mrc's Cup of Joe Blog

Join us in exploring the world of modern development, evolving technologies, and the art of future-proof software

Month: July 2011

8 things to look for in a BI tool

EducationBy now, you probably understand the concept of business intelligence. It helps you keep a pulse on your business and make decisions based on factual data. It helps you spot trends (both negative and positive) and adjust your business plan accordingly.

But, the difficult question with BI is this: What should I look for? What makes a good BI solution? If you’ve ever looked for BI software, you quickly learned just how many options exist. How do you know which one is best for your company?

How to build a secure customer portal in one day

Save TimeBuilding a customer/vendor portal (also called an extranet) is a tricky task. Typically, one portal must display different data to different users. If one user logs in and sees data that they shouldn’t see, you’ll have a big problem on your hands.

For example, suppose that your product pricing varies by customer. If one customer logs in and sees pricing meant for another customer, you’ll have problems. Or, suppose that your customers have different levels of users which require different permissions. For example, the CEO must see different data than the salespeople, and the salespeople from one region must see different data than those from another region, and so on…

All in all, it’s an extremely complicated application. Fortunately, extranets are actually easy to create with the right process. If you’re planning on building an extranet/portal, this video explains how to build a secure extranet in one day.

Turning COBOL programmers into web developers

Save MoneyBack in 1997, Gartner estimated that 80% of the world’s businesses ran on COBOL. These days, the numbers are a little more uncertain. Some say that number is down to 70%. I’ve also seen surveys that put it right around 62%. Regardless of the figures, one thing is clear: COBOL is still widely used in many businesses.

However, many of these businesses find themselves in a tough situation. They have their COBOL programmers on staff to maintain their current apps. But, they don’t have the skills necessary to build modern web apps, and can’t afford to bring in new employees. …