7 Industries Making Remote Work Commonplace

With greater schedule flexibility, it's no surprise the trend towards remote work is growing. Whats more, cloud based technology has made working from home easier than ever before with files and data readily accessible. According to CNBC, “More than two-thirds of people around the world work away from the office at least once every week.” Working from the comforts of home (or anywhere with a good wifi connection that is) is enticing when you factor in all the time not spent commuting and sitting in traffic. Additionally, remote workers tend to have more control over their workplace environment, and can usually juggle home and work life responsibilities with more finesse.  As happy employees make for a more productive workforce, many industries seem to be embracing this new kind of work culture.

Here are 7 Industries where Remote Workers are becoming Commonplace:

1. IT 
Remote work is no doubt ripe in the field of information technology. Jobs in security, website development, software engineering, app development, and database administration (just to name a few) can all be done remotely. In fact, many IT companies look to utilize remote workers in order to better offset costs and streamline projects. 
2. Accounting & Finance
Bookkeepers and accountants can usually work from anywhere, often computing payroll and or taxes for clients both big and small. 
3. Customer Service
 Companies that function primarily online through a website rather than a store front need customer service just as much as brick and mortar businesses do. Online tech support jobs tend to be remote and act as a virtual help desk for customers or clients, including assisting with online orders as well as payment processing.
4. Healthcare
 Many administrative jobs in the healthcare industry are now remotely operated. These jobs include handling billing, insurance claims, as well as scheduling appointments.
5. Marketing
 The advertising industry has largely transformed in recent years due to the rise of digital platforms. Whether it's as a graphic designer, content writer, influencer or social media manager, long gone are the days where you need to be in an office to run an ad or promote a business or product. Marketing jobs now come in many different shapes and sizes and can be done from anywhere. 
6. Education-
Due to an increase in online classes being offered, there are more opportunities for teachers to work remotely. For example, many college level classes are being taught online by adjunct professors to better serve non-traditional students. Additionally, those homeschooling or looking for help to prepare for the SATs can do so via virtual tutors.
7. Sales
 Just as the marketing world has changed, so to have sales jobs. Now generating leads is more plausible through the use of social media channels, as well as email or text message marketing. All of this can be done remotely, especially if you're in the real estate industry.   At Number8, we believe one of the keys to achieving your business’s goals is great IT that supports your company. We help businesses access great IT by connecting them with remote workers that utilize best-practice tools and processes. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page!

6 Facts About the Cloud Computing Industry You Might Not Know

For those of you still wondering what the cloud is exactly, think of it as a metaphor for the Internet. Cloud computing is simply a way of storing and accessing files online. One's cloud can be accessed via multiple computers as long as you are connected to a network. The information is then stored on remote servers. The cloud makes accessing data easier, and allows for the storage of large quantities of information. Therefore the future of business is no doubt cloud based.

6 Facts about the Cloud Computing Industry You Might Not Know...

  1. Companies like Amazon and Microsoft are receiving an ever growing portion of their revenues from the cloud. In 2017, Amazon generated 3.2 million from their public cloud computing infrastructure division known as Amazon Web Services.

  2. Security concerns about cloud computing are waning as more and more IT experts feel confident in trusting the cloud with sensitive data. A reported 60% feel adequately safeguarded against the potential risks of their databases being hacked.

  3. According to Forbes, “More than 50% of IT spending will be cloud-based by 2018.” An increased investment in cloud computing will likely be seen across all industries as the cloud helps businesses save money by using staff more efficiently.

  4. Almost half of the agencies within the U.S. Government utilize the cloud. In fact, the government is thought to be the largest user of cloud computing technology.

  5. Banks are the most active users within the cloud as a result of mobile banking apps, virtual transaction services like Paypal, and developing currencies like Bitcoin.

  6. For most companies, the cloud is used to store files and as a means for backup and recovery. Currently the cloud is being utilized for storage more than it is used for things like application deployment. However, this could change as the demand for cloud services grows and enables new business models.

At Number8, we provide high quality technical talent to businesses of all sizes and sectors. Whether you specialize in application development, custom software, website development, mobile solutions, database design, client/server, web application development and Q/A testing we can help. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page.  

Costa Rica Students Responsible For Two Impressive Innovations

Students hailing from the University of Costa Rica (UCR) have recently developed two important and innovative prototypes. Each of these inventions could have long lasting, positive effects for those in and outside of the Central American country.

Here are the two latest innovations from students out of Costa Rica: 

The Argot App

Seven students in the Business Management program at the Paraíso campus of UCR developed a sign language app. The app named “Argot,” translates the Costa Rican sign language commonly  known as “Lesco.” By using the camera on a smartphone, the app is able to pick up on the signs made by a deaf person, and can then translate the hand movements into the Spanish written language in real time. The app also works vise versa in that written language can be turned into sign using an animated figure. Argot won the University’s annual entrepreneurship fair last July. While it is now just a prototype, the students plan to put their monetary winnings towards the development of the app. The result is a big step forward in terms of inclusion, as those who are deaf in Costa Rica will now be able to better communicate within their communities. Additionally, the student's hope is that the country as a whole will have a better understanding of the language of sign.

