Data

Get Ready for the Data Revolution
Get Ready for the Data Revolution 855 590 Anthony Peake

Real-time data transforms lives. It allows people to make decisions based on reality. And it allows organisations to be more effective and efficient in everything they do.

When it comes to some of the most vital services in society – social care, education, bin collections, looking after the vulnerable – we are still not realising the true potential of data. Although a new study carried out by Software Solved highlights this very fact, I do believe we are on the verge of a real-time data revolution across local government.

We surveyed 38 unitary, city, county and district councils across England and the findings are revealing. You can get your copy of the Local Government Data Revolution Report here https://www.softwaresolved.com/localgovdata

The survey, as covered by media including Local Gov News shows that 92% of councils say that it is important or very important to running improved, cost-effective, services, though just 19% admit that they are effective at using their data.

And in spite of disparate IT systems, departmental silos, lack of skills and tools being seen as barriers, 95% of local authorities have started or plan to invest in data visualisation in the next 12-18 months.

 

 

Change is happening, with 97% of local authorities recognising that improved data visualisation tools will be of value to their council, yet only 19% of councils feeling that they can easily access the data they hold today.

For many years the technology simply did not exist in a format that could readily be used by non-IT experts and internal barriers, such as departmental silos or the lack of skills and tools to make a real impact, were seen as too tough to tackle.

But data visualisation tools like Microsoft Power BI are now affordable, easy to use and incredibly powerful and you no longer need to be an expert in data and the outcome can be incredibly exciting – making real-time informed decisions becomes the new reality.

Working with the right partners there is now a way to harvest existing data, set up robust data warehousing and use simple data visualisation tools so that real-time data use becomes the norm rather than the exception.

The likes of Camden Council, Lancashire County Council, Leicestershire, Doncaster, South Hams and West Devon District Councils are shaping services, shifting resources, achieving savings to move towards a more democratic, informed, accurate and cost-effective way of running public services.

Insurance Survey: Unlocking the Power of Data to Produce Actionable Insights
Insurance Survey: Unlocking the Power of Data to Produce Actionable Insights 1024 683 Anthony Peake

The team here at Software Solved love problem solving. We’re pleased to share some of our useful resources and insights with you. These have been selected based on the areas we’ve helped our clients with. We hope you find them useful and if there’s anything we can do to help you, we’d love to talk to you.

We love solving technical problems. We’re pleased to share some of our useful resources and insights from our work developing bespoke software for clients.
Insurance: Unlocking the Power of Data to Produce Actionable Insights
Data has been called the new oil, the lifeblood and a valuable currency. So, insurers are fortunate in that most have vast amounts of this most precious commodity. But, are they maximising its potential or is it too often an untapped resource?

There’s no doubt some insurers are starting to leverage the value in their data, even if an elite group is starting to pull away from the rest of the pack. However, as the rise of InsurTech shows, size is no barrier since smaller providers can prove highly effective through using with the right technology and, not least, having a forward-thinking mind-set when it comes to sharing data.

Whether or not insurance is playing a big enough role in the data revolution is a moot point. The technology now exists to connect legacy systems, while machine learning and analytics allow for transformational work to take place, with the goal for many insurers being to turn their data into actionable insights. The question is, will this remain a goal or become a reality?

Software Solved, who work with a range of large and small insurers to deliver Risk & Claims Management Systems as well as data rich Customer Portals, are seeking to better understand this crucial area and so we conducted a research project, in conjunction with Insurance Post. This involved speaking to around 60 providers, covering commercial and personal lines, and with those providing opinions including directors and professionals from various disciplines including underwriting, claims, risk management and IT.

Download this report from an in-depth analysis of the research findings.

How Does Business Process Mapping Relate To IT And Systems?
How Does Business Process Mapping Relate To IT And Systems? 1024 683 Jon Hogg

Business Process Mapping (BPM) can be an incredibly valuable exercise for an organisation. In the simplest terms, it visualises and defines the processes within an organisation. Not only does this help provide clarity to job roles and business procedures, it can often be the catalyst for changes that improve a business’ efficiency and performance.

