27 September 2019

Giuseppe Brigandì, SAP Consultant with a passion for tango

AP Consultant by profession, tanguero (tango dancer) by passion, Giuseppe Brigandì tells us what made him fall in love with Argentine tango.

"Tango is the magic of a sensual embrace between two bodies that merge into a single soul."

These are the words of Giuseppe Brigandì, born in 1984, with a Degree in Economics and from 2016, SAP Consultant of the mashfrog Group at the Milan office. 
Giuseppe is now a team leader; he deals with SAP implementation projects in the Finance area and his job involves the opportunity to travel the world. He has lived and worked in Milan since 2011, but the projects that follow have already brought him to Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Asia and recently Spain and Portugal.

The passion for tango

By day, he's an expert consultant of one of the best known and most popular ERP solutions for companies. Outside working hours, for about 5 years, Giuseppe has been dancing tango in milongas in Milan and in all the cities of the world that he visits for pleasure or for work.
His passion was born when he heard the music and the moving melodies of the Argentine folk dance that seduced the whole planet in the 20th century. About two years passed between listening to the music and taking his first steps in this dance. In 2014, Giuseppe took his first lesson at tango school. Since then, he has never stopped dancing.  
 

The first trip to Argentina 

After the first year of passionate study, the great opportunity arose, to leave for the city of the tango antonomasia, Buenos Aires, and to stay there for a few months. He almost couldn't take the trip due to an injury – "I danced too much", he tells us – but in the end Giuseppe managed to leave. In the five months he spent in Buenos Aires he attended the main milongas of the city and studied dance, but also music. He knows the main orchestras, listens to classical tango, especially that of the so-called "Golden Years" (1930s and 1940s), and began to think of himself not only as a dancer, but also as a tango dj.

How to dance the tango

Tango is harmony, elegance, inspiration, but also, of course, technique and a lot of practice. "In short, there are no born tango dancers". 
The man plays the role of the leader: the tanguero leads the woman into the music and across space, taking care not to cross other couples' trajectories. The woman has the role of follower. A role that is anything but passive and very demanding, it is up to her to interpret and respond to the complex non-verbal communication that passes through the tango embrace, while enchanting the audience with the beauty and grace of movement. 

Where the tango is danced 

We asked Giuseppe how widespread the tango culture is in Italy. 
"The culture of tango came to Italy rather late, but in the last twenty years it has spread throughout the country. Today in Italy, the tango is studied and danced everywhere, in the big cities, as well as in the provinces". The milongas (the name of the dance halls dedicated exclusively to this dance) are numerous and very popular, even more so than in Argentina, where the tango, heard from the metropolis, is listened to a lot, but danced less.

A point of contact between passion and profession

Giuseppe's profession, that of a consultant who is in charge of analysing and optimising the flows and processes of large companies by implementing the SAP management system, seems distant from the notes of the bandoneón and the atmosphere of a milonga. And yet, Giuseppe tells us:    
"There is a very strong point of contact between my work and the dance: the journey. I travel a lot for work and dance helps me to come into direct contact with the locals”. 
The shared passion for tango is creating a worldwide network of people who meet just looking for a place to dance.

"Tango is a sad thought that dances"

This is how the Argentine poet Enrico Santos Discépolo described it. Tango is a culture of burning passions, poignant and painful. In the songs, temas in Spanish, you sing about broken loves, betrayals, separations, nostalgia for the past and hope for the future, but also about love for the city of Buenos Aires, for its neighbourhoods and for the streets worn down by the twirling of dancers. The stanzas of the songs are real poems, these are some of the ones that Giuseppe loves the most:      

Soy una estrella en el mar
que hoy detiene su andar
para hundirse en tus ojos.
Y en el embrujo
de tus labios muy rojos,
por llegar a tu alma
mi destino daré.

Soy una estrella en el mar
que hoy se pierde al azar
sin amor ni fortuna.
Y en los abismos
de esta noche de luna,
sólo quiero vivir, de rodilla a tus pies,
para amarte y morir.

