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Diversity in technology industry: no longer a nice-to-have

At X-Formation we believe our company culture is one of our most valuable assets and the key for our success. We started in 2004 with just one person and today we employ around 30 people from different countries such as Denmark, Poland, Spain, Ukraine, Belarus, and Hungary. As a result, our company is a small melting pot of cultures, behaviors and habits and we continue our upward trajectory :-).

Not only did we recognize the importance of adding international dimension to our company, but we have also become a place welcoming both men and women. (Two years ago there were only two women working in our company full-time, but this number has quadrupled since that time.)

At X-Formation we know that there is a tangible value to diversifying the enterprise and … it is ultimately customers who win. Why? Well, extensive research, including the report Diversity Matters prepared by McKinsey&Company and the study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, makes it clear that diversity in the workplace, including gender diversity, can bring such advantages as:

  1. greater ability to keep high performers
  2. increased creativity and problem solving
  3. increased productivity
  4. enhanced communication skills
  5. more synergy in teams
  6. above-average financial returns
  7. more customer satisfaction

In many companies there used to be a concern–which was never formally expressed–could women balance work and home? Attitudes have changed, though, and the outlook is brightening now as gender equality in the workplace is the best it’s ever been. This is possible thanks to “results-only” work environments adopted by many firms that let their staff work whenever and wherever they want as long as they accomplish their tasks, changing parental roles, or flextime arrangements present in many companies (such as ours!).

There are more and more opportunities for women who work in the technology industry, whether in a regular post or rising to hold high-octane jobs because companies recognized that women:

  1. are more “supportive and rewarding” in leadership roles
  2. accept more challenges
  3. are more persuasive and score higher than men in it comes to assertiveness and persuasiveness
  4. are more comfortable showing their emotions and communicating things

Women value teams and bring in empathy and better stress tolerance, whereas men contribute with their negotiation skills and determination.

Though certain differences exist in male and female attitudes that may drive a wedge between feminine and masculine roles, having a more diverse set of employees, both in terms of nationality as well as gender, means you have a more diverse set of skills. 🙂

A new version of LM-X License Manager out today!

We’re proud to announce that we have just rolled out LM-X v4.8.1, a new minor upgrade of our software license manager. Some highlights of the release include:

  1. extending the range of valid values for HOLD and MIN_CHECKOUT directives from 1 to 86400 seconds (24 hours) to 1 to 31536000 seconds (1 year).
  2. eliminating a problem with a log file not being created when installing LM-X in a directory different than /home.
  3. fixing an issue which resulted in LM-X being started as a root user instead of a regular user indicated during the installation.

On top of that, we have fixed other bug fixes, so please read release notes for all details.

Interested in evaluating the latest version of LM-X License Manager? Submit your request for evaluation today. Already using LM-X? Download the latest version of the vendor LM-X SDK and see what’s new.

As with all of our product improvements, the improvements and fixes in this release were made in direct response to customer feedback. We do our best to listen to you and incorporate as many of your suggestions and requests as possible. This interactive process is ongoing, so please continue sharing your comments to help us make LM-X License Manager even better for you in the future.

Customer first, everything else follows

At X-Formation we put our Customers at the very center of the entire company—this is why we encourage them to share ideas, ask questions and suggest new features in our software products and we plan what will be included in a given release based on what our Customers tell us they want and need.

We regularly review such feedback internally to be able to provide frequent, stable updates that solve real issues for our 600 Customers and thousands of their end users. With our customer-driven development methodology, we are ready to deliver the solutions our Customers want quickly and efficiently.

But our customer-centered approach goes far beyond responsiveness to customer feedback—we care about our Customers even when our business relationship comes to an end.

As a proof of how much we value close relationships with our Customers we would like to show you a letter we sent to one of them as a sign of appreciation of our long-standing cooperation.

Why happiness at work really matters

Thousands of companies around the world say they are increasingly investing in the well-being and happiness of their employees because happy people tend to work better. But are such claims mere hype or are they scientifically proven? Well, recent research shows that happiness indeed boosts productivity by 12% and that happier people are more supportive of changes and learn new things quickly so there must be a grain of truth hidden somewhere within.

Some companies seem to know no bounds when it comes to pampering employees: they offer countless vacation days, fat paychecks or free flights, while other offer only “meager” benefits in the form of flexible work schedules, gift vouchers for Christmas or charity days. But do such benefits really make employees happy? In fact happy employees credit their bliss to … minimal supervision and great work-life balance. At X-Formation we recognized it long ago — our company is the right place for people who simply wanna great job . We do the most we can to make our employees happy by offering them minimal supervision, flexible working time and great modern office.

But back to theory …

According to a Harvard researcher and international best-selling author, Shawn Achor, there is a link between positive psychology and success.

According to the author, optimistic and happy people are:

  1. 37% more successful in sales
  2. 3x more creative
  3. 31% more productive
  4. 19% more accurate
  5. Up to 10 times more engaged

Although it may seem like a no-brainer, the fact is that happy brains are more productive and motivated. Happiness fuels success, and the thrill of creative effort makes people perform better at leadership roles and achieve far better organization results.

Put simply, to keep your employees happy, you should:

  1. stop micro-managing and make your employees feel that they are trusted by encouraging them to think on their own
  2. create a pleasant environment
  3. improve work/life balance to give people time to let people enjoy their life
  4. promote growth and development by providing opportunities for training and development
  5. ask what could be better, listen and respond to your employees’ feedback
  6. give feedback
  7. encourage socialization

Remember: employees that are content are usually more willing to contribute cheerfully and they don’t moan about daily operations. Try to contribute to overall happiness level in your company as much as you can 🙂

6 Ways to Deliver Excellent Customer Experience

Have you ever wondered why Ikea, world’s largest furniture retailer, continues to do much better than upmarket furniture stores? Here’s the answer: in addition to transparency and great customer service, Ikea sells practical, ready-to-assemble, Scandinavian style furniture and home accessories.

But the real secret lies somewhere else: Ikea constantly reminds its customers that it’s OK to bring back the products that did not meet its customers’ expectations. (To be more precise: according to Ikea’s policy, you can “return any product, even if you assembled it, as long as it’s in re-saleable condition”.) It is clear that a customer ranks very high on Ikea’s priority list and… makes the entire business thrive!

Such customer-centered approach has accompanied us at X-Formation from the very get-go. Ever since we started developing our great software products, our objective has always been clear: deliver value to our customers. Over 11 years we’ve understood that when our customers feel valued, they’re more likely to remain loyal. And loyal customers are our most precious asset. We know that there’s nothing unusual or unreasonable about a customer who considers each purchase of a product or service from a self-centered point of view. After all, they’re paying a price.

Our customers’ opinions have always determined our course of action at X-Formation, and today we’d like to share with you some fundamental lessons we’ve learned over the years on how to continue on an upward trajectory and make your customers feel valued. We take pride in our customer retention rate of a stunning 96% so you can trust us on the following key findings:

1. Deliver value to your customers.

Every day do as much as you can to deliver value through the experiences you create around your products and services. Build your reputation on great quality and customer-friendly, knowledgeable employees. Try to quickly and thoroughly investigate any issues your customers may have with your products. (Think about Apple — the company has built a strong reputation based on superior products and great customer service provided by its friendly employees, not special discounts and deals.)

2. Listen to your customers and be responsive to their needs.

Let your customers’ voice be heard. Enable different channels of communication with your customers and regularly review their feedback. Keep development on track with your customers’ needs so that they know that you add new features to your products, or rework old ones based on what they tell you they want and need.

We developed our X-Formation feedback page so that our customers can ask questions and suggest new features in our products whenever they want. In addition to that, our ability to roll out frequent, stable releases that solve real issues for our user community is attributable to our customer-driven development methodology.

3. Deliver great quality products accompanied with great service.

Make sure you the products you sell to your customers have been thoroughly tested and evaluated. Deliver only quality products. Delivering simplified and personalized purchasing experience is very important, but you need to make sure you’re selling premium quality products.

Also, you should remember that when your employees are knowledgeable about the products and services you offer and put trust in the products they sell, they will handle even the most complicated transactions under challenging circumstances.

4. Remember that it’s not about the money, it’s about the customer.

We’ve learned that the total value of a customer is not about a single transaction: the real measure of customer value is about taking a long-term view of company’s relationships with customers. And we know that value must be defined from the customer’s perspective, not anyone else’s.

Customer satisfaction must come as first, everything else will follow. Make a deliberate commitment and focus on the customer. Use it to drive decisions affecting clients and employees.

5. Forget timely tips. Think Agile.

Tips abound about how to boost your productivity and do more in less time. Some of the techniques are quite obvious (write a “to do” list for each day, try multitasking, learn to say no, prioritize things, and so on), while others, such as the “Swiss cheese method” tell you that when there’s a job you really dread doing, you shouldn’t keep putting it off, but rather make “holes” in it by breaking in into smaller tasks, doing them one at a time and setting a time limit.

OK, much as we appreciate the methods, we decided to develop our own methods and workflow: at X-Formation the capacity of each team is determined per cycle (2-week sprint) and each sprint consists of a collection of to-be-performed, prioritized tasks that we put in the backlog using JIRA issue tracker.

Think of your own method. Listen to your employees, observe their working patterns and only then choose the method that will work best for them.

6. Establish great rapport with your customers.

Over many years we’ve learned that connecting to our customers on an emotional level and providing them with a unique experience by proactively anticipating what they need and expect—and exceeding those expectations every time — is the key to establishing a long-lasting relationship.

Therefore, we always strive to offer as customized and personalized customer experience as possible, even if it requires two or three of us spending lots of time on helping this one, special customer.

Remember: the more value you create, the more valuable you will become.

Case Study: Pemex Exploracion y Produccion uses License Statistics to explore areas for savings

About Pemex Exploracion y Produccion

PEMEX Exploracion y Produccion, part of Pemex, the Mexican state-owned petroleum company, is dedicated to the exploration and production of hydrocarbons across Mexico. Company’s main activities involve oil and natural gas exploration and exploitation, conveyance, storage in terminals, as well as first hand commercialization. PEMEX Exploracion y Produccion dominates the rankings in offshore hydrocarbons production and scores very high in crude production and crude reserves.

The Business Challenge

Before discovering License Statistics, PEMEX Exploracion y Produccion didn’t use any license management solution. However, with the increase in reserves and production of hydrocarbons, the company began to recognize the need for an efficient license monitoring software with powerful reporting capabilities that would effectively measure and manage license usage and optimize software costs.

The License Statistics Solution

PEMEX Exploracion y Produccion chose License Statistics, because X-Formation’s software monitoring tool turned out to be a flexible and adaptable solution that let them measure the volume of demand for software products to optimize investment costs. Through better planning, the company was able to stay on top of its license requirements. What PEMEX Exploracion y Produccion appreciated most about License Statistics was its ability to show license usage based on how many licenses were used for how long and the percentage of utilization for these licenses.

Summary

License Statistics proved to be a reliable technology for measuring the utilization of licenses and providing effective and precise measurement that allows to make well-informed decisions regarding software spend during the entire process in PEMEX Exploracion y Produccion. In addition, License Statistics’ pay-per-use option enables them to appropriate license costs for each of their divisions based on real license usage.

7 BIG reasons to choose License Activation Center

As we’ve already informed you on our blog, License Activation Center (LAC) can help you accelerate the growth of your company by streamlining software license creation, distribution, and activation . And today we’d like to present 7 big reasons why LAC is the best choice for ISVs that want efficiency and flexibility with their software license management. Read on…

1. No upfront investment.

LAC eliminates installation, administration, and maintenance requirements freeing up the large IT spend that normally goes with running self-hosted solutions. Instead, software vendors can focus on what they do best (develop software) and apply resources where they can improve their company’s bottom line most. And since there is no software or hardware to install, deployment time is reduced to a matter of minutes instead of several weeks or even months. Software vendors can start benefiting from on-demand license management almost immediately.

2. License management and activation anytime and anywhere.

Because LAC is delivered as SaaS and there is no software or hardware to install, deployment time is reduced to a matter of minutes instead of several weeks or even months. This allows vendors to start benefiting from license management almost immediately and at a minimal cost. And if vendors are not happy after several months of usage, they simply do not renew their subscription (that is to say if they’re not using the free version). As a cloud-based solution run from a web interface, LAC can be accessed 24/7 from any location where there is an internet connection and a web browser. As an example, see our video on activating a license using email.

3. Fits your needs today and tomorrow.

LAC’s flexibility allows software vendors to scale up or down and use more of the software as their needs evolve without adding infrastructure. Vendors can easily introduce more effective product and pricing models with a few simple clicks that also better suit the needs of their customers. LAC gives ISVs a clear idea of what their costs will be, allowing for more precise budget forecast than in case of on-premise software.

4. Simple to use.

LAC was developed to be straightforward for both software vendors and end users. Defining products, creating license orders, overall software license management, and product activation have been stripped down to a few, easy-to-follow steps anyone can understand, even without a manual.

5. Always up-to-date and upgrade free.

Software upgrades happen dynamically and transparently with no impact on IT resources. Vendors and end users are always using the most up-to-date version of the software with access to the latest innovations and features, without the headaches of manual upgrading.

6. Measure results.

LAC provides reporting capabilities that present information on exactly how many licenses were activated, for which products, and by which users. Vendors can use this information to later improve their product portfolio and open up new customer engagement opportunities.

7. Get the complete software license management solution.

Protect intellectual property and implement diverse licensing models with LM-X License Manager , create and manage license orders and activations with License Activation Center , and allow end users to monitor their license usage with License Statistics . Try LAC today and see how it can help you fully implement full automation from license order creation, to activation, to software delivery.

X-Formation moving premises

Dear Customers,

 

We’re excited to inform you that we are in the concluding stage of relocating to the new office, which is more suited to our needs and will let us grow even further in the future.

