Nashville IT Services

Web Development Employee Spotlight

As part of our ongoing web series, we (virtually) sat down with Stephanie Roy, one of our project managers for our web design and development team. 

How long have you been with Atiba and what is your role?  

I have been with Atiba since October 2019. I am a Project Manager with the web and software teams.

What is your favorite part about working at Atiba? 

I love the variety of projects I get to work on. Part of my day could be spent working with a website client for a local theater and then I get to work with a logistics company helping them plan a new software build.

What motivates you to wake up and go to work? 

Well, it’s usually my alarm clock, but mostly working with a great team and feeling like an important part of the process. I look forward to working with a great team of developers, engineers, team leads, and project managers each day.

What has been your favorite project so far? 

stephanie family

Visit Franklin. My family lives in Franklin and I have been going there since I was very young. It is really fun to work with this local tourism site to continually modernize their website in function and design.

What is something most people don’t know about you? 

I don’t know how to ride a bike.

What’s your proudest accomplishment so far? 

Successfully avoiding situations where I may be asked or required to ride a bike.

Time is money, so make sure you are spending yours wisely

By Atiba Founder & CEO, JJ Rosen; This article originally appeared in The Tennessean

I’ve never been a big fan of self-help books.

It’s not that I don’t want what these books are offering.  It’s just that I’ve always been suspicious of anything that sounds too good to be true.

For those with strong career ambitions — entrepreneurs and the like — the most popular self-help books are the ones that offer “productivity hacks.”  They coach readers on how to optimize their time, stay organized and keep focused — an escape from the daily grind.

Books with titles like “The 4-Hour Workweek” and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” offer simple formulas for working less while generating more.  Less work, more money — who wouldn’t want that?

But narrowing down productivity hacks to just a few habits or a few hours of work per week has never felt practical to me.  In fact, it’s felt nearly impossible.

So, years ago I figured out my own secret productivity hack that I’ve stuck with ever since.

In my day job as an IT consultant and software developer, most of the work I do is billed by the hour.  Like lawyers and accountants, I only get paid for the actual hours I work.  No paid vacations, sick days, or even afternoons off.  For better or worse, my income is completely tied to the hours I am productive.

For those of us who work by the hour, time is literally money. This has its good and bad, but one thing’s for certain — it forces you to think about what you spend it on.  Thinking of yourself as an hourly worker all the time is a hack that can help anyone be more productive.

I discovered this productivity hack early on in my consulting career.  When you’re paid by the hour, taking time off to do something that is not productive suddenly becomes very expensive.  Activities like taking a long lunch break or leaving early for the day literally reduce your income. Every hour you’re not productive represents a tangible dollar amount lost — a loss that you can feel at the end of every day.

So, for better or worse, this motivated me to at least be intentional about my time at work.  It helped me prioritize when I was starting out as a one-person consulting firm, and it helps me now as a manager to perfect our company’s use of time.

Staff meetings. We calculated that our weekly one-hour staff meetings could cost us at least $1,000 per meeting.  These meetings were helpful but not worth $1,000 a week.  We now just do monthly staff meetings and are much more efficient.

Commuting time. Decades before COVID-19, we realized that driving time to our office every day was expensive.  Some of our employees were spending two hours a day commuting (not productive) when they were more than willing to be working on customer projects and meeting deadlines. We decided to make our company “office optional” and calculated that has saved us just over 4,000 hours a year of lost time and over $400,000 per year in real costs.

Re-charging batteries.  Back in the dotcom boom, our small team was working day and night. This was productive — to a point.  We eventually realized that taking time off was a good investment in productivity.  Pacing as a company has given us longevity and helped with staff retention — a net gain.

For those on salaries, figuring out what your time is worth per hour can help you use your time more wisely.  Working smarter, not harder, does not necessarily mean working less. It’s about making every hour valuable.

I am debating whether I should write my own self-help book. But given the agonies of writing and the uncertainties of publishing and my mixed feelings about self-help books, the question I really should be asking is, is it really worth my time?

How Do You Explain Your Job to Your Parents or Grandparents?

Tech jobs aren’t always the most straightforward. Explaining them to other techies can even be a challenge.

Parents, grandparents, siblings…all love us dearly and just want to learn more about us so questions are natural. Explaining our jobs to non-tech savvy family members can be quite an adventure.