(From "Esta noche de luna", version arranged by the Pugliese Maciel orchestra)

21 June 2019

From programmer to contributor to the "SEO Bible"

Claudio Fiorentino, Head of SEO at Mamadigital, is part of the team of intrepid professionals who worked on the Italian edition of The Art of SEO, the most comprehensive book on SEO available today.

They call it the "SEO Bible": a work of nearly 1,000 pages written by three of the world's most notable experts on Search Engine Optimisation (Eric Enge, Jessie Stricchiola and Stephan Spencer). The Art of SEO, published for the first time in 2009, is finally available in Italian thanks to an up-to-the-minute translation that is already sold out just days after being released.
The 15 chapters of the imposing tome were adapted by a team of the finest professionals in the fields of SEO, CRO and Content Marketing from all over Italy, who not only translated but also added to the original edition with exclusive appendices. The team included Claudio Fiorentino, Head of SEO and Research Senior at Mamadigital, a web marketing agency that joined mashfrog Group in the spring of 2017.

Claudio trained on the job, so to speak: he started out not as a Search Marketing professional, but rather as an ORACLE analyst/programmer who was drawn to SEO "on the road" and developed his passion by participating in industry events and working alongside web professionals. His work as an SEO specialist officially began in 2011, and he quickly became an expert on the functioning of the main search engines, especially Google.  
Claudio's involvement in the Italian edition of The Art of SEO is a testament not only to his reputation in the industry, but also to his in-depth knowledge of a tool that is a must for anyone involved in SEO: Screaming Frog. This tool and its uses and advantages form the focus of Claudio's appendix in the Italian edition of The Art of SEO. Claudio's contribution, titled "SEO Analysis using Screaming Frog", can be found at the end of chapter 6.  

"Screaming Frog simulates a search engine scan, showing us everything a search engine sees when it looks at a website and providing all the information needed to optimise it."

Screaming Frog analyses all of a site's URLs, highlights all types of errors and provides crucial information for on-site optimisation: metadata accuracy, non-optimal H1 (title) or H2 (description) lengths, lack of alt text for images, duplicates, non-responsive images, and so on. In short, it comprehensively screens the website to assess its "health" in the eyes of a search engine.
This simulation produces a considerable amount of data to be processed and interpreted, data which provides the starting point for subsequent optimisation efforts aimed at improving the site's ranking on search results pages. After all, this is the challenge facing SEO professionals: making sure that a site is promoted (and not penalised) by search engines and that it is displayed near the top of a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) in order to attract more organic traffic – crucial in order to maximise business opportunities.

"In my chapter, I show how to use Screaming Frog and how the data is presented, but above all how to read it, cut through it and interpret it."

It is precisely this ability to interpret and capitalise on the data extracted from the tool that determines the added value of an SEO resource. Claudio adds that the latest releases of the tool also provide important information on the architecture of a site's content. What does this mean? It means that by using Screaming Frog, you get an outline of the site's structure in its current state, allowing you to understand how much pages or business sections can be promoted through optimisation and an appropriate internal linking strategy.

"At Mamadigital, we use Screaming Frog every day to support our SEO work. We consider it especially crucial in managing the migration phases of websites, even complex ones."

The tool is useful in the phase preceding the migration – when all the optimisation instructions are provided and can be passed on to the development team – during the migration itself, and in the following phase, when checking redirects to the new site.
The stakes are high, as Claudio explains: when a migration is managed properly, a site can maintain its trust (the authority and reliability of the site in the eyes of search engines) and therefore maintain the rankings it has achieved over time.

What challenges lie in store for SEO?

"What's next is a future where voice search dominates", comments Claudio. "This is a significant shift in user behaviour that will have a considerable impact on the work of SEO specialists. To grasp what the user is searching for, we'll have to think less and less in terms of “dry keywords” and increasingly in terms of complex syntactic constructions typical of spoken language. Industry experts are currently defining guidelines for optimisation based on voice search, but it's clear that anyone involved in SEO will inevitably come up against this issue in the near future".   
 

8 May 2019

From Gaming to Medical Technologies: The Story of the HoloSeg Project

A software using augmented reality and holographic visualization to analyze certain kinds of tumors: HoloSeg, a research project developing at mashfrog.

