An organization’s website has gradually become the face of its branding. In the current mobile technology boom, it is crucial to integrate the website for mobile use. Mobile is only going to grow from here in terms of technology and hence web and mobile integrations are going to be all what it takes to justify digital investments. The mobile has allowed people to build their own customizable and personalized space. People use mobile devices for variety of reasons from finding jobs, to searching for colleges, to making banking transactions, to locating the nearest ATM.
Web and Mobile Integrations are Saving the Day but What is Making this Integration Possible?
Web services or API is the key to such developments. Let us try to understand how enterprises are making the most through their webservice development:
Coming to the importance of Webservices Development / API development for your Business applications, it is a fact that the largest user base of the Web APIs belongs to the web development space. Yet, end users can also benefit from them. Let’s take a look how:
- Integration : APIs enable the web developer to integrate the applications with advanced functions.
- Interactivity: End users find it easier to interact with the application.
- Creates value for providers: A well coded API can become the brand of a provider.
- Adapts the mobile interface: Lightweight APIs make it possible for faster downloads, upgrades in case of mobile.
- Expandable: APIs that are expandable make it possible for OS upgrades in phones and tables
Different enterprises are using web-mobile integrations in their own customized ways. We need to understand how these integrations are being effective in increasing their visibility as well as their sales. Lets quickly go through the various forms of enterprises and the different integrations they are going through:
These are enterprises which directly face the end user. An integrated app for such enterprises becomes indispensable. This can allow tapping of the festive seasons for more ROI. The integration needs to concentrate on performance of the mobile application. e.g. Facebook after launching a hybrid app got a head start in the initial days of the smartphone market. Once the smartphone market grew out of bounds, Facebook released its native version for iOS and Android and chucked out the previous hybrid app.
This way Facebook didn’t have compromise on its performance and also could go launch themselves before the peak time had arrived. B2C enterprises are making using of these integrations to respond to customer instantly whenever an opportunity knocks. Native versions shall be required when there’s too much traffic. This shall only make the application more scalable and will give the users a better experience.
These enterprises deal with other enterprises. The web-mobile integration will have to be thus used a little differently for the benefit of such enterprises. Usually such enterprises have a range of applications with its own set of functionality designed for its respective partners and stakeholders.
These companies use a mobile framework or API alongside another reference application. This reference sometimes serves to integrate backend processes for big partners to collaborate or also can be used as a mobile application for clients without the basic IT teams or third party vendors.
Technology and product enterprises use these integrations to add value to their old customers. Software product companies get started by enabling the existing customers to write their own mobile applications via APIs. Examples include SAP, Salesforce; among others
What Makes These Integrations Great?
Let’s try to understand by a simple example of how these integrations are actually so useful. Let’s take into consideration the example of recruitments that are now integrated on the mobile. Ultimate Recruiter’s Guide to Mobile for 2015 notes that 3 in 5 job seekers are now using mobile devices for jobs and 51 % of applications submitted on Indeed.com are via mobile. With the use of ATS (Application Tracking System) and the right integration, even recruitment methods will undergo a makeover. Responsive designs have enabled better rankings of mobile friendly pages.
Web mobile integrations have created new scope for customer interaction, retention and means of communication. Enterprises no longer need to depend on a website but have more customizable means to establish relationships with their customers. API development has made these integrations possible. They also are great time savers. Sharing is made possible because of these integrations. Sometimes it has to be agreed that third party webservices meet a sudden death when companies decide to intentionally block, limit or shut down APIs. Take for example: Shutting down Google Health led to an end of all the applications that had its APIs. Nevertheless, integrations have made it possible for more interconnectedness. There is more interlinking and the internet has become more navigable. So let’s quickly outline how the internet has become friendlier.
|The Advantages of Integration
|- Easy navigation
|- Responsive design
|- Convenient sharing
|- Easier to create new apps
|- Renders the modern web possible
|1. Predicting upcoming trends in web development 20161.1.Background images
1.2.Card based design
1.3.Digital first branding
Web development has entered into an exciting phase as it enters 2016. It is going through a complete makeover and hence it becomes interesting to predict what awaits us in 2016. As time rides by, a lot of visual information and graphic appeal becomes defunct. So what would stay and to what shall we bid farewell remains an important question at this juncture? What are we looking forward to then in terms of look, content, branding and data management? Seems like 2016 is the year when a lot of elements of the webpage shall see the new and bury the old. Lets run over the contents quickly.
