Agile vs Waterfall Methodologies for Software Development

Software development has become a staple in today’s tech revolution. Brands run countless programs that use computer technology essential in executing various business processes across different industries. This has led to an environment where the construction of a framework is needed, so projects can be implemented within specific protocols.

IB-Agile-vs-Waterfall-banner1

Project management methodologies have been created over the years to help developers attain the most efficient software deployment outcomes. Two of the most common are Agile and Waterfall software development, with each having their pros and cons depending on the project you’re tasked to complete and the outcome you wish to have.

 

The Agile Methodology

The Agile approach refers to the process that aligns with the concepts of the Agile Manifesto created in February 2001 by 17 software developers in Utah. They discussed lightweight development methods and published the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. This contained ‘better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it,’ which also included four values and 12 principles.

The Agile software development lifecycle combines an iterative process with incremental models. It focuses on process adaptability and customer satisfaction through rapid delivery of working software products. Essentially, Agile methods promote adaptive planning, evolutionary development, continuous improvement, and early delivery. It also advocates quick and flexible responses to change.

Developers break the product into small incremental builds, which are provided in iterations or sprints. Each sprint generally lasts from about a week to three weeks, from development to testing.

 

The Waterfall Methodology

The Waterfall approach, on the other hand, started in the manufacturing and construction industries—two highly structured environments—where changes can either be too expensive or even impossible at times. Its first formal description was cited in a 1970 article by computer scientist Winston W. Royce where he presented it as a flawed software model.

The Waterfall model is referred to as a linear-sequential life cycle model and is very simple to understand and use. Each phase must be completed before moving on to the next, so there’s no overlapping of phases.

This approach was the first software development life cycle model used widely in software engineering to ensure the success of a project. The whole process is divided into separate phases, with the outcome of one phase acting as the input for the next phase in sequential order.

To give you a more detailed look into both methodologies, this infographic lists the differences, broken down into various factors.

 

IB-Agile-vs-Waterfall-infographic1

 

Agile vs Waterfall: Which One to Choose?

As with any methodology in software development or any field for that matter, each has its pros and cons that make them preferred by developers in specific projects. Both have different approaches when tackling a given project, so it’s up to you which one is best for the project you’re about to get involved in.

 

 

  • Structure

One of the major differences between the Agile and Waterfall methodologies is the structure of each process. With Agile’s sprint approach, project development lifecycles are separated into short sprints or tasks, where the team works together within the time boxed in each sprint. The goal is to create a shippable product at the end of the cycle.

The Waterfall approach has a linear structure, with each stage having a checkpoint where the current state of the product should satisfy the criteria before moving on to the next stage. Each stage is also well-documented.

 

 

  • Team

With tasks broken into smaller chunks, Agile was designed for smaller teams that encourages collaboration and cooperation. The time limit imposed per sprint allows smaller teams to do what it takes to complete each task. Many organizations find this effective, which is the reason why 71% of them use this approach.

When it comes to the Waterfall methodology, coordination between teams is only done at the hand-off points or at the end of each stage, before going to the next. Since this software development approach is sequential in nature, it requires a thorough check if the current state of the product passes all the criteria at each stage prior to proceeding.

 

 

  • Funding

Agile has a more flexible approach when it comes to funding. You’ll be able to work with smaller budgets since the project is broken down into sprints. And for this reason, funding isn’t fixed, so work isn’t limited to a budget, giving this methodology a higher success rate than Waterfall.

In contrast, Waterfall needs to have an agreed-on budget, which includes the scope of the project before it can even begin. While this is more beneficial for customers that are on a relatively strict budget, the product’s quality can be compromised particularly if there are changes or improvements that need to be made.

 

 

  • Scope and Features

Being more open to changes is clearly an advantage and Agile is the approach ideal for such projects. But the more changes that are needed to be made, other features such as cost and schedule would need to be adjusted. In situations where you can benefit from features of a certain methodology, there’s always a trade-off.

