Opposing Forces That Cause A Disjointed Brand

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The Business Case for Transforming your Advisor marketing. Identify Section BannerTwo opposing carton people with opposing marketing voices

Digital technology has enabled total personalization and individualization which contradicts the very idea of brand uniformity. The average digital experience is no longer enough and the driving force behind the desire to push the limits of brand uniformity is customer experience, i.e the idea of delivering an experience that is tailored to a specific client, segment or market.

I’ve had the privilege of helping many large financial institutions bring order and governance to their digital brand where they’ve offered financial advisors or insurance agents a certain degree of customization flexibility as it pertains to their personal brand more so from a digital standpoint than a print standpoint. In more specific terms, I’m referring to the advisor or agent website and an institution’s implementation of a website program in the context of allowing customization. The result of many of these customized programs has led the organization to a state where their digital brand assets are misused (or misunderstood) over a period of time and requires the organization to “reign in” these programs in an effort to strengthen their brand image and in turn provide their sales force with a much stronger and cohesive digital brand.

Now, I know you might be reading this with the thought, “Well Andrew, that’s exactly why we didn’t move in the direction of allowing our advisors (or agents) to customize and instead kept everyone in a single website template, to avoid this exact problem that we’re seeing from our competitors!” Well, to that I say “Kudos. You had the foresight to predict these outcomes.” However, in the end, you still did not solve the overall digital experience problem and while you may be better off operationally, you may still have a digital transformation curve that your competitors have already gotten used even in light of all these issues.

So, there’s learning to be had on both sides of the coin but hopefully some of my observations can help you determine whether you have such a problem or simply identify and familiarize yourself with the problems so you can avoid them if you’re thinking about going down this path.

Technology and the demand for individualization

Many of the website programs I’ve been working to transform started as far back as the early 2000s when web technology was, in my opinion, still in its infancy – think web 2.0. The idea of a technology that could assist a financial brand to roll out a website program for their advisors or agents to self-manage their digital brand quite simply, did not exist outside the walls of those financial brands. Many of the firms I work with have either taken an existing technology (for example, one brand I’ve worked with took a website builder tool and attempted to duplicate it 1000 times for 1000 different websites) and heavily customized it to the point where it became very difficult to maintain or have taken it upon themselves to build an in-house solution (which, by the way, was a very common trend in the early 2000s) only later to realize that it became both labour and cost intensive to maintain the program while also meeting the needs of a rapidly evolving marketing technology space.

Both of these scenarios drove the organizations to extend the programs with in application and manually regulated customization capabilities as the software itself could not handle the level of individualization that the user community demanded. The interesting result of this and ultimately the result of the lack of technology, is the enterprise frowning upon individualization while the market demands a better and more personalized client experience with their financial advisor or insurance agent. The tough task that each enterprise financial brand faces, is achieving both of these goals without “breaking” their brand (and by association, their backs).

The good news? It’s possible and I’ve seen it done before and not by chance but it does start with letting go of the past.

Digital brand governance

Early in my career, every time I heard the word “governance”, I heard the word “rules and regulations” and it was only later on that I truly realized the effects of proper governance and why it mattered as organizational capabilities and functions grew and were required to scale properly. Your digital brand works and operates the same way. Traditionally, brands would create print standards AKA “style guide” which would contain elements like logos, colour palettes, fonts, lines, spacing, effectively anything you could draw on a piece of paper. The paradigm shift I see a lot of financial brands having to go through. It’s trying to think through the digital style guide which scales and grows much differently than print.

Print is finite. It can only produce so many permutations of style and can be defined very easily especially once it is physically printed. But something digital can be created using hundreds if not thousands of components so its permutations can be near infinite if you do not define the boundaries. Many brands we start working with will assume they can apply the print style guide in a digital sense but digital design elements like Buttons and Form elements (like input fields) are not defined. Without these digital boundaries, improper expectations are set across the organization and you start moving down the path of those infinite permutations that lead to brand disjointedness. You may also experience a side effect of your websites looking almost exactly like your brochures.

 

Three Opportunities Enterprise Marketers Are Missing Out On

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The Business Case for Transforming your Advisor marketing. Identify Section Banner

Balancing business quality versus quantity balance conceptual graphic for business and marketing concept 3D illustration.

The problem with most organizations is that they spend too much of their marketing budget on head office programs. This means that micro-segments and customers in local markets don’t engage with content. I believe that a more effective strategy requires marketing teams to rebalance digital marketing investments appropriately between head office and the field. There a number of symptoms organizations can readily identify to determine if they need to rebalance.

