Category: Development

DevelopmentInsightsSaaS

Deciding on the Best Software for Structural Designing and Analyzing

When it comes to the importance of technology in the construction industry, the majority of people immediately assume that one’s talking about the construction equipment, improvements in PPE or construction material. However, what they often ignore is the fact that the majority of work starts in the planning stage, which usually implies the design of the construction in question. Here, the role and importance of adequate tool are unparalleled and there are many different fields where proper modeling and analysis could make all the difference. With that in mind and without further ado, here are several things you need to understand when choosing the best software for structural designing and analyzing.

1. Static analysis of the structure

The first step when it comes to the assessment of structure in the development process is its static analysis. What this means is the analysis of components caused by loads that do not induce significant inertia and damping effects. We’re mostly talking about factors like strains, displacements, stresses, etc. One of the most important things when it comes to structural designing and analyzing is how the model will behave in a real-life environment. This is why you need a software that allows inputs for wind and seismic loads, as well as one that’s able to generate stability checks for nonlinear load cases. This is not just important for the safety of the structure but also for the overall business efficiency of your organization.

2. 3D modeling

The issue of 3D modeling is the most definite must in 2019 for several reasons. In fact, there are a lot of people who believe 3D modeling to be the best thing that has happened to the construction industry in a long time. First of all, it gives designers more creative room to try out different solutions to the same problem and pick the best one. Second, the designs made this way are much easier to share, which helps in the decision making the process, as well as enhances the collaboration. Most importantly, it gives you a chance to experience the building long before the construction works actually begin.

3. Cloud-based tool

The next thing worth mentioning is the fact that the best structural design and analysis tools like Autodesk Fusion 360 are cloud-based is an enormous plus. This is mostly due to the fact that it allows for a greater level of collaboration and makes the end result more impressive. Even if there’s just one person working on the project, cloud-based software can allow one much greater flexibility of work, especially when it comes to the issue of off-site designing. Remember that BYOD (bring your own device) trend is getting more and more popular amongst architects and this is something that a cloud-based tool can greatly help out with.

4. Open source vs. premium

When it comes to the issues of budget, you need to keep in mind the fact that a professional architect needs to approach the cost of a software license as an operational expense. Still, open source tools have some advantages that one shouldn’t ignore. First of all, if you decide to use a plethora of tools, you can opt for open source ones as back-up, due to the fact that they’re free and, therefore, don’t contribute to your operational expenses. Second, they usually have an amazing community, which can be a major turning point in this industry. Lastly, they offer greater transparency and outstanding security. Needless to say, both of these features can become an important asset.

5. Impressing the client

One of the reasons why a lot of people use tools like Photoshop in this field is due to the fact that they have a responsibility towards their clients to present them with a visual representation of the end result of the project. One of the benefits that you can get from this is the possibility to integrate the image created and rendered this way into your digital marketing. This is important for both firms and freelance architects who are quickly becoming a bigger and bigger part of the industry. In other words, the quality of the image and the effect that it makes is just as important when choosing your tools.

6. Integration with other tools

The last thing you need to check before picking the adequate software is the possibility of integrating it with other tools, platforms, and plugins. For instance, SketchUp can be integrated with Google earth in order to help you make a much better positioning of the structure on the property in question. This and other plugins can make your job a lot easier. This particular trend is also quite important if, in the future, your company decides to start developing their own specialized tools and apps. While this may still be just a distant possibility, it’s also a concept that you should definitely not rule out.

In conclusion

In the end, it’s important to mention that you’re in no way restricted to a single tool or a single software that you can use and that you have a plethora of options and combinations to choose from. Also, as a freelance architect or a person in charge of a small construction business, you’ll also need to use a range of tools that aren’t necessarily related to the structural design and analysis. For instance, you’ll need a reliable construction accounting software, a platform for comparing material and equipment prices, etc.

DevelopmentInsightsMartechSaaS

How Modern Data Centers and SaaS are Changing Each Other

They say the key to any relationship is the ability to bring out the best in each other. This has definitely been the case in recent years between most SaaS providers and major data centers.

SaaS evolves and data centers adapt. Data centers evolve and cause SaaS to evolve again, and the cycle repeats.

Let’s take a closer look at how this perfectly harmonious relationship has looked over the last few years. Also, if you’re currently exploring your options for a new data center, you can get more information by clicking that link. Another tip, you can take advice from companies that provide ultra-fast connectivity, business focused cloud and cyber solutions to organisations around the world like 4D Data Centres.

SaaS Cloud Computing Is Driving Data Center Evolution

In recent years we’ve seen the rise of mega-SaaS providers such as Salesforce, SAP, and Workday. We’ve also seen software companies like Microsoft and Adobe reach new heights by properly transitioning their SaaS proposals and offerings into SaaS-based solutions.

