Tallan Blog

Tallan’s Experts Share Their Knowledge on Technology, Trends and Solutions to Business Challenges

How I Found Myself Involved in #WomenInSTEM

#WomenInSTEM isn’t a movement I ever expected to get involved in, even as recently as six months ago.  That said, I couldn’t be any happier that I’m part of a team that is taking on this subject head-on.
So – backing things up a bit – I joined Tallan in May of 2018.  I quickly noticed that our own office is, by a vast majority, male consultants.  This made it all the more exciting to learn about the scholarship program we put in place at the beginning of 2018 to promote the #WomenInSTEM movement.
Plans to keep the scholarship going in 2019 were in place before my arrival, but the team that put the program together wanted to do more, and I wanted to be a part of that.  I worked with some of our own #WomenInSTEM, alongside a few fantastic educators…

Chosen as an advocate for Women in STEM

Most of my life I have been the only female in the room in a male-dominated profession.  No matter what obstacles I faced, I persevered and found myself at a great company called Tallan. I was honored when Ben Fischbein, a colleague of mine here at Tallan, approached me and acknowledged my achievements as a female programmer.  He shared his findings about the scarcity of women in STEM while offering me the opportunity to present to the students of Conard High School about the importance of women in these fields during their Computer Science Education Week.
To open my presentation, I wanted to connect with the students about why there is a gender gap in STEM.  I had asked the students what they had thought an artist looked like and I featured a picture of a painter, a musician, a male…

Why Insurers Should Be Helping Their Customers Complain More, Part II

Let’s jump right back into the thick of this topic.  In the first part of this blog series, we discussed why insurers should be empowering their customers to complain in fairly general terms.  Check out the link to our Decision Maker’s Guide to Complaint Enablement for more background on this topic.
This post dives deeper into a few key metrics: retention rates, customer lifetime value, and quantity of feedback gathered.  To do so, we’ll take a look at the financial impact of non-complainers.  While you read, it may also be helpful to consider whether you are currently measuring or utilizing any data to achieve similar goals.
Before getting to specifics, here’s a quick recap of what was covered last time:

J.D. Power’s 2018 research tells us that the industry average score for providing a satisfying purchase experience is 839 out of 1,000.1
For an…

Migrating SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)

For most Microsoft IT professionals, migrating or updating a native mode SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) installation from one version to another is a rare, if not once-in-a-lifetime, event – and probably one you would prefer a root canal to.  Because software upgrades of all types tend to get postponed as long as possible, if you find yourself finally tasked with such an upgrade, several unpleasant things are likely true:

The effort is in crisis mode, driven by software (SSRS, OS) going off support, hardware becoming unreliable, or a line-of-business application that must itself be upgraded but cannot be until SSRS is.
The current installation was not done by you and whomever did is long gone, so you are not that familiar with it and would frankly rather not be. SSRS is not your “thing”.
The current installation is poorly documented, if at…

Live Webinar on 11/29! How Digital Strategy Helped American Financial Resources Compete

Do you have lunch plans next Wednesday, 11/29? If not, why don’t you plan to treat yourself to some takeout, and register for our Webinar.
Our Live at Lunch Webinar features Bill Packer, the Chief Operating Officer of American Financial Resources (AFR) and our New York Region Managing Director, discussing the strategy surrounding AFR’s decision to transition to cloud-based infrastructure.
In an hour we plan to ask our client’s advice on what to consider when prioritizing a digital strategy, whether he’ll give us some insight on what he could have done differently – if anything, and how this modernization has empowered his employees as well as his customers (both in the B2B channel, and direct-to-consumer) to take control.
I bet you wouldn’t believe that he was actually hired specifically for his attitude toward innovation to transition AFR.  Mortgage banks are in the financial…

Talk UX 2018 Recap

Talk UX is an annual design and technology conference hosted by Ladies that UX Boston (LTUX). LTUX is a global organization that has created an international community of supportive and inspiring women in design and technology.
This year’s conference was held at the beautiful Joseph B. Martin Conference Center at Harvard Medical School. There were roughly 500 people following a single stream of presentations and discussion panels by women in leadership. UX leaders, designers and researchers as well as professionals not actively working in UX attended this event.

The Talks
 
Building Bridges Through UX Research
Laura Granka – Director of UX Google
Slides | Video
Laura described some methods that Google uses to stay true to their user-centered strategy. One method she talked about was Google’s immersion studies, in which product teams go to the users. Per Laura’s suggestion, Google fashioned a 15 passenger van into a usability lab to…

Chatbots Get One Step Closer to Direct to Consumer with Google’s Adlingo

By now it should be readily apparent that Chatbots have become the new normal when it comes to must-have technologies for companies. From customer service to retail, Chatbots have been saturating every aspect of our business. One such area that has seen a huge uptick in activity has been in the area of digital advertising.
Companies such as Revlon and Coca-Cola have been tapping into the power of Chatbots in order to help create campaigns around new products. The advantages of this type of campaign are that companies are able to extract much more data from the consumer by utilizing a chat-like interface. This opens the door to a whole new area of analytics with things like keyword extraction and sentiment analysis. In addition, Chatbots are able to pivot the conversation around specific things that the consumer has said and thus…

Support is Ending! SQL and Windows 2008

Microsoft recently announced the end of support (EOS) for SQL and Windows 2008.   What does that mean for you?  Maybe nothing, but if your company is currently running either version you need to consider your options. There are two important dates to make note of – July 9th and January 14th. SQL Server 2008 support ends on July 9, 2019 and Windows Server 2008 support ends January 14, 2020.  Option 1 is to migrate to Azure.  When you’re ready to, you can modernize your applications.  Option 2 is to continue to run on 2008 until support ends and then decide.  We can help to weigh your options.
Are you ready to get started? We can help!

Designing & Developing The Award-Winning malegislature.gov

At this year’s National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit in Los Angeles, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts took home the NALIT/LINCS Online Democracy Award for the best legislative website in the country. Tallan has worked hand-in-hand with the Massachusetts General Court for the better part of a decade, and this is the second time we have helped them take home this prestigious award. This is, however, the first time we’ve done it with a complete website redesign from beginning to end. This will be an exploration of some components of the redesign, and what helped make it such a successful effort.

Accessibility First
A key component of any government website is accessibility. Designers and developers need to make sure that all information is available to all users through the same interface. With Massachusetts, we approached every feature or idea by asking…

Why Insurers Should be Helping Their Customers Complain More

Here’s an interesting fact from a Forbes article published earlier this year, regarding end-consumers in the insurance industry:
“91% of non-complainers just leave”1
This tells us that there are two types of customers in the insurance world: complainers, and non-complainers.  Among non-complainers, more than nine out of ten actively choose to take their business to another company.  The insurer they leave behind must deal with the following consequences:

Loss of future revenue streams
Negative word-of-mouth
Lack of insight into why the customer chose to leave in the first place

The significance these metrics have on bottom line revenue can’t be understated.  These are customers that were already paying for a service – that had already gone through a decision-making process, chosen one insurer, and were so dismayed with some aspect of their service that they chose to begin this entire search process again.
But there’s a simple…

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