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Legacy Systems Modernisation: How to know if it’s finally time for you to upgrade your outdated software?

Legacy Systems Modernisation: How to know if it’s finally time for you to upgrade your outdated software?

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Technology is evolving at a breathtaking pace.

Every month we witness one techno-innovation or the other that overwhelms us, leaving us with a wide spectrum of applications that might have been super-essential some time ago but are nothing short of a legacy burden now. Sadly the overwhelming number of such systems and the budget devoted to them make us think twice before discarding them completely.

This is where legacy system modernisation comes into play.

Outmoded systems, whether they are a couple years old or belonging to the past decade, can be upgraded using such top class modernisation services. Whether you want to move to the Cloud/SaaS model, micro services architecture or get the systems fully re-engineered, legacy system modernisation can help you be in sync with the current technology trend.

These alluring services are tempting enough to avail, but seeing how time-consuming and costly this affair is, we cannot fully jump into this process without knowing whether our systems actually need modernisation or are old-enough to be discarded. Spending your fortune on nothing doesn’t really make sense.

Hence, we bring you this list. Developed using our years of expertise in the field, these points have helped a lot of different organisations ferret out the legacy systems that need a makeover!

 

10 Telltale Signs that your Legacy System Needs Modernisation

1. Performance Issues (Slow and cumbersome)

Probably the first thing that makes you feel like ‘Yes, it’s time for a system up-gradation’.

In this 5G world, slow systems add on to your already high work pressure. Even a minute lost could cost us a lot. Imagine frequent hanging of applications when you are conducting a transaction worth millions. Frustrating, right?

If your system is dead slow and faces multiple glitches while working and has been such since long, it’s safe to say that it is asking for an up gradation.

Quality issues can be a challenge and can be corrected with quality management and testing, but if you pride your systems for their supreme quality, you might have to get them re-engineered for an improved performance and efficiency.

2. 3rd Party Software Support Failure

Dependency is not a bad thing, but if it directly affects the working of your software, you might want to re-think. Many organisations rely on the third-party software to run effectively and thus, face the huge risk of falling if the vendor is slacking on timely maintenance and updates.

Things get worse if your provider company gets trapped in an unavoidable situation, like an acquisition or merger. They will undoubtedly face a huge shift in their company policies, and chances of them terminating the software support are pretty high.

This is the cue for you to reconsider your service provider, frankly.

3. Device Dependent & Immobile Systems

If your software is incapable of being accessed from anywhere but the device it is installed in, you might want to get it upgraded. Immobility is just not an option in this highly competitive world. On-premise software is good, but it lacks the dynamics of a cloud-based system.

In fact, just introducing yourself to enterprise mobility strategy can help you increase your organisation efficiency to multiple folds. Give your legacy applications a mobile touch, if you can’t implement a full-blown modernisation framework.

4. Incompatibility with the Modern Software

There are loads of integration challenges associated with SAAS/Cloud up gradation.

Compatibility matters a lot, whether it’s personal, or well, technical. Most of the old systems don’t accept such changes easily and need a number of customisations to have new tools work effectively on them. You might want to reconsider spending a hefty amount on them.

For a smooth business process, assure the tools you are trying to adapt integrates with your legacy software without glitches.

5. Difficulty in Getting Required Skilled Labor for your Systems

Before the much-required technology boom, the software systems required a really high-skilled workforce that could handle the complicated systems aptly. However, hiring such years-trained labor for our legacy systems in today’s time is like searching water in a desert, possible but pretty challenging and expensive.

This reason should be enough for you to adopt system modernisation. If you hire inexperienced staff to make the outdated system somehow, it might affect your organisation’s efficiency.

6. They No Longer Meet your Requirements

Quite obviously, why would you want to keep a software in its native state if it no longer meets your requirements? It might have been a lifesaver back in the days, but you need to move on now or it may cost you revenue and efficiency. Typewriters and cordless phones are nice but smartphones are nicer.

7. Nonscalable and Inflexible Systems that are a Hindrance to Business Growth

We would definitely not want to keep a system or a software that is highly stiff and not scalable and cannot keep up with the constantly evolving business atmosphere. They might keep you back from increasing your ROI, being a hindrance to your growth.

