Digital transformation through an attorney’s eyes

Digital transformation through an attorney’s eyes

Like many of my colleagues at Shockoe, I began writing computer code in a high school classroom.  However, in my case, the school was particularly advanced for its time in offering such a course, and our “computer” was a keyboard, dot-matrix printer, and a modem connection to the University of Virginia, where the actual computer occupied an entire floor of a large building.  And while most of those colleagues went on a path that brought them relatively quickly to Shockoe, I spent two decades working as an attorney in New York, Seoul, and Virginia.

Now in my third year of software development I have felt particularly happy to be at Shockoe because I believe it addresses needs that I often saw during my time working as an attorney, needs that I am certain are shared by many industries.

In my experience, the following was typical of the manner in which law firms implement technology.  First, the decisions are made by senior partners who, being busy with the representation of clients, have little time to keep up-to-date with what is available or most desirable in technology.  This leads either to an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality, or an attempt to take care of the problem in one fell swoop with a package solution that may or may not fit comfortably with the way they have set up their practice.  In the latter case, the acquired technology may go unused, or used only to the extent required by the firm.  For example, if a time-tracking application is difficult to use, an attorney may keep track of his time on post-it notes as she always did before, then have her secretary type it all into the application at the end of the week.

In either case, what then happens is that employees begin finding their own solutions. Each attorney and his or her assistants devise their own system, piecing together hardware and applications as they see fit.  Depending on their level of technological sophistication, they may, or may not, arrive at a solution that works well for them.  However, this approach drastically reduces the potential for collaboration, and creates a host of potential problems, as the less technologically-adept might adopt solutions that introduce security vulnerabilities or other problems.

Although so often noted as to sound trite, an average employee today with a typical mobile device is comparable to an employee with superpowers two or three decades ago. To make the most of those powers, however, requires sophisticated solutions.  This includes, of course, a focus on the possible pitfalls of any new technology. A device that allows employees to watch training videos at convenient times may also allow them to spend the working day watching Netflix. Large collections of data become valuable, and thus must be protected, not only from hackers in foreign locales, but from disgruntled or former employees.  Yet while minimizing risk demands much attention, it is just as important to make certain that new technology is used to its full potential. Making one’s workforce five times more efficient is simply not good enough in a competitive business environment if the competition makes their workforce eight times more efficient.  

This is what excites me about working at Shockoe, being able to use my skills to allow our clients to make the greatest possible use of the technology available to them. Apps created now increase employee productivity, streamline task performance and ensure employees have real-time data access they need for day to day exchange opposed to the opposite stagnant mentality. If this sounds familiar to you, check out our work for Financial Services Mobile Technology and contact us for any innovative ideas to help your team tackle your digital transformation with a great mobile strategy.

Dear New Client . . .

Dear New Client . . .

Dear New Client

We are so glad you have trusted Shockoe to help accomplish your business goals.  We understand that for this particular project, you need to design and build a new workplace productivity mobile app for your employees.  Here are some highlights of what you can expect throughout the course of this project.

Project Set up and Kickoff:  The kickoff meeting will provide an opportunity for all team members to meet, review the project scope, timeline and processes, and discuss any anticipated challenges.  Topics covered will include milestones and key dates, responsibilities, recurring meetings, status reporting, how we will work together, and contact information.

Discovery:  Once we’re out of the gate, we will interview your stakeholders and subject matter experts to deepen our understanding of your business model and goals for this project.  A Shockoe user experience strategist will lead this effort and may suggest activities such as market research, competitor analysis, identification of user personas, or a heuristic evaluation of your current application.  Along the way, we will document your requirements and create user flows and user stories.  Typically, a user interface designer is involved in this phase as well so the transition to design is seamless.

Design:  Once we have outlined what your new application needs to do, our design team gets to work.  These folks are the masterminds of creating a top-notch experience for your target audience.  They start by creating mockups (wireframes) that show the key elements on each screen and how a user progresses from screen to screen.  These mockups are easily transformable into clickable prototypes if desired for review by your team or to conduct usability testing with a sample audience.  Beyond that, we bring your screens to life with a style guide and high-fidelity designs.  Together these paint the picture of how the application will look and feel and will include actual colors, fonts, and images.

An agile-like process:  Typically, at some point between the transition from Discovery to Design, we will start to employ an agile approach to the project.  The goal is to share our work early and often so that you have visibility along the way.  Together we can determine the right amount of upfront user experience planning that’s needed before we move into iterative sprints.  Sprints are typically two week intervals where we identify an area of the app on which to focus, we wireframe it, apply the design, and build it.  The sprint culminates with a demo at the end where we share our work and gather your feedback.  Everyone looks forward to demo time!

