When You Get Stuck, Talk to the Duck

3 Minute Read
What It Means to “Rubber Duck Debug”

Do you ever get stuck on a coding problem and, to help figure it out, you begin talking to yourself, or to a rubber duck on your desk?  Just me? Okay. Well, it’s unfortunate society associates self-talk with lunacy, because this underutilized problem-solving tool is excellent for debugging.

Think about it: have you ever approached a fellow developer with a tech problem and half way through explaining it to them you magically realized the answer?  It’s also at this point your ever-so-witty co-worker responds with, “Glad I could help.” It was your brain that did the solving all by itself. But how? How is it that speaking out a problem can result in its solution? There’s a psychological reason for this phenomenon and it has to do with the way your neurons associate ideas.

According to the Quarter Journal of Experimental Psychology, ‘ongoing perceptual processing’, or saying the word “chair” instead of just thinking about a “chair”, actually increases brain activity and awareness of that item, in this case a chair.  Educational psychologists support this approach with research indicating that, “Students…

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The Times, They Are ‘A Changin’

5 Minute Read

It’s not news that the world of technology is changing. Anyone who operates in our society today is very aware of how technology continues to evolve and become increasingly integral to our lifestyle, professions, and even our health. The article below walks through some situations that you may be familiar with and highlights how modern Customer Relationship Management systems (CRMs) are able to enhance typical business operations.

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One Location for ALL your Client or Account Information

The Situation: Sally from Sales is wooing Larry, a new lead, but doesn’t record their multiple calls and emails in the CRM. Mark in Marketing is unaware this conversation is happening, so includes Larry in the next marketing campaign. Larry receives an email asking him to reach out and begin a…

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The Changing Landscape of CRM

6 Minute Read

The following article was penned by our Director of Consulting, Dustin Sitton. It provides a more technical view of how advancements in CRM offerings are changing the way consultants and developers operate.

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Developers Have Been Waiting for This…Or Have They?

The promise of an enterprise application so flexible and easy to use that it eliminates the need for traditional custom software development has been talked about for a long time. Until recently, developers have been asked by businesses, and specific departments, to create custom solutions that this mythical enterprise application would solve, if it existed.

Developers are very familiar with programs that are typically used to create these custom solutions, such as Visual Studio, Eclipse, or notepad++. If you are not a developer and reading this, you may be…

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Office 365 Seminar Big Hit Among Region’s IT Leaders

3 minute read

On Wednesday April 20th, the Inner Harbor was buzzing with Office 365 talk, as Mind Over Machines combined forces with System Source to present Office 365: Way More Than Email! 

Ruth’s Chris Steak House Pier 5 was filled to capacity as area CIOs and IT Directors gathered to hear Dustin Sitton, Director of Consulting Services at Mind Over Machines and Deve Ferg, Consultant at System Source, discuss the many cost-saving features that Office 365 has to offer: benefits of migrating to the cloud; how to get your staff trained; cool DIY products that come with the suite like Delve and Sway; and exciting products like Dynamics CRM, Power BI and PowerApps that are lighting up the software development world.

The fastest growing segment of the software development industry, CRM as a development platform has made it possible for us…

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Welcome to the Cloud Neighborhood

10 minute read

Your system is mission critical. It has hundreds, thousands, or even millions of daily users and it must continue to perform its functions no matter what. But it’s now 10-15 years old, and though it has served its purpose faithfully and is still a solid performer, the time has come to plan for your aging system’s future.

It’s time to make a move, and you know it.

Whether you’re a hospital managing critical patient care records, or a financial institution conducting transactions, or any industry processing payroll or operations data – you need to fully understand the many options, risks, and costs associated with any modernization solution.

But like moving to a new home, the options are endless. Which neighborhood do you want to be in? What’s available in your price range? Is it better to buy or…

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Tick Tock…

7 minute read

Time was ticking away for the medical studies department at a top private research university.

Clinical researchers relied on the department’s web collaboration portal to house and share data from their studies of new medicines and medical treatments. And the application was just about to hit its 10-year anniversary – a dubious achievement in software.

The university’s IT department decreed that unless the aged system was modernized within six months to meet compliance, security, and a host of other IT standards, it would be disconnected from the university’s network.

The original developers, when contacted, announced they would no longer support the system. Their company had changed direction and was not interested in helping.

Our phone rang.

“Can your team bring our system into compliance before we get shut down?”

WARNING #1 – Do not trust any consultant who answers “Yes” to a…

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Solving the BI Puzzle

7 minute read

“Our best prospects are right under our noses, but they’re scattered across the country, and we don’t know who they are until we trip over them! We need an engine that will identify our cherry prospects and serve them up in bulk.”

Our corporate services client was priming to take over a big chunk of the market dominated by a handful of conglomerates.

The sales executives knew the profile of their best targets: related companies — sharing some common ownership or management — operating in multiple states. They also knew the big guys weren’t pursuing these under-the-radar targets.

We needed to create a prospecting engine that would, on the back end, collect, warehouse and transform disparate data sets about the nation’s businesses into a common format; in the middle layer, let us suss out the company groups; and…

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Miscalculated Risk

9 minute read

“We’re in the final stages of testing and anticipate your system will go live three weeks from today.”

Finally.

After too many months and too much money, the tech company was finally reporting that it was just a few minor tweaks away from launching the shiny new, custom software system that would make life so much better for the partners of the high-powered venture capital firm.

One of the most influential companies in the industry, the firm enjoys a reputation for taking smart risks and returning big rewards for its investors. This time, it had invested heavily in its own future with a desperately needed upgrade to its portfolio management system.

Now it was time to take the system for a test ride. The entire company was excited to see what this thing could do.

And it did…nothing.

It failed its…

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The Benefits of BYOD

4 minute read

We are a society that thrives on our personal and mobile devices—they are no longer additions to our personas, but extensions of them. We are intimately connected to our personal technology. So it makes perfect sense that the “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) movement has brought the relationship between personal technology and business technology full circle.

An enterprise BYOD program allows employees to bring their personal computing devices (Smartphones, tablets, etc.) to work in lieu of corporate issued or purchased devices or equipment. Employees sync these devices to their business networks, access company applications and systems via powerful cloud-enabled software, and thus hold the keys to productivity in a singular device.

“The rise of bring your own device (BYOD) programs is the single most radical shift in the economics of client computing for business since PCs invaded…

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The Distress Call

10 minute read

The call from the West Coast came in to our Baltimore office on a Monday afternoon. The caller (we’ll call her Lois) was on Day 3 of a total system shutdown. She was officially in crisis. Lois’s firm – a 24/7 public records research firm that earns much of its revenue from online transactions – had gone offline.

After agonizing through a second day of total shutdown, Lois had hit her breaking point. For some time she had been frustrated by her IT team’s lack of vision and responsiveness, but this shutdown was just too much. Lois fired her entire IT department on the spot, save one.

Now she had no system, one IT employee and no plan.

Crisis Management

Lois knew she needed immediate help, so she called a trusted friend, a leading CEO in her industry. Her…

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