TechBirmingham Blog

Archive for April, 2016

Meet our Member Companies – Range

TechBirmingham thrives through its immensely talented and diverse group of member companies. Meet our Member Companies is an ongoing Q&A series highlighting this group of movers, shakers and makers in B’ham’s tech industry.

Meet Sara Cannon, Managing Partner and Creative Director for Range. Sara is originally from Boston and has been in Birmingham since 2001. Read on to learn more about Range and the great things they are doing in Birmingham and beyond.

Hi Sara! Let’s get started — Tell us more about Range.

Range is a web design and development agency specializing in WordPress. We work with various clients on their branding, development, user experience, and technology. As the Managing Partner, I wear lots of hats. However, my true passion lies in the Creative Direction and UX side of the business. I love working with brands on their web presence and have a deep devout passion for typography. Some of my favorite projects have been with Disney Publishing, The Flickr Blog, The Arc, and Inside Climate News.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about your industry?

Creativity is a passion of mine. I think many people misconceive that people in tech aren’t creative. We’re all problem solvers no matter if you’re designing interactions or creating complex queries. Creativity runs through all of us.

What exciting news or product/service announcements does your company have on the horizon?

We recently launched WPHost – white glove hosting where we create individualized custom stacks based upon traffic, page load, and needs. It’s exciting to see companies who have always needed something custom but at a reasonable price tag come to us.

How do you feel about B’ham’s tech scene?

I love Birmingham and I’m excited to see the tech scene grow!

Anything else about you or your company you want us to share?

We’re fully distributed and completely addicted to slack, asana, and zoom in our daily routine. I would love to connect with any other distributed companies who are based in Birmingham as well as more businesses here in the area.

Thanks so much for sharing, Sara! 

Follow Range and Sara online here:


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Meet our Member Companies – StrategyWise

TechBirmingham thrives through its immensely talented and diverse group of member companies. Meet our Member Companies is an ongoing Q&A series highlighting this group of movers, shakers and makers in B’ham’s tech industry.

Meet Joshua Jones, Managing Partner of StrategyWise. Joshua is originally from Tuscaloosa and has been in Birmingham for five year. Read on to learn more about StrategyWise and the great things they are doing in Birmingham and beyond. In addition, Josh will be our August TechTuesday speaker so plan to attend if you want to learn more.

Hi Joshua! Let’s get started — Tell us more about StrategyWise.

Medium to large companies turn to us for help in understanding how they can use data science to better understand and communicate with customers and how to improve operational efficiency and profitability. Typical projects involve us pulling data from a variety of sources (like financial records, inventory systems, and CRM tools like Salesforce) and using those data to write predictive formulas (e.g. how many patients or patrons might visit in a given day or hour) or marketing strategies (e.g. “Reach out to customer group X because they’re more likely to buy that product, and be sure to mention Z because we know it’s important to them.”)

What do you think is the biggest misconception about your industry?

Many companies hire us after failing to successfully implement data science with a single individual. It truly is a team effort, and we never have less than three disciplines represented in any given team. There’s also a lot of buzz around data science and big data, and it’s a valid concern that much of it is hype. Companies that successfully implement a data-driven solution are those that integrate strategy, IT, and statistics in a cohesive way. Statistics are meaningless without relevant strategic insight and execution, and a strong IT team allows effective integration of all possible data sources to feed the solution.

What exciting news or product/service announcements does your company have on the horizon?

Many of our clients prefer we not discuss their projects on the record, but I can say one of the largest fast food chains in the country has asked us to support their customer loyalty rewards program. Any time a company asks us to review hundreds of millions of records to identify trends and patterns that will help them improve customer care, communications and marketing, we get pretty excited. If you eat fast food, there’s a strong chance our algorithms will impact your experience in the near future.

How do you feel about B’ham’s tech scene?

