Software Licensing Is Just Good Business

Software Licensing

Software licensing and piracy: It still amazes me how many organizations continue to run their business without proper licensing? Time and time again, we come into organizations that are running their business using some type of software applications to create revenue for their organizations or to create efficiencies in their organization and yet many of the organizations fail to have proper licensing. Let’s talk a little bit about this.software

Software licensing, you know, people look at it and they don’t see the value in software. Today especially they see it so simple. You just grab an application, you copy it and install it and use somebody’s license key and they think it’s all so simple. Why should someone pay so much money for this?

And the question comes down to not-what does a software cost. We’d really need to flick that around and go, why do we need that software? Let’s think about this. Organizations use software applications to create efficiencies in their organizations, ease of use, and ease of work. I have seen organizations that use applications that, used to take 20 people to do the work and now they are getting all that work done with two or three people and yet there’s still a challenge for these people to understand the value of purchasing that software.

I have seen instances where organizations are running their company and these are large organizations over a hundred people, having very little license software in the entire organization. My advice to any business owner or IT Person listening or reading this right now is to make sure that you have an accurate inventory of all the software you use.

If you don’t need a piece of software, then don’t use it, you know don’t buy the license. But really you need to understand that you have an obligation to the developer of that software, the manufacturer to pay the licensing fee, you’re using their intellectual property. Let’s be blunt here, just so that everybody understands it. You are stealing, when you use unlicensed software, it’s theft, you know, we look at unlicensed software and people use it and think oh, you know, “it didn’t cost anything, therefore, why should I pay for it” or “I’m only using it once in a while” but it really comes down to if you use this software even once and it benefits your organization, why not pay for it?

 

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If you can’t afford it, then don’t use it or hire someone who has a licensed copy, pay them what you need to and have the work done what you need to do. It’s not worth putting your business at risk, that’s right, you have got to understand there’s a risk to operating with unlicensed software.

Gone are the days now of going to the corner store and having someone to install a computer for you with all of that free software on it. You know if I think now about the cost of software, let’s say an office package. First is the cost of that same office package says 15 years ago. You know, maybe an office it used to cost $3500.00, $5000.00. Today you can buy that same office suite as little as $500.00. Why would we pirate that software? Hey, if you are a home user or student, most companies have extremely attractive pricing for you.licensing

Take for instance Microsoft Office, you can get for under a hundred dollars the same with applications from companies like Auto Desk, for Auto CAD, they have home versions of their software, academic licensing for their software. They’re not to be used in commercial environments but they are there for you to purchase and become educated and proficient with those applications and use them for your home uses.

Why buy software? You know what? I’ll get back to that in a moment. The reality is – Where are the inefficiencies in your organizations? You really need to stop and take a look at that. What’s it costing your organization? Where are you losing money? Where are you inefficient? Why? Because, what it really comes down to is it’s not the dollars and cents that you pay for a software license, it’s really the dollars that you burn and throw out the window through inefficiencies in your organization.

When we take a look at a company, our highest and most-our greatest expense on our balance sheet, is the cost of our employees? Go ahead and take a look at your balance sheet now, pull it out. Now you tell me what the largest expense is. Sure if you’re a manufacturing company perhaps the cost of your materials are the highest, however, for many organizations, if we get away from that the second highest cost is going to be the cost of your employees.

So that employee cost, when we are inefficient, meaning our computers are running slow or we’re having then do tasks manually, they could be automated through proper licensing of software or line of business applications, then what’s really happening is we’re throwing money out of the window to have these people work extra hours to do something that they could be doing in less time, making them more efficient. Now let’s talk about purchasing software for your business.

The line of business applications-what do I mean by a line of business applications? Everybody is a specific type of business. If you’re a not for profit, you’re in some type of humanitarian work or you’re working for a cause, there’s probably donations and activities that you need to track. You need some type of a database application to manage your events, activities, to be able to track how efficient you are, how many people you’re serving in your community, and be able to report that back to your donors and funders.

If you’re a ‘for-profit’ organization, you have to have some type of application that manages your relations, your interactions with your costumes. These are typically enterprise resource planning or customer relationship management applications, therefore automating and taking your organization really not-it’s not just about automating the task in your organization but it’s also to give you a view of the data, for example, what the data is that really alerts you to what’s going on, what’s happening in your business. Where are you wasting money? Where are you making money? Were you making the right choices, were you making the wrong choices? Until you can really view the information from your organization, you don’t really know what’s going on.

You know there are many successful businesses that said when they were asked: “Why didn’t you quit?” And the answer that came back to is “I didn’t realize how bad off I was. I didn’t know I was already bankrupt.” So how do you get to bankruptcy, how do you get to inefficiency? It’s when you really don’t know, you don’t have the information in front of you available to allow you to process what your business is doing. Would you rather know upfront and be able to of course correct it along the way so you’ll be able to push your business in the direction that it needs to go so that it can grow and service a greater community, serve more clientele and really help you be more successful in your mission whether that’s for profit or it’s for serving a greater cause.business

Buying licenses, I said I get back to this. Well, here we are. Microsoft Word is a great productivity suite and it’s very inexpensive. Look at all the tools you get in there, spreadsheets, word processors, maybe some presentation applications. These tools are the epicenter for most businesses. Aside from email, I suspect that the majority of business used is primarily word processing. Secondary to that would be using spreadsheets, databases, and presentation software, all in one suite.

They always say that the average employee for even numbers, let’s say they make $50,000.00 a year, let me say it cost $25.00 an hour. Could you imagine the amount of time it would take for an employee today on a typewriter to create a proposal where they have to type everything up? You know what, I don’t even want to think about it nor do you because it’s not the case. However, what we do want is we want that employee to be able to be productive and creative and stay in the moment when they’re working on that application. We don’t have them worry about losing information and knowing that their systems are going to crash.

Also, we want them using the best tools that are available, the software that’s got the features that we need today, and generally that’s staying in touch with the releases that organizations make on their software. So there’s something called software assurance. Now, software assurance or maintenance is to keep you current with the versions of software that are released. So purchase the licenses for your business, make sure that you have a license, the antivirus program. Make sure that your office suite is licensed, that your operating system is licensed. Your Windows or other operating system needs to be licensed so that you get the security patches and updates.

Your email server, your server applications, your line of business applications, make the investment. You can amortize this over multiple years. I recently made a purchase in a line of business application that if I swallowed the pill upfront with the amount of $35,000.00 investment. However, when I spread that out over five years, this is little as $500.00 a month. Why wouldn’t I buy that application?

I really look at the efficiencies it’s going to create for my organization and I can easily see that type of return on a monthly basis and know that it’s going to be greater as time goes along.

So buy those licenses and make sure you’re current. Avoid breaking the law and stealing someone’s intellectual property. If you’re making money, if you’re in business, you need to have licensed software.

Don’t jeopardize your business, your reputation, your career, by using unlicensed software. Purchase the best software that you can afford and make sure you use it, learn how to use it and be efficient on it. Get the support you need so that your computers and your network are stable so you don’t have crashing systems. You know it’s the same thing with running licensed software. Make sure that you’re paying someone to take care of your computer systems, that you have a dedicated resource of experts that understand how technologies work.

You know a good technology company will come in and learn your business and apply technology appropriately to that. You don’t need to understand technology. You need a trusted partner that you can work with so that you can become more efficient at what you do. Good business, licensed software, pays for support and is more efficient.

Not All Janitorial Software Is Created Equal

Based on our research, cleaning services professionals searching for janitorial software to improve and expand their businesses would do well to keep the title of this article firmly in mind when conducting their search for a suitable product for their business. Here’s how we went about our search and what we found.software

Beginning the Search:
Below is a list of alternative search phrases that Google returned when we typed the phrase “janitorial software” into their search engine, recently.

Google Searches related to janitorial software:

* cleaning software
* office cleaning software
* maintenance software
* custodial software
* janitorial bidding software template
* Maid service management software
* janitorial programs

Among these related search phrases, there is a range of “intended specificity” that reflects the specific interests of various groups of cleaning professionals, using Google as a search tool to find software appropriate to their business needs.

