IT Staffing – Chosen as the Approved IT Staff Augmentation Vendor

Chosen as the Approved IT Staff Augmentation Vendor

Avant Garde has now been chosen as the approved IT Staff Augmentation Vendor for the following states:

  • North Carolina approved vendor under ITS-009440
  • Georgia approved vendor under SWC-70768
  • Oregon approved vendor under statewide agreement #0483
  • Colorado approved vendor

Learn more about IT opportunities (including subcontracting opportunities).

IT Staffing – How to Select the Right Staffing Firm for Your Business

As a rapidly expanding business, you will realize that your immediate priority revolves around building a strong foundation for your organization. Making the right hiring decisions is the crux to your business’ success and growth.

But how do you ensure that your hiring strategies are in alignment with your business goals?

It would be imprudent to consider that all recruitments are alike, irrespective of the functionality, skill requirement or role level. Similarly, it is unwise to opt for ‘any’ staffing solutions firm for your specialized requirements.

How then will you make the right choice as a hiring manager or top management executive to ascertain the right staffing firm for your organization’s needs?

Specialist Role, Specialized Needs

For roles that demand a rare skill set and expertise – like IT – it is important to engage with agencies that have the requisite sector or domain knowledge, and not with firms that offer general staffing services. In addition to sector expertise, it is important that the organization has strong network connections in the industry to source the right talent. It is also necessary that the firm you engage with offers knowledgeable recruiters who understand your business needs and provide solutions accordingly.

Proven Track Record

It is always advisable to approach a firm who has been in the business for a few years, and is well connected to the industry, since they would have a better understanding of your business operations and requirements. Firms that have been recognized with performance accolades and industry certifications for their solutions are a good choice. The clientele of the firm and their experiences can also help you to filter out the right staffing partner for your needs.

Flexibility and Agility

Getting onboard an IT staffing firm where you can connect with experts in the field will help you to leverage cross-functional IT expertise, while ensuring that you don’t miss out on any candidates due to lack of domain knowledge. Flexibility and agility of the hiring personnel to meet your requirements within the timeline provides your business a competitive edge.

Process and Timelines

Before you finalize a staffing firm, it is essential to ask certain questions regarding the process they employ to get the best options for you, the approximate number of candidate options expected for the particular vacancy, and the turnaround time. If the answers sound too good to be true, it may be possible that the firm does not have the necessary expertise in your domain. So stay alert for such mismatches.

Avant Garde provides expert IT staffing services customized to meet your business needs. Contasilhouettes-439150_960_720ct us to learn more.

Wear Your Health on Your Sleeve! How IT Is Dissolving Doctor-Patient Boundaries

IT is revolutionizing the healthcare sector, making healthcare more affordable, efficient and safer. Wearable healthcare devices are making life simpler, effective, and convenient, for both the doctors and the patients. Technology enables critical health information to be made available to the patient and the doctor even without a need for physical interaction. The doctors know their patients’ current health status on the go.

The possibility of diagnosis, therapy and monitoring, anywhere and anytime has brought a new range of opportunities to explore. Be it a lightweight device that keeps track of your exercise routine or a discreet device to keep your blood sugar level stable, healthcare companies today are employing cutting-edge technology to introduce innovative wearable devices every day.

  • Chronic Pains No More

Chronic disorders and diseases require constant monitoring. Wearable devices enable continuous tracking to enhance predictability and decrease response time for remedial action.

With a constant monitoring device, patients can understand the trigger for the pain. It can also alert the care provider with the patient’s status and location, if the patient is in distress and in need of emergency medical help.

Diabetes is an example of chronic disease that can be controlled using a wearable device – an insulin pump. Patients with severe diabetes need to take several insulin injections per day to maintain body’s glucose levels.

With an insulin pump, the patient can adjust the amount of insulin with the press of a few buttons, and the device ensures that your blood glucose levels are maintained. This allows patients and healthcare providers to manage diabetes in an efficient manner.

  • Therapy Monitors

Technology has enabled healthcare practitioners to monitor their patient’s activities and their vital information at all times. This allows them to analyze the data, understand the root cause and determine potential solutions.

An excellent example is that of a pedometer. A pedometer is a simple wearable device that counts the number of steps that the wearer takes in a day. Its brilliance lies in its simplicity.

