The Future Of Work Is Already Here

#theStateOfWork

Written by James Calder

I have spent a lot of time thinking and writing about what it means to be one of the best companies in Philadelphia, America and the world. I am lucky enough to say that I work for one. I believe it all starts with respect. The future of work will be companies that stay in bubbles of mutual respect. The respect flows in all directions starting from the founders and leaders down to every single position including interns and co-ops. In return, all employees greatly respect the leaders, but most importantly respect must flow from coworker to coworker. Once that foundation is created it is only natural that we respect our partners, customers, and end-users. The gatekeepers of the culture must ensure that no one messes with this structure of respect and if you can’t operate in this simple way, then you are not a fit for our company. Simply put, it is Business without the Bullshit.

This is not just the philosophy and execution of the people I have respected most in business, but also in life. And the hard work has paid off. At the end of 2016 we were named on the Entrepreneur 360 Best Companies list and a lot more.

Our leaders are simultaneously running two companies, BuLogics and StratIS, with shared resources out of the same unique office space. Our office is located in the City of Philadelphia, in a building that once housed one of the nation’s first Talkie Theaters. Our Founder and CTO Ryan is a minimalist, and has created an apartment where he lives in the old projection booth of the building. Ryan and our CEO and Founder Felicite, literally eat, breath, and sleep the Internet of Things and Smart Cities. Our CEO lives across the street and has gone beyond the stereotypical dog-friendly office, making the office family-friendly. A dedicated entrepreneur raising three children, she knows what it takes to do both. On any given day, her charming eight-year-old daughter can be seen (quietly and well-behaved) practicing cartwheels in the middle of our “fishbowl,” the large open space that used to be the majority of seating for the theatre. She’s not the only regular in the space. Kids fit in here. They help out. They are embraced as part of our integral and whole lives.

Age is not an issue (on either side of the spectrum) at this company like I have seen at others. We have support people who delayed college because they loved working here so much, and young teenagers, especially young women, often participate in practicums to learn the tech industry early. Our COO is a twenty-seven-year-old Founder in her own right, contrasted by our CEO and CTO who have decades of combined IoT and tech experience.

Mentoring is commonplace and somewhat a requirement. Another key aspect that makes us very unique compared to everywhere I have worked, is that we truly value and are positively and actively shaped by millennials. Felicite is the first to defend and respect millennials. Her millennials are among the brightest, talented, and most valuable members of our company.

A few weeks ago, Felicite gave a speech to our team about how and why our office is a safe place. It was one of the most honest and authentic talks I have ever witnessed. She explained why failure in life and in her own life has been important, and why we can go to her with any problem both personal and professional. Here is the kicker though, she actually means it. In most other companies, employees fear even going to HR, because what you say is almost always used against you.

This isn’t all rainbows, snowflakes and unicorns, though … ok, maybe a couple of really rare unicorns.

In nine months of employment, I have never been asked to change. Not change my attitude, not my beliefs, not my workflow or how I create. There is no micromanaging here because Felicite and Ryan hire adults who have a need to do great work. This may be the secret sauce to the future of work in the world. Our Founder and CTO Ryan once told me that our combined grit and unique world experiences is what makes us so rare and unique. Our companies hire great people and adjust their roles based on their passions, skill set, and performance.

In some ways, one might think that this is the most innovative thing about this company, but it’s not even close.

Our technology is leading the MultiFamily industry into the future of technology integration. We created a disruptive way to provide access, energy, and automation to MultiFamily properties. Our SaaS platform is approaching 150,000 units installed across the U.S, and that number is going to continue to grow in 2017. We have the potential to become a billion dollar company and that is very motivating. We don’t settle for anything mediocre, from hiring engineers, to work ethic, to our customer service and marketing.

Our diversity is unmatched. All races, genders, orientations, and religions are present and welcome. People generally seem to like each other and want to spend time together outside of work hours. Some ego is good. Bad ego is squashed at the door.

