How Software Outsourcing Can Empower Digital Transformation

Feb 6 8:00:28 by

Businesses are constantly readjusting themselves to become more agile and innovative while maximizing their opportunity in today’s digital economy. This is especially true for up-and-coming businesses with limited budgets that need to think ahead of the curve to find additional resources to fuel their digital transformation. Software outsourcing is no longer perceived as a choice […] The post How Software Outsourcing Can Empower Digital Transformation appeared first on

#1   45%      3
What is Business Agility?

Feb 11 9:28:51 by

I was approached to speak at a startup event for a local Business Agility Institute user group here in the Raleigh/Durham area. I was quite pleased to be approached and am more than willing to present an agile topic to the group.  But the request made me think… I’ve been engaged in agile approaches for nearly twenty years. So, I have quite a lot of experience with the core methods, practices, scaling, agile leadership, cultures, etc. But what the heck is “Business Agility” and what sorts of topics would that group be interested in? The answer escaped me and I realized I had to do some research. Basic Definitions Here’s what CA (Rally Software) had to say regarding a definition and 3 key aspects: A company’s way to sense and respond to change proactively and with confidence to deliver business value—faster than the competition—as a matter of everyday business. 1.     It’s making the customer the central focus of your organization 2.     It’s driving value faster, better, and more efficiently 3.     It’s transforming how your business operates to achieve successful outcomes

#2   21%      2
What’s the point of doing UX?

Feb 18 17:00:00 by

From a business perspective, differentiation is one of the primary reasons for investing in UX. If your products and services stand out from those of your competitors, they’re much more likely to be a market success – and having the most compelling and relevant user experiences is a great way to stand out! In this video, we will take you through the most important factors in differentiation through UX. So, in order to practice UX that differentiates you from your competitors, you need to use an outside-in work process. Outside-in means gathering information about actual users and customers in the context most relevant for your product or service and bringing that information into...

