Database systems could save money and lives in trucking industry

There are few industries more straightforward, fundamentally, than trucking. You have a product and a destination, and you have to figure out the best way to get those two together. In an increasingly competitive economic landscape, however, this once-simple process could benefit from some complicated analysis. That's where custom web application development and big data could come in. 

A lot of companies already have business intelligence tools, which can effectively monitor past and present situations. The problem is, these sorts of tools are backwards-looking: They're very good at describing that a problem has already happened, but can't provide much predictive value. That's where large-scale data analysis comes in. 

Custom database models can be built to give past events greater forecasting value. Analytics can help determine the most fuel-efficient ways to travel, which in turn can give companies a better understanding of how fuel performance will affect their bottom line. Jeff Foster Trucking, a 225-truck carrier based in Superior, Wisconsin, is considering this variable heavily as it plans its purchase of 50 new trucks.

"In the purchasing world [0.1 to 0.2 miles per gallon] is a profound amount," says Dean Norrell, manager of operations and driver development in an interview to the Commercial Carrier Journal.

It can also help to map events. Knowing the likelihood of an outcome in a given situation could also prevent serious accidents. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, 456 truckers sustained fatal injuries on the job last year, the highest total of any single profession. While there is some danger inherent in any profession that involves driving, if companies can analyze patterns of when deadly accidents are most likely to happen, they can help to avoid them. 

Even for the most uncomplicated of tasks, the right application of big data principles can save time, money, and even lives. 

How big data could transform the veterinary industry

We've written before about how doctors and hospital administrators could work with software developing companies to better provide health care. Recently, though, it's a different kind of patient that could be seeing the benefits of more thorough database management. Many of them even have four legs and fur. 

No, there isn't a sudden unexplained outbreak of lycanthropy. Rather, veterinarians are coming to the conclusion that implementing big data principles could lead to big improvements in the way their business functions. The benefits of such a shift would be twofold: Not only would they be able to more effectively treat animals, they would also increase their financial viability in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Much of the data at veterinary offices is kept in paper files and other offline systems. Because of this, information is difficult to access and share easily among different practices. Partnering with software developing companies would allow these businesses to organize and cultivate this data to provide useful insights. For example, effective use of information could help vets identify pet health trends in real-time and identify the outbreak of major diseases in livestock early enough to control the spread. 

There's also a strong financial incentive. The industry is losing valuable sales and add-on services to pet supply shops, despite its marked advantage in scientific pet knowledge. Big data analysis could provide valuable insights into money-making opportunities, such as potential partnerships with pet supply companies. On the livestock side, a major disease outbreak could be financially catastrophic. According to Reuters, the outbreak of mad cow disease cost U.S.ranchers and beef processors $11 billion between 2004 and 2007. With effective data management, that number could have been drastically smaller. Could your business use custom database software to protect itself too?

Will health care be the next industry to benefit from big data?

A wide variety of industries have benefited from using custom database software to help organize the massive amount of information they process. As this blog has mentioned before, healthcare could be next in line. 

There's certainly a demand. Most of the information doctors collect exists in free-form notes in Electronic Health Record systems or as handwritten papers stuffed into folders. These relatively ad hoc file storage systems make wholesale analysis prohibitively difficult, which blocks doctors from using past data as effectively as they might. Big data in healthcare could help change that and yield some important benefits. By using custom database software to quickly aggregate and analyze patient histories and symptoms, physicians could better treat patients, address the effects of chronic diseases and reduce readmissions. Doctors could also study demographic information to track the incidence and spread of disease across larger samples of the population. 

There is one major wrinkle. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which protects patients from having their sensitive personal information accessed, blocks usage of patient health information for purposes other than treatments, operations or billing. The solution to this may be simple: A patient-consent-driven information system. To this end, the federal government has introduced an incentive program with the stated goal of having patient health information shared more easily and with full consent. 

Medicine is a constantly evolving field with a long tradition. The combination of the massive amount of information constantly being gathered and the uniquely high incentive for innovation makes it ripe for a systemic update in data management. Between the new methods for database management and the government incentives for greater patient involvement, this might be the time. 

App could help apply big data principles to weather forecasting

You might soon be able to help meteorologists as easily as you check your email. That’s the goal of the developers at OpenSignal, who have launched a new app called WeatherSignal that uses existing smartphone sensors to build a live map of atmospheric readings. The developers hope to use the application to eventually build custom database software that will be able to apply big data principles to weather forecasting.

There are some inherent drawbacks to using smartphones as weather sensors, however. People often keep their phones in their pockets, which obscures readings, and even the most advanced smartphones aren’t deliberately designed for meteorology. However, the first issue can be solved by using multiple sensor readings: The amount of light recorded can determine whether a phone is actually outside. The second issue can be alleviated through the power of big data.

One of the values of big data is that it allows imperfect data to be collected in large enough quantities to glean valuable insight. Smartphones are everywhere, and using them as weather sensors would mean millions of granular data points that could be used to derive correlative insight. Not only could such information be used to predict small shifts in daily weather, it could also help determine the probability of “outlier” weather events, such as hurricanes – knowledge that could save lives.