 

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Using “office cleaning,” “maintenance,” or “custodial,” as part of your search phrase, (all attempts at narrowing the search results to a particular sector of the cleaning services industry,) yielded mixed results for us, spurring us on to make further searches with other relevant search terms, in order to find ample relevant website sources for professional cleaning services software.

The results we got using these sector-specific search terms, very likely occurred because few manufacturers cater directly to specific sectors of the cleaning services industry (e.g., pressure washing, construction clean-up, etc.,) for reasons of profitability. As a result, relatively few manufacturers actually produce dedicated software, that is focused on a single sector of the cleaning service industry.

Also found in this list of alternate search phrases, is “Janitorial programs,” an interesting search phrase variation, which is creative in that all janitorial software is ultimately composed of computing programs. However, this search phrase will actually yield much fewer relevant janitorial software product results than expected. This is because “programs” is less frequently used as a search term in internet searches for these types of products, and as a result, fewer companies target this keyword phrase in order to obtain high search result rankings for this search term, for that reason.

“Janitorial bidding software template” has the most specificity of all the above search phrases, because it refers to a specific item. However, our investigation into the search results for this phrase yielded only one company which actually shows its website visitors examples of professional janitorial bidding spreadsheet templates. The company’s name is a long but apt one, “Janitorial and Home Cleaning Business Systems.”

OK, you are likely thinking at this point, this is all well and good but how can I actually find the right janitorial software for my business? Well, we have already established that it is unlikely that you will find very many sector-specific cleaning software products to choose from if any.janitorial

Based on our online research with a large combination of search terms, we found the largest number of relevant software websites, by focusing on more general search terms such as “janitorial software,” cleaning software,” etc. These search phrases yielded the most websites with all manner of cleaning services software. It then became a bit of a time-consuming process, carefully sifting through all of these sites, to find suitable, affordable, and professional cleaning software choices.

Evaluating The Software’s Features Closely:

When you conduct your own search and land on a website, we recommend that you find out quickly, how the cleaning software is summarized and what its computing features are. In our research, we found a group of manufacturers that provide very generalized products that are intended for multiple service based industries, not just the cleaning services industry. These products cover basic service based business functions, such as the preparation of scheduling and dispatching, bid estimations, proposals, service contracts and maintenance agreements, inventory management, purchasing, etc.

These manufacturers often design their websites in a way that ultimately requires you to call them in order to find out the price or to find out exactly what the software can actually do for you. This tactic is obviously intended to provide phone sales professionals the opportunity to pitch their product to you personally, in an effort to persuade you that their generic products are indeed fully applicable to your cleaning business.

As a result, we found that these generic software products are most often quite pricey. The high price tags, likely reflect the unnecessary cost of phone sales support, and additional programming costs needed to make the software versatile enough for use in multiple service industries, all of which is then built into the price of the software. More importantly, they often lack key features such as charts and tables with cleaning rates or cleaning times (also called janitorial production rates,) which are very helpful if not essential in determining accurate workloads for new prospective cleaning accounts.

Based on this result in our research, we recommend that you always confirm that the janitorial software that you are reviewing, is designed specifically to meet the needs of the cleaning industry as a whole, and does not employ a generic “one size fits all,” multi-service industry design approach.

Furthermore, if you specialize in one or more cleaning service sectors, such as pressure washing, floor care, apartment clean-outs, maid services etc., make sure that the cleaning software covers most or all of your specific needs as well. Many websites will specify what cleaning service sectors their product is suited for. Above all, look for visual examples that give you a good sense of what to expect in using the product. Again, if you are required to call for the price, or to find out how the product works, you are likely in for a pricey product with a hard sell.

What To Look For:

If you are starting a cleaning business, or trying to actively expand your business, make sure that the product has the following features, spreadsheets for preparing precise janitorial bids which use professional work loading approaches, charts, and tables with production rates and cleaning times, janitorial proposal examples, sample janitorial service agreements, and if it is applicable to your business, a sample NOA (government notice of award, for a winning cleaning contract bid, with terms of agreement.)

These features are most often found in professionally designed cleaning software products that are dedicated to janitorial bidding and janitorial proposals. If bidding is your primary focus, you can search simply search for the phrase janitorial bidding software.

The balance of what you may find in more comprehensive computing products centers around day to day business operations, such as scheduling, inventory, and record keeping. Deliverables for many of these functions can often be derived from customizable janitorial software dedicated to the bidding process.equal

Pricing… If It’s Too Good To Be True…

We have already touched on why you might pay an inflated price for cleaning software products, say more than $120 or so. In other words, the old adage “you get what you pay for,” may only be partially true when selecting suitable janitorial software.

But why would there be cause for concern in paying too little for cleaning services software? Generally speaking, the old adage “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is,” may be a good rule of thumb to follow when selecting a suitable janitorial software product.

There are a number of reasons to be concerned about “free” bidding calculators, or inexpensive software priced, say less than $35, that we found in our online review of the janitorial software. Precision and detail are perhaps the most important components most often missing from such products. In general, it appears that you would be wise to avoid this price stratum completely if you are serious about succeeding and want to prepare precise professional cleaning bids.

If you should happen to prepare an inordinately low janitorial bid, with one of these low priced or “free” bidding calculators and then win a cleaning contract, you would only end up losing money, and find yourself performing a portion of your services for free. At the end of the day, there is no substitute for careful deliberation of all of the overhead, materials, equipment, labor, and profit margin bidding considerations, required to make a precise and professional janitorial bid, tailored to your business and its resources.

Software For Time Management

From time immemorial, the time has been our greatest enemy. In a world where everyone is racing to be numero uno, time management is of the greatest essence. Time lost is gone forever. Therefore, people try to fit in as many tasks as they can in the span of a day so that not a moment is lost. At least, that is what most ambitious wannabes and gung-ho go-getters do. They are obsessed with time management to the point that they keep staring at their wrist watches or timepieces while they eat, wait in a queue, take a bath. However, if you are so fanatical about time and timekeeping, you might start suffering from hypertension, anxiety, ulcers, diabetes and cardiac problems. Being punctual and disciplined is one thing, but trying to be a human-robot is another!software

Time Never Stands Still…So Don’t Delay

It is true that time never stops or waits for anyone. It is the only dimension of our lives that goes relentlessly forward, without ever showing any signs of abating. Years fly by in the blink of an eye. Youth disappears and is replaced by old age in no time. Life is shadowed either by bittersweet nostalgia or by a heavy burden of regrets. A self-introspection leaves no space for improvement, only squeezes the remaining life out. In fact, dwelling in the past makes you lose out on the present, on whatever time you still have left in your hands. Wishing for a second life, a second chance and opportunity to correct your mistakes, a second chance to do things right, is common, even normal, but not at all practical or helpful. The second chance will never arise, the second opportunity will never surface, even if you manage to eke out a life on borrowed time. There is actually no Time Machine that can take you back in time, even though HG Wells desired one. Even if you are in your second childhood, you shall not feel the joys of childhood. You know that, as well as I do. You probably want to start life afresh. But I hope it is not too late.

 

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No Time to Relax

The utopian thing would obviously be not to do anything regrettable, not to miss out on opportunities, to do things right, the first time. But youth often has its failings, its temptations that are hard to resist until youth vanishes and until realization dawns. To do things right, right from the start, so that you can have the time of your life always, you have to be mature, well organized, methodical, precise. You have to be always on the lookout, always alert for the single lucky break that will change your life, after which you will not have to look back anymore. You have to be astute to distinguish the right opening from all the other openings that will lead you nowhere. Whatever your time of life, you cannot afford to sit back and relax and take your own sweet time.

Those Who Get It Right, Straightaway

People who manage to make it big in life, are successful, have got it right the first time. Remember, only those people who have the ability to think far ahead of their times, are the ones who do not live to regret. At the same time, they are people who live in the present and are not behind their times. They say that patience is the mother of all virtues but the adage belongs to once upon a time, is hardly applicable today, when everybody is racing against time.

