Make your processes simpler is coming with hard work*
*but don't worry, we kept this part for us.
Throughout our history as a solutions provider, one point became clear: the answers to complex needs are seldom a single path. That’s why, we make it a point to explore several approaches. This way, you’ll be able to choose the option that best aligns with your company’s needs, be it cost-based, deadline-based, or functionality-based. We’ll offer comprehensive solution that fits your needs perfectly, as well as expert guidance towards the option we believe will serve you the best.
Python is an interpreted, high-level, and general-purpose programming language. We use Python for back-end web development, process automation, as a connector with open source APIs, for database (reading / writing) management, for data transformation, for data science, and more. Because of its versatility, it’s typically the main programming language our team uses on projects. The main benefits of this language are that it is easily readable, can be used in many situations, it comes with a significant number of libraries and arguably has the most active community. The main concerns are that it is time-consuming to write, and performance can be slow because of its line-by-line execution.
As compared to Python, R is a programming language mainly used for data analytics and data science purposes. Associated with the Rstudio integrated development environment, R shines in this capacity, making it a favorite choice for projects requiring development environments. The main benefits of this language are that it is made for publicly sharing the results with others (with Rmarkdown or Shiny), and that it boasts powerful and easy-to-use graphical and statistical libraries. The main concerns are that R is harder to write when compared to Python, and it is slower in performance over Python.
Logic Apps is an Azure cloud service that helps automate and orchestrate processes. Logic Apps simplifies how you design and build scalable solutions. When used by a developer, it assures that coding rarely needs to be used, allowing focus to shift towards leveraging the service’s prebuilt actions and triggers. The main benefit is that is it easy to use, especially when it comes to connecting Microsoft products. The main concerns are that is not free (and can even be expensive depending on your development objectives) and it has functional limitations.
Flow allows you to create “flows” (short for “workflows”) that are based on trigger events. It is another Microsoft product and is very similar to Logic App. The main difference we could note in our experience are it is cheaper than Logic App.
One of native cloud environment limitations is that processes are limited in execution time. This means that back-end activities may not take more than 30 seconds. This is a real limitation, especially when it comes to perform activity such as reading a large data set, performing complex transformation or uploading large documents. Thankfully, there are alternatives that allow applications to remain on the cloud and delegate "heavy" tasks to FaaS (Function as a service) such as AWS Lambda. AWS Lambda allows us to manage time consuming tasks and keep our web application light.
MongoDB is a cross-platform, document-oriented database program. Classified as a NoSQL database program, it uses JSON-like documents with schema. On a personal note, we really enjoyed working with MongoDB, as it is a secure cloud platform. Our own web applications use MongoDB as their database, and we’ve never experienced issues, outages, or setbacks. The main benefits are that is it fast thanks to its NoSQL architecture, it offers free tiers product that allow you to build professional products without initial investments and its JSON schemas are very easy to leverage. The main concerns are that it is not easily readable with every programming language (R connectors can be a bit tricky) and it is less straightforward than a (tabular) SQL structure.
PostgreSQL, also known as Postgres, is a free and open-source relational database management system emphasizing extensibility and technical standards compliance. It is designed to handle a range of workloads, from single machines to data warehouses, or web services with many concurrent users. The main benefits are that its structure is easy (tabular), it is faster than Azure SQL when reading data and is available for cloud platforms (DigitalOcean for instance).The main concerns are that is it slower than MongoDB and that there is no free cloud version, as it needs to be embedded in a cloud platform to be used safely.
Azure SQL Database is the intelligent, scalable, cloud database service that provides the broadest SQL Server engine compatibility. SQL remains a top choice when it comes to database and the Azure version offers a few additional benefits: it is on the cloud, it upscales and downscales as needed and it is hosted in a comprehensive Microsoft environment. The main concern is that it is slow in execution.
BigQuery is a RESTful web service that enables interactive analysis of massive datasets while working in conjunction with Google Storage. It is a serverless Software as a Service (SaaS) that may be used complementarily with MapReduce. We enjoy working with Big Query when it fits our client's needs. The main benefits are that it is slightly faster than SQL APIs, and it is the easiest way to connect Data Studio. The main concerns are that is it slower than MongoDB, setting up the environment is less straightforward than other providers, and it is more selective when it comes to setting up metadata structure of datasets.
Heroku is a cloud platform as a service supporting several programming languages. Heroku has been one of the first cloud platforms and can be used very easily for any types of projects. It is using GitHub code to host web application. The main benefit is a very professional pipeline structure that allows users like us to easily follow testing, preproduction and production versions of web applications – either our clients’ or our own. The paid tier version also with useful metrics that ensure web applications scale with our clients’ needs.
