Agiliway https://agiliway.com Mon, 10 Jun 2019 15:29:38 +0000 en hourly 1 Saving It All with Proper Distributed Project Management https://agiliway.com/saving-it-all-with-proper-distributed-project-management/ Thu, 06 Jun 2019 00:00:53 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=3726 Read more »]]> We, in Agiliway, never get tired of reminding how important project management is. In one of our recent articles, we have already explained what risks distributed teams pose to the project completion and shared our recipe to success in all projects involving offshore teams.   

It is great to observe that companies realize these risks and challenges and correct processes accordingly. For example, having realized the lack of experience in distributed project management, one of our clients chose a BOT cooperation model, which provided a wealth of advantages for the company.     

Unfortunately, not all entrepreneurs can spot arising obstacles to project completion stemming from poor management of distributed teams. This very situation made us take the lead in the management of the project where we were only a secondary provider.     

  Distributed project management

Background  

A group of American experts with strong background in digital marketing established a start-up to work in the field of customer data analytics. The entrepreneurs had unique algorithms that would allow complementing the customer data of end-clients with the missing details. Thus, the solution that will use the algorithms will be able to produce reports on customer persona, audience’s demographics, geography and psychographics, and the availability of look-alike audiences in various regions of the country.  

Anyone working in e-commerce can easily recognize the great value of such reports, as they allow segmenting, targeting, and converting a target audience. The latter eventually defines the bottom line of any business.   

Gaining the support of investors, the start-up engaged several distributed teams to work on the project. Agiliway joined the project three months before the release date taking responsibility in the development of data visualization part of the customer data analytics solution.  

Challenges

Agiliway experts have strong experience in data analytics, so we quickly defined project tasks we had to accomplish and started working on them. Nevertheless, as we started looking into the platform logic that we had to implement, we realized these major issues existing on the project:   

  • many teams were not meeting the project schedules;   
  • distributed teams did not know about the progress of their counterparts and found out about the delays at the last moment;   
  • there was no dedicated project manager, who would monitor the performance of the distributed teams and set up new deadlines.      

At that moment, timely release of the solution was one true challenge we were facing. So, following one of our core values – Go the extra mile – we resolved to do everything to gain the best possible outcome for the whole project, not only our team.    

Provided Solution  

First, we analyzed strengths and weaknesses of each team involved in the project and the scope of work delegated to them. This allowed us to define main obstacles to tasks’ completion and find ways to prevent them.        

Our Project Manager with more than 10-year experience of managing distributed teams revised the project schedule and started monitoring the entire process of development engaging where necessary.   

In addition, we set up constant sharing of information and statuses between the teams using a proper communication model. As a result, all distributed groups of engineers became a part of the single unified team. Each of them had a clear vision of the project progress, plan, milestones, and dependencies. They became aware that any delays could impact their work or the work of another team and knew realistic due dates for the release of new features.   

Eventually, we managed to implement a structured process with timely completion of all tasks on the project in contrast to chaotic and unconsolidated development used to prevail.  

Summary  

Being a secondary provider, Agiliway tackled the true challenge of the project and provided the solution that exceeded by far the expectations of the client. Namely, we demonstrated superior project management skills and set up proper processes, which allowed to smoothly handle the project development process. Due to these efforts, the project was completed on time so that the start-up successfully entered the market with a high-quality and reliable product and gained trust among the investors. Recognizing and appreciating the value delivered, the startup chose Agiliway as a primary provider for the second iteration of the solution.         

This case makes us really be proud of ourselves, but there is also a good lesson to learn from it. First, never ever underestimate the relevance of project management. Second, appreciate that distributed teams require another type of management than in-house development teams. Last but not least, make smart choices about the providers you attract to your project, no matter whether they will be your primary or secondary outsourcing providers. Who knows, it might be that the later eventually save it all.   

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WordPress based eLearning Platform for Healthcare Association https://agiliway.com/wordpress-based-elearning-platform-for-healthcare-association/ Thu, 30 May 2019 00:00:46 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=3707 Read more »]]> Recently we posted a series of articles about Agiliway’s experience in different PHP frameworks like SymfonyLaravelCodeIgniterand YiiApart from this, Agiliway also possesses strong expertise at different CMS including WordPress, Drupal, Typo3, Joomla, and others. We also worked on Drupal and Typo3 a while ago. Now we would like to share our experience and achievements on one of the projects related to eLearning platform implementation for a healthcare association using WordPress CMS.  