What Is Time Management?

Effective time management is the only answer to the question of how to live a successful life. Now, what is time management all about? Does time management mean that you will sit with a Tissot around your wrist, a Timex around your neck? Does it mean that you will waste valuable time by gazing at the wall clock for most of the time? Does it mean that you will lead your life to the beat of a metronome, a millisecond timer or a stopwatch? No. That is not time management. That is whiling away and wasting precious time, killing time as though you have nothing better to do. Time management is a serious business as it determines the pace at which your life will move.management

Time Teaches But Punishes Too

Some people are lucky to have guardian angels who guide them on managing time smartly. Time management gurus teach their pupils to make the maximum use of available time so that they are able to reduce downtime to a minimum and increase uptime to a maximum in their own lives. However, such mentors and teachers are hard to come by. For most of us, time is the greatest and the only teacher. But time can be a very harsh teacher, unforgiving, unyielding, refusing to give a timely warning, chastening when it is too late. So, if time is not the ideal teacher, who is?

Time Existed Since Prehistory…But There Is a New Way of Managing Time

I do not know what happened ages ago. I do not know how people managed their time with the help of a sundial or an hourglass. For the time being, let us leave history aside though Stephen Hawking claims that even time has its own brief history. At this time, let us not play for time anymore. We cannot deny that we need to integrate the phenomenon of time management into our lives if we have to win in life. We have to be organized, systematic. And since this is the time and age of software, why not search for some software that will help us manage time? After all, we use software, the email, for sending letters – the postman’s time is up; we use software, the video conferencing software, for conferring with people across seas and oceans – gone are the days of unnecessary traveling for attending conferences; we even use software, the desktop calculator and Microsoft Word, for computing and for the basic task of writing – calculators and papers and pens are almost passe.

Time Management Software

To tell you the truth, there is some software that can help you in your goal of time management. Such software is pretty high-end software and can really help you master the trick of managing time so that in the graph of success versus time, you keep going up the y-axis which measures success as time proceeds on the x-axis. Time management in today’s fast-paced environment is a resource per se that can help you do ‘business at the speed of thought’. Modern time management software trains you in such a way so that you can manage time beautifully, can work with clockwork precision. By forcing you to make a note of your meetings and appointments and by reminding you of your appointments when you forget about them, modern time management computer software ensures that you do not miss out any vital opportunities, however hard-pressed you may be for the time. In the modern corporate world, every moment is crunch time. Even keeping abreast of each day can be a trial, can give you a trying time.

Time management computer software is designed using cutting-edge technology so that time management is a seamless affair. New-age time management computer software enables you to store names and particulars of people and places in it. Time management computer software also helps you to store valuable meeting agenda, minutes and summaries along with meeting or conference schedules so that you can refer to the computer software, anytime, anywhere for various professional and personal details. Unlike diaries in which you have to scribble in details, the pages of which are limited and may tear, time management computer software permits you to key in unlimited information and retrieve information from the software at the click of a mouse. You might thumb through diaries and still not find what you are looking for but if you just ask the software what you want, it will flash the right answer to you in no time. All you have to do with modern time management software is feed data into the computer software from time to time. The most time management software is platform independent too. Which means you do not have to lug the software around like you have to lug around your notebook or diary. You just have to sit before a laptop, PC or another device, which is connected to the Internet, in order to access the platform of the computer software. Once you access the computer software, getting to your personal account is a cakewalk.

Endless Advantages of Modern Time Management Software

Modern time management computer software has the added advantage of being tamper-proof, failsafe. You can only log into your account with your Username and Password. Hence, your confidential information remains totally safeguarded from unauthorized access unless you make the mistake of revealing your Password to people. Additionally, modern time management software helps you to network professionally and socially with others. If you are planning a meeting shortly, you can get in touch instantly with your coworkers, who may be situated miles away, through the platform of the computer software, so that all of you can fix the meeting date. For tasks that require a consensus and which you cannot do at your sole discretion, professional and instantaneous networking is the only answer, if the tasks have to be executed in good time. Or else, you shall have to wait for days for your colleagues to return from their trips abroad, just so that they can agree or disagree to a particular meeting schedule. It is the same with party dates. If you can fix the date and time of a party, send out party invitations, discuss with your friends the theme of the party by simply keying in data on a keyboard, I can promise that you shall have a whale of a time at the party.time

Modern time management software is so smart that it will help you carry out whole processes such as meeting planning and management, event planning and management, and daily life planning and management, through it and thus help you save lots of time. Smart time management software can transform you into a big time entrepreneur from a small-time business person. Authentic time management software can change hard times to great and memorable times and can really help you have a good time. As such software has been around for quite some time now, you can say that it is time-tested.

Time management software is also extremely state-of-the-art. In order to keep up with the times, ace time management software is even cell phone compatible. Which means that if you have the time management software integrated into your mobile or handheld device, you will receive meeting alerts, agenda alerts, and other alerts via your cell phone or handheld device. You will also be able to log into your software account from your cell phone and use the software in a full-fledged manner just like you would use it from a PC or a laptop.

It Will Serve You until the End of Time

Modern time management software has myriads of advantages. Apart from helping you to structure your life and schedule your appointments, it enables you to structure your thoughts, bring discipline into your actions and become more competitive. Contemporary time management software compels you to think proactively all the time. It also helps you enhance your capabilities and your skills and multitask so that you start to think creatively and imaginatively and out-of-the-box. Time management software makes you work like a magician – execute mammoth processes in the flash of a second, perform huge and formidable tasks, like Atlas did, without feeling anything, shore up major business processes, without feeling the strain. The Terminator, Super Girl, Spiderman, Superman or Batman, I don’t know which one of these is your idol, but if you manage time with the aid of modern time management software, you shall soon begin to work like heroes and heroines do.

You do not have to think about time management if you use time management computer software as the software will accustom you to time management in such a way that you will not feel a thing or have to put in any effort. The time management computer software will habituate you to perfect time management so that you turn agile and swift, fast and nimble over a course of time.

In the Nick of Time

And if you have just come upon this article, remember that you are in the nick of time. You still have time to change. It is high time that you made up for the time you lost. Time and time again, I am telling you not to sit back and bide your time waiting for the golden opportunity to come your way. Opportunity will not come to you, you have to get up and grab it. If you make time management your motto from today, it will pay you some time or the other, sooner or later. Now’s the time now’s the moment to change, to grab time by its hour hand and minute hand and make it move at your chosen pace. Though they say that time is a healer, I will say that time is also a stealer – if you cannot make proper use of your own time, time will run out; if you cannot make a stitch in time, you will have to thread your needle at least some nine more times.

Your Time Starts Now

So, get up and start looking for some time management software. If you find one to your liking, start using it. And if you don’t, don’t fret, just visit Meeting Diary. It is one timeless time management software that will leave you in no time for anything else but success, that will help you to beat time for the first time. Log into Meeting Diary and be the dot on time and well in time…for life! Your time starts now…

Damien Ghosh is a prolific writer of articles that focus on technology, places, psychology, and people. Damien has worked in different industries such as the information technology industry, the travel, and tourism industry and the retail industry. He has worked on several projects for blue-chip companies, that are part of the IT, travel and tourism and retail industries. His work and his passion for traveling have made his journey across the world. He has led large work-teams to accomplish business goals successfully. He is also an expert on psychology and has many degrees and diplomas in clinical and business psychology. He has successfully coached, counseled and mentored several people in the various organizations he has worked as a professional HR manager and psychologist. He has also counseled many people by holding counseling sessions in different parts of the world. His counseling sessions have been very helpful for motivating people and for enabling them to identify and set their goals. His rich experience undoubtedly helps him to write extensively.

