Top Mobile App Development Tools for 2020

Contributed by Curotec.

Mobile application development is no longer an afterthought. Smart companies have moved to a mobile-first approach for both web and app creation, considering the features and functionality that will be most important to someone working on their phone or tablet before tackling the desktop version.

Whether you work for a mobile application development company or a company that is building an app for their teams or customers, it’s crucial to be aware of the tools that will make your job easier and ensure a better product. But mobile app development tools are constantly changing and evolving to adapt to device advancements, standards, and capabilities. We’ve compiled a list of modern tools that will help today’s mobile app developers create stunning and highly usable applications.

App Development Frameworks & Cross-Platform Development Tools

Xamarin

Despite being purchased by Microsoft in 2016, Xamarin remains cross-platform. It extends the .Net platform for mobile development and adds both cross-platform and platform-specific libraries, editor extensions, and support for XAML for building dynamic mobile apps using C#. Xamarin is free and open source.

Ionic

Ionic offers a number of tools for developers, including the Ionic Framework. This free, open-source UI toolkit for mobile development enables developers to create native apps for iOS, Android, and the web from a single cross-platform codebase.

Appcelerator

As its name implies, Appcelerator’s purpose is to accelerate the development of mobile applications for iOS, Android, Windows, and HTML5 applications. Pricing ranges from free for a single user to a Pro account with expanded features at $200/month. Enterprise licenses are also available. Appcelerator allows you to write cross-platform applications in JavaScript that run natively on devices.

PhoneGap

PhoneGap is Adobe’s answer to Microsoft’s Xamarin. Developers can use web development skills to create hybrid applications easily using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript giving you a single codebase to maintain. However, hybrid mobile applications come with compromises, so developers should consider the trade-offs of easy development and maintenance with reduced potential for functionality.

BuildFire

BuildFire marries no-code application development with custom development capabilities. It’s drag-and-drop interface makes it simple for devs and even business users to create interfaces quickly but also backs that with a developer SDK. BuildFire comes with hundreds of templates as well as plugins for common services like YouTube and Shopify.

Mobile Testing Tools

Experitest

Experitest is a powerful suite that offers mobile test development, execution, performance testing, and test analytics. Experitest integration with your IDE, allowing you to run Appium and Selenium test without changes. It works with a variety of testing frameworks, and tests can be developed in C#, Python, Java, Ruby, and more.

TestProject

Both cloud-based and free, TestProject is a community-supported end-to-end test automation platform for web, mobile, and APIs. As an open-source project, you can share actions with the community and leverage ones that other developers have built or download addons for the platform. And it’s built on Selenium and Appium.

Appium

Appium is a test automation tool for iOS and  Android versions from 2.3 and up. It’s open-source and supports a wide range of programming languages. It’s compatible with any testing framework. One of the most impressive things about Appium is the breadth of applications you can test, from hybrid and native applications to mobile web apps, making it a useful tool for web development companies that also do mobile development. 

Augmented Reality & AI Tools

Easy AR

The EasyAR SDK simplifies the development of augmented reality applications and functionality. With multiple subscription levels, app developers can use the SDK to create sparse and dense 3D mesh maps in real-time, track motion and relative positioning, and map and track 3D objects and planar images.

TenserFlow Lite

While TensorFlow opened machine learning to everyone with its open-source library, TensorFlow Mobile (and what will likely be its successor, TensorFlow Lite) open the world of AI for mobile development. TensorFlow Mobile gives developers access to functionality for speech, gesture, and image recognition, optical character recognition, voice synthesis, and object localization, and more. 

Geolocation & Push Notifications

Pusher

Pusher offers a number of tools to help mobile developers create rich experiences. Pusher’s APIs enable real-time communication features, including in-app chat and programmatic push notification. It’s cross-platform capabilities are offered through hosted APIs and offers automatic scaling and high volume throughput and batch processing.

