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Porting Perfection: AlignMinds’ Guide to Successful Software Migration

Guide to Successful Software

At AlignMinds, we’ve successfully navigated numerous software migration projects, each presenting its unique set of challenges and learning opportunities. In this article, we share our insights and practical tips from these experiences to help you manage the complexities of software migration effectively. Our aim is to provide you with actionable advice that reflects our hands-on expertise in the field.

Understanding Software Migration

Software migration is a critical process for businesses looking to upgrade or change their technological infrastructure. It involves moving software from one environment to another, which could include transitioning to a different operating system, database, server, or an entirely new technological architecture. Our approach has been refined through projects like Netflix’s migration to AWS, a benchmark in the industry for scaling services and improving reliability.

Challenge 1: Ensuring Data Integrity

Maintaining data integrity is paramount in software migration. It’s essential to ensure no data is lost or corrupted during the transition.

Tips from Our Experience:

• Regular Data Audits: Conduct thorough data audits before and after migration to identify and address any discrepancies.

• Selecting the Right Tools: Use reliable data validation tools that are compatible with your data formats.

• Effective Backup Strategies: Implement a multi-tiered backup strategy to ensure data safety at every stage of the migration.

Challenge 2: Minimizing Downtime

Minimizing downtime is crucial for maintaining business operations and ensuring user satisfaction.

Tips from Our Experience:

• Plan for Low-Traffic Periods: Schedule migrations during off-peak hours to reduce impact.

• Phased Migration Approach: Gradually shift traffic between old and new databases to manage the migration smoothly.

• Testing in Staged Environments: Always conduct thorough testing in a controlled environment before going live.

Challenge 3: Compatibility and Integration

Ensuring that the new system is compatible with existing systems and seamlessly integrates is a significant challenge.

Tips from Our Experience:

• Extensive Compatibility Testing: Test the new system extensively to ensure compatibility with existing infrastructure.

• Early User Involvement: Involve end-users in the early stages of testing to gather valuable feedback.

• Incremental Integration: Adopt a step-by-step approach to integration to minimize risks.

Challenge 4: User Training and Adaptation

Helping users adapt to new software is a critical aspect of the migration process.

Tips from Our Experience:

• Tailored Training Programs: Develop training programs that cater to users with varying levels of expertise.

• Ongoing Support and Resources: Provide continuous support and resources to users post-migration.

• Open Feedback Channels: Establish feedback mechanisms to continuously improve the migration process based on user input.

Conclusion

At AlignMinds, we understand that software migration, though challenging, is essential for businesses to keep pace with technological advancements. The key to successful migration lies in meticulous planning, understanding user needs, ensuring data integrity, minimizing downtime, focusing on compatibility, and facilitating user training. Our tips, derived from years of practical experience, are designed to guide you through the complexities of software migration, ensuring a smooth and successful transition. With the right approach and expertise, achieving porting perfection is not just a goal, but a reality.

The importance of User Experience (UX) in Application support

In the whirlwind of today’s digital age, where time flies like a rocket, it’s crystal clear that users crave nothing less than flawless and captivating experiences when interacting with applications. But to what degree does the significance of user experience truly prevail?

Well, let the numbers do the talking! A jaw-dropping 88% of internet shoppers won’t give a website a second chance if they have a terrible user experience. And guess what? A mind-boggling 94% of users say bye-bye to a site simply because of lousy design. Don’t fret, though! We’re here to unveil the power of UX and how it creates mind-blowing application support.

It’s time to make your users’ journey an unforgettable one!

Understanding User Experience (UX) in Application Support: A Comprehensive Definition

User experience (UX) in application support alludes to the comprehensive caliber and gratification users acquire from engaging with software or application throughout technical assistance. It encompasses facets such as promptness, user-friendliness, efficacy, and proficiency of the support rendered.

An affirmative user experience guarantees smooth navigation, clear instructions, prompt issue resolution, and an intuitive interface, thus resulting in amplified user contentment and an optimized support experience.

Benefits of Prioritizing UX in Application Support

1. Improved user engagement and adoption rates:

Improved user engagement and adoption rates

Prioritizing UX in application support leads to improved user engagement and adoption rates. When users are bestowed with a seamlessly integrated and intuitively navigable experience, their inclination to actively interact with the application and consistently employ its functionalities is significantly augmented.

2. customer retention and loyalty:

Customer retention and loyality

It also results in augmented customer retention and loyalty. Users who undergo a favorable experience are more likely to remain loyal to the application and its brand, thereby diminishing attrition rates and amplifying the customer’s longevity in terms of value.

3. Positive impact on brand reputation and word-of-mouth marketing: Emphasizing user experience exerts a favorable influence on brand standing and viral marketing. Contented users are more likely to share their positive experiences with others, leading to organic brand promotion and a surge in customer procurement.

4. Amplify business revenue and foster exponential growth:

Amplify business revenue and foster exponential growth

Focusing on UX in application support can have a direct positive impact on business revenue and growth. Satisfied users are more likely to make repeat purchases, upgrade to premium services, and refer others, ultimately driving revenue growth and expanding the customer base.

Strategies for Improving User Experience in Application Support

A. Conducting user research and usability testing: Understanding the needs and preferences of users is crucial for improving their experience. By conducting user research and usability testing, developers can acquire invaluable discernments regarding user behaviors, grievances, and anticipations, thereby empowering them to execute informed determinations and enhancements.

B. Streamlining the user interface and navigation: A clutter-free and intuitive user interface, coupled with streamlined navigation, can significantly enhance the user experience. Simplifying complex processes, organizing content logically, and ensuring consistency in design elements contribute to a more user-friendly application.

C. Providing clear and concise instructions: Clear and concise instructions aid users in comprehending the intricacies of traversing and employing the application with utmost efficiency. Using plain language, providing step-by-step guidance, and incorporating visual aids, one can alleviate bewilderment and exasperation, thereby fostering a superlative user experience.

D. Offering personalized and proactive support: Tailoring support to individual user needs and anticipating their issues in advance can greatly enhance user satisfaction. Providing personalized recommendations, offering live chat or chatbot assistance, and sending proactive notifications or reminders contribute to a more attentive and supportive user experience.

E. Continuous improvement through feedback and iteration: Emphasizing user feedback and continuously iterating on the application based on user input is essential for long-term success. Regularly seeking user feedback, analyzing usage data, and incorporating user suggestions and trends enable developers to address pain points, introduce new features, and evolve the application to meet evolving user expectations.

Prioritize UX in your application support strategy

In summary, placing utmost emphasis on User Experience (UX) within your application support strategy is paramount for the success of your business. With the ever-increasing competition in the digital landscape, providing a seamless and enjoyable user experience has become a necessity.

By partnering with AlignMinds, the leading application development company in India, Kenya, and the US, you can guarantee that your applications shall be meticulously crafted and bolstered with an unwavering dedication to user-centricity. Their expertise in UX design and website development, coupled with their commitment to delivering innovative and intuitive solutions, positions them as the quintessential option for enhancing your application’s efficacy and user gratification. Invest in AlignMinds to take your application support strategy to new heights and stay ahead in today’s competitive market.

DevOps vs DevSecOps: What to Choose?

When it comes to application development, there are different approaches you can take up to achieve your goal. However, in recent years, a few approaches like DevOps became mainstream.

The value of the global DevOps market was USD 4,311.95 million in 2020. It is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18.95%. The forecasted market value of DevOps by 2026 is USD 12,215.54 million.

The growth of DevOps is the result of organisations across the globe realizing its advantages. According to studies, DevOps is helping organisations with improving the quality of their software deployments, releasing more software in less time, improving cooperation and collaboration across teams and also improving the quality of code production.

However, DevOps is not a fault-free approach. Even though it integrates software development and IT operations efficiently, it never gave enough importance to application security. As a result, the industry is developing and adopting better versions of DevOps to have a comprehensive approach in terms of the software development life cycle. One such approach is DevSecOps.

DevOps and DevSecOps: What are they?

DevOps

Amazon define DevOps as

“DevOps is the combination of cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that increases an organization’s ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity: evolving and improving products at a faster pace than organizations using traditional software development and infrastructure management processes. This speed enables organizations to better serve their customers and compete more effectively in the market.”

According to Microsoft Azure, DevOps is

“A compound of development (Dev) and operations (Ops), DevOps is the union of people, process, and technology to continually provide value to customers.”

In simple terms, DevOps is the integration of software development and IT operations by following a set of practices.

Under DevOps, Development and operation teams work in tandem. Both the teams will be part of the entire software lifecycle that includes development, testing, deployment and operations. Through automation, the teams eliminate a lot of manual and repetitive tasks and improve the overall efficiency. The use of technology stacks and tools, together with the knowledge of the complete software lifecycle helps team members complete tasks independently without affecting code compatibility.

DevSecOps

Seamless integration of security testing and protection with DevOps practices is called DevSecOps. Here quality assurance and security teams are also part of the entire product lifecycle. In DevSecOps, the “Sec” part denotes the importance it gives to application “security”.

Traditionally, the security of an application was tested only once the product is completed. It was tested by independent teams that have limited knowledge of development, deployment and operations. A separate security testing increased the overall duration of product development, and it also affected the philosophy of continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD). Not only that, there was no universal understanding of application security across the teams.

DevSecOps not only solved these weaknesses but also enabled security testing to run seamlessly and automatically. The real-time security testing brought down the production time significantly and organizations started to release more software in a short span of time.

What are the similarities between DevOps and DevSecOps?

Collaborative culture

A collaborative culture is the backbone of both DevOps and DevSecOps. It helps with rapid iteration, continuous testing and faster product delivery apart from reducing the overall duration of the software development lifecycle. A better understanding of the complete application lifecycle is encouraged across teams and as a result, the efficiency and code quality are also improved.

Active monitoring

Both DevOps and DevSecOps encourage active monitoring of data to encourage learning and easy adaptation. Continuous analysis of application data helps teams to improvise the products and adapt the best practices to create better software in the future. Real-time monitoring of data helps the team fix vulnerabilities faster, improvise existing security practices and optimize application performance.

Automation

Automation is vital in DevOps and DevSecOps practices. Automation helps teams eliminate manual and repetitive tasks and improve efficiency. With the use of stacks and tools, DevOps practitioners can reduce the time needed for each iteration and ensure the quality of the production. DevSecOps teams can use automation to run continuous and real-time security checks and avoid the most common vulnerabilities. Usage of Artificial Intelligence techniques like anomaly detection can also help both and such practices are advised when engaging in a complex release environment like distributed or multi-cloud infrastructure.

Encourage learning

Since both DevOps and DevSecOps practices require a collaborative environment, teams are encouraged to learn about the complete lifecycle of an application. Each member is advised to understand the basic practices concerning each stage of the development lifecycle to limit the probability of code conflicts. For example, developers are encouraged to understand common and potential security vulnerabilities, strengths and weaknesses of the deployment environment and how not to burden the operation teams. They are also encouraged to achieve tasks individually with the help of software stacks, automation and tools.

Rapid iteration and faster release

Both the practices encourage collaboration between teams. Traditionally, teams were working in “silos’ and they had to wait for “their turn” to start working on their tasks. However, DevOps and DevSecOps promote the philosophy of shared responsibility. Every team will be working in tandem. As a result, more tasks can be completed in a short time. This helped organisations run more iterations, improve the quality of the applications and also release more products in a short time.

Differences between DevOps and DevSecOps

The main difference between DevOps and DevSecOps is that the former has limited security practices.

A common DevOps software development life cycle is as follows,

  • Developers write codes and use version control to track changes.
  • New codes are integrated at the build phase.
  • Feedback is gathered from all code branches before compilation.
  • Software is pushed for deployment.
  • If the application meets all the standards, it is released to production.
  • If any vulnerabilities are found, the code is sent to developers for fixing and the above process is reiterated.
  • The delivery of the application is a shared responsibility of every member.

The common practices we can derive from the above process are,

  • Continuous Integration (CI): Code changes are merged and only the recent version is available to developers.
  • Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment (CD): Efficiency is increased by automating product releases.
  • Microservices: Creating a set of smaller applications that work together as single software.
  • Infrastructure as Code (IaC): Codes are used for designing, implementing and managing application infrastructure.

However, DevSecOps include a few more practices compared to DevOps. They are,

  • Threat modelling: Security tests are implemented during the development phase to save time and cost.
  • Common Weaknesses Enumeration (CWE): Increase the level of quality and security during CI and CD phases.
  • Automated security testing: Automation is used for continuous and real-time testing for finding vulnerabilities.
  • Incident response management: A standard framework is created for responding to vulnerabilities.

From the above description, it is evident that the organisations have a good reason, security, to prefer DevSecOps over DevOps. After all, application security is paramount in today’s world. Any compromise on security can spoil the success of the application and stain the image of its creators.

How to integrate security practices into DevOps?

The transition from DevOps to DevSecOps may seem complex. However, it is not enough a reason to justify not adopting the best security practices. Fortunately transiting to DevSecOps is not that complicated. You can start by adopting the following practices.

Shift left

Test early and often. The shift left philosophy encourages adopting security measures in the early stages of the software development lifecycle. Traditionally “security” came at the end of the development lifecycle. As a result, a lot of vulnerabilities that otherwise could be avoided plagued the application products. It is important that every team member who is a part of the development and releases lifecycle should have a decent knowledge of common security issues and how to avoid them.

Establish standards

A lot of security issues can be avoided with the help of strict coding standards. All the parties should follow the best practices in the industry. Also, they should keep themselves updated on this topic regularly. There should be a universal standard for code quality, and it should be possible to implement code changes seamlessly.

