GDPR compliance with Triggre

The General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR for short, will come into effect May 25th 2018. There has been a lot of time to prepare your organization, and many organizations have already made sure their data policies are now compliant.

However, the GDPR also involves your suppliers and as part of the regulation, companies are required to make sure their suppliers are GDPR compliant as well. Triggre has made sure that it meets all the requirements concerning the GDPR for her customers, so you don’t have to worry about it.

Security

One major point is making sure that no unauthorized access is granted to personal data of customers. Triggre has been tested on multiple occasions and has always passed all independent penetration tests with flying colors. But it doesn’t stop there. The fact that an application is secure today, doesn’t mean that a vulnerability can’t be found in it tomorrow.

That’s why we periodically perform these independent penetration tests. Also, we update our platform, and with it our customers’ applications, approximately monthly. These updates always include the latest implementations of security guidelines so our customers can rest assured that their data is safe from hackers, without any effort on their side.

Internal procedures

Apart from unauthorized access by external parties, we also make sure that internally only a very select number of people have access to our production servers. The only people who have such access are in charge of making sure our servers are running correctly.

Our development team for example, has no access to our production data. This means that we can’t even use production data for our internal test procedures if we wanted to; because we simply don’t give access. By using Triggre, your data is kept extremely safe.

Suppliers

Of course, we also have our own suppliers. Because our customers’ data is so important to us, we don’t take any chances with this. That’s why we decided to only host Triggre with Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft upholds very strict procedures regarding physical server access (something we don’t have ourselves even) to make sure that no unauthorized access can be obtained to their servers. Microsoft Azure, as our only supplier that is relevant to our GDPR compliance, are themselves fully compliant with the GDPR legislation.

GDPR compliance process

Triggre takes pride in its efforts to keep customer data safe, which is of course a big part of our core business. GDPR compliance however, isn’t a one time thing. If you want to make sure that you are compliant, it is imperative that people develop a certain mindset.

Questions that need to be raised are such as ‘Do we really need this data?’ and ‘For how long do we really need this data?’. This mindset has been a part of our company for as long as we’ve existed. For many other companies however, it isn’t, simply because it never was a problem.

That is why we always help our customers decide on these things with a quick GDPR compliance scan for their applications. That way, you are certain that you’ve done everything you need to, for your GDPR compliancy.

Worldwide increase in big bankruptcies

The number of big companies that filed for bankruptcy has increased with 22% worldwide in 2017. Big companies in this case, means those that have a turnover of more than 50 million. The total turnover of these 321 companies was 104 billion Euro. And this year, a further increase of 8% is expected.

The cause

Apart from sector specific causes, there is a bigger main cause: technological change keeps accelerating. Companies that have a hard time adapting to technological changes face a much higher chance of going bankrupt within the next few years.

What makes this situation even more problematic is the low interest rate. Many companies have taken on loans against very low interest rates. But if these loans aren’t being invested in the right business models, it will be extremely unlikely that these loans can ever be paid back.

Big companies have a tendency to focus on the short term, for example to please shareholders. Investing money in innovation can often lead to a temporary setback, which is hard to sell to shareholders.

Innovation is a mindset

In my opinion, companies should adopt an innovative mindset. That doesn’t mean that they should strive to be the next Tesla, or venture into research they don’t understand.

What they should do is the opposite of what they often do now: sit back and enjoy the revenue stream of their products or services. And that means companies should look for ways to improve.

Improve on products, services, internal processes. Everything. And that improvement only needs to be 1% per day. If a company can improve just 1% per day, whether it is on revenue, customer experience or efficiency, that company makes a giant leap every single year.

But more importantly, when people are taught to work with the mindset of finding improvement everywhere, they will actually start seeing these opportunities. The problem isn’t that the companies that went bankrupt last year didn’t have the opportunity to improve, it’s that they didn’t see it.

Why standard software is expensive to customize

“This software product already does 90% of what we need.” If only I got a cent every time I have heard this. It is the most ridiculous argument there is for standard software versus custom built software. When companies or teams select software, it is a common mistake to look at the percentage of functionality covered. Doesn’t a 90% coverage mean it’s just a small step to get exactly what you want!?

Adding a floor

Consider a high rise. 50 floors of exquisite architecture, exactly in the right location. And it’s super affordable. If only it had 2 extra floors…

The solution might be simple. If you need 2 floors added on top, that might be a viable option. Perhaps the elevator won’t reach them, but it wouldn’t be extremely expensive to do.

It’s a slightly different story when you need a double basement underneath the building. It’s still possible, but far more expensive.

The ultimate case however, is if you absolutely need to add two floors at the bottom or in the middle of the building. I am sure it can be done somehow, but I bet it’s cheaper to build a new building.

