Business Continuity

brendanmccorkle

StackMob, a mobile backend infrastructure company, recently shook the industry by announcing that they are shutting down their service after being acquired by PayPal several months ago. While significant speculation surrounds the situation, there are many customers seeking alternative backend solutions to power their mobile applications. StackMob has offered a CSV data exporter, allowing customers to extract their application data and continue development either on their own, or with the help of other backend providers.

In response to increasing requests, CloudMine has created a CSV/JSON importer to help ease transitions for those who enjoy the many benefits of a cloud-based backend platform. We understand that the migration of mission critical applications is not simply a matter of importing data, so our team is prepared to work closely with you to understand exact requirements, offer objective advice and insight, and help guide you towards your best path to success — even if our platform is not the final destination of your application.

As a long-standing enterprise mobility company we understand the business continuity concerns expressed about the future of BaaS providers. To address these concerns, CloudMine assures both our current and future customers that, in addition to you always owning your data, applications will always have the backend infrastructure they need due to the platform’s portability and flexibility to reside in any environment, in the cloud or on-premise.

If you would like to explore a conversation with CloudMine, please send an inquiry to import@cloudmine.me and our team will be in touch. It would be a pleasure to build new relationships with you and we look forward to supporting your mobile development needs.

An Alternative to Hiring Full-Time Engineers

miketannenbaum

Imagine you sign a new client project after giving an estimated delivery of 9 months. Congratulations! But wait — you’re already at capacity and have spent the past two weeks fighting off the major scope creep your new client is stacking onto your shoulders. The stress is piling up and you consider hiring new engineers, but haven’t found a match during your preliminary search.

You know this project is somewhat like a first date, and that if you exceed expectations you’re likely to be offered a waterfall of groundbreaking work — but here you are with no idea how to deliver!

Just when you thought there was no hope at all, we’re here to tell you otherwise.

What if you could take this 9 month project and have it shipped and delivered in less than a third of the time, without having to go through the exhaustive process of hiring new developers?

From the onset, this is a difficult topic to approach. However, it’s something that comes up in our daily lives as we grow CloudMine into a leading technology solution for agencies and enterprises. We’ve talked with agencies employing teams of engineers all scrambling to get their projects out the door. One agency was so strapped for development bandwidth that it had PHP developers writing Objective-C, HTML/CSS developers cutting their teeth on Node, and iPhone developers building Android interfaces. While it’s great to have a team that tackles any problem thrown their way, we can’t help but note that there must be a better, more efficient, less stressful way.

We’ve also had several conversations with prospective partners who are looking to expand their engineering team, specifically by hiring one or two back-end engineers to help maintain large multitudes of server-side stacks that have been cobbled together over the years. While this is the way business has traditionally been done — hire when you want to grow — we’re here to tell you there is a new, technological solution to your problem. First, however, let’s take a moment to run down some bullet points on traditional hiring and on-boarding processes and how they may stack up against a Backend-as-a-Service solution.

  • Hiring Process
    We’ve learned this takes an average of 6-10 weeks (per engineer) and a tremendous amount of time, energy and effort from many members of the current team. Additionally, hiring is often responsible for delaying engineering progress. Sourcing candidates, first-round phone interviews, face-to-face meetings, offers, negotiations and finally, acceptance — this is a long arduous process to endure for each new hire especially when in the middle of crunch-time.

  • On-boarding, Training & Ramp Up Time
    On-boarding can take, on average, 3-4 months. What will your new hire be responsible for? How will she blend with an existing team? Who’s going to take time out of their workday to train the new employee and bring her up to speed on current projects? How long does it take for a new engineer to become comfortable in her new environment, with her new project and her new mission? This last piece varies greatly person to person.

  • Salary, Benefits & Equipment
    It’s a known fact that full time employees cost significantly more than pure salary expenditure. Taxes, healthcare, 401k accounts and other benefits eat up a lot of these costs. Additional expenses like equipment, office space, digital services and more are also all rolled up in the total cost of a full time employee (Source). For example, here in Philadelphia it costs around $123,500 per year to employ a single full-time senior engineer. And in San Francisco, it’s even worse: it can cost upwards of $161,200 (or higher, where competition is fierce) per year.

  • Actual Development Time, Labor & Costs
    Once your new team member is hired and brought up to speed it’s time to actually start digging into the task at hand. This will include writing code, creating or expanding technical architecture to meet the company’s ever-changing needs, and making sure everything is working all the time. Maintenance is perhaps the largest nuisance of all. Servers have to have OS and security patches applied, firewall rules monitored, performance tweaked and re-tweak, and software tested and deployed. And when those servers crash, your employees are pulled off of their primary objectives and sent into crisis mode to discover and fix whatever went wrong. All of this costs significant time and money that would be better allocated to improve the product in ways that more directly affect the end user.

  • Risks of Hiring the Wrong Person
    Hiring mistakes are often considered the biggest expense a company can face, but these expenses are more than just monetary. Bad hires suck energy from companies and breed distraction, process disruption, and can have strong negative impacts on both company’s morale and overall productivity. If done properly, a good hiring manager will know how to choose the right person for the right position; but bad hires happen quite frequently, and as a leader you’ll need to be prepared for the fallout. According to one source, one bad hire could cost a company two and a half times their annual salary, turning a $100,000 salary into a $250,000 expense. Crazy! (Source)

There is another way

When you make the choice to step away from all this nonsense you’ll find that there’s a much better option. One that doesn’t require seeking out talent, crossing your fingers that there’s a culture fit, waiting for ramp-up, dealing with churn, managing any other unforeseen difficulties thrown your way, and then finally hoping the product gets delivered on time.