Implement the right set of testing methods

There is an overwhelming number of security tests you can adopt and incorporate into your product development lifecycle. However, choosing the right ones would be the best choice. Here are a few examples best testing methods.

  • Static Application Security Testing (SAST): Helps you identify vulnerabilities by examining the code.
  • Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST): Helps administrators identify vulnerabilities by granting them an attacker’s perspective.
  • Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST): A combination of SAST and DAST. Application performance can be monitored using software instrumentation.
  • Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP): Detect and resolve threats as they occur using real-time application data independently of an administrator.

Have a comprehensive security approach

Rather than relying completely on security firewalls, implement security measures within the application to eliminate threats and increase security posture. A shared infrastructure with a common perimeter is an easy target for attackers. By securing the application also from the inside, you are adding more layers of protection and discouraging the attackers. Also, this approach augments the philosophy of “shared responsibility”.

DevSecOps vs SecDevOps vs DevOpsSec: Is there a difference?

You might have come across these names while researching something related to secure DevOps. And, you might have wondered why use different names for the same approach? Or are they different from one another? Let’s find answers to these questions.

Are DevSecOps, SecDevOps, and DevOpsSec the same?

No, they are not exactly the same.

Then what’s the difference between DevSecOps, SecDevOps and DevOpsSec?

There is not much difference between these three approaches. However, the wording of the names gives you an idea of what is sacrosanct in each approach.

DevSecOps

DevSecOps is a widely popular approach. Here the emphasis is given to development since “Dev” is positioned first in the name. Security comes second which means that the software should pass security checks before it is pushed to the operation team. This is a common approach among organisations that lack a security focus but still want to integrate security testing into the software development process.

SecDevOps

SecDevOps is also known as rugged DevOps.

Here security is given utmost importance and all decision including design choice, development standards, deployment platforms etc. are made after factoring in security considerations.

While this is the best approach an organisation can adopt considering how crucial security is in today’s world and age, it demands fair support from all members of the team that participate in the product development lifecycle. The members should have a good understanding of security standards and common vulnerabilities. They should also be able to foresee the impact of their decisions on application security, every time they make one.

DevOpsSec

Compared to the other two approaches, this one gives the least importance to security. While something is better than nothing, this approach is nothing but a normal DevOps approach with some security testing implemented at the end. Since security testing is done only after application deployment, the likelihood of the application and its data getting compromised is very high. Therefore, DevOpsSec is the least popular and less preferred approach among all three.

Conclusion

The transition from the Waterfall software development model to agile and then DevOps offered us tremendous advantages. Incorporating security practices into already popular DevOps is a continuation of this positive trend. DevSecOps is fixing the loopholes of DevOps and gradually taking over its position.


Looking for DevOps or DevSecOps team for your next project? Contact us now!

Top 10 Programming Languages for AI Development

Recent studies show that businesses are investing more in artificial intelligence.

According to studies conducted by DataProt, 37% of businesses employ AI in their operations. The industry will be earning $126 billion by the year 2025 and the market value is expected to cross $267 billion by 2027.

Another study, conducted by Oberlo, states that 91% of top businesses have already invested in Artificial Intelligence. Also according to them, around 62% of customers are ready to share data if it improves their experiences with a business.

As artificial intelligence and related development are becoming more popular, the programming languages used for developing such software are also becoming popular.

If you are someone who has an interest in developing AI solutions, understanding the programming languages used for AI development will be compelling to you.

Best programming languages for AI development

When it comes to AI development, there are several programming languages you can choose from. Among them, here are major 10 programming languages that are used extensively in AI and machine learning development in 2022.

1. Python

Python is a high level, general-purpose programming language. It uses significant indentation to improve its code readability. Using language constructs and an object-oriented approach Python helps with developing clear and logical code for small to large scale AI projects.

Python was released in the year 1991 by Guido van Rossum. Ever since its inception, the language has been used in desktop apps, web apps, networking apps, scientific computing, machine learning apps and data science applications.

The libraries offered by Python such as Tensorflow, Keras, PyTorch, Scikit-learn, PyBrain and MXNet etc. make it one of the popular choices for AI development. Since Python offers rich text processing tools and uses modular architecture for scripting, it has also become a popular choice for Natural Language Processing (NLP).

A few of the leading companies that use Python include Google, Amazon, NASA, Reddit, Instagram, Intel, IBM, Facebook, Netflix, JP Morgan Chase and so on.

2. R programming language

R is a very popular programming language for statistical programming, especially data analysis and statistical computing. The language was created by statisticians Ross Ihaka and Robert Gentleman in 1993. As of March 2022, R is ranked at 11th position in the TIOBE index.

R is primarily written in C, Fortran and R itself. It comes with a command-line interface and offers support for multiple third-party user interfaces like RStudio and Jupyter.

R’s S heritage enabled it to have best-in-the class object-oriented programming facilities. R supports procedural programming with the use of functions and object-oriented programming with generic functions.

Due to its advantages, R is considered the primary programming language for statistical computations in domains such as biology, sociology, finance and medicine. The advantages of R can be extended through user-created packages that offer statistical techniques, graphical devices, import/export, reporting etc. The packaging system allows researchers to organize data, code and files in a systematic way for sharing and archiving. It is the ease of using such packages that drives the popularity of R as the best programming language for data science.

The alternatives to R programming language are SPSS, Stata and SAS, However, they are commercial statistical packages while R is a free software under the GNU General Public License.

Renjin and FastR used in the Java Virtual machines is a Java implementation of R programming language. The runtime engine “TERR” that is part of “Spotfire” is developed in R.

R is used by most of the leading companies including Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, Uber, Airbnb etc.

3. Java

Java is one of those programming languages that everyone has heard of.

This high-level, class-based, object-oriented programming language was designed in the year 1995 by James Gosling and became popular in the industry due to its write once, run anywhere (WORA) principle. WORA simply means that a compiled Java code can be run on all platforms that support Java without recompiling.

Java is one of the most used programming languages for client-server web applications. Even though it shares similarities with C and C++ in terms of the syntax used, Java has fewer low-level facilities than both.

Apart from web applications, Java is also used in Android apps, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning applications, search algorithms, server-side programming, neural networks and multi-robot systems. Its scalability, low dependencies, platform independence and support for Java Virtual Machines have made Java a popular general-purpose programming language.

When it comes to AI development, Java offers several libraries and frameworks such as Apache OpenNLP, Java Machine Learning Library, Neuroph, Deep Java Library, MLlib and so on.

Java is used by several companies including the noteworthy ones such as Google, Uber, Netflix, Airbnb, Instagram, Amazon, Spotify, Slack etc.

4. Rust

Designed by Graydon Hoare in 2010, Rust is multi-paradigm, a general-purpose programming language designed for performance and safety. Even though it is syntactically similar to C++, Rust guarantees memory safety unlike the former. Another benefit of Rust is that it offers memory safety without garbage collection and reference counting is only optional.

Rust offers low-level memory management as well as high-level features such as functional programming. Since it offers speed, performance and safety, Rust is gaining increased popularity day by day. It has been adopted and implemented by mainstream companies like Amazon, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Discord. Google announced Rust as an alternative to C/C++ for their Android open-source project.

Here is a list of recent adoptions we have seen in the industry.

  • Microsoft Azure IoT Edge, a platform used to run Azure services and artificial intelligence on IoT devices, uses rust to create some of its components.
  • The blockchain platform Polkadot is written in Rust.
  • TerminusDB is written in Prolog and Rust
  • AWS’s Firecracker and Bottlerocket use Rust.
  • Google Fuchsia, an operating system by Google, uses Rust for its components.
  • Figma is written in Rust.
  • The Servo parallel browser engine developed by Mozilla in collaboration with Samsung is written in Rust.

5. Prolog

Prolog, which derived its name from “Programming in Logic”, is a logic programming language mainly used in artificial intelligence and computational linguistics. It was designed by Alain Colmerauer and Robert Kowalski in 1972.

Unlike many other programming languages, Prolog inherits first-order logic and is intended mainly as a declarative programming language. The logic is declared in the form of relations represented by facts and rules.

Even though Prolog was one of the first logic programming languages, hence one of the oldest, it still holds its position in the industry. There are several free and commercial adoption of Prolog such as Tabling (used in systems like B-Prolog, XSB, SWI-Prolog, YAP, and Ciao), hashing (used in WIN-PROLOG and SWI-Prolog) and Tail Call Optimization (TCO). 

Prolog has been mainly used as a primarily logic language for expert systems, term rewriting, type systems, automated planning, theorem proving and natural language processing. This programming language is best suited for an AI solution that features rule-based logical queries such as searching databases, voice control systems, and filling templates. IBM Watson is one such system. 

IBM Watson. Image credit: Pbs.org

6. C++

C++ is one of the well-known programming languages due to the popularity of C, the programming language it inherits from.

Designed by Bjarne Stroustrup as a general-purpose programming language in 1985, c++ has seen significant expansion over the years. Now it supports object-oriented, generic, and functional features besides low-level memory manipulation. 

The main advantage of C++ is its performance, efficiency, and flexibility as it was designed as a programming language for building resource-constrained software and large systems. The language is used extensively in building desktop applications, servers (mainly for e-commerce, web search and databases), video games and performance-critical applications such as telephone switches and space probes.

C++ offers several AI and ML libraries such as Caffee, Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (CNTK), TensorFlow, DyNet, OpenNN, FANN, Shogun and mlpack library.

The popular companies that use C++ include Walmart, Google, Accenture, Twitch, Telegram and Lyft.

7. Lisp

Lisp, a name derived from “LISt Processor”, is the second-oldest high-level programming language still in use and is only one year younger than Fortran. Designed by John McCarthy in 1958, this family of programming languages has a long history with the presence of several distinctive dialects such as Racket, Scheme, Common Lisp and Clojure.

Designed primarily as practical mathematical notation for computer programs, Lisp later became the most favoured programming language for Artificial Intelligence. Several inventions in the field of programming are pioneered by Lisp and they include tree data structure, dynamic typing, conditionals, automatic storage management, recursion, self-hosting compiler, higher-order functions and read-eval-print loop. Apart from these, Lisp offers several features such as rapid prototyping, dynamic object creation, flexibility, garbage collection and information process capabilities.

CLML (Common Lisp Machine Learning Library), mgl, Antik and LLA are the popular AI and ML libraries offered by Lisp.

iRobot, The Mimix Company, NASA (in their PVS), Rigetti Quantum Computing, Grammarly, Mind AI, Carre Technologies, NuEcho, Kina knowledge, Emotiq and Anaphoric are a few examples of companies that are using Lisp in their products or operations.

Logo of Lisp programming language

8. Julia

Julia is a high-level, high-performance, dynamic programming language well suited for AI solutions that deal with numerical analysis and computational science.

Designed by Jeff Bezanson, Alan Edelman, Stefan Karpinski and Viral B. Shah in 2012, Julia supports concurrent, parallel and distributed computing.

Advantages of Julia include

  • It can direct call “C” and “Fortran” libraries without glue code.
  • Compiles all code by default to machine code before running it.
  • Automatic memory management/garbage collection
  • It uses easter evaluation
  • Offer libraries for floating-point calculations, random number generation, linear algebra, and regular expression matching.

Julia offers several packages for Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. Few of them are Flux.jl, Knet.jl, Mocha.jl, TensorFlow.jl, ScikitLearn.jl, TextAnalysis.jl, MXNet.jl, DecisionTree.jl, Merlin.jl, and LossFunctions.jl. Find the complete list here.

9. Haskell

Named after great logician Haskell Curry, Haskell is a general-purpose, statically-typed, purely functional programming language. Primarily designed for research, teaching and industrial application, Haskell boast of pioneering innovative features like type classes that enable type-safe operator overloading.

According to the number of Google searches conducted for tutorials, Haskell was the 28th most popular programming language in 2021.

The several features offered by Haskell include lazy evaluation, pattern matching, lambda expressions, list comprehension, type classes and type polymorphism. Since Haskell is purely a functional language, functions have no side effects.

Popular applications of Haskell include Agda (proof assistant), Cabal, Darcs (revision control system), Git-annex, Pandoc, TidalCycles, Cryptol, Facebook’s anti-spam programs and Cardano blockchain platform.

10. Smalltalk

This object-oriented programming language was specifically designed for constructionist learning. It is a dynamically typed reflective language which means that using Smalltalk, developers can create software programs that have the ability to examine, introspect and modify their own structure and behaviour.

Smalltalk’s reflective features help developers with advanced debugging in the most user-friendly way. In fact, Smalltalk ranked second in the list of “most loved programming languages” in the Stack Overflow Developer Survey in 2017.

Designed by Alan Kay, Dan Ingalls and Adele Goldberg in 1972, Smalltalk has influenced so many programming languages such as Python, Ruby, Java and Objective-C.

Even though it was created mainly for AI-related studies, Smalltalk lost its position in front of other popular AI programming languages such as Python and R. However, Smalltalk is picking up the pace by introducing more libraries for AI and ML development and natural language processing. For example, Pharo has a numerical package called PolyMath that is almost equal to NumPy of Python.

Due to its conciseness, object purity, simplicity and better OOP implementation, Smalltalk has started regaining the attention it always deserved as an AI language.

Conclusion

The adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning is growing at a fast pace. There are several programming languages used in AI and ML development. However, languages like Python and R are the most popular. To meet the growing demand of the industry, there are several other programming languages that are expanding their capabilities to become the best AI programming language of tomorrow.

IT Outstaffing: Should You Pull the Trigger?

Striving to get your IT projects done effectively and efficiently?

Well, most of the IT projects get stuck because of numerous difficulties and complexities resulting due to a lack of development capacity. 

IT companies require their staff to be updated, vigil, fast, and super talented. An IT company that faces the issue of lack of development capacity might face hefty losses in business and profit.