Website speed and performance have become one of the primary factors as we approach 2016. With internet spreading across the globe and reaching out to the remotest corners of the planet, the web is being served on portable platforms. High quality background images are going to be a matter of the past. Innovations in typography are expected as they will be required to replace the background images. So say hello to your blank background and say yes to speed, better performance and better text.
This brings us to the point of the “almost flat design approach”. It is not that it is a new trend for background images to take the backseat – we have been gradually reaching this point over some good period of time. The following image illustrates the almost flat design approach. In this, the idea of a complete flat design is negated by using depth to elements to create a sort of balance and appeal.
Back in 2014, high quality images were the trend and it had gained its share of popularity only to take the downfall in 2015. By 2016, we expect the same trend to continue.
|What stays? - Innovative typography
– Interesting illustrations
– Almost flat design
|What Goes? - High quality background images
– Flat design
– Huge size content
The card based design is indeed the current trend now and it shall only continue to be so. In this re-architecture of the web, cards enable the user to create a personalized space with individual content. With internet gradually shifting from computers to tablets, from laptops to the mobile phone, the card based design has become a great design pattern. Already the big guns like Twitter and Google have made the move to cards. The Google Search has become more personalized with the introduction of Google cards in mobile phones.
In the evolution of the modern civilization, cards have always played an important role in trade, celebrations, funerals and intimate events. Hence there is a psychological impact made by the cards as they enable the user to have an intimate space within the larger scope of the world wide web. In the fast paced pay per click world, cards have become story telling agents and effectively push stories quickly. The success story of Pininterest highlights the impact of the card based design. 2016 shall just see more of it as more websites take the baton and move to cards.
So, say hello to more information in less time.
|What stays?- Card Design
– Personalized content
Brands do no longer work if they haven’t yet embraced the digital revolution. Brand retention value has been transfigured and digitized. 2016 sees the same trend as it reaches its culmination point and more brands take the plunge into digitizing themselves.
According to Aberdeen research, a 336% quicker conversion rate of vistor to buyer year over year has been achieved by companies that use mobile touch points. The customer lifetime value also increases by 4.8% v/s the 0.3 % for those who do not acknowledge the digitization move.
Digital first branding enables users to interact with brands which adds value to the relationship between a customer and a brand. The rules of branding have definitely changed and web development shall have to appreciate the same and adapt. A swipe to new information is now deemed more personal and interactive than a static piece of information. New advances in UI design shall be accompanied with enhanced interactive tools. Be ready for the micro-experience.
|What stays?- Interactive UI design
– Flexible branding options
|What Goes?- Fixed rules of brand creation
– Brand identity
It is a historic moment to quote that open data has become a reality. According to a report in the “The Guardian”, open data has entered digital policy packages and transparency initiatives across the developed countries. There are still setbacks to the same but open data has a bright future. In predicting upcoming trends in web development, 2016 open data ranks as one of the pioneers that shall redeem its true value and importance. It’s been 5 years since the first pan global meet on open data took place in Warsaw and now it is here to stay to offer public service and value.
Responsive Design Evolved
This has already reached its culmination point and yet it shall keep continuing being the industry standard. With new inventions coming up and newer platforms being accessed for the web, responsive design is a pre-requisite for every website. The focus area in responsive design has been navigation. The input method is expected to go through a change in the 2016. Audio input already exists in the form of Siri and hence with the rise of wearables like the Apple Watch, even other sensory inputs shall be involved. From screen agnosticism we shall gradually move to screen independence.
With the almost flat design approach to the web, a flash of colors to add depth and visual appeal will be the trend. Websites will become more vibrant with various interesting color schemes. Look forward to vibrant headers and quirky illustrations painted in a flat backdrop with a range of colors.