 

Behind HoloSeg, there’s the hard work, passion and dedication of two young engineers at the mashfrog Group, Andrea Spadoni and Luigi Sambucini. The project now represents the evolution of a software for the segmentation and three-dimensional reconstruction of anatomical parts. An example of surgical planning, using holographic visualization and 3D printing of models, this could reshape the future of medical technology and more.

The Story Begins

In 2006, Andrea and Luigi, both Computer Engineering students passionate about gaming, developed a graphic engine for the creation of videogames and 3D interactions. The project became the thesis for their undergraduate degree. This experimental and highly innovative thesis used data, metrics and geometry to produce three-dimensional maps where path-finding algorithms can be applied (computer calculations of the shortest route between two points inside a complex environment). Basically, what we are used to seeing now with Google Maps. 

Their thesis immediately showed great potential. The technologies used could have applications in many sectors and markets of public and private interest.

During the first year of their Master’s degree, Luigi and Andrea launched into a new challenge: using the graphic engine to support oncological hyperthermia, that is, the treatment of certain kinds of tumors that involves overheating tissues with electromagnetic waves at various frequencies.

The new software was meant to produce a faithful anatomical model of the patient, of the organs concerned and their real dimensions. The goal became to integrate the software with the existing electromagnetic simulator, in order to perform a realistic simulation before performing the operation on the patient.

The new project phase was extremely challenging and became the subject of their Master’s degree thesis.

3DSeg is Born

Together with Luigi and Andrea, this software came to mashfrog. It was here that, in 2015, it took on the name 3DSeg. At mashfrog, 3DSeg became a software for the segmentation and three-dimensional reconstruction of anatomical parts, made from CAT or MRI scans.

The project was initially financed by the MISE (Ministry for Economic Development), and later by Sardegna Ricerche, as part of the Operational Program 2014-2020 financed by the European Fund for Regional Development (POR FESR 2014-2020). It has featured the collaboration of an exceptional partner, the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital in Rome.

The software allows for the analytical evaluation of tumor masses, calculating their volumes and any changes over time in order to decide the area and timing of the surgery. Doctors and professors at the Hospital carefully worked together on the project, using and testing the technology to evaluate volumetric variation on specific childhood tumors, such as Wilms and neuroblastoma. 

HoloSeg, the Future of 3DSeg

At mashfrog, the project continues to grow. The team is now working on new functions aimed at surgical planning with holographic visualization and 3D printing of the models.

The project aims to apply augmented visualization of anatomical models and information on surgical planning, through the integration of the platform with the device Microsoft HoloLens to use Augmented Reality. The visor will allow the user wearing it to visualize purely digital models inserted as holograms in the real surrounding environment. The user can move around the digital objects to observe them from different angles.

What does all of this mean? That a surgeon can use this technology to decide, for example, the specific position of the bone reconstruction metal plates used during surgeries, or to specify insertion points for surgical screws: the angle, insertion depth and fastening direction. Mashfrog’s experience and skills, at the base of a project like HoloSeg, will allow us to bring augmented reality and holograms into the world of surgical research and planning, helping redesign the future of medical technologies. 

And that’s not all: the integration of these technologies may have significant applications in important fields and markets like education and remote assistance through holographic visualization – areas of experimentation and markets that mashfrog has already started to explore.  

Luigi Sambucini, born in ‘83, is a Computer Engineer. He graduated with honors at “Tor Vergata” University in Rome and has worked at mashfrog since 2011, covering several roles. He started as junior developer, building organizational and team-leading skills, Project Manager and consultant. He’s currently a Project Manager / Technical Leader at the mashfrog Group. The main clients he works with are Lottomatica and Poste Italiane. Happily married and the father of Dario, he’s passionate about hiking, the sea and nature. His real passion is gaming!

Andrea Spadoni, born in ’82, is a Computer Engineer. He received a degree from “Tor Vergata” University with top marks and joined mashfrog in 2009 as a junior developer, team leader and project manager. From 2014 to 2016, he was the administrator of TiVinci, a startup founded for the development of technologies for SmartTV and WebTV, managing projects for Samsung, Telecom, Trenitalia and Ansa. He is currently Head of Software Engineering for the mashfrog Group. He is a Juventus fan and is passionate about “Gaming” and “Science”. He doesn’t love relaxing at the beach but prefers visiting European capitals. 

