Business

Data Charts It's a funny thing about Salesforce developers. Many of us really dislike change, even when we know very well it's necessary and worthwhile. Why? Too often, changing an application is like re-routing plumbing after the house is built: making a change that looks small can take a whole lot of effort with a whole lot of risk for collateral damage.

software automation Can software replace my job? It's a concern with roots going back centuries to the arrival of the first automated power looms in 18th-century England, continuing into more modern times with the large claw-like robots that build automobiles. Today it seems there are hundreds of websites making their living pushing clickbait headlines describing the perils of the coming Robopocalypse of software automation replacing human workers, and I often see those fears bubbling to the surface when working with clients. Fortunately, in my experience, those fears are often overblown, and I'm not alone in thinking so. Wired's James Surowieck agrees that we have nothing to fear.   The automation jitters usually start to come out during discovery. I talk with clients to clarify the business logic, workflow rules, or other automated features, and I'll use the term "robot" to describe the software we're building. After all, "if I can't tell the robot what to do, how will it know how what to do?" It's somewhere around here when we're asking somebody to explain their whole job function that somebody on the client's team will mutter, half-jokingly, "So I guess I better start looking for another job, huh?" It's not hard to understand where that thought is coming from. After all, if we can completely strip away the human layer and turn their job into a series of rote, mechanical steps, what role is left for them? I quickly try to assuage their fears.

app developers

Customers != Solution Architects

A few years ago, we were asked to quote a small automation for an existing, repeat client. They wanted help streamlining a spreadsheet-based process that took about 1/2 day of a high-level employee's time each week.

Customer: Can you help us save some time by writing some Excel macros?

Susco: Of course we can develop some Excel macros for you. But first, why do you need them?

 

ONE:  Don't just "break the system" I remember my very first QA task when I started here three years ago.  I was testing a client’s internal employee management system.  I had never tested anything before, so I asked my project manager, “How should I QA the software?  What does that mean?”  He answered simply: “Do your best to break the system.”  Okay, I thought, should be easy enough.   So, when I sat down at my computer, I opened the user management screen and did my best to mess with it – invalid email addresses (example: cersei@lannister.net, ned@winterfell, harryunderthestairs.com), phone numbers with too many or too few digits.  And I made sure to document in Notepad every “error” I found this way. After about an hour of this, I proudly sent my list to the developer.  Look at all the bugs I found!  A few minutes later, the programmer walked over to my desk and explained gently that these were not the only types of bugs I should be looking for.  While it is worth knowing which fields catch invalid data types and which do not, this is only the beginning of the testing process.

software managementLet me take you back to the year 2011.  This was a big year for us, as Susco had made a big name for itself as one of the first movers in mobile app development studios in the State of Louisiana. We were growing revenue at 50% per year and collecting awards like they were going out of style. At the time I was a babe at 33, not a grey haired 39 year old –  so needless to say, the success started going to my head. I thought of myself as being very emotionally intelligent with how I dealt with people, but it’s very easy when growing a company to do a great job focusing on the way you treat your clients and referral sources but not apply the same effort with your staff.  This blind-spot almost cost me one of my best employees at the time.  In the interest of protecting the innocent, I’ll refer to them as “Bob”.  So, here we go…

custom software We get this question a lot from business owners in the middle of a growth phase. Often, they are already using systems for accounting and CRM (Customer Relationship Management), and they are not sure what processes could be improved, and if there is a business case to improve them. Over the years, we've identified a number of clear indicators that it's time to invest in technology. This can be in the form of implementing a pre-existing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), implementing a platform solution, or developing a custom software solution. We'll elaborate in an upcoming post on which of the 3 solutions is the right fit for you, but for now let's focus on the "smell test" of determining if there is a need. Some are oblivious, while others are more subtle.

So how many times today have you stopped what you were doing so you could pick up the phone, press 1, and then one by one listen to the 5 or 10 voicemails that piled up while you were in your last sales meeting or project discussion? Did you have to listen to any of the messages a few times to write down that number they told you to call back on?

80% of small businesses utilize QuickBooks to handle their accounting needs. This includes accounts payable, accounts receivables, time tracking, vendor databases, and client databases. QuickBooks is a revolutionary program that has one big flaw; it does not allow for native importing of other systems data. Most businesses and their accounting firms have no idea that they can import anything into QuickBooks with a little help from a custom-programming firm. By integrating disparate systems with QuickBooks, businesses can increase their productivity and run more efficiently by eliminating redundant data entry.