How to Choose an IT Partner
Carl Thomas | September 2, 2013

Working with the right IT partner can make a huge impact on your business. Here on the Wyred In Blog, we’ve documented some of the tremendous results our IT optimization services have gotten for clients, as just one example of how an effective IT partner can impact your business through:IT partner

  • Increased efficiency/effectiveness
  • Improved morale
  • Decreased turnaround time
  • Cost savings

The right IT partner gets results.
Ultimately, all the benefits of an effective IT partner should lead to revenue generation while optimizing the costs of their engagement – and what business doesn’t want to maximize its profits? But, choosing the right IT partner can seem like a challenge. Where do you start? What questions should you ask? How do I pick the right one in the sea of candidates that contact me daily?

To help you get started, I’ve identified some core factors you’ll want to identify in a potential IT partner:

  1. Superior communication skills. A key area of interest for leaders is the relationship between CMOs and CIOs. Building a stronger relationship between marketing and IT will be critical for organizational success. A successful, savvy IT partner will have team members and leaders with translation skills – that is, the ability to speak the language of both the business and the technology.
  2. Effective scoping skills. Particularly when working with cross-organization projects like big data, asking the right questions is a key trait in your IT partner. What questions are we trying to answer? What’s the ecosystem that we have to bring together to answer that? Why are we doing this project? Understanding what big data can and can’t answer, then taking the right steps to match these insights to your business needs or wants, is a critical part of a successful IT partnership.
  3. Solid business and technology skills. This might seem like a no-brainer, but an effective IT partner – before starting any IT work – will want to understand your business and how it works…think business processes. Your business should drive your technology, not the other way around! The combination of business and technology skills go hand in hand when it comes to helping organizations achieve more through technology. A solid knowledge base and understanding of each is imperative to a successful IT partnership.
  4. Responsiveness and customer service. In every business, there are people who are there to do a job and go home. Then there are the truly stellar employees who are there to make their bosses and their employers look good – who truly care about doing the best job possible. You want that stellar employee’s outlook in your IT partner. An IT partner’s first priority should be to make your business look good and achieve more. You should come first. And it’s your IT partner’s job to be responsive to your questions and needs, and to provide you with the highest level of customer service possible. If you’re getting less than that, you’re with the wrong partner. I think that on the whole, you should always seek out that level of service first when searching for any type of business providing a service to your company. That’s why we often talk to people we know for references – getting an opinion from someone we trust can be invaluable. But sometimes you can’t get that firsthand account. In those instances, it’s your job to ask questions. Ask them what you’ll get when they’re done. Ask them about previous experience and how it applies to your situation. This is an example of ‘delivering before selling’ where you can see them working your problem instead of providing you marketing or sales material. It’s their job to prove to you they’re the right IT partner for your business. If they shy away from answering questions, they’re not the best choice.
  5. Offers a visual approach. As an IT provider, my main points of contact can range from CIOs to a range of non-technical business professionals. As I mentioned above, the ability to communicate across all disciplines is critical, but in a highly technical specialty, the ability to communicate visually is also incredibly helpful. Put more simply, your IT partner should be able to communicate the plan to you in a way where you just “get it.” Tech-speak can be dizzying for most professionals (even IT people, from time to time!), but diagrams and blueprints do more than throw terms at people, they show them how it will work. Ask potential IT partners to show you examples of solutions that have worked, and walk you through them. How they walk through other people’s solutions will give you an idea how they’ll communicate with you – and that’s critical to understanding how a long-term relationship will work out. You’ll be getting an idea of what it will be like to work with them by the way that they work with you during the selection process.

The right IT partner can help you with a specific project, or they can be a long-term strategic ally in your business. By looking for these five key traits, you’ll help ensure that the right IT partner is along to help you reach your goals. It’s what we do every day here at 5Wyre. If you’d like to talk to us about reaching your goals through IT optimization, IT consulting or other services, give us a call – we’re here to help!

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Performance Tuning and IT Optimization – Getting Results
Carl Thomas | July 24, 2013

I spend a lot of time talking to clients and prospective clients about performance tuning and IT optimization, and the dramatic impact those services can have on cost and efficiency within organizations. But sometimes the best way to talk about the benefits of a particular service is to look at real results.

We recently helped a large client in the healthcare industry on the cusp of implementing a $60 million dollar software program, affecting nearly $3 billion dollars of their business. Suffice it to say, this client wanted to ensure the project was implemented smoothly and was fully optimized to make the biggest impact on their company.