We enjoy unlimited vacation time, which I recently learned only 1 percent of companies currently offer their employees. Our office has all of the benefits of the top silicon valley tech firms including, a keg on tap, a nap room, hammocks, open space (and closed space), ping pong, foosball, work from home days, a snack bar, a coffee bar, game and movie nights, yoga mornings, and so much more.

We have some of the most talented employees in the world, including former Googlers, Unisys Stars, Founders, and Entrepreneurs. Our company goal at StratIS is to change the world. As cliche as this must sound, we are empowered enough to believe it and do it. But to change the world you must start at home. Our Founders are very active in the local community and run projects and a community organization they created called East Falls Forward, from the office.

This article just starts to peel the layers of the onion that is our growing team and our unique approach to business. For more information reach out to me at [email protected]
James Calder is the Marketing Director for two companies in the IoT tech space, BuLogics and StratIS. He was named Top Voices on LinkedIn in 2015, and the number two voice in healthcare from more than 2 million bloggers on the platform. He was the creator of the Seinfeld Birthday Project, which went internationally viral, received more than 1 million YouTube views, and was featured in hundreds of newspapers, blogs, TV shows and radio programs.

7 Songs to Get You Moving in 2017

We all need a way to get things moving and shaking, especially during these cold winter days after the holidays. The PACT Team assembled a playlist of personal favorites to get you up and motivated in the new year! Thank you to our Friends at Edison Partners for the creative idea.

Here are 7 PACT Favorites to start your year off right and add to your playlist:

 

1. Dean Miller’s Favorite

Chance the Rapper’s “All We Got”

Why: “This song gets me fired up any time I listen to it – in a workout, in the car or just starting the day.”

2. Diane Strunk’s Favorite

Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up”

Why: “Weight room inspiration – along with a little chalk and a tight belt to push through squats.”

3. Jennifer Cohen’s Favorite

Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”

Why: “My boys and I absolutely love this song! We jam out to it in the car.”

4. Cheryl Jarvis Johnson’s Favorite

Mandisa’s “What If We Were Real ”

Why: “It’s time to be real.”

5. Kim Tuski’s Favorite

Disturbed’s “The Sound of Silence”

Why: “When I hear this song it motivates me to get moving regardless of the time of day.”

6. Danielle Pinto’s Favorite

Blondie’s “Denis”

Why: “Impossible not to dance and sing along to this song – even though I flub the (French) lyrics every time.”

7. Amanda Nardi’s Favorite

Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”

Why: “Once I get going, I can’t be stopped.”

The revenue recognition transition: What emerging growth companies need to know about ASC 606

Authored by Phil Santarelli, CPA, Partner Emeritus, Baker Tilly and Howard J. Heyman, CPA, Partner, Baker Tilly

Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, affects virtually every entity that prepares financial statements. The new standard impacts one of the most important numbers in financial statements — revenue — and could impact key financial ratios, sales, contracts, technology systems, accounting and internal controls. Organizations that prepare financial statements under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) must act now.

There are important factors to consider if your organization is considering following GAAP. Even pre-revenue companies should consider whether and how contemplated arrangements with customers might be impacted by ASC 606. Emerging companies must understand this issue to avoid providing guidance that may conflict with the new accounting guidance.

Transition timeline
The new standard is now effective for:

  1. Fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2017, for public companies and certain not-for-profits that have issued conduit debt obligations
  2. Fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018, for all other entities

For accelerated filers, the revenue recognized during 2016 may need to be restated as part of the transition in 2018.

If an Emerging Growth Company (EGC) as defined in the JOBS Act has made the initial election to defer application of new accounting standards until the effective date for non-issuers, the effective date is 2018. EGCs nearing the end of the five-year deferral window may need to consult with SEC counsel as to the required effective date.

Click here to read the full article.