Birmingham’s strengths are the energy, vibe, and excitement that gets stronger with each new pub, park, startup, and restaurant. Our weaknesses mostly relate to available IT workforce and a brand image that’s still a bit hungover. The biggest challenges are successfully rebranding the city as the next tech-driven hotspot. How do we spend our money and resources wisely to get the message to the rest of the country in a world-class manner? Anyone up for product (read: city) placement in a major motion picture? Think about how Mexico paid to have their image spiced up in the latest James Bond film, Spectre. We might have to start smaller, but the concept still holds.

Thanks so much for sharing, Joshua! 

Follow StrategyWise and Joshua online here:


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Birmingham corporations are teaming up to ‘Keep IT Local’

Appeared in The Birmingham News on April 03, 2016 – updated April 18, 2016.

By Scott McGlaun, Chief Information Officer, BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama

People frequently ask me about ways we can strengthen the local technology community. Birmingham’s technology community is stronger than it has ever been. Innovation Depot, which gives start-ups and entrepreneurs competitive advantage, is almost at capacity. TechBirmingham membership is experiencing explosive growth and seeing record attendance at events.

Access to capital for start-ups is plentiful if you have a solid business plan. Technology executives are working together with TechBridge to bring technology-based efficiencies to non-profit agencies. Birmingham is taking steps to develop local technology talent through Depot/U, a software development boot camp. The city is entering our second year of Venture for America internships and several local companies are working to bring a new workforce development program to the area called Year-Up. So that covers it, right? Well, there is one more thing….Keep IT Local.

“Keep IT Local” makes sense for two reasons.  First and foremost, it is a reflection of the business community’s support of technology-based entrepreneurs.  “Keeping IT Local” tells existing local entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs considering Birmingham as their start-up location, that the business community wants them to thrive and prosper here. We can play a role in their success by looking first to local companies for business impacting capabilities.

This is a big step forward for Birmingham's tech sector

This is a big step forward for Birmingham’s tech sector

There is an unintended divide between Birmingham’s start-up community and its established corporate community, but now Birmingham’s business leaders are pledging to bridge that gap.

Birmingham has very talented and capable technologists that are driving innovation.  Partnerships among entrepreneurs and the business community will accelerate that innovation.

Secondly, we have a huge opportunity to grow tech-based jobs here in Birmingham. When the business community spends locally on technology, we promote local job growth. Large company spending on technology will result in job growth among vendor partners.

The purpose of the Keep IT Local Pledge initiative is to create an easily accessible platform to showcase commitment from local companies to first look within our city and surrounding areas when procuring IT products and services before spending those IT dollars outside the region. Working collaboratively with industry, TechBirmingham and Innovation Depot led the effort to craft a pledge and create a digital presence where companies on both the demand and supply side can show their support by digitally signing the pledge.

Organizations who sign the pledge will be recognized on the website.

TechBirmingham will maintain the database of companies who sign the pledge and will be able to provide information on the services and products those companies offer.

The list of Founding Partners includes the following organizations and companies: TechBirmingham and Innovation Depot, as well as Alabama Power, BlueCross and BlueShield of Alabama, Regions, 2B Solutions, Isotope 11, BBVA Compass, University of Alabama Birmingham, Alabama Media Group, Airship, ITAC Solutions, Daxko, Platypi, Teklinks, TEKSystems, Viperline, Warren Averett.

Here’s the website for companies to sign the pledge. Let’s grow those jobs in our community, not somewhere else. Will you join me in taking the pledge to Keep IT Local?

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ACN Conference a Success!


On April 5th, the inaugural Alabama Cyber Now conference (ACN) was held at Regions Field. Hosted by the Central Alabama Information Systems Security Association, Birmingham Infragard Members Alliance, and TechBirmingham, ACN brought together professionals from all sectors of the business world to discuss and learn about the latest in cyber security.

Over 300 attendees took part in the day-long event. Twenty-nine vendors showcased their products and services in the expo area at the venue. The conference featured 19 sessions in three tracks with two keynote speakers – author/blogger Brian Krebs and FireEye’s Josh Goldfarb.

Mark your calendars for April 4, 2017 for the second annual Alabama Cyber NOW conference. To stay informed of any updates on the next conference, go to

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