Agile Software Development

One of the most difficult principles of Agile Software Development to actually implement is the principle of welcoming change. Two of the statements of values in the Agile Manifesto is:Agile

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
Both of these statements lead to the idea that Agile Software Development welcomes changes from customers and other stakeholders in the project. The Software Development team aims to gather feedback by developing frequent releases through developing the software in a series of iterations. A customer, changing their minds concerning the requirements of a project, isn’t viewed as a problem, which can be in sharp contrast to how a lot of methodologies approach the topic of requirements changing. This incorporation of feedback and customer involvement is an important contribution to the success of Agile methodologies as it leads to the development of software that customers really want. Following this principle is no easy task because the application of this principle needs to start at the very beginning of a project. Guides to implementing Agile Software Development frequently mention the role of the executive sponsor, and other business oriented roles within a company which needs to buy-in and support an initiative to introduce Agile Software Development. But in a Software Development company that develops bespoke software directly for customers, the business people in the company need to understand and stick to the principles of Agile Software Development likewise.

 

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There may be support for Agile Software Development in a project of all members but the general perception amongst the business people is that it is one area which the developers do, and does not directly concern them. As much of the material available on Agile Software Development does specifically concern Software Development teams, that is quite an understandable assumption to make. In a company developing bespoke software, the client needs to be made aware of the nature of an Agile Software Development project, and a contract needs to be negotiated that is compatible with the chosen methodology. And it’s the business people who are associated with a project that usually holds the responsibility of setting the customer’s expectations for a project and negotiating the contract.software

Customers not really acquainted with Software Development expect that when negotiating a new project with a Software Development company that the process is quite like purchasing almost every other goods and services. The client explains what they need, they agree a price together with a delivery date, and the customer then waits for it to be achieved. The Software Development company will not want to challenge these expectations for the fear of making a customer uncomfortable, and potentially losing their business. This often leads to a binding agreement that mirrors these expectations. The customer continues to expect that the software, by the release date, is going to be ready and do everything the customer wants, and they only need to wait.

However, it is inevitable that the customer will need to provide feedback on the software and will be very keen to make some changes. In the above scenario, the client is going to find themselves giving their feedback at a time towards the release date when they actually get to see the software.

These changes are unlikely to be very welcome to the Software Development company at this point. In practice these requests for changes results in friction between the customer and the Software Development company, possibly bringing about arguments between the company and the customer. The company will believe that these requirements weren’t specified originally when the contract was signed and demand additional cash to implement these changes. If the customer agrees, a new contract will need to be negotiated. On the other hand, the company may agree to do these changes for free given that the customer is without a doubt quite upset that the software does not do what the customer wants. The more often these changes are handled for free; the company gets closer to generating a loss on the project. In both of these scenarios, the project is sure to be late.

If the development team itself is trying to be Agile and is developing the project in iterations, the case is often improved through getting feedback from the customer earlier on in the project. But if the contract remains to be the same, these changes will still be unwelcome to the businesspeople associated with the project. They will be seen as an extra expense and the developers are going to be instructed to extend the time for making these changes until a new or revised contract can be negotiated. Once the businesspeople perceive that changes will be happening between iterations and that this needs addressing, they should recognize that a new approach will probably be required in future for making new contracts with customers. An effective option that they might choose is to try to break down the ‘development’ of the project into separate, ready planned phases and then make this the substance of the contract. This approach doesn’t challenge the customer’s expectations of being certain of the outcome of a project, and so it appears like a safe option. At the start of a project, a customer is frequently quite positive that they know what they aspire to. In practice, actually seeing and using the software might most likely make the customer consider the project in a whole lot more depth than they had previously.depelopment

This phased approach to making contracts is not going to solve the issue of welcoming changes and introduces new problems. When the first phase of the project completes, the customer gets to use the software for the first time and starts making requests for changes. As a consequence, the next phase will have to be planned again. If the original phases were time estimated then the next phase will require a new estimation from the development team. And the business people will have to create a new contract for the next phase. Normally, this approach will demand a large administrative overhead for relatively small amounts of work. The customer can also be likely to get impatient over the length of time it takes just to get some more work done. More steps need to be taken to effectively develop within an iterative fashion.

In an ideal scenario, the people setting the customer’s expectations for the project would have bought into the concept of Agile Software Development and grasp the principles involved. They would have the responsibility of also convincing the customer of these benefits and negotiating a contract that works well with their chosen methodology. Three typical customer expectations shall be challenged during this process:

that they already know exactly what they want
that they can be certain of what to expect at the end of the project
that the Software Development company is exclusively responsible for the success of the project
To convince the customer that developing the project the Agile way is a good idea; the benefits need to be emphasized:

That they can change their minds if they want when they want
Their changes will be incorporated into their application quickly with minimal administrative overhead
They will not have to wait long to see their changes in the software
The application developed will be what they want it to be not now but what they want on the release date
They will have an important role in guiding the development of the project throughout its development
There are of course trade-offs for these benefits:

The customer can’t be certain what they are certain to get at the end of the project when signing the contract
The criteria for the success of the project will change with time and will not be stated explicitly in the contract as a detailed specification
The customer must take an enthusiastic role participating in the project. The project’s success all hangs on on the effectiveness of the collaboration between the customer and the Software Development team.
The customer will have to prioritize their changes, choosing which ones are developed first and which of them have to be dropped when necessary
A compatible contract will likely not state a detailed project plan, and make that plan a binding agreement for the Software Development company. General, advanced level requirements will be used as the success criteria for the project.

In return, the contract will enable the customer to request changes to the project when the customer wants to. A formal definition of how changes are handled will be included in the contract. This definition will match the methodology used by the Software Development team. With most Agile methodologies this will mean that the development team will incorporate these changes in the next iteration following the change request from the customer. The contract will also not contain specific time estimations for high-level requirements. It will instead contain an iteration schedule. A contract that welcomes change is a contract that does not have to be changed.

While the process described is known as change, this term doesn’t accurately describe the all that is taking place. A changing business environment can motivate changes in requirements but what is happening most often is the creation of new ideas for the software from both the customers and the development team. It is part of the creative process that makes the software and it is definitely something that ought to be welcomed.

Predictive Dialer Software

Efficient predictive dialer software has made the works of call centers easier. With the help of these software tools, it has become simpler for the call center staff to manage the data, make calls and prepare reports. This software is a perfect combination of technology as well latest digital tools. Using this tool, you can automatically dial numbers in a systematic manner, follow an organized database and, keep a record of your daily targets.Predictive

If you own a call center like the setup and you’re willing to purchase predictive dialer software for your computer then you can easily browse through different online websites to find a program that suits your requirements. With a single mouse click, you can easily download beneficial software within a couple of minutes.

After you’ve downloaded this software, you simply need to feed in some data and it’ll take charge of your entire system. One noteworthy feature about some predictive dialer software is that they’re affordable. However, some might charge you a heavy price but then, your money wouldn’t go waste because it provides efficiency and swiftness.

Predictive dialer software tools check your database, examine the entered number and make automatic calls. If your call is unanswered, it automatically skips to the next callers on the list. Further, you can feed in the exact number of calls an agent has to make, the expected call duration and the weekly target that has to be achieved. This software will thereafter, take care of all these mentioned needs.

With predictive dialer software, you can also make changes at the later stage. The best feature is that such programs easily get adapted to the data it gathers about the calls that have already been placed and, the calls that need to be processed. Sometimes, when it’ll experience that the call length is more than the expected length mentioned in the database, the system will automatically switch to the newly discovered call lengths, from next call onwards.

 

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Predictive Dialer Software-Functions, Benefits and Features of this Tool

Efficient predictive dialer software has made the works of call centers easier. With the help of these software tools, it has become simpler for the call center staff to manage the data, make calls and prepare reports. This software is a perfect combination of technology as well latest digital tools. Using this tool, you can automatically dial numbers in a systematic manner, follow an organized database and, keep a record of your daily targets.

If you own a call center like a setup and you’re willing to purchase predictive dialer software for your computer then you can easily browse through different online websites to find a program that suits your requirements. With a single mouse click, you can easily download beneficial software within a couple of minutes.

After you’ve downloaded this software, you simply need to feed in some data and it’ll take charge of your entire system. One noteworthy feature about some predictive dialer software is that they’re affordable. However, some might charge you a heavy price but then, your money wouldn’t go waste because it provides efficiency and swiftness.

