An eCommerce Adoption Roadmap

In the age of “shelter at home” and “social distancing”, eCommerce adoption is no longer just an option but a necessity. Most offline businesses have now been forced to make a move to online selling platforms. Even the biggest stores that have been in business for many years are adopting online channels.

There have been changes in consumer behavior as well. As per a survey by CNBC, about 85% of consumers now prefer online shopping over brick-and-mortar shops.
ecommerce adoption roadmap
But while rushing to join the eCommerce bandwagon, you may miss out on some important steps that might hurt your business in the long-run. Although, in essence, having an eCommerce store is similar to having an offline store, there are many things that differentiate the two.

To make sure your online business soars like your offline business, you must keep a few things in mind.

With an online business, you need to be proactive rather than reactive. Having a well-thought-out and specified roadmap can be the difference-maker. You need to identify your goals and then based on these goals, you need to form an actionable plan or a strong roadmap. Perhaps, the critical difference is just how central technology becomes in an online model as compared to the offline models.

In this article, we will discuss the technical elements needed to shift from a purely offline model to an eCommerce platform.

First, Why eCommerce?

Sure, some still need this question answered. So, here goes.

The biggest benefit of adopting eCommerce is that you get the opportunity to connect with a wider audience. Since the majority of people own smartphones these days, eCommerce can give you the power to be in people’s pockets. They don’t have to go around searching for your store. Instead, your potential customers can simply access your products at their fingertips.

Another significant benefit of adopting eCommerce is the lower setup cost as compared to a brick-and-mortar store with its associated real-estate investments. Moreover, eCommerce gives you the opportunity to create innovative, and impactful, promotions. Also, as your online customer testimonials are available for billions of people to read, it helps your credibility.

Hopefully, that will settle the “Why?” question. Now on to the “How?”

An eCommerce Roadmap

By focusing on the key elements mentioned below, you can create a great eCommerce adoption roadmap – 

  • Set up an online store:
  • The first thing you need to do when making a switch to an online store is to have a website or platform to showcase your products. There are tools aplenty and multiple sales channels that you can use to easily set up your online store. Platforms like Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, etc. are quite popular in this segment. 

    But beyond the eCommerce engine, you must focus on the experience you provide your visitors. This brings the spotlight on the themes or website templates and elements that you use. Remember, how your website looks and how it allows the visitors to browse, search, and interact will be a crucial part of your store’s online presence.

  • Create the essential pages:
  • Without getting too caught up in the frills of setting up an online store, you must focus on creating those essential website pages that clearly showcase your products and services. 

    First, focus on the basics and create an online store that makes it easy for people to explore and find what they are looking for. Providing visitors the right information at the right stage will help them progress in the buying journey. 

    Some of the essential pages include the homepage, product pages, return/exchange, contact, and shipping. Your homepage should be able to help visitors easily dive into the entire store and discover what they need as well as any offers or promotions. The product pages on your online store must be detailed, compelling, and including high-quality product images. The shipping page must be capable of answering some of the common FAQs regarding shipping.

    Communication is key. Your online visitors should be able to easily get in touch with you or resolve their queries using the Contact page. The return/exchange page should help customers get details about your return/exchange policies. This is also a good time to explore adding options like AI-enabled chatbots and smart features that assist your customers while helping you stand out.

  • Creating an online presence:
  • After setting up an online store/website, the next step is to inform your customers about it by creating an online presence. You need to reach out to your target audience with the right messaging on the channels that they prefer.

    For doing it, first, analyze the market and figure out who your audience is and where do they hang out in the online space. Depending on your target audience, you can make use of various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, or Quora. These social media platforms allow you to interact with your potential buyers and sell your products to them. After developing a good following on social media sites, you can directly sell products from your social media handles as well.

    Another effective strategy is to leverage the power of email. By using gated content that delivers value to your users, you can collect emails of people which you can then use to send personalized messages or campaigns. You can also use paid advertisements like Google ads, Facebook ads, or YouTube ads to promote your online marketplace. 

