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An Analogy of Types of Mobile Apps and Which is Best Suited for Your Business – ReadWrite

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mobile app development for business


Apps or applications have become a part of our daily lives over the past decade. Applications are programs or software that run (usually) on smart devices and have a specific purpose.

The term “app” has become so popular that Microsoft decided to stop using the word “program” from Windows 10.

A good example of an app or app name would be a shopping app — such as Amazon. You could access it through your laptop browser and also through the dedicated app. It is the same for the New York Times, Accuweather, and at least a million more names. However, not all smart device apps have a browser-based counterpart.

If you own a business and have decided to go digital, you would want to launch an app sooner or later.

At the stage of conceptualizing, you would run across three types of mobile apps – Native, Hybrid, and Web.

This blog aims at demystifying the terms and making you acquainted with the pros and cons of each type of mobile apps.

Native, Hybrid, and Web – Three Classes of Apps

Native Mobile Apps

Native apps are designed to work with a particular operating system. The world of mobile computing is largely divided into two OS platforms Android and iOS.

A Native app designed for one of these would not work on another. Not only would it not work, but it also cannot even be installed.

If the Native app is designed for Android, it will use Java, and for iOS would use Swift and Objective C. Windows phones used C#, but that is an outdated OS.

Most of the apps that you use are Native apps. They have been built using the platform SDK (software development kit).

Native SDK is, without a doubt, the best platform for app development until now. The SDK provides necessary direction to a coder with tools, libraries, sample code, parameters, and self-use guides.

For example, Google gives the Android Studio a very capable IDE with a code editor, compiler, and debugging tools packaged into a single-window system.

Advantages of Native Apps

  • Since they are designed using platform IDE, they work faster and seamlessly. This causes fewer app crashes.
  • A Native app can use the hardware, compass, GPS circuitry, GPU in a more productive manner.
  • A large part of the app framework is preloaded. Only the current data is fetched from the net. This also allows the app to work offline if it does not need fresh data. You can continue to listen to the currently loaded page of a meditation app such as Headspace even if you are in a subway tunnel.
  • Native apps have a more natural navigation flow. This is because developers are using the same libraries in different apps. Most apps have the same layout. Developers tend not to spring a surprise in this department because if a user is uncomfortable, they will uninstall the app.
  • They are able to provide better visual output and maintain aspect ratio. There are no misplaced icons or sudden changes in font size.

Disadvantages of Native Apps

  • Effectively the same app has to be designed twice, once for each OS. Each following version also needs two sets of coders for simultaneous release. This is more expensive, especially for a small business.
  • Native apps require visiting the official app store, finding an app through search or ratings, and downloading it. Thereafter one has to sign up and log in. This makes installation a lengthy process of 10-30 minutes, depending on network speed.
  • The app development process is, to a large extent, controlled by the OS since the SDK and IDE are proprietary.

type of mobile app development

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Web-based Apps

Mobile Web apps are not full-fledged applications. They are not completely installed on the OS. Rather they use a mobile browser (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and others) for several functionalities.

On the whole, a mobile app looks very similar to a Native app. It mimics a simplified menu compared to the full-fledged website that runs on a laptop and uses very few system resources.

They have grown in popularity as HTML5 has made Flash redundant. Flash was not made for mobile OS except very ancient versions such as Symbian used by Nokia back at the turn of the century.

To make it look and feel like a Native app, browser navigation is not visible, and both vertical and horizontal scrolling is enabled.

Web app development has now evolved into PWA or Progressive Web Applications. Twitter and Pinterest are the most well-known examples of Progressive Web App development.

Advantages of Web-based Apps

  • They cost far less. This is the principal advantage. This is because they are being designed for browser-based usage and do not need the huge amount of coding that Native apps require. There is no need to develop a separate version for each OS.
  • PWAs do not need a frequent update. This is because the update features can be added to the backend, and the browser would fetch the new version.
  • PWA is SEO sensitive. Any clicks made in the app count towards user engagement. Since SEO is what makes or breaks a digital business, it is an important contribution indeed.
  • PWAs are increasingly app store independent. They can be found via a simple search or even social media. Being free of the app store ecosystem gives a business owner greater independence in running subscription-based services.
  • They are light on resources. PWA apps use less RAM and are popular in regions where budget smartphones are used. They also save battery. Most PWA apps can run on very little data.
  • Due to the use of HTML, an app owner has greater access to manpower. There are plenty of HTML coders, but few are experienced in Swift.