Background 

A healthcare association was looking for an option to have a more functional website. Initially, the association used the website as an information portal to share industry news, the best practices, and event announcements among its members. Going further the association needed to provide opportunities for deeper study and practical training for its members by means of improving their qualification. It required to focus on more proactive approach of spreading new practices, cutting-edge technologies, and modern treatment techniques with an emphasis on raising the quality of treatment and facilitating prevention. This could be possible with organizing professional courses and workshops where association members would be able to extend their knowledge and improve practical skills.

Thus, the association came with an idea of re-building existing website into a new eLearning platform, which would allow managing different courses and provide users with quick access to specific courses and membership programs. The platform would involve a possibility to view course statuses, members’ performance and attendance, make analytics work, and offer some other features for effective eLearning. 

E-Learning solution with Wordpress 

Agiliway had previous experience with digital solutions development and now successfully used it to implement a new eLearning platform for the association. Our team used Wordpress for back-end and Bootstrap with the use of JavaScript for the front-end to add typographic elements, web forms, and buttons. It was an obvious decision to employ Wordpress CMS as the existing website already used Wordpress and the association’s employees possessed Wordpress knowledge, which would simplify future platform support. 

In a few months, we released the eLearning platform with the following features, which allowed us to:  

  • Manage libraries of courses. The courses were organized based on different educational categories or spheres of interest.  
  • Build a structured course form. Members could see all the course details including event description, time, registration deadline, status, the price for members or non-members, and venue.  
  • Combine the course profiles together with its contents, and advantages; those who wish to receive the printed information about the course could get it by mail. In this way, members could pursue their professional ambitions and goals while booking the appropriate course at an affordable price. 
  • Create a membership form, which allowed members to contribute the yearly fee and get further discounts on the specific course.  
  • Build a complete and convenient course booking workflow. The potential users received the ability to login data, insert personal information, address, and bank details. It became possible to apply for a course for a single member or number of participants.  
  • Represent better admin panel. Admins could easily manage courses data by observing the user’s statuses and profiles. They gained an ability to fully track user’s visibility, structure, and export data on the platform. Using advanced analytics tools, they got the possibility to track members’ performance. 
eLearning solution for Healthcare Association

Benefits

Developing a new eLearning platform allowed the association to attract more members and provide them with the opportunity to improve their qualification. Back then, the website was just a mere business card, while later it turned into a more functional, sophisticated, and reliable online education platform. Members could register for courses online or pay for the yearly membership, which could be done with one click of the mouse. The given eLearning solution allowed them to improve expertise based on their professional ambitions and maintain better healthcare practices.  

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Agiliway Presents CiviMobile at CiviCAMP Amsterdam https://agiliway.com/agiliway-presents-civimobile-at-civicamp-amsterdam/ Thu, 23 May 2019 09:46:35 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=3648 Read more »]]> On the 13th of May, Agiliway had the opportunity to take part in CiviCAMP conference in Amsterdam. It was a pleasure for our CiviCRM team to meet the like-minded people in attempt to share our professional experience. Agiliway experts had the ability to discuss the latest technological advancements and present advantages of CiviMobile application as well as introduce our other projects like CiviCalendar and Permission Access Module. The European and U.S. counterparts also demonstrated new CiviCRM features and extensions they developed and gave their speeches on implementation of the CiviCRM at non-profit organizations for the public good.

At CiviCamp Amsterdam

Our team used the chance to outline the benefits of CiviMobile and especially focused on new Event Management functionality, which is going to be publicly released in about a month. Using CiviMobile app, one may enjoy a number of features on their smartphones, such as the ability to reach out the person in no time, plan and view assigned activities, search for the cases based on professional interests, and have access to all events one is going to or interested in. With the current third release, more functionalities were complemented including memberships, contributions, connections, and notes. Users got the possibility to view statuses of the different contacts, track history of the transactions, review available connections or disable non-relevant ones, make notes, and perform different tasks, which speed up the work with contacts. Our tech guru Andriy S. also showed the technical characteristics of CiviMobile emphasizing on the robust security and CiviMobileAPI extension.

But CiviCAMP was not only about representing CiviMobile app. At the conference, Agiliway team was able to discuss potential cooperation opportunities with the CiviCRM Core Team as well as other participants to actively promote CiviCRM on the market.

CiviCAMP was a really inspiring and knowledge-sharing event uniting CiviCRM experts at one place and time. Our team came back with lots of new ideas and motivation to continue improving CiviMobile app. Some of these ideas will be already implemented in the fourth release of CiviMobile, which we expect to launch soon.