     

    On the technology front, this is also a good time to consider the value of marketing automation, email marketing, and CRM solutions that integrate with your web presence. This will allow you to keep track of and build relationships with your target customers over time.

  • Setting up payments
  • This is a critical step. Since you’ll be dealing with a lot of financial transactions, you must choose a secure payment solution. Rising consumer awareness and an increase in the number of cybercrimes means that you must be extra careful while setting up a payment method. Customers want convenient payment processes as well as security.

  • Order fulfillment
  • Order fulfillment first requires inventory management. For an online store, you must be aware of your inventory at all times. Integrating your systems with solutions like ERP and supply chain systems will allow the site to be in sync with the orders being placed. This tight integration also provides the customers with transparent visibility into the delivery status at all times. 

  • Customer service
  • Irrespective of how big or small your online store is, customer service can be crucial. Your customer service solutions should be capable of handling all customer queries and should also be aware of all company policies. You can also look at utilizing smart chatbots on your eCommerce website for greater impact.

    Of course, this is just scratching the surface. You need to think about hosting the site, data management, and including smart data-driven analytics into the operational processes. The technology choices are extremely vast and they can have a profound impact at every stage of this process. It’s only normal to be overwhelmed by the scale of the task. That’s where, if you’d like any help with your eCommerce setup then ThinkSys could help.

    Native Apps, Hybrid Apps, or Progressive Web Development

    As per the latest data from GSMA Intelligence, there are 5.21 billion unique mobile phone users in the world today. That’s a huge market! It doesn’t matter if you have a well-established business or if you are just starting out. Having a mobile application to complement your business offerings is now essential.

    But once you decide to launch your mobile app, you are faced with some choices.

    Whether to go with native, hybrid, or progressive web apps? Which one would be the most suitable for my business? What’s the difference between these three anyway?

    To be successful, your mobile strategy should be aligned with your business objectives. So, deciding what to go for could be a defining factor for your success.

    Native Apps, Hybrid Apps, or Progressive Web Development - Exploring the When and Why

    To help you figure out the answers to these questions, we would be doing a detailed comparison of native, hybrid, and progressive web apps in this article. We’ll also help you figure out the when and why of all three. So, let’s get started.

    What are Native Apps?

    The term ‘Native’ is simply to signify that the app is designed natively for the OS on your smartphone. The native apps are designed to work specifically on one platform or system. Think of apps built specifically for either Android or iOS devices.

    Benefits of Native Apps:

    The following are the benefits of native apps:

    • Native apps can offer the fastest, most reliable, and most responsive experience to users.
    • Native apps may not require constant access to the internet.
    • Native apps support push notifications out of the box. These notifications can be triggered by the native apps to increase user engagement.
    • These apps can be downloaded directly to the device (Android or iOS) without the need for looking for a supported browser.
    • These apps are quicker and more responsive as they have access to system resources. Native apps can seamlessly access device components like camera, location, microphone, sensors, swipe gestures, etc. to offer a better user experience.
    • These apps are easier to discover since they receive complete support from official app stores.
    • Native apps offer a higher scope of integration with the device’s features.
    • They often have better quality, security, and compatibility because these apps are approved by respective operating systems.
    • Native apps are usually easier to build because of an abundance of developer tools available in the market.

    Drawbacks of Native Apps:

    The following are the problems with native apps:

    • Native apps generally have higher upfront costs as compared to other apps. Since these apps need to be developed for both iOS and Android separately, it increases development costs because you will need resources with skills in each area. This will also, eventually, impact the maintenance costs.
    • These apps need to be updated regularly to retain users. Moreover, updating the app regularly can be an expensive process.
    • These apps are not ideal for many simple operations because of the costs involved. It doesn’t make sense to use native apps for simple operations that don’t require native capabilities or rich user experience.
    • The process of obtaining approval from the app stores (Android and iOS) can sometimes be quite lengthy.