The most obvious impact is the sheer number of data centers now required to facilitate a market-wide mass exodus across all boards.

The move towards SaaS has also caused a surge of data centers moving to private cloud deployment to implement new software, using a combination of internal or hosted private clouds, managed by a third party.

According to data from Gartner Inc., 46% of data centers surveyed said they’re pushing for private clouds for deployment across all software markets over the next two years. Only 24% said they will push for a public cloud.

We’re also seeing a higher demand for the flexibility of a hybrid model of on-site data, coupled with colocation data center providers and public infrastructure as a service (IaaS). This opens the door for better efficiency through cloud bursting within a hybrid model.

How Data Centers are Changing SaaS Companies

In previous years, front-line employees enjoyed the simple convenience of a SaaS-based solution. However, department leaders may have found it difficult to get high-level data. Getting richer analytics may have been stalled or cumbersome.

This often meant that leaders would lose time to manually requesting data from the SaaS provider, followed by a frustrating cycle of FTP protocols and encrypted email attachments. Or they may have even had to wait for a manual shipment of data stored on hard disks. By the time leaders got their hands on the data they requested, it may have been outdated, devalued and stale.

However, that “trapped” data can be freed up by data centers evolving from a data warehouse to a data share-house. A data share-house takes away the waiting and inefficiency by removing the steps previously needed to manually move data around via FTP, email, or even courier. This is the end of data silos and gives everyone access to the same data at any time.

No two other industries are doing more to help each other evolve than SaaS providers and data centers. SaaS companies are constantly pushing to improve the customer experience, while they also look to solve any problems a customer may have with a data center. The same can be said for data centers, as they look to solve issues customers may have with a SaaS.

With this type of true synergy in place, it will be exciting to see where both industries are in 5, 10 and 15 years time.

DevelopmentInsightsSaaS

Do You Really Need to Hire a Software Testing Company for Penetration Testing?

The United States of America proposed a budget of US $17.43 billion just for cybersecurity for the fiscal year 2017-2019. According to another survey, the firms which have 20,000 or more employees spend an average of 10.6 million US $ on cybersecurity in the USA alone. These stats clearly show the importance of cybersecurity of a company and also the country for that matter. In this blog, we’ll focus on the importance of hiring the software testing company for penetration testing. Before we move forward, you need to understand what penetration testing is and why it is important.

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing also known as pen testing or pen-test is a type of testing which is specifically performed to test the security of a software or an app. Penetration testing is very important because your software or app contains very sensitive database and any kind of data leak or cyber-attack can cost you a fortune. Therefore, penetration testing is important. However, the real question is do you really need to hire a software testing company for penetration testing? In order to find out the answer, give a read to the following:

Great Talent Pool

Software testing companies make sure that they hire the best talent pool. Therefore, if you hire a company for penetration testing, then you’ll be getting the services of the domain experts. However, if you go for other options like hiring a freelancer, then there is a big possibility that companies won’t get the desired results. It is because they lack the resources which a proper testing company has.

Attention to Detail

Since you hire a company specifically for penetration testing, they will help give their best to find out all the security lags in your project. Hence, you can sit back and relax because your project is now in safe hands. They will pay attention to every single detail since they have domain experts which will ensure the quality of the project.

On-Time Delivery

Outsourcing testing company can save you a lot of time. The testing company is bound to deliver the product on time. Above all, they offer real-time testing. Hence, you make the required changes in the code and get your code check for security leaks at the same time. This makes the whole process smooth and streamlines the workflow. Hence, you are able to deliver the product at the ideal time.

Cheaper Option

You simply can’t hire a complete testing team for penetration testing for a single project. It will cost you a lot of money and efforts. Above all, you will not be able to hire domain experts since they are not that easy to find. Therefore, hiring a testing company is a cheap and convenient option.

Conclusion

Now you know all the benefits of hiring a testing company for penetration testing. Therefore, you can decide for yourself if you really need to hire a testing company for penetration testing or not.

Author Bio

Ray Parker is a senior marketing consultant with a knack for writing about the latest news in tech, quality assurance, software development, and travel. With a decade of experience working in the tech industry, Ray now dabbles out of his New York office.

DevelopmentInsightsMartech

Here Are the Reasons that Web Development Is Essential for Business

Do you want to expand your business? If so, then this place is very beneficial for you. In today’s world, the development of the website is becoming the main requirements of our business, which across different industries. As we know that some of the people are still don’t aware of this method and its importance in the business.

