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: October 2012

5 most common IT money-wasters

Save MoneyTell me, is your IT department wasting your company’s money? That’s a tricky question to answer. Nobody wants to waste money, yet despite best efforts to the contrary, many IT departments unwittingly waste money every day.

How so? While I couldn’t possibly cover every way in one blog post, I’ve put together a list of some of the most common ways that IT departments waste money. If you’re looking for ways your company can save money, start by investigating these 5 areas:

Getty Images Demands Big Money from Website Owners

Save Money** This guest post was written by Ryan Healy. Learn more about Ryan in the author bio at the end of this post. **

Have you ever used a picture on your web applications or website? And if so, have you taken the time to verify that you have the proper copyright to use that image?

If not, you could soon be the unhappy recipient of a settlement demand letter (AKA “extortion letter”) that asks for a large sum of money to pay for “damages.”

In recent years, companies like Getty Images, iStockphoto, Masterfile, Corbis, Jupiter Images, and others have become aggressive in pursuing people who infringe on an image’s copyright.

It doesn’t matter whether you use an unlicensed image accidentally or intentionally — the consequences are the same.

Weekly recap: Top 10 strategic technologies for 2013, eCommerce mistakes, and more…

EducationEvery week, I share the most interesting and useful tech articles that I’ve found over the past week. This week’s top articles focus on the strategic technologies for 2013, Business Intelligence, and more. I hope you find them useful:

Business intelligence and why you need it
Business intelligence is a hot topic right now, but why is it so important? Why does your business need “business intelligence” all of a sudden. Here’s an article that will help you answer those questions.

4 ways to breathe new life into your old systems

EducationIs your old enterprise software hurting your company? It happens more than you think. Although your old enterprise system might still “work”, it could be wasting money, harming productivity, or holding your company back. How so? Here are three common ways that old enterprise software can hurt a company:

1. End users are forced to work outside of the system: If end users aren’t happy with the tools provided by an enterprise system, they find workarounds outside of the system. A common example: Enterprise systems often offer sub-par reporting options, driving users to create their reports with Excel. This is not only inefficient, but leads to errors and wasted money.

2. You pay for unnecessary licenses: How many of your licensed users actually use your enterprise software? For instance, maybe some licensed users are no longer with the company. Perhaps others have switched job roles and no longer use the software. Chances are, you’re paying more in licensing fees than you should.

3. Locks your company to old technology: Does your old enterprise software keep your company from taking advantage of newer technology like web applications, mobile apps, or cloud computing? If so, it not only makes your company appear outdated, it’s also keeping you from all of the benefits that come with these new features.

So, if your old enterprise software is harming your company, you must answer one big question: What are you going to do about it? After all, replacing an ERP, MRP, or any other type of enterprise system is no simple job. It’s expensive, risky, and time consuming. As anyone who has experienced it knows, when implementations like this fail, they fail spectacularly.

How mobile will revolutionize inventory tracking

Save MoneyMobile is about to change inventory tracking as you know it. Before I show you how, let’s take a quick look at current inventory tracking methods. Right now, inventory is typically tracked in one of two ways:

1. Manually: This involves employees manually logging inventory on paper, and then entering that information into their system. This is the cheapest option, but also the most time consuming.

2. Barcode scanners and software: This involves employees scanning inventory with barcode scanners, which automatically update the system. This is certainly much faster than tracking inventory by hand, but purchasing all of the scanning equipment and software can get expensive.

How will mobile change this? Mobile provides an inexpensive, yet efficient method to track inventory that can easily replace expensive barcode scanners.

Here’s a great story that illustrates this point: A medical supply distributor needed a better way to track incoming inventory. Rather than purchase expensive scanning equipment, they used mobile apps running on standard smartphones that automatically update inventory levels in their system. The result: They nearly automated inventory logging while using inexpensive, off-the-shelf parts. That’s just a quick summary, but you can read the whole story right here.

Weekly recap: Top 10 cloud jobs, mobile BI, and more…

EducationEvery week, I share the most interesting and useful tech articles that I’ve found over the past week. This week’s top articles focus on the mobile BI, HTML5, and more. I hope you find them useful:

Mobile BI: Exciting but intimidating
Mobile BI is about more than just accessing BI apps on your smartphone or tablet. It’s about harnessing the new data we can now access thanks to mobile. This article goes into more detail about this emerging trend.

5 new skills necessary for modern development

EducationThe rapid rate at which technology evolves is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, new tech trends give companies new opportunities to improve their business. For instance, the rise of mobile apps is already helping all types of companies in many different ways.

On the other hand, keeping up with new tech trends is no easy task, as new tech trends require a new set of skills. For example, take a look at the ever-changing world of application development. Business application development is becoming more complex, driven in part by recent trends like the web, mobile, and the cloud. While these new trends expand business opportunities, they also require an ever-expanding skill-set.

How exactly have these new tech trends changed application development? What new skills are required for modern application development? To help you understand how development has evolved, I’ve created a list of 5 new skills that are essential for modern application development.

How to add a Twitter feed to your web applications

EducationI know what many of you are thinking: “Why would I want to add a Twitter feed to our web applications? How can it help our business?” Those are very valid questions.

The answer: When used correctly, Twitter can actually provide real business value. How so? Here are just a couple of ways that Twitter could improve your web applications:

1. Let you know what others are saying about your brand: Placing a Twitter feed on an executive dashboard can provide valuable information about what customers and prospects think of your products or services.

2. Improve customer service: Taking the first point a step further, you could place a feed on your customer care applications and let your employees monitor customer complaints. Your customer service team could even reach out to disgruntled customers on Twitter and try to resolve their problems.

While there are many different ways to use Twitter for business, the ideas listed above are just couple of common ways Twitter is used to help business. If you would like to add a Twitter feed to your web applications, it’s really simple. We’ve written up a short tutorial, which you can find right here.

Weekly recap: Will the cloud end the IT department, CSS tricks, and more…

EducationEvery week, I share the most interesting and useful tech articles that I’ve found over the past week. This week’s top articles focus on the cloud, BI, and more. I hope you find them useful:

10 reasons why your users won’t use your BI solution
Did you know that half of all BI projects fail? Why is that? The biggest cause of BI failure is user adoption. Specifically, it’s difficult to make users start using a new BI solution. How can you fix this problem? While this article gives some good tips, there’s another great solution mentioned in this article: Why users don’t use business intelligence.

5 big questions to ask before moving to the cloud

EducationHas there ever been a more confusingly vague term than “cloud computing?” To get an idea of just how confused people are, take a look at the numerous cloud adoption rate surveys. Depending on which survey you read, anywhere from 37% – 91% of companies are using the cloud. That’s quite a range.

Why the discrepancy in the numbers? I doubt all of the survey respondents have the same definition of “the cloud.” While it may mean one thing to some people, it may have a completely different meaning to others. So, what exactly does cloud computing mean? The “cloud computing” umbrella covers many different areas, such as…