However, to avoid these issues, big corporations prefer to work with outstaffing their IT projects and strive to upgrade the effectiveness and efficiency of their core operations.

With Outstaffing their work, organisations are reducing their expenses up to a substantial amount along with improving their scalability and flexibility.

The majority of the organisations require IT specialists, temporarily or based on project requirements. In such a scenario, employing IT professionals for a permanent role can be a costly affair for the company.

Therefore, assigning the projects to an outstaffing company and entrusting them with management and developments of the same can be a smart decision for them.

To understand the concept of IT outstaffing services, let’s discuss its various aspects in brief.

Trends and statistics of outstaffing in the industry

Since the year 2020, there has been an unprecedented level of increase in the sector of remote working.

Remote working is also commonly known as hybrid working. Due to the devastating spread of Covid-19 majority of the organisations have adapted the culture of remote working to continue the core operations of the company smoothly.

  • Major organisations are concentrating more on their core business and prefer to assign complex tasks to professionals who are specialised in the respective fields. They are also boosting their work processby inducing their operations with RPA (Robotic process automation) to eliminate the repetitive tasks processes.
  • Most organisations are moving to cloud-based technologies for better scalability and security. The majority of companies prefer to outsource or outstaff all their infrastructure-related work.
  • Companies are looking for IT professionals that are specialists in building complex and advanced products. If the right talent is not available locally, they are open to hiring globally.
  • The substantial growth of Artificial Intelligence in the industry makes major organisations infuse themselves with this advanced technology. Therefore, such companies are looking to outstaff AI-centric projects to IT professionals who are specialised in automation and AI.
  • After the pandemic, more people are preferring to work remotely. Organizations are finding headhunting more tiresome, less fruitful, and most of the time the right talent is out of reach for an onsite job.
  • Several organizations are finding it difficult to maintain their talent pool and it is affecting their productivity. Since human resource plays a vital role in business growth, they are looking for innovative ways to attract and maintain talent. 

Definition: What is outstaffing?

For a better understanding of the concept of Outstaffing, let’s discuss it in brief.

IT outstaffing is a concept where big corporations, companies, or organisations collaborate with IT professionals and hire them to work for them as independent developers. Hiring an IT developer or a team of developers to do remote work on the IT projects of the companies is known as IT outstaffing.

These IT developers are directly employed by an IT outstaffing agency, but they ensure to perform all tasks for your organisation and submit it on time. The IT outstaffing company also has the entire responsibility of paying wages, bonuses, and other employment benefits to the employees.

To be clear about this concept, you must know that outstaffing and outsourcing are two entirely distinctive concepts.

Outstaffing is a concept that allows you to gain access to hiring an independent development team. Moreover, in Outstaffing, the chain of communication is not complex and is simple because you can directly contact them for the status of the projects. It also eliminates the complex process of communication in the form of hierarchy.

Furthermore, in IT outstaffing services, you can also instruct the development team to work on multiple projects at the same time according to the work agreement conditions.

Outsourcing Vs. Outstaffing

The concept of outsourcing and outstaffing is commonly confused with one another.

Indeed, both the concepts are a bit similar in some aspects; but if you will try to understand it in brief they are entirely different.

Let’s clear your confusion regarding both the concepts and help you gain a clear understanding of the same.

Advantages of outstaffing

Outstaffing is a popular concept of getting work done by independent IT specialists without enrolling them as an employee in your company.

Besides the easy culture of getting work done, there are numerous other benefits of outstaffingas well. The various advantages of IT outstaffing services are as follows:

Smooth model of hiring

Outstaffing is one of the best forms of getting your IT projects done by IT specialists and professionals.

With the benefits of IT outstaffing services, the company can have their own permanent staff and also can hire independent professionals who are specialised in certain fields and technologies from other companies temporarily.

The features that makehiring outstaffing services beneficial for your company as well as for your hiring model is that this way, you can maintain a flexible team and can have full control over cost and resource management.  You can make a onetime payment to the outstaffing service provider and the wages or salary of the IT specialist along with bonus and benefits would be handled by them.

Full control over the development project

Another benefit ofIT outstaffing servicesis that your projects and work is handed over to the hired development team, which means that the work will be done by the partner company employees. However, the control over the development projects remains with you.

While deciding whether to outsource or outsaff software development, you must keep in mind that with outstaffing, you will have a dedicated team of IT staff to work on your project.

By choosing IT outstaffing services, the companies will get a chance to vet the professionals before hiring and since she will act as a dedicated staff to your company the project will be delivered on time with the expected quality.

Full access to the resource

The prime reason why most organisations are choosing outstaffing is that this way, they will have full access to the day-to-day management decisions as well as resource management. If you have a project manager, she can assign the day-to-day task to the hired professional or you can also a hire team of IT professionals that include designers, developers, project managers, testers etc.

Substantially low costs

The cost of outstaffing is substantially low compared to hiring permanent employees. You do not have to pay any bonuses, benefits to the IT specialist you hire through outstaffing and you also get a dedicated employee to the team. Also, there is no labour penalties for downsizing your outstaffed team.

Moreover, if you are on a “pay per hour” contract, you will get a precise report on how much time each task is taking, and you can also request the staff to work on more specialised tasks.

Overall, the expenses spent on a permanent employee are substantially higher than making a single time payment to an outstaffing company. Furthermore, if the company is more careful and attentive in working effectively and efficiently, outstaffing will be the right option.

Cons of outstaffing

Outstaffing models are beneficial for companies in general, but every hiring model does have its loopholes as well. The outstaffing model has a few shortcomings or challenges that are as follows:

Communication gap

Since the hired professional will be working remotely or independently and separate from the entire development team, this might result in some communication gaps between the team of IT staff. Such communication gaps between the team might result in misunderstanding, complexities, and non-quality work.  

However, today, due to the advancement in technology and communication, this can be mitigated by using the right communication tools.

As the project management team of the company, you must ensure a smooth communication channel with all the developers of the development team that are part of the outstaffing company. Moreover, you must also make sure that the entire team of the project is connected and updated with the required details of the projects.

The reporting and work status must be transparent and should be shared with the corporate team managing the IT project.

Responsibility of the project

Hiring anIT outstaffing company to provide the IT projects to them can raise a question relating to the responsibility of the projects. Indeed, the final responsibility of the project is within the hands of the outstaffing company only; however, it is fair enough to say that the responsibility must be shared.

It is always recommended to curate the contract based on all the aspects of the projects including responsibility and resolution.

What types of business will benefit the most from outstaffing?

Outstaffing is a common work model that is incredibly famous in the entire corporate industry.

It has various benefits such as cost-effectiveness, saving time and effort to find the right talent, quality of work, flexibility and more.

The concept of outstaffing is a common concept that is not linked with any particular industry or business. However, as per the popular trends of the market and survey reports of various experts, we can say that the concept of outstaffing is highly beneficial to small businesses who like to manage their resources more efficiently.

IT outstaffing is also beneficial to the companies who want IT projects to be done by professional developers without going through the pain of hiring them as direct employees.

This hiring model is also suitable for businesses that need people who are specialised in certain fields or technologies only for a particular project or temporarily.

Where to outstaff?

There are numerous outstaffing companies available across the globe. However, the cost associated with outstaffing varies depending on the living standard in these countries. If you are looking to outstaff software development with a minimum cost without compromising on quality it will be better to hire from developing countries like India, Eastern Europe, Vietnam, the Philippines etc.

But always vet the professionals before making a hiring decision. Also, it is recommended to check the history, vision, experience, expertise, and reviews of the IT outstaffing company before making a partnership with them.

Final thoughts

The outstaffing model is incredibly famous, beneficial as well as productive for organisations that want to implement IT projects. If you are aiming to develop complex or high-quality IT products without increasing your employment budget, then IT outstaffing is the best option for you.

AlignMinds has more than 12 years of experience in the field of web, mobility, DevOps and AI. We have a pool of specialised talent with the experience of working on small to complex projects for several verticals from media to government.  If you are looking for an IT outstaffing company for your next project, contact us now.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is IT outstaffing?

Outstaffing is a form of indirect employment of a developer, development team, or professional. In this hiring model, a company hires a dedicated and specialised professional temporarily through an outstaffing service provider to ensure better resource management, flexibility, and quality of work.

What are the advantages of it outstaffing?

There are numerous advantages of IT outstaffing. Some of the most beneficial pros are as follows:

  • IT outstaffing is more affordable.
  • Full control of the management aspect of the IT projects.
  • Full control over the resources hired.
  • Access to the vetting process.
  • Decrease of a burden on the corporate team in regard to talent hunting and management.  
  • Saves time and promotes flexibility.
  • Access to the best talent and specialised professionals.
  • Promotes working on complex or multiple projects simultaneously.

Should I outsource or outstaff software development?

Outstaffing the development project can help the company to have access to the right talent with minimum cost and effort. It provides you with dedicated resources without the need to go through the complexities of hiring and maintaining talent.

On the other hand, outsourcing helps with getting the work done by an outsourcing company without any worries or additional effort from you.

How much does outstaffing software development cost?

As compared to the outsourcing model, the outstaffing model is comparatively cheaper and more cost-effective. However, the exact cost will depend on the speciation and experience of the resource. For an estimation, please contact us.

What is the best country to outstaff software development?

If you are cost-conscious, outstaffing IT projects to any developing country that has the right talent pool will be the right option for you. Since the cost of living is less in such countries, the project cost will also be less. However, male sure that the country and the organization has the right infrastructure, suitable working culture, experience in working on similar projects before outstaffing.

Benefits of Microservices Architecture

Microservices architecture has become the new trend in the software development industry. Big companies like Amazon and Netflix are also favouring microservices architecture as it offers several benefits like improved scalability, better data security and compliance, future-proofing, business agility and faster development.

According to research, 73% of firms are using or planning to use microservices as it helps them build next-generation services and applications. Around 63% of organizations surveyed are already building some or all of their applications using microservices.

According to Allied Market Research, the microservices architecture market is projected to reach $8,073 million by 2026 from an estimated market size of $2073 million in 2018. That is a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 18.6% from 2019 to 2026.

All these statistics are pointing to one thing; microservices are the future. However, if you are a business that is yet to adopt the new trend, trying to understand the benefits of microservices will convince you to do so.

But before listing out the benefits of microservices architecture, let’s start with understanding what is microservice architecture.

What is microservices architecture?

Microservices architecture, commonly known as “microservices”, is an architectural style for developing applications. It allows a large application to be separated into smaller independent parts, with each part having its own realm of responsibility. As a result, a microservices-based application can call on many internal microservices to compose a response to a single user request.

Google defines microservices architecture as

“A microservices architecture is a type of application architecture where the application is developed as a collection of services. It provides the framework to develop, deploy, and maintain microservices architecture diagrams and services independently.”

Microservices are typically used to speed up application development. Website migration, data processing, transactions and invoices, media content storage and retrieval etc. are the other usages of microservices.

Microservices vs Monolith

Traditionally developers followed a monolithic design approach. In a monolithic architecture, components share a common memory space and work together as one cohesive unit. As a result, such applications are self-contained, and their components are interdependent. To make changes to a single component, developers must rebuild and redeploy the entire software altogether. This is a big drawback for businesses who want to add new features to their applications frequently. The monolithic architecture limited their rate of technology advancement, took away their competitive edge and constrained their growth opportunities.

On the other hand, the microservices architecture allows an application to be divided into a set of individual and autonomous services. Each of these services can be implemented in a different language on a different platform. Yet, it won’t affect the quality of the application as a whole. Moreover, each service is robust, flexible and complete on its own. So, adding a new feature to the application or removing an outdated feature is no more a difficult task. Since you can make changes to a particular feature without affecting the remaining part of the application, the cost of development and maintenance also went down.

Overall, microservices architecture offers more benefits than monolithic architecture to businesses that want to be competitive in the industry.

What are the benefits of microservices architecture?

Scalability

Microservices run independently. That means each microservice can be added, removed, updated, and scaled without affecting other microservices that comprise the application. During an increase in demand, you only have to allocate more resources to the concerned microservice(s) to meet the demand. As a result, an organization can save costs on server resources.

In 2008, Netflix had to ditch their monolithic design and adopt microservices after a three-day service failure caused by a major database corruption. The migration helped them to serve a wider audience in 2016 as the numbers of streaming members went up by eight times and the overall viewership tripled in those eight years! Their viewership is growing ever since and moving to microservices architecture became one of the best decisions they have ever made as a business.

Data security

Microservices architecture supports secure APIs. Developers can use them to connect with microservices without security concerns as APIs ensure that the data is accessible only to authorized parties.

iPaas (Integration Platform as a Service) providers like DreamFactory can help you build secure APIs in minutes using their automatic API generation tools.

Legal compliance

Since APIs provide a secure way for developers to handle and safeguard the application data, following legal policies and data and privacy rules are no more an issue. Microservices along with secure APIs help developers to meet various legal compliance including HIPAA, GDPR and other security standards.

Future-proofing

One of the main advantages of microservices architecture is that it supports CI/CD/CD (Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, Continuous Deployment). It enables you to quickly deploy core microservices as a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and continuously update it with additional microservices to make it a full fetched product in the future.

Also, as technology advances, new features may be introduced in the market and it is much easier to add them as microservices. Besides, a higher level of application security can be maintained all the time by adding a new security feature to the application as new security threats arise.

Conflict free

Compatibility and conflict are two major nightmares for every developer. Compatibility issues can lead to service outages and bring down the quality of the user experience. However, if you are using microservices, you don’t have to worry about such issues.

