Tech Blog
Here is a collection of articles, reviews, comparisons and how-to guides for creating, publishing and promoting Digital media.

Cloud Based Business Applications (SaaS)

There are many great Marketing and Business Platforms that provide Software hosted on robust and resilient Infrastructure and supplied on a fully managed basis.

Hubspot

The ultimate 'Light Touch" Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Platform on the market that cover everything from Marketing, Sales, Service and Messaging

Shopify

If you are selling products online then a Shopify store is a great alternative to traditionally hosted Software solutions that are expensive and quickly outdated.

Mailchimp

Manage all your Contacts in one place and apply powerful Campaign Management capabilities so you can optimise your Sales.

G Suite, Search and Analytics

Cloud Native business that use G Mail can definitely benefit from a move to G Suite where a full range of Productivity Apps are available. Google for Search Engine Optimisation, Advertising, Mapping and Analytics are also highly recommended

Social Media

Get the most out of your Social Media presence by integrating it with your Website and CRM system to create a vibrant leads pipeline

Design and Delivery of Digital Platforms

Websites

We design and deliver a highly tailoured website platform complete with Content Management and Website Production. We can provide Domain Names, Hosting, Support, Free Updates and bespoke development services for Modules and Components. We tightly integrate this with your Marketing systems and Social media accounts for maximum impact.

Online Applications

We assist with the selection and migration of Online Applications that provide critical Business Capability to Customers, Staff, Suppliers and Partners. Based on t=your needs and Target Operating Model we will design and deliver Customer Relationship Management, Marketing Campaigns, GEO Location, Self Serve portals to your users.

Adobe Experience Manager and Marketing Cloud

The ultimate platform for managing every aspect of an intelligent and proactive Digital Experience is most definitely Adobe Experience Manager and the Marketing Cloud. Covering all aspects of digital capability and enabling highly intelligent user journey routing techniques using advanced targeting and personalisation based on evidence based analytics and predicative algorithms - A bit of a mouthful? Yep - We can help put this into context for your Business.

Digital Technology Strategy

Once your Business Strategy is agreed and approved we will develop a Digital Technology Strategy that will allow you to design and deliver the environments and applications to launch the capability to your users.

Service

Definition and Description

Deliverables

Technology Strategy

We will create and document a bespoke Technology Strategy for your Business based on a series of discovery events that engage your key stakeholders in the journey.

  • Technology Strategy (DOC 20-40 pages),
  • High Level Requirements (XLS 100+ Functional, Technical, Security, Support)
  • Presentation Slide Deck for MGMT (PPT 10-20 Slides)

Reference Architecture

The Reference Architecture will guide all future Application and Integration investment and will seek to re-use, sweat and contain your existing business assets while adding powerful digital and business platforms where Cloud adoption makes sense.

  • Reference Architecture (RA - VISIO A3 - High Impact),
  • RA Specification (DOC 20-50 Pages)
  • Presentation Slide Deck for MGMT (PPT 5-10 Slides)

Implementable Roadmap and Program Estimates

A fully implementable and high impact Roadmap that will break the Reference Architecture into series of cost effective projects that maintain business continuity while rolling out new Technologies that deliver benefits and uplift to the business immediately

  • Road Map (RM - VISIO A3 - High Impact),
  • RM Specification (DOC 20-50 Pages)
  • Presentation Slide Deck for MGMT (PPT 5-10 Slides)

Request for Proposal

We will develop the bid documentation and host Technical Labs for the vendor participants with probity and an emphasis on due diligence and getting the best price for every service and product required.

  • Market Scan (DOC 5-10 Pages)
  • RFP Bid Documentation (DOC Tender, Tech Lab Brief),
  • Technical Lab (EVENT 1 Day per Vendor)
  • Tender Evaluation (DOC 20-50 Pages)
  • Presentation Slide Deck for MGMT (PPT 10-20 Slides)

Proof of Concept

Develop a low cost implementation of the key components you wish to implement so that key business and technology concepts are proven before investment

  • PoC Discrovery and Brief (10-20 Pages)
  • Vendor and Technical Engagement
  • PoC Analyis and Refinement
  • PoC Report and Recommendations (10-20 Pages)
  • Presentation Slide Deck for MGMT (5 Slides)

Program Kick Off

Once the project is funded we will develop a plan of engagement and orientate the teams and suppliers into the project framework using Agile or any other project methodology required.

  • Program Execution Strategy (20-40 Pages)
  • Program Plan (MS Project 500 Rows),
  • Resource Allocation (inc in Plan)
  • Project Kick Off (EVENT All Stakeholders)
  • Presentation Slide Deck for MGMT (10-20 Slides)

Full Service Advisory

A comprehensive Advisory service that starts with the Concept and delivers a coherent Blue Print and Roadmap that is immediately implementable

  • All of the Above delivered using Agile and remote working through Zoom

 

Websites and Digital Transformation

Digital Experience Platforms (DXP)

At the large end of the scale and for major Corporations and Governments with millions of customers we highly recommend Adobe Experience Manager and Marketing Cloud as a 'Best of Breed' platform for Digital Experiences.  Find out more here

Content Management Systems (CMS)

The heart of any Digital Business is its Content Management System that style and presents your content and assets to users while allow your staff to update and iterate features into a well organised operators console.

Online Applications and Extensions

Based on the nature of your Business there maybe specialised and modular applications that you need to service the demand without using manual processes. We have hundreds of extensions to our Web CMS available including eCommerce, Payments, Bookings, Listings, Appointments, Advertising, Events, Search and Social.

Identity and Access Management (IDAM)

If you are expecting to offer online users access to your data then their is a need to secure it and only allow access if the user is Authenticated and Authorised to create, read, update and delete it. We work with a range of Single Sign On and Authentication Hubs and can apply them to your software through configuration.

API and Microservices (Integration)

Once the user or system has Authenticated and possesses a Token then it is time to retrieve the data from an API and present it back in a timely fashion. This system to system communication requires a highly level of Cyber Security to thwart robotic attacks and ensure all consuming applications only get what they are entitled to.

Responsive Design (PC, Mac, Android, iOS)

All our websites and online applications deliver responsive experiences on Mobile Devices which mitigates the risk of not having a dedicated cross platform Mobile App - We can even 'wrap' the Website as a Mobile App and load it into the Apple Store and Google Play with very little technical modification. Responsive by nature, Responsive by design

 

Digital Business Strategy

Developing the right Digital Business Strategy for your organisation is a combination of reinventing your products and services for the modern reality and building cohesive and integrated Business capability for your Customers, Staff, Suppliers and Partners.

Service

Definition and Description

Deliverables

Focus Finder

TBC

  • Deliverable 1 - Format
  • Deliverable 2 - Format

Business Strategy 

TBC

  • Deliverable 1 - Format
  • Deliverable 2 - Format

Situation Analysis

TBC

  • Deliverable 1 - Format
  • Deliverable 2 - Format

Marketing Strategy

TBC

  • Deliverable 1 - Format
  • Deliverable 2 - Format

Marketing Planning

TBC

  • Deliverable 1 - Format
  • Deliverable 2 - Format

Product Creation

TBC

  • Deliverable 1 - Format
  • Deliverable 2 - Format

Sales Letter

TBC

  • Deliverable 1 - Format
  • Deliverable 2 - Format

Copy and Media

We will author your copy based on the discovery and select media that compliments and embellishes it.

  • Authoring Website Copy from Interviews with key stakeholders
  • Selection of Media from various catalogues and your internal sources

 

Cloud Adoption for Infrastructure and Application Services (IaaS, PaaS)

Based on your needs and what is important to you we will select a Cloud Platform for you to adopt and design and implement your Virtual Private and Virtual Public Clouds.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

With the biggest range of packaged application servers and the front-runner for market share AWS is a great way to manage your adoption of the Cloud.

Microsoft Azure (Azure)

With tight integration to MS technologies like Active Directory, Office 365 and .Net server technology the MS Azure offering is a logical next step. We can assist with establishing your Virtual Private and Public Clouds.

Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

If you are planning on going Cloud Native then GCP could be the right fit especially if you use G Suite for your Business applications.

Dedicated and Shared DC Hosting (CoLo)

AOTC are a reseller and System Integrator for Site Ground in the United Kingdom and TPP Wholesale in Australia - We are expert in design and deployment of dedicated or shared hosting for your Virtual Public Cloud.

Consulting  in Business and Technology Strategy

Ahead of the Curve has been involved in several high profile Government and Corporate projects that deliver mission critical systems to mass markets. 

Telecommunications

The past 15 years has been an exciting time for Telecommunications with the maturity of several access network technologies continuing to exceed user expectations. From the progression of Wireless through 3G, 4G and now onto 5G, same with Broadband through Dial Up, ADSL and now Fibre, the speed and the bandwidth to access a huge range of Internet based services is a reality.

Financial Services

The sector has been through a barrage of turmoil but remains very healthy commercially and with a great expansion in technical capability under construction. From Risk, Regulatory and Compliance uplift through to the digitisation of the Banking environment for Customers their has never been a better time to Transform.

Government

The mandate for Government is to provide services to the population through automated and digital experiences that are cost effective to execute. This is a balance between changing the Ways of Working and introducing Technology platforms that are Secure, Reliable, Integrated and Highly Available.

Our Website delivery expertise catapults you Ahead of the Curve

We have a systematic approach and pragmatic methodology for delivering high quality Digital Platforms starting from Conceptualisation and continuing through the entire Software Delivery Lifecycle (SDLC)

Design

The first stage is to consolidate your planning into a design stage that defines what will be delivered and when:

Activity Description
Requirements Definition Workshops 1 x 2 Hour Business Requirement Workshop on Zoom
Technology Strategy and Design 1 x 2 Hour Technology Strategy Workshop on Zoom
Solution On A Page A high level design for the project that guides development teams and stakeholders
Backlog and Timeline A document that defines the agreed scope (Backlog) and time frame for delivery

Build

Based on an agreement that the Design stage is complete the project will move into the Build phase with the following activities:

Activity Description
Website Installation, Design and Layout Integration of your brand and content into a Web CMS
Content Migration and Production Population of the website with the Content and Media
Copyrighting and Media Producing copy for the site or obtaining imagery, video or other licensed material
Website Production An expert edit to ensure the Customer Journeys flow into the data capture and call to action elements efficiently
Get Connected Integration with Social Media – LinkedIN, Facebook, others as required
Be Searchable Search Engine Optimised for high visibility and a plan to target reciprocal links with Industry.
Analytics and Insights Web Based Analytics to profile web traffic and demonstrate success

Run

Once the Website platform is launched the following ongoing support services are provided as part of the Fully Managed Service.

Activity Description
Website Hosting 12 Months Web Hosting on AOTC Infrastructure at Site Ground (UK’s Leading Hosting Provider)
Evergreen Upgrades Latest JOOMLA Website CMS installed and customized to the Clients Content, Products and Services
User Training Full Training of Web Administrator on running a Digital Business using a sophisticated CMS and Search and Social and Industry platforms
Self Serve Consoles Console Access to all Domain and Software Tools for Web Administrator
Free Email Unlimited Email Accounts – 10GB+ Storage
Support - Operations Priority Technical Support for Domain, Website and Hosting
Support - Updates Basic Web Content Updates (Configuration Only)
Support - Development Access to inexpensive Development teams for new projects / major features

 

 

Secure Development Operations (SecDevOps)

Azure DevOps

Azure has a full suite of tightly integrated Development Operations tools that allow you to easily manage your application source code and its deployment to the test and production environments using a sophisticated and automated 'Tool Chain".

JIRA and Confluence

If you have adopted the Atlassian tool set for workflow management then we can assist to upgrade and reconfigure this investment so that it integrates with SecDevOps and is far more effective for your teams.

Open Source SecDevOps

If you have a good hands on capability for managing applications then there are a myriad of Open Source tools that are suitable for underpinning SecDevOps - We can always offer this as a Solution Option in the planning so you can understand the potential for savings with a little extra effort.

Ways of Working

Agile in Action

Moving to Agile delivery of Digital products is a key outcome of any Digital Transformation. We assist with the planning, implementation and and uptake of Agile in your organisation and how you can move to a remote working model without loosing output or quality.

Development Squads

The new unit of productivity is a sprint delivered by a Squad. We will help you to structure the flow of work artifacts, activities and outputs out of carefully constructed Squads that work on discreet outcomes.

Applications and Tools

With remote working becoming prominent the adoption of the following capabilities and tools is paramount to productivity - we will show you how to use: Slack, Teams, Zoom, Trello, Azure DevOps Boards, JIRA, Confluence

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A 'Strawman Architecture' shines the light on the road ahead

Adobe Experience Manager and Marketing Cloud

Adobe Experience Manager (AEM 6.5)

If you are planning a move to Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) for your website Content Management System(CMS) then you are best served developing a Reference Architecture and Implementable Digital Roadmap. Ahead of the Curve consultants are well versed in AEM and its integration to the Marketing Cloud where the intellect and smarts of the solution reside

Adobe Marketing Cloud 

Once you have committed to your move to AEM then the next step is to integrate with the Marketing Cloud and the following marketing Capabilities:

 

Software Service Description
Adobe Launch Next Gen Tag Management for the Adobe Experience Manager and a highly granular and integrated capability that gains insight into every scroll and click
Adobe Analytics Powerful insights into your users and their interactivity through Work Spaces that have in depth analysis and curated views for your colleagues
Adobe Target Deliver highly personalised experiences for your users based on their profile or segmentation
Adobe Forms The windows to Customer originate can be crafted with tracking and dynamic interactivity to ensure you capture well qualified leads and customer data (GDPR Compliant)
Adobe Campaign Tightly integrate your Marketing Campaigns with AEM and receive detailed analytics on consumption and how to improve your penetration.
Adobe Audience Manager A document that defines the agreed scope (Backlog) and time frame for delivery
Adobe Marketing ID A document that defines the agreed scope (Backlog) and time frame for delivery

Adobe Infrastructure Options

There are numerous ways of hosting your AEM platform on both Cloub Based or On Premise environments depending on your appetite for management of the complexity.

Adobe Managed Service is an excellent fully managed service and is recommended for organisations without a development and engineering capability.

Organisations that have a technical capability that can deleiver and operate a robust, reliable and resilient Software Platform may be suited to a Cloud or On Premise deployment.

Software Service Description
Adobe Managed Services on Amazon Web Services (AWS) Establishing your AEM Platform as a Semi Managed Service on Amazon Web Services
Adobe Managed Services on Microsoft Azure Powerful insights into your users and their interactivity through Work Spaces that have in depth analysis and curated views for your colleagues
Cloud Hosting on AWS or Azure Deploy your own AEM in the Clouds on PaaS or Iaas so that your existing engineering team can operate it and keep the services costs to a minimum while leveraging your existing Cloud investment
On Premise Hosting Deploy AEM On Premise or in a private Data Centre environment using clustered JVM's and F5 or similar Load Balancing.
Design and Build AOTC will produce all technical build documentation for your teams or can engage engineers to build it out for hand over.

 

Adobe Reference Architecture

Hybrid Integration - Cloud to Data Centre (On Premise)

If you require connectivity to be establishing between your On Premise and Cloud networks then we can help you to design and implement one of the following patterns

Virtual Private Networks

If the criticality and sensitivity of the information flowing between the networks is low then a Virtual Private Network connection may be suitable. Let us design, plan and execute this for you.

Direct Connect (AWS)

For industrial strength Cyber Security and high performance Network connectivity the best option with AWS is Direct Connect. Let us design, plan and execute this for you.

Express Route (Azure)

For industrial strength Cyber Security and high performance Network connectivity the best option with Azure is Express Route. Let us design, plan and execute this for you.

Network Peering (GCP)

Google have a robust network integration capability that is lightning fast and highly secure and scaleable.