Waterfall has a more traditional approach with its sequential process. It has a higher chance of success if the scope is known before the project even starts. The terms of the contract will also dictate the changes that are going to be done during the whole process, if there are any.

 

 

  • Prioritization of Features

In terms of features, you can prioritize them according to their value with Agile. This is advantageous in reducing the risk of ending up with an unusable product if ever funding runs out and the project is terminated. This ensures a project that achieves ‘partial success’ doesn’t reach the end of its contract prematurely.

Waterfall takes on a more straightforward approach to address what the customer wants. You’ll be tied to do everything you’ve agreed on, so they get what they asked for. This may seem like a good way to appease your customers, but there is a high chance of failure involved here.

 

 

  • Customer Availability

It’s always a good thing to have the customer involved in every step of the way, and Agile gives you this kind of availability. You’ll be able to consult them in every step of the cycle and apply the necessary changes the product needs as you go with the stages. This ensures a better product while appeasing your customers with their involvement in it.

This kind of approach may be ideal for customers who are more hands-on when it comes to projects, but there are those who prefer to have the least involvement as possible or perhaps only during the times when a project hits a milestone.

 

 

  • Mindset

Having a product mindset is what the Agile methodology is all about. You and your team should be able to focus on creating a software product that satisfies the needs of your customer while being open to changes when needed.

Waterfall, on the other hand, is more focused on completing the project instead of working on a product that aims to please its customers. This may look good on paper in terms of project accomplishments, but it could fall short when it comes to product quality.

 

 

  • Management

Management is fairly easy in the Agile department, with its interchangeable team members that allow work to flow at a faster rate. The beauty lies in the fact that this approach doesn’t need a project manager to supervise the whole process since all the team members know their roles.

 

Conclusion

It’s fairly obvious that Agile methodology has a considerable edge over its Waterfall counterpart, which is the reason why more organizations are using this approach in their software development processes. However, according to a Gartner Hype Cycle, Agile project management is hitting the peak of inflated expectations. This means issues with this type of methodology will start to make themselves known better in the project management community.

With Waterfall falling short in many aspects and Agile soon following suit, hybrids or a combination of methodologies are in order. In fact, 56.6% of organizations are starting to rely on these hybrid approaches. The bottom line is, you should be able to customize your methodology according to the needs of the project to hit your ideal goals and achieve considerable success in creating your software products.

 

Find out how the experts at Intelligent Bee can help you with your software development needs today!


How App Developers Can Reduce the Risk of Cyber Attacks

The evolution of technology has brought seemingly endless benefits to both businesses and consumers. But along with the progress comes a few setbacks, like the increase in the number of cybersecurity attacks for example. The end goal for attackers remains the same—monetary theft. And with around 249,662 new domains and 5,518,007 new hosts launching daily, their targets are continually growing.

App-Developers-Reduce-Cyber-Attacks

In addition, the proliferation of mobile technology has given cybercriminals a new platform to carry out their attacks. Secondary or affiliate stores in the Android market can be taken advantage of to compromise official apps or create fake apps.

This makes security a critical consideration for app developers. Organizations must also regularly monitor app stores (and the entire web) to find platforms hosting apps without permission from the developer as well as apps impersonating the brand. Here are a few issues that bespoke software developers must be aware of.

 

Common Risks for Mobile App Developers

 

  1. Data leakage

Breaches can happen for different reasons. An unintended data leak is when critical app data is stored in unsecure locations (or those that are easily accessible by other apps or users) on mobile. This is caused by issues like OS bugs or framework security negligence, which is not within the developer’s control.

However, insecure data storage leaks are something that developers and users can control. This refers to private data being stored without proper encryption or transferred through unsecured means. According to the Ponemon Institute, companies have around 28% chance of experiencing at least one incident of a breach in the next two years, so it’s a good idea to be prepared.

