RB Consulting, Inc.

Technology works best when it is focused on business solutions
 
Leverage Technology, Improve Your Business, Be More Productive

Helping You Build Software Solutions That Improve Your Business

We work with you to understand your business and deliver the best solution for your situation. Select the area you would like to discuss with us.

Technology Should Make Our Lives Better, This Is How…

Information Technology (IT) is complex and moves fast. You have a business to run. We help you apply the latest established technologies to your business problems and provide a step up over the competition. Some...
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Application Integration And Scraping

Modern Solutions Need To Communicate With Each Other You can only do business with a customer if you communicate; your systems are the same. Application integration and scraping data for custom use is a common...
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What Is A Technology Assessment And Why Do I Need One?

A technology assessment is one of the many areas of life where we recognize a need to do regular reviews. This might be a visit to the dentist, an oil change and tune-up, your annual...
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A Quick Introduction

Latest Posts

Here are just a few of our recent blog posts and articles.

Migrating And Upgrading Systems

One of the challenges of software solutions is that, sooner or later, you end up migrating and upgrading systems. The...
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Documentation and Reproducible Builds – Critical Pieces Software Solutions

One of the things I see most often plague an organization is the lack of documentation and reproducible builds. That...
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Selecting A Software Partner

The success or failure of a project often rides on how good a company is at selecting a software partner....
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Planning And Design

Many projects struggle or fail because there is not enough work done upfront. However, we all want to see progress on a project as soon as possible. That leads to us pushing forward to implementation. However, skipping steps in the planning phase can planning and designcause cost overruns and outright project failure. Likewise, a simplified or incorrect design can impact schedules, maintenance, and scalability. Fortunately, planning and design are the keys to success. The idea of “measure twice, cut once” holds true even in software and IT solutions.

Our experience is best utilized at the start of a project. That provides for the most significant impact of our recommendations. It also avoids false starts and costly mistakes. Better yet, our process helps you better understand the challenges and opportunities of your project. This will include your technology, team, and market. Therefore, it is an excellent time to help you assess where your technology is and create a roadmap for the future. Technology can be daunting and confusing, yet it is a crucial component of business success. If you come to us after struggling to begin a project, that is ok. We also offer this service for an active project. It is never too late to help you ensure your plan and corporate vision align. We aim to help you find or build the best solution for your business needs.

 

Software Projects Are Complex, Planning Is Required

A successful project requires the development team and the project manager to be skilled in software development. However, that is not all that is needed for success. Solid process and business knowledge are required as well. We must understand your business and specific needs or situations to build the best solution to meet those needs. That is why we start by helping you determine and define requirements. That provides a good foundation for any project but is just the beginning. A team should have experience with the entire software software projects are complexdevelopment life cycle from design through implementation, testing, and delivery. This approach and experience improve the chances of a successful project. We help you find what is possible as a solution to your problem, whether you decide to build, buy, or outsource.

At RB Consulting, we have the skills, experience, and business knowledge needed for a complete solution. We work with you to build a valuable and reliable application. Likewise, expectations and clarity are critical to success. Thus, we communicate with our customers throughout the development cycle. The communication includes regular demos and opportunities for feedback. We find this approach leads to a solution that addresses their business problems. We aim to guide you through creating a solution that addresses your needs and fits your organization. Planning and design help us define that solution, then regular communication and feedback ensure it is implemented.


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How Do I Find An IT Solution?

This post starts a series to walk one through the questions we must answer in finding solutions for business problems. We will focus on IT solutions because so many challenges are best solved through automation. That is where software applications shine. However, there will be situations where your best solution is not found in IT. You will find a path to those other solutions when you answer the questions we explore.

Start Here

You can spend a lot of money on software consultants and solution providers. They may or may not guide you to the best solution. Therefore, this free list of questions may be the best investment of your time. It would be best to answer these questions, or at least be aware of them, as you research what works best for you.

Before continuing, note that the best solution requires investing time and money. A good consultant or provider can guide you, but they must learn how your business works. This is not a summary or overview but will be in-depth. Think of it as building a house. You do not simply say, “I want a house with X bedrooms and Y baths,” there is far more detail you provide. A good business solution is no less complicated. The details will help you find an IT solution that fits you like a custom-tailored suit.