Nowadays customers buy their things online, that’s why on the internet millions of the consumers are present. So many companies are there who take benefit by creating their online website to attract many customers as they can. But before all these things, companies need to create their website according to the competitors. Today, we are here to tell you about some reasons for the web development which you need to know.

After knowing those reasons, you will be able to understand that Nicholls Web Consulting Adelaide SEO professionals play a vital role in expanding our business.

  • Convenience

If your website is well-developed, then it is beneficial for both you as well as your users. By developing your website, it makes your website simple and even creates it. Due to this, your site becomes straightforward; it means that every people can easily understand what you are offering them?

If the visitors know what is your exact business? And what are you offering them with the help of the website? Then it creates lots of chances that they all are converted into the customer.

  • Marketing on a global scale

If you have a better online presence with the help of the balanced website, then you can easily achieve your target. All those customers are not only from your local area, but they are also from different areas of the world. On the internet, we can see that there are millions of people who are all around the world.

You must make your website and wait to find out your website. When all the things have done, then you can easily do a conversation with your customers.

  • All-time business accessibility

If you are running the online business, then it means that your business becomes available every time. People can be able to visit your site at any time when they need. Due to these reasons, so many customers attracts towards our business. If you are doing the offline business, then you can’t get that type of ease.

  • Believable source

When you are creating your website then with the help of the web development company, make their features very easy and good approach, which is easily understandable. Due to this, you will be able to get all the important information related to your company in just a few minutes.

When people realize all these things, then it will make your site a believable source, and you must promote to your friends. It means that web development optimizes your website and makes it a credible source and a good source of information.

These are the reasons which express that web development is beneficial for business.

DevelopmentInsightsMartech

5 Ways to Boost Your SEO With Visual Marketing

Visual marketing can propel your SEO strategy, but it is often overlooked by companies who focus on optimizing their text for search engines, without giving proper credence to their visuals. Strong imagery can have a measurable impact on how your website ranks on Google.

With all the innovation we have seen in the digital medium over the last few years, Google is still the leader in determining which websites get the highest rankings, and that impacts the number of sessions the websites receive. It is with Google’s organic rankings in mind that you need to create your plan for visual marketing before you put in the time, effort, and money to design visuals, especially if you’re a small business with limited resources.

Here are five simple tips that will help boost your SEO:

  1. Write optimized alt tags
  2. Don’t use stock photos, create infographics
  3. Create accompanying text for your infographics
  4. Keep an eye on file sizes
  5. Capitalize on image shareability

1. Write optimized alt tags

Keywords are crucial to creating any piece of content, but they also make a difference to the images you use. One of the easy-to-miss steps when creating visual content is with regards to optimizing alt tags. The alt tag is a text alternative to the image attributes which allows images to show up in Google’s text searches. You can already see why this would be so important in your website’s Google ranking.

Consider uploading an image without an alt attribute or alt tag. Google’s search algorithms will not be able to read the image as it is not equipped to do so, but it can read the text you add in the alt tag section of the image. This will give Google the ability to read the image in context of your website’s text and rank the website accordingly.

Alt tags are usually easy to edit. Most content management systems allow you to change the text in the alt tag or attributes text box, so you can make adding alt text to your image part of the uploading process. Here’s an example in WordPress:

When creating your alt text, you should keep it short as Google will find it easier to index shorter tags. As you wouldn’t include too many keywords in your text content, you should avoid doing the same when using keywords in the alt tag. Search engines pick up on keyword stuffing and can actually lower your website’s rank as a consequence.

Instead, focus on using the alt tag as an opportunity to describe what is in the image with words, as alt tags are generally used for screen readers for the visually impaired. By optimizing your alt tags, you will not only boost your SEO on Google but reach out to a demographic that may not have been able to properly access your content before.

2. Don’t use stock photos, create infographics

Source: https://infograph.venngage.com/ps/vW02fA1pnzc/infographics-and-visual-marketing

The quality of your visuals will impact the way visitors to your website engage with your content, and will, as a result, affect your SEO. But when we talk about high-quality visuals, many companies immediately turn to stock photos that are of high quality. It is not the same thing.

Because of the proliferation of stock photo providers, and the increased savviness of users, stock photos have become easily recognizable. So much so that users can become bored by their appearance on websites and may even feel that they are unable to trust a site that has not created its own visual language.

Investing in overused stock photo properties may be the cheaper option, but it isn’t the best one to use if you want to enhance your SEO. You should be working towards creating strong visuals that not only grab the attention of users but make them stay on your website. You need engaging visual content that gives visitors information in a quick, concise way, while still being attractive, and shareable.

One way to do all this is to use infographics. This is particularly true if your website is data-heavy. Infographics can relay a wealth of information in attractive and interactive ways. Venngage’s timeline Infographics give you the option to convey a variety of information – historical milestones, event calendars, product deliverables, even superhero origin stories – that will make the user experience that much more engaging.

