New Application – Timescales & Budget

We

We have just completed the build of a new application for an existing corporate client. From a development perspective, it has many of the usual attributes:

  • Hosted by Ffenics
  • Pan-European use by our client and their employees
  • Global use by our clients’ end customers

So, what makes this project blog worthy?

It was clear that we needed an Agile approach – but what was very interesting was that we had been able to assess the impact on timescales and budgets of an Agile approach, as opposed to a traditional waterfall methodology.

Our client had an understanding of what they needed which enabled a design specification to be written, but we all agreed that, due to the nature of the application and the business processes that it supports, there were some design questions we would not be able to answer until the system was in use. Consequently, we built a pilot application (with limited reporting) based on this initial spec and trialled it in conjunction with our client and one of their customers. In light of the initial pilot feedback, we modified some of the table structures and processing functionality.

From a Project Management perspective, we split the project into the following phases.

  1. Design of pilot system and sufficient reports to enable the pilot to be useable
  2. Roll out of pilot to client and one test customer
  3. Agreed pilot design changes and development
  4. Second pilot
  5. Agreed final changes and develop
  6. Complete and go live

The net impact?

  • Project cost came in at under original predictions for a traditional waterfall approach
  • Timing:
    • Pilot system delivered very quickly
    • Final system operational sooner than originally planned
  • The delivered solution exactly met their needs without costly and time-consuming redesign work

have just completed the build of a new application for an existing corporate client. From a development perspective, it has many of the usual

Data Synchronisation

Whilst larger organisations benefit from the economies of scale, they can also suffer from increased complexity, particularly as the number of business applications increases. This is doubly so when using different technologies. The challenge then becomes one of data governance: how to ensure data consistency and accuracy across these multiple applications.

Historically, people have had to rely on bespoke export/import routines to/from these disparate applications. There are many drawbacks to this approach: –

  • Ensuring that timings of import / export routines dovetail – even when data volumes change
  • Tracking whether these routines have run successfully
  • Time delays between data being changed in one application and updated in another
  • Identifying errors in a timely manner
  • Enabling error correction activities to be undertaken

At Ffenics, we have developed an innovative approach using our unique technology, which enables real time data synchronisation between multiple business applications. This removes the drawbacks identified above, and ensures that data is always consistent across different applications. A great example of this is a client who has a very large, complex backend administrative system and has now implemented a new, separate, web-based customer portal. Initially they opted for the traditional export/ import process, however, this has now been replaced with the Ffenics Synchronisation engine.

The net impact ?

  • Drawbacks of export/import removed
  • User confidence in data increased
  • Users save time, as no longer having to check data
  • Data is always up to date – with no time lag

OPTIMUS – New Methodology

We are pleased to announce a new methodology for implementing Ffenics based solutions.

The reason for this, is both the changing nature of our client’s requirements and also their expectations. A typical client is now a corporate customer with larger numbers of end users of the Ffenics based application. These clients typically have significantly more complex projects than hitherto, and in addition, they expect rigorous Governance, Risk Management, RAID logs etc.

Whilst there are any number of methodologies out there from PRINCE2, to ASAP and SureStep, we wanted a methodology that could be universal for all our Ffenics projects and would combine the best elements of Agile (where appropriate) in conjunction with a more formalised waterfall approach.

To that end, we have developed a methodology known as OPTIMUS which we are currently piloting.

New face!

Please join me in offering a belated welcome to Aprille Denton who is working with us, out of our Wiltshire office.

One of Aprille’s key tasks, as well as providing administrative support for the team, is to maintain a constant drumbeat of news & updates via social media.

 

Ed Paice – Senior Partner

Gain insight into Ffenics

At Ffenics, we are always on the look-out for talented new people to join our team and as part of the multiple ways we get to meet people, we aim to provide regular Work Experience in conjunction with organisations such as GoWales and Bangor University. The latest, is a Computer Science student from Bangor University and during January, he will be gaining insight into how organisations solve real business problems using Ffenics – the world’s most flexible business application.

