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The mobile computing revolution

Build It BetterMay 8, 2014

Whilst mobile app usage continues to soar, studies suggest consumers spend nearly half their time using games and a third in social networking apps. It seems mobile is currently offering the most engaging experience on a personal level but how has this tremendous change to the way we think about computing impacted companies like Enable?

Two senior members of Enable’s development team, Matt Brooks and Matt Sharpe, explain how mobile computing platforms have facilitated growth and innovation for Enable and our clients.

Matt Brooks

Five years ago, we were building web application logic that ran almost exclusively on the server. In this model, the web browser was used as a ’thin client’ purely for presentation purposes, i.e. the user interface. Today, we build web applications that run a significant portion of the application logic within the web browser.

It is the emergence of mobile computing platforms that have helped drive the capabilities of web browsers and accelerate the adoption of web standards for both mobile and the desktop. A mobile device is bundled with a modern web browser and is updated (or replaced) regularly. This was not true in the days where desktop was the only platform. Users would be stuck on the same version of a desktop web browser that would rarely or perhaps never be updated. The popular mobile devices are highly capable in terms of computing power. This is good for Enable and its clients because it means we can deliver cutting edge user experiences targeting the latest capabilities of a modern web browser or mobile device.

4 min read

Enable’s most wanted: our favorite devices

Build It BetterMarch 18, 2014

Over the past decade, technology has revolutionised the way in which we manage our lives both at home and at work. We have come to expect easy, instant access to information and a constant connection to the world around us, creating a highly competitive marketplace for speedier, increasingly slick devices. But is the consumer as fickle as this ever-changing face of the future suggests? Perhaps not, based upon the opinions of our technology-savvy staff at Enable.

For Andrew Butt, co-founder and MD of Enable, the iPad has been “the biggest game-changer in computing convenience since the Blackberry.” Whilst not the first device to offer ’on the go access’, the iPad was first to nail its objective, changing the world’s approach to computing: “It’s not just about the ease of use with the iPad, it’s about the minimal time involved in running the device. With a PC there is an overhead in simply keeping the machine running, whereas with the iPad you can spend 99% of the time using it rather than constantly fiddling with it. Here at Enable, we’re great believers in optimized solutions and the iPad is a highly optimized solution for fast access to information”.

Andrew’s second favorite gadget proves his loyalty to an optimized solution, even after a fast fall from grace: the Blackberry. A device once widely referred to as a ’Crackberry’ in the United States due its excessive use by owners, Blackberry is currently in serious decline. Fighting back, interim CEO John S. Chen announced in 2013 “We are committed to reclaiming our success.”

Andrew’s right behind the crusade: “Pre-Blackberry there was no reliable way to manage email on the go. Like the iPad, the Blackberry was the game-changer of its time.” Andrew explains why he is sticking with the brand — “Blackberry is the only mobile device on the market with a keyboard. I can type much more quickly using this method than on a touchscreen. And, using a combination of Blackberry and iPad leaves me less open to email issues occurring at the same time, as the protocols and methods that each device uses are different so if email isn’t working temporarily on one device then there’s a good chance it will be working on the other.”

5 min read

New Year brings double success for Enable

Build It BetterJanuary 3, 2014

Chill-out space at Enable’s offices

Enable, a software company based in Stratford-upon-Avon, have double the reason to celebrate as we have been recommended for certification to the ISO 9001 Quality Management Standard and the Information Security Standard ISO 27001.

Sue Cook of First Quality Solutions has supported us through the process of achieving both standards and we are delighted with this success.

Managing Director, Andrew Butt says “We build custom software to meet the specific needs of our customers businesses which enterprise systems and off-the-shelf software can’t. Therefore high standards of quality and information security are important for us and our clients. We are delighted to have achieved these standards and would like to thank Sue and First Quality Solutions for their hard work.”

Consultant, Sue Cook said “We enjoyed working with Enable and have been very impressed by their standard of commitment to achieving the Standards. No non-conformances were raised during the audit which is a real achievement. In fact, the auditor commented that this was the first time in 85 audits.”

1 min read

Ride the wave of opportunity — developing the ‘mobile enterprise’

Build It BetterJuly 10, 2013

The history of business software, 1983, 2013, 2043

Mobile technology is changing all aspects of our business and personal lives. The way we communicate, conduct business and seek to improve the ‘customer experience’ is being transformed through mobile technology. There is an increasingly wide diversity of devices (smartphones and tablets) that allow users to access, communicate and utilise data at a rapidly growing rate.