Disadvantages of Web-based Apps

  • They do not have an appealing look. A PWA cannot access the contact list or camera. The overall UI lacks sophistication. Unless the brand has huge name recognition, a PWA cannot be successful.
  • PWA is unable to use critical features such as hardware acceleration. This makes the app quite basic, and at most, it can fetch information and display the same. But often, an app is required to do much more, render complex graphics, and even perform extensive calculations (such as video games). PWAs remain rudimentary till now.

mobile app design

Hybrid Apps

These have tried to tap into the advantages of both Native and Web-based apps. They rely on a browser, but the app comes with browser access baked into its code.

Hybrid apps such as Uber are usually single-page app and look remarkably like their website counterparts.

Advantages of Hybrid Apps

  • The reason Hybrid app development has become popular is the reduced cost of development. There is only one set of code to be written.
  • At the same time, unlike a PWA, a hybrid app allows greater access to system functions such as a camera and microphone.
  • Hybrid apps do not use the native SDK but allow reasonably high-level emulation.

mobile app code

Disadvantages of Hybrid Apps

  • Hybrid apps use an embedded browser known as webview. The webview variant of the browser is not as efficient as the original browser. This affects app performance. The UI is most often bland and unexciting.
  • In theory, the same Hybrid app works on both Android and iOS, but in reality, the differences between the OS and the way they allow browsers to run shows through. To make the app smooth on both these platforms require an investment that is comparable to Native apps.

How to Select?

This would depend on a number of parameters – cost, purpose, time to market, manpower availability, and necessary scalability.

If you are running a small business, it makes sense to go for a PWA app. Your upfront costs are less, and you could get an initial response of the market to your idea and find what needs to be fixed. Thus a PWA can be used as a prototype for full-fledged Native app development.

App development is complex, and you would need to perform a SWOT analysis to find which app type offers you the best bang for your buck.

Anand Mahajan

CEO

Anand Mahajan is the Founder & CEO of Sphinx Solutions, he is driven to propel creativity and tech innovation with an eye towards the future of a grand digital experience. After completing his masters from a reputed university, Anand started Sphinx Solutions and continues to successfully guide and help more than 100 startups. His futuristic vision allows him to expertly don many hats, and evolve new approaches to technology and management. His brand has cut a niche for itself in developing apps in the field of AI, Blockchain, Mobile, Web, and Software.

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The Benefits of Bootstrapping: 6 Things You Need to do in Order to Succeed Without Investors – ReadWrite

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Blake Johnson


Have you ever seen the show Shark Tank? If you haven’t, it is a reality show that features various inventors and business owners pitching their businesses to a panel of entrepreneurs (sharks). The goal is to strike a deal that exchanges entrepreneurial funding for a percentage of the business.

Shark Tank is immensely popular, and when a plucky business owner strikes a deal with one of the sharks, the music swells and the audience is led to believe that this is the beginning of their success.

It makes me cringe.

I have been working as an entrepreneur in Los Angeles for more than twenty years. I have founded and sold a variety of businesses, and the companies I have developed currently exceeds $1.1 billion in valuations.

I have been fortunate to enjoy tremendous success, and in my experience, it is always better to grow a company without the interference of investors. Investment is not the way to launch your company into the stratosphere, despite what most people believe.

Once you accept funds from an investor, you are beholden to them.

Their ideas, desires, and financial considerations cannot be ignored. The moment you accept external funds, you relinquish control of your business. I firmly believe that start-ups will soon have more options for funding, but at the moment, I encourage entrepreneurs to chase success without the support of investors.

