Nov 08

2015 Software Developer Internships

Being posted around the University job boards in Melbourne next week is an invitation for Software Engineering students to apply for an internship, starting this summer (2014-15) or soon after.

Some Universities require (or at least strongly encourage) engineering students to seek out a number of weeks of work experience. With a long and rich history of springboarding students in to fantastic careers, Univex is keen to continue the tradition. Of course we encourage interns to stay on after their work experience and continue to play a part in our team!

If you are interested please look out for the advertisements. If you do not have access to them please drop Paul an email (softwarejobs@univexsoftware.com) and he will send you a copy of the ad so you know what we are looking for. We can accept internship placements all year round.

Sep 20

Is Your Software Company Committed To R&D?

Lately we have been evaluating our Research & Development (R&D) activity in the past year. A selection of the new products and services we have delivered include:

We run a lean ship here at Univex and are proud that we can and deliver more than many other software companies 10x our size. We are committed to continuous innovation and delivering useful products and services to our customers. Our staff are fully committed to producing fantastic outcomes for our customers. Do you fit the bill and want to explore opportunities to work with us? Apply now.

 

 

Aug 30

Purchase Triggered Campaigns

Today in our Point of Sale and Back Office software we have released our latest marketing weapon: Purchase Triggered Campaigns.

Purchase Triggered Campaigns (PTCs) give your customers an enhanced, personalised experience when shopping at your store. When they purchase particular products the campaign starts with personalised messages on their receipt. Examples of usage include:

  • For garden centres; planting instructions for the new peach tree they have purchased.
  • For electrical stores; warranty and service information on appliances.
  • For homewares stores; information about knife-sharpening services available.
  • For all retailers; an encouragement of loyalty non-members to become members. If they are already a member a different message; a ‘thank you’ with an exclusive offer just for them next visit.

The receipt is just the start of the campaign. From then on your regular e-mail newsletters sent through Univex Mail can include content exclusive and custom tailored to the recipient. So for the customer who purchased a peach tree, over the coming months and years they will be updated on how to care for the tree, strategies and products to deter pests, and in the Spring of the 3rd year of purchase a recipe for Peach Melba when their tree is fruiting. All of this is is inserted automatically in to your regular e-mail newsletter. It presents seamlessly and you are not “spamming” your customers with unnecessary marketing material.

Did Spring arrive early or late this year? Do you need to adjust for the changing Easter Sale dates? No problem. You can easily adjust the mailings for all customers in just one setting. Is there a new pest in town and you need to get a message out to all customers who purchased a fruit tree? Very easily done.

There is a lot more to it and like everything in the Univex suite of software, this “fits together” with other marketing and promotional features, e-commerce, and customer relationship management. The more you use the more effective you can run promotions, and results have a multiplicative effect.

Oh, did we forget to mention this is packaged free with the software? No hidden costs. The software is all packaged in there and ready to use. With Univex you can compete with the big boys at a mom-and-pop price.

 

Contact us today if you would like to improve your business way beyond what any other POS company can and will do for you.

Aug 02

Print Signage Update

Recently we improved our Print Signage system – taking its potential further and making it faster and easier  to use than any other system available. Some of the new additions include:

  • Handling of best-before and use-by expiration dates.
  • Handling different sized signs printing on different media and potentially different printers.
  • Encoding promotional (special) pricing start and end dates.
  • Filtering the signs to only show the templates that make sense at the time, whether that be a dollar-off promotion, a multibuy, a percent discount, or simply a standard product sign.
  • Speeding up the previewing and printing of signs.

It’s another one of the small things that we do so well in our POS and back office accounting system. Before they had a Univex system we had customers who would spend hours each week producing signs, either by hand or by manually creating them in Microsoft Word or Publisher. Now they print the signs out as products arrive from the supplier, no fiddling, correct spelling and pricing, and consistent designs throughout the store. You don’t need to be a Coles or Woolworths to have great signage. Univex gives it away for free as part of its standard package!

Jun 07

Design Patterns

This week I finished reading Head First Design Patterns – a book that covers classic ways of structuring software code to solve real-world problems. It’s a great book, so much so it has made it on to the Univex Software list of Required Reading, alongside others. Not surprisingly, like the other two books, HFDP teaches you things that they just don’t teach at programming school. Few Australian software engineering students would cover design patterns in lectures. Even less would consciously employ them in some way. Yet they make for easier to understand and maintain code. The world, especially Open Source projects, would be better off if more programmers learnt these patterns and shared them with peers.

The problem of course is we do not know, what we don’t know. How are you supposed to know about design patterns if you have never heard the term before?

That’s where self study comes in to play. It doesn’t matter if you are a software developer, a business director or a support technician. You need to actively engage in self-development, getting out there seeing new things and meeting people, participating in groups of various kinds or simply keeping up to date with developments in your industry via news feeds and blog posts. If you claim you have no time then you must make time. You never know what gems you might find!

Apr 26

Online Gift Voucher Management Software

Last week we officially released our latest product: an online gift voucher management system. This software activates cards, lets deposits be taken, redemptions taken, and report on activity. This software is designed for enterprises with a number of different Point of Sale systems, in which integrating a gift card solution across all software systems would be difficult (if not impossible).

There is no need for extra POS or EFTPOS terminals, or bringing in any expensive 3rd party infrastructure. The software runs through a web browser and is responsive to mobile devices, so it looks great whether running on a desktop, a tablet, or a phone.

User security can limit who can perform what activity with the cards. Management can run reports on gift card activity and how cards are used across various businesses within their organisation.

