4 Strategies for Mobile Success

With mobile competition and customer expectations skyrocketing, it’s time for your business to be mobile-relevant—or become mobile-extinct. From analytics to optimization and personalization, you can be mobile-minded and ready to deliver well thought out mobile experiences that provide value, in context, at the time of need. Here are four strategies for re-imagining your business with mobile and keeping your most valuable customers and employees satisfied.

Mobile is more than a channel

Mobile development isn’t just about creating the same user experience for smaller screen sizes. Given that some consumers will continue to shop at brick-and-mortar stores while others would be perfectly happy with a mobile-only institution, it’s important that your mobile strategy complements the entire customer journey map. You have to think of mobile as a way to improve customer experience overall, and your company is more likely to improve overall conversion.

Mobile experiences must be easy to use

With limited screen space and the occasional interruptions consumers experience while engaging in their mobile devices, marketers need to cut to the chase and make content easily accessible. Streamline the workflow with smart defaults and data loaded integration. Engage users with emerging technologies that eliminate the need for customers to search back and forth, such as  “shoppable media” that quickly give mobile users the content they want in one click.

Metrics, metrics, metrics

To measure mobile success, you must manage it first. This is as important for big corporations as it is for startups. When developing and managing apps, mobile teams must understand how many consumers download and how often they launch their app, what paths they take, what social interactions are getting traction and if their interactions drive monetization. To get the most out of your mobile apps, you must use metrics for user acquisition, engagement, conversion and retention to help you measure ROI.

Target and personalize by audience segment

Your brand is the common denominator between your customers—beyond that, each customer is uniquely different and expects a unique experience based on their level of engagement and interests. To find out what they like, consider using A/B testing and optimization. To keep them engaged, consider using location-based targeting and social network integration to create relevant, personalized experiences wherever they are.

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Are nonprofits getting the most out of digital currency?

Nonprofits need to go digital

One of the biggest pain points that nonprofits have to deal with is fundraising. Maintaining a consistent flow of donations and financial contributions can be extremely difficult without an effective strategy and high-quality software tools in place. If nonprofit organizations fail to give these matters their proper due, they may see their stream of donations dry up, making day-to-day operations far more difficult.

Fundraising issues affect both organizations that rely on private contributions and those that receive government support. Many government bodies struggle to pay nonprofits on time and in full. According to a National Council of Nonprofits study, 45 percent of responding nonprofits reported that government agencies are frequently late with their payments. Furthermore, the average state government owed more than $200,000 to each nonprofit it worked with.

“Digital currency offers a quick and easy way to donate.”

Financial issues continue to be a significant cause for concern among nonprofits. A 2014 survey from the Nonprofit Finance Fund found that 28 percent of participants had a deficit at the end of their 2013 fiscal calendar. In response to these issues, many nonprofits are looking for opportunities to diversify their funding sources and bring in new contributions. Thirty-one percent of nonprofits said that they would change their primary avenue for raising money within 12 months of the survey.

Clear roadblocks for donors
In this climate, it’s critical that nonprofits take advantage of every opportunity to increase their funds and contributions. One way that organizations can improve their funding efforts is by removing any barriers or bottlenecks for potential donors. Digital currency offers a quick and easy way for interested parties to donate to their charity or nonprofit of choice. Although many nonprofits have traditionally received cash or check payments as contributions, neither is ideal. It takes time for checks to be deposited, and there may be issues with them clearing. Furthermore, payments sent through the mail could be easily lost, representing missed opportunities for additional funding.

Digital currency, on the other hand, can be transferred almost immediately, eliminating these types of issues and putting critical funds in the hands of nonprofits. Organizations in this sector are starting to take notice of digital payment services and their benefits, using such platforms with greater frequency. According to the Nonprofit Technology Network’s 2014 Nonprofit Benchmarks Study, online donations are on the rise, increasing 14 percent in 2013 alone.