 


 

14 March 2019

How Does a Mini-series Get Made? The Stages of the Web Series “Urban Tales”, from a Computer Keyboard to “Action!” on Set

Notes and anecdotes from Francesco, an editor on mashfrog’s communications team, who created a series of “urban fairy tales” for Open Fiber in Milan, Perugia, Bari and Cagliari.

To see a project take form before your eyes, sometimes you have to wake up early. And find yourself, shortly after, resting your head on another pillow, 9000 meters higher. Tuesday, 6 November 2018: Roma-Cagliari, a 45-miute flight to bring together the first click-clack on the keyboard to the last “action!” on set.

That’s what happened to Francesco Guarino, a digital editor in mashfrog’s communications Business Unit, called to supervise the creation of UpDate Me, the last of four episodes of Urban Tales, a corporate storytelling project custom designed for Open Fiber. 

The “urban fairy tales” in the web series came from an idea of Francesco’s colleagues Antonella Cocca and Fabiana Rocchi. They mix surreal elements with Open Fiber’s core business, which is present in each episode with a manager entrusted with the task of “breaking the fourth wall” and physically being in the atmosphere of the video. 

The project was shot in four locations: Milan, Perugia, Bari and Cagliari. For each episode, the web mini-series brought a small army of communications team members and colleagues from mashfrog’s video troupe, actors and extras and four different Open Fiber managers to star in the videos. 

Forcing a manager to leave the office and be scrutinized long and hard by the camera provided both awkward and funny moments. Especially when the location chosen, like Cagliari, suddenly became a tourist throng, due to an unexpected and massive cruise line disembarkation at the port of Cagliari: “Excuse me, what film are you shooting?”.

“The manager had to recite lines that I had written up after an interview”, explained Francesco, “to connect the surreal aspect of the urban fairy tale with the corporate part of the video. It was key to put the non-actor at ease – or at least make him not uncomfortable – in front of the director, cameraman, sound engineer and line producer”.

An hour of filming to get about thirty seconds of edited footage. Gaffes, laughter and confidence with the camera that increased take after take. The text written at a desk in the mashfrog office in Rome took form between the evocative walls of the Bastion of Saint Remy in Cagliari. 

For Francesco, every minute was full: understanding the troupe’s needs, putting the managers at ease and, if necessary, making quick revisions to the text. All with his fingers crossed to ward off the nightmare of every outdoor set: variations in weather and natural light. 
After those takes, they began shooting in the heart of Cagliari.

The urban fairy tale needs to be contextualized and covering footage was needed. Four hours to explore the capital: starting from Carlo Alberto square with camera in hand to get colorful details of the alleyways, up to the waterfront with the lens up to the car window. Sunset is the most natural and romantic “wrap”. 

The final outcome would come after a long and meticulous process of editing, effects and color correction. The million views registered in the weeks following the release online demonstrated the great work done within the mashfrog team. For Francesco, there’s the satisfaction of having given shape and words to a new, creative and digital native fairy tale.

Top Managers

Edoardo Narduzzi

Fundador y presidente

Es periodista financiero y económico con un talento emprendedor en el ADN y ha creado empresas bien asentadas y cotizadas en la actualidad, convirtiéndose en uno de los principales expertos italianos en innovación tecnológica

Federico Zuin

Director ejecutivo

Cuenta con una larga trayectoria en la transformación digital, primero como consultor y gerente de Big Company y luego como startupper y director ejecutivo de algunas de las empresas más innovadoras nacidas en Italia en la última década

12 March 2019

A Dream, a Project and a Ticket. From Rome to the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference

Gabriele, iOS developer at TMP, won a spot at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference through its Scholarship program. The story of his “journey to Mars”

Passion, ability, a desire to put oneself out there and the idea of gaming that makes you stay up until 4:00 in the morning to finish in time for the application at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. 

That’s how it was for Gabriele Cassetta, a computer engineer born in 1990, who won a spot at the WWDC18 in San Jose, the annual event for Apple developers to present new company software and hardware. 

