Project Overview: Relogistics’ Velocity

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Relogistics is the leading provider of reusable transport packaging and pallet management services.  Relogistics supports customers at over 50 locations and processes more than 325,000 trailers handling almost 81 million pallets and almost 110 million reusable totes annually.  Their value proposition is simple – to combine their professional personnel with customized, cost-saving solutions for customers and their distribution center operations.  Relogistics handles all aspects of pallet and tote management – onsite or offsite – including unloading, loading, trailer stripping, pallet management, pallet sortation, pallet repair, reverse logistics, reusable packaging handling, tracking and other services.

Relogistics partnered with the Antares Team to design, develop and implement Velocity, a custom web-based enterprise software solution to replace legacy applications and spreadsheets.  The new Velocity application provides online visibility to all data – anytime, anywhere for both Relogistics and their customers.

In addition to real-time information, the new Velocity application enables Relogistics to present customized, comprehensive, reporting of all activity including detailed reports on the services they provide and all items handled. According to JR Vernon, Relogistics’ Director of Supply Chain Solutions, “By tracking all movements of our clients’ returnables and recyclables, we can ensure that they are properly cared for, compensation is fair, and costs are as low as possible.”

To learn how Antares can help you with your software development needs, contact our team today to schedule your complimentary consultation.



5 Cases Where Custom Software Is The Better Choice for Government Agencies

While commercial off-the-shelf software can be an affordable solution for solving simple problems, few of the challenges government agencies face can be classified as simple. The complexity of the regulatory environment, data architecture, and interoperability make custom software solutions a more effective choice for government agencies.

When you must comply with a complex regulatory environment

In his 2017 testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, James “Bo” Reese said, “State CIOs invest an inordinate amount of time identifying duplicative regulatory mandates or their differences, participating in federal audits, and responding to inconsistent audit findings. These challenges in and of themselves are not unmanageable; the real issue is that they can and have impeded efforts of state CIOs to introduce efficiencies and generate savings for taxpayers.”

State and local agencies are burdened by complex and often redundant federal security regulations. State CIOs must comply with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Publication 1075, FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Security Policy (FBI-CJIS), and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), to name just a few.

Custom software can be built to streamline these efforts through tailored algorithms that ensure compliance with the requirements of all regulatory agencies. By automating compliance, state CIOs win back efficiencies and cost savings.

When you want to streamline operations

Commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS) is designed to offer the greatest amount of functionality to the largest number of users for the least amount of money. The generic nature of this software requires users to either compromise on their requirements, complicate their systems with add-ons and fixes, or reorganize their processes to fit within the parameters of the software. Along the way, the cost-effectiveness of the COTS is lost and few advantages are gained.

When agencies invest in custom software, developers are able to build a precision instrument that meets all requirements without the bloat of extraneous code. In many cases, the mere act of describing the requirements helps agencies refine their processes, creating improved efficiencies. In this way, building custom software not only facilitates technical effectiveness but also organizational proficiency.

When you must coordinate data among several agencies

To function efficiently, government agencies must be able to coordinate with one another, yet off-the-shelf software and legacy platforms can impede coordination. Different agencies and offices may rely on different software, creating integration issues. The need for various user security permissions can create complications and security risks for generic software platforms.

When the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office came to Antares, they were burdened with outdated technology that sabotages collaboration and inter-agency data management. To modernize and streamline collaboration, the Antares team created a web-based application and supporting database accessible from the Sheriff’s internal network and capable of operating in three departments: bailiffs, jail and work release.

This custom solution empowered key users to collaborate more effectively. With the new software, trusted users across the three departments can easily create and supplement log book entries, search the log book, generate reports, and manage administrative functions. User security levels, easy data entry screens and specific reporting functionality further enhance operations.

When you need to preserve workflow compatibility

Commercial off-the-shelf software isn’t built with your agency’s requirements in mind, so it may require your office to change the way it operates, creating resistance and frustration among personnel. In other cases, it’s necessary to entirely reconfigure commercial software to be compatible with an existing workflow, which renders software vulnerable to security risks when updates are issued.

Custom software allows agencies to engineer a solution that fits their processes and requirements perfectly, preserving workflow compatibility and streamlining operations. No compromises are necessary, ensuring a secure working environment even as the digital landscape changes.

When you need to respond swiftly to changing circumstances

It’s no exaggeration to say that every department in modern government is a tech department. Every employee is, to a greater or lesser degree, a member of IT. Technology is used at every level of government to expedite administrative tasks, and all of these tasks, tools, and technicians are subject to the constantly shifting landscape of technology – from secretaries to senators.

Requirements are in a state of perpetual evolution as new technologies change the way government agencies address responsibilities. Cumbersome commercial software is ill-equipped to adapt and adjust to these changes with agility.

Software is constantly being updated, and those continuous changes can create a challenge for agencies relying on commercial off-the-shelf software. Carefully-conducted adaptations are quickly undermined by one update to the software.

