Best Practices: What can a Portal do for Your Brand? [Part 1]

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Every technology project has the potential to transform a business for the better, but only if they are designed with best practices in mind. With over 100 digital transformation projects under our belt, we understand how important it is to design solutions with best practices in mind. Portals can be one of the most transformative projects an organization ever undergoes and can bring surprising results if implemented correctly. Here are six best practices for designing an easy-to-use portal solution that can create value for your brand.

 Portal

Best Portal Practice #1 – Envision the Transformation!

When designing a portal, it’s important to envision the transformation you want to accomplish.

Most brands beginning the process of digital transformation have insufficient integration between systems. Usually, they deal with static content being uploaded and downloaded from a variety of systems. This process could mean having employees uploading and downloading the latest version of a .PDF file, having access to static brand libraries and having to make every change manually.

To successfully implement your portal solution, your brand needs to see the ongoing goals of the digital transformation. That foresight involves moving passed current industry standards and envisioning the transformative potential of a new technology solution. Your end goal should not be industry best practices; it should be transformative, moving your business to fully automated processes with full integration.

Embracing the future of your portal solution will put your brand in a position to retain competitive advantages today while finding new opportunities for success going forward.

Best Portal Practice #2 – Customer Journeys

What can a portal do to improve the quality of the customer experience? A quality portal makes it easier for an organization to manage communication, provide a high level of customer service and build relationships with your clients.

Without an intranet, it’s typical for customers to feel out of touch with your organizations. Do you send customer communications from a generic, corporate email address? Do your emails often go directly to the customer’s junk folder. Even when it does reach their inbox, these communications usually go unread for a variety of reasons, such as:

  1. The email comes from a generic address,
  2. The attachment is too difficult to read on your customer’s favorite device
  3. A lack of personalization, making the email look like spam

All these issues are closely related to the lack of integration between systems, and not thinking in a customer-centric manner. These problems usually aren’t limited to one area of a brands communication strategy. Over time, the lack of an integrated communication strategy might alienate your customers, causing them to look for another provider. A portal can solve those problems by putting all information in one easy-to-access place. This gives your customers access to whatever information they need.

Best Portal Practice #3 – Change Advocates

A portal solution built with best practices in mind will engage your key stakeholders, giving them a personal connection with your business, and turning them into advocates for change and improvement. A well-designed portal solution will connect all areas of your business, helping management gather first-hand user insights to improve workflows and processes, or to find new ways to solve existing challenges.

Portal
Each department, role, or individual would have their own, unique views, providing them access to information and giving them a personal connection to your business processes. This personal connection to your brand, along with a streamlined, single-login experience will reduce employee frustration, increasing productivity and engaging your employees. Studies have shown that engaged employees are far more productive, and result in reduced employee turnover. Can your brand continue to thrive in an increasingly competitive landscape? Can you afford to not take advantage of technology that will have a tangible result on your bottom line?

Veriday’s experience designing technology solutions has helped us deliver results to our long list of clients. Is your brand is looking to transform your business processes using technology? We can help implement a solution designed with best practices that meet your needs. If you think we can be of assistance in your next digital transformation project, contact us, and let’s sit down to see what we can do for you. In the next post, we will discuss three more best practices for implementing portal solutions. 

 

 

Check out Part 2 Here!

Why Businesses Need to Think Like Sharks

Sharks are among the most famous creatures in the ocean. There are many different types of sharks, but they all think similarly. Sharks as a whole have a similar mindset. I often catch myself wondering, how can businesses think like sharks?

I have always been a fan of Sharks. They are among my favorite aquatic animals for a variety of reasons. I enjoy looking at their jaw, filled with razor sharp teeth, and watching videos of them gliding through the water. Every summer, I try to take in some of the entertaining programming on Discovery Channel’s Shark Week.

As a business leader, I admire the shark. They have a single focus, constantly moving forward and embracing new experiences. In fact, businesses should try to think like sharks.

Why do Businesses Need to Think Like Sharks?

An interesting fact about sharks is that they cannot stop swimming. They are always moving forward. Sharks cannot stop swimming, even when they sleep. If they stop moving, they will die. Business leaders should adopt this mindset, aiming for continual improvement and embracing constant change. Once your business stops moving forward, it will eventually cease to exist.