This week, we asked a number of our team members:

“How do you explain your job to your parents/grandparents?”

“My job is to work together with a technology project team. We plan, build, test, and deploy new software and websites. It’s a mix between management, sales, and account management.”

-Rachael Ghobrial, Web Team Lead

“I tell them that I build websites, not super exciting. I say it’s like a digital brochure from the info pamphlets at a tourist center.”

-Randy Hicks, Developer

“I manage a small team of technical analysts. Our team works on computers and internet connections for small to medium businesses.”

-Andrew Massie, IT Services Team Lead

“I try to keep it simple. I say something like ‘marketing and sales for a technology services provider’. If they ask for more information, I say just about everything you can think of: mobile apps, custom software, IT services.”

-Jay Kelley, Chief Growth Officer

“Whenever you search for things on Google like the weather, Mexican restaurants, or a local accountant, I’m trying to help those businesses and websites appear first.”

-Jake Peterson, SEO Specialist

“I work with our team of developers to get websites built. Essentially, I work with a team of coders to use technology to solve problems for clients.”

Annakate Ross, Project Manager

“I usually say I build websites for people and businesses and sometimes add I participate in hack-a-thon events. This has caused my Mom to call and tell me she’s worried about me doing something illegal.”

-Phillip Glidewell, Developer

“I write articles similar to a newspaper, but on the internet for people. I try to help websites increase the number of people they reach through SEO. That basically means more people will see what I write when they use Google.”

-Jordan Flowers, Content Writer

“So let’s say someone’s computer goes down at their house. They call Geek Squad to come to fix it. Well, let’s say Geek Squad can’t fix it and they need people smarter to step in. That’s why they call Atiba. We’re like a Super Geek Squad for businesses.”

-Joey Baggott, Business Development Manager

“I keep it basic: if the lights aren’t blinking right, I make them blink right.”

-Dean Carroll, Network Engineer

How to Develop the Perfect Healthcare App

healthcare app development

In today’s age of smart technology and the ability to instantly find information and communicate online, it is important for healthcare facilities to stay up to date with these technologies and not fall behind the technological curve. One such way that this can be achieved is through the implementation of a smartphone-based app. Apps enable organizations to easily communicate with users, expand their technological facilities, and overall simplify their user experience. 

With nearly 50,000 mobile health apps on Google Play and over 300,000 on the App Store available to the public, knowing the process of how to develop a healthcare app is vital to its overall success. However, prior to design, there are a handful of key items to consider in order to maximize your app’s performance. 

Identify Your Who and What

During the first steps and idea generation of your healthcare app development, there are three simple questions that you need to answer: who, what, and why. 

Who Is Your Target Audience?

Arguably one of the most significant considerations in healthcare app development is identifying your targeted users. For example, is your targeted demographic the patients that your facility sees on a regular basis, or are you trying to attract new ones?

Do you want to gear your app towards physicians and empower them with expanded mobile accessibility to their work? You may even want to facilitate conversations between patients and physicians through the app, meaning you need to consider the accessibility of patients, physicians, and healthcare staff. 

Age is also a key demographic you need to focus on while creating your healthcare mobile app. A recent survey about app usage shows that a majority of app users are between 18-54 years old and that, on average, users access mobile apps 8.3 times every day.

This information means that you should prioritize the wants and needs of users within this age bracket in order to ensure maximum engagement for the app. While these statistics may represent the average user, don’t fail to look at the demographics of your organization as they may be different and warrant additional considerations. 

When you have successfully identified the “who” of your app, you will be better prepared to address the needs of your users and mitigate their potential challenges with the app. 

What Features and Functionalities Should Be Included with Your Healthcare App?

Once you have identified your desired user, the next step is deciding what you want users to be able to do on your app. It is essential that this step be thoroughly considered as not meeting the desires of your users may result in negative reviews for your app.  

When viewing the app trends in the healthcare industry, a majority of apps fall short of user expectations and subsequently suffer from poor engagement. This is primarily due to the lack of understanding of what current healthcare patients want from their mobile healthcare experience. Patients are looking for three main features when using a healthcare app:

  1. Ease of access to their personal medical records 
  2. Ability to request refills on their prescriptions 
  3. Options to schedule, cancel or reschedule appointments 

These capabilities are just the minimum standards of what patients are looking for, and while these capabilities may seem simple, many healthcare apps only offer at least one of these features. This is why a majority of apps from healthcare providers receive minimal downloads.  

