UNICON has extensive experience in both agile and traditional software development methodologies and works with each client individually to agree on a methodology that best meets the client’s requirements – advocating agile methods wherever possible. UNICON considers many factors when choosing a project methodology including client staff availability, project parameters such as functionality, schedule, and cost, as well as the type and quantity of required project artifacts such as requirements, architecture, design, and test plan documents.
UNICON’s project management service is led by a team of versatile, highly talented and experienced project management consultants that have led complex projects throughout all phases of the software development life cycle using both Agile and more traditional approaches. Our goal is to replace the traditional customer-supplier paradigm with a paradigm of one team focused on a single mission – successful, on-time completion with quality of a system that continually meets or exceeds our customer’s expectations.
Advances in test automation and continuous integration tools have made test automation a cost effective technique for raising product quality. UNICON has been a leader in this area, providing test automation solutions to our clients, as well as conducting frequent, hands-on training courses focusing on Ruby, Cucumber, and WATIR.
Supporting today’s datacenters requires a host of skills and techniques including server configuration and management, network design and layout, and OS virtualization. UNICON brings extensive industry experience to our clients. Our background in high-availability, fault tolerant, and internationally deployed, integrated hardware/software products provides us with a unique perspective on designing and maintaining rock-solid infrastructures.
When beginning a mobile development project, UNICON takes special care to focus on the project’s end goals. UNICON recognizes that the rapidly changing mobile technology landscape and the ubiquity of mobile devices leads some organizations to rush into a mobile development project without first considering the various options to achieve the end goals. UNICON prefers to first analyze the client’s existing web presence and other end-client interaction, and then develop a mobile strategy. The strategy may include items such as implementing simple tweaks to an existing website to make it more mobile friendly, developing all or part of a website using a responsive design, developing a mobile-optimized website variant, or a true mobile application that takes advantage of the inherent capabilities of today’s mobile devices.
Since the 2001, agile development methodologies have been supplanting traditional development methodologies. Their ability to incorporate end users into the development process and better handle changing requirements has shown that they are a better choice of methodologies for many projects. Through its direct experience in application development, and experience providing agile training to a broad group of industry practitioners, UNICON is able to bring a realistic, pragmatic approach to agile consulting – focused on helping clients achieve real, tangible benefits rather than simply employing agile techniques.
UNICON believes that conducting an effective business analysis for a client is a multi-step process. It begins with the UNICON analysts learning about the client’s current environment and processes (if they do not already have that knowledge), while developing a mutually respectful relationship with the client. The next step is an iterative one whereby the combined team works to identify the root problem the client is trying to solve. Often, the team arrives at a problem statement that is different than the one in place at the beginning of the project based on a deeper understanding of the root problem. Finally, UNICON applies a problem-solving mindset to produce multiple potential solutions to the problem – each with an associated set of costs and benefits – and works with the client to identify the preferred solution.
The task of combining multiple legacy systems and processes into a single coherent process requires careful analysis and planning. Using experience gained through its long history of working with real-time, distributed systems, UNICON works to create a comprehensive integration plan, showing how each component piece fits into the larger picture. The integration planning process includes an analysis of intersystem interfaces, legacy data quality, system availability requirements (downtime planning), data migration/transmission durations, hardware and software procurement lead times, user training schedules, and numerous other considerations. UNICON strives to reduce overall risk by confirming assumptions and testing system interfaces early, outside of the project’s critical path.
Documenting the “As-is” and “To-be” states and the corresponding roadmap to get from one to the other requires broad industry experience and the ability to analyze and understand the client’s current environment. UNICON uses senior level project members who have this kind of experience and ability to help clients with strategy development. Strategy development projects are often a “superset” of other service offerings – including Business Analysis, Project Management, and Application Development – that also require the team to create a compelling explanation of how following the roadmap from “As-is” to “To-be” will provide an achievable, effective action plan to achieve the client’s end goals.
Organizations have an ongoing need for independent assessment of their policies, procedures and standards to meet changing technology and regulatory requirements. UNICON brings a combination of both public and private sector consulting experience and broad IT experience across many industries to its governance projects. UNICON understands the need for organizations to create and maintain open, effective, non-discriminatory methods, procedures, and tools to conduct their business processes. UNICON strives to help these organizations develop consistent, repeatable, documented policies and processes that facilitate their operations.
Developing and executing an effective Risk Management policy for a client demands that the implementers have expertise in many areas including: knowledge of the continuously evolving threat environment, understanding of industry current best practices and products, the ability to analyze and understand a client’s network and physical infrastructure, and the aptitude to analyze and assess a client’s business landscape and market competition. UNICON has performed numerous successful risk assessments for its clients, which typically follow a three phase process. The first is the analysis phase which consists of data gathering and possibly a penetration test. The second is the internal analysis and production of findings and recommendations. The third is the presentation and review of the final results. UNICON strives to actively involve the client throughout the assessment, sharing observations and reviewing intermediate results and conclusions such that the client is aware of the key points of the final results before the presentation.
One of the key considerations for any system implementation, upgrade, or consolidation, is the process of transferring data between storage types, formats, or computer systems. The challenges with data migration are numerous including identifying multiple legacy data sources, performing a thorough analysis, and creating cleansing, de-duplication and transformation routines. Helping users identify effective strategies for coping with incomplete, inconsistent data is usually a critical step in achieving overall success in a data migration project. Based on past experience, UNICON has learned to approach data migration projects from an economic perspective, constantly examining the cost of transferring and improving the data against the associated costs. For example in some cases, leaving low-value legacy data in place may be more cost-effective than developing a complex data migration procedure to a new repository. UNICON has expertise in assessing these tradeoffs, presenting various options to clients, helping them make decisions, and developing ongoing operating procedures based on the decisions.
Today’s businesses are increasingly moving toward data warehousing and large dataset analysis as part of the natural evolution toward information rather than simple data. Accordingly, the ETL technology that supports data warehousing is becoming more prevalent and critical to businesses. UNICON recognizes the many challenges inherent with any ETL project including understanding disparate data representations, semantic meanings, source-to-destination data flows, and cross data source time synchronization handling. UNICON considers a variety of factors when implementing an ETL solution including availability and staff familiarity with ETL tools, understanding of the end goals of the destination data source, and data volumes and update frequencies.
Organizations implement Data Warehouses as an investment into understanding and gaining business value from their operational data. UNICON recognizes that the investment cost is usually significant and that the sponsoring organization has a specific set of known purposes – such as reports and analyses – that it wants to derive from the warehouse. UNICON further recognizes that the business purposes frequently evolve, with users often gaining additional, unanticipated benefits once the warehouse is in place and users can explore new “what if” scenarios. UNICON has helped clients across various industries plan, design, and implement their data warehouses.
The number of data collection devices (along with their corresponding data sets) in today’s society is growing at a rapid rate, often leading to very large – often unstructured – datasets that do not lend themselves well to traditional data storage and analysis technologies such as Relational Data Base Management Systems. UNICON understands the inherent differences between structured, row-oriented, terabyte sized datasets versus unstructured, column-oriented, petabyte or exabyte sized datasets. A common challenge in Big Data projects is to carefully control the scope and expectations for the project to be in line with what today’s tools and technologies can support.