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Wednesday, 19 October 2016 10:50

Off-the-Shelf Software Vs. Customized Software

                                 

     Are you torn in between off-the-shelf software and customized software? Maybe, confused which of which is the best investment for your business? or Perhaps, what would be the wisest choice in simplifying and automating your business processes? Well, these are just some of the nerve-wracking questions that a business owner may come across with.

Nowadays, growing companies are moving a step forward to conquer far more greater heights in terms of expansion and reaching a wider market sector. This initiative is evident by using aggressive market strategies to equalize the playing field between modern competitors. Hence, given such need to improve and strengthen business operations, the use of IT systems has been the trend for addressing business needs and meeting customer demands and expectations.

Undeniably, the use of software system is prevalent in the market due to its promising and effective results. Thus, how can you necessarily know what is the best way to go for your business? Should you have an off-the-shelf “readymade” software (a kind of software that is already made for a specific need HR, Accounting etc.) or a customized or “tailored” one software to match your needs (a kind software specifically designed for you, to target your business needs)?

In this dilemma, we can look at 5 different pointers to help you in making the decision.

  • Scalability & Scoping

           Off-the-Shelf software are normally limited in terms of scoping and targeting business needs in the long run. For instance, you already have an Accounting Software or a SAP System to do everything for your business, but since it’s a “readymade” type of software, you can’t easily adjust it. It may take a lot of time and effort to build another system under such. Unlike customized software the scalability and use of the software is broader. The software will adjust to your needs and it can even accommodate business growth issues and needs in the long run. Off-the-shelf software features are somehow generic and limited in terms of performance and scope.

  • System Integration & Competitive Advantage

            In terms of this criteria, off-the-shelf software are normally available in the market. Thus, most of its content and features are not editable. Just like “Microsoft Word” you can’t easily change its features if you want it to have a “PowerPoint” like, presentation within it. Just like in SAP, you cannot just integrate a feature or add additional elements on your own. It is possible but it will take a lot of time, cost and effort. Unlike, customized software most of its items are editable and dependent on the set of requirements provided by the company so the reports, information and files can be updated and be changed over time. It is anchored on what the company wants.

In terms of competitive advantage, if you want to drive away from what’s already used by a lot of companies, the best way to go is the “customized software” wherein you are flexible to make the system/software work in line with your business goals. More likely, it will deliver more appropriate results since it is rooted on your needs.

  • Saving More Time and Money

              If we are going to weigh both kinds of software, it is clear that each one is an investment for a business. Off-the-Shelf software are normally paid because of its license which may keep on increasing overtime. One good example is SAP software wherein you need to pay millions just  to have it or a part of it. Unlike customized software, the cost is also high in the beginning but its being “future-proof” can justify the cost. Why? It is because 90-100%, this type of software can handle even your future business needs. Since it is customized, any business can ensure that the software is a perfect fit for their needs. It also helps to save time because even the owner can customize and edit the software system if they want. After production, the customized software and the codes used will be given to the company to whom it is designed for. They have the exclusive right for the ownership of the software.

  • Security

       One of the most alarming issues of today is security. Protection from business threats and hacking is always a priority even in software and systems. Thus, it is a must that if you will consider off-the shelf- software, please make sure that it is licensed. Most of the cheaper version of software available in the market seemed to have predictable features and content that even hackers are already familiar with. SAP and other higher priced software are much more reliable in terms of security. But if you want a unique and mutually exclusive software and content just for you, customized software is the best way to go.

  • Support and Maintenance

As time goes by, customized software is much more advantageous to use for its maintenance cost is decreasing. Once you already have it, customized software are easy to manage and maintain. Unlike, off-the shelf software sometimes you have to renew your license or what not. Some off-the-shelf software are also easy to use and install but may be hard to maintain for its limited features, add-ons might require an additional cost.

These are just some of the pointers that can help you to decide which will work best for you and your interests. If you are having a hard time to decide, which of which, you can also compromise in between.

Some IT companies can create a software system that contains both. It is somehow a mixture of commercial/readymade software which are modified to make it fit for the requirements of a company. What is important is to choose the right people to who will develop the software. I suggest that you can read our previous blog about choosing a good and reputable software company.

At the end of the day it is normally the prerogative of the business owner if they want to have an off-the-shelf software or a customized one. But in terms of profitability and future use, customized software would be a wise investment especially for growing companies or SMEs who might have different and changing needs in the long run. Off-the-shelf software is also good but may have limited features and recommended for multinational companies.