A medical practitioner might advice their recuperating patient to walk for exercising the muscles just enough to prevent atrophy. However, walking can put stress on the bones and hence should be limited. This is where the pedometer comes in. It tells patients the ideal daily walking distance, and can predict exactly how much activity is safe for the bones to heal completely.

  • A Wearable Fitness Expert

Wearable health devices are also making headway into the world of professional sports. These fitness devices measure heart rates, breathing patterns and calories burned during exercise. Advanced devices can measure a particular muscle activity so that athletes can work on the desired muscle group accordingly.

Athletes can use these devices to determine their fatigue levels, calorie intake, time their exercises and improve their performances. In case of an injury, the device can be also employed for recuperative exercises.

What Wearable Devices Need

Although wearable tech is growing rapidly, there are a few concerns that need to be addressed. Standardizing the information gathered by such devices is a challenge. These devices should ideally generate one consolidated report which shows the patient history, reports and their ongoing therapy. Data security is also a concern.

However, by leveraging technology, wearable devices can be streamlined and managed more efficiently, thereby enhancing the quality of care.

IT: Your Retail Partner Know how IT grows retail businesses and makes it better for everyone

With higher purchasing power and an advent of brands from around the world, consumers are eager to shop for the best. How can a retail chain manage the supply, stocking, delivery, while ensuring customer satisfaction in a competitive environment? The answer lies with IT.

From apparels to groceries and crockery to stationery, retail has something to cater to every consumer. However, retail outlets, big and small, require IT in order to enhance customer experience. IT allows retailers to efficiently manage a huge inventory, improve logistics and increase efficiency of customer relationship management, among other functions.

What Does IT do?

Every retail operation includes managing the local storehouses, offices, and retail outlets – all in a day’s work. How do the retailers connect all these dots? That is where IT steps in.

A comprehensive enterprise resource planning system enables retailers to seamlessly manage all the functions. Here are some of the benefits of technology-led digitization in retail sector:

  • Efficient Operations

A system that can streamline all retail operations, manage inventories and paychecks for employees and maintain a record of the whole operation is what IT provides the retail sector.

Today, buying things on credit or debit cards is a norm. Cashless transactions, introduced only a decade ago, are used frequently and preferred by many users. This convenience has been made possible due to the introduction of IT in retail.

In addition to making transactions simpler, it has introduced novel methods like consumer loyalty card and coupons to make the business more profitable. The turnover at the end of the day is also consolidated by these systems.

  • Improved Customer Satisfaction

A retail operation’s biggest asset is a regular customer. Happy customers are a boon to the retail business. But how do retail chains retain customers then? How do they identify the needs of the customer? IT can show the way.

IT management systems offer a robust CRM that can store and consolidate spending patterns of consumers. For a retail operation, it is difficult to track consumer activity over a long period of time without IT. It facilitates positive changes in the business according to consumer demands. This can help the business grow and keep the consumer satisfied.

  • Online Retail Activity

Online shopping contributes a huge amount to the total retail activity. Online retailing, e-tailing as it is known, makes it easier and more convenient for the buyers. However, it brings in a different set of challenges for the retailers. A complete software package keeps a track of online shopping activities, and allows targeted ads and customized deals for the consumer.

An option of linking the online shopping portal to the buyer’s social media, gives the retailer an inside view of the interests and choices of the buyer. Catering to online customers, with the help of IT, has made retailers empowered to offer better service and gain better returns.

Be it the physical retail or e-tail, IT is an enabler for the business. It enables and empowers retailers to grow and serve better.

Innovations Driven by IT: Possibilities and Problems The reasons why IT is an integral part of businesses today

Information technology is a game-changer and it is here to stay. Technology today is interwoven with every business aspect. All businesses, big or small, use information technology in some way. After IT-led transformation, what has changed? What are the businesses doing better? What are the problems they are now facing?


  • Operational Efficiency

An IT system enables the employees to do more in a shorter duration. It enhances the efficiency by automating the tasks and in turn, allowing businesses the freedom to do more. It also introduces a systematic workflow in the business, so the resources required for doing a series of tasks are streamlined.

So businesses can focus on their core competencies while the time-consuming but crucial administrative and managerial tasks are taken care of by IT.

  • Accessibility

Introduction of IT in a business has increased the accessibility factor manifold. Communication, both inside and outside the company, has become quicker and more effective thanks to IT.

An easier access to data and processes within the business increases the overall productivity. Remote access to an employee enables him or her to do more even without being on site of the business. Accessibility also means that customers can access the business any time, from anywhere.

