’s important to be doing focused work in those first years. Bouncing from project to project doesn’t serve anyone, least of all customers who are relying on your products or services. You want them to keep coming back and spread the word about your company. Focus sharply on getting feedback from your customers and building products based on that feedback.

A lean startup also needs to be able to make good use of the resources they do have available to them. This means not spending money frivolously or becoming too big too soon. Start slow and aim for steady and organic growth as much as possible.

The Santex Experience: Gi-Fly Bike

Created by Bignay Inc., a company dedicated to improving urban spaces, the Gi-Fly Bike is an “all in one folding pedelec city bike,” that contains a built-in electric engine to assist the rider with pedaling. While the bike’s parts and technology were both cutting-edge, Gi-Fly was struggling with the smartphone integration. Their goal was to allow the end user set up the bike via the mobile app. This app would assist the user with all the bike’s features, including locks, GPS, social media, and more.

The company turned to Santex for support, which in turn created an API, along with the website and both iOS and Android mobile apps for the company. The software developed by Santex helps the end user use the bike to its fullest potential. The user can now set up the bike via the mobile app. The app “talks” to the API, downloading the firmware, software, and more via Bluetooth technology.

As soon as the firmware is running, it begins communicating with the bike via the mobile app, allowing the end user to set their preferences for using the bike and the mobile app. One amazing feature of the mobile app is that it will automatically lock the bike once the phone is a certain distance away. Having this built-in technology prevents bike theft and allows the end user peace of mind.

Santex also helped Gi-Fly Bike enhance their website by using the most current technologies and frameworks.

The Gi-Fly bike had more than 300 sponsors and $426,000 in financial contributions on Kickstarter, with delivery required at a certain time. Because of Santex’s support, they were able to complete delivery on time.Download Ebook Software Development

High-Quality Software Delivery with DevOps

high quality software deliveryHow Lean Software Deployment Increases Customer and Employee Satisfaction

Traditionally, software developers and operations personnel employ different goals, visions, and metrics when focusing on software delivery. However, in today’s marketplace, these teams can no longer work in isolation.

Customer loyalty is fickle, and it can be difficult to stay relevant in a rapidly evolving technological climate. Your enterprise needs to respond to customer feedback quickly and create new products. You need also need to fix bugs and errors in a timely manner and hone your competitive edge. If you fall short on any of these counts, your customer satisfaction and reputation will be at stake. When high-quality software delivery is your goal, there is little room for error. DevOps is often used to accelerate the deployment process and create a customer-centric environment.

DevOps, a combination of “development” and “operation,” was formulated in 2009 to facilitate cooperation between development, operations, QA, and business teams. The DevOps philosophy believes that when the development and operations departments have an aligned mission and vision, use agile principles, and automate more activities, the company will have a competitive advantage over companies that use traditional practices.

Composed of technology-based practices and collaborative business culture, DevOps removes typical barriers by emphasizing the need for communication, synergy, and collaboration. Fostering interdependence among departments, these practices remove the bottlenecks that occur in the software delivery process. At Santex, our consultation experts can aid your team in implementing DevOps to increase sales, improve user experience, and be more competitive in today’s marketplace.

Here are some of the benefits of employing DevOps for both your customers and your team:

Customer satisfaction

According to a survey conducted by CA Technologies, businesses that have adopted the DevOps methodology have reported a 40 percent increase in customer satisfaction.

Reduced costs

DevOps collaboration results in a decrease in the time needed for production, operation, delivery, and feedback. This, in turn, reduces the cost of creating the product. These cost savings can be passed on to your customers, lowering the price they need to pay.

Improved customer service

Customers have a myriad of options in the mobile app and software product marketplace. As such, if customer service is slow, lacking, or unresponsive, they can easily switch to another option. Through the integrated, frequent feedback system generated by DevOps practices, consumer needs and technological issues can be addressed quickly, encouraging customer loyalty.

Increased stakeholder involvement

In a DevOps environment, developers, operations personnel, support staff, and testers must work together regularly. DevOps encourages stakeholders to participate throughout the production process through procedures such as on-site customer, a frequently used Agile practice.

Automated reporting and strategy

By constructing automated reporting dashboards in a DevOps environment, the time spent collecting metrics is greatly lessened, allowing the team to quickly compose insights to share with the management and governance bodies.

In DevOps, QA must create an end-to-end automated strategy that addresses all components of the website’s technical layout, such as automated functional testing, test data management, performance/security testing, and SOA/API testing. This combined with automated reporting fosters agility in the processes, which is key to deploying features with greater speed.

