Tag Archive for cloud

Internet of Things Modern Application Development

Over the past decade modern application development has shifted from mainframe computing to personal PCs, and now to smartphones and cloud services. These shifts required new software languages, new hardware and new application development solutions. The best illustration of this shift came with the 90’s “Internet Boom.”  This shift resulted in application development on mainframe and personal PCs to applications that can run on a web browser. The shift also included new tools such as Visual Studio, new languages like HTML/JavaScript, new Architecture Patterns such as MVC and new application life cycle processes like Agile/Scrum.

Then came the smart phone. This shift from personal PCs to small mobile devices such as iPhones forced modern application development to support multiple screen resolutions, and a need to operate off-line while remaining connected to cloud services. Our next shift is to the Internet of Things (IoT), once again giving a new meaning to modern application development. Now, applications need to be developed to run on different types of devices like thermostats, doorbells and small Bluetooth sensors. The application must be secure, cloud ready and able to perform predictive analysis using machine learning. Below are my thoughts on this latest shift in modern application development:

Devices

The IoT modern application development shift includes a multitude of devices that range from televisions to cameras, to refrigerators, to pretty much any device that is powered into an outlet. One of the more notable products in this space is the Amazon Echo which uses voice recognition as its main interface, and can provide control over your light switches, thermostats and even your music collection. Amazon Echo is an example of an IoT device which breaks away from the previous modern application development, as it uses voice as its interface, is always connected to the cloud, and can connect with other IoT devices. This changes everything about how we think of modern application development. No longer is it about supporting multiple device resolutions, but rather about what data can be captured via the latest IoT devices and how that data can be used to improve our lives. This means we need new software tools, new cloud services, new analysis software and new machine learning algorithms.

These applications do not always include fancy user interfaces, as they are often function specific. For example, an IoT device could capture changes in temperature on a farm, take soil sample readings or even capture images and video of the fields. This data can then be sent to cloud services where it can be analyzed and run through machine learning to produce an easy to understand update on the farm. The data from the disparate “things” needs to be collected in a common format for actionable insights. Of note, most of the “big data” being processed and collected today is machine-to-machine. Cloud services help to aggregate and display this data in ways humans can understand, analyze and take action on the insights delivered.

Cloud Services

Cloud services are at the heart of IoT. Devices are built to perform a simple purpose and leave all complex user interfacing, analysis and thinking to the cloud. Cloud services such as the Azure IoT hub provide both the software tooling and service for a device to talk to the cloud and the device to connect to other devices. For example, in the manufacturing industry, IoT devices using the Azure IoT hub can be developed to monitor the production line and equipment use, which is then submitted to cloud service which then can be interpreted by human intelligence to predict equipment maintenance.

With this shift to IoT modern application development software is developed to capture data from a range of sensors, submit that data to cloud services and then process that data using analytics services such as Business Intelligence dashboards for timely and relevant role based information.

Machine Learning

So what is the point of these IoT devices in our homes, cars and at work, capturing data and sending it to the cloud? Well that’s what machine learning is all about. We now need to develop algorithms that can learn based on data from the IoT. For example: home IoT devices using machine learning will learn the normal patterns in your house and only notify you when there is a disruption such as the lights staying on past a normal pattern or when you leave your windows open while you are away. Machine learning is one of the most important aspects of IoT and without it, all we would have is raw data in a cloud service with no meaningful way to utilize it.

BlumShapiro Consulting is a Microsoft Advanced Analytics partner, with experience building modern IoT apps. 

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About Hector: 

hectorHector Luciano, Jr. is a Consulting Manager at BlumShapiro, a Microsoft Gold Partner focusing on SharePoint, Office 365, mobile technologies and custom development solutions. Hector is an active member of the SharePoint community. His experience reflects a breadth of Microsoft .Net Technologies experience. With a focus on Software Application development, Hector has worked on various projects including architected and designed solutions for web, client/server and mobile platforms. He has worked closely with business owners to understand the business process, then design and build custom solution. Hector currently holds Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD), Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD).

 

 

Office 365 Groups – Making Life Easier

Projects and group work happen all the time at the office. With the digital revolution it’s all about getting this work done in less time. While being more efficient is great, it can be challenging at times to keep up with the pace in ever-changing work environments. Moving your technology infrastructure to the cloud can be a great way to keep up with the evolving technology landscape by staying up to date with the latest innovations. As an Office 365 coach, I enjoy teaching and sharing the latest features of Office 365 with our clients, including my new favorite, Office 365 Groups.

If you have ever worked on a group project, I am sure you know there are usually a few things that you need to have your IT department setup for you to help track group progress, communicate etc. For example, you may want a distribution list created for emailing team members, a shared calendar created to track events and meetings or a shared folder on a network drive for storing documents related to the group. While it is possible to set up and configure a mailbox, network drives, assign permissions and so forth, this can take valuable time away from being productive. Even after everything is configured, you may find yourself with technology that is not user friendly. For instance, you may have created a distribution list for email and then set up a Dropbox folder or a network share folder for storing documents. Using different apps and having to shift back and forth between them can slow down the progress of your project, which is where Office 365 Groups comes in to play.

