Blog Archive

Reducing choice and increasing user satisfaction: is it compatible?

A car policy is without any doubt one of the most sensitive elements in your company’s compensation and benefits policy.  Most people with a company car are looking forward to the day they can choose a new car, paid for by the employer.  The benefit in kind rule has recently changed in Belgium and has made some people more rational in their choice.  However, a large part of people still see this as an opportunity to finally get the car of their dreams.

Changing your company’s car policy is a balancing act, but it can still be beneficial to all parties involved.  Below, you find a number of tips to improve your end user’s satisfaction without any extra cost for the company.

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Today’s reality displays an undeniable revolution in the mobile arena.

Advanced devices are constantly launched on the market, offering shoppers unseen yet compelling experiences. With data communication rates dropping, more and more mobile device users are opting for high capacity bandwidth packages. Mobile content is exploding with ever-growing e-stores filled with billions of applications.
It is safe to say that mobile adoption will continue to rise in the coming years. So, now is definitely the time to replicate your existing online content for the mobile channels, you think?

I’m afraid the answer is no. Just making a copy of your online offering hoping it will fit into some smaller screen sizes will not do the job. You should keep the context of use and the unique benefits of each mobile platform in mind when you develop your mobile strategy.
In the consumer market, tablets are typically used as a ‘lean back’ device. Smartphones on the other hand, are more used in an ‘on-the-move’ context, where the user is in need of specific info or services. In this ‘use case scenario’ you should design mobile-fit services, taking into account the specifics of the device at hand. The keywords are personalization, interactivity, local context, simplicity, immediacy and convenience.

The tablet ‘brand’ experience

Let’s imagine you are a traditional retailer.

You gained in-depth experience in orchestrating the in-store experience that invites the shopper to inspiration, discovery and purchase. At night, that same shopper explores your offering on his or her tablet device from the comfort of his or her living room sofa.
You should make at least the equally significant effort of extending that same brand experience to the tablet and mobile environment, and not just putting the catalogue on line. For starters, you can create a tablet-friendly user experience.
Get your basics right: streamline and fit the content, make it swipe-enabled, don’t use any built-in Flash (it doesn’t work on iPad, remember), reduce loading times, etc.
Then try to offer that extra content the competition is not offering: enrich! Use more engaging materials, rich media, sharp and compelling images, video. Build a real ‘product advisor’ experience. It is not only about searching for product info; you should offer discovery and purchasing tools as well.

In-store ‘learn’ experience

What about the in-store experience of the mobile enabled shopper?

At the moment, the trend is for showrooming: shoppers are using their smartphone for product research and price comparison. But even during the shopping experience, shoppers are using their mobile devices to become more informed. They are actively looking to find out information they are not able to get from the sales guy on the shop floor, or looking to get confirmation from that same sales guy of information they found using their mobile device.

So how can you, as a retailer, respond to this trend? Here are four best practices:

  • Push your own mobile value proposition and brand experience.
    Make your richer product information and user reviews easily accessible – by offering QR codes for instance.
    Help the shopper find the information they are seeking to make the right purchase decision: technical information, comparisons, video reviews, and more.
  • Support your sales force by offering them tools to engage with the customer in the search for information. The sales guy doesn’t know everything. His sales pitch can for instance be guided by a tablet app.
  • Have a mobile loyalty offering: offer shoppers additional advantages while they are still in the store by pushing personalized offers using Blue-tooth and Wi-Fi technologies.
  • Enrich the offline buying experience by offering bonus features: let the shoppers themselves check assortment availability by scanning the shelf and offer free shipping of out-of-stock items.

To summarize: you should try to embrace this ‘comparison shopping’ and offer added value.
This can only be done by having a holistic view on your channels and developing a cross-channel sales strategy.

Author: Arend Lauwers. You can follow Arend on Twitter (@arendlauwers) or connect with him on LinkedIn

It is quite a challenge if you have to prepare yourself to run 20 km. It involves drawing up a training schedule, and maybe even changing your diet. The farming families in Benin face a different challenge though.

