However, we also understand that there are many, particularly those who run more traditional businesses, who may not have even heard of the concept.
In this article, we’ll unravel the mysteries of Business Process Automation (BPA) for those who haven’t heard of it before so that you’ll have a better understanding of why it’s something that your business may benefit from.
What is it?
Let’s start with the most pertinent question – what is BPA?
The technical definition is that BPA is a workflow approach that a business can use to apply a level of systemisation to its general business processes. BPA uses modern technology to allow a business to automate many tasks. In doing so, it also helps you to better organise the time of your people.
When implemented correctly, it allows for greater efficiency within your business.
It sounds complicated, so let’s simplify it a little.
BPA is a lot more than the record and data management systems that many businesses currently have in place. It’s essentially an advanced set of automated processes that allow you to deliver better services to your clients.
For example, let’s imagine that your business attracts customers through canvassing. Your canvassers collect customer details, they get sent to the office, and then somebody enters them into your system. After that, you have to keep track of the status of that customer and manually react to any changes with that lead.
BPA can automate a lot of those processes. Your canvassers still collect the details. But then your BPA system can handle the data entry portion. Better yet, when programmed correctly, it can do it without being susceptible to human errors. An advanced system can also track the lead’s progress for you and may be able to do things like arrange phone calls or send out automated emails on your behalf.
Simply put, it takes a lot of the legwork out of working with clients. This frees up your people to work on other tasks. For example, your sales force can spend more time interacting with customers and less time dealing with the paperwork that’s attached to them.
That’s just one example of how BPA can work for your business. There are plenty of others. You can use BPA to automate all sorts of processes, such as checks on your technical systems. Anything that’s a manual and fairly repetitive process can receive an efficiency boost from a BPA system.
How do You Implement it?
That’s where you’re likely to need a team that can support you in the implementation. Although BPA will drive up efficiency in your organisation, implementing it isn’t as simple as installing a new piece of software.
You’ll have to ensure that your BPA system is configured so that it can work alongside your current systems. Furthermore, you have to define the processes you want BPA to work on before it can analyse and optimise them for you.
Or to put it another way, BPA first automates your processes and then improves on them.
But to do that, you need help. That’s where the Imobisoft team comes in. We understand the complexities surrounding BPA implementation and can help you to introduce it to your business without causing issues.
Think With Your Finger (And Four Other Tips for Building a Mobile-Friendly Website)
There’s no denying that mobile-friendly is the way to go if you’re looking to design or redesign a website. In fact, it’s absolutely essential in the modern age.
Everybody owns a smartphone and the odds are high that most people will use their phone to look at your website. In fact, 2017 saw mobile break through as the most popular way to access websites, with 50.3% of all website traffic coming from mobile devices. 2018 looks set to continue that trend. According to Statista, mobile has accounted for 52.2% of all website traffic so far this year.
So, why don’t you have a mobile-friendly website?
A poor mobile experience makes your business appear unprofessional. People hit a bad website and immediately bounce away because you haven’t catered to their needs.
Those are potential customers that you’re allowing to slip through your fingers. More importantly, that’s now over half of the people that come to your website that you’re not catering for.
You need a mobile-friendly website. And with these tips, you’ll be able to build one.
Tip #1 – Think With Your Finger (Or Thumb)
This is a crucial aspect of designing a mobile website or a mobile app. If a required action isn’t something that you can do easily with your finger or thumb, it’s something that you need to change.
Speed and efficiency are the key when somebody’s browsing a mobile section. People don’t want to spend ages pinching screens and scrolling to get to the important information. They want it at their fingertips…literally.
This extends to specific aspects of design too. Let’s say that you have an important CTA button on one page of your website. That button needs to be bold enough for people to notice it and big enough for people to press it without having to worry about pressing something else.
It may seem like a little thing. But design that doesn’t take how people use mobile devices into account can seriously damage your website or app’s conversion rates and usage figures.
Tip #2 – Don’t Build it Separately
During the advent of mobile technology, people tended to keep their desktop websites separate from their mobile ones.