#3   122%      1
Product Management for a successful digital transformation

Feb 19 13:01:00 by

Moving from project-based thinking to product-based thinking is an essential part of delivering a successful digital transformation. What are the benefits of taking on such an initiative, and how does product management give you the best possible chance of success? What is Digital Transformation? Digital transformation is “the use of technology to radically improve performance or reach of enterprises”, according to an MIT and Capgemini white paper. In their book “Digital Transformation. A model to master digital disruption”, Jo Caudron and Dado Van Peteghem said: “Digital Transformation is not about technology, it’s about the fact that technology, which is digital, allows people to solve their traditional problems and they prefer that solution to the old solution”. Gartner says: “Digital business transformation is the process of exploiting digital technologies and supporting capabilities to create a robust new digital business model”. What does this mean in practice? Traditional firms, born in the world before digital practices were foundational, are increasingly turning to digital methods to enable business success. In reality, that means investing in the following: Social – making use of the global online discussion, engaging directly with customers and making it easy for customers to share their experiences Mobile – enabling employees to use their mobile devices at work, or supporting the use of mobile devices when engaging with their customers and suppliers Analytics – understanding market and customer behaviour and using that knowledge to make good business decisions Cloud – using cloud-based applications to support day-to-day activities and provide services to staff, suppliers, and of course customers It’s obvious that some companies see digital transformation as little more than a marketing exercise so that they can be seen as in touch with modern thinking. However, the companies who are successfully undertaking digital transformation are doing so by considering the digital needs of both their internal stakeholders and their customers. They’re achieving results by reviewing their processes, and incorporating change from the ground-up rather than trying to transform the business for the sake of appearance. This is a major undertaking which needs to be given every chance for success. Why Take on a Digital Transformation? The pressure to take on a digital transformation is both internal and external. Firstly, there are competitive pressures. With 72% of executives experiencing competitive pressure to transform, according to Capgemini Consulting, there is huge interest in how to accomplish such wide-ranging change. In some industry verticals, “going digital” is happening so slowly that a successful transformation is seen as a way to differentiate an organisation from the competition. Companies who undergo change at a quicker rate (such as Walmart, Capital One, Sainsbury’s and Disney) are seeing the benefits of this in their reputation as well as their bottom line. Internal pressure comes from the team members who are delivering company objectives. Regardless of company policies, employees are now so used to using their own devices to manage their day-to-day personal activities, they will either continue to do so when working (without the necessary security provisions required to comply with data privacy regulations and company policies) or become increasingly frustrated at the lack of mobile solutions available to them. Neither of these options is conducive to a happy and satisfied workforce! Finally, there are customer and vendor pressures. Customers and vendors are increasingly using digital methods for communication and collaboration. By using methods familiar to third parties, businesses will become easier for customers to work with, and could even see time and cost savings as a result of improved relationships with their vendors. How Does Product Management Enable Digital Transformation? Capgemini’s white paper states that “successful digital transformation does not happen bottom up. It must be driven from the top.” Mandating change from the senior leadership team certainly increases the chances of success, but such a transformation still requires insights into what changes should actually be made, and why. That’s where product management comes in. As product managers, we’re responsible for discovering “what” needs to be done, and “why”. We work with other teams in the organisation to ensure they understand the business priorities, and how they translate into desired outcomes. That overlap helps delivery teams to achieve the desired outcomes, whether they are technical teams like engineering or business-focused teams like marketing, sales and operations. In this scenario, product managers are responsible for Discovery of problems Identification of opportunities Measurement of potential benefits Prioritisation of activities and changes The Benefits of Product Management By having a deep understanding of the landscape within their remit, product managers can provide a strategic product roadmap, outlining opportunities for improvement (problems to solve) along with suggested changes to the product or service. Each initiative should be linked to an objective or expected outcome, allowing you to measure the success of the changes. This document is a prototype for your strategy, and details “what” and “why”. This talk from #mtpcon speaker C. Todd Lombardo, who’s written and talked on the same topic, covers the basics. Essentially, the roadmap acts as a communication document, allowing you to share details about your product strategy in a way that promotes debate, discussion, and iterative improvement. By facilitating discussions without the focus on dates and releases, the strategy is continuously refined, and has a greater chance of success when tested in the marketplace. This is a new approach for many pre-digital companies, but new approaches are part of the territory when transforming a business. Becoming open to experimentation is a big part of what makes product management valuable in digital transformation, and is one of the key success factors listed in McKinsey’s white paper Unlocking Success in Digital Transformations. Done well, collaborative product management results in a reduction in the risk that is associated with large-scale change. The decision-making process is focused on delivering the right outcomes for customers, suppliers, and of course the business itself, with responsibility for decision-making shared across a diverse group of well-informed stakeholders. The chances of success are increased when there is a better understanding of “what” and “why”, as the path forward through delivery is clear with well-defined outcomes. Surely this is the best way to deliver a successful digital transformation! The post How Does Product Management Give you the Best Chance of a Successful Digital Transformation? appeared first on Mind the Product.