Mobile payment apps enable donors to send contributions with the click of a button.Mobile payment apps enable donors to send contributions with the click of a button.

Tap into new funding sources
Finance consultant and TechSoup contributor Dave Landry, Jr. noted that by embracing digital currency platforms, nonprofits could appeal to an entirely new donor base, further increasing contributions. For instance, younger demographics may be more likely to prefer online payment systems over traditional avenues.

“For people who might not have donated to a nonprofit or charity before, the post-wallet economy offers all sorts of new opportunities,” Landry wrote. “For nonprofits, this whole new world can make doing good easy and even fun for people.”

Another benefit to digital currency is that it helps cut down on waffling from potential donors. When weighing the prospect of making a contribution to a nonprofit, an individual may be discouraged by the amount of effort needed to complete the transaction. Filling out a check, addressing an envelope and heading down to the nearest post office to mail a donation can be a time-consuming process. Ultimately, an interested donor may decide it is not worth the effort. Because digital payments can be made almost instantaneously, there is less risk of a potential contributor walking away.

When considering payment platforms, nonprofit organizations may want to deploy custom software solutions. Many e-wallet services are designed with private businesses in mind and may not properly consider the needs of nonprofits. By working with a specialized software consulting group, organizations can obtain software that has been created specifically around their needs and demands. This way, they can address any number of unique concerns like transparency, compliance and reporting. Furthermore, payment apps can be custom built with a donor audience in mind to help encourage conversions, resulting in more funding overall.

Even in circumstances where IT budgets are tight, nonprofits can benefit tremendously by deploying a digital currency platform geared toward their specific needs.

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Technology and nonprofits go hand in hand

Nonprofits embrace technology

Technology is an extremely important part of everyday life for all of us – from personal experiences to enterprise-related goals. This is something that more nonprofit organizations are realizing, and as such they are looking for new ways to implement it within their offices.

“It should come as no surprise that every company is different – even if they do the same thing. This is especially true for nonprofits.”

But what is technology in relation to nonprofits? According to NTEN contributor Peter Campbell, it should be a philosophy. Like businesses that are for-profit, there is no one-size-fits-all kind of solution here. Instead, tech should be turned to as a way of improving existing practices on a case-by-case basis that considers the actual organization in question.

With this in mind, those nonprofit organizations that are hoping to invest in mobile applications should look into custom software development. Programs are generally created to meet a specific need, but they also have to be built to serve individual companies.

Keeping people connected
Mobile technology has increased the number of ways that people can connect with one another – not to mention the frequency at which they communicate. The world is getting smaller, and nonprofits stand to gain a significant amount of traction through the use of smartphones, tablets and apps. Making it easy and convenient for people to participate in a cause ultimately improves the strength of the nonprofit in question.

“To succeed, a movement needs much more than ad campaigns or ‘astroturfing,” wrote Harvard Business Review contributors Jeremy Heinmans and Henry Timms. “Leaders must be able to actually mobilize true believers, not just talk at them. A key new power question for all organizations is ‘Who will really show up for you?'”

Smartphones help to connect more people with nonprofits.Smartphones help to connect more people with nonprofits.

Meeting specific organizational needs
It should come as no surprise that every company is different – even if they do the same thing. This is especially true for nonprofits. According to Campbell, every nonprofit is unique, and as such their solutions have to be tailored to the specific needs of both their internal and external stakeholder. This is particularly important to remember when it comes to applications and what is best to leverage. This is why custom software development is so critical to pursue. The apps that are leveraged have to work for the company that needs them, and the same principle absolutely applies to not-for-profit agencies and organizations.

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Enterprise mobility concepts have place in nonprofits too

Enterprise Mobility for Nonprofits

There have been countless new ideas that have stemmed from widespread smartphone adoption. In fact, many businesses have been founded on a concept that would not have been possible without the popularity of consumer devices like the iPhone. Services like Uber and Lyft, for example, have changed how people catch a ride. This has caused some serious disruption in the taxi and livery industries.