IT-led transformation has therefore made businesses more accessible to their employees as well as customers.

  • Securing Business Critical Information

With rising competition, the importance of securing critical and confidential business information has become paramount. IT processes can secure information and grant access only to verified personnel and networks. Your mission-critical data can all be robustly safeguarded by IT.


Along with the wave of benefits that IT brings to businesses, there exist a few disadvantages too. Nevertheless, these can be overcome with customer-specific, efficient tools.

  • Legacy Codes

The foundation codes for a business operation are also known as legacy code. These codes are used regularly and are essential for day-to-day operations.

Upgrading or changing these codes is time-consuming and resource-intensive, as the normal operations need to be paused or suspended completely. Even while changing or adding a business component, legacy codes are a baggage that businesses need to carry.

The service provider is responsible for effectively refactoring legacy codes. Legacy modernization can improve the quality of service and enhance system performance. Reliable IT support, employee training, regular maintenance and system security can keep the IT systems working for the business for decades.

  • Implementation Costs

Integrating IT in a business has both starting and recurring expenses. Setting up IT requires an investment in terms of hardware as well as software. Training employees and implementing the software in daily operations also costs money to the business.

Apart from such expenses, software upgrades, loss of business due to system downtime, and repair and maintenance are the overheads that businesses need to bear.

However, IT service providers are providing businesses with services that manage entire business operations, while cutting costs. With their in-depth knowledge of technologies and different domains, an IT service provider actually helps save costs by delivering technology that suits the business needs.

They can also provide employees with appropriate training to help businesses realize the maximum benefits of the technology. A business can thus gain a competitive edge at an affordable price with the right IT service provider.

IT-driven transformations have opened up newer avenues for businesses, while constantly overcoming performance barriers. Innovations for streamlining processes, enhancing customer satisfaction and reducing response time are providing businesses the vantage point. Selecting the right IT partner will therefore go a long way in channeling the resources for revenue generation.

The Role of User Training in Core Banking Transformations

Anytime, anywhere, any device banking – this is made possible only through core banking transformation. In addition to streamlining critical banking functions, core banking delivers enriching customer experience.

Core banking transformation is therefore regarded a necessity rather than an option. With imminent expansion of channels and services, banks found it difficult to move ahead with the existing technical limitations of traditional banking. Core banking solutions were implemented to integrate the isolated and disparate systems, and enable fast and secure banking.

Core banking transformation is a large-scale complex process. It involves huge risks, large spend and competent human resources. User training plays a crucial role in driving seamless implementation of the technology across the organization.

Training Methods

The mode of user training is influenced by the organization’s objectives, the technology itself and the level of technology adoption required.

Some organizations believe in training employees in one large package, whereas the others deliver small bite-sized doses of training. While a larger training package in one go is beneficial for the core team, the smaller chunks of training sessions are ideal for others who need not be trained upfront.

Another way is to streamline the transformation process with the training and to deliver it at the right time. In fact, it is always better for the organizations to provide rightly timed training in smaller chunks along with other activities.

Training can be provided by an experienced instructor, through e-learning or by a versatile combination of both. A training program differentiates between the need for personal intervention to explain complicated procedures and the straightforward parts that need no instruction. A perfect mix of industry best practices ensures you receive your value for the money.

Moreover, e-learning need not be specifically made for a group of trainees every time. The trick is in mixing the vendor’s standard modules and customized content for a unique training experience. However, if the user group is large and diverse, customized modules prove cost-effective.

Why Outsourced Training?

It is always recommended to outsource the user training for core banking transformation. Here is why:

  • Outsourced training, although sometimes expensive, ensures high quality of training programs.
  • Saves resources, as companies do not have to design and build a training program themselves.
  • Reduced revenue of overall training; instead of searching and recruiting trainers internally, outsourced trainers are preferred, as they provide a fresh perspective.

A recent trend within companies, Crowdsource training, is very popular. The trained personnel are encouraged to train others via webinars, and to share or write training material. Large organizations often have an in-house social media network for the trainers and trainees to interact.

Parting Thoughts

User training empowers an organization to deliver proper results and meet targets. Core banking transformation can only be advantageous when an organization has a robust trained team that utilizes the technology to streamline business processes efficiently. Thus, the right training at the right time can turn the tables even for SMBs to achieve high productivity and successful transformation of the project.

Avant-Garde provides smart and personalized user training services. Learn more…

The Digital Marketing Revolution – What It Means For SMBs

Digital marketing is here to stay. It has successfully replaced the traditional methods and has become the primary source of marketing. Data capabilities and new technologies have made execution of ideas simpler. Owing to information superhighway, the present-day customers are more aware and critical; they research extensively before investing their money.

SMBs need to match the ferocity and vitality of large enterprises and increase audience exposure. In order to make a long-lasting first impression online, SMBs should analyze the types of customers being catered to and deliver the message in the simplest way possible.

Usually, the SMBs market through the tried and tested methods and refrain from going online. A digital platform connects the enterprises with the technology-savvy crowd, which is now an ever-growing customer base. Here are some of the digital marketing techniques to catch the customer’s attention and retain it:

A Website and a Blog

The first step for any company should be to build an attractive and easily navigable website and a frequently updated blog. A good website is a representation of an organization. It engages the existing and potential customers to know more about the company.

The blogs should be such that the content wins the advocacy of the customers. The content should be compelling – visually and textually, crisp, honest and make the visitors come back for more. It has been proven that inclusion of visually stimulating content, such as videos and infographics make enduring impact. Do make sure your content is mobile-responsive to engage the customer on the go.

E-blast and Surveys

Mass mailing and surveys are being used by the popular merchant websites to convey the latest offers and trends. These methods ensure customer loyalty and are classic examples of outbound marketing.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO techniques are increasingly popular and attract customers to the digital tent. Since customers research before any purchase, SEO should be implemented on both the website and the blog to redirect the flow of traffic.

Social Media

Building a brand on the social media lays the foundation for reputation and search engine rankings. It is an excellent platform for inbound marketing. Through the social media, companies communicate customer loyalty and new products by providing fresh, regularly updated content. In addition, linking the website and blogs back to the social media content allowing customers to share can make the content go viral.

Small companies must stand out from the rest of the crowd by implementing innovative promotional tools. This is where the IT consulting comes into play. IT consultants provide the client with an efficient solution to transform innovation into execution.

If you do not want to miss out the digital revolution, transform the digital marketing technologies for your competitive advantage.

Why Agile Development Makes More Sense in the Current Market

Technology is ever evolving. Companies are increasing their market share, wooing customers by leveraging or developing cutting-edge technology to meet the changing requirements. Agile Development is increasingly being used to drive innovation and deliver demands with lightning speed.

The very core of Agile Development came into existence because of the obvious drawbacks of the traditional development methods.

For instance, the Waterfall Model dictates the conventional and sequential steps of requirement analysis, planning, development, testing and finally product delivery. Waterfall Model is only applicable for stable environments where project requirements do not change. However, that is hardly the case in real scenarios.

In addition to providing cost and time efficiency, Agile Development also delivers enhanced value to customers. Here is why Agile Development makes more in the current market scenario:

  1. Agile Development aims at the “Hit fast, Hit hard” rule. Prototype delivery is done in a couple of weeks rather than months.
  2. Instead of active marketing before the product is made, Agile Development empowers developers to deliver product during the development phase. It ensures optimized feedback and a competitive advantage. These small incremental releases are known as sprints or iterations.
  3. Active involvement of the client and stakeholders for more transparency ensures increased client satisfaction. The development team can understand client needs better and deliver features according to priority.
  4. Lighter framework focuses on continuous development and deployment of functional codes, thus no work is allowed to stack up for a long time.
  5. Team is coordinated to perform continuous planning, testing and integration.
  6. Time-bound fixed schedules for fast product delivery enables companies to release a beta version of their products.
  7. Since the process is divided into smaller modules and frequently tested, Agile Development improves the overall quality of the product by the continual ‘inspect-and-adapt’ method.
  8. Sometimes, the clients realise the potential for improvement through continuous feedback, and in the end are given a more advanced version than they asked for.
  9. Face-to-face communications are the best for delegating responsibility and communicating objectives.

Agile Development is one the trending practices that has taken the marketing strategy by storm. The IT industry is brimming with success stories of the companies that have gained tremendously while leaving their competitors far behind in the digital dust.

However, opposed to popular belief, Agile Development is neither a magic bullet nor an elixir to all the software development dilemmas. The trick lies in choosing the right project-management methodology, and the fusion of Waterfall and Agile best practices where applicable.

Learn how Avant-Garde’s Project Management Services can help your organization deliver more…