After all, bootstrapping is the American way. We need to stop seeing investment as the finish line and start seeing it as an albatross. If more people found ways to keep their start-ups independent, the creative minds that are responsible for these startups could retain control.

I have been starting and running businesses without investment for years, and I have developed a few key practices that have allowed me to avoid outside funding. Here are the six tips every business owner and entrepreneur needs to do in order to achieve success without external investment.

In recent years, businesses operating in the red have become trendy. Amazon famously spent more than they made for over a decade, but companies like Amazon are the exception, not the rule.

I see a lot of business owners overspend on office spaces, branding, marketing stunts, and corporate perks when they should be focused on creating a product or service that people will pay money for. Investor money tends to lull business owners into a false sense of security.

They think: Well I have all of this money, why not go on a golf weekend with my executives to inspire them? Instead, business owners should be using profits to inspire their executive team, not perks.

I see the generation of revenue as the turning point of a business.

Before your company actually starts making money, it is nothing but a foundation. Too many people get stuck on the foundation phase and forget to focus on the build of the actual house. They spend hundreds of thousands on a gorgeous website, rent a luxurious office space, and launch expensive marketing campaigns before ever selling a thing.

As a business owner, you are responsible for setting a profit-first culture. Get your executive leadership aligned on profit goals early, and reinforce them often. Remember that a company does not need a huge trade show installation, catered lunches, or celebrity endorsements to succeed.

All of those things can certainly help to grow a business, but the first stages of any company should consist of a strict strategy that focuses on bringing in more money than is spent.

If you are worried about this attitude creating dejection among your team, don’t be.

People respond to the culture you set up for them. Instead of handing your team perks before they deliver results, offer them perks as a reward for results. Instead of treating your team to lunch every Friday, only treat them to lunch when revenue goals have been met.

So many business owners have this backward. Prioritizing profits is the only way to achieve financial success without relying on external investors.

When most people think of business owners and entrepreneurs, they think of the fun and flashy side of things. They picture Richard Branson and other rockstar entrepreneurs enjoying the spoils of their good ideas and creative leadership.

The reality is that any given snapshot of a business owner’s life should see them pouring over spreadsheets, tracking every single dollar that their company spends.

This tip goes hand-in-hand with the first one on this list. Without a complete understanding of every expense your business is subject to, prioritizing profits becomes difficult if not impossible. Knowing your budget is absolutely vital. If you do not know how much you are spending, you cannot know how much you are making.

Nothing makes me crazier than when I see a budget presentation from a business owner who cannot speak to their entire spend. I like to ask these people things like: How much money does your company spend on coffee on a monthly basis? And What kind of per diem do you offer to employees who travel? How much travel do your employees do in any given month?

If they cannot tell me off the top of their heads what their current spend is, then I know that they do not fully understand their budget, and therefore cannot give me a confident answer about their profits.

Watch your dollars like a hawk!

If you want to grow a business without the interference of investors, then you need to watch your dollars like a hawk. When there is no stream of incoming investor money, it means that you are fully responsible for making and managing your own funds, and both your customers and your employees are relying on you to do it right.

There is no one to call for a bailout. You are the last line before bankruptcy, and you need to take that responsibility seriously.

Success is a game of inches. It does not happen overnight. You can obsess about your budget and prioritize profits all you want, but it is equally important to understand that money will not magically start rolling in. At the beginning of any business, the wins are small.

The goal should be to develop a steady stream of small wins that swell and grow into a massive over-all win. Every dollar of revenue, every sale, and every customer conversion should be celebrated since it contributes to a larger whole.

I said earlier that business owners set up a culture of profit prioritization. Similarly, they set up a culture of celebrating any and all wins so long as each win is understood to be in service of their profit prioritization.

Think of it this way, success on day one may be one customer conversion. Success on day 365 might be 200 customer conversions, but does that make a single customer conversion any less important? It does not, since your success on day 365 is actually made up of 200 small wins.

Incremental improvement is what success is.

