It is important for your business to stay as efficient as possible in order to keep up with the fast-paced world we live in. The best way to do this is usually through the implementation of the right technology. However, with so many options these days, it can be difficult to sift through the duds and find the right pieces of technology for your company. That’s where we come in, we interviewed Bushel, Codelation, Korber Medipak Systems, BNG and CoSchedule to find out what the most forward-thinking technology companies in the Fargo Moorhead area are using to make their operations run smoothly.
The Tech Bushel Is Using:
Information provided by Mike Berreth, Director of Engineering, Product.
Jenkins is a continuous integration (CI) tool utilized by multiple development teams at Bushel. It provides us with a way to automate compilation, test running, and in some cases deployment of our software. Jenkins alone saves us thousands of developer hours every year.
Jira is a proprietary issue tracking product developed by Atlassian. It provides bug tracking, issue tracking, and project management functions. Jira serves as a progress tracking platform for the company, making sure that each project has a clear definition of what has been accomplished, what is remaining to be accomplished, and the status of each of the items that are currently in progress.
Harvest is the time tracking app we use at Bushel. It serves many purposes such as illustrating employee effort, billing the client, and tracking cost vs estimates for projects.
Slack is the messaging platform we use in order to communicate amongst team members and other members of the company. Slack enables us to be more efficient in our communication than trying to do so through email.
Docker and Kubernetes
Docker and Kubernetes, our development and operations teams, package web applications into Docker containers to ensure consistent deployments across environments and provide an additional layer of isolation. We use Kubernetes to orchestrate the deployment of the containers, providing high-availability, self-healing, and automated traffic routing.
Officevibe is a web-based employee engagement platform to conduct employee surveys and receive feedback to measure employee satisfaction and generate business inputs. The platform anonymously collects employee feedback and shares automated notifications of the feedback generated with managers. The reports feature of the software provides real-time analysis of the surveys and feedback based on geography, team, and department. The platform also assists human resource teams to conduct onboarding surveys.
Figma is a cloud-based design tool used by our design and development teams that shows real-time work within design projects. Teammates collaborate on the same file at the same time. This helps our teams maintain transparency of what is to be built, efficiency in communication, and changes in real-time.
HubSpot is a platform of marketing, sales, customer service, and CRM software. We use Hubspot to consolidate our tools to create team efficiency and total unification of data across multiple teams.
The Tech CoSchedule Is Using:
Information provided by Nathan Ellerling, Head of Marketing.
WordPress: WordPress is our content management system for our popular blog that attracts half a million visitors each month. As a marketing team, this helps us publish content efficiently for many purposes such as attracting new email subscribers, nurturing leads, and educating existing customers. It’s easy to use and helps us scale.
Salesforce: This customer resource management system helps us personalize experiences for each of our email subscribers, leads, and customers. We use this to communicate with leads, keep track of their progress, and ultimately keep our customers happy and successful with our product.
Autopilot: This marketing automation system helps us share relevant messages with the right person at the right time. This is primarily our email marketing system, which uses the information from Salesforce to personalize the content we share with our email subscribers, sales leads, and customers. It helps us organize how we communicate with nearly 1 million unique individuals at scale.
Zendesk: This customer success software helps us communicate with prospective customers and support existing users of our own platform. Zendesk helps us track trends so we can communicate users’ needs with our product development team to ultimately improve their experience with our product.
GitHub We use GitHub to log snags we (or our users) encounter when using our software so that our product development team can collect and prioritize enhancements very quickly and efficiently.
Aha: Aha serves as a backlog “wish list” of functionality we could add into our platform, making sure no good ideas are lost, while helping our team vote on upcoming functionality to add to our product roadmap.
Zoom: We use Zoom to video call sales leads and customers. We even use it to record our popular podcast, which ranked as a top 10 marketing podcast in Forbes.
HighFive: HighFive is our internal video call system, which keeps us connected between our Fargo and Bismarck offices.
