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Where should you start with your next Software Upgrade?

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Like most firms, our team at Veriday does not particularly enjoy software upgrades. When simple upgrades turn into projects it usually means some pain is coming associated with aging software, or significant changes to an existing platform. So, while we highly recommend investing in your software applications throughout their lifecycle, we have some tips from our experience, for how to successfully complete an upgrade to a more updated version of software.

Where to start? First off, you should create a “Sandbox” environment to get familiar with the new software. This will help you assess the benefits of moving and the potential change impacts associated with the move. A primary output should be documenting perceived changes that may have an impact on your team.

The second step to evaluate your upgrade is building your strategy and plan to complete the upgrade. Your strategy may need to consider whether you are going to consider making functional changes to your software to gain additional benefits from the upgrade. While this can be a very effective and timely strategy, it may add risk to your project since you are not able to directly compare old and new versions. For this reason, we often suggest planning a secondary project after the upgrade to add or change functions after the upgrade is complete. Creating your plan includes documenting tasks, effort, required resources, and a schedule. Finally, preparing your business case and budget request for the project using similar projects or customer experiences as your guide. There are many factors that should be considered in building a budget for upgrades and variability for risks, which can be considerable.

The last and very important step before proceeding with the upgrade is ensuring you have the right dedicated team and skills in place to meet your business case commitments. Leaping forward without validating this is a sure way to add risk and stress to your project.

Upgrading is not a stress free activity but with the right combination of approach, planning, and management you can minimize disruption and maybe just maybe end up with enhanced features and room to grow.

Chris Lamoureux, COO of Veriday, elaborates on the recent Network of Giving Partnership

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In late September, we were excited to announce our partnership with the Network of Giving. Network of Giving specializes in delivering technology solutions to support important causes and communities around the world. NOG is a value added software and IP tool that empowers billions of caring consumers purchasing goods and services digitally which can benefit local organizations and causes seamlessly.

Recently, Chris Lamoureux, COO of Veriday Inc., elaborated more on this partnership and what it means in terms of future projects, innovation, and what this means to all the charities involved.

What is the extent of the relationship between Veriday and the Network of Giving?  What will you be doing together as partners?

Chris:  Changing the world is not easy, sometimes it takes a lot of time; days, weeks, months, years, sometimes decades. Although, with clear focus, a goal and vision in mind, changes can happen and make a positive influence on the world. We’ve been working with Network of Giving for several years now to help them change the world through one transaction at a time. The Network of Giving harnesses the power of everyday digital transactions, supports important causes, and helps communities around the world become more prosperous and resilient, particularly local communities.

What solution will we be creating together?  What problem does it solve for the customers?

Chris:  Through pioneering innovations, technology, existing financial structures, and business processes, the Network of Giving has found ways to link consumers, local merchants, charitable and community organizations, banks, payment networks, and other financial organizations into a dynamic ecosystem to create an entirely new way of supporting digital charitable giving. We at Veriday believe that this is an enormous untapped potential to change the world, and we are committed and focused on supporting the Network of Giving in their activities.

What are the benefits that the customers will see from the partnership?

We’ve been supporting the Network of Giving in the ground-breaking technology innovation area using leading-edge approaches and modernized thinking. It allows us to create a technology solution that can plug and play into the most complex financial services systems in the world. Taking the complexity of the service systems and delivering it simply into a marketplace in which any consumer can use the solution; to take a simple banking transaction, or a simple purchase, and direct that at a merchant while part of the proceeds go to support a charity of their choice.

From your perspective, what is special or innovative about the partnership?

What’s innovative and interesting about this partnership and what we’re trying to do is that we are taking something simple and something that is done every day, and using it as a catalyst for change to fuel and accomplish something bigger. Innovative, yet complex. Simple and elegant.

Embrace the Enterprise Portal, or Get Left Behind

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Over the past 8 years, Veriday has been engaged for the implementation of a number of Enterprise Portals using Liferay. The size and scale of the projects have varied but a common thread amongst the implementations has been the objective of organizations to move beyond the restraints of their current technology in order to better engage their employees.

