In today’s age of hyper-competition, businesses need to focus their systems on the customer. A critical area of focus is business software. Much of business software hitherto focused on internal efficiency. However, competitive pressure mandate a realign, with the focus on the customer, and specifically customer support.
Businesses Need to Roll Out Mobile Solutions
Nowadays, the basic support for customer commerce is through customer-facing mobile apps. About 80% of shoppers use their mobile phones for product reviews, to compare prices, and find store locations. A good chunk of these customers completes the purchase process online as well. About 54% of Millennials and 49% of Non-Millennials prefer shopping online. Businesses need to roll out customer-facing mobile apps and responsive websites, to facilitate e-commerce and other customer interactions.
The Rise of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
E-commerce websites offer a world of convenience to the customer. It brings the shopping experience anywhere, from home to office, and from the boardroom to the bathroom. However, such convenience comes without the “touch-and-feel” experience of physical stores. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (VTR) technologies bridge the shortcoming and offer the best of both worlds.
Cases of retailers supporting customer commerce through VR and AR-based software abound.
- Swedish furniture giant IKEA’s VR app allows customers to view different kitchen decors. Customers can walk around IKEA kitchens virtually, using a VR headset and app.
- Sephora’s app allows users to take selfies and apply the brand’s cosmetic products to their images. Customers can get conclusive proof of whether a shade of lipstick will look good on them, rather than debate endlessly or speculate.
Artificial Intelligence Systems Facilitate Personalization
Personalization is the order of the day.
Most businesses already use Google Analytics tool to segment customers. They target segmented groups with different discounts and deals. Marketers also use various other predictive analytics tools to analyze historical data. Advanced solutions deliver accurate predictions about demand. Enterprises could focus their efforts on products having the greatest potential for profits.
However, such a superficial approach will undergo a sea-change by 2018. More-and-more shoppers now leverage Artificial Intelligence, to source products, bargain prices, and pick up products. As a case in point, connected smart fridges detect when the stock of milk becomes low, and trigger an automatic reorder with a linked e-commerce store. Enterprises who can roll out business software to align with such smart systems, and leverage “A-Commerce” or Artificial Intelligence-based commerce, stands to gain big.
Adaptive Design Comes Centrestage
Customers’ needs are never set in stone. Smart businesses keep track of changing customer preferences and the underlying influencers of such change. Business software which connects with potential clients on a personal level, in real-time, is central to such efforts.
Use-cases abound for businesses leveraging technology, to adapting its products and services to serve real-time customer needs.
- Curve, a credit card company allows customers to switch cards even after completing the purchase. An executive purchasing a computer for the company with his personal card, to take advantage of a bargain, could later change the billing to the company card, after getting authorization.
- KLM’s new clip, attached to the traveler’s bag, offers real-time directions, suggestions, and alternatives. For instance, when a user is stuck in a long line at the Eiffel Tower, the clip suggests the nearby hot-air balloon at Parc André Citroën. The clip also directs users to specific in-house services, stealing customers away from the competition.
- Tesla recently increased the range of its electric vehicles for customers struck in places affected by Hurricane Irma. Range limitations in Tesla’s vehicles meant owners couldn’t evacuate the area.
Virtual Companions Become Mainstream
Most smart businesses now empower their workforce, especially support agents with virtual assistants. Such virtual assistants automate daily tasks in ways CRM can never enable.
Virtual assistants offer agents deep real-time insights on information hidden inside the company databases and other systems. Locating such information manually is a time-consuming task, in the absence of clear-cut information on where such information resides. The obvious benefit is a speedier resolution of consumer issues, leading to improved customer satisfaction and accelerated sales cycles.
Virtual assistants also take the shape of chatbots, replacing the manual assistant altogether. Technology has evolved considerably on this front, and businesses are co-opting it in a big way. In 2018, even the most basic bots will become more interactive than Siri and Alexia of today.
AI infused bots learn from users, to offer highly relevant insight and suggestions. It could open the database and pry a solution even before a manual agent has the chance to comprehend the question. Further, the technology to make bots understand emotional intelligence has arrived. Such Emotional Intelligence capable bots would know how exactly to respond to a frustrated customer. Going forward, bots would handle most normal queries, leaving human agents only with long-tail and complicated queries.