You have two options now. You can either completely discard them or make them go through a legacy modernisation.

8. Weaving Value additions is almost Impossible

As explained above, legacy applications pose the biggest challenge in terms of flexibility and adaptability. Such systems might refuse to take up any value additions other than their core functionality, whether it is due to the outdated technology stack or a complicated architecture.

If your system requires more time and effort to adapt, it’s time for you to avail legacy modernisation.

9. Are Vulnerable to Cyber Security Breaches

Cyber breaches are increasing at a rapid pace, to nobody’s surprise. And more often than not, old and outdated systems are the ones that fall into the hacker’s trap easily. Old encryption algorithms can no longer help you protect your beloved systems, and you might find difficulty in looking for updated security patches for them.

10. High Operating & Maintenance Costs

All the points mentioned above can truly tell you how expensive keeping legacy systems in their native state could be. Add in maintenance and operating costs and game becomes even more challenging.

In clear words, if you have difficulty in operating your software and keeping it running at all times, you might want to adopt legacy system modernisation.

 

It is a given that running your business on such out-of-date legacy systems can lead you nowhere. They hardly contribute to ROI and even take up precious office space to no avail. Hence, legacy system modernisation is an important part of any organisation. Implement it well and you will be able to mitigate business risks effectively.

Choosing A Mobile Development Company– Best Things to Do

Smartphones have changed our world. A decade or two ago, mobiles were just portable landlines – used primarily for calls and the occasional text. Today, it is an unforgettable part of our lives, something that helps us do everything from waking up in the morning to remembering appointments to playing games to burning calories to listening to music to keeping a track of pregnancy cycles. All of this is made possible by mobile applications.

What does your organization do to leverage ahead? Statistics suggest that 32% of UK customers make a purchase on their phone. Add to that the fact that  you can find an application for almost any task you might want to do – from learning a foreign language to waking up a stranger across the world with a song. Mobile users are expected to reach more than 43 million in the UK by 2017 and people are increasingly using their phones to access everything from search engines to shopping websites. Mobile solutions are needed for everything.

Developing App For Your Business

You need have an app for your business. Whether it be to improve organizational productivity or market your own app, you need a good app strategy.  You have two options – you either hire a freelancer or a company.

The best decision would be outsourcing to a company. Why? A freelancer may be great in a specific area but won’t have as much experience as a gamut of experts that a company has. A good company will also have acquired its reputation and grown by working for different kinds of businesses.

The Steps Involved

So once you have decided to outsource your app building to a company, which one do you choose? It is extremely important to choose the right company. The basic rule for investing in something is that your investment should get a return, and not everyone can do that. Do your basic research on the company.

  • Ask them for a portfolio. More importantly, ask for the links of published apps.
  • If a company has developed hundreds of apps but none of them have been published in the app store/playstore, what use is that?
  • You can also ask for a customer portfolio to get an idea of the past and present projects and clients.
  • Finding similar projects and clients who were given successful results by the company can provide you some confidence.

You should also discuss about their process development update – how well do they communicate while in the process of building an app? It is important for them to listen to you carefully so that the end product you get is in line with your expectations. Keeping you in the loop achieves this. And of course, in the midst of all this, do not forget to ask about the charges that will be levied. A good company will be forthright about what it will cost, and will not levy hidden charges or confuse you in fine print.

Finalizing the Company

So now that you know what to ask the company that you outsource to, how do you finalize the company itself? There are a number of important tips that can help you choose the right company.

First of all, the company you choose should have a vast and diverse experience. This is important because this shows that they have already encountered developmental problems that may occur in the process of developing your app; and overcome them. Vast experience also means they have learned from beginners’ mistakes, and will build a good product. Finally, a vast experience also shows that they have got good feedback and word of mouth for clients to keep coming to them. If so many clients have liked them, they must be doing something right.