Adding a software floor

All three cases with the building add 10%, but it seems obvious that they are not equal. In software however, we somehow assume they are equal.

So whenever you consider ‘adding a floor’ to standard software, make sure you fully understand exactly what the impact is. No matter how configurable the software is, how many happy customers there are that ‘do things in the same way for 90%’ – if you try to add the wrong floor, it’s going to cost you.

When digitization goes too far

Many schools use student information systems, and have been for a long time. They store grades and other information digitally. And that is a good thing, as it makes access to these data much easier. However, as I discussed before, such technology also has a downside.

Easy access

While easy access to data can be great, the question is: access for who? In the case of student information systems, this question was never asked. It was simply assumed that access was a good thing.

Since the introduction of the first student information systems, smart phones have made their introduction. Nowadays almost everyone has a smart phone – including parents.

So logical step for student information system suppliers were mobile apps. With these apps parents have easy access to the student information about their children, such as grades and attendance.

By law parents are allowed to see such information, but only until their children reach the age of 16. After that, children need to give consent to their parents to access this information. After the age of 18, parents are not allowed to see this information at all.

Student information system suppliers however, provide information to parents without any consent ever given by students themselves.

Joyless

And while this is strictly a legal issue, there is a more important factor to consider. One parent said that such access takes away a particular kind of joy from the student.

Imagine the student getting a really good grade. If the parent immediately knows this grade, because they receive a push notification, the student is robbed of being able to come home and telling their parents about their grade.

Even with bad grades, shouldn’t it be up to the students to decide when to tell their parents? Isn’t that part of growing up? And shouldn’t student information system suppliers know this, and even support this process?

The goal

I believe this is a perfect example of taking digitization too far. While the technology is there, it doesn’t have to be used. If the goal of parents is to raise their children to be responsible adults, using technology to effectively spy on their children teaches the wrong lesson.

This is something that happens too often. Companies do not fully understand the goal at play. They cater to the needs of their customers, while often the true goal lies one step further.

In the case of student information systems, the goal is not the school or the parent, but teaching the student – that’s the real goal.

Applying the right mindset

The last time I went skiing was about 20 years ago. Skis were a lot different back then, than they are now. You had to have skis that were at least as long as you are tall.

And if you were a good skier, you would have skis that were way longer than you are tall yourself. So, you can imagine my surprise when I went skiing again after many years? A lot has changed.

Hardware has changed

There are many differences between the hardware I used 20 years ago, and the hardware used today. Skis used to be longer and straight while today skis are curved and much shorter. These changes in hardware offer more possibilities.

When I first learned how to ski, the epitome of what you could achieve was called ‘wedeln’: making short parallel turns. With today’s hardware this is still possible, however, more options are available such as carving for example.

There are even more types of skis, specific to the desired technique, from race carve to off piste skiing.

Adjusting to the new

Ultimately it comes down to the skier, who has to adjust to these new possibilities. The new techniques require the skier to use their body differently. But the old techniques are also still available.

I guess most skiers have adjusted over the years, step-by-step. For me, it was a huge adjustment because everything had changed. It took me a while to get these new techniques down.

My first years in software

This whole experience reminded me of my first years in software. Today’s hardware and software provide a lot more options than when I first started out. However, getting the most out of these new options requires a different approach.

Cloud computing for example, provides many advantages over the older on premise solutions. They do require a completely different mindset towards IT and software – something that doesn’t always happen.

So ask yourself: am I applying the same mindset to today’s IT and software as I was 10 to 20 years ago?

Maintenance on software is just like car maintenance: you’re getting played

In 2008, I brought my car to the shop for a periodic check-up, because it had a problem. Sadly, the check-up showed my car was in desperate need of repairs. The mechanics told me that it was probably not worth the cost.

It was a very, very old car and I had seen this coming for a while. Still, a mechanic telling me I’d best buy a new car, wasn’t really what I had in mind when I brought it in.

Adhering to a strict schedule

My first car was an old second-hand one. To be honest, I hadn’t been too strict with the maintenance windows. So, when I had to suddenly replace it, I vowed that when I would buy a new car I’d always take it to the shop on time, to make sure it was always in perfect condition.

The upside of taking your car to the shop on a regular schedule is that it is indeed always in great condition. The downside however: you get told by mechanics that something needs to be changed and you basically don’t know whether it is strictly necessary.

So, you have them replace it. When it comes down to it, this means spending a lot of money on things that do not seem broken.

Maintenance on custom built software

Any application that is custom built, or has a custom built component, will require maintenance. The simple fact of the matter is that the world around that application or component changes, which may require the application or component to change in return.

This is actually quite similar to owning a car. You buy the car, and because you use it, it requires maintenance. Just like software requires maintenance, due to the world in which it is used changes.