If you want proof, use heatmaps to analyze how your readers spend time on individual pages and what images they engage with more.

Here’s an example of an infographic we created for Mention to visualize their unique research:

3. Create text for your infographics

Once you have begun using infographics to deliver your information and data in an attractive way, you need to ensure that your infographic is optimized for Google. As with images and alt tags, infographics are not easily indexed by Google without proper text accompanying it. Google’s image search will be able to index the infographic but to boost your site’s SEO, you will need the infographic, and the page it is uploaded to, to appear in Google’s text search as well.

The best way to do this would be to write accompanying text on the page featuring the infographic. This will help Google scan the text and evaluate the content so as to give the page its deserving rank. To do this, you should create written content that complements your infographic.

Here’s an example we did at Venngage. We teamed up with SurveyMonkey to do a study of logo styles, made an infographic with the results and put it on our blog. Check out the introductory text:

It is best to avoid explaining what is in the infographic because the user does not want to read a repeat of what they can easily see in the infographic. With the combination of a strong infographic and relevant text, you will add value to your page, the user experience, and to your site’s Google ranking.

4. Keep an eye on file sizes

We have stressed on the importance of good quality visuals but it is also important to keep your file sizes small when uploading them to your website. Large file sizes will slow down your website’s loading time, and that is guaranteed to frustrate users enough for them to leave your site. This is not something you want.

Beyond the user, what many companies don’t realize is that Google’s organic search ranking is also affected by site speed. The faster your site loads, the better your rank is likely to be; on the flipside, Google will penalize your site if it loads slowly.

One of the major factors in your website’s loading speed is the size of your images. You should be testing your site speed using Google’s Page Speed Insights Tool, and if your site isn’t loading quickly enough, you should take a look at your images to see whether their sizes are slowing your site down.

Here is a screenshot of Venngage’s site speed using the Google Page Speed Tool:

Some points to keep in mind about uploading images and infographics. PNGs, SVGs, and GIFs are good for graphics as well as infographics, because they maintain the quality of the image even in small sizes, while JPEGs are best for photographs. You can also use image compression tools like ImageOptim before uploading images on to your website to ensure that the site loads quickly.

5. Capitalize on image shareability

Source: https://infograph.venngage.com/ps/X5EkhFNfmhs/image-shareability-simple-chart

Images, and infographics, in particular, are excellent for sharing because of their visual appeal and the ease with which they can be shared widely.

When you create visual content to accompany your text, it is likely that others who view it will share it with others or re-use it on their own sites, hopefully with permission and with backlinks to your site. This process not only taps into audiences that you may not have been able to reach, but the use of backlinks increases your Google ranking.

If someone uses your images without your permission, you are well within your rights to ask them to credit you. You can use Reverse Google Image Search to find sites that are using your visuals to ensure that you are receiving due credit and to find out about backlink opportunities.

Another way to capitalize on image shareability, and to get more backlinks, is by pitching to the media or influencers. Images enhance text properties, and if you are able to create high-quality infographics that will enhance a news piece or help an influencer get more traction on their guest post, you can build a partnership that will be mutually beneficial for you and your partners. Do remember that Google has strong backlink policies that you need to keep in mind. SEO best practice says you should not request backlinks directly. Allow the relationship to evolve organically and you will most likely get the backlinks you deserve.

Conclusion

Images and infographics can make a world of difference to how your content engages with users and can help your rank on Google. Following these few helpful tips will make a difference to how your visual marketing boosts your SEO because if you are spending the time and money on creating beautiful and informative visuals, you should be getting the most out of them.

About the author

Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, the online infographic and design platform. Ronita is interested in a variety of topics with regards to digital marketing, visual content, and online engagement, which she enjoys researching and writing about.

DevelopmentInsightsMartech

3 Massive Benefits of Deploying a Sales Engagement Platform

Technology has touched nearly every aspect of modern business, and sales are no exception. Whereas before, sales reps had to manually choose which leads to follow, schedule their follow-ups, dial their phones and log information – a process as inefficient as it was non-systematized – technology has gifted sales teams a better solution.

It’s called a sales engagement platform, and it’s an easy-to-integrate, easy-to-use software that helps your reps engage and qualify leads with greater efficiency. If your sales team is just operating with a simple SaaS CRM, you only have part of the equation: you need a way to put your CRM’s info into action and push those leads through the pipeline.

Still unsure? Here are three, massive, undeniable benefits of deploying a sales engagement platform.