Social Media Rises in Importance
Social media caught on big-time, with estimates suggesting a 394% increase in social media use in recent years. The widespread popularity is mainly on account of the transparency, the social media delivers. The best businesses leverage such transparency to further their business model.
Traditionally, businesses had complete control over their products and services. The business model essentially boiled down to a “take-it-or-leave-it” approach. The transparency infused by social media has changed the power equations. Customers now have unprecedented choice and ability to gather real feedback from real users of any product or service. If something goes wrong, rest assured everyone will come to know about it.
Smart companies cope with such change by giving more power to its customers. They listen to the customer eagerly and align their business software to take feedback. This ensures that the business and the customer work together, for mutual benefit. Businesses roll out more collaborative systems and link it to their key product development and management channels.
Enterprises need not always go in search of new technologies. What is important is the way in which any technology, new or old is applied. Any business today needs to adapt and change its services and products to meet the changing needs of the customers. Customer focused business software is a major enabler in this direction.
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So your company has recently purchased an Enterprise Software that will help the organization run. But did you check whether the technology solution provider has provided a maintenance plan along with it? Or, have you researched whether the software builders are competent when it comes to after-sales support? Like a vehicle that requires maintenance, software is no different. It is imperative to include a maintenance plan when you buy a software solution because:
Corrections and bug fixing
A fully-functional software might not display errors and bugs in the beta stage until it is put actively in the environment. A maintenance contract will ensure that these bugs and bad codes are fixed. It also covers the systems for major repairs and advanced problem solving that otherwise would cost more money and time.
A software solution is adaptive since it evolves with use every single day. With changes on a daily basis, your software might need an upgrade, update, and even change in modules. Plug in these changes can along with the maintenance team that knows the ins and outs of the software. It also keeps the software up-to-date and increases its lifespan in the company.
Since technology is growing each day, the addition of new hardware to the systems is inevitable. A maintenance contract from your software provider can help in addressing compatibility issues with this newer hardware. It would help one tackle with ease, any modification of the existing system.
Some vendors provide one or two free upgrades and patches in their maintenance contract that help in keeping your software on par with the latest trends. These upgrades might include some major overhaul or issues raised by other users.
Saving IT expenditure
A smart move in any business is to save money before earning the profits. Having a maintenance contract does cost a little extra but covers important bug fixes, routine upgrades, and critical problem-solving. In a way, it fixes an annual price on the IT expenditure and removes the chance of any unforeseeable expense that might occur due to the software.
Re-engineering the software
As a part of preventive maintenance, the software can be re-engineered and restructured to adapt to the changing conditions. This type of maintenance is mostly used as a preventive measure to avoid problems that might occur instead of fixing existing problems.
Staying ahead in the race
As you evolve and grow, so does your competition. Your enterprise software plays an important role when it comes to staying in forefront of the competitors or fulfilling the requirements of tech-savvy customers. A regular maintenance can help with adapting to time. Also, changes in business patterns and legal government rules can be done easily under a contract.
Remember each technology solution provider will offer various types of maintenance. You will have to first identify what are the requirements of your business and what type of maintenance will suit them. Secondly, check if the contract is worth the price with respect to the coverage and the background of the provider. See what are the different maintenance features provided. These may include the number of updates provided in a year, availability of support team in need of emergency, and turnaround time for problem-solving.
Robert Glass has a very well-written fact about maintenance that goes like this – ‘60% of software’s cost is maintenance, and about 60% of the maintenance cost is an improvement.’ Established and genuine software providers not only offer complete software solutions but also maintenance services that encompass all the said points that help run a smooth business.
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Businesses in the present are making every move to ensure that they stay ahead of their competitors in the market. A rapid growth in terms of market share, revenues and customer base is desired by every business unit. One of the strategies being used by the businesses to ensure faster growth is the development and deployment of the enterprise mobility applications.
Enterprise Mobility is the trend that allows the employees of a business organization to work remotely to fulfill the business tasks and activities using mobile devices, mobile applications, and cloud-based solutions. An enterprise mobility application refers to a mobile app that is developed to target the enterprise-related problems.
Enterprise mobile applications can enhance business growth for companies in the following ways:
- Better Work-Life Balance
Every employee engaged with an organization aspires to maintain a healthy balance between the professional and personal commitments. Enterprise Mobility Applications allow the employees to experience better flexibility by allowing them to carry out business tasks from any of the remote location. 69% of the IT decision-makers support the idea of BYOD as they have witnessed positive results with the inclusion of the same. Workers in the United States on an average save 81 minutes per week with the aid of BYOD. There are 49% employees that say that they are more productive while working on their personal devices.