At CiviCAMP Conference

  

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Selecting the Right PHP Framework: Symfony, CodeIgniter, Laravel or Yii? https://agiliway.com/selecting-the-right-php-framework-symfony-codeigniter-laravel-or-yii/ Fri, 17 May 2019 11:39:33 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=3597 Read more »]]> Visual Representation of the Code

 

PHP is one of the most common technologies used for creating web solutions. PHP has been around for decades and in the last few years several PHP frameworks have proven themselves to be the most robust and widely used foundations for building web platform: Symfony, CodeIgniter, Laravel, Yii, and others. Our clients already use the benefits of these frameworks, as it helps them to reduce the time spent on development, give structure to the code, automate logging process, and reduce bugs in the code.

“Which PHP framework is the best for my needs?” – this is a question our existing and potential clients often ask. To address this question, Agiliway offers professional recommendations on which type of framework you may use based on the type of your project. Together with us, you can make the most optimal choice to create a solid, reliable, and scalable web solution.


What’s the Purpose of Framework?  

Software engineers use different types of frameworks as a foundation for their web solutions. These techniques allow structuring the code and improving time efficiency. A developer using frameworks can scale operations and use CRUD principles to minimize the code. Optimizing engineer’s performance and achieving faster computing operations allows finishing projects within short-term time frames. Most frameworks are open-source and use the MVC paradigm to handle requests, which fuels an engineer’s productivity. Let’s review the four most popular frameworks, which showed better efficiency rates and provided good scaling options.


Symfony 

Symfony framework

Developers working on Symfony say that writing code on the given framework allows speeding up computing operations. It places the second position among the analyzed PHP frameworks in terms of request processing. Utilizing this PHP framework allows achieving good modularity and thus, better structural code organization. Symfony is easily scalable and allows processing requests faster than Laravel. Employing ORM principles, engineers can optimize speed and reduce database queries. 

This PHP framework also involves in-built testing functionality and three available versions with a range of features optimizing performance. In terms of security principles, engineers face difficulties with configuration as they should set up security mechanisms themselves. Software engineers can use various debugging commands to examine any mistakes within servers, configured routes, and other documentation. One of the drawbacks is the fact that beginners choosing the Symfony framework face a steep learning curve, which presents hurdles in finding development solutions for short-term projects.


CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter framework

Among all the four frameworks, CodeIgniter shows the highest performance in terms of request processing. CodeIgniter includes the least files to be downloaded whereas Laravel loads files twice more. In contrast to Symfony, this specific framework does not provide any in-built caching methods, which affects page speed. There is no wide range of versions available on the web; though CodeIgniter proves the highest security standards preventing any malicious scripts.

Debugging process based on CodeIgniter works with downloading Xdebug extension for PHP to check the structure of the code and general application interface. CodeIgniter lacks in-built debugging features; though, you may install FirePhP and FireBug as an extension to FireFox. Comparing to Symfony, developers using CodeIgniter also face difficulties in setting up security methods, which slows down code development timelines. Absence of built-in ORM solutions and complexity to update a code are one of the drawbacks faced by engineers.

Laravel

A lot of tutorials and positive feedbacks from tech makers show that engineers find it easy to learn how to operate Laravel. In the context of performance, engineers note that Laravel demonstrates worse request processing time than CodeIgniter. This PHP framework signifies the most memory use and the worst technical performance in contrast to Symfony and CodeIgniter. Although engineers enjoy a wide range of different tools and libraries, which adds efficiency. Developers find it easy to scale the code selecting this tool as there is less server load. Ability to handle database queries faster allows structuring databases in the most efficient way.

Laravel framework

Engineers comment that configuring Laravel takes almost no time. Use of ORM methods and libraries also allows structuring code faster in line with solid control of databases. In the context of security methods, there are similarities with CodeIgniter principles including robust protection against malicious cross-site scripts and suspicious request forgeries. Laravel offers ten available versions, as for instance, Laravel 5.1 maintains the option of checking bugs for 2 years and security fixing for 3 years. Our experts find debugging tools pretty restricted; though, extension features are also possible to use. They complain about the lack of transition between different Laravel versions, which may break the code. Other disadvantages include difficulties in operating documentation and upgrading versions, which works better with other PHP frameworks.

Yii

Yii is an extensive and scalable PHP framework, which has relatively complex learning curve. Employing the framework is good for engineers operating CRUD and RAD principles due to the high performance. The loading time of the page is way faster than Laravel as well as the structure is more coherent. Engineers can easily scale the code and don’t need to insert SQL queries, which significantly improves performance. Yii also provides a reliable database migration within database schema changes and opportunity to use the seeding method in structuring database as in Laravel. 

Yii framework

In terms of support, there are four available versions, various extensions, configuration arrays, and additional plugins. Yii offers solid high security tools including Access Control Filter and Role-based Access Control to get rid of any unauthorized attacks. If using Laravel, this feature is not built-in and requires additional configuration. In comparison to Laravel, Yii provides powerful debugging tools, multi-level logging, and efficient database request logging. At the same time, the disadvantages involve lack of documentation and excessive focus on static methods, which may create obstacles in using the given tool.


