Five Tips for Introducing Automation into Your Business

Automation may sound like the latest buzzword in business. But it’s a very real thing that can save your company oodles of time and money.

We’ve covered the benefits of business automation in a previous article. But you can’t experience those benefits if you don’t implement automation into your business effectively. Here are five tips on introducing automation into your business.

Tip #1 – Involve the Entire Team

There are a lot of horror stories that your team can conjure up about upcoming automation. They may worry that it will lead to some of them losing their jobs, which can make it all the more difficult to get them on board with the process. And a team that doesn’t support the idea makes it all the more difficult to implement automation successfully.

To remedy this, be transparent with your team from the off. Discuss why you’re looking to bring automation in and involve the team in every step of the process. Ask for their feedback and help them understand how automation benefits them, as well as the company.

Tip #2 – Define Success

Without an end goal, every plan is doomed to failure.

It’s the same for automation. If you don’t know what you want to achieve from the process, there’s no point trying to implement it. You’ll just be firing into the dark in the vain hope that you hit a target.

Automation only works when you know what you want to automate and what the process needs to achieve for you. Define these two things and you’ll have a much better chance of a successful implementation.

Tip #3 – Plan Well Ahead

Automation isn’t just something that you can adopt with the flick of the switch. As with any wholesale business process change, it requires several months of planning. Remember that automation may change the way that your people work. They need to know what they’re doing, which usually means they need training.

The key is to plan well ahead. Create a defined schedule for implementing automation and ensuring that everyone in the company adapts to the new processes. Many choose to stagger the implementation so that they can introduce their people to some new processes before unveiling the entire system.

Tip #4 – Don’t Only Look at Broken Processes

You may have a few processes in mind for automation that you can easily define as broken. They’re slow, clunky, and lead to mistakes.

That’s the obvious stuff. What isn’t so obvious is how you can use automation to drive efficiency in a process that actually works well. The old saying of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” doesn’t apply with automation. There may be a chance to improve a good process with the proper use of automation.

Tip #5 – Prioritise Security

Automation means the introduction of an array of new security protocols into your business. You’re likely using new systems, which gives malicious people a chance to cause issues if you don’t understand them correctly.

Proper security starts with your supplier. Make sure that they understand the system, the security features that it needs, and how to teach you more about it. Don’t skimp on security. Remember that automation makes things easier for you, which makes things easier for attackers when you’re not prepared to defend your new systems against them.

Of course, the best advice is to work with a company that understands business process automation and can help you to define what you need from it. That’s where Imobisoft can help. Call our team today to learn more about how you can use automation to your advantage.

 Zero User Interface to No User Interface

When we discuss Zero User Interface (UI) the mind normally turns towards the increasing use of voice or gesture controls.

As the likes of Alexa become common features in the home, we will start to see less use for common input methods such as our trusted mouse and keyboard or touch screens.

However moving to voice does not in reality lead to Zero UI, but an evolution (or revolution) of user interface designing. One that moves from visual design to acoustic design and will open up a whole new field.

The reality is that while we may not move to Zero UI, there are thousands of examples where the UI is being removed entirely.

This quiet revolution has been happening in the area of connectivity and the internet of things.

A great example is the world of utility meters. 10 years ago it was not uncommon for electricity and gas meter readings to be recorded in pen and paper to be later input when the meter reader sent his paperwork onto the office. Fast forward a few years and the interface for input became tablet applications so the data was captured and transmitted at the point of the meter reading.

With the advent of smart meters the entire requirement for data input (and therefore a user interface) has been removed. Service providers now automatically transmit the data from your meter to their back-end systems – measuring, analysing and reporting along the way.

Across industries or sectors we are seeing devices with direct internet connectivity that removes the need for middle processes and the interfaces we needed either to collect or input data. This is a world where hardware developments (sensors, smart batteries and connected products) is merged with accessible software solutions.

