The Boxmodel team has evolved at a rapid pace since its last major recruitment drive during 2013. The global team ethos surrounds pushing best practices, being process driven and spending considerable time performing research and development tasks to keep us ahead of the technology curve. This has enabled us to position ourselves as a leader within the design and development of bespoke software where we can apply sound judgement to delivering tailored solutions and services based on our technical astuteness.
The Boxmodel team is formed by three core divisions; the management team, the server-side team and the front-end team, supported by the project management and testing teams. Combining these divisions provides a powerful unit which can work in unison acting as your IT partner to successfully deliver tailored solutions to improve your business.
What We Do
- Strategic IT Planning: Analysing business needs, systems analysis & data harmonising, strategic review, structured planning for short, medium and long term
- Interface Design: UX evaluation, user journey maps, wireframing, prototyping, mood boards, interface design, illustrations & interactive design
- Interface Development: Responsive web design, HTML5 interface development, cross-browser testing, cross-device testing
- Interface Integration: Web service (WCF) integration, API integration, web sockets integration, custom dynamic functionality
- Website Development: Information & resource portals, membership websites, eLearning websites, eCommerce websites, booking engines, custom websites
- Mobile App Development: Android & iOS smart device application development, hybrid application development
- Bespoke Software Development: Continuing Professional Development (CPD), paper-to-digital business systems, eLearning, workflow management, mathematics & scientific calculations
- Content Management System (CMS) Development: Open source CMS solutions, Enterprise CMS solutions, Boxmodel CMS solutions
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Portals & Collaboration: CRM development, Intranet development, Document and file management
- Systems and Middleware Integration: B2B application integration, message broker systems, high volume transaction systems
- Business Intelligence (BI) Systems: Data warehousing, reporting, dashboards
- Accounting Software: Integrate websites, CRM systems and databases with accounting software
- Legacy Systems: System audit, modernisation, data migration
- Research & Development (R&D): Innovation team, researching new technologies, tools and working practices
How We Work
We will work as your IT solutions partner, working closely with you to ensure that set project deliverables are met and in many cases exceeded.
The Management Team
Engagement and Exploration, it isn't merely about listening; it is about exploring and extracting the core requirements. With the rapid pace at which the digital technologies and consumer behaviours change, there are many challenges present, be it maintaining market position, penetrating channels or maximizing the ROI of your budgets.
Our management team will work with you to turn these challenges into positive opportunities. The strategic team, which is built with vast breadth and depth of experience, bridging business, marketing, psychology, multi-channel penetration and technology, is driven to combing this knowledge with the technical execution to achieve success in your digital and software projects.
The key members of this driven team have a portfolio of experience, including clients such as Nike, Umbro, P&G, The NHS, Mazda and the UK Government. Delivery of detailed strategies ensures that our clients are well prepared for any presenting opportunities. When preparation meets opportunities, it results in success.
What we do
- Strategic IT Planning
- Legacy Systems Migration
How we do it
Boxmodel have recognised the need to approach projects from a holistic perspective. It is now not just a case of having an online presence or indeed an eCommerce solution, it must target and drive the needs and objectives of the business. To that end, Boxmodel have developed a specialist approach. The use of psychology and trends is at the core of the strategic consultancy and engagement proposition. Many clients have employed this on a regular basis.
From the initial brief and the subsequent meeting, we are able to draw upon the material harvested, to propose an engagement model. As this is associated with the on-going proposal to develop the system, we are in a position to envelope much of the principles throughout the entire project. This sees the associated investment level reduce significantly.
The project will commence with a number work-shops and subsequent findings. User Persona; this will involve the engagement of a number of stakeholders. Using historic data, open-source data, market trends and internal intelligence we will look to produce profiles of the users, which we currently have, want to target and look to develop. This will provide the team with a common and shared understanding of the users of a service and or products offered. These exercises and findings are the only way to integrate user experience throughout the entire development process.
The Front-end Team
The front-end team also has its own dedicated creative members who are all highly experienced individuals and well versed with performing design for websites, web applications and smart devices while working closely with those devising the interface architecture and UX design.