Ffenics Expanding

We are now recruiting for three new people to join the team in Bangor, UK, ready for the start of 2017! We’re specifically looking for …

1) Business Analyst
2) Digital Marketing Assistant
3) Telesales
If anyone knows anyone that might be interested, please put them in touch!

Fforward with Ffenics – a date to remember!

Move your development to the next level with Adrian Jones’ training event for developers, Forward with Ffenics! Adrian’s back with his 10th annual workshop and this time, it perfectly coincides with the release of Ffenics 2.0, making it the first ever event discussing Ffenics 2.0!

 

Who’s involved?

Adrian Jones

With over 30 years of experience using Ffenics and DataEase, Adrian has developed with and written about our product range more than anyone else. He’ll be sharing his insight on;

  • Revisiting relationships, indexing, virtual fields and abstract keys
  • Tips and tricks to speed up your development and maintenance
  • Web Elements: the secret documenting tool
  • Finally and importantly, exploring Ffenics 2.0

 

Pete Tabord

Our very own Pete Tabord, head developer at Ffenics, will also be there, shedding light on all things Ffenics 2.0 – so have your questions prepared!

 

You

And of course, you, our fellow Ffenics users will be involved! What better occasion will you have to see what your Ffenics friends are up to!?

 

Join Adrian

So come and join Adrian at his event, Forward with Ffenics, on Monday 7th and Tuesday 8th November at The Bristol Hotel, Bristol. Seats are limited, so don’t miss out on this occasion of lively discussion and intelligence – book your place now!

Ffenics 2.0 has been released!!

The Ffenics team are proud to announce that our latest version of software, Ffenics 2.0, has now officially been released! As part of the Ffenics initiative, our new product aims to be the ultimate business platform, providing you with the capabilities to complete all of your professional tasks using Ffenics.

With Ffenics 2.0, you can build applications that sit at the heart of your organisation, automating business processes, communicating with customers and suppliers, and increasing the productivity of your workforce – be they on the shop floor scanning barcodes or in the board room exporting financial data for modelling in Excel.

In summary, Ffenics Version 2:

  • Is faster
  • Has amazing integration with Email, Microsoft Excel etc.
  • Has super PDF support (imagine sending all those invoices out as email attachments!)
  • Easier deployment in multi-user environments
  • Has a new user interface
  • Enhanced export facilities
  • New features and capabilities for developers
  • Provides direct access to existing DataEase applications (both Windows and DOS) – enabling incremental / organic migration to Ffenics – without bringing across all the old data – just access it in the old application from within Ffenics.

We’re thrilled with the release of Ffenics 2.0 and the benefits it’ll bring to businesses across the world! Read about all of the exciting new and improved features and capabilities that Ffenics 2.0 has to offer.

Existing customers can benefit from version 2.0 with specific subscription offers as explained in this pricing FAQ for existing customers. New customers can access the power of Ffenics 2.0 for just £16 per user per month as an annual subscription!

So what are you waiting for!? Download the Ffenics 2.0 trial by visiting the Ffenics webshop.

For more information we have 2 FAQs, existing customer FAQs and new customer FAQs, or if you have any questions, please email at hmansfield@ffenics.com.

Have you purchased Ffenics since 01/01/2015? Contact us about your eligibility for a free upgrade to Ffenics 2.0 now!

Great news! The Ffenics 2.0 finish line is here!

The Version 2 code has been frozen, (i.e. the software to be released is ready), we’re working on the installation and serialisation routines and updating the licence agreement.

Not only has the software been extensively beta tested, but we’ve even have had multiple clients running live in two different continents for the last two months!

We expect to cross the finish line this weekend!

We didn’t want to overshadow the Olympics with this news, so get ready to download your trial copies next week!

Beta 4 is now here!

That’s right – we now hope it’s your final opportunity to test out Ffenics 2.0 before its official release!

Our beta testers generous efforts have led to even more fixes, changes and improvements, so now Ffenics is better than ever before!

Again, we’d like to thank our beta testers for all of their testing and reporting so far, as Ffenics 2.0 would not be the same without them.