Predictive dialer software tools check your database, examine the entered number and make automatic calls. If your call is unanswered, it automatically skips to the next callers on the list. Further, you can feed in the exact number of calls an agent has to make, the expected call duration and the weekly target that has to be achieved. This software will thereafter, take care of all these mentioned needs.

With predictive dialer software, you can also make changes at the later stage. The best feature is that such programs easily get adapted to the data it gathers about the calls that have already been placed and, the calls that need to be processed. Sometimes, when it’ll experience that the call length is more than the expected length mentioned in the database, the system will automatically switch to the newly discovered call lengths, from next call onwards.

The latest predictive dialer software has the capacity to improve with the alterations you make. It also keeps track of the abandoned calls or, the calls that need to be answered again. In case you’ve multiple calls to make and, very few agents are available at that time, the system will automatically make changes by minimizing the call duration. So, you should definitely go for affordable and efficient software for your calling setups. Check out the resource box for more information.

Predictive Dialer Software-Functions, Benefits and Features of this Tool

Efficient predictive dialer software has made the works of call centers easier. With the help of these software tools, it has become simpler for the call center staff to manage the data, make calls and prepare reports. This software is a perfect combination of technology as well latest digital tools. Using this tool, you can automatically dial numbers in a systematic manner, follow an organized database and, keep a record of your daily targets.

If you own a call center like a setup and you’re willing to purchase predictive dialer software for your computer then you can easily browse through different online websites to find a program that suits your requirements. With a single mouse click, you can easily download beneficial software within a couple of minutes.

After you’ve downloaded this software, you simply need to feed in some data and it’ll take charge of your entire system. One noteworthy feature about some predictive dialer software is that they’re affordable. However, some might charge you a heavy price but then, your money wouldn’t go waste because it provides efficiency and swiftness.

Predictive dialer software tools check your database, examine the entered number and make automatic calls. If your call is unanswered, it automatically skips to the next callers on the list. Further, you can feed in the exact number of calls an agent has to make, the expected call duration and the weekly target that has to be achieved. This software will thereafter, take care of all these mentioned needs.

With predictive dialer software, you can also make changes at the later stage. The best feature is that such programs easily get adapted to the data it gathers about the calls that have already been placed and, the calls that need to be processed. Sometimes, when it’ll experience that the call length is more than the expected length mentioned in the database, the system will automatically switch to the newly discovered call lengths, from next call onwards.

The latest predictive dialer software has the capacity to improve with the alterations you make. It also keeps track of the abandoned calls or, the calls that need to be answered again. In case you’ve multiple calls to make and, very few agents are available at that time, the system will automatically make changes by minimizing the call duration. So, you should definitely go for affordable and efficient software for your calling setups. Check out the resource box for more information.

Predictive Dialer Software-Functions, Benefits and Features of this Tool

Efficient predictive dialer software has made the works of call centers easier. With the help of these software tools, it has become simpler for the call center staff to manage the data, make calls and prepare reports. This software is a perfect combination of technology as well latest digital tools. Using this tool, you can automatically dial numbers in a systematic manner, follow an organized database and, keep a record of your daily targets.

If you own a call center like the setup and you’re willing to purchase predictive dialer software for your computer then you can easily browse through different online websites to find a program that suits your requirements. With a single mouse click, you can easily download beneficial software within a couple of minutes.software

After you’ve downloaded this software, you simply need to feed in some data and it’ll take charge of your entire system. One noteworthy feature about some predictive dialer software is that they’re affordable. However, some might charge you a heavy price but then, your money wouldn’t go waste because it provides efficiency and swiftness.

Predictive dialer software tools check your database, examine the entered number and make automatic calls. If your call is unanswered, it automatically skips to the next callers on the list. Further, you can feed in the exact number of calls an agent has to make, the expected call duration and the weekly target that has to be achieved. This software will thereafter, take care of all these mentioned needs.

With predictive dialer software, you can also make changes at the later stage. The best feature is that such programs easily get adapted to the data it gathers about the calls that have already been placed and, the calls that need to be processed. Sometimes, when it’ll experience that the call length is more than the expected length mentioned in the database, the system will automatically switch to the newly discovered call lengths, from next call onwards.

The latest predictive dialer software has the capacity to improve with the alterations you make. It also keeps track of the abandoned calls or, the calls that need to be answered again. In case you’ve multiple calls to make and, very few agents are available at that time, the system will automatically make changes by minimizing the call duration. So, you should definitely go for affordable and efficient software for your calling setups. Check out the resource box for more information.dialer

The latest predictive dialer software has the capacity to improve with the alterations you make. It also keeps track of the abandoned calls or, the calls that need to be answered again. In case you’ve multiple calls to make and, very few agents are available at that time, the system will automatically make changes by minimizing the call duration. So, you should definitely go for affordable and efficient software for your calling setups. Check out the resource box for more information.

Shopping for Discount Software

Most business today, graphic and IT businesses, in particular, are in need of legal and efficient computer software. However, this can be quite expensive especially for beginners. Good thing there is licensed software available at much affordable price than the product’s suggested retail price. You can find and purchase these discount software online.software

Even though there is a lot of inexpensive computer software on the Internet, some people are anxious when buying because of the widespread online fraud and scam happening these days. Even so, hunting for the cheapest deals on stores can be challenging. But if you shop around, you can certainly find good deals on discount software. All you need are some tips on how to avoid the frauds.

Safe Discount Software Programs

The Internet is indeed an extremely engaging place due to a number of stuff you can find and discover. Shopping for discount software online can be confusing, especially if it’s your first time to purchase it on the Internet. There are things you need to learn beforehand about how to search for websites that offer the best deals on the most popular software programs.

To do this, you have to understand coupon code sources, comparison shopping and the websites that offer educational discounts on computer software. If you are either upgrading your software or buying a new one, it is very important that you know exactly what you are looking for.

Research the specific product you want and look for reviews. Online discount shops allow users who have bought the product to post comments and share their experiences about the software. This will make it easier for you to decide whether buying the program is worth its price.

Your computer has to meet the requirements of the software. If you are not sure about this, you may talk with your computer technician.

Check the descriptions and features of the software before making the final decision of purchasing it. A lot of times, companies do not allow refund once the product has been opened and used. Make sure that it is the software has the type of program you need before paying it.

Scams and frauds are very common when buying online. Make sure to only buy from reputable websites that guarantee genuine software and high-quality customer service. Double check the information and make sure you have a copy of every purchase transaction details.

 

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Check the website’s policy regarding the procedure, charges, shipping fees and mode of payment. Paying through PayPal or credit card is highly recommended when buying online.
Buying Genuine Software for Lessshopping

Here are some pointers to take note when purchasing licensed software programs on the Internet that come with discounts.

1. Make sure to compare the different available software. There are sites that provide the comparison for software shopping. Just because you find a popular site, doesn’t mean it offers the best deals. Widen your research and make good use of the Internet for this.

2. Do not forget to check the extras such as shipping fees. There are sites that offer free shipping, but make sure the price is still reasonable. Others do offer free shipping cost, but they are much more expensive than others. See if the price is balanced and appropriate for the services provided.

3. If there is a specific software program that you want to buy, you can go to the manufacturer’s website and join their email list or follow their blog, Facebook page or Twitter. This way, you will be updated if they have posted any new deals.

4. If you want to save money, prefer getting the upgraded versions of the software that is already on your computer. Most software companies offer the discount upgrade for people who already have an older version of their products. You can check out your existing software and see if you already own an older version of the software you want to buy.

5. There are companies that will ask you to purchase their software upgrade with certain requirements. Go to the company’s website to know what these requirements are.

6. Most software companies offer big discounts for their full version software but only to registered users of their trial versions. Turns out, registering your email is worth it after all.

7. Before you buy any software, check how many computers the program is eligible to run on. There are software programs that can only be used on three computers such as the Microsoft Office Home. Some programs are available in family packs, wherein the price will be cheaper for each computer.