That’s an outdated methodology. Today, we have responsive design tools that allow us to create a single website that displays as you need it to across all devices.
That’s important too because maintaining two websites is a massive burden. If you go the separate route, that means you have to do everything twice. Every update, server issue, or technical work means double the amount of hours spent than you really need to spend.
Of course, that makes your business less productive. And that means that having separate sites is actively costing you money in a world where a much better solution exists.
Embrace responsive design tools when building your website. You’ll appreciate how much easier everything is once you have a single website to work from.
Tip #3 – Always Go For Speed
Optimisation is the key with every aspect of mobile development, whether you’re building a website or a mobile app. If you’re using elements that take an eternity to load, you’re essentially telling users to bounce away and try another option.
Speed is of the essence, so optimise wherever you’re able. You want loading times to take less than a couple of seconds. That’s because every 100ms of delaying could cost you 1% of the people who come to your website. That means you lose 10% of visitors if your site takes a second longer than it should to load.
Thankfully, there are plenty of tools that you can use to check your site’s speed. Pagespeed Insights is an excellent example. It shows you how long the page takes to load and what you can do about it.
Here’s a bonus tip. Images are often the cause of slow load times. Don’t use multi-megabyte images throughout your site. Instead, use smaller JPEG images to optimise load times. You still want to go high-res. Most mobile screens display crystal clarity. But you need to strike a balance.
Tip #4 – Keep Content Simple
People will only spend a finite amount of time looking at their phones. If you’re bombarding them with reams of content that doesn’t contain any important information, they’re going to lose interest.
This may mean adapting your content strategy to suit the mobile user. And again, this applies to both mobile websites and mobile apps. Keep things short, simple, and scannable. Highlight the important points and make them as early as you can.
That’s not to say that you don’t need the long content pieces too. People will still want useful insights and tips that drill down into the heart of their problem. But you need to cater some content to mobile users. Provide a quick answer or demonstrate that you have the solution. Keep it simple and you’ll keep mobile users engaged.
Tip #5 – It’s Not a One and Done Thing
Again, this tip applies to any mobile solution that you build.
You cannot just make it and leave it. Technology advances at such a rapid pace that a site that’s brand new today may be completely out of date in a years’ time.
It’s wise to adopt toe AGILE methodology when building a mobile website. Get it up and working, then making repeated iterative updates so that you’re constantly improving the user experience.
Keep an eye on the latest trends in mobile design and make sure to jump on any that are taking off. You don’t want your website or app to seem dated in the eyes of users. Plus, you’re on the constant lookout for new devices that create new challenges for your website. Keep updating and improving to ensure your site or mobile app performs to its peak potential.
The Final Word
That’s just a little insight into how you can build a mobile-friendly website. Now, you need to work with a team that can help you to achieve your goals.
Contact Imobisoft today to find out more. We can guide you through everything that you need to know to create a great mobile experience for your users.
The end of the year is fast approaching. It feels like it was only yesterday that we were looking forward to what 2018 would bring. Now, we’re just a couple of months away from the end of the year 2019.
That can only mean one thing.
We need to take a look forward at the mobile app trends that you need to know about in 2019. After all, apps evolve constantly. If you’re not keeping up, you’ll fall behind your competitors.
So without any further ado, let’s get right into the list.
Trend #1 – 5G is on its way
It’s been rumoured for a long time, but it looks like we’re finally going to see some progress when it comes to 5G.
The major networks have all been conducted tests on the superfast 5G networks. Plus, we’re expecting to see the first set of 5G devices appear during the early months of 2019.
What does this mean for mobile app developers?
You need to be sure that your apps are compatible with this new wave of high-speed internet. 5G will also offer you the chance to include new functionality and security features into your apps. For 2019, you may have to strike a balance between creating apps for the future and ensuring that they still work on 4G connections.
There are a lot of different technologies that may come off the back of the introduction of a 5G network. You may have to prepare to implement things like augmented reality and 3D gaming as you never have before.
Trend #2 – The Rise of AI
We’ve already seen a new wave of apps that use artificial intelligence in 2018. However, 2019 may be the breakout year for the technology. We see AI evolving from being a slightly gimmicky feature to something that’s going to be essential for a lot of mobile apps in the future.