For the 2018 edition, 350 scholarships were made available to students and members of the STEM organization to fly to California, attend all WWDC 2018 seminars, stay for free for the duration of the event and get a subscription to the Apple Developer program, valid for one year.

The Playground developed by Gabriele, which made him one of the 350 winners of the scholarship program, is a speed memory game and involves clicking on pairs of identical cells as quickly as possible.

The squares are generated randomly and placed in the empty ells of the grid. When a match is made, the pairs of identical squares are removed from the main grid to make space for new ones, increasing the speed in proportion to the cells clicked. 

Based on the clicks, a counter is implemented that affects the difficulty of the game, with the possibility of setting a countdown and playing against time. 

For scholarship winners like Gabriele, WWDC18 started at the Steve Jobs Theater, with the first previews of the conference, several gifts and the honor of a private meeting with the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook.

Gabriele describes it like this: “it was a bit like landing on Mars and a bit – actually a lot – like finding myself in the right place to do my job and follow my passion. The WWDC is the top event for the presentation of new Apple technologies, but that’s not all: it’s a chance to be completely immersed in the productive and innovative pace of Silicon Valley".

The 5 days in San Jose flew by with various workshops, useful for getting advice straight from engineers and Apple experts about problems or even curiosities about apps.  It was an unparalleled opportunity to meet and talk with developers from all over the world and share their own projects, like the new LUISS app which Gabriele worked on at the Mashfrog Group’s company focused on mobile tech, TrustMyPhone

What was really amazing”, said Gabriele, “is how everything happened in a really agile, informal and product-oriented way. To give you an idea: if you want to test applications and games in beta with augmented reality during the WWDC, you can play them in a space just for that, the AR Game Room”. 

It was an incredibly educational and useful experience that Gabriele already wants to repeat: for days, he’s been watching the WWDC site and its countdown, which is about to come to an end and reveal all the details for the 2019 edition.

13 March 2019

How Much Does Investment in Talent and Training Pay Off? The mashfrog Academy’s Success Story

The story of seven young talents from mashfrog’s training school and the edition dedicated to the ERP Infor M3 system, from classes in Rome to working teams at Trelleborg Wheel System in Barcelona

What is the fastest path to a company’s success? Investing in training. It’s not a slogan or merely a good intention. It’s a fact, made clear by the experience of the seven young recent graduates who participated in the second edition of the mashfrog Academy dedicated to the ERP Infor M3 system.

You might describe their adventure almost like the title of a film: “From Rome to Barcelona in Four Steps”. If you go into more detail, you’ll find a case history marked by speed, foresight and just the right amount of company risk that makes a (successful) challenge different from a gamble.

The situation. In Italy, there’s a lack of professional figures specialized in the ERP corporate process management system Infor M3. This Enterprise Resource Planning solution, designed by the American colossus Infor, a global leader in management software, is increasingly requested by Italian companies, who want highly personalized solutions that can completely satisfy their specific business models. 

The idea. Why not fill this gap by creating a specific training course dedicated to the Infor M3 solution as part of the mashfrog Academy? 

The Academy. No sooner said than done. mashfrog management got to work and formed a direct partnership with Infor and designed a specific training course with a certified program on the Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Purchasing, Sales and Finance models. In September 2018, 11 young recent graduates were chosen, from over 100 candidates, to participate in Academy’s brand-new training course on Infor’s ERP solution. 

The Trelleborg project. In a short time, that managerial insight turned out to be well-founded and the customer Trelleborg Wheel System requested the consultancy of 7 of the young “infor-talents” for a digital transformation project. 

To complete the training, they needed one more step, with the service and ticketing expert Ester Rams, who works at the Trelleborg office in Barcelona. The entire Infor team left for two weeks of full immersion in Spain, with the offices of “Spanish mashfrog” as their logistical base. 

The on-the-job training highly specific to TWS’ needs produced immediate results. Upon returning from Barcelona, the entire Infor team was sent to TWS headquarters in Tivoli. 