 

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Published in Software Development

                                                                      

              New digital capabilities have changed the world and even how businesses run. Indeed, rapid advancement became an impetus to harness and utilize technology in business management and operations. Technology provided the leeway for companies to adapt and to choose from a sheer range of options available in the market. But with a lot of fishes in the sea or let us say a wide spectrum of software systems, how do you necessarily know what is the right software system for your business? or maybe, what type will actually help you to boost your company’s productivity and profitability?

Hence, there are a lot of mind-boggling questions that may come into your mind when you hear the word “software system.” A software system is just an aspect of an IT system. On a bigger scheme, an IT system is encapsulating not only the software but even the hardware aspect as well. A system includes the database, infrastructure, process, people and security.

But in this article, we will mainly talk about the software system alone. It has interconnected components working together to facilitate the flow of information and inter-process communication.

A software system is vital for business success. It helps in supporting the operations and standard procedures of an enterprise. Everything seems to be easy with the use of software system. Yes, as compared to the manual way of doing things, using an automated system is much more convenient, faster and maybe error-free. With the use of a software system, you can also plan and design a corporate and/or strategy that will coherently help you to achieve certain business goals. A software system is made up of different parts, procedures or modules which is specifically designed to address and target business problems. 

Big corporations or even Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) face a barrel of responsibilities due to the increasing number of clients and even products and services. Actually, this kind of problem is a “good” problem, because it is a testament that your business is growing and expanding! Thus, it is a must that you impose certain mechanisms on how you can deal with such changes and improve your business.

One of these mechanisms is by having a software system which can help you to make efficient operations without compromising the quality of your service and product. Voila! This is where a software system comes into play. But how can you know if it’s the right one for you?  Here are some suggestions.

  • The right software system for your business should always be anchored and customized based on your needs. Yes! your needs will define what kind of software system should you have. And your needs are very unique to your business which is different from what businesses with the similar business model have. You even have to identify the set of issues and problems that you want to address by using such.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Different kinds of software system can address your specific needs. For instance, if your problem is how to streamline your Human Resources and Payroll processes, you can go for a Human Resources Information System (HRIS). If your needs are more of managing customer inquiries and complaints, you can plan on having a Client Management Information System (CMIS). If your need is more of managing the content, you can go on having a Content Management System (CMS). If you want something that will manage your Sales funnel and the financial flow of your company, you may want to have a Sales Management System or Financial Management System. Other software systems are Inventory System, Operational System or an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System.
  • The right software system for your business should serve your purpose, interests and business goals. In other words, the software system should be purposive. It should solve your problems, address your business needs and help you achieve your corporate goals and objectives. For instance, one of your goals is to reduce the number of employees complaining about errors in their tax computation. Thus, as a solution you’ve think of acquiring a Payroll System which will yield accurate data and exhibit computing techniques to be able to achieve your goal. In this way, this can also promote productivity and time management for your employees.
  • The right software system for your business can help you in managing and documenting data. One of the special features of a software system is its capacity to store, process and manage information. Keeping track and monitoring your data is much easier with the use of a software system. Thus, the right one for your business should be able to have this feature to help you in dealing with data management problems and documentation.
  • The right software system for your business can boost your productivity and profit. Any business would want a system that would help them save more time in their operations. Yes, a software system that would complement with your business strategies is a must have. Sometimes business transactions will run smoother and faster with the use of a software system. Nowadays, even banks, offices and media establishments are using such to speed up and manage their company information. Thus, it helps in stimulating productivity and profit.
  • The right software system for your business will leverage your business towards growth. The right software system should be able to support your growth as a business. It should be able to function as tool for improving and supporting your internal and external procedures. Who knows? This software system can pave the way towards your advancement and future expansion.
  • The right software system for your business is a wise investment. If you want the right software system, you should also look for the right people who are capable of making things right for your business. You should also acquire the services of a good and reputable software company if you don’t have an in-house developer, or simply, your in-house developers are not sufficient to address your needs. For this part, our previous article located in the blog section can guide you. After all, deciding to venture with system development has always been an investment. Thus, it is important to look at the cost and the Return of Investment (ROI) that the software system can actually bring your business. It is like investing and sowing right now, then reaping the fruits in the long run. Make sure to make a wise decision, go for the best that will pay you off larger in the future.

These are just some suggestions on how you can find the right software system for your business. Even on your own you can keep on asking several business questions and unravel mechanisms on how to find the right software system for your business. Just remember that the urgency to address certain business needs is also a consideration might as well the cost of production. Go for a software system that will work best for your business!