It’s not too late to become a beta tester for Ffenics 2.0 – if you’re interested in doing some final testing and reporting, please email me at hmansfield@ffenics.com

FF 2.0 Beta candidate is now live!!

We are delighted to announce that our beta candidate for Ffenics 2.0 is now available for you to commence testing!!

Our beta testers will be the first of many people to take advantage of the new features Ffenics has to offer and will get a flavour of how FF 2.0 will benefit their business. This will give the testers time to plan what they’ll implement before the final version is released.

Those who are currently on our beta testing list will have received email instructions on how to download a copy of the beta and how the beta testing procedure will work. However, there’s still time to get involved in beta testing – especially with more time over the Christmas to New Year period!  Email me (hmansfield@ffenics.com) with your interest if you’d like to join our beta testing team.

We now have a formal “Beta candidate” of Ffenics 2.0!

We now have a formal “Beta candidate” of Ffenics 2.0 which is undergoing internal testing. The team have been working extremely hard over the last few days to iron out any bugs and ensure the new features are working as intended, and we expect to be announcing the start of the formal start of the Beta program very shortly! If you would like to participate please email me directly at hmansfield@ffenics.com – and I can explain how the Beta program and issue reporting processes will work.

First FFenics 2.0 feedback!

Ffenics 2.0 was first shown in public at Adrian Jones’ annual workshop in Bristol in November and we’re pleased to announce that the feedback was incredibly positive, with one of the most popular new features being the ability to send emails directly from your Ffenics database – much easier than opening your email system and finding the pdf to attach!  For the developers, a popular new feature is the control you now have over the converter file names which will enable, for example, individual invoices to be produced with the invoice number as the filename.

Ffenics users also made some suggestions for Ffenics 2.0, some of which we’ve already incorporated into the new beta. With data security at the forefront of everyone’s minds these days, as well as database encryption, you can now password protect your pdf outputs, be they invoices, purchase orders or management reports – significantly increasing the data security for your business.  Another example that was widely appreciated is that Ffenics will remember where you’ve chosen to position your Object Palette for future logins – saving you time and allowing you to work more efficiently.  But we can’t reveal all yet…don’t forget to watch our Facebook page where we will be trailing even more of your suggestions that we have included in Ffenics 2.0!

The new beta will be released for testing prior to Christmas, so if you would like to be a beta tester and have the time available, please register your interest by emailing hmansfield@ffenics.com

First presentation of Ffenics 2.0!

If you’re part of the Ffenics Club on Facebook and following us on Twitter, you’d know that Ffenics has just presented its first public viewing of Version 2.0 in Bristol, UK.

Peter Tabord presented FF 2.0 at Adrian Jones’ workshop and offered the audience a flavour of what’s soon to come. Amongst enhancements for both end users and application developers, attendees were the first to see Ffenic’s new modernized and enhanced style, making Ffenics more enjoyable to use and easier to navigate.

But FF 2.0 isn’t all about an upgraded appearance; one really super new facility is much easier integration with Microsoft Excel – via an easily created file from a Ffenics report which can then be opened directly in Excel. Something that’s going to be really popular with accountants and spreadsheet jockeys alike!

Are You Protecting Your Data Properly?

With so much media hype about hacking scandals, it’s unbelievable that so many organisations still aren’t protecting their data properly by using encryption. Are you?

Within the last year, TalkTalk were hacked twice before this recent scandal went viral, yet still failed to implement effective data protection procedures. In this era of technological innovation, young people are smarter with technology than ever before. We must continuously enforce and update smarter data security to reflect this.

According to DigitalLook and Mirror, the cyber-attack on TalkTalk is estimated to cost them up to £50-75 million. If it’s found that TalkTalk have breached The Data Protection Act Laws, the Information Commissioner’s Office can fine the UK organisation up to £500,000! It’s also thought that TalkTalk will have to shell out approximately £1,000 to each person who successfully sues them. TalkTalk are now forced to consider apologetic services, such as future compensation payments or a year’s free credit. Customers have being taking to social media expressing their outrage, and TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding has been receiving phone calls advising her to step down. Most businesses would be lucky to survive this… could you? The lesson from TalkTalk is that it is crucial to take care in protecting your data effectively.