Faster Development Comes With Greater Efficiency

Selecting the right PHP framework depends on the scope of the web platform you want to develop. For large-scope solution, Symfony or CodeIgniter can be one of the best options in the context of performance. Due to the difficult learning curve and lack of proper documentation, Symfony and Yii are better applicable for long-term projects. Symfony uses a complex modular approach in contrast to Yii, which allows improving functionality among different modules. For small projects, Laravel is a good choice for fast project implementation with its wide range of libraries.

Working with different PHP frameworks requires experience, thus it’s better to gain professional advice on choosing the right one. Agiliway experts operate all the four PHP frameworks and can help you to make a proper business decision based on the nature of your project.

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Using CodeIgniter to Build a Complex CRM Solution for Automotive Company https://agiliway.com/using-codeigniter-to-build-a-complex-crm-solution-for-automotive-company/ Wed, 08 May 2019 10:22:55 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=3574 Read more »]]> We are glad to share our new achievements and experience with implementing the CRM solution based on CodeIgniter for one of the well-known car manufacturers. The company contacted Agiliway as an expert in web development to get a custom platform, which would integrate CMS and CRM functionality.

The leading car manufacturer operating in more than 100 countries uses an innovative approach in demonstrating its cutting-edge technologies. The company succeeded in its way in the automotive industry due to the implementation of lots of innovative features including better connectivity, improved security, and green technologies. The customers enjoy simplistic and innovative car design and functional use at the affordable price. To bring value to them, the brand aims at implementing the most effective customer communication process.

Along with the rigid competition in the automotive industry, the company needed an urgent business solution, which would enhance its old-fashioned CMS tool. From another side, Agiliway was required to provide a more advanced and functional CRM for dealers with the aim to track contacts and retain customers in the most efficient way.

What were the Requirements?

The car manufacturer expressed the need for more sophisticated and integrated CRM solution for dealers with the aim to track contacts better, reach leads, get prospects, and retain existing customers. From another perspective, it was required to improve website content management and interface in attempt to achieve better usability. Car dealers required a need for organizing content in more integrated way to create blocks, structure, export, and import data from the manufacturer. Other tasks were to optimize the web solution performance and adapt screen resolutions based on the use of the specific type of device​.

At the beginning, our team faced some challenges as there were no complete specifications or design, so we had to conduct extensive business analytics to understand dealership management workflows and the market overall.

Solution using CodeIgniter: What was Made?

Our diverse team has offered a complex solution to ensure an integrated, coherent, and clearly defined cooperation platform between the manufacturer and dealers. With the help of the multifunctional team, we managed to organize the entire process. Out of the most-known frameworks including Symfony, Laravel, and Yii, developers used CodeIgniter for back-end development based on the previous experience and JavaScript – for front-end. ​

​As a result, we came with the solution, which provides dealers with: ​ ​

  • Sophisticated CRM logic for enhancing communication with potential customers and prospects, scheduling future contacts, negotiating a deal, optimizing company updates and discounts​
  • Ability to organize dealer’s work better, manage news, and structure data​
  • Increased performance and reliability​
  • Mobile compatibility and accessibility to the webpage by means of different devices 
  • Optimization of content management processes due to the enhanced architecture and functionality​
  • Ability to manage and improve the promotion campaigns in a more efficient way due to the better visualization​
  • Ability for dealers to receive news and updates from the manufacturer; for user side – a better system of notification (events, calls)​
  • Improved module structure: the ability for customers to gain access not only to car models, but also maintenance services, additional equipment warranty, and security guarantee ​
  • Multifunctional user interface with the ability to configure a car model  before sale based on one’s preferences
  • Optimized test drive form (more modules were added: location, time, model, type, year, approval system)
  • Advanced real-time analytics with a wide range of reports and charts: more advanced statistics allows assessing campaign performance based on the traffic and conversion

What were the Benefits?

Agiliway provided the enhanced CRM solution, which ensured better communication with customers as well as faster conversion and retention rates. The optimized CMS allowed representing company’s services better in regions and on the market overall, which gave opportunity to compete with other automotive brands. Dealers could improve communication channel with the main manufacturer, which provided abilities to receive latest news and updates. The potential customers received more integrative and enjoyable experience including opportunities to adapt a car design before purchase and order more functional test drive form.

Agiliway offers professional assistance in developing complex web solutions. Our experts possess knowledge at different types of PHP frameworks including CodeIgniter, Symfony, Laravel, Yii and others. Do not hesitate to contact us if you are looking for reliable web development partner.