Enjoy a Boost in Productivity

A sales engagement platform automates reps’ workflow and therefore, increases productivity. You can check out Vanillasoft.com for the stats (for instance, they measured a 94% increase in productivity when using their sales engagement platform) or read client testimonials – either way, the proof is pretty apparent.

How an engagement platform does this is, basically, by removing as much keyboard activity as possible. The auto-dialing and auto-email-population functions of a sales engagement platform save reps a lot of time, as does the queue-based lead routing (more on that below). It allows sales development reps to touch more leads, more often, qualifying more leads for your AEs to close.

Don’t Let Leads Slip Through the Cracks

Without a sales engagement platform, an SDR has to hunt their CRM for their next lead. Inordinately, they will choose the biggest lead in terms of size, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best lead – they overlook the mom-and-pop business hiding in plain sight in the CRM, who just expressed interest in the product, for instance.

A sales engagement platform takes the guesswork out of lead prioritization. With queue-based lead routing it constantly pushes the next best lead up to the top of your SDRs’ lists, meaning that the moment they’re done contacting the last lead, they are onto the next best one. It also means that “speed to lead” is optimized – that is, the time it takes SDRs to make the first contact, a metric that is of crucial importance to successful engagement.

Develop & Automate an Effective Sales Cadence

If you’re unfamiliar, sales cadence is a term used to describe the choreography of touch points a salesperson makes to engage a lead. Together, the number of touches, the type of touch (email, phone, voicemail, SMS, etc.) and the timeline of the touches create a cadence.

Without a sales engagement platform, that cadence can be all over the place, totally at the mercy of an SDRs whims. With one, however, you can automate the cadence, and ensure that each prospect receives the right amount and type of touches, over the right amount of time.

If your sales team isn’t already making use of a sales engagement platform, maybe it’s time to try one out. It’s not simply about modernizing for the sake of modernizing – it’s about better productivity, more qualified leads and an automated sales cadence.

DevelopmentInsightsSaaS

7 Modern Techniques of SEO That Will Work for You This Year

There is no denying the fact that search engine optimization is definitely a significant thing, which needs to be embraced by the website owners, who want their sites to gain a high rank on the search engines. In order to get high rankings and also boost traffic, it is crucial that you employ the ideal and best strategies of search engine optimization. However, one important thing that you have to understand is that the modern techniques of SEO are responsible for focusing on both the search engines as well as the experience of the users. Furthermore, Google is also responsible for updating the algorithm and what you need to understand is that the tactics that were being used by the professionals almost 5 or 10 years ago are not at all going to be effective right now. A proper and ideal approach is crucial.

Given below is a list of the modern techniques of search engine optimization, which is definitely going to work in a positive manner for you.

Optimize the site and make it mobile-friendly

If you are interested in experiencing the ideal outcomes of search engine optimization, it is mandatory to ensure that your website is completely mobile-friendly. If you are asking why you need to understand that Google has updated the algorithm in 2016 and mobile-first indexing has become one of the most important ranking factors of SEO. According to www.thenextscoop.com, 55% of the customer conversations are responsible for happening within a single hour of conducting thorough research on mobiles.

You need to understand that currently, billions of people are using mobile devices constantly. Therefore, it is your responsibility to ensure that your site is optimized, so that you get a high SEO ranking.

Concentrate on SEO optimization locally

Another important technique that you need to keep on your mind is that it is imperative that you concentrate on local SEO. Currently, the ‘near me’ searches have seen a lot of popularity because each and every user is looking for services and products, which are near them. You do not need to sell anything online in order to try local SEO. The main objective is that users need to locate your business. It will be easy for users to locate you when your contact details, as well as directions, are given on the website. If your business is completely online, you need to optimize the site for the local searches. This is one of the most effective SEO strategies.

Improve the experience of the users

If you want to see your website gain more traffic as well as obtain a high rank in the search engines, you need to ensure that it is extremely user-friendly. When your site is going to provide a visitor with an ideal experience, he will definitely want to spend a lot more time on the site, which is responsible for improving the rank of your website on the search engines. Google is also responsible for identifying the total time that a particular user spends on your website.

If Google identifies that any user is spending a long time on your website, Google will ensure that more relevant results are provided to him. However, in order to make sure that a user is spending more time on your website, it is crucial for you to post high-quality and relevant content.

Maximizing on social networking platforms

If there is an ideal SEO technique, which can help in boosting the rankings, it is undoubtedly social media marketing. If you consider the trends and the statistics of the usage of social media in the last 10 years, you will understand that the total numbers of users are going to keep increasing with each passing year.

This means that your business should have the ideal social media presence as well because it helps in promoting brand awareness and also, it will become easier for you to interact with the target audience. In addition, social media profiles are also responsible for appearing on the search engines. If all your posts are capable of attracting the readers, it is obvious that your rankings are also going to improve. If you are looking for an SEO expert in Adelaide, ensure that you have knowledge about this technique.