 

  1. Social engineering

Basic trickery is also dangerous on mobile, especially since this attack can easily be done through email. Outside of malware, phishing is the most common social engineering tactic, and mobile users are the most vulnerable because they tend use email more often.

The fact that the device sometimes only shows the sender’s names may be a factor. According to an IBM study, mobile users are three times more likely to respond to a phishing attack compared to when using desktop.

 

  1. Interference through unsecured Wi-Fi

The transmission of data through an unsecured Wi-Fi connection, especially public ones, is also a cause of concern. According to a survey by security firm Wandera, a quarter of corporate mobile devices have connected to open and potentially insecure Wi-Fi networks, with 4% of those encountering a malicious interception recently.

 

  1. Physical device breaches

A lost, unattended, or old device can easily be infiltrated, especially if it has no strong password or encryption. The advent of the Internet-of-Things poses an even greater threat, as a breach can affect not just one device, but a slew of smartphones, tablets, wearables, and devices connected to the same network.

According to research by cybersecurity firm Raytheon, 82% of IT professionals say that unsecured IoT devices can cause a “catastrophic” data breach. It doesn’t help that some IoT devices don't generally come with timely software updates.

 

  1. Weak server-side controls

Servers have always been an easy target for hackers, as they control communication between the app and its mobile users. App developers should undertake traditional server-side security considerations into account or use an automated scanner to identify common issues with the server.

 

  1. The absence of binary protection

Binary protection is needed to avoid attackers from reverse-engineering the app’s code to include malware or redistribute a copy of the app that contains a threat.

 

  1. Inadequate transport layer protection

Transport layer refers to the route that the data takes when transmitting between client and server. Hackers usually try to gain access to this to modify or steal the data, resulting in frauds, identity theft, and other issues.

 

  1. Poor authorization and authentication

Most mobile apps don’t call for users to be online throughout their session. Hence, some apps will require offline authentication to maintain uptime, but this can create a security loophole as offline mobile apps cannot distinguish if a user has low permissions, or is an admin or super admin. Such gaps may allow attackers to operate the app or the backend server.

 

  1. Damaged cryptography

Broken cryptography is due to lousy encryption or incorrect implementation, like storing keys in easily accessible locations or not hard-coding them within the binary. Attackers can exploit such vulnerabilities by decrypting sensitive data then manipulating or stealing it

 

  1. Client-side injection

This refers to the execution of malicious codes through the client’s side of the app or a binary attack. Injection is done by adding code that forces a context switch, which the framework interprets as executable. The code may then either access permissions to otherwise unauthorized users or execute privileged permissions.

Affected users need to identify the source of the input and validate the data. A code analysis tool can also be used to validate whether the application is handling data correctly.

 

Cybersecurity Best Practices

Fortunately, there are ways that organizations and app developers can avoid falling victims to fraudulent practices.

  • Make the code tough to break by securing it, while keeping it easy to update and patch.
  • Encrypt all data and make sure your authentication keys aren’t easily accessible.
  • Be extra cautious when using third-party libraries. Test them before use and maintain control over internal repositories during acquisition.
  • Use authorized APIs only, as unauthorized ones are loosely coded and may unintentionally grant permissions to unauthorized personnel.
  • Use high-level authentication, or make sure that the apps only accept strong, alphanumeric passwords that must be renewed after a few months. Using a multi-factor (a combination of static and one-time password) or biometric authentication (retina scan or fingerprint) for more sensitive apps is also recommended.
  • Use the newest cryptographic protocols 256-bit AES encryption with SHA-256 for hashing. In addition, never hard code keys as this would make it easy to steal them. Store keys in secure containers instead of in a local drive or device.
  • Test apps through penetration testing, threat modeling, and emulators. Fix issues and update or patch when required.

 

Conclusion

When new threats emerge, new solutions are needed. In this age of cyber-attacks, organizations shouldn’t wait for threats to happen before responding. Being proactive is the way, and spotting threats lurking around requires high-level visibility. There are steps and tools available to gain insight and help bring the attack into focus, even allowing supposed victims to go on the offense.