Due to its pluggability, microservices architecture offers faster and easier application development and updates. Since each microservices in an application will be functioning autonomously, making changes to a microservice or adding/removing a microservice to the application will not conflict with other microservices. As a result, there are fewer chances for coding conflicts and server outages due to the compatibility of codes.

Fault isolation

Along with being conflict-free, microservices architecture also offers circuit breakers that prevent cascading failure and server resource depletion. As a result, dependency related shutdowns are least to nil in a microservices architecture-based application.

Developers can also avoid using Remote Procedure Calls (RPCs) between microservices to prevent cascading failures. Furthermore, fault tolerance libraries like Hystrix help you to build fault-tolerant microservices so that you can totally avoid cascading failure and enable resilience in your complex application.

Business agility

The market is ever-changing. Businesses need to cater to different demands that may not be permanent in the market. However, making changes to their applications frequently to fulfil user’ demands was always a difficult task for businesses. New features had to be designed, developed and tested before they are integrated into a live application. The whole process cost them time and money and even then the results were not promising.

With the introduction of microservices, agility became no longer an issue for businesses. An application that is based on microservices architecture is comprised of several microservices that work independently and enable certain feature sets in the application. To enable a new feature, you just have to integrate a new microservice into the system, and thanks to its autonomous nature, you don’t have to worry about any dependency failures. Thence, businesses can now easily integrate new features to an existing application and roll back to the previous version if the new feature doesn’t work out.

Focused teams

A microservice is small enough for a single team to build, test and deploy it. In Amazon’s terms, a team that is small enough to be fed by two pizzas can manage everything related to a microservice.  By keeping the size of the team small, they noticed that the work efficiency improved, there was more ownership, teams were easier to manage, they achieved their goals faster and the quality of the end results were often better.

Since the teams are working independently and there is a good rapport between the team members, fostering creative thinking and innovative ideas becomes spontaneous. Moreover, there will be a positive relationship and trust between the team members and the teams will be highly motivated.

How to implement microservices architecture?

Decentralize

Microservices replaces monolithic design thinking. In a microservices based application, everything from code to teams is decentralized. Small autonomous teams shall be responsible for designing, developing, testing and deploying services and there should be no sharing of code or data schemes.

Business-focused design

Microservices should be designed around the business domain. Each business microservice should have a single cohesive domain model. Depending on the scenario, a business microservice can be composed of several physical services that share a single domain model. However, the domain model must capture the business language, rules, behaviours and constraints of the business microservice it represents.

Ownership of data

A microservice should be totally independent. This rule is applicable in the case of data storage too.  In a microservice-based application, data ownership lies with the service that handles the data; so the data storage should be private to that particular service.

Use APIs

All service communications should be handled using secure APIs. The APIs should be modelled around the domain not the internal implementation of the services.

Use gateways

Simplify application development by offloading cross-cutting services such as SSL certificates and authentication etc. to a gateway.

Decouple

Coupling between services should be avoided to make each service independent. So that any changes you make to one service will not affect any other services that comprise the application. This is applicable to communication protocols and even shared database schemas.

Functional cohesion

Functions that are serving a single purpose should be packaged and deployed together to avoid tight coupling.

Tight coupling is a sign of low cohesion. When there is low cohesion, a change in one service will affect other services in an application. Therefore, you will be forced to make changes to other services when updating a particular service. So, the focus should be to create services that are loose coupled and have high functional cohesion.

Fault isolation

The purpose of microservices architecture is to design reliable applications. You should implement fault isolation along with a resilience strategy to avoid cascading failure and dependency related shutdowns.

Adopting microservices: The Netflix and Amazon stories

Netflix and Amazon identified the potential of microservices and leveraged it to their business advantages earlier than any other in the industry.

Netflix

In the beginning, Netflix was using monolithic architecture for their application. In 2008, due to a major database corruption in their servers, the services of Netflix were unavailable to their customers for three days. Around the same time, the company also realized that the vertically scaled model was hampering its growth. They were not able to meet the demand of their growing customer base with the then-existing model.

Around 2009, Netflix started moving their services to microservices architecture. They began by moving to distributed cloud systems that are highly reliable and horizontally scalable. In 2016, Netflix expanded their services to more than 130 countries and became a global service provider. Their API gateway handled more than 2 billion requests daily around the same year. Now Netflix has more than hundreds of microservices instead of a single monolithic application.

Amazon

The growth of Amazon started in the early 2000s. As they were growing, more issues related to scaling started to interrupt their operations. The company quickly recognized that a single model that acts as a master product will not help them in the long run. So, they started to create independent teams that are small enough to be fed by two pizzas and assigned them the responsibility to develop autonomous services that are complete on their own.

The idea was to use microservices to power every feature of their platform and the term “microservices” didn’t even exist at that time! These microservices together would give the impression of a big, single application and communicate with each other via secure APIs. The developers would be fully responsible for the services they build and that includes coding, testing and deployment.

However, a lot of operational work became repetitive, and it slowed down the process. With the introduction of AWS (Amazon Web Services), Amazon was able to automate these operational processes and it helped them to scale the services depending on the demand and business needs.

Conclusion

It is true that moving to microservices architecture requires a paradigm shift. But the benefits of it will depend on the nature of the business and its long-term goals. For large enterprises, adopting microservices is a necessity due to the complexity arising from their large-scale operations and the magnitude of demands they must fulfil.  For startups and small-scale businesses, microservices architecture may not seem attractive now. However, if you are a growth-oriented business, choosing microservices architecture will benefit you in long run.

N.B.: AlignMinds has more than 12 years of experience in developing trendsetting yet cost effective solutions for startups and enterprises alike. If you are looking for a microservices developer for your next project, contact us now!

Finding the Best DevOps Consulting Services

DevOps consulting services are becoming popular day by day. The estimated value of the global DevOps market was USD 4,311.95 Million in 2020. It is expected to cross USD 5,114.57 Million by the end of this year. Considering a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18.95%, experts have forecasted that the value will reach USD 12,215.54 Million by 2026.

The reason why DevOps has become so popular is that it promotes a culture of trust and risk-sharing between team members. It motivates teams to continuously work together, experiment and shares knowledge to reach a common goal, i.e., make a software product ready as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The statistic shows the importance of DevOps in scaling software development. Courtesy: Statista

As it promotes team play and encourages communication and mutual support, the uncertainty regarding the quality of the end product is minimized. As a result, so many businesses are adopting DevOps at a fast pace to eliminate uncertainty and improve the quality of their products.

What is DevOps?

AWS by Amazon defines DevOps as

“DevOps is the combination of cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that increases an organization’s ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity: evolving and improving products at a faster pace than organizations using traditional software development and infrastructure management processes. This speed enables organizations to better serve their customers and compete more effectively in the market.”

Microsoft Azure defines DevOps as

“A compound of development (Dev) and operations (Ops), DevOps is the union of people, process, and technology to continually provide value to customers.”

The above definitions make it clear that DevOps is not just a method or technique. Rather, it is a combination of principles, practices, methodologies, values, and philosophies that are shared between teams to help them achieve a common goal of creating software with maximum value.

Benefits of DevOps

DevOps offer so many benefits to a business. But what makes DevOps more popular is how crucial these benefits are to a business.

High collaboration

Communication between teams is crucial when developing a product. Developing a web or mobile application is not a simple process. It involves a set of processes such as market study, product conceptualization, product designing, development, deployment, and maintenance. The quality of the final product will depend on the level of mutual collaboration, communication, and integration across various teams who are part of the whole process.

DevOps encourages an environment where the boundaries between each team are reduced. There is a free flow of information and mutual support between teams to ensure that the quality is maintained at each stage of product development. Did your IT team have to send back the module your development team had worked tirelessly for the last few months as there was a conflict between the code and the deployment environment? DevOps will save you next time!

Early conflict detection

DevOps encourages knowledge sharing between teams. Each team will have a clear idea of what must be done and what are the requirements at each stage. These requirements are clearly communicated to other teams. The automated, continuous monitoring along with rigorous testing eliminates the chances for any conflict. And even if a problem arises, it is identified and mitigated in the initial stage itself.

Innovation

DevOps promotes collaboration between teams. When a group of talent comes together, the chances of finding something disruptive is much bigger.

Also, DevOps streamline the whole process of product development starting from market study to deployment and maintenance. The roadmap, automation, rigorous testing, and continuous monitoring help with eliminating extra work and reworks. The teams are more relaxed and there is a good work-life balance that promotes a fresh mindset and innovative thinking.

Faster delivery time

Automated processes, an environment that discourages conflict, quick feedback cycle and continuous delivery models help with transforming software development into a smooth and fast process. Effective communication and continuous testing ensure that quality is not lost in any stages. As conflicts and rework are less to nil, the projects are completed within deadline and with maximum efficiency.

Better quality

From the above points, it is clear that DevOps directly improve the quality of the end product. Rigorous and continuous testing, mutual collaboration, effective communication, continuous feedback cycle and automation are a few of the many factors that contribute to the quality of the product.

Reduced cost

Most businesses wonder whether they can afford DevOps services. This doubt arises from the misunderstanding that the budget can be reduced without affecting the list of features or quality of a product. Chances are, if you are opting for the traditional development process, the cost may increase due to conflicts and reworks. You may end up spending more than forecasted.

DevOps consulting services

To get all the benefits of DevOps, you must find the right DevOps consulting company. However, finding the right one may seem difficult due to the variety of options available in the market. Also, there are certain parameters you must check while choosing a DevOps consulting service. These factors not only help you to find the best DevOps consulting company but also you will be hiring the right one for your requirement.

Finding the right DevOps consulting company

Here is a list of things to check while hiring a DevOps consulting firm.

Identifying your requirement

The first step in choosing a DevOps consulting firm is to identify your requirement. Ask yourself questions like

  • What are your requirements
  • How are you planning to meet these requirements?
  • What is the available solution for your requirements?
  • What are the pros and cons of each available solution?
  • Which are the solutions that match your budget and timeline?

For example, if your requirement is to develop a complex product that demands certain technical expertise and faultless implementation, hiring a DevOps expert will be better than hiring a full stack developer.

If you are planning to hire an external agency instead of hiring a team in house, DevOps will be a better choice since it offers a robust feedback cycle along with ensuring that the product is ready as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Expertise

DevOps consulting firms should be an expert in software development and IT operations.

A DevOps consultant usually works on complex projects. Without having a better understanding of the process, technology stacks, methodologies, and operation constraints it will be harder for them to implement a project and achieve the results that are intended.

Also, since a DevOps engineer is most likely to work with an external company, it should be easier for them to understand the current technologies used by the said company, what are the strength and weaknesses of these technologies, and how to improve them to match the actual requirement without increasing the cost to an exorbitant level. The best DevOps companies are a maestro in doing research, analysis, evaluation, and planning.

Communication

Communication plays a large role in any DevOps project. In fact, it is one of the core aspects of DevOps project management.

Since DevOps demand mutual collaboration and knowledge sharing between teams and there is a continuous feedback cycle involved, communicating in a clear and precise manner is very important. Not only that, but a DevOps expert should also be well versed with popular communication and project management tools since most of the communications and monitoring will be done through technology platforms.

Support mentality

What DevOps tries to achieve is a rapport between different teams in the same project. It helps with finding innovative ideas and helps with avoiding conflicts and glitches in product development.

While elimination is a reactive process, avoiding a conflict altogether will need a proactive approach. The approach demands proactive communication and a supportive mentality between team members and different teams. For example, the IT team can help the development team to understand the strength and weaknesses of the client’s IT infrastructure and help them develop codes that are fully compatible with the existing environment. This also demands that each team has expert knowledge and adequate experience in their own field.

Being friendly

Only a friendly environment can promote team collaboration and communication. When team members feel intimidated or not valued it will negatively impact the whole process. It will also add certain biases to the product development cycle and the quality of the final product will be below the bar. So, a DevOps Expert should be friendly in her approach and promotes friendly gestures and expression of gratitude whenever possible.

Professionalism

Friendly yet professional. That should be the description of a DevOps expert.

While friendliness encourages communication and feedback, overdoing it may add certain biases to the product development cycle.  For example, as a DevOps professional your duty is to ensure that a software product is ready as quickly and efficiently as possible. It demands keeping up with deadlines, monitoring resource allocation, monitoring the status of tasks assigned to team members and checking and verifying quality at every stage of the development. These duties demand an honest approach towards identifying problems and solving them as early as possible.  But biases due to lack of professionalism and being overfriendly may result in overlooking these issues and the quality of the product will suffer.

Willingness to learn

A good DevOps expert never stops learning.

Most likely that a DevOps engineer will be continuously exposed to different problems and different teams each time they take up a project. Since the core philosophy of DevOps is to work as a single team trying to achieve the same goal, each member of the team should have a proper understanding of the whole project. They should also understand why certain things must be done in certain ways and how not following the guidelines will jeopardize their team or the next team in the product development cycle. 

Empathy and patience

Software development is a complex process. It involves different stages, continuous feedback, and several iterations. Not all members of the team will be familiar with the scope of the project especially when there is a junior member involved. Since DevOps demands different teams, who may be an expert in their field but lack knowledge in other aspects of software development, to work together, it is likely that some members have some catching up to do. They may need more time for getting familiar with the project or need occasional technical assistance from an experienced member.

A good DevOps consultant will take notice of this and try to solve it in the most effective way possible. It is because she understands that when it comes to teamwork, there are no individual problems but problems that are common to everyone as a team. This is also why a good DevOps engineer can easily help their clients with solving the technological challenges they are facing.

Conclusion

The popularity of DevOps is increasing day by day. It is mainly due to the advantages DevOps is offering compared to other product development methodologies.

Hiring DevOps consulting services helps businesses to develop software products as quickly and efficiently as possible. However, the success of the projects will depend on factors like whether the business was able to hire the right DevOps consulting service. AlignMinds has more than 12 years of experience in working with projects that are varying in scale, technology, and complexity. If you are looking for a DevOps expert for your next project, contact us.

Finding the Right Mobile App Development Services: Checklist

In 2020, global revenue from mobile apps crossed 318 billion U.S. dollars. This was a big jump from 60 billion U.S. dollars in 2019.

The mobile games segment topped the chart with a revenue of over 200 billion U.S. dollars. Social networking mobile apps created revenue of around 31 billion dollars and came second on the list.

Due to high earning potential and the chance to capture a huge market share, mobile apps are becoming popular in all segments. Statista reports that as of the first quarter of 2021, over 3.48 million mobile apps were available on the Google play store.

As mobile apps became popular, the demand for mobile app development services also saw a huge rise. Businesses and entrepreneurs recognized the importance of finding the right mobile app development services, so they can maximize the potential for growth and revenue.

However, as the demand for mobile application development services increased, the industry also saw significant growth. Countless mobile app development companies came into existence across the globe to tap on the opportunity.

As a result, finding the right app development companies from the plethora of options become a difficult task for most businesses.

The number of available apps in the Google Play Store from 2nd quarter 2015 to 1st quarter 2021. Courtesy: Statista.

Resources required for mobile app development

You may think the new-age businesses like mobile games and social media etc. are different from traditional businesses. Their business strategy and resource allocation are something new that traditional businesses can never relate to.

However, this is a false notion.

Just like a traditional business, any technology-oriented business also has the strategies set out almost similarly. The resources are invested in market research, competitors’ analysis, consumer behaviour study, planning of solutions, implementation of the solution, marketing, and post-purchase services. The major segments where a new-age business invests its resources are listed below.

Market Research

Before you start building your app, there are a few steps you must complete. The first one on the list is “market research”.

Try to find answers to questions like

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What are the problems they are facing?
  • How the solution you are going to develop will help them?
  • What are the current options in front of your target audience?
  • How can your solution help the audience better?

Business strategy

You have to strategize how the mobile app you are going to develop will help you as a business. For every business, profit and growth are the ultimate goals. So, any investment they make should bring them returns in terms of profit or growth.

At this step, a business should strategize whether the mobile app is part of their growth plan or a source of revenue. For example, a construction business can create a mobile app as a media consumption platform where they share the latest designs, DIY tutorials or general tips and guides on construction and design. Here the strategy is to help their brand name reach a larger audience, so it will be easier to sell to the same audience later.

On the other hand, a revenue-oriented solution will be a platform where a business connects with their customers and sell products and services directly to them. eCommerce websites are a suitable example of this.

The other things a business should decide include how are they planning to implement this strategy. Are they planning to generate revenue via ads, subscription offers, in-app purchases, one-time payments, upgrade plans or any other modes? If the strategy is to increase their brand reach, what types of content they can utilize? How frequently the content should be updated? Should the content be available in multiple languages?

Consumer study

To be honest, this one should be a part of all the stages of app development. The targeted audience will come into contact with a business in several instances. Each time, the interaction will provide more data about the targeted audience. As a business, you should leverage this information to improve your products and find better and efficient ways to reach the target audience.

In the preliminary stages, you can make use of direct surveys and market research to build a customer profile. Once the app is live, you can leverage the data from the inbuilt analytics or third-party tools. More information can be collected from customers directly once they have directly engaged with your business either during a business transaction or post-purchase.

The collected data can be used to improve existing products, introduce new products, improve your marketing efforts etc.

Building the app

The app can be built in house or by hiring external agencies who are experts in mobile app development.

While building an app in-house will offer you more control over the whole process, it may increase the cost of the process and may delay the launch of the app. You have to invest in technology, infrastructure, human resources and set methodologies and quality standards all by yourself. You also must take care of app deployment and post-deployment strategies. All these will build up cost and hiring the right resources and setting up infrastructure etc. will take time.

If you are hiring a mobile app development company, they already have the right resources and methodologies with them. So, the development cost and time may be less compared to developing an app in house.

If you have no prior experience in this field, has budget constraints or need to launch the app as early as possible, hiring an app development agency will be the right option.

App launch and post-deployment

Whether it is an iOS app or an Android app, your app should follow certain guidelines and quality standards to become eligible to be featured on respective app markets. For example, this is a guideline offered by Apple. And, this is one of the guidelines offered by Google. There are several such guidelines and tips available for both App Store and Play store.

However, submitting your app to the app store or play store won’t be enough. Even if the app store optimization is done right, the success of your app can’t be guaranteed at this stage.  You have to promote your newly launched app to your target audience and for that implementation of a well-planned marketing strategy is necessary.

You should also update your app periodically to meet new technology standards and keep it secure and bug-free.

Should you hire mobile app development services?

As you just read, mobile app development is a complex process of combining business strategies and technological innovation. It demands market and technology expertise. The resources needed for developing a mobile app is demanding and you should plan it carefully to not waste your investment.

Thus, unless you have prior experience in developing a mobile app, it is always better to hire mobile app development services so the result can be somewhat guaranteed. The good thing about hiring a mobile app development company is that the right one will have enough experience and expertise in the industry to help you out with the whole process starting from market research and product conceptualization to app launch and app marketing.

But the question is how do you find the right mobile app development services?

Finding the right mobile app development services

Definition of “right mobile app development services” may vary from one business to another. There are different factors that decide whether a mobile app development service is suitable or non-suitable for a business.

Price

First and foremost, the cost of hiring an app development service should be affordable. Unless the services are available at a price range you are able to meet, hiring becomes futile since the project will never be completed or you may lose ownership of the final product.

The best way to find affordable app development services is to hire globally. For example, the cost of developing mobile apps is comparatively less in south-east Asian countries like India or Eastern European countries. If you think hiring from these countries won’t handicap you in terms of communication and quality, this will be a wise decision to make in terms of investment.

Pricing model

Often app development agencies will have different pricing models. For example, some agencies charge you per project, some charge you based on services offered and some others may charge you based on resources. There are also app development agencies that offer you a flexible pricing model.

Experience

Hiring an experienced app development agency will be the right decision for most businesses as it will reduce risk.

When hiring a mobile app development company check whether they have any previous experience in developing similar mobile apps or a mobile app for the same market or industry. Check how the apps are performing in the market. If they have prior experience in developing a similar app, they might be familiar with the industry, business model and target market. So, they can leverage their experience in each stage of development such as user experience, choosing the technology platforms, payment integration, data security and legal compliance etc.

You must also check the performance and quality of the mobile apps they have developed by downloading a few of them and using them on a device. You can also check the ratings and feedbacks their previous customers have given them.

Expertise

Mobile app development is a complex process. It involves different stages and each stage demand expertise in certain disciplines.

For example, the first stage of app development can be identified as product conceptualization. This stage involves planning the product you are going to develop, what are its strength and how it will help you as a business and how it will help the targeted audience with their problems. Here, the expertise should be related to market research and business planning.

The next stage of app development deals with product design. It involves the process of transforming the product concept into design in terms of wireframes, icons, typography, and images. Here, creativity and design capabilities are the expertise called for.

In the next stages, experts are needed for

  • Finding the right technology platforms,
  • Maintaining coding standards,
  • Understanding quality parameters,
  • Following legal and security guidelines,
  • Meeting app store eligibility
  • Promote the mobile app
  • User analytics etc.

If your plan is to hire an agency to take care of the whole mobile app development process, you should check whether they have the expertise to manage each stage of the development cycle. Lack of expertise in even a single stage may negatively impact the success of your mobile app.

Location

If you are hiring from outside the country, you should be careful about communication and cultural differences.

If there is a big difference in time zone, it may negatively impact the communication since the team you hired may not be available at a time that is convenient for you. So before hiring, you must check whether support is available around the clock or during the time that is convenient to you and your team.

You should also check whether the team can communicate in a language you are comfortable with. Miscommunication will lead to misunderstandings. It will cause unnecessary delays in the development and may impact the functions of the final product negatively.

Quality standards

The quality of a mobile app is necessary due to several factors. First and foremost, the app should provide a good experience for the end-user. It should meet security standards to avoid any legal proceedings from authorities or the users who think the app has violated their basic rights. The quality should be kept in check to become eligible to be submitted to App Store and Play Store, the most popular app markets currently in the market.

So, while looking for mobile application development services, you should check whether the service provider has any understanding of these quality standards. Normally any professional app development agency will have a document that states the quality standards they follow, what are the measurements they take to ensure the mobile app quality and how they mitigate any issues that arise related to this matter and details of contact points who are responsible for monitoring and maintaining the quality of the product they develop.

Before hiring, you should check whether the agency can share any such documents. If no such documents are available, you should check what options are available to check what quality standards the agency follows.

Property rights and Disclosure

Have no doubts. If you are the one paying for the services, you should be the owner of the product idea and final product. A proper non-disclosure agreement should be signed between you and the app development agency in the preliminary stages of communication itself and the agency should respect the product as intellectual property of your business.

Security

Security standards are compulsory for any app product. The app should be safe and secure to use, it should be protected from unauthorized access and the data should be stored securely following all data policy and data security standards set up by security experts and legal authorities.

Any failure in this department will not only impact the business negatively but also cause additional costs in terms of fines and compensation and tarnish the image of the business in front of the public. It may even force the business to shut down its operation and the parties involved may have to undergo legal scrutiny.

Delivery management

Hiring mobile application development services doesn’t mean that you are handing over the whole process to the agency and left waiting until the final product is ready.

The agency should keep you updated periodically as the development progress and seek frequent feedback from you. You should not be left out as an external party but should be respected as part of the team. Regular meetings should be scheduled, and you should have ways and means to raise your concerns and share your feedback.

The delivery management standards and guidelines should be documented and shared with you in the preliminary stages of communication itself. As a client, you should also have the details of contact points at different levels so that if an issue arises, you can seek for remedy immediately.

Deployment

Deployment is the process of launching the final version of a mobile app and offering a way for the actual users to access it.

Generally, apps are deployed on app markets like App Store or Play Store depending on the technology and platforms. To be eligible for deployment, each app market has its own guidelines and quality standards. The app will be approved only after the review of the same. The agency should be familiar with all these guidelines and ensure that the app is deployed as preplanned. They should also take care of all the App Store Optimization(ASO) techniques that will help the app to reach more users.

Post-deployment services

Post-deployment services are mainly app maintenance services. It includes bug fixes, releases of the new versions, adding new functionalities and features, user analytics, data on acquisition etc.

Most companies charge based on hours or a monthly retainer fee for post-deployment services. But this will wholly depend on their business and pricing model. As a business, you should try to hire the best post-deployment services as they will have a direct impact on uptime and the user experience.

Conclusion

Finding mobile app development services is not difficult in this day and age. However, finding the “right” application development services may be difficult for most businesses as the definition of “best app development services” vary from one to another. As each business is unique, you should find an app development agency that understands your industry and business goal and share the same business values as yours.

AlignMinds has more than 12 years of experience in developing mobile apps for startups and enterprises alike. We have developed several trendsetting yet cost-effective solutions for multiple verticals throughout the years of our existence. If you are looking for an experienced mobile app development agency who is also an expert in this field, contact us now!

Why Hire Offshore Software Development Company and Outsource App Development?

The software development industry has seen a lot of changes in the last decade. It is predicted to continue changing at an exponential rate, with technologies like AI and IoT becoming more prevalent. As software becomes more complex, the need for highly skilled developers will grow exponentially. Even though there are many skilled developers out there today, it’s still difficult to find qualified candidates that have all the skills needed to fill these positions.

Software development in 2021

The markets for IoT, data, telecom services and system integration grow to $520 billion in 2021, almost double the spent in 2017. The IT sector is recovering in the post-pandemic period and will return to the growth trend line soon with an estimated 5% CAGR. The employment of software developers is expected to improve 21% between 2018 and 2028.

(Information Technology (IT) services spending forecast worldwide from 2008 to 2022. Source: Statista)

Software development continues to be a critical component of any company’s ability to compete on a global scale, as new technologies continue to transform the way we work and live. The advancement and innovation of technologies such as cloud computing, mobile applications, and artificial intelligence have contributed greatly to the growth of these industries over time.

Software development outsourcing trends

Software outsourcing services help organizations to get software developers they can afford and depend on for high-quality results. It also helps them to be more competitive in the marketplace by leveraging expertise from other parts of the world where labor costs are cheaper than they would be at home.

(Recent IT outsourcing trends. Source: Statista)

Almost 60% of companies believe software outsourcing services allow them to completely focus on their core business programs. Outsource app development is the popular IT function in 2021. One among two technology companies is doing application development outsourcing because of its immense benefits.

What are outsourcing and offshore software development company?

Outsourcing and offshore software development are terms that have been popular in the business world for years. An offshore software development company provides outsourced services to businesses. Outsourcing is when a company hires outside talent or programmers located overseas (typically in countries like India and China) to complete their projects or tasks rather than hiring employees internally. This may not only save money on salaries but it also provides access to specialists that might not otherwise be available locally or even regionally.

Software outsourcing services and offshore software development companies are excellent choices when you need help developing an app or website that is too complex for your current staff or budget. You can also use them if you’re running short on time and need a project done quickly without compromising quality.

Benefits of hiring an offshore software development company

Small businesses are always looking for ways to save money without sacrificing quality, and hiring offshore software developers is an effective way to do just that. Outsource app development can help companies cut costs in excess of 50% when compared with on-premise development teams.

The best part about it is there’s no need for your company to relocate overseas or send employees abroad – you’ll have the same access to the team as if they were an in-house group! Software outsourcing services provide a number of benefits including cost savings, high productivity rates, 24/7 customer service availability, reduced risk due to geographical distance from key business operations, increased innovation potential due to cultural diversity within the project team.

