How Does my Software Get to Me? A Window into the Software Development Process

We are all familiar with the products of software design.  We use them every day to do everything from killing a little bit of time to running multi-billion dollar businesses.  But how do the software products you use every day go from an idea the mind of a person to the full bodied application you use.  There are a lot of different methodologies for software development, but most of these methodologies share some critical steps.

  1. Planning:  In the planning phase of software development the software team and their client get together and discuss exactly what the client needs the software to do.  They discuss pain points that the client has and what features can be implemented to meet the clients needs.  These discussions lead to a comprehensive document called a scope document, that online exactly what should and should not be included in the project.  In addition, the hammer out a schedule for the project. The scope should serve as the blue print for completing work.
  2. Implementation:  During this stage computer programmers actually begin to write the code that will turn into the program that the end user interacts with.  For some methodology types, all of the implementation and programming work gets completed before anything is released.  In agile methodologies such as the one used by Nourtek, programmers work on different components of the program simultaneously.
  3. Testing: Once the program is designed it is time to test.  Many software companies use quality assurance professionals who are specially trained to find any bugs in the program.  Also, at this stage the client can (and should) be included in testing.  The best version of software can only emerge if testers “break” the software.  This helps them identify where issues are and fix them before the product is launched.  Often times in the testing phase, a [...]

Vendor Insurance Compliance: Mission Critical

There are many times in business where a business owner must employ the services of others in order to accomplish certain tasks. When you employ a vendor to complete a task, you become partly liable for any damages done while they are working on your project. This extra liability is not something that your general liability policy will cover. That is why it is so very important to make sure that all of your vendors are properly insured before you hire them. When negotiating terms of employment for any vendor, you should always require a certificate of General Liability and if appropriate proof of Professional Liability coverage (also sometimes known as malpractice insurance). To see an example of the importance of tracking insurance for all vendors, we only have to look as far as the news. Recently, two children were killed because they were playing on the site where a home was being built. They were playing in the hole that was dug to build the foundations, and the walls collapsed. When such a tragic and senseless accident happens, someone has to compensate the families for unexpected funeral expenses and the suffering that comes with the loss of a child. If the contractor who was building the home is insufficiently covered, the burden will fall to the development company and/or the owner of the property. This kind of tragedy could easily land an unprepared business in bankruptcy court. Despite the urgent need to make sure your vendor has insurance, not all business owners know what to ask for from their vendors. Vendors should be required to have a general liability or professional liability policy. A general liability policy covers the policy holder for property damage and bodily injuries as a result of their negligence. A professional liability policy is a little bit different. This [...]

Product Spotlight: Wrap Portal

In the Beginning… Like many industries, OCIP (Owner Controlled Insurance Program) Administration began with a series of manual administrative processes.  People would fill out forms and deliver them to the administrator.  That administrator then had to do the data entry on the form, determine if it was complete, perform the requested action, and then file the form.  The time required for one or even two or three people to do this was astronomical and it resulted in delays for OCIP/CCIP projects as necessary insurance and permit documents took forever to complete.  As the digital age progressed some digital elements have been introduced into this process, but those elements remained unconnected and cumbersome to use.  What’s worse is that the variety of methods of communication resulted in forms and queries coming in at an increased rate and a variety of formats which additionally complicated the process.  These problems have resulted in hassles for the administrators, delays for the contractors, and the loss of money for both the company building the project and the contractors who are building it. And Then Came Wrap Portal In response to these challenges, Nourtek Solutions set out to create a product that would allow OCIP/CCIP administrators to handle everything in a single system.  It was definitely a tall order but with a combination of experience in programming and the insurance industry they were able to create a system that exceeded even their own expectations.   Originally called the OCMP (OCIP/CCIP Management Portal), the Wrap Portal is a complete Risk Management Information System (RMIS).

What Makes Wrap Portal so Revolutionary? The goal of Wrap Portal is to automate data entry and management processes, so that administrators can focus on core aspects of their jobs, like making decisions and handling issues.  Wrap Portal meets these goals through a package of features [...]

Web Analytics: Giving a Face to the Invisible Masses

One of the biggest challenges in creating an effective website and online marketing program is trying to understand who is coming to your site and how they are using it.  In a brick and mortar store you can directly observe the behaviors of your customers, and using that analysis improve store layout, adjust marketing campaigns, and generally make improvements to more effectively serve your customers.  However in an online environment observing customer behavior becomes a bit of a challenge because they aren’t physically in front of you.  To solve this problem developed web analytics software.  Web analytics software is a computer program that evaluates the behavior of customers on your website. How Do I Get Analytics? There are many providers of analytics software out there.  You can purchase a program, but there are also many excellent free services out there.  One such product is Google Analytics.  To use Google Analytics, you simply sign up for an account, tell them the URL of your website.  Google Analytics will then produce a small snippet of code that you will need to embed on your website.  When you embed the code, you want to be sure and install the code at the bottom of the page so that your page loads before it tries to process the tracking code.  This will keep your website loading times down by reducing the amount of instructions a user’s computer has to process before it gets to the content of your page.  If you aren’t sure how to do this, you can contact your IT Services provider or web developer to help you. What Exactly Does Analytics Measure? Analytics can measure a variety of things on your website, and each metric tells you something different about the behavior of people on your website and gives you a clue is to where [...]

Can I Take Your Order? Mobile Computing and the Information Drive Thru

The invention of the drive thru restaurant has changed the face of dining as we know it.  Instead of going into a restaurant, sitting down, and dining, consumers can now pull in, place their order and drive off in a matter of minutes. As a result of this change in the nature of dining many restaurants have had to change the type of food they serve and their methods of producing it.  This makes tasty and convenient food easy and fast to obtain for anyone who has a car.  The Smartphone and tablet have created a similar phenomenon in the information industry.  Those who own mobile computing devices, now access small bits of information they need on demand where ever they are.  Their behavior is different than other computer users and their needs differ from desktop users.  Just like restaurants adjust their menus and cooking practices to speed up the time from the initial order to the time the customer pulls out of the parking lot, webmasters must learn to produce content that will effectively meet the needs of their mobile audience in the fastest, most efficient manner possible.  Below are some tips to create content that will serve your mobile users well:

  1. Keep your information “bite sized”- Small screens and the “I’ll just check this out real quick” mentality of mobile device users means that whatever you put on your website needs to be short and to the point.  You should use bullet points where possible, and keep the text per bullet brief too.  Also, keep in mind what users might be trying to do with your website and focus on putting that content up front, in an easy to read format.  For instance, if a mobile user is looking for a restaurant’s website, they are likely looking for its [...]

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