What we do
- Interface Design
- Interface Development
- Interface Integration
How we do it
- User Interface design principles
- User Interaction design best practices
- Use Case Journey Maps
Our Preferred Technologies
- Grunt workflows and automation
The Server-side Team
All of the server-side team members were recruited on the basis that they were equally adept in managing a project as with undertaking the development itself. These soft skills in project management, leadership and software architecture form the platform for Boxmodel’s philosophy. From a technical perspective, the server-side team predominately use the Microsoft stack (including Visual Studio, MS SQL Server, C#.NET – WebForms, MVC5 & WPF). Across the team there is a breadth of experience in many specifics ranging from software applications, mobile applications, messaging systems, middleware and database development. Experience with and understanding of underlying technologies used with Web Services such as SOAP, XML and JSON is key, as it is common place for the type of data-driven projects we undertake to be underpinned by these frameworks.
The technical team as a whole likes to keep its own house in order and so we are well accustomed to using source control, continuous integration and “Agile” project management software (TeamPulse).
What we do
- Website Development
- Mobile App Development
- Bespoke Software Development
- CMS Development
- CRM, Portals & Collaboration
- Systems and Middleware Integration
- Business Intelligence (BI) Systems
- Accounting Software
How we do it
Web, desktop, bespoke software development
- Microsoft Visual Studio
- Microsoft SQL Server
- C# .NET (WebForms, MVC5, WPF)
- Microsoft Entity Framework
Mobile applications development
- Android Studio
- Boxmodel CMS v3
- Sitefinity CMS
- Umbraco CMS
CRMs & Portals
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM
- Microsoft SharePoint
Middleware & Integration
- WebSphere Message Broker & WebSphere MQ
- Microsoft BizTalk
Accountancy Software Integration
All of Boxmodel's projects are managed using a software development methodology called "Agile Scrum".
What does this mean for you?
It is important to understand the practice to discern the benefits for both parties, ourselves as the software developers, and you, the business owners. The key principles of the methodology allow us to:
- Demonstrate working software throughout the development timeline, rather than by producing reams of documentation on how the software will work and a final product that does what was initially specified in the brief, but may not meet the needs of the business.
- Collaborate with you throughout the development life-cycle, as gathering all requirements at the outset of the software development cycle often proves futile as key items can be overlooked. Continuous involvement from all parties concerned ensures that the focus is on producing software that can meet the potentially changing business requirements.
- Respond to change; the development process is driven by quick responses to changes in requirements and allows for continuous development.
The methodology is an iterative process, which allows us to break the project down into smaller tasks with deliverables at the end of every iteration (called “sprints”) which would typically last 2-3 weeks depending on the scale of a project. At the end of each iteration, software is demonstrated in conjunction with a feedback period, where you as the business owner can add feedback and ideas to our feedback portal.
Our feedback portal is the main avenue of communication and information sharing with regards to the software development process, allowing you to add feedback and ideas and allows all parties to comment and discuss items. These items will undergo a "triage" process, allowing us to consider them for inclusion in the next "sprint" (iteration). This iterative process allows us to work closely with and be in regular communication with you, to ensure that the project is meeting requirements throughout the development life-cycle.
Testing Testing Testing
There are several facets to our testing process and projects do have their own unique testing plan in most cases. First and foremost, we test as we go using Test-driven Development (TDD) techniques. This can be carried out by both the server-side and front-end teams and in essence acts to form Unit tests as the project evolves. These Unit tests can then be re-tested with ease and can prompt to rectify issues which have been caused by any subsequent work carried out.
Our front-end team will always carry out visual testing on all projects. At Boxmodel we have our own test suite comprising of a multitude of mobile and tablet devices along with a desktop platform running virtual operating systems allowing us to physically test older versions of browsers rather than rely on emulation. Our front-end team are meticulous with their cross-browser / cross-device testing and this has proved very successful for us and our clients.
Automated testing is something which Boxmodel have adopted over the last 12 months. Again, this can be used by both the front-end and server-side teams and our weapons of choice are PhantomJS and Selenium respectively. Selenium itself offers 2 distinct testing routes. Level 1 allows for you to record and replay test cases using the Firefox browser itself. This can actually be very useful for demonstration purposes as an aside. Level 2 is more complex and allows you to write C# code to manipulate/simulate the browser, create sample data for use and read/write to the database if required. This is perfect for advanced test plans and for system integration testing.