8. If you need specific features in your program, pick the software that includes these features. There are programs that come with multiple features, but they also cost more. You will be able to save a considerable amount if you purchase a program with just the features you need.

9. If you decide to use coupon codes with your order, make sure the company permits the use of all the promotions. In most cases, using several discounts is not allowed if the product is already on sale. If so, the coupons may not be used into your shopping cart.

10. Students of specific educational institutions, including staff members and faculty, are given numerous discount software offers by companies such as Microsoft, Coral, Apple, Adobe, Google (SketchUp) and Symantec. These programs are the same with the retail versions. However, you cannot use them for commercial purposes.

11. Older versions are still very reliable and cost a lot cheaper. You can still use these instead of getting an upgrade, especially if you cannot find discount software.

Discount Software for Students, Educators, and Parents

There are many discount software available for students, educators, parents and other nonprofit community members. Some websites even offer unbelievable deals and discounts on software programs. All you need is to fix your academic proof and once it is confirmed, the company will ship the product to your home. You can continue using the software even after you leave your school or college.discount

Shopping for discount software online can be confusing, but it is also a reliable source especially for those who prefer shopping on the Internet instead of going from one store to another. If done properly and safely, this can save you money as well as time.

Software Piracy

We regularly hear reports about the cost to the software industry of software piracy, but are the claims to be taken at face value? Statistics are notoriously biased towards what the author is trying to say.
Types of Software:software

 

There are three basic types of computer software, although these do have their own subsections, as will be discussed later:
1. Commercial computer software, purchased with a license for one or more computers. This generally is coupled with some form of support and regular updates to patch errors etc. Sometimes a new version of the software is offered at a reduced rate as “update”. This type of software is generally relatively expensive and is often designed to cover specific industrial purposes. The big exception is the various sets of “office” software, which are designed for use in the commercial environment but can naturally be equally used for various tasks at home. The most common application in this category is, of course, text editing. Most of the other classic “office” applications, such as calculations and databases are only of limited use in the domestic environment, although they will be used in some cases, particularly now that the more computer-literate generation is growing.
2. Simplified or “lite” versions of the commercial computer software. These are intended principally for small businesses and enterprises that do not need the complete capabilities of, say, a 3-D modeling system, but must be able to view such documentation and prepare compatible drawings. Again, the “office” environment was a long time not represented in this sector but has recently started to be available. These will also come with a single or multiple, but limited license and now mostly be registered with the manufacturer.
3. Free or “open-source” software. This is designed for general distribution and has no particular limitations as to use, except that it may not be changed in any way. Naturally, such computer software has its limitations but may serve very adequately for many purposes. Practically all types of computer software are to be found in this category. One notable application distributes the computer software to read its documents freely, but charges for the software to produce the documents. This policy is arguably the motor behind its ride to a position as an industry standard since you can always be certain that he receiver can decipher whatever is sent, without long discussions about compatibility and versions. Clearly, there can be no piracy of products that fall into the third category, except for changing the code or reuse of the code for other purposes, but this does not appear to be a major issue at the moment, so we will concentrate our attention on the first two categories.

 

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Both of these categories contain software that is copied and distributed either free of charge or for a nominal fee. Naturally, the full versions of the software are preferred, but the simplified versions are also to be found, depending on what is available.
Types of Software Pirate

 

This puts our software pirates into two categories of their own:
1. Those who knowingly use a copy of computer software “borrowed” from work or supplied by friends, who probably acquired it by the same means.
2. Those who prepare copies of software from an original and sell it at a low price through internet auctions or on market stands. Their customers may, in many cases, be unaware that the software has been pirated and simply be pleased to acquire a software package at a bargain price. Some will be quite well aware of the actual source, but still prepared to take this means of saving money.
The composition of the Groups:

 

So who is to be found in these two groups?
1. This group is very wide ranged and consists of school children, people practicing at home with the company software, various private persons with an interest in computers who will try anything that is free and, possibly, very small businesses. Many schools will supply their students with copies of software licensed for the school to enable them to complete homework or learn to use it for technical subjects. A student finishing a technical school with little or no knowledge of the technical software used in their industry will not easily find employment, so a blind eye is turned in many schools to this practice. Schoolwork is often required to be written on a computer these days, and again, this is only really possible if some form of text software is available. Those who use company software at home to play with or for their children to complete homework are also a large group. The computer has become a part of our lifestyle in the western hemisphere, and many people are interested in the possibilities opened by the modern generation of powerful number-crunchers. The days of mainframe computers costing hundreds of thousands of dollars is not gone, but the small computer in a network has taken over in many areas, so the professional software that would earlier have required a mainframe connection and a whole basement full of equipment will now run happily on a home computer. There may be a loss of speed, but who cares? The vast majority of these people know full well that what they are doing is not allowed, but consider this as a minor matter, and would laugh at any suggestion that they should purchase the software officially. The few companies that also do this are saving money that they probably do not have, despite being aware of the risks.
2. The group of people who copy software and distribute it for sale as being genuine is working simply for-profit, taking advantage of the simplicity of the process and the high prices of genuine software. The general public is not aware of the penalties for this type of action and is often unsure about recognizing the genuine article. Other items in the consumer market are available from many manufacturers as basically identical products, so why should this not be the case with software? Very many are simply duped into buying what they see as a cheap alternative to a brand-marked product.
Costs of Software Piracy:piracy

 

So what are the real costs to the software companies?
In most cases, school and college students would not be in a position to pay the costs for the expensive commercial software they use in technical subjects, and the schools and colleges are not in a position to supply this to them free of charge. Most schools have licenses for software to be used on the premises, but this is not available for the students at home. Theoretically, they will use the computers at school to complete work and practice, but this is generally not possible due to a lack of resources, or classrooms locked because of vandalism. The only way to solve the problem is for the schools to simply distribute the software to their students on the basis of it being only for their use. There is no license and no direct upgrade possible. Generally, although illegal, this system works quite well. Schools try to copy upgrades and patches for their students, mostly successfully. The snag to the matter is that we educate people in that this is perfectly acceptable practice, despite it being illegal. No-one would think of insisting or even checking that drop-out students erase the software and no longer use it, but this is probably fairly well assured by the fact that they have dropped out in the first place!
Solutions to Software Piracy:

 

Student Software:

 

Low-Cost Software:

 

One of the best-known software companies has recently started to sell a slightly simplified version of their software in a student package, stating that this is not for commercial use. Naturally, this is being distributed to everybody without regard to their true status as student or not! Nevertheless, it is a definite move in the right direction. Providing an affordable alternative is the first step towards a solution for this problem. The quality is good and it contains all the usual features that are needed.
Other companies also offer free software for student use, but this is in most cases pitifully inadequate and simply not up to the job and no preparation for later commercial practice. It remains to be seen how far the availability of reasonably priced student software will affect sales of the commercial product. One of the factors presumably behind this move is the general attitude that the present software is perfectly adequate and can be used for a length of time without being replaced. Since many software houses have distanced themselves from the idea of upgrade software for older versions at a reduced price, this attitude will probably cause sales of the full commercial software to be limited to new systems, and not as an improvement on older systems.
The new wave of student software is probably intended to bridge this gap somewhat by providing extra revenue. Whether the fears of the others that the production of a student version at the greatly reduced price will cut into their sales of the full, commercial version will prove to be correct or the alternative view that these are complementary products will prevail will remain to be seen.
Benefits of Student Use:

 

It is undoubtedly true that someone who has trained on one type of software will tend to remain loyal to it as far as company policies allow and that this is a definite motivation to purchase a type of software, hence the policy of the schools is unlikely to be challenged or mentioned publicly. Nevertheless, there is no reason for forcing our youth into criminal activity! Providing a solution that allows people to use these applications during training legally should be a priority for the software houses that will bring some revenue in the short term, and possibly more in the long term. One of the problems in the computer branch has always been the emphasis on short term results and quick profits, but this attitude will have to change soon to allow for these factors.
“Fun ” Use:

 

