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21 Software Developers to Follow on Twitter

December 16, 2015

softwate developers to follow on twitter

21 Software Developers to Follow on Twitter

When it comes to software developers, there are literally hundreds of potential channels to follow. New programmers can easily become lost in the plethora of information. However, there are a few channels that are truly worthwhile. This is one of those software development lists where software developers who know what they are talking about can easily be found and followed.

1. Jeff Atwood – @codinghorror
Area of Expertise: Stack Overflow

Jeff Atwood is one of the co-founders of This site is the go to site for developers looking for answers to questions about code – any code. Answers are provided for problems ranging from basic HTML to complex PHP and beyond.

2. Jesse Stay – @Jesse
Area of Expertise: SocialToo

For programmers that want to stay up to date on the latest trends and social development, Jesse Stay is the person to follow. Jesse is the founder of SocialToo, a friend list organizer for multiple platforms.

3. Eric Meyer – @meryerweb
Area of Expertise: CSS, web standards

Eric Meyer is known for his drive to have a standardized web, especially in the world of cascading style sheets (CSS). This drive has revolutionized the way that website design and development is done.

4. Rasmus Lerdorf – @rasmus
Area of Expertise: PHP, Yahoo

PHP is one of the most commonly used web coding languages. For this reason alone, Rasmus is worth following. His feed is filled with useful coding tips and hints.

5. Chris DiBona – @cdibona
Area of Expertise: Google, Slashdot, Open Source

For those involved in tasks such as Google Tools and other Google related tasks, insights into how Google’s code works can be extremely helpful. Chris DiBona would be the one to ask. He is reputed to be extremely responsive to development questions.

6. Joel Spolsky – @spolsky
Area of Expertise: Stack Overflow

Joel Spolsky is the founder of Fog Creek Software and the CEO of Stackoverflow. He has been involved in a great number of projects using software like Excel and Visual Basic. His feed regularly showcases help videos and tips he feels would be useful to other software developers.

7. Paul Buchheit – @paultoo
Area of Expertise: Gmail, FriendFeed

Tips from the lead developer of Gmail and co-founder of FriendFeed can only be helpful. Paul also posts on current technology trends and news to keep his followers up to date on who is doing what.

8. Kevin Marks – @kevinmarks
Area of Expertise: Google, Microformats, Technorati

Kevin Marks helped build the Microformats markup appraoch. He was also involved in the engineering of Technorati. Although there does not seem to be much in the way of technical information on his feed, he does have an interesting sense of humor that will brighten the darkest day.

9. Ryan Stewart – @ryanstewart
Area of Expertise: Rich internet applications, Adobe

For information on the range of Adobe products, Ryan Stewart is considered an authority. His tweets provide plenty of information that older users wish they had known from the start.

10. Thomas Fuchs – @thomasfuchs
Area of Expertise: Ajax, Ruby on Rails, JavaScript

As the creator of the Ajax Library, Thomas is definitely the man to pay attention to when anything Ajax is questioned. For tips on anything from Firefox to Spymaster, follow Thomas.

11. Aza Raskin – @aza
Area of Expertise: User interface, Mozilla

Users of Mozilla will know that the Mozilla user interface is extremely user friendly. This is thanks to Aza Raskin. Keep up to date on Firefox, Ubiquity and Jetpack news on his channel.

12. Jack Dorsey – @jack
Area of Expertise: Twitter

None of the software development lists about Twitter accounts to follow would be complete without the brains behind social media website. Jack Dorsey is the man who designed the Twitter architecture and, though he does not do much programming tweeting these days, he is a man to follow.

13. Lynn Langit – @lynnlangit
Area of Expertise: Cloud, SQL, Mongo DB, Hadoop, AWS

For information on any or Lynn’s favorite topics, follow her on social media. She is also the course developer for Teaching Kids Programming, a fantastic program for young people to learn to code.

14. David Heinemeier Hansson – @dhh
Area of Expertise: Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails is still a popular coding language and David frequently sends out interesting links and information about this platform.

15. Scott Hanselman – @shanselman
Area of Expertise: .NET, Microsoft

Scott is the senior program manager for the Microsoft Developer Division. If there is anything to know about .NET, C# or a wide range of other Microsoft products, Scor is the one to tell you.

16. Jason Fried – @jasonfried
Area of Expertise: 37Signals, Basecamp, Project Management

For practical advice as it relates to things such as project management and time logging, Jason Fried is the man to follow. He has been instrumental in the development of a number of business applications.

17. Elijah Manor – @elijahmanor
Area of Expertise: .NET

.NET is an extremely popular programming language among web programmers. For hourly updates on a variety of web technologies including .NET, follow Elijah.

18. Alex Payne – @al3x
Area of Expertise: Emerging languages, Development

Alex keeps his followers up to date on emerging technologies in a range of areas. This includes programming and business technologies.

19. Brad Frost – @brad_frost
Area of Expertise: Responsive design

Responsive design and development is a major talking point with so many mobile users. Brad Frost is the expert of responsiveness and frequently tweets tips and tricks to help his followers.

20. Alison Gianotto – @snipeyhead
Area of Expertise: Privacy, Security, CTO

For information on security, FOSS and similar topics, Alison is well liked. She does have a tendency to be very open in her opinions and care should be taken if reading her posts at the office.

21. Robert Martin – @unclebobmartin
Area of Expertise: C++, Java, OOP

Robert focusses on providing information for newer programmers. He provides plenty of development tips and is a must have for software development lists of Twitter channels to follow.

Four Signs Your Custom Software Programming Company Is About to Let You Down

December 10, 2015

custom programming company

Is your software programming company failing to deliver? Here’s how you can tell.

At Ayoka, we’re fortunate to work in an industry where there are a lot of very smart and competent folks building great software. Unfortunately, not every software programming company can meet client requirements. It’s not always possible to tell that this is going to happen until a lot of time and money has been invested. But there are usually some warning signs of impending project implosion. Here’s what business clients should watch out for:

#1 A Steep Decline in Communication

No software company likes to admit defeat. They would rather avoid the conversation altogether and hope you go away. When a project appears to have stalled out and you can’t get an explanation about why, chances are high that things have gotten complicated.

#2 A Sudden Increase in Costs

Has the projected price of your custom application suddenly started resembling a hockey stick graph? If that’s because you decided to add a bunch of additional features, the spike may be valid. But if a price increase comes out of the blue, it may be a sign that the software firm left some important information off their original bid.

