Ayoka Application Development Services Blog

Networking at Winter Wonderland!

Last Thursday, we hosted the Winter Wonderland event along with our neighbors, Sandler Training and The Alliance Group. Together we gave door prizes and held charity raffles benefitting Cancer Care Services and prizes including champagne and gift baskets!

.NET Core is Open Source!

At Microsoft’s Connect(); event last month, their theme was centric to a cloud-first, mobile-first, and developer-first movement. They announced the .NET Core will be open source with the ability to build for and support all development platforms.

.NET has created a set of verticals that include a runtime, framework, and an application model all together. .NET Core explains the commonality of applications that span multiple devices and platforms. Before portable class libraries there was no sharing of code or projects but .NET Core’s use of contract assemblies, designed for proper factoring, to model API sets across verticals will help developers choose what contracts they want to support. Although the development environment is currently running on Windows, it will soon be available on other platforms.

You can think of portable class libraries as an experience that unifies the different .NET verticals based on their API shape. This addressed the most pressing need, which is the ability to create libraries that run on different .NET verticals. It also served as a design tool to drive convergence between verticals, for instance, between Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1. Unifying separate, well-factored, implementations of the .NET platform allows verticals to share the same implementation.

Since .NET Core will be on GitHub, code reviews and discussions will be open and encouraging sharing of documentation, libraries, and bug fixes! Open sourcing of the runtime will be coming soon!

Satya Nadella Pushing Microsoft Forward

Microsoft’s Satya Nadella has made headlines since he’s taken the position of CEO, succeeding the resigned CEO, Steve Ballmer. He’s forward-thinking and generating return on the investments that Microsoft has worked so hard on, like Office365, the Surface Pro 3, and their new OneDrive storage.

Nadella’s goals are for cloud-first and mobile-first strategies that Ballmer didn’t tread into. Unlike Ballmer, Nadella plans on putting Microsoft’s unique solutions within the reach of as many smartphone users as possible. Their own Surface Pro 3 has been making a comeback as well, and Microsoft’s low-cost smartphones are becoming more favorable in the market. Office365 is being released on both Andriod’s and Apple’s platform, in an effort to bring accessibility back for Microsoft. Android’s even looking forward to its mobile device available for emulator testing on the new Visual Studio 2015 so that developers can properly test for the most popular mobile platform on the market. Microsoft has since teamed up with Salesforce.com and Dropbox to bring Office365 and other Microsoft services to the consumers.

Microsoft’s new “freemium” strategy to drive revenue for the company by offering OneDrive storage, Office Online and Windows upgrades, to encourage people to sign up for more, paid storage and buy Office 365 while continuing to purchase new PCs to continue to drive Windows Store revenue.

5 Most Common Marketing Myths

Marketing isn’t always as simple as shooting fish in a barrel, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Taking care to look past marketing myths and finding truth in best practices can transform your company’s marketing efforts from unnoticeable and unstable to positive and generating returns.

1. Word of Mouth is the Best Form of Marketing – While word of mouth through consumers and employees does create a personable sense and offers real solutions to a lead, but it takes more than that to convert a lead to a client. Creating videos and compelling case studies that resonate with pain points and offer solutions while detailing how your company’s custom solutions solved the problems.

2. Marketing is an Art, Not A Science – Conversion metrics are taken and considered seriously in order to tailor approaches and recognize where efforts need to go. SEO, Social Media Marketing (SMM) , Keywords, sharing, blogs, and everything in-between plays a crucial part in conversions that shows through numbers. The recording and evaluation of this data is constant and necessary since the needs of the audience is always changing.

3. Great Products Sell Themselves – In the enterprise great products do not sell themselves, but when coupled with great product marketing, your efforts can show potential leads what you have to offer, what pains your product solves, and what opportunities for growth their company could harness by becoming a client of yours.

4. Your Brand Can Evolve as Your Company Grows – Creating market awareness through SMM, SEO, blogs, and the like requires your company to create a name for itself along with a mission statement that will set you apart from everyone else. That branding will be seared into the minds of your potential leads and your clients for better or worse. Working with your chosen branding can retain loyalty and keep your company memorable as it grows.

5. Being The Leader or Being First Matters – Every company starts out as a fledgling in the market, but with consumer loyalty and consecutive success in achieving what it’s mission is will become what breaks a company away from the pack and offers insight into what being first is really about: innovation and success. Market timing and achieving the right product-market fit in order to be successful is more important and really brings leaders into the spotlight.

These are a few marketing myths, and there are many more to sift through, but seeing the truth in each of them and measuring how they can work to your company’s benefit is where you can find strength!

Business Benefits of M2M

Machine-to-Machine communications marks the basis of the connected environment that is the Internet of Things. While Intelligent Transportation Systems and manufacturing operations have gained a lot through access to real-time data through business intelligence and reporting apps allows operators to solve problems at the production level. Applications to interface with machines provide data for maintenance technicians and supervisors to track utilization on the production floor, while at-a-glance visibility drives competition among operators to exceed company metrics.