IT optimizationThis project recently completed, and I thought it was a great example of how some of our services at 5Wyre get results for clients. Here’s a basic rundown of the project and its results to help demonstrate why we’re so passionate about performance tuning and IT optimization.

Our work for this client was broken down into three distinct and sequential steps:

  1. Assessment. 5Wyre completed a thorough readiness assessment that included risk curves based on conversations with the client, evaluating how well the application suite was tested, how well the system would be monitored once in went into production and how the software was written. The assessment also looked at the infrastructure from a monitoring perspective and a back-up resource perspective as well as the client’s in-house application knowledge.
  2. Remediation. After reflecting on the significant risks identified in the report, the project launch was postponed. To remediate the issues determined in the readiness assessment, manage the application/operations monitoring and test the remediation project plan, 5Wyre deployed a six-person team comprised of experienced application, data and infrastructure architects to work with the client team. The 5Wyre team worked directly with the project lead to manage the remediation effort, lead the application and operations monitoring track of the remediation project plan and coordinate the testing track, which included the definition and completion of true regression, performance and parallel testing of the project.
  3. Performance Tuning/IT Optimization. While working in remediation, 5Wyre architects were assigned specifically to performance tuning, ensuring that the software was performing to its maximum potential. Our performance tuning efforts encompassed three main areas:
          • Software testing – Using our unique “black box” approach, we fully analyzed the software to determine what areas were causing lags in performance.
          • Hardware environment change – 5Wyre testing determined that software performance could be dramatically improved with different hardware. Before we could make any changes to the software, an overhaul of their hardware was implemented.
          • Analysis and tweaking of software – Once the hardware overhaul was completed, 5Wyre architects moved forward with comprehensive testing of the software to determine what additional steps could be taken for enhanced performance.

The Results
Prior to working with us on the project, the client wasn’t accomplishing their desired tasks during nightly batch processing. After 5Wyre’s team conducted performance tuning and IT optimization, the software completes every task and report needed and expected during the evening…in 5 hours. Every time. Consistently.

Our clients constantly tell us that they want consistency and reliability. That’s what we were able to deliver here – with a significant cost savings and increase in productivity for the client.

Through performance tuning and IT optimization, we were also able to reduce the duration of contract jobs that had been running 21 days. Following 5Wyre’s services? They were reduced to three days. A reduction of 86%!

While these results are specific to this client and project, our team here at 5Wyre has the robust skill set and experience to assess and devise a plan for any company and industry. We design our solutions to help you maximize your IT investment. Plus, we truly enjoy getting such incredible results for our clients.

Do you have an IT optimization success story? We’d love to hear it – feel free to share it in the comments section below.

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Why You Should Consider Automated Regression Testing For Your Business (And How to Get Started)
Carl Thomas | July 3, 2013

Do you know how your organization performs its regression testing? With so many elements to IT, it can be overwhelming to think about every aspect of your IT department. But when it comes to regression testing, there is significant opportunity for improvement – and that can have a big impact on your bottom line.

Manually executing testing scripts is the common method for regression testing, and it is immensely prone to error, creates long cycle times and relies heavily on human resources. Manual testing can also make it difficult to capture the necessary data, application and network characteristics required to create a repeatable process.

What does this mean for you?

It means that manually executing testing scripts offers significant opportunity for lost time, resources and cost. It is costing your business money and results…and yet it is entirely preventable.

Automated regression testing leads to improved results.

Here’s a basic look at the automated regression testing process:
Automated Regression Testing Process

You might notice that our automated testing diagram focuses on a “capture” methodology to drive data insights. This is opposed to the manual testing used by some companies, where rather than an automated capture of data, a programmer would instead manually type test cases into a manual testing tool.

An automated testing life cycle offers less risk and reduced cost, while providing frequently improved results. Our automated testing approach here at 5Wyre has led to typical results in test automation percentages of 70 to 80%, or higher. Plus, it has resulted in:

  • Reduced labor and cost
  • Improved quality
  • Improved accuracy
  • Improved employee morale
  • Cycle time improvements and deployments

Perhaps the biggest benefit of automated regression testing is agility. With faster data, your QA team can focus more on analysis than on the actual testing and collection of data. They can do their jobs more effectively, so that you can be more agile and make changes quickly to keep your project or initiative on track.

With that increased speed and agility also comes an opportunity for performance tuning throughout the process. Using an automated testing process and the tools that help facilitate that process, you can get a better look at opportunities for performance enhancement within your software, and it can help you see a bit into the future to understand what could impact your performance down the road.

How to get started.

