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Transportation Industry
Transportation Industry 992 388 InfoVision Admin

Transportation Industry

It’s been almost two years since the government’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program harnessed the power of big data to make the nation’s highways safer by collecting and sharing vast amounts of data on the trucks and truckers who carry 70% of all goods bought and sold in the U.S. The CSA affected over 200,000 trucking companies, and changed the way data was managed at every one of them, from single-truck independent operations to large enterprises with tens of thousands of drivers.

The CSA is a complex set of regulations that affect shippers as well as carriers. For the first time, shippers have access to a constant flow of big data, much of it structured in a way that didn’t fit into the logistics systems that shippers were using to manage their relationships with carriers before CSA. Although the rules weren’t intended as such, they’ve created a mini-hiring boom in transportation IT, resulting in a shortage of experienced transportation IT professionals in some parts of the country.

The goal of the law was simple: to weed out as many as 5 percent—or 150,000—of the nation’s 3 million or so long-haul truck drivers that the feds believed were involved in a high number of truck accidents and fatalities. The system is based on a complex system of scores that rate over 700,000 DOT-registered interstate trucking entities on seven “Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories,” known as “BASICs.”

The seven BASICs are:

  • Driving
  • Fatigued Driving
  • Driver Fitness
  • Alcohol and Drugs
  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Cargo Security (HM Compliance)
  • Crash History

Carriers are given “scores” in each category—higher the score, worse the performance. So-called “warning letters” go out to companies with scores above 65 (which mean that only 35 percent of carriers in their class have worse scores). For companies that carry hazardous materials (hazmat carriers), the cutoff score is 60.

When the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) unveiled the CSA in 2010, some carriers – especially smaller carriers – expected it to cause significant problems. At the time, Rob Abbott, vice president of safety policy for the American Trucking Associations (ATA) said that while the association supported the program’s objectives and potential to help safe, responsible carriers distinguish themselves from those who don’t emphasize safety, “We have genuine concerns with the program’s methodology, the means by which scores are developed, and perhaps the erroneous use of the scores in some areas.”

Transportation carriers had a year after the standards were unveiled to get ready, and the system went into effect nationwide in 2011. Since then, both shippers and carriers have seen significant changes in their IT strategies that have helped them manage the flow of data quickly and efficiently so that they can make better, faster decisions.

IT changes we’ve seen at InfoVision clients in the transportation industry include investment in robust data management and reporting tools, better data security, and a range of mobile initiatives. One of the biggest shifts has to refocus investment and reporting to include data gathered from CSA checks with the logistics planning systems that most carriers already had in place. Before CSA, many carriers used IT to monitor and control costs. Now, IT departments are charged with more compliance-related tasks.

The transportation industry has come to terms with CSA, adopting IT processes and procedures that help local, regional, and corporate management take action quickly to manage driver and vehicle compliance. But some issues remain, notably in how FMCSA handles updates to the reports on driver and carrier scores. For example, a driver or carrier’s score is affected when a violation is alleged – and some carriers believe that FMCSA makes it hard to get the violation removed if a court finds the driver or carrier innocent of the charges.

If you’re a shipper or carrier struggling with CSA and the demands that it places on your IT department and network infrastructure, talk to one of the transportation industry experts at InfoVision. When it comes to CSA compliance, you need IT staffing, enterprise applications, or mobile app development expertise that is rooted in your industry – a specialist, not a generalist – to maximize the results you get from your investment.

Big 4 Trends Changing IT Staffing
Big 4 Trends Changing IT Staffing 1024 683 InfoVision Admin

Big 4 Trends Changing IT Staffing

It’s hardly news that the “big 4” IT trends — cloud, mobile, social and data analytics – are changing enterprise IT. As they do, they’re also changing the IT staffing picture.  Some of the changes are obvious, as companies struggle to fill positions that didn’t exist until recently.

As the technology solutions enterprises need have changed, there have been less obvious effects on IT staffing as well.  Currently, the greatest IT staffing demands include:

  • Mobile app developers
  • Data warehouse analysts
  • User experience product designers
  • Virtualization/Cloud computing (SaaS, IaaS, PaaS)
  • Collaboration workflow
  • Computer systems manufacturers
  • Social media/Internet

Another fact that isn’t news is that IT spending is big business.  Forrester Research says that global spending on IT services hit $3.8 trillion by the end of 2012, with a projected growth rate of 8.3% in 2013.

