To keep your head above water in today’s competitive world you must stay unique and original. Though that is no easy task.
Custom software, for example, can play a major role here by ensuring you a rapid onset. It is specifically designed to swiftly adapt to any unique preference, and is a real game changer, compared to traditional off-the-shelf software which is available to a larger audience.
To find out how developing outstanding software and ensuring its cybersecurity can prompt your digital transformation journey, we reached out to Matthew Tabin, CEO at 2am. Technologies – a provider of innovative enterprise-strength tools for automating organizational processes.
Let’s go back to the very beginning of 2am.tech. What has the journey been like over the years?
We have been around for over nine years now, and we have been working remotely since day one. Persistency is crucial to keeping core values and togetherness in a globally distributed company.
We started our initial cooperation on mutual respect and understanding; we wanted to spread these positive notions throughout our company. It is essential to create an atmosphere where our colleagues and employees have the opportunity to get deep fulfillment and sincere happiness. It was crucial to emphasize people.
Therefore, the journey has been like a surfing career. You start on smaller waves, and as you go to bigger waves, you crash occasionally. You're almost drowning. But the point is to get back on the board and find those big waves you can ride like a pro.
Is it easy to be always persistent and close to your core values? No. Is it rewarding to see so many people can access remote work and provide for themselves and their families from every part of the planet? Well, that is something special.
Can you introduce us to what you do? What are the main challenges you help navigate?
We are passionate about building outstanding software and always aspire to do more. As partners in our clients' business evolution, we put dedication and excellence at the heart of every project. Throughout our years of experience in the IT industry, we excelled in our software development abilities. Understanding clients combined with a passion for software development inspired a discovery road to expand our way of work.
Mostly we are focused on tailor-made software solutions. What does it mean? In many companies, everyday processes are still manual, time-consuming, and repetitive. Throughout our discovery sessions, we try to go under the skin of the business and articulate, from a tech perspective, our clients' needs.
For example, we had a lot of enterprise solutions with multi-tenant software applications or customer-facing websites and portals. We cover the entire Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). From the discovery phase, requirements analysis, and design to the development, implementation, and maintenance of the software we built. It is not just about the service - we go on a mission to understand, develop, nourish and convert ideas into a tangible reality.
What do you think are the most common problems companies run into on their digital transformation journey?
If you think of it, it is challenging in many ways. I mean, we live in the digital era backed up with flexibility and an agile mindset. If you start from scratch, you're in the headstart as you can set the digital foundations of your processes and avoid heavy transformation as you grow.
However, can you imagine companies with their systems established for decades and the efforts they need to put into achieving proper digital transformation?
The first thing that comes to mind is the lack of a proper digital transformation strategy. Change management and its implementation are crucial. We use the digital transformation term because automating processes and getting new software is just one part - something we can put under that digital part of the syntagm. Transformation is a tough one to handle. It means companies aim to achieve an entirely new way of doing something core to their business; something they did extremely well for so many years, even decades.
Software introduction is just the tip of the iceberg. It is essential to provide extensive training sessions and support employees throughout the transformation process. It can also help in overcoming the challenging complexity of enterprise-level software. One of the thought-provoking models is ADKAR (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement), with a theory that any organizational change equally requires individual employees' change.
Digital transformation is challenging as companies going through it should be ready to transform their way of work on so many different levels. If they don't address one of these levels adequately, their efforts might go to waste.
Why do you think companies often hesitate to try out new and innovative solutions that would enhance their business operations?
Well, it might be due to company culture and management mindset. Organizations with manual processes and old legacy systems are often in the comfort zone of an archaic way of thinking and the inability to embrace the new reality.
A company willing to try out new solutions in its business operations needs an in-depth understanding of automation and innovation. Many companies do not understand how to test out and measure their ROI. There is no equation set in stone that can provide an exact ROI number. Part of that is that they struggle to understand their current spending.
So, the main question is: How do you know how much saving a few hours for a segment of employees will increase revenue?