What’s hot in 2016 might not be in 2017. Till then, let’s hope the predictions roll for good as web development ages by another year. The future of web development can be safely translated as a trend of an interactive user experience.
Enterprises have now understood the potential in the cloud. The cloud that serves the business with more self service ability and elasticity is now on high demand. As enterprises successfully make the transition and move their applications and services to the cloud, they are still left with a bigger issue which they cannot neglect – these enterprises haven’t been shifted their mission critical applications to the cloud. These applications for most of the enterprises are still pocketed in their own data center hosted by their servers. Hence as a reality check it hasn’t been possible for harnessing the cloud advantage to its full extent.
Where do Enterprises Go Wrong?
Is is important for enterprises to fix this issue and complete the transition. It has to be understood also that it is not a simple job to move these mission critical applications. Security is the highest concern. It also involves the availability of the technology to support these apps. Since the cloud is still going through its maturing phase, there’s scepticism as well as complexity involved in making the shift. This has created a gap in strategy between the critical apps and the non critical apps.
However, this too shall pass. New innovations in cloud technology to meet the demands of the mission critical apps are already around. With time, a more mature and stable phase of cloud shall emerge which will make it more convenient for enterprises to move their critical apps to the cloud. Then the benefits of cost, efficiency and agility will come a full circle and not be limited to non critical apps.
Let’s try to understand as to how enterprises can make the complete transition before their competitors start making benefits out of the same. The approach to cloud services definitely needs to shift from infrastructure to application-centric(SAAS Application Development). Lets outline the 3 steps involved in reaching out to our goal:
Identify a new route to availability
High availability is the first key and is absolutely non-negotiable. But then if we look at the recent Microsoft’s Azure cloud service outage, we can see for ourselves the downside of high availability. If you think that spotty availability is the only obstacle, then you are wrong.
- It’s therefore important to chart new route to availability rather than looking at it as a one way street.
- The orthodox hardware based infrastructure centric approach doesn’t match with the fluid dynamics of the cloud environment.
- The application centric approach comes into use now when we approach availability with the concept of software defined availability. Recovery becomes much more simplified via this approach.
This minimizes the risk involved in moving the critical apps to the cloud and doesn’t require any re-engineering. Also it is a time and cost effective approach. This simplifies most of the complexity involved in the transition.
Strengthen the orchestration abilities
Orchestrating the cloud resources is the next step for a successful transition. Exact pocketing of data where it needs to be(the right time, the right place aphorism) is taken care by strong orchestration capabilities. Its noteworthy to point out that critical applications do not have a static requirement. They are also fluid in nature and do not remain mission critical at every point of the timeline.
For example in a Christmas season, a payment processing application becomes critical and during the start of every month, financial services in the form of salary transactions become critical. Hence scalability needs to be incorporated according to the need and time.
- A dynamic application configuration approach will also reduce the need for rewriting applications.
- Dynamic orchestration in the cloud enables deployment of an application only when that degree of maximum availability is required.
- Without any interruption of any services, this saves money and effectively manages the computing resources.
Tapping open source technologies
Open source definitely cuts down on costs. Proprietary technology always bring along with it expensive licenses, fees and miscellaneous expenses.
- Tapping open source technologies like Linux, Kernel-based Virtual Machine, OpenStack can drastically change the ball game and make cloud services more profitable than they otherwise were.
- These technologies also provide the enterprise with software defined availability and allow strong orchestration.
Open source technology is here to stay and is only bound to grow. Hence harnessing the power at the earliest would be a wise business policy.
To be a step ahead in the race for cloud applications, the critical apps need to be immediately moved to the cloud. It is indeed a complex and a risky affair but then with the right kind of approach the risks can be minimized. Before the competitors fasten their belts, enterprises need to make the move and look forward to having a successful transition to the cloud. With cloud getting into its mature stage, the prospects only look brighter. The traditional methods of hosting applications need to be given up for good and cloud needs to be embraced in the most effective way possible. The leap to the cloud is easy if done the right way.