- Improved Workflow
Critical issues may crop up in a business environment anytime, without prior notices or hints. Enterprise mobile applications allow the employees to resolve such issues on an urgent basis irrespective of their presence and availability at the office location. Real-time interactions are also made possible with the clients that result in better customer engagement and satisfaction. The overall workflow, therefore, improves with the use of such applications.
- Reduction in Costs
Enterprise mobile apps can be made compatible and accessible on the personal devices of the staff members. It leads to the reduction in the cost of the devices and the share may be used in other significant business requirements.
- System Independence
There is a higher level of system independence provided to the employees with the use of enterprise mobility applications. It leads to the execution of the tasks from any network and the tools are installed in the devices of the employees.
- Reduced Paperwork
More paperwork leads to increase the number of risks in the business, such as loss of documents, replication of data and inefficiency in the storage and management of the documents. With the use of enterprise mobility applications, there are electronic documents that are used for sharing and transactions. These are easier to maintain and can also be processed at a faster pace as compared to the paper-based documents. The overall business speed, therefore, gets enhanced as a result.
- Customer Engagement
With the improvement of the workflow of a business and the non-stop availability of the employees, the customers feel connected with the organization. There are higher levels of transparency that can be maintained to gain customer trust and satisfaction. Rapid resolution of the defects and issues along with urgent sharing of information are some of the abilities that are made possible through the enterprise mobility applications. It leads to the better engagement with the customers and the reputation of the business organization also improves in the market.
- Empowers the Field Workers
There are several businesses that include a lot many field workers to carry out operational business activities. These field workers may experience certain issues such as difficulty in understanding a task or emergence of a conflict between two resources. Enterprise mobility applications may be used in such scenarios to contact the team heads and managers for maintaining the continuity of the operations. Also, activities such as status reporting and sharing of information can be done in a matter of seconds. All of these capabilities lead to enhancement of the processing speed of the operations resulting in faster business growth.
There are technological innovations and advancements that are being carried out with each passing day. It is required for the business organizations to remain updated with the technological changes and adapt the same to their functioning. The practice will allow the business units to achieve their goals accurately and rapidly. Enterprise mobility applications are a contribution of technology that has benefitted a lot many organizations. However, the inclusion of these applications in the business architecture may vary from one business unit to the other. Factors such as nature of the business, projects that are undertaken by the organization, customer expectations, project team members etc. shall be considered before moving on to the use of enterprise mobility applications.
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In today’s digital age, a website is your business’ window to the world, irrespective of whether you are a brick and mortar establishment or an online entity. Similarly, the need for a dedicated website is not just limited to startups but is equally vital for established business. Even if your business is doing exceptionally well, investing in a well-designed and responsive website can help you reach out to a wider cross-section of the audience and increase your sales manifold.
Here is rundown on how custom website development services can turn the tide for your business:
Website Development and Its Advantages
Custom web development is one of the finest things you can do to guarantee the success of your business. In addition to improving your visibility, customized website development can help your business in the following ways:
- Customized website development boosts your credibility and adds a certain brand authority to your business.
- A professional-looking website can bring you big gains without an astronomical investment, thus, offering a higher return on investment (ROI) than traditional means of advertising.
- It does not matter whether you are a newbie or a seasoned market player, there is bound to be competition in your realm of trade. A dedicated website can assist you in leveling playing field and even beating your competitors.
- It boosts your advertising and marketing endeavors across different channels. Your social media marketing and email marketing campaigns are likely to resonate better with your audience if these lead them to a website.
- Custom designed websites are cross-browser well-matched.
- Custom developed websites also costs nearly same as of any template based solution. They may have little higher cost but offer numerous benefits and total control on each part and role of the website.
Specialized, clean, and well-organized online presence is essential for preserving your brand reputation. General designs can create a negative impression of the product or service quality, the reason being customers see you as no dissimilar from thousand other companies. The website represents your business in terms of superiority, quality, and individuality, so you need to have one developed skillfully.
