Archive for the ‘IT Trends’ Category
Startups have short launchpads and high expectations. In order to lighten the yoke, many startup founders turn to outsourcing, letting a third party provider handle some aspects of the business.
If you do it the “right way”, you can build a very successful company that way. The right way is *not* to think of your remote team members as outsourcing, but as a key part of your team.
In considering outsourcing as a potential option, you must first weigh the positive and negative impacts. Outsourcing frees up leadership to focus on the parts of the business that differentiate you from the competition, while staying assured that the basic parts are all still operating properly.
Outsourcing is a great option for some startups, but it can be confusing. There’re 5 questions you should answer to decide if outsourcing is the solution:
What is outsourcing?
Outsourcing is the farming out of a business process or service to a third-party provider. Outsourcing frees up some mental space for founders and can sometimes even save money.
What exactly are you outsourcing?
There are certain skillsets which are difficult to bring in-house. It is essential to understand what you will and what you will not be outsourcing, to understand what should rest totally in your control and what can be handled by someone else.
Is the vendor startup-oriented?
The choice of which company to outsource to is important. Vendor should be very active in implanting best practices from the software industry into the startups they work with.
Are you a good client?
Good clients should know what they want, otherwise they’re effectively wasting their own money. A highly collaborative attitude is helpful too. Clients should want to understand the development process just as developers should get a handle in the product’s business objectives. A mismatch between end-project and expectations is often the result of poor communication.
Does the reputation of the vendor matter to you?
People often rely on reputation to make outsourcing decisions. Ask for reviews and recommendations of providers to try and determine which one best fits your needs.
Outsourcing is one of the earliest crucial decisions that startups have to make after inception. Often, the decision lies not in whether to outsource, but who to outsource to and how.
Do you outsource? Please share your experience in comments bellow.
The mobile app development industry is thriving and continuing to evolve year after year. In 2014, we saw mobile app market maturing from smartphones and tablets to wearable devices and Internet of Things. There was also an increased focus on app analytics and mobile app marketing. Actualy developers don’t need us to tell them that the app landscape is constantly changing. But it never hurts to pause for a moment and look into exactly how it’s changing:
1. Swift surges onto developer scene
Anyone in the technology business knows it’s rarely an “if you build it, they will come” proposition. Adoption of new technologies and products—even trendy ones—can take a while. So the rise in usage of Apple’s Swift language for iOS apps is certainly noteworthy: According to VisionMobile’s survey of 8,000 developers, one in five were using Swift just four months after its public launch. Compare that with a 39% usage share for Objective C (which obviously had a bit of a head start with iOS-centric devs) among device-side developers. That’s rapid adoption, to put it mildly.
A decent chunk of early Swift developers—nearly a quarter of them—are new to iOS development. But VisionMobile notes Objective C isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and the best iOS developers will have both languages in their toolbox: “For at least the next few years it seems that practically speaking it’ll be necessary to learn both languages to be an accomplished iOS developer,” the report reads.
2. Cross-platform tools growing in popularity
The State of the Developer report found third-party tool use among mobile developers, in particular, at an all-time high: 83% of respondents use at least one third-party tool for things like analytics, crash reporting, and testing. Even more notable, use of cross-platform tools has jumped from 23% to 30% during the past six months. What goes into selecting the right tools? One tech exec noted the importance of choosing a stable provider that’s going to be around for the long haul.
3. Enterprise apps make more money than consumer apps
Smartphones continue to fly off the shelves and the app stores teem with activity, yet there’s no guarantee your app will earn a dime. In fact, developers working on enterprise apps are much more likely to make money, and it’s not even close: 43% of developers focused on enterprise apps hit or exceed $10,000 per month in revenue, compared with just 19% of consumer app developers. Many consumers aren’t eager to shell out real money for mobile and other digital apps. On the other hand, as VisionMobile’s report says, “businesses are very willing to pay for software that helps them be productive and make money.”
4. The Internet of Things is hot, even if the payoff isn’t imminent
Plenty of developers are investing energy in something that might take a while to deliver a tangible payoff: the Internet of Things: (IoT). More than half (53%) of developers included in the report say they’re working on some form of IoT project. Interestingly, many are doing so as a side project or hobby, not their actual job. It’s no real surprise that the biggest areas of current interest within the broad IoT universe are those where existing mobile platforms—namely iOS and Android—have a clear stake, such as the smart home/smart building and wearable computing markets.
