Largest Provider of Commercial Smalltalk
Cincom is one of the largest commercial providers of Smalltalk, with twice as many partners and customers than other commercial providers.

Tom Nies

Smalltalk Digest: January Edition

Smalltalk Digest

Happy New Year! Welcome to the January 2021 edition of the Cincom Smalltalk™ Digest. In this month’s valuable newsletter, you will find the following:

CUSTOMERS and PARTNERS

  • Why Companies Should Reskill or Upskill Talent during the Pandemic
  • A New Way to Contribute to Cincom Smalltalk
  • How Do We Communicate with Customers and Partners?
  • How Do We Help Customers and Partners Be More Successful?
  • Listening Is Key for Our Customers and Partners
  • FAQ: How Do I Sign Up for the Cincom Smalltalk Resolutions Newsletter?

BEGINNERS, FREELANCERS and DEVELOPERS

  • What Is Dynamic Interface Construction?
  • Quantitative Gems: Thanksgiving Rally
  • Are You Ready to Try Cincom Smalltalk?
  • Have You Joined Our Social Media Community?

CUSTOMERS and PARTNERS

Why Companies Should Reskill or Upskill Talent during the Pandemic

The Ever-Evolving Need
Even before our current crisis, changing technologies and new ways of working were job disruptors for many employees. In 2017, the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that as many as 375 million workers, or 14 percent of the global workforce, would need to either switch occupations or acquire new skills by the year 2030 largely due to the rise of artificial intelligence. In a more recent McKinsey Global Survey, 87 percent of executives said they were experiencing or were expecting to deal with skill gaps in the workforce over the next few years. Unfortunately, less than half of the survey takers knew how to address the problem.

That was before 2020. Now with the coronavirus pandemic, this issue has become increasingly more urgent. Workers across a variety of industries are rushing to figure out how they can adapt to these rapidly changing conditions. Meanwhile, companies are on overdrive as they seek to match workers with new roles that are changing quickly. This issue is about more than just working remotely or the role AI has or will have at companies (as the initial surveys hinted to). It’s firmly about companies reskilling and upskilling their workers to deliver a new, post-pandemic business model. As McKinsey & Company said,

“To emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, companies should start reskilling their workforces now.”

Harvard Business Review said,

“Under normal conditions, workers constantly shift between different industries, albeit at a slow pace. However, the COVID-19 pandemic created an urgent need to make labor shifts happen much more quickly.”

To meet this challenge, companies need to create talent strategies that develop their employees’ skills, knowledge, adaptability, resiliency and capabilities, as well as their social and emotional skills. Companies can wait no longer.  It’s time to increase budgets, training and a commitment to reskilling and upskilling.  This will have both a positive short-term (pandemic) and long-term (post-pandemic) affect for businesses.

What Is Reskilling and Upskilling?
Simply put, “reskilling” is the development of new or additional skills that can assist workers as they move to a new role. Whereas “upskilling” is the training that enables workers to become better at a job in which they are already performing. If done correctly, workers who gain new skills can become an adaptable army that is flexible as our world changes.

Thought leader, Beth Steinberg, the VP of People and Talent at Chime, an American technology neobank company that provides fee-free financial services through a mobile app, has hired over 10,000 workers while unfortunately laying off 2,000 people during her career. Being that Chime has no physical branches and all business is carried out exclusively online or by app, this experience has given her a unique perspective that she shares in a post by the First Round Review on “How to Lead and Rally a Company through a Layoff.” In the article, Steinberg said:

“By extracting the skill sets you need from the person you think might have them, all of a sudden there are many other ways of obtaining the capabilities you need to grow … from a management point of view, these types of options keep your workforce flexible and lean. Also employee development not only gives you more depth with your existing workforce, but it’s a retention mechanism.”

Introducing AG5 Skills Management Software

AG5

AG5With offices in Amsterdam and Berlin, AG5 has been developing skills-management, competence-management and skills-matrix software for 15 years. AG5 has developed the only plug-n-play skills-management software in the industry.