    What are Hybrid Apps?

    Hybrid apps are installed like native apps but they are actually web apps on the inside, thus combining the elements of both web and native apps. These apps give you the convenience of a native app along with the connectivity and power of a web app.

    Hybrid apps are built using technologies like HTML, CSS, and Javascript, and run in something called webview which is a simplified browser within your app.

    Benefits of Hybrid Apps:

    The following are the benefits of hybrid apps:

    • Hybrid apps are built using a single codebase. This allows them to be quickly ported to other operating systems. So, you need to make only one app and make a few tweaks to it to make it work on both iOS and Android.
    • Cost-effectiveness is one of the major benefits of using a hybrid app because these apps give you the benefit of developing native-like apps only at a fraction of the cost of a native app.
    • These apps are faster to develop than a native app since hybrid apps are basically web apps that are packaged in a native shell.
    • Since they are quicker to develop, hybrid apps are ideal for people who want to release their apps on a tight deadline.
    • Since hybrid apps have some elements of native apps, they are capable of utilizing your system resources (like camera, sensors, etc.) close to how a native app would.
    • Working with a single codebase gives the advantage of not having to hire different developers for iOS and Android.

    Drawbacks of Hybrid Apps:

    The following are the problems with hybrid apps:

    • The most common and biggest issue found with hybrid apps is a lack of performance.
    • Cross-platform development is tough in the case of hybrid apps. Getting your app to run optimally on each platform can be difficult.
    • Swiping gestures and some similar features might not always work properly in a hybrid app.
    • Hybrid apps require an internet connection at all times since they are basically repurposed web apps.
    • The hybrid apps may require plugins to make full use of your device resources.
    • In hybrid apps, the process of obtaining approval from the respective app stores (Android and iOS) can be lengthy at times.

    What are Progressive Web Apps?

    Progressive web apps (PWAs) are quite similar to hybrid apps, with the key difference being the fact that they are not distributed through native app stores.

    Just like a hybrid app, PWAs take elements of native apps and web apps. These apps merge both elements into an accessible web application that can work both with and without the internet.

    PWAs enhance the functionality of traditional web apps by giving it the ability to send push notifications, work offline, and even load on the home screen.

    PWAs run in the browser like a traditional web app but they may or may not require an active internet connection. These apps work by storing information in a web browser’s cache which can later be recalled for quick offline access.

    Benefits of Progressive Web Apps(PWAs):

    The following are the benefits of PWAs:

    • PWAs can work in any supported browser and provide good offline access.
    • They are also much quicker to load than regular web apps. This is a crucial factor for increasing user retention on the app.
    • PWAs can be built in a shorter time span and at lower costs than a native app.
    • Since these are built on a standard codebase, PWAs are cross-platform compatible. You won’t have to redesign the app for Android or iOS separately.
    • PWAs also have access to phone resources like a native app.

    Drawbacks of Progressive Web Apps(PWAs)

    The following are the problems with PWAs:

    • Even though PWAs have access to many system resources, they don’t have the access to all of your system resources that a native app does.
    • PWAs are comparatively more demanding on the battery than native or hybrid apps.
    • Since PWAs cannot access contacts or Bluetooth, they are unable to give a deeply personal response to users.
    • PWAs cannot be distributed through app stores and hence these apps are not ideal for businesses that want to reach the audience on Android and iOS.
    • PWAs are not ideal for businesses looking to implement an in-app monetization strategy.

    When and why to choose Native Apps, Hybrid Apps, or Progressive Web Apps(PWAs)?