While it’s still early days, VisionMobile’s report cites an enormous upside in the IOT for the developer community at large: “The [IoT] products with the best software will be the most desirable; hence developers become essential to creating competitive products.”
Put it all together and you get a picture of a mobile development market that continues to evolve rapidly in everything from tools and languages to device platforms and economics. Keeping up with the changes can be almost as challenging as doing your actual job, but that’s one reason why mobile is such an exciting area right now.
The use of health apps has skyrocketed in 2014. Flurry, a mobile analytics company, has followed over 6,800 health and fitness-related apps, and sees a growth of 62% based on measurements of the number of times the app is opened and used. Overall growth rate apps otherwise is 33%.
By 2017 the app market is predicted to reach 26 billion users. Among its key drivers is the world’s aging population with its increasing need for medical care. In the United States alone, Tighe notes, almost 20 percent of Americans will be older than 65 by 2030, making them more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, and other age-associated conditions. This changing landscape is forcing to create new ways to monitor people health and provide assistance with making health wise choices. And here mobile medical apps have already proved efficient and thus are gaining more and more popularity.
This boom has been also supported by most global IT corporations such as Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook. So here are some recent actions in that area showing that these companies treat this market segment really seriously:
- Google recently launched Google Fit and directed towards more consumers within training and nutrition.
- Apple has partnered with the company Epic. Since Epic handles over 51% of the medical records in the US, it gives Apple a very solid position in healthcare sector. Apple has, in iOS8, also included a personal health platform, HealthKit, which integrates other applications and gathers information for the user will appear in Apple Health app.
- Microsoft invests in a separate solution and will with Microsoft Health Vault offer a platform where people can gather, store, share and use health data online.
- Facebook has integrated MapMyFitness so friends can cheer on each other, share results and compete against each other. This has also contributed to the large increase in the use of health and Fitness app, where distribution is large via the social networking channel.
There is even an opinion that the increased use of health and fitness apps will destroy the market for wearables. It’s hard for them to compete with mobile apps, as the number of smartphone users is really big. So when the software is already integrated into smartphones they automatically become efficient devices for collecting health data. To put it short, the benefits of using mobile apps to wearable medical-devices include 1/ cost savings because there is no need to develop a completely new device, 2/ enhancing existing platforms by adding more sophisticated sensing and data capabilities, 3/ using an interface that consumers know well and is already part of their everyday life.
Healthcare IT outsourcing
Health apps are built up not only by global IT companies, but also by healthcare providers to be used by doctors, specialists and by patients, of course. And here healthcare organizations increasingly take over the idea that IT outsourcing can help them bring their apps faster to the market while they could focus on their core activities.
This tendency has also been stimulated by changing government regulations concerning hospitals and clinics in lots of countries. And while some organizations are broadly outsourcing a mobile applications development, others are handing out the responsibility of IT management and overseeing their entire IT infrastructure.
The global healthcare IT outsourcing market is growing continuously. According to an article by Nearshore Americas, a recent study made by the Everest group states that the global healthcare IT outsourcing market is increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 12%. This gives us an insight on how much demand healthcare institutions now place on IT outsourcing services. According to TechNavio IT outsourcing in the global healthcare and life sciences sector is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 8.6% through 2019.
Among the trends to watch besides going mobile, there is hosting on the cloud by health-related organizations to make their operations safer, using analytics-as-a-service technologies due to growing interest in Big Data, etc. Therefore 70% of healthcare organizations worldwide are expected to invest in consumer-facing mobile applications, wearables, remote health monitoring, and virtual care.
So the world has been ready for a while to embrace healthcare apps and demand for them is not going to slow down any time soon. Among the top medical apps they call CDC Vaccine Schedules, Family Practice Notebook, ASCVD Risk Estimator, etc.
What health-related apps have you tried and which ones do you use daily? Thank you for sharing!
What does the future hold for BI, CRM, ERP and enterprise software in 2015? Lets see which enterprise software trends will have the greatest impact on IT organizations in 2015.