15Five: We use 15Five for a performance management tool. It allows us to have weekly pulse checks, structured bi-weekly/month one-on-one’s as well as formalized quarterly reviews with all of our employees to ensure they’re growing personally and professionally.
Google Products: From the business side, we write content with Google Docs, use Google Sheets to interpret data, present to prospects and customers with Google Slides, and even maintain internal team websites with Google Sites.
CoSchedule: As a marketing team, we use the tool our product team creates to organize all of our marketing in one place. As a technology company, this helps us understand the market needs, strengths our product offers to solve problems, and presents opportunities for us to help the company improve the platform we offer.
The Tech BNG Team Is Using
Information provided by Andy Henderson, CMO, Jason Gibb, CPO, and Nick Olerud, COO.
BNG is a data-driven company that utilizes KPIs, scorecards, and dashboards to ensure each division is on track towards its goals. BrightGauge is integrated into our core data sources to provide easily digestible charts, tables and graphs to our employees in real-time. These include sales numbers, support statistics, client satisfaction and financial tracking.
ConnectWise is our internal professional services automation (PSA) software utilized by every department of our company. It allows BNG to sell, service, and support our clients in one streamline and effective solution. This software is heavily used to track and document the entire lifecycle of our clients, from lead to closed deal.
High Point Networks
We were able to partner with a great local company, High Point Networks, to find an amazing solution for our business needs. They provide us with a Firewall-as-a-Service solution that grows with our business, without having to reinvest into new hardware frequently. Along with providing us the solution, they also bring their experienced and knowledgable team with it, offering us a vast amount of assistance in configuring and troubleshooting issues.
Physical security and access is crucial to BNG. When selecting a door security system, we needed something that was easy to manage and maintain. With the PDK system, we ensure each employee has the appropriate access to different locations within our facility. The system provides us with great notifications when Secure Access areas are properly accessed, with detailed event information, allowing us to audit access to these areas. It also provides us with email notifications when users are trying to access areas they have not been granted. With the ability to control the system from a browser or phone, it provides a very powerful solution, that is extremely easy to use.
At BNG, Trello is our Swiss Army Knife. This general purpose list management tool is used in so many different aspects of running our company, from managing our traction level 10 meetings, quarterly reviews, and one-on-ones, to Kanban-style project management, to tracking new team member recruiting and onboarding activities. Our team also uses it for personal boards to track individual tasks and goals and communicate priorities and status to their team and managers. Trello is highly customizable and includes dozens of “power-ups” to add integrations and automation that makes it fit into almost any existing workflow. We couldn’t operate our business without it!
Jira is one of the most popular tools for software development teams to manage their work. The software team at BNG uses an agile Scrum process with two-week sprints. All developer activities, such as user-stories or bugs, are stored in Jira in the backlog for tracking purposes. The team prioritizes and moves them into the sprint during their sprint planning sessions. Throughout the sprint, the team moves cards along a Kanban workflow. At the end of each sprint, Jira provides a burndown summary and metrics to help us measure team productivity.
Think of Slack as a team communication tool on steroids that can replace unnecessary emails, texts, and calls. It offers real-time chat, audio, and video calling for individuals and groups. Anyone can create open or private channels and invite people to collaborative discussions. One of the strengths of Slack is the open platform, which allows hundreds of enhancements and integrations. At BNG we use it extensively to share information, collaborate on projects, schedule lunches, celebrate wins, and keep each other entertained and motivated. In addition to dozens of off-the-shelf Slack apps we’ve installed, we’ve also built integrations with many of our internal systems such as real-time notification of system health, PTO requests, and access to secure documents.
The conference communication tool of choice at BNG is Zoom. Zoom isn’t the oldest tech in this space, but its reliability, price and feature set make it our favorite method to interface with clients and remote team members across the country (and the globe!). We use it for internal communications, customer meetings and also recording webinars. It’s very easy to spin up a meeting, it integrates with Google calendars and is simple to send a link to add users quickly.