Let’s say, you’d like to submit an IT ticket, track the status of a project, collaborate in real-time or simply update the content on your website.  Typically, you’d have to gather a number of departments together, agree on how to move forward and delegate resources to complete each task.  Let’s take Mindy the Marketing professional, for example.   Each time she would like to make a quick update on her organization’s website, she has to engage Ian the IT Manager, or outsource to a 3rd party vendor, wasting time and money.  Ian the IT Manager has to stop what he’s doing in order to facilitate the quick content update.  In comes the Enterprise Portal…

The convergence of information, process and technology

An Enterprise Portal isn’t just a fancy term for intranet.  For a business, an enterprise portal brings together its various applications, information, business units and services on one common platform.   The portal becomes an interactive platform for employees, which is customizable to each of their jobs and responsibilities. It is a system for information delivery and organization, collaboration, content and data management, workflows and operations management through an application that gives users a single point of access.

The portal framework exists to solve aggregation and personalization so that developers do not have to reinvent the wheel every time an organization scales or adds an application.  Customizing the employees’ portal space provides them with all of the information they need to do their jobs more quickly and efficiently than if they had to search out the data themselves.  The portal space becomes a unique online experience built around your brand.

More competitive, collaborative and improved ROI

The fundamental key is making your organization more competitive, isn’t it?  Organizations are turning to Enterprise Portals to offer a competitive advantage.  The availability of ‘’anytime-anywhere’’ managed information, on one-platform, makes for an agile business, leveraging new ideas and decisions faster through the streamlining of operations and business-wide knowledge sharing.

At Veriday, we are working with enterprises to implement portal solutions that enable their business to take advantage of cutting-edge technologies in order to gain a competitive advantage. Engaged employees will deliver more to your organization when they are equipped with the tools to do their job effectively.  In today’s digital landscape, employee engagement expectations continue to rise making portals, collaboration and content management solutions more critical then ever.

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Question:  Does your enterprise portal effectively support the technology demands placed on it in today’s digital economy?

Customer Love

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One of my all time favourite movies is Field of Dreams. I can watch this movie over and movie again because it works on so many levels….it’s a great baseball movie for sure, but it’s also a movie about family, about risk taking and about commitment to a dream.

If you are in business for yourself you absolutely have a dream and you definitely then have to think about your commitment to customer service.

The background voice from “Field of Dreams” says it all on this topic: “Go the Distance!”

Going the Distance when it comes to Customer Service means simply you have to work diligently at helping to solve your customers problems, being respectful and professional in all of your interactions and going that one bit further each and every day to separate yourself from the competition.

Going the Distance when it comes to Customer Service does not mean that you have to do everything for your customer. It simply means you have to think about every interaction you have with them and make those interactions, consistent, efficient and effective.

If you Go the Distance, then as Terence Mann stated: “Ray, people will come Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won’t mind if you look around, you’ll say. It’s only $20 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.”

Bottom line is your customers will come and they will stay!

The Longest Vacation

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The idea that vacations should be restricted to 1 or 2 weeks sounds like a good principle to protect the company when it is young and growing; however managing the line between firm policy and flexibility is important to successful growth.   Throughout our history we have decided several times to draft vacation policies that we believed would protect our precious company from a resource shortage at a critical yet undefined time. Usually right around that time one of our employees comes to us asking for a 3 or 4 week vacation because they are getting married, going to the world cup or going around the world for a great friend’s wedding. It’s moments like these which revealed our leadership culture by forcing us to consider how to balance our employee and corporate health.

Like most modern software shops, Veriday has a healthy and diverse employee culture formed by individuals who like to travel, have immigrated from elsewhere and maybe a few who need to significantly recharge their batteries now and then. All of those elements including significant life events that we often share with our colleagues make for challenging vacation scheduling at times and sensitivity to important life needs that supercede the value of the corporation.  So while we still have policies that are designed to protect the health of Veriday we have learned repeatedly to maintain a healthy amount of flexibility.