Gartner says that spending on the “big 4” today (cloud, mobile, social and data analytics), companies are realizing that they need to rethink their IT staffing needs.  “IT staffs are being asked to design and develop new applications that will fulfill CIO and management directives to improve consumer interactivity online. These directives are driven by the desire to offer services and marketing on the platforms that consumers prefer, to automate services in order to reduce labor costs, and to better analyze online consumer behaviors for improved marketing performance,” explains Svetlana Sicular, Gartner’s Research Director.

At the same time, Sicular says, three of these trends (data analytics, cloud, and social) are at the peak of the “hype cycle”, while the hype around the fourth (mobile) continues to grow. Sicular says that the Gartner Hype Cycle is a graphic representation of the maturity and adoption cycles of specific technologies – and the hype cycle graphs for cloud, data analytics, mobile and social clearly show why it’s so hard to recruit top IT talent in these areas.

Rising Demand, Flat Budgets

Another factor that’s making recruiting difficult is that while spending on technology solutions are up this year, the overall trend for IT staffing budgets is flat, or even reduced. Instead of hiring more staff, IT departments are turning to supplemental staffing. Gartner predicts a 12% rise in the number of U.S. IT employees working for an IT staffing firm like InfoVision during 2013.

Whether the jobs are in-house or through an IT staffing firm, the skills and expertise required to fill them is higher than ever.  It’s easy to send low-level jobs off shore or automate them, but higher-level jobs are still in heavy demand.  Currently, the greatest demand for IT staff is in the areas of:

  • Mobile app developers
  • Data warehouse analysts
  • User experience product designers
  • Virtualization/Cloud computing (SaaS, IaaS, PaaS)
  • Collaboration workflow
  • Computer systems manufacturers
  • Social media/Internet

Competing for Top Talent

Competition for top talent with specialized skills means that it may be hard for those with lesser skills to get top salaries – or even find a new job.  Meanwhile, those who are truly rock stars in their field are finding it easier to get reasonable raises and are being recruited by IT staffing firms and enterprise IT departments alike.

Screening for job candidates is also being affected by the competition for top talent.  The screening process is more rigorous than ever, with many larger firms turning to IT staffing firms like InfoVision who are known for providing top talent on a contingency basis to help them fill permanent positions.

It’s all part of the push to reduce – or at least manage costs.  IT departments are hesitating to hire full time IT staff who require health insurance, benefits, severance pay and other costs. Instead, outsourcing to fill in staff through a consultancy is an option that a growing number of businesses are choosing. Then, once they know that a candidate fits into the company’s culture and team, and has all of the skills they are looking for, they’re more comfortable offering that individual the permanent job he or she wanted.

Also, many InfoVision clients rely on in-house IT staff for core processes, while our employees provide specialized services or manage development projects.

Of course, the main reason that clients hire from InfoVision is the profile of the talented people who have chosen to work with us.  Our rock-star IT consultants have experience, proven performance records, and specialized skills. They like to work with us because of the salary, incentives, benefits, and freedom they get by being able to pick and choose the projects they work on.

If you’re a skilled developer, project manager, or IT manager, the InfoVision approach to IT staffing means an opportunity to become part of the best team in the industry. If you’re an enterprise IT or human resources manager searching for the best talent for a short or long term project to be completed onsite in your offices or outsourced to a proven, award-winning B2B Enterprise Applications or Mobile App Development team, contact us today about some of the ways we can work with you.

IT Staffing Services Grow as IT Employment Stays Flat
IT Staffing Services Grow as IT Employment Stays Flat 1024 640 InfoVision Admin

IT Staffing Services Grow as IT Employment Stays Flat

It’s no secret that many companies are keeping IT staffing levels flat – or even continuing to reduce them. But IT staffing services are continuing to grow and hire top talent, with industry projections showing a growth of 10-12% for IT staffing services during 2013.