Amazon SNS

Amazon’s Simple Notification Service (SNS) offers a fully managed solution for many-to-many messaging. Not surprising, but SNS can manage high-throughput, push notifications. It’s backed by AWS, so reliability isn’t a concern, and the system is heavily focused on decoupling publish and subscriber services.

Urban Airship

Urban Airship has been around for a while, but it’s still a top application to help companies reach their customer in the moment they are needed – what Google refers to as “micro-moments”. With Urban Airship’s push notification service, brands can reach out to customers with personalized messages that are specific to their actions and attributes. 

Why independent software testing is the best way to approach Quality Assurance

Contributed by Cigniti Technologies.

Today, everything boils down to customer satisfaction. The technological advancements taking place across the industries are being undertaken to deliver enriched customer experiences and improve the user satisfaction ratio. Customer satisfaction, in today’s market dynamics, rely on three key factors – speed of delivery, cost effectiveness, and, most importantly, quality. If the customers are able to derive value from a product/service, their satisfaction levels will rise proportionally.

During 2019-2023, the global market of software testing services is expected to grow by USD 29.84 billion, accelerating at a CAGR of over 12%. Software companies are trying to break away from the legacy processes and methodologies as well as the old-school approach toward software development, where QA was placed at the bottom of the priority scale.

For companies to build quality offerings, they need time, which they do not have in spare due to fierce market competition. In order to align both quality as well as delivery speed, automation becomes the key. Consequently, the test automation services market is also growing exponentially along the software testing services. In fact, software test automation is one of the key reasons for the rising market share. However, neither automation nor quality comes cheap.

Hosting a test environment, maintaining test tools and test cases, developing the infrastructure is all too cumbersome and cost-intensive. Independent software testing services prove to be a boon here. Partnering with an external QA vendor for Independent software testing services allow you to leverage the advantage of a dedicated testing team without the challenges of maintaining such a team. Let us discuss why independent software testing is the best way to approach Quality Assurance:

Quality of testing

The developers who have written a code are often unable to look at it objectively, which means that there is a high chance that they will miss a critical bug. An independent testing team brings an unbiased and impartial view to software testing, which helps in maximum defect detection and minimum defect leakage to the production. This is all about bringing in a fresh perspective and a new outlook toward assessing a software for errors and glitches. More the number of defects found and resolved, higher the quality of the final product and better the performance.

Less effort, more focus

Traditionally, developers were expected to write, integrate, as well as test a code. This would lead to burnout, and therefore subpar quality of codes and a lot of defects in production. With an independent testing team to back them up, developers can center their focus entirely on writing an effective code while the hired testers will bear the responsibility of finding the bugs. Testers also come with knowledge of industry standards and compliance, which results in an end-product that is developed following the best practices.

Cost effectiveness

An independent testing services company has its own set of the required testing infrastructure. This removes the need for businesses to set up the hardware or software required for testing or to maintain testing practices, test environments, and tools. Also, as there is minimum defect leakage into production, the iterations for each software development cycle is decreased. All of this collectively results in reduction of overall costs.

Faster releases

With a separate testing team taking care of the quality aspect, development and testing can occur in parallel with each other. The automation expertise of the independent software testing services provider adds to the ability of delivering a quality software in shorter turnaround time. A dedicated testing team becomes key to ensuring success of such contemporary software development methodologies such as Agile and DevOps.

In Conclusion

As per Forrester, “much of the recent growth in outsourced application services has been fueled by customers engaging independent testing services where the development provider is separate from the provider performing the testing.” Independent pure-play software testing providers have all their resources dedicated toward quality assurance. They have all the required tools, infrastructure, processes, and resources, along with the expertise and experience.

The Next-Gen Technology Landscape of the Healthcare Sector

Contributed by Cigniti Technologies.

The healthcare sector is expected to touch $390.7 billion by 2024. Let us discuss the next-gen technologies that are going to impact the healthcare sector.