1. Hybrid cloud goes mainstream. “[We] saw a spike in multi-cloud strategies in 2014, and that will continue into 2015,” says Chris Wolf, CTO of the Americas, VMware. “CIOs will continue to seek out the flexibility that [hybrid clouds offer]. And senior IT decision makers will invest in hybrid cloud architectures to future-proof their applications and services.”
“The cloud has been a hot topic for a number of years, with companies moving applications to the cloud for speed to execution, lower costs, higher level of service and/or preservation of capital,” adds Marc Malizia, CTO of RKON Technologies, a managed cloud solutions provider. “As we move into 2015, we are going to see a continued increase in organizations shifting to some form of the cloud. Most will adopt a hybrid model, mixing cloud provider services with their in-house cloud computing platform.”
2. Subscription pricing for enterprise software. “Competitive pressures and new efficiencies will cause enterprise software pricing to continue to shift further toward subscription models,” predicts Engin Kirda, cofounder and chief architect, Lastline, which provides protection against malware. “Rather than large lump sum licensing or costly preloads on proprietary hardware, enterprise software will be increasingly priced on a per-user and/or per-year basis,” he says. “Not only will end-user-centric applications be priced this way, but other enterprise software and services, including data center management and breach detection, will also adopt this more predictable and scalable pricing model.”
3. Mobile CRM – and other enterprise mobile apps – will take off. “Salesforce set the stage for this trend in 2014 with investments in their mobile app and getting their integration partners to use it,” says Mark Seemann, CEO of Synety, a cloud-based software and communications business. And in 2015, “mobile will continue to be a crucial battleground for the larger CRM players, who will continue to bring their mobile app functionality closer to the level of their main Web product,” he predicts.
“As employees spend less and less time in the office, having solutions – CRM, BPM, etc. – that are mobile friendly will be essential,” says Michael DeFranco, founder & CEO, Lua, which provides secure messaging for the enterprise. “To succeed in the enterprise, solutions must prioritize the needs and behavior of mobile workers in their design, to ensure they are connected wherever they are, and are able to communicate and collaborate with colleagues back at the office.”
4. In-memory computing will become a leading differentiator in ERP. “In-memory computing approaches like SAP HANA and Oracle In-Memory Applications will become the main battleground area for ERP product differentiation, especially in the large enterprise space,” predicts Glenn Johnson, senior vice president, Americas, Magic Software Enterprises, a provider of application platforms, enterprise mobility and business integration solutions. “As market noise around Big Data continues, ERP brands that fail to offer in-memory computing solutions will fade when compared with leaders in this area.”
5. Deeper ERP integration. “ERP is becoming more versatile, providing deeper integration with procurement, human resources and customer service software,” says Michael Golz, senior vice president & CIO, SAP Americas. “SAP has made a number of strategic acquisitions, most recently with Concur, that help customers expand the value of their ERP system,” by having it to “interact with new areas.” That increased integration and depth will continue to blur the lines between enterprise software systems and help organizations derive greater value from their IT investments.
“Historically, ERP and CRM have been viewed as two separate systems of engagement,” notes Jeremy Roche, CEO, FinancialForce, a provider of cloud ERP software on the Salesforce platform. “However, many businesses are starting to realize the immense value in eliminating distinctions between front and back office processes, bringing ERP to the forefront,” he explains.
“Rather than continuing to allow vital customer information to be scattered among various pieces of a business,” he says, “companies will begin to merge ERP and CRM into one single system of customer engagement, so they can better support the entire customer journey, from the initiation of interest to the delivery of a product.”
If only senior IT executives had a crystal ball. Then they would be able to see what software they would need, or want, to license – and could plan and budget accordingly. And what do you predict? Share in your comments bellow.
The mobile world is continuing its rapid growth while we are becoming more and more reliant on our mobile devices in everyday life.
By 2016, it’s expected that there will be more than 10 billion mobile Internet devices in use, so the mobile application industry will grow tremendously to match the demand and keep up with ever evolving technologies.
Let’s have a look at obvious technologies trends continuing to influence the mobile world nowadays.