#3 An Overly Flashy Demo

The first time you see the brand new piece of software designed for your company can be exciting. But it can also be a bit of a letdown if you were expecting a lot of bells and whistles. Keep in mind that the purpose of a good demo is to demonstrate functionality and ensure your real objectives are being met. If a company is focusing too much on the “Wow” factor instead of the “How” factor, that’s a sign that you may be looking at a product that has more style than substance.

#4 Sketchy Documentation

If the software programming company delivers an app that seems to work fine but that has little documentation, that’s a warning sign that there will be problems later. A software firm that plans to be around over the long term will make sure there is detailed documentation available for ongoing maintenance of the application.

At Ayoka, we focus on what’s important to you and your business for an outcome you can rely on. Contact us at 817-210-4042 to talk through your project.

Creativity Belongs to Software Control Systems

June 18, 2015

Prominent enterprises that excel in their respective industries have the ability to accurately eliminate their weaknesses, identify beneficial opportunities, and successfully implement those solutions to stay current and maximize their potential. When making the decision to update their IT infrastructures, costs are often allocated for installations of new and expensive application-specific hardware when they should be pointed towards maximizing their existing systems with robust software.

Performance EngineeringSoftware control systems utilize custom control schemes to optimize your existing network systems while offering remote monitoring and reporting that, without the software system, would be almost impossible to implement and manage with hardware capabilities on their own. Software efficiency can be attributed to rising levels of abstraction in code that gives software architects the ability to conceptualize, design, and articulate your business needs across your network system by harnessing more power through meaningful design. With efficiency, updates that give firms the opportunity to add features, fix mistakes, and optimize performance can be easily tested and deployed for your use. After your hardware’s computing power has been tested and accurately measured, the software design can be engineered to manage and handle computing demands while providing an extra layer of security. The resulting IT architecture offers greater energy efficiency, reduced maintenance costs, transparency through detailed reporting, and the ability to integrate seamlessly with new technologies as they become available.

At Ayoka, we seek to help our clients maximize the potential of their assets and prepare them for new functionality integration in an open source architecture that allows for future enhancements to services as technologies evolve and your unique business needs expand. This synergistic approach to application modernization improves productivity while mitigating risk. Achieving what you need is getting more than what you want. Call Ayoka today to experience the difference in custom software development!

Legal Implications to Customize Open-Source

May 26, 2015

Companies that excel in their industries can accurately address their weaknesses, identify beneficial opportunities, and successfully implement those solutions to stay current and maximize potential. The top reasons cited for enterprises leaning from SaaS and toward DIFM as a goal when working towards a custom software solution include the growth of efficiency experienced by their employees, the purpose-built design of your application that will cater to your specific needs, and the ability for our developers at Ayoka to communicate and quickly give feedback, updates, and enhancements by providing continuous delivery. We focus on building a comprehensive strategy coupled with incremental testing, as they are often overlooked but are imperative, to bring the best software to you.

software-auditImplementation of a solution that utilizes your existing commercial software coupled with open-source software introduces interoperability paradigms that could impede on the ability of your systems to exchange services so as to operate effectively together. Software incompatibility can encompass software components or entire systems that cannot work satisfactorily together on the same computer or across the network of systems, and Ayoka adeptly implements its software services to allow clients to build new applications or enhance their existing applications while maintaining control over their intellectual property. 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 since a lack “of standardization and governance can adversely affect the performance and cost efficiency of your software architecture.”

Ayoka has helped even traditional providers assess their use of open source and whether it’s embedded in their business systems, then help them segue into an optimal, customized, solution that make their businesses better! Most developers that contribute to the open-source community build software components that are optimized for flexibility, which means the code must be streamlined for speed and strength while remaining secure for use. You can reduce maintenance costs due to performance problems and ad hoc fixes that are not scalable while reducing the need to deal with security vulnerabilities and system issues that are tied to performance by utilizing open-source software, since you’re backed by updates, documentation, and support from the whole developer community. Implementation of customized reporting tools, process optimization and management, and access to our support team can also bridge the gap between you and your business goals!  Your own custom software applications can be maintained as long as your company needs it, while licensed business software is susceptible to updates and discontinuation at the licensing entity’s discretion.  At Ayoka, we are experienced in delivering enterprise architecture and technology services designed to help businesses from an array of industries to consolidate their seemingly disparate technologies into seamless, fully integrated systems that meet their specific business goals.

The industries that stand to gain the most from custom software integration are the  industries. Enterprises see the benefits of switching to a more modern application platform since the time and cost required to build, deploy, and maintain custom software solutions is less than working against out-of-the-box solutions. Ayoka’s co-sourcing application services allows your in-house IT personnel to retain oversight control of your enterprise applications while leveraging our dedicated resources. Emphasizing a tailored approach to serving our customers, Ayoka performs a range of projects from software due diligence to custom programming services. Call us today at 817-210-4042!

Optimal Healthcare Information Technology to Track Interventions

May 21, 2015

Hospitals and other health care organizations have been working with software development companies to reduce medication errors by utilizing health information technology (HIT), improving processes with the help of evidence-based management, mitigating risk of errors that cause harm, and building a system that prioritizes security for safety and quality care. Ayoka’s experience with clinical analytics, HIPAA compliant software, and health records management provides a robust foundation for providing security, privacy, and records analysis through data monitoring, reporting and business intelligence solutions like evidence-based management.

healthcare_software_developmentMost medical records are still stored on paper, which makes it hard to coordinate healthcare, measure quality or reduce medical errors. It’s estimated that storing medical records on paper costs twice as much as electronic claims. The Department of Health and Human Services and the FDA have been a driving force behind the overhaul of current healthcare practices. Medication errors reported to the FDA stems from an array of influences, from poor communication, misinterpreted handwriting, drug name or label confusion, lack of employee knowledge, and lack of patient understanding about a drug’s directions. “But it’s important to recognize that such errors are due to multiple factors in a complex medical system,” says Paul Seligman, M.D., director of the FDA’s Office of Pharmacoepidemiology and Statistical Science.