  • Internet of Things (IoT): Sensor-embedded devices exchanging information over the internet (IoT devices) are finding their way across technology landscapes. These have found usage in the healthcare sector and are making a profound impact on the health of users. By redefining or reshaping diagnostics, disease management, and preemptive care, IoT devices, including the wearables, will become more common in future. To ensure the success of these devices so that they are able to manage life threatening conditions, healthcare software testing should be the norm. Let us understand how IoT devices can be of help in the healthcare sector in the days to come.
    • Tracking locations in real-time: One of the major challenges the healthcare staff needs to grapple with is locating medical devices in real time. For example, portable devices like nebulizers, scales, defibrillators, and ECG devices, among others, are often moved across the healthcare facility. They are often left at places where finding them can become a challenge, especially when there is an emergency. However, should these devices or apparatus be equipped with IoT sensors, they can be easily monitored in real-time. This can help the stakeholders to monitor and manage the healthcare environment.
    • Share health data: Physicians are often challenged by the lack of data concerning the vital parameters of patients. These may include blood pressure, heart rate, and calories burnt, among others. In the absence of such data, carrying out correct diagnosis can become difficult leaving the patients in limbo. However, wearable IoT enabled devices can allow the sharing of vital parameters of patients leading to a quicker and accurate diagnosis. To make sure these devices perform to their optimum and do not suffer from glitches, conducting healthcare application testing becomes a critical requirement.

As IoT based devices capable of providing real-time data become commonplace, efficient diagnostics and care will increase. They will help healthcare professionals in saving lives with the help of data, analytics, and better decision making.

  • 3D Printing: This technology is used to create physical objects from digital data. The examples of 3D-printed prosthetics and human heart model are helping amputees and medical professionals, respectively. The global market for this technology is expected to reach $2,319.5 million by 2020. Let us discuss the latest innovations in 3D printing.
    • Prosthetics: One of the major challenges amputees face in wearing prosthetics is a lack of customization. Prosthetic devices made in the assembly line are made as per general measurements. This is where 3D printing has come as a godsend for physically-challenged patients. Here, patients’ exact specifications concerning the body part(s) are obtained digitally and personalized variants of prosthetics are built. These provide greater maneuverability to the patients, helping them lead their lives with ease.
    • Tissue engineering: The technology helps to recreate damaged tissues and intricate body parts – printed ears, hands, livers, eyes, or hearts. This can be of great help in trauma cases where patients have lost a body part, organ, or tissue. Tissue engineering helps to create functional constructs for damaged tissues or organs. Here, engineered materials combined with stem cells can create the required cell type.
    • Surgical tools: Surgery is becoming more precise with less incisions to be made. This calls for personalized surgical tools to help surgeons in making precise incisions and implanting medical devices. 3D printing with its disruptive application can bring about greater personalization and cost benefits.
  • Artificial Intelligence: This is defined as machines induced with intelligence having the ability to mimic human brain functions. The healthcare sector can benefit immensely by embracing AI. It can drastically improve patient outcomes with medical professionals leveraging AI-enabled medical knowledge. AI-enabled systems can help medical professionals with real-time, relevant, and quality information to derive suitable inferences. These can help in reducing the cost of treatment, elimination of unnecessary procedures, streamlining workflows, and building patient-centric treatment protocols.

AI systems can help in diagnosing chronic health conditions like diabetes, coronary heart disease, and cancer, among others, within minutes. They can do so by analyzing the vital parameters of patients saved in electronic records. Thus, the systems can reduce the need for unnecessary biopsies or even surgeries to diagnose a condition. However, these systems must be subjected to intense healthcare compliance testing to ensure they function as per the expected outcomes.

  • Liquid biopsy: Today, the diagnosis and monitoring of cancer are costly, time-consuming, painful, and invasive. With liquid biopsy, cancer cells can be extracted from a blood sample without having to conduct costly and painful recurring biopsies. The technology will help to monitor tumors in a non-invasive manner even better than a CT scan.