By leveraging CloudMine’s solution and expertise, you and your company are free to create what makes you and your product unique without needing to scale your back-end engineering team. Gone are the days of breaking your back to provide your customers with the data they need on the device they want. Simply plug existing data sources into CloudMine and your information is immediately available to be accessed by any endpoint imaginable: mobile apps, APIs, wearable computers, smart watches— the list is endless.

Any device. Any information.

Let CloudMine be your entire back-end and data integration suite, ready to go out of the box. Say goodbye to sourcing resumes, awkward interviews and “hoping the newbie works out”, and say hello to a new world of product-oriented bliss.

Come talk with us to see how we can help.

The Approachable Cloud

ilyabraude

This guest blog post is written by Geoff McCleary. Goeff is the VP and Group Director of Mobile Innovation at Digitas Health, consulting with key pharmaceutical clients on important marketing & policy issues across a number of fields including social media and emerging channels. In addition to these responsibilities, he is also a leading industry mobile marketing evangelist, advising internal teams and external clients on Mobile Marketing strategy and programs.

Every day I try to take a walk at lunch. Not too much, a mile or two to push my step count up for the day. Enough that my fitness-tracking band may see fit to reward me near the end of the day with a celebratory fanfare of blinking LED lights and a badge on my dashboard for a job well done.

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During that walk, I invariably sync my data to my phone, check Facebook, or send out a tweet or two. On a rare occasion I may even check-in at a landmark or store I want to look up later when I have veered too far off course. When I do (pardon the geek moment here) I tend to look up and imagine all the bits and bytes of data zooming overhead into the virtual clouds for me to access later.

It’s tough not to take for granted, especially when it’s baked into so many of the services and apps we use today. With over 60% penetration of smartphones and tablet ownership rising higher every day, the need for multi-screen access is clear. In fact, it’s become such a standard in apps like Facebook, Twitter, Chrome, etc. that I actually take it as a personal affront when a service I use doesn’t provide it.

But that’s the enterprise. I should expect that from major global brands, right? I shouldn’t put that expectation on my client’s brands and properties; that is an enterprise issue. The sheer number of meetings we would need to have to discuss setting that up are prohibitive. Let alone actually deploying it. Right?

But now my client’s customers have an expectation. Provide a little info, enough to login, and now they can share, save, manage and modify content and experiences for convenient viewing when they want, on a screen (or two) of their choosing. Are enterprises turning away customers if they can’t provide this experience to them?

Backend Features

Mobile has brought a lot of changes to the world of brand marketing. Smaller screens — and in the case of tablets, slightly larger smaller screens — and an understanding that customers want to access information whenever they want, on whatever screen they have with them at that time. Not only do they want on-demand multi-screen access, but they want seamless resumable experiences that they can effortlessly continue when they put down one device and pick up another.

Nowhere is this more important than in healthcare. Our customers aren’t buying a product or consuming a good, they are in many cases, trying to save a life. This isn’t a one time visit experience. They seek information across multiple screens, across multiple visits, and they are building a library of information – mentally, digitally and in print. We don’t want to make them work harder; we want them to work more efficiently towards the right solution for their patients.

At any given time, a brand may have a site that supports disease-specific information, a more drug-focused site (both of which will have mobile and tablet versions) as well as an app for patients already using the drug. In addition, the brand will have information for physicians across multiple screens, and may even have an interface for physicians and patients to share information together in the exam room. These screens need to talk, learn and share with each other in preparation for the next visit.

But to do this we need a singular identity and sign-on for each of our participants, we need a system that can associate that identity with all forms of content and past/present/future interactions across multiple properties. We also need the tools that can collect and manage the data generated by all of the unique interactions between these personal and digital constituents and can enable the tools that we need to better understand daily interactions. And we need it for individual brands.

Not some massive infrastructure project that takes years to get off the ground and is a one size fits all solution. Not some custom work for hire solution that requires precise configuration for even a chance at success.

We need something that is implementable and intuitive, that powers engagement and understanding. We need something so powerful and scalable, yet so easy to implement and manage.

We need an approachable cloud.

A cloud that comes out of the box and is ready to deploy with little configuration, a cloud that can be plugged into properties both old and new, a cloud that can work with hundreds of APIs and plugins but can be deployed by a single brand.

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The cost of creating something like this in house can be a daunting expense of resources, time and money. Many of the enterprise solutions are rather complex to set up, require significant investment to maintain, and are not easily deployed or integrated with existing client data. And on top of that, none of them understood even the basics of compliance let alone something as complex as healthcare’s HIPAA regulations.

Our partnership with CloudMine has provided Digitas Health with the solution to these challenges and more. CloudMine’s offering has been essential to our realization of an Approachable Cloud, and our ever-evolving multi-screen/mobile cloud strategy and services.

Host your site on CloudMine (and deploy it with a push)

derekmansen

We’ve been polishing this feature for a while now, and we’re pleased to officially announce it. You can now use CloudMine to host your HTML5 / JavaScript powered apps. We’ve streamlined the deploy process: you can either drag-and-drop your site’s assets into the Dashboard, or use a git push-based deploy system.

How does it work?

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Sign in to your CloudMine account and navigate to your Dashboard. Follow the instructions to create a new site. You’ll be given the option to deploy your site via a zip file of assets, or via git. If you’ve ever used Heroku, you already know how your site deploys will work - just add the CloudMine remote, and push to it when you make changes.

Features

We’ll provide you with a generated hostname (efficient-border-30.cloudmineapp.com being an example). However, it’s easy to use your own domain: just CNAME your domain to cloudmineapp.com and write it in the Additional Host Names field - we take care of the rest.

We also provide SSL support automatically - just visit your host with https instead of http (see https://pennapps.cloudmineapp.com for an example).

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