My Checklist of Questions

Let’s start with those questions we need to ask. We will explore them in more depth in this and upcoming posts.

What Is The Problem You Want To Solve?

This question appears evident at first glance. However, it is often skipped over or not provided the thought it deserves. The challenge in answering this question is to solve a problem and not one of the symptoms. Think of a doctor that treats a fever instead of curing a disease. Unfortunately, that is often what we do in business, particularly in software. An excellent way to approach this is to return to your childhood and ask “why” until you reach the root desire. It is incredible how often this provides not only a better solution but also a far simpler implementation.

An Example Problem To Solve

I think an example works best for this aspect. We can start with a customer that wants to be able to copy data from one application to another. The goal is to open application A, do a sort of screen print of data and then be able to paste the data into application B. Awesome, now ask why. They want to paste because they have orders entered into one system and then need to put that data into a fulfillment system. This situation is not uncommon. Multiple systems and data need to flow from one to another.

Rethink Your Process

We have a few jumping-off points. However, we will focus on the back end. What happens with the fulfillment system? Why enter data in that? The answer is that the order is printed out and handed to the warehouse for pick and shipping. The shipping information is printed and sent to someone to enter into the fulfillment application. Then, they repeat the process with application A. Then, an order is marked fulfilled, and data is entered into system A to show it was shipped. We can see where there are duplicate entry points and the opportunity for data entry errors. Fortunately, it is not uncommon for us to see a system’s flaws when we walk through it step-by-step. While some organizations require printed forms and data, that is becoming rare. Instead, the case is often that “we always did it that way,” and the challenge is changing rather than a business need. However, you can find an IT solution with less cost than you think.

Find The Right Perspective

The example also provides an error in perspective. Too often, we focus on a single problem or pain point and fail to step back and analyze how we got there. In the above case, the problem is not getting data from system A to system B. Instead, it is getting data from a customer through shipping, invoicing, and fulfillment. Software projects can struggle due to a change in scope or focus. The original problem is shown to be insufficient once the project starts. That can lead to many challenges we can avoid by starting with a better handle on our final goal. Instead, we find an IT solution before knowing how to solve the problem correctly.

The First Question To Answer

Any successful journey has a starting point and a destination. Every project is the same way. We will improve our chances for success substantially by assessing where we are and where we want to go. Therefore, you must first answer, “What is the problem you want to solve?” There is no need to find an IT solution until you have that answer. While there are consultants that can help you refine your answer or answers, you will be hard-pressed to find the best resources or approach until you have a solid solution to start with. We are available to help you in your journey. However, you can often do yourself a huge favor by asking yourself, “why?” a few more times before you search for someone to solve your problem.

Improve Software Success

We have an e-book that can help you explore all the steps in building software, including a few templates. All we ask is that you share an e-mail address so we can send you a copy. We will also add you to our monthly newsletter, but you can unsubscribe anytime. Your data is not shared with anyone else. Learn more about our book here.

Migrating And Upgrading Systems

One of the challenges of software solutions is that, sooner or later, you end up migrating and upgrading systems. The two activities may seem separate, but often, you must do both. A good solution provides an easy path, whether to a new version of the solution or one created by another vendor. However, there are often some expectations on the part of the customer for smooth upgrades. That includes limited customizations and timely updates. It is unrealistic to expect a …

Documentation and Reproducible Builds – Critical Pieces Software Solutions

One of the things I see most often plague an organization is the lack of documentation and reproducible builds. That has not been historically an issue. However, when the downsizing and rightsizing of the turn of the century kicked in, many developers moved on or were let go. While those were not bad business decisions, they did allow some critical knowledge to walk out the door. I have come across several organizations post the COVID lockdown that took too many …

Selecting A Software Partner

The success or failure of a project often rides on how good a company is at selecting a software partner. Software development has become almost a commodity in many areas. However, the team you choose or build is a critical factor in project success. No two providers are the same, and minor differences can have a substantial impact. There is far more than price, experience, or even portfolios that go into selecting the best team. Selecting A Software Partner Is …