Email Engagement Model

If more than 90% of your email engagement comes from head office with no personal connection to the receiver you need to rethink your approach. People are much more likely to open an email from someone they know, rather than a corporate brand. Using name personalization in email results in a 26% increase in open rates. While 100% email personalization/personification is a “nice to have”, it can require special technology or too many resources to apply properly at an enterprise level. This may be why you are not taking advantage of this opportunity. The biggest problem with the head office driven model is engagement – how to conduct thousands of individual dialogues to properly connect with customers is not practical for a head office marketing team. So you may be inadvertently be driving traffic to inefficient service such as the customer walking into the local branch. We have discussed in a previous article, why this is not effective, and that lack of trust is a reason why AUM is not growing.

There are some cautions in implementing more personalized engagement programs to be aware of. Privacy is an increasing concern for people. 86% of people aim to control and hide their digital footprint. Personalisation can negatively impact marketers as well. 85% of those surveyed say that their audience segments are too large to create effective personalization. Additionally, nearly 33% of marketers say they have limited to no capacity to personalize marketing messages.

Digital Marketing Distribution Gap

If the vast majority of your writing comes from head office you are likely not reaching all of your customers and your content will not be diverse enough to engage with them. Your organization is likely distributed across regions and focused on different economic and socio-economic clusters. This focus also produces unique perspectives that are brand consistent and represents years of real-world experience. These viewpoints and the way they can frame and introduce content in the field to customers through content marketing is extremely valuable. Enterprise-level marketers are experts in marketing; however, they do not have the same local or specialty market knowledge that a field representative like a financial advisor will have. This knowledge gap means that content created exclusively at the head office may fit a generalized buyer journey but not a more specific one. And we know that more specific content resonates with unique segments in more human and powerful ways.  

Centralizing Contact Us.

A very common mistake in attracting new customers is not providing choice for who, how and when they engage with your firm. So most financial services firms in an effort to provide a consistent engagement experience for customers provide a central clearing function for contact us. This does not necessarily match the buyer journey where customers are researching products services and people before they make decisions. While there is a need for centralized contact this on its own may add friction to the buying process. Considering how to effectively balance choice with standards is an important element of customer engagement and may make the difference between a more locally focused firm and yours.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, to engage with customers more personally and match their unique buyer journey organizations need to consider how rebalancing their content marketing programs may create new growth opportunities. The constraints and challenges presented with exclusively head office driven programs are going to interfere with building a strong micro-segment and localized digital marketing programs. Now that this problem has been acknowledged, let’s discuss how to solve it.

Follow us in the coming weeks as we will cover The Business Case for Transforming Your Advisor Marketing, and Part 2: The Solution to this article.

 

Opportunities to Grow Financial Advisor Leads

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The Business Case for Transforming your Advisor marketing. Identify Section Banner

attract, engage, convert

To continue on our previous article on “Why Financial Advisor AUM isn’t Growing”, let’s take a closer look at growing leads specifically and the opportunities that financial advisors have in this area.

1. Advisors Aren’t Clear on Their “Why”

Think of the people whose opinion you trust the most. Not family or friends but thought leaders in an area of interest. When we think of those people, what drew you to them? It is often their drive, their purpose, their reason for doing what they do. According to Simon Sinek’s famous TED talk, “Start with Why”, it is one of life’s greatest joys to wake up in the morning with a clear sense of why you do what you do. The reason anyone does what they do is the story worth sharing. It can be how and why prospects and customers choose to connect and do business with you.

People want stories. As an advisor, think of what motivates you every day to do what you do? Why are you doing what you do? People already know that advisors “sell” financial products and some prepare financial plans but few understand what an advisor CAN DO for them and why it matters. Instead of focusing on “what you sell” or “who you are”, consider thinking of how you can convey “Why advisors do what they do?” and “Why it matters to prospects and customers?”

An advisor “Why” should give people insight into how an advisors’ services are better, different, and relevant to them. Once an advisor is clear on their “Why”  creating a brand and an online image is much easier.

2. Advisors Are Not Providing Value

Many advisors have a website but the question is are they updating it frequently and when it is updated, are they providing value. Many assume the content that is being produced is the kind of content that clients and prospects want to read. Advisors and enterprises who know their clients and prospects should know what type of content, strategies, market data, and pain points that would resonate with them the most. There are 9 characteristics of successful content that are instrumental in providing content that is valuable to prospects and customers.

Some reasons why advisors are not providing value

  • They are not clear on who their target audience is
  • The content does not match what is important to the reader
  • When a website is updated, does the advisor share the new piece of content with prospects and clients?