#4   7%      1
Onboarding for business: How to help groups of users find success

Feb 1 17:00:20 by contrast

Onboarding a company to your product is different from onboarding an individual user. It requires many people across departments to get setup and start seeing the value your product can provide. If you sell your product to businesses and haven’t designed your onboarding to support groups of people, you’re likely asking people to complete tasks they’re not capable of or lack the permissions to do. As your company grows and starts selling to larger companies, rethinking how your onboarding helps groups of people work together will have a greater impact than optimizing an existing step-by-step flow designed for individuals. Onboarding for one breaks down for many Your beautiful, linear sequence of onboarding steps might work well for individual users, but teams behave unpredictably. So as larger companies start using your product, instead of just asking “How many people made it from step A to step B?”, you might start asking different questions, such as: Why would someone in a group be unable to complete this step? Who in their company might be able to help them? What is blocking them from asking for help? We’ve asked ourselves these questions as Intercom has grown. Our customers have become increasingly diverse in size, which has impacted the order in which we previously expected common actions to be done. “Great onboarding acknowledges that different groups of people take very different paths to get started” Early on the vast majority of our customers were small startups and our onboarding reflected that – it was designed to help one engineer install a JavaScript snippet. But our customer base is no longer confined to small startups – we have to onboard companies there will be undoubtedly more than one person required to code, authorize integrations and teach teams how to use our products. We’ve learned that great onboarding acknowledges that different groups of people take very different paths to get started, and gives them multiple paths for them to progress as a team. Designing predictable steps for unpredictable groups The mistake most companies make is trying to model their onboarding as an ordered series of steps. They have a very definite idea of what steps should be completed in what order. This single linear sequence of steps quickly breaks down for groups of people. Not convinced? Consider you’re building an iPad app for a reception desk that lets guests sign in and notifies employees when they arrive. In order to be set up, a new customer might need to: Sign up for an account Enter a credit card to start a trial Authorize Google Apps access to get employees email addresses Add a legal document or NDA for visitors to sign Place the iPad in a stand at the front desk Completing all of these requires participation from: Someone with access to a company credit card Someone with administrative access to the Google Apps account Legal counsel Office manager(s) or receptionist(s) At a very small company, this could be just two to three people. At a larger company, it could be dozens. Let’s see what happens if you make the mistake of modeling these steps in a linear way. Sign up for an account Enter a credit card to start a trial Authorize Google Apps access to get employees email addresses Add a legal document or NDA for visitors to sign Place the iPad in a stand at the front desk If someone without a company credit card signs up, they’ll be stuck on step 2. The same holds for the rest of the steps – the potential for failure is massive. Who has permissions to connect Google Apps? Who knows our lawyer’s email? Who has the stand for the iPad? Who is it I can ask for the credit card again? “If the only person at a company who can complete your onboarding is the busiest person, with the least time, you have a problem” Modeled in this way, as a blocking sequence of steps, there’s only one person at the company who could complete every step, unassisted – the CEO. And if the only person at a company who can complete your onboarding is the busiest person, with the least time, you have a problem. We had a similar problem at Intercom as we grew. Early on, in order to sign up for an account, we made people add a code snippet or import data from a CSV or third-party service. In some ways, this was a good thing – we were able to show customers Intercom working on their own website or app right away. But it also meant we blocked anyone who couldn’t add a code snippet or import data from doing anything else. Once we changed this to allow anyone to create an account right away, and then add a code snippet or data import afterwards, more people were able to make more progress through our onboarding. Onboarding checklist for companies Since it’s hard to predict who will do each task, or which order tasks will be completed in, designing onboarding means designing for a moving target. It requires the humility to know that it will never be perfect. This is especially true for a growing company, whose customers are increasingly diverse and often get larger overtime. That said, we’ve found three strategies that work for dealing with the unexpected paths our customers take in the onboarding process. 1. Provide an escape hatch While you have a new customer’s attention, allow them to accomplish as much as they are capable of or have permission to do, right away. “It’s almost always better to let people keep moving and exploring” It’s hard to recapture this attention, especially to do something boring like enter a credit card or create an API key. So while you have their attention, provide ways for them to skip to other steps they can accomplish. Remember, it’s almost always better to let people keep moving and exploring. The conversion rate lost on one small step is made up by the customer’s overall progress and comprehension of what your product has to offer. 2. Unblock steps with invites You should presume that not everyone will have the ability or permission to complete every step, and provide ways for users to invite the people they need to help them. Prompting people to invite coworkers means asking the customer to give up some of their social capital – you’re asking them to ask another person for a favor, to take time to set up an account and learn something new. That’s why it’s important to provide some context – explain why someone is receiving an invite and what they’ve been asked to do. And while it might look old-school, providing links can give people more direct control over how they choose to invite others. 3. Identify and empower an onboarding leader Without organization and leadership, groups of people have a natural entropy – people disagree, have different priorities and get less done. Chances are, trying out your product is the last thing on the roadmap, and not even something everyone agrees on. “The solution here doesn’t always start with building more software or writing code” When someone tries your product, it’s your job to find a leader and empower them to organize their team around getting setup with your product. The solution here doesn’t always start with building more software or writing code. At Intercom, identifying and empowering an onboarding leader starts with our sales team. Sales teams traditionally try to find the “champion” in a company, the person willing to fight through obstacles to adopt a new product and close the deal. If you’re responsible for your product’s onboarding, you can learn a lot by finding out what questions your sales team use to identify champions, and also the resources they provide to help them convince others on their team. Flexible onboarding adapts as you grow When it comes to onboarding, it’s easy to think everyone will follow the linear paths you’ve wireframed. But groups of people rarely follow such neat paths. Instead, you should assume at each step of your onboarding that the task at hand may be someone else’s job. That way, you can build a flexible onboarding that adapts to different kinds of people, and support larger companies too. Excerpted from Intercom on Onboarding: The post Onboarding for business: How to help groups of users find success appeared first on Inside Intercom.