What is a Business Process Map?

A Business Process Map is the documentation that prescribes how problems, information and decisions are processed. It identifies a roadmap to solutions by documenting the necessary steps in any given process, from managing data flows to fielding client requests. They help analyse, understand and improve segments within a particular process, thereby improving efficiency.

Flowcharts are a common format for Business Process Maps, documenting workflows and activity from beginning to end. This will include the many variables within a process, such as feedback loops, ad hoc inputs and decision gateways. At any one time, a stakeholder should be able to see all the available options and directives.

What should Business Process Mapping cover?

It is essential that a Business Process Map is clear and detailed. In theory, an outsider should be able to review a Business Process Map and have a strong understanding of the activities and responsibilities within an organisation.

Effective Business Process Maps will provide clarity to operational roles and will often cover workflows across multiple roles within a business. This can be invaluable when onboarding new employees or clients and decreases the training time required.  This also helps delineate responsibility and remits, which can be a significant obstruction within large organisations.

What are the benefits of Business Process Mapping?

In addition to the operational benefits of a Business Process Map, they also provide significant organisational value. BPM considers specific objectives, which can then be compared and aligned to an organisation’s wider goals and objectives. This helps outline performance and can highlight processes that are either working efficiently or require improvement.

One of the key benefits relates to quality assurance and management. Process documentation is required for compliance with many valuable quality accreditations, such as the ISO 9001 standard. As data security becomes more critical to a business, an effective Business Process Map demonstrates the actions and contingencies an organisation employs to safeguard data

Who should use Business Process Mapping?

Business Process Maps are an essential tool for project managers overseeing operational delivery. However, they can also be relevant to c-suite executives, particularly chief operating officers, to review and analyse how a business is performing. This can be crucial when scaling a business or making an organisation more agile to adapt to market developments and innovations.

So, whilst there are many reasons to use BPM, they can all be summarised as improving efficiency and performance across an organisation. But how does this extend to IT and technology solutions specifically? In our next blog, we’ll be talking about how business process maps play a critical role in a business’ path to digital transformation.

The New Age Of Business Intelligence And Data Visualisation
The New Age Of Business Intelligence And Data Visualisation 1024 512 Jon Hogg

Businesses have always amassed data, however the rate at which it is created has grown exponentially. Globally, we output 2.5 quintillion (that’s 18 zeros) bytes of data every day. Estimates suggest that 90 percent of the total data in the world was created in the last two years.

There are now myriad electronic devices, all connected to one another in an ever-expanding network of data generation. However, for all the data amassed, organisations are barely scratching the surface of what it is capable of doing and translating this into real commercial value.

In short, there is a vast amount of data at your fingertips, just waiting to be utilised.

Data Visualisation for Any Business

Until recently, business intelligence (BI) solutions were only available to global organisations with vast budgets at their disposal. One of the key barriers to entry was the ability to interpret these immense datasets that businesses were acquiring. As inter-connectivity has come to the fore, so too have BI solutions that answer the question of ‘what can I actually learn from this data?’

Tools such as Microsoft’s Power BI have bridged this gap, opening data visualisation up to more businesses than ever before. Businesses and organisations of all sizes and industries can now take advantage of the value in data visualisation and business intelligence. It has helped to democratise data, enabling powerful data analysis and decision making in a fast, accessible and easy-to-use platform.

Business Intelligence to Inform Decision Making

Power BI provides the tools to not only assimilate data from vast sources, but to interpret it as well. This is a crucial factor for executives, who can now immediately examine the data that is relevant to them and draw immediate conclusions. This leads to more informed and responsive decision making across a business, driven by actionable data insights.