    To set up your app for success, you must carefully choose between native, hybrid, or progressive web apps. Here are the factors you must keep in mind while making your choice:

    • Your mobile app should have a clear purpose in order to succeed. You must think about the pain points of your customers and choose an app built to address that. The features and capabilities of your app must be user-driven. A native app could provide better functionality and excellent user experience than a hybrid app or PWA.
    • The budget is also an important factor to consider. You must choose an app type that fits within your budget. It can be done by choosing the right app type at the beginning itself. Choosing a PWA or hybrid app could often be more cost-effective than a native app.
    • Keep the long-term vision in mind while choosing your app. If you want to offer regular updates in your app then going with a native app could be the better choice. Making the right choice for the app type will allow you to account in advance for all the resources that you might need for future releases and maintenance updates.
    • Similarly, if you want to quickly release your app in the market, then PWA or hybrid app can do that for you. If you want to launch your app in respective app stores then a hybrid app would be the better option to choose than the PWA.

    It’s a bit of a cliché, but true anyway, that the choice is defined by your specific needs and circumstances. We hope the information contained here will help you make the right choice!

    React Native Vs Flutter App Development

    The past few years ushered us into the era of mobile applications, where mobile apps have become an integral part of our everyday life. Be it Netflix, Facebook, Instagram, Uber, Skype, or more mobile applications are trending excessively in this day and age. However, with this increasing dependency on mobile applications, the need for niche technologies, frameworks, and platforms is also rapidly increasing, giving way to the advent of new frameworks and platforms that allow developers to create cross-platform apps that are suitable for all platforms. Moreover, these two frameworks are competing against each other to prove their worth, making Flutter Vs React Native the most trending topics of the year.

    From simplifying the app development process to making them efficient, these frameworks are helping reduce the complexity of mobile application development and are hence trending among developers. Among these, Flutter and React Native are the two most popular Cross-platform Mobile App Development Frameworks that are enabling developers to create cross-platform mobile applications that work seamlessly across various platforms and devices.

    Reactnative vs Flutter

    So, let’s try to determine, “What is the difference between Flutter and React Native?” and answer the important question, “Will Flutter replace React Native?”. But before we delve deep into this discussion on React Native vs Flutter, it is important that we understand the need for cross-platform development frameworks.  

    The Need for Cross-Platform Mobile Development Framework:

    Nowadays, Android and iOS are two of the most widely used mobile platforms, with a completely different application development process. Android requires developers with extensive knowledge of Java or Kotlin, whereas iOS needs developers well versed in Swift programming language, making the development process expensive and time-consuming.

    Cross-platform app development came into the inception to overcome this drawback and has become the need of the hour. Industries are using frameworks like React Native, Flutter, Xamarin, PhoneGap, and more, to create cross-platform applications, as they enable a single team to create apps with a single code base that works on multiple operating systems (OS), like iOS and Android. Due to this, most of the applications developed today are either cross-platform or hybrid and can run seamlessly on iOS and Android. Other advantages offered by cross-platform mobile application development frameworks are:

    • It offers UX uniformity.
    • Ideal for prototyping.
    • Requires one team to create one product for two or more platforms.
    • The code can be reused across platforms.
    • Quicker Development.
    • Easier Implementation.

    Now that we know the reason for the shift from native app development to cross-platform and hybrid app development, let’s compare the two important cross-platform mobile app development technology.

    React Native: Understanding the Basics:

    Launched by Facebook in 2015, React Native is an open-source JavaScript framework built upon the React library and used to build natively rendering, mobile applications for iOS and Android. One of the most reliable and popular JavaScript frameworks used for developing mobile apps, React Native combines native components with React, the best-in-class JavaScript library for building the User Interface (UI). React Native enables developers to create react native apps for iOS, Android, Windows, and Linux, though the latter two require dependency managers like HomeBrew package manager.

    Used by Facebook, Instagram, Airbnb, Skype, Tesla, Walmart, etc. and backed up by a huge developer community, React Native popularity is tremendous due to its ability to build applications efficiently, in less time as well as its use of Node Package Manager (NPM) for installation, excellent UI rendering, GPU oriented application development, seamless integration and quick load time, etc. Additionally, its features like platform-specific code and hot reload make it a common choice for developers for mobile application development.