To protect your data, for your customers and your business, we advise you to use encryption, recognised to be the most secure data protection method. Encryption is the translation of plain text to Ciphertext, which can only be understood when the security key or password is known. Encryption methods are used, for example, in online transactions and WiFi connections to ensure that you can safely use services.

Many businesses fail to encrypt all high value customer information, such as their demographic information and will just encrypt their financial information. If hackers gain access to demographic information, those customers can fall victim to phishing scams, with a likely result of stolen cash… and in this circumstance who will get the blame? As Harding told the Sunday Times, “It wasn’t encrypted”. Think about it.

At Ffenics, we offer the ability to encrypt all of the data stored in your Ffenics database. Whilst no encryption is ever completely uncrackable, encrypting your Ffenics database ensures that if your application is accessed or stolen, your data is the most secure it can be. TalkTalk’s executives wish they’d implemented encryption on their database – talk to us about the impact of encrypting your database, TODAY.

Sources:

www.digitallook.com

www.mirror.co.uk

More expansion!

We are pleased to welcome our new Marketeer, Hayley Mansfield, to the team. Hayley will have a lead role in communication with our customers and prospects; researching, designing and creating innovative concepts to increase competition and staying ahead of the game. Hayley graduated from Bangor University with a psychology degree and has a marketing background in other technology-based companies.  I know she is going to be a driving force for change!

Expansion!

We are delighted to announce that Lee Threadgold has joined our Systems Admin team to strengthen our capabilities in this area.  Lee will be working to help meet the demand for the growth in our APPLICATION HOSTING, together with our BACKUP & ARCHIVE services.  With a strong technical pedigree and qualifications from Bangor University he brings a combination of enthusiasm, knowledge and experience to the company.

Ffenics Migrations

We are delighted to announce that here at Ffenics in the UK, our migration team are now converting more DataEase Applications than ever before. The net result is that, and what makes this news worthy, is that we have streamlined the process resulting in quicker and hence cheaper migrations.

 

If you are working on old, outdated, technology and want to store video, pictures, documents, have your database application in the cloud or just want to upgrade your workstations to the latest versions of Windows then get in contact and let’s see what we can do for you!

Ffenics Cloud Hosting – 1 year anniversary and zero down-time

We have been offering Ffenics hosting for over 12 months now – and our first customers have had a marvelous, stress free year of running their applications in the cloud and knowing that that they are being backed up and archived professionally.  Since those first clients moved their Ffenics and DataEase applications to the cloud we have expanded our services and capabilities here at the Centre for Advanced Software Technology, and are now also providing secure hosting for other applications.

PLM Consulting

Good luck Phil Winkler!  As you may have heard, Phil Winkler of PLM Consulting has hung up his keyboard and retired after many years of working with DataEase and Ffenics.  We wish him all the very best for his retirement!

Obviously if you need assistance – please do make contact with us and we will be pleased to help, either by phone +44 (0)844 8709397 or email Amanda on apetrovich@ffenics.com

“News Flash” Strong growth at Ffenics!!

“News Flash:  Strong growth at Ffenics.  Everyone always wants to know how companies are doing, and whilst larger organisations tend to stick to the formal press releases we just want to give you a quick news flash to let you know that Ffenics is experiencing good strong, solid growth despite the downturn in Europe.  Revenues are up (against all periods), pipeline is strong and we will be posting a record year again (we did that last year as well!).  Never complacent, we know that this is down to a focus on our customers and what they need.  We have a new product and new services being readied for launch which we will tell you about soon – so we’re really looking forward to 2015!”

Bringing new products and services to market

“ Wow … what a week that was … complete focus on bringing new products and services to market, facilitated by the charismatic Percy Emmett with Chris Walker holding our reins in his knowledgeable hands (anyone who advises companies like Exxon Mobil at a global level has to be pretty sharp!). Really helped with the execution of our business strategy…thanks guys!”