Only a couple of years ago, rice was a luxury product for many families in Benin. The last years, however, the rice production has become increasingly important for the farmers. The demand for it from people in the cities has grown as well. To make sure the farmers can meet that demand, Vredeseilanden has been supporting farmer organizations for a couple of years now. This allows them to put the best quality rice on the market. In the future, the farmers want to continue professionalizing their work.

On Sunday 26 May, more than 40 Delaware Consulting runners ran the 20 km of Brussels for Vredeseilanden, to offer a better future to the Benin rice farmers.


Are you curious about how our sponsorship money contributes to this story?

Author: Elke Weytens. You can follow Elke on Twitter (@weytense) or connect with her on LinkedIn

The current economic situation forces companies in all types of industries to cut costs. Some were left with no other choice than reducing their workforce or even shutting down facilities. Luckily, in many companies the cost reductions did not reach such dramatic proportions. Still, many of them are craving for opportunities to significantly lower their costs or improve their efficiency. One of these opportunities is improved Enterprise Asset Management (EAM). In this post, we discuss some challenges and trends in EAM that can create a lot of value for the companies that address them.

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To say that the technology and business landscapes have evolved in recent times is an understatement: online commerce and the mobile revolution rewrite the rules of high-availability and scalability; online marketing and cross channel information change the way content is managed and published online; and ‘the new way of working’ and BYOD policies pose security issues.

All the while, new IT evolutions – like cloud computing and Windows 8 – add to the puzzle. Let’s try to bring some clarity to this changed landscape.

cloud computing

The cloud: a multifaceted diamond

Cloud computing can be seen as a diamond with a multitude of facets.
One facet is the ongoing virtualization of the in-house IT server infrastructure. This ‘private’ cloud allows an optimal usage of your hardware investments and an easy and fast provisioning of the servers needed. Nowadays, more and more public cloud providers, like Azure and Amazon, are beginning to adapt the same concept. This allows you to mix and match the best of both worlds.

Azure, for example, lets you ‘move’ your hypervisor VM from your local Windows cloud to the Azure infrastructure as if it were your own locally hosted hardware.
Amazon, in turn, enables you to extend your private cloud environment with its virtually hosted machines, just like you would with your local network. This way of working has a lot of advantages, like the freedom to choose where to run what kind of application and having the right infrastructure at your disposal to make it happen. This type of cloud is called Infrastructure As A Service (IAAS).

Quite simple technologically, this concept nevertheless raises some interesting security and legal issues. For example determining which data is allowed to be stored outside the country you are doing business from, or how to share user accounts for Single Sign On with this public cloud infrastructure.
Delaware Digital and Delaware Consulting can help you answer these questions.

Platform As A Service

Another type of cloud is Platform As A Service (PAAS) which brings much more value but is also a lot more intrusive in terms of security, application architecture, development processes and the IT organization itself. As a result, PAAS isn’t used that often. However, there are a few cases where this type of cloud is preferable because of its added value.

One of the most significant examples is mobile applications.
Typically, the backend of a native mobile application isn’t very complex, as it is executed on the device itself. Since mobile applications are quite new, you can scale them to fully use the potential of PAAS. But it’s when you start to consider high availability, performance, scalability, storage volume, personalization data and security, notification logic, payments, etc. that you realize the scope of the challenges.

Yet, these challenges make up the added value of PAAS. Instead of virtual servers, you are dealing with application services, like storage, security, payment integration, notification, etc. in an environment that can be scaled from a few users to several thousands in a matter of minutes, ready to be distributed across the globe at the same time.
Furthermore, thanks to its pay-as-you-go features, the financial risk is limited whether you expect a huge number of users or your business is very peak oriented.

