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  • Lean Six SigmaIf your organization is contemplating new technology solutions to help make your enterprise run more efficiently, the term “lean” has probably been part of your conversation. Lean manufacturing, Lean Six Sigma, Lean production, Lean enterprise, Lean IT – regardless of the industry or application – the basic concept makes sense.

    Where did the Lean concept come from?
    Simply put, Lean-based processes are designed to offer value to the customer while increasing profits. The term Lean production was introduced in 1990 in the book The Machine That Changed the World.

    It was inspired by the evolution of production systems developed by the auto manufacturer Toyota (known the Toyota Production System or TPS). As history has shown, Toyota went from being a minor player in the auto manufacturing market to the largest, because they were able to produce a high-quality product at a fair price.

    Where does Lean Six Sigma come in?
    In 2002, the concept Lean Six Sigma was introduced. Lean Six Sigma combines the traditional Lean methods with the Six Sigma process of improving business performance that was introduced by Bill Smith, a senior engineer and scientist at Motorola, in 1986. The Motorola program effectively addressed quality issues the manufacturer was struggling to resolve. Six Sigma then gained renown in 1995 when Jack Welch adopted it as the center of his business strategy for General Electric.

    Do I have to work in manufacturing to adopt Lean strategies?
    No! Lean strategies and processes are being utilized in:

    How can I start running a Leaner operation?
    Look for areas of waste in your organization. Lean Six Sigma puts a major emphasis on the reduction of waste that really makes sense. When enterprises can keep waste to a minimum they can reap the benefits of reduced production/process times and expenses (and that means increased profits). Lean Six Sigma separates waste into six categories that your business should consider:

    • Transportation.
    • Inventory.
    • Motion.
    • Waiting.
    • Overproduction.
    • Over-processing.
    • Defects.

    Lean Six Sigma programs typically operate under a set of progressive phases – DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) for established projects and DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Verify) for new projects. These processes cover all project phases, and research and analytics are used to identify opportunities for improvement or success while establishing solid benchmarks to gauge how well the implemented processes have performed.

    If you’re in the process of launching a business intelligence solution for your enterprise, the team at Infovision is here to help. We offer the right mix of strategic resources and IT staffing solutions to help make sure your next project operates to maximize efficiencies and boost profits. Visit the Infovision website, email us at info@infovision.net or call us at 972-234-0058 to learn more.

    Photo Source: Shutterstock

    Resources:

    The Genealogy of Lean Production

    About Motorola University: The Inventors of Six Sigma

    The Evolution of Six Sigma

  • Mobile App PromotionsIf your business has been working hard to create the next great mobile app, you know it’s no walk in the park to go from startup to launch. Mobile app development takes time, know-how, lots of testing and good old-fashioned hard work. Once you’ve worked out the kinks, and it’s time to tell the world about it, you should have a solid plan in place to promote it.

    1. Make sure your app has a home base. Creating a unique landing page or website that focuses solely on your app is critical to your marketing efforts. This is the place to tell your story and share tips and tools that pertain to the app. This is especially important pre-launch, when you want to build interest in your product, since you need to drive traffic to one main hub.

    2. Tell everyone you personally know about it. Sounds pretty obvious, right? But you need to be organized about telling your story and should create a list of contacts from day one. Add new people to the list as you think of them. To make sure your app stays top of mind, keep people apprised of your progress.

    3. Reach out to influencers to tell your story. Early in the launch process (or even pre-launch) contact thought leaders in your niche and ask for their feedback. If you can persuade bloggers and other influencers to try your app and tell their followers and communities about it you’ll be ahead of the game.

    4. Promote and link to your app on existing sites. If you have an existing website and social sites put your new app launch announcement front and center and talk about it frequently (tweet about it and post to Facebook, LinkedIn, your blog, etc.). Use social ads as well as promoted posts and tweets to bring brand awareness to your target market. Upload tutorial videos on YouTube and promote to your target audience through paid ads.

    5. Create new social sites. As an offshoot of your core social sites, set up pages that specifically promote your new mobile app. (Then see No. 4 above.)

    6. Run mobile ads. Promoting your mobile app directly on smartphones and tablets, where the app will be used, can reap huge rewards (and downloads) and will probably get you more bang for your buck than other advertising methods.  Apple iAds, Google AdMob and ValueClicks Greystripe offer a variety of ad styles and solutions that work on the many different devices, platforms and carriers that come into the mix. Earlier this year, Google launched the more intuitive App Promotion Ad that is available to AdWords Enhanced Campaigns subscribers. It is easy to use and will only promote your ad on the platforms you support.