It does not look the way most people expect it to since it happens gradually and over time. This fundamental misunderstanding of business success is why so many contestants on Shark Tank are thrilled when they get their investment. They think that a big sum of money equals success when in reality true and independent success happens gradually.

As a business owner, if you take a moment to celebrate each achievement as it comes in and reward your workforce for contributing to your bottom line, eventually your entire business will be a success.

Hard work is absolutely necessary for starting and running a successful business, but unnecessary work can mean the death of a small business.

When I was 13 years old I found work on a cattle farm at the California/Mexican border. It was grueling, dirty work (often in 115-degree heat), and I went home every day absolutely exhausted. One day, my boss approached me about a special project. He asked who I would like to select to help me. I chose the man who was the hardest working and most eager to help out. He never shied away from a task, and always did what was asked of him without complaint.

Shockingly, my boss told me that he believed the hard-working man to be the wrong choice, and gestured to a man who was literally sleeping in the dirt. He explained to me that lazy men were often creative thinkers, and pointed out several homespun inventions and pulley systems around the farm that made our job easier every day.

Up until that moment, I did not realize that the lazy man was actually responsible for these inventions. In his desire to avoid hard work, he had come up with creative solutions that made life easier for all of us.

Man hours are one of your most expensive resources.

That lesson has stuck with me ever since, and I have applied it to every company have I founded and run. Man hours are one of your most expensive resources. Do not waste time doing things manually when they can be automated. Always ask yourself and your team: Is there an easier way to do this? And always, always, always, choose the easier way. As a result, your team will be more efficient, your expenses will be lower, and everyone will come to work happy.

So many successful people claim that they have a “knack” for recognizing a good business opportunity, but the truth is that intuition is nothing more than years of experience at work.

When you are starting a business, you absolutely should not “go with your gut” because your perspective is limited. With every business I have ever started, I have built an airtight model that was designed to generate revenue, and I have lived and died by that model.

Throughout the course of business, people will come up with fun and flashy ideas. They will case study themselves and think: Well if I was the customer, this is what I would want to see. But the thing is, if an idea doesn’t fit the model, it simply is not worth exploring.

Don’t make guesses about your customers.

It is vital to put time and effort into understanding your consumer, build your strategy around that, and then put every new idea through that lens. Do not try to make guesses about what people may like or respond to. Perform tests, lean on what has already been successful, and never let someone’s intuition be the reason behind a major decision.

  • Foster Strong Relationships

The people you choose to surround yourself with have a massive influence on your life. Your friends, spouse, and business partners will all impact the way you think, the way you make decisions, and how you feel about yourself. It is supremely important to be discerning about who you let have your ear.

By extension, who you choose to form relationships with is incredibly important to success. Hard work is not enough. Knowing the right person can open doors that you didn’t even know were there.

I have found business partners, incredible team members, and tremendous exit opportunities through networking. I am ruthless about keeping my network tight and about only allowing in people with a positive influence, and in that way, I have fostered some fantastic and incredibly beneficial relationships.

Who do you know? Who knows you?

Hard work is only part of the equation. The other part is who you know and who knows you. If you only ever work with your head down, doors of opportunity will always remain closed.

When in Doubt, Don’t Take the Money

An investor flashing a check is incredibly appealing, but remember that all money comes with strings attached. It is possible to found and manage a successful business without venture capitalist funds. I have done it.

The sharks on Shark Tank are referred to that way for a reason. They are not your friends. They will keep you lean, hungry, and constantly chasing their goals instead of your own.

Before you find yourself on ABC celebrating a new burden disguised as an opportunity — try these six tactics and see if you can’t do it by yourself. You may be surprised by what you can accomplish.

Image Credit: karolina grabows; pexels

Blake Johnson

Blake Johnson is a Los Angeles based entrepreneur who has successfully founded and sold a variety of businesses. Most recently, he serves as the founded and chairman of Byte, a direct-to-consumer dental aligner company with business partner Scott Cohen. Previously, Blake served as both the Chairman and Founder of Currency Capital and IM Capital Access. Both companies were named on the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Best Places to Work. The business Blake has started currently exceed $1.1 billion in valuations. Blake also participates in philanthropic endeavors and is a significant benefactor of Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Boy Scouts of America (achieving Eagle Scout status in his youth), the International Justice Mission, and MOCA Los Angeles.