Office 365 Groups solves the issue by providing all of the collaboration services you would need in a focused work area within Office 365—eliminating the issues caused by using disparate systems and apps. Each group in Office 365 contains the following:

  • Inbox – Group emails
  • Calendar – Group meetings/events
  • Document Library – Storing files and folders
  • OneNote Notebook – Taking meeting/project notes
  • Planner – Manage project tasks
  • Connectors – Connect your favorite apps to the group

office 365 groups graphic

 

All of these features can be created in less than 10 seconds without any IT involvement. This can be a huge timesaver for groups in the business world thanks to the power of the cloud. Getting work done faster and more efficiently is a win for the employee and a win for the business. Office 365 Groups is just one of the many examples of how the cloud is making everyone’s lives a little bit easier.

To learn more about Office 365 Groups and how your company can use them, contact our BlumPOWER team at info@imagineblum.com.

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7 Reasons You Should Consider Outsourcing Your Finance and Accounting

Successful businesses, no matter how small or large, are able to focus, like a laser beam, on what’s important: innovation, customer service, growth, company culture and winning against their competition.

Finance and accounting, while critical to business operations, is often urgent, but not important. Yet so many executives like you allow themselves to get distracted from these critical success factors by responding to inquiries, tracking down missing checks, making sure the books get closed accurately and reconciling accounts.

If you are looking for better ways to focus on growing your business you should consider outsourcing your finance and accounting operations. Here are seven key benefits of outsourcing accounting and finance.

  1. Be more efficient– For one week, keep track of how you spend your day. (You can easily accomplish this with a free tool called toggl. http://toggl.com ) How much time do you spend each week on finance and accounting? If it is more than 1 – 2 hours a week…it’s too much. You should be spending your time improving operations, better serving customers and growing your business. Removing the daily distractions of accounting will help you do this.
  2. Reduce costs – Outsourcing your accounting eliminates all of the costly taxes and fringe benefits associated with full and part time employees. You pay one fixed monthly fee for everything. Research has shown that outsourcing accounting can save up to 40% in monthly costs, when you consider the salary plus taxes, supervision, vacation and health insurance.
  3. Eliminate fraud –Most small businesses have one accounting person that does everything….sends out the bills, collects and deposit checks and reconciled the bank account. When these duties are not separated, you increase your risk of fraud. A recent Association of Certified Fraud Examiner’s study showed that the most common victims of fraud are privately owned small businesses with less than 100 employees with an average fraud amount of $147,000. Outsourced accounting provides you with the checks and balances, as well as the oversight that you need to prevent fraud.
  4. Highly qualified and experienced staff – By having a team of accountants and CPAs work together to take care of your books, you can take advantage of their significant accounting, tax and compliance expertise which is all included in the monthly cost. By outsourcing you will automatically stay ahead of and comply with the myriad changes in income and sales tax and reporting laws.
  5. Ability to scale – By outsourcing finance and accounting, scaling your business becomes easier. Rather than distract yourself by hiring additional finance staff, outsourcing grows automatically with your business. You can focus on hiring the best people to sell your products and service your customers…which goes right to the bottom line.
  6. Improve cash flow – Outsourcing provides you with access to cloud based tools and technologies that will help you get paid faster and manage payments more effectively. At the simple click of a mouse, you can see an up to minute analysis of your cash.
  7. Better Manage Your Business –What type of information are you receiving today from your finance system? Most importantly, how timely is it? When you get last month’s financial on the 20th of the following month, how do you support decisions in the beginning of the month? Outsourcing provides you with real time information on all aspects of your business, not just financials, with the click of a mouse.
Can your company benefit from outsourcing your finance and accounting? Take our 1 minute assessment! Get your assessment now >>

7 Free Informative Webinars for CFOs and Finance Professionals – March 2016

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Every month, Intacct sponsors a series of informative webinars covering critical issues for CFOs and finance professionals.

Here is a list of their webinars for February / March 2016. Click the Learn More button for additional information or you can register directly by clicking the Register button.


The Tech-Savvy CFO: From Visibility to Insight

Thursday, February 25th at 11 AM PT / 2 PM ET

Everyone is turning to you for answers… So, where do you turn for the technology to give you those answers?

Learn More

Register


Project Accounting and Financials for Your Services Business

Wednesday, March 2nd at 11 AM PT / 2 PM ET

For services and project-based companies, capturing 100% of client billable time and expenses, developing accurate budgets and forecasts, and improving cash flow management is always challenging. How can you meet these challenges?

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Register


Cloud Financials Done Right: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Implementation

Wednesday, March 9th at 11 AM PT / 2 PM ET

Your financial management and accounting applications are one of the most critical components of your business infrastructure. Switching to a new accounting system can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be.

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Register


A Board’s Eye View into SaaS Metrics

Thursday, March 10th at 11 AM PT / 2 PM ET

For SaaS companies, fast growth requires fast decisions made with the right information. How can you quickly get the critical information you need?

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Revenue Recognition Made Easy for Your Project-based Business

Wednesday, March 16th at 11 AM PT / 2 PM ET

Are you spending too much time tracking down project data and manually recognizing revenue?

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Register


Not Your Mother’s Chart of Accounts—Leveraging Cloud Technology for Nonprofit Accounting

Thursday, March 17th at 11 AM PT / 2 PM ET

Your chart of accounts is the foundation of your finance system, but does it support your current and future reporting needs?

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Finance and Project Analytics for Services Businesses in 2016

Tuesday, March 29th at 11 AM PT / 2 PM ET

With real-time financial and operational analytic, services businesses—technology, consulting, business, construction, and other services—can effectively manage revenues, costs, and overall performance. Where can you find this information?

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Register


View the original post on the Cloud Accounting Blog here >>