Conclusion

The healthcare industry is going to face disruption thanks to the advent of advanced technologies. To ensure these technologies perform to their optimum and deliver expected outcomes, they should undergo healthcare QA testing. Moreover, since technology is not always flawless and can engender a number of glitches, even driven by human factors, healthcare tech QA can be of help. It can ensure continuous testing of the devices or built-in software as part of the delivery pipeline. Healthcare tech QA can lead to reduced technical errors, better compliance with regulations, and save lives.

 

How digital transformation services can help your enterprise to streak ahead

Contributed by Cigniti Technologies.

The world is moving rapidly by riding on the cutting-edge digital technologies, namely, IoT, SMAC, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, among others. Businesses are developing products or services with interfaces spread across devices, operating systems, browsers, and networks. This has necessitated their legacy systems to be updated by engaging digital transformation services.

The dynamics of market is increasingly being led by changing customer preferences reflected in new needs, habits, and ways of consuming and communicating. Digital transformation allows enterprises to derive outcomes such as increased productivity, expanded consumer base, streamlined workflows, reduced operational costs, enhanced quality products or services, and better ROI, among others.

Since consumers leverage digital technologies to perform a slew of tasks, the amount of data generated is huge. Analyzing this data and deriving business-oriented insights can be a challenge unless, of course, the business has the technology and resources. Digital transformation services can help enterprises in enhancing their customer interface. For example, by transforming their legacy systems, the utility services providers have been able to improve their efficiency significantly. As a result, the consumers do not need to queue up outside the offices of such companies for doing routine transactions. They can simply log onto the portal or app provided by such companies and transact.

With new avenues of interaction such as social media and mobile, customers want their interactions with a company to be consistent across avenues. This requires companies to take an omnichannel approach to cater to their customers. If they do not fall in line, they risk creating customer dissatisfaction and losing them. Again, to cite an example, customers want to place an order as per convenience and want it delivered through their preferred channel. So, unless the company has the technology and resources to address the demand, its competitiveness can go for a toss. Let us discuss how digital business transformation can help businesses to streak ahead in the competition.

Benefits of digital transformation solutions

The proliferation of digital technologies like smartphones and computers, and the ubiquity of the internet, have forced businesses to go digital. While many companies have drawn an elaborate digital transformation strategy to convert their systems, workflows, and deliverables, scores of them remain outside the ambit. Many companies are still wary of undertaking digital transformation implementation due to the cost and challenges involved. However, overcoming them is critical for them to stay competitive.

# Better customer experience: The customers of today have become increasingly choosy, thanks to the plethora of products and services available in the market. Customers are wont to choose products, which are not only qualitatively superior but offer better experiences as well. When it comes to the customer experience, the notable elements include aesthetics, performance, security, usability, responsiveness, and prompt complaint resolution. The last part is often crucial in differentiating between two products of similar features.

# Better analytics: Data have become the most valuable asset for an enterprise. These can help an enterprise to receive deep insights into various aspects of its processes. Also, with big data coming into play, businesses should be prepared to leverage the data for achieving success. A successful digital business transformation helps companies to collate data from customer interactions and transform them into a structured form. Thereafter, they can be analyzed to develop insights, identify outliers, and optimize to deliver better customer experiences.

# Faster time to market: Today, customers generally choose products that hit the market first. The early-bird approach of customers has necessitated companies to embrace digital transformation and streamline their workflows. This involves adopting Agile and DevOps methodologies to ensure continuous integration and delivery. As products go through a faster development, testing, and delivery pipeline, customers can receive the products early.

# Better security features: Security has assumed a critical significance in the success of a product in the market. This is due to the fact that the digital products of today have interfaces with different device platforms and third-party software, thereby creating vulnerabilities. These can be exploited by cybercriminals by introducing malware, trojans, and viruses to steal data and information. Thus, the growing menace of cybercriminals to commit data theft has brought the element of security into sharp focus.

Besides, companies need to adhere to international security protocols to garner credibility and escape censure. Hence, the need to imbibe DevSecOps in the workflows has become all the more important. In this approach, security is to be treated as an integral aspect of the workflow across departments. Hence, by implementing digital transformation solutions, companies can help to identify and address the built-in vulnerabilities of a product.