 

 

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Symfony Web Application for a Travel Agency https://agiliway.com/symfony-web-application-for-a-travel-agency/ Tue, 30 Apr 2019 09:35:50 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=3531 Read more »]]> The internet has had a tremendous impact on travel agencies. Now, local players of an already competitive industry need to compete with direct vendors and third parties having more access to travelers worldwide. Nonetheless, 73% of all travel package bookings are made via travel agencies. Thus, travel agents make technology their ally and invest in high performing tour search and booking tools with excellent usability. One of such is available in a web application Agiliway has developed for our client from Ukraine.  

Background  

A Ukrainian startup travel agency referred to Agiliway as one of the leaders of custom software development services in the country. The startup had an ambitious plan of winning a share in the already competitive market of travel and tourism related services. The company expected the majority of clients and leads to come from a fast and user-friendly web application with an advanced intellectual search of tours. Thus, developing a stable and well-performing solution was a key priority for reaching business goals.      

Since the hot tourist season for all tour agencies was nearing, the schedules were tight. Agiliway understood that starting a business before the hot season would have a tremendous impact on the company’s bottom line and its ability to stay on the market, so we took every effort to finish the project as soon as possible.   

Challenges  

We have defined the following project goals:  

Comprehensible Advanced Search 

The agency offers hundreds of package tours in dozens of countries. Looking through tours you are not interested in is frustrating and make users abandon the website soon. Thus, it was necessary to make an accent on a tool that immediately invites a user to narrow the search. In addition to cutting non-preferred offers, the system eliminates offers that are not available for the preferred dates or from the preferred departure point.  

Intellectual Listing of Search Results  

Even narrowed by the advanced search, the list of results is still very long. This often makes tourists get lost and leave without finishing an online reservation. AI algorithms had to help analyze previous choices of tourists and list the offers accordingly. For example, if a user has chosen all offers with 3 to 5 stars hotels, but he was previously shortlisting only five-star hotels, these will be displayed at the beginning of the list.    

Integration with Databases of Service Providers  

Since only a direct service provider has up-to-date information on the availability and pricing of offers, it was necessary to integrate the web application with third-party databases. This way, the system has to be able to quickly pull up relevant information upon specific request of a user.  

Fast performance  

Fast performance of the application was one of the key requirements, as the speed of search and listing of offers eventually defined whether the user will stay, browse and order, or just leave. For great user experience, the processing of submitted information and pulling up relevant data from third parties had to take not more than a few seconds. 

Reliability and Load Tolerance 

During the high season, hundreds of thousands of sessions were expected daily. Thus, the platform had to assure stable work even during the sharp increase in the number of users. 

Easy customization and supportability  

The solution had to be customizable to implement the available ideas, as well as leave room for improvement. Since a travel agency is not a large company and does not have a dev person on its staff, it was necessary to make the solution easily manageable by lay people with little support needed.    

Solution 

Agiliway chose Symfony PHP framework for the development of the web application. We have great experience in many technologies and frameworks. Symfony has been chosen for the project due to the following features: 

  1. Customization: Symfony offers full-stack, brick by brick and micro framework customization allowing to implement any custom features or functionality; 
  2. Expandability: Any functionality may be modified and features may be expanded without the need to reconfigure the complete framework;  
  3. Faster time-to-market: Faster application development due to the in-built features and tools for functional, behavioral and unit testing;
  4. Fast performance: Symfony has proved to be the fastest of all PHP frameworks; 
  5. Free and sustainable: Symfony is open source and is supported by a big and vibrant community.  

Due to the efforts of our Symfony engineers and excellent project management, we have managed to meet all of the project goals.  

The advanced search tool is compact and user-friendly but manages to collect a wealth of parameters needed to  

  • select suitable offers: preferred destination and hotels’ categories, ratings, price ranges, additional services, and  
  • determine costs: a departure point, duration and timing of the tour, the number of adult and underage tourists.  

Analysis of the input data and pulling suitable offers from dozens of providers takes just a few seconds. Then, a list of the best offers corresponding to the stated requirements is pulled up. Each tour is presented in a concise user-friendly form, which nevertheless is so informative that users may shortlist the offers without even accessing additional details. The system calculates the final price for the stated dates and number of tourists and automatically deducts the sum of the discount (if applicable).    

Value Delivered  

Due to superior Symfony development and project management skills of our company, Agiliway has managed to ensure  

  • fast time to market of the web application, which let our clients return their investments during the very first tourist season; 
  • high performance of the application, which is critical to leads’ retention and conversion;   
  • advanced features of AI that will help achieve personalization in the lists of offers, which will positively affect future conversion rates.   