Now once you have looked over the entire experience, narrow down to experience with the kind of app you are looking to get designed. Now don’t be too narrow here. Let’s say you are from a fashion house and looking to get an app designed that is based on dressing models in your new collection and having them sashay down the runway. You should not look for experience with ‘fashion apps’ in the company’s portfolio, rather you should look at their quality of gameplay. If they have done that well in the past, chances are they will do it well for you too. Of course, this also depends on what kind of app you are getting – if it is a general one or a highly specific one.

Cost is an important consideration, yes, but we wary of prices that are low. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Sometimes companies with lower prices have inexperienced or junior engineers working for them. The price should be just right, neither exorbitant nor cheap.

You must make sure that the company that you pick has specific experience in mobile app  development and specialises in everything mobile. Just any software developer can’t do your job. Developing for mobiles and developing for, say, the PC, are different ball game altogether.

The company you choose should not only offer development but also innovation. Once you convey your idea and expectations from the app, the company should be able to build on that framework and communicate with you. Simply developing on what you said without putting in their own experience and ideas into it shows an uninspired approach.

Mobile First Approach & Strategy – What, Why, How, When?

Mobile First Approach & Strategy – What, Why, How, When?

 

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Gone are the days when websites were developed for large screens of desktop computers or laptops. Today, everything has to be scaled down to fit smaller screens of mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets.

With Google’s mobile-friendly update for websites as released on April 21, 2015, it has now become apparent for every webmaster or blogger to apply a mobile-first strategy for website development.

Developers now focus on mobile-optimised websites that work great on mobile phones and tablets, and then scale up perfectly for larger computer or laptop screens.

Let’s take a look at what mobile first web-design means, and its importance for websites, and how to start development of mobile-friendly websites.

What Does Mobile-First Approach Mean?

The ‘mobile first’ strategy for website development involves designing an online experience first for mobile devices and then optimizing it for scaling up to desktop and laptop computers.

It does not mean designing a website that works well on desktop computers and then adjusting it to be compatible with mobile phones or tablets. The mobile-first process is to design online websites specifically for mobile customers, keeping their dynamic behaviour, context and needs in perspective.

The user interface should suit mobile devices with easily readable text and easy navigation to the different sections of the site.

Why Go Mobile-First?

The number of mobile users has increased manifold and easily outnumbers the number of people that access websites on PCs or laptops.

According to a ComScore report, mobile devices generate more than 60% of the online traffic to websites. This percentage keeps on increasing with every passing quarter, and that has fuelled the need for every business to have mobile-friendly websites.

Mobile First Strategy

Source: ComScore

So, if you haven’t optimised your website yet, you need to get their sites scaled up for the smaller screens.

Today, the majority of internet users access social media via tablets or mobile phones. So, a new website shared on any social media platform with friends and colleagues is more likely to be viewed first on the screens of mobile devices.

If the site is not mobile-friendly and users are unable to view it correctly the first time around, then, they are less likely to recheck the website from their desktop or laptop. It is, therefore, obvious that any new website or blog needs to be designed and developed with a mobile-first strategy.

Importance of Mobile-Friendly Websites in 2015

Now, it has become even more important to develop mobile-optimised websites because of the mobile-first update (known as mobilegeddon) from Google (in April 2015).

As per the update, any mobile-friendly website or blog has a better chance of appearing higher in Google search results on mobile devices as compared to sites that are not mobile-optimized.

Another reason for websites to move to mobile-optimised versions is the ever-growing trend of online shoppers preferring to use apps for shopping. The amount of time that is saved (by shopping on the move) along with the money saved through discount deals on the apps of famous eCommerce players has ignited the need to go mobile with websites on an immediate basis.

Any new eCommerce merchant has to ensure that the developed website is first compatible with mobile devices as the majority of the target audience will be tablet and smartphone users.

This need was further emphasised when Amazon reported around 60% online sales from mobile devices during shopping season in 2014 (source: CNET ).

Useful Tips for Mobile-First Site Development

It is necessary to have a fluid and responsive design instead of an adaptive one. This will ensure the site layout fits accurately for varied screen sizes of different mobile phones and tablets.

Another important task is to focus only on the core features and content, as mobile sites need to be developed within limited real estate.

