Nov. 15, 20186 min read
Authors: Emil Waszkowski - Head of Digital Consulting, Tomasz Woźniak - CEO
If your fiscal year matches the calendar one, you are probably wondering about what is the best way to spend your remaining budget and how to prepare for the next year. Every year the number of business requests we receive increases during this particular season... and they are usually not very well-thought-out. We want to protect you from spending money on a fatuous product. That is why in this article we'll advise you on how to use your Q4 resources to gain advantage over your competition in the coming year and beyond.
Why spend money on a product that no one will ever use? Lack of reasonable strategy regarding the potential of a given communication channel, lack of predefined value proposition and goals, poor product specification and little time for development are all among the most common causes of failure when it comes to software products.
We've encountered many last-minute product briefs featuring projects that eventually never even got started, leaving budgetary resources ultimately unspent anyway. What if instead of doing something like that you'd analyse business operations in your company and (e.g.) order a mobile app that will improve the work of your sales team. We can safely assume that such software would noticeably increase employee satisfaction and benefit your company. So, how to best spend money within your remaining budget?
Instead of preparing a rushed product brief you can simply write to us that you don't really know what kind of product would be best for your customers and line of business. We'll meet, talk about your challenges and prepare a suitable business/technology analysis.
This analysis will concern the market, users, competition and technology available for your business. After the analysis phase we'll conduct innovation workshops with your employees and present analysis results. Later we'll create the solution concept together. At the end of this phase you'll receive the analysis report and product concept including basic wireframes.
The above report will serve as a business case basis, so you'll be ready to present the idea to your executives. You'll find great tips on how to convince them in this Harvard Business Review article.
Our analysis will enable creation of a solid knowledge-base that will help us develop a product capable of satisfying your customers, serving your organisation and giving you an advantage over your competition not only in the coming year but in consecutive years as well.
Do you have a digital product development strategy for the coming year? Excellent! Right now is the best time for choosing suppliers and (assuming that you have resources to spare) preparing product designs.
Remember to pay special attention to UX in the design phase. Quality User Experience is one of the main success factors in digital products. Study shows that investing in UX results in lower customer acquisition and customer service costs as well as higher user retention. It all makes investing 1 dollar bring 100 dollar return.
Before beginning the design phase we'll analyse what you have already prepared and help you refine it if necessary. You can read about our product design methods on our blog. Design phase will bring the following products: clickable mockups, user stories and API specification. It will all allow us to determine your product budget.
You have everything you need to start the development phase and are looking for a reliable software house? Read our article on how to choose a service provider.
You got a working product but are not fully satisfied with its performance? Users aren't sure how to use it, conversion rate is low, user interface is outdated? Conduct a UX Audit. It will provide you with data that will allow you to improve your product to a much greater degree than if you tried it based on your intuition only. Implementation of recommended adjustments will improve user experience, increase conversion rate and lower churn rate.
Your product hasn't been updated for a long time? In that case we recommend a code review which is a thorough software analysis that focuses on code quality, safety and performance. Based on the code review we'll prepare a set of recommendations on how to optimise your software, fix safety gaps and prepare for future software development.
If you'll be quick about designing improvements or new interface you may be able to secure financing or book IT resources before the end of the year!
We are deluged by new technologies, so it may be hard to distinguish pure hype ones from those that will bring real value in the near future. IoT, AI and AR are definitely a part of the latter group. The following study conducted by PwC shows that above technologies are regarded as most important in budget proposals prepared by head managers for the coming years.
Smart speakers are the IoT devices that will have the greatest impact on consumer market along with voice assistants are considered as the next major habit changer. When we consider that smartphones brought the previous big habit change, smart speakers together with cloud-integrated smartphone assistants may lead to many interesting e-commerce or digital service opportunities in the future. As of today (end of 2018) Amazon sells 19% of its products via Alexa, furthermore, people who use it want the same features in their other devices.
Source: „How interested would you be in having the smart speaker technology…” NPR & Edison Research
When it comes to AR Google and Apple guarantee a fast technology adaptation. You've probably heard about AR implementations in the past few years but as of today (November 2018) this technology is already a part of smartphone operating systems (ARKit and ARCore) in a form that is not based on third-party technology. It's also worth mentioning that Apple promotes interesting ARKit apps in App Store. See our case study of ARKit e-commerce app.
Investing in digital products requires constant evolution as well as keeping an eye out for new technologies. Smartphones showed us that society can adapt to a new digital device and begin using it on a massive scale in a matter of a few years. It took people three times as long to understand how the Internet works than how to use a smartphone and the latter may be considered a present day wallet, something that no one ever parts with.
Source: Surveys conducted 2000-2016. Internet use figures based on pooled analysis of all surveys conducted during each calendar year. PEW RESEARCH CENTER
Uber's, Netflix's or AirBnB's success stories could serve as good examples and lessons on how you should analyse innovative technologies and try to utilise them but you have to do it in a thought-out way, as we suggest in the previous section. Making business decisions under pressure of spending the remaining money is the worst possible way.
Believe us when we tell you that our method is much better than making a kludge. Our company specialises in digital product development and we could say “yes, we'll have your app prepared by the end of the year” but we prefer to honestly tell you that such a project requires thorough preparation.
High-quality software will give your company another customer touchpoint as well as an additional source of income. It may also improve your in-house operations which could lead to better customer experience. But without considering how this product should address the needs of your users and how it's going to impact your company in the following months you may end up with a product that will be of no use to anyone.
Looking for advice? Contact us to book a free consultation with our team on how to use your budget to gain advantage over your competition in the coming year and beyond.