Often, businesses who adopt a project-based workflow cannot think like sharks. Upon completion of a project, in project-based workflows, it is put to the side, never to be picked up again. The project, whether it is a service, tool or a product, stagnates and eventually is outpaced by the market. These businesses do not have the mindset of a shark.

A shark-like mindset of continual improvement is best seen in the software-as-a-service (SaaS) business model. Continually developing new features and improving existing processes in a shark-like manner will ensure that you provide customers with the highest-quality solution possible.

Once your business stops improving and innovating to create better value, it’s impossible to get back on the track to innovation. Adopt the mindset of a shark today and enhance the efficiency of your business and get better results through digital transformation.

My company, Veriday, helps brands think like sharks and continually improve their digital presence through a variety of digital transformation projects. To find out more about what we can do to help transform your business, contact us, and let us use our digital expertise to help your business reach new heights.

Do you want to think like a shark? Veriday can help your business adopt a mindset of continual improvement and digital transformation. Contact Us, and we can help!

Halloween 2017

Today, we had our annual Halloween celebration. At Veriday, we believe that having a strong workplace culture is important for employee development. To facilitate this enjoyment, we like to kick back and have a little bit of fun around the holidays. Here are the highlights of today’s Halloween celebrations!

First, here’s one of our extremely talented developers, Britney, wearing the costume that earned high praise from the rest of the team. It was by far the most celebrated costume of the day.

Halloween

Britney wasn’t the only person in the office wearing a costume. In fact, we had many creative costumes in the office today. Mel, our office manager, and the driving force of our events team decided that she was a “Cereal Killer”.

 

We even had some famous faces at the office. We had a few professional athletes in the house, including the greatest basketball player ever, Michael Jordan and Pittsburgh Pirates Pitcher, Fransisco Liriano.

                                                  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some superheroes also attended our celebrations today:

 

Here are some more of the amazing costumes that could be found around the office!

Halloween

 

We even had a dentist to look for cavities from all the candy. It was a top-notch celebration. If you want to be a part of next years celebration, check out our careers page to see if there are any openings that are right for you! You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay up to date with what is going on at Veriday!

Factors Affecting Costs of Technology Projects

There are many factors that affect costs of technology projects. Whether your organization is looking to create a new system, from scratch, or upgrade an existing system. At Veriday, we have extensive experience working on technology projects, and as a result, have a fundamental understanding of factors that affect the cost of projects of this nature.

1) Scope of Project

The factor with the most impact on the cost of a technology project is the scope of the project itself. A more comprehensive project, with more components and capabilities, will be more expensive to create.

If the project involves creating a solution from scratch, it will be a larger project, and cost more. Sometimes, this is the best course of action. Some systems and technologies are extremely difficult (and therefore, expensive) to upgrade. If a legacy system is built on obsolete, difficult to integrate technology, upgrade costs will rise.

If the project involves integrating existing systems with a new component, costs can vary depending on several factors including:

  1. What technology is the new system built on?
  2. What technology is the legacy system built with?
  3. What level of integration will be required?
  4. What level of technological expertise will be required to integrate the two?

2) Required Personnel

As with any business activity, the highest costs of any technology project will go to human resources. Hiring people with the skills needed to complete complex projects is difficult, and they will need to be well-compensated to attract those individuals to your project.

Technology skills are in high-demand, and highly-skilled technology professionals are very tough to find and recruit to your project team. These individuals are necessary for any project because they have the knowledge and skills to put together the nuts and bolts of your solution.

Sometimes it’s more cost-effective to hire external resources, especially if there is a set-in-stone deadline for the completion of the project. There are companies (such as ours), with the required expertise to complete the technology project that your enterprise is trying to execute.

Trying to save money on personnel often results in higher long-run costs in technology projects because mistakes need to be fixed, unexpected roadblocks appear, and high-level activities need careful delegation.

3) Timelines

Technology projects can take a long time from start to finish. There are many factors that impact the timeline of any project. The project scope is a primary factor when creating timelines, as creating one thousand features will take longer than creating one feature. The complexity of the project will also play a major role when creating a project timeline.

The complexity of the project will impact timelines in three main ways:

  • Investigation

 

Time spent brainstorming, testing and implementing innovative methods of solving complex problems. The more complex a project, the more time will be spent on investigation.