Three main platforms and architectures
In a short period of time a majority of big companies will need a special set of development tools to support three key platforms – iOS, Android, Windows and three application architectures – native, hybrid and mobile Web. Tool selection won’t be that easy, rising up technical issues and nontechnical ones such as productivity versus vendor stability. Undoubtedly most big organizations will need several tools to deliver to the architectures and platforms they require.
Being fragmented, immature and thus possessing many implementation and security risks, HTML5 won’t be a simple solution for mobile application portability. However as it matures, the mobile Web and hybrid applications will become more and more popular. So despite many challenges HTML5 faces, we could expect that it will be rather essential for organizations delivering applications across multiple platforms.
Advanced mobile user experience design
A vast majority of new techniques and methodologies such as motivational design, “quiet” design and “playful” interfaces contribute to exceptional user experiences most leading mobile apps have. Designers are also creating apps that can accommodate mobile challenges, such as partial user attention and interruption, or that can exploit technologies with novel features or “wow” factors, such as augmented reality. Leading consumer apps are setting high standards for user interface design, and all organizations must master new skills and work with new partners to meet growing user expectations.
High-precision location sensing
Knowing the location of a person to within a few meters is a key factor in the delivery of highly relevant contextual information and services. Applications that use the precise indoor location currently exploit such technologies Wi-Fi, imaging, ultrasonic beacons and geomagnetics. Such technologies as smart lighting will also become important. Precise indoor location sensing in combination with mobile applications will create a new generation of highly personalized services and information.
Mobile phone as a universal remote
Some time ago we had to stay in front of TV in order to turn channels. Later remote controls were sold with every TV and stereo on the market. Nowadays, our homes have become smarter and many people manage their homes with the help of a smart phone. In 2015, mobile applications are expected to move to the next level, becoming a universal remote control for your life. Air conditioner controls and alarm systems are heading the list with cars and door locks to go behind soon. With all the different data including financial, electronic, home and automotive deeply embedded in your phone, the general remote seems to be a usual extension.
Apps will start thinking for you
Artificial intelligence is going to influence mobile applications in 2015, initially with smarter apps that think for you. The ability of apps to forecast behavior and lessen manual work is amazing. In the year 2015, apps will begin to foresee where you are going, what thoughts you are having and the types of information you might require. Imagine future applications less of a tool and more of an associate.
The smartphone will become the center of personal-computer network consisting of wearable devices such as on-body healthcare sensors, smart jewelry, smart watches, display devices such as Google Glass and different sensors embedded in clothing and shoes. These gadgets will communicate with mobile applications to deliver information in new ways and include a wide range of products and services in such areas as sports, fitness, fashion, hobbies and health.
What are your predictions on mobile technologies trends for the upcoming time? Eager to hear your thoughts :)
Over the years dynamic languages such as Python and Ruby have become cherished by startups. As for .Net it is more rarely heard to be used by startups. That’s interesting indeed, because this platform is definitely bigger than most of the popular ones.
So I wonder why a platform as widely adopted and supported as .NET isn’t more visible in startup culture. Let’s try figuring out the main arguments in favor and against making .Net a startup technical choice.
1. Community culture
Some people say the main reason is the culture of the .NET community itself, not anything specific to the platform. Being centered mostly around the needs of enterprise market .NET developers’ concerns are often regarding supporting legacy systems, building enterprise architectures, large systems for supporting business processes. This implies solving problems which are not so relevant for startups at least at their initial point.
As for members of the startup community, they fuss over different issues – concurrency, experience design, supporting multiple clients and browsers, etc.
As a result the startup community and the .NET community don’t overlap as much as they do for other technologies. That’s why startup founders don’t get much exposure to .Net and don’t think of it as an applicable tool for their purposes. The same way many .Net developers who want to work for hot startups don’t have as many opportunities to do so unless they abandon the platform for a more startup-friendly one or start a company themselves.
So platform doesn’t always dictate its use – that’s people who make the choice. Enterprise and startups aren’t mutually exclusive – they’re just different stages in the evolution of software, and there’s no reason why the startup community shouldn’t look at .NET as an attractive starting point for a new business.
2. Startup tech compatibility
A startup is a risky venture with no guarantee of success. So tech startups seek advantages in order to succeed. Hence startups take what big enterprises consider risky bets on technology. This objective can be achieved by using technology that is popular in startup environment.