Apati-Dent Mouthwash

The second innovation is a regenerative mouthwash. The mouthwash was created by five students from the Pharmacy Faculty at UCR during their “Innovation Management” class. Dubbed “Apati-Dent,” this mouthwash not only freshens breath but whitens teeth as well as repairing tooth enamel. This is quite a breakthrough when considering whiteners currently on the market. Teeth whiteners have proven to be hard on teeth by wearing down enamel in order to remove stains. As a result, the standard teeth whiteners often cause tooth sensitivity. What Apati-Dent does differently is utilize "nanoparticles that contain the main mineral component of teeth." By using an active ingredient in which the tooth is already made from, this mouthwash is able to strengthen teeth naturally.  Therefore, instead of causing wear and tear on tooth enamel, their product fills in places where bacteria would normally grow. While Apati-Dent is currently only available in Costa Rica, the rest of us eagerly await the product.   At Number8 we recruit computer science students with a sense of adventure and innovative minds. We believe that studying in a top-notch university prepares you for the fast paced tech market and IT. Are you interested in learning more about our developers, or do you think you are qualified to join our team? Then give us a call at (502) 890-7665 today!  

4 Artificial Intelligence Trends to Watch

We probably haven’t fully realized the extent to which AI has already been incorporated into our everyday lives. The Internet of Things (IOT), commonly thought of as smart devices, have now come to include household appliances, as well as handheld phones and speakers; all of which are voice activated and designed to follow through with commands. This much is clear: how we are currently interacting with technology is vastly reshaping the tech industry, and it has everything to do with artificial intelligence.  Both companies and governments are racing to develop the latest artificial intelligence platforms, with potential even in the medical and political arenas on the horizon. As automation continues to grow, so do cloud based solutions; providing the need for on demand storage. While people are quick to jump to the conclusion that AI is going to create a mass job exodus, it could very well fuel job creation as well. For example, there is a shortage of AI researches and engineers, and demand for those who can compile data efficiently. What follows are 4 AI trends to watch, and how they might affect the industry as we know it. 

4 Important AI Trends

  1. Logistics

    When it comes to coordinating facilities and supplies on a large scale, the robotic workforce is already taking over. Warehousing and distribution companies like Amazon are putting AI to work sorting and finding packages; a job that was once labor intense. 
  2. Automobiles

    The auto industry has grown leaps and bounds from OnStar vehicle and safety features. Artificial intelligence has allowed Tesla to bring the very first self driving cars to the street. Additionally, assisted driving features like automatic braking, parallel parking, and traffic alerts are now standard. The future holds more innovation, as Uber looks to implement driver-less cars. AI also continues to improve everything from automobile testing to software updates, problems and repairs.
  3. Data Analytics

    Many platforms are already running off of AI because it is simply better at analyzing data. AI algorithms are determined by machine learning from large amounts of data. Intelligent apps are able to make decisions based on patterns of behavior from said data. This is how music apps like Pandora and Spotify are able to recommend songs. Facebook for example already predetermines what users will or will not see, based off of their user data. As a result, AI platforms tend to be better at detecting security threats, fraudulent transactions or behavior. Additionally, when it comes to customer service, chat-bots are becoming popular with financial institutions in that they enable them to have virtual assistants 24/7. These chat bots are able to answer a customer's questions based off of prior frequently asked and answered questions. Even e-commerce is utilizing AI in terms of price fluctuations and targeted ads. For example, an item's price can change on it's own based on how many times it is being viewed, or sits in a cart. Specific buyer habits and personas are also being gathered via membership or reward cards.
  4. Content Creation

    Surprisingly, AI will affect both white and blue collar jobs as many marketing strategies now include some form of AI wether it be via custom videos, social media posts, or emails. In fact, articles are already being published from many reputable news outlets using not journalists, but artificial intelligence. AI is specifically useful when it comes to writing many variations of the same message, or financial summaries and earnings reports where numbers are merely being translated.
At Number8, we connect companies with IT talent and software developers that are fully trained in product development. By encouraging talent to come up with creative solutions, they remain motivated and positively contribute to a healthy company culture. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page.

Interested in A Career In IT? Here Are the Top 10 IT Jobs of the Future

Job growth in IT is increasing at a pace unmatched in other fields. Innovation in artificial intelligence and virtual reality alone have resulted in a redefining and merging of current roles as well as new positions in the tech world. While all of these require a diverse set of skills, they present a great opportunity to jump start and grow a career in Information Technology.