Continuous testing

Agile procedures and approaches such as behavior-driven development and test-driven development employ continuous testing. By frequently running automated test suites, problems are addressed quickly. As a result, the development team can facilitate quality assurance and advanced quality analytics more easily, enabling developers to discover operational issues faster. This helps to close another traditional gap between the development and operation teams.

Efficient deployment planning

A cross-team approach to deployment planning fosters cooperation between the development and operations teams. By standardizing deployment procedures, eliminating routine tasks, automating most activities, and using continuous deployment processes, the development teams can reduce the time between developing code and deploying it. This enables a company to release an innovative product in a matter of days or weeks. As a result, the business becomes more responsive to the demands of the marketplace, increasing both customer satisfaction and employee effectiveness.

To increase sales, improve the customer experience, and be more competitive in today’s market, It is essential that your team members work as a cohesive unit. Integrating DevOps into your company’s business, development, QA, and operation procedures can result in an improved experience for your users, your team, and your business.

If you are considering outsourcing your DevOps implementation or any software development, our e-book Santex’s Ultimate Guide to Software Development Outsourcing will help you and your team determine your needs. At Santex, our team is experienced in implementing and deploying several DevOps applications and procedures, such as continuous integration, site reliability engineering, and cloud platforms (AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Azure). Our team will help you reach your specific software requirements.

Download Ebook Software Development

 

A Quick Guide to Loading Javascript Faster

how to load javascriptJavaScript is one of the most expensive parts of your website or app. Most mobile and desktop sites run using JavaScript, and they often group all of their JS code into a single package. However, loading all of the code at once can delay interactivity and increase loading times, especially when JavaScript is used on mobile devices. This means that your website or app loads slower and that your users often need to wait a while before they can use your site or app.

Unnecessary JavaScript code can affect your customers’ user experience and may even dissuade them from visiting your website or using your app altogether. This is especially true for users who have mobile devices with slower processors or customers who are using a slower network connection.

JavaScript Processing Times: How Long are Your Users Really Waiting?

According to a Net Magazine article published in July 2018, JavaScript processing times more than sextuple between high-end devices and smartphones with “average” capabilities. When loading CNN.com, a typical smartphone (the Moto G4) loaded the site nine seconds slower than the iPhone 8, and an inexpensive smartphone needed 32 seconds more to load the website compared to the same iPhone. Unsurprisingly, a desktop and laptop with a Core i7 processor loaded the site the fastest of all. However, in today’s day and age the mobile user experience cannot be dismissed. According to the Pew Research Center, over 77% of all U.S. adults own a smartphone, and one-in-five are smartphone-only internet users.

Given the rapid adoption of mobile technology, and the plentitude of mobile apps and websites available to users, the mobile user experience is of the utmost importance in today’s marketplace. Even if your target audience is expected to own high-end devices, the phones may not always be used in an optimal environment. Site loading times are also affected by the users’ data coverage or the strength of their current network, which is often lacking in a busy work environment or a public WiFi zone.

Fortunately, learning how to load JavaScript faster is as easy as reading this article. Here are some tips to lessen your JavaScript burden and enhance your customers’ user experience.

Code Splitting

Many modern apps and websites group their JavaScript code into one enormous bundle. Code splitting provides an alternative by dividing the code into smaller sections. Only the essential code is loaded up front, which lessens the time needed to load the page. The rest of the code is loaded on an as-needed basis.

If your app employs a heavy use of frameworks and libraries, code splitting will almost certainly improve the quality of your customers’ user experience.

Tree Shaking

While code splitting puts JavaScript code into manageable sections, it does not address code that is never used. Young apps tend to use most of their JavaScript, but as the app ages, more code is added without removing the sections that are no longer needed.

Tree shaking, or the elimination of dead code, addresses this issue by pulling in certain parts of ES6 modules. If some of your JavaScript libraries do not respond to tree shaking, check to see if their methods are exported using ES6 syntax. Whether your website or app will greatly benefit from tree shaking depends on its particular dependencies and architecture. In any case, it’s worthwhile to eliminate any dead code that you can.

JavaScript Measurement and Optimization

Several tools are available to help you measure, monitor, and optimize the JavaScript code on any given page. Lighthouse, part of the Chrome Developer toolbox, offers an in-depth analysis to improve optimization. It can also bring attention to code that may need a lot of time to parse or compile, thereby delaying interactivity. This audit can advise you to split up the code or do less work.

Code Coverage, another part of the Chrome Developer set, can uncover unused JavaScript and CSS in your code by displaying how much code was executed versus how much was loaded. With this knowledge, you can focus on the code that your users need.