There are plenty of reasons for this. Some estimates claim that the use of chatbot AIs can save businesses up to $7.5 billion per year. That means a lot of companies are going to want to implement them on their websites and mobile apps. The technology behind these bots looks set to improve too, which will increase demand further.
AI also allows for more personalised app experiences, which is a major issue in the current market. You can use the tech to make your apps more personal to the people who use them. Plus you can use AI to figure out what people want, which helps with further development.
Trend #3 – No VR Just Yet
Augmented Reality (AR) exploded onto the scene with Pokémon Go. Today, there are loads of apps that use the technology to their advantage.
That leads to the obvious question – what about Virtual Reality (VR).
We think that it may still be a little bit too early to start incorporating VR into your mobile apps. While the tech has gained popularity in recent years, it’s still not quote gone mainstream. Plus, it’s very difficult to implement VR into a mobile app in a cost-effective manner.
AR is expected to go from strength to strength though. Both Apple and Google have showcased some new AR demos in recent months, with both also working on creating new toolkits for the technology that makes it easier to implement and enhances your offering.
So stick with AR for now. VR is still quite a way away from becoming accessible enough for mobile devices.
Trend #4 – On-Demand Apps Will Continue to Soar
We’ve seen the likes of Uber make huge waves in the transportation industry. We’ve even seen them take their first steps into the food delivery sector with Uber Eats. That’s opened the floodgates for a host of on-demand services that handle everything from laundry through to pest control.
The on-demand sector experienced massive growth in 2018 as it became a multi-billion dollar industry. We’re expecting to see a further rise in 2019 as consumers grow more used to the idea of being able to get what they want right now using their smartphones.
That’s going to change the way that you offer your services. If you can provide something on-demand, 2019 may be the year for you to build an app for it.
Trend #5 – More Apps for Wearables
The rise of smart watches and fitness trackers have caused an explosion in the wearables sector. Better yet, all of these wearables require mobile apps that link to them so that users can see the data they generate.
Industry analysts expect to see a near-40% growth in this sector throughout 2019, which means there’s an opportunity available for many business owners. There are going to be a lot of new and innovative wearables on the market by the end of 2019 and you may be able to develop the apps that people use with them.
Trend #6 – App Security Will Still be a Concern
2018 saw a 20% rise in the amount of mobile malware in the world, which means security needs to be at the top of the agenda for any mobile app developers.
Development will have to factor in a lot of risks, from data storage security through to DDOS-attacks. That means a lot more work has to go into securing your apps before you send them onto the market.
This is an ongoing mobile app development concern too. The techniques that hackers use evolve constantly, so it’s likely that we’re going to see a rise in the number of businesses that employ teams with a specific focus on mobile security.
The Final Word
2018 has been an amazing year for mobile app development. We’ve seen the emergence of plenty of new technologies that will influence the ways we develop apps for years to come.
The above are the six trends that developers and their clients need to know about as we head into 2019. A basic app isn’t enough anymore. You need to consider how the industry will evolve as well as what’s happening right now.
The Imobisoft team is at the forefront of mobile app development in the Midlands. Get in touch with us today to create an app that ensures you’re ready for 2019.
Automation is the big topic on every business owner’s lips right now. So many of the major players are automating processes so that they can save time and money. Any task that’s menial or relies on a single process is a great candidate for automation.
So why haven’t you looked into it yet?
Maybe you think that automation couldn’t benefit your business. But you’re probably wrong. In fact, if you’ve noticed any of these four signs then your business is a prime candidate for some form of automation.
Sign #1 – You’re Overworking Your People
Every business calls on their people to put a little overtime in every now and again. But when overtime becomes a regular thing, it’s a sign that there’s something wrong with your processes.
Here’s the simple truth. Your business takes in more data than it ever has before. And that usually means a lot more admin that your people have to deal with. Couple that with business growth and you’re soon going to find that you hit capacity.
