If I were running a bar, restaurant or hotel, I can imagine that I’d be pulling my hair out right now. So who, in early 2020, thought that we’d still be operating under COVID-19 lockdown measures in January 2022? Luckily, my skill set has given me a better understanding of software development and technology than catering or hospitality. As director of an IT company, I’m happy to say that Bright Side of Life has taken to remote working as a fish to water. Let me tell you about our year.
Various flavours of lockdown
In March 2020, we entered the first lockdown, with everyone working from home. We made the transition fairly quickly. After all, we’re a technology company, already using and working with a range of cloud services. While some of our strengths are teamwork, close partnerships, and easy social contacts between colleagues, we quickly discovered that Google services (Meets, Chat/Hangouts, Workspaces) made it easy to create the same community spirit online. Our planning, project management, and agendas were already online, as was our standup/work planning system.
Like many of you, we’ve changed our working arrangements several times over the last eighteen months. Due to the current COVID-19 lockdown measures, we work at our offices around 50% of the time.
Productivity during COVID-19 lockdown
Because our project and time management systems are online and easily integrated, we can link different systems to provide a real-time overview of our development projects and performance. It’s been straightforward to show that remote working during COVID-19 lockdown has had no impact on our productivity. We worked on around 45 projects during 2021, and of these, just three were more than one day over budget! At the same time, we increased the amount of work completed by more than 12% compared with 2020.
Our performance has improved. And our customers have reaped the rewards of software delivered on time and on budget – which are core principles within the Bright Side of Life. Our software development experience and advanced planning tools help us provide accurate budget estimates. As a result, each successful project completion demonstrates that IT projects do not inevitably result in overspends and delays.
More of the same?
We’ve continued working on projects for many of our existing clients, some of whom have been clients of BSL for more than twenty years. We’ve, of course, adapted our processes, as we very rarely work on-site due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. However, this has not damaged our performance, and in many cases, we have more regular contact with our clients than ever before. And it helps the environment that most of our team are working from home, therefore saving on their travel time and costs.😄
Moving to the Cloud
We continually adapt our technology to meet clients’ new demands. And while we’ve been moving services to the Cloud for several years, 2021 has seen large corporations adopt Cloud technology with a passion. Indeed, two of our major global clients have started Azure projects, and BSL has supported this migration. We’ve successfully migrated complex Java applications, web services and databases to Azure during 2021. And I have to say, Azure is proving to be much more transparent regarding costs and more straightforward to configure than Amazon Web Services. Of course, Microsoft was not first out of the block with their Cloud services, but we’ve been delighted with the support and services they provide. You can learn more about two of these projects in earlier blogs:
- Integrating powerful AI search capabilities within apps and web-services
- Oracle migration to Azure SQL database
We’ve also been busy working on a significant project using Machine learning tools. More about that project is available here.
Spice is the variety of life
While we founded BSL on the principle of providing long-term customers with continuity and helping them to improve and evolve their software, new customers are always welcome. Likewise, our engineers and designers welcome every opportunity to broaden their skills. 2021 has provided them with many options.
- For example, an international startup asked BSL to develop an integrated API platform that links e-commerce websites with major marketplaces, including Amazon, BOL, eBay and many other sites. Using an easy-to-use feed management interface, users can connect their inventories, enrich their content, and make their products available to millions of shoppers. Identity management, payment systems, databases, website plugins, vendor API’s and more play a role in this project, offering challenges to our Java developers, PHP developers and web designers. About 45% of our work is complete, with the remainder expected in 2022.
- And if this all seems a little complex, we’ve worked on a simple iOS/Android app designed to make it easier for elderly smartphone users to reach key family members and their care workers. Fun to write, and more features planned for 2022. And while we’re focusing on apps, we’ve recently completed a new Canon of the Netherlands app (also for iOS/Android), designed to help children get to grips with Dutch history.
- I could provide many more examples of new developments, but I’ll highlight just one more for now: the Beleev Video player. The client has asked us to develop a multimedia player for schools that help special-needs children. Not only playing videos using screen-based menus but also controlling lighting systems and providing the children with feedback to help them improve their skills.
There is a consistent line linking these very disparate projects. They all draw on the creative, multi-talented designers and developers within BSL to deliver solutions. It’s what we do best, and while there is such a demand for our unique team, long may it continue.
Get in touch
You are always welcome to contact the Bright Side of Life to discuss your software ideas. We’d love to talk to you about your project, large or small. Apps, web applications, system integrations, AI, Cloud services – we like to think we could help. So just get in touch, and we’ll set up a call. We’re looking forward to meeting you!