Due to moving to sparkly new office space, our telephones will be offline on 20 February 2015 until the end of the day. Also, please note that answers to your emails may be delayed on this day.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

 

Kind regards,

X-Formation Team

10 Good Reasons to Choose LM-X License Manager

Making your customers happy is a big part of what makes you successful. With LM-X License Manager you can not only satisfy your users by providing them with diverse licensing models, but also give the users a hassle-free access to your software, all at a reasonable price .

We know at least 10 good reasons why LM-X License Manager is a better license management alternative to other solutions that exist today for both small and large companies. The following reasons should get a mention:

1. Simple to use.

LM-X License Manager follows a simple philosophy: The majority of end users don’t care much about licensing; they just want something that works and is easy to set up. LM-X supports these goals by helping vendors solve their licensing needs while helping end users to get their applications up and running as effortlessly as possible. Various features, such as easy-to-use setup tools, automatic license server discovery, and redundant license servers support these objectives.

2. Get the features you want, without extra baggage.

LM-X License Manager is slim: It doesn’t expose the complexity of legacy license management systems that have become so expansive and complex that even experts have problems supporting them and solving problems. LM-X also doesn’t burden you with hundreds of pages of documentation you must pore over to learn and reference how to use the features you’re interested in. Instead, LM-X gives you the essentials without laboring you with a ton of useless features that users rarely, if ever, need.

3. Get superior security for your intellectual property.

LM-X License Manager is more secure than our competitors solutions. We don’t include “back doors” that can override functionality or enable crackers to obtain information.

4. Feel confident that we can handle your needs.

LM-X License Manager is robust and proven in production (see our customer testimonials ). LM-X protected software is deployed with Fortune 500 companies and other large billion dollar corporations in the fields of computer graphics and movie production, automotive, aircraft, aerospace, military, bio-informatics, education, and several other industries.

5. Get unbeatable support.

We deliver support within 24 hours and want your feedback for improving LM-X License Manager. Using our issue tracking system , you can be part of the development team — entering and tracking issues, submitting enhancement requests, keeping up with the latest development activity, and more.

6. Get an end-to-end solution for software license management.

X-Formation offers you an end-to-end solution: LM-X includes License Activation Center (LAC) to help you distribute your software, and License Statistics can help your end users monitor and optimize their software license usage.

7. Get all you need for less.

LM-X License Manager is cost-effective. Unlike comparable software license management products, LM-X doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. And what’s more, you can evaluate LM-X for free.

8. Different licensing models.

LM-X offers a large number of license models that let you satisfy every type of customer, including network/floating licenses, single-user/node-locked licenses, time-limited licenses restricting usage periods and allowing subscription-based licensing models, trial licenses, pay per use licenses, and many more.

9. Get up and running quickly.

You can get started with LM-X immediately. LM-X comes with helpful samples and clear, uncomplicated documentation, and it doesn’t require complex training or other ramp-up time.

10. Get support for all major platforms.

LM-X License Manager supports all major platforms and has broad language support including C/C++, Java and .NET.

Ready to try LM-X License Manager? Get your evaluation copy today!

Questions? Doubts? Feel free to get in touch with us with any concerns.

Case Study: REEL opts for License Statistics to optimize the use of its network

Company overview

REEL’s core business involves developing, manufacturing, installing and maintaining complex handling and lifting equipment systems. REEL also provides specialized services that center around three main activities: maintenance, modifications and improvements, as well as the supply of spare and exchange parts.

With almost 70 years of tradition in the industry, presence on four continents and impressive portfolio of services, REEL has managed to successfully build its position in several key industrial sectors, such as nuclear energy, aluminium production, aeronautics, defense, and offshore.

Challenge

REEL has established its presence as a provider of handling and lifting equipment systems all around the world and it continues exploring and targeting new customers. Yet entering new markets (and developing existing ones) entails deploying additional CAD software licenses across the company, especially when it is accompanied by high turnover of temporary employees. As a veteran in the industry, REEL remains intimately familiar with the importance of tracking license usage across the organization.

The choice: License Statistics

One of the big reasons REEL decided to start using License Statistics is the software’s unmatched ability to track and report software license usage gathered from a number of supported license servers , let alone the software’s ease of use and support REELreceived from X-Formation. License Statistics turned out to be a solution that helped REEL effectively manage and maximize license investment, improve productivity and make informed license management decisions.

Summary

Using License Statistics allows for cost reduction through software license optimization. After switching to X-Formation’s solution, REEL is able to more accurately forecast its future licensing needs and cut its operational costs.

Interested in License Statistics? Remember that we’re only if you’d like to discuss this unique license monitoring solution with us more.

Try License Statistics demo and take advantage of the outstanding features it offers.