    7. Create a How-To Guide on SnapGuide. KISSmetrics recently ran a post on this up and coming platform that caters to the creation of, well, how-to guides, and why it’s a good fit for mobile app developers. Snapguides are designed to be short and sweet and are easy to share. Read the full KISSmetrics post about using Snapguide to promote your mobile app here.

    8. Take advantage of mobile app tools. MobileDevHQ is a tool that is designed to “Drive High Quality Downloads through App Store Optimization” (like SEO, but for mobile apps), help with keyword selection so you get found in the App Store and Google Play, plus it can provide rankings vs. your competition. Flurry is another mobile analytics option that can help you target your ads and give you intelligence to help identify key behaviors and habits to fine tune and more efficiently use your ad spend.

    These are just a few ways you can get the word out and do it wisely. If you’re looking for help getting your mobile app development off the ground, Infovision can help. We offer a wide variety of technology solutions to help your business maintain its competitive edge.

    Resources:

    How to Use Snapguide to Promote Your Mobile App

    The 5-Step Plan to Promote Your Mobile App

    How AdWords Enhanced Campaigns Can Be Used to Promote Your Mobile App

  • 5-3-13 Creating Apps Your Customers LoveConsider the apps you love most. Think about what makes you love it and use it. Chances are it’s highly-entertaining or informative, or it simplifies your life in a significant way. But good mobile apps don’t just happen. They have to be developed with the end-user’s wants and needs at the center of the design process. And a “one size fits all” approach doesn’t work either. Great apps generally fall into one of these four, or a combination of these categories:

    1. It makes life easier

    2. It’s informative

    3. It’s entertaining

    4. It saves time and money

    That’s a pretty simple formula for success, but creating it and tying it all together with a user interface (UI) that impresses your consumer is no easy feat. It takes a great deal of technical skill coupled with a deep understanding of what appeals to your customer to keep them coming back for more. Incorporate these basics into your app design and you’ll have customers in the palms of your hands.

    Consumers love apps that look good and are smart

    The app world is competitive. The way an app looks and feels is crucial and it’s likely that you’ll only have one chance to make a good impression. If a user downloads your app and it doesn’t operate well then chances are you’ve lost that customer for good. If there are really cool elements that could be built into the design, first ask whether or not it adds functionality. If it doesn’t, scrap it.  An app should feel intuitive and smart to its user, not clunky, overdesigned or bogged down.

    Consumers love apps that do all the work

    When designing an app developers must consider how people think things should naturally work and design according to those specifications. Users don’t want to do a ton of work to use an app. Remember they’re drawn to apps that make their lives easier in some way. The best way to determine if consumers will find the app usable is to let them use it. Test it out on potential users. Watch them as they navigate through the app and ask questions. Figuring out design issues early will save time, money and heartache.

    Consumers love apps that make “mobile” sense

    A presentation by mobility expert Nick Watt says a good app “plays to the strengths of mobile” which he says are: communications, spontaneity, geo-sensitivity, short periods of use and focused activity.  Watt uses Shazam, the music discovery application that utilizes a smartphone’s microphone to listen to ambient music and correctly identifies it,  as his example. Shazam typically isn’t a regularly used application, but it serves a purpose. The app keeps a log of each song it tags, allowing the user to quit the app after identifying a song. The options to buy, listen or share a track via Twitter or Facebook increases interaction time and the likelihood of the user coming back to the app to get the name of the track many times after it was first tagged. What’s not to love about an app that helps you remember the name of that song you breakdanced to in 6th grade!

    Testing “lovability”

    Finally, to find out how likely it is that a customer is going to love your app, simply ask yourself:  ” Is the app intuitive and pleasing to the eye?” Would I use it again? Did the experience resonate with me? And lastly, would I recommend it? If the answer is yes, yes, yes and yes. You have a winner.

    At InfoVision, we have the experience and expertise to develop mobile apps that customers love. To learn more about how we can provide the solutions you need, contact us today.

    Photo Source

    Information Sources

    What makes a great mobile app? -slideshare

    How to Succeed with your Mobile App

    What makes a great mobile app? -article

  • In the last several months, there’s been much ado about the future of wearable devices. If you’re not familiar with this term, wearable devices are the next generation of smart mobility — technology that goes where you go.

