Monday, 24 February 2014

What is Software Development?

One of the services that Convallis Software offers is custom software development, but what exactly is software development?

There are various opinions that I have discovered where some people think that software development and software programming are the same thing, and others that say that they are totally different things altogether.
In my personal opinion they are totally different things, programming is part of the process involved in creating the final software product. Software development is the complete process from inception to installation.

Developing software can be a long process which starts with planning what the software needs to do before even starting coding. The actual programming process can take a long time, and along the way the software needs to be tested to ensure that the software being developed actually works as it should. When programming has finally finished more extensive testing is then carried out to ensure that everything works as it should and there are no underlying bugs. More often than not the final testing before release to a customer is done by someone other that the programmer as they will more than likely act more like a user of the final product.

Once the customer has their software installed they can then test and use it in a working environment which is better than a development environment, there may be some minor adjustments required, but this is not always the case.

If you are thinking of investing in custom software for your business please get in touch to discuss your individual requirements.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Problems that can be resolved with CRM

As a business grows you will continue to encounter problems. In this article I hope to give you an idea of some of the problems that can be resolved by using a CRM.

  1. Looking up addresses and telephone numbers: A CRM in its simplest form is basically a contact management system. It allows you to have a centralised database containing addresses and telephone numbers of your contacts allowing you to find the essential information you need with a few simple clicks of your mouse rather than having to look in directories or search engines.
  2. Communication: Poor communication is not a good thing in a business because if a message is missed you could lose out on a major order or a new customer. Capturing and recording all messages is essential for effective customer service. A CRM can allow all in your business to record every communication with a contact against an individual contact record.
  3. Tasks and Deadlines: Missing tasks and deadlines can be very costly to a business. A CRM system can record tasks and deadlines for the tasks and also assign them to a particular member of staff. Having this information available to all that use the CRM allows staff to set priorities of the work due to be done.
  4. Too Much Paper: How much paper are you generating in your business and then just filing away never to be seen again? Keeping your documents electronically filed associated with a contact record reduces the need for filing cabinets and increases your office space.
  5. Multiple Databases: Most businesses have many different databases with duplicate information. A simple task such as changing a telephone number or address will have be be changed on each individual database. A CRM system should only contain one record for a contact so it is easier to change information if necessary.
  6. Who Do We Market To?: CRM records all products and services purchased or they have shown interest in within the contact record. This means you can build a clear picture of your clients requirements. You can create reports and set up mailing lists to generate specific campaigns for your services and you will save time by mail merging letters, emails and SMS.
  7. Why can't I get the information I need now?: How many customers of a specific product do I have? Who is on a particular mailing list? Can I get a report of all customers in a certain demographic? Information that can sometimes take a long time to collate can be data-mined and created in a report within the CRM to generate lists which can be exported into a spreadsheet for mail merge documents or general reporting.
  8. Where are your Staff Today?: Do you know where everyone is today, tomorrow, next week?  A centralised calendar system within your CRM means everyone knows where everyone is at any time. Appointments can be made for you or assigned to any member of staff plus your contacts can be added as attendees of an appointment if needed.
  9. Getting Everyone Onboard: With CRM you can record all of the information you need to successfully carry out a project to its conclusion. Everyone has access to customer expectations, documents and the client records. Allowing all staff being able to see what is expected of them and the tasks they are assigned makes the job planning process so much easier.
  10. Keep Yourself in the Picture: It is important that you are kept up to date with what is outstanding with any of your contacts. Each time you log on to your CRM system you will be able to view a wide range of matters that are outstanding including appointments, tasks, sales items and much more.

CRM helps you to look after your existing clients effectively: the more you know about them, the easier it is to identify new prospects and increase your customer base.

If you want to find out more about ConvallisCRM, our CRM solution available as either a desktop or cloud application please take a look at our dedicated website or contact us to discuss your individual requirements.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Safer Internet Day: Let’s create a better internet together

Today is the eleventh annual Safer Internet Day and is  taking place with the theme ‘Let’s create a better internet together’. 

Celebrated globally in over a hundred countries, Safer Internet Day aims to inspire the safe, responsible and creative use of technology.

This year’s theme covers the responsibility that everyone has in making the internet a safer and better place. For young people, Safer Internet Day is a chance to celebrate being kind and creative online, while educators, parents and carers can help to empower young people to embrace the positive by equipping them with the digital literacy skills they require for today’s world. Industry should work in partnership with others to create and promote a positive online environment for young people.

Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre, Safer Internet Day brings together hundreds of organisations from across the UK in promoting the safe use of technology.

At Convallis Software we will be taking the opportunity to promote the day and will hopefully make more people aware of the event and the activities taking place.

To mark the day the UK Safer Internet Centre will be presenting a live TV Show from Belfast as well as hosting a youth event at Microsoft’s head offices in London.

SID TV will be broadcast live at with advice and practical information from experts and providers such as Facebook, Twitter and BT for teachers, young people and parents on internet safety and issues such as cyberbullying, sexting, parental controls, reporting and privacy.

The Safer Internet Day 2014 Youth Event will bringing together a panel of young people with experts across government, industry and education to hear more about what a better internet means to each of these important audiences.

As Will Gardner, Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, says:

“This Safer Internet Day looks set to be the biggest one yet - the fantastic range of supporters really reflects how widespread and important this issue is, and we are delighted to see such collaborations where schools, civil society, public and private sectors are all championing the same cause. Safer Internet Day is a time to celebrate the great work that everyone across the UK is doing to create a better internet together.”

For more information on the activities taking place to celebrate Safer Internet Day, visit the UK Safer Internet Centre website.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Why I use Office 365.

It's been a while now since I last posted about Microsoft Office 365 and how as a business we moved our documents etc to the cloud. I thought I would let you know how I'm getting on with it and the advantages that I've found.

Because we have offices in North Devon and Exeter it makes life so much easier using Office 365 as I am able to access any of my important documents via the cloud at whichever location I am working from. For example if a colleague is at our North Devon office working on a document that I may need to access and work on and I'm in Exeter I can use Sharepoint to access the document and then if I need to edit it online using the Office Web Apps.

Another advantage of keeping our documents in the cloud is that should there be any problem with our server or hard drives on our computers we can still access anything important from another device such as a tablet or mobile phone. Office 365 offers the flexibility to be able to do this so I don't necessarily need my computer all the time. Although I would still recommend having a suitable backup solution for your machines such as secure offsite backup or external hard drive which is kept away from any machines that you are backing up.

Offering 99.9% uptime, great security and a range of options to suit all businesses I would suggest that you seriously consider migrating to Office 365.