The more value an advisor can add, the more engaged their audience will be. Lead generation isn’t just about engagement and getting prospects interested, but it’s also about earning credibility that develops into trust.

3. Advisors Are Not Familiar With The Technology

There is an abundance of tools available for advisors to improve the way they get new leads. From websites, email marketing, and social media; evaluating these tools can be costly and overwhelming without knowing exactly what the ROI will be. Some advisors have chosen to create their own website using a third-party platform but this can present its own challenges to ensure the content posted is compliant.

These technology platforms are difficult to use and require hours or days of training to be able to use them effectively, not to mention the ongoing learning required to get the most out of the tool.  Some advisors choose to create their own website or leverage the marketing program that their enterprise has provided to them. With the former, advisors run the risk of publishing content that is not compliant. With the latter, there are very few options for personalization and customization. Regardless of which route an advisor chooses there are drawbacks without understanding the technology and how it can help your business with as few obstacles as possible.

4.Compliance Roadblocks

As much as we would like financial advisors to write content and distribute it to their prospects and customers, it’s not that easy. With a regulated industry, content written for web and for email must be approved by a compliance team. In many enterprises, the compliance approval process is cumbersome, timely, and makes it very difficult for advisors to post content.

In many cases, the process consists of an advisor writing a piece of content in a Word document and emailing it to the compliance team of their organization. The compliance officer then reviews the piece of content, tracking changes, or typing comments in an email. Both are very time-consuming. The advisor would then make changes to their piece of content based on the compliance officers’ comments. This process takes weeks of back and forth until the compliance team has approved the piece of content.

Advisors often find this process too time-consuming to create their own content. If there was an automated way advisors could get content approved by compliance team, perhaps they would be open to writing and creating content for their own audience.

5. Provide Exceptional Advisor Service

There’s no question that providing exceptional service is what will keep clients coming back. Many advisors who are getting new leads are able to get these from referrals. When advisors fail to provide amazing service to their clients, they are missing out on huge opportunities to grow their book of business and to get referrals. So what is exceptional advisor service?

  • Genuinely care about your clients/prospects
  • Define your target market and specialize in that area
  • Have scheduled times to check in and discuss financial goals
  • Providing value that is different and unique to other advisors
  • They listen to your needs, goals, and concerns

By taking a closer look at defining “Why”, providing value, technology, compliance, and service, financial advisors can make strides in the right direction towards generating new leads to their business.

Why Financial Advisor AUM Isn’t Growing

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The Business Case for Transforming your Advisor marketing. Identify Section BannerFinancial Advisor Analyzing growing chart floating above a tablet screen. showing successful increase in business profit

To financial planners, a gauge of the relevancy of information is “What is your AUM?” Advisors are facing challenges in continuously growing their AUM. The strategies that were once successful are not working the way they used to.

The landscape of what customers want and expect has changed, and the traditional strategies of growing AUM model can be a detriment to the advisor’s growth. 71% banking Millenials would rather go to the dentist than listen to a bank. Ouch. Technology isn’t the only reason why banks are struggling to grow their managed asset portfolio. There are four reasons we are examining as to why advisors might be struggling these days; a lack of new leads, providing bad service, a failure between generations, and self-advisors.

1. No leads

The marketing messaging required to bring in new clients is always evolving. While certain messages may have been successful in the past; it may no longer be the case today. Many advisors have business card websites that don’t get updated frequently and when they do don’t provide enough value that would result in someone wanting to contact them. These websites generate very few to no leads. Gone are the days of offering a free toaster for new customers. Incentives do not bring in as many people as they once did. In fact, incentives of a gift can have a negative effect. It may present an image that the brand is trying to entrap people in a negative service behind a shiny item. Additionally, people may think there are too many hoops to jump through to get the gift.
For modern consumers, there are five core values they share and should be appealed to:

  1. Optimism: They seek products and services that give an optimistic outlook on the future.
  2. Control: They want to make the decisions about their future, not have someone TELL them.
  3. Open-mindedness: They may hold strong opinions but could be changed.
  4. Social butterfly: There is value in social interactions to make life decisions
  5. Crave Information: They will gather information to make decisions.

Messaging is not the only factor that creates a lack of new leads. The reasons are all intertwined and that is why a single initiative will not resolve the struggle.

2. Bad Service

Competition for businesses, including banks and wealth management firms, has evolved. Competitors are no longer other banks of similar size, in the same geographical location. Customers are comparing the experience they receive across different industries. The experience people from their financial advisor is compared to all companies, such as Apple, Amazon, Starbucks, and others. Take for example a customer who receives birthday cards, has quarterly check-in meetings, receives emails with articles on topics that actually interest them will have a positive experience with their advisor.  Organizations who provide services are still finding ways to set themselves apart.