“Engaging an audience is easy in a software-defined setting.”

But one other place that this idea could take hold is in the nonprofit sector. According to Nonprofit Quarterly contributor Jeanne Allen, ridesharing capabilities have been used by nonprofit organizations to help provide relief in areas that have been struck by a natural disaster. This helps people to stay mobile even if their own cars or normal means of transportation have been disabled.

Nonprofits have a lot to learn from enterprise mobility. There are a number of different ways in which solid business strategies can be appropriated for the nonprofit industry in order to better serve people in need. While individual use cases will vary, there is one thing that’s certain: Custom software solutions are the only way to go. While there may be other apps out there that do the same thing that a nonprofit is trying to accomplish, programs have to be designed for the specific entities that are using them in order to experience the best possible results.

Apps help build community
Nonprofits don’t necessarily have a consumer base as much as they do a community to engage. According to Business 2 Community contributor Wendy Burt-Thomas, this is why former Livestrong CEO Doug Ulman believes that social media is so valuable to nonprofit companies.

“There is a difference between a community and a crowd,” Ulman said, according to Burt-Thomas. “In a crowd, people push and shove and try to get a step ahead. In a community, people look around, they smile and share a story, because they know that a community doesn’t move forward unless they all move forward together.”

It’s undeniable that social media got a huge leg-up from the constant accessibility enabled by smartphone and tablet applications. This is something that nonprofits have to keep in mind – the sense of community that they’re looking for can be found in apps that encourage social interactions and involvement. Engaging an audience is easy in a software-defined setting, and doing so can help nonprofits to increase awareness, donations and support by making these things fun, simple and social.

Social media apps have helped to prove the importance of community in mobile connectivity. Enterprise mobilitySocial media apps have helped to prove the importance of community in mobile connectivity.

The importance of custom software
For any given task, there are countless apps out there that claim to be capable of handling it. But many of these programs are not designed with specific organizations in mind, meaning they only have a general understanding of what a company actually does. In order to make sure that a nonprofit gets the most out of an application, it’s important to invest in custom software development. This will ensure that target audiences are engaged and the overall goal is reached.

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For nonprofits, the time is now for mobile investment

The idea behind the success of the smartphone is that it can be used to do almost anything. Modern mobile devices have a seemingly limitless potential when it comes to improving a user’s everyday experience, and this is something that nonprofit organizations are starting to realize.

“Whether [custom software] is directed at supporters or employees, an app has to fill a need in order to be successful.”

According to First Nonprofit Group, this goes against the common notion that nonprofits are “behind the times when it comes to embracing technology.”

“[T]he truth of the matter is that nonprofit groups are diving headfirst into technology through social media, search engine optimization and a number of digital strategies that help charities and foundations thrive in a world where there is increasing competition for donors’ attention and contributions,” FNG stated on its website.

Mobile investments are becoming essential for nonprofit entities. While there may have once been a question as to whether or not this was something to pursue, it’s now an issue of when to seek out custom software development. Chances are, sooner will be better when it comes to bringing smartphones and tablets into the equation.

Beginning the process
According to nonprofit tech consultant Beth Kanter, the first place to start when working on an app for a nonprofit is to identify a purpose. Too often there is a likelihood that an app will be created without having a goal behind it. This is an easy way to build a useless piece of software.

“Unless an app makes a person’s life easier or better, the app won’t be used,” Kanter wrote. “To be certain that this is what will be accomplished, a nonprofit should clearly determine its goals for a project before embarking on the development of an app. If it is mission-based and serves the needs of the audience, then an app might be a worthwhile solution.”

This isn’t just true for nonprofits, but for any organization. Functionality is key for mobile apps, and if users don’t perceive one, they are less likely to adopt the program. Whether this software is directed at supporters or employees, an app has to fill a need in order to be successful.

Apps are becoming essential for nonprofits.Apps are becoming essential for nonprofits.