By simply taking the time to identify what your users want, you will be outperforming your industry peers and set your app up to succeed. 

Make Sure Your App Will Be HIPAA-Compliant

Of course, when it comes to developing a healthcare app, you need to make sure that any and all relevant HIPAA regulations are followed.  

There are several other HIPAA regulations for mobile apps that need to be followed, so make sure you and your developer understand and follow all requirements before releasing your app to the public. To make this simpler, the government has released an online tool to identify what laws apply to your specific healthcare app. 

Throughout the app development process, make sure your decisions comply with HIPAA to avoid any costly fees or penalties in the future. 

Focus on the User Experience

Satisfying your app users’ wants and knowing how to keep them happy with your features should be a priority during your development process. To ensure that a patient-facing app performs well, there are a handful of things that should be considered. 

User Friendliness and Engagement

healthcare app user experience

User engagement is vital in the success of your mobile healthcare app, so listening to the needs and wants of your users is essential prior to creating the app. 

Having an app with a dynamic appearance does not matter much if the interface is hard to navigate and not user-friendly. In fact, it is one of the major ways to lose engagement on your platform 

It is important not to overwhelm your users with information on the app or through constant notifications. Push notifications, though they can be helpful for reminding patients of upcoming appointments and other significant reminders, can cause users to delete the app if they occur too frequently or are notifications that they deem irrelevant.  

According to a recent study, an average person with a smartphone receives 46 push notifications from apps per day and, only 18 percent of app users find push notifications helpful. Keep your app users happy by limiting the number of notifications they receive to only ones of importance such as appointment reminders or new message notifications. 

Give Them More Than Bare Bones 

When you release your app, you will want more than just the bare essentials for your consumers. You want them to be excited by your software and see the benefit of using it immediately. Additional features to keep in consideration could include: 

  • A message center for patients to easily communicate with their provider  
  • A frequently asked questions (FAQ) section to get answers to common questions 
  • Notifications and reminders regarding vaccines (e.g., annual flu shots and the Covid-19 vaccine) or prescription refills 
  • Information about providers to give the app a more human touch 
  • Virtual doctor appointments through the app via video or voice 

A simple way to ensure optimal app performance is to research apps similar to yours that are performing well and implement features that your users would appreciate. Not sure of what your users want from your app? Consider surveying your patients and physicians to find out what they would recommend. 

Consider Additional Technology Integration

Standalone apps are still useful but can be drastically improved upon by providing additional integrations for users. Smart technology – particularly wearable technology – is a key integration that can add significant value to a healthcare app.  

Approximately 34% of adults in the U.S. have reported owning a smartwatch, Fitbit, or similar fitness tracker. When synced with a healthcare app, these smart devices can keep logs of activity levels, send reminders about appointments or prescriptions, and monitor key vitals such as heart rate. By providing this integration, you are helping users stay healthy and encouraging a more active lifestyle.  

healthcare app tips

Another important integration to consider is cloud-based technology. Cloud-based storage allows users to access their medical records at any time from anywhere easily over the Internet. This is a very convenient feature for users as they can request access to their health records when visiting a specialist or when they are out of town and need to go to a healthcare facility. 

This valuable integration is definitely something to consider if you decide to make a patient-facing healthcare app. Just make sure that when integrated with the cloud, your app is meeting the security guidelines specified in HIPAA. 

Find A Developer That Can Meet Your Specifications 

When it comes to making the decision of selecting a company to partner with within the development of your app, it is important to find one that is able to meet all of your specifications. 

Before searching for a developer, determine whether you want your app to be native, web-based, or a hybrid model. Native apps are designed utilizing a specific coding language with the intent of publishing the app on a mobile platform via the Apple App Store or Google Play. Web-based apps are accessed and operated through a web browser such as Safari, Google Chrome, or Firefox. Finally, hybrid applications combine certain aspects of native and web-based apps. These types of apps exist as  

Another way to make the process easier is by verifying that your developer has advanced experience developing healthcare apps and knows how to guarantee it is compliant with HIPAA. 

Why You Should Use Atiba for Your Healthcare App Development 

Finding a developer that can meet all of your app specifications is necessary to creating a successful product.  