 

Contact us today to learn how we can secure your company's mobile apps from the get-go!


5 Ways Businesses Can Take Advantage of AI in 2019

The concept of artificial intelligence has come a long way, from a destructive form of androids out to take over the world to a kind of technology with human-like intelligence capable of performing cognitively complex tasks.

Business-Artificial-Intelligence

This coming of age has paved way for an AI landscape where businesses are adopting the technology to help them work faster and smarter. In 2019, you can expect AI to explode more rapidly with newer and better applications for your company and your customers alike.

 

The Benefits of AI for Businesses

AI has its fair share of criticisms and support. For the skeptics, the resistance toward AI may be due to the notion that bots and computer programs might soon replace humans in building future societies. On the other hand, proponents of business AI assert that the technology brings about the following benefits:

  • Reduced operational costs. AI can save your business time and money as it helps you automate routine work – from mundane tasks such as organizing your calendar to more critical ones such as collecting and processing data.
  • Increased productivity and efficiency. AI-based technologies are designed to be precise and free from errors commonly made by humans so there will be no unnecessary (potentially costly) revisions to your workflow.
  • Better customer experience. The predictive capabilities of AI can help you predict how customers’ needs or interests are changing, so your business can become more adaptable to these trends.
  • Growth in business expertise. AI’s machine learning algorithms make it easier for you to analyze your business data and consequently make better data-backed decisions.

 

AI Applications for Businesses

Today, AI is no longer a science-fiction concept as it has real-world applications in many industries and business models. Here are top examples on how you can use AI in business.

 

  1. Quality Control in Manufacturing

    With AI, manufacturing and automotive companies can perform more stringent quality control (QC) tests in their products. Under the naked eye, humans might not be able to spot microscopic defects, but machines equipped with powerful cameras can. These eagle-eyed machines will be able to detect any type of irregularity in products under QC, capture images, and forward them to a quality control analyst, who will then be responsible in making judgments and the necessary corrections.

    Another application for AI in the manufacturing sector comes in the form of generative design. Product engineers think up a design for a particular product or project and use a generative design software to help them create as many iterations as possible. Since the software has machine learning features to help designers test each version, designers can narrow down their choices as to which model works best.

 

  1. Automating Recruitment

    Recruitment can be a tedious process, but AI can help you transition from using antiquated recruitment strategies to employing smarter solutions in talent sourcing and applicant screening.

    From automating the schedule of your interviews with applicants to shortlisting candidates, AI allows you to streamline recruitment tasks, so you can save precious time in filling key positions in your organization. Moreover, there are now tools that you can use to find passive applicants, so you can expand your pool of qualified candidates and increase your success rate in making quality hires.

 

  1. Defense Against Data and Security Breach

    There are a couple of ways that you can leverage AI to protect your business from online security threats.

    For one, you can better predict and pinpoint vulnerabilities in your IT network and maintain the integrity of proprietary and customer data – thanks to the deep learning features of AI bots which automatically test the security of your system.

    AI also helps you manage your IT infrastructure by controlling the amount of traffic that it gets as well as by balancing the workloads of your computing systems and networks.

 

  1. Personalizing Customer Experience

    Many of the practical applications of AI focus on . In particular, marketing and multimedia services take advantage of the fact that they can get tremendous amounts of data by tracking their customers’ digital activities. This allows them to tailor their recommendations and come up with better products or services that can potentially grow the business revenue.

    You can also incorporate AI solutions to analyze other forms of customer behavior, such as when they’re most likely to respond to your emails or surveys, or to determine which online channels are best for reaching your audience. All of these insights can be helpful as you establish your brand of customer service.