Agiliway is excited to work with various technologies and get to know peculiarities of different industries. This makes us confident that whatever the industry – travel, automotivefinancial or healthcare – internet technologies have something to offer to improve the process and the performance. Don’t hesitate to contact us for cases relevant to your industry.   

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Third Release of CiviMobile – More Features, More Freedom https://agiliway.com/third-release-of-civimobile-more-features-more-freedom/ Tue, 23 Apr 2019 09:42:45 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=3495 Read more »]]>

We are happy to announce the third release of our product – CiviMobile, a React native mobile application for CiviCRM users. CiviMobile allows having all CiviCRM data on your fingertips and editing important CRM information on the go. Among the new important changes we have implemented, there are Memberships, Contributions, Connections, and Notes functionality and the ability to customize the app. These features add additional value to the already mature product used by CiviCRM users worldwide.

We are grateful to everyone on the team for their dedication to our project that popularizes CiviCRM and makes the system much more user-friendly. Together, we have already managed to implement a wide variety of CiviCRM features in a fast and intuitive mobile application: management of Contacts, Cases, Activities, Events, graphical Calendar, navigation, etc.
And we continue working on CiviMobile to add even more functionality and give additional freedom to regular CiviCRM users.

More details about the new and earlier released features may be found in the CiviMobile release article.

To stay tuned about releases, subscribe to the latest news and updates on
https://civimobile.org/.

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Agiliway Represents XII Engineering Career Fair “Invest in Future” https://agiliway.com/agiliway-represents-xii-engineering-career-fair-invest-in-future/ Thu, 18 Apr 2019 11:11:07 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=3517 Read more »]]>
Agiliway at XII Engineering Career Fair

XII Engineering Career Fair “Invest in Future” was held on 17-18th of April at Lviv Polytechnic National University. The career fair became the place of communication interchange between famous IT-companies and ambitious students who were able to assess opportunities for the current IT market. Agiliway representatives also took part at Career Fair, shared knowledge and open vacancies with students. We had an opportunity to get the latest news from our HR Manager, Halyna S., who told us about the event and opportunities for growth at Agiliway.

I (Interviewer): Hello, Halyna. As I knew you were present at Career Fair with other HR Managers and co-workers. What are your impressions about the event?

H (Halyna): It was a pleasure to visit the event where I met lots of goal-oriented and initiative students, who expressed their interest in professional development. Nowadays students of the 2-3-rd year courses are so motivated and knowledgeable. I am glad that we have such types of events and companies have the opportunity to represent themselves among future experts.

I.: As I know, you take the role of HR Manager at Agiliway. Tell me more about the company and its specifics.

H.: Agiliway now consists of more than 100 employees taking different roles including software developers, project managers, QA testers, data analytics providers, and virtual assistants. At the current moment, the IT industry is rapidly developing in Western Ukraine and the demand for IT services is correspondingly on the rise. The third year in a row, Agiliway already participates at the Fair and offers its employment opportunities for ambitious students. This time about 3000 students participated at the event and about 60 companies represented themselves. The event attracted lots of innovative companies together with sponsors and media representatives.

I.: Were students open for discussions? And did the event meet your expectations?

H.: Yes, they were. Students took an active part in discussions and expressed their interest about the company’s activities, mentorship, and employment opportunities. Most of them also asked questions about projects, technologies, working conditions, and promotion opportunities. Some students are already part of the Lviv IT community and attend IT courses, or even study at home. The access to educational resources and tutorials is so enormous so that now it is not a problem for self-study. What is more, students present at the event could communicate with the managers of the companies and had an opportunity to take part in giveaways and workshops.

I.: That sounds great. And tell me whether it is possible to pursue a career at IT even without previous working experience?

H.: Yes, it is. We welcome candidates without previous working experience. Last year we offered a job to about 10 people without job experience. Though, I would recommend improving technical skills before employment. There is a range of IT specialized courses offering extensive programs and even job opportunities for the best students. They provide either daytime or evening courses as well as online, which is quite comfortable to combine work and education. For example, last year at this fair, we ran a giveaway, which was organized by our partner ITEA Hub. The main prize was free IT course, which was really an opportunity to gain more knowledge and ideas about the market.

I.: Does Agiliway offer any internship and mentorship opportunities?

H.: Nowadays lots of IT companies provide internship and mentorship opportunities to select the best and unique talents. At Agiliway, we offer full-time office job under the supervision of more experienced specialists, who share their expertise and technical skills. At the same time, there are some exceptions when engineers can work remotely.

I.: What are the benefits of working at Agiliway? Are there some opportunities for career growth?