We at Atiba specialize in the development of apps and pride ourselves on our commitment to flawless communication and diverse offerings. Our half human, half geek approach to business means that we can effectively communicate with our clients about projects regardless of their technological knowledge. Whether you are new to the concept of app development or are well informed on the subject, we will make sure you know what is going on every step of the way.

With our diverse experience in coding languages, we will find the perfect language to help you build out your new app. Our experience and technical skills will also benefit you as we help keep your app up-to-date and can provide additional development options for you.  

Whether you are a small family-owned practice or a large hospital, our experts are prepared to navigate you through the design and development of your healthcare app, while helping ensure it complies with HIPAA regulations. Accomplish your goals and relax knowing you can trust Atiba with your healthcare app development. Reach out to us for a free quote today!

 

 

 

Want to grow your business? Think ‘versions’

By Atiba Founder & CEO, JJ Rosen; This article originally appeared in The Tennessean

“Bill Gates is a very rich man today … and do you want to know why? The answer is one word: versions.” — Dave Barry

Most people don’t remember Microsoft Windows 1.0.  It was way back in the fall of 1985 that Bill Gates launched what eventually became the dominant desktop operating system that we all know today.

Windows 1.0 was quite different from the current Windows 10 version that nearly 75% of the world uses on their PCs today.

Windows started as just a simple graphical interface for MS-DOS that made it easier for non-geeks to use a PC.  Apple, which had released its easy-to-use Apple Macintosh nearly two years earlier, was not happy with  Windows’ similarities to the Mac, but nevertheless the battle for the desktop was on.

Before long, millions of PC users were buying Windows 3.1 with new and improved features making Microsoft a household name.  Windows 95, Windows 8.1, Windows 10— thanks to the model of releasing new versions every few years, the product has kept pace with changing times and made Bill Gates very (very!) happy.

In the software world, “versioning” has been established as a highly profitable business model.  From Version 1.0 to Version 1.1 on up, the idea is to keep improving your product one step at a time to meet the ever-changing demands of customers —perpetually.

Sometime in the mid-90s, when our company was just a few years old, I started to think about this concept of versioning outside of just software (yes, I am a geek).

Just like a software application, businesses themselves must always be improving in order to survive and grow, I figured. Constantly looking for efficiencies, changing your offerings as customers’ needs change, reducing the risks of crashing, improving your operations — as time goes by, great companies, like great software, are always getting better.

Like version 1.0 of Windows, version 1.0 of companies are often rough around the edges.

Version 1.0 of our company was just me working day and night trying to do everything.  Once I realized that this was not scalable, our 2.0 version pushed me to hire an employee.  Our 3.0 version built upon that when we expanded the types of services we offered, and then 4.0 focused on improving our customer service and our accounting.

Nearly 30 years since we started, we are now on version 21 of our firm, trying to adjust and become better every step of the way.

Just as with introducing a new version of a software product, introducing a new version of a company is not without risk.

It can be hard to know when to take the “if it’s not broken don’t fix it” approach, and when to make a change.  And every so often, a version upgrade can backfire, making things worse. (Think of it as just another reason to make yet another version!)

But that challenge of forever reinventing yourself is most likely worth the risk of making mistakes along the way. Just ask Bill Gates.

JJ Rosen is the founder of Atiba, a Nashville IT support and custom software development firm. Visit Atiba.com for more info.

Custom Software Employee Spotlight

As part of our ongoing Employee Spotlight Series, we sat down (virtually) with Caleb Scholze, one of our team leads and lead developers for our custom software group.

How long have you been with Atiba and what is your role?

I’ve been with Atiba for almost five years and serve as a Team Lead and Lead Developer in our custom software group.

What is your favorite part about working at Atiba?

Being new to the field, I wanted my first software gig to be a consulting company to get as much exposure to the “tech business” as possible. Atiba has fulfilled my expectations in every regard from working with the full gamut of software technologies, helping clients see their visions become reality, and getting to learn from, grow, and work with incredible talent every day.

What motivates you to wake up and go to work?

Besides my mortgage, it’s the need to rise to a challenge. Software is one of the most unique environments I’ve worked in as I’ve never been faced with the same problem twice. Waking up each day I know I’ll have to help find the solution to an unknown issue, continue to set the bar higher, and end up accomplishing more than I thought I was capable of.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I am and always have been afraid of heights, yet proposed to my wife after jumping out of an airplane. I’m still afraid of heights.

