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Tuesday, 08 November 2016 11:05

Attaining Efficiency Through Computerization

 

         If there’s one thing that business operations seek nowadays, that would be one thing and only one thing… “efficiency”.  Yes, it is! In the vicious cycle of how a business works, efficiency has become the main determinant and driving force in achieving success.

After all, being efficient encapsulates everything!

In this fast-changing world, not only business operations should be fast but even employees are expected to be efficient in performing daily tasks. But what does it really mean to be efficient? Well, this entails doing a lot things over a short period of time, attaining certain business goals and objectives. For some, you are efficient if you’ve accomplished your goals and reached your targets faster and earlier as expected. How can you actually attain efficiency in business?

Actually, there are a lot of ways to attain efficiency in business operations. But one of the most proven and sought after way to do it is through “computerization”.  From the word itself, this entails the use of computers or software programs in controlling, processing or storing your data. It can also be through a computerized system which can facilitate the processing and delivery of your products and services.

Indeed, it is undeniable that “computerization” has been the latest trend in almost every institution and agency worldwide. Almost every business transaction can now be easily facilitated and managed through the use of computers. Here are some the reasons why computerization is the best way to go for your business.

  • Computerization helps in storing and protecting your data.

                 Computer programs, applications and systems can easily store as much information as you want. By using a computerized system, you can easily store information with user level access which can protect confidential information that you want to be secured. Unlike writing all the information manually on paper, this is much easier and convenient for any business enterprise. Formal records and confidential files are now easily and conveniently stored thought computerization.

  • Computerization yields a faster service through automation

                  Computerization yields a faster service as compared to the manual method of doing things. Instead of manually inputting your payroll or sales on a paper, why not have an automated machine which can store your data and can print the reports/receipts that you need.  Moreover, in the manual method, you need a lot of manpower to be able to accomplish a task while in computerization, a workload that a number of employees can do for 5 days can be done by an automated machine for 1 hour or so. Imagine how incredible and fast is that! After all, customers today preferred to avail the services of a business with faster service as compared to the others.

  • Computerization gives you the privilege to access your information anytime and anywhere.

                  One of the most important benefits of computerization is how it helps in accessing information about your business anytime and anywhere. With the use of a computerized system you can now view your data even on your mobile phone or with your laptop. You can also work remotely even if you are not in the office. Communication is much easier and access to information is not limited on your desktop computer alone. Having a computerized system allows you to monitor your data and back track the history of the transactions that transpired in your business even if you are not in the office.

  • Computerization saves more time and money.

                    Software programs or computerized system can help businesses to save more time and money. Instead of manually searching for the client’s records through the stacks of paper in your office why not use a system which can store your customer information? In just a click, you can have access to your data which saves more time. Instead of manually searching through the pile of folders, your employees or even you can do other things. This eliminates idle time on the part of your employees and save the cost of buying a lot papers for your office which may not stand the test of time. After all, having a system is a onetime big time investment that can benefit your business in many ways.  It can be on your operations, marketing, accounting or human resources.                   

  • Computerization allows you to customize, organize and manage your data for your future needs

                   Having a computerized system in your business gives you the avenue to customize it according to your business needs. A reputable software company can allow you to develop a system that will specifically stand for the operations of your business. It can help you to organize and manage your data. It is future proof because, even you- can actually edit the information and update what reports would you be needing in the future. Unlike the manual method, computerization allows you to customize the information and align it to your needs and operations.

  • Computerization gives a high sense of accuracy and reliability.

                    Businesses that deal with a lot of figures or numbers in terms of sales, stocks, taxes and other computations are more likely to rely on a computerized system. This is for the reason that, having a system yields more accurate results. Human errors and other risks can be reduced with the use of a system. It can also give you the report that you need in just a snap.

  • Computerization increases productivity

                   Using a computerized system or software increases the overall productivity of the business and even the employees. This is for the reason that computerization is self-sufficient, it means that it is very easy to use sometimes it can even function without or with minimal human intervention. Biometrics, Ordering System, Scheduling System are a few examples of computerized systems that are helpful for businesses. It can work and run your business even without having an actual person who will manually get and input the orders or schedule your customers. Thus, it also allows you to do other things while the system runs for itself, reaching a lot of customers given a certain period of time.  

 

             These are just some of the reasons justifying how a business can attain efficiency through computerization. After all, technology and computerization will materialize if used well, given the right purpose. Don’t be afraid to try and invest on something that will give your business pragmatic benefits in the long run. Computerization might be the lost key that will fill in the gaps to support your business operations.