Sending Less JavaScript with Performance Budgets

Performance budgets for your website provide clear, measurable figures to keep everyone accountable to the goals for the website or app. Mobile sites should aim for a JS budget of no more than 170KB compressed, which equals approximately 0.7MB of uncompressed code. By working within the budget’s constraints, the site’s performance becomes a constant consideration instead of an afterthought to be addressed down the line.

These budgets can be defined in three ways: milestone timings, which are created in accordance with the user experience on the page; quality-based metrics, which are based on the browser experience using raw figures; and rule-based metrics, which are scores formulated by other tools (e.g., Lighthouse).

Users have a multitude of websites, apps, and companies vying for their attention. A slow-loading site not only affects the user experience on mobile sites, but it can also result in lost leads, conversions, and purchases.

If your site uses a lot of unnecessary code, Santex consulting can re-configure your JavaScript. Our specialized knowledge comes from years of experience in working with numerous platforms, websites and apps. This allows us to attend to your project’s needs, wants, and constraints in an optimal way.Download Ebook Software Development

What to Consider When Choosing the Right CMS

content management systemYour company’s content management system (CMS) is the heart of its marketing stack. From SEO optimization to marketing automation, CMS software can help increase customer engagement while propelling the growth of your business.

Although many features of the CMS will be necessary for the future of your company, other non-critical components may slow your progress down or limit your team. A bad CMS choice can lead to lost customers, wasted time, and increased costs.

Here are some factors to keep in mind when looking for the best CMS for your business.

Your Goals for the Software

Modern CMS platforms can do much more than merely create and manage the content for your website. The right CMS software can automate your team’s marketing efforts, optimize the site’s SEO, integrate content throughout the company’s social media accounts, host e-commerce and online payment components, and employ a WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) editor for your team members.

However, which goals should your team focus on right now? Which features are not needed at the present time? This brings us to the following consideration.

Your Stakeholders and Their Needs

Web content management initiatives are often halted by internal politics and corporate clashes. Your IT, sales, and marketing departments all have different needs.

Whereas the IT department might want a CMS that aligns with the company’s present infrastructure, the sales team may demand CRM integration to improve sales efficiency and effectiveness. Finally, a content management system is a marketing tool, and the marketing department needs software that can address content marketing decisions and concerns.

As such, the MoSCoW method has been touted as a way to narrow down the most important features in a given situation— in this case, the selection of your company’s CMS software. In the MoSCoW method, each department makes a list of the must-have, should-have, could-have, and would-have features that their department needs to function:

  • Must-have features are essential for the stakeholders to carry out their duties. These are non-negotiable and need to be included in CMS software.
  • Should-have features are important but less urgent than must-have features. They are not critical today but will most likely be used later.
  • Could-have features are desirable but not essential for the department to function.
  • Would-have features are the least critical and/or have the lowest ROI at the present time. While nice to have around, these features are not likely to be missed.

If you are considering outsourcing your software implementation and customization, check out our e-book “Santex’s Ultimate Guide to Software Development Outsourcing”. It will help you figure out what factors you need to look out for so you can reach your goals faster. Here are some factors you need to keep in mind.

Custom vs. Hosted vs. SaaS

Although the IT department is typically responsible for maintaining and managing CMS software, the marketing team, content creators, and the sales department also need to be able to utilize the software easily. Do you want to rely on a third party for support? Is customization a priority for your team? What technical skills does your in-house IT department have?

Custom, on-premise CMS software

On-premise CMS solutions offer the utmost in customization. The CMS provider only maintains and updates the software itself; the installation, security, and infrastructure upgrades will be taken care of by your team. As such, your team will have a greater level of control over the software, as they can decide the infrastructure and environment through which to install it.

However, this level of customization is accompanied by higher upfront costs, a longer deployment time, and possible issues with scalability. If your company’s IT department does not have the technical skills or the financial capital to maintain, install, and upkeep the platform, a hosted or SaaS solution would be a better choice.  

Hosted CMS software

Cloud-hosted CMS software is similar to an on-premise solution, except that the software is installed on third-party servers. Since the servers do not need to be set up in-house, they often have lower upfront costs, faster deployment, and greater scalability. However, you need to rent server space from the host, so the costs may end up being higher in the long run. Furthermore, if any security, scalability, or other functionality issues arise you cannot fix them yourself and have to collaborate with the host.