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Published in Software Development
Thursday, 29 September 2016 14:48

A Software Is Not Just About The Software

 

 

Most of us view a software just on a surface level. It may just be something that you install so you can perform an activity, but in the realms of software development, a software undergoes several stages prior to implementation, development or use. A software can just be an app running in your mobile device that does a specific purpose like navigation, social media or even games. But did it come into mind that that simple software undergoes extensive planning, business and systems analysis, coding and testing? Did it come into mind that probably that software is linked or interfaced to another software, database or infrastructure component? Probably not.

Software architecture (or software engineering) is designing a software or an application by planning what should go with it, how it could be linked to somewhere, what infrastructure components it requires and designs an application or software that is capable of future improvements or linkages to extend software shelflife or extend the actual software life. Software development requires extensive resources so that we enjoy the things that we have now, specially in the aspects of planning, analysis, design, development and testing. It is not just one hit and miss thing, for even the smallest of applications may take time to be rolled-out to what we can use. If such is a one-time thing, then we cannot enjoy it for quality and security can be questionable. There is also such thing called as software maintenance, where small improvements like logical and program bugs can be fixed while the software is being used. This is so as to improve the quality and runtime of the software itself and the interfaces like databases and linkages to other systems  can be fixed for small issues like security and outputs.

In the facet of both open source and commercial software, the same concept applies. Each software released via these markets both undergo with such processes. However, in commercial software, all of the processes are done by the software company’s internal software development team, while in open source software, software enthusiasts do it independenly as long as the concept of the software is directly linked to one another. To cite an example, the Linux Operating System can be composed of several software that are developed by thousands of Linux enthusiasts around the world, but we users, see it as Linux the operating system that has capabilities of doing browsing, office processing or even audio and video. For the Microsoft operating systems, it is composed of several programs or applications (also called as DLLs, or dynamic link libraries, that work hand in hand) so we can enjoy Microsoft Windows as a whole. Same goes for even the Microsoft Office suites.

The discipline of software architecture or software engineering is somewhat similar to building a house. Software architects build the foundation of the application, like what Civil Engineers do. And software architects put on the provisions for current and future use, just like what Civil Architects do. Each software relies on a robust and strong foundation that should be built with future plans in mind, not just for what is in store. If a building is constructed with the provision of additional floors in the future, then the building foundation should be prepared for it, with or without the expansion plans.

Software architecture or software engineering is making fundamental structural choices which are very expensive to change once implemented. Software architecture or enginerring choices include specific options from possibilities to what lies ahead in the design of the software.

 

This is the same concept applied to even small applications like mobile apps. What would be the future direction of these applications? Are they going to be interfaced with your social media accounts later on? Or the owners of the software are just contented of leaving the software it is and let it die a premature death causing expenses on the development cost? Or is the application supposed to be improved later on with the provisions of multiple online gamers that can play with each other or together?

So the next time we see a software, imagine the costs and activities that went through with its inception and development. A software is not just a software, a software is a piece of the puzzle that undergoes extensive planning, architecture so that it can be improved in the future and we users, could enjoy it more. The more we enjoy it, the longer we use it, and the longer we use it, the more justifiable the software’s life it is for us users.

 

 

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Published in Software Development

 

In one of our previous blogs before, we’ve talked about SDLC or also known as “Software Development Life Cycle”.

Just to refresh our minds, SDLC is a model framework that describes the stages of project development. Speaking of these stages, one of the most notorious, challenging and mind-boggling is the “Analysis” stage.

This stage is very crucial for it allows you to set up the pace in defining the functional and non functional requirements for system development. This also gives you the leeway to scrutinize not only the business needs but also the system/program to be developed.

Did you know that in SDLC, you can actually conduct analysis in two ways? Yes, just like a coin with two sides, analysis can be done through what we call as “Business Analysis” or “System Analysis”. But, the million-dollar question would be, how do they differ from one another?

The Process

Business Analysis is known as a process of understanding and identifying business needs and problems. It puts prior on examining the overall business structure, resources, strategies or even the issues comprising the organization. It involves documentation and gathering of information to thoroughly examine what solution would be best to address the needs.

This is normally performed by a business analyst who ensures that the IT solution which is system development coincides with the goals and requirements of the business.

On the other hand, System Analysis is known as a process of identifying the solution given the problem. More often than not, basic system needs are verified. Thus, this process requires the system analyst to probe and identify the system requirements needed, the system design to be implemented, the programming language to be used for the project and other technical specifications related to the system.

Nowadays, we also have what we call as Business System Analyst which can do both roles.