Many features of .NET, facilitating the productivity of big companies, are not always useful to startups. There is too much choice of implementation methods. If anything, web startups are looking to have this choice taken away – their technology choices come from the subset that is built for the web.
Also it is said that innovation is quicker with other ecosystems which have a bigger set of libraries and tools. As for .Net there are a few open source projects however most of them are pretty much an implementation of concepts that have already been implemented for a while in the Java world, for example.
3. Open source vs proprietary
Although many startups don’t mind paying for tools and services, most of them still pick things based on cost. For a long time the “enterprise” level tools, services, databases, etc were hardly affordable by startups. That’s why startups adopt so much open source.
It’s also hard to justify the use of proprietary software from a business perspective. If you want to be acquired it is wise to develop your product using an open stack rather than Microsoft’s.
However luckily for many startups Microsoft saw a huge value in giving their stuff away to startups and startups have benefited greatly. Microsoft has been running their Bizspark program for several years, which eliminates most of the startup costs normally associated with employing a .NET framework. To get into the BizSpark program you just need to get checked by BizSpark team if your startup is eligible (developing a real product). Then you’ll get free licenses to basically every product they make, including SQL Server, and a free MSDN gold subscription, for 3 years. They figure 3 years is long enough for you to get going so after that they want you to pay for new licenses. The great part is that they let you keep the licenses you’re already using. So Microsoft has basically taken the cost factor completely out of the equation for new startups.
4. Velocity vs performance
Some people say that it’s all about the velocity. If you agree with an assumption that a startup goal is to find a niche vs build a product, then the goal of a startup is to learn about the market, customers, and product needs as quickly as possible. Python, Js, Ruby, etc allow you to iterate quickly without a lot of infrastructure and boilerplate. However a company that has already has a market has a little different goal, for them the objective is to build a stable product that they can maintain.
Some people say that .Net is not suitable for quick changes. This is a pretty outdated view of C# these days, it’s actually fairly easy to write extremely terse code with. As an added bonus refactoring is so incredibly easy compared to JS, Ruby, Python, etc. that it’s ideal for rapidly switching directions in code as you can refactor so fearlessly without being slowed down by massive amounts of tests. Unfortunately what’s bad about .Net is the tooling and the supporting ecosystem.
Python is much better suited to quick prototypes that can be fleshed out into a reasonably reliable product without too many headaches. The key difference comes when you have to change features mid-stream. The lack of strict typing and interfaces means you can add, change, and remove features much quicker than C# for example. On top of that, you just write fewer actual lines of code to get the same thing done, although sometimes readability can suffer if you get too concise. There is a price to be paid with Python and Ruby though and performance is the biggest one.
5. Team and project size
The team and project size always matters. So when the solution is being built with a small team, then it is easier to use something like Python. Obviously the goal is to be fast to develop in and have a bunch of libraries to be used. On the other hand when building something with a big team, you feel like using something like C#. In this case it keeps it safe to develop in and easy to catch mistakes. Any optional documentation provided by a developer is incomplete. On the contrary the quality level of the available .Net documentation is outstanding.
However if the company is starting as very small at the initial point, it hopefully grows and builds up quite a sizeable codebase by some point. Python, JS & Ruby are fine for small programs but anything more than that and they become their own enemies because the programs they make are quite brittle.
The common opinion is that .Net scales well.So, if your startup does make it, you’ll probably have a much easier time scaling the .Net stack than you would with say Ruby or PHP.
Conclusion: it’s all about stereotyping
Eventually, I found different opinions on my question of .Net being not so popular with startups such as “platform lock-in,” “no open standards,” “licensing costs.” Sure, these are issues preventing many developers from adopting .NET in the startup space, but not enough to bar all of them from using it. Most of the arguments are just stereotypes that can be dispelled under closer examination.
All languages have strengths and weaknesses. For a startup, you need to do due-diligence and research what the right language to use for your idea will be because recoding in a different language can get costly.
So do you use .Net in your startup projects? Please share your feedback and experiences with us.
