Mercom has a good track record of building applications to meet business needs of our many clients. Our approach is to work with the client and provide an end-to-end solution. In a typical scenario, the work would involve gathering of requirements, systems design, development, testing and deployment. During each phase, review sessions are held with the client to ensure that expectations would be met in terms of the functionality and performance when the system is deployed. We also provide maintenance services at client's request to support and enhance the systems functions on a long-term basis. Mercom has considerable experience in developing applications some of which are listed below.
Integrated object and relation database technologies
Credit card processing systems
Risk management systems
Object oriented applications development
Webpage designs, coding and data capture
Two-tier and three-tier client/server techniques
Legacy system interfaces
Rapid prototyping and technology evaluation for mission critical applications
Mercom has also developed expertise in Program and Project Management areas gained over many years of successfully completing turnkey projects. Our Program Management staff works with the client and helps identify suitable resources, and determine cost of the projects within a given timeline. This helps the client make a value judgment on proceeding with the project based on the cost effectiveness of deploying a system against the business needs.
Typically, Mercom employees work on-site at client's locations, but in some cases off-site work is also undertaken. Our development centers are located in the US and India. Mercom follows state-of-the-art project management techniques. We use both "Waterfall" and "Iterative' processes depending on the nature of the project and the client's preference. A project has many phases.
The key phases that our project management staff pay particular attention are:
Requirements gathering and traceability: This refers to the ability to gather client requirements both software and hardware, describe and follow the life of a requirement from its origin through to its development and subsequent implementation. Throughout the development phase, the process allows refinement of the requirements and also to capture additional ones should an un-predictive change in the marketplace occur.
Risk management: Mercom has implemented a number of risk-mitigation strategies and activities based on the past projects, and apply them to our existing client based work to reduce risk for project failure. Some of the strategies include:
Risk profiling based on polling of team members.
Risk repository that includes risk and contingency plans identified in the past projects for guiding future projects.
Risk identification and tracking tool for prioritizing risks based on probability, impact, risk to exposure for better contingency and mitigation planning.
Risk reporting as a standard agenda item in all planned meetings.
Issues Resolution: One of the key activities in any project management is the rapid resolution of issues that range from technical to organizational. Mercom through its many years of experience has developed techniques to identify and resolve issues without significantly impacting the project delivery dates. These issues are reported using Mercom's standard templates.
Defect Management: This includes defect density and service level compliance monitored monthly and reported to the board on a monthly basis. Reporting also includes defect prevention plan. This is carried out at the project level as well as at the organizational level. It forms an integral part of all delivery project plans, and reviewed and revised at the end of every phase.
Quality Assurance: Mercom determines software quality by examining key indicators, such as, functionality, defect density, robustness, maintainability, scalability, security, performance and usability.
Release Management: This work starts at the outset of the design phase and continues through to the deployment of the project followed by its closure subject to the satisfaction of the client. It requires interaction with all those involved in the development of a system through to the user acceptance testing.
Vendor Management: Many large projects require a mix of both internal IT resources working in concert with an external vendor. In many cases the external vendor's products need to be integrated within the existing client system. Mercom has helped many clients manage the external vendors, including drawing up of contracts, and has been successful in transferring critical technology from the vendor to the client. Mercom has been particularly successful in coordination development effort between vendors located in the US and overseas.
Progress Monitoring, Reviews & Reporting: This involves multi-peer artifact reviews of deliverables (documents, code), intermediate work products and design documents, test plans, etc. Reporting is conducted at project, program and executive levels including phase-end reviews where issues relating to requirements, design, coding, unit testing, integration testing, system testing, deployment and formal project closure are detailed.
System Integration Management
System integration is probably one of the most important activity that determines success or failure of a project. Special management skills are required to ensure that applications developed at different locations by different teams, including independent vendors, are successfully integrated to deliver a fully functioning system to the client. Some of the key activities in the system integration that Mercom experts pay particular attention include: