Virtual Offices Are Not Very Remote After All

It’s funny.  I still sometimes get that boyhood jealousy of the kid playing hookie when one of my friends says “I’m working remotely tomorrow.”  There is this implication of being off the reservation, out there on your own, left to your own devices and personal freedoms with no one looking over your shoulder.  Why is this funny?  Because I work from home every day of my life.

The Virtual Office

Here’s the difference: I work in a virtual office.  A virtual office is nothing like what my friend above might describe as working remotely.  I know this seems somewhat counter-intuitive but it really boils down to this – in a virtual office, everyone is in the same place and no one is remote.

To say that I was pleasantly surprised at how true this turned out to be for us would be a gross understatement.  I am Director of Operations and Sr. Project Manager for a small custom web development shop and things like accountability, fostering culture and collaboration, ensuring sound business process etc., are my universe.  They are also commonly assumed to be less effective in a virtual office environment.  Yes, we were nervous about these things too.  Now with a year behind us since the “move,” I’m pretty sure it was the best ops strategic call we’ve ever made.

The Definition of Remote

The problem with remote is, incidentally, right in the name.  You really are classic-definition-of-the-word,  “remote.”  You’re out there in orbit (read: Starbucks), on your own and maybe you’ve even got a list of things you need to get done, but either way your normal communications process is broken.  You don’t talk to folks in the office like you normally would and they consider you a lesser employee who doesn’t need to be included in whatever conversation or decision is happening in the office.

The number one biggest single factor at play here is that when in a virtual office done correctly, everyone is truly in the same “place” even if they are separated by vast distances.  I feel far less remote than I did when we had an office.  Our ability to communicate and collaborate has increased and our ability to nail client deadlines has improved.  Both client and employee satisfaction are through the roof these days.

Stay tuned as I continue to explore the various facets of a successful virtual office as well as the benefits we’ve been experiencing.

Next Topics:

  • Addressing the Common Concerns
    • Laziness
    • Lack of collaboration
    • Loneliness
    • Communications breakdown
  • Ways to be successful
    • Have a routine
    • Have an office
    • Go out
    • Video conf, every once in a while
    • Play games, social skype
    • Use the internet and its humor
  • Our Transition: A Case Study
  • Why it’s not for everyone and every company
  • Virtual office tools that helped our success
  • Fostering culture over the internets
  • Project management and other process in a virtual environment
  • Hiring

Critical Linux Server Security Issue Discovered

A critical security vulnerability has just recently been discovered in the Linux operating system. This may affect any website that is being run on a Linux server which hasn’t been patched. You can read more about it below:

http://www.wordfence.com/blog/2014/09/major-bash-vulnerability-disclosed-may-affect-a-large-number-of-websites-and-web-apps/

Within 24 hours of the vulnerability becoming public DLS Software Studios took immediate action to either patch our client’s servers or to notify them and make recommendations about what needed to be done.

Is your internal software development team or outside agency keeping up with critical security risks and taking the necessary steps to mitigate them before your entire business is at risk?

SSL now a ranking criteria on Google

Google has recently announced that they have started and will continue to rank sites that use SSL throughout the site higher than sites that don’t.  Aside from the obvious security reasons for implementing SSL on pages with protected data, this raises a strong argument for implementing SSL or increasing your use of SSL if you don’t already use it on all pages of your site.

We are recommending that all of our clients move forward with a full implementation of SSL.  If you are unsure what SSL is or how you would go about implementing it on your site, feel free to reach out to us at 866-313-0106 to discuss your options.

You can read more about this move here: http://arstechnica.com/security/2014/08/in-major-shift-google-boosts-search-rankings-of-https-protected-sites/

 

Your Online Store Needs Magento

With the proliferation of e-commerce stores, the online shopping experience is targeted to  become more user-friendly to overcome the limitation of a shopper’s tactile experience in the store. With the plethora of e-commerce solutions, businesses stepping into the digital realm have to choose a platform that provides a streamlined and flawless user experience in their e-shop. Magento is one such e-commerce solution that has managed to surface with a reputation of being a reliable solution.

Numbers Show It All
According to a survey conducted by Ahead Works based on Alexa top 1 million stores, Magento is the most popular e-commerce platform with a 31.4% market share, followed by Zen Cart with 13% and Virtuemart with 12.1%. Magento continues to remain in power as the most fashionable platform because of the flexibility and customization that come with its open-source nature. It’s fair to say that the advantages the platform brings, results in high traffic to Magento-based online stores.

Want More Proof?
Both Obama and Romney used Magento e-commerce platform for their campaigns during the Presidential Election season of 2012. Back in 2008, social media made an entry into politics and in 2012, it was time for e-commerce political fundraising. Both Obama and Romney campaigns made use of the Magento e-commerce platform, although they each used it differently to capitalize on their supporters.

Obama initiated the ‘Runway to Win’ campaign where he joined hands with the fashion industry to launch limited edition clothing accessories from top American designers. Even Michelle Obama managed to support the online campaign so much that it became a part of the Democratic National Convention. On the other hand, Romney together with Groove Commerce integrated social networking with the e-store. A campaign was initiated on Facebook to drive traffic to the online store which was quite successful as more than 13,000 people rushed to claim the coupon in three days. It is expected that in fours years down the road, e-commerce political fundraising campaigns will be very critical to achieve election milestones.

Why You Should Adopt Magento?
In simple words, Magento is a flexible and scalable e-commerce solution to help your business flourish and reach the heights of success.

  • Opening up multiple e-stores? You can handle them all from a single administrative panel with a few clicks.
  • Get your stores to have any look and feel you desire with customizable themes.
  • Make maximum use of advanced features such as multiple images of a product, zoom-in capability, and product reviews to enhance shopper experience.
  • Use Google Analytics to track the success of your online store.
  • Introduce marketing initiatives such as up-sell and cross-sell to boost product sales.
  • Order easily using edit, create, view, and fulfill orders from the admin interface.

Our Magento experts can help you make the best use of the Magento e-commerce software for your business. Contact us today to discuss your project!

What does our Microsoft competency mean for your business?

software development partnerWe are proud to be part of the Microsoft Partner Network and are certainly very proud of our competency in Software Development. I always mention it when meeting with potential clients and I often tweet about this achievement to promote our expertise. But, what exactly does our Microsoft competency mean for you? Microsoft explains it like this:

By attaining a Microsoft competency, we have met extensive technology requirements and demonstrated expertise through rigorous exams, culminating in Microsoft certifications. We have also been recommended by our customers. Our skills, support, and knowledge have been tested and proven by successful implementations in specific technology areas.

Additionally, our Microsoft competency provides us with early access to new software and specialized technical support and services from Microsoft that help us serve you better.

We look forward to sharing our expertise and experience with you—and finding the right solutions for your business. Contact us today to discuss how we can help your business.

 

Custom Software and Your Business – Part 2

Interested in learning how Custom Software can help your business?

This is the final section of a 2-part series on custom software and your business (you can find part 1 here).

We have already established that custom software has the ability to dramatically improve your business. The increased flexibility and control of a custom solution provides an improved ability to manage and operate your entire organization. Custom applications can also improve the ability to support employees by increasing their productivity and therefore, improving customer experiences. But, what about costs? Read below to discover how implementing a custom solution may create cost reductions in your business.

Continue reading “Custom Software and Your Business – Part 2”