Most of the growth for IT staffing services is coming from the high demand for higher-level skills such as systems analysis, mobile app development, and database administration.

The truth is that the need for IT staff hasn’t gone down, despite trends like data center downsizing, IaaS and PaaS that are moving some former IT jobs “to the cloud”, and offshoring. Companies are simply choosing to change the way in which they meet their need for IT staffing.  One of the biggest changes is the move from hiring fulltime, permanent staff, to using temporary help or turn-key IT solutions from a company with specific industry and solutions experience.

At InfoVision, we’ve been preparing for this shift in how businesses fill their IT staffing needs since the company was founded in 2007. One of the most important issues for any IT staffing services firm is to attract, hire and retain the best talent – especially the hard-to-recruit talent with the most sought-after skills.

To be able to respond to client’s complex requirements in a timely manner, top IT staffing services like InfoVision must constantly focus on offering these talented professionals:

  • Employee Benefits – FTO, insurance, 401K, LTD etc
  • Emphasis on people, processes and tools
  • Challenging opportunities
  • Employee recognition and rewards
  • Open communication
  • Skills/Talent utilization
  • Earnings potential
  • Equal Employment Opportunity
  • Paid training

Meeting the Need: High-Demand IT Skills

The greatest IT staffing demands right now are in project management, analytics, and developers (enterprise applications, mobile, data center/warehousing, and software engineering.  Of course, emerging IT technologies and trends drive IT staffing needs, so making sure that skills are up to date with ongoing training is the best way to get the highest-paying jobs.

Currently, the greatest demand for IT staff is in the areas of:

  • Mobile app developers
  • HTML 5
  • Data warehouse analysts
  • User experience product designers
  • Virtualization/Cloud computing (SaaS, IaaS, PaaS)
  • Collaboration workflow
  • Social media/Internet

Competition for top talent in these areas can be intense, but some things remain the same.  Reference and background checks are critical, and many companies are beginning to use social media to ensure that prospective new hires have an online presence that isn’t likely to cause problems for their new employer.  There’s even a new app called Fire Me! that ranks Twitter posts from around the world based on inappropriate comments about the poster’s job, boss, or co-workers. Anyone can use the free app to rank their own content to see if there’s anything in their Twitter archive that could be problematic during a job search.

For information on the challenging and rewarding careers available with InfoVision and its clients, click on the Careers tab on the InfoVision website.

Transforming Enterprise Application Support & Management
Transforming Enterprise Application Support & Management 1024 576 InfoVision Admin

Transforming Enterprise Application Support & Management

Every November, IDC’s lead analyst for business software, Michael Fauscette, publishes an annual list of predictions for enterprise applications trends during the next year.  Then, early in the New Year, he publishes a report that shows how well his team did the year before.  The analysts haven’t always had a great track record when it comes to predicting enterprise application support and enterprise application management trends.

In 2011, for example, IDC predicted that 2012 would be the year when businesses would start the move from enterprise applications eats hosted in the data center to the public cloud, via IaaS (infrastructure as a service).  In January of this year, Fauscette gave his team an “A” grade for their prediction that 2.4% of enterprise application seats would move to the public cloud by the end of 2012.

Then he stepped up the prediction for 2013, with a prediction that 2013 will see more than half of all new enterprise application licenses coming from public cloud-based services. While that seems like a very rapid adoption rate, consumer applications and employee expectations on enterprise application support and management are fueling the move to the Cloud.

Thanks to the success of consumer applications, employees have come to expect the same high level of functionality and ease of use in business applications. Of course, it takes more than user-friendly interfaces to deliver an enterprise application that can be managed securely and supported cost-effectively.

 

Lessons from the App Store

The biggest lesson in enterprise application management learned from the billions of app store downloads is that the success of any new application depends on usability. It isn’t enough that the applications look good.  They have to offer a clear business benefit that drives productivity and enforces processes and security procedures. Without built-in procedures and processes as well as ease-of-use, employees will struggle to adopt the new tools, and will by-pass procedures to find the easiest way of completing a task.