Importance of Multiple-Channel Presence
At a time when smartphones and handheld gadgets rule the roost, the number of people accessing websites through a desktop computer is fast dwindling. Almost everyone likes to browse the internet on the go. Therefore, a website with a responsive design – that ensures your website is displayed correctly and uniformly across platforms, devices and screen sizes – is essential to stay relevant in the dynamic online landscape.
As per statistics, whopping 67 percent users are more likely to use an enlisted service or buy products on a website with a clean, responsive design. In contrast, 61 percent users are likely to exit a website with an unfriendly layout and design. The bottom line is – a potential user may bounce back from your website and move to that of your competitors if you don’t cater to a multiple-channel presence.
How Digital Marketing Can Help
Building a website from scratch is no big deal, given the user-friendly content management systems like WordPress. Even so, if you really want to make an impact with your web presence, it is advisable to use professional custom website development services because you don’t just need to build a carefully-strategized site but also work toward improving your search engine rankings to attract massive traffic. People will know that you exist, only when your website is visible in search engine results. A smart digital marketing campaign can help in bolstering your web presence to clock-in tangible gains.
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Enterprise software solutions are the backbone of an organization. Selecting one for your organization is a great responsibility as it requires detailed analysis at each and every step. The major challenge lies in understanding that every organization’s structure is different and cannot do with the same software that was used in your previous organization or is used at the competitor’s company. To make your task easy, here are 8 challenges to avoid before purchasing an Enterprise Software.
1. Change Management
One of the key understandings that should come with a new Enterprise Software is that there is a need for identifying the changes in the IT infrastructure beforehand and then implementing it. Know how much change is required and if it is possible to handle before purchasing the new software. Also, the employees need proper training for change management and to get them comfortable with the new system before it goes live on an organizational scale.
2. Physical Requirements
Before jumping into a purchase decision, figure out what is the current IT infrastructure landscape, if it fits well or requires changes. For a newer setup, choose the software wisely and then plan the landscape. But remember, the software you choose defines this landscape and should be thoroughly checked to avoid any unwanted changes in the future.
3. The load of migration
Data is the basis for every industry functioning in this day and age. Introducing newer software to the system means adding your current data to it for validation and future operations. Check the requirements of the new system you plan on incorporating and if the required is way too much. Remember data is imperative to the organization and correct migration will minimize errors.
4. What the vendor has to offer
Sometime Enterprise Software vendors are too enthusiastic to sell the product but lack a structure post-purchase. Figure out what are the key support promises that they offer and if they have a track of delivering them. A due diligence of the provider should not be skipped especially if the vendor is not a big company.
5. Readying the team
Internal challenges are one of the key points to consider for the purchase. You will have to understand the requirements of the enterprise software development company well along with the features required. Each department will offer a different list of features they need. The challenge is to create a project scope that encapsulates all these important points and uses it as a foundation to identify the right software.
6. Software scope
Considering any enterprise software, and its capabilities, it is quite hard to find one that has everything that a business needs. As organizations strive to meet individual customer demands, they rely on customization to align their strategic objectives with enterprise solutions. For instance, one of our leading real estate organizations wanted to add a document management function that enabled them to share documents easily with their field agents. However, this posed numerous regulatory constraints considering security and privacy. Our solutions experts realigned the software architecture and build processes to meet the client’s requirement.
7. Taking unwanted risks
The market has opened up for Enterprise Software like never before and every day a new solution surfaces that promises to offer the best of all worlds. New-age technology can be highly enticing but always look under the hood and see if it has been taken for a test drive. Check LinkedIn, job boards, or other forums to find out more about the seller and the software itself. Don’t elevate your risks by getting attracted to high-end technology or pricing.
8. No detailed analysis
One of the issues that hamper the procurement of the right enterprise software is the lack of understanding of your own system. Run the analysis several times and match it with what the software will provide. Keep in mind to not depend on what the next version update will feature, rely only on what the solution provides today.
9. Cutting the influences
Decision making in organizations sometimes doesn’t necessarily stay with the designated employees. It is directly or indirectly influenced by the owners or other people in important positions. No matter how well they know or what better deal is offered through a reference, ensure that the decision, in the end, comes keeping the organization in mind and not the influences.
10. Exploring all opportunities
Do not hesitate to look at third-party support alternatives as they might offer something similar or better than premium vendor support. Look at the maintenance rates that come with the software as it is something that your organization will incur on a regular basis.
Whether you are trying to set up a new system or replace an old one, an expert perspective can help reduce these risks and challenges.