Customer relations have a lot to gain by catering to the Internet of Things revolution between businesses who are able to track shipments through each stage of their transportation, from beginning to end while allowing for continuous communication. Proactive replenishment that caters to replenishing stocks in services like vending machines using RFID price tags progress the way that inventory is managed. Predictive maintenance that anticipates the replacement and ensures maintainability of parts as needed through use of sensors that monitor homeostasis, checking service schedules and alerting management and systems of the need for upgrades. As a leading software development firm in the ITS industry, Ayoka’s Made in USA model for software development is valued by both State and Local governments, along with prime contractors seeking a local team member with transportation software development experience. Ayoka’s services for transportation software development incorporate legacy sub-systems, such as existing traffic control software, in an flexible architecture that can grow toward future web application standards while remaining interoperable across municipalities and multiple vendors.

Moving through the automated systems of manufacturing and logistics and into the lives of individuals in the form of connected cars,electric utility management, healthcare, and connectivity of electronics to your own mobile device are already coming around the corner. Wireless prices have dropped and the size and sturdiness of ever-smaller devices can be seamlessly implemented into an array of things that we use daily while cutting production cost in connnectable things from smartwatches to smoke alarms, as it can withstand overheating, power spikes while providing a reliable signal in hard to reach areas like parking garages, and other tough usage conditions.

I’m excited to see this move through the stages of development and implementation into devices in the future! Imagine, we are one step closer to total immersion in the IoT!

Veterans in Tech

Today is Veteran’s day and it’ll be filled with special events and parades to celebrate over 20 million Veterans and their service to the country. Veterans can indulge in a myriad of free deals from restaurants and other establishments as thanks for their service. Reaching out and thanking them for their service as a fellow American is a personable thing to do today, but there is more that we can do as a country to thank our veterans.

Although the media associates PTSD with veterans, but many who have been in the armed forces do not suffer from PTSD. “Don’t treat us like victims,” said Rieckhoff, an Amherst College graduate and former Wall Street investment analyst who led an Army platoon in Iraq in 2003 and 2004. “We’re not broken. We’ve been through a lot, but we’re rising out of it.” Harley Lippman, CEO of Manhattan-based tech company Genesis10 makes a point to not only make interviewing veterans a priority, she urges other companies to do the same ” to get them away from being pigeonholed and stereotyped. We want to show companies they can be just as good or better than other workers.”

Companies have been making a point to support returning veterans with re-integration services to help match veterans with fitting jobs that are relevant to their training. Veterans are more than security guards, they provided specialized services to the forces they served like Mechanics, Medical, Engineering, Tech, Law, even Arts and Media. At Genesis10, their goal is to “convey to employers is what veterans already bring to a workplace — they are reliable, they’re used to doing something greater than themselves, they are team-oriented and goal-oriented, and they know how to work under stress,” Lippman said. “And if nothing else, they’re also the most deserving. When you think of it, the ability to enjoy our way of life is because of their blood and sacrifice.”

Ayoka’s CEO is a Marine veteran, and so is our Sales Manager! We run our projects like a military operation and accomplish the mission, but take intense care, consideration, and pride into our work as a service to you. Our development services emphasize local, hands-on interaction with team members that visit your organization, meet in person, and talk to your end-users. This level of customer service is the foundation of Ayoka’s custom application development services.

Do Software Developers Speak Your Language?

Making the jump towards building a custom application, performing integration, or rebuilding a legacy system for your business will prove to make work more effective and increase productivity, but getting into a project with a development group that doesn’t understand your company can bottleneck or even grind progress to a halt. As a company, you’re ready to see your development goals actualized. You want to get your brand off the ground, and you have high expectations.

Choosing a development group that has the prowess, the manpower, and the personable ability to meet with your company in-person to take time to listen and understand your company’s unique needs is what will move your project through its iterations with ease. Development groups that routinely outsource their labor could potentially save you money, but will prove inaccessible and difficult for you to properly convey your company’s needs. Taking time to convey your company’s business processes and articulate specifications to build a comprehensive strategy coupled with incremental testing is imperative. It’s important to be a part of the process through interactivity and communication. All stakeholders should have an understanding of the scope of the project from start to finish while taking care to communicate through iterations to really help to take a project from an idea to a completed product that everyone can be proud of. In addition to being understood by the development group, it’s important to understand their insights to your project as well. At Ayoka, we understand existing software capabilities, security vulnerabilities, and integrations processes that will help you to reach your project’s goals!

If you feel your development project has been abandoned or neglected, or if you would like to start your company’s development endeavors with a committed development team on your side, then contact Ayoka today!

Tom Knoll Runs Through Arlington for ALSF

On November 1, 2014, Tom Knoll will make a 41-mile charity run through Hawaii before coming to Arlington for another 41-mile charity run on November 5! Knoll is making the runs as force of habit, he’s raised millions of dollars for charity, and is willing to put his Iron Man Triathlete reputation into action again to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) in their fight to end child cancer.