Ensure that you are not ignoring YouTube SEO

YouTube is also a search engine, which has the second most popular after Google. If you did not have this knowledge, now you know that ranking on YouTube is also imperative. YouTube is also searched by millions of users each month and if you are attempting YouTube SEO, there is a chance that your site is going to rank on the top of the reputed search engines as well. It can help in improving traffic with the total number of views that you receive. However, you definitely need to get YouTube subscribers and ensure that YouTube videos are search engine friendly.

Rely on the SEO tools that are available

A digital marketer has sound knowledge about the importance of search engine optimization tools. They help in getting a clear grasp of the performance of a website, and they help in analyzing, fixing errors, and generating site reports.

Numerous tools are responsible for performing different functions that can help in boosting the SEO rankings of a site. You need to ensure that you are using them accordingly; however, you also need to understand that you will come across both free as well as paid tools. These tools will help in managing as well as optimizing your website in the best manner.

Link building

Another modern technique of SEO is link building, which is not going to fade away anytime soon. The reason behind this is that every search engine is responsible for considering the backlinks to be an important factor of ranking. In addition, link building helps in driving organic traffic to your site, which is crucial as well.

Conclusion

In order to ensure that your business is gaining success in the online world, SEO is necessary. Make sure that you are considering the SEO techniques that have been mentioned above so that you are on the right path.

Development

Agile Development Tips to Supercharge Your Development Projects

Agile is the way forward. More and more development teams and startups adopt Agile as a methodology. Paired with approaches like continuous delivery, Agile development is a project management method that will completely change the way you handle projects.

Agile as a method is also very flexible. It is a method that is primarily implemented in app or web development, but you can adopt Agile to manage other types of projects too. To supercharge your development projects from the start, you want to keep these next few tips in mind.

Get Management Support

One thing you cannot live without when implementing Agile is the support of top management. Agile is a very top-to-bottom project management approach, which means you will have to get approval of your superiors with every iteration of the development project. That approval process is a known bottleneck in many Agile workflows.

Getting the support of top-level management from the start is also beneficial for the projects you are managing using Agile. Projects can be completed faster and more accurately, which means iterations can be released to the market at an equally fast pace. You will be surprised by how many new features you can introduce once the ball is rolling.

Involve More People

The more your team members understand about the Agile method and how it is best implemented, the more effective your implementation of Agile will be. This is where bringing everyone up to speed and getting all stakeholders involved is highly beneficial.

Today, you can provide team members with Agile training sessions. The courses and different programs available on the market are designed for people of different backgrounds and understanding levels, so there is a training course for everyone (not just the project managers).

Eliminate Hardware Bottlenecks

Providing developers with capable hardware for both development and testing is a must. Investing in better development and testing devices will yield substantial results. For starters, you no longer have to worry about the development machine not powerful enough for the entire team.

At the same time, you can go through iterations faster thanks to faster deployment and testing. Rather than waiting for the right time to test new microservices, for instance, you can have them deployed in a local machine and tested immediately.

Once the pods – the microservices – are completely stable and bug-free, you can continue with deploying those pods to the cloud and updating your app or web service. The process also results in zero downtime and higher user satisfaction.

Implement Continuous Delivery

Continuous delivery is a crucial part of the Agile method. While there are different approaches to adopt when implementing Agile, CI/CD remains the most attractive one for teams of developers. Combined with the use of containers like Kubernetes, continuous delivery becomes the best way to go through multiple iterations quickly.

With Kubernetes and CI/CD, you always have the option to revert changes if needed. More importantly, you don’t have to alter the entire app for the update to be committed. You just need to update certain pods or microservices, and Kubernetes will handle everything else for you. There are also training programs on how to fully maximize the benefits of using Kubernetes in an Agile environment.

Put Emphasis on Results

Another thing to remember about Agile as a method for managing projects is its near absolute focus on results. When you use Agile to manage projects, you are expected to combine resources and come up with the right features to add. Executing the development of those features is something that needs to happen quickly as well.

Putting emphasis on results lowers the stress you put on your team. While quality is still a primary factor to take into account, getting great results becomes something that can be achieved without making the development project too complicated.

This is also where the support of top management matters. Every result needs to be checked and approved and having top managers who are involved in the decision-making process supporting your move towards Agile will be a huge plus as you work on more iterations in the future.

Adjust Your Cycle

You don’t have to stick with the conventional cycle of Agile development. In fact, there is no Agile rule that you cannot break if it means adapting the method for your own team. Seamless integration of the Agile method is far more important than following best practices.