Many industries have taken blows from this global pandemic, resulting in layoffs, hiring freezes or furloughs. Some of the major industries affected include transportation, hospitality, restaurants, oil and gas. AG5 Skills Management Software fits into those affected industries, serving a wide spectrum of companies like KLM Cargo and AKKA Technologies in aviation and logistics, ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks Gent in steel manufacturing, Cérélia and Intersnack in food production and Buyitdirect (an IT reseller) to name a few. AG5 also helps safety and rescue-related organizations such as firefighters and ambulance personnel.

AG5 provides valuable insights for reskilling employees, showing their customers an overview of their workers’ current and missing skills. This is especially relevant for today’s circumstances where organizations have to adapt quickly to changes in supply/demand and with people working remotely. Insights from AG5 also provide a better overview of employees with similar skills that can replace colleagues who are sick. 

In fact, one customer said,

“A lot of our staff took courses during corona lockdown – they updated their training information in AG5 themselves. But with AG5, we kept everything nicely under control – we got all the new skills recorded quickly and easily, even though most of us were working from home. I save myself around twenty hours a month using AG5 instead of our old database system.”
– AG5 Customer

AG5 noticed that many prospects use Microsoft Excel as a skills-management system. When compared to the AG5 Skills Management Software, Excel quickly becomes too complex as the amount of data increases. AG5’s software is very user-friendly and requires zero programming skills whatsoever. It’s a robust solution that doesn’t require much manual work, compared to Excel sheets, for example. On top of that, it allows valuable insights to become visual. With AG5’s Skills Management Software, team managers gain an overview of their team(s) that’s easy to share across several organizational levels.

What sets AG5 apart from LMS and HRM systems is its dedication to skills management, competence management and a skills matrix. Other platforms and tools offer skills management as an additional service, which is too simplistic or basic for some organizations.

“We’d always onboarded and trained new staff members – a process that takes about four months. But using AG5, they can see for themselves how they’re progressing, and this serves as a huge motivation.” – AG5 Customer

What Is Cincom’s Involvement?
Cincom® VisualWorks® helps AG5’s development team to be very productive in an ever-changing environment. AG5 is constantly gaining a clear, competitive advantage over other vendors as they can instantly adopt any new training methodology, increased legislation requirements or changed organizational structures and thus be able to quickly respond to new demands.

According to Anthia Moehamadidris, Growth Marketeer at AG5,

“AG5 is built using Cincom VisualWorks, which has proven to be extremely robust for years. This programming environment plays well with all kinds of new technological developments, whether on the front or back end. In our industry and with our current growth, that is a real relief.”

To read more about AG5 Skills Management Software or to watch a video that visualizes it, click here.

A New Way to Contribute to Cincom Smalltalk

Developers often create some great tools, enhancements, frameworks, examples and applications, and they like to share them, get recognition for them or receive suggestions for improvement. The Cincom Smalltalk Product Team is enhancing the section of our website that highlights these contributed items from customers, partners and users. Not only will this revamped area give more detail for each item, it will also be a better-organized and comprehensive home for the list of contributed items available. With more detail and better organization, these items will be more searchable and easier to find so that other developers can use them. Additionally, our team will be able to promote these contributed items and share the value of Smalltalk throughout our website, on social media, in the Cincom Smalltalk Digest and in other communications.

There are several places contributed work can be found:

To help developers find, understand, appreciate and utilize your contributed work, please use the guidelines for the final documentation of your contributed work here.

If you have created something you think would be of value and interest to other Smalltalk developers or could help attract new users to Smalltalk, please apply with the new Contributed Application Form here.

How Do We Communicate with Customers and Partners?

We never want to assume that our customers and partners automatically know where to find what they need. It’s easy for companies to tell their customers to simply “go to our website” to find something. After having real conversations with our customers and partners, we understand that we need to take it one step further. Instead of telling our customers and partners to just go to our website, we created a helpful “Resources” page that has unique links and descriptions for things they would be looking for. 

For your reference, we want to provide a breakdown of the various ways we communicate as well as some of the resources we have available to you. From upgrading your product to the current release to customer programs and services, tutorials, videos and helpful newsletters like the Cincom Smalltalk Resolutions newsletter, we have everything listed for you here.

How Do We Help Customers and Partners Be More Successful?