Development:  The scope of the project determines how many sprints are needed.  No matter how many two-week intervals are involved, the process is the same and all members of the team know what to expect.  Each sprint includes sprint planning, development of the relevant user stories, a day or two of testing and issue resolution, and finally, the sprint demo at the end.

Testing and launch:  After the last development sprint ends, we spend a couple of weeks regression testing, which is thorough testing of the entire app to ensure that all functionality is working as expected and that there are no display issues across supported devices.  Any issues identified are resolved and then the app is turned over to you to perform user acceptance testing.  Fortunately, you will have had access to the app at each sprint demo when the QA version of the app is uploaded to Shockoe’s server for download.  This testing at the end of the project is an opportunity to execute all test cases and confirm the final product is ready.  Beyond that it’s just a matter of planning for submission to the app stores.  Shockoe can either help you through that process or submit the app on your behalf.

We are with you throughout the life of the project and let you know what to expect at each step of the way.  We find that by the end of a project, our collective team has bonded in a way unlike no other.  We are working together to produce something that will make people’s lives better in some way.  And that’s a great feeling.  Thank you for letting us be a part of it.

Let’s get started . . .

The Shockoe Team

Metalling with Titanium: Building my first Alloy application

Metalling with Titanium: Building my first Alloy application

 

Event listeners. Callback functions. Asynchronous programming? These words were foreign to me when I first started working at Shockoe LLC the first week of October 2015. But somehow, I needed to use these things to create a mobile application in the next two months.

I wasn’t completely new to programming. I had recently taking Java programming courses and was learning other languages like C++ and C# by watching online tutorials. Before I started working at Shockoe, I was told to learn JavaScript as that was predominately what I would be using to create Titanium Alloy applications. Going through the tutorial on CodeAcademy taught me little about the language. It seemed to be mostly a tutorial on what programming was. But I figured that since I had the gist of programming, I wouldn’t have much of an issue as anything could be solved with a simple Google query.

Showing up to work on the first day taught me that that wasn’t the case. Edwin, the CEO at Shockoe, assigned me to work on Fighting Mongooses, a name with which I’m now beginning to understand the logic behind.

The concept behind the app sounded pretty simple but integrating various devices, a server, a database, and mobile OS’s turned out to be far more complex than I had anticipated.

The first week or two was spent just trying to figure out what was actually happening in this partially built application.  I slowly started to figure out what the different pieces of code were doing to understand the logic. I used what was already available to piece together a rudimentary working application to fulfill the initial requirements and to prove I could fit in at Shockoe.

From there, I slowly expanded the capabilities of the application and learned more about Appcelerator, Titanium, and JavaScript along the way. After a month and a half of working on Fighting Mongoose, it has taken on a bit of my own personality. It is no longer another developer’s application that I was given to complete and that is a great feeling.

There is still a lot that I need to learn to get near the level of the other developers here, but I have had some great guidance and help while working on the Fighting Mongooses project.

I still have much that I wish to accomplish with the application and feel more comfortable and confident each day with what I’m doing.

I recently found an old version of the app on a device I used for testing about a month ago and it’s amazing to see for myself the progress that I have made since.

I look forward to see the kind of progress I can make in the next month on onward here at Shockoe.

 

 

Mobile Strategy – The series

Mobile Strategy – The series

Shockoe’s Mobile Training Team has been helping Enterprise Organizations for the last 3 years with Mobile Development Training and is now offering a brand new class focussed on helping organizations create mobile strategies.  Too often we work with clients that deploy mobile solution without a vision, not focussing on the end product and then work countless hours to ensure its success.

If you are embarking on a new Mobile Project, this session is for you.  join us for this 3 part series as we teach you how to set a vision for your mobile projects.

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Join Us On:  April 7th, 14th, or the 21st

Sign Up:  Register Here

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Join Us On: April 9th, 16th, or the 23rd

Sign Up:  Register Here

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Join Us On: April 11th, 18th, or the 25th

Sign Up:  Register Here

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*Photo source onbile

Training | University of Richmond

Aiming to leverage its best-in-class web platform, the University of Richmond set out to build a cross-platform app that achieved three main objectives:

  1. Allowed users an unparalleled ability to customize content and receive notifications specifically tailored to their individual interests;
  2. Established a comprehensive application platform for all future mobile projects;
  3. Integrated with the skill sets and workflow processes of the web development team.

After researching the leading cross-platform development options, Appcelerator’s Titanium Studio stood out as a natural fit with the team’s Javascript skills and Eclipse-based work environment. Taking advantage of training through Shockoe.com, the team went from concept to App Store in four months having had no prior app development experience.

Take a look at the UR app in the Apple App Store .