Automation can help you to deal with a lot of the administrative tasks that are bogging your people down. And that means that they have more time to dedicate to your customers and to helping you grow the business.
Sign #2 – Costs are Spiralling
What’s the first thing that you do when you start to struggle to keep up with your work?
You look for more help. That might take the form of hiring new people or outsourcing some of your work. But whatever choice you make, there’s one constant.
It costs money. A lot of money.
You may find that you’re spending so much money just to keep up with your own business that you’re almost collapsing under the weight of your own success.
That’s a sure-fire sign that you need automation to help you make processes more efficient. More efficient processes means you’re spending less on bringing in help so that you can keep up.
Sign #3 – You’re Struggling to Keep New People
You may not realise it, but you’re business’ processes play a huge role in a candidate’s decision in terms of whether they want to work for you.
If they start their first day and see that you have inefficient processes, they’re going to think twice.
In the worst scenario, those candidates are going to walk away.
If that keeps happening to you, it’s a sign that something’s not right. Usually, this means you need to modernise, which is where automation comes into play.
Sign #4 – You’re Losing Customers
How well do you follow up on communications with your customers?
If you’re not following up with everyone, you’re losing sales opportunities. And the larger your potential client list becomes, the harder it is to keep up.
Keeping legacy systems that don’t work in place means that you’re losing customers. And that’s a sign that you need automation.
Now, you just need help with automating your business process. Imobisoft is here for you. Get in touch with the team today if you’ve noticed any of these signs in your business.
So you’re trundling along well enough with your business software. It does the job, but you can’t help but focus on the bugbears. Like how you have to enter data repeatedly to get it where it needs to be, or how the user-interface looks like something from the MS-DOS days. What you’re noticing are signs that your legacy software is in dire need of an update. The modern business environment thrives on innovation and efficiency. If you don’t modernise, you’ll be left in the dust.
So what are the red flags of impending software obsolescence? Here are five to keep in mind.
Picture the scene. You’ve spent the last half-hour entering data into your software, but suddenly your cursor has stopped moving. You wait for a few seconds, only to find your system has locked up. Closing your software is the only solution, but that may lead to the loss of your hard work.
All of that waiting around and dealing with crashes wastes valuable work time. Imagine if such a crash happens once a month to each individual in a 10-person company. That’s 60 hours of working time lost each year.
The Vendor has Gone AWOL
So, you call up your vendor to deal with the software’s issues. However, you find that they no longer support the software. They’ve moved on from the days of Windows XP, and it’s about time that you did as well.
Outdated legacy software has no support structure behind it, which means you have nobody to help you when things go wrong.
No Compatibility with Other Systems
You may have introduced some more modern software into other departments. For example, you may have canvassers who use tablet computers to record customer details.
Is this software compatible with the customer relationship management (CRM) software in the office? If not, the canvasser is going to have to re-enter the information into the system when they come back from their travels.
If your legacy software isn’t compatible with newer software packages, you’re creating more work for your company.
A Poor User Interface (UI)
Think about the modern software that you use in other aspects of your life. How much training did you need to get rolling?
We’re betting that it wasn’t a lot. Yet you put your employees through hours and hours of training just so they know how to properly grapple with your company’s outdated software.
UIs have come a long way in a short amount of time. You no longer need to waste days of work time on training.
It Doesn’t Solve Your Problems
This is the big one. If your software doesn’t solve your business’ problems, why do you have it in the first place?
As your business evolves, it runs into new obstacles. Legacy software is often not enough to get you over the hurdle. If you’re having to work around your software to get things done, rather than having it help you solve the problem, then it’s about time that you started looking at an update.
Does any of this sound familiar? If so, Imobisoft can help. Find out more about our legacy software modernisation service.
If you operate a business that deals directly with customers, you need a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. It’s where you store all of the details about your customers. Past, present, and future customers all find their way into this system, which helps you to deal with them accordingly.
You have all sorts of options when it comes to CRMs. From off-the-shelf solutions to bespoke CRMs that serve your businesses specific needs, it can feel like the sheer volume of choice is overwhelming.
So how do you narrow it down? You can start by looking for these key features that any good CRM will have.