People don't always understand that automation and innovation increase the accuracy of reducing mistakes. Therefore, it is necessary to decide what constitutes ROI. Not knowing the benefits of your investment may reinforce the fear and uncertainty of change.
We worked with many companies from data-sensitive industries. One of the biggest concerns that we know of is data security. The software solution must be cutting-edge in preventing any possible security breach or potential data loss through unauthorized access. On another note, innovative solutions are expensive. Hesitation doesn't have to be in the culture or employees' resistance. It might be due to budget constraints.
How did the recent global events affect your field of work?
We were a fully remote company well before the pandemic. Yes, we had significant growth, but we didn't identify it with the recent global events. One obvious thing is that many people wanted to work remotely, which opened up a bigger talent pool for us.
If anything, recent global events have proven the effectiveness of a remote distributed workforce. It allowed people to further get away from the idea that outsourcing is wrong. That complements your previous question and only confirms that digital transformation is imminent for many companies. Those who adapt and embrace the new reality will strive, while others might not be so lucky.
Numbers are straightforward. The emphasis is on results, not on the physical presence. There is a significant increase in remote workers, and companies need to rethink and design work arrangements that can revolve around the new way of work - remote.
What aspects of our daily lives do you hope to see automated or enhanced by technology in the upcoming years?
It's probably a medical diagnosis and overall machine learning principle in the healthcare industry. So, we should work towards technology improvements to simplify processes in healthcare.
For example, if you input all biometric parameters and symptoms, an algorithm can find what is the pattern-matching candidate for the cause of those symptoms more accurately and quicker than a lone human doctor. The medical diagnosis can be effective in helping prevent disease and significantly lower the mortality rate.
As the world gets more connected, what security tools do you think everyone should have in place to keep themselves safe?
The biggest one which stands out to me is for people to secure their portable devices. They hold an incredible amount of information about you and are one of the most desired avenues for an attack. At least everyone should use some if not all of these:
- VPN - Your company might be just one of the progressive ones having everything secure and using HTTPS. So, you might not need this. But, from our experience, this is not the case for most companies. VPN is a mandatory tool. The most useful VPNs will encrypt your traffic, especially if you are on a public, non-secure network like a cafe.
- Firewalls - A follow-up to VPNs. Your data is valuable, so you should protect your device from outside access. Some of the benefits of using a firewall, besides stopping spyware, are traffic monitoring and analysis, which helps establish multiple levels of protection. It also promotes privacy as it helps to keep your and your client's data safe.
- Password managers - We still need passwords. An average person has around 100 passwords to remember. Using the same password everywhere is risky. So, the best alternative? Use a password manager and let it create and store a password for you. You only need to remember the password manager's password.
- 2-factor authentication - Passwords are not enough nowadays, and most people (no matter how much we want to) do not keep strong passwords for their accounts. If you are one of these, at least add 2-factor authentication to the equation. Even if people guess your password, they won't be able to log in without your device (or better - a USB key!)
- Antivirus Software - Even if you are not visiting shady websites, you should have antivirus. Yet a lot of people do not have one.
What advancements and innovations in the software development field do you hope to see in the near future?
It would be great to see a more robust code and more investments toward best practices in coding. As a company, we thrive by being professional and responsible for our part of the work.
We have languages like Rust that enforce a safer way to program. Maybe some people will complain about fighting with the compiler. But their code is optimized and works well. So, we see that as a great advantage because the compiler shows you a better and more optimized way of coding.
In addition, it would be great if everyone added some automated processes to check the correct structure of code in the project. With these two combined, people would make a simple and more maintainable code and achieve a much better quality of work.
Would you like to share what’s next for 2am.tech?
Recently, we initiated the development of a couple of our in-house products. We aim to launch these products in the near future and try to build upon them.
I can't expose too many things, but one product we are all excited about will help many companies convert their ideas into reality. We will try to combine our expertise in understanding the pain in the client's business with our technical knowledge to offer a solution.
Above all, the plan is to continue our growth, and the challenging part - is to keep our 100% project success rate impeccable.