What’s one movie quote that you always use?

“I’ll be back” – used most often to ensure dinner guests that I do, in fact, intend to return from a mid-meal trip to the restroom.

What was the best vacation you ever took?

My best vacation has to be the surprise birthday trip my wife (then fiancée) planned to New Orleans for my 30th birthday. Over a long weekend, we lodged in the heart of the French quarter at Bienville house, had fresh beignets and coffee at Café du Monde, toured the bayou, had a jazz quartet sing me happy birthday at the Court of the Three Sisters, enjoyed a Sunday brunch Steamboat Jazz cruise up and down the Mississippi, and so many other incredible memories I haven’t mentioned, but will never forget.

What led you to get into your work today?

I came to Nashville with a background in electrical engineering and enthusiasm for music and wanted to get into the recording scene. After a few months of waiting tables and pursuing internship opportunities with local studios, I hooked up with a local metal band playing bass. The lead singer happened to be a data analyst (guru) for Change Healthcare at the time and told me I needed to reconsider what I was doing in Nashville. After putting me in front of some incredible people to illustrate his point, I got turned on to the idea of software development. After falling in love with the Nashville tech community and a rigorous tenure at Nashville Software School, I ended up at Atiba and have been here ever since.

Managed IT Services vs. IT Outsourcing vs. Staff Augmentation

IT Services

One of the oldest business acumens says “you have to spend money to make money.” To help people see and recognize your business, you have to spend money on advertising. To provide better customer service, you may have to upgrade your help desk options.

Not all of the “spend money to make money” ways are client-facing, however. Sometimes, internal upgrades can help you become more efficient and agile.

All businesses, no matter how large or small, need IT help. Whether that’s something as simple as setting up email hosting options or something a bit more complicated as cybersecurity measures, your business needs IT services.

For businesses that don’t have an in-person IT team, there are three options readily available:

  • Managed IT services
  • Outsourcing
  • Staff augmentation

Today, we’re going to examine the difference between these three services and how they can help your business.

Why Choose Any of Them?

managed it vs outsourcing vs staff augmentation

The COVID pandemic was a time for a lot of people to try their hand at DIY projects. Whether that was a haircut, an oil change, or repainting the living room, more and more people decided to test their hand at their own projects. After all, there’s a tutorial for just about everything on YouTube these days, so why not?

This phenomenon also extended to businesses. With tighter budgets and more time, many businesses tried their own hand at IT tasks.

But as with all DIY projects, there comes a certain risk. What happens if a small mistake or error becomes a bigger problem? In the IT world, there are some frightening realities.

Data breaches can cost companies millions of dollars. Large companies like British Airways, Ticketmaster, and Marriott have suffered crippling cyberattacks in the past. Malware and ransomware attacks have increased by over 100% in the past year. Improper network configuration could lead to unexpected downtime, which could cost your business around $5,000 per minute.

So then, it becomes a question of “should you” rather than “could you”.

Managed services, outsourcing, and staff augmentation all serve the same purpose: to make sure your internal IT operations run smoothly. Every business should be thinking about how to acquire more leads instead of taking a whole week to worry about web hosting.

Managed IT Services

Just what is managed IT services? It’s a fairly common term in the IT world, but it’s not always understood.

Managed IT services are when a company brings in a third party to handle all of their IT needs. Since many businesses, especially small businesses, don’t keep a full-time, in-house IT team, they turn to managed services. Also written as MSP (managed service provider), these experts perform a variety of tasks. This can include services like:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Email migration
  • Network management
  • Cloud services
  • Datacenter
  • Disaster recovery
  • Compliance
  • Help desk support
  • Break/fix solutions

Managed services are long-term options for businesses and hiring an MSP usually means choosing a partner for your IT needs.

When finding an MSP, businesses typically sign a contract for a monthly fee. With this monthly fee, you’re not just getting one IT professional, but a whole team of qualified experts to help with whatever problem you may have.

While one IT professional may be familiar with the above list, they are not experts in everything. That’s why an MSP can provide you experts in each individual service, ready to help with whatever task comes up.

If you’re looking to the future and thinking about expanding, you should be able to easily grow your MSP contract alongside your business.

Pros of Managed IT Services

Predictable Payments

Companies that partner with an MSP typically have predictable and cost-effective monthly payments while others operate on a retainer price. These payments can be a fixed amount and you’ll know you’re covered for whatever you need. It’s an easy “set it and forget about it” for many business owners.