Using agile methodology, Antares creates custom software solutions that empower government agencies to remain responsive to changing circumstances. Our extensive experience with a diverse operating environments and business sectors equips us to build the most appropriate information technology solutions for your needs. Antares has a proven track record of developing custom software solutions for corporate, industrial, small business and government clients. Contact our technical team today to learn more about how Antares can help you.



The Agile Methodology: Is It Right For Your Software Project?

What is Agile Methodology?

Traditionally, developers took a linear approach to software development called the Waterfall Methodology. Projects are divided into stages, and each stage is completed before the next stage begins. In the final stage, the finished software project is delivered to the client. This approach leaves stakeholders little opportunity to offer feedback, and if a deliverable isn’t all that stakeholders hoped for, it can be prohibitively expensive to make changes once the project is completed.

By contrast, the Agile Methodology takes a cyclic approach to development. Developers work in short development cycles of two to four weeks, and smaller deliverables are provided at more frequent intervals. Unlike the traditional method, meetings between developers and stakeholders are frequent, providing stakeholders and developers many opportunities to address issues as they arise and the ability to adapt early to changing requirements.

What are the advantages of an agile approach?

Agile Methodology is a logical solution to the many challenges that arise in the development of new software. The landscape of emerging technologies and the modern marketplace are both constantly changing, which means tech project requirements are subject to change often. An agile approach makes it easier and more cost-effective to adapt to shifting requirements over the course of the project timeline by periodically evaluating and adjusting expectations and proposed outcomes.

Shorter, iterative project phases and regular team meetings reduce risks and keep the whole team focused on the task at hand. Stakeholders have an opportunity to express concerns about a project during the early phases, which prevents developers from wasting time, energy, and resources on a direction that is no longer in alignment with the needs of a client.

When a product’s market is particularly competitive, the rapid delivery of Agile Methodology gives stakeholders a first-mover advantage. In a constantly-changing landscape, developers have the capacity to optimize and adjust software throughout its development rather than adding another stage at the end of an already lengthy waterfall project. This often results in unexpected, added value to stakeholders.

Is an agile approach right for you?

Agile Methodology offers a number of advantages to developers and stakeholders, and it’s particularly effective in highly variable, sophisticated projects with aggressive timelines. Regular communication means ambiguities and changes can be dealt with immediately. Shorter cycles encourage faster development. In a fast-paced marketplace, an agile approach is the secret to staying ahead of the competition.

At Antares, we use a customized agile methodology to develop solutions for a wide variety of industries, including healthcare, oil & gas, finance and insurance. We also help startups get commercial digital products to market faster using our agile approach. Contact our experts today to learn how our developers can work with your business team to offer a first-mover advantage in a fast-paced market.



Custom Reporting Solutions: A Game-Changer for the Financial Services Industry

By transforming raw data into organized reports, businesses are equipped to gauge their performance, identify problems and opportunities, and make more intelligent decisions. Reports can be invaluable when businesses are planning, budgeting, and forecasting a project. And in some cases, they’re necessary to fulfill regulatory requirements. However, not all reports are created equal.

Many businesses rely on canned reports to gain a broad overview of business, and in some cases, an out-of-the-box solution may suffice. But for business owners seeking more nuanced insights into their efforts and the impact of emerging trends, a more tailored report is necessary.

How customized does a report need to be in order to deliver real value to its users? That depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

Clarify and highlight critical data

The best data reports are easy to understand and share, and custom data reporting allows businesses to clarify and highlight the most critical data points to decision-making. Manipulating data to meet specific user needs and to inform specific business decisions simplifies and strengthens data reports, allowing you to more clearly communicate critical insights.

Customize data for different users

While canned reports may satisfy a general audience, dynamic business structures are composed of diverse user groups with distinctive data requirements. Your marketing department needs a different set of data points than your development team. Flexible custom reports offer an opportunity to deliver precision data points tailored to the needs of these different user groups, which saves time and prevents confusion and frustration.

Drive actionable insights

Custom reporting solutions empower businesses to drill down and see the fine details that aren’t always accessible in canned reports. Rather than a boilerplate printout that provides broad strokes and minimal penetration, custom reports can target and extract the specific datasets that will shed light on key performance indicators. When analytics options are customizable, you gain end-to-end and top-to-bottom visibility across your organization, which equips you with the most accurate business intelligence to make important decisions.

Respond nimbly to emerging trends

Unlike canned reports, custom reporting solutions enable companies to track selected events and data in real-time. This facilitates forecasting and empowers businesses to respond to emerging trends with agility. Real-time, tailored reporting allows businesses instant access to data on how plans and projects are performing, allowing users to take advantages of unexpected opportunities and mitigate unanticipated setbacks.

Maximize revenue and minimize losses

Your business is already collecting, processing, and storing data. Antares’ custom reporting solutions empower to you transform that data into valuable business intelligence. We offer a Business Intelligence Assessment to determine how we can help you extract your data through Dashboards and Scorecards for easy review and monitoring. We can provide Data integration along with Reporting and Analysis Services. Contact our team today to capitalize on custom reporting solutions.