As users get more engaged with mobile applications they also see more benefit. As a result, usage is increasing exponentially and the demand spiraling upwards. Greater awareness of mobile technology capabilities with business and consumer users is also creating greater expectations, and new ideas for applications are emerging across a wide range of devices.

So how can organizations ‘ride the wave’ of opportunity and respond to the growing demand for innovative mobile based applications and services reliably and at pace, to deliver the ‘mobile enterprise’?

Enable has identified three key areas to consider when planning mobile application development, based on our experience of working with a wide range of organizations:

2 min read

Andrew Butt interviewed by Elite Business Magazine

Build It BetterMay 12, 2013

Andrew Butt, Enable’s managing director, has been interviewed by Elite Business Magazine. The interview covers the history of Enable, challenges the company faces in the software industry and advice for budding entrepreneurs.

If you had one piece of advice for entrepreneurs, what would it be?

Decide what you’re going to do, make sure it’s something you are passionate about and focus on that exclusively. It takes enormous effort to create any success, and it’s very easy to spread yourself too thinly. With today’s constant, high-speed connectivity, mobility and cloud computing, the line between work and play is blurrier than ever. I don’t believe that entrepreneurs ever switch off so be sure to find something that you love doing.

The full article can be found over at Elite Business Magazine’s website.

Enable attains Microsoft application development competency

Build It BetterMarch 3, 2013

Enable is delighted to have attained Microsoft’s Silver Application Development competency.

Enable has been a Microsoft Partner for many years and is exclusively focussed on developing custom business applications. Our goal is to develop the best cloud-delivered business applications using Microsoft technology.

Andrew Butt, managing director, commented: “We’ve been massive advocates of Microsoft technologies for application development since we started Enable 13 years ago. We are experts on the Microsoft .NET framework, SQL Server database and associated web technologies, and it’s good to formalise our position with this silver-level competency from Microsoft. We see this as an excellent opportunity to build on our relationship with Microsoft, and in turn provide even better solutions to our clients.”

In order to earn the competency, many of our software developers had to first become Microsoft Certified Professionals, which required them to study Microsoft technologies over a number of months and to sit exams. In addition, we had to work with a series of customers to create references and case studies, which were then verified by Microsoft.

2 min read

Green shoots of growth in Stratford-upon-Avon

Build It BetterFebruary 1, 2013

Enable — the Stratford-upon-Avon based software development company — opened their new £1m offices today with Stratford-on-Avon MP Nadhim Zahawi cutting the ribbon for the official opening.

Enable was started in 2000 by Denys Shortt OBE and 16 year old Andrew Butt. The duo met whilst learning to fly helicopters at Heli Air.

Over the past 12 years the company has grown to employ 30 people with annual sales of £2 million.

The offices are a Google inspired design with bright colored furniture from Space Oasis and ergonomically designed chairs and desks from Herman Miller.

Andrew, now aged 29, says: “We are delighted with the new offices which have created an amazing and motivational working environment for us. The extra space gives us a real opportunity to grow the business. We build leading edge bespoke software for businesses and these offices have allowed us to stamp our unique mark on the industry.”

Visitors to the office opening included Stratford District Council CEO, Paul Lankester, and other local dignitaries as well as Enable customers from P&G, Wolseley, DHL, NHS, Alcumus and Corporate Rewards. The opening event included briefings on Cloud-based technology and The Internet of Things.

2 min read

Government derailed by spreadsheet errors

The Deal EconomyDecember 28, 2012

The fiasco of the West Coast mainline rail bidding process has brought the potential pitfalls of spreadsheet reliance to national attention.

Quite apart from embarrassing the Department for Transport and the Government as a whole, the DfT announced last week that the cost to the taxpayer of the bidding scandal has now risen to £55m and counting.

Issues within the bidding process were revealed after Richard Branson’s Virgin Trains issued a formal complaint after missing out on the contract to continue running the line to First Group.

A subsequent investigation into the bidding process by a team of accountants from PWC revealed that the spreadsheet from which all calculations were derived was fundamentally flawed.

The discovery was made after officials explored a complex economic model — known as the GDP resilience model — which was designed by the Department of Transport to rigorously assess the risk attached to bids and the amount of money that should be put up as deposit.

3 min read