Again, the people who use the company software at home for fun cannot really be seen as a risk to the profits of a software company. They would simply spend their time otherwise in the evenings if they did not have this possibility! The matter only then becomes problematic when they begin producing work privately for other companies. This would then definitely be a matter of concern, both for the producers of the software and other companies in the same branch, who have to calculate the costs of software into their prices.
Geographical Factors:

 

The problem is also geographically different. Most of the software packages originate, at least on paper, from the United States. The prices in Europe tend to be 1.5 to 2 times higher, without considering sales tax of any type, which is generally higher in most European countries. Whilst this may not be of consequence for the run of low-cost software, it is a significant difference when a complex design or technical applications are considered. This price differential is often explained by higher support costs or translation costs, but these factors alone cannot be the complete reason. A change in this policy would probably help to reduce the level of use of copies in the commercial field at least. Splitting software packages into easily-upgraded elements would also enable small companies to purchase what they need immediately and then add the extra features in time as and when necessary.
Reasons for Software Piracy:

 

Software piracy is legally a crime, but it is a crime that is still acceptable in our society. Very little has been done to combat it for a number of reasons. One reason is that it is almost universal amongst users of computers. Many people “need” an application once per year and do not wish to pay the sometimes horrendous cost for the commercial licenses. Companies have made no real attempt to combat it until now, since this is a form of free advertising, and the benefits of having it available to students have been mentioned above. It is only now when the learning curve starts to tip downhill that this is seen as a threat to company existence. In reality, it is relatively simple to make something extremely difficult to copy. Impossibility is a dream in the computer world these days!
Concluding Remarks:

 

That criminal activity should be hindered and software piracy is, broadly speaking, theft, is quite correct, but the solution is not just to seek out and punish wrong-doers, but to find a solution for all these groups of people who, for one reason or other, wish to use the software, but cannot, or will not, find the means of paying the present market cost. An imaginative solution to this problem could well be the breakthrough that a company needs to make itself known in every household, provided the product is correct.

Using 40% of Your Software?

No one ever buys anything with the intent of using a small percentage of the product. Generally, when one makes a major purchase there is a good amount of research involved and desired features are scrutinized for efficiency and effectiveness. There may be yes/no checklists involved, various conversations with the vendor and many product demonstrations. People do this because they are planning on using the features that they will be paying for. Why is it then that most companies only use 40% of the features their computer software contains?

The software is the core of any competitive staffing company. How well the company utilizes the software is imperative to success in business today. Too often when assessing software decision makers are blown away by colorful presentations that mean nothing to core business processes. Functionality should be the basis for any software decision and not colorful diagrams or how the screen looks. Software should also contain a basic workflow that stabilizes the way in which the firm will utilize the product to accomplish tasks.

How can computer software productivity be measured? First, you must be able to report on a number of time employees spend accomplishing specific tasks. Next, there should be reporting for the individual employees so that they can self-assess their productivity and plan tasks. Third, assess the time employees take to respond to customer orders and inquiries. Last, the ratio of revenue, profitability, and output to employee expenses and time spent on tasks must be measured. In order to accomplish all of this, you must be utilizing a fully operational CRM Model.

 

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Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the most misunderstood term in the industry. The true meaning of CRM is the ability to measure success across the board from Marketing to Sales, Operations and Back Office. This model can only be implemented with a fully integrated front and back-office model. The various departments within a firm must share information in order to be effective. This means that invoices should be viewable from a front office. Collection calls must be viewable from a front office. The software is a company communication project.

Once the computer software model is in place and contains everything needed to run the company, it is imperative that a Software Policy Manual be created and reviewed with all employees in the company. A Software Policy Manual describes all of the major tasks that need to be completed utilizing the software and how the tasks are to be completed. It should contain “best practices” for the specific organization as every company’s process is different.software

Typically, when new computer software is put into place the users go through a basic training. This is generally a cookie-cutter course that the vendor uses to train all of its new customers. At times the course is tailored toward the type of staffing being done. A course like this is necessary and is enough to begin the journey to software success.

If an extensive computer software suite is selected, and it should be, the computer software will contain many more features than can be covered during a basic training course. It would not make sense to include everything as users will normally absorb about 50% of basic training, often walking away a bit dazed after a couple of days of training. If more than the basics were covered it would most certainly cause user brain freeze.

The initial basic training experience can be improved in 3 ways: 1) The basic course should feature “hands-on” training; 2) No interruptions should be allowed during the training; 3) Users must begin practicing what was learned immediately after training. For new software, users should be trained as close to the live date as possible, ideally while the final data migration is being completed. The Software Policy Manual should be complete and available for reference on the “live date”.

Once users have begun utilizing software a common mistake is to stop training. Staffing is a high turnover business so chances are that 50% of the initial staff that was trained may be gone after the first year or two – maybe sooner. That speaks to the necessity of a formal training process for new hires. The class can be an internal training program if you have someone on staff that can dedicate time to formal training. If you don’t want to be in the computer software training business, solicit this service from your staffing computer software vendor. Too often formal new hire training is skipped, resulting in users that have no clue how to use the software effectively.

Another area often overlooked is ongoing user training. Remember that basic class that: 1) doesn’t cover everything and 2) users will forget 50% off? Once users begin to use the computer software and complete tasks, you will want users to become “power users”. “Power use” should not be relegated to a certain few who take the initiative to advance their knowledge on the software. Every user should be a power user but they can only attain this status if they are offered advanced training. This is what makes the difference between a successful software implementation that offers monetary benefits/competitive advantage and a mediocre implementation that everyone complains about.

There are several ways a user can get advanced training. The best route is to get regular training from your software vendor. Your vendor will have experienced trainers that know the software. Unless you have the resources to have a dedicated trainer on staff that does nothing but focus on the software you will not be able to duplicate a vendor training.

Online help is always available if you are using a leading software product. Familiarize all users with how to use this very important tool. Generally, vendors keep this type of information online as hard copy user manuals are for the most part a thing of the past.

Next, if your vendor offers training webinars on best practices or new features make sure that your users attend these. This should not be optional. Often such sessions are free.your

Another way to gain knowledge is to be a part of your vendor’s LinkedIn or Facebook group. Often tips are posted and tidbits can be learned. Every piece of knowledge is important. If you are utilizing software from a leading vendor, there will be several updates and new modules offered regularly. Find out about them. Know your resources.

Software Maintenance Implications on Cost and Schedule

Abstract The dictionary defines maintenance as, “The work of keeping something in proper order.” However, this definition does not necessarily fit for software. Software maintenance is different from hardware maintenance because the software doesn’t physically wear out but often gets less useful with age. The software is typically delivered with undiscovered flaws. Therefore, software maintenance is: “The process of modifying existing operational software while leaving its primary functions intact.” Maintenance typically exceeds fifty percent of the systems’ life cycle cost. While software maintenance can be treated as a level of effort activity, there are consequences on quality, functionality, reliability, cost, and schedule that can be mitigated through the use of parametric estimation techniques.software

1. INTRODUCTION One of the greatest challenges facing software engineers is the management of change control. It has been estimated that the cost of change control can be between 40% and 70% of the life cycle costs. Software engineers have hoped that new languages and new process would greatly reduce these numbers; however this has not been the case. Fundamentally this is because the software is still delivered with a significant number of defects. Capers Jones estimates that there are about 5 bugs per Function Point created during Development . Watts Humphrey found “… even experienced software engineers normally inject 100 or more defects per KSLOC . Capers Jones says, “A series of studies the defect density of software ranges from 49.5 to 94.5 errors per thousand lines of code .” The purpose of this article is to first review the fundamentals of software maintenance and to present alternative approaches to estimating software maintenance. A key element to note is that development and management decisions made during the development process can significantly affect the developmental cost and the resulting maintenance costs.

 

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2. SOFTWARE MAINTENANCE Maintenance activities include all work carried out post-delivery and should be distinguished from block modifications which represent significant design and development effort and supersede a previously released software package. These maintenance activities can be quite diverse, and it helps to identify exactly what post-delivery activities are to be included in an estimate of maintenance effort. Maintenance activities, once defined, may be evaluated in a quite different light than when called simply “maintenance”. Software maintenance is different from hardware maintenance because software doesn’t physically wear out, but software often gets less useful with age and it may be delivered with undiscovered flaws. In addition to the undiscovered flaws, it is common that some number of known defects pass from the development organization to the maintenance group. Accurate estimation of the effort required to maintain delivered software is aided by the decomposition of the overall effort into the various activities that make up the whole process.