 

  1. Aid for Healthcare Diagnosis

    Businesses in the medical industry can make use of AI tools to deliver excellent patient care, too. For example, they can implement smart wearable devices that are equipped with vital signs trackers to enable doctors and other healthcare professionals to collect data about patients’ medical condition remotely. As a result, diagnosis becomes more accurate compared with patient-reported data, which could be prone to inconsistencies.

    These AI-powered devices can also make it easy for medical service providers to offer timely interventions for patients, so they can lead a better quality of life.

 

Making Your Business Intelligent Through AI

AI is all about using the right tools and technologies to help your business predict trends and improve processes while providing better products and services to your customers. Be prepared to embrace all the possibilities that AI has to offer your business if you want to keep up with the trends and remain competitive in the modern era.

 

Want to know more about how custom software and AI can grow your business in 2019? Contact the experts at Intelligent Bee today!


Top Tips for Managing a Remote Software Development Team

Every corporation, no matter how profitable, always seeks to cut down on operational costs. One of the most effective ways to reach this goal is outsourcing—the practice of seeking external support for non-primary business functions, so it can focus on its core goals, all while saving time and money. 

Manage-Remote-Software-Team

The trend of hiring remote employees is a modern business strategy that combines low-cost software development and experts. A poll by Gallup shows that 37% of the respondents said they have dabbled in some form of remote work. Big tech companies like Skype, MYSQL, SeatGeek, and Opera have all employed outsourcing in one way or another.

Whether you choose to get support from a third-party located in your main office’s country (onshore), a neighboring country (nearshore), or an entirely different region (offshore), learning how to properly manage a remote software team is crucial to your project’s success.

 

Managing Remote Software Teams Effectively

  1. Hire the right people and train if necessary

When recruiting your remote staff, the process should be of the same quality as when you’re hiring for the main office. Naturally, you’d want to work with an experienced software team who have the right mindset and attitude and are prepared to work in multinational environments. Experience in remote work is helpful but should not be a necessity.

You’ll have to communicate with your remote developers on a regular basis, so your questions should just be the same as the ones you’d ask any on-site worker. The next logical step is to train them, as it mitigates their shortcomings and weak spots while fostering positive traits. With adequate training, you can also compensate for the cultural differences, most notably communication concerns.

 

  1. Define work procedures

Clearly lay out project guidelines for productivity, teamwork, and accountability to your employees. Explain the project, describe the goals in detail, and review the requirements to make sure you have all the functionality you need. Your remote team can work faster and give a more precise quote if you clearly state the vision of your project.

Your outsourced partner may be highly-experienced with businesses in your industry but remember that they’ve never worked with you before. Focusing on training and orientation remote teams during the onboarding process will reduce the risk of potentially costly mistakes in the long run.

 

  1. Schedule communications to stay on the same page

Working across potentially different time zones is a challenge, so you should strictly maintain scheduled meetings to help all offices align and organize every team’s workflow. When you fail to conduct regular consultations and meetings, there can be gaps in communication, causing delays.

A good practice is to hold regular meetings with your remote team (weekly or monthly). These catch-up sessions can be used to ensure everyone is aligned on priorities, facilitate brainstorming sessions, and educate partners on new projects or products.

 

  1. Utilize collaboration tools and test it regularly

Outsourcing employees are nowadays made easier with reliable collaboration tools like Slack, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. These programs are essential as they can help structure your teams’ work and contribute to productivity. There are also tools available for instant messaging, email, file sharing, project management, productivity, among others. Don’t forget to test their functionalities to figure out the tool that best fits your organizational structure and workflow.

 

  1. Share and work on feedback

Give immediate and extensive feedback on every iteration and sprint, so your remote team knows what to work on. Of course, be prepared to hear the team’s feedback as well. Have a quick chat every now and then to know their perspective on things. A few good questions like what could go wrong with the project, what you could do differently, and if they have all the tools to complete the work should be enough to maintain a clear direction for the partnership.

 

  1. Continuous integration

Continuous integration refers to keeping the source code of the program in a continuously “working state”. Continuous integration is more helpful when teams are in different locations with different working hours as it can help in efficiency and productivity. When teams can’t always communicate in an ad hoc way to diagnose problems, it builds discipline and maintains efficiency.

 

  1. Be prepared with a NDA

The nature of a developer’s work involves a lot of proprietary code, algorithms, and other confidential information. At some point during the project, they may also gain access to your client database, core platform, and the company’s proprietary algorithms. You should always ask them to sign a non-disclosure agreement before getting started for the safety of your sensitive information.

 

  1. Have a face-to-face from time to time

Traveling to your remote staff’s location to meet them helps you personally settle their concerns without being pressed for time. You can also consider flying your remote workers in for a short training opportunity at headquarters. This allows you to establish personal connections and inspire them with your passion and vision for the project. It’s a good investment for long-term productivity.

 

  1. Forget micromanagement

Micromanaging your employees is never an efficient policy; more so when you’re managing outsourced workers. You may especially find it hard if you have a background in software development. So, instead of solving issues with the programming, work on communicating the project goals and concerns.

 

  1. Learn the social aspect of software development

Your team must learn how to rely on your outsourcing partner’s accountability as individuals, and to build trust at an organizational level. Help create an online community with them that aims to share knowledge, and fosters collective code ownership, a culture of learning and accountability, and interaction among team members.

Don’t let projects become siloed. Support your team as they find the most effective way to meet their objectives.

 

Conclusion

With all the advantages you can enjoy from hiring a remote team for your software development, it’s easy to overlook the challenges you may also face. That’s why it’s important to discover for yourself if it’s something critical to your business and if you have the resources to pull it off.

More than having the right management strategies, clear communication with the group especially in terms of objectives and deadlines, proper tools and resources to effectively work on the project, and being flexible with their expert perspectives are some of the considerations you should have before hiring a remote software team.

 

To find out how the seasoned experts at Intelligent Bee can help with your business’ software needs, contact us today!


Software Deployment Checklist for Businesses

Software-Deployment-Checklist--Banner

Every business wants their new app or software, whether in its first iteration or the form of an update, to launch successfully. In this day and age, many users expect polished, hi-tech platforms accessible at their fingertips. Sorting out all the kinks and bugs on your new software is critical in ensuring all systems and their usability are optimized and performing well.

Overall, software or web deployment covers installation, configuration, running, testing, and tweaking systems in your product. You want to make sure that nothing less than the best is getting released to the public. It may sound like a daunting task, but with this checklist, you can make sure that you’ll have all your bases covered.

Software deployment testing can be done both in a test environment before deployment or in the live environment after deployment. For this article, we’ll go with live environment testing after deployment.

Software-Deployment-Checklist--Infographic

Understanding the Deployment Process

 

  • Close the loop between development and operations

Having your development and operations departments on the same page of your deployment schedule is best for everyone in the team. There should be transparency and responsibility to inform both sides about infrastructure changes, timing, and release strategy.

 

  • Develop a rollback plan

If the live version of your software encounters too many problems, it’s wise to have a rollback plan. Revert it to the previous state and ensure that the rollback has no issues, either. Sometimes, this can cause more problems than patch up a problematic software release.

 

  • Notify stakeholders of the release

This is an easily overlooked part of the planning process that can make a huge difference when it comes to successful adoption of the software. Something as simple as informing users and stakeholders about the schedule can save a significant amount of time and prevent unnecessary confusion.

 

  • Develop and finalize your release strategy

The deployment comes in different kinds, so align with your team about which type you want to execute for your software. Will you roll it out completely or by batches? Does it require a reinstall for your users or will the update take effect online? Go for the right kind of operations that matches the nature of your software.

 

  • Keep changes to a minimum

As you near deployment, you should be able to lock all systems in place. If you plan on making any changes, make sure you inform your team and keep them to a minimum. Any alterations should not be significant enough to delay the timeline unless you plan on pushing it back. It’s always better to be sure and prepared.

