Mobile: When most people hear mobile computing they think small.
[We think big.]
If you remember just one point about our philosophy on mobile let it be this: mobile devices are NOT small laptops. Every other point follows from this observation. At ShiftLeft we don’t simply reproduce a miniaturized version of your website and call it a mobile solution. We start from a white sheet, helping you design and deploy a strategy that takes advantage of what mobile does best.
Think about it. How can you possibly design a website that is simultaneously optimized for a 30-inch flat panel display AND a 2.5-inch hand-held device? The answer is you can’t.Which is why you need a strategy based on mobile first. A strategy geared toward speed, convenience and ease of use. Your customers want it and they want it NOW. Why else would they be coming to you on their cell phones?
A Matter of Scale
Most organizations settle for a solution that is either (a.) scaled down: a tiny version of their website (which drives users crazy); (b.) scaled back: a small subset of functions available on their full site (which leaves users thinking, is that it?); or (c.) both (ouch). Even if you don’t hire ShiftLeft, you’d be wise to take this advice with you: Don’t allow your existing website to dictate your mobile strategy. Then you won’t be scaling at all. You’ll be creating.
Power in Your Hands
Make no mistake. Handheld devices are becoming the primary path to the Internet. With the advancement of 3G networks (and gigabit-speed 4G arriving now) users carry broadband with them. Everywhere. They’re beginning to access the Internet on their mobile devices more frequently than on their laptops or other computers, which meansthey’re making the choices and decisions they used to make on their computers on their handhelds. You can’t afford a mobile strategy that’s a paltry substitute for your website. Your mobile apps need to be fast, intuitive, functional and capable of standing on their own.
Want to see where the Internet is headed? In Japan broadband access is upwards of 20 times faster than in the U.S. Ponder for a moment broadcast-quality, full-screen television that doesn’t stutter. Wireless handheld videoconferencing. High definition telemedicine. In the UK, Switzerland and France, mobile payment systems allow users to swipe their cell phones rather than credit cards to pay for train fares. And books. And movie tickets. These mobile technologies are coming to a theater near you (and we can help you get ready).
The Here and Now
At ShiftLeft we know you want to do the basics first: develop a functional mobile solution that can be deployed efficiently and effectively, right now. We also know you want a forward-looking provider who can help you develop a strategy that anticipates evolving technology and user expectations. ShiftLeft does both. Our projects in Europe, Asia and throughout the U.S. have yielded a truly global perspective on mobile technology. Our mobile solutions do more than work today; they position you for tomorrow.
If not all data is relevant, where does analysis begin? ShiftLeft starts by investigating exceptions. Aberrations. What data seems to fall one or more standard deviations from the norm? What can’t be readily explained?
For one customer we created an Exception Report that was added to their standard daily status report. Managers told us they began to read this report first because it immediately identified problems in their supply chain. They were even able to proactively call their vendors to tell them about their own quality control issues. In other words, they caught the problems where they originated, not downstream.
Oh, and we even helped them set up real- time exception reporting by developing a mobile solution that immediately notifies managers company-wide about aberrant data. What took them days to discover now takes hours — or less.
That’s the power of analytics. And the principles of effective analytics can be applied to ANY industry. We should know. We’ve done it. In manufacturing. In healthcare. In Regulated Industries. Contact us to see how we can help you.
Data visualization would seem to be just what it sounds like: the visual representation of data. What’s so difficult about that? Pie charts, bar graphs, Venn diagrams. Yet, to be effective you need the right data and the right form of visualization. A beautifully rendered graphical model of the wrong data is art. It might look nice in a PowerPoint presentation or quarterly report but it won’t help you make the right decisions (in fact, it’s likely to lead you to the wrong ones). Likewise, the poorly visualized model of the right data may not convey the necessary urgency of a significant event or trend (indeed it might obscure it).
At ShiftLeft we have experience with all manner of modeling methodologies, from standard charts and graphs to 3D models, complex mind maps and semantic networks. We know how to convey ideas effectively through both form and function, providing insights into complex data by communicating in an intuitive way. Insights that produce the kind of clarity needed to act decisively. With confidence. Who wouldn’t like to have more of those “Aha!” moments?
Once we’ve identified and isolated the data to track, we need to set up automated systems for reporting. At Shift Left we regularly work with the full range of reporting systems. From simple spreadsheet-based approaches and Access databases to robust SQL data structures and ERP systems. We’ve done it. Microsoft, SAP, Hyperion, Oracle, Business Objects. We can build the automated reports that capture the data you need to optimize performance at every level of your organization.
Perhaps you’ve outgrown your current reporting system and need something more robust. We can help you. Or maybe you already have something in place that’s working but you need to optimize it. We can do that, too. Remember, we’re business analysts first, software developers second. Our goal is to help you improve your processes, not push you toward specific products.