Skype ID: aliona_kavalevich
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development
Every business starts from the question: ”Which direction to take, how to choose the right niche…”. Most start-ups choose software development as the direction to start with because of quite low launching costs, easiness to start the business, high popularity of IT and the well-known postulate “software will eat the world”. But when choosing IT sphere it is quite important to understand this market and find new perspective areas in it. As investors and business angels are much more eager to invest not in what is popular today, but what will be the future of tomorrow.
In my article I would like to draw your attention to some trends that seem promising in my opinion
The Internet of things
The Internet of Things is likely to have a staggering impact on our daily life and become an inherent part of such areas as electricity, transportation, industrial control, retail, utilities management, healthcare, petroleum etc. For example, GE predicts that the oil and gas industry will be able to save more than $90 billion a year thanks to the reduced operating costs and fuel consumption that smart components will deliver. The health care sector may save more than $63 billion because of improved resource usage and modern equipment.
Also the Industrial Internet will make transport more economical, and safer too. Jumbo jets, loaded with sensors that record every detail of their flights, will help engineers to design safer aero-planes and know which parts need to be replaced. On the road, fleets of trucks and even ordinary drivers will be able to tap into the web, monitoring traffic in real time, with automated programs suggesting alternative routes in case of accidents/traffic congestion.
Of course, all of these benefits mean plenty of business opportunities for those who are brave enough to make the first step. Profits will grow exponentially as the Internet of Things itself matures. Today, there’s around 1.3 billion connected devices in the world, but by 2020 this could well exceed 12.5 billion devices. Similarly, the M2M (machine-2-machine) industry is said to be worth around $121 billion a year today. By 2020, that value will grow to almost $950 billion, according to the Carbon War Room. Don’t lose your chance!
Computer Science health
This sphere suit startups that plan to develop software to diagnose and treat diseases (i’m not taking about Biotech, but about Information Technology). As a rule it is a noninvasive methodology. The technology will help to avoid costly and dangerous procedures: instead of an operation it will be enough to use a specialized device Different kinds of fitness applications have already filled the market. Apps that evaluate sleep state and help to wake up at the most opportune moment, that evaluate quality, caloric value and allergenicity of food are not a rarity anymore. More and more people keep track of their daily activity: number of steps made, calories burned, heart rate etc by using bracelets and kardiosensors. But the real revolution will produce a system that will combine sensor data and sensor condition of the body with genetic information. The Apps will give an opportunity to influence the physical state, recommending an appropriate lifestyle and a specific diet, supplements and medicines.
In 2012 and 2013 we saw significant data breaches across multiple industries and governments impacting millions of users. For instance, according to a recent study conducted by Ponemon Institute, nearly 1.5 million Americans have been victims of medical identity theft. Individuals whose medical information has been stolen often deal with erroneous medical expenses, insurance issues and incorrect data on medical records that can lead to fatal medical errors. And data security issues compromise more than patient privacy and personal data.
Is this an uncertain future we will have to live with? Can we accept degraded privacy and security and billions of dollars in lost revenue, damage, reduction in brand value and remediation costs?
Such issues will become the concern of more and more enterprise leaders. Thus, Data Security could be the biggest challenge for startups.
“Green Energy” field
We live in the world of limited subsoil resources. We may experience and in fact we do already experience their shortage. The time of “users” is close to the end and the era of “creators” is coming instead. The “creators” are sure, that the potential of the “Green Energy” is huge… and they are right. Every fifth kWh is got from renewable energy sources in the developed countries. Let’s see what is happening in the world:
Elon Musk, the creator of PayPal, has opened a company that produces electric cars Tesla. For three years they have produced quite expansive super-cars and rectified technologies …btw the technologies are still being improved ( hope you understand what I’m driving at…). Also the super-cars require refueling …with the help of solar batteries, which are quite widespread in the USA and Western Europe. By the way it is predicted that America, South Canada and most of Europe will be covered with solar stations by the end of 2015 year (another niche ;) ) and the solar batteries will be used not only for the refueling).
What I’m driving at …want to say that there will be need in different applications (including mobile apps as well) for its ordering, managing etc.
In conclusion I would like to wish you to find your niche and not be afraid of putting your ideas out and trying them. Good luck and thanks for the reading :)