Healthcare systems that utilize HIT, like computerized physician order entry (CPOE), automated dispensing, barcode medication administration, electronic medication reconciliation, and access to personal health records, have seen a drop in medication errors while automated notes and records, order entry, and clinical decision support among providers report fewer complications, lower mortality rates, and lower costs. Ayoka’s experience in custom software development for health care companies have offered the ability to receive data in real-time and open communication lines between medical and pharmaceutical staff, while complying with HIPAA and other regulations to avoid misappropriationEMR applications for mobile devices and smartphone software development provide new options for health records management, and these interactive applications may be used to educate patients about appropriate medication use and remind them to refill or take medications as prescribed. Online connectivity would bring about a more sophisticated style of monitoring, interaction, and communication between health care providers and patients.

Overall, discussions around electronic medical records (EMR) with concern of the health and safety of patients are leading to an increase demand for medical software development with the goal of accessibility and readability coupled with a competent HIT infrastructure for optimal health records management. Serving clients through close collaboration is our goal at Ayoka, a Texas software development company. Call us today at 817-210-4042 to experience true service in healthcare application development!

Why Custom Software Providers are a Resource for IT

April 28, 2015

CTOs, CIOs and other IT decision-makers are turning to custom software providers to build new software that is tailored to their specific business needs. Custom software developers perform much needed tasks that contribute to a company’s core competencies such as systems integration, IT outsourcing, and business process outsourcing, along with offering software and hardware support. The necessity for the optimization of the processes that make up the business ecosystem has been the driving force behind IT services and custom solutions. In a survey conducted by Forrester Consulting for Thoughtworks called, “Driving Innovation Using the Right Skills: The Value of Custom Software Development,” a trend emerged that illustrated that while enterprises need adept software developers, they are really looking for a strategic partner with whom they can achieve their business goals.

Agile Development for EnterpriseCraig Gorsline, president and Chief Operating Officer at ThoughtWorks stated that “Business and IT leaders are under pressure to deliver a continuous stream of standout digital experiences.” 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. When asked, 82% of the survey respondents stated that custom software meets their business needs better than packaged IT tools. CIOs and CTOs are the most dependable and influential team members in a company. About half of the respondents feel that custom software would be beneficial-but they are lacking the time and skills to do it in-house, so they use their technological prowess to scope out the best custom software development company to hire-and they are willing to pay a premium for advanced software capabilities. While about 25% are looking for knowledge of agile developmental practices in a custom app development provider and 22% seek user interface design skills, over half of the respondents wanted a company who is experienced in both development and familiar with the industry they work in.

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 productivity or even grind progress to a halt. Companies like Facebook have achieved success by utilizing purpose-built, custom software that is centric on their current and anticipated business objectives. 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. Forbes advocates making the jump to a customized software solution, stating that “custom software is well worth the resources it requires if you are hoping to build a business of meaningful scale.”

The biggest challenge in picking a custom software development company can be finding the right one that you can forge a lasting and equitable relationship with. It’s more than selecting a provider based on their programming skills or their knowledge of your industry – it’s the development company’s willingness to go that extra mile to make sure your software application is just what you need, and even better than you imagined it. At Ayoka, our team works hard to understand your business and we build trust through continuous delivery in our unique practices of agile software development. To experience a refreshing approach to customer service in enterprise application development, call us today at 817-210-4042.

Upgrading from SaaS to DIFM in Enterprise Software Development

April 21, 2015

Custom software development embodies the concept of Do It For Me – rather than learning how to use a variety of software packages, you can have a system built that can be maintained for you, saving time and money while guaranteeing a return on investment. Anthony P. Lee wrote in his TechCrunch article that “DIFM combines technology automation with specialized labor to deliver a complete solution to a business problem. It’s as much about people-powered customer service as it is about code-powered efficiency.”

Baby boomers and consumers who are less concerned with the notion Do It Yourself and more concerned with getting things done-the right way-have been the driving force behind DIFM. This new and innovative form of consumerism has been the call-to-action of revamped startup industries like food delivery, pickup and rideshare, even apparel delivery-complete with fashion advice. Many of these startups aren’t bound by the old way of maintaining inventory and managing warehouses-they’re based on bringing both new and existing companies back into the view-and backyard-of consumers. For software development, DIFM encompasses the utilization of open-source software and integration of a company’s existing applications with new and unique functionalities that your company can benefit from since they’re tailored to your needs. To maximize your company’s productivity, your end users need to be adept in utilization of your software’s capabilities and your software needs to anticipate the needs of your business. Building customized applications can prove to be the perfect fit with Ayoka’s help, as our developers can scale your application to grow with your company while maintaining program usability and security.

Helping others through DIFMLee eloquently pointed out that “businesses have complex needs, such as payments, accounting, payroll, benefits, tax, inventory and scheduling.” Dealing with vendors for a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution can result in the purchase of a less than optimal solution while costing time and money. The Vendor-client relationship in the search for a fitting SaaS solution can teeter back and forth based on a vendor’s performance and a client’s articulation of their specific needs. Small businesses often work with vendors that stall, mislead, misunderstand, or lose communication during project iterations. Out-of-the-box solutions don’t always end up benefitting your company in the long-run after implementation, either. Working with poor performance in your software systems creates a bottleneck for productivity in your business. Ayoka’s software services allow clients to build new applications or enhance their existing applications while maintaining control over their intellectual property. If your company has already implemented an out-of-the-box software solution, Ayoka’s custom software solutions can be seamlessly integrated to meet your company’s unique needs.

Ayoka means “bringing joy to all,” and DIFM encompasses more than just a do-it-for-me attitude. Helping businesses grow through an optimized software system that brings joy to our customers brings joy to every one of the employees here at Ayoka! We enjoy the teaming and collaborative nature of application development. We have accumulated experience in an array of fields and we revel in learning about new industries. As a Dallas custom software development company, our objective is to deliver the best customer service in design, building, and maintenance of your enterprise applications-promising software with a service. Please call us today at 817-210-4042!

Ayoka Utilizes Cloud Computing & Big Data to Bring Tech to Enterprises

April 16, 2015

Companies in the enterprise are quickly realizing the importance of process automation, remote accessibility, and mobile presence. No matter how far away from ‘tech’ your company may seem, you’re becoming tech companies-and to your advantage-data companies. To continue growth and accessibility in this changing world, it’s important to build systems that are scalable and offer the best way for your users to access information, but efficiently managing the flow of information across your enterprise is only one component in a successful data integration strategy.

cloud computing for industriesIn Tuesday’s blog, we talked about companies’ aging IT infrastructures, the inability for them to anticipate such an amount of information, and the lack of a means to access and properly integrate the data. Lack of standardization and governance can adversely affect the performance and cost efficiency of your IT architecture. The top reasons cited for leaning toward custom software solutions included the efficiency of that type of software, the purpose-built design, and the ability of the company to make updates and enhancements with continuous delivery. 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.