 

  • Planning

 

Complex projects require more comprehensive planning, leading to longer timelines. Increased time spent planning is especially common in projects that require significant amounts of integration between systems built on disparate technology. Even if the task itself is straightforward, planning workflows and processes can be time-consuming.

 

  • Implementation

 

More complex projects require more time to implement correctly. Technology projects need to be tested and reviewed to ensure all components of the project are properly integrated and have full functionality. Projects that require integration with large databases or proprietary systems need to be comprehensive testing, which will add even more time to the length of the project.

4) Testing Requirements

The fourth factor that will impact the costs of a technology project is the testing requirements. There are certain business functions which require an extra degree of testing to ensure the consistency and security of the new technology solution.

Any technology solution that will govern personal information of an organization’s employees or customers or deals with key competitive information needs to be comprehensively tested to ensure the security of the system. Comprehensive testing will add to the cost of the project but can save the organization significant costs in the long-run. The average cost of a data breach is over $3.5 million, which is much, much higher than comprehensive testing would run you.

Other Considerations

Another major factor impacting the cost of technology projects is the costs associated with licensing the required technology. These costs can be prohibitive if a proprietary solution is chosen. Several companies that have proprietary platforms for creating digital experiences and the cost of using those technologies is very high.

To reduce the cost of your technology project, you can use an open-source solution such as Liferay, which has supported versions of their latest platform Liferay DXP, at costs that run much lower than the average, proprietary platform.

There are many reasons why you should use Liferay DXP, one of the leading portal platforms on the market when undergoing your next digital transformation project. From their accessibility to the flexibility of the platform, it’s hard to choose a better platform than Liferay. Contact us and find out how Veriday can design and implement your next technology solution.

 

Is Blockchain Right for You? Bridging the Legacy Gap (Part 2)

Did you miss part one of our series on Bridging the Legacy Gap with Blockchain? Check it out here!

There are many considerations that banks need to make when bridging the legacy gap with blockchain. We touched on some basic factors that affect payments projects in Part one. In this post, we will examine some of the key technological and regulatory considerations when upgrading your legacy payments system.

Legacy System Integration

The major challenge that banks face in modernizing their payment systems is the required integration of legacy technology. How can banks securely record all transactions and data on the Blockchain? Any new payments solution, whether blockchain-based or not, needs to be able to handle and record all transactions. If the new solution cannot meet the bank’s needs, then legacy systems cannot be retired.

Most financial institutions have built their existing infrastructure on a disparate set of technologies over an extended period. This diverse mix of technology has made integrating the current solutions one of the most significant challenges in the next generation of banking.

It’s clear that many banks do not have the technical expertise to integrate legacy systems with emerging technologies to improve the user experience. Banks should look to partner with firms that specialize in technology solutions to reduce complications. This partnership can bring two benefits.

The first benefit that arises from financial services organizations partnering with technology companies is an expertly integrated solution, built using the technical skill of a partner firm. This partnership will benefit financial institutions by providing them with a better payments system.

The second benefit of partnering with a technology company to build your payment solution is the fact that, if chosen correctly, your partner can help fend off competition from FinTech firms.

How? Well, if you select the right partner, they will be on top of developments in the technology sector. They can be a long-term partner that can help your organization evolve with ongoing technology trends, giving you a distinct technology advantage over your competitors.

Regulatory and Compliance

Another major challenge facing banks modernizing their payment systems is maintaining compliance. Financial services is an industry mired in regulation. Adding new technological capabilities to meet the needs and desires of customers can lead to the threat of non-compliance.

Every jurisdiction has slightly different regulations for financial services providers, but there are similarities for all of them. One common factor is that financial institutions need to archive transactions to ensure the organization is complying with all regulations. Other concerns with compliance and new technology suites include the fact that there is a degree of the unknown.

How secure are the latest technologies? What data could be exposed in a breach?

That line of questioning leads to several unknowns, and that can lead to significant trouble for financial institutions. Banks regularly act with caution, and remaining compliant is more important than introducing new technology that may improve processes.

Every financial institution that wants to bridge the payments gap by introducing new solutions to their technology suite needs to tackle the challenges of remaining compliant and gaining an in-depth understanding of their future payment solutions.

These challenges have no basic solutions. Regulators still need to build an in-depth understanding of the blockchain and other popular payment technology. Brands need to begin transitioning their technologies to more modern, twenty-first-century options so they can gain a better understanding of compliance risks and continually update the technology solutions to improve the security of their customer data.