Expert Team

With an MSP, you’re going to have access to a wide range of IT experts. You won’t have to search for an IT specialist, such as a network engineer, should the need arise. With your MSP, you’ll have everything in one package.

Increased Productivity

A partnership with an MSP means you don’t have to worry about your in-house tech needs. Even if you have IT staff on hand, they don’t have to worry about basic tasks and you won’t have to waste time looking for someone to fill a role.

Flexibility

Since you sign a monthly contract with an MSP, they are available for your monthly needs no matter how big or small they may be. That means you can scale down or up depending on your business’ needs.

Cons of Managed IT Services

Remote Workers

It’s not the biggest con, but the majority of MSPs work off-site. Monitoring, troubleshooting, and more are taken care of remotely. If you’re a business looking for more personal work, then an MSP may not be the best option for you.

Some Work Maybe Outside of Scope

Even though an MSP has a whole host of experts at its disposal, there might be an instance where particular hardware, software, or service isn’t covered in their service agreement. Make sure you evaluate what you need before signing an agreement.

IT Outsourcing

Now, you might be thinking that managed services sounds like outsourcing with extra steps. While they share many similarities, they’re more like cousins instead of identical twins.

Yes, they both involve hiring an external service for certain needs, but then quickly begin to differ with their offerings.

While managed services is broad and general in scope, outsourcing is very specific. A business is going to outsource a specific project or task to a third party and nothing more. That could mean outsourcing your IT help desk, cloud setup, or email migration to a third party. It could also be a more ongoing project, such as server management.

But this outsourced service will only work in their scope of work. Your IT help desk won’t advise you on your firewall security. Your email hosting experts won’t chime in on migrating to the cloud. For that, you’d need to bring in someone else.

Pros of IT Outsourcing

Cuts Down on Hiring Costs

If you need a crucial but short-term project complete, then outsourcing is your best option. You don’t have to hire a full-time employee and can easily cut down on labor costs.

Large Talent Pool

With outsourcing, you can often choose from a global pool. With a specific project, you’re free to hire someone who may be far away since it’s just for the short-term.

Cons of IT Outsourcing

Less Control

Since you’re hiring a contractor instead of an employee, you have less control over their specific work, timetable, and more. Outsourced IT specialists usually work remotely, so there may be less control than originally thought.

Lower Standards

The IT professional may not have the same standards you have for your business. Their timetable, level of communication, deliverables, and more may lack what you envisioned.

Staff Augmentation

staff augmentation

If managed services and outsourcing are cousins, staff augmentation is the family friend that’s considered family at this point.

Staff augmentation can vary in scope. It can either be for a short-term project or something lasting months or even years. What sets staff augmentation apart is how much control the business has over the third party.

Staff augmentation is when a business will contract a third-party service to provide temporary staff for a period of time. These contractors can either work remotely, on-site, or a hybrid depending on the company’s needs. Their work and hours can increase or decrease depending on the company. When the project work is finished, so is their time at the company.

In short, they’re temporary staff that never become employees. While they may be at your business every day, have a lanyard with an ID,  and even a company email address, they are never full-time employees.

Their work can be anything that the company needs, similar to both outsourcing and managed IT services.

Pros of Staff Augmentation

Clear Objectives

Similar to outsourcing, the augmented staff is coming to your business to perform a specific task. They know their role and you know what they’re doing. This will help deter any negative feelings by current staff who feel their job security may be at risk.

Better Communication and More Control

Augmented staff are likely to be on-site, meaning you’ll have more control over their tasks and responsibilities. Communication is easier since they’ll be down the hall instead of in another state.

Cons of Staff Augmentation

Onboarding and Training

Onboarding isn’t necessarily a con, but it does mean that managers and other staff members will have to make time to accommodate the augmented staff. It may take a while for them to get up to speed and ready.

Not Fit for the Long-Term

“Long-term” can vary greatly depending on the scope, project, and size of your business. But if you find that the augmented staff is at your business longer than anticipated, you might be missing out on financial savings.

