Archive | 2012

How to Prepare for a Business Development Networking Event

Our Business Development team at Softway Solutions takes Business very seriously. When it comes time to make a deal, they are completely and utterly prepared in every aspect of the word. A lot of work (and caffeine) goes into preparing for a great business meeting.  When making connections and closing deals are the names of the game sometimes it takes more than a blog post to explain how we do things around here.

What do you do to prepare for an important meeting? Let us know in the comments.

 

(Disclaimer: 55% of this video is entirely fictional. Figuring out which 55% is up to you.)

 

 

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Softway’s design Team Places Second For Logo Design

Yesterday we announced that we won second place for logo design in the American Design Awards (ADA). An internationally-recognized independent awards program, the ADA recognizes designers from around the world who produce innovative and creative design pieces. Our design team submitted to the ADA Summer Quarterly Design Awards the logo they created for YetiCars, an online used car search engine.

Please follow this link to read more about our award!

http://www.send2press.com/newswire/Softway-Solutions-Design-Team-Places-Second-for-American-Design-Awards_2012-10-1011-001.shtml

 

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There Might Be Scrum-thing To This

“Individuals and interactions over processes and tools;
Working software over comprehensive documentation;
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation;
Responding to change over following a plan.”
-    The Agile Manifesto

    

In every sense of the word we are a growing company. Though we’re reaping the returns of our hard work, external growth outpacing internal growth makes it more challenging to manage projects. Our workload is steadily increasing but our team members still haven’t learned how to clone themselves or how to survive without sleep. The widening employee to project ratio exposed aspects of our project development process that were becoming counterproductive, essentially creating additional hurdles for us to jump over. Hiring employees en masse is not a realistic solution but taking a new approach to project development is.

We knew there was a method out there that would leverage our capabilities with our potential, mitigating the increased workload and increasing our efficiency. The issues we were having stemmed from using the waterfall method to build our projects. Waterfall is strict and compartmentalized, which allowed for unforeseen challenges. We don’t have an overabundance of team members to tackle the challenges that arose on one project while continuing to build other projects. So we decided to investigate an agile project development method called Scrum.

Scrum is structured to support complex project development and correct inefficient steps. It’s adaptable and collaborative framework minimizes both the number and the size of mistakes and prevents lengthy delays from happening. We thought it was our best bet at simplifying the development process and improving our efficiency.

Scrum Framework

It is a given that to turn a concept into a product, a project development plan is essential. However, to turn a concept into a functioning and valuable product, an agile development plan is a necessity. The reality is a concept doesn’t always translate into a good product just because the plan is good in theory.

Scrum emphasizes that effective team collaboration, rather than going through the motions of an unexplored yet concrete plan, uncovers the value the actual process of agile development brings to a project: empiricism. It is within the small steps of Scrum that observations lead to ingenuity and innovation, which enhance the project and enable it to evolve into a turnkey product and solution. Scrum doesn’t force the project to adapt to the development plan; the plan adapts to the project.

Scrum can make our previously counterproductive issues become productive and proactive steps, which is something our growing company will really benefit from. Changes, additions and challenges can occur at any point during the production process without it feeling like a wrench was thrown in the gears.

You’re going to build a better, more quality project when you go through the development process, gradually building the project step-by-step. Scrum puts innovation, collaboration and creativity back into development, making it easy to build a product that not only functions, but truly works for the client’s business and enhances the way they do business.

This has always been our goal on every project we do; we just needed to find a method that enhances our ability to do that. We always say that we work magic. Well, we needed a magic solution to optimize our potential, improve our efficiency and promote future growth without needing to immediately expand internally. And that solution is Scrum.

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Softway Solutions Launches Award-Winning Medical Mobile App

Recently, Softway Solutions was recognized for the great development of a mobile application at the 14th annual 2012 Web Health Awards.  Out of a pool of more than 600 mobile application entries, Softway Solutions was awarded the Bronze Web Health Award for the work done on the Auscultation Primer medical mobile app.

Designed for mobile devices such as iPhone and Android, the Auscultation Primer app improves the user’s auscultation (the ability to hear sounds from within the body) of various sounds made by the heart. The app was developed for the Texas Heart Institute in collaboration with Dr. James Wilson and Coordinator Arnulfo Martinez of the Heart Sounds Laboratory.

Developed primarily for health professionals like doctors, nurses and surgeons, this portable tool is also useful for medical students and all types of clinicians who want to improve their powers of auscultation.

Another great feature this app has is the inclusion of 10 live recordings from a range of real medical care patients. The Auscultation Primer app provides actual examples of common murmurs and other sounds made by the human heart. Each video recording provides clear samples of easily-recognizable audio, crystal clear phonocardiograms and detailed EKG tracings for accurate timing. To help enhance the learning curve, our developers included comprehensive and descriptive textual entries to walk each user through the app’s different options. 

Our Softway Solutions developers who helped to create this award-winning app and who were apart of the development team are proud of their accomplishments. As a company, we are excited about the ongoing and growing role of supporting the nation’s healthcare industry with mobile applications.

By receiving this award, it helps add recognition and honor to Softway Solutions’ already unblemished reputation as one of America’s leading digital resource companies. Congratulations to our mobile application development team on their success!

You can download the app for iPhone Here and for Android Here.

If you are looking for a Medical Mobile App Developer, Feel Free to Contact Us Today!