Here are the some of the top up and coming IT jobs:

  1. App Developer

    The apps on our tablets or smart phones have become the way we all communicate with one another, do business, and even consume news and entertainment; so it's no surprise that mobile application developers are in high demand. App developers not only dream up ideas, they execute them. To do so, an app developer must be knowledgeable in designing code, debugging it, and problem solving in general.
  2. Security Specialist

    As technology advances, new risks arise in terms of securing data, networks, assets and a multitude of other IT systems. Hacking into a business's or consumer's private information for example, has become more and more common. Therefore, an analyst's job is crucial to the success of any and every company. Security specialists not only fight cyber attacks, but are experts in risk management and preventing future crises.
  3. Database Administrator

    A database administrator is charged with compiling data in way that can be easily analyzed. Data is the most important building block in terms of how products and services  work properly. Administrators often have a background in security and are well informed in terms of the cloud.
  4. Dev Ops Lead

    A dev ops culture is one that is focused on a software's turnaround rate. A dev ops lead is one who bridges the gap between those that run code and those that write code all in an effort to increase the quality of development and delivery.
  5. Machine Learning Engineer

    A machine learning engineer works to develop AI machines that can learn from and apply data in a useful way. Such engineers are advanced programmers that can utilize algorithms to train systems.
  6. Web Developer

    In the modern market, every business needs to have an online presence in order to properly compete for business. Whether you're using a laptop or cellphone, websites should be able to work on any device no matter how they vary in terms of size or layout. A web developer can offer clients a competitive edge by creating web applications that are easy to use and provide excellent customer service.
  7. Network Analyst

    As more and more company's are utilizing the internet to conduct business, analysts are needed to ensure networks are secure, speedy, and operating efficiently no matter the amount of traffic.
  8. Software Engineer

    Software engineers design and develop software that enable computer systems to perform their applications. They also offer technical support by implementing software solutions.
  9. IoT Designer

    The internet of things is a term given to any device or object that is connected to the internet. These days, our thermostat, fridge, or car is an IoT in that they are connected and working to exchange information. A IoT designer therefore has a deep understanding of sensors and wireless communication, and works to enable objects and devices with the latest technology.
  10. Business Intelligence Analyst

    Business intelligence analysts interpret popular trends in their industry that shape how they can improve a company's business. To do so they compile data from within their own organization as well as from competitors.
At Number8, we connect companies with IT talent and software developers that are fully trained in agile product development. By encouraging talent to come up with creative solutions, they remain motivated and positively contribute to a healthy company culture. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page.

5 Myths of Working With an Offshore Development Team

Working with an offshore development team is becoming a popular alternative staffing solution in the software industry. Not only does it reduce operating costs, but it allows a company to build a team at their own pace. However, offshoring work comes with it’s fair share of misconceptions.

Here are a few common myths about the pitfalls of working with an offshore development team.

  1. The quality of the work will be poor.

    While trusting remote workers is reasonably hard for any employer or company to do, reputable offshore development teams have proven to help tech companies advance within the industry. As long as a partnership and relationship is established, and industry standard benchmarks are relied upon, the quality of work received will not be lacking.
  2. It takes jobs away.

    The fact of the matter is that U.S. based tech companies are facing a shortage of IT professionals. Offshoring some of the workload actually frees up current staff to work on reaching their goals. Developing the company’s end products is always more worthwhile than working on lesser routine and task oriented maintenance.
  3. It’s a security risk.

    Depending on the type of work that is being offshored, data privacy and intellectual property breaches can be a concern. Unfortunately, these security risks are just as likely to happen onshore as they are off it. Detailed contracts outlining who is liable can help curb risks and ensure everyone is compliant in terms of security needs. 
  4. We won’t be able to communicate with one another.

    In addition to the possible language barrier that comes with having offshore employees, there are also varying idioms, gestures, customs, and behavior norms that can throw communication off kilter. However, it is in no way impossible to find an offshore team that is either fluent in english, comfortable with a specific dialect, or capable of communicating through the right channel. In today’s world we are all connected online, and the agile project management method is specifically known for enabling more transparency between working partners. The idea that one cannot work in unison with those from other cultures is at most an antiquated idea as email, video chatting, and instant messaging allow for those from around the world to communicate with one another better than ever before.
  5. The time gap will mean a lag in productivity.

    In the IT world, completing projects quickly is crucial as ideas and and new technologies are always evolving. Depending on the geographical location of overseas partners, offshoring can often mean a difference in time zones and work day hours between teams. While this understandably seems worrisome, it’s important to remember there are many countries where part of the work day overlaps. Therefore collaboration can take place. If this isn’t the case, many companies make the difference in time zones work for them with round the clock support between both countries and teams.
Finding the right partners to grow your team and business is an essential ingredient for success. Why not utilize resources from around the world and open your company up to the best the industry has to offer? At Number8, we help companies create software products with the help of offshore development. If you questions about our consulting process and why we are the right offshore software development company for your team to work with, then give us a call at (502) 890-7665 today!