At Ayoka, data integration services provide cost-effective, custom designed, solutions to help you consolidate, synchronize, distribute and archive data and information across your entire enterprise network. With our knowledge of cloud computing, data integration, monitoring, and reporting, you won’t have to worry about the security and maintenance of servers you’re hosted on or the scalability of your application. Our services provide standardization and consistency while ensuring compliance with governmental regulations and corporate governance requirements.

We provide enterprise software development services and develop ever-innovative IT solutions while utilizing open-source APIs to keep costs low and stay up to date. We have helped clients spanning a wide array of industries-including financial services, manufacturing, insurance, e-government, and healthcare; we are located in Texas, and we help clients uncover innovative ways to get information to their customers! Call us at 817-210-4042 to learn more.

Big Data Helps New Enterprises Move Into the Software Environment with APIs

April 14, 2015

With the advent of social media, process automation, remote accessibility, and mobile presence, every company, no matter how far away from ‘tech’ they may seem, is becoming a tech company-and to their advantage-a data company. Big Data encompasses large amounts of aggregated data that combines structured data models and relational databases with unstructured data, like text and images, to bring new insights into consumer behavior and open avenues that bridge businesses with other businesses and consumers.Financial services companies sell data through cloud API services

Many companies’ aging IT infrastructures were not built to anticipate such an amount of information and without a means to access and properly integrate the data, some businesses have since lowered its priority. As a result, forward-thinking enterprises have outsourced their consulting and Joe McKendrick and Gil Press point out that while IT giants like Oracle and IBM are still the go-to names in the IT industry, their legacy will soon give way to web-born digital natives like Amazon and other IT-intensive companies that have successfully incorporated big data into their IT infrastructure from the core and throughout the stack, developing ever-innovative IT solutions while utilizing open-source APIs.

Large financial enterprises have turned to cloud computing and data management services in search of solutions that provide effective management of past, current, and future data. Bank of America began implementation of redefining its software-defined infrastructures back 2013 with plans to have 80% of its workloads running on infrastructures inspired and built by third-party web companies by 2018. The Wall Street Journal points out that “the transformation at Bank of America reflects the migration of state-of-the art information technology developed by Internet companies into the broader economy.” Over 60% of companies, including big names like Fidelity and Apple, are helping small companies that specialize in big data to push traditional boundaries in the enterprise through collaboration with these non-traditional providers and consultants in hopes of merging their industries to deliver optimized software that is scalable and tailored to their changing needs. Furthermore, in a study conducted by CapGemini and EMC, Big & Fast Data: The Rise of Insight-Driven Business, they detailed that companies who are left behind report a significant level of disruption from new competitors moving into their industry from adjacent industries (27%), and over half (53%) expect to face increased competition from start-ups enabled by data. Big Data and its proper implementation in the enterprise is quickly becoming more important than a company’s legacy products and services in lieu of the opportunity to gain insights that big data analytics can deliver, causing every company to delve into custom software and data management.

Ayoka provides enterprise software development services for clients in the financial services industry; we are located in Texas, and we help clients uncover innovative ways to get information to their customers! Call us at 817-210-4042 to learn more. It’s easy for Senior executives to see their IT systems improve, since it is imperative to keep pace with the evolving needs of customers customers, suppliers and meet key stakeholder requirements outside of their organizations.

Windows Open Source? If so, its Huge for Software Developers

April 7, 2015

Satya Nadella has proven himself to be forward-thinking and generating return on the investments that Microsoft has worked so hard on since he’s taken the position as CEO 16 months ago. His 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. At ChefConf 2015, Microsoft’s CTO of the Azure cloud platform, Mark Russinovich, expressed that an open-source Windows OS is possible-but what does that mean?!Possibility of Windows Open Source and Software Development Impact

Under Nadella, Microsoft has become internally open-source, which allows all employees to inspect and share each others’ code, in an effort to encourage collaboration, secure code development, and code reuse. He says that at Microsoft, “everyone knows what a developer does and what a product manager does, but those roles need an overhaul.” Microsoft has already released .NET Core as open source in an effort to encourage sharing of documentation, libraries, and bug fixes, which Russinovich endorses since it, “is an enabling technology that really can get people started on other Microsoft solutions.” Since then, Microsoft has expressed plans to release a fully-operational Windows 10 ROM for Android smartphone users to upload and enjoy along with free upgrades to Windows 10 for current Windows OS users on both desktop and mobile. While open sourcing the Windows OS won’t happen today-or even tomorrow, Russinovich explained that “the company is having every conversation that could be imagined about what to do with its software and services,” and while the changes Microsoft has made aren’t felt widely in the regular consumer community-yet, Russinovich knows that Microsoft’s developer and enterprise communities generate and create demand for open-source solutions, “that’s the reality we live in today.”

With an open source Windows OS, developers could tailor the Windows environment to meet the unique needs of clients and consumers-and essentially become a part of the Windows team by enhancing existing features while fixing bugs, maintaining security, and adding needed functionalities. Windows has already created over 1,000 GitHub repositories for their open source software. On the other hand, Windows OS’ existing vulnerabilities need to be addressed and patched prior to going open source in order to protect all of its users from malicious developers who could exploit them. Windows could prioritize a safe, secure, repository for their OS that is similar to their existing internal open source environment to protect against malicious developers who could commit viral code to their software branches.

The time of paid allowance for use of closed-source software seems to be coming to a close, with the ever-popular Google and Android running on mobile devices and Linux powering large data centers. The end result of open source is freedom of choice for everyone and the ability to enjoy powerful, rich applications that can finally take full advantage of the resources on their desktops and mobile devices. Imagine that developers would be able to modify Windows’ OS, enterprises and consumers would be able to utilize the customized versions to serve whatever needs they require. Ayoka is a .NET software development company  that also offers consulting services for a wide range of web, enterprise, and mobile software applications.

Evidence-based Management for an Optimized Work Environment

February 10, 2015

Evidence-based management (EBMgt or EBM) is an emerging movement to explicitly use the current, best evidence in management and decision-making. Its roots are in empiricism and have become widely practiced in the medical field and in policy-making. These are quality movements aimed at applying the scientific method to evaluating practices with the goal of optimization instead of relying on what Gunther Verheyen, a pioneer in Evidence-based management, describes as “guesses, assumptions, hierarchy, gut feel, seniority, and other opaque and subjective factors.”