# Reduce operating costs: The digitization of businesses can streamline the workflows thereby increasing its efficiency. With procedural bottlenecks including redundancies removed or diluted, businesses can minimize their operating costs. This can significantly improve the revenue stream and make the company competitive.

# Brand enhancement: With better quality products or services delivered by the company, its brand awareness in the market increases vis-a-vis its competitors. For example, the brands or products having the biggest market share are the ones that are spoken about by the customers. This is mostly due to their superior quality brought about by innovation and digital transformation.

Conclusion

The future of IT means organizations should be nimble enough to quickly adopt the technologies and methodologies of the day. They must be agile and responsive to the customers’ needs and offer products or services that are superior and secure. The need for organizations to embrace digital transformation has become critical to stay competitive.

Why Choose Magento for Your e-Commerce Solution?

Contributed by Curotec.

Remember in high school when some kids would do the popular thing because lots of other people did it, and others avoided that same thing, for the same reason? When you got older, you discovered that the popularity of something wasn’t a good reason to do (or avoid doing) a thing. 

Yet, sometimes, even in business, there is wisdom in crowds. When an application is superior to others – when it’s more stable, has more features, and increases opportunities – it’s not uncommon for many companies to flock to that solution.

So when more than one-quarter of the e-commerce sites in the world turn to a specific platform, it’s worth it to take notice. 

In other words, if you’re implementing an e-commerce site, it’s worth it to pay attention to Magento. Giants like Coca-cola, Ford, and Nestle use Magento for their businesses. And unlike many other enterprise solutions, it’s possible for small business owners to use as well as Fortune 500 corporations with the Magento Opensource and Commerce options. 

If you’re wondering why you should choose Magento, that’s just the start.

Purpose designed for e-commerce

E-commerce functionality is available on nearly every web platform today. Whether you’re using WordPress or Wix, there is an e-commerce plug-in or add on available.

Those platforms were not built specifically for e-commerce, however, and that means that they are limited in what can be added. Worse, it’s difficult to ensure that those plug-ins are completely secure.

Magento was built as a an e-commerce solution from the very start. The result? Functionality to support a seamless customer experience and ease of use on the backend were built with intent, not added on later. Magento doesn’t try to be all things to all people. It does one thing, and it does it very well.

Mobile Ready

It’s never been more important that an e-commerce site be mobile-ready than it is today. Mobile searches have surpassed those completed on a desktop computer, and SEO algorithms return sites on a mobile search with a preference for sites that are mobile optimized.

Without a mobile shopping experience, merchants are willingly walking away from a lot of sales. In 2018, e-commerce resulted in $6.2 billion in sales with nearly one-third of that coming from smartphones.

With Magento as your site’s platform, there is no need to customize and adapt your site for mobile. With HTML5, image scaling, and more, Magento sites are inherently responsive, ensuring customers get a great experience no matter how they access your site.

Extensible, customizable, and scalable

Magento made the choice early on to be open source, and developers have responded well. Not only does this give companies a free option for use of the software, but it also created an environment where developers can and have created additional modules and extensions so that the platform works the way you want it to. Also, the community is always testing and enhancing the platform, keeping it secure and bug-free.

Magento is also customizable to match an organization’s branding, look, and feel. From colors to layouts, the style of a site can be completely defined by the merchant. If customizing either front end or back end is outside of your abilities, there are experienced and skilled Magento e-commerce agencies with the ability to help you get exactly what you want.

But probably one of the biggest features of Magento is the availability of APIs. Using these application interfaces, Magento can be integrated with a multitude of other applications, including billing, CRM, and 3rd party logistics.

Expert developers and support

If customizing and extending your e-commerce site is outside of your abilities, you’re likely considering hiring experts to help. The process of finding the right partner to stand up your e-commerce site can be nerve-racking.