Overview: ICD-10 Conversion for LaDHH/Molina Medicaid Solutions

As a subcontracting partner to Molina Medicaid Solutions, Antares Technology Solutions was responsible for the development and implementation of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals’ (LaDHH) conversion to support ICD-10 medical coding.  ICD-10 stands for the 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems used by the medical industry.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) mandated compliance for an ICD-10 nationwide implementation, which Antares and Molina delivered in a 15-month design, development and implementation plan.  This enabled LaDHH to meet the federal guidelines for compliance with ICD-10 regulations.

The project was mapped out in three phases:

  • Phase 1: Assess all DHH systems and plan for the work efforts to be engaged, executed, completed and implemented.
  • Phase 2: Legacy system compliance and construction of the ICD-10 to ICD-9 crosswalk
  • Phase 3:  Post-implementation monitoring and removal of crosswalk for direct interaction with native ICD-10

Antares, working with Molina’s technical project lead, provided a 17-member team to fulfill the roles and responsibilities required to support the plan. The project team included a project manager, both mainframe and web application systems leads, senior analysts, developers, a database administrator, an SAS and COBOL report writer, and quality assurance analysts.

Currently in Phase 3 of the project, Antares continues to provide maintenance and support of the ICD-10 implementation and address any ICD-10 updates mandated by CMS.

To learn how Antares can help you with your software development needs, contact our team today to schedule your complimentary consultation.



Industry Insight: Healthcare Custom Software Trends

As consumers demand higher-quality personalized care, improved transparency, and more robust data security, healthcare providers are turning to custom software solutions to address challenges efficiently. Developing innovative technology solutions to meet these demands requires an understanding of the changing landscape of technology. Currently, five custom software trends are poised to revolutionize the industry.

Multi-specialty and niche specialty EHRs address unique workflows, processes, and data.

The Electronic Health Record (EHR) has come a long way since its early incarnation as Lockheed’s Cold War-era Clinical Information System. While this early computer-based information system offered a revolutionary means of centralizing patient data, it was general purpose with functionality necessarily limited by technological capabilities. For the most part, the evolution of the 1960s proto-EHRs has consisted of fine-tuning rather than expanding, but that’s changing with the advent of multi-specialty and niche specialty EHRs.

Those early experiments are finally giving way to EHRs that address the unique workflows, clinical processes and data collection of medical specialists. By developing custom software, specialists are able to maintain the interconnectivity advantages of a general EHR and add the more specific functionalities that optimize the operations and patient experience of niche medical offices.

Enterprise software gets a UX upgrade.

With each new iteration of consumer-grade software, the user experience (UX) has improved substantially. Tech companies pride themselves on their streamlined, elegant software, and users becomes brand advocates, swearing by the UX of their favorite products. Legacy enterprise software, on the other hand, has remained confusing, frustrating and clunky.

Custom software solutions empower healthcare providers to integrate consumer-level UX with enterprise-level functionality. At Antares, we help our clients overcome the hurdles of training staff on new software to make the transition from outmoded legacy systems to software that is as easy to look at as it is to use.

Blockchain solutions address the issues of interoperability and security.

Improved security is an issue for every industry. The U.S. power grid was attacked by Russian hackers in March, and the NSA has faced new security breaches for six years running. Building security into software is a new requirement for any software development project. Likewise, there’s an increasing need for interoperability in every industry that serves the public sector to eliminate redundancies, improve information exchanges, and connect disparate systems.

As Blockchain becomes more reliable and mainstream, it will create the capacity to address both of these issues simultaneously. Custom-built blockchains will transform the healthcare industry by streamlining the coordination of medical records and securing sensitive details from hackers.

Proactive patients are empowered with patient portals.

Modern patients aren’t content to be served diagnoses and treatments. They want to be active participants in their health management. The Internet of Things (IoT) has equipped these consumers with tools for assessing and improving their dietary and fitness choices, and they want the same functionality from their healthcare providers.

Custom patient portals give consumers instant access to their medical records, which empowers them to become the guardians of their own healthcare. With portals, they can find and correct errors and become more engaged in their treatments. Online portals make it possible for medical professionals and their patients to connect from anywhere and for specialists and general practitioners to easily coordinate on matters of patient treatment.

Custom software development becomes more agile through continuous software delivery.

The evolution of information technologies continues to accelerate, and with this rapid rate of change comes a need to respond rapidly. The days of protracted development cycles have been replaced by a need for continuous software delivery that allows organizations to address new challenges, objectives and requirements immediately.

Antares relies on a modified agile approach to develop and finetune custom software for the healthcare industry. By working in continuous, abbreviated sprints, we’re able to work with our clients and decide together the features and requirements that have the highest value to their business, and which of those will be delivered at the end of the sprint. This short development and feedback cycle empowers clients to be in charge of the functionality and direction of their project.

Contact us today to learn more about Antares’ agile approach to software development and how we help healthcare providers take advantage of emerging tech trends to satisfy the demands of their clientele.