Windows 8 and Software As A Service

Software As A Service (SAAS) is also gaining momentum, even more so than PAAS.
Let’s perform a U-turn, and go back to the desktop: with the release of Windows 8, some interesting things are happening.

First off, there’s Windows 8 Server, which follows the above vision on cloud, and Windows 8 Desktop and RT: huge steps forward for Microsoft and a source of opportunities for you.
The first thing that grabs your attention is the tablet friendly interface, in combination with the hybrid hardware. This allows you to disconnect the tablet from the keyboard or use it as a full-on notebook. The sales rep who wants to showcase your product portfolio and enter the CRM data on his notebook no longer needs to keep his iPad next to his smartphone and notebook.

I’d like to conclude this post with a reflection.
Will people who use a desktop today be able to make the switch to a touch enabled desktop or notebook tomorrow? I know a few colleagues who are struggling with this evolution.
All in all, we have covered quite a lot in this article. Still, there is much more to consider, and every case is different. Together with you we can identify how to optimize your IT environment to prepare for the future.

Author: Wim Vergouwe.

Since we have started at Delaware Consulting with the deployment of SAP Solution Manager, we notice quite some interest in the different features and possibilities of this application. However, you may still have some questions on how to put all the theory from the numerous available presentations on this subject into practice. Where do you start?

Different approaches are possible. We recommend you reading this article, in which an effective method is proposed: start with building a roadmap for deploying SAP Solution Manager. Some good advice that certainly will reinforce this way of working is: “Think BIG, start small!”


Author: Ann De Swert. You can follow Ann on Twitter (@Anntotweet) or connect with her on LinkedIn

In today’s ever evolving world of communication and media, it’s a challenge for enterprises to organize or improve common knowledge sharing within their company. The fact that you have to share knowledge between departments and teams residing in different locations doesn’t make the process easier. Often, decisions on how to organize knowledge sharing are not taken, or simply systematically postponed due to lack of knowledge on how to proceed.

We suggest you to introduce a knowledge sharing center in your company. With the right content delivery plan, appropriate guidelines, and clearly defined roles, you can make it work.

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You just told your granny you are working as an IT consultant. She remains silent. Her eyebrows frown. This clear body language is followed by a spur of questions. What do you actually do? Are you what they call a ‘nerd’? What did you study for this? If you are working in IT consulting, you probably receive these questions quite often. Whether it’s when you visit your granny, you are talking to near-graduates or when you are discussing with people from other sectors. Together with the VDAB, our colleague Gilles De Wulf gives an insight in the job of IT consultant. You can watch the (Dutch) movie here.

Still not clear what we do? Don’t hesitate to contact us!


Author: Wim De Jonghe. You can follow Wim on Twitter (@dejonghew) or connect with him on LinkedIn

Our economy is relentlessly globalizing and more and more companies are delocalizing and consolidating in larger, international groups. There is a tendency to think merely in global economic terms. This approach holds a big danger though. It risks leading to a boring uniformity with big companies, directed in a top-down way, with local employees executing the big truth as stated by the international top.

That’s why I am a firm believer of a truly gLocal approach. It combines the best qualities of global and local firms and avoids their weaknesses at the same time. The “L” is written with a capital because the local aspects slightly outweigh the global ones.

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In a recent blog post on Big Data, we described the 3 main trends that are indispensable to turn the ever increasing amount of data into a benefit for your organization. The central topics in this post were in-memory computing, mobile applications and cloud computing.

However, these topics are only one part of the complete Big Data picture. In the latest issue of CxO magazine, Philippe Dendievel (Partner at Delaware Consulting) goes into detail and shares some key insights into this Big Data topic. Philippe makes a distinction between 3 main types of Big Data and points out why it has become such a hot topic nowadays. Furthermore, he reveals the greatest challenge for the future of Big Data.

Interested in what this challenge might be? Read the article here and find out.


Author: Jens Ponnet. You can follow Jens on Twitter (@JPonnet) or connect with him on LinkedIn

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