Magento has been around long enough for developers to have gained expertise in implementing the platform. Magento also offers a certification exam, giving developers an opportunity to prove their knowledge to potential clients. Finding a reliable e-commerce agency or consulting firm that offers Magento e-commerce support services is less daunting when you know that they have proven themselves by attaining certification. 

Whether you’re just launching your e-commerce business or considering migrating to a new platform to give you a secure, scalable, and extensible solution, Magento is worth looking at. Almost 200,000 online storefronts can’t be wrong.

If you’re looking for a Magento agency in Philadelphia, contact us. We’d love to hear about your project and let you know if we’d be able to build a flexible and well-designed e-commerce site for you that your customer will love using. 

Future of Caregiving is Here

Written by Joe Cellucci, Founder & CEO, Xverity, Inc.

Support for care-dependent older adults has basically remained unchanged and largely disjointed for generations. The usual care circle has included a physician who diagnoses and prescribes medications and unpaid family member(s), possibly supplemented with professional home health and social care aides who help with daily needs and routine tasks. Traditionally, there has been little or no communication among them often resulting in confusion and conflicting care protocols.

Although the principal players haven’t changed, the conventional caregiving model is being challenged by the convergence of unprecedented forces building to a perfect storm:

  • Aging population – 76 million Baby Boomers will be older than 65 by 2030 and older Americans will make up 21% of the population.
  • Multi-morbidities – Nearly 80% of Medicare beneficiaries have at least 2 chronic conditions, more than 60% have at least 3 and estimates are that 26% of the US population will be living with multiple chronic conditions by 2030.
  • Aging in place – 76% of Americans age 50 and older prefer to remain in their current residence and 77% would like to stay in their community as long as possible.
  • Rising health care costs – Medical expenses for the elderly more than double between the ages of 70 and 90, exceeding $25,000 annually for a person in his or her 90s based on Medicare data.
  • Families are half the size they were 50 years ago, and adult children are employed, making caregiving difficult. In addition, nearly half of adults live, on average, 700 miles from family.
  • Looming caregiver crisis – Experts project that by 2030 there will be only 4 potential caregivers available for each person 80 or older, down from a high of more than 7 in 2010.

The fallout from these forces has placed a heavy burden on the historically disconnected, inefficient US healthcare system, creating a need and opportunity for innovation. In response, rapidly emerging assistive technologies deployed within the hospital and beyond its walls are now enabling healthcare providers to assure older patients with chronic conditions an uninterrupted, efficient continuum of quality care at lower costs.  The new model also emphasizes the criticality of engaging and empowering the caregiver, the care recipient and other members of the care circle.

This scenario illustrates the utopian vision for digital home care: Charlotte Wilson, 70, a tech-savvy diabetic who lives alone in her “smart” home, is awakened each morning by a housekeeping robot when it detects that Charlotte is in her lightest sleep phase.  She takes her 3-D printed medication containing all the drugs prescribed for the day; puts on biofeedback clothing made of fabric that continually monitors her vital signs and moods, indexes her overall health well-being, and enables her to move about without a walker; beams her three grandchildren into her home for a quick visit using holographic technology, and rides to her doctor’s appointment in an autonomous vehicle available on demand. Charlotte is digitally connected to an interactive, personalized ecosystem that anticipates and adapts to her needs, is accessible on demand 24/7, and is designed to assure safety, security and peace of mind for her and for the members of her caregiving circle. Sensors are continually monitoring her for problems with balance, signs of depression or prolonged periods of loneliness so that appropriate remedies can be dispatched.

Plausible?  Absolutely! From my vantage point as a serial entrepreneur in solutions technology and founder of Xverity, Inc., a technology-enabled caregiving services company, I believe it’s  conceivable that under the right circumstances, AI and robotics will make it possible to provide care for seniors without a human even being present.

At Xverity, we’ve created CAREGIVERASSIST SM   , a high-tech/high-touch caregiving ecosystem to support caregivers and care recipients. Our primary goals are to help relieve some of the stress caregivers experience, especially those who hold full time jobs, and avoid the feelings of isolation and dependency that lead to bouts of depression among older adults. Addressing the social determinants of health is at the core of our solution for continuous, quality caregiving.