H.: Agiliway is a unique company where its workers are the key. We value each worker and give respect to everyone despite one’s position. All workers have equal opportunities and share both professional ideas and personal thoughts. What I like the most is that everyone is open for communication. We trust and support each other when someone faces a problem or needs advice. Flexibility is one of the company’s benefits as workers may organize their own schedule and seek opportunities for development in different technologies and personal self-growth.

I.: What vacancies are open now? May people with a non-technical background apply for any position?

Discussion with students at XII Engineering Career Fair "Invest in Future"

H.: Agiliway is constantly looking for new talents, which would join our young energetic team. At the moment, we opened vacancies for Node.js developers, PHP (OXID) developers, Javascript and React.js engineers, Typo3 developers, and virtual assistants. For example, the last position is not technical and requires philological education. Apart from offering business solutions for small companies and start-ups, virtual assistants also conduct data entry, write SEO optimized content for websites, and provide transcribing services. Furthermore, we offer opportunities to grow and position oneself for promotion. For example, virtual assistants may further develop themselves as QA engineers or Project Managers. We provide career opportunities to energetic, persistent, and result-oriented individuals, who are eager to develop a career in IT. I think Agiliway is a great start in your future career.

I.: Thank you for your time. It was a pleasure to get to know more about the fair and company itself.   

H.: Thank you too. I hope that young students will improve their both hard and soft skills before entering the market. Agiliway welcomes individuals with strong mindset and diverse approach to finding a solution to any problem.

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Customer Data Analytics Solution https://agiliway.com/customer-data-analytics-solution/ Fri, 12 Apr 2019 09:55:36 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=3424 Read more »]]> A prominent English statesman, Benjamin Disraeli, once said, “As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information”. How insightful he was to emphasize quality, not quantity as a key value of information! Indeed, today, when people have access to a tremendous scope of information – big data, everything depends on how actionable this information can be. With the correct information technology, information translates into comprehensible graphs and recommendations that immediately prompt business owners how to capitalize on the available data. Our last case is a good example of such a technology.        

data analytics

Background 

The success of marketing largely depends on the knowledge of a target audience. Of course, everything starts with doing marketing research and making predictions about who might be interested in your product of service. However, a better understanding of a target audience comes when you can already analyze what kind of people have actually bought your product or service. Knowing the demographics, social status, interests, etc. of these people, marketers can create look-alike audiences who are likely to be interested in similar products or services too. Furthermore, the availability of detailed data about the target audience allows to segment it and, thus, target each group with custom ads. 

An American startup working in digital marketing has developed unique algorithms for effective audience analytics. In particular, they set forth to build a comprehensive solution that would complement businesses’ customer data with missing details, define customer persona, and analyze the scope of a look-alike audience that the business can target in various states or regions. The final data analytics solution had to allow end users to get quick and comprehensive results and interact with the graphs in real time going deeper into the information they would be interested in. The next planned step in case of the project success was to complement the solution with machine learning algorithms. 

Considering our experience in big data and machine learning solutions and strong development and project management skills, Agiliway has been chosen as one of the contractors for solution development. Our responsibility was to develop the backend and the interactive UI of the solution.

Project Challenge  

Here are the project goals Agiliway has set for the development team:  

  • UI that will correctly visualize the results of data analytics in the form of interactive graphs; 
  • Backend that would allow managing users and access rights (it was necessary to prevent any security issues, as the platform was designed to manipulate sensitive customer data); 
  • Flawless performance of the solution: Agiliway experts had to make sure that processing of big data analysis does not halt the response of the system and the graphs fetch and display the data almost instantly producing great user experience.   

Provided Solution  

Having analyzed the challenges of the project, Agiliway has chosen Laravel PHP Framework for building the backend of the platform and React JS for building a user interface.   

Laravel has been chosen as a stable open-source technology with the following advantages allowing to meet the challenges of the project:   

  • Comprehensive out-of-the-box tools for authorization logic and access control;
  • Fast performance of the web application;  
  • Superior security and safeguards against the most serious security risks such as injection of SQL, cross-site scripting and forgery of cross-site requests; 
  • Integrated automation tests that speed up and facilitate software testing. 

Agiliway has already had a chance to observe a remarkable capacity of ReactJS for building interactive graphs for big data platforms. Thus, this was the number one technology we suggested implementing. The following advantages of React JS made it the best choice for the development of UI of the platform:

  • Declarative views make the code more predictable and easier to debug, which reduces the overall time to market of the solution;  
  • React JS components manage their own states and the component logic is written in JavaScript, not in the template. This keeps DOM operations to the minimum and, accordingly, ensures fast performance for high-load applications; 
  • D3.js, a JavaScript library for manipulating documents based on data, allows UI to build dynamic and interactive charts: these provide excellent means to data visualization and analysis, as users can dig deeper into the provided reports by simply manipulating charts.     
React JS UI

Value Delivered  

Having strong experience in BI and data visualization, Agiliway has managed to correctly define the challenges of the project and gain major project goals: 

  • allow interactive, in-depth data analysis,  
  • provide superior user experience ensuring high speed of data processing, and  
  • implement superior security.  