The Cincom Smalltalk group makes the success of our customers and partners priority number one. Our Product and Services teams are aligned in this quest, having decades of experience in discovering and maximizing productivity and helping with customer success. Whether your employees have returned to the office or are still working from home, our Services team can still assist you with your needs. We have the knowledge and creativity to discover opportunities for growth, productivity and added value in your application and business and can do so safely and comfortably for you and your people.

Here are some of the ways we can help you find new potential in your application:

  • Product Upgrades
  • Mentoring
  • Troubleshooting
  • Performance Enhancement
  • Migrations
  • Proof of Concept

Interested?  See more details, and learn how to get started discovering the hidden value, growth and profit here.

Listening Is Key for Our Customers and Partners

Listening is one of the greatest components of effective communication. Maybe what we share each month in this newsletter is not enough, or you would like to see different information. We are here to listen! As a customer or partner, do you have any feedback for our team? Is there some content or information you would like to see on our website, on our social platforms or in our newsletters and periodicals?

Please send your comments or suggestions to the Cincom Smalltalk Product Team at CSSTARTeam@cincom.com

FAQ: How Do I Sign Up for the Cincom Smalltalk Resolutions Newsletter?

The Cincom Smalltalk Resolutions Newsletter is one of the many benefits of being a Cincom Smalltalk customer and was created to be a useful tool in making it easier to do business with Cincom. In this monthly newsletter, customers will find things like:

  • The latest Hidden Gems screencast
  • Featured Cincom Smalltalk programs
  • Upcoming activities and Smalltalk events

However, the most important reason we publish the Cincom Smalltalk Resolutions Newsletter is to let customers know what’s going on with the product since the last release so they can see what resolutions might be available to them. 

If you are a current Cincom Smalltalk customer and are interested in receiving the Cincom Smalltalk Resolutions Newsletter, simply fill out the form on this page.  Be sure to include your customer number, as only current Cincom Smalltalk customers have access to the Resolutions email.

Hear more about the Cincom Smalltalk Resolutions Newsletter from Kimberly Thomas, the Director, Global Product Support, here:

For additional frequently asked questions, visit our FAQs section where we answer “How do I…?” and other questions here.

BEGINNERS, FREELANCERS and DEVELOPERS

In this section, beginners to Smalltalk, freelancers, and developers will find several articles designed to help you learn new skills or enhance your existing skills using Cincom Smalltalk.

What Is Dynamic Interface Construction?

Long-time readers of the Cincom Smalltalk Digest are well aware of the Hidden Gems screencast series. Those who are just reskilling with Smalltalk or Cincom Smalltalk may not know what this series is and how it can be helpful to their developer path. Arden Thomas, the Cincom Smalltalk Product Manager, started the Hidden Gems screencast series to share shortcuts, tips and techniques that might make it easier for others to use or jumpstart their Cincom Smalltalk usage.

In these screencasts, Arden shares how he uses various components of Cincom Smalltalk, as well as features that he uses for his own productivity that he considers “hidden gems.” This screencast series is a growing list of valuable nuggets that Arden has compiled over several years.

In this month’s new screencast, Arden will demonstrate how to build an Application interface programmatically and dynamically. It reproduces an interface found on Twitter at #LPLChartOfTheDay, which shows S&P 500 returns, on average, for every day of the year. The ability to construct interfaces programmatically and dynamically gives the developer incredible power and flexibility. As always with Smalltalk, it is not hard once you know how.

This screencast is part of the Technique Series of Hidden Gems, which shows various techniques of how to accomplish or solve different tasks, from automating image build to creating a custom parser.

If you have questions, comments or suggestions for future Hidden Gems, please email the Cincom Smalltalk Product Team at CSSTARTeam@cincom.com.

Quantitative Gems: Thanksgiving Rally

Have you seen the Quantitative Gems? This new series of screencasts is an introduction to Quantitative Analysis (QA)—a technique that uses mathematical and statistical modeling, measurement and research to understand behavior. The screencasts include guided examples of how to do Quantitative Analysis as well as creating charts and indicators in Cincom Smalltalk. This series will also walk you through how to build algorithms and interactive charts. The code scripts can be run in our Windows-centric ObjectStudio product or our cross-platform VisualWorks product. The code is almost identical for both, and we walk you through exactly how to do it in either (or both!).