3. Generational Gap

The inability to acquire new clients and to bring in new assets into the organization would be a major loss. As baby boomers get older, there’s an opportunity for advisors to create and build relationships with their children. For example, Millennials are set to be the largest generation with the largest amount of wealth in several years. By 2022, they will constitute 44% of the workforce. Additionally, over the next 30 to 40 years, Millennials will inherit trillion. However, the targeting efforts do not match this importance. The messaging has not been informative because over half don’t think their bank offers anything different to its competitors.

Efforts to bring in new clients should have started when Millennials were much younger. While advisors were working with the parents, there was little to no effort put in to make the kids financially literate and help set them up for the future. Millennials sat on the sidelines and watched how banks worked with their parents.

The Crash of 2008 was when the complete distrust of banks became concrete. People saw their friends and family go into debt and even lose their homes because of banks trying to make a profit through shady business practices. The result of this distrust is that they are seeking out financial alternatives. These alternatives include pre-paid credit cards, payday loans, money transfer agents, even cryptocurrency. Finally, when people are using traditional banking services, more and more are doing it self-managed or with a robo-advisor.

Robot finger point to laptop button with bokeh background.

4. Self-Advisor

With the lack of financial literacy and a distrust for the traditional model of financial advisors, people take to the internet to educate themselves. There are tons of resources and expert opinions that are readily available to learn everything from debt management, investments, mortgages, wills, and any other financial services. This self-advisorship meets the modern consumer’s core values: Crave Information – they are seeking out and getting the answers they need; Social Butterfly – they turn to friends and even social media for insight on financial decisions; Open-mindedness – they are learning multiple viewpoints and will stand by the one they trust; Control – they have complete control in their decisions and actions because their best interest is the only goal; and finally, Optimism – since of all these previous factors are met, they have a more optimistic outlook on the future.

In addition to self-advisors, customers are leveraging Robo-Advisors. With the heavy influence of technology in all industries, people are comfortable with technology and are confident in their own decision making as guided by Robo-Advisors which have lower fees and work with the customer to make their lives simpler.

The Bottom Line

This means that advisors have a real opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition and by doing that, they will increase assets under management. By identifying and acknowledging that these problems exist, and more importantly are affecting growth, enterprises can closely consider options on how they can support advisors to grow their AUM.

 

Content Marketing: The Most Powerful Tool for Financial Agents?

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In today’s day and age, selling financial products and advice is as difficult as ever before. Banks, financial advisors, wealth managers and brokers of financial products face stiff competition, both from traditional competitors and technology-enabled challengers. What is the best Tactic for Financial Agents to separate themselves from the pack?

Why is the competition so stiff in this era of financial services?

A few factors are influencing the increased competition, including automated technology solutions such as robo-advisors and online brokers, as well as increasing global competition, made possible by communicating information through digital channels. These new possibilities may be confusing customers, making it difficult for them to make a decision or even fully understand what options they have.

So, how can financial brands win customers in this environment?

The answer that many financial institutions are turning to, whether they focus on serving businesses or individuals, is content marketing. In a world where 60% of the sales cycle is over before a prospect talks to a salesperson, it’s important for brands to get as much information to their prospective customers as possible. By offering information and provocative insights into potential customer problems and how they can be solved, content marketing can be a major part of a solution selling strategy.

A Powerful Tactic for Financial Agents

60% of Buyer's Cycle

What is “solution selling”?

Solution selling is based on the premise of working with the customer to define their problem. Define their problems based on the symptoms they are experiencing. This is followed up with a solution that helps them solve their problem.

The process involves asking questions about your customer’s needs, problems, and issues and look for the “hook” for your solution. Instead of solely pushing your product, service, or solution, solution selling positions a salesperson to be the ultimate problem solver. Allowing them to earn trust and ultimately putting your business in place to gain a new customer.

This process is how a salesperson can add value on a one-to-one basis through content marketing and solution selling.

Will this strategy actually work for my business?

While there are no guarantees of success through content marketing and solution selling, plenty of brands are adopting these practices and finding great success. 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing, but it is not being used to its full potential. Just 42% of B2B marketers say they use content marketing effectively. Those numbers are even lower in financial services. This can be an opportunity for your brand to jump ahead of your competitors. Take your chance to implement a successful strategy and make your brand more discoverable to your target market.

In fact, content can motivate action, regardless of how ready-to-buy your target customers are. The image below shows what forms of content are effective at nurturing your prospect at every stage of the journey. By providing relevant, useful, original content, your content marketing strategy will nurture customers. When they are ready to contact a salesperson, your brand will be at the top of their mind. Original content should be a cornerstone of your sales and marketing strategy, while fueling your content marketing efforts.