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Facebook Post Scheduler Just Released

Facebook SchedulerIn an update rolling out today, Facebook is giving users the ability to schedule their posts in advance from inside Facebook. You can now schedule a post to go out up to 6 months in advance and in intervals of 15 minutes. Previously, scheduling of Facebook posts had to be done using third party tools such as Hootsuite, Seesmic, Ping.fm and SpreadFast. While these tools allow you to maintain all of your social media profiles from one place, this will be a helpful, and quick, tool to use while inside Facebook. Perhaps the most unique feature of this update allows you to schedule things in the past. If you schedule a post at a previous date it will show up at the appropriate spot on your Facebook Timeline. This will help brands and businesses populate their Facebook page with content even if they didn’t start a page until recently.

You can view Facebook’s instructions on how to use the new feature below. Let us know what social media management tools you use and what you like about them in the comments below.

How to schedule a Facebook Post.

From your Page’s sharing tool:

  1. Choose the type of post you want to add to your Page
  2. Click the  icon in the lower-left of the sharing tool
  3. Choose the future year, month, day, hour and minute when you’d like your post to appear
  4. Click Schedule
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Why Your Brand Needs to be on Tumblr

Tumblr LogoThere are many social networks like Facebook and Twitter which promise a wide reach as an ever growing number of people use these social media channels on a daily basis. However, these websites offer some limitations. While Twitter limits the content posted on the site, Facebook does not allow companies to engage with customers on a deeper level.

Tumblr is one such microblogging site which encourages the formation of communities and connections. The site has features including “like” or “reblog” which are useful in spreading content through a wide network. These features forge connections between diverse blogs and help build deep connections and relationships between brands and consumers.

You can use Tumblr to connect with consumers, by creating a blog. Many brands like Vogue, Newsweek and Mashable have established their presence on Tumblr.  Tumblr offers many advantages for big brands and companies should capitalize on these benefits; some of which are given below.

Curate Content With Ease

Brands should be able to manage content on their blog post. You can curate the content on your Tumblr page. It helps companies establish themselves as the experts, while providing valuable resources for audiences. You can do this by re-blogging details on contests, providing links to industry experts, or providing a link to another related article. Finally, you can also edit posts on Tumblr, providing flexibility and convenience.

Personalize Your Blog

You can personalize your blog as Tumblr provides a high level of personalization. First of all, you can choose a customized domain name for your business. To illustrate further, you can choose a domain name like yourbusiness.tumblr.com or www.yourbusinessblog.com. Secondly, brands can choose from several hundred themes for their blog design. Alternately, they can choose their layout, template and color scheme using HTML and CSS.

Get The Tumblr Advantage

Tumblr Infographic

Many brands have achieved success in their marketing strategies by using Tumblr. However, there are many industries

which are yet to explore this platform. Brands can gain advantage by capitalizing on this platform. When brands use this platform efficiently, they will be seen as leaders in the industry to successfully implement Tumblr as part of their social media strategy.

Keyword Analysis from Google Analytics

 

A major advantage that Tumblr offers is the ability to track performance metrics of a blog and measure the number of visitors to the site using Google Analytics. You can use the keyword analysis feature offered by Google Analytics, while you’re posting content to a blog. It will help you decide the most effective keywords to use in your blog that will drive traffic to your company website.

Tumblr provides an easy way to blog about your company and generate buzz in the online community through targeted content. If you would like more info on how to utilize Tumblr for your business, contact Softway Solutions at 281-661-3993.

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Burnie & Earl: Can You Dig It?!

Recently, Softway Solutions had the privilege of creating a coloring book for the up and coming animation stars, Burnie & Earl. The idea for Burnie & Earl originated from Kid Energy USA. The purpose of Burnie & Earl is to educate adults and kids regarding how much oil and gas related products impact our lives. Burnie is a flame-shaped character, while Earl looks like an oil drop.

Background Story of Burnie & Earl

Burnie and Earl originally lived under ground. Unfortunately, both of them have been pulled out of their homes and have been placed above ground in a new city, exposed to the modern world of a working society. In this “new world”, Burnie and Earl will be going on different adventures while conveying the message of the usefulness of oil and gas.

Development of Burnie & Earl

Kid Energy USA decided that “811 Call Before You Dig” would be the first way of bringing Burnie & Earl to mainstream America. The “811 Call Before You Dig” project was developed because PCM saw an immediate need to educate the public about 8-1-1, a hotline where people can call and get information about the location of any gas pipes or lines. Often, this info is requested by construction companies or even home users when they plan to dig into the ground.

Kid Energy’s USA idea is to inform children about 8-1-1 through the cartoon characters of Burnie & Earl. In turn, children would bring the knowledge and materials from school or daycare centers to parents, thereby also informing their parents of 8-1-1.

Softway Solutions and Burnie & Earl

Shortly thereafter, Kid Energy USA asked Softway Solutions to develop promotional material for the “811 Call Before You Dig’ campaign. The first piece that Softway developed was a coloring book. Our Houston 3D Animation team was able to bring to life the adventures of Burnie & Earl through stories and activities contained in the coloring book.

The project, which included all concept design and the coloring book, took about a month and half to develop. Currently, the 3D Animation team is working on a cartoon/animation project of Burnie & Earl which is scheduled for completion July 1. For this first leg, we had nine people working on different parts of the Burnie & Earl project; however, we plan to expand the number of people on the project once the things take off.

Future of Burnie & Earl

Kid Energy USA and Softway Solutions are working together to expand Burnie and Earl into a series of short shows, cartoons and toys for children.

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