Medical Marijuana: A Potentially Growing Problem for Pennsylvania Employers

By Karen L. Corliss and Pamela J. Zimlin, Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld LLC

On April 17, 2016, Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 3, Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act (the “MMA”).  In doing so, Pennsylvania became the 24th state to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.  The MMA allows patients with certain qualifying serious medical conditions to use marijuana for medical purposes. At this time, it is expected to take up to eighteen to twenty-four months for medical marijuana to become available in certain forms (including pills, oils, topical gels, creams and ointments but not smoking) to eligible patients in Pennsylvania.

So what does the MMA mean for the workplace and, more specifically, for employers? Pennsylvania employers should be prepared to navigate some murky waters when it comes to handling employees who have been prescribed marijuana for medical purposes. At the moment, there are more questions than answers. For instance, how should employers reconcile the passage of the MMA with the fact that marijuana remains illegal under federal law? May an employer terminate an employee for violating the company’s antidrug-use policies if the employee is using marijuana for medical purposes?  How will federal and state laws affect employers’ ability to continue their policies of drug testing employees? Does the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”) require employers to offer reasonable accommodations to employees who are prescribed medical marijuana?

Click here to read the full article.

Cybersecurity Startups Poised For Growth as Two Bills Aim To Streamline Federal Contracting

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By Alexander S. Radus.

Cybersecurity solutions are in high demand and investors are betting on startups for high returns. In the past six years, high growth emerging companies in this space have received a total of $9 billion in venture capital funding, according to the National Venture Capital Association.

But while the private sector has rapidly adopted the solutions that cybersecurity startups develop, the federal government has been missing out on these innovations due to its cumbersome and confusing procurement process.

According to industry insiders, by the time an innovator wins a government contract, the cybersecurity needs have often evolved, requiring products to be adjusted to stay effective.

Now two bills pending in Congress are designed to remedy that.

Both bills were approved by the House Committee on Homeland Security and later passed by the House. They are currently awaiting action by the Senate. Together, they aim to jumpstart a prohibitively slow and complex procurement process for innovative cybersecurity technologies.

Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies, introduced the Leveraging Emerging Technologies Act of 2016 and the Support for Rapid Innovation Act of 2016.

The Leveraging Emerging Technologies Act of 2016 directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to address homeland security needs by engaging with “innovative and emerging technology developers and firms, including technology-based small businesses and startup ventures.”

Specifically, the bill requires the DHS to develop a strategy to engage small businesses and startup ventures developing new security technologies, including by:

  • ensuring that innovative and emerging technologies can be included in current and future federal procurement contracts;
  • coordinating with venture investors, particularly those funding small businesses and startup ventures, to assist with commercializing innovative and emerging technologies; and
  • addressing existing barriers to small businesses and startup ventures in the Federal Government’s acquisition process.

The Support for Rapid Innovation Act of 2016 expands the Homeland Security Act’s rudimentary framework that already encourages joint federal-private sector efforts to develop and acquire cybersecurity technology.

Specifically, the DHS, through oversight from the Under Secretary for Science and Technology, would be required to engage in partnerships and commercialization that “introduce new cybersecurity technologies throughout the homeland security enterprise.”

The Under Secretary is required to coordinate activities with the heads of other relevant federal departments and agencies, as well as industry and academia.

The Under Secretary must also:

  • support projects through their full life cycles, including research and development;
  • identify mature technologies that address existing or imminent cybersecurity gaps in public or private information systems;
  • identify and support necessary improvements identified during pilot programs and testing;
  • introduce new cybersecurity technologies through partnerships and commercialization; and
  • target federally funded cybersecurity research that demonstrates a high probability of successful commercialization and will impact public or private information systems.

Nimble startups are well-positioned to address the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape. And the rapid deployment of venture funding into this space attests to the demand for innovative solutions.

It remains to be seen whether these bills, if ultimately signed into law, can make the Federal Government faster on its feet and able to benefit from — and provide support to — private sector innovation.

Alexander S. Radus is an associate in the Corporate Department at Fox Rothschild LLP with a practice that emphasizes entity formation and growth, mergers and acquisitions, franchising, and seed, angel and venture capital. Fox Rothschild is a national firm with more than 700 attorneys in 22 offices coast to coast.

