Our software developers were able to use the tools and communications systems we already had in place with some minor adjustments. The unique ability we have as software developers is our application projects are all technology based and can be developed from any location.
The top communication tools we have found most useful are SLACK, GoToMeetings and Zoom. These each have a unique benefit that work for different reasons. Initially SLACK was used as an inter-office communication tool among the employees. It was a great way to get a quick response and/or share interesting content with each other. In order to adapt to our office huddles and company meetings, now off site, we upgraded our SLACK package to include video conferencing and screen sharing. This was quickly found favorable by our directors and managers to be able to share content quickly with teams in a call format vs just chat/texting. The added benefit of the writing tool feature was quickly put to use as a pointer or to highlight content on a screen shot. We continue to prefer to use GoToMeetings as our method of remote meetings with clients. GoToMeeting has always worked well for those meetings that didn’t need to be in the office and face to face but an option to have multiple people dial in for a call. This platform also allowed us the option of screen sharing. As we are having more video and call in meetings, we have recently added Zoom. Zoom is available on an Android or an iPhone as a ZOOM iCloud meeting application. We like the versatility of it for it can be used for calling, messaging and meetings. These three options of using SLACK, GoToMeetings and Zoom have really helped us to stay in communication with each other and clients. It has made the day to day interactions achievable even while not together in a shared onsite environment.
In addition, to the tools mentioned above we have found Google Doc to be a great way to collaborate workspaces and share information. The google suite is easy to use and easy to share work with others. It offers privacy of information too. Our teams have access to information all in one place. The access of having google docs available 24/7 and also available anywhere with the internet makes this a viable option for our associates to work together.
This application assists nonprofits to build their own software systems and maintain their own data. Using Allita we collaborated on a state funded program that assisted homeowners going through financial hardship. As a result, we simplified the process for homeowners & underwriters through the software we built. We were able to help stretch funding dollars to be allocated to homeowners in place of ongoing support costs. We published our recent case study on this project: Allita
Data Visualization helps us understand a story through data. For example, through COVID-19 we have seen many charts and graphs explaining the curve and projections of what will happen if we are unable to flatten the curve. We can compare data and patterns from China & Italy and make our own conclusions and projections. As the data changes daily, the infographics change too. This article provides an overall comprehensive approach on COVID-19 and provides various types of bar charts, comparisons & trajectories. See a few examples here:
Our software developers use data visualization in a vast majority of our projects. By using a visual element with charts and graphs our clients have an accessible way to see and understand trends. We can customize the data to the specific needs of each client. On one project we worked with OAHC to configure their data by using the software Tableau. For OAHC, utilizing Tableau with Excel or CSV spreadsheets was important. Tableau offered extensive training to help create the specialized charts and visualizations offered by the software. Analyzing information through data visualization is one way that we can add color and patterns to make the data more appealing to view. It makes the data easier to decipher trends and outliers beyond word documents.
Do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with the amount of information that is given to you each day? Or how about struggling to meet with different members of your office to reach a specific goal or quota? Then we need to talk. About your diet. No, not what you eat (go ahead and have that donut, we won’t tell) but the low information diet.
So what exactly is a low information diet? A low information diet gives you exactly what you need, when you need it. No shuffling, emailing or calling to get the good stuff. Switchbox has been able to assist many overwhelmed, tired, on-the-edge-of-burnt-out clients who have been in desperate need of an informational cutback. We have offered advice for our clients and have even provided them with dashboards designed to cut out the informational fillers they don’t need. Starting any kind of diet is always a transition, but lucky for you the low information diet can be broken down in to three easy steps.
Step 1: Identify your Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)
Choose the data that shows growth/positive trends within your business. Try and crunch this into as few numbers as possible.
An example would be your expected revenue or the cycle/production time in manufacturing.
Step 2: Identify The Process
Ask your staff to ONLY provide the data you need (Goodbye ripped off front pages).
The more direct you are in this process the more value you will get out of the data presented.
Step 3: Display Information in an easily accessible dashboard
Create a dashboard or use a platform such as Google Drive for displaying company totals. It can be accessed anytime, anywhere and by anyone that is authorized. For an example of what your dashboard could look like see below.
Think back on how many meetings could have just been emails, and now think those emails are not even necessary anymore. A dashboard will allow employees from all different departments to simply input their data instead of generating lengthy reports when all you really need is the end result.
Everyone knows the impact of a calorically dense diet, but do you really know the impact of an informationally dense diet? We challenge you to cut out the bombardment and shuffling of useless information and see how your business and mental clarity improve.
Backlogged projects are any project that are delayed in being completed because your internal IT team does not have the resources to get them done now.
We get this question a lot from clients. Part of what sets Switchbox apart in the software development world is our ability to take on the projects that most large IT departments are not able to get done. There are a lot of reasons for this. Sometimes an internal IT department needs a long ramp up time. You have to do a project write up. Then you need to find a project sponsor. Then your project gets submitted to an internal “innovation team”, or a “center of excellence”, or some other committee. By this time 1-2 months has passed from the time the idea for the project started.
Eventually, after some form of additional project review, stakeholder meetings, and the finance team gets involved, congratulations, your project now has a start date… 3 months from now. If this sounds like your company’s internal process you probably have a lot of backlogged projects where you work.
Projects that get stuck in this type of approval process typically become a backlogged project. It’s just too much time and effort to push them through the formal IT process. Often the IT department is capable of completing your website, or mobile application but they can not work on a project as small as what you need. We know that sounds a little crazy and you are probably asking “If they can do a big project why can’t they do my little project.” There are a lot of good reasons why but the short version is that they are not built for backlogged projects. Switchbox is.
Switchbox has built our entire company around handling these types of backlogged web applications. Our team works hard to provide project deliverables after our first meeting. Typical projects have a full scope of work, interactive wireframes, and a project timeline within 4 meetings. This allows our clients to present an entire project set of specifications for budget approval before their peers in other departments even get on the next meeting agenda.
If your project has been placed on the backlog give us a call, we can probably help.