One lesson that enterprise application management teams can take from consumer applications is that ergonomics have to be front and center in the product’s design, especially for mobile applications.  Commands, navigation, and scrolling have to suit the way that users intuitively use mobile devices with one or two fingers.  Learning to “think mobile” and eliminate the number of drop-down menus and complex navigation options is critical when designing or evaluating a new enterprise application, since it’s a near-certainty that the application will be accessed by an increasing number of mobile devices.

Limiting the number of steps required to complete a task is another lesson from the app store.  If users have to go through more than a couple of screens for a simple task – say submitting an expense report, or submitting a new order – then it’s too complex compared to the consumer applications users are accustomed to using.

Limiting the number of screens required to complete a task sounds like common sense, doesn’t it?  But it makes a huge change in how enterprise application support works after the application is deployed, simplifying everything from training to troubleshooting and help desk follow-up.  Think about the process of submitting a new order.  Here are the typical steps in a traditional enterprise application:

  • Verify information from a CRM system (terms, credit limits, delivery details, required approvals, etc.).
  • Enter the order information for the ERP (purchase order, specifications, budget).
  • Submit the order for credit or manufacturing approval.
  • Generate confirmations, invoices, ordering, shipping, etc.

Once upon a time, creating and supporting an application that required data from that many different databases and resources would have involved a number of drop-down menus, or multiple screens. Today, users simply won’t accept a cumbersome design.  “Light and fast” applications that allow users to complete a single task, not monolithic applications that try to manage an entire business process, are the rule.

Reducing Enterprise Application Support Costs

Luckily, catering to the user’s preference for simple applications has several important side benefits.  Improving employee satisfaction and productivity also helps to reduce security risks, and cuts enterprise application support costs.

Reducing security risks starts with a coordinated suite of technical- and policy-based solutions that are consistently applied.  Processes for device and network access controls, local and remote data wipe, device configuration, data encryption, patching and updating, authentication, device partitioning, security and appropriate use monitoring, and the like can be built into new applications, especially if BYOD policies are in place.

It’s also important to manage user compliance by developing user agreements and training users to understand mobile security risks, their responsibilities, acceptable use policies, prerequisites for connecting any device to the network, inappropriate use, and so on. Cloud-based applications make it possible to implement processes that notifying users when they are out of compliance and explain why they are out of compliance, while listing the steps they must take to become compliant before they can access applications or network resources.

Reducing enterprise application support costs happens when applications are simpler, and device management is centralized. MDM (Mobile Device Management) tools install an agent on the device, allowing IT to monitor it for status and configuration settings, and push applications, configuration settings, and software patches as necessary.

IT Staffing: Finding Top Talent Quickly
IT Staffing: Finding Top Talent Quickly 1024 638 InfoVision Admin

IT Staffing: Finding Top Talent Quickly

You hear it everywhere you go. It’s hard to find top IT talent. At the same time, we hear talented technology solutions professionals say they can’t find a position that offers them the financial and personal rewards they want.

Part of it is the fact that IT department budgets may never reach their pre-recession budget levels. A recent Mercer compensation survey of U.S. employers found that most plan to increase IT staffing budgets this year, with the average increase in base pay expected to be 2.8-4.8%. Half of the IT professionals responding to a survey on technical skills recruiting site Dice.com say they’re looking for a salary bump of 8-12%.

With a gap in expectations like that, it’s no wonder that many people with sought-after skills – notably developers – are looking towards start-ups and IT staffing firms or consultancies where hard and fast rules about compensation and benefits are less limiting. But that’s not all bad for large companies in need of IT staff – outsourcing to fill in staff through IT staffing services is at an all-time high throughout the U.S.

Smaller companies can develop and provide services that their in-house team can’t take on, and larger companies often source through IT staffing services for additional staff for specialized projects, or when they have difficulty recruiting full-time staff with the skills they require. Mobile app developers, project management, and enterprise application management expertise are especially sought after skills right now.

Although no IT staffing service can guarantee immediate availability for high-demand talent, it’s usually faster to find the specific skills needed through an IT staffing company or consultancy than via direct recruitment. Of course, recruiters are turning to social media to recruit top talent, finding that adding social media to online job postings and traditional recruiting can cut the time to hire by as much as 25%.