Cost savings

In the modern business world, companies are looking for ways to cut expenses and increase productivity. In fact, a recent survey states that 62% of CFOs plan to outsource IT services in order to save on costs. An outsource mobile app development company is a cost-effective way to hire the best talent without breaking the bank.

Hiring offshore software development companies can help you save up to 50% or more on labor costs, as compared with hiring in-house teams. As the offshore software development industry continues to grow, it will become more important for companies to cultivate their offshore relationships as they look for ways to reduce IT costs, improve quality of service, and increase agility in decision-making.

High productivity

The offshore organizations hire expert developers who are great at work. They have experience working on small to large-scale projects, so they are able to provide their best work; no matter the size of the project you assign to them. Outsource mobile app development companies improve productivity by utilizing the latest technologies to create software applications that are innovative and user-friendly.

Round-the-clock business operation

With the current state of business and society, it’s important to have a 24/7 support system with people who can cover your needs at any time. Since there are more developers from different geographical areas, the business will remain operational all the time. This enables the timely completion of the app development process.

Stay focused on core business function

Offshore software development is a form of software outsourcing service that enables companies to stay focused on their core business functions. It allows businesses to free up their resources so they can focus on innovating or expanding their current product offerings instead of being stuck by maintenance tasks.

A dedicated outsource app development team is a great way to scale your business as per the requirements. Since these professionals come with experience from different industries such as IT or engineering they know all about making sure their clients’ needs continue being met no matter where they may be located across the globe.

Improved security

Outsource app development and software development improves security by allowing the software development team to work remotely. This allows for a more secure environment, as company secrets and data are not shared with the offshore business partner. Additionally, offshore teams typically have fewer employees than on-site teams which decreases the risk of sabotage.

Access to the newest technologies

The offshore software development companies specialize in creating high-quality, cutting-edge programs that address your needs. They use their time wisely by learning new skills and improving existing ones to create something perfect for you as soon as possible! The small business owner can now finally afford all these technologies at an affordable cost.

Offshore software development service providers of dedicated specialists can help you get better results. A software outsourcing service provider brings new insights to the work, improving your overall product development lifecycle with their knowledge in a range from engineering through design and production.

Reducing liabilities and improving opportunities

Offshore software development services are a reliable way to reduce business liabilities and take on more important projects. The offshore development team has a dedicated team that works on one particular project instead of working with multiple projects. This means they can ensure high-quality service and fewer errors, which is something you want from your business partner!

Cost comparison of hiring offshore development services

Offshore employees are always less expensive than onshore ones if you’re a business based in any of the developed countries. Businesses located in Europe or North America find it lucrative to hire virtual workers for outsource app development projects paying like $30 per hour but those who choose to do their work through an experienced local developer may end up spending upwards of $100K annually!

In 2021, the virtual work ecosystem will be a reality for businesses. It’s important to consider that this decision should not be taken lightly as it can have consequences on your budget and timeline in hiring an offshore employee or onshore recruit – so make sure you’re ready before diving right into these types of recruitment methods!

The best countries to outsource software development

Software development outsourcing is now a major global industry, with countries such as India and China becoming centers for outsourcing app development. Many companies outsource to save money but there are other advantages as well. The best countries to outsource software development will depend on the needs of the company and the budget.

You should also consider whether or not the country is a good fit for your business and if it will be easy to work with their team remotely.

India

India offers affordable talent with a high level of education and English proficiency, making it easy to find employees who are both qualified and capable of communicating effectively with clients from all over the world. India has lower rates than others, ranging from $15 to 30 per hour. This is an attractive option for many businesses who want to outsource their work but are not able or willing enough themselves with the project management aspect of things possible in India which includes quality assurance as well!

China

The number of app development jobs outsourced in China alone has increased by over 50% since 2017. Other reasons include lower rates for labor and better-qualified employees with a stronger work ethic.

Russia

With its abundance of skilled labor and low production costs, Russia is an ideal country for outsourcing software development services.

Ukraine

Ukraine is home to many skilled programmers who enjoy lower living expenses than their Western counterparts and can work more hours per day due to fewer time constraints on weekends and holidays.

Choosing an outsourcing partner for web and mobile app development

Finding the right software outsourcing service partners to outsource app development can be a daunting and often costly process. These tips will help you find the perfect fit for your business.

Do online research

Take your time to evaluate offshore software development companies carefully by checking out their website, reviews, testimonials, and portfolios. Look at their website and see if they have a page dedicated solely to describing this aspect of doing business with them. It is important to make sure they work in a field that matches your industry or the scope of your project.

B2B directories and listings

B2B directories provide an excellent way to find the perfect vendor for your company’s needs. These directories are a valuable resource for finding offshore software development companies that can offer the services you need at an affordable price. They offer detailed information about each vendor, including testimonials and reviews from other companies that have hired them before. You can search by industry or by location, which is great if you need someone close by.

Check out the portfolio

Look at projects that are similar to yours and see if they have experience working with other companies like yours. If their work looks good then it’s worth asking them for more information about what they can offer you.

Get references

References are a great way to get an idea about the organization and culture within any given company. They can provide insights on what services you will be working with, how communication is handled between partners or clients of those companies and all sorts of really valuable points that might otherwise take some time to find. Ask about recent clients who have had similar needs as you so that you can get feedback from people who have actually used this service before.

Review contracts

Never sign anything without reviewing it thoroughly first with an attorney or other trusted advisor. Be wary of any contract that has terms that are not clear or states something you do not agree with. This could lead to problems down the road when things go wrong between the parties involved in the project.

Explore the case studies

Case studies show how the selected outsourcing partners have handled various challenges they met when developing customer products and solutions. They mention which technologies were used, tools that helped them test out their applications for smooth running in order to create outstanding user experiences.

Things to consider when hiring outsourcing software development companies

There are a lot of options when it comes to hiring offshore software development companies. It can be overwhelming and difficult to figure out who is the best fit for your needs. There are some factors that you should consider before making a decision on which company to hire. It includes the type of services they offer, their pricing structure, experience level, and how quickly they can complete the job.

Another thing you need to look at before hiring an outsourcing software development company is their history as well as their customer reviews. These two factors can make or break your decision in terms of how good they might be for your business. Hiring an offshore software development company can make the business process easier.

Final note

Hiring an offshore software development company will save you time and money. Whether your business needs a mobile app or website, it can be costly to hire local developers with the best skills for all of these different tasks. An offshore team is capable of developing any type of application that suits your budget and timeline.

Choosing to work with an offshore company for your app development needs may be the best decision you ever made. With so many benefits, it’s hard to find a downside. You can get more done in less time and at a lower cost than if you did everything yourself or hired someone locally.

Are you looking for an offshore development company for your next project? Contact us now!

How to Hire the Best Enterprise App Development Company?

Ever since companies and businesses identified the strength of enterprise applications to achieve their corporate goals, the enterprise software market has experienced tremendous growth. The market revenue has doubled within the last decade and it is expected to reach $429 billion in 2021. It is a 7.2% growth from last year. As more businesses are adopting technology at a faster pace than ever, due to COVID and the change it caused in work culture and market, this number may reach double digits this year.

Usually, a wide range of applications is considered under the term “enterprise applications”. It includes ERP software(Enterprise Resource Planning software), accounting software, Human Resource Management(HRM) software,  Office suits, Customer Relationship Management(CRM) software, Supply Chain Management(SCM) Software, Business Process Management(BPM) software, Business Intelligence(BI) software, etc.

The main difference between enterprise applications (also known as Enterprise Application Software (EAS)) and other applications is that the former is mainly used by organizations rather than individual users. A collection of such software applications is known as an enterprise system. Such systems can undertake a large number of organizational operations with the purpose to maximize the quality of business and management reporting tasks. The ability to process data at a high speed and the advantage of being deployed across a variety of networks help enterprise applications meet their purposes.

What are enterprise applications?

Enterprise applications are computer software that are integrated with all phases of an enterprise’s operations to facilitate cooperation and coordination of work across all levels.

An ideal enterprise application should,

  • Control all major business processes in real-time.
  • Make complex operations easy and simple.
  • Save time and human resources.
  • Can be easily integrated into a variety of networks.

Advantages of enterprise applications

Sharing of data

Enterprise application software increases interoperability between the departments of an organization. It integrates a variety of operations and their respective applications with IT structure, making data sharing fast and efficient. Based on their user level, all the employees of the organization will have access to all these data and applications.

Easy management

As information exchange and management are improved, the management will have better data and control over the business processes. Enterprise applications make it easier for them to analyze where they stand as a business, and what improvements they can make to achieve their corporate goals.

Easy workflow

As information is readily available, and enterprise applications make technology integration a lot easier, most of the workflow within an organization can be automated. For example, the employee database can be integrated with attendance and payroll software to help the HR department. As most CRM applications store and update customer data in real-time, they can be integrated with marketing tools to automate promotional campaigns.

Increasing efficiency

The availability of information in real-time and the opportunity to automate most of the workflow improve an organization’s overall efficiency. More tasks can be executed with comparatively fewer resources and the margin of error can be reduced to a bare minimum. Since a common workflow can be implemented across the organization, there will be better interoperability between departments.

Competitive edge

Increased efficiency and reduced operating costs due to the introduction of enterprise applications offer an organization with competitive advantages.

Simplify business processes

Normally an organization has two major processes it has to take care of internally. They are day-to-day operations and achieving their long-term goals.

As stated earlier, with the help of enterprise applications, you can automate most of the day-to-day operations and backend work. The recording of all the information by the enterprise software enables the organization with real-time data that they can use to achieve their long-term goals.

Save up cost

Since enterprise applications enable automation and most of the tasks are performed electronically, an organization can save up on their operating costs by a big margin. The demand for fewer human interventions combined with information being recorded and exchanged electronically brings down the cost to optimum level without compromising on efficiency.

Lower time and efforts

By enabling automation of operations, enterprise applications help with reducing the time needed to complete tasks. Also, there is less human intervention needed comparing to a traditional business.

Increase opportunities

A reduced operational cost will help with investment opportunities. It enables funding needed for scaling the business and since most of the operations are now automated, an expansion for the business will be much easier.

Easy adoption

An organization that utilizes the benefits of enterprise applications will have a strong IT structure. As such organizations are technologically strong, adopting new technologies will be easier for them. Also, since information is stored and processed electronically, more tools and applications can be integrated into the existing system to boost productivity and efficiency.

Adopt enterprise applications for your business

The ever-growing challenges in the business world are forcing companies to adopt technology at a faster pace. Moving away from traditional methods and adopting leveraging technology has helped companies to not only cut down the competition but also save up on their operating cost. The increasing demand for technology solutions by such future realistic companies has driven up the growth of enterprise applications development. Nowadays the demand is equally or more than equally met by enterprise application development companies whose services are available across the globe.

The improved availability of supply has benefited the technology industry and companies alike. However, due to the same reason, some companies are feeling it difficult to choose the best enterprise application development company for themselves.

So, how do you choose the best enterprise app development company for your organization?

Hire the best enterprise app development company

There are a few important points to consider while choosing an enterprise app development company. They are

Nature of the requirement

You can be looking for enterprise application development services for internal purposes or you may be a part of an organization that wants to develop a product to later sell it in the market. Most of the time, just like how different the nature of the requirement is, the approach and parameters for choosing a technology partner should also be different.

When you are developing an enterprise application for your organization’s internal purposes, you have to consider things like what would be the objective of the solution, what are your organization long term goals, what growth and changes you are expecting in the future, the company culture, the size of the organization, the internal policies of your organization, organization hierarchy, and communication flow, etc.

However, when you are developing a product to sell in the market, you must consider the demand in the market, existing and future competition, features of the products competitors are offering, development cost and sale value, revenue potential, data collection, and privacy policy and many other things which are totally different from the above one.

Usually, it is difficult to find an enterprise application developer who has expertise in both these fields. So, the first step you need to take when you are looking for enterprise application development services is to identify your requirements.

Organization goals

Consider what are your future goals, both long term and short term.

Is it cutting down the operating cost with the help of technology? Or is it to expand your operations to a global scale within the next 5 or 10 years? What is your expansion plan? Have you considered the peculiarities of new geographies and whether the solution can meet the special requirement of the same?

These questions are important because when you are looking for enterprise application development services, the company you are going to hire should analyze and understand all these aspects of your business and help you with achieving your goals. In fact, the company and the solution they are going to develop for you should help you with achieving your goal faster and more efficiently.

Organization growth

When you are hiring an enterprise application development company, you should consider your organization’s growth over time. The service provider should have a good understanding and prior experience in developing large-scale enterprise applications. The solution should be easy to scale and futureproof. Additionally, it is better to choose an app development company that can offer you long-term support.

Data policy

Always choose an enterprise application developer who understands different data policies and their benefits. Protection of data and privacy is a major concern for individuals and corporates alike. You should partner with an agency that can use data effectively to maximize the benefits of the product and at the same time protect it from intrusion, misuse, and legal suits.

Technology expertise

The development company should have expert knowledge on all the aspects of technology and where the industry is heading. They should be able to suggest the best solution after evaluating your requirements, business nature, and market trends.

Choosing the right platform is most important in any type of application development. The right choice will improve efficiency, save up cost and avoid any bottleneck that otherwise would arise in the future due to some technology being outdated or replaced.

Another reason why you should choose an expert technology partner is that enterprise applications are required to be compatible with many other modules/applications that are already used by an organization or will be used in the future. Technology expertise is much needed when it comes to optimizing a product for cross-compatibility. Furthermore, if you are looking to migrate from legacy applications, their expertise will make it easy to do so.