Today, every business is a data-driven business. Utilising this data properly could create tremendous value for businesses. From greater market understanding, to more effective trend forecasting, the answers are now there for anyone to see. Powerful analysis can link the dots between data and performance, revealing new insight and opportunities.

Customisable Data Visualisation for Businesses

More importantly, platforms such as Power BI are customisable to the needs of a business. All businesses have different requirements and needs from their data, so a customisable and interactive platform is essential. It can help bridge and connect data silos from marketing, finance and sales, breaking complex data into clear insight across all departments and functions.

Even now, BI solutions and their applications are developing at a rapid rate. That’s why the BI market has exploded and is set to grow to a value of $22.8 billion by the end of this decade. It will become the cornerstone of high-level strategy and decision making, which was once impenetrable without vast budgets and specialised resource.

If you’re interested in business data solutions and would like to discuss your business requirements, talk to us today or call us on 0203 281 7342.

How System Audits Help Charities Improve Efficiency
How System Audits Help Charities Improve Efficiency 1024 682 Jon Hogg

All businesses face pressure to make the most from tight budgets. It is charities and non-profits, however, who experience this pressure more than most.

Improving Efficiency and Productivity

With complex governance and shoestring budgets, the third sector needs to make every penny count. System audits offer an effective way of maximising an organisation’s efficiency. In fact, they could be one of the most profitable projects you undertake.

A system audit may not seem like the most effective use of time or resource, but they can be. System audits make every penny spent on IT and systems work far harder. Whilst they may not represent a direct return on investment, they improve efficiency and productivity of the entire organisation.

Preventing a System Crisis or Breakdown

Regular system maintenance is far more cost effective than an entire disaster recovery. If a system were to malfunction, the unexpected cost of repair can be crippling. When it comes to your IT and systems, prevention is far better than the cure.

Not only do system audits help keep your system network healthy, they identify problems before they become critical. Often, breakdowns arise from simple oversights that a system audit would catch.

Maximising the Return on Investment of a System

There are few better ways to improve organisational efficiency than a system audit. By assessing how stakeholders use systems, they often highlight knowledge and skills gaps that you may not be aware of. This ensures that systems meet their full potential, whilst also identifying new opportunities. If you need to improve or modernise a system, an audit will highlight it.

System audits also reveal new opportunities for innovation and integration. By better integrating disparate systems, you can streamline processes and avoid duplicating work. This helps free up resources for more beneficial tasks and improves efficiency.

The data that system audits provide about operations is invaluable when considering investment. It will help prioritise particular systems and identify what needs to be maintained, modernised or replaced. This helps build a clear picture of your system network and the true value of an update.

Supporting Digital Innovation for Charities

Organisations process more data than ever before, with data security becoming increasingly important. One of the more technical benefits of a system audit is that it provides more control of sensitive data. This is even more crucial for charities, who often need to optimise pathways through complex and regulated processes. If you’re thinking GDPR at this point you’re on the right track.

Charities and non-profits are already acknowledging the need to embrace new technology. This will have a drastic impact on how charities operate, internally and externally.

In this way, regular system audits have never been more valuable for charities. Each new innovation presents a new set of questions; ones that system audits can help answer. Only through regular health checks can an organisation be confident in the long-term viability of their systems.

Otherwise, you could find yourself throwing good money after bad – something that charities can ill afford to do.

If you are a charity or non-profit who need support with an external system audit, talk to us today or call us on 0203 281 7342.

System Audits in the Insurance Industry
System Audits in the Insurance Industry 1024 658 Jon Hogg

The insurance industry is frequently accused of being slow to adapt. We often hear about the burden of legacy systems and how they cause problems for the industry.

It’s no surprise when you consider the scope, disruption and cost of updating a legacy system. Yet, with so much money left on the table and businesses at risk from more agile competitors, insurance firms must face up to modernisation.

So, when is the right time to maintain, modernise or completely replace a legacy system? This is a difficult question to answer, but regular system audits can help solve this problem.