SaaS (Software as a Service Solution) CMS software

SaaS software is pre-built, so there is nothing to install, update, or maintain. You pay for a subscription to use the CMS. Both companies with and without a dedicated IT department can benefit from SaaS software. Although SaaS is an emerging category in the CMS world, it boasts a list of benefits such as regular updates and rich features, a pay-as-you-go model, service-level agreements, and a high level of scalability. On the flip side, customization can be limited, and support and security are run through a third party.

Choosing the right content management system can be overwhelming. You need to consider your stakeholders’ needs and skills, your current technology stack, and the estimated budget to install, deploy, and maintain your software. At Santex, our team is greatly experienced in implementing software solutions and can facilitate your company’s needs.

Download Ebook Software Development

A Hobby To Enjoy

We were talking to our team member Carlos Navarro about his hobby!

Santex team membersHow did the idea of creating your own beer come about?

I like to drink a variety of spirits such as whiskey, gin, vodka and tequila. They are all formed from distilled alcohol as one would find with wine and beer. The problem with alcohol is always the quantity and, when I became older — quality. Distilled spirits can be expensive, which is the same as wine because the proper tools required can be complicated. Good beer is very expensive too, but production is easier with the basic production steps being: heat water, mix the malt, boil, cool, ferment — then wait, and finally serve. The home brewing process is one day of hard work which then leads to the fermentation. The homebrewer’s day is a meeting day with “asado”. I have had 4 years as a brewer, and in that time only 2 batches of beer were not suitable for drinking. The idea of the brewing process for me is to brew, eat and enjoy the company of companions while doing it.

What has been the most difficult thing you have experienced when creating your own beer?

The big problem for the homebrewer is fermentation control. In the fermentation, the temperature is a key factor, but last year I bought a refrigerator, a long fermenter, an Arduino and some accessories to help control that aspect. I built an automatic controller which has been a great help.    

Have you thought about naming your beer or if it has a name, where does that name come from?

“Tres Demonios” is the name because of the fact that we work in a team of three. The “tres” is easy to understand, the “Demonios” part is complicated.

Software peopleHow many varieties of beer have you made?

In this moment we have a limitation due to the fact that we only have one refrigerator. We only brew 2 times a month at most. We do not brew to sell. We’ve made some varieties which we call styles. Last December I brought a cornelius keg with Barley Wine to test out at the office.

Do you have anything experimental in mind that you would like to create?

Nothing too experimental at the moment. Currently, we are trying to repeat a recipe and get the same result. Trying to perfect what we have already done and make it as best as possible is the goal this year.

Have you participated in any fair/show or would you like to participate in any of them? Which one?

We have participated in some craft beer competitions with varied luck. There are some excellent home brewers that keep us challenged. Meanwhile we will continue participating and drinking. For now it is a hobby to enjoy.

 

10 Best Practices for Software Development

software development servicesRight Resources, Right Talent in Software Development

Hiring the right talent makes all the difference in the world when it comes to software development. When going through the hiring process you’ll want to make sure those you’re considering have the right skills and relevant experience to get the job done. This will enable you to allocate work to the appropriate person. Once the team members are in place, make sure they have whatever they need to put their expertise to the right use. From the correct software and hardware and the appropriate automated tools to the right development and testing software and platforms. Doing so will ensure that robust products are being created.

Consider Outsourced Teams

Sometimes outsourcing software development is more beneficial than trying to do everything in-house, and often costs the same or even less. In 2017, nearly one-third of companies outsourced their software development, and 78% of those companies felt good about making that decision. As with anything, there are best practices to implement and mistakes to be aware of when it comes to outsourcing software development.

First, we’ll talk about best practices to implement:

  1. Consider whether your project is right for outsourcing. Can someone else do it better than your team?
  2. Make a plan. Don’t just hand off a project without having a clear and detailed plan for what needs to happen and when.
  3. Look for a trusted provider. Vet whoever you’re planning to outsource to in order to ensure they can handle the work you’re giving them. Make sure they’re up to date on the latest trends relating to the project.
  4. Have a dedicated team. Even if you’re outsourcing a project, you should still have an in-house team to keep an eye on things. It doesn’t need to be a big team – a couple of people can manage the gig.
  5. Go Agile. Break the project into multiple iterations that are a few weeks each. Don’t forget to allow time for testing throughout the process.
  6. Pricing isn’t everything. Just because someone is offering a good price doesn’t mean they’re the right person for the job. You get what you pay for.
  7. Research and development. Don’t outsource a project without doing your homework.
  8. Document. Leave a paper trail no matter what.
  9. Communicate. Be sure to keep the lines of communication wide open with your team and the team you outsourced to.
  10. Own the project. Take ownership and be prepared to adjust along the way.