Evidence-based management takes cues from ‘evidence’ that properly illustrate the impact that the software is having on the market it’s being released in, keeping its users and its competitors in scope, and reflecting the value the software brings to the company. Evidence of the value of software is collected on the outcome of development. The growth and survival of companies that sell software as a service depend on the quality of the software that they deliver with their services. With evidence at hand, revision and optimization of a company’s practices will positively influence any company’s value. Verheyen states that “managerial decisions over the creation of the software, the selected process and practices, can then be made against the assumption of improving the value. Assumptions obviously need to be frequently validated, hence the need for regular updates of evidence, the detection of patterns, and the correlation with the adoption of process and practices as reflected in secondary evidence.”

There are many methodologies and approaches to implement evidence-based management, and they all share these characteristics:

  • identify and diagnose organizational compatibility with the proposed update by analyzing current processes and the value of implementation
  • discuss and test a theory that will prove that the proposed update will be effective, then identify the impacts of the update if it is implemented
  • the conscious creation and inclusion of a counter-fact: what would have occurred if the update had not been implemented?
  • measure organizational value by outlining and quantifying current value of process and software, opportunity cost of implementation and its effects
  • if the proposition seems optimal and beneficial, beginning iterations of implementation of the proposed update
  • examination of both direct and indirect effects that occur because of the update
  • identification of the uncertainties and controls for other influences outside of the update that may have an effect on the outcome of implementation
  • testing and implementation in other projects, where necessary

Evidence-based implementations should flow in a cost-benefit framework created to estimate a payoff if the update was to be implemented. Since there is a difficulty in quantifying some effects and outcomes of the update, it is mostly focused on whether or not benefits will outweigh costs of implementation, like time allocation. Verheyen states that, “Software development delivers products that are often critical, to society, and for the survival of its producing organizations.” It’s important to employ evidence-based management in software development in order to mitigate risk of loss of important capital, data, and even lives. Verheyen does not oust the importance of using intuition and experience in software development, but rather calls for use of evidence-based management to compliment it. He points out that, “unfortunately most organizations are overly focused on how the software is being produced, not on the outcome. In terms of value of software, such evidence is of secondary importance. It serves internal organizational purposes only, with little meaning over the outcome.”

With the right mindset, evidence-based management can ensure that your company is making the right moves, at the right times, for the right reasons.

Continuous Delivery Keeps on Giving!

February 5, 2015

Software application’s growing complexity coupled with the need for constant updates make it difficult for companies that were once ahead to keep up without moving beyond the Agile methodology and embracing continuous delivery (CD) to meet the ever-changing needs of clients. CD represents a process or project pipeline that consistently pushes enhancements and bug fixes for the client to review and give feedback.

Continuous delivery is in action in notable companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook. It’s quickly being adopted by companies that offer Software as a Service (SaaS) along with non-SaaS companies like boxed/on-premise software, hardware/embedded components, industrial goods and services, and consumer goods and services.

Ayoka practices the useful technique of developing code in each developer’s local environment through code branching to leave the environment unchanged until a bug or new implementation has been completed before making a push. We take care not to run multiple code branches at once and make frequent code pulls to optimize our individual efforts. On the client side, we focus on meeting our clients’ needs through pragmatic improvements to the way software is developed and taken into production. We examine open source alternatives to lower your cost of ownership while offering scalability to accommodate growth and facilitate emerging technologies. Our end-to-end build and deployment models give insight with overarching visibility, traceability, orchestration and access control for the entire continuous delivery stream. Ayoka designs custom enterprise software solutions and deploys business process management solutions that utilize proprietary and open source software capable of replacing or integrating with legacy software systems.

Creation of a customized solution that is tailored and maintained by our in-house developers that is based on your company’s needs while understanding what your end users expect will improve your application’s quality while offering us the opportunity to adapt your software to your ever-changing needs! We can meet with your staff and your end users to define software development processes to ensure that your unique company can grow through continuous delivery of scalable, robust, and reliable software.

Continuous Delivery in the Enterprise

February 3, 2015

The growing need for dynamic and scalable software calls for the use of techniques like automated testing and continuous integration to develop easily packaged and testable software to be deployed to testing or staging servers, resulting in the ability to quickly and reliably push enhancements and bug fixes to clients on demand at low risk and with less effort and stress-while retaining the quality. Continuous delivery aims to improve on that software delivery process, and increasing numbers of software development companies are adopting it to meet the ever-changing needs of clients.

Continuous delivery is in action in notable companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook. It’s quickly being adopted by companies that offer Software as a Service (SaaS) along with non-SaaS companies like boxed/on-premise software, hardware/embedded components, industrial goods and services, and consumer goods and services.

Continuous delivery can be utilized with ASP.NET, and NoSQL can eliminate the step of data migrations and schema changes, which are often manual steps in a continuous delivery environment. Other useful techniques for developing code in isolation, such as code branching, play a big part of the continuous delivery environment, but must be adapted to fit the principles of continuous delivery. Practices like running multiple code branches at once can be unnecessarily problematic and impractical since the code needs to be properly managed and releasable code must be built early in the process from a single code branch if it is to successfully pass through all phases of the pipeline.

In the end, continuous development calls for the best practices of software development and management to allow quick reaction to client feedback and developer updates, reduce risk through controlled deployments to staging and testing servers, exposing of inefficiencies and unnecessary costs through a streamlined use of tools, and a flexible release option to cater to your clients’ and users’ needs.

3 Benefits of Monitoring and Reporting

January 8, 2015

Monitoring and reporting solutions allow you to manage IT data centers, virtual environments, or cloud servers with ease. The results of these analyses offer insight into availability, performance, and utilization. Examining existing vulnerabilities in a system will help to properly diagnose core issues and aid in proper creation and implementation of an optimized solution.

1. Productivity is increased with the ability to correctly identify weak points in your systems and correct them to mitigate risk for any warnings to be overlooked, leading to potentially crippling issues. It’s best to measure and monitor software inventory to be well informed you when changes occur, such as when software updates are downloaded or when network identifiers change. Allowing hardware to get older and fail, neglecting to perform regular system backups, identifying and securing holes in code, and failing to update software can all be sources of vulnerabilities. Identifying and improving these vulnerabilities will help to progress daily work performance, prevent business disruption, and see an immediate return on investment in the form of security.