You bring your car to the shop for a check-up, the same way your software requires some maintenance every once in a while too. All to keep things running smoothly. For custom-built software however, most companies do not perform maintenance as often as is required.

Instead, they prefer the method to use it for as long as humanly possible, after which the whole thing needs to be replaced. Much sooner, though perhaps at slightly lower cost, than performing periodic maintenance.

Knowledge gap

If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. It seems like sound advice. But if you don’t, it means using everything until it is absolutely worn down and replacement becomes paramount.

There is a huge gap between following every advice from a car mechanic and only replacing parts when they’re totally worn out.

This gap is a knowledge gap. If you’re like me, you don’t know everything about the car you own. This puts me in a disadvantaged position whenever a mechanic tells me something needs maintenance or replacement, especially if it isn’t causing a noticeable problem.

If I trust the mechanic, I’ll let them replace it. If I don’t, it is usually about time to bring my car in to another shop.

Bringing your software to another shop

In the past, I have switched shops for car maintenance a few times. This is fairly simple, since cars are a common thing and there are many shops that can service my needs. If I am unsatisfied, I simply take my business to a competitor.

And for software it’s pretty much the same deal, right? Software is very common. There are many companies that can build software and maintain it. So if I am unsatisfied, I can just switch to a competitor, just like I did with the car. Or can I?

The problem is that software, especially when it’s custom built, requires an understanding of how it works. Most applications also communicate with other applications, and are implemented to support a business process.

This makes understanding ‘how it works’ a lot harder. So, unlike bringing your car to another shop, bringing your software to another ‘shop’ would cost a lot of time and money.

The new shop would first need to get a good understanding of your business process, the other applications that the software communicates with and then understand the code of the application itself.

No leverage

Inevitably, you are left with without any leverage. Because if you cannot bring your software to another company easily, you only really have 3 options:

1)      Don’t perform any maintenance at all
2)      Just accept anything that your supplier tells you should be done
3)      Insource maintenance of the application

We believe that this status-quo should change. Not performing maintenance means losing innovative strength, since adapting software to changing processes or markets is no longer an option.

Accepting anything that your supplier sells you will cost too much money for what you are getting in return. And lastly, insourcing maintenance is extremely costly, if not impossible, due to the shortage of IT professionals.

Freedom

Triggre strives to give companies back their freedom when it comes to implementing and maintaining software. Just having the option to make software yourself (without IT specialists) is a game changer, which makes you far less dependent on external companies – including us.

Our best-read posts of 2017

In 2017 we kept up the hard work of previous years and provided you with fresh insights and new content every week. Time to take a look at what you, our readers, found most interesting!

We kept you posted on the best ways to start an automation project, on how to convert a manual process into a digitalized one and news from the world of IT. In between all that information we also took our time to update you on all things Triggre.

And boy, did we have news this year. We released a completely new version and practically shouted that from the rooftops. It was hard to miss and the statistics tell us that our big news definitely went over well with our audience.

Interview about our soon to be released version

In this blog we had Jesse, our CTO, tell you all about what you can expect from our new version. He explained why we had to start over, in order to keep on greatly improving Triggre. This new version has been live since September now and it is safe to say it lived up to our, and our customers’ expectations. Yes, we are more than just a little proud of that!

Read the interview

Why your kids shouldn’t pursue a career in coding

Well, why shouldn’t they? It’s a provocative title and we believe that this is exactly why this was one of our most popular pieces of content. Schools are focusing on the future and one of the ways they go about this is by offering programming courses. Why this might teach an analytical way of thinking, it is smart not to let your livelihood depend on it.

Read why kids shouldn’t pursue a career in coding

Innovating empowerment

Last year, we told you about our customers. This year, our customers told you about us. We have had several guest authors this year and are very thankful that they took the time to share their vision on their business and how Triggre has helped them. The most popular one was written by Jeroen of AtoomClub, and he explained how Triggre facilitated them in empowering their customers.

Read the guest blog on innovating empowerment

Working at a tech start-up

At Triggre, we are very fond of our company culture. We believe that a good and nurturing enviroment leads to happy co-workers and that happy co-workers have the best ideas. When I started working here, this view became appearent very soon. After a few months I deceided to share my experiences in a blog. And even though I have been shot with a nerf gun more times that I could possibly count, I still think that nerf guns are awesome.

Read about my experiences while working at a (tech) start-up

That’s all folks

Well, for this year at least. Next year we will keep providing you with news, insights and critical views. Most of all we will keep working on providing the world with a fast, easy and fun way to make software. Happy holidays!