Imagine handling every piece of customer data that comes into your business manually. Mistakes are going to be made, especially as your business grows and develops a customer base that numbers in the thousands, or even the millions.
That’s where automation of basic business processes helps. A good CMS will allow you to automate the basic tasks that need to be done, but take up valuable time. You decide what these tasks will be, but the key is that the CRM saves time that you would have spent on data entry.
Cloud-based CRMs provide a good example. Instead of collecting customer information from canvassers, and then re-entering it into your CRM, you can use the cloud to record the data directly into your CRM from the point of collection.
Many companies use CRMs to store information about leads, as well as current customers. The best CRMs can do more with this data than store it. They can identify where each customer lies in the sales funnel, and provide automatic updates relating to the next action that you should take for that particular client.
This opportunity recognition extends beyond figuring out what messages to send to prospective clients. You can also use it to identify previous customers who may be interested in a new offer, or reignite contact with customers that haven’t shopped with you for a while.
The point is that a good CRM bolsters your business by making your communications with customers more efficient. It can spot where you might be missing a trick, and draw your attention to opportunities that you may have overlooked.
A Strong Security System
As a collector of consumer data, you’re bound by the Data Protection Act to protect any information that you receive from customers. As a result, your CRM needs to have security features in place, such as encryption, to prevent malicious people from accessing your customers’ data.
Beyond that, the CRM should also offer a hierarchical access structure. This means that employees at all levels of your company can use it, but only those with the correct permissions can access more sensitive functions, or the administrative side of the software.
Furthermore, the CRM should make it easy to assign these roles. You should be able to specify the different permissions that a data entry clerk has to a developer, and be able to assign roles accordingly via the CRM without worrying about any potential security breaches.
Primarily, the Imobisoft blog covers mobile app development as it relates to business, but we’re going to take a slightly different tack with this post.
Today, we’re going to look at mobile games. If you get them right, mobile games can rake in thousands of pounds through downloads, advertising, and in-app purchases. Of course, you need to offer a good game before you can reap those benefits, so here are five tips for building great mobile games.
Gamers don’t look to their mobile devices to take them on massive, story-driven adventures. They don’t want complex game mechanics that take an age to learn, and real skill to implement.
Instead, they want something that they can pick up and play for a few minutes while they’re waiting for a bus, or if they have a spare few minutes at work.As a result, all great mobile games are simple. It should take all of a minute to work out the controls, which usually involve basic swiping and tapping.
Regardless of the simplicity of your game, users still need a tutorial to show them the ropes and cover the basics. Drop somebody into the middle of a game with no explanations and they’ll just uninstall the app and find a game that offers a better user experience.
Build the tutorial into the first few levels, using it to introduce the basic game. It’s likely that the game introduces new features as the player progresses, so make sure to explain them as they become relevant. Don’t try to explain every feature right off the bat though. Just give the player enough to get through the section they’re playing.
Most mobile games last so long because they don’t have defined end points. Think of the arcade games of old. They just keep going, introducing new levels and features over time.
Don’t drop the app onto the store and leave it. Take constant note of player feedback, add new levels, and develop new challenges to keep people guessing. New features keep players playing, which means they’re seeing more ads and buying my in-app items.
Even the biggest mobile devices are much smaller than your TV, so design your games with the limited screen in mind. Bold, bright colours work much better than the dingy, realistic browns you see in most AAA home console titles.
You want your game to catch the eye of anybody who sees it, instantly engaging them and drawing them into the playing experience. If it looks dull, people won’t play it.
Gamers are an impatient bunch, and will quickly rubbish a game that contains a lot of bugs. Whenever you launch a new feature, test it on every device possible.
Again, anything that breaks the game or makes it less fun to play leads to players migrating to other games. Fewer players means fewer ad views and purchases, plus you’ll end up with bad ratings that prevent others from downloading.
The mobile market evolves constantly. New devices, technologies, and ideas bring with them trends that mobile app developers latch onto in order to help their clients.
With 2017 fast nearing its end, we’ve decided to look forward a little bit at five of the trends that we think will dominate the mobile app and development marketing in 2018.