So, unlike the screen real estate available with larger monitors and displays, web designers need to rethink their strategy while designing a mobile website from scratch. Anything that is not absolutely necessary for the mobile users can be removed from the site design to save space.

The preferable approach is to focus solely on content (images, text, forms) initially, followed by site beautification through the addition of CSS elements. Later, the focus should be to provide add-on features using JavaScript.

This progressive enhancement approach from content to styling to the presentation will add immense value to the mobile website.

So have you adopted the mobile-first approach for your websites already? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!

Mobile Search Optimization – Google’s Move to Change the Game

Mobile Search Optimization – Google’s Move to Change the Game

Google’s search engine algorithms are important on many counts. While all web developers know the basic SEO strategies, businesses need to be aware of how Google wants them to behave.

Mostly, the trend is of businesses look at exploring White Hat SEO, or SEO through ethics that Google approves, in a better way. The latest Google update just reinforces Google’s dominance in the search engine market. The Google Penguin update, for instance, was aimed at filtering spammy content and ensuring that quality content rank higher. Now, we see that Google has introduced the Mobilegeddon update that is rewarding websites, which are mobile friendly.

In fact, there is one interesting point that I would want to mention here. As early as 2013, Google’s Matt Cutt had stated how the company will now penalize companies with slower page loading times.  Yes, Google’s plan to move in this direction was evident for some time now – it was not a matter of if but when.

What Does The Mobilegeddon Update Mean?

The Mobilegeddon update is aimed to reward businesses with sites that are mobile friendly, helping them get better rankings in search results and be featured more prominently.

The change, effective from April 21, means that you will have to design a mobile friendly site sooner than later if you want to stay in the competition. The update seems to be much more important than all Google updates till date, including Google Panda and Penguin. Those in the web developer world would know that when these two updates were introduced, the rankings of many websites changed drastically – many for the worse. Some of these sites never managed to recover. So, what does this mean if you’re a website owner?

A Mobile-Friendly Site… Is Your Site One?

A mobile friendly site has a responsive design, a dynamic service, and separate URLs. You can check out Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test page. to know how mobile friendly your site is.  While not perfect, the test is an indicator of how mobile friendly Google thinks your site to be. While the parameters by Google aren’t available (Google never discloses their algorithm how they rank websites because that can lead to its misuse), but we can figure out some expected developments nonetheless. Here is a roundup of the changes you can expect from the update.

Expect each page to be assessed individually

It all probability, Google will access each page individually. This means that all your web pages need to be mobile friendly and not just one – most popular searches will probably feature mobile friendly only pages.  This also means that if your website has both mobile friendly pages and desktop only pages, expect only the former pages to be promoted. However, most websites are either mobile friendly or not, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

Drop in rankings

This is obvious – if your website is not mobile friendly, expect it to drop significantly in search results.

Real-time operation

This is a big development. Google is expected to update in real time. This means that if you do not have a mobile site ready yet – don’t worry. When you’re ready with one, expect Google to pick it up and reorganize the search engine rankings accordingly. However, do note that Google’s web crawlers do need to index your page. This can take a few days or even weeks at times – so expect delays the first time when you have your mobile site ready.

Search Results On Mobiles

Did you notice how search results differ in your mobile? For one, check out the local search results in your smart phone – they’re bound to differ from the one in your desktop. This development was a result of the Google Hummingbird update and the Mobilegeddom update is just one step further.

Why Did Google Bring Out The Update?

While we might be interested more in the changes Google brings with the update, an important factor is why Google chose to go the mobile way now. The reasons are simple – mobile growth has been phenomenal in the last few years and more people access the internet from their smartphones than their PC’s. Translate this into the fact that Google aims to enhance user experience, and rewarding mobile friendly sites was a natural option.

The development means that users can browse quickly on their smartphones and access all features of the site. A simple example would be with sites that still have Flash (yes, there still are some of them out there, though the advantages of having a Flash site is next to none). Mobile devices cannot play Flash and people accessing the site would not have been able to view the website content properly. Now, that is going to change with Google gathering search results that create the right user experience for the mobile user.

Here is a chart to survive the Mobilegeddon update.

