What is Responsive Design?

Responsive Design

What Is Responsive Design?

The age of smartphones is upon on us, and the web is transforming to accommodate them.  According to an August 2013 article by Mashable, mobile web browsing is rapidly gaining popularity.  The study found that 11.1% of all web traffic in 2012 occurred via mobile devices, and that this percentage has since increased by more than 6%.  Currently, more than 17% of all web traffic occurs through mobile devices.  As the mobile browsing trend continues to grow, it is important for businesses to realize the importance of having a mobile-friendly version of their website.…

Chicago Energy Benchmarking Ordinance – Coming to a Building Near You

For years, the Chicago skyline has been known for its tall buildings. The Willis Tower, the John Hancock Building, Two Prudential Plaza, and the Trump Tower are all admired for their impressive size, unique architecture, innovative engineering, and beautiful interior aesthetics. Starting this year, these buildings, along with the rest of Chicago’s largest Class A buildings, will begin to be known for something else – energy usage.

Last September, Mayor Emanuel passed the Chicago Benchmarking Ordinance requiring all commercial buildings (larger than 250,000 square feet) to report their energy use starting June 1, 2014.…

Where Can Travelers Turn Next?

As a frequent flyer for both business and leisure, I like to maximize the number of miles I earn for a flight. My friends will say it’s obsessive and look at me strangely when I mention I’m going to add a stop in my itinerary just to capitalize on the 500 mile minimum. But all of this has a purpose. I enjoy being able to use my miles on trips that I would otherwise be unable to afford due to the fact that business class fares can be several thousand dollars.…

Heartbleed bug exposes millions of online services to security risks

Credit: heartbleed.com

This week, researchers from Codenomicon and Google Security publicly disclosed a critical bug in the OpenSSL cryptographic software package used by millions of internet connected services.  This weakness, referred to as the Heartbleed bug, allows anyone on the Internet to steal information from vulnerable systems by exploiting a protocol designed to ensure the security in network communications.  The amount of damage this bug may cause is not to be underestimated and thankfully a security patch has already been released.…

Natural Capital: Finding the Benefits in a Sea of Risk

As I previously discussed in my introduction to Natural Capital, the natural capital dependencies of your business can create risk across a variety of areas, including:

  • Financing: Increased lending requirements for firms with unstable flows of natural capital
  • Regulatory: Fines or lawsuits from degradation of shared natural capital
  • Customer: Customers switching to products with less natural capital impacts
  • Operational: Higher costs for obtaining natural capital
  • Reputational: Brand degradation from negative impacts to shared natural capital

Now, identifying the risks is the easy part; the difficulty comes in assessing the importance of those risks to the long-term health of your business.…

Data Warehouse Architecture: Inmon CIF, Kimball Dimensional or Linstedt Data Vault?

Corporate Information Factory (CIF) data warehouse architecture was pioneered by Bill Inmon. It is also referred to as top-down approach because it represent complete view of enterprise data. Data is stored in 3rd normal form (3NF) closely resembling source system structures. To capture historic data changes timestamps are added to each table key columns. Model does not support direct reporting and requires a layer of dimensional data marts.

Kimball Dimensional Data Mart approach was developed by Ralph Kimball.…

Using BizTalk to Integrate With the Federal Healthcare Exchange

As part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) healthcare payers in each state were required to integrate with a healthcare “exchange” if they wanted to offer products and participate in this new marketplace. These exchanges function like an online mall (similar to Amazon.com) for individuals to shop for, select, and purchase a healthcare insurance plan. Some states chose to create their own exchanges while others opted to use the federal exchange hosted by http://www.healthcare.gov/ (this is the website that was constantly in the news in the last couple of months of 2013).…

Sustaining Smart Grid Value: Tapping into Customer Energy Management (CEM) Benefits

Jeff Smith Web Headshot

Yesterday, I attended the 2014 Clean Energy Challenge, an annual clean energy competition hosted by the Clean Energy Trust. The audience and judges were treated to 15 student and start-up Midwest cleantech companies that were vying for $500,000 in prizes.