As with all of our products we integrated this in to other Univex products. You can sign people up to your email list as the gift voucher is activated. Their email address is sent straight to the bulk email system to receive the next mailout.

This new software is part of our bigger move towards web-based software systems. We are building smaller apps that integrate together, while helping us develop the underlying technologies needed to build larger and more complex software. We aren’t abandoning desktop software – rather we are enhancing it with modern, browser-based extensions and modules that give a lot more flexibility to our customers.

 

 

Mar 01

The Extra Mile

For many wholesalers and retailers, the computer companies they deal with are a burden. They know they need the software and hardare to run their business, but are constantly being told ‘no’ by their software vendor. They hear things such as…

  • We don’t do that
  • We can’t sell you that
  • That costs extra
  • We won’t fix that bug
  • That’s not our problem, talk to your hardware provider

…and that is if you asked. When was the last time you asked MYOB to program in a new feature? or Microsoft to fix a bug? You would not waste your time because you already know the answer you will receive.

When our customers experience someone completely different, such as Univex, they begin realising that there is a better way. We don’t pass the buck to other vendors: we assume the problem is ours until all avenues have been explored. We fix the bugs, and we deliver features. A lot of them, every month, included in the support fees. Even when the problem isn’t ours and we can’t fix it we help our customers find the right person and what to say to them, and follow up to make sure the problem is resolved.

We are not the cheapest on price, in fact we would be considered a premium option, but our customers get tremendous value out of our relationship.

At the end of the day we care, and both our staff and customers know it.

 

Feb 08

Start Your Melbourne Startup With Univex

In the last few weeks and months there has been an increasing number of new Meetup groups formed on the topic of starting a business and entrepreneurship. The last month I might have seen ten or more new groups formed. There is no doubt that this is a hot careers topic especially amongst under-35s, and those interested in tech businesses.

Many will never get their ideas off the ground due to motivational or financial constraints. The problem is rarely technical or lack of information. The Internet is bursting with knowledge on how to do just about anything. So is there a better way? Yup! We have been doing it for years here at Univex.

If you are starting your first business you don’t have to do it alone. Many organisations foster the growth of startup-like ventures, even large corporates. Opportunities are not going to be advertised on Seek so you will need to build your network and ask around.

Within an umbrella organisation you can build your new product and have access to office space, technical know-how, business leadership, and support functions such as accounting and administration. Sometimes (as in many projects here at Univex) you are able to earn an income while you develop your product. Some of the issues you need to consider and balance against each other when evaluating these opportunities are:

  • Who owns the equity and in what proportions?
  • How is the profit shared?
  • Is income required to be reinvested or can you cash it out?
  • Who is managing the business? Just you or others?
  • If things don’t work out what happens to the intellectual property (IP)?

The problem is not maximizing each of the above – you are surely likely to end up with nothing if you are stubborn and refuse to negotiate. Rather the problem is finding the right balance to suit your wants and desires. Maybe equity is more important than take-home cash? or perhaps having mentors around to keep you in check is more important than anything else? That’s what you need to work out.

And when you have worked it out, and want some help, drop me an email. I would love to find out what you are doing and keep in touch.

Jan 18

Checklists

I think you will find a lot of software developers, and engineers in general, like making lists. It is in our DNA. Systems are complex, and systems talking to other systems can be diabolical. Increasingly it seems you just can’t remember it all.

So it is with no surprise that here at Univex we have lists for all sorts of processes: building software, writing components, deploying web sites, setting up interfaces to other software systems, new staff member induction, and on it goes. These help us deliver consistent results under different conditions.

We even had an instruction sheet on how to cook hot dogs in the office. Yes, Hot dogs! No matter how trivial a job seems there is bound to be somebody new, at some stage in the future, who doesn’t quite know what the standard is and how to achieve it. Having it written down (rather than floating in somebody’s memory) will accelerate the ramp-up stage for staff, and goes hand-in-hand with our values of never stop learning. I’m glad to report we have not had any burst hot dog incidents for many years now.

We put everything in an internal wiki that allows anyone to correct or improve the processes as they see fit. No “change review board”, no getting permission from your boss, if you see a list or process that needs fixing you have all the authority and responsibility to just get in there and fix it. This has facilitated rapid improvement year after year.

Even if you are an individual contributor, in some organisation big or small, there is always opportunity to start documenting your job. One day you might be asked to train somebody. Remember you can’t be promoted unless you have a replacement! All you need is an Evernote folder, a collection of Word files, or even just dot points in text files. Write down what the task is, what the standard is (quality, time, end result), and steps to achieve it. This might not be 100% accurate on a first revision but you are well on your way to making life easier for you in the future.

Dec 18

A Load Off Our Shoulders

Have you ever completed a major undertaking and finally thought whew! that’s a massive load off our shoulders!

For us that came last week with the final version of our software to run on Windows 2000 computers, and dropping Delphi 7 as our programming environment. We still continue to develop our Windows software in Delphi on newer (and stable!) versions. We also managed to upgrade old customer computers from Windows 2000 with just one more to complete next month. But that’s enough technical talk for this blog post.

What projects are you working on that you need to complete? What’s dragging you back that if you could fix, would be a massive load off YOUR shoulders?

We constantly ask ourselves these questions and work hard at becoming a better organisation for ourselves and our customers. The problems we are trying to solve aren’t easy, but we love the challenge, and best of all the rewards. No time to relax though. We are already deep in to our next endeavour to keep delivering the best POS and business management software out there!

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