Mobile_Search

Have you been affected yet by the Mobilegeddon update?  How many of our readers do have a mobile friendly site? If not, when are you planning to have one? Or do you feel that you don’t need one, yet?

Native App Development or Cross Platform? What should you choose?

Native App Development or Cross Platform? What should you choose?

Much of our day-to-day living would not now be possible without the development of apps. From booking concert tickets and train travel, to changing the heat settings in your home, apps are used today to complete a wide range of everyday tasks.

The complexity of apps today, therefore, means that they have to be designed, constructed and developed in a bulletproof way. There are many ways of doing this, but the rise of cross platform application development frameworks and improvements in native development techniques and customisation means that mobile landscape is now more complicated than ever. It can be tricky to decide which type of development method to use – in this article we will look at both native mobile app development and cross platform app development, weighing up the differences between them and how you can make either work for your app design.

Difference between native and cross platform application development

  • Native app development is a platform specific development – designed and built specially for that particular operating system or platform. With the advent of Google’s Material Design, new iOS 7 designs standards and a tendency among many developers to go native, this type of app development is on the rise.
  • A cross platform app is developed and designed to work on a number of different platforms in one go- The major advantages of cross-platform tools like PhoneGap, Appcelerator and more is that they support coding in different languages and offer platform independence, thereby cutting development costs.

Native development

There are a few good reasons people will choose to use native development for their apps – and some distinct advantages to this way of thinking. These include the code structure – in native code will generally run quicker and be faster to load. In addition to this, new features of the code itself and the general development of the app are far easier integrated into the existing platform – ensuring new features are introduced within the app’s lifecycle.

One other thing to bear in mind is with native development, Android and iOS apps are encouraged to be different. Of course, the UX is different on both platforms, so it goes without saying that with a native app, a developer can tailor the mobile development to suit what users of each operating system would prefer. Styles and different tastes and catered for to a far greater extent using native development.

Native development’s drawbacks, however, are generally concerned with development time and the amount of money required to be invested in initial development.

Cross platform Apps Development

A different way of working is look towards cross platform development – ensuring that users of all operating systems will be able to view your app in the same way. There are many reasons people are drawn to this – from the reduced initial development cost to the relatively minimal coding and simple business logic within the app itself.

If you are developing apps with a broad appeal, , it makes sense to use a cross platform approach to ensure you are reaching a broad spectrum of your audience and you can appeal to people using all types of operating systems. A uniform look and feel, in this instance, is preferred and the fact you don’t necessarily have to create niche marketing messages can reduce costs and time from a promotion point of view, too.

The downside is cross platform development reduces flexibility inherent in today’s operating systems – looking for commonality may undermine the performance and success of your development.

So which is better?

You have to look carefully at your needs when you’re developing an app and choosing how to design and build it. The reality is that both approaches are equally valid – and it may be that the reduced time and cost, as well as the greater reach cross platform development provides, means this may be the way to go.

With this in mind, it’s fair to say that a cross platform approach is better suited to smaller businesses or those who want a lightweight app to fulfill their mobile strategy. Moving on, at possibly a later date, to native, means a greater degree of customisation is possible and it will also provide more adept at handling complex workflows.

Conclusion

CrossPlatform_Vs_Native_Apps_Development
Finding a ‘one size fits all’ approach to app development is hard – there may be no easy answer but you should think about the objectives of your app first before you proceed. Researching and understanding your audience and what they’re looking for, is key to the process and you should spend time on this stage before you start design or development stages. You should ensure you contact an app development specialist before you embark on this process if you are unsure as to the steps you should take.

Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Invest in Modernising Your Intranet Applications Now

Intranet portals have been in existence for several years in many organisations, institutions, schools etc. Businesses have realised the benefits, an intranet site offers, to the thousands of employees connected to it, as well as to the company, in general.

Intranet enable the employees get password-based access to a centralised corporate database on the company’s LAN (Local Area Network). These intranet sites have proved themselves useful from the standpoint of easy navigation to the company’s employee contacts list, time tracking applications, company event details, messages from the CEO or from the top management etc.