Remember to tickmark the following before making that move:
|1. Application centric approach
|2. Software defined availability
|3. Develop strong orchestration abilities
|4. Open Source
How does an organization manage its resources? We’ve seen organizations fumbling at the basic points. The common mistake is to aim bigger when you’re not prepared for it. You cannot fight Goliath without being prepared. Your organizational strategy needs to be different and needs to be tailored to what you need.
In a competitive scenario, you will need to be prepared to fight the basics. For instance, you will need to have to decide between outsourcing projects versus choosing the seemingly more reliable option of staff augmentation. Here is a look at what a normal IT Consulting firm has to take care for instance.
For them, staff training is important, as well as the question of security. Staff augmentation can take care of both these incidents but it might not be able to solve network or software issues that the in-house team cannot handle. For that, they might need to outsource the projects.
What is Staff Augmentation?
Staff augmentation can be a great way to reduce costs and improve operational efficiencies. If you’re looking to expand strategically and are looking for more human resource, staff augmentation is the way to go. Staff augmentation refers to where can add in staff to your organization as you want. Staff augmentation refers to adding in staff as per the needs of the company. You do not permanently hire the employees so you can scale up and down as needed, offering you the flexibility to manage important projects and needs as well as avoiding the liabilities of hiring full time employees. After the work is complete, the staff will no longer need to be paid by the employer.
What is Project Outsourcing?
Suppose you’ve a specific task that needs to be done. You might not have the staff expertise to do it. This can put you in a dilemma. What do you do to ensure that you’re right on track with the project? Project outsourcing helps outsource specific tasks and resources with other people or agencies. Sometimes, project outsourcing can even take the shape of staff augmentation, but in a different way. Let’s say you outsource the work to Company B, which uses staff augmentation in its own workplace to complete it.
The wrong strategy can have an effect on employee morale. For one, the wrong HR strategy made an employee vent his frustration on the company, equating employees with staff augmentation. A recent survey stated that the outsourcing market in the U.K. is expected to grow, with service providers meeting expectations more often than not. The survey, carried out by Whitelane Research in collaboration with PA Consulting Group, had 69% of respondents stating that they will increase the amount of IT services that they get from their service providers.
So, which one’s the better option?
That’s the billion-dollar question. It’s like asking, should I prefer a Chocolate or a Strawberry cake. You need a strategy that can help you complete your projects on time and within budget.
Let’s talk about investing in project outsourcing while not compromising on staff augmentation. Here is a table for what works for both and where they lack in.
||Great for having control over staff and ensuring quality and confidentiality. Everything remains within the organization.
||Great for doing specific tasks that require to be completed asap but there might be a need of confidential information sharing – which can go wrong at times.
||Requires staff expertise which means that you will have to invest in training staff.
||Can directly go for assigning tasks and not worry about training and other related costs.
||Greater integration with internal processes and understanding company culture, helping offer better products. Management overhead costs can increase though.
||Can make use of the best practices without being hindered by organizational bottlenecks. The ignorance of the company culture can also be a downside. Management overhead costs can be eliminated.
||Great for handling rapidly changing staff needs and improving internal skill development. However, staff can get to know the in-house working methodologies without being a permanent employee.
||Extremely easy when it comes to scalability. Keeps the focus on the business and helps in procuring the right talent for the right needs, without wasting time with training staff for project needs that only rise periodically.
||Less employer burdens as staff can be scaled up and down as needed to meet project deadlines without worrying about normal employee liabilities.
||Significantly reduces the cost burden as you only pay for the work. Great for one-off or periodic tasks but not that right a choice if the work required is a regular one.
||Great if you’ve a long term project and are looking to hire staff specific to that project.
||Better suited for strict deadlines that are urgent as it can take time to build staff and train them.
||Larger projects and smaller projects can both be looked after with staff augmentation
||Great value if you will need some expertise in larger value projects and can outsource part of the tasks that your team is not experienced in.
The power of the web has transcended traditional methods of communication, branding and marketing. The web contains all the elements that were ever required by an enterprise to increase its ROI and create a profitable business. What does the web have which the traditional methods didn’t have? Is the internet showing an error 404 when a potential customer is looking for the service/product you are selling. An enterprise not leveraging the power of the web is almost sure to fail in today’s fluctuating and interactive market. Let’s look at some ways at how can enterprises leverage the power of web.