Custom development is imperative
Even more than having an app or a purpose behind it, it is essential to make sure that programs are developed for the specific organizations that use them. Custom software solutions are critical for all kinds of companies, and nonprofits are right up there with the others.

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Mobile customer engagement more critical than ever

Consumer technology has made some incredible strides in the past few years. People are now more connected – and skilled in the operation of mobile devices – than ever before.

“It seems that these days almost the minute you are born you are surrounded by technology like smartphones,” wrote TMCnet contributor Joe Rizzo. “I believe that if you take a count of all the smartphones you will find that it comes close to almost every human being on the planet having one of their own.”

This presents some interesting opportunities for businesses. Customer engagement is one of the most important aspects of an enterprise. As such, the channels that organizations use to create it should be popular. In the present day, no platform fits that bill quite like mobile devices.

People spend an incredible amount of time using their personal devices. They enjoy finding new ways in which they can make their lives easier by using an application. This is something that businesses need to take into consideration. If an enterprise is able to use smartphone software to streamline and improve a user’s experience with the company, it will help to promote strong customer/business relationships. For this to occur, however, it will be essential to invest in custom mobile app development.

Mobile considerations have to be made
At one point, there was a question regarding whether or not to make mobile a priority. As time moves forward, however, it’s being discovered that mobility has to be embraced with open arms. According to TMCnet contributor Tracey Schelmetic, much of this is because of the buying power that millennials are finding themselves in possession of. The younger generation is “mobile first,” and the companies they choose to support have to be, as well.

“Having a mobile-first customer experience strategy is no longer simply ‘nice to have,'” Schelmetic wrote. “In today’s digital marketplace, it should be a central pillar of your business strategy. Most companies, however, simply don’t know where to begin.”

The answer is to start with custom software development. It is being widely accepted that ready-made programs do not consider the intricacies of the individual organizations that use them. Providing customers with apps that are geared toward helping with specific interactions is a powerful way to improve upon essential consumer relationships.

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Enabling mobility can encourage employees to work

Modern culture is defined by mobility. It seems like everyone is constantly using their personal devices for something – be it personal or professional tasks. In the case of the latter, it could be that an employee is using an app that hasn’t been approved for use within the enterprise. This can be a problem – consumer software rarely has the same kind of development behind it that business-class programs do.

But the issue in itself is not mobility. In fact, mobility needs to be embraced within companies. Because workers are so invested in their smartphones and tablets and are willing to use them to complete tasks, they are likely to increase their productivity if presented with the means to do so in an approved manner.

“All joking aside, it’s obvious that today’s workers have had a massive increase in screen time,” wrote TMCnet contributor Tara Seals. “Often this is tied to the availability of mobile productivity applications and the rise of the cloud – more and more, the smartphone-based use of business unified communications apps, email and VoIP all allow users to get work done cost-effectively while on the go.”

By supplying employees with custom software solutions, businesses can increase productivity and job satisfaction in incredible new ways. Enterprises have to invest in apps that meet the changing needs of both their data and staffers.

Applications usage up in 2014
The coming year is likely to be huge for mobility. A number of new devices are on the horizon, and more people are discovering just what they can accomplish with mobile software. According to a recent study conducted by Flurry, app usage increased by a staggering 76 percent in 2014, and growth trends show no signs of slowing.

“In 2014, Flurry Analytics tracked 2.079 trillion sessions – a mind-boggling number,” Flurry stated in a release. “On December 31 we set another daily session record with 8.5 billion sessions as people celebrated the approaching New Year chatting, sharing, looking for rides, and navigating New Year’s Eve.”

It’s likely that those same people using apps in personal situations are also experienced in using them for work, even for something as innocuous as checking email. Smartphone users are eager to leverage their devices at work if it means meeting goals faster and more efficiently. This kind of attitude needs to be capitalized on in 2015.

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Custom software helps businesses succeed

Enterprise mobility is a series of moving parts. The devices themselves might be a focal point for many people, but it is critical to consider software and systems, as well.