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4 Ways Tech Can Bring a Federal Infrastructure Bill to Life – ReadWrite

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Deanna Ritchie


The stimulus bill approved by the House of Representatives in late February was the first of two major budget initiatives President Biden is seeking in the opening months of his administration. The second bill, expected soon, will address the president’s longer-range objective of creating jobs by, among other things, overhauling the nation’s infrastructure.

It’s a fact that people on both ends of the political spectrum can agree on: The nation’s infrastructure is in immediate need of an update. The most recent Infrastructure Report Card from the American Society of Civil Engineers gave U.S. infrastructure a D+ rating.

As the new administration and Congress begin the process of updating the country’s crumbling roads, dams, and electrical grids, one unsettling fact looms large: no one knows exactly how the federal government will be able to solve such a large problem. Improving the country’s infrastructure will require extraordinary levels of investment and public- and private-sector cooperation.

Bassem Hamdy, CEO ofBriq, the leading financial management platform for the construction industry, looks forward to this massive undertaking but warns of potential pitfalls. “The lack of infrastructure development in many areas may be attributed to the bottlenecks existing in construction,” he says. Easing these bottlenecks is going to require tech assistance. This article will discuss how technology can help overcome the industry’s challenges and bring a federal infrastructure bill to life.

1. Digitization

The construction industry has been notorious for relying on manual and paper-based workflows for decades. That paperwork can lead to scores of errors and delays that push projects further back from their intended completion. By digitizing all information, using paper as a backup only, information can be easily shared and accessed at all times.

Hamdy acknowledges the impact technology has already had on the construction industry, noting that “Over the last 10 years, a whole host of software providers emerged, turning paper-based workflows into digital workflows, and in the process, moved general contractors specifically to the cloud.” Moving documentation from paper to the cloud has greatly impacted project efficiency in just a few short years.

While cloud storage and instant messaging have become more widespread in the industry, other forms of technology are pushing the construction world even further into the future. One example is digital contract signing, which makes it possible for documents to be verified and signed digitally, eliminating or reducing the need for paper in most situations.

2. Automation

A federal infrastructure bill might not take into account the labor gap in the construction industry. “While the construction industry accounts for over 10 million jobs in the U.S., there is a significant labor shortage to execute the projects that currently exist,” says Hamdy. “Many of the subcontractors are typically responsible for providing labor but consistently struggle to meet labor requirements, which means that projects often fall into delay and cannot meet schedule requirements.”

Certainly, opening up new jobs is a good thing, but only if skilled applicants can fill them. One way to work around the construction industry’s labor problem is through automation. This could take the form of modular construction (think factory-produced or 3D-printed facades) or the digitization of planning, design, and management processes. Even bricklaying or road paving could be automated.

When automation lightens the workload, it frees up the construction industry’s scarce human workers to perform the tasks only they can do. One further upside: the savings that result from implementing automation could improve the industry’s often razor-thin profit margins.

3. Reduced Overhead and Improved Financial Planning

Even though the construction business is very profitable in certain areas, contractors inevitably face risks inherent to large-scale projects. Robust financial planning capabilities enable them to assume such risks and take the necessary precautions to ensure projects are successful.

Financial technology (fintech) allows contractors to more easily develop budgets and track expenses without an extensive finance background. Predictive modeling and analytics enable more accurate forecasting of cost to completion, while streamlined workflows reduce overhead costs. Both functions will help contractors keep projects within their designated budgets.

Some examples of fintech in action can be found at Harper Construction and Wescor, two companies that have seen massive savings by working with Briq. The technology has added the power of automation as well as additional tools necessary to improve financial analysis and workflows.

4. Data Analytics for Current Projects

Data provides insights for calculated decisions on how to proceed with discrete projects and the day-to-day running of their businesses. “The most important thing a contractor can use technology for is in the management of their cash flow,” observes Hamdy. Data can inform everything from the most cost-effective material choices to the most productive hours for employee scheduling.