Second, we’ll talk about mistakes to avoid:

  1. Lack of research. Do your homework on the companies you’re considering outsourcing to. You want to be sure you choose the company that has a firm grip on providing software services.
  2. Unclear requirements. Be explicit about what needs to occur during the software development process.
  3. Not on-trend. You don’t want to outsource to a company that isn’t keeping up with modern trends.
  4. Lack of tech-savvy manager. You want the project manager to be ahead of the curve when it comes to technology.
  5. Don’t underestimate quality assurance (QA) and testing. These are two of the most vital aspects of software development.

Think About Your Development Process

When it comes to choosing a software development process, you have a few good options, including the waterfall model, the agile methodology, and the iterative spiral methodology. Choosing the best methodology for your project and strictly adhering to it will lead to greater success. It can also be helpful to create a prototype to study the feasibility of and explore new technology.

Don’t Forget to Budget

When it comes to budgeting a software development project, it’s not just about creating a financial budget. You also need to budget a schedule, resources, and efforts involved in the project. When creating estimations, you want to use proven techniques that won’t lead to a short-scheduled project. Not leaving enough time to complete each aspect of the development can quickly lead to disaster.

Keep it Simple

When it comes to software development, especially those projects that are being outsourced, it’s important to keep things simple. There’s no need to overthink it. Create processes and plans that will ensure the project runs smoothly and will keep the lines of communication open between your team and the outsourced teams.

Code, Code, Code

It’s important to keep the actual coding process as simple as possible. Max Kanat-Alexander came up with the idea of code simplicity in order to “reduce unnecessary complexity in software development.” Code simplicity works in tandem with Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY) and You Aren’t Gonna Need It (YAGNI), both of which are mantras in agile development.

Effectively Implementing Code

When it comes to effectively implementing code, there are a couple of things you can do to make the process go more smoothly. The most widely used method is creating smaller modules that are coded and self-tested throughout the development process. Automating processes also helps ensure that functionality is not broken within the software being developed.

Test, Test, Test

We cannot stress this enough. Testing is vital to successful software development, especially if you’ve outsourced the development. If you’ve outsourced the project, be sure the company doing the development is testing along the way. You’ll also want to do your own testing when you get the final version before releasing to the public. If you’re doing the development, build testing into the development process so that you can make changes as issues arise.

Leaving a Paper Trail: Documentation

The documentation related to the software is just as important as the software itself, especially if you’re outsourcing the development. You want to have a consistent paper trail of communication between your company and the outsourced company to ensure there are no issues. Some important documents include a project plan, requirement specifications, high and low-level design (HLD and LLD), test plans and reports, status reports, and user documentation. This documentation can also be helpful if staffing changes occur at your company in the future.

Deploy and Review

Build reviews into your software development process. All deliverables, including code and documents, should be reviewed by both peers and experts. Having reviews of the software also ensures that there are no bugs before the software is released to the public.

Conclusion

Outsourcing software development has both benefits and pitfalls, but it can be done successfully if you follow the recommendations here and in our newest e-book, Santex’s Ultimate Guide to Development Outsourcing. If you still have questions or need more guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out; we have a well-rounded team who can assist with whatever your needs might be.Download Ebook Software Development

 

Top Challenges in Software Application Development

outsourcing software developmentWhen introducing software systems to your company there are some key things to keep in mind. Software application development is a complex process that is not everyone’s cup of tea. Not only is it vital to have more than a basic understanding of computing processes, but anyone solving programming problems should be able to think analytically and have the ability to troubleshoot.

Software Systems Are Intangible and Complex

Whether you’re creating a software system of your own or using one that has already been created, it’s important to understand that the system is going to be intangible and complex. Most professionals across the world design and develop the software conceptually which makes it abstract and difficult to grasp immediately. There will likely be a learning curve in either creating the software or in learning how to navigate it once it has been installed and customized to fit your needs. In fact, you may not even be able to customize the software until you’ve learned to navigate the bare essentials of the software.

Don’t let this complexity overwhelm you, especially if you’re using purchased software. There’s a good chance the company that created the software also created resource materials to go along with it that will help you overcome the learning curve. If you’re creating software of your own, it would be prudent to create resource materials so you and others can become experts in using the software.

Interaction With Other Systems

Whether you’re using your own company’s software or that of another company, you’ll want to make sure the software will interact well with any other systems you might have in place. If you’re developing your own software systems, it will be much easier to implement interaction with other systems you already have in place. You can simply write that interaction into the code of the software. When using software from other companies, you may need to teach the software to interact with the other systems.