The goal. To keep the training center in house and to create a true practice area on Infor M3, tackling the Italian and European markets.  A goal demonstrated by mashfrog’s participation in the next Infor Partner Summit, held in April in Amsterdam. The die is cast.

Certified

Capabilities

Magento Solution Partner

The Innovation Factory, the group’s company specialized in e-commerce solutions, is a Magento Solution Partner for Italy: it offers a certified team with verticalized skills and experience in software in the Open Source and Commerce versions.

Premier Google Partner

Mamadigital, the group’s company specialized in SEO, SEM and digital advertising, is a Premier Google Partner due to its ten years of work in the industry, numerous campaigns and several Google Ads-certified resources

SAP Silver Partner

Mashfrog plus, the group’s company specialized in solutions Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and digital core of the companies, is a SAP Silver Partner - SAP Partner Edge Service in SAP HANA Database & Technology and SAP S/4 HANA. 
 

Salesforce Platinum Partner

Pracedo, the group’s company based in the UK specialized in Marketing cloud solutions, is a Salesforce Platinum Partner with many years of experience in consulting services for the CRM and the optimization of sales and marketing processes.
 

Infor Associate Partner

Mashfrog plus, the group’s company specialized in solutions Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and digital core of the companies, is an associate partner of Infor, with a special focus on ERP-M3 solutions in the manufacturing and fashion sectors.

Scrum

On the teams of the companies in the mashfrog group dedicated to Front end development, there are several professionals with master and developer certifications in the Scrum methodology, the Agile framework for the management of the cycle of software development.

Google Ads

On the teams of the companies in the mashfrog group dedicated to digital communications, marketing and advertising, there are several professionals with proven experience in online advertising certified by Google’s Academy for Ads.

Symfony

In the development of native web applications in PHP, mashfrog’s software engineering teams have gained consolidated experience in the use of this open source platform, which guarantees the creation of high-performing solutions in short times.
 

Angular+

The working teams di TrustMyPhone, the group’s company specialized in web and mobile applications, can boast consolidated experience in the use of the framework, in combination with the Bootstrap toolkit, for Front end development.
 

Drupal

The software engineering teams that carry out Back end development have consolidated experience in the use of the open source PHP Content Management System platform with several projects done with various versions of the software.
 

Microsoft HoloLens

Projects and applications in augmented reality and mixed reality created by mashfrog’s VR, AR and 3D teams use the smartglasses solution created and developed by Microsoft and technologies enabled by this.

Blockchain

Selfiewealth, the company of the group specialized in Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and Big Data, has gained consolidated experience in blockchain technology applied to the world of fintech and predictive analysis projects.
 

Unity 3D

Mashfrog’s VR, AR and 3D team has several projects based on this vertical software applied especially to solutions for the biomedical sector and for use in the fields of operation and maintenance, safety and security.
 

Microsoft NET

Skills gained in the use of this general purpose development platform allow mashfrog’s software engineering teams to offer modular and integrated solutions suited to different application and programming scenarios.
 

SAP Hybris

The suite of Customer Relation Management (CRM) solutions is successfully used by mashfrog teams in projects for the development of applications to be used in sales, billing, e-commerce and marketing that require lean and customizable CX.
 

SeeWeb

This is one of the most frequently used cloud and hosting infrastructure solutions in large-scale mashfrog projects as it guarantees customized solutions, reliable performance, high security and SLA certificates.
 

SharePoint

The use and customization of this Content Management System (CMS) software platform is preferred by the mashfrog Front end and Back end development team as well as by communications, especially for internal corporate communication solutions.
 

Adobe Experience Manager

The communications and marketing working teams and Front end and Back end developers have consolidated experience in the use and customization of this Content Management System (CMS) platform and its tools for SEO, SEM and web analysis.

React

The working teams made up of UX/UI designer and developers of Front end and mobile app solutions based on HTML5 have a natural confidence with this library in the creation of UI that are dynamic and complex while being simple and immediate in UX.

Mashfrog Commerce, based in London UK, is the eCommerce business unit for the group who specializes in eCommerce technologies and platforms. As a Strategic BigCommerce partner Mashfrog Commerce delivers project of all sizes from funded start-up to large complex headless eCommerce solutions

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