Working With IT Staffing Services

One of the major benefits of working with an IT staffing service is access to the kinds of professionals who choose to work as consultants or “freelance” talent. Self-motivated people who are confident in their own skills are drawn to the freedom and mobility that comes with working with an IT staffing service because it allows them to work in the industries they like best, and on the projects where their skills are most valued. Most also like the flexibility of moving on once the project is completed.

To get the best candidates from an IT staffing service, it’s critical to provide an accurate overview of the tasks and projects the candidate will be working on.

Top IT staffing services like InfoVision are extremely selective in consultants and IT staff that we hire and provide to our clients. Keeping our staff and our clients satisfied — and our reputation within the industry solid – means accurately matching people with positions, and that means gathering as much information as possible about the position before we submit the first resume.

InfoVision’s Strategic Resourcing Methodology has evolved over more than a decade. It allows us to consider client needs against a structured framework, and recommend the best solution, whether that solution brings one or a team of InfoVision employees to the client’s location, or offers turn-key technology solutions provided through one of our on- or offshore resource development organization (RDO) sites. The same methodology is applied whether we’re placing a single part-time individual for a client-managed project or putting together a hundred-person team within the RDO for a client project.

The goal, of course, is to deliver the talent that fits best within your organization. Because we constantly recruit, screen, and evaluate candidate skills, we can streamline the hiring process to save time, money, and risks. Many of our employees have worked with us for years, but even if the candidate we present to you is new to our team, they’ve undergone extensive interviewing and skills assessment to ensure that they both the required technology skills and the ability to fit in well with the project and organizational culture within your company.

Winning the War for LOB Budgets
Winning the War for LOB Budgets 1024 681 InfoVision Admin

Winning the War for LOB Budgets

If you’re in enterprise IT management, this may sound like old news: in most companies, line of business (LOB) executives now have the power of the purse strings over IT budgets. It’s one of the biggest shifts in enterprise application development and deployment.

The shift toward LOB decision-makers taking control of enterprise applications has been gradual, but almost inevitable. It started as soon as desktop PCs allowed individual departments (or individual users) to purchase and install their own applications, and it has only increased as BYOD policies allowed tablets and smart phones to take over many of the functions formerly performed solely on company-controlled desktops.

It’s obvious to everyone involved in enterprise application development or enterprise application management that cloud consolidation and virtualization have had a huge impact on how enterprise applications are developed, deployed, and supported. One of the biggest changes, though, isn’t happening in the applications themselves – it’s taking place in the way traditional IT roles are blurring and changing. Nearly 80% of IT departments now use IT staffing firms to provide specialized enterprise application development talent, and nearly half of all IT departments have used an off-site software development center.

It’s not just enterprise applications that are being redefined – it’s the expectations of employees, customers, partners, and vendors that are changing as the influence of consumer technology takes over.

In the area of enterprise application management, traditional enterprise applications are being redefined as cloud services, for a more modular and granular way to deploy and configure business processes.

 

The Rise of the Corporate Consumer

Over the past five years, as enterprise IT departments and vendors have struggled with budget and staff cuts, developers in the highly competitive consumer market have used new development tools and platforms to create mobile apps that changed the definition of “ease of use” and “easy to learn”. As that happened, they changed the focus of UX (user interface) forever. It’s not about enterprise users or consumers any more – it’s simply about people.

Smart developers now talk about corporate consumers, not end users. Employees now expect that business applications will have the same high level of functionality and ease of use as the apps they can download from any app store. LOB managers are demanding that new business applications deliver real business benefits, plus reduced training costs and improved productivity.

It’s been proven time and again is that employees will struggle to adapt to new tools – or circumvent processes and security measures – if enterprise applications don’t offer a high level of usability. It’s not enough to look good, or offer enterprise application management features in the dashboard that IT uses. Today’s new apps have to be intuitive, powerful, and work the way users expect them to work from the moment they open the new application.