DigitalOcean provides developers cloud services that help to deploy and scale applications that run simultaneously on multiple computers. The main benefit of DigitalOcean is its cloud database capabilities. We use these capabilities when our clients need alternatives to MongoDB with a lower comparative cost than options like the Azure environment.
Azure is a cloud computing service created by Microsoft for building, testing, deploying, and managing applications and services through Microsoft-managed data centers. The main benefit of Azure is its positioning as a comprehensive platform for processes built with Microsoft tools and products. The main concern is that it is more expensive than most of its competitors. (That being said, it is a very good option for a “one stop shop” environment.)
Cloud Platform, offered by Google, is a suite of cloud computing services that runs on the same infrastructure. The main benefit is that it is overall slightly cheaper to use than Microsoft’s Azure, but the main concern is that it is less straightforward to use than Azure.
AWS, offered by Amazon, is a suite of cloud computing services that runs on the same infrastructure, such as Google Cloud Platform. AWS has a free tier that allows any team to test their products. It is API based which makes it easier to use for some languages such as python.
Dropbox is a file hosting service that offers cloud storage, file synchronization, personal cloud usage, and client software. The main benefits are its trustworthy security and intuitive user experience. The main concerns are a lack of editing capability in the files shared and the limitations of the API.
ShareFile is a secure content collaboration, file sharing and sync solution that supports the document-centric tasks and workflow needs of small and large businesses. Like Dropbox, the main benefits are its security and the user experience. The main concerns are that it doesn't have editing capability in the files shared and the API has some limitations.
SharePoint is a web-based collaborative platform that integrates with Microsoft Office. It is highly configurable, and versatile and usage varies substantially among organizations. The main benefits are that is very secure, and it works very well with most documents. The main concerns are that the API is not easy to use, and it has some limitations.
Drive is a file storage and synchronization service developed by Google. It allows users to store files on their servers, synchronize files across devices, and share files. The main benefits are that is it easy to share, its API is the most developed of all applications in this list, and documents are very secure. The main concern is that it, predictably, works best with Google-owned products (Google sheet, document, slides, etc.) and thus may have mixed results for non-Google-centric users.
Amazon S3 or Amazon Simple Storage Service is a service offered by Amazon Web Services that provides object storage through a web service interface. We use this storage service to host most of our documents.
Qlik provides an end-to-end platform which includes data integration, user-driven business intelligence and conversation analytics. It’s an excellent tool for what we call "laboratory analytics". This refers to internal analytics that are made to find new reporting structures, or analytics views that will later be used on another platform for external sharing. The main benefits are that reports are easy to build, simple to use and computations are straightforward and free of any significant limitations. The main concerns are the lack of community compared to other tools, there are significant report-sharing limitations for the cloud version, it is very expensive if you want to remove those limitations, and the style of the reporting is quite basic.
Mode Analytics is a collaborative web-based analytics platform. It provides easy analytics collaboration capabilities as well as external sharing options. Mode helps produce compelling reports, dashboards, and visualizations for both "laboratory" and "external" objectives. The main benefits are that reports are easy to build, and computations are almost unlimited within the SQL language. The main concerns are that you need to have SQL database to use Mode, that the reporting is static, that python graphs cannot be integrated in their "external analytics.” Additionally, if external collaboration is required, the pricing is expensive.
Power BI is a business analytics service created by Microsoft. It aims to provide interactive visualizations and business intelligence capabilities, all within a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for users to create their own reports and dashboards. We consider this option another great tool when it comes to "laboratory analytics,” much like Qlik. The main benefits are the program’s are easy to build reports, user-friendly interface, and wide range of available graphic options. The main concerns are that you cannot share reporting without paid licenses, the tool itself is not easy to use, a tedious website integration process, and a limited design.
Google Data Studio gives you everything you need to turn your client’s analytics data into informational, easy-to-understand reports through data visualization. Google offers a tool that is meant to attract customers to their other brand suite of tools, rather than expecting return on investment (ROI) on this analytics tool alone. The main benefits are 100% free reporting, an attractive and compelling report output, and straightforward external sharing. The main concerns are that both graphs and computations are limited. The tool doens't accept data input coming from “big players” like MongoDB or Azure SQL.
Flask is a micro web framework written in Python. It is classified as a microframework because it does not require tools or libraries. It has no database abstraction layer, form validation, or any other components where pre-existing third-party libraries provide common functions. We are using this language for the backend of our web applications.
GitHub is a global company that provides hosting for software development version control using Git. It offers all the distributed version control and source code management functionality of Git as well as adding its own features. We are using GitHub as our project management tool and version control for all our work.
Slack is a cloud-based proprietary instant messaging platform developed by Slack Technologies. We use it daily to ensure everyone is on the same page.