Top 10 Software Testing Trends: Predictions for the Next Decade

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by Gallop Solutions.

With reducing attention spans of users and declining patience levels, businesses are ultra-sensitive to ensure their enterprise applications, both mobile and web, offer a pleasant user-experience, are secure and easy to use. They are also getting compelled to adapt to the ever transforming technology landscape to stay relevant. Over time, mainframe based applications have given way to desktop applications, followed by web, mobile, cloud and today we have moved on to wearables, Internet of Things, virtual reality and now augmented reality applications such as the latest internet craze – Pokemon Go. A series of such rapid changes is keeping not just the developers, but also the testers on tenterhooks, making them continuously strive to upgrade their skills. It is easier said than done – it is definitely challenging for testers to overcome the new issues posed by these upcoming technologies. So, the question is, how can businesses be future ready?

Over the last decade, things have changed. In 2015, continuing into this year, we have seen increased emphasis on testing in the early stages of software development lifecycle & a new paradigm emerged as well focussed on continuous testing and development. Widespread adoption of Agile and DevOps methodologies by organizations across the globe now mandate faster go-to-market times with higher quality. Speed @ Quality is the new normal. A healthy increase was also observed in the usage of virtualization and service oriented architecture along with cloud computing that led to many of test tool vendors coming in with innovation which transformed how we perceived software testing.

At Gallop Solutions, being leaders in Independent software testing services in North America, we work with leading Fortune 500 companies across diverse domains. What we observed from our discussions with clients and prospective clients, we tried putting together this post after due research about the industry, taking in inputs from reputed sources, quality reports, analyst sessions and conferences we attended and spoke at. This post summarizes the Top 10 emerging trends/predictions for the next decade that may change the landscape of software testing altogether. It is interesting to discover each of these trends and to know how enterprises as well as testing professionals can get leverage these trends, re-strategize or re-skill themselves.

  1. The Future belongs to Open Source Tools: Disruption is being observed in the Open source testing tools market. The next ten years (and may be more!) will see much higher adoption of Open source tools as more and more organizations will leverage them for better implementation of Agile, DevOps and Test Automation. Support communities for the open source tools can only become more and more involved and active as the products mature and newer tools keep coming in.
  1. Quality @ High speed is the new mantra: Fierce competition compels every business to come up with the best products in the fastest possible time, thanks to the dwindling competitive advantage. This is compelling organizations focus on providing the best user experience along with being incredibly agile. The speed is only going to increase (and the quality better) with the latest technologies and tools at the disposal of teams.
  1. Software Development Engineers in Test (SDETs) will be in huge demand: SDETs have been existing among us since almost a decade, but their role was very different from traditional testing roles. That said, by early 2020, almost all testers will need to wear an SDET hat to be successful in the field of Test Automation, that is going to become mainstream.
  1. TCoE is losing shine- Agile and DevOps will rule the roost: Forrester mentions that organizations are no longer looking at having centralized Test Centers of Excellence anymore. Test automation developers today are now a part of the agile teams. The erstwhile testing practices are making a shift towards quality engineering, and testing is intended to become more iterative, progressive, and seamlessly integrated with development.
  1. Digital Transformation is here to stay: With a majority of organizations making a foray into the digital world, beyond having a basic, static website or creating fan pages on dominant social media, the need for digital transformation will require a huge shift of focus towards digital testing. Robust strategies for digital assurance will be required for focusing on optimizing functional testing across channels.
  1. BigData Testing will become really BIG: With less than 0.5% of data collected being used currently, the move to gain greater insights from big data will dominate. We are sitting atop an explosive amount of data today and need to have a very strong strategy around Big Data Testing so that the data is interoperable and can talk to each other, rather than be considered in a standalone manner. Testing datasets requires highly analytical tools, techniques, and frameworks, and is an area that is set to grow big.
  1. IoT: Heralding an era of Connected Devices: With IoT growing in leaps and bounds, and global analysts predicting that IoT will storm the market in as quick as two years, businesses will need to be ultra-sensitive about the quality of their apps and appliances. If the products are not tested, their functionality, security, and effectiveness – all will come under scanner. According to a HP study, 70 percent of devices in the Internet of Things are vulnerable to security problems.
  1. DevOps will drive Quality Engineering: DevOps ideology is based on seamless collaboration and integration between the different departments of an IT Organization – developers, quality professionals, and IT professionals. Testing plays a business-critical role as developers are involved not just in the correctness of their code, but also in the testing and overall Quality engineering aspects. DevOps thus is propelling businesses towards greater speeds of deployment and quality assurance and is thus helping them realize higher returns on investment and faster time to market in a cost-efficient manner.
  1. Performance Engineering is replacing Performance Testing: Repeating a cliché – “A good user experience is the key to a successful product”. Consistent performance across diverse platforms, OSs, and devices defines how much of a market can a product really capture. The need to provide the best experience to users is making organizations change their strategy. They are now moving away from just providing Performance tests to providing Performance engineering.
  1. The best news is that Software Testing Budgets will continue to grow: It is but obvious that with such huge focus and demand for high quality products, and with major IT trends such as BigData analytics, Cloud Technologies, Mobility, and Virtualization, Testing has become more than just a need. This will push the organizations towards allocating a bigger chunk of their IT budget (around 40%) for software testing and QA.