For example, you can do a Go or No Go for every feature that passes the ideation stage. This means development can focus on individual features rather than a big update. As a result, those smaller features can reach the market (and the users) much faster.

Adjusting your cycle also works in reverse. When you see a drop in quality as you push for more iterations, perhaps it is time to extend deadlines and make adjustments to the way the project is managed. You are safeguarding the success of the whole project by doing so.

Integrate Automation

Automation is your best friend whenever you need to boost output without expanding the team. Automation comes in different forms these days, and integrating automation with existing workflows is very easy to do. You can, for instance, automate Git commits or organize notes into project documentation without doing it manually.

Automation is about to expand to more areas of the development project too. Automated testing and monitoring are already very popular on the market, so it is only a matter of time before more parts of the development tasks get automated and streamlined.

Speaking of streamlining tasks, automation also lets you focus on the more important tasks and understand the bigger picture clearly. Some teams even go as far as being able to spot errors before they have real impacts on the rest of the system.

Get Ready

One last thing you must never forget about implementing Agile is the people. Are your team members ready for Agile? Do they have what it takes to succeed in the new environment? Will your team members adapt to Agile as well as you did?

Answer these questions and you will be able to set an effective team ratio based on functions required in your project. You will always have the right UI designers, capable UX designers, and smart programmers, making getting closer to your dream app – and development workflow – easier.

One last thing you will need is perseverance. There will be challenges to face along the way. Some team members may complain about the complexity of Agile as a system. Agile is also not the easiest method to master, but mastering it is well worth the time, money, and effort spent. Mastering Agile will transform the way you work. Soon, more startups will adopt this method and start rolling out updates on a regular basis. You and your company can too. Once you adopt the Agile method, you will not want to return to conventional project management.

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Starting an Online Retail Business (The Road to Success)

The competition in the retail business of today is more than fiery and the biggest rivalries can be found online. Even websites that had been trading for years are running into difficulties and they are forced to shut down so a newbie on the scene will have to have their work cut out for them. Any enthusiastic entrepreneur needs to acknowledge the main features his online shopping platform must have in order to succeed in the online retail business. The road to success is by no means easy but if you stick to the following guidelines you stand a huge chance of coming out on top in a relatively short period.

The importance of a good product description

Posting and advertising thousands if items for sale can tedious at times, so people are tempted to cut corners by simplifying the description and the name of the product. For instance, if you are selling an office swivel chair with an adjustable backrest, you could just write “office chair” in the description box. Such a move will significantly decrease the chances of anyone finding the chair either by browsing the office “furniture category” or typing in the type of chair he or she needs in the search box.

You are probably aware of the importance of SEO on Google by now but you ought to know that search optimization is important on online retail websites as well. Let your hand go and imagine you are writing a novel because you are not setting down mere words, but keywords that will help people find your merchandise. Have a talk with the webmaster in order to improve the search box as much as possible.

A picture is worth a thousand words

You can have the longest and the most exhaustive product description possible but it’s not accompanied with great pictures, then you’re products are less likely to sell fast. Human are visual learners and often it is enough for us to the shape of an item like a teapot or a car and we will instantly know what the object in the image is. By posting clear images that are large enough and not blurred, you are ensuring that your marketing message is put across fast. That is why hiring a professional photographer will help a lot not just when it comes to image quality but you will benefit from the uniformity of all images on your website, thus establishing an unmistakable visual identity.


Image source

The call-to-action button in the dead center

An online shopping platform needs to have a well-chosen and a well-positioned call-to-action button or buttons. In most cases, you are going to place the search bar in the center of the page because that is going to be the feature that visitors are immediately going to go for. In addition, you can have an outline of the most popular categories on either side of the homepage so your website can be browsed by desired categories as well.

Proper storage space

A major advantage of online trading is the fact that you don’t need to have a physical location of the store. Of course, you should list all the contact details on the website, including the exact address, phone number, and an e-mail even if you don’t sell offline. This is done for reasons of credibility to assure potential clients that you are not running a scam but that you merely wish to avoid tete-a-tete contact with your clientele (and the tax inspectors).

The fact that you don’t have an actual store doesn’t imply that you are selling mist but items that, by all means, needs to be stored somewhere. Unless you are willing to pay high rental fees, running your own warehouse will require a lot of work that you have to be prepared for. Transporting fragile boxes and crates would be impossible without the right materials handling equipment that you have to own from day one. Even if your beginnings are humble and you are running the online retail operation from your garage or basement, you are still going to have to take great care about logistics.