1. Huge Customer Base
Thanks to the social network – more than a billion people are now connected on the same platform. So an enterprise that acknowledges the power of the web is going to exist for the billion online users for whom everyday new content is being created.
These users are being converted into customers via inbound and content marketing. This has ensured the right traffic to the products they want to own or the services they seek. Every other second innumerable leads are tracked to find potential customers. To reach to a huge customer base has become easy and users are a click away if an enterprise understands how to leverage the power of the web.
- The mobile revolution has just spearheaded the same and markets like Korea and Japan have responded to the same already positively.
- The other countries on the same page are Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.
- Also the customer demographic has become youth centric and hence the web’s user base that is pre-dominantly the youth can be targeted via the proper approach to enterprise application development and enterprise web development.
The first step even before having a website is to have a Linkedin profile for the enterprise – this enhances the visibility of the enterprise and makes it available for notice by the huge customer base. It also adds a layer of credibility. For enterprises who have always followed the traditional methods should understand that their customers are already online if they are not.
2. A store that never closes
The web is a store that never closes – the customers never sleep. Across various time zones, different users at different points of time are seeking out products and services and choosing content to read from that leads to these services.
- According to a study made by Lloyds Bank and Go ON UK, it reflected that 1.2 million small business owners did not have the simple digital skills and have thus not been able to avail the power the web beholds.
- It is simple mathematics as to whether a 9-5 store that has its share of weekends would do well or a 24 * 7 store.
- Web enables customer interaction at every hour. This enables enhanced customer satisfaction, feedback and increases the conversion rate of customers into trusted customers.
3. Networking opportunities
The power of the web primarily lies in networking. Customers have become tech savvy. They demand better applications, interactive content and improved services. Networking can facilitate potential investors to find enterprising businesses.
Networking can be used to find clients on a pan global scale and to reach out to customers in a more effective manner. Enterprise application development needs to be stressed upon to develop applications that tend to the demands of the Web 2.0. customers.
The mobile revolution has already impacted enterprises by making them create content for the mobile phone.
- By the next year, wearables will be the next in thing and enterprises will have to drive networking via that medium.
- Inbound marketing and content marketing approaches can help enterprises create an effective profitable network of customers.
- Take the case of ecommerce and how it has boomed. In ecommerce it can be noticed as to how customer interaction takes place before buying a service or a product. The enterprise exists at the helm of service and product demands and possible customers and users interact via the web development model of the enterprise.
4. Cost Effective
Incorporating an enterprise web development model is cost effective. The idea of creating a brand has become outmoded with flexible branding being the in thing for customers.
- The web allows aplenty cost effective solutions to customize branding and personalize it for individual customers.
- The direct channels of luring a customer to buying a service or a product via advertisement and expensive marketing platforms have been replaced by content and inbound marketing which don’t cost a dime.
- Customers are now rather driven by content than by interruptive commercials, print ads and radio ads.
- Customers communicate via the application the enterprise builds for the required customer engagement. Hence an enterprise application development model needs to be integrated to harness the power of the web.
From an one sided affair of communication between a customer and an enterprise, we have moved into an interactive phase. How is interaction monitored, channelized and harnessed? The web does provide channels to maintain the degrees of freedom that communication deserves.
- According to the platform being used for the communication, applications need to be sized and structured to make it comfortable for the user to navigate.
- For instance banking transactions also happen via the web but then if the platform being used is the mobile phone, then a busy web page will defeat the idea of the banking transaction and it is bound to fail causing inconvenience to the customer.
For an engaging communication, applications should be designed according to the suitability of the platform the potential customer is going to use. There’s a lot more to how enterprises can leverage the power of web. The power of web exists in infinite possibilities and it is hence important for enterprises to harness it as soon as possible.
|The takeaways of the power of the web for an enterprise
|2. Cost Effectiveness
|3. Narrowing the communication gaps
|5. Interacting with customers 24 * 7
Huge customer base, a store that never closes, networking opportunities, cost effective, communication
Enterprise Web Development, Enterprise Application Development