Once you figure out how to get the software to interact appropriately with the other systems, write those processes down so that they can be used in the future if the software gets updated. This is where training and testing will also play a role.

Changes In Software Requirements and Designs

Keeping up with changes in software requirements and designs is one of the most common problems you will face, particularly when you’re developing your own software. You’ll want to keep team members and other end users updated on any changes in usage and design that you make to the software. Developing software is not a static endeavor; rather, software should be updated consistently. Implement a plan for letting users know about updates to the software and how those changes might affect the design and usage of the software.

Is Your Software Application User-Friendly?

When creating software, it’s important to make sure it’s user-friendly. Don’t make it any more complex than it needs to be. Provide both end users and your team with the resources they need to learn how to use it optimally.

Do You Have The Right People To Do It?

programming problems software developmentWhen developing software of your own, be sure you have the right people to do it. Look for people who have a strong understanding of basic computing and software, but who are also willing to learn any new skills necessary for creating the software. If someone on your team is interested in getting their feet wet in the software development realm, invite them to join the team as an observer.

Let them know up front they might not be able to get hands-on with software development this time around, but be open to the fact that they’re willing to learn new skills. By observing the other developers, they can see where their strengths might lie and work on those, either through company supported training or on their own time. It says a lot about an employee who is willing to step up and learn new skills to stay sharp on the job.

If you don’t have the right employees for a particular software development application, then outsourcing your software development to the right software development company can be an effective and relatively inexpensive solution.

Don’t feel too overwhelmed by software development. While there is a definite learning curve, there are plenty of resources available to help you achieve success in that aspect of your business.

Be sure to check out our e-book, Best Practices for Software Outsourcing. This book will provide a number of ways for you to successfully outsource your software development. We consider ourselves passionate about software innovation. We are here to help you and your company succeed.

software outsourcing practices agile methodology

The Top 7 Most Popular JavaScript Frameworks Used in 2018

popular javascript frameworksJavaScript is constantly changing, and 2018 has been no different. Although certain aspects of the JavaScript community remain constant, such as the open-source run-time environment of Node.js, numerous frameworks frequently enter the scene. With dozens of frameworks to choose from, it can be challenging to find the best platform for your project. Looking at the most popular JavaScript frameworks can help you figure out what framework may be best for your application, project, or development team.

Here are some of the most popular JavaScript frameworks of 2018.

React.js

React, which is developed and maintained by Facebook, has been a major influencer for most popular JavaScript frameworks used today. Given its origins and massive community, it has a stability not seen in many of the newer frameworks on the market. As React was created with two-way data binding in mind, it reduces the need to execute frequent DOM operations. Not only can React Native provide a smooth mobile experience alongside your React application for the web, but the use of JSX may help your project to be more SEO-friendly than other JavaScript frameworks.

A possible, although seemingly minor, concern is Facebook’s ability to eventually stop updates or to change the licensing. However, this has not stopped React from turning into one of the most popular JavaScript frameworks of the year.

Unlike Angular (see below), React is still the most popular JavaScript framework, with the most downloads across the three years that data has been tracked. Not only that, React just keeps getting better with age and it promises to be at its current best in 2019.

Ember.js

Known as a framework for “ambitious” developers, Ember is known for its transparency, flexibility, and ability to create complex client-side applications. For developers who are willing to abide by the platform’s rigid best practices, its simplicity and flow of functionality make it easy to get an application up and running quickly. The “ember-cli” command line tool package adds several useful tools to assist developers. The Ember Inspector allows for easy inspection of Ember objects in the browser while developing and debugging problems.

Angular 2

Angular 2, which is developed and maintained by Google, is currently the most popular JavaScript framework on the market. It is often used to develop front-end applications that are large, feature-filled platforms with immense data needs. Unlike React, Angular 2 uses one-way data binding to facilitate DOM operations, which helps developers increase the performance of single-page applications. With several years of development, a predecessor, and the power of Google behind it, this framework has a list of useful features (e.g., dependency injection, forms, templates) and will continue to improve with time.

Meteor.js

JavaScript Frameworks React NodeJsUnlike other JavaScript frameworks, Meteor is full-stack and can be used to develop both the  front-end and back-end sections of a project. Both server-side and client-side coding, such as databases and UI, can be addressed with just one framework. It has numerous ready-to-use “smart packages” and also allows the generation of custom packages, providing value for both new developers and seasoned experts. Meteor has one of the most dedicated and engaged communities among the JavaScript frameworks, which comes in handy for support in popular forums and the development and maintenance of packages for public use.