The Responsibilities of a Business Analyst

  • Assessment of business needs and problems
  • Understanding the structure of the organization, issues and its inadequacies
  • Management of business requirements in coordination with the management, stakeholders and end-users
  • Documentation and gathering of information about the business process
  • Preparation of the recommended IT solutions for the business needs.
  • Participation within the whole SDLC process to ensure that the system/solutions provided will be compatible to the needs and goals of the business.

The Responsibilities of a System Analyst

  • Coordination with the business analyst or the management for the system requirements
  • Administration in creating the system, testing and checking the performance of the system.
  • Identification of the system design and the techniques to be used to make the system efficient for the users.
  • Discussion and coordination with the management and end-users to ensure that the system can address their needs when the system is already developed.
  • Creation of flowcharts and model to be used by the developers
  • Configuration and monitoring of the system creation.

 The Skillls

There you go! The two processes may require different set of skills, knowledge and expertise. More often than not, business analysts should have a good background when it comes to business and marketing while systems analysts are required to have higher technical skills.

Conclusion

      As you can see both of the two processes are different but they are complimentary. Don’t worry doing both of these process is definitely worthwhile.

Think of the analysis stage as a stone, which can hit two major goals 1) address certain business needs; 2) create a system to solve the needs and achieve further corporate targets (either maximizing productivity or increasing profit via the system)

At the end of the day, no matter how different they are what is important is how both processes complement and support each other to achieve a common goal!

 

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References:

Business Analyst Learning Official Website. (September 21,2016). Duties of a Business Analyst. Retrieved from: http://businessanalystlearnings.com/business-analyst-career/2015/11/7/what-is-the-difference-between-business-analysis-and-systems-analysis

Villanoavu Online Website. (September 21,2016). Duties of a System Analyst. Retrieved from http://www.villanovau.com/resources/business-analysis/business-analyst-vs-system-analyst/#.V-IwJih97IU

 

Published in Software Development

 

Most companies these days would claim that they are “reputable” enough to handle your software development needs. But what does the term reputable mean?

The word reputable is variable. The term reputable comes from the root word “reputation”, which means, a belief that someone or something has that particular habit or characteristic. In all honest terms, every company, institution or individual have their own reputation. An individual may be reputed to as “industrious or hardworking” even though no one has ever worked with that individual. A company may be reputed as “dynamic or customer-centric”, even though no one has ever engaged this company into business.

In the world of software development, reputation varies. Some companies are reputed to be “expensive” or “delivers high quality outputs.” But would these be enough for small to medium enterprises? It would depend on how these companies view as such, but let us discuss here the characteristics of a “good-reputationed” software development company.

  1. A Good Software Company Must Have An Extensive Record of Delivered Solutions

            It would be easy to create an off-the-shelf timekeeping system and it would be easy to create an off-the-shelf accounting system, but timekeeping and accounting are just slices off the pie in a business environment. What sets good software development companies apart are its extensive experience in delivering solutions for various industries, supporting various business processes. It should not be limited in delivering specific off-the-shelf solutions for the software development processes require extensive experience in the areas of all business aspects.

  1. A Good Software Company Must First Listen, and listen and listen, and listen.

Each business has its own specific process that sets it apart from its competition. If a software company does not listen to what you specifically need then how can they deliver what you need? “I need this automated solution, but I really do not have that much money to pay for it.”

 Software development companies who hear these lines go out as soon as they can. But good software companies would try to work out a solution with you. Flexible payment terms? It can always be done, for the good of the client. Of course, business is business, but would the clients deserve more? 

  1. A Good Software Company Focus On Quality

Some software companies go in, install, configure and leave, leaving the clients hanging. A good software company listens, listens even more, understands your business, understands your problems, installs, configures and stays with you until such time that you are running perfectly. Of course, it comes with a bit of cost, but quality and perfection always comes with costs.

  1. A Good Software Company Supports

 Some software companies, again, go in, install, configure and leave. After sometime, your business processes requires change and no one knows on how the software installed can fit into the business process. Some companies throw the software to the garbage, but good companies make sure that they are there to make the software adjust to your business. This makes sure that good return of investments are realized by the client.

  1. Good Software Companies See the Big Picture

Need to link your existing systems to another systems in the future? Some companies do not realize that their deliverables may require interface to new or existing systems in the future leaving a thick wall on their software products so that it can’t be linked to other systems or software in the future.

Need to put up that system into the Internet? Some companies would just say, they cannot, but good companies have designed their products so that it can support everything.