Knoll began his running career in 1974, when he was serving in the Marine Corps and stationed on Oahu, Hawai’i. He was in his early forties, and joined a group of Marines who ran ten miles over lunch every day. Soon, he was racing in marathons and ultra-marathon events. ”This story is for the jogger, the long distance runner, the humanitarian and for all those who believe that if you have a dream, you should pursue it to its end.” Tom Knolls opens his book, “Why Not A Million?” as he recounts his life as a long-distance runner and his life-long devotion to helping others. Although he is a retired Marine, Knoll has since given his service in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq-and has run across the United States twice! Next week, he will be running the total 82 miles for ALSF in homage of his 82nd birthday! Ayoka’s own CEO is a former Marine and all of the Ayokian Marines will be in attendance of Tom Knoll’s charity run!

If you would like to donate to this event, or have any questions, feel free to contact one of our own former Marine Sergeant, Chad King, at 817.210.4042.

5 Common Pains of Dealing with Vendors

Too often, our new clients have worked with vendors that stall, mislead and ultimately lose communication during project iterations. The Vendor-client relationship can teeter back and forth based on a vendor’s performance and a client’s articulation of their specific needs.

As a client needing the vendor’s service, you rely on their knowledge and prowess to aid you in making an informed decision regarding what solutions will fit you best. Below are the 5 most common pains of dealing with vendors:

1. Vendors can be inexperienced with their own solutions and show a demo that works nothing like your finished product. If the vendor does not know the capabilities of their solutions, then they may overestimate and promise more than they can deliver, leaving your company without the solution that they need to grow. Wouldn’t you feel more secure in knowing that person knew the real-life limitations and best ways to implement their product?

2. Sometimes, as sales people, vendors outright lie to get your business and often go with the turnover of sales staff, they may even go so far as to criticize other departments of their company and say that the help desk does not offer support or that the engineers are the real problem.

3. Since you know your company better than any third party, articulating your business needs and setting expectations is often left to you, but a vendor needs to do their part to help you put your needs to their services. A vendor not listening or being conscientious of your company’s needs may not be their fault entirely, since they are sales people often occupied with trying to get the sale, and they often are unable to detect the reasons behind your questions.

4. If you find that your vendor’s documentation is lacking and seem irrelevant to your unique needs, then it may be time to focus on building a custom solution from the ground up. Documentation that revolves around the solution and its capabilities without addressing how it can be implemented for your company could mean problems later in the project.

5. Keeping in contact with your vendor can mean the difference between completion of iterations towards the project and stagnation of progress in your project. It shouldn’t be up to you and your company to keep communication lines open, your project should mean as much to your vendor as it does to you.

At Ayoka, we understand that your pain points need to be addressed. We will take the time to listen to you, meeting with you and your employees in-person to elicit requirements and perform analysis. We prefer to work closely and collaboratively with our customers – and we provide experience with open-source or other innovative applications that are powerful enough to generate business intelligence for small business. At Ayoka, client satisfaction is our number one priority. Ayoka is committed to your business’ success and we strive to create partnerships built on mutual trust and respect that will grow as we help your business grow. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.

Incompatible Software Systems are A Thing of The Past!

In order to grow and thrive in this changing economy, your company needs to be able to perform Business Process Management to maintain Inventory control and manage product planning, perform Customer Relationship Management to retain customers and increase satisfaction, and implement business intelligence findings to provide “comprehensive insights into factors that affect a company’s business.”

Software incompatibility can encompass software components or entire systems that cannot work satisfactorily together on the same computer or across the network of systems. “Lack of standardization and governance can adversely affect the performance and cost efficiency of your IT architecture.” Building a custom solution to help your company combine the desired functionalities of multiple incompatible systems will ensure that your company is working at its maximum potential efficiency while taking the necessary steps toward mitigating risk and loss.

Ayoka’s custom Enterprise Architecture (EA) and technology services utilize open source applications whenever possible to help contain costs and maximize flexibility. We employ proven, development disciplines that integrate with legacy infrastructures and provide scalability with emerging technologies.” When processes are streamlined with accessibility across multiple concerns of your enterprise (including Human Resources, IT, Operations, and others), costs are reduced and responsiveness across all departments is improved. Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) can also help to streamline processes and decreased “duplicate data entry, increased accuracy and avoided expensive customization and duplication of application updates” by building a middleware solution that can offer access to your businesses’ different existing software applications. SOA has a holistic approach and anticipates the evolution of a company’s best practices of their previous software architectures by pushing for accessibility across different platforms and networks for your employees.

Implementation of either of these architectures, with Ayoka’s help, can help your business respond quickly to the ever-changing market conditions. Tapping in to your company’s ‘digital nervous system’ of the processes, data, analytics, reporting, and inventory that is accessible by different employees in different departments of your company can help to itemize weaknesses and accelerate implementation of custom solutions. Ayoka is committed to your business’ success and we strive to create partnerships built on mutual trust and respect that will grow as we help your business grow.  Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.