Which Option Should You Choose?

managed services infographic

When to Choose Managed IT Services

When should you start looking for an MSP? You should choose managed IT services if…

  • You’re looking for a long-term IT partner
  • You need continuing IT support, consulting, or management
  • You don’t want to hire a full-time, in-house IT staff
  • You want predictable monthly costs
  • You need to supplement your internal IT staff
  • You don’t want to constantly oversee your IT functions

When to Choose IT Outsourcing

When should you opt for IT outsourcing? You should choose IT outsourcing if…

  • You want to reduce labor and IT costs
  • You need an IT professional for a short-term project
  • You want to focus on your core business instead of IT tasks
  • You want to increase business competitiveness
  • You want to choose from a larger talent pool
  • You want to gain access to new market areas

When to Choose Staff Augmentation

What about staff augmentation? You should choose staff augmentation if…

  • You want more control over a project
  • You want someone in-house
  • You want to reduce operational costs
  • You need someone for a specific project, but don’t need to hire an employee

Conclusion

Your ultimate choice will depend on what your business objectives are. Make sure you think about your goals and what you want to accomplish from finding an IT partner. No matter what your business goals are, we can offer you a solution. With nearly 30 years of experience in the IT industry, we can find the perfect solution for you. We can serve as your MSP, outsourced partner, or staff augmentation solution.

If you’re interested or want to know more, reach out today for a free quote!

 

 

 

 

 

How can tech companies compete with DIY trend? Complex skillsets are key

Haircut

By Atiba Founder & CEO, JJ Rosen; This article originally appeared in The Tennessean

The idea of giving myself a haircut had never crossed my mind.

Since I was a kid, my hairstyle has always been described as “basic” or sometimes “bland.”  With its average length, no distinct part, and no “product” (because I never really knew what that meant), I have never outgrown the bowl look that was so popular in the 70s.

Despite my simple style that requires only two minutes of a barber’s time to trim, I had always assumed that when it comes to haircuts, “do it yourself” was a bad idea — something better left to the professionals.

Then the coronavirus came along and shut everything down.  With the help of YouTube and an online tutorial, I gave it a try.

The results were mixed.

There were some uneven parts that I was unable to resolve and a small area of missing hair above my ear that I accidentally shaved off.   But overall, with the internet as my guide, it turned out ok.  As my own barber, I would give myself a strong C.

Cutting my own hair turned out to be just one of the many do-it-yourself projects I ended up attempting this past pandemic year.

Between my wife and me, we somehow managed to fix a leaky faucet, change out the belt on a dryer, syphon a clogged air conditioning duct, replace a broken lock, install a home security system and repair a vacuum cleaner.  Not bad considering we were clueless as to how any of these things worked before the pandemic shutdown.

The DIY (“do it yourself”) trend is nothing new.  There’s always been a subset of society that are die-hard DIY-ers purely for the fun of it.

But with COVID-19 forcing us to isolate from one another, coupled with the resulting economic consequences that have hurt so many, the cost savings and virus risk reduction of the DIY approach is more compelling than ever before. It’s no longer the domain of cheapskates (like myself) or those that are good with a hammer and saw.

Thanks to YouTube and the web, from haircuts in the kitchen to oil changes in the driveway, anyone has a good shot at tackling increasingly complex DIY tasks.

But for many businesses, the growth of the “DIY economy” has introduced new challenges.

Companies are used to competing with other companies. But with the growth of DIY over the past 13 months, many companies are now having to compete with the very people they are hoping to serve.  Customers have a choice whether to pay someone for their expertise or simply attempt to do it on their own with the internet as their teacher.

In the tech services sector, the idea of a non-techie building their own website or a non-engineer troubleshooting their own PC used to be unheard of. Today, however, many of these tasks can be done by anyone with access to a web browser.

So how can companies that depend on selling their expertise compete with this growing DIY trend?

When considering the DIY approach, there are three reasons people opt to hire a professional versus doing it themselves.

First, they judge whether the job is just too complex, regardless of how much guidance they find online.  My simple bowl haircut felt doable, but my wife’s more complex hairstyle — no way. (She’s using the “wait it out” approach, by the way.)

Second, they consider whether a job would simply take too much time, even if it’s possible.  I could build a new file server for our company myself, but it would take 10 times the amount of time than just ordering one online.

And finally, they evaluate the consequences of a potential DIY job gone bad. I could possibly use YouTube to walk me through replacing my car’s brakes, but the consequences of doing the job incorrectly are not worth the risk.