To learn more about regulatory considerations surrounding blockchain technologies, check out the Harvard Business Reviews article: How Safe Are Blockchains? It Depends.

Takeaways

There are many factors that the financial services industry needs to be aware of if they intend to bridge the legacy payments gap with blockchain. Particular questions that need to be asked before integrating include:

  • Do all processes and systems have a clear purpose and definition?
  • What processes or inputs need to be automated to work on the blockchain?
  • What needs to be done to ensure the new system is compliant?
  • Find a technological savvy partner to help integrate legacy systems with new solutions.

If you have answers to all these questions, your organization will be in an excellent position to grow your client base in the future. People want to be able to transfer funds and do their banking through a channel which is convenient to them. Upgrading legacy payments systems is a required activity, it’s better to start sooner rather than later. Bridge the legacy gap today!

To stay up to date with the latest news about financial technology, follow us on Twitter @VeridayHQ or LinkedIn. If you need to update your legacy payment system, we might be able to help. Contact Us to find out how Veriday can use our team of financial technology experts can create a solution that works for your brand.

Is Blockchain Right for You? Bridging the Legacy Gap

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In 2017, it has seemed as if every day there were new reports, predictions, stories, and articles on how innovative and disruptive blockchain technologies can be.

The allure of a decentralized ledger is powerful, especially in financial services. The great appeal may stem from the fact that there are multiple use-cases for the blockchain. It does not begin and end as the backbone for cryptocurrencies. In fact, the flexibility of the blockchain is a primary reason why investors and technologists alike have taken an interest in the technology.

There are many use cases for blockchain, but the one that could have the most impact on society is using it as the decentralized ledger for transactions of any type. Cryptocurrencies do not have to be developed for the blockchain to have a major impact on the payments landscape.

It’s clear that technology companies are growing to dominate the peer-to-peer payment landscape. These brands are making strides to take over payments for small businesses. This trend isn’t new. It all began with Paypal, but since then, many payment companies have popped up (Venmo, Moneris, Square, etc.). In addition to those financial technology companies, brands such as Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon are making their way into the payment landscape. If people can send each other money over an app they already use every day, what chance to banks have to win back the market?

Challenges to Technology Integration in Banks

Despite its growing popularity, the blockchain isn’t a magical solution that can solve all of a bank’s problems. There are challenges associated with upgrading any technology suite, but especially those that involve updating an outdated legacy system.

For a blockchain-based solution to integrate with a legacy system, all processes must be explicitly defined and automated. Any ad hoc inputs, reports, or processes need to be standardized and defined. No process can run on the blockchain if it requires human intervention. Blockchain-based solutions need to be able to update automatically for the decentralization to realize its full potential.

Internal processes and outputs must be clear and concise while meeting a business need. If there are ledgers with poorly defined purposes that are to be moved to a single, decentralized ledger, the blockchain solution will not be able to work until the purpose and inputs of those ledgers are defined within a greater system.

The other major challenge to creating an integrated blockchain solution is finding a place for manual processes and transactions. If a process is not automated, the blockchain cannot move it to a decentralized ledger. Banks will need to either automate these processes or find a place for them in the new, decentralized, automated system.

These challenges aside, there are several other considerations to be made when modernizing a legacy system with the blockchain. We will cover them next time in Part Two of this article.

To stay up to date with the latest news about financial technology, follow us on Twitter @VeridayHQ or LinkedIn.

6 Website SEO Pitfalls To Avoid During Your Next Web Project

Are you considering redesigning your website? Avoid common mistakes that can hurt your web presence. The actionable advice in this eBook will help you improve your existing or new website. Download this eBook today!

In today’s digital world, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an essential part of driving quality traffic to your website. SEO is the process of making your website rank higher in search engine results. Basically, SEO is a way of fine-tuning your site to target the buying patterns and preferences of your audience to maximize your discoverability.

When designing or redesigning your website, certain activities can derail your efforts to optimize for search engines, and as a result, your website traffic will suffer. Be sure to avoid these 6 common SEO pitfalls during your website redesign.

What are your plans for improving your website’s SEO?  Looking to revisit your website’s SEO process but aren’t sure where to start? We’d love to help. Get in touch with us today! 

Website SEO