Business Strategy

Why updating your business software matters

Technology is rapidly changing and there are constant improvements or changes being made. These updates often improve how your software performs, which in turn benefit your business. It might appear wasteful to invest in software if your business is doing exceedingly well or struggling, but that’s where you should consider its impact. The simplest way to improve your business could be an integration with what technological solutions you already have, but making sure your software is updated is beneficial for your users and important from a security standpoint, but most significantly, it increases the value of what you offer.

Updating your software

There is no cure-all to check if your technology is updated. However, there are steps that can be taken to ensure your software is operating in its best form. Start with examining what your software was built with. Is this a current version of a language? If not, why isn’t it up to date to cover any possible bugs and or exploits it contains? As long as the language or framework is actively being supported, there’s no reason a software product stays away using the latest version. By updating, you gain access to new features, prevent features from eventually breaking, and mitigate the risk of exposure to old exploits.

What authentication is part of your product? Does your product offer two-factor authentication? While not the only way to secure your sign in process, it makes it a lot harder for anyone to infiltrate your user accounts. It’s also straightforward for users to set up.

Technology integrations

Any good business leader knows a company doesn’t perform well when teams aren’t talking to each other. Work gets replicated or not done at all because one arm doesn’t know what the other arm is doing. Technology works exactly the same way. When your systems are completely disconnected from each other, data gets easily duplicated or lost. Integrations are how we ensure your data flows correctly from A to Z.

Any software integrations with your company’s technology are going to require an application program interface (API). If the software you rely on to run your business doesn’t have an API, it’s likely something that can be added. For software that is proprietary to your company, you control the documentation and capabilities, but this isn’t the case for integrating with another company’s software solution. They’re responsible in that case for the features offered and documentation. That being said, be careful which APIs you choose to integrate with. Some are not documented well and cause more headaches than they’re worth. Looking at the documentation will indicate what features are available and help you decide if it’s what you want to use. You might not need all the features of an API, choose what you will use and don’t integrate the others unless they become necessary.

Which APIs should I use?

APIs also save a lot of time when developing a new product. Why build an SMS solution from scratch when you can integrate with Twilio’s API? Why build out an issue management solution when you can integrate with Zendesk’s API? This kind of approach when building a product will save time in a sprint schedule for your project which equates to less development hours, saving you money.

A common integration we recommend to our clients is software that will provide analytics about your product. For example, Google Firebase provides a significant amount of data on how a mobile app is used. With this information, you can figure out what is going within your app and how your users interact with it. Another integration to consider is one that makes it easy to send automated emails to your users. SendGrid for instance has a well documented API that makes this simple and allows you to spend less time in your inbox and more time doing what matters. These are only a couple examples, but they highlight how a combination of tech integrations could be what pushes your company past its next hurdle.

How can analytics help?

What data are you collecting? Analytics are the only way you’ll be able to understand how your product is working. These will give you insights on how people are interacting with your product and what isn’t working. From here, you will glean further info about who your customers are and why they might use your product. We recommend prioritizing user privacy and separating personally identifiable information from traffic metrics. Anonymized device IDs help measure behaviors without associating them with specific people. You can even target specific audience behaviors with push notifications without personally identifiable information about each user. When you understand the habits of your users, it becomes clear what direction your product should develop and what partnerships may be valuable in the future.

What comes after analytics and integrations?

Let the data guide you! The integrations you added should save you time with other aspects of your business or help it develop. Meanwhile, you need to sort and organize the analytics you’re receiving and make them meaningful. Perhaps your customers are ordering at a particular time of day. How can you incentivize them to order at other times? The data you read about your app could suggest there’s a feature essential to the user experience that’s absent. Can it be added via an integration or do you need to build it?

Always plan

Before you build anything new, make a plan to ensure it will be beneficial to your business. Once you’ve done that, you can start thinking about implementation. Need further direction? Drop us a line. We’re always interested to hear new ideas and help you build the next level of your business.

By Vaughn Hunt