 

Social Care goes live on Ffenics

We are delighted to announce the completion of a really interesting, and from a social perspective, worthwhile project.  One of our newest clients has just gone live with a business application based upon Ffenics 1.62 which enables them to help the elderly and most vulnerable in the community by providing full and part-time carers, thereby enabling their clients to remain in the comfort and security of their own home.

A great bespoke application delivered at very low cost, and a very vital element in providing social-care.

For more information on how we help organisations in the social-care arena, please contact Amanda at the office on +44 (0)844 870 9397 or by email apetrovich@ffenics.com

 

Ffenics driver for DataEase goes Live!

Due to customer demand we have built a direct driver that enables Ffenics to access data held in DataEase in real time.  This provides contemporary reporting and enquiry facilities (i.e. look and feel) across information held in DOS based systems without the need for a migration.

Whilst many users will still want to migrate to Ffenics, it offers a simple “proving ground” for those cautious about undertaking change.

Similar to our recent developments enabling web deployment of in-house and hosted applications it is an example of our commitment to make modern technology easily accessible.

To discuss how we can help modernize your applications or for more information please call us on +44 (0) 844 870 9397  or contact Amanda by email at apetrovich@ffenics.com

New Service to Extend Core Applications to Web

Here at Ffenics we know that people need to open up in-house systems to web users, whether they are employees, customers, suppliers, agents or consumers.  In addition they want systems to be easy to use and don’t want headaches caused by technology!

To meet this demand we have designed and built a new service to let you do just this.  You keep your in-house system in-house and via our hosted solution you open up selected elements to your remote users via a web browser.

As part of the pre-launch process we are now seeking a small number of organisations who will help test the process and enable us to fine-tune it – at a reduced cost.

If you need to open up your existing application to web users and would consider participating in the pre-launch trial, call me now for an informal chat on +44 (0)844 8709397 or email me at apetrovich@ffenics.com

Let’s launch your application onto the web!

I look forward to talking to you,

Amanda Petrovich.

Frustrated with Dynamics CRM? Use Ffenics!

We all know that Ffenics lets you run your business the way you want to – and a great example of this is a company called Word of Mouth Marketing – who have just gone live on a Ffenics based CRM solution.

They were fed up with Microsoft Dynamics CRM On-Line – both the inflexibility (and hence having to use expensive consultants to modify it) and the sheer monthly cost of the software.  As a result they looked for a solution they could tailor themselves – and they found it in Ffenics.  Their new Ffenics-based CRM solution is now live – and giving them CONTROL and SAVING THEM MONEY!

As a professional marketing business they needed a system that would work the way they wanted – and the flexibility of Ffenics now lets them do exactly that – no more compromises or work-arounds!

Another DataEase system migrated!

The team at Ffenics have just completed the migration of another DataEase system- this time for a food trading company in Liverpool, England.    As with many of the older, DOS based, systems that we look at, there were a number of elements of the system that no longer supported the business – so it was a case of Migrate, Tidy-Up and then Optimise!  The client is now running live – on a new networked Ffenics 1.62 system, with all their old data, and able to make use of new PCs running the latest version of Windows.

New Version of Migration Tool!

We are delighted to announce the availability of the new version of our Migration tool – which enables you to bring across applications and data from all versions of DataEase for Windows and DataEase for DOS version 5 onwards.

When asked for a quotation our head of development, Pete Tabord, said “It works a whole lot better” 🙂

For more details, a copy of the software and detailed installation instructions, call the office on +44 (0)844 8709397

 

 

FrAPPs – Free Framework Applications

Ffenics today released the first batch of free Business Framework Applications, or FrAPPs as they are known. Based upon ETCh (Easy To CHange) technology from Ffenics they are available to everyone to use, change and enhance – to let each business have a unique application that supports their unique way of working.

With Expenses Management, Customer Relationship Management and Asset Management now available to download free of charge from the website, existing customers can now expand their useage of FFenics, and new users can get going quickly and easily.

Future FrAPPs include Inventory Management, Cash Book Accounting, HR, Help Desk, and Service Management.

If you work with Ffenics and have an application that could benefit users around the world, then speak to the team at Ffenics – and they will publish it – together with your details so that you can help users who use it!