Subscribers access the CAREGIVERASSIST  Services Hub built on a SaaS platform for on-demand, direct access to an array of needed services such as transportation, home delivery of prepared meals and groceries, home maintenance and repair, medication alerts and refills, in-home monitoring and communication devices and a host of other social services to keep the care recipient engaged, comfortable, safe and secure with dignity.  Also available is a prepaid card to pay for transactions, keep track of purchases made through the Hub and mitigate fraud risks by people who prey on older adults.  A monthly statement of transactions is a useful record of eligible expenses reimbursable under Medicare. Recognizing the value of non-clinical services, CMS now offers social determinants of health benefits such as meal delivery, rides to the grocery store, or a service that would make a care-dependent older adult’s home environment more conducive to healthy living.

For added peace of mind in the event of a question or a need for an intervention, CAREGIVERASSIST  provides 24/7 access by voice, web or text to a Help Center staffed by trained advisors.

The Internet of Things Genie is out of the bottle, allowing communication pathways between devices, timely sharing of actionable data and remote command and control of multiple diagnostic, monitoring and telemedicine treatment systems.  Much of the futuristic technology needed to help reduce hospital readmissions and avoid unnecessary visits to the ER by older adults already exists and is being applied at an accelerated rate in virtually every area of caregiving for adults with chronic illnesses and disabilities.

The value of customers in the digital age

Contributed by Cigniti Technologies.

The digital age is marked by the advent of technology and its usage to make the lives of customers simpler and convenient. Businesses, by nature and design, is dependent on customers to succeed and the digital age is no different. Rather it has increased the level of competition and given plenty of choices to the customers in terms of access, quality of products and services, cost advantage, speedy delivery, and variety. In fact, the process of digital transformation undertaken by businesses is premised on offering value addition to the end customers. The various technologies leveraged by businesses in this regard include cloud, IoT, AI, ML, predictive analysis, and big data, among others.

In the competitive digital landscape of today, companies that look after the interests of their customers and provide prompt and qualitative support are able to achieve ROI. Any glitch or vulnerability in the product or service can have adverse repercussions on the psyche of the customers. They are no longer satisfied with giving a long rope to the company dishing out shoddy products or service but instead turn to its competitors. No wonder, businesses are adopting software development models like Agile or DevOps to bring out products that are not only qualitatively superior but are customized to the needs of the customers as well.

Digital transformation services are geared towards delivering value addition at cost effective rates. They do so by employing the Agile model wherein the QA process is conducted alongside development. In a move ahead of the traditional waterfall model, Agile helps in the quicker identification of glitches thereby eliminating costly and time-consuming corrections later. Moreover, given the demand for Continuous Integration and Delivery, businesses are looking at the DevOps model where the entire organization is made responsible for the final quality of the product or service. This approach of digital transformation services rightly encapsulates the importance of customers for businesses.

Delivering a better Customer Experience or CX has become the final arbiter for businesses to stay competitive and achieve ROI. It leads to a slew of outcomes such as better customer retention, increased sales, lower cost of customer acquisition, and reduced operating costs. Any digital transformation strategy should aim at leveraging the trending technologies to streamline workflows, innovate, add value, accelerate time to market, and deliver the best customer experience.

How good customer service can help businesses?

The digital transformation solutions implemented by enterprises should be underpinned on delivering good customer service. The benefits of implementing such solutions can be multifarious.

Customer retention: Customer acquisition can be a long drawn and costly affair encompassing running sustained marketing campaigns. However, customer retention is relatively cheaper and requires implementation of a robust customer service. Your digital transformation framework should be able to capture customer queries quickly and pass them on to the right business arm for redressal. Good customer service will help you retain customers, which otherwise can drift towards your competitors in no time.

