Business Consulting

Overview -Almost a quarter century of project experience later, I've seen a project or two.  Some were unique while others where "special".  For example, take Microsoft Excel.  Now, take away the menu, lock down the sheet and automate the work-flow.  The end product was a monitored batch transmission from another continent.  Transmission quality was plagued by random drops so checksums were used for validation.  Now it is SQL in the cloud, data factories instead of Integration services.  Add in the Internet of Devices and there are a lot of choices...MoreA technical consultant helps to narrow the field down and present the choices as potential solutions.  This upfront review initially is free.  The goal of the initial interview from the consultants point of view is to get enough information about the project scope and stakeholder priorities.  How a Realtor will ask about the neighborhood amenities, schools, bedrooms, baths and more.  Technical projects are composed of variety of tools, assets and technologies.  Significantly different approaches can achieve similar results.  The results are often insignificant yet the cost savings can be substantial.Complex challenges have to be pealed back or chopped into.  Often the challenge is a road block for an existing application, commercial or custom.  That means a conversion to something new.  With anything new, comes new and possibly additional technology, especially in the race for cloud real estate.Looking forward to you next great idea!

"It's a database, Jim..."  Beam me up to the cloud.Star Trek aside, data is in, on and buried on the net.  The choice of platforms to store data ranges from spreadsheets to huge data farms.  Analytics on site traffic, business metrics and data of every kind is being processed, sliced and mined. <wait - cut the big space opera stuff...> Back on planet earth, the evolution of technology has orphaned critical applications on hardware islands.  Places where only a few can visit before causing a breakdown.  Fewer yet can enjoy life in the clouds.I have run across some very impressive systems built by Pharmacists, CPAs, and more.  Complex systems using advanced features.  Usually, these applications need more of a platform adjustment rather than corrective action.  Often moving where the data is stored or adding a Virtual Private Network solves the challenges these specialized systems encounter.At the other side of the spectrum are the large data store and high performance scenarios.  Currently, Node-JS and Mongo-DB are in demand for data intensive web applications.  Any data has to be handled in a secure manner and regulations may require that any data output for consumption has to be de-identified.Large and Complex or Small and Cranky, I've worked on systems and both types and while different, a database is a database is a database.  As technology has changed, the number and kinds of databases has also polymorph-ed into a variety of systems and structures.Project Base - Sprint AKick OffThe sprint starts with the initial meeting.  Project boundaries set the stage for the supporting cast.  The "Director" as always, is in charge of the budget and the due date.  Other actors may include the project hero and other stakeholders.  With the boundaries set, brainstorm through the priorities then rate the discoveries weighted towards priority.  The first tasks generated from the Kick Off meeting typically average about three days to complete.  Daily video or in person stand-ups covering, "Done, To-Dos and Blockers"Completion of the Kick Off Meeting tasks result an agreement to move forward or possible additional discovery.  The rest of the sprint is focused on the epic and supporting chapters.  The duration is from 1 to 2 weeks depending on project complexity.This is invoiced at a fixed rate based on project size assessment.  Most projects fall somewhere between small to medium in scope.  Large projects will likely require additional resources and generally more discussion.The rest of the process follows along Agile guidelines.  Feedback and communication is key in any project.  I like to live by the "No Surprises" rule that keeps everyone happy. Website or App, choices, choices, choices...What was that App anyway?  It does seem like we have an application for everything these days.  Heath, Finance, self driving cars and the list goes on.  Anymore, that is a constant with technology today.  The list goes on.  Websites typically have fewer moving parts.  Fewer parts assemble faster and there is less to break or go wrong.  Applications go that extra step.  Interacting with the user in ways a web page cannot support.  Mostly this involves transactional information and securing content.  The line between "Website" and "Web Application" have become blurred as new technologies are released.Where the website or application is going to be used plays an important role.  Cross-platform or platform agnostic applications are more the rule than exception today.  The experience needs to being consistent on a smart phone, tablet or computer.  Applications can be browser or operating system(OS) based.  For example, an application written specifically for an Android device will not run on your iPhone.  You chose a specific operating system when the functionality of the application works best when you leverage the native features available through the OS.Websites can quickly transition into applications.  An e-commerce site becomes something more when it provides a "membership" feature.  As more membership features are added, the website moves further into a browser based application.  As features become more complex, this may require a fixed orientation, like landscape, to provide the best experience.  New resources on the net have lowered the bar providing more quick to implement features that required a respectable amount of code.