This is not just limited to physical items but the increasing trend for connectivity is further promoted in new software development where open API’s are now considered the norm.

Gone are the days where you extracted data from your CMS to then import it into a CRM. We now expect seamless integration even when the products are not part of the same platform.

Moreover, the introduction of an even faster always on internet service through 5G, enables more powerful interconnected devices collecting and processing data, without any user interaction. 

Zero UI maybe the dream, but no UI is fast becoming a reality as the march of connectivity and integration picks up pace.If you would like to discuss more about our offering in connected services contacts us at info@imobisoft.co.uk

 Explaining Business Process Automation

We.ve spoken at length in recent posts about the benefits of business process automation (BPA) for your business and how you can introduce BPA into your business without causing issues.

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.

 Tips for Building a Mobile-Friendly Website

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.

 Four Business Processes That You Should Automate Right Now

We’ve spoken about business automation at length in previous articles and it’s a service that the Imobisoft team offers to companies of all sizes.

However, you may not full understand the potential of automation. In particular, many business owners don’t realise just how many processes they can automate as long as they have the right guidance.

That’s why we’ve decided to highlight four processes that you can automate to experience a range of time and cost benefits.

Process #1 – Sales Leads Processing

Your sales leads likely already go into a CRM of some description. But it’s your sales staff who have to determine where that lead is in your sales funnel. That means a lot of time messing around with the CRM and less time spent talking to customers.

Automation can help with this because it can identify where the lead is on your funnel. You can even use it to do things like automatically send emails to customers at certain stages or remind you to call hot leads at certain times.

Process #2 – Document Reviews

Many businesses produce a range of standard documents that they send out to clients. While this may primarily feature templated content, there are usually sections that you need to fill out with certain details. Putting the wrong information into a document or contract could sour a business relationship.

With automation, you can automatically check documents against the information that you have in your system. This lowers the risk of human error causing issues. Some forms of automation are so advanced that they can even generate and edit documents for you.

Process #3 – Customer Service

This is the process that most think about when they’re considering automation.

There are many aspects of your customer service that you can automate. The use of a chatbot on your website allows you to automate the answering of common questions. When combined with an AI, business automation also allows your systems to learn more about customer requirements. This leads to even more detailed answers.

However, automation can also be as simple as recording phone messages for people who call into the business. You can use an automated system to manage the call and direct it to the right person, where appropriate.

Process #4 – Task Assignment

You may have a large people that rely on you to assign tasks for them every day. Depending on the size of your team, this can take several hours. You need to make sure the right people are free at the right times and manually assign all of the work.

Automation takes care of that. Simply enter tasks into the system and allow it to take care of the assigning for you. Automated systems also offer greater transparency. Plus, they can send out reminders and track progress for different tasks.

The Final Word

Automation saves time and ensures your business runs more efficiently. You can use it to make sure you stay on top of lead progress and to keep your people working as productively as possible.

Now, you just need to get started. Get in touch with the Imobisoft team today to discover how business automation can help you.

 Mobile App Development Mistakes: The Five That You Need to Avoid

A mobile app represents an opportunity for your business. It’s a way to boost engagement and further your business objectives.

However, building an app is a complex project that requires a lot of planning and forethought. Unfortunately, many businesses make mistakes that cause their apps to fail, which mean they spend thousands and go nowhere.

We want to ensure that doesn’t happen to you. Here are five mistakes that you need to avoid when developing a mobile app.

Mistake #1 – Including Too Much

Many businesses feel like their mobile apps need to contain everything that their websites contain.

That’s simply not the case. A good app offers the most essential tools that the user needs without clogging the app up with stuff they’ll never use. Including too much makes the app more difficult to navigate and ends up overwhelming the user.

Remember that you can always include links for further information. Plus, an agile development methodology allows you to add updates as time goes on.

Mistake #2 – Poor Planning

What do you hope to achieve with your app?