Simplifying the ordering process

Once a customer settles on a particular item he or she likes and they click “order” or “buy,” you need to ensure that it is all smooth sailing from there.  The button should be large enough to notice immediately and the number of pages that subsequently open should be decreased to a bare minimum. Firstly take the address of shipping and contact info and then allow the client to fill out the necessary information regarding the credit card payment. Any additional info should not be mandatory but optional, such as polls, quizzes or personal preferences. People visiting your online shopping platform need to leave the website happy they have made the purchase in the shortest time possible.

“You might like as well…”

Not burdening your clients with additional shopping options doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t exist. Just take a look at how people passionately collect coupons they receive at supermarkets and you will realize that there are many fervent shoppers out there. For those people who want more from an online shopping experience include links to other product and product categories they might like. You, something like that pop-up: “people who bought this product also liked …” The content on the website should be interlinked and each product should have links leading to similar items. By including these features on the website, customers will get the impression that you care about their preferences and shopping habits.

The final piece of advice we can give you is to update your online presence. If you are passionate about starting your online retail business then you will have no trouble logging in every day to add new items or improve the description of the existing ones. Also, try to be in vogue by starting seasonal sales or offering holiday decorations. In other words, the person opening pages on our shopping platform needs to recognize the dedication and hard work you have put in the success of your enterprise.

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Ways to Make Your Smart Home Work for You

Over the last few years, smart devices have managed to get everywhere — in your television, your refrigerator, your speakers and even your door locks — but you might not have paid them much mind. You, like 63 percent of the population, might find smart tools “creepy,” or like 55 percent of the population, you might believe the tech to be totally untrustworthy.

In truth, smart technology is in its infancy; compared to another tech, which has developed over decades or centuries, smart tools are brand-new, which means they still have many of the kinks that untested inventions typically have. However, just because smart devices aren’t perfect doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them. In fact, there are many ways that smart tools can make your life better in major ways. Here are a few ideas to help you make smart technology work for you, so you can enjoy a better-functioning home.

Consider Your Home Troubles

It’s tempting to buy the exact same smart tools that everyone else is buying, but blindly jumping into smart home tech is a near guarantee that you’ll waste your money and be dissatisfied with smart devices. Instead, you should take time to consider exactly what ways you wish your home worked better; muse on what struggles you consistently have with your home and how smart technology could improve it.

A good example of a common home issue is getting locked out of the house. Many people tend to be forgetful with their keys or the locks on their doors, and homes with children might need a way to let their kids get inside without entrusting them with a key. Smart locks allow recognized users to gain access to a property without a key but instead with their smartphones. Users can lock and unlock their homes from anywhere using a mobile phone app, which can be exceedingly useful and anxiety-reducing.

Because there are a near-unlimited number of smart home tools on the market, you can find a device to solve nearly any problem around your home. You should make a list of common problems or else a list of home features you think could better suit your lifestyle and search for smart tech to fit.

Investigate Your Smart Options

It still isn’t time to make any purchases. Once you have a good idea of the tools available to you, specifically those that would enhance your home and life, you will have a good foundation for making a few key decisions about your smart home. In particular, you need to choose which smart home ecosystem is right for you.

Currently, there are three major smart home players: Amazon, Google, and Apple. A handful of smaller players are easy to find as well, to include Samsung, Wink, Hive, Logitech, and Yonomi. Generally, the larger, better-known smart home systems have more devices available, but those devices might come at a steeper price, and, perhaps more importantly, you might not prefer their interface. Because every smart tool that you acquire should be able to integrate with the ones currently in your home, it is imperative not only that you remain consistent in the smart system you use but also that you understand and enjoy using the system.

You can read reviews online to get a sense of how homeowners like you are reacting to various systems, and you can also sample a few systems out at big-box tech stores like Best Buy. After you determine which system is right for your home, you can start purchasing smart tech — but you should make absolutely sure that the devices integrate with your desired system.

Bolster Your Smart Network

Even after you have a cadre of smart tools throughout your home, your job of setting up your smart home isn’t done. That’s because you need to keep your home safe from digital attackers, who utilize relatively insecure smart devices to infiltrate your network and steal your data.

Fortunately, it is rather easy to guard against this type of attack. First, you should acquire a smart device manager, which makes it easier to see all the smart tools on your network and keep them safe. You might also consider setting up your smart tech on a separate network from the one you connect to your computers, so any data saved on your computers is completely inaccessible from your smart devices.

Even with these protections, you need to be diligent about keeping your smart tech up to date in patches for software and firmware. Most cybercriminals use known vulnerabilities in outdated firmware to infiltrate home networks, so with simple updates, you can trust your smart tools to do their job and keep you safe.

Smart technology might seem like a trend now, but it’s unlikely to go away. The sooner you accept some smart tools into your life, the sooner you can benefit from a fully functioning smart home.