2. Reliability in your systems are improved when you get detailed reporting and analysis on critical data that analyze IT and web operation service levels, resource utilization efficiency, exception reports, and operations strategies. Event management can send alerts to network administrators when the homeostasis of the system changes in any way-from databases going down to configuration or inventory changes. The notifications can be sent via SMS-text, email, or performing specific automated duties. The ability to spot these vulnerabilities early on and monitor them as solutions are implemented will save you and your clients time and energy spent making big changes to your systems.

3. Piece of mind is granted when you know that the systems you managed are being properly monitored, that your vulnerabilities are being tested and updated to mitigate risk of loss of data, time, and money. Performing capacity planning properly will help your application services scale appropriately with increasing demand. With these abilities, you determine what your existing network systems can handle to ensure successful deployment of new implementations while mitigating risk associated with major change by proactively detecting performance issues.

There is a lot to gain from reporting and monitoring your network systems, determining what your strong points and weaknesses are, then implementing these new and improved processes that are proven to be secure while utilizing event management that your administrators when any changes or vulnerabilities are noticed. In addition to piece of mind, customer loyalty and retention can be gained with consistent performance and utilization of the best practices for monitoring and reporting.

Best of Tech 2014

January 2, 2015

Since the new year is just beginning, I wanted to take some time to put together last year’s memorable events in tech across multiple industries to reflect on. Programming advances in enterprise, new healthcare technologies that were adopted, industrial revolutions through utilization of robots, finance acquisitions and new accessibility to banking, optimization of clean energy, connected cars, cable wars and the growth of media accessibility, security vulnerabilities and hacks, wearables, and the Internet of Things have all taken place this year and set the stage for what will happen this coming year!

10. Programming Development for mobile has driven change in the web environment and the way we interact with our devices entirely. New hardware is becoming more readily available for consumers and brought about big changes to the way mobile  is optimized for both individuals and the enterprise, and companies are poised to meet the growing demands. This year, Google revealed their new language that takes visual aesthetic as priority, called Material Design, and it utilizes tactile actions and propensities, optimizes based on device size, and magnifies the basic intentions of design while giving meaning to motion. Apple’s new Swift language is optimized for mobile and builds on the fundamentals of C and the widely used Objective-C without what Apple described as ‘constraints’ of C compatibility. It’s the new language for Cocoa and Cocoa Touch, the frameworks for building software on iOS and it’s readily compatible with existing Objective-C code. Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s new CEO, declared that the new .NET Core will be open source with the ability to build for and support all development platforms.

9. Healthcare The healthcare industry has embraced new technologies this year and has streamlined the process of many appointments, from eyeglass fittings to regular checkups. Many new technologies are equipped with noninvasive sensors, microchips and embedded miniaturized electronics that can model clinical trails to test the safety and efficacy for treatment on a patient. People are already able to buy wearables integrated with sensors and microchips to improve and monitor their health. Because mobile solutions allow data to be collected at a much faster rate, data can be collected with greater flexibility and more frequently during clinical trials. The mobile healthcare market and its devices, applications, and services are expected to grow by 25% annually, exceeding $8 billion by 2018.

Security, scalability and the ability to connect the mobile apps to other healthcare systems or centralized databases are top priorities for software developers who are building these new mobile applications. Advanced Encryption Standards (AES) of handling electronic data on the client and the server-side ensure that data is not lost or misused by physicians or malicious users. “Security by Design” is the notion that holds these principles of privacy and security from the beginning of the development and implementation processes. Federal Health IT professionals have since taken interoperability as a priority in an attempt to promote health information exchange, they are contending with what may be misappropriation from doctors and other IT professionals and have found themselves in an investigation on what entities are behind what’s being called the “information backing problem.”

8. Industry As automated machines and robotics segue into the manufacturing process by performing repetitive procedures, innovations are being made to optimize their presence in the industry. Through implementations of different qualities, like scanners for bar-codes or the ability to process at high speeds to increase productivity, we have seen manufacturers improve space once congested by production lines. Application development to connect to equipment and devices to a centralized database by utilizing traditional and open-source frameworks to enable web-based remote monitoring of production environments, and design e-commerce systems for distributors that feature back-end integration for production work orders, inventory database, and shipping systems to allow technical operations management through every part of the manufacturing process. Robots and automated machines have been conveniently filling jobs that humans find boring and autonomous while we implement machine learning, sensors, and artificial cognition in hopes of them being able to take on even more human jobs, alleviating the need for human labor and opening the job field so that humans can continue to self-actualize through new jobs. It’s hard to believe when you hear that 70 percent of today’s jobs will be replaced by robots by the end of the century! They’ll do jobs we can’t do at all, and they’ll come to do jobs that we never imagined needing to be done. As we segue out of these position, we will be able to finally discover new jobs for ourselves, new tasks that expand who we are. We can teach the robots take our jobs like we did in the Industrial Revolution so we can follow the intrinsic motivation to do more work that matters to us!

This holiday season, many turned to online shopping to send and receive purchases for gifts. Current industry solutions call for managers and workers to pull inventory and get them ready to ship, but Amazon has banded with Kiva Systems to cut links from the supply chain and provide products to consumers at a higher speed. Amazon’s acquisition of Kiva Systems allows them to utilize industrial app development to simplify their picking and packing process. So instead of the pick-and-pack system of workers choosing the correct products-Kiva’s robots bring the products to the managers. Their mission was for products to be able to choose themselves and benefits the workers at Amazon who would have to move across large distribution centers to find products and fulfill orders. They also made a big step in utilization of drones for the enterprise by testing Amazon Prime Air, and we can only hope that the FAA allows Amazon to continue their innovations to give us all the best service that we can hope for while cutting emissions and the $4 billion in shipping expenses. Maybe soon we can receive our small Amazon purchases promptly and unscathed, Amazon’s vice president of global public policy, Paul Mesiner, hopes that “one day, seeing Amazon Prime Air will be as normal as seeing mail trucks.”

7. Finance This year, we have seen an increase in accessibility to our banking accounts through mobile banking apps that offer remote money management, photo check depositing, and card-less payment options through Apple Pay, which was possibly the most highly anticipated functionality that Apple has offered as a service, to make card payments in-store and in-applications as secure as possible.