According to Business Spectator contributor James Wooster, one of the biggest hurdles in enterprise mobility initiatives is figuring out how best to marry legacy environments and modern tools.

“On one hand, establishing seamless and secure integration with back-end systems is crucial to leveraging existing investments and avoiding building new IT silos,” Wooster wrote. “On the other hand, due to their complexity, such projects may quickly become big cost drivers. The key to driving cost efficiency is to provide an end-to-end solution for building cross-platform enterprise mobile apps, which are tightly integrated with the existing infrastructure.”

The most effective way to accomplish this is through custom software development. Integrating is difficult enough without having to deal with a program that might not be able to meet every need an organization has. Creating applications that are designed for the company that will be using them is a key component of success.

‘Made for mobile’ a clear winner
It should be noted that just because software is custom, however, doesn’t make it effective for the modern office. Existing solutions may not be “made for mobile,” according to CloudTweaks contributor Andronikos Nedos. This may involve implementing the cloud in order to make sure that apps are as agile and flexible as possible.

But selecting a prepackaged solution is not as convenient as it might sound. It’s important for organizations to invest in custom mobile app development. These kinds of programs are better suited for the companies that are planning to leverage them and lack some of the broad development strokes that other applications might have been built with.

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Wearable tech will arrive for real in 2015

It is already shaping up to be an interesting year for wearable technology. By several accounts, wearable tech will make increased appearances in both personal and professional settings. According to Reuters contributor Katrina Hamlin, things like fitness trackers are “just the beginning,” especially when it comes to healthcare. Wearable devices are likely to totally revolutionize the way that many tasks are completed.

“Wearables are still mostly in the ‘pre-iPhone’ stage and to keep the momentum and support behind this new wave of computing growing it is important that everyone understands where we are going,” wrote BetaKit contributor Tom Emrich. “But what is happening is that we are hearing about wearables concepts, research projects, crowdfunding ideas and launched devices in the same breath, and this ends up confusing the consumer, and more importantly, sets unrealistic expectations for purchased devices that cannot (yet) be met.”

Part of delivering on wearable expectations will be ensuring that the applications supporting them are developed effectively. For enterprises, this means abandoning the idea that pre-designed programs are going to be capable of considering a given organizations specific nuances. Custom software solutions are already the best way to make certain that smartphones and tablets reach their fullest potential, and the same can be said about the impending rise of the wearable device.

Welcome to the wearable revolution
According to ITProPortal contributor Marco Veremis, wearables are “set to go global in 2015.” The highly-anticipated Apple Watch is set to be released in the coming months to wide adoption, meaning that offices will likely experience a surge of employee-owned devices much in the same way that the iPhone came on the scene in 2007. It’s likely that other companies will follow suit and continue to push their own similar solutions.

“[T]he opportunity is clear and with major players entering the market this year competition in these developing markets could be fierce,” Veremis wrote. “The brand that wins when it comes to wearable will be the one that is able to not only meet the technological and price needs for these markets, but also deliver services to consumer in the right way.”

Workplace use cases are expected to appear specifically in areas like medicine. Wearables are not only able to track patient information in real time and transmit it to healthcare facilities that need it, but they also offer doctors the opportunity to enjoy hands-free interfaces. Voice-controlled examination rooms will be easy to create when smartwatches provide a constant microphone connection to a custom software solution.

This will help physicians to remain more engaged and prevent the spread of disease at the same time. Machines like Google Glass will offer similar advantages – doctors will be able to maintain eye contact with their patients while calling up information on their headsets. X-rays, for instance, can be used in augmented reality scenarios and laid over the person through the display. Developments like these lead Emrich to believe that 2015 will be a huge year for wearables in healthcare.