A massively important tool used by our Accounting department is ConnectBooster*. Fully integrated with our accounting and CRM platforms, this tool automated the entire invoicing and collections process. The average time to receive payment for BNG was reduced from 40+ days to 1.5. It also eliminates hundreds of administrative hours per year and virtually all clerical errors. Handling both fixed and variable amount invoices, this is a must-have for service-based businesses.
* Disclaimer: ConnectBooster is a platform created by BNG, marketed, and sold to service businesses.
Over the years, we’ve evaluated many social media publishing platforms to save time posting and improve consistency in our content. All tools have their merits, and currently, we’re trialing OneUp. We love its ability to directly publish to both Instagram and Google My Business (among others). The analytics reporting features leaves a bit to be desired, but for the price it’s very attractive.
Sometimes fiction inspires technology. At BNG, we have a ‘holodeck‘ conference room that breaks traditional convention. With state-of-the-art LED screens lining the floor and ceiling, the design is intended to create an immersive experience for meetings. While overkill to simply support a meeting, the core purpose is to reflect our fun, boundary-pushing culture.
The Tech Codelation Is Using
Information provided by Erick Roder, Business Development.
At Codelation we use Slack, a messaging software, for a lot of different communication between team members. We use it for instant messaging between team members and for communication with some of our customers.
Why we like it: Most software engineers are pretty introverted and prefer to communicate with gifs instead of conversation. Plus, it really helps save on the emails back and forth because you can organize projects by conversations. Open workspaces can be too noisy to be productive. This keeps the office volume at a workable level. One of the nicer aspects of it in our field is that it allows us to screen share to show each other what we’re working on without having to get up and stand over the other person’s shoulder.
Our customers aren’t always local. Zoom allows us to conference in customers as well by just sending them a web link. It works with office phones, cell phones and computers. Zoom also sends automated meeting links to everyone’s calendars.
Why we like it: It helps us talk to potential customers, and we’ve found that sometimes a 15-minute phone call can save three hours of emails.
There are many different Customer Relationship Manager softwares, or CRMs, out there. The CRM we use at Codelation Is the Gmail based Copper. Our sales team uses it to track contacts, leads and sales.
Why we like it: It helps with automated meeting settings. We can send customers a link to a synced calendar and they pick a time they want to meet.
After a solid morning of coding, sometimes you need a break. One of the hardest questions coworkers deal with is where should we go to lunch? For this we use PushSave. Push Save was developed out of Fargo, and this app offers a variety of coupons to various restaurants that the purchaser gets to pick from. When it’s time to go to lunch users can just look for one of the deals from a restaurant they picked when signing up.
Why we like it: Not only is it a locally-founded software, but a portion of the proceeds from each coupon package purchased goes to a local organization the buyer gets to choose as well. It’s a great way to save money, give back to organizations and lift up our development community.
Adobe Creative Suite
This is a subscription-based creative software we use for basically all of our marketing material creation. All graphic and video work is made in one of the programs in the Adobe Creative Suite. We also partner with on-demand creative partners of Many Pixels, Penji and Fiverr.
Why we like it: The Adobe suite helps us with graphic art, audio and video production, as well as a variety of different services if we have too much on our plate.
Sometimes you just keep it simple. We use Garage Band to edit sound together for our podcasts.
Why we like it: It’s pretty easy to use, and was on the desktop of my Mac when we started recording our podcast last summer. It has worked well for what we are using it for. There are a lot more uses for it in music production.
Apple TV is a little extension box that plugs into any screen with HDMI outputs, then it wirelessly displays laptop screens to basically any TV. This has a lot of different applications as well.
Why we like it: We like to sync my computer to our “trade show only” display TV. Once a month, we will have a team-building pizza party where we watch funny Youtube videos we all collect and save in a Google spreadsheet. This screen sharing is nice for actual trade shows, as well as client presentations in different locations and meeting rooms.