Enterprise made big investments in IPOs, acquisitions, and mergers. PayPal went on its own this year, breaking away from Amazon to concentrate on its specialized services, then Amazon went forward and acquired for $970 million! Google bought DeepMind, the UK company with the goal of making computers that think more humanistically, for $500 million. Now they have acquired Titan Aerospace and plan to utilize its products and services to shower the world in Internet access with high-altitude flying drones. During the acquisition of Titan Aerospace, Google ran into another company that has also been buying up technologies, like Oculus Rift, and has been making plans to implement their newly acquired products and services to further interpersonal relations-that company is Facebook.

6. Energy / Lifestyle This year, President Obama and the EPA aim to fund clean energy technologies that will ultimately power millions of homes and create tens of thousands of jobs while reducing greenhouse gas pollutants, and to enforce the fuel economy standards for trucks, buses and vans that will reduce emissions by hundreds of millions of tons. Carbon pollution is the biggest driver of climate change, and the United States’ use of electricity and transportation, along with industry and commerce, make up 92% of our greenhouse gas emissions.

Through use of the smart grid model for energy providers to monitor and communicate with the electric grids while delivering power, we hope to utilize new technologies like Nest since heating and cooling systems account for more than half of all home energy bills and could be cut down by at least 25% with careful monitoring and customization. Nest’s energy-efficient technology can help you to monitor and cut down on energy usage by offering scheduling that adapts to your heating/cooling trends, auto-away sensors to shut off the heating/cooling when you’re not around along with the ability to control the thermostat remotely.

5. Transportation This year, we have seen advances in remote operation of drones and unmanned vehicles from the Department of Defense. Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) can be controlled remotely through teleoperation and its functionalities have even been in the works at our local University of Texas at Arlington. They’re equipped with sensors, cameras, and attachments that enable sampling while offering the ability to have information displayed to the operator. These machines can operate in GPS-denied environments and are equipped with machine learning techniques that can be applied to motion planning and perception which prove perfect for clearing obstructions, or performing perimeter security to ultimately protect a human Warfighter from potential danger while improving safety and situational awareness. They hope to take more soldiers out of stressful and dangerous situations to save lives. Those weary of the current US drone operations in the Middle East that relied on GPS for courses and bombing routes that left thousands of civilians dead will hopefully find comfort in the DoD’s Roadmap, since the officials say that while the unmanned naval vessels will be able to track down and follow adversaries, a human operator will have to fire weapons.

We have seen increased implementation of computer interfaces in our vehicles and The Connected Car concept has been the topic of discussion and a goal for most all tech companies, including big names like Google and AT&T who hope to integrate their existing big data into the automotive industry to address both safety and security issues. Lengthy conceptualization times and attention to detail have yielded great results and connected cars have already surpassed expectations by offering in-car diagnostics and satellite mapping systems. Be on the lookout for new native applications that will help to unlock your doors, find your car’s location, or remotely start your car all from your smartphone. These manufacturers have melded minds with developers and engineers to bring the future of the driving experience to you!

4. Media Accessibility We all remember the acquisition between IBM and Apple and Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, offering freemiums that benefit smartphone users everywhere while concentrating on a mobile-first and cloud-first movement that will take Microsoft in a new direction. Carmelo Anthony became a venture capitalist when he familiarized himself with wearable tech his New York Knicks teammates were wearing to quantify their performance and has since formed an alliance with his cofounder Stuart Goldfarb to create M7 Tech Partners with a goal of keeping an eye out for new technologies to fund.

Blackberry and Samsung joined forces to bring management-services to consumers, rivaling the pair IBM and Apple who officially teamed up to develop enterprise-specific applications, combining user-friendliness and familiarity with big data tech by utilizing IBM’s ability to offer security, analytics, and device management along with Apple’s already popular iPads and iPhone. With the unveiling of the DirecTv/AT&T and the Comcast/Time Warner Cable mergers and their attempts to captivate the consumers of television and Internet here in the US, Google merged its GoogleTV service into Chromecast which is compatible on Andriod and iOS mobile platforms along with Chrome, Apple, and Windows operating systems to watch online content on their systems without the need for a new TV, new remotes or interfaces. Regarding the merger between DirecTV and AT&T, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said: “This is a unique opportunity that will redefine the video entertainment industry and create a company able to offer new bundles and deliver content to consumers across multiple screens – mobile devices, TVs, laptops, cars and even airplanes. At the same time, it creates immediate and long-term value for our shareholders..together we’ll be able to enhance innovation and provide customers new competitive choices for what they want in mobile, video and broadband services.” Google Fiber is being laid down in Austin to push growth and endorse the future of access to technology within the community. What does this amount of bandwidth offered by Google Fiber mean for the existing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Time Warner Cable and AT&T that offer 15Mbps as a standard bandwidth? Well, they seem to be lowering their prices and upping their standard bandwidth in an attempt to retain their existing customers, as well as make a point to commit other Austin residents to their service before Google Fiber hits the local market.

Convenience through accessibility is the main point of interest in the relationship between people and their devices. People are getting used to accessing their emails, playing games and being entertained, communicating, and even trying to get some work done with their personal devices. In fact, research firm IDC has estimated that nearly 70% of all smartphones used for business are actually employee-owned devices. BYOD, or “Bring Your Own Device,” is often the goto method of employees without mobile access to the business models and information going through their own devices to access the information, which is proactive, but ultimately opens a company and its information to security vulnerabilities that aren’t able to be managed by the company itself because the device is owned by the employee. We’ll see how this plays out with new enterprise options from IBM and Apple along with the growing need for native applications for company access on individuals’ mobile devices.

3. SecurityCyber Security breaches in which both employee and customer data were compromised made headlines-like those of Home Depot, Target, and Sony-which has led online shoppers to take heed and be aware of the point of sale systems they are using.This year, shopping via a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet has risen %15 and in-store pickup has offered the ultimate bridge between the available inventory of the web and the storefront. Consumers are expecting more to trust retailers in the form of valid SSL certificates and often look for security guarantees through the buying process. Expired or questionable certificates are flagged by Google and many do not even bother clicking through them, leading them to shop elsewhere, while the verified green SSL security lock you can see in the URL address bar increases customer loyalty by %60-as well it should! The Heartbleed bug exposed vulnerabilities in the SSL and allowed malicious sites to parade around behind the guise of secure web applications that are commonly used, like Ebay.The Heartbleed bug got its name from the implementation of OpenSSL’s cryptographic security extension, called Heartbeat. Since it turned out that Heartbeat exposes serious vulnerability in the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) of the Applications Layer in the Internet Protocol Suite, which is the designated protocol for providing and maintaining security on the Internet from the Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP) to HTTPS (the ‘S’ stands for secure), the bug was called Heartbleed.