The next step is determining what role this massive amount of information can play when it comes to forecasting weather. The Birmingham University Climate Lab is working with the developers of WeatherSignal to determine the exact utility of this crowdsourced information. If successful, this would be a huge breakthrough for meteorology, and another example of the utility of custom database software.

Big data is changing everything we know about business

While it may be lost in the hoopla that is big data, there is one very important element to the strategy that cannot be ignored: big data is going to change the way you do business. 

What do we mean by this? On the surface, it probably sounds like we're overstating the obvious. Of course big data is going to change the way business is done. It's going to allow decision makers to view and analyze information that was previously unavailable, providing companies with the ability to do things never thought possible. But there's far more to it than that. In short, big data is going to change everything about standard business operations.

That's the sentiment of a recent Forbes article titled "Why Big Data Matters." The article talks about the Bayesian inference, the act of making educated guesses and updating them after collecting new data that theoretically enhances the accuracy of these guesses. This was popular during World War II as it allowed soldiers to project the location of German subs, but it never caught on in the business world because there was simply not enough information for it to be practical. 

Instead, businesses mostly adopted the approach created by Ronald Fisher, which involves controlling every aspect of the prediction process. Essentially, it's a less effective method, but it was the best individuals could do with the limited information they have. However, given the growth of data volumes, that is changing dramatically. Because users have access to so much information, they can now trust that new data will consistently flow into their systems, allowing them to constantly update their projections. 

Greg Satell, the article's author, explained this in further detail.

"What you really need to know about big data is this:  [big data] represents a fundamental shift in how we do things," he wrote. "In effect, big data opens the door to a Bayesian approach to strategy where we no longer try to be 'right' based on controlled research and small samples, but rather become less wrong over time as real world information floods in."

The big data revolution is underway, but the only way your company can take advantage of it is if you have the right tools. A custom database software system made by FileMaker developers will allow you to embrace big data and change the way you do business for the better. 

Software Developing Companies

Custom application development can be the answer to the problems of businesses worldwide, as many require database software that can simplify processes and improve productivity when they handle important administrative applications.

For example, manufacturers may rely on database software to manage the contents of their stockrooms. By using software that can help them effortlessly track and record inventory, these businesses may be able to speed up the supply chain process, passing on their products to distributors and retailers with greater ease.

Separately, nonprofit or government agencies may require solutions that would allow them to track sensitive identification information for thousands of clients, customers or individuals. In this scenario, secure database software can help these agencies organize a significant amount of personal data in one convenient location, providing workers the opportunity to speed up processing and paperwork to better serve clients.

When these parties turn to software developing companies to conduct this custom application development, they need to trust the products and services they invest in. With a roster of highly skilled developers and software experts, Kyo Logic can put clients in touch with the database software solutions they need to conduct business in a better way.

The challenges of custom application development

Working with software developing companies can bring mixed results. Some companies find that while developers may be able to provide them with functioning database software that accomplishes most of what they wanted, there can be a lack of communication or collaboration that leads to a less-then-satisfying development experience.

Other organizations might be nervous about investing too heavily in custom application development, which drives these organizations to rely on budget developers or at-home solutions that may not offer the high-quality database software they need.

Ultimately, many of the concerns and questions clients have when dealing with software developing companies are about value. Customers want to know that when they turn to a company that programs and implements database software, the experience will result in a quality product at a reasonable price.

A proven approach that nets results

The services at Kyo Logic are high on value, because the company’s experts emphasize customer service at every level of the custom application development process.

Kyo Logic’s seasoned developers and consultants analyze each client’s systems and processes before they begin any database development. This ensures that the database software customers eventually receive suits their desires and requirements. Throughout the process, Kyo Logic developers keep customers updated on development progress and consult with clients on the important decisions and choices that must be made along the way.

Kyo Logic is able to maintain its high level of customer service by conducting internal training, check-in meetings and providing continuing staff development and educational opportunities. By working to make a business’ team better, Kyo Logic can ensure the service customers receive is the best they can find.

The Kyo Logic difference

Kyo Logic manages a staff of highly trained and skilled developers fluent in a variety of database software and applications. The company’s strong presence in the FileMaker community means it can offer a FileMaker developer or FileMaker consultant to help any client make the most of this leading software.

However, Kyo Logic’s problem-and-solution approach to custom application development assures that customers can achieve ideal database solutions across a number of software platforms. The company’s attention to detail and desire to do the most for its customers are part of what makes Kyo Logic a standout perform amongst a sea of software developing companies.

What is software’s role in 2014 enterprise IT?

No company wants to be behind the times or its competition when it comes to the latest technology. If other businesses hop on the bandwagon of innovative tools that customers flock to, those organizations are going to progress at a different rate than companies that sit back and wait. However, with so many "must have" devices and services hitting the market, which ones should business owners invest in?