More than that, ensuring fast testing of the solution and consolidating efforts of other teams working on the project, Agiliway has substantially reduced time to market of the platform.  

As a result, the company has entered the market as a strong competitor to the existing providers of customer analytics services. The success of the first iteration of the platform has made investors gain more trust with the startup so that they are willing to fund the second iteration introducing machine learning algorithms to increase the capacity of the platform.  

We are proud of the fact that the excellent performance of our development team and professional project management have made the startup choose Agiliway as a primary provider for the second iteration of the platform.

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The Means to Success in Distributed Project Management  https://agiliway.com/means-to-success-in-distributed-project-management/ Thu, 04 Apr 2019 07:20:24 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=3389 Read more »]]> The business definition of a team is two or more people working together towards the achievement of a common goal. Nevertheless, the expansion of the internet, globalization, and overall changes in political and cultural scenes have changed the understanding of this definition, as “together” is no longer understood as “in one place”. While the ability to leverage the potential of world’s talents is a great chance for businesses, it poses challenges to a project management process, as distributed teams may seriously hamper reaching a common goal.  

distributed project management

Now, the global community no longer sees outsourcing and staff augmentation, a popular cooperation model in IT outsourcing, as totally new unfamiliar concepts. On the one hand, this has made businesses around the world more inclined to hire remote teams. On the other hand, this has made companies feel more secure about IT outsourcing, which makes them disregard viable risks that are inevitably concerned with distributed project management.     

In particular, distributed projects often have the following risk factors:  

  • Cultural differences. Understanding of one’s role in the team, perception of time and perception of power structures heavily rely on the cultural norms and beliefs. In addition, the latter determine communication norms, giving and understanding of feedback in particular. The problem is people tend to expect others to have the same perceptions and expectations as they do. This is where the distributed teams often collapse unless there is a proper distributed team management in place. 
  • Understanding of tasks and requirements. While understanding of tasks is an important aspect in any project management process, it is critical when managing distributed teams, as due to geographical distance and difference in time zones, immediate clarification of tasks is often impossible.  
  • Knowledge management and “big picture”. It is difficult to ensure that the distributed team shares the same knowledge of the product and its environment.  There is a risk that an offshore team will not see a “big picture” behind the work they do, which translates in a lower morale and reduced motivation.  
  • Trust issues. Trust is difficult to build when people do not spend meaningful time in person. At the same time, the lack of trust between inshore and offshore project stakeholders disrupts open communication and increases the risk of insider threat.    
  • Language. Despite using one language for business communication (English, as a rule), outsourcing companies and offshore teams risk facing misunderstanding due to the use of the non-native language, as many words have subtle connotations learners are often not aware of and people tend to imply something without explaining it explicitly. Thus, it may happen that understanding the words, a person fails to correctly understand the message.       

We, in Agiliway, have witnessed all of these and other risk factors cause great projects to fail. At the same time, we have acknowledged that assigning a local Project Manager with strong expertise in distributed project management and project risk management can substantially mitigate these risks. Thus, Agiliway has made it a rule to provide a Project Manager with previous experience of managing distributed teams for EACH offshore team that we provide. This is done both in the framework of staff augmentation contracts or to manage projects outsourced to us; irrespectile whether the client understands the need in it or no. 

A local Project Manager ensures the success of the distributed project by

  • developing clear processes of setting tasks for the remote team and tracking progress towards their completion;  
  • ensuring that the offshore team understands their tasks, roles and responsibilities;  
  • developing means to leverage the difference in time; 
  • communicating cultural differences to each party to facilitate understanding;  
  • monitoring and facilitating communication between the offshore team, the client, and the onshore team;   
  • monitoring job satisfaction of the offshore team and voicing concerns to the client, which might not be communicated directly due to language issues, lack of trust or differences in working cultures; 
  • transmitting a vision of a “big picture” to the remote team, boosting their job engagement;    
  • ensuring the availability and proper use of communication and task tracking tools. 

All in all, those who claim that IT outsourcing is risk free are probably underestimating the risks due to the lack of relevant experience. At the same time, the presence of risks calls for accurate project risk management rather than for the refusal to outsource, as receiving quality IT services at the competitive price can make a great difference. If you have any questions or doubts concerning IT outsourcing or the need to engage a local Project Manager, feel free to contact our expert for a piece of advice or consulting. 

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