  1. Lastly, Good software companies are customer-centric and deliver quality results. 

Who would want to work with companies who do not listen to what their customers need and just shove down their products to the throat of their clients so that they can make the sale, get paid and go? Again, good software companies exist because they value what their customers need, not just on the revenues that they are about to make. Sudden adjustments into the software? Good software companies knows that. It would be ok to make adjustments, just as long as the software fits into the users requirements. Good software companies work closely with the clients and communicate well so that even the smallest detail of issues can be ironed out.

Have you experienced a software that you installed in your smart phone that after installation, the phone does not work as normal as before? Then after installing, you call up their support, but no one can help you? It’s quality. Good software companies ensure that their products would work and commits that these products can still be improved, making them work better.

These characteristics are vital. It’s not just about reputation. Sure, good software companies may charge higher, but then again, quality may come at a higher price and that higher price would be going back to your business in the future. Cheaper companies may charge low, but would be leaving you as soon as they are paid leaving their customers hanging and may decide just not to use the software, throwing investments to the bin. Good software companies are there to support you in your every little need, and are there to support you in your pain and victories.

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Published in Software Development

In my previous article we’ve talked about test-environment. Don’t you worry; if you missed it feel free to read it here in the blog section of this page.

But don’t get stuck there, learning about test-environment might not suffice.

Actually, there’s still another phase after testing and it is no other than “staging” which uses the so called “stage environment”.

As you know, creating an amazing application or system is not as easy as ABC. You still need to undergo the tedious process of development, testing/QA and staging before going to production. Thus, it is important to understand each step and delve deeper into it.

What is a Staging Environment?

According to Chris Lema a staging environment is defined as “an environment that duplicates production (hardware, software and settings) that any evaluation of code can be tested before being placed into production.” The process encapsulating this environment is called staging.

Let’s make it simple and concise. The server that you use is called the staging server and the clone version of the production database is called staging database. Since this is the final testing before production, it is a must that everything is replicated.

What sets it apart from the Test-Environment?

From the word itself, a test-environment is conducted in the process called testing or Quality Assurance (QA).  On the other hand, a stage-environment is facilitated within the process of staging. Relatively, both environments have the capacity to mimic and replicate the actual production process. 

The only difference is that; the test-environment is constantly changing. Yes, being in the first line of testing, several issues may be evaluated on this phase. Thus, developers are entitled to correct and solve such. This entails correcting the codes, adding features and reducing bugs. Meanwhile, the stage-environment is the almost final testing phase for it has the close to the final version output before production. This means that it will not undergo too many changes just like the testing phase.

If you have a company and you have asked someone to make a payroll system for you mostly likely, they will not allow you to try it when it is still half-finished or under the testing phase.

But if they already have the stage-environment, they can now ask some of your employees to try and explore the available features of the system before final production. This is the reason why stage-environment is also called the demo/training environment.

Again, this is circumstantial and it varies depending on 1) the kind of your development team and 2) the availability of your resources.

What are some of the benefits Staging Prior to Production?

1) It maximizes productivity.

2) It saves more time and effort by identifying issues and reducing bugs prior production.

3) It ensures good quality output and performanc.e

4) It helps in verifying if the applications, modules and databases are compatible to the hosting, platform etc.

5) It promotes collaboration among developers and users.

Is the staging environment important?

If you are going to ask me, I’ll give you a resounding yes! Common development standards require that a system be tested as close to possible to production environment to eliminate the possibility of errors. While indeed, some of the companies have this environment as optional, it is always that necessary.

In the mish mash of such stages, it is important how each step works. Nowadays, companies are investing so much into testing to ensure efficient operations and production. Therefore, knowledge about these steps can give you a heads up when it comes to software or application development.

Yes, behind every incredible application is a multitude of codes, steps and processes. Maybe, at this point you probably have an idea how challenging and mind-boggling the process is. Take note, we’ve only tackled staging, there’s more to learn in the future.

Now you know! Before you can enjoy that favorite application of yours, some people have shed their tears and sweat to make it happen. Isn’t it worth it?

After all, as the saying goes “Nothing worth having in this world comes easy!”. 

 

 

References:

Chris Lema Online Blog. (September 13,2016). Stage Environment Retrieved from http://chrislema.com/staging-environment/

Programmer Interview Online Website. (September 13,2016) Retrieved from http://www.programmerinterview.com/index.php/technical-vocabulary/what-is-a-staging-environment/

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Published in Software Development
Monday, 05 September 2016 11:01

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) 101

                            

               

             Do you love to use different kinds of software that you do not store (or partially store) in your device, whether it be paid or on a free basis?  Chances are you may have used a Software-as-a-Service or SaaS.

