Tallan Blog

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

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…

Three Reasons Chatbots are Transforming the Automotive Industry

We’ve partnered with our client, Valassis Digital, to produce a Webinar this Thursday (9/20) in an effort to highlight the successes Chatbots have created for their clients. 
Valassis, a digital advertising agency, commissioned our AI team to build a Bot that can be replicated quickly, and at scale,  crossing the many industries they work with.  These bots have been padding their customers sales pipelines and have been credited specifically with a record sales month, in one instance!
Take a look at this article on ‘3 Reasons Chatbots are Transforming the Automotive Industry’ and then tune in on Thursday to see and hear about some of these use cases yourself.
By Robin Shapiro, Strategy Development, Valassis Digital
Published Wednesday, Aug 1, 2018

It is no surprise that today’s consumers are increasingly engaging in chat and messenger apps. A recent survey reports that 89 percent of consumers…

Why You Shouldn’t Discount Discount Cloud Services Part 3

Part 1 Summary
In post 1 of this series, we discussed what a Discount Cloud Instance is and in what situations it can be beneficial to use. In summation, they are instances sold very cheaply as temporary resources to those who want to make use of them and they are most useful when being utilized for batch processing jobs that have a flexible or far-off completion date.
Part 2 Summary
In the second post, we introduced and compared the current offerings of these instance types from the three main cloud providers: Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. There are currently vast differences in how each provider offers and utilizes their Discount Cloud Instances, just as there are significant differences in how they offer cloud services in general. Amazon AWS offers spot instances, which feature the most flexibility and historical data access for users to optimize…

Why You Shouldn’t Discount Discount Cloud Services Part 2

In the first post of this series, we discussed what a Discount Cloud Instance is and when they are beneficial to use. In this post, we will look at the specific offerings by Amazon (EC2 Spot Instances) and Google (Preemptible VMs) and compare them to Azure’s Low Priority Virtual Machines. In addition to each having a different name, they also treat them in very different ways and have their own individual benefits and drawbacks.
Historical Data
When a provider is willing to provide historical data relative to the availability of their Discount Cloud Instances, it can allow potential users to analyze it for a number of different purposes. Most notably, being able to better time their requests so that they obtain the best pricing when otherwise they might miss their chance. Thus far, Azure does not seem to offer this data. Google…

Massachusetts State Legislature: Online Democracy Award Winner for 2018

State Legislatures want to increase public awareness of government and public policy, but many struggle with how best to do that. Elected officials along with legislative staff are increasingly open to making an investment in technology that empowers citizens to be aware of what their government is doing for them. Software and technology innovation has opened many doors to the public at-large and as a result, the demand for information is growing larger every year.
The Massachusetts State Legislature partnered with Tallan to modernize its legislative workflow, but quickly realized the value of what could be done to increase citizen involvement with that data. The result is a cutting-edge web portal capable of informing the public and encouraging web visitors to get involved with the legislative process through effective engagement strategies typical of consumer-centric, online companies.
Through a very detailed, User Experience…

Microsoft Cloud-Hybrid Integration Roadmap Announcement

Over the past several years, there has been a lack of clarity about Microsoft’s integration roadmap.  Various integration tools have been offered, rebranded and renamed, and ultimately retired.  With a lack of a published roadmap, it is hard to make an informed investment into an integration platform that needs to meet today’s needs and still be relevant into the future.
Since 2000, BizTalk has been around to meet critical on-premises integration needs.  Many customers have implemented complex business-critical solutions based upon BizTalk.   With the migration to the cloud and the advent of Integration Platforms as a Service (iPaaS) offerings, there have been concerns about the future of BizTalk and its role in Microsoft’s integration strategy.
A recent announcement by Microsoft’s Jon Fancey, the Azure Integration Services PM Lead, attempts to clear up some concerns about Microsoft’s integration roadmap and lays the foundation for what…

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