Adapting legacy systems

As the insurance industry grew and developed, systems had to adapt to meet the demand. This meant patches and updates beyond a system’s original scope, which complicated them.

Many of the legacy systems used in the insurance industry will be decades old. Countless updates will have transformed them, adapting to each new regulation or requirement.

Modernising or replacing a system can be a big risk for an organisation. Nobody wants to disrupt business critical systems. What if the new system doesn’t work as intended? Or your clients and customers don’t like the changes?

If a system stopped working one day, the decision to invest in something new would be much simpler. But it won’t. It will keep plugging along. A new process here; a rushed update there.

That’s the problem. Legacy systems still ‘work’. But how well?

When should you update a legacy system?

A system audit looks at how your organisation uses all your systems. It gives you precise usage data and identifies priorities for modernisation or replacement.

This is often invaluable when trying to build a business case for investing in new software. Without this information, it’s almost impossible to assess the true value of an update.

In short, system audits help answer the question of whether you should maintain, modernise or replace a legacy system.

New technologies in the insurance industry

So, why has the insurance industry been slow to update ageing legacy systems? According to a survey by Willis Towers Watson, 42% of senior level executives believe that complex regulations slow digital adoption and innovation.

It would be easy to dismiss new technology as another regulatory hurdle to overcome. In reality, the insurance industry stands to gain more from developments such as the Internet of Things or data visualisation than most. More data points and machine learning assist with risk profiling, as well as the accurate and timely provision of data.

Of course, firms shouldn’t adopt these technologies in isolation. You should consider them in relation to the impact they will have on the performance and security of existing systems.

Again, a regular system audit helps ease the adoption of new technologies. It considers your entire system network, identifying appropriate solutions for the wider business.

Systems audits and business agility

We know that global insurance firms are being disrupted by more nimble competitors. Today, more than ever, business agility is imperative to remaining competitive. Firms must adapt to new models and ways of operating quicker than ever before.

For example, the market is currently experiencing a trend towards self-service and customer experience. Whilst this is most prominent in consumer insurance, we know from our own experience that corporate and commercial insurance isn’t that far behind.

How do you know when to adopt these new practices and technologies? A system audit builds a picture of how your business uses its systems so that you can prioritise accordingly. In other words, it helps a business stay agile.

By understanding your current systems, it is easier to assess the value of new technology. You become better informed and can be quicker to adapt when it is necessary.

Instead of reacting to changes, firms who use system audits can proactively plan for them. It creates a forward thinking culture, rather than one that is always fighting fires with patches and updates.

Which, if we’re being honest, is something that the insurance industry needs to be better prepared for.

If your business needs support with an external system audit.

2018 – The Year of Data Visualisation (across every department)
2018 – The Year of Data Visualisation (across every department) 1024 432 Anthony Peake

Departments across companies of every size have been screaming out for better ways to visualise the data they have into real actionable insight. However, until today, the IT teams have struggled to help each line of business to deliver their own dashboards easily. Now with advanced, yet low-cost tools like Microsoft PowerBI it has never been easier to build interactive dashboards and finally deliver timely management information that is helping companies to deliver real-time insight for Sales, Marketing, Finance, HR, Operations and IT Management.

Making data more engaging, internally and externally.

At Software Solved, we are called upon by the smallest and the largest organisations to help them not only bring their data to life internally, but to also make this highly engaging data available via customer portals so their customers, resellers, partners and suppliers can build much closer and interactive relationships. It is based on this increasing demand, and the fact that these tools are becoming increasingly easy to use and cost are rapidly lowering that I predict that 2018 will be the year for Data Visualisation across every department.

In a recent survey that Software Solved undertook in the Insurance Industry, we found that 78 of insurance companies stated that sharing real-time data with customers and brokers was either Important or Very Important, and yet when asked how advanced these Insurers are today with delivering real-time data, only 22 felt they were Good or Very Good.

Increasingly, sharing real-time data internally across your Sales, Marketing, Finance, HR, Operations and IT, and externally with your customers, resellers and suppliers is becoming a huge competitive edge that I believe no business will be able to afford to ignore in 2018.

So, who should be looking into Data Visualisation in your company?

Head of Finance

Finance usually get good data from their accounts systems, but have lots of departments requesting data and PowerBI would be a great tool for them to make the departments have self-service (drawing on data from multiple systems / spreadsheets)

Head of Sales

No matter which CRM system you use, sales management very rarely have good dashboards showing leads, pipeline funnels, proposals sent, targets, performance and upsell/cross-sell opportunities. Therefore, PowerBI will be a great tool for you to overlay on Salesforce, Dynamics, Sugar or whatever the CRM or sales tools

Head of Marketing

Marketing would kill to be able to demonstrate the ROI from marketing campaigns and also to control sales and ensure all their wonderful leads are properly followed up and the results into pipeline can be tracked.

They also would kill to know which campaign, to which industry, hit with which target demographic, so that in future you can target your campaigns better and manage the marketing budget more effectively. Tools like Microsoft PowerBI are ideal for this.

Head of Operations

Tracking manufacturing, stock levels, spares and workshop activities involves so many different supply chain and operations systems. The ability to get visibility across all these processes and then to deliver increased operational efficiency and greater customer service, should make Data Visualisation a must for Operations team.

Head of IT

IT not only needs dashboards for themselves, to be able to track server up-times, system patches, security vulnerabilities and roster staff, but also are key influencers in delivering systems and dashboards for every other department. Therefore, Data Visualisation should become a key tool for IT teams in every industry.

Head of HR

Tracking employee sickness, holidays, training as well as issues and advancement is key to HR management and is an ideal opportunity for using Data Visualisation. Delivering dashboards of recruitment campaigns to each line manager as well as tracking the effectiveness of university undergrad recruitment programmes and apprenticeships will deliver increased efficiency and effectiveness to the HR function and can be delivered quickly and inexpensively with tools like Microsoft PowerBI.

If you’d like to know more about Data Visualisation, and PowerBI in particular, you can find out more by  talking to us today.

The Business Case for Regular System Audits
The Business Case for Regular System Audits 1024 682 Jon Hogg

We call them ‘healthchecks’. You might call them ‘system reviews’. But, whatever name they go by, system audits are rarely an easy sell with the director or the board. They can take a long time to complete, the associated costs may not have been budgeted for and they might divert resources from the delivery of other business projects.

Whilst that may sound pretty damning, the truth is that they actually provide value and competitive advantage, if you know how to leverage them. So, if you’re struggling to get sign-off, we’ve prepared the business case for regular system audits…

System audits improve cost efficiencies and return on investment

One of the major benefits of a system audit is that it can help you assess how those systems are performing. Whether it’s shelfware or a bespoke system, you need to ensure that you’re getting a return from your investment and the system is performing as it should be.

Whilst this could mean examining the underlying code, a system audit also takes how the system is being used into consideration, identifying solutions to improve efficiency and performance.

Many organisations will have business critical systems, yet fail to properly utilise them. In the case of legacy systems, many of your most senior employees may not know how a system functions, which can cause significant inefficiencies and is, in essence, a wasted investment and use of budget.

It’s important to remember that the person or team performing the audit need to be impartial, which is why businesses often engage a third party or external supplier. This ensures that there is no vested interest in the review, so you don’t end up with the developer of a system trying to gloss over it’s flaws and inefficiencies.

System audits can be required for valuable system accreditations

As data and information security becomes more important to clients and consumers, demonstrating the security capabilities through an accreditation or industry standard will become even more valuable for businesses.

Often, accredited certifications and regulatory frameworks will require evidence of regular and robust system audits. If your business wants to achieve or maintain ISO 27001 standards, you’ll need to have a system audit in place.

Not only will a system audit help you demonstrate that your business meets the necessary standards, it will also identify any problems and resolve them if there are gaps in your system security.

System audits ensure legal compliance with licensing agreements

A robust system audit will consider the terms of your software licensing and any compliance issues that you may not be aware of. It may not sound exciting but it could save your business tens of thousands of pounds.

If you’re a large business or enterprise using shelfware, eventually the publisher will come calling with a software audit request to ensure that you’re fulfilling the terms of your contract. They want to see if you’re using more software than you should be, which they are legally entitled to do.

The number of software audit requests are only going to increase as well, as publishers like Microsoft, IBM and Adobe respond to rising cloud integration, which makes the issue of licensing significantly more complex.

As software is moved to a cloud environment in your own data centre, you open yourself up to a number of licensing issues. For all of the benefits, it also makes it very easy for users to take on more services than they need and violate license agreements. In fact, because it is harder to track, simply moving to the cloud may alert a publisher that it’s high time for a software audit.

A system audit, however, catches this early and rectifies it by identifying if you are overbuying or underbuying, which is well worth doing, because…

System audits protect your business from penalties and outstanding fees

If you are found to be using more than your agreement indicates, you could be liable for penalties, retroactive charges and outstanding licence fees. By this point, it will be too late to revise your licence and someone will be in hot water for not having identified the problem sooner.

Of course, regular system audits can prevent this from ever happening, ensuring that you’re fully compliant with your licensing and terms of service. Not only that, they also minimise any business disruption software audit requests can have, by providing readily available usage data.

So, it’s pretty plain to see that in this case, the prevention (a regular system audit) is much, much better than the cure (paying a lot of money in penalties).

If your business needs support with an external system audit, or to discuss your business software needs, talk to us today, or call us on 0203 281 7342.

Xamarin – a year on. (Part 2 of 2)
Xamarin – a year on. (Part 2 of 2) 1024 576 Tom Kington

Following on from Part 1 earlier this week, Tom now takes us through how exactly Xamarin can help you with cross-platform development.

If you missed Part 1 – catch up here.

How Will It Help Me

  1. Code sharing – by sharing up to 95% of your code across platforms you reduce the amount of duplicate code between platforms, as such, you dramatically reduce the development effort involved, this of course reduces the cost of the project significantly. We were able to save one of our clients over 30% on the initial cost of their project by choosing Xamarin Forms over native development. The saving also translates to the long term maintenance costs of the App over its lifespan
  2. Testing – since you are able to share a significant amount of code, Xamarin lends itself well to unit testing. Unit testing can automate the testing of logic and visual elements reducing the amount of time required to perform manual testing. Additionally, the Xamarin Test Cloud allows you to perform visual unit testing on physical devices (many more than you could ever hope to test on manually) rather than emulators or simulators so know exactly how layouts will render on real devices
  3. Quick time to market – since development and testing effort is reduced, the time to develop your App and get it onto the App Stores is much quicker than a native App
  4. Integration – there are thousands of third party libraries and plugins available for things like authentication, social media, payments, offline storage etc. so you can extend your App almost limitlessly. Additionally, cloud services such as Azure and Amazon Web Services can be easily integrated with to provide central storage, hosting of REST APIs, push notifications etc.
  5. Language – Xamarin uses C# and the .NET Framework to implement Apps, as such anyone familiar with these technologies can learn to develop using Xamarin. Furthermore, C# developers tend to be more cost effective when compared to more specialist developers such as iOS and Android developers, this is usually reflected in the cost of a Xamarin project
  6. Future ready – the Xamarin platform is a solid platform on which to build Apps for the future. More platforms are being supported all the time and updates are rolled out regularly. Similarly, when Apple and Android roll out new features or APIs, Xamarin Apps have access to these right away so there is no penalty for using Xamarin over native
  7. University – the Xamarin University is a structured learning portal with regular seminars presented by Xamarin experts. Once the necessary modules have been completed, you can sit exams to become certified. Software Solved are now a Xamarin Authorised Consulting Partner and know all there is to know about Xamarin
  8. Community – Xamarin has a fantastic developer community with experts who are happy to share their knowledge so any problems can usually be resolved through these channels