What is the best Tactic for Financial Agents to separate themselves from the pack?

Create Exceptional Cultures Through Education and Awareness

Our Content Marketing Mission is to become the online destination for Advisors looking for useful information, advice, insights, and resources for growing their online presence. If you want to get your content marketing strategy off the ground, or are looking to reinvent how your network of financial agents uses content marketing and solution selling, get in touch with me! We can discuss how your brand can use Digital Agent to maintain a compliant, centrally-controlled content marketing platform for your network of agents.

 

Powering Up Your LinkedIn Presence For Success

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Your LinkedIn profile has so much potential to be your strongest marketing tool if leveraged correctly. By having a professional completed profile with unique content written, advisors can differentiate themselves.

1. Where does LinkedIn Fit In?

  1. Priority 1: Point A to B: Your LinkedIn profile is your website. It is functional and mandatory. Without it, your business does not exist, even with a LinkedIn profile.
  2. Priority 2: Your LinkedIn profile is your personal and owned platform for publishing original content. You can fill your profile with content
  3. Priority 3: Start to optimize your profile using keywords, meta description, and page titles. These will increase organic and paid keyword traffic improving marketing results
  4. Priority 4: Create a good first impression with your profile picture, achievements, content. Prospects and leads are checking you out in the decision-making process

2. Your LinkedIn Profile Needs a Makeover

Your LinkedIn Profile is not your resume. Resumes are a thing of the past. They are boring and flat and only useful when someone is looking for a new opportunity. LinkedIn is a multidimensional tool, it’s a marketing platform. Companies and brands are leveraging other social channels to grow a following and produce content. LinkedIn can be exactly that for an individual to grow their own personal brand.

Core Profile Components. The Peep Hole.

The Basics are name, location, industry, profile URL, summaryAndrew Chung LinkedIn

Profile Image – Your profile image should be current, clear, up close and eye-catching

Professional Headline – Consider if your audience would continue reading your profile if they only read your headline. What do you specialize in? What is your expertise? Do you have any designations, certifications or brand name associations? Have you been published anywhere online that is recognizable? These are all factors that would make your audience want to learn more about you. When writing your headline try to be bold, catchy and confident so people want to contact you.

Contact Information – Never stop branding yourself. It’s a good idea to use a work email and avoid emails from gmail, hotmail, msn, yahoo, etc. When you post on LinkedIn, it can also be sent to twitter to be published as a Tweet. It is more professional to change your LinkedIn URL to something personalized

Experience – This is where you tell your story. Visitors have scrolled down to learn more about you. Use this area to build your credibility and show. Consider including what results did you achieve in your time at this company or business? Why do these results matter? What impact did they have on your clients/customers? Do the results matter to your audience?

Published Content – LinkedIn allows individuals to write and publish content. There is a huge opportunity here to position yourself as an expert in your field. Instead of always posting and linking to industry reports why not write something yourself. Your digital footprint is very important for prospects.

3. Validating Your Profile

To validate that your profile will work for what you’re trying to accomplish it might be a good idea to consider LinkedIn Premium. Focus the quality of your profile instead of the quantity that you are writing. By leveraging the LinkedIn insights, you can ask yourself what is the right audience for your content? What are the key industries or companies you want to target? What does the distribution look like?

Is your profile coming up when people search on LinkedIn? How many of my viewers are finding me via keywords and search vs other mediums?

LinkedIn Marketing

 

4. Generating Leads

Remember Content Marketing. Start with a clearly defined audience and brainstorm and create content specifically for your defined audience. Next, distribute that content to your LinkedIn profile so that your audience and followers can read it. Drive profitable customer action by encouraging call to actions in your content. Lastly, measure it! Any marketing efforts should always be measured.Andrew Chung LinkedIn Profile

Share Curated Content to

  1. Drive engagement
  2. Drive your brand
  3. Share helpful content while being helpful
  4. Ask questions to encourage engagement

Best Practices

To summarize, focus the fundamentals first. Ask yourself, is this an accurate illustration of how you would greet and introduce yourself in person. Stage your company or personal brand in your summary. Tell a story with your experience. Use LinkedIn analytics to determine if the correct audience is connecting to you. Share content that is owned and curated but try to share more of your own content first. Create profitable action by providing conversion points. Lastly, apply networking techniques to grow your audience. Once you have your LinkedIn profile updated, leverage some of that content on your own website.

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

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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!

Factors Affecting Costs of Technology Projects

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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.