Those looking to reskill or upskill in Quantitative Analysis can learn more and watch the whole library here.

This month’s new Quantitative Gem shows how to use Cincom Smalltalk to re-create a study in a small amount of code. Jay’s study uses the Dow Jones Industrial Average, two days before and one day after Thanksgiving. The study and description can be found here: http://jayonthemarkets.com/2020/11/24/happy-turkey-days

In this screencast, we also discuss some best practices using Smalltalk.

​If you have questions, comments or suggestions for future Hidden Gems, please send an email to Arden Thomas at athomas@cincom.com.

Are You Ready to Try Cincom Smalltalk?

According to Forbes,

“By 2022, more than half (54%) of all employees will require significant re- and upskilling says the World Economic Forum 2018 Future of Jobs Report. Of these, 35% are expected to require additional training of up to six months, 9% will require reskilling lasting six to 12 months, and 10% will require training of more than a year.”

Throughout this month’s edition of the Cincom Smalltalk Digest, you’ve seen specific examples of how you can grow your knowledge as a developer and upskill or reskill using Cincom Smalltalk. Over the holidays, we saw a surge in our Personal Use License downloads as well as developers who were interested in a partnership with Cincom through our online licensing program. We want you to know about those same opportunities, as well as a special deal for Digest readers:

Try Cincom Smalltalk ─ The Personal Use License is ideal for developers who are looking to sharpen their skills by adding new tools to their “developer toolbox.” With Cincom being a leading provider of commercial Smalltalk, the PUL also presents an opportunity for existing Smalltalkers to build their businesses and partner with a global commercial company. Regardless of the reason, the PUL allows the freedom for users to evaluate our products before realizing that Cincom Smalltalk is the right fit for their business or project needs. 

Listen as Suzanne Fortman, the Cincom Smalltalk Program Director and Engineering Manager, discusses the value you can create using Cincom Smalltalk here.

  • Curious? Click here to start exploring Cincom Smalltalk and all that it can do for you.

Buy Cincom Smalltalk ─ The PUL program has been very successful over the years. During that time, we’ve often been asked for an option between the PUL and full product licensing. Tom Nies, the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Cincom Systems, Inc., challenged the Cincom Smalltalk Product Team to come up with an offering that would answer this request, and our team delivered the REV Program.

The REV program is a bridge between the free evaluation of the PUL and full licensing. It allows for easy entry into the Cincom platform, providing both the full product (the current release of Cincom Smalltalk Version 9) and full support for a 1-year/12-month time period. REV Program participants also have access to Cincom marketing and branding through the Cincom Smalltalk Partner Promotion Program that can help with the kickoff of the application or business.

We’ve seen many REV members successfully move from the REV Program to full licensing even before their 12-month cycle is complete. Listen as Suzanne discusses the REV Program and the benefits a user receives by becoming a partner with Cincom here.

We launched the REV Program with introductory pricing of $500, and it exceeded our expectations! Now the program is at the regular, full price of $1,000. We are offering a 25% discount off the full price of the REV Program. If you would like this deal, please email the Cincom Smalltalk Product Team to get the link and discount code worth $250.

Have You Joined Our Social Media Community?

Have you ever used social media to get information about programming, development, Smalltalk or Cincom Smalltalk? We have a growing, active community on several social sites:

  • Cincom Smalltalk Twitter – Here’s a chance to like, retweet or give comments in our Twittersphere. On Twitter, we share a variety of information including user stories, product information, updates, product tutorials, programs and links to the Hidden and Quantitative Gems screencasts. Along with our main Twitter account, there are also several Cincom Smalltalk team members who are active on Twitter, contributing and engaging with customers, partners, users and curious onlookers.
  • Cincom Smalltalk YouTube – If you are looking for a more visual experience, YouTube is the place to browse hundreds of Cincom Smalltalk videos, organized into nearly 30 unique playlists that help you find the topic you are looking for.
  • Cincom Smalltalk Facebook – If Facebook is more your speed, we post user stories, product information and updates, and a wide variety of videos, including customer, partner and user program highlights, product tutorials and Hidden and Quantitative Gems screencasts.