A major advantage of the company intranet portals has been the use of web-based applications, which have allowed the companies to avoid investing in software licenses for individual employee desktops / laptops.

All employee records are maintained on the intranet for restricted access by the HR team and the employees themselves.

The ticket-based employee service app or portal is one of the common apps in a company’s intranet that enables employees to receive immediate help, with regards to any issues, with their computer hardware, IDcard, project IDgeneration, new software installation, international or domestic travel, etc.

Intranet forums or communities help employees get in touch with each other socially and understand what’s happening across various departments of the organisation.

Having dealt with many innovative intranet product enhancements, it is of paramount importance for us to keep coming up with new ideasto revamp / modernise the existing intranet system in organisations.

Reasons to Revamp Intranet Portals

If you think there is no need of revamping your existing Intranet portals, these reasons will make you think otherwise.

  • Although the investment for intranet portals is restricted only to the web server on which it is hosted, it is still possible to reduce costs further and leverage more benefits out of cloud infrastructure services such as Salesforce, Amazon, Azure etc.
  • Instead of simple social intranet forums or communities, a comprehensive social networking platform with 24×7 access is required for businesses.
    This is because, apart from helping employees stay in touch and know about various events and happenings quickly across the business line, the social intranet apps can go a long way in assisting the HR or the resource team. It helps find the right internal candidates for various short-term and long-term projects, within a short span of time.
  • With the rising trend of mobile websites, it is now imperative for companies to extend mobility to their intranet websites as well.

Tips to Modernise Intranet and Social Apps

Let’s check out some innovative ways to modernise a company’s intranet applications.

Increasing the Social Quotient

Enterprise apps, like Yammer, help employees stay connected and share critical information in various modes across geographical boundaries.

It is necessary to spice up the existing corporate social networking apps as the world thrives on social networking outside the corporate arena.

With this provision available within the organisation, the employees will be motivated more than ever before and this will help improve the overall business productivity.

Improved Mobility

Your company’s intranet might be accessible from mobile devices to the few employees at top-level positions.

But it is necessary to have this intranet mobility for each and every employee in the organisation.

If employees can raise travel requests, fill time cards for weekly effort tracking, book meeting / conference rooms, check the monthly training calendar and send nominations for training programs etc. on the move, it will allow your company to save precious working time.

Online Forms for Better Feedback

One of the major contributions to your company’s improvement and progress often comes from employee feedback. It is necessary to tap useful statistics from employee feedback and opinions, not just annually, but even more frequently.

This can be easily done through feedback or survey forms created using a good e-form builder app for the intranet. You can seek employee opinions for any new business services, new office locations, event ideas, and training programs to name a few.

Conditional Triggers and Intelligent Workflows for Automation

When it comes to managers and the HR department of a company, a major part of working time is spent on approving requests, providing permissions, checking feedback from project teams and more.

When the employees fill any of the online forms, conditional triggers and intelligent workflows for seeking permissions, triggering notifications etc. prove useful.

This helps automate the entire form-filling process for various employee-based activities in an organisation.

Enhancements to Employee Directory

Probably the first thing that comes to your mind when someone asks you to define intranet is access to the employee directory.

Instead of having traditional data such as employee name, address, telephone number, email id, project, and service line mentioned in the directory, you can focus on offering much more through this database.

Some useful tips to enhance the employee directory are listed below:

  • By sharing their vehicle numbers along with their starting points, employees can co-ordinate for car pooling and make their daily commute hassle-free.
  • Similarly, allowing employees to maintain their social network IDs (for Facebook, Twitter etc.) in the directory will enable them to quickly connect outside the office as well.
  • Accommodation information can be maintained for employees willing to share rented flats with their colleagues.

The purpose behind sharing the tips for a modernised intranet is to help realise that, as much as the technologies, products and services offered by a company need to be frequently upgraded, it is imperative to keep upgrading the intranet system as well, to keep up with the needs of the hour.

It is a lifeline for the employees within your organisation and if they are happy, content and connected, your business is bound to grow in your desired direction.

So what do you think about modernising your intranet? Have you planned to do it soon? Please share your comments below. Thanks for reading!