The Internet of Things is a rapidly growing concept, and it’s one that many developers are taking note of. It’s taking off in the healthcare industry, and the most modern offices have already built “smart” functions into their operations to take advantage of the increased levels of connectivity.
On the consumer level, we’ve seen things like wearables become extremely popular during 2017. We believe that this trend will continue, with more devices being connectable to the internet, and more mobile apps to facilitate those devices.
Search engines have already taken notice of the rise of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). The basic gist is that this technology enables mobile websites and apps to load much quicker than before. This keeps users engaged, preventing them from bouncing away from the website or app.
However, many mobile app and site owners haven’t incorporated AMP into their mobile properties yet. They’re going to have to, especially as search engines start giving more priority to applications with AMP built in. We anticipate more people building AMP apps, or developing it into their existing apps, during 2018.
We’ve already seen augmented reality (AR) in action with mobile games like Pokémon Go, but other industries have been a touch slower to adopt the technology. The same goes for virtual reality (VR).
We believe that’s already changing, and 2018 is going to seem more uses of this technology for apps related to museums, architecture, engineering, and a host of other sectors. AR, in particular, offers companies the chance to show off their products to potential consumers in real-time.
Even with the cloud having been around for so long, many mobile apps still rely on your phone’s internal memory to work. They clog up space, leaving users with less memory for pictures, videos, music, and other things that really matter to them.
We’re finally seeing more mobile app developers make use of the cloud with their mobile properties, and we believe that process will become much more popular in 2018. In fact, it’s likely that at least 70% of all mobile apps will be cloud-driven by the end of 2018.
With so much personal data on smartphones, it’s surprising to find that many app users still don’t take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from malicious content.
We believe that security will become an even greater concern for mobile app developers during the course of 2018. Developers will likely build even stronger protections into their apps, and we may even see the rise of something like a quality guarantee to prevent people from downloading potentially malicious or cloned apps.
Updating your systems presents a problem when it comes to your data. Your legacy system may not be fully compatible with the new system, and you’re going to have to migrate a lot of data (data migration) from one system to the next.
It’s a difficult and time-consuming process, and it’s all too easy to make mistakes and lose data. This affects your business, plus it may place you in legal difficulties as you have an obligation to properly maintain the data you collect under the Data Protection Act.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled five tips to help you do data migration right.
Ideally, you’ll emulate your current data mapping structure on the new servers and in your new software. Take some time to examine how you currently do things, as this will cut down on errors once you migrate fully to the new server.
In particular, you want to ensure your new servers access your data in the proper order to prevent conflicts.
It may sound like a self-serving tip on our end, but a good data migration partner is worth their weight in gold. Most businesses don’t understand the complexities of migrating data, which means they make mistakes at the beginning of the process that wreak havoc later on.
Do some research, and find an experienced partner that has worked with similar systems in the past. Get them in on the ground floor, right at the beginning of the process.
It’s possible to migrate data without downtime, but it places an awful lot of pressure on you to get it right. You also have to resolve some conflicts between the old data stores and the new.
Instead of trying to eliminate downtime altogether, consider carrying out the migration outside of business hours. You’ll place the office under far less stress, plus you’ll have some room for mistakes and downtime if they are needed.
Over time, your data becomes “unclean”. This means that you get built-in redundancy from repeated data sets, or you end up with a lot of out-of-date data that doesn’t serve your business or its clients.
Take the data migration process as an opportunity to do some spring cleaning. As importantly, create a data cleansing protocol that you will put in place upon completion of the migration too. This will ensure any new data you enter into the system is relevant, plus it will mean your systems don’t get bogged down in “unclean” data again.
The demands your data currently places on your servers aren’t the only thing you need to consider. Remember that you’re going to be building on your existing data sets over the course of the next few years.
As a result, you need to think about the future of your data storage. Implement a scalable solution that will grow alongside your business needs. Having just enough storage to cover the current data means you’ll end up in panic stations when you need more space.
Imobisoft can help you with data migration. Contact us today to find out how.
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