About Author: Kalyana Rao Konda

Kalyan is the President & Global Head of Gallop Solutions Inc. With 17+ years of experience in IT Services, specifically software testing, Kalyan has led large QA teams of 2000+ people at AppLabs as VP-Delivery and had been in QA leadership roles with Virtusa & BaaN earlier. He has a rare mix of high technical understanding with a pragmatic approach to testing services delivery. A strong proponent of Testing-as-a-Service (TaaS) delivery model, Kalyan is a thought leader with hands on expertise in building large scale test automation suites, executing and maintaining them. He has a patent pending with USPTO for ‘iGenerate test Scenario’ and ‘Web Services Validator’ filed last year. Kalyan is a speaker at various testing conferences including DevOps East, StarEast& Agile Testing Conference in Boston. He was recently awarded the prestigious “40 Under 40 Award 2016” from the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Understand the Top 10 Trends in Software Testing better. Download free e-Book on “Top 10 Software Testing Trends: Prediction for the Next Decade” here – http://www.gallop.net/10-software-testing-trends?utm_source=PACTPhiladelphia&utm_medium=CoverStory&utm_campaign=SoftwareTestingTrends
About Gallop Solutions:

Gallop Solutions is North America’s largest Independent Software Testing Services & company operating since 2003 with offices in Philadelphia & California. Our services are backed by Proprietary Testing IP (Enterprise Test Acceleration Suite – ETAS) for enhanced productivity and in-house R&D teams. We are a 100% subsidiary of Cigniti Technologies, World’s 3rd largest independent software testing services company with over 2000 consultants globally across various domains with 600+ located in North America.

Gallop constantly innovates and invests in R&D around software testing and contributes immensely to the software testing community by thought leadership blogs, articles and whitepapers. World’s largest and leading organizations have relied on Gallop’s specialist independent software testing services for more than a decade and have achieved significant market acceleration, returns on investments in their software quality initiatives.

 

Greater Philadelphia’s Growing Innovation Ecosystem via Select Greater Philadelphia

Select Greater Philadelphia released a brochure showcases the venture capital community with in the Greater Philadelphia region.

Below is an excerpt from the piece:

Greater Philadelphia’s resurgent innovation ecosystem, perennial strength in the life sciences, health care and higher education, and a growing B2B tech community positions the tri-state region among the most attractive in the world for investors and entrepreneurs looking to establish and grow a business.

Click here to read the full brochure.