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: June 2013

Weekly recap: 7 reasons why IT won’t disappear, closing the IT talent gap, 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 reasons why IT departments won’t disappear, how to close the IT talent gap, and more. I hope you find them useful:

When it doesn’t make sense to go to the cloud
We constantly see articles touting the advantages of the cloud (usually from cloud vendors). But, is the cloud the best option for everyone? No. Some companies are better off keeping their data and applications in house, while others are better off moving all or parts of it to the cloud. The important thing: You must prepare your company for any scenario. How? Build cloud-ready applications that run anywhere.

Rules for modern web application development

EducationWeb application development has experienced a fundamental shift over the last 5 years. Mobile devices have exploded. Consumer applications have largely surpassed business applications in both capabilities and overall simplicity. Development libraries, frameworks, languages, etc… have evolved.

The fact is, development standards have changed, yet many companies are stuck developing applications based on outdated standards and technology. If they don’t adapt, these companies will only fall further and further behind as technology rapidly evolves.

The big questions: How has development changed? What rules must developers follow when building modern web applications? What current development principles will help ensure success?

To help you answer those questions, here’s a short list of guidelines that you must follow when developing modern web applications. Of course, if you’d like to add anything to the list, please do so in the comments.

Weekly recap: 10 web apps for developers, rules for radical CIOs, 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 web apps for developers, rules for radical CIOs, and more. I hope you find them useful:

How well are your IT groups supporting digital experiences?
Many IT departments still focus on keeping systems stable and secure. While still important, that’s no longer enough. Users expectations are changing, and IT must keep pace.

7 strategic CIO priorities for 2013-2014

EducationModern IT departments have an amazing opportunity. The speed at which technology currently evolves combined with the rising importance of technology in the business puts IT departments in a prime position to impact their companies more than ever before.

Unfortunately, that’s not happening in most companies.

In fact, the research firm, Gartner, estimates that, “Enterprises realize on average only 43 percent of technology’s business potential.”

The big question: How can IT departments drive that number up?

If IT departments hope to maximize their impact in this day and age, they must focus their attention on the right priorities–which falls squarely on the CIO’s shoulders. So, what key areas must CIOs focus on in the near future? To help you answer that question, I’ve solicited feedback from industry experts and compiled their advice (as well as some of my own) below. Here are a few strategic priorities that CIOs must focus on in the near future.

Legacy application modernization: Key concepts and strategies

EducationMany companies approach legacy application modernization from the wrong angle. They aim for modern-looking applications rather than truly modern applications.

Of course, when dealing with modern underlying architecture, this approach works just fine. However, that’s rarely the case. Legacy applications in need of modernization are typically built on at least 10 – 15 year old (or older) architecture.

The problem this creates: Much has changed in that time. Programming methods have changed. Databases have changed. Application structures have changed. That’s just the beginning.

With all of these changes, you can’t simply build a new interface on top of old architecture and expect it to fit your needs. These changes require a fundamental shift in application architecture and development as a whole.

I could go on, but we’ve outlined everything in a free white paper entitled: Crash Course in Modernization. It explains the changes you must address, and even outlines 5 different modernization methods.

Weekly recap: 10 productivity tips for developers, how enterprise IT gets creative, 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 productivity tips for developers, how enterprise IT gets creative, and more. I hope you find them useful:

If You Can’t Sell to Me on My iPhone, Best Buy, You Can’t Sell to Me at All
I noticed two key points in this article that businesses can’t ignore: First, the author expects to receive a mobile-optimized experience when viewing a site on his smartphone. Second, he purchased an item from Amazon, using his smartphone, while standing in a Staples store. This ties in perfectly with the article from last week: 3 new trends created by mobile (that you can’t ignore).

3 new trends created by mobile (that you can’t ignore)

EducationAs I’ve mentioned in the past, mobile is the fastest growing trend in history. In fact, I just read a study that puts smartphone adoption in the U.S. at over 50%.

When you consider that the iPhone was first released in 2007, that is an absolutely mind-blowing statistic. In nearly 6 years, smartphones (as we know them today) have gone from 0 – 50% adoption.

Today, I’d like to go a step beyond the growing mobile trend. I’d like to examine trends created by the rise of smartphones and tablets. Specifically, I’d like to focus on ways mobile is changing business.

So, how does the rise of smartphones and tablets change business? What new trends are cropping up? While I’m sure there are more, here are 3 big business trends created by mobile:

Turn your green-screen apps into web apps (in 3 minutes)

Save TimeIs your company still using those character-based, green-screen programs like this?

Edit Quantities

If so, what’s keeping you from moving to the web? Are you holding off because your company relies on these old programs? Are you worried that the project is too difficult and/or expensive?

If so, here’s a short video you’ll want to watch. It walks you through the process of turning a green-screen program into a modern web app…in under 3 minutes! Breaking free from your green screens may actually be easier than you think…

7 signs that your Business Intelligence (BI) needs an overhaul

EducationMany companies are stuck using BI tools and practices that are in desperate need of replacement. These outdated BI tools/practices waste precious time, harm decision-making, and keep these companies from truly taking advantage of their data.

How do you know? Outdated BI displays many warning signs. Unfortunately, many companies either ignore, or don’t recognize these signs. Maybe they don’t like change. Maybe they don’t realize there’s a better way. Whatever the reasons, ignoring these warning signs will ultimately lead to larger problems.

So, what are these warning signs? How can you know if your company’s BI needs an overhaul? To help you out, I’ve solicited input from multiple experts and have compiled their advice below. Here are 7 warning signs that you’re dealing with outdated BI:

New feature helps you automate manual processes

Save TimeIn a recent article, I outlined 5 common IT practices that waste your time. One such practice listed in that article: Repeating manual tasks. If you find yourself repeating the same task on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, you should ask yourself this question: Can this task be automated? Chances are, automation could save hours of time.

The question becomes…”How?”

If you’re an m-Power user, we recently released a new feature that will help you with automation: The Messaging and Scheduled Tasks enhancement. It lets developers build applications that perform tasks or send email and/or sms messages based on a predetermined schedule or event. While this is useful in all types of ways, here are a few tasks it could automate for you: