The 2015 Communicator Awards have been announced by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts. With over 6000 entries received from across the US and around the world, the Communicator Awards is the largest and most competitive awards program honoring the creative excellence for communications professionals. Mercury New Media was recognized with an Award of Distinction for our work on the Brannock & Humphries and American Integrity Insurance Group websites. 

For additional information, contact Melissa Miller at (813) 933-9800.  

The Tampa Bay Business Journal recognized Mercury New Media in the recently released the Top 25 Software Development companies in Tampa Bay. This is the fifth year in a row that Mercury New Media has been included in the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s ranking of top software developers, a testament to the firm’s consistent growth in the marketplace.

Of the 25 companies in the Top Software Developers List, Mercury New Media ranked third in the list of development companies offering client contracted custom development services. The list is made up of the top 25 software development companies in the Tampa Bay area and based upon the number of local software developers and revenue.

When asked about the honor Christopher Karlo, partner at Mercury New Media said, “Our ability to consistently deliver high impact web applications that drive results and stay focused on our clients’ needs has allowed to grow our organization with top talent”.

Mercury New Media announced the release of their custom Labor Tracking Application on February 2, 2015. The new application streamlines time entry, integrates with existing workflow, improves visibility of company operations, provides automated reporting and offers data access for customized analysis.

The labor tracking application is integrated with Mercury New Media’s key operational systems Visual Studio Online (VSO)Office 365 and Zendesk to prepopulate time entries for editing based on user stories, Outlook calendar appointments and support tickets. With the utilization of hashtags, time entries are automatically categorized into the appropriate time groupings for improved consistency across the team and ease of use.

The Labor Tracking application uses .NET MVC and Entity Framework for lightweight agile development. Knockout JS was utilized to deliver an optimal user experience and performance. Authentication and security are handled with Azure Active Directory integration with Mercury’s on-premise Active Directory to achieve single sign-on for user convenience. Insightful data is surfaced to the application using SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). The application uses VSO to run a Continuous Integration build on code check-in, and to deploy a development instance of the site nightly with the ability to deploy production changes using VSO via a single-click.

Christopher Karlo, partner at Mercury New Media indicates, “Gone are the days of manual queries and spreadsheets. Insightful information needed for our teams to effectively run our business is now at their fingertips.”

The application comes with powerful reporting options that leverage the SSRS Report Viewer control to empower users to easily convert data into actionable information. The Dashboard displays a summary of each team member’s sprint progress and provides insights needed for them to effectively self-manage their teams and projects. In addition, managers can better proactively address business needs.

The new reporting solutions dramatically reduce the number of hours required to prepare reports. It is now easy to print and share reports in just a couple clicks with simple exporting options included in the new system. Reports can also be scheduled to send automatically based on preferred scheduling (e.g., daily, weekly, or monthly).

The new application is a cloud-based solution hosted on an Azure web site and SQL Azure for maximum flexibility and scalability. The browser based interface allows employees, managers and administrators to easily access the application through any web-browser. The application is fully responsive and looks great on the desktop on a wide screen, down to mobile devices and even smart phones.

Time is a crucial part of operations at Mercury New Media with project success measured in terms of deadlines and labor resources invested. By replacing former time management practices, Mercury has been able to dramatically improve overall team efficiency and productivity. Daily time entry can now be accomplished in seconds.

The Labor Tracking Application provides Mercury New Media the tools to propel the company forward to the next level.

Mercury New Media hosted an engaging and informative discussion with tech leaders from across Florida on the topic of deploying Sitefinity-based websites with .NET customizations to Azure on Tuesday January 20th at the Microsoft offices in Tampa, FL.

Over 35 developers, application development team managers and CIOs from leading enterprises from across the state gathered to learn tips and tricks for effectively working on enterprise sites using Sitefinity customization and deploying websites in Azure Cloud services. A lively group dialog created many keen insights and tangible takeaways for all participants.   

AJ Kiefner, Application Developer with Mercury New Media kicked off the conversation by presenting best practices for custom development in Sitefinity. He discussed RadControls including when, why and how best to use them and the gotchas that every developer should be mindful of when implementing. AJ walked attendees through a custom code integration using the Jquery super-sized rotator giving practical examples to the topic.  

Graham Morris, Principal Application Developer with Mercury New Media led a thoughtful discussion on deploying to Microsoft Azure. Attendees got a step by step guide to setting up the project, migrating the database and deploying the project using the Azure Portal.  A rich conversation of what works well (and what doesn’t) ensued with participants sharing some of their own enterprise deployment war stories.   

Subject matter experts from both Telerik and Microsoft were in attendance providing valuable insights throughout.  The meeting concluded with an open forum dialog of all participants that was filled with interesting and valuable insights.  

When asked about the event Donald Bickel, Partner at Mercury New Media stated, “The developer interaction was outstanding!  It was invigorating to see the number of firms deploying Sitefinity to the cloud in the form of Azure.  I was pleasantly surprised by the number of mature Platform as a Service deployments but also heard plenty of Azure-based Infrastructure as a Service chatter.”

To stay updated on future events or to see more from the event visit our website and follow us on Twitter.

Danielle Ferguson, Senior Application Developer with Mercury New Media completed the final certification exam and earned the Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) certification in Web Applications.

This certification is a globally recognized standard for developer excellence.  The certification requires passing a series of three exams that cover current Visual Studio versions with an emphasis on HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, C#, ASP.NET, Azure, Web Services, and SharePoint.

For additional information, contact Melissa Miller at (813) 933-9800 ext. 2422.

  – Challenged with modifying Sitefinity widgets?
  – Stumped by integrating .NET custom solutions into your Sitefinity website? 
  – Interested in migrating to the Azure hosting platform?
  – Want to learn how experts work with Sitefinity’s Module builder?
  – Facing syncing issues across your dev/testing/prod hosting environments?

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then mark your calendars for our upcoming free event, Deploying Sitefinity-based websites with .NET customization to Azure. 

This event will be held on Tuesday January 20, 2015 from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm EST at the Microsoft offices in Tampa, FL.  

The event will examine how you can craft Sitefinity-based websites with .NET customization deployed to Azure. See the Sitefinity Content Management System in action and get first-hand accounts of our experience integrating Microsoft technologies, all while enjoying complimentary refreshments and snacks.

For a complete agenda and to register for the free event please visit www.mercurynewmedia.com/events.

We hope to see you there!

Mercury New Media wins the Silver award in the 2014 W3 Award Competition for its work on the Mercury New Media website.

We are a  leading digital application and professional services firm obsessed with website, web applications, native application, mobile and everything “data”. Founded in 1998, Mercury New Media has been providing clients with creative web-based solutions for over fifteen years. During that time we have developed over a thousand websites and web-based applications to meet our clients’ diverse and demanding business needs.

The W³ Awards honors creative excellence on the web, and recognizes the creative and marketing professionals behind award winning sites, marketing programs, and video work created for the web. In honoring outstanding websites, web advertising, web video, & Mobile Apps. The W³ Awards is the first major web competition to be accessible to the biggest agencies, the smallest firms, and everyone in between. Small firms are as likely to win as Fortune 500 companies and international agencies.

For additional information, contact Melissa Miller at (813) 933-9800 ext. 2422.

Alexis Muellner asks the tech panel to address the current technology ecosystem and key issues they face for growth in the near term? He captures there responses in the article, “Talent pool, office environments and inventory of expandable space dominate tech talk”. 

Panelist Chris Karlo states, “One of the key challenges for growth for us is talent – finding people that can help us grow. We’re looking to grow some of our service line offerings and take advantage of opportunities to not just do business here in Tampa Bay but across the country through some of our partner relationships. We opened up a small office out in Arizona earlier this year to get us a west coast presence.”

“But the challenge in either one of those environments is having the talent and motivated workforce in place to help us achieve what we’re looking to do, and a lot of that isn’t necessarily technical components so much as the people, and understanding what businesses are looking to do. We want to be able to help bridge the gap between client needs and the technological opportunity, and then execute.”

To see what the other panelists responses were see the full article on the TBBJ website.

More than a dozen technology-sector business people attended the TBBJ Tech Roundtable Monday to discuss the topic of finding and keeping qualified workers. Eric Snider captures the key takeaways in the article, “5 takeaways from TBBJ’s tech roundtable”.

 – It’s not just a Tampa Bay problem, but a global one. Demand for workforce is not keeping up with supply, which can lead to competition for merely qualified people, let alone the best and brightest. Because Tampa Bay does not have a far-reaching reputation as a vibrant tech community, that’s makes recruitment even tougher. This can lead to outsized salary expectations from even recent college graduates.

– While salaries are obviously important, it’s also necessary for companies to provide stimulating work environments. That can be accomplished through amenities — Nitro Mobile Solutions, represented by president Pete Slade, features walking workstations that allows employees to task on a treadmill — hip, collaborative workspaces, and an innovative work culture. But the basics still prevail: Tech companies must provide workers with stimulating projects that match their skills, as well as consistent, supportive leadership. Big bottom line: Don’t get the reputation as a boring place to work.

 – While companies worry about hiring and retention, they also have valid concerns about the quality of workers in a market that tilts toward labor. Jana Wiggins, CEO of Document Advantage Corp., noticed that hires tend to follow “flavor of the week programming skills, but often lack the pure foundation skills necessary. We pray that they learn quick, and are up and running in the first 90 days.”

  – Chris Karlo, a partner at Mercury New Media, saw the situation a bit differently. He finds that, overall, colleges focus on specific skills in their computer science programs, turning out new workers that lack broader analytic and problem-solving skills. Smaller companies — his has 23 employees — don’t have the luxury of providing a lot of core training.

 – The panelists found American immigration policy too restrictive. A few encountered situations in which they wanted to hire someone from overseas, but shied away because the process was too onerous. “If we can’t get them locally, and we can’t bring them in, what are we gonna do? Outsource,” said Alex Ecklelberry of Technology Growth Engineering.

To see the full article visit the TBBJ website.

Mercury New Media is a Finalist for the Florida Companies to Watch awards.  The award recipients will be selected by a panel of independent judges comprised of representatives of the Associates and others as deemed appropriate by the Associates and the Foundation. The award will be based on the following criteria:

    1. Innovativeness of the product or service
    2. Response to adversity
    3. Contributions by the nominee to aid community-oriented projects
    4. Current and past financial reports
    5. Increase in sales and/or unit volume
    6. Growth in number of employees
    7. Impact of the business in the job market

      The judging panel is allowed complete discretion in determining award recipients. Final results will be announced in early August. Festivities honoring the 2014 Florida Companies to Watch winners will be held October 23, 2014, at Hard Rock Live.

      About GrowFL

      Florida Companies to Watch is presented by GrowFL, the Florida Economic Gardening Institute at the University of Central Florida, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation. GrowFL was created in 2009 by the Florida legislature as an economic development program focused on assisting second-stage growth companies prosper in the state of Florida. Based on the philosophy of Economic Gardening®—to grow existing businesses in a community, region or state—GrowFL, is a critical component to the state’s economic development strategy and Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. GrowFL has helped more than 700 companies through the Strategic Research and CEO Roundtable programs.

      The Edward Lowe Foundation brings you Companies to Watch to recognize the vital role second-stage companies play in the economy. The foundation champions the entrepreneurial spirit by working with entrepreneur support organizations nationwide to encourage peer learning among second-stage business owners.