“From a medical standpoint, we can also expect wearables to be used as tools by doctors and hospitals that are willing to experiment with them, especially devices like smart glasses that improve productivity,” Emrich wrote. “But I do not expect doctors to officially use biometric data collected by wearables of their patients for diagnosis. I do believe that the relationship between the doctor and patient will continue to change in 2015 as consumers begin to understand their body better, putting them on a different footing when they enter their doctor’s office at their next appointment.”

The evolution of wearables will take an interesting turn this year, and not just in healthcare. There is massive potential for innovation to occur in all industries thanks to mobile technology’s ability to streamline basic and complicated tasks alike. Starting now on software that will help to find a place for wearables is going to be essential for those organizations that are trying to stay ahead of the competition.

Effective applications of the utmost importance
While the devices themselves will be critical to have, they are not the only part of the equation. Custom software development is going to be the cornerstone of any mobility initiative in 2015. Regardless of if the programs in question are employee-facing or aimed at consumers, applications have to be designed with particular devices, people and uses in mind. Because there is not much precedent for wearables, however, there will need to be some serious time and dedication made toward considering possible issues that can arise down the road.

“Wearable hardware and software makers will need to communicate clearly to their users what data they are collecting, who owns it, and how it will be used in order to calm concerns,” Emrich wrote. “Those that take an opt-in first approach will win out. I expect to see the beginnings of standards and regulations be put together within enterprise and perhaps even on the regulatory level next year to tackle these concerns.”

Enterprises need to get serious about mobility in 2015. This will mean investing in custom mobile app development that considers wearable tech and how it will be used in the workplace. Avoiding the subject is not an option, as mobile devices have already proven to be popular means of productivity.

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Enterprise Mobility takes center stage in 2015

Enterprise Mobility

It should be no surprise that mobility is of vital importance to enterprise. Regardless of if an application is customer- or employee-facing in nature, it is essential to develop effective applications that help to streamline the user experience.

With this in mind, the next year is going to be a make or break moment for many companies that have yet to deploy custom software solutions. According to Insurance Networking contributor Beth Bacheldor, it will be an especially big deal for professionals to be supplied with effective mobile apps.

“The ‘mobility mismatch’ between employers and employees will persist, even as enterprise IT departments become more accustomed to consumerization,” she said, citing a recent report from the researchers at Ovum. “For example, the rate of BYOD behavior continues to grow, but it is not being embraced by IT at nearly the same rate.”

Enterprises need to get serious in 2015 about mobility if they have not already. Now that more people understand what is possible to accomplish with their smartphones and tablets, they expect to be supported as employees and patrons by the organizations they interact with. The only way to accomplish this effectively will be to invest in custom software development.

Wearables will need to be considered
With the holiday season approaching fast, it’s likely that a great deal of people will be getting wearable devices as gifts this year. There has been a significant amount of excitement built up around these tools in the consumer sphere, and businesses are going to need to figure out how best to embrace them.

But while a great deal of adoptions will likely come in personal forms, wearables will find their most practical uses in the workplace.

“If 2014 was the year wearable technologies learned to walk, then 2015 is the year they’ll run,” wrote InformationWeek contributor Shane O’Neill. “And it’s inside the enterprise where wearables will pick up speed.”

O’Neill cites recent research from Forrester regarding the level of focus that organizations are planning to have on wearables in the coming year. Worldwide, 68 percent of companies view wearables as “a priority”. More than half of respondents that fell into this category went so far as to classify it as a “moderate, high or critical priority.”

These are the businesses that will help to set the tone in the new year. Wearables are expected to follow a much similar path that smartphones did, and being prepared this time around will help to circumvent many of the headaches that came with the first wave of IT consumerization. This will mean building wearable considerations into existing or impending custom mobile app development strategies.

2015 will be a proving ground
It’s hard to imagine a lack of mobile support being acceptable in a year’s time. This means that 2015 may be the last possible moment to get with the times and enable proper applications for consumers and employees. This will, on one level, mean making sure that wearables are a serious consideration.

But regardless of what the task or who the audience is, it will be essential to have custom software solutions that are built for the company in question.

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