Experience

Let us acknowledge that great ideas bring no benefits if they are executed poorly. Faultless executions are the result of practice and experience. Even though the stages of enterprise application development look simple and familiar, it may be challenging for a new app development agency to execute them. It is mainly due to each business being different, their objectives and goals being different, and the varying micro and macro variables that affect the business.

If we are going to develop an enterprise application to sell in the market, the development company should understand the market first. Each market will be different from one other. A developer who has already worked for a similar company or the same market will have a huge advantage over an app development company with no prior experience. The former one can understand the challenges much easier and they can incorporate countermeasures in the initial stages of product design itself.

Conclusion

Moving from legacy applications to enterprise applications will bring you so many benefits. However, the expertise of an experienced enterprise application developer is much needed to reap the full benefits. AlignMinds has more than 12 years of experience in developing technology solutions for startups to enterprises. If you are looking for a renowned technology partner for your next project, contact us now!

Hiring Dedicated Development Team: A Complete Guide

We all are living in a world which is constantly evolving and adapting to needs.

In this fast-moving world, where everyone and everything is connected, there is absolutely no need for hiring regular staff for your company. Discovering and adapting to new approaches of working ensures a better workforce and work culture.

Technological advancement has helped in hiring employees from all around the world belonging to different cultural backgrounds who are an expert in their field of work. The dedicated development team is the newest entry into this segment.

Hiring a dedicated development team has become one of the best approaches for both cost reduction and quality maintenance. You can hire a dedicated development team and obtain the best skill set out there. ​Surveys ​show that many companies hire dedicated development teams from countries that offer the best services and quality at a very low cost.

Now, what is a dedicated development team and how to hire dedicated development teams?

Let’s look into the details.

What is a dedicated development team?

What will you do if your company doesn’t have the required expertise in developing your project?

Do you want to get involved in every stage of planning a software or an app and also want to work with a reputed and professional team?

All these questions lead to the concept of ‘dedicated development team’.

Dedicated development teams are another system or establishment different from your company that are hired to work for you. Hiring a dedicated development team helps you find talents from many parts of the world.

You will get a team of professionals who have the required expertise and experience in the domain while hiring a dedicated development team. Hiring a dedicated development team also helps you greatly in your cost-cutting strategies.

As the term suggests, dedicated development teams are fully committed to you and the work you offer. The team directly reaches out to you for updates on the projects and you can directly communicate with the team, control and monitor progress from any part of the world.

Advancements in cloud-based technologies have also led to the development of various working models. The dedicated development team is one such working model that came into prominence by using cloud-based technologies.

Now, why should you hire a dedicated app development team?

Why hire a dedicated development team?

Are you confused between hiring a dedicated development team or building your own in-house team?

If you find these points relevant based on your requirements, hiring a dedicated development team is your best choice.

  • If your team is not having the required expertise in the development of your project, you need to hire a team of experts. By hiring a dedicated development team, you can ensure that your project is developed by an expert team in the field.
  • If you do not want to spend on hiring employees and infrastructure and consistently reduce budget; hire a dedicated development team. As the dedicated development team has all the infrastructure facilities and a full-fledged team to support your project, you only need to pay for the services they offer.
  • If the project is a large scale one, and if your team cannot complete the project under the specified timeline, hiring a dedicated development team will definitely help you in reducing the project delivery time to a great extent.
  • Dedicated development teams regularly update themselves with the latest technological advancements and infrastructures. So you don’t need to spend on upgrades when hiring a dedicated development team.
  • If you want to develop a quality project with the insights from experts in the industry, hire dedicated development teams. This will also help you to combine your innovations with that of the team enabling in the development of a better product.
  • If you are looking for an easily manageable team of experts, hiring dedicated development teams can help you. ​Most likely they will be a team of professionals with the required skills and communication quality and a ​dedicated development team is directly controlled by the client.
  • If you want to start a project immediately and is looking for the best professionals in the field of work, hiring a dedicated development team makes sure that the project begins the next moment after the requirements are made clear.
  • You can also hire a dedicated development team if your company doesn’t have the necessary resources to ​support the development of a product.

There are certain factors to look into while hiring a dedicated development team.

Hiring a dedicated development team

You should have a good understanding of the factors that help in hiring the best one among the many dedicated development teams out there.

The main points to look into while hiring a dedicated development team include:

  • Requirements of your projects
  • Experience and expertise of the dedicated development company
  • Flexibility
  • Infrastructure and technological advancements

Analyse and evaluate the requirements of your project based on the targeted customer. Cost and project completion time will vary depending on the requirements.​Calculate the cost, project completion time and accordingly hire a dedicated development team that best suits the requirements.

Experience and expertise is another important factor to look into while hiring a dedicated development company. Before hiring a dedicated development company of your choice, contacting past clients will help in getting an overall picture of the firm ​and evaluate whether the team has the skills and knowledge to complete the project on time without compromising on quality.

Gaining more and more experience ​in their craft​ makes a company perfect. Hiring a dedicated development team with many years of experience helps you in launching the ultimate product according to the ​demand in the market and which will be loved by the users.

Flexibility is another factor to consider while looking for a good dedicated development team in foreign countries.

While hiring a dedicated development team, you should check how the team is adapting to technological advancements in the industry. An ideal dedicated development team should have the latest technologies incorporated into their workflow along with necessary resources and high-end infrastructure.

Analysing the pros and cons of hiring a dedicated development team ​will help you in deciding whether to go with a dedicated development team or not.

Let’s have a deeper look.

What are the benefits and cons of hiring a dedicated development team?

Everything has its advantages and disadvantages. Hiring a dedicated development team helps you in many ways. You also face some problems while hiring a dedicated development team.

First, let’s discuss the benefits of hiring a dedicated development team.

Advantages of hiring a dedicated development team

The main advantages of hiring a dedicated development team is a significant reduction in cost and time. Some of the other benefits are:

  • There is no need to invest in infrastructure as everything is already available with the dedicated development team.
  • There are no daily management issues as in an in-house model of development.
  • You get a team of professionals and experts who are hired after multiple ​stages of tests, interviews and evaluation.
  • You can employ cost-cutting strategies very efficiently while hiring a dedicated development team. You can cut or increase the number of members in the team at any stage of the development cycle.
  • All the stages of development are directly controlled by you. You can also make changes or bring innovations at any stages of development of the project.
  • You can carefully plan and assign tasks to each member of the team if needed.
  • You can access real-time updates on the project progress.
  • Hiring dedicated development teams is the best choice if your project is complex and long-term.
  • When you hire dedicated development teams, you will get to work with a more coordinated and affordable workforce that does not compromise on quality.
  • A replacement is always available if you think that anyone in the dedicated development team is not up to the mark.
  • Another important advantage of hiring a dedicated development team is, you can hire the team on an ​hourly, weekly, monthly or project basis.
  • Risk of a data breach is minimum while hiring a dedicated development team as ​most of them promise intellectual property protection and data security and will legally sign any related agreement along with a non-disclosure agreement.

There are also some cons to look into while hiring a dedicated development team.

Cons of hiring a dedicated development team

You should also consider some of the cons of hiring a dedicated development team. Some of the possible cons include the following:

  • This team model is ineffective for short-term projects, as the members need to adapt to the project requirements and this consumes time. Efficiency is also low for short term projects.
  • If you are hiring a dedicated development team from another country, communication barrier may be a problem.
  • The initial stage of hiring a dedicated development team takes time and multiple evaluations as you will need to search for the best team, compare price, reviews and ratings.
  • If you have changing project requirements, financial planning is difficult due to variations in cost estimates.

Now, another question remains:

How to hire a dedicated development team?

How to hire a dedicated development team?

The process of hiring an excellent dedicated development team is time-consuming. There are two stages of hiring a dedicated development team.

The first stage

  • The first stage is to have a thorough analysis of the requirements of your project before hiring a dedicated development team. Set priorities to your needs of the project.
  • Make an estimate of your budget.
  • Search the internet for the most rated dedicated development teams. Make acquaintance with past clients to know ​about the quality of their work and make a detailed​ analysis of the ones you have shortlisted.
  • Compare the rates of the dedicated development team you have selected.
  • Give priorities to the dedicated development teams with awards and recognition and that is flexible to work with.
  • Look out for the latest tech and infrastructural facilities, expertise in a variety of platforms and uninterrupted power supply and high-speed internet while hiring a dedicated development team.
  • Hire dedicated development teams with good project management skills such as prompt delivery time, focussed and adaptive to sudden changes in the requirements.
  • Hire a dedicated development team which is having secure encryption protocols for data protection.
  • Clutch and GoodFirms are a few examples of platforms that help you in searching for the best dedicated app developers. Conducting a search in these platforms helps you in finding the best dedicated development teams.

According to ​the project requirement, your quality expectations, budget and the timeline of product delivery,​ hire the right dedicated development team.

The second stage

After shortlisting a dedicated development team, there are some points to consider to ensure a good workflow.

  • Check the number of team members and analyse the skill set and field of expertise of each member.
  • The team members should be able to design engaging content to the users.
  • Look out for the team members who are focussed, reliable and experienced.
  • If time permits, you can ask the selected team members to show some past work or check whether they are fit for the project by asking questions related to the implementation of the project​.
  • Good communication skills are also an important part of hiring a dedicated development team. Members with adequate communication skills are a plus point of an excellent dedicated development team.

Now let’s discuss ​the cost of hiring a dedicated team.

How the cost of hiring a dedicated development team is determined?

Cost is always a deciding factor while hiring a dedicated development team. There are many dedicated development teams with varying rates.

The number of team members is a determining factor in the cost of hiring a dedicated development team. You can change the number of members at any time in a dedicated development team based on your agreement.

As stated in earlier sections, you can hire dedicated development teams on an hourly/ weekly or monthly basis. Cost of hiring is different for each method. According to your requirements and financial estimates you can evaluate which of these methods is a better option for your project.

The cost will also depend on the level of involvement of the team. There are various stages of product development. Product conceptualization, product design, product development, QA (Quality Assurance) and testing, product deployment etc. As the team gets involved in more stages, the cost will also increase​.

All these factors have an influence on the overall cost of hiring a dedicated development team.

What is the cost of hiring a dedicated development team?

The cost of hiring a dedicated development team is determined by the geographical location. Surveys ​show that the cost of hiring dedicated development teams from Asian countries such as India is low as compared to the USA.

Dedicated development teams from the USA charge a higher rate of about $150-$195 per hour, but South Asian countries such as India charge between $26-$35 dollars per hour.

The following table shows the estimated cost of hiring a dedicated development team.

Source: Clutch.co

Hiring the right dedicated development team is the first step towards the success of your product. ​AlignMinds Technologies is an award-winning product engineering company with a decade of success stories. We can help ​your ​businesses ​to get an edge on the competition and​ bring more revenue and recognition through innovative solutions. ​Contact us now!

Want Your MVP to be Successful? 5 Most Important Considerations

Erik Ries who wrote the bestseller The Lean Startup says that the best strategy to dive into the Product-Market fit is by rolling out a Minimum Viable Product(MVP) and continuously iterating the same based on user’s feedback. This is the exact opposite to what we do today which is to release with what we think is our final and perfect product to the public.

This is not a wise idea!

“If you are not embarrassed by your first release, you probably spent too much time on it”

Here are the 5 most important rules for building a successful Minimum Viable Product(MVP).

5 Most important rules of building a successful MVP

1. Learning must be your goal!

MVP is the version of a new product which allows the team to gather a maximum amount of validated learning about the customers with the least amount of time and money. Your concept must be genuine. If you cannot explain it clearly and simply, don’t expect that your customers will understand it.

The important point is that you must have a clear idea about what you want to learn from this feedback. What problem your MVP is going to be addressed? Are your customers really like your idea or not? What is the important feature you would like to have on your product to solve the problem which you are planning to address? The problem you are choosing to get answers is the most important thing and chose it smartly to validate the results in build, measure and learn product building ecosystem.

2. Do not waste too much money

The whole idea behind building a minimum viable product is that you get a chance to review and improve your product before you are pouring a lot of money into it. So, you don’t need to release a full-fledged version of your product and instead, please concentrate on the main problem you are planning to get resolved or your core idea. It must be a cheap and not time-consuming solution to get feedback from your customers. You can choose the best-suited one from the different types of MVP.

3. Choose your target customers wisely

You will face more difficulty in finding the right customers if your proposed solution is more innovative. It’s not necessary that your proposed solution must be for everyone! You can share your MVP with the same people from your professional network who find passion in new ideas, give honest and constructive feedback. I am sure that they will give you an impartial opinion about the questions you are asking and will be the entry point to a wider section of your targeted customers.

4. Test, test, test and more test

If your assumptions are not correct, then there is a great chance that your MVP is going to be a disaster. Avoid it at any cost. The best way to get it is to test our MVP more and more. Your thinking will not always be the same as what the customers are actually looking for. Instead of assumptions, it’s always better to find an answer and validate every hypothesis even if it looks good. The more feedback you get through testing, the more you are closer to your customers’ needs and goals.

5. Changes make your product fantastic

“ Everybody has ideas, however, what really matters is having ideas to solve real problems”
– Orkun Ozbatur

Our ideas and views are so dear to us so much so that we always have a tendency to avoid the actual feedback from the customers. Most of their feedback might not be in align our ideas. This is the prime reason that many products are ended up by using very fewer people apart from us. The thumb rule is that if your product needs to be successful in the market, it must be liked and used by the real customers not us. It’s anytime a good idea to develop one which the customers love and are ready to spend their hard-earned money on it.

