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Five tech business lessons from last year

Happy 2020, this time of the year, we usually post a greeting message and a picture of the Vancouver Polar Bear swim, but this year we had work spilling over from 2019 and new work coming from the new year. In our business, we never complain about more projects and new Clients. To keep another good tradition going, we post some of the tech business lessons that we learned in the previous year. Here they are:

Keep your SAAS prices simple and focused

When configuring your price plans for your newly launched software as a service (SAAS) platform, design them for your first ten customers who will be using your system. Make sure you don’t offer more than 3 + 1 monthly (or annual) plans. The additional plan option is for validating your enterprise clients who will be paying you for a custom solution. To learn more, read Price plans for a newly launched SAAS platform

Services use more than one type of database

It is common for software as a service platform to use various kinds of databases. For example, they could be using PostgreSQL/MySQL for people and organization accounts, CouchDB or MongoDB for storing documents, and Redis for storing user sessions. We have built systems that utilize up to four different databases. To learn more, read: Why do we use different types of databases for an online service.

Focus on user experience facilitated the consumerization of IT

Before software-as-a-service platforms go mainstream, software engineers were developing Enterprise apps mainly to meet business requirements and specifications. Then employees had no choice but to use the new technology, and many chose not to. Designers of consumer applications focused on user experience design (Ux) because their livelihood depended on acquiring more users and gaining traction. Later, enterprise app developers employed the same strategy and developed industry-grade applications but with a focus on delivering superior user experience. They also started targeting employees and smaller departments in larger organizations. That was the beginning of the consumerization of IT. To learn more: How prioritizing people’s needs lead to the consumerization of IT.

Encrypt your fracking passwords!

Last year, hackers stole user data from organizations such as Yahoo, Facebook, Freedom Mobile, Equifax, and Lifelabs. Whenever that happens, it is damaging. What was even more unfortunate, all these organizations were storing user passwords in PLAIN TEXT! One would think that businesses with abundant resources would pay more attention to most elemental security measures such as encrypting user passwords in their databases. To live in a more secure world, please encrypt your user passwords, so say we all! To learn more: some companies are failing at a primary security measure

DevOps is an essential component of product development 

A decade ago, the last 10% of a project cost would have gone to launch a web app on a Linux server with a hosting company. That worked for websites or apps that didn’t need much maintenance for the first one to three years. Today, delivering superior user experience and security requires continuous integration and deployment (CD/CI) of the applications, so we needed tools and services for building deployment pipelines, which lead to a new specialty called Release Engineering. We needed to adopt new policies and practices in software development, usability testing, and support teams to make this pipeline as efficient as possible, which lead to the umbrella term, DevOps. Today Release Engineering and DevOps can take up 25% to 50% of the total budget when it gets to developing and maintaining SAAS platforms. To learn more, read: In praise of DevOps and Release Engineering.

One last request 

It’s the roaring 20s again, let’s bring Art Deco back!