So, the key for companies that compete with the DIY-ers is to grow their skillsets around complex tasks, deliver results fast and focus on selling services that are too risky to be done wrong. And of course, there’s always the option for businesses to upcharge to repair the damage done by the DIY approach — something I just recently learned from my barber.

User Experience & User Interface Employee Spotlight

As part of our ongoing Employee Spotlight Series, this week we sat down with Adam Bush from Atiba’s web design team.

 How long have you been with Atiba and what is your role?

I’ve been with Atiba for 1.5 years. My role is User Experience and User Interface Designer.

What is your favorite part about working at Atiba?

I love the flexibility offered to team members at Atiba. I also get to work on a wide range of projects, including custom software builds, web designs, mobile apps, and pretty much anything with user interface. Our clients also span a wide array of industries. I love being exposed to all of the different work Atiba’s clients do.

What motivates you to wake up and go to work?

Not everyone gets to literally conceptualize and create software used by hundreds of thousands, even millions of people worldwide. It’s pretty exciting and makes me love what I do.

What led you to get into your work today?

I actually don’t come from a design background at all. I never really knew what I wanted to do after college. I had 4 different majors in college and a few jobs that weren’t directly correlated with a ‘technical’ design job. I’ve done market research, digital marketing & growth hacking, product management, and venture capital.

A few years ago, my friend and I decided to build our own app, completely designing/business ops that pushed me into the custom software design world. And here we are.

That being said, understanding how product design directly affects and is affected by an overall business (marketing, sales, etc.) and/or its customers, is the most important part of product design—and my not being directly from a design background has definitely differentiated me from most product designers in a very positive way.

Are you a morning or evening person, why?

Evening person, but coffee makes everyone a morning person, right?

If you could high-five one celebrity, who would it be?

As a Cleveland native, it would definitely be Omar Vizquel between the years of 1994-2004 (as a Cleveland Indian).

Is there a secret skill you have?

My weirdest skill is finding four-leaf, five-leaf, six-leaf, seven-leaf, and even eight-leaf clover. Almost every time I go outside I will find at least one four-leaf clover.

In high school, I was a huge baseball player (and as you can imagine, unbelievably superstitious). Before every game, I would have to find at least 4 four-leaf clovers to know I would have a good game. Everyone thought I was insane, but in four years before every single game, I found at least 4 four-leaf clovers.

Adam BushWhat pops into your mind when you think of the word “relaxation”?

I am an extremely, extremely high-energy person, ‘relaxation’ doesn’t exactly mean relaxation to me. I am also a crazy sports person. To ‘relax’ every day after work, I pretty much go play some type of sport. Whether that be pickup basketball, pickup soccer, throwing the baseball, golf, disc golf, rock climbing, working out, flag football, you name it, that is my form of ‘relaxation.’ For whatever reason, sports have always helped clear my head. It is nice to relax my mind and do nothing but think about how I can win a game or beat the other team.

Custom Software Employee Spotlight

As part of our ongoing Employee Spotlight Series, this week we sat down with Amy Rochelle, Atiba Team Lead and Lead Developer for Custom Software Services.

Amy RochelleHow long have you been with Atiba and what is your role?

I’ve been part of the Atiba team for 14 years. I have had many different roles at Atiba, but I am currently Lead Developer and Team Lead on the Custom Software side of the house.

What is your favorite part about working at Atiba?

I’m a sucker for knowledge and consulting gives me the opportunity to be exposed to so much knowledge outside of just software development. I can find out how a boiler works, how stress on certain metals can be measured, or how a warehouse can be organized to make it most efficient.

What motivates you to wake up and go to work?

The interesting challenges I may face and hopefully solve that day.

What’s your proudest accomplishment so far?

I recently earned my 3rd-degree black belt in Taekwondo. It was a big undertaking and I’m grateful I had the opportunity to continue my training.

What led you to get into your work today?

I graduated from college with a BFA in Graphic Design which led me to design websites. The business units started wanting the designs to be more interactive before they signed off for the development team to build out. That required me to utilize Javascript and even a little classic ASP which was my first introduction to coding and I loved it.

Amy RochelleAre you a morning or evening person, why?

I am definitely a morning person. I love watching the sunrise and feeling the calmness of a new day starting.

If you could high-five one celebrity, who would it be?

No question it would be Sarah Michelle Gellar. I’m a huge BTVS fan!