Blog Archive

When the end of February is approaching, you know it’s time to visit the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. This grand event attracts more than 100 000 visitors every year! This is definitely the place to be if you want to know all about the new cool stuff that is available. When you attend this kind of conference, you exactly feel where the world will go to in the coming months. Yes. Months! In the world of IT months is equal to years if you talk about changes.

Here are some remarkable facts that caught my attention during the 4 days I spent at the congress:

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Why some VIVES students were on the news last week

Did you know that one out of 3 people claim they have a food allergy or modify the family diet because one of the family members is suspected of having a food allergy? Striking numbers! With the help of Delaware Consulting, a number of students developed an app that can make life easier.

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In the business environment, everything has always been about documents. We all can imagine the time when desks were stacked full with paper and dossiers. Do you remember the time when we used to print every document and archive it in folders and file cabinets? Or when your colleague was waiting on the file you were about to finish?

Nowadays this isn’t fancy anymore. The trend today is a paperless office. Store everything in the cloud! But how? Every business has probably wrapped his head around at least one of the following questions ‘how are we going to store our documents in the best possible way?’, ‘How can we work together efficiently on our documents within a project?’ or even ‘How are we going to find back all this information that we have stored in our documents?’

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How the “always on society” risks blurring the border between work and private life

You inevitably know what it means to live in an “always on society”.  The technological evolution is one of the key enablers of this new culture. It started with the growing popularity of laptops in the late nineties, which enabled people to better combine work and family by working from home. The introduction of high speed internet connectivity and mobile phones made it possible to work from any place and to be available at any time. Over the last 5 years, the introduction of smartphones increased the speed of this evolution.  For many people, the distinction between work and private life is now hard to find.

Some statistics

Many studies have been dedicated to this subject and have revealed (surprising?) results: 81% of smartphone users checks work e-mail during the weekend, 55% reads it after 11 PM and 59% does so even during their holidays.  (Source: GFI.com)

The younger generation, also known as Generation Y, scores even higher, as could be expected. A Cisco study amongst 1.800 students and young professionals in 18 countries shows that 90% of them start their day with checking e-mail, SMS, social network updates, etc. on their smartphone, almost as a ritual. They use their mobile device everywhere and at any time: during meals (almost 50%), in bed (75%), or while driving (20%). The study also reveals that they are aware of the fact that they show signs of addiction to their smartphone. 60% would like to be less connected to their mobile.

Are there any consequences or is it harmless?

These changes in our way of living can impact our wellbeing.  Because they never disconnect from work, a lot of people show an increased stress level, which in some cases might lead to a burnout.


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Last week, on my day off, I was walking through the city of Antwerp. Numerous people were also enjoying the city, but did they also have a day off? Or were they working remotely, on their mobile device?

Today, you don’t have to be in the office during business hours to access business data. The applications on your mobile device allow you to work from any place in the world, at any time. From anywhere, you are in control of your responsibilities.

SAP also provides mobile apps for SAP Solution Manager, available on Android & IOS mobile devices. The article “Derive Maximum Value from your IT environment with SAP Solution Manager Mobile Apps” introduces  some of these handy SAP mobile apps. They can be used for System Monitoring, End user Experience Monitoring (EEM), Change Approval and Incident Management. Free demo versions are available in your app store.

What is your favorite mobile app, to support you in your job?

 

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

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

How can you make sure your website is viewed in optimal conditions, irrespective of screen real estate? A few years back, it was commonplace to select a certain screen size as a reference and design the site around it. This was possible, because the variations of screen resolutions were not as fragmented as they are now. Today, mobile and tablet devices haven overtaken the PC as the Internet surfing device of choice. The touch experience and an increased awareness of User Experience make it a bigger challenge to create the necessary user experience for everyone.

Responsive Design is one way of tackling this problem, as it allows the page and content to adapt itself to the available screen real estate, just like the site you are looking at right now.
Try and drag the right-hand side of your browser, and decrease the width to smartphone size. Ready? Watch how the layout adapts, and how it ensures that you can see content optimally.