Data vs. Information
There’s a big difference between data and information. Data is the constant stream of numbers, facts and figures that flow in and out of any system. Information is what you pluck from that stream to make smart business decisions.
Data is not meaningfully organized or contextualized. Information is organized, contextualized and, as a result, actionable. In other words, information is relevant data. Do you know which data is relevant to your business’s success?
ShiftLeft helps its clients in the areas of analytics, reporting and data visualization. All three are essential to effective decision making. If you’re not doing these things right now you’re flying your plane without instruments. Reacting to perceptions. Eventually you’ll encounter something unexpected (like wind sheer). Wouldn’t it be nice to see it coming? ShiftLeft help can help you do just that.
CRM: Customer Relationship Management
Been There, Done That
At ShiftLeft we don’t need to rattle off all of the CRMs we’ve worked with (OK. Salesforce.com, SugarCRM, Microsoft Dynamics, Netsuite, GoldMine, ACT, SalesLogix…). That’s because we’ve done more than work with them. We’ve installed, used and migratedall of these solutions. We’ve put them together and taken them apart. And not just a few times. We know how they work under the hood. (For example, we can tell you that Goldmine, while it works fine as a CRM, has one of the most diabolically designed databases ever constructed — and we’re one of the few companies that can help you migrate all of your Goldmine data.
As a result we are experts at best practices. We know how to implement a CRM the right way, the first time. We also know how to dig you out of a hole if you’re suffering from a poorly implemented system (don’t be ashamed, you’re in very good company). Most important, because we don’t sell any of these products, our recommendations are based on your needs, not on our own preferences and biases.
A well implemented CRM is a powerful tool. It can . . . A poorly implemented CRM can build silos of data, cutting your staff off from vital information by burying it in obscure places.
Learn more about how Shift Left can help provide CRM solutions in the following areas:
- consulting (product selection, best practices, and beyond)
- new product implementations
- data migrations (any CRM to any CRM)
- system optimization (are you getting the most from your CRM?)
- analytics (utilizing the data for better decision making)
1 + 1 = 3
Effective Customer Relationship Management is more than sales force automation (which is to say, contact management and lead tracking). And it goes beyond customer service and support (call center and help desk solutions). CRM, properly implemented, is both of these things . . . and more. It’s the Gestalt. The unified whole. The relationship. And if managed correctly, it doesn’t end. (Gestalt is probably a bit much but overall I think this is a good start. I’m not sure what you mean by the relationship not ending. If you are headed to life-time value of a customer, etc. that is good addition.)
Do your sales people know what your service staff do about a client? (Without calling them and asking?) Do your executives know what they need to know from service and sales prior to a site visit? (Without another “all hands on deck” meeting?). Be honest. If the answer is no, you don’t have an effective CRM.
Well implemented CRM solutions help you understand and cultivate your organization’s relationships. EVERYONE (from your sales team, to your service staff, to your executives . . . even your CEO) needs to know what’s going on. with your customers.
Project management isn’t just about timelines and deliverables, it’s also about your firm’s profits, reputation, stability and growth. In today’ competitive business environment, companies must be able to deliver the benefits of successful projects in a more cost-effective manner.
When you partner with ShiftLeft, you get a team of professionals who have years of real-world experience. We right-size our methodology to enable our clients to successfully complete their most important projects on-time, within budget and to the intended level of quality.
ShiftLeft’s project management staff have managed projects as varied as creation of eCommerce and mCommerce (Mobile) sites for small business to 300+ person development teams for global 100 firms. We have created Project Management Offices (PMOs), migrated internal development teams to Object Oriented software development best practices (SDLC) and moved entire enterprises to the Cloud. We have managed projects in North America, Europe and Asia; worked in regulated industries (Finance, FDA), and managed teams comprised on on-shore and off-shore resources.
Getting the analysis right is key to successful projects. ShiftLeft’s experienced Business Analysts can deliver:
- Project Scoping – driving out project objectives, business cases and key issues, ensuring that scope is clearly and concisely defined and agreed with all stakeholders
- Methods and Approach – helping you decide how best to document and manage requirements to achieve the business benefits you desire
- Mentoring – working with your Business Analysts through peer group reviews of completed work to constructively challenge and improve the process and products of Business Analysis
- Workshop Facilitation – from Project Initiation to Project Reviews
- Process and Data Modeling – building business models that fit with your organization both now and for the future
- Issue and Risk Management – identifying project issues and risks and seeking prompt resolution
- Business Analysis Development program definition – we can work with you to analyze what you want to improve in your Business Analysis function and why. We can also help you carry out the program.