2. Wearables This will be the year remembered for the explosion of wearables on the market, offering a myriad of devices that can be worn around the neck, or on the wrist, of the user to grant the ability for one to self-monitor and quantify their heart rates, steps taken daily, and even sleep habits. The fitbit flex allows you to set goals for yourself while earning badges upon completion, and it easily syncs with your computer or smartphone to provide monitoring and constant access to your real-time data through charts, graphs, and other tools. This data can be shared and This awesome wearable even has the app, MobileRun, that maps routes, tracks hikes and treks, record workouts, and even read barcodes of your favorite foods to manage nutritional information! Apple new Apple Watch, showcases the ability to utilize Touch ID to make card payments in-store and in-applications as secure as possible.

These awesome little gadgets don’t come without their share of privacy concerns. Information from sources like radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, which are in cars, computer equipment, smartphones, and other devices, can serve as a trove of information that can quickly grow into a conglomerate-hence the name “Big Data.” This big data can be harnessed and used by industries like insurance and marketing to identify consumer behaviors and utilize media real estate to build a well-structured, customer-centric, business plan. Data-driven strategies will help to broaden the perspective of both new and evolving business models. These help to understand aspects of a customer’s current assets, along with their purchasing and investing trends to help businesses develop new products and expand into new markets with insights that will attract and retain the best customers, gaining a competitive advantage among other businesses while ensuring return on investment. Tatiana Melnik, an attorney who works in healthcare IT explains, “The software is only as good as the developer.” The more consumer wearable devices and accompanying software released and evolve in this constantly-connected world we live in, the more potential security holes and privacy concerns the end user will find themselves vulnerable to.

1. Internet of Things The time of Internet of Things (IoT) already surrounds us in cutting edge technology integrated into our cars and our homes. We have the ability to remotely monitor our home security, our thermostats, and our car’s internal health. Service providers and great systems integrators see the potential for growth and reception by consumers and companies like Samsung and Google are taking the lead in IoT. The notion of the Internet of Everything, encompasses the idea that everything from shoes to to planes and could-and should-be connected through Internet. Companies like Cisco Systems project that the industry of the Internet of Everything will yield trillions of dollars in profits over the next ten years. Industrial Internet bridges together the practices of machine learning, big data, IoT, and machine-to-machine communications with the goal of real-time operations to connect us with the inanimate things around us from any device. Industrial internet can help people stay connected to capture and transfer knowledge between each other and entire information systems. General Electric CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, envisions a world of smart machines that will be able to diagnose their own problems and find solutions proactively.

Stanford and UCLA Berkley’s engineering teams combined forces to build a radio to be implemented into inanimate objects to receive and send information and instructions through other electronic devices. Amin Arbabian, assistant professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford, started this project with Ali Niknejad, director of the Wireless Research Center at UC Berkeley, back in 2011 with a goal of rethinking the entire concept of radio. Arabian’s ideal environment for the use of these radios is one where a network of them is dispersed with an area, since the high-frequency signals are not optimized for travel. While this may seem like a drawback, it actually opens a web of connectivity and management between the Internet and smart devices.

ARM announced their Device Server, med Tools, and free OS in hopes of accelerating the Internet of Things movement. In light of the anticipated demand, however, several hurdles come into view such as supply, lack of industry standards, global scalability, and the bourgeoning ecosystem for native application development. Company conglomerates like Thread Group hope to bridge that gap by building trust in their products and services by offering reliable, secure, networks and simple connectivity while maintaining low-power requisites from devices utilized and focusing on the education, marketing, and production of their certified products.

Staying Secure During the Shopping Season

December 23, 2014

Last year, eCommerce recorded unprecedented sales around the third and fourth quarters. Online sales have surpassed $1 billion in revenue and over %80 of consumers have said that they have shopped online to avoid the crowds when shopping for the best deals. With the onset of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the growing popularity of shopping from Thanksgiving Day through Christmas Eve, security becomes more paramount than ever. Cyber Security breaches in which both employee and customer data are compromised has made headlines through the year-like those of Home Depot, Target, and Sony-which has led online shoppers to take heed and be aware of the point of sale systems they are using. Today’s shoppers aren’t only showing us what they’re buying, but how.

This year, shopping via a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet has risen %15 and in-store pickup has offered the ultimate bridge between the available inventory of the web and the storefront. Consumers are expecting more to trust retailers in the form of valid SSL certificates and often look for security guarantees through the buying process. Expired or questionable certificates are flagged by Google and many do not even bother clicking through them, leading them to shop elsewhere, while the verified green SSL security lock you can see in the URL address bar increases customer loyalty by %60-as well it should! Use of SSL certificates are a given in a secure web environment, but going the extra mile and taking care to encrypt the consumers’ shopping trends through Always-On SSL, instead of only encrypting information through checkout, is an extra degree of security that could mitigate risk for a hack and mining of consumer data.

For you online shoppers, take care not to give too much information to retailers via email or on social media, and be sure to navigate to the web site or application to directly purchase instead of settling for shopping through a social media site or an unverified downloaded native app. Making sure all software is updated on your computers and devices will also help to mitigate the risk for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities from old versions that are patched in newer versions. While we expect retailers to utilize our purchasing, sharing, and other behavioral data to bring us relevant ads and content, we’re also unwittingly creating a profile for a hacker to take on and exploit, so be weary of social engineered or targeted scams that seem to come from your favorite retailer but have subtly different URL links or ask for too much personal information. Identity theft and credit fraud are terrible ordeals to go through, but malware can flourish on your computer system unnoticed long after the holiday season, and should not be overlooked either. Over one-third of malware-distributing sites and apps were identified as legitimately registered sites that were actually hacked.

Online shopping trends don’t look like they’re going anywhere but up, and they help both retailers and consumers all year around, so it’s just as important to know what’s expected of your online storefront as a retailer as it is to know the best ways to protect yourself as a consumer. Making sure to encrypt user data, keep up to date with software, and being careful with sensitive information like account numbers and passwords, can not only serve as a good practice and exercise of caution through the holiday season-but also through any time of the year!

5 Most Common Marketing Myths

November 25, 2014

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

November 18, 2014

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!

Do Software Developers Speak Your Language?

November 4, 2014

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!

5 Common Pains of Dealing with Vendors

October 21, 2014

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.