There is another solution for mobile sites in particular – like m.domain.com – where the user is redirected to the mobile version when a mobile device is detected. Although better compared to the one standard resolution, it’s still not optimal. The usage of two URLs for the same content and the growing number of devices and operating systems (iOS, Android and now Windows 8) make it harder and harder to select which version to show to which user.

Same webpage, different styles

Responsive Design takes a different approach. It’s the same page [the same URL] that makes the decision on how to present itself. This way, no redirects, duplicate URLs, device detection logic, … are needed. The solution is based on Media Queries, which are conditional rules executed by the browser itself to define which style sheet rules should be executed. The different presentations of the same page are based on the same HTML document, but with different style sheets on top. Via the Media Queries you define the set of presentation styles per page that are typical for mobile, tablet, PC and sometimes high resolution screens, like full HD support. Does this make Responsive Design the silver bullet for multi-device support? Although it does solve the problem of the fragmented screen real estate, it also creates some additional challenges. The page design itself must support this flexibility from the start. For example, adding Responsive Design to an existing webpage in a fixed format can prove very difficult. In essence, you need to start from scratch.

responsive digital site
Media Queries and visual design

Media Queries are part of the new HTML5 & CSS3 standard and should be supported by the browser itself. All latest browser versions do support it. However, there are still older browsers in use today, like Internet Explorer 8. You can solve this issue via JavaScript libraries (like http://code.google.com/p/css3-mediaqueries-js/) which add this behavior to older browsers. All in all, it is less clean than the pure CSS3 standard, but does allow you to start with Responsive Design today, even with the older browsers around. The visual design phase of a project becomes a little harder too. More visuals need to be created that include the media query rules. It is important to understand responsive design to create visuals that can be effectively created in HTML and CSS. Our UX designers are combining these UX design experience with HTML & CSS knowledge. This unique combination enables the crafted designs to be effectively created in HTML with the corresponding responsiveness.

Conclusion

Responsive Design allows your content or ecommerce site to be viewed in optimal conditions over the whole spectrum of Internet connected devices. This will have a positive impact on the conversion rate of your site. Delaware has the experience to create compelling and converting web and mobile designs, which are using Responsive Design just like the site you are looking at, and to implement it as part of a CMS system so you can easily update and maintain your content on the spot. Contact us if you want more info or if you want to see how we can help you reach your online goals!

Author: Yf Soreyn. You can follow Yf on Twitter (@soreyn) or connect with him on LinkedIn

We are all continuously generating data. I am right now, by writing this blogpost, by putting the link on Twitter and by sharing it on LinkedIn. You did only a second ago, just by clicking it. More and more of this generated data is getting captured; since 3G, iPhone and iPad entered our lives, we have become walking content creators.

The same goes for the corporate world: there has been an explosive boom of data in the last couple of years. Wal-Mart, for example, handles more than 1 million customer transactions every hour. Their databases contain 167 times the information that is contained in all the books in the US Library of Congress. All companies, from the very smallest to those of Wal-Mart-like size, will be confronted with the – as exciting as challenging – Big Data phenomenon. If not now, then very soon.


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A lot of us dream of working abroad, but very few actually end up taking the plunge. Is good old Belgium not that bad after all? Or are we just afraid of the unknown? Our colleague Nigel Grillet decided to find out for himself! Check his inspiring blog here and take part in the exciting tales of an adventurous consultant moving from Belgium to the USA.

Are you working abroad as well or are you a professional pioneer in another area? Don’t hesitate to tell us your story!

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

 

UserAdoptionIsKeySince its increasing popularity in the nineties, CRM has gone through many evolutions. It has slowly won over the heart of management and allowed organizations to cherish their customers in just the right manner. But nowadays, a true CRM revolution is taking place: it is going mobile. Gartner states that by 2014, the number of mobile CRM apps will have grown by another 500% as compared to today.

This trend will have a tremendous impact on how sales reps work, how companies can cater to the needs of customers and – as a result – their profit.

But how to choose a mobile CRM app that matches your company perfectly when today’s market offer is so vast? Here are 5 top criteria – developed together with experienced sales people – you can follow to make sure that you find the most suitable and effective app.

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