If you can’t give a clear answer to that question then you need to pause development and go back to the drawing board.

Poor planning leads to the ruin of many a promising app. You need to know who your audience is and what it wants. Moreover, you need to understand how you’re going to deliver it to them.

Otherwise, you end up with a directionless app.

Mistake #3 – Poor Testing

This is a common one for two reasons.

The first is that many businesses feel the excitement building as their app progresses. They’re so keen on getting it out of the door that they start to cut a few corners along the way. Testing is one of the first things to go. After all, it’s done during the development process, right?

The second is that testing adds a few weeks to the development process. Businesses that are under time constraints often skip it just to hit deadlines.

Whatever the case may be, deciding not to test is always a mistake. You need to check the app across every platform it’s available on. Testing needs to be structured so that it checks every single aspect of the app.

Mistake #4 – Ignoring the Feedback

Your early adopters are the greatest source of feedback that you’ll receive. They walk into the app with no prior expectations, which means the feedback they provide is based solely on their experiences. Later users offer valuable feedback too. But their opinions may be clouded by reviews and because they know where to go to see any faults.

Pay attention to your feedback. Listen to what users have to say and develop fixes for any issues that cause concern.

Mistake #5 – Choosing the Wrong Developers

Going cheap is not always the way to save money. Often, app developers at the budget end of the scale will make mistakes that cost a lot of money to fix later on.

It’s best to go with a developer who has experience and will work with you for the entire process. Imobisoft can help. Get in touch with our team to find out how.

 The Mobile App Trends to Look for in 2019

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.

 The Four Signs That Your Business Needs Automation

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.

 The Top Big Data Mistakes to Avoid

Big Data is a huge concept in the modern technological sector. With so many ways to gather information from your users and products, it can feel like your company is overwhelmed with data. However, Big Data analysis can also help you to determine the path that your company takes. Without it, you may fall behind your competition. As a result, you need to know what big data mistakes you should avoid when you collect data.

Mistake #1 – Relying on Your Instincts

Your instincts may guide some of your business decisions, but you can’t rely on them when it comes to Big Data.

In fact, many people make the mistake of trying to limit the data sets that they look at, primarily with the goal of matching the data to their instincts. This leads to a phenomenon called “confirmation bias”, in which you actively look for data that supports your views, rather than accepting what the data actually says.

Mistake #2 – Collecting all of the Data

Having said that, it’s still not a great idea to collect every scrap of data you can find without any plan for how you’ll analyse it. This is what leads to that overwhelmed feeling that many companies experience when working with Big Data.

Before you start trying to leverage Big Data to your advantage, create a set of questions that you want to use the data to answer. This roadmap will guide you when it comes to what data your organisation needs to collect.

Mistake #3 – Take Action on What You Find

Another common Big Data mistake is sitting on the information you find, rather than taking action on it. Confirmation bias often plays a role here too. If an organisation finds that the data tells them something that doesn’t mesh with what they thought it would, they may be slow to take action.

However, you must remember that your data changes constantly, often in line with the trends in your market. Collecting and analysing the data is important, but it doesn’t mean anything if your organisation doesn’t react to the data it gathers.

Mistake #4 – Not Checking the Quality of the Data

Not all of the data that your organisation collects will be of a high enough quality to use in determining future policy. In fact, low quality data can actively damage your organisation.

Many people don’t realise this when trying to analyse Big Data. Instead, they think that every piece of data they collect is relevant. You need big enough data sets to draw accurate conclusions, but if that data comes from unreliable sources you may end up doing more damage than good.

Mistake #5 – Not Using the Cloud

This may seem like a simple mistake, but many people still don’t understand the infrastructural demands that using Big Data creates. Instead of moving to a cloud-based system, they try to keep everything in house.

The cost of maintaining so much infrastructure should show how much of a mistake this is. If you’re trying to use Big Data without adopting cloud-based technology, you’re organisation will lose thousands of pounds.

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