Word of mouth publicity: Many potential customers are not swayed by the advertising blitz but listen to the feedback from actual users. Thus, if the customer experience is good, the business can gain immensely from word of mouth publicity. Happy customers can help to build trust among your potential customers. Conversely, bad customer experience can leave your customers unhappy, angry, and frustrated. The consequent bad-mouthing of your brand, product or service can be damaging to your reputation and profitability. Remember, bad customer experience can have a greater potential to damage your business’s credibility.

Competitive advantage: How do customers choose one product over the other when both have similar characteristics, quality, and cost? The answer is how well the business developing that product responds to the customer queries and complaints. In fact, customer experience can be the ultimate differentiator for customers to choose a product over its competitor.

Good customer service is better than price: A successful enterprise digital transformation should deliver good customer service. It should ensure the product or service functions to its optimum level in its end-to-end development cum delivery cycle and beyond. Remember, customers are willing to pay a premium for good quality service even positing it ahead of cost.

Conclusion

Customers stay at the core of every business and drive them to adopt new technologies, streamline their workflows, make their delivery systems hassle-free, and enhance their customer service. No wonder, every digital transformation initiative should be geared towards ensuring better customer experience.

Charting the course: Navigating your digital transformation journey

The middle market is now starting to take advantage of digital transformation, with companies of all sizes leveraging new innovations to enhance key business processes and create new ways to add value. Implementing transformational technology is now even more critical for midsized companies, but has also become much more realistic. However, these companies must understand how to choose and prioritize the right technology and gain buy-in from appropriate personnel within the business.

Organizations have the ability to implement innovation strategies that can drive positive change for employees, customers and operations. The journey to digital transformation can be challenging, time-consuming and potentially risky. But the benefits outweigh the risks of not implementing a digital transformation approach.

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How to Prevent Costly Financial Reporting Mistakes Align processes, systems and people to ensure compliance and peace of mind

Written by Sridhar Kuppa, CPA, MBA | Director, Transaction & Regulatory Advisory Services @ SolomonEdwards

Flawed financial reporting is an all too common quandary for accounting and finance teams at companies of all sizes. From an incorrect figure on a cash flow statement, to an overlooked deadline, to technical glitches and misunderstood regulations, opportunities for error abound.

Despite the risk of potential negative market reaction, government inquiries, investigations and enforcement actions including civil and criminal penalties, many companies continue to struggle to release consistent, accurate financial statements.

What are the root causes of reporting errors?  Inadequate processes, faulty systems and human error. Shoring up these deficits – and aligning them to function holistically – can prevent missteps and their painful repercussions.

Inaccurate financial reporting is a slippery slope. What starts as a small blunder can cause steep consequences. Mistakes take a toll on everything from a company’s reputation to its ability to raise capital, and could even cause a drop in share price as shareholders lose confidence in the organization’s ability to produce accurate reports. Errors can sour lenders on financing critical projects or cause discord with a potential merger or acquisition.

What causes accidental financial reporting errors? While the markets are tracking the company’s value and performance, regulators are watching for compliance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Accounting and finance departments are under great pressure to keep up with a dynamic regulatory landscape while minimizing costs. This can cause issues when preparing and presenting financial statements, from revenue and expense recognition problems, to faulty valuation, missing or insufficient disclosures, and other failings.

Legislative and regulatory confusion. As regulations evolve, companies need to understand new rules, requirements and deadlines to ensure U.S. GAAP compliance.

Human error and outdated technology. In an era of new and improved technology and modern models of accounting, many mistakes can be systematically avoided. With the widespread implementation of rapid, adaptable, efficient and customizable technology solutions, it is no longer necessary to manually extract data from multiple sources using antiquated technology.

The solution: Align processes, systems and people. Companies can avoid errors by evaluating, upgrading and fine-tuning processes and systems and putting the right people in place. Set a plan in motion now so you can reduce the risk of costly mistakes. Learn more by reading the full article here.

Sridhar Kuppa, CPA, MBA, is a Director in the Transaction Regulatory and Advisory Services Practice at SolomonEdwards. He helps clients identify problems and find strategic solutions in accounting, financial planning, analysis, and reporting.