Aurelia.js

Aurelia is a modern framework that is designed to be practical. As it’s composed of smaller modules, developers can either work with the entire framework or choose separate sections. Aurelia also supports ES5, ES 2015, ES 2016 and TypeScript, giving it the flexibility to be used alongside various JavaScript development situations.

Mithril.js

Mithril is one of the leaner frameworks on our list, designed to get a project developed and running with ease. With a compressed library size of 7.8 kb and straightforward documentation, Mithril is a pragmatic choice for developers who want a program that can deal with much of the work that typical JavaScript frameworks handle without the fuss. Although lean, the framework is updated constantly.

Vue.js

Vue has a simpler learning curve when compared to the larger, more complex frameworks. Its small size makes it easy to incorporate into other languages or applications, and its documentation is accessible to both new developers and veterans. Vue also uses an HTML-based templating syntax, so components can be written quickly and simply.

Choosing the right JavaScript framework depends on a variety of factors, and the list of possible choices changes every year. At Santex, we have expertise in a variety of JavaScript frameworks, programs, and environments, such as React and Node. We provide this expertise as part of our custom web development services to create the optimal project for your company. We are strongly committed to providing top quality web development services, and we incorporate our values of integrity, collaboration, service, and leadership with our technical expertise to meet your specialized software needs.

software outsourcing practices agile methodology

Why Agile Methodology is Good for your Business

agile methodologyAgile is something of a buzzword in the business world these days, but it’s not a complicated concept. At least, it doesn’t need to be. Agile coach Luis Goncalves lays it out really simply: “agile describes an alternative form of project management.” It’s also a process that helps teams do three things:

  1. Allows teams to provide a quick response to feedback.
  2. Creates opportunities to assess the direction of a project.
  3. Allows for assessment opportunities in team meetings called sprints.

An agile is also a very empowering process “that helps companies design and build the right product.”

Santex follows the agile methodology. This enables us to provide the best talent in the right moment, thanks to our high performing teams. This article will cover how to create high performing teams at your own company, how to have a happy team, and how to improve product quality.

The Importance of High-Performing Teams

Having a high-performing team is vital to being agile. Collaboration and communication are two important components of a high-performing agile team. Communication increases transparency within the company. When there is transparency, team members are empowered to do a better job. Keeping common goals and the company’s mission statement top of mind motivates team members to help the company succeed.

When a high-performing team is agile, there is no micro-management required. A high-performing team can be given direction at the beginning and trusted to perform well without a lot of guidance and hand-holding. Without micro-management, teams have the autonomy to let their talents shine and become stronger in areas where they might have been weak.

On an agile high-performing team, every member has a voice. They are given opportunities they might not otherwise have. Team members are given opportunities to explore their strengths and weaknesses, to provide input on various projects, and be a part of achieving the goals the team has set forth.

A Happy Team Is A High-Performing Team

Members of agile high-performing teams are able to contribute their best work, which also enables them to give customers exactly what they need when they need it.

Agile high-performing teams are also well-rounded, with everyone bringing a variety of skills to the table to achieve success. Agile teams are also able to anticipate product changes and prioritize efforts and features in order to be successful.

Having agile high-performing teams leads to happy teams who are able to produce good work on a consistent basis. A happy team is open to learning new skills, as well as going above and beyond to meet their customers’ needs.

Other important elements of a happy team include being engaged in processes and decision making, having buy-in with the company, and being able to work directly with stakeholders to get questions answered.

Happy teams prefer conversation to exhaustive documentation during meetings and other check-ins. This also leads to lower attrition rates. The team’s focus tends to be better due to the lack of micro-management and constant fire-fighting.

A happy team that isn’t being micro-managed is also likely to be far more productive. They now have the freedom to just put their heads down and get the work done.

Using Agile Teams To Improve Product Quality

When it comes to improving product quality, agile teams are much more capable of doing so because they have a vested interest in the product and the company. Agile for business means being able to drive real value, not just building a bunch of fancy new features.

Agile teams are also able to increase feedback, remove waste and roadblocks, and make code fully testable throughout the improvement process. They have a clearer understanding of what changes might need to be made because they’ve had buy-in throughout the entire process.

The testing and tweaking of products is integral to improving their quality. Products should always be evolving, especially in an effort to reduce the disappointment a client might feel when the product doesn’t do what they’re hoping it will do. An agile team values outcomes over outputs and ensures their products are addressing customer needs as accurately as possible.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to make your team more agile and high-performing in 2019 and beyond, Santex can help with that. Our e-book, “Best Practices for Software Outsourcing,” offers advice to help you with your software development needs. Furthermore, not only do we offer a range of resources to help your team achieve its goals, but we can also provide the best talent in the right moment, talent that can take your team to the next level and create agile, happy, and high-performing teams within your company, regardless of what your goals and mission are heading into the new year.

software outsourcing practices agile methodology

7 Steps for Software Implementation Success

Software ServicesWhen implementing new software at a company, you want to ensure that the implementation is going to be successful and that the transition will go smoothly. The last thing team members want to be dealing with is obstacles when it comes to learning and understanding new software. Here, we offer seven ways to ensure that the software implementation process goes off without a hitch.