Not surprising, two of the companies centered around utility customer usage feedback: MeterHero is a Milwaukee-based early stage start-up and MeterGenius is Chicago-based company run by a group of Northwestern University students and faculty. In the end, Meter Genius ended up taking home the $25,000 McCaffery Interests Prize for Building Efficiency.…

Innovation Station: The New Conjunction Junction

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If you grew up on Schoolhouse Rock, like I did, Conjunction Junction rings a bell. Do you now have a song stuck in your head? You’re welcome.

The whole idea behind Conjunction Junction was “what’s your function?”- reminding kids that conjunctions exist to connect words, phrases and clauses. I believe that I have come across the adult version of Conjunction Junction.

Meet Innovation Station. In the spirit of maintaining the integrity of a catchy jingle/ rhyme:

Innovation Station, What’s Your Creation?

Getting started with Behavior-Driven Development in ASP.NET

By now, almost all .NET developers are familiar with Test-Driven Development, or “TDD” – the iterative software development technique has been around for about 10 years now, and being often associated with Agile development has kept it in circulation.

This of course means that we need new, lesser known acronyms to talk about – so let’s dive into BDD – Behavior-Driven Development.

Behavior-Driven Development is based off of Test-Driven Development and aims to unite software developers and business analysts with a common toolset for both defining and testing an application.…

Loyalty Expo 2014 Recap

Alex Foucre-Stimes

A couple weeks ago I went to Loyalty Expo 2014 in Orlando FL to hear industry speakers discuss new strategy and approaches to customer loyalty. The conference was hosted by Loyalty 360 and featured speakers from well known loyalty pioneers Epsilon, Brierley + Partners, AIMIA, Kobie, Maritz, and Comarch.

Here are some of the speakers and highlights:

“Is Your Loyalty Program Positioned to Deliver Maximum Financial Success?” – David Andreadakis workshopped a session on analyzing how your program delivers customer value using a mixture of Emotional and Behavioral Rewards.…

Repeatable Project Configuration – Best Practices for Team Software Development

Given that a series of highly unusual winter weather conditions have resulted in Chicago having colder same-day temperatures than the South Pole (seriously), many people in the city opted to work from home on the most inclement days. That includes myself, and working disconnected from my normal environment caused me to consider how important it is to make your solutions repeatable.

What does repeatability mean?

In the “pure” sciences, which the Sheldon Coopers of the world are all too quick to point out do not include Computer Science, the concept of repeatability roughly means that an independent third party can reproduce the results of an experiment given only the documentation of the experiment itself.…

The Power of Transparency

Companies are facing increasing pressure to share information with the public about their internal processes, where (and how) they source their materials, and the impact on the environment.  Frequently accompanying this pressure is the underlying fear that the more information a company shares, the more likely they are to come under scrutiny from the public.  However, the long-term benefits of being perceived as a transparent, socially-responsible organization can quickly surpass any initial pains associated with greater public focus. …

Moving to the Cloud: What Your Contact Center Needs to Know, Recap – Part 1

On Thursday, February 27, 2014, my colleague, Bill Parry, and I presented during the ICMI webinar “Moving to the Cloud: What Your Contact Center Needs to Know.” This is the first of a two-part recap of the key information we shared in that conversation.

Businesses today have an ever-growing interest in cloud technologies. This interest is now permeating into the customer service function of these businesses, raising the question: “Is cloud right for my contact center?” We see five key industry trends to support the consideration and migration of contact centers to a cloud-based platform.…

Technology Case Competitions: How to Evaluate the Ideal Technology Consultant

Many universities and companies sponsor case competitions on campuses nationwide.  These competitions typically range from business strategy case competitions to ‘hackathons’ (a pure coding competition).  While both of these competitions evaluate a contestant’s problem solving abilities, neither of them evaluates a candidate’s technological prowess and business skills simultaneously.  It is this combination of abilities that can separate an average technology consultant from the best.  As a result, West Monroe has set out to develop a competition that tests students’ technical and business skills in a competitive yet entertaining and educational format.…


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