Before, we always perceive software as a “product” or something that we can buy in the form of a CD and install in our computers. But now, with the concept of SaaS, it is also considered as a service or subscribed software.

Apparently, this is very different from our normal notion looking at software as a product that we normally purchase. Do you still remember the days when you asked your mom to buy you a CD of Sims? Maybe, a CD of Encarta Encyclopedia or Jumpstart which you happily installed on your computer?

Indeed, with the emergence of the Internet, things have really changed. We can now even watch and stream our favorite movies online or listen to our music playlist online. We don’t really need to buy a CD just to have that software. If you want, you can still do it but if you know about the idea of free download or even SaaS, I bet you’ll think twice!

What is SaaS?

SaaS is also known as an “on-demand software” or a a delivery model for software usage. SaaS is defined as “a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers over the Internet. SaaS is one of three main categories of cloud computing, alongside infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS).” (Techtarget, 2016) The idea is that users can access software applications over the Internet. Yes, even the apps or games in Facebook, Google, Yahoo are considered as forms of SaaS. Other examples of SaaS are Salesforce, Evernote, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and even some variants of Microsoft Office 365.

This is also commonly used by a lot of companies and institutions especially if they need a particular software, application or hosting online. SaaS works with the idea of “renting” or “subscribing” rather than purchasing. Are you familiar with companies online who are offering an Accounting software, Payroll Management System or hosting for a specific period of time with a certain amount of money? That’s exactly an example of SaaS. Sometimes companies are required to pay on a monthly basis and they can just upgrade the version for an additional cost if they wanted to. More likely, the files are saved via the cloud so they can access it with the use of the Internet.

What are the benefits of using SaaS?

  • Justifiable & Flexible Price

Using SaaS can give you the option to subscribe and run an application for a specific period of time. This means that the payment terms are also flexible because you have the option to use it for 2-3 months or more. You can extend it or not so there’s really no harm in trying it. In this way, you will not waste so much money just in case you didn’t like the application or if it is not efficient for your business operations. It’s like just paying for the service that you actually use. There are no hardware costs or initial costs as well. If you want to stop using the software, you just need to stop the subscription and you are done.

  • Compatibility Wise

SaaS is very flexible in terms of the devices where the applications run. Since it works via the Internet, all applications can be accessed through different devices. You can use mobile phones, tablets or an Ipad so it is much easier to use SaaS than buying a CD at the mall and installing it on your laptop. A CD is just compatible to your laptop and specific operating systems and not on your other devices.

  • Upgraded Versions & Customization

One amazing thing about using SaaS is that you can upgrade it anytime for an additional cost as well. Aside from purchasing a CD most of the applications are limited to the version that you purchased. If you want another, you have to buy again. But with SaaS as long as you subscribed with the current version, you can just pay an additional cost to improve it or add other plug ins. Some companies are offering custom-fit solutions so they can adjust the app to suit your needs. Other companies are giving free updates as well.

  • Accessible Any Time & Anywhere Via the Internet

Since most of the data are stored via the cloud, most of the applications as SaaS can be accessed at any location and time as long as there is an Internet connection. This is far different from other software which can just run with a CD or where you have installed it. But in the event that you forgot it, you don’t have the means to access your files.

  • Easy to Use, No Complexities

Most of the people today are tech savvy. In just a snap it feels like they have digital cells in their body. Thus, all the more they want to access things instantly. This is the reason why SaaS is a trend because the applications are easy to use. Just point and click. Using SaaS can minimize hardware and software management issues

These are just some of the few benefits of using SaaS. I might not be surprised if you can even think of a barrel of reasons why you love SaaS or why you want to try it.

In the end, there’s more to unfold behind this concept and what matters most is how it can actually make lives easier. We don’t know what lies ahead so in the future SaaS or another might be the next big thing!

 

References:

Tech Target Online Website.(September 5,3026). Software as a Service Retrieved from: http://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/definition/Software-as-a-Service

Interoute Online Website. (September 5,2016) Software as a Service Retrived from: http://www.interoute.com/what-saas

Image Source: http://www.freepik.com/free-photo/hands-with-application-icons_928590.htm#term=cloud computing&page=1&position=3

 

                     

Published in Software Development
Thursday, 25 August 2016 10:35

What is an Open-Source Software?

 

Understanding What an Open-Source Software Is

Have you ever wondered what lies behind your amazing applications on your mobile phone or programs on your laptop, desktop or servers? How it was structured and how it was created? Well, more than your eyes can see, these are made up of codes and multiple programs. Yes, this is called as source codes which serve as a framework for the features and functionalities of how the application or the program works.