The Conclusion

Put simply, Xamarin can do anything a native App can do (plus more); you can leverage all the native functionality of a device, provide a native UI and achieve native performance. Furthermore, you can target all the major platforms including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, MacOS, Linux etc. and share up to 95% of code between the platforms. All this and cheaper than native development! So, if asked whether I would use Xamarin again – that would be a big fat YES! In fact, there would need to be a very good reason to even consider developing a fully native App given what Xamarin can do for us and the time it can save. Even if approached by a customer wanting an App for iOS only or Android only I would still have to recommend Xamarin, not least because inevitably when they did eventually want support for other platforms, it would be a lot simpler than writing a new App from scratch.

If you want to know more about our cross-platform development services and our skills with Xamarin, talk to us today.

Xamarin – a year on. (Part 1 of 2)
Xamarin – a year on. (Part 1 of 2) 1024 576 Tom Kington

Introduction

So here we are, almost a year after we embarked on our first Xamarin project and we have successfully delivered said project and become a Xamarin Authorised Consulting Partner for good measure. But what have we learnt and what are our thoughts about the platform after using it in vain? Hopefully we can shed some light on these questions but first let’s go back to the beginning…

The History Lesson

The year was 2007 and Rhianna was telling anyone who would listen about her Umbrella, exciting as it was, of more interest to us was the launch of the iPhone/iOS and Android, as we know it today. Before long we saw Apps emerging for all sorts of different uses – travel, finance, insurance, gaming, productivity, health, education and so on. Soon, organisations of every size had an App and they became a part of daily life for people across the globe.

The Problem

The development of these Apps was fairly straight forward – each platform had its own Software Development Kit (SDK), Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and emulator/simulator. If you wanted an iOS App you would find an iOS Developer who would use XCode and their Mac to develop the App using Objective C or later Swift. Similarly if you wanted an Android App you would find an Android developer who would use Eclipse or later Android Studio to develop an App using Java. The problem was many organisations wanted an iOS App and an Android App (some even a Windows Phone App – I’m saying nothing) but were finding that it was expensive to develop separate Apps. The Apps typically implemented the same business logic, accessed the same Web APIs and to a degree had a similar User Interface (UI).

The Solution

The team behind Xamarin (who had previously worked on Mono – a cross platform implementation of the .NET framework) saw this problem and sought to provide a solution. Using their work on the Mono project as a starting point they looked at how C# and .NET Framework code could be compiled to native platforms including iOS and Android. Several years on and Xamarin has evolved quite a bit. Xamarin are now a subsidiary of Microsoft, as such they have benefited from increased funding, added R&D and better support, all of which has resulted in a more stable platform, better development tools and more features.

How Does It Work

We already had tools like PhoneGap and Ionic, which allowed us to develop cross platform Apps but the problem was they were not truly native. All we were doing was wrapping a responsive HTML5 website into an App, as such it did not look or feel native, was not as performant as native and could not make full use of native device functionality or APIs. Xamarin however produces a fully native App, the UI is fully native, the performance is as good as native and all native functionality can be leveraged without exception. Xamarin works by wrapping the native libraries with a .NET wrapper so you can access all the native features using C#. Additionally, it provides a framework to allow us to build Xamarin Forms Appz along with many useful libraries and API’s for tasks common to mobile Apps.

Later this week, in part two, we’ll look at why all that technical jargon means Xamarin is the perfect choice for cross-platform development. And don’t just take our word for it, remember, we’re a Xamarin Authorised Consulting Partner!

Or if you’re ready to get stuck into your project, talk to us today.