The Tech Korber Medipak Systems Is Using
Information provided by Taylor Theisen, Marketing Coordinator.
Here at Korber Medipak Systems, a couple of our different departments such as Sales and IT use Monday.com, daily, to communicate who is assigned to which project, how high of a priority the project is, when it is due, if is it currently being worked on, or if the project is completed. Monday.com is helpful because it keeps management up to date on what employees are currently working on and the exact status of that project, as well as keeps an up-to-date, organized list of tasks that have to be done. It’s the perfect tool for managing projects and tasks.
Korber Medipak Systems has employees that are required to travel often. We have found SAP Concur to be a reliable and easy-to-use reimbursement website. SAP Concur is a travel and expense management tool for businesses. While it is capable of helping plan and manage trips, we mostly use Concur for employee’s expense reports. It allows employees to easily enter the reimbursement information needed as well as attach an image of proof of purchase. There is also the option to attach a credit card to automatically import the charges and match them to receipts. On top of it being easy to navigate, Concur is able to convert any currency to US Dollars at the correct exchange rate based on the date of purchase, which is just another perk of the website. It’s a great tool for us because of how often our employees are traveling.
Here at Korber Medipak Systems we use Microsoft Teams to stay connected with our employees. Microsoft Teams allows users to create their own teams where each individual of that team has access to chat groups. Microsoft teams is especially helpful because conversations can stay organized when communicating with multiple people in your team. There are also options such as voice and video chat. In addition, Microsoft teams is tied to Microsoft Office features such as Word, Planner, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, SharePoint, etc. allowing files to all be kept in one place where all members of the team have access. Members all have access to edit the documents and they are updated in real-time making it easy to collaborate with colleagues even if they are in another division.
Korber Medipak Systems uses Jira, a customer and employee ticketing system that provides a portal to allow customers to interact with and receive support from experts worldwide. Customers are able to track the progress of support requests and share information via messaging and file sharing to reduce cost of onsite support. There is also a searchable Knowledge Base to allow customers to find helpful information on their own without the need to request support. Jira provides value to Korber by allowing different divisions of the company to interact with the customer and have the same information to work with. It serves as a database so that information that was provided to solve a problem can later be found to solve similar problems at other sites. Because Korber is a global company, Jira allows customers to access to experts day and night. The common user interface makes it simple for customers to get support from all of the Korber companies in a similar manner thereby eliminating the need for customers to learn different systems for their different types of equipment.
Korber often uses GoToMeeting for voice calls and meetings with customers, clients, and colleagues. GoToMeeting is a teleconferencing tool that allows computer users to audio and/or video conference with others around the globe through the internet in real-time. It also allows those involved in the conference call to share their desktop screen with colleagues or customers as they are using it. GoToMeeting is perfect for us because we have employees and customers all over the world, so with GoToMeeting we can conveniently and cost-effectively have those important meetings without the time and cost of constantly flying to different locations.
Korber Medipak Systems uses YouTube, a video-sharing platform that allows users to watch videos that are posted by other users. YouTube is used for entertainment by individuals as well as by many businesses to promote their products. At Korber we use it more as a communication tool to our customers. We don’t make many of our videos public in order to keep the intricacy of how our machines are built and how they function private to our company. We often privately send customers the video links so that we can explain how specific machines or parts of a machine work without showing the whole world. YouTube is really convenient to use for this purpose because this way all of our videos are stored in one place that all employees can access and all you have to do to share the video is email a link to whomever you would like to share it with.
We use LinkedIn at Korber Medipak Systems to advertise open job positions, tradeshow invitations, and company updates and accomplishments. We also like to use LinkedIn as a way to educate potential customers or employees. LinkedIn is a social media platform more tailored toward professional uses. LinkedIn allows you or your company to network with people or companies that you may not connect with otherwise.