Normally, these source codes are mutually exclusive to the one who created it or to the company who owned it. This type of software is called proprietary software wherein only the creators can legally inspect, change the codes or alter the designs of the applications.  Examples are Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. This is the reason why it is licensed and not anyone is permitted to access the source code.

This sets as apart from an open-source software, wherein the source code can be publicly accessed, modified, shared and enhanced by other people. Libre Office and Linux are popular examples of this kind of software. Other people can copy the source code of an open-source software, alter it and learn from it. 

Knowing If It’s Free of Charge

More often than not, the common misconception is that an open-source software is free of charge. Actually, in some cases this can be totally free or this can be free but limited. It is actually the prerogative of the developer who created it. Some users can actually donate or offer monetary support if they like what the developer has done. Some companies are even using the open-source way as a marketing strategy to attract more clients. For instance, they can make an open-source software available, but of a limited functionality but should users would require additional features, the client must pay it.

Unravelling Its Benefits

An open-source software makes life easier for programmers and developers. Instead of creating a new set of codes, they can just use an open-source software which save more time, money and effort. This can also help in training students for they can manually edit or change the codes or even play with it. This is also more stable and secure for future projects for developers where they can revise or change anything anytime. They can control the codes and suit it to their needs and requirements. This can also pave way for the creation of other systems and applications in the long run.

Stating Some Popular Licenses

If you are going to use an open-source software you should also consider what license it has to determine how far you can go in revising it. For instance, some licenses may allow you to download an open-source software but you can’t distribute it. Others are available for personal and community use but not for companies. Most of the open-source software have some editable parts but there also some which needs to give due credit to the developer. Thus, it is important to know that these open-source licenses vary from one another. It has different terms and conditions per license.

Here are some popular licenses which are widely used. 

(OpenSource.Org, 2016)

-Apache License 2.0

-BSD 3-Clause “New” or “Revised” license

-BSD 2-Clause “Simplified: or “FreeBSD” license

-GNU General Public License (GPL)

-GNU Library or “Lesser” General Public License (LGPL)

-MIT License

-Mozilla Public License 2.0

-Common Development and Distribution License

-Eclipse Public License

 At the end of the day, the use of open-source software promotes a culture of sharing for a common purpose towards betterment or improvement and collaboration. This has been a testament that knowledge is better when it is shared through the open-source way!

 

References:

Open-Source.Org Online Website. (22, August 2016). Open-Source Software Licenses Retrieved from: https://opensource.org/licenses

Open Source Online Website. (22,August 2016). Open-Source Software. Retrieved from https://opensource.com/resources/what-open-source

Image source: Freepik.com 

Published in Software Development
Monday, 15 August 2016 11:09

What Is SDLC?

 

 

Most of us who are in IT but are not involved in systems development oftentimes hear the term "SDLC" from our colleagues. But what is SDLC anyway? Is it another IT language that no one can ever comprehend?

SDLC is an abbreviation of Systems Development Life Cycle, which are phases involved in systems development. These are processes that are designed to meet or exceed customer satisfaction. By means of customer satisfaction, it simply means that the users, who are customers of the software developers are fully satisfied with the product or output of the software development. It simply means that the software is running as intended to simplify manual tasks, processes, create accurate and timely reports, process transactions properly and are completed within time and budget.

There are around six (6) phases in SDLC namely:

  • Systems planning
  • Systems analysis
  • Systems design
  • Implementation
  • Systems testing and integration
  • Systems Maintenance

The systems planning phase is the most critical part in creating a working applications system. This phase is where realizations in creating a new application is defined and how it addresses current and future needs, alternative solutions which can be cheaper or easier to maintain are studied, and where budget, timeframe and the manpower to create and maintain the proposed automated system are defined. If stones are left unturned in this phase, then its back to the drawing board.

The systems analysis phase is where user and business requirements, expectations for the proposed system and how will it perform and help the business are defined. Feasibility studies for the project are developed as well so that it should answer if the project is feasible economically, organizationally, operationally and technically. At this phase, it is very critical that project managers as well as business and systems analysts maintain close and strong communication levels with the users or clients as well as with the stakeholders so that everything on the vision of the project is detailedly met, otherwise, it will affect all future phases of the project which will make it to be delivered late and beyond budget.

The systems design phase comes after it is assumed that understanding the users, business or stakeholders needs are completely acquired, understood and met. This phase defines components and requirements of the system including database requirements, runtime requirements, security and access requirements, infrastructural and network requirements as well as coding requirements are defined. A general prototype can be done to determine how the system will look like and how it will function, and then a detailed and expanded system design is produced, and it will meet all functional and technical requirements, logically and physically.

The implementation and deployment phase comes after a complete understanding of system requirements and specifications, it’s the actual construction process after having a complete and illustrated design for the requested system. Actual codes are written and if the system contains new infrastructural components, this phase also include configuration and fine-tuning of the hardware, the networks and the necessary components to meet certain requirements and functions. After the coding and the necessary infrastructural configuration, the system can now be deployed and tested by in-house IT testers prior to involving testing by the users. Training may also be required in this phase for the users to be sure they know how to use the system and get familiar with it.

The systems test and integration phase brings different components and subsystems together to create the whole integrated system, and then introducing the new system to different inputs to obtain and analyze its outputs and behavior and the way it functions. Testing is becoming more and more important to ensure customer’s satisfaction, and it requires no knowledge in coding, hardware configuration or design. Testing can be performed by real users, or by a team of specialized personnel, it can also be systematic and automated to ensure that the actual outcomes are compared and equal to the predicted and desired outcomes. Prior to this phase, test conditions on how to test the new system as its own or integrated with other systems are prepared to realize the necessary and required outputs.

In the systems maintenance phase, periodic and regular maintenance for the system will be carried out to make sure that the system won’t become obsolete, by adding new functionalities or may include replacing the old hardware and continuously evaluating system’s performance. It also includes providing latest updates for certain components to make sure it meets the right standards and the latest technologies to face current security threats as well as new components to meet changing business or user needs.

The Systems Development Life Cycle is a highly iterative process and is very specific for every software development project. Again, it is very important that excellent communication between both the developers and the users or customers be maintained and prototypes are very important and helpful in meeting expectations. In building a system, it is important that these phases are properly aligned so that customer or user satisfaction is guaranteed.

There are many models of the SDLC that came up from the idea of saving effort, money and time, no to mention in minimizing the risks in not meeting customer satisfaction at the end of the project. Some of these models are the Agile Model, The Iterative Model and the V-Model, which somehow quickens or speeds up the phase of the development, but are patterened basically on the original SDLC phases as discussed here.

 

Published in Software Development

 

 

Do you have what it takes to be a developer? Welcome to the world of programming language where innumerable codes exist. Truly, being a developer is a rewarding job but I can also tell you frankly and straight in the eye that, it is not a “petiks” job.

"Petiks"

In the Filipino culture, the word “petiks” is a word used to denote an act of resting or just merely doing nothing with no pressure at all. Nowadays, people are fascinated with the idea that developers and programmers have a relaxing and high paying job. In one way or another, it can be true, but you really have to work hard for it.

If you aspire to climb that ladder of success, you can’t manage to turn that “petiks” mode on. You have to be focused, patient and determined into making that system right. You are also compelled to meet the deadline even if you have to sacrifice your own personal time and work over time. Moreover, developers are not complacent because they need to cope up with the ongoing trend just like upgrading your phone to a new operating system. Application developers need to learn the latest updates and changes as well in order to adjust with various technologies.

Learning how to program is like teaching a person how to speak a language. Imagine a child learning the alphabets and numbers. For a developer that is equivalent to teaching a person on how to do simple tags and using it to create a simple website/application/systems. Then, just like how a child use the alphabets into words and sentences, developers can now use the learned tags and syntax to start the developing process.

It seems to be simple, right? For a normal person, learning one’s language might be enough but for developers, it doesn’t even come close to be called as “pa-petiks”.  For a developer to survive and be slightly noticeable by a good company, you must be a “jack of all trades”.It means that you must have to learn as many skills and language as you can just like JAVA, PYTHON, RUBY, PHP, VB.NET, C,C++,C#, Object C and etc. Moreover, learning these things are not enough. You still have to put a lot of effort and dedication in this kind of work.

At the end of the day, developers must also have a good grasp on what, why, who, and how they will create a system. After all, no matter how hard their work is, it was all worth it! The feeling of getting a task done is truly rewarding and incomparable. Just like how smitten and giddy you are when you had that first Iphone 6s plus  with (128GB) storage on your birthday!

Developers don’t have a magic mouse that can make coding as easy as ABC. In this globally competitive world,they must be fully equipped with technical knowledge, skills and undying passion for their craft. Kudos to all the hardworking developers out there! Keep your mechanical keyboards down!

Being a developer, is never that easy and it will never be as “petiks” as you think.

Images lifted from www.freepik.com

 

Published in Software Development
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