 

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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

 

Enduring the rigorous process of System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is never that easy and it will never be!  Why? It is because it doesn’t just stop there. As a matter of fact, after the testing phase, you are still one step away into having that dream system of yours.

Do you even know what’s the last phase? Well, it’s no other than the production phase where the real challenge begins!  This stage entails the actual creation or migration of of the system from testing and staging environments based on the standards and specifications identified during the previous stages.

Relatively, this is the real deal before reaping the fruits of your labor. But how can you be sure that you are now 100% prepared to launch that system for production? Have you seen the green light telling you to go on or have you seen that red light or the red flags waving you to stop?

Given such, it is important to remember and consider some things before putting a newly developed system in production environment. Doing such things might help you to avoid poor execution and project failure.

Thus, why not try to do these things before production?

  • Identify and review all the requirements, specifications, resources, people needed before production. 

It is important that all the requirements are clearly defined and the resources are allocated before production. Conducting the testing and staging phase might have given you the idea on what are the issues that may transpire during the actual production. It can give you the edge to review and to plan ahead.

  • Verify the approach to be used and if adheres with the standards, needs and goals of the project

In software development, the model and the approach used to create the project is very vital. Thus, during the testing, the team should be able to verify if they are using the right model and approach. This should be done to avoid huge errors and too much costs during production. Hence, it is wise to know during the testing part if the mechanisms used were efficient and in line with the needs and goals of the business. During the testing, the team can also evaluate if there is still the need to do other approaches if the previous ones which were used were not effective.

  • Conduct thorough testing

Before production, it is important to conduct thorough testing, as much as possible close to the production environment. Every system has its own procedures when it comes to this stage so better follow such and do this seriously and exhaustively. This will be done to prevent and predict issues and threats that may arise during the actual production phase.

  • Fix bugs efficiently 

In creating any system, bugs are also inevitable so the QA team should be able to find the bugs efficiently. Fix and solve it with minimal time and effort. You can also strategize and focus on bugs that needs urgency and may pose bigger threat with the system that you are going to create. Be efficient, focus on issues that are important.

  • Ensure server and system security and its performance

Security is very vital especially if you are using (Software-as-a-Service) SaaS or open source codes. Thus, before production it is important to impose security measures and evaluation on the server and the system itself. This is required especially if the system will be hosted by using the Cloud. Relatively, system performance should also be evaluated at all cost during the testing so that during the production you can assure that optimal performance can be achieved. Performance risks should also be identified.

  • Simulate the testing environment and the data used for the production environment

It is very crucial to produce the same environment that you’ve used during testing including the data or the information. The very purpose of testing is to copy the production environment in order to validate if all the elements work. But before production, it is also necessary to remember that since you’ve already conducted testing, the elements that were efficient during the testing, should be simulated and copied to the production phase. The same pipeline should be used for both phases. 

  • Review the processes for every element of the project and implement Quality Control procedures

The team should be accountable for reviewing and checking every element of the project/ system. They should review every step to ensure that everything is working and every element is compatible with each other. Make sure that you are following your timeline without compromising the quality of your output. You should not put the quality at stake so make realistic deadlines and put your best foot forward.

  • Validate the system/product by running a regression cycle

The process of regression cycle is also known as the final phase to stabilize the system/product. It is presented by using a hierarchy with several branches. Normally, this has components that will make the client/customer to understand the system/product on their own perspective. This gives the team the opportunity to validate and impose some changes if it is deemed necessary. If the system passes all the tests, you can now see that green light which tells you to “Go” and proceed to the production phase.

  • Test if the system works by running a sanity test

In order to test if everything works, a sanity test is conducted. The results matter for it also evaluates if the third-party system works. It can also say if there are compatibility issues. Project success should be seen at this phase.

  • Document, Document and Document

All changes and configurations made from the test environment to the production environment as well as changes to the programs, the databases and any auxiliiary applications should be properly documented.

  • Provide and assign the right people to do the tasks

Choosing and assigning the right people for the development team is integral to attain access. Having the right people with the right skills can help you to avoid pitfalls and failure in developing a system. Just make sure that their tasks are clearly defined and they are designated properly. Sometimes due to the current trends, much more are expected for developers and the QA team. More often than not, they have to break the traditional ways and learn the contemporary methods of software development. 

These are just some of the few considerations that you need to remember before you put that newly developed system in production. These might be some ordinary guidelines for you but you’ll never know, extraordinary results might come out of these!