Catering to the user’s needs and wants means:

  • Thinking “light and fast” – give users tools that let them complete a business process in a single app rather than a monolithic application that tries to do too much.
  • Remembering that mobile users have a shorter attention span than desktop users – give users access to data quickly, no matter where it resides. This means building backend systems that do all the heavy lifting, so the application delivers only the relevant information.
  • Avoiding the trap of focusing only on digital natives – an increasing part of the workforce consists of “digital natives”, those under 30 who don’t remember a time when they weren’t constantly connected to the online world. But not everyone in any organization can master new mobile apps at a glance. So make sure that your entire workforce can understand the apps you develop, and plan for some training even on apps that seem “foolproof”.

Rock star enterprise application developers are always in demand. At InfoVision, we’ve built a global team that knows how to build on the experiences of the consumer marketplace to provide better tools that improve the way companies do business. If you’re looking for help streamlining your processes and creating a happy and productive mobile and enterprise workforce, let us show you how we’ve helped hundreds of clients do just that!

Combining CRM, BI & Big Data for Real Time Answers
Combining CRM, BI & Big Data for Real Time Answers 1024 683 InfoVision Admin

Combining CRM, BI & Big Data for Real Time Answers

Until recently, enterprise CRM solutions, business intelligence (BI), and big data solutions were separate tool sets, often siloed within enterprise IT.  Now, more and more companies are realizing that relying too much on big data analytics risks losing the personal approach to selling – and separating the insights gained through enterprise CRM solutions and other forms of data analysis risks missing critical insights.

Today’s sophisticated big data solutions combine CRM, business intelligence, and big data analytics in a sophisticated system that delivers reports and dashboards generated from larger datasets.  Increasingly, we’re seeing clients developing real time or near real-time reports that deliver a snapshot of business activities that helps identify where actions need to be taken to improve sales, support, marketing, and finance.

For these companies, big data solutions and enterprise CRM solutions have become the source to answer questions generated by business intelligence systems.  It’s one of the biggest trends in enterprise IT, and most analysts think it’s going to continue to be a major area of investment for the foreseeable future.

Big Data Solution’s Second Wave

Despite all the hype and media coverage surrounding big data solutions, many companies are only in the early stages of mining the potential that is available.  Over the past two years, the first wave of big data solutions was harnessed in most companies.  Now, companies are focused on using the information as a competitive advantage – not just surviving or rebounding after the recession.

Whether that means upgrading or expanding their enterprise CRM solutions, developing a better business intelligence system, or building the back-end systems required to mine massive amounts of data, there are three things that nearly every company is doing as the second wave of big data solutions makes its way into the enterprise.

  1. Building More Sophisticated Analytics — Developers are becoming more sophisticated in their attempts to glean value from vast repositories of unstructured data. This requires developers who understand the sophisticated algorithms that enable successful “what if” and “if this, then that” decisions.
  2. Leveraging Advanced Analytics Differences – As companies have begun to understand just how much unstructured data was left out of their traditional business intelligence solutions, they’ve begun to develop or use advanced analytics solutions that dig deeper into data.
  3. Simplifying Big Data Tools – High-performance computing and analytics tools (such as Hadoop) require specialized skills, and in many parts of the country, it’s becoming harder to hire the top talent required to uncover the valuable insights companies want. We’re just now seeing the release of applications that provide access to the insights that big data solutions can offer, without the complexity.  We are beginning to get calls from our clients to help them in developing or deploying new tools that mine big data for the depth of insight, performance and ease-of-use available from traditional BI running on traditional data sources – without requiring data scientists to review and analyze the process.

Don’t Let Big Data Overwhelm Your CRM Strategy

Big data can make a big difference in a CRM strategy – or it can become overwhelming.  But the truth is that terabytes of cloud-storage big data doesn’t add value to your CRM strategy without context. For instance, if you add Twitter data to your CRM solution, you can quickly find that attempts to adjust to negative Twitter feedback can make any company insanely reactive.  When data from Twitter is blended with information from other data sources, and placed within the context of all customer and prospect feedback, it becomes useful, actionable information – not just a prod to take action outside of a clear strategy.

When devising a big data and CRM strategy, it’s critical to use the technical skills that already reside within your IT department.  If you’re a smaller organization, reach out to an IT staffing firm with CRM solutions experience.