Making the switch to an automated regression testing environment, first and foremost, requires a commitment from the leadership in your organization. Understanding the benefits of automated testing means that you are ready to make the switch for better results, increased agility and reduced cost. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Be sure you have the right tools. Making a commitment to change is the first step, but to implement automated regression testing you’ll need the right tools and technology. Work with an expert (we can help!) to assess your current tools and suggest which tools and technology you’ll need to implement automated testing.
  • Work with an expert. As we mentioned above, working with an expert can help ensure you have the right tools to get started. But most importantly, they can guide you through the process and make sure you are well equipped to not only get started, but to maximize automated regression testing within your organization.
  • Understand how you use the system. It is extremely important for your IT leaders to understand how you are using the testing system on a day-to-day basis. You will want to capture that workflow to understand what happens at certain times. Understanding the system itself and how you use it is key to maximizing your investment.
  • Get the right people in place to manage change. Any type of change requires effective change management. Make sure your team is on board with the switch, and have the right people on board to manage the change in process. Education is important here as well – ensuring everyone fully understands why the switch is being made, and how their role may evolve to take advantage of it. As I mentioned above, the primary benefit of this switch is agility – ineffective management and preparation of your people can get in the way of this agility, and have a negative impact on your results.

Automated regression testing can make a big impact on your organization. Here at 5Wyre, we work with organizations across the globe to help them leverage their technology investment. We can help make your transition to an automated testing environment easier – give us a call to find out more.

Big Data – An Introduction
Carl Thomas | May 14, 2013

Big data is a hot topic in the tech world today. As experts tout its value in the market, there’s one thing that seems to be missing: a basic explanation of what big data is and how it can impact your business.

Your Introduction to Big Data

Understanding Big DataAt its core, big data provides meaningful information from a sea of data. Some of that data comes internally from your company, and some of that data comes from external sources. The key to understanding big data and its potential lies in understanding those data sources and how they relate to one another.

With big data, it’s important to focus on patterns. What you know about your company should be matched to data sources outside of your company to provide you with answers that you don’t have. Focus your efforts on discovering the “next big idea” for your company.

Just remember – with big data you can look at data and say what will happen, but you won’t know why.


You might wonder just how the reality of big data applies to your business. Here at 5Wyre, we work on optimizing organizations. Some examples of an application for big data could be in response to the following questions:

“I wonder if I should offer this product or service?”

“I wonder if I need to offer this kind of discount to increase sales?”

With the right internal and external data, big data can provide you with answers to these questions.

The First Steps

Now that you have a basic introduction to the “what” of big data, we’ll go through the three (3) steps in the process of big data. This should help you understand how big data can deliver the insights mentioned above, and how you can best maximize it.

  1. Assessment/Inventory – First things first, acknowledge the data you have and what you know, but also what you don’t know (what you need). It’s important in this first step to understand where to find the right external data source. Pick the wrong external data source, and the quality of the results will suffer. It’s important at this step to also determine your goals from the data. Ask yourself, “What types of things am I going after?” Asking this question at this point can help you to determine if you’re going after the right thing – you could absolutely come up with an answer you didn’t expect!
  2. Pattern Match – Once you have examined the external data and your internal data, it’s time to look for a pattern between the two sources. New technology can examine both data sources and look for patterns inherent in the data. In bringing together those data sources to look for any correlation, you may discover a question that hasn’t been answered before (but should be!) or you may discover that you’ve answered some questions incorrectly.
  3. Look at What Comes out of the Correlation – Now that you have the patterns/correlations between the data sources, go back to your original goal and what you wanted to learn. Does it answer your original question, or does it ask something else? At this point in the process, it’s important that you understand the answer that comes at this step – even if it doesn’t fit your original question. Understanding the answer here helps determine the next step (if applicable) in the process. You may end up repeating the process several times and coming up with unanticipated answers each time – this can be extremely valuable information! Line up any answers you get and examine them closely – you may be able to discern a logical answer to your question, or you may even see a different question that should be asked altogether.
  4. Rinse and Repeat (Maybe) – As I mentioned above, you may end up going through this process several times to find answers that help you reach your original goals. It’s important here to understand that the process of big data is dynamic. This understanding in following the process can help you be a more agile organization. If your answer doesn’t align to the question or you feel you need to change the question itself, go back and start the process again. But as I also mentioned above, keep your trail of breadcrumbs and track any and all answers you receive. Although they may not seem like logical conclusions to your questions by themselves, together they could present you with the information you need.

I hope that you understand the importance and impact of big data and its potential a bit better than at the start of this post. And if you have more questions about the impact of big data on your organization, just reach out to us – we can help you leverage your technology investment to drive results for your business.

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