Planning

Having a plan for successful software implementation is the most important step. You want to know right from the start what processes the software will help with and what it will take to implement it. Will new security measures need to be put in place? Will team members need to be trained on how to use the software? This phase helps you think through the implementation process before launching anything. Planning ahead will always make for a smoother implementation.

Process Design

Companies use process design to figure out how to run their businesses. Most of the software you will purchase will have a process design already built in, especially if it’s for sales or other day-to-day things. If you’re not sure how to implement process design, you can hire a design analyst or work with a specialized web development company like Santex to figure it out. You want to have good processes in place before implementing the software so that you can stay on top of any issues that may arise and have methods in place for troubleshooting any problems that might come up after implementation.

Solution Design

After you’ve created the process design, it’s time to come up with the solution design, which is essentially the roadmap of business requirements and processes. During this step, you will map the software to your business requirements so that everything is working in tandem. It’s key to remember that these initial requirements are just a starting point. As you learn the software, you may find that other methods work better and you can then implement those.

The ultimate goal of solution design is to figure out which aspects of the software you can use as they are and which aspects you will need to customize to fit the needs of your business and your team members.

Configuration and Customization

During the configuration step of software implementation, you’ll spend time installing the software and configuring the capabilities the software has right out of the box. This step really needs to come first, before any processes are defined and any customization is done. What you’ll find during the configuration process is that some aspects of the software will easily meet your company’s needs out of the box, while other aspects will need to be configured and connected to the roadmap you designed previously. Once you’ve done the out of the box configuration, you’ll be able to do custom configurations and customize the software.

During the customization phase of software implementation, you’ll be able to create solutions that meet your specific business needs. During the customization phase, you can add new fields, new screens, and new processes that weren’t initially part of the software. Customization of software is very useful when it comes to the financial aspects of your business. For example, you may want to set specific pricing for your customers. Customizing the software allows you to do this. Keep in mind that you should only customize processes that make sense for your business. Don’t just customize for the sake of customizing.

Integration

Integration is an important step in the software implementation process and involves migrating data from one system to another in order to meet the processes outlined in the system design. By having integrated software systems, you can avoid having to manually enter the data from one system into another system. Avoiding this redundancy increases the accuracy and completeness of the data you’re logging.

When working on integration, the timing is key. An important question to ask is whether you will need to run the integrations in real time or if they can be run behind the scenes, outside of normal business hours. Ideally, you should be able to run them behind the scenes so that the usual workflow isn’t interrupted by systems going down.

Reporting

During the reporting phase of the software implementation, time should be spent figuring out what information your business will need to make tactical and practical decisions. You want all reports created to provide useful information to the person requesting those reports. It’s important to have a format for reporting so that there’s no confusion when someone requests a report. When creating reports, users need to be very specific about what data they want included. For example, creating an Excel spreadsheet, even with mock numbers, can help bridge the gap of understanding between those producing the report and those reading the report.

Training and Testing

When it comes to successful software implementation, training and testing are two important components.

Training can come in different forms, from training the project team to training the end user on how the software works. When implementing a new software, it’s important to offer training, even if people might have used to software at another company. Software gets updated often and aspects change. By staying up to date, a company can have a successful and smooth software implementation. Training shouldn’t be a one and done thing, either. Whether there is training on software or other business components, it should be ongoing and based on the company’s needs at the time.

The final step in successful software implementation is testing. There are four different types of testing: unit, project team, integration, and end user. Each of these should be done at various stages of the software implementation process to ensure that things are running smoothly and that the entire team has been properly trained on how to use the software.

As with training, testing is an ongoing process that should be done throughout the software implementation process, and when the team has been using the software for a while.

When implementing software, it’s important to follow these steps in order for your company to be successful. Once you have a method for implementing software in place, it’s easy to apply that method to other software installs.

When it comes to successfully implementing new software, Santex can be a great support. Not only can we assist with engineering and consulting, we also provide a level of general support. Be sure to check out our newest e-book, Best Practices for Software Outsourcing, for even more information about software development and software outsourcing.

software outsourcing practices agile methodology