I love Football Sunday. On a Sunday when I have nothing else more important to do there’s nothing more enjoyable to me than sitting down and watching a great game of football. Some of you may be looking at this post already thinking I’m crazy; football is not exactly related to development and I’ve heard more than once from my friends that the sport is as slow as molasses and about as fun as watching paint dry. Well, the thing that I really love about football is figuring out the strategies being employed by each team in the field. Football is a game of strategy and it’s often the team with the best strategy executing well on that strategy that wins the game.
It’s the topic of strategy that is linking football to the work you do as a developer or as a software solutions provider that is the importance of this post. I’m sure most of you will agree that while your efforts in solving the business problem at hand is critical to the success of your software development project, if you pick the wrong technology platform to start off with, you have a tough hole to climb out of.
The art of software development is a truly pragmatic one. When you are faced with solving a business challenge with software, you need to be objective in choosing the technologies to implement your solution. As the saying goes, “the right tool for the right job”. It’s this precise moment in software delivery and development that I find the most interesting and when I talk to small business solution providers about their challenges, it’s these conversations that I find the most fun to talk about.
Deciding on the right software development platform is never an easy one as every business challenge is different in either subtle or not-so-subtle ways. That’s why I love to see the many success stories of solution providers picking the Microsoft platform to build their solutions and delivering a great software experience to their customer with our tools. It’s rewarding to them and rewarding to me to see their success take flight.
I’d like to share with you two short examples of solution providers picking our platform. Both are different in their approach and goals, but both made a strategic choice to use Microsoft technologies to build their solutions are enjoying the success of their efforts as a result.
The first is MBC, a solutions provider and hoster based in Richmond Hill, Ontario. The were approached by Student Price Card, a business that offers discounts to a wide variety of stores and services for college and university students. They were in need of a robust e-commerce site that included an online portal and email distribution system for their members. MBC proposed a solution using ASP.NET 3.0, SQL Server 2005 and Exchange 2007, all built with Visual Studio 2008 and hosted on Windows Server 2008. The resulting online portal is here. The benefits the customer has derived from this has been dramatically increased uptime from the previous version of the portal, no IT staff to support it (as it is hosted), the ability to send over 1 million emails a month to their registered member list and a much better user experience for their users.
The second story I’d like to share with you is from Pink and Yellow Media, a design agency based out of Vancouver. This agency provides a number of design services for their customers, including the creation of dynamic e-commerce sites and skinning of blogs. Morten Rand-Hendriksen, co-CEO of the company, was introduced to Microsoft’s Expression Web product at the launch of the first version and decided to give it a try. The result was iZufall.com, a website for a customer that built the game called Zufall. With the exception of the photographs used on the site (which he used Adobe Photoshop to edit), the entire site was built using Expression Web and Expression Design. Morten has documented his entire journey on his blog (starting with the very first post!), including the good and the ugly with the first version of the tool. Since then, he has used Expression Web and Expression Design to create a number of other sites for his customers, including Nature’s Carpet (after the Flash intro page), a web store for all-natural carpeting and flooring, and several custom designs for blogs (mainly using WordPress as the back end engine). The truly interesting thing about this was Morten’s work in documenting his experience with the Expression tools online got him noticed by the Expression product team in Redmond who have asked him to write a book on Expression Web as a result. The book, Teach Yourself Microsoft Expression Web 2 in 24 Hours, will be published soon.
These are just two of the Canadian small business solution providers doing great things with our platform and tools. There are many others out there that are making strategic choices to build on our platform as well and I find it so rewarding as a Microsoft Canada employee to see so many Canadian small businesses choosing our platform and reaping the rewards in doing so.
As you can probably guess, we’re on the verge of adding some new and very important platform technologies to our product lines that will help you as a solution provider to build amazing solutions for your customers and business. I can’t wait to see what new and innovative solutions you come up with! If you feel like sharing your solution story with us, please let us know by emailing us or leaving a comment for this post!