Data analytics also helps contractors think bigger picture. “Contractors will embrace intelligent financial forecasting, data analytics, and predictive modeling to better anticipate risk,” Hamdy predicts. And as important as it is to anticipate and brace for potential risks, data analytics can also act like a compass pointing toward new opportunities. Pinpointing growth zones before they explode allows construction companies to tap infrastructural gold mines before the space gets too crowded.

The best of tech is yet to come, but what is available today in the construction sector can bring a federal infrastructure bill to life. In fact, it would likely be impossible to carry out such ambitious plans without leveraging technology in these four ways.

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content development.

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Is 2021 the Year of Digital Transformation? – ReadWrite

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Frank Landman


While all large and successful organizations have already gone through significant digital transformation, 2021 may be the year that small and medium-sized businesses dive in headfirst. Are you ready to join the fold by embracing the next iteration of the business world?

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation has been called a lot of things over the years. And while some would argue that it’s nothing more than a buzzword, those who are involved with it know that it’s more than conceptual. When executed with vision and precision, it can revolutionize a business from the inside out.

In the simplest form, digital transformation can be described as the process of leveraging the correct blend of digital technologies to modify existing business processes and/or create new ones. The objective of digital transformation is to enhance the customer experience and establish simpler, more cost-effective systems that streamline every aspect of value creation.

As industry thought leaders often say, digital transformation begins and ends with the customer. When businesses recognize and follow through on this idea, they can expect to yield an array of benefits, including:

  • Greater efficiency. Think about the bottlenecks in your business – the things that slow down processes, frustrate employees, and prevent you from reaching your full potential. In many cases, technology is involved. And if we dig a layer deeper, we’ll find that these technologies are outdated and/or being improperly leveraged. The beauty of digital transformation is that it allows you to fight through these bottlenecks and speed up your business through greater efficiency and output.
  • Better decision-making. It’s not enough to have data. You need to know what to do with that data. Digital transformation ensures you’re collecting and interpreting data correctly, which allows you to improve decision-making and guide your company in a better direction.
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction. Research from Gartner shows that more than 81 percent of companies are competing primarily on customer experience. And as we said on the front end of this piece, digital transformation is ultimately about the customer. By enhancing customer satisfaction, businesses can cultivate loyalty and squash the competition.
  • Increased profitability. An impressive 56 percent of CEOs say digital improvements have helped them increase revenue in the past. And as we move forward into a world where digital transformation becomes even more integral to the health and well-being of organizations, we’ll see this number grow even more.
  • Superior company culture. While customers may be the focal point, digital transformation has a positive impact on employees as well. Over time, this emphasis on digital transformation fosters a superior company culture that reduces turnover by elevating retention.

Identifying and understanding these benefits provides some context as to the value that digital transformation provides. The only question is, are you doing what it takes to yield these advantages?

6 Strategies for Seamless Digital Transformation

Digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight. It takes months and years of proper planning and careful execution. However, you can begin experiencing positive results almost immediately. Here are a few tips to help you do just that:

1. Gain Top-Down Buy-In

There is no digital transformation without comprehensive buy-in from all organizational stakeholders. And more specifically, you must begin the process with buy-in from the C-suite.

Research from McKinsey & Company finds that companies who engage the chief digital officer (CDO) at the beginning of the process are 1.6 times more likely to report successful digital transformation on the back end.

Achieving buy-in requires you to be knowledgeable and articulate in your messaging, but it shouldn’t be difficult. If you do a decent job explaining the benefits of digital transformation, the C-suite will have every reason to support the strategy.

The bigger challenge, per se, is that you’ll have to reaffirm the buy-in continually. In most C-suites, approval is not a one-and-done idea. You’ll need to show momentum and progress through objective data. Be prepared to document the results every step of the way.