3. APPROACHING THE MAINTENANCE ISSUE Maintenance is a complicated and structured process. In his textbook, Estimating Software Intensive Systems, Richard Stuzke outlines the typical software maintenance process. It is apparent that the process is more than just writing new code.

The following checklist can be used to explore the realism and accuracy of maintenance requirements.

o Which pieces of software will be maintained?

o How long will the system need to be maintained?

o Are you estimating the entire maintenance problem or just incremental maintenance?

o What level of maintenance is required?

o Is that which is being called maintenance, in fact, a new development project?

o Who will do the maintenance? Will it be done organically by the original developer? Will there be a separate team? Will there be a separate organization?implications

o Will maintainers be using the same tools used during development? Are any proprietary tools required for maintenance?

o How much is Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) there? How tightly coupled are the interfaces?

o Some follow-on development may be disguised as maintenance. This will either inflate maintenance figures or else cause shortfalls if basic maintenance gets pushed aside. These questions will help you ask whether maintenance is being honestly represented.

o Is the activity really an incremental improvement?

o Are healthy chunks of the original code being rewritten or changed?

o Will additional staff be brought in to perform the upgrade?

o Is the maintenance effort schedule regular and fairly flat, or does it contain staffing humps that look like new development?

4. SANITY CHECKS Although sanity checks should be sought on a year-by-year basis, they should not be attempted for overall development. The reason for this is that maintenance activities can be carried on indefinitely, rendering any life-cycle rules useless. As an example, consider Grady (p. 17):

We spend about 2 to 3 times as much effort maintaining and enhancing software as we spend creating new software.

This and similar observations apply at an organizational level and higher, but not for a specific project. Any development group with a history will be embroiled in the long tail ends of their many delivered projects, still needing indefinite attention. Here are a few quick sanity checks:

o One maintainer can handle about 10,000 lines per year.

o The overall life-cycle effort is typically 40% development and 60% maintenance.

o Maintenance costs on average are one-sixth of yearly development costs.

o Successful systems are usually maintained for 10 to 20 years.

Finally, as in development, the amount of code that is new versus modified makes a difference. The effective size, that is, the equivalent effort if all the work were new code, is still the key input for both development and maintenance cost estimation.

5. FIVE ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES All software estimation techniques must be able to model the theory and the likely real world result. The real world scenario is that over time, the overlay of changes upon changes makes software increasingly difficult to maintain and thus less useful. Maintenance effort estimation techniques range from the simplistic level of effort method, through more thoughtful analysis and development practice modifications, to the use of parametric models in order to use historical data to project future needs.

5.1 Level of Effort As is sometimes the case in the development environment, software maintenance can be modeled as a level of effort activity. Given the repair category activities and the great variance that they show, this approach clearly has deficiencies. In this approach, a level of effort to maintain software is based on size and type.

5.2 Level of Effort Plus Stuzke proposed that software maintenance starts with basic level of effort (minimum people needed to have a core competency and then that that basic core staff must be modified by assessing three additional factors; configuration management, quality assurance, and project management. His process addressed some of the additional factors affecting software maintenance.

5.3 Maintenance Change Factor Software Cost Estimation with COCOMO II (Boehm 2000) proposes a deceivingly simple, but also quite a useful methodology for determining annual maintenance. Maintenance is one of the menu selections in the menu bar. In COCOMO II Maintenance encompasses the process of modifying existing operational software while leaving its primary functions intact. This process excludes:cost

o Major re-design and re-development (more than 50% new code) of a new software product performing substantially the same functions.

o Design and development of a sizeable (more than 20% of the source instructions comprising the existing product) interfacing software package which requires relatively little redesigning of the existing product.

o Data processing system operations, data entry, and modification of values in the database.

The maintenance calculations are heavily based upon the Maintenance Change Factor (MCF) and the Maintenance Adjustment Factor (MAF). The MCF is similar to the Annual change Traffic in COCOMO81, except that maintenance period other than a year can be used. The resulting maintenance effort estimation formula is the same as the COCOMO II Post Architecture development model.

As stated previously, three cost drivers for maintenance differ from development. Those cost drivers are software reliability, modern programming practices, and schedule. COCOMO II assumes that increased investment in software reliability and use of modern programming practices during software development has a strong positive effect upon the maintenance stage.

Annual Maintenance Effort = (Annual Change Traffic) * (Original Software Development Effort)

The quantity Original Software Development Effort refers to the total effort (person-months or another unit of measure) expended throughout development, even if a multi-year project.

The multiplier Annual Change Traffic is the proportion of the overall software to be modified during the year. This is relatively easy to obtain from engineering estimates. Developers often maintain change lists, or have a sense of proportional change to be required even before development is complete.

5.4 Managing Software Maintenance Costs by Developmental Techniques and Management Decisions During Development

When it comes to maintenance, “a penny spent is a pound saved.” Better development practices (even if more expensive) can significantly reduce maintenance effort, and reduce overall life cycle cost. The more effort put into development, the less required in maintenance. As an example, the software development cost and schedule can be significantly impacted (reduced) by letting the number of defects delivered grow. This cost and schedule reduction is more than offset by the increase in maintenance cost. The following discussion is an example of how management decision can significantly affect/reduce software maintenance costs.

Lloyd Huff and George Novak of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in their paper “Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Performance Based Software Sustainment for the F-35 Lightning II” propose a series of development and management decision designed to impact and reduce software maintenance costs. They propose an eight step process to estimate and control software maintenance. Their proposed steps are:

1. Strive for Commonality

2. Apply Industrial Engineering Practices to Software

3. Engage

4. Adopt a Holistic Approach to Sustainment

5. Develop Highly Maintainable Systems and Software

6. Manage the Off-the-Shelf Software

7. Plan for the Unexpected

8. Analyze and Refine the Software Sustainment Business Case (use Parametric software sustainment cost estimates)

5.5 A Parametric Assessment of Software Maintenance

Parametric models like SEER for Software allow maintenance to be modeled in either of two ways:

Estimating maintenance as a part of the total lifecycle cost. Choosing the appropriate Maintenance category parameters will include an estimate of maintenance effort with the development estimate for the individual software program. Several reports and charts show breakdowns of development vs. maintenance effort. This method is best used to evaluate life cycle costs for each individual software program.

Estimating maintenance as a separate activity. Using the appropriate maintenance parameters for the software to be maintained you can model the maintenance effort as a separate activity. This method will allow you to fine tune your maintenance estimate by adjusting parameters. Maintenance size should be the same as development size, but should be entered as all pre-existing code. This method can also be useful in breaking out total project maintenance costs from project development costs.

A good parametric estimate for maintenance includes a wide range of information. Critical information for completing a software maintenance estimate is the size or amount of software that will be maintained, the quality of that software, the quality and availability of the documentation, and the type or amount of maintenance that will be done. Many organizations don’t actually estimate maintenance costs; they simply have a budget for software maintenance. In this case, a parametric model should be used to compute how much maintenance can actually be performed with the given budget.

Estimating and planning for maintenance are critical activities if the software is required to function properly throughout its expected life. Even with a limited budget, a plan can be made to use the resources available in the most efficient, productive manner. Looking at the diagram above, you can see that not only are the multiple inputs that impact the maintenance, but there are several key outputs that provide the information necessary to plan a successful maintenance effort.

6. Conclusion The conclusions of this article are:

o Software maintenance can be modeled using a simple method like Level of Effort Staffing, but this technique has significant drawbacks.

o Software maintenance costs can be significantly affected by management decisions during the developmental process.

o Software maintenance can be accurately estimated using parametric processes.

o Software maintenance is best modeled when development and management decisions are coupled with parametric cost estimation techniques.