A recent article from ZDNet attempted to answer this by looking at the top 2014 enterprise IT trends. While certain items, like the cloud and smart machines dominate the list, also near the top is software solutions. Whether it is mobile applications or HTML5, this is an area that cannot be ignored.

"Software defined everything," the article reads. "You've heard of software defined networking. And software defined data centers. Now get ready for software-defined everything. Vendors will beat this term to death because they are all trying to defend their turf while growing via adjacent markets. Here's the catch: Vendors aren't likely to support standards that in practice will take their core businesses away."

With more physical IT hardware options like servers going virtual, software appears to be on the verge of taking over. However, it is a system that can be complicated, especially for businesses that lack strong internal tech knowledge. By partnering with a software development firm, organizations receive a hand with custom application creation and ensure they have a solid foot in the future of business operations.

Why more businesses need to embrace big data in their HR departments

Incorporating big data into the human resources department has become increasingly beneficial in the technology and information age, but a number of organizations are struggling with formulating an effective strategy.

Monitoring the behaviors and actions of employees and developing reports are all crucial elements in the human resources department, and if it can effectively capture that information and utilize it to better overall operations, the business as a whole can benefit. Like all areas impacted by big data, however, these processes have to be efficient. This requires the development of systems and the implementation of strategies designed to streamline the employee analysis process. 

According to research detailed in Forbes, only 14 percent of organizations have effectively used data to monitor and process employee behaviors and actions.

"What are the rest doing?  Dealing with reporting," wrote Josh Bersin, the article's author. He added that the challenges faced by these organizations need to be mitigated, particularly when considering the benefits of valuable employee data management.  "In addition, these HR teams are four times more likely to be respected by their business counterparts for their data-driven decision-making, giving them true potential to help change the business," he continued.

Much like other business big data projects, companies can benefit from a FileMaker development project. The scalability of these solutions can be very beneficial because the amount of data in the HR space is likely only going to increase as time goes on. Building a custom database software system will give businesses the ability to capitalize on their information and develop stronger HR departments.

Why businesses need to keep up with application development trends

As you begin to plan your strategies and budgets for 2014, it's important to stay on top of the latest trends, particularly in the realm of technology. Application development is growing in the business sector, as more companies are working with developers to build solutions for processing data, communication and boosting overall productivity. The question is, how are these apps being developed now?

A study conducted by Forrester found three trends regarding application development. They are:

  • Cloud deployment models are changing the economics of applications
  • User experience is improving
  • Componentization supporting smart functionality.

All three are essentially geared toward improving the application's performance in an environment that's most convenient for users. In the business realm, this is crucial for those tasked with processing and reporting on data. Because we are more connected than ever before, hosting these solutions in the cloud has become essential. Moreover, the cloud has offered new advantages by allowing organizations to upgrade and manage their solutions more frequently.

Traditional on-premises applications are tapped out," the study says. "Software upgrades have become so costly and difficult that most customers defer them for years, sometimes even for a decade."

The future of application development will allow users to customize and manipulate their solutions with greater ease. They will be able to scale and flex their software in a way that accommodates any business change, such as new users brought on by a hiring spike or a massive growth of data. 

Partnering with a FileMaker developer will allow companies to obtain the solutions they need to keep up with trends and maintain their economic viability as software applications continue to evolve.

Debunking three big data myths

With every major trend in business comes a myriad of questions, concerns and misconceptions about it. Big data is no different. Because it's an evolving concept and some of the ideas behind it are very new, there are those who aren't entirely sure how it works. At the very least, their ideas about how to make it work aren't always correct.

This sentiment was expressed in a recent Wired article that listed and debunked three myths pertaining to big data management. According to Juergen Urbanski, the article's author, the three lies businesses are telling themselves are: "We don't have a big data problem, we don't have the budget required for big data and we don't have the data scientists needed to process and analyze big data."

The first issue is relatively simple to address. Organizations simply have to come to the realization that their data processing has to be better for them to maintain their viability in an increasingly data-controlled future. Even if a company doesn't feel like it has enough data to consider its situation a "big data problem" its digital information will undoubtedly continue to increase. Urbanski said this could result in problems when infrastructures are maxed out.

"First, I have yet to meet a large organization that does not have a data management problem, even at terabyte scale," he wrote. "The problem might be that existing enterprise data warehouses are reaching capacity limits, that older data which has been archived sits "in the dark," meaning it cannot be queried for insights, or that a lot of potentially valuable data is simply not collected or discarded too soon."

The main theme behind the other two myths is that businesses believe they cannot properly run a successful big data campaign because they lack adequate resources. This is not true, because having the right software system in place can assist a number of big data efforts. 

Developing a FileMaker solution can allow companies to effectively manage their information deficiencies and manage them without having to spend a lot of money or utilize a tremendous amount of personnel. A FileMaker-based custom database software system provides the ability for businesses to collect, track, store and analyze all data, which will help mitigate any potential dangers related to excessive volumes of information.