This article is written by Manoj Pillai, Head of Delivery at AlignMinds Technologies

Sustainable Mobile App Development: 7 Factors You Should Take Care

Mobile application development has driven everyone into a state or period of uncontrolled excitement. As mobile phones are an important and obligatory part of daily life, 1000s of new mobile applications are released day by day both in Android and iOS. Yet only a handful will survive. It is not just the development of an application, moreover, it is a business. Let us have a brief study of the important points to remember for successful development and launching of the app.

It is always the vast idea that develops into a mobile application so each and every tiny point has to be focused on the good future of the app. As application development need to infect mobile phones all over the world, the development process has to be very systematic and should focus on various aspects. Here is the list of top 7 factors you should take care of during sustainable mobile app development.

  • Methodology
  • UI & User Experience
  • Functionality Testing
  • API Management
  • Mobile Content Management
  • Connectivity with Users
  • Promoting and Marketing the App

1. Methodologies

In the field of sustainable mobile app development or software engineering in general, methodologies mean a framework that is used by the development team to plan, structure and control the process of developing an information system. It is a process of splitting of development procedure into various phases with the aim of better planning and management.

Common methodologies include waterfall, prototyping, spiral development iterative, incremental development, rapid application development, extreme programming and several other types of agile methodology.

A variety of such frameworks have evolved over the years, each with its own recognized ups and downs. A particular methodology used to develop software is not necessarily suitable for use by all projects. Each of the available methodology frameworks is suitable to specific kinds of projects, each based on various technical, organizational, project and team considerations.

While going through various app development methodologies, it is seen that Agile development methodologies are more popular than other traditional development methodologies and I would like to describe the same over here.

2. Agile development methodology

Agile software development is a primary framework for undertaking software projects including mobile application. There are a number of agile development methodologies like Dynamic Systems Development Model (DSDM), Crystal Method and Scrum.

Most of the agile development methods try to minimize the risk by developing applications in short timeboxes, called ‘iterations’, which commonly last for one-four weeks. Each iteration is like a mini software project and includes all the tasks necessary to release the mini-increment of new functionality: planning, requirements analysis, design, coding, testing, and documentation. While each iteration will not include the functionalities to warrant releasing the product, an agile software project intends to be capable of releasing new product at the end of every iteration. At the end of each iteration, the project team re-evaluates project priorities.

Agile development methodology is a crucial factor in sustainable app development.

Agile development method mainly emphasizes on real-time communication, avoids written documents and prefer face-to-face communication. Most agile teams are located in a bullpen and include necessary manpower necessary to finish the application or software. At a minimum, this includes programmers and the people who define the project such as project managers, business analysts, or even actual customers. The bullpen may also include technical writers, interface designers, testers band management team. Agile methods also highlight working software as the primary measure of progress.

3. UI & User Experience

How to amplify user experience by improving accessibility, usability, and pleasure is what the user experience design tells.

Some of the main factors that influence the quality of user experience are listed below. These factors are also important in the case of sustainable mobile app development.

1. Visual design

The motive of visual design is to use elements like pics, symbols and colours to convey the message of application to users.

2. Information architecture

It is the fine art of organizing and structuring the information related to software product and services by supporting usability and findability.

3. Structuring, organization and labelling

Structuring is the process of relating building units of a mobile application to each other, where each building units contains basic information regarding them. Grouping these units into meaningful and well-defined manner is called organizing. Labelling is the process of using of appropriate wordings to assist easy navigation and findability.

As the mobile app is delivered to the hands of a wide range of users, user experience design plays a very important role as it enhances user satisfaction by improving usability, accessibility and pleasure provided in the interaction between a product and the user.

It is better to start by an MVP (minimum viable product) and test the same in a small circle nearly 500-1000 users depending on our mobile application. Before launching the final product, it is good to have feedback from MVP and small iterations will help to launch the final product.

As mobile app development is not a onetime process, it needs to continue upgradation and improvement. Even if it is a freelancer or a reputed company, a good relationship is very important until the releasing of the app.

Begin it with a brainstorming session of all your plans, ideas, and features and design the mockups of each screen. Mobile applications working on various platforms have different UI, so follow the particular UI guidelines for each platform. Share the demo app with maximum people so we can learn from the feedback and iterate the design till we are satisfied.

4. Functionality testing

Functional testing is a quality assurance (QA) method and a type of black-box testing which is based on various test cases on the specifications of the mobile application under test. Functions are tested by examining the output for various inputs and the thing is that the internal structure of the program is very rarely considered, not like in white-box testing. Functional testing explains what the system does and it tests a slice of the functionality of the whole application.

Don’t consider it as the final testing of the app and it is not the system testing of the same. Functional testing is different from system testing in such a way that functional testing verifies a program by checking it against design document(s) or specification(s), while system testing validates a program by checking it against the published user or system requirements.

Functional testing is of different types and is pointed below;

  • Smoke testing
  • Sanity testing
  • Regression testing
  • Usability testing

The procedure of Functional testing can be briefly concluded in six steps.

  • Realizing the functions that the software is expected to perform
  • Analyzing of input data based on the function’s specifications
  • Analyzing of output based on the function’s specifications
  • Executing all the test cases
  • Comparing actual outputs with the expected outputs
  • Check whether the application meets customer requirements.

5. API Management

API Management helps organizations publish APIs to external partner and internal developers to unlock the potential of their data and services. Businesses everywhere are looking to extend their operations as a digital platform, creating new channels, finding new customers and driving deeper engagement with existing ones. API Management provides the core competencies to ensure a successful API program through developer engagement, business insights, analytics, security and protection.

6. Connectivity with users, Promotion and Marketing the App

1. Customers are our press

End users are the backbone of any business and due to them, application developers enjoy continues rewards.

2. Leverage your mobile website

If we have a mobile website that attracts heavy traffic, it can be used for marketing and promotion of the app and also many other advantages in excess. These people are the ‘targeted group’ who will be happy to accept the app from birth. It is the one way to make the app spot to users.

3. Feature the App in an official blog

Writing a blog will be very useful to make the customers know about the whole story of the application. Tell them about the plus points and how it helps them make thing easier. Including pp links, videos and images will help to provide a good idea of the application.

4. Focus on emails

91% of people check their emails regularly. Take this chance by incorporating our app links into newsletters, customer service mails and it is better to use it in email signatures.

5. Consider alternative app stores

Do not depend only on google play store and app store for marketing our app, there are many other online market where we can upload our app. The study has revealed that if the app is submitted on other relatively less popular stores, it will increase expected downloads 200 percentage more compared to google play store.

There are few app stores that can be considered for marketing like,

  • GetJar
  • SlideMe
  • Opera Mobile Store
  • AppsLib
  • Amazon Appstore
  • AppBrain

6. SEO matters if you aim for sustainable mobile app development

Identify the best-targeted keywords that can rank for. Also, analyses which keyword your app is currently ranking on. Build some high-quality link accordingly to increase the rankings.

7. Join Entrepreneurs & Developers group on Social Medias

Let’s try to increase our visibility in communities like LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and various other Media to become better known among entrepreneurs, app developers and users. We can build a correlation among them by discussing features, bug fixes, future updates etc. It allows an opportunity to boost our apps without spending a cent. It is also important to know about App Store Optimization (ASO) which also work similarly based on search relevance, keyword relevancy and keyword density.

The mobile application market is exponentially evolving along with the invention of new technologies, so it is important and inevitable to follow the path of sustainable mobile app development in order to deliver productive outcomes to the end-users including businesses and costumers.

– Jerin Johny

Are you looking for a reputed mobile application development company to implement your next project? AlignMinds is an award-winning company with more than 10 years of success in the field. Contact us now!.

Rapid Mobile Application Development (RMAD): 5 Strategic Advantages

Rapid Mobile Application Development (RMAD) was introduced by the analyst firm Gartner which allows the business professionals to build and deliver cross-platform business apps quickly and easily increase efficiency and time. It is the mobile equivalent of Rapid Application Model (RAD) which is based on the concept that high-quality software can be built faster through much convenient process such as early prototyping, reusing the software components etc.

5 Advantages of Rapid Mobile Application Development Model (RMAD)

1. Speedy delivery of apps

Over the past 5 years, we have seen a drastic increase in the number of apps along with growing demand for quicker and more efficient apps. With the growing demands and building the apps in a short time, we have seen the failure rate has also increased throughout the creation, deployment and management of mobile applications.

Most of the companies increased spending time and resources for the development of the mobile applications, however in many cases after spending a lot of time and resources for building an app, there is no guarantee that it will be used by more users. In addition to this, new technologies are introduced at a lightning speed, forcing business to introduce them to remain in the market.

Under these circumstances, many of the companies have come forward with Rapid Mobile App Development.

2. No code or development with little code

The main problem of the app development was the time taken and the resources needed for the creation of the app.

Rapid Mobile App Development eliminates most if not all coding when comes to the creation of an app. This codeless platform makes it possible for everyone, whether they have experience with coding or not, to build an app in a simple platform. Thus, the severity involved in creating an app that would have taken months for completion has been reduced to mere minutes. That’s why the name RMAD, in which a non-developer can also create and deploy the app quickly and in a short time.

3. Organizational Benefits

Once a company knows how to handle different projects created with RMAD platforms they can truly experience some of the best benefits. It is said that about 94 per cent of the project either fail or the budget may be high, behind schedule or behind expectation. RMAD can help IT departments to meet their required quality and meet the project deadlines.

Also, it creates a common language between the IT department executives which increases the co-operation among the employees which can boost the company in their process.

4. Better Software development

One of the benefits of RMAD is better software development since it can make use of the readily available software components. The prototype development which starts in the early phase acts as a framework and the same can be set up on existing projects or parts of the projects. This reduces the time for the creation of the app from scratch which reduces the cost and time.

Rapid Mobile Application Development allows the developers to follow the Rapid prototyping model, in which a prototype is created with minimum requirement analysis and once the actual requirements are clearly understood the prototype is discarded and actual system is developed with a clear understanding.

5. Management of apps created in RMAD

We have seen above that RMDB increases productivity and build the apps quicker than earlier. If an organization uses the RMDB to create few apps, managing the whole apps is not a big challenge, but if a company creates numerous apps with a short time, suddenly they get piled up and it will be very difficult to manage. Business who use RMDB should keep in mind about this problem, and the solution for this is an enterprise mobile application management platform.

With this platform, a business can easily manage and keep track of all their apps, who should use and when it should be used. With these benefits, it will lead more people to use the apps and will have better investment in return.

 – Ebin J Sebastian

Are you looking for a reputed mobile application development company to implement your next project? AlignMinds is an award-winning company with more than 10 years of success in the field. Contact us now!.

Whats Makes DApps So Interesting?

Has anyone ever heard of DApps? Decentralized App in short for DApps is a storm of change in the tech world.

Let’s see what DApp is.

What is DApps?

By definition,

“DApp is an open source application that operates autonomously on a decentralized public blockchain. It cannot be controlled by a single entity, and it generates and uses tokens by following a standard cryptographic algorithm.” 

Let’s analyze the criteria that make an app DApp:

1. Open Source and Autonomous

DApp is open source, means, it is available for every one from anywhere without any restrictions. It has the freedom to govern itself or control its own activities. Since the code is open source and managed autonomously, it is available for everyone for checking out. The changes are decided by all or the majority of the users.

2. Public blockchain

The underlying technology behind a DApp is BLOCKCHAIN (we will discuss in detail below), which should be public.

3. Cannot be controlled by a single entity

Single entities can be interpreted as an operational unit. DApp, as the name indicates, is decentralized. Its control is spread all over the world. They do not come under the influence of a person or an organization. DApps are free from control and interference from any single authority.

4. Generate and use tokens following a standard cryptographic algorithm

DApps generate and use tokens from every single entity it is performing. These tokens are encrypted using a standard cryptographic algorithm for security. If an app doesn’t meet all these criteria, then it is not a DApp. Based on the above definition, the first DApp ever built was Bitcoin. Bitcoin is an implemented blockchain solution that arose from problems revolving around centralization. One can say Bitcoin is a self-sustaining public ledger that allows efficient transactions without intermediaries and centralized authorities.

Blockchain is the underlying technology behind DApp. Now let us look into the basics of blockchains for a better understanding of DApps.

What is Blockchain and how it works?

Blockchain is the technology that enables moving coins or assets from one individual to another. Always understand that Bitcoin ≠ Blockchain. The main use of blockchain is faster and reliable money transfer without a centralized third-party.

Let’s take the above example. Suppose a Person A in America wants to send $10 to a person B in India, A is dependent on a trusted 3rd party for the process. However, the process takes time, about 3 days for the trusted 3rd party to find the correct Person B in India and pay him the money. They will also charge B an amount as their service amount which means person B receives only $8.5 after 3 days.

If this same process is done with the help of blockchain, there won’t be a third party. Also, you can send your money directly to the person without any delay and approximately no service charge. Blockchain technology, made possible to dis-intermediate third-party operators to exchange value online. This decentralized trust.

Why use DApps?

Here is the list of the top reasons why you should use DApps.

1. Own your Data

The best advantage of DApps is that you can own your own data. Your data is the most valued possession in this digital era. Anybody can access your data and you can earn with this concept.

2. Increased data reliability

Since DApps is decentralized, there won’t be any central server which stores every data. Data will be distributed everywhere so that there won’t be any broken links or 404 not found.

3. Faster data transfer

Since data is distributed across the world, the number of peers will be more. Therefore, we can access data from the nearest peer. The download speed will be so fast as the number of peers increases.

4. Cannot be shut down

There are cases where some website, links or apps are not accessible for a person, region or country. For example, China blocked Facebook in 2009 June to stop a riot since Facebook was the main source of communication for the activists. Such cases won’t happen if DApps was in the scenario.

Sneha Mohan