Business Process Outsourcing Most Startups Should Consider

Sometimes hiring full time employees can actually slow you down and prevent your business from growing. That’s why so many startups are looking to business process outsourcing for help. Instead of bogging employees down with clerical work, outsourcing could enable your organization to grow faster by focusing it’s talent more on the core of the business.

What is business process outsourcing?

Business process outsourcing (BPO) involves contracting out certain operations and responsibilities that either take place in the back or the front office to a third party. Responsibilities such as billing, human resources, and finance usually make up the back office or internal business functions of a company. Back office contracted work encompasses the following: purchasing, payment processing, insurance, retirement, hiring and recruiting, accounting, payroll, and general bookkeeping. Marketing, administrative duties, as well as tech and customer support, are operations usually performed by the front office. These are more external, customer and client related business functions. Any social media, telemarketing, app testing, help desk support, customer interaction via phone or email, scheduling, and data entry that needs to be done would entail front office outsourcing.

Companies can outsource to a variety of locations.

Offshore outsourcing occurs outside a company’s country, nearshore outsourcing is in a neighboring country, and onshore outsourcing happens within one’s own country but out of the state. There are pros and cons depending on the location of the contractor. For example, a dollar can go further in other countries, but time zones and language barriers may prove problematic. 

BPO is a popular startup growth hack in that it saves valuable time and money.

Outsourcing to skilled and flexible personnel allows a burgeoning business to build a team as they need to. This is ideal when compared to time spent searching for and interviewing the right candidates. Contractors are also flexible in regards to workload.  Additionally, they are an affordable solution in terms of benefits and the costs of training as well. Obtaining remote workers through an agency means they are already qualified and require less of a financial investment.  Both back and front office functions are integral to keeping any company running smoothly. By outsourcing business processing, tasks can be completed with the utmost speed and efficiency.  At Number8, we help fast growing companies find quality remote workers that creatively contribute to your business’s success. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page!

7 Ways Chief Officers in IT Can Improve Employee Engagement

An employee can either be an IT company's best or worst asset. For example, chief officers who do not prioritize employee engagement often find their employees lack energy and have a pattern of absenteeism. As a result, the company can suffer from high and costly turnover rates. However, it has been shown that employees who are actively involved within their company are not only more committed to their work but more productive as well. Properly engaged employees can move a company forward by solving problems as well as growing the customer base and increasing profitability. Here are 7 ways a chief officer in IT can help encourage their employees to feel emotionally connected to their work as well as have a stake in the well being of the company itself.

1. Provide Adequate Tools 

It’s important that employees not only have what they need to do the job, but the resources to go the extra mile as well. Too often tools and equipment are overlooked; impeding an employee’s path to success and preventing innovation within an organization. A simple and streamlined infrastructure ensures everyone is working in an environment that is efficient rather than bureaucratic.

2. Understand Their “Why”

Get to know why your employees do what they do. What motivates them to come to work everyday? Showing a genuine interest in their lives not only demonstrates respect on behalf of the organization, but it also provides valuable insight into how they will thrive most at work. For example, do they like public recognition, autonomy, responsibility, direct feedback, etc. Once you have a better understanding of your employees as people, you will find it easier to engage them in their work.

3. Cultivate the Right Atmosphere

Consider what kind of atmosphere best suits your organization’s culture, as the right one can increase performance. Don’t be afraid to reinvent the wheel by creating group work spaces or keep with traditional offices. Provide the option to have standing desks over sitting ones, background music, and flexible office hours. Catering to your employees personalities could go a long way in boosting their drive. 

4. Listen

Give employees with the opportunity to be heard. As a company, address their problems and take their ideas into consideration; even implementing them when possible. Giving employees a voice means the company can benefit from new ideas and solutions.

5. Foster Relationships

Chances are team projects will be more successful if employees enjoy working together. Encourage communication and host events where colleagues can socialize with one another, whether it be during a service project, mixer, lunch, or holiday party.

6. Continued Education 

Providing training or coaching to employees is the best way to prevent them from job hopping and even attracts new talent. Investing in your employees makes them feel valued and an important part of the team. Additional education also means the company gains more knowledge and skilled workers. 

7. Provide Incentives

Reward engagement with gifts, bonuses, and promotions. As chief officer, be clear about the company's goals and incentivize specific behaviors that fall in line with the overall mission. If employees receive honest and open transparency about what is expected of them, they'll have a better connection to their job and role within the organization.  At Number8, we help CEOs and CIOs connect with IT teams that use agile development to help businesses grow. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page!

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