 

  • Utilize automation tools

Wherever you can remove human error, do so. Automation tools now exist to make deployment possible in a few clicks of a button. This can speed up repetitive tasks and allow you to control how much you want to deploy rather than all at once. Automation is also essential in your rollback strategy—if you automate that process as well, there’s no need for you to redo or lose a lot of changes on your code.

 

  • Consider a continuous deployment process

Continuous deployment, part of the continuous improvement mindset, involves deploying new software updates automatically when developers make a change (it assumes that there will always be bugs in the production version). The upside of incremental rollouts is that they’re systematically quicker and easier to rollback than full-releases. But of course, there are additional costs involved with the high demand for quality assurance testing.

 

  • Keep a close eye for bugs or crashes

Even though deployment is fully automated nowadays, errors can still occur. Standby during the deployment proper and get ready to dive in to fix your codes or scripts should it be needed. This is where your rollback plan can potentially come in handy.

 

  • Test all critical areas of your software

Make sure all systems are greenlit and working as they should. Do several tests such as functionality testing, user experience testing, performance testing, compatibility testing, and security testing, to name a few. These tests will allow you to gather statistical and analytical data on how well your software is performing.

 

  • Systematically report all bugs and errors

Proper categorization of errors makes prioritizing and testing a lot simpler. The most urgent fixes should be first deployed in the test environment for regression testing before being deployed in the live environment. Repeat this testing cycle for all as you move forward in the deployment process.

 

  • Set up performance metrics

How will you know if your deployment was a success? You can create your KPIs for the software surface level, such as page load times and server CPU usage. Or, you can drill down further and come up with custom KPIs. These can measure the efficiency and effectiveness of every aspect of your DevOps’ toolchain.

 

  • Keep an eye on error logs

How are your logs doing? Take note of the volume and make sure that it hasn’t changed drastically. It’s generally bad news if logs stop or if the number drastically increases. Check the records of any new features you’re testing out as well and identify a baseline of when you need to step in if you start receiving error logs.

 

  • Use an error-tracking program

It’s always a good idea to utilize a bug-tracking software like Bugzilla or Airbrake to manage contextual information about the errors your software encounters. Not only will these tools make you quicker to respond to potential issues, you’ll also get a much better idea of the software’s overall health.

 

Flexible Software Deployment

In this day and age, software deployment needs to be flexible and agile. Here’s how you can do that:

  • Having a software deployment checklist can help you get your business in order. If you’re prepared for any scenario, you’ll be able to think on your feet faster.
  • Have the necessary deployment tools in your arsenal so you can automate all the critical parts of your software development and deployment.
  • Keep observing KPIs to detect any problems, should there be any. Be sure to trace the source so you can avoid the same issues from arising next time.
  • Never release an update without a rollback strategy. Sometimes, the best way to fix software issues is to revert to the previous version, so don’t forget to backup.

The best case you can hope for during software deployment is to let it run itself without having to worry too much. With preparedness and having the right tools to support your processes, you can be sure that your next deployment will always go smoother than the last.

 

Conclusion

The success of a software deployment doesn’t just rely on the performance, scalability, and excellent user experience of your software—it should also be able to reflect in your business success goals. If your number of users, conversations, and usage are increasing, that means that the new software has made a significant impact on your business operations as well.

Software development is a meticulous process. If you choose to seek external support, be sure to avoid common mistakes when outsourcing software development. The more careful you execute this, the more it will save you from future headaches on possible bugs, crashes, or any other failures you don’t want your software to have.


10 Ways Mobile Apps Help Grow Businesses

How often do you browse Amazon listings via their mobile app or place an order through the McDonalds app? As the digital era goes mobile, companies get into the groove of building their own mobile apps that enable customers to stay connected and get things done with just a few taps on their devices.