2. Assign a Point Person

Don’t be fooled into thinking you can roll out an entire digital transformation strategy with a hodgepodge team of people who already have their hands in a dozen other duties and responsibilities. If you want to be successful with your approach, you should find someone who can lead the way. This may look like hiring a new person for the job or reassigning someone. Whatever the case, be sure to practice discernment.

There are a few key characteristics to look for, including a comprehensive understanding of the digital marketplace, as well as a personality that’s conducive to building rapport and moving others to action.

“For business leaders driving digital transformation, they must be able to lead change and communicate a vision to superiors, peers, direct reports, and users,” mentions Box, a leader in the digital transformation space. “They must understand the impact of a new business model. At the same time, They have to be adept at working with IT managers — explaining the big picture and negotiating specific requirements from IT.”

This person won’t be in charge of executing every element of the strategy, but they will be the ones championing the cause. Everything flows from this person, so get it right!

3. Establish Clear Vision

Your “point person” will be in charge of helping to clarify and communicate the vision for your digital transformation strategy. It’s more important that your vision is comprehensive than catchy. It should be a holistic yet specific idea that considers every aspect of the organization. This includes:

  • Branding
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Tech stack
  • Performance
  • HR
  • Budget and operational costs
  • Expected Outcomes
  • Stakeholder impact
  • Etc.

Your vision essentially amounts to a digital roadmap for the future. It explains where you’re going and which aspects of your organization the strategy will touch. (Which should end up being every department, element, and asset.)

4. Evaluate Current Gaps

Take a look at your current technology stack/processes and contrast this with where you want to be in six months, a year, or three years from now. Consider where there are opportunities to pivot and improve, as well as where you’re coming up short. These are your gaps.

Technological and process-based gaps are where the opportunities for significant digital transformation exist. It’s not just about replacing legacy systems and doing away with obsolete processes that no longer produce the results you need. You need to rethink your approach to certain areas of your strategy – like marketing and sales – and imagine what these areas could look like in a perfect world.

As always, think about these gaps through the eyes of the ideal customer. Every digital initiative should support the customer in specific ways. If an “improvement” happens at the customer’s expense, it’s not true digital transformation. It should start by enhancing the customer experience, then (and only then) should you consider the internal impact.

5. Set the Appropriate KPIs

Every organization goes into a digital transformation strategy with the hope that it’ll work out, but there’s a difference in hoping and knowing what’s actually happening. The best way to evaluate the success of your strategy is to set objective measurements ahead of time. Well-developed key performance indicators (KPIs) with pre-defined benchmarks give you something to measure against.

Setting KPIs begins with figuring out what you want to measure and then building from there. If, for example, you’re trying to measure the success of a new application that you’re introducing to your user base, good KPIs would include: daily active users, ratio of repeat to new users, conversion rates, abandon rates, and average time spent on the app.

Is the goal to evaluate customer experience based on a new onboarding process or customer loyalty program? Metrics like customer satisfaction (CSAT), customer effort score (CES), customer loyalty index (CLI), and sentiment analytics are insightful.

User engagement is a fun one to track. You have options such as net promoter score (NPS), traffic sources, customer satisfaction index, bounce rate, and exit rate.

If it’s the reliability of IT systems that you’re interested in measuring, you may keep an eye on specific metrics like uptime, mean time to failure (MTTF), mean time to resolve (MTTR), and mean time before failure (MTBF).

Other large-scale KPIs that touch various aspects include employee performance, innovation, operational performance, and financial performance.

6. Beware of the Shine

It’s tempting to become mesmerized by the shine of new tech and innovation. And with so many different tools and applications being released on a regular basis, it’s difficult to differentiate between the ones that have the potential to be useful and the ones that are a waste of your energy and resources. Be diplomatic in your decision-making!

Where is Your Focus?

Every digital transformation strategy will have a unique flavor. And while it’ll look a bit different in execution and application, many of the same underlying principles are present across the board. For best results, study what others are doing and view their approaches through the lens of your customer and your business. Your roadmap lies somewhere inside these lines.

Frank Landman

Frank is a freelance journalist who has worked in various editorial capacities for over 10 years. He covers trends in technology as they relate to business.

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