 

References:

TechBeacon Online Website. (September 29,2016). Retrieved from http://techbeacon.com/10-best-practices-qa-teams-deliver-quality-software-fast

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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
Tuesday, 30 August 2016 10:06

What is a test-environment?

 

                 According to the World Quality Report (Testing and Quality Assurance Trends and Recommendations, 2015-2016), the impact of IT quality on end-user experience is a primary motivating force to conduct initiatives for digital transformation. Undeniably, with the onset of the Internet of Things, Cloud, business analytics, mobile applications etc., business operations and organizations are more into the use of “testing” as a mechanism to gain remarkable insights when it comes to assurance level and customer satisfaction.

Currently, companies are investing time and money to conduct QA and testing with the goal of delivering a seamless customer experience for the end-users. By 2018, it was predicted that there will be a 40% increase in the proportion of IT budget allocated for testing. Thus, this is a reflection that testing is a matter of importance. Furthermore, it is also deemed necessary to know what are the elements encapsulating this process.

When it comes to testing, one of the most sought after concept is the test-environment. But what does it actually mean?

Knowing what is a test-environment Is

According to Jaideep Khanduja (2008),“a test-environment is defined as a setup of software and hardware where the team is going to perform the simulation or testing of a newly built application or program. This includes the physical setup which consists of the hardware and logical setup which includes the Server Operating System, client operating system, database server, front end running environment, browser (if web application), IIS (version on server side) or any other software components required to run this software product. This testing setup is to be built on both the ends – i.e. the server and client.”

Generally speaking, the test-environment consists of elements that can support the test execution with the configuration of the software, hardware and the network. The overall test-environment setup must copy the actual production environment to uncover issues in need of revision or improvement. (TutorialsPoint,2016).

Understanding the Basics of Software Testing

Before you can design the test-environment there are five essential points to consider when it comes to software testing as suggested by David Brown, Six Sigma Website (2016). First is the test strategy, this tells you what type of testing are you going to use which will be best in probing the software. Technically, a strategy that will be best at finding the issues or loop holes within the system. Second is known as the testing plan this is the framework of the actual testing tasks that the team need to execute the strategy.

Third is the test case, this is very important for it consists of the detailed examples to be used to verify if the software meets its requirements. Fourth is the test data or the database or information that you will use to carry out the test case. Lastly of course is the test-environment which will mimic the actual production process.(Brown, 2016)

Identifying Some Software Testing Types

If you plan to test a custom application or program, it is important to identify what type of software testing are you going to use. Each type is different from the other, depending on what purpose it will serve.

Some of the popular ones are the following: (Software Testing Help, 2016)

  • Black box testing- This is the type of testing that is solely based on the requirements and functionality. It doesn’t put prior on the internal system design.
  • White box testing- This is also called as Glass box testing which focuses on internal logic of an application. The tests are based on code statements, branches, paths, conditions
  • Unit testing- is known as a testing of individual software components or modules. Usually, developers do this for they are familiar with the internal program.
  • System testing- the entire system is tested as per the requirements.
  • Functional testing- this type of testing ignores the internal aspects, it is focused on the output.
  • Sanity testing- type of testing used to determine if a new software version is performing well.

Designing the test-environment

The test-environment may vary from one business to another. It depends to the needs and objectives of the testing process. Here are a few factors to consider if you are planning or preparing to do a test-environment.

Prepare and identify all the requirements that you’ll be needing for the simulation. This includes the following:

  • required operating system, database and other components
  • number of license required (optional)
  • network configuration
  • archive/back-up process
  • versions of applications needed (ex. Apache, PHP, MSQL, Java etc.)

Another thing to consider is what we call as environmental configuration. This is defined as the combination of hardware and software environment which the tests will be conducted. It helps in ensuring that the actual production and test-environment have the same setup. (TutorialsPoint, 2016)

These are just some of the basics when it comes to test-environment. A test-environment varies from one setup to another. There are really a lot to know about testing especially the hierarchy of a test-environment but that’s another story.

References:

World Quality Report (23 August 2016) Retrieved from https://www.capgemini.com/thought-leadership/world-quality-report-2015-16

Test-environment (23 August 2016)  Retrieved from http://itknowledgeexchange.techtarget.com/quality-assurance/what-is-a-testing-environment-for-software-testing/

TutorialPoint, (23 August 2016)  Test-Environment Retrieved from   http://www.tutorialspoint.com/software_testing_dictionary/test_environment.htm

Basics of Software Testing, (23 August 2016) Retrieved from http://www.softwaretestinghelp.com/types-of-software-testing/

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Published in Software Development

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