How-Mobile-Apps-Help-Grow-Businesses

Your business doesn’t have to be as big as Starbucks or Nike for apps to be considered valuable to your growth. If your company has yet to start milking the flow of opportunities that mobile offers, then there’s no time to waste. A look at the following mobile device usage statistics show how mobile app development can benefit your business:

  • 80% of smartphone users are more inclined to purchase from companies with mobile apps or sites that help them answer their inquiries quickly. (Google)
  • 90% of users’ time on their mobile phones is spent on apps. (Flurry)
  • Smartphone users are more likely to purchase from brands whose mobile apps or sites tailor information to their location. (Google)
  • Compared to mobile sites, customers view 4.2x more products per session on apps. (JMango360)

 

Questions to Ask Before Building a Business App

The temptation is reasonable. But before you take the plunge, it’s helpful to check if your vision aligns with your mobile app’s purpose. Here are a few questions to ask before you push through with your mobile app development.

  • Do your competitors have apps? What features do they have?
  • How will it help your customers? What problems will the app solve?
  • Do you want to enhance the experience of your existing customers or bring new ones in?
  • Will you offer a customer loyalty program?
  • Will it simplify processes for your internal team or your customers?

If you have solid answers to all these, then it’s time to start building your mobile app!

 

How Mobile Apps Can Support Your Business

 

  1. Boost brand image

Mobile apps provide awareness through branded communication with consumers. Without one, your brand might come across as outdated. As with distributing stickers or calendars with your brand image, your logo and brand name are constantly plastered on your customers’ device home screens. Your customer’s regular interaction with your app also fosters trust, which conditions them to commit to your brand.

 

  1. Enhance customer service

Customer service and support has evolved from person-to-person interactions to digital channels. Having the ability to access your products and services 24/7 without having to wait for regular business hours is a great advantage for customers. Plus, points for your brand if your app includes a messaging feature where they can reach you directly without leaving the app.

 

  1. Personalized marketing channel

Mobile apps offer various ways where you can diversify personalized marketing campaigns, such as push notifications. You can use them to advertise new products, discounts, special events, promotions, and much more. You can also use it to remind existing customers how long they haven’t shopped with you or when their waitlisted item gets restocked.

 

  1. Make consumers feel more valued

Business is all about give and take. As much as you want to increase your sales, you also want to show how much you value your customers. One way to encourage more conversions is through a loyalty program built into the app.

The more frequent they avail of your products or service, the more points they get, which they can use to claim rewards—exclusive to app subscribers. Seeing how many points they’ve earned and what rewards are on offer without going to your website will entice them to follow through then and there.  

 

  1. Get on that word-of-mouth marketing

One of the most powerful effects of the mobile age is its strong facilitation of word-of-mouth marketing. You can feature a referral program within the app and reward customers who share the app or your content to a friend.

 

  1. Quick access to data anytime, anywhere

With every mobile app comes an array of data analytics features. Like a website, you’ll have access to all the behavioral and transactional data collected by your mobile app. This information can help your brand build insights on your target audience and improve future campaigns.

 

  1. Better productivity

With automation lifting a heavy weight off employees’ shoulders, they can focus on more on their primary function: providing a great product/service. Corporate apps can make jobs more convenient and help produce more quality work. The use of a cloud service can additionally help make decision-making faster and more efficient.

 

  1. Automation of processes

One of the primary reasons why businesses are jumping on enterprise mobility is because of automation. Being able to automate and streamline various tasks with minimal human intervention can save you precious time at work and reduce the risk of error.

 

Summing it up

We live in a fast-paced digital era, and it’s never been more obvious that smartphones and mobile apps have marked their territory in people’s lives. It’s up to businesses to adapt if they want to ride the trends and embrace this digital transformation, which is an excellent way to connect with customers, improve branding, or scale business processes more efficiently.

 

You don’t have to be a tech company to have a mobile app. Every brand deserves to have its own “big idea” when it comes to mobile apps. So, what’s yours?