According to Gartner research director Jim Davies, “Technical prowess is the key to capturing the voice of the consumer through a variety of unstructured data sources. Enterprise IT professionals have to determine the most appropriate data architecture and analytical models/techniques to extract key customers insights at an individual level and an aggregate level.”

Once the data is organized, the reports and insights that you’ll get from the combination of enterprise CRM solutions, business intelligence, and big data solutions will be able to deliver real competitive advantages you can’t get any other way. Looking for help with a big data, CRM, or BI project? InfoVision has trained, experienced data analysts and developers available for on-site or turn-key projects in one of our development centers.

Four Questions to Assess Your Company’s App-titude
Four Questions to Assess Your Company’s App-titude 1024 576 InfoVision Admin

Four Questions to Assess Your Company’s App-titude

For many companies, determining whether or not a mobile app makes sense for service optimization often boils down to the CTO’s  “everybody’s-doing-it” approach to adopting new technology. And while there’s certainly a place for staying in step with your competition, there is a better way to set apart your company’s mobile strategy and it starts with a quick assessment of your company’s app-titude — that is, figuring out if a mobile application not only moves the needle toward enhancing your customer’s brand experience, but also delivers on ROI.

Is there a less expensive,  more effective way to reach a broad audience?

The cost to have a mobile app developed can range anywhere from a couple thousand dollars on the low end  to upwards of $10,000  depending on functionality and back-end complexity. Generally speaking, the cost of entry is relatively low considering the number of potential customers you’ll reach, plus monetizing will help offset costs, but there’s also a number of other ways to connect with your consumers that may be more effective. For example, your full website, traditional and online marketing or even in-person touches may impact your customers more than mobility. It’s important to know how your customers want to interact with you, if they are already mobile app users and how open they are to integrating new technology into their experience with you.

Will the application add valuable and unique elements to your customer’s interaction with your brand?

There’s nothing more annoying than an app that doesn’t deliver. We’ve all installed apps that promise life-changing experiences, only to be completely disappointed that it’s hard to use and doesn’t bring any additional value to our interaction with the brand. Think about how your app can provide a new layer of experience and ask yourself, will your company’s new app entertain, inform or truly make life easier in some way for your customers? Superior apps accomplish all three.

What’s your competition doing?

If all of your top competitors are reaching their customers with a mobile strategy, then it’s probably a good idea for you to do the same. Having an app can put you on the same field as some of the major players in your industry, you’ll just need to be able to leverage SEO, PR and advertising to draw consumers to your app.

Will your app motivate consumers to keep coming back?

Good apps keep you coming back. Great apps are shared among friends. The best apps generate buzz. Either way, your company’s mobile application should be able to achieve a certain level of virality. If it doesn’t “catch on,” you’ve potentially wasted a lot of time and money. Remember, the goal is to entertain, inform and/or make life easier. These elements are key to app reuse.

Infovision can help your company determine its mobile strategy and develop rich applications with your consumer’s unique needs in mind. Our global team of mobile development experts will work closely with you to determine the best approach to enhancing your business through mobility solutions.  Getting started is one click away.

Let’s WATCH for wearable devices
Let’s WATCH for wearable devices 1024 683 InfoVision Admin

Let’s WATCH for wearable devices

In the last several months, there’s been much ado about the future of wearable devices. If you’re not familiar with this term, wearable devices are the next generation of smart mobility — technology that goes where you go.

By now, most of us are fully accustomed to, no matter where we are, logging on via our phones, tablets or laptops and responding to email, accessing documents or even conducting video meetings. Take that idea a step further and imagine being able to accomplish these tasks with devices that can be worn on your body. It’s certainly an idea we’re drawn to, but will it catch on? Major mobile solutions players like Google, Apple, Sony and other tech giants seem to think so, and to prove it, here are the devices they’re beginning to buzz about:

Smart Watches

Remember the calculator watches from the eighties — one of the early forms of wearable computing devices? Now think of all the functionality found in your iPhone strapped to your wrist. Pretty sweet. That’s exactly where smart watches are headed. And while early versions don’t have all the capabilities of a smart phone, they certainly do much more than addition and subtraction. While functionality varies among these new devices, many, using Bluetooth technology, operate as phones, cameras, navigation systems and run mobile apps that allow gaming, as well as playback of video and music files. All of this, within arm’s reach.