#5   6%      1
4 Reasons Why You Must Consider Exploratory Testing Within Agile

Feb 19 10:01:01 by

Creating an application is no longer an easy task. There are a number of factors that you must consider while conceptualizing an application and finally getting it into motion. The user interface, technology, user profile, and devices are some key considerations that application makers consider before diving into the application development process. Nevertheless, the times are changing and so are the expectations and preferences. This means that you need a process that enables you to keep exploring, learning, and executing constantly. That's where exploratory testing blends in within the Agile environment. If you just begin to understand the benefits of exploratory testing, you will realize how business critical it is, especially in the current scenario of absolute digital chaos. In a practical sense, it enables testing teams to keep up with the Agile development process. 

#6   95%      0
Designing Goal-Oriented User Onboarding in 4 Steps

Feb 5 15:35:17 by

Goal-oriented onboarding is a simple framework to help you design a beautiful experience using user onboarding best practices, driving results for your business

#7   51%      3
Why SaaS growth isn’t just about acquiring new customers

Feb 12 18:00:11 by contrast

Unless your business is transactional, nurturing your existing customers should be just as important as acquiring new logos. The way I see it, closing a deal is just the first step. It’s what comes after – onboarding, upselling and cross-selling, renewal – that determines your customers’ ability to grow with your product and, consequently, the fate of your own growth. The cost of selling SaaS can be pretty high. The median SaaS startup takes 11 months to make back the money spent acquiring a customer. In other words, you need your customers to be satisfied and willing to pay you for nearly a year. Otherwise, you’re losing money on every customer you acquire, which will cause your company to flame out. “If you want to achieve sustainable growth, you have to keep your customers around for as long as possible” That’s why I think it’s so important to have account or relationship managers on your sales team dedicated to building relationships with customers. It’s a difficult job, but an important one. By being a trusted partner to your customers, a good account manager supports your business in three ways: Expansion: Growing accounts that are spending a low amount but have high potential. Retention: Maintaining accounts that are spending a lot and are at the top for growth. Contraction, i.e. monthly spend stability: Fighting to keep customer spend at the same level. If you want to achieve sustainable growth, you have to keep your customers around for as long as possible. The plain truth of the matter is that companies built on recurring revenue can’t afford to treat customers like they’re disposable. This post was excerpted from “The Sales Handbook”. The post Why SaaS growth isn’t just about acquiring new customers appeared first on Inside Intercom.

#8   17%      2
Secure cloud transformation strategy for the CIO

Feb 10 3:43:17 by

By Matt Piercy, VP and general manager, Zscaler EMEA The business IT environment is changing rapidly and, as a result, today’s CIOs have to tackle a number of big challenges. 20 years ago, applications... The post Secure cloud transformation: A four-step strategy for the CIO appeared first on WBD.

#9   429%      1
Survey: the pressure is on IT to deliver digital transformation

Mar 1 2:23:40 by

IT is being asked to transform their businesses, but not getting the budget to do so, survey finds.

#10   330%      1