Author: Dagmar Ingelse

2017 just flew by at Triggre

What a year! It is hard to fathom we are almost living in 2018. So much has happened: it’s unbelievable it fits into a single year…

Events, events… and more events

At the start of this year, Triggre went to visit CeBIT in Hannover, together with our partner Seeburger. We had a small startup stand there, which was attracting many people to see what we were about. Of course, we told them all about our platform and where we are going with the company. We also pitched at a startup event that was held at CeBIT, which was a lot of fun. Overall, we met a lot of interesting people, and got Triggre known to a bigger audience.

EVG Start, who offer traineeships for future IT managers in the Netherlands, organize an EVG Café twice a year. EVG Cafés are very interesting events where several speakers pose a real-life problem they ran into and the rest of the attendees offer solutions, working together in small groups. We had the opportunity to help EVG Start organize one Café by arranging speakers for the event. If you get the opportunity to join an EVG Café, grab it. Learning something valuable is guaranteed.

Apart from these events with partners, we also organized customer events. We’ve had an event to show our customers a sneak peek of the big release that was coming up, as well as multiple other customer events. This is definitely something that we will be stepping up in 2018!

New customers

In 2017 we have managed to more than double the number of customers we have! Companies, big and small, have joined our movement to change the way business applications are made and maintained. On behalf of our entire team: welcome to Triggre!

What I find very interesting is the variety of companies that use Triggre. From startups to multinationals, warehouse management to customer portals. This means that our guides gain ever more knowledge about solutions that might work in completely different companies as well. Our guides are keen to make sure that if they have a good idea for your company, they will tell you, so you can maximally benefit from using Triggre within your organization. We call this ‘pro-active guidance’.

Making a difference

On September 1st we released a completely new version of Triggre. Those who have been following us for the past 5 years may know that our goal is to completely change the way business applications are made. Instead of programmers, we want business users to make these applications.

To achieve this, Triggre must be the easiest way to make business software. And while our previous version was very good and a lot easier than programming, we knew it wasn’t enough. That’s why we worked on this new version behind the scenes for 3 years. Releasing it was a huge milestone for our company, and the feedback from customers and prospects has simply been amazing.

However, this release was only the first step. And while this was a huge first step, we are continuously improving Triggre in smaller steps. Every 2 to 3 weeks we release a new version, which introduces features that make Triggre easier to use and make Triggre usable for more cases. Make sure you stay tuned in 2018!

Looking forward to 2018

With such a great year almost behind us, it’s time to look forward. 2018 is promising to be another fantastic year, albeit in a completely different way. We feel that this year we’ve been able to show our customers what it can be like to work with Triggre. Next year, we are going to put that into overdrive.

I want to close with a big thank you to our customers, employees, and fans, for believing in Triggre and what it stands for. Without you, all that we do would not be possible. Let’s continue showing the world that making software can be easy, fast and fun in 2018!

Behind the scenes

It has been a while since we updated you on our endeavors regarding adding more and more functionality to Triggre. This, of course, does not mean that nothing is happening. Behind the scenes, the work never stops.

Success is a process

When we released our current version, we had already put in countless man-years of work into it. The danger of delivering such an enormous project is that when you are done, you relax a little, sit back and enjoy your accomplishment.

Not at Triggre. As mentioned by our CTO Jesse in his interview about the new version of Triggre, we have set big goals. And in order to achieve those, we need to constantly reevaluate the way Triggre works. Only when we do that, we’re able to keep improving. We want to empower people and make software creation fun. As you can imagine, we will not reach this goal overnight.

What does happen overnight

One of the things that do happen overnight, is making a new release available to our customers. Since the major release on the first of September, we have had 6 smaller releases, all chock-full of new features and big improvements.

So, what kind of improvements have we been making? First, we started with bettering the user experience of Triggre, making it even clearer what you can edit and when. Then, we started adding more functions to our rule editor. This allows the user to create rules to add and remove items from lists meaning manual work is reduced even more.

In the release after that, we went for another functionality feast with the introduction of pick lists, allowing the user to easily create and reuse simple lists. With this feature the speed at which you can create your own application increased, again. And with the following release, we added automatically generated “create”, “edit” and “delete” functions for your data as well as an add-on to the pick lists. This add-on allows you to pre-fill form fields with items from your list, so the users of your application are guided in the right direction.

We also introduced two killer features in November. The first are repeat actions, which allow the reuse of parts of a process to make a process even more powerful. The second is creating and storing signatures in Triggre. You can even sign directly in Triggre, using your mouse or finger on a touch screen. Since electronic signatures are legal in Europe, this provides a huge opportunity in digitalization for our customers.

Full speed ahead

As you can read, we are always on the lookout for new, cool and useful features for Triggre. If you are curious about these new features, you can always check our release notes. If you have ideas, make sure to let us know. Together with our customers, we find the right enhancements for Triggre and we fully intend to keep going at this pace!

Author: Dagmar Ingelse