    By now, most of us are fully accustomed to, no matter where we are, logging on via our phones, tablets or laptops and responding to email, accessing documents or even conducting video meetings. Take that idea a step further and imagine being able to accomplish these tasks with devices that can be worn on your body. It’s certainly an idea we’re drawn to, but will it catch on? Major mobile solutions players like Google, Apple, Sony and other tech giants seem to think so, and to prove it, here are the devices they’re beginning to buzz about:

    Smart Watches

    Remember the calculator watches from the eighties — one of the early forms of wearable computing devices? Now think of all the functionality found in your iPhone strapped to your wrist. Pretty sweet. That’s exactly where smart watches are headed. And while early versions don’t have all the capabilities of a smart phone, they certainly do much more than addition and subtraction. While functionality varies among these new devices, many, using Bluetooth technology, operate as phones, cameras, navigation systems and run mobile apps that allow gaming, as well as playback of video and music files. All of this, within arm’s reach.

    Google Glass

    Perhaps one of the coolest wearable devices coming down the pike is Google Glass, which are worn like eyeglasses that display information right in the lenses and operate by voice commands. Its light weight, break-resistant design was developed to make it easy and practical to wear. According to the website for the device, you can take pictures of what you’re seeing in front of you, you can record video of what you’re seeing and you can even share it all live. And there’s more; it will translate languages for you and map out a path to find your way back if you get lost hiking.

    Smart clothing

    How about a t-shirt that measures your heart rate, respiration and skin temperature? What if that same t-shirt could also be customized to measure moisture in the skin and serve as a EKG monitor? These are the kinds of “smart fabrics” that are available now for consumers. There are even vest with built-in solar panels that will recharge any electronic devices the wearer is carrying. That’s smart.

    Smart fitness devices

    Health and fitness enthusiasts will also be able to enjoy more sophisticated wearable technology with gadgets that wirelessly transmit info to mobile apps or websites that keep up with daily activity, calories or even sleep patterns. Where older devices may have only tracked steps taken or how many calories were burned during a given period, new devices also take it to the next level by adding skin temperature and heart rate monitoring.

    Infovision and our expert team of mobile application developers work to stay ahead of emerging trends. Contact us and we can help your company determine what will keep your technology at the cutting edge of consumer wants and needs.

    Photo Source

    Information Resources

    Will 2013 Be the Year of the Smart Watch?

    Google Glass

    10 Wearable Health Tech Devices to Watch

    Wearable Medical Technology Set to Take Off

    Wearable Gadgets and the Future of Fitness

  • 4-16-13 App-titude

    For many companies, determining whether or not a mobile app makes sense for service optimization often boils down to the CTO’s  “everybody’s-doing-it” approach to adopting new technology. And while there’s certainly a place for staying in step with your competition, there is a better way to set apart your company’s mobile strategy and it starts with a quick assessment of your company’s app-titude — that is, figuring out if a mobile application not only moves the needle toward enhancing your customer’s brand experience, but also delivers on ROI.

    Is there a less expensive,  more effective way to reach a broad audience?

    The cost to have a mobile app developed can range anywhere from a couple thousand dollars on the low end  to upwards of $10,000  depending on functionality and back-end complexity. Generally speaking, the cost of entry is relatively low considering the number of potential customers you’ll reach, plus monetizing will help offset costs, but there’s also a number of other ways to connect with your consumers that may be more effective. For example, your full website, traditional and online marketing or even in-person touches may impact your customers more than mobility. It’s important to know how your customers want to interact with you, if they are already mobile app users and how open they are to integrating new technology into their experience with you.

    Will the application add valuable and unique elements to your customer’s interaction with your brand?

    There’s nothing more annoying than an app that doesn’t deliver. We’ve all installed apps that promise life-changing experiences, only to be completely disappointed that it’s hard to use and doesn’t bring any additional value to our interaction with the brand. Think about how your app can provide a new layer of experience and ask yourself, will your company’s new app entertain, inform or truly make life easier in some way for your customers? Superior apps accomplish all three.

    What’s your competition doing?

    If all of your top competitors are reaching their customers with a mobile strategy, then it’s probably a good idea for you to do the same. Having an app can put you on the same field as some of the major players in your industry, you’ll just need to be able to leverage SEO, PR and advertising to draw consumers to your app.

    Will your app motivate consumers to keep coming back?

    Good apps keep you coming back. Great apps are shared among friends. The best apps generate buzz. Either way, your company’s mobile application should be able to achieve a certain level of virality. If it doesn’t “catch on,” you’ve potentially wasted a lot of time and money. Remember, the goal is to entertain, inform and/or make life easier. These elements are key to app reuse.

    Infovision can help your company determine its mobile strategy and develop rich applications with your consumer’s unique needs in mind. Our global team of mobile development experts will work closely with you to determine the best approach to enhancing your business through mobility solutions.  Getting started is one click away.

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