Google Glass

Perhaps one of the coolest wearable devices coming down the pike is Google Glass, which are worn like eyeglasses that display information right in the lenses and operate by voice commands. Its light weight, break-resistant design was developed to make it easy and practical to wear. According to the website for the device, you can take pictures of what you’re seeing in front of you, you can record video of what you’re seeing and you can even share it all live. And there’s more; it will translate languages for you and map out a path to find your way back if you get lost hiking.

Smart clothing

How about a t-shirt that measures your heart rate, respiration and skin temperature? What if that same t-shirt could also be customized to measure moisture in the skin and serve as a EKG monitor? These are the kinds of “smart fabrics” that are available now for consumers. There are even vest with built-in solar panels that will recharge any electronic devices the wearer is carrying. That’s smart.

Smart fitness devices

Health and fitness enthusiasts will also be able to enjoy more sophisticated wearable technology with gadgets that wirelessly transmit info to mobile apps or websites that keep up with daily activity, calories or even sleep patterns. Where older devices may have only tracked steps taken or how many calories were burned during a given period, new devices also take it to the next level by adding skin temperature and heart rate monitoring.

Infovision and our expert team of mobile application developers work to stay ahead of emerging trends. Contact us and we can help your company determine what will keep your technology at the cutting edge of consumer wants and needs.

Best Practices for Building a Global Workforce
Best Practices for Building a Global Workforce 1024 683 InfoVision Admin

Best Practices for Building a Global Workforce

Finding good talent for your organization can be quite challenging.  Finding candidates with the right educational background, work experience, skills and company culture fit — before your competitionfinds them — is often frustrating and extremely time consuming even at the local level.  But many organizations  are looking to build global teams — one study  reports that 40 percent  of the 350 executives surveyed intend to expand in both developed and emerging markets. And consider these findings from NPA, the Worldwide Recruiting Network:

  • Close to 20% of the largest multinationals surveyed expect to double their total workforce outside their home country within the next five years.
  • Twenty-five percent of companies will enter new markets in five years.
  • Global markets are outpacing home markets for revenue growth. Thirty percent of respondents expect 70% of their revenue from outside of their home country within five years.
  • Brazil, China, India and the U.S. are target markets for companies looking to sell products.
  • Vietnam, South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa are considered the best opportunity for those seeking to source materials, products or components.

With that comes the need to build strong international workforces for which recruiting talent has  similar challenges as recruiting locally, but may be compounded by several other factors.  Yet there are best practices, that when implemented, can make international recruitment efforts infinitely easier. Here are a few actionable tips to put in place right away.

Assess international staffing needs early and often

The best way to be prepared to ramp up an international team is to anticipate needs far in advance. The sooner an exploration team can be deployed to assess what your organization’s staffing needs in  a foreign market may be, the sooner goals and strategy can be put in place. If international expansion is not on the table at the present time, make a point to check in yearly with leadership. If your organization already has employees working in other markets, stay abreast of potential growth in those areas by checking in regularly with management.

Understand your international markets

It is of utmost importance that when looking to staff in other markets you are familiar with local recruiting practices. International trade publications, webinars and colleagues are great sources for understanding how to attract foreign employees. Local hiring functions can differ greatly between regions and cultures, and not all policies in place in the U.S. will work in other countries. Be aware and open to tweaks and changes to your hiring practices when seeking out global talent.  In many cases, it may be best to hire a local expert who knows and understands the norms to lead the process.

 Build an international professional network

Leverage colleagues in other countries, Linked In and Linked In groups to build an international professional network. Think through your tried-and-true method of finding talent through referrals  and expand it outside of U.S. borders. You will find that you’ll be closer than you might think to building a great global team.

If you need help building a strong, global IT department contact Infovision’s Strategic Resources team.  We can be deployed either on-site at a client at any location worldwide, at one of our several on-shore facilities in USA, or at our off-shore facility in Bangalore, India or any combination thereof.

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