    What is Flutter App Development?

    Flutter, one of the biggest React Native competitors, is a free and open-source mobile UI framework created by Google and released in 2017. Though new to the spectrum of mobile application development, it is gaining popularity and momentum among web and mobile developers for creating native applications, with a single codebase. In short, with Flutter, developers can use one programming language and codebase to create two different apps for different platforms.

    Unlike React Native, Flutter does not use JavaScript, but rather a less known programming language Dart, which was created by Google in 2011. Dart programming language is focused on front-end development and can be used to create applications for both web and mobile. Though most of the systems are implemented in Dart, the factor that differentiates Flutter from other mobile application SDK is that it has a thin layer of C++ or C. Moreover, it is supported on Android Studio, IntelliJ Idea & Visual studio code.

    Difference between Flutter and React native: What to Choose?

    From being open-sourced, fast and free to offering excellent UI support and native-like experience, React Native and Flutter, two major competitors offering cross-platform solutions, share various similarities. However, there are certain aspects of these two frameworks that make one framework superior from the other, which will be highlighted in the following comparison:

    1. Programming Languages: Flutter Dart vs React Native JavaScript
    2. A major advantage of using cross-platform mobile app development frameworks is it allows developers to create applications for both iOS and Android using a single programming language.

      • Flutter uses Dart programming language to create a Flutter app. Though new for mobile application developers, Dart is easy-to-use for developers experienced in different OOP languages such as Java and C++.
      • React Native: Uses JavaScript to build cross-platform apps. Extremely popular among developers, this programming language helps web developers build apps with little training and hence is a winner compared to Flutter. 
    3. User Interface:
    4. As React Native is purely focused on UI design, it has a large number of React UI components that are more extensive than that of Flutter. This is because application development with React Native is highly based on native components, whereas Flutter works flawlessly with the owner widget sets. One advantage of these widgets is that they prevent the developer from being dependent on third-party UI libraries. 

    5. Development Time: 
    6. Development time and process are the two most critical aspects that need consideration during mobile application development. Flutter, prominently known for fast and simple development, is lauded for its hot reload feature, which enables developers to instantly view changes and implement modifications. Moreover, it provides a full suite of extensible components that are built from scratch. Whereas, React Native, though popular, relies heavily on third-party libraries, which becomes makes the process comparatively slower. 

    7. React Native Vs. Flutter Performance: 
    8. React Native, though popular for providing high-quality user experience, is considered less suitable for application development because of its architecture, which impacts its performance and makes it slower. Whereas, Flutter’s ability to reuse the same code for creating applications for different platforms as well as its use of widgets and GPU to render it on apps on the screen helps create apps with best-in-class performance and speed.

    9. Documentation & Toolkit: 
    10. Google, like always, provides clear, structured, and in-depth documentation for their products, with Flutter being no exception. From installation to widgets, testing, more Flutter offers proper documentation for all and is backed by the Flutter team. React Native lags behind in this aspect, as it has a poorly maintained and unclear documentation, with not much explained like installation and configuration setup. Moreover, it lacks official documentation for Continuous Integration & Continuous Delivery (CI/CD).

    11. Technical Architecture: 
    12. Another important aspect that needs consideration when comparing React Native and Flutter is technical architecture. 

      • Flux Architecture: 

      As React Native relies heavily on JS runtime environment architecture known as JavaScript bridge, it uses Facebook’s Flux architecture, which helps it to communicate with native modules. This though beneficial results in poor performance. 

      • Skia:

      On the other hand, Flutter uses Dart Framework, which has most of the components inbuilt and does not require JavaScript bridge to communicate with the native UI component. Moreover, it further uses the Skia C++ engine which consists of all the protocols, compositions, and channels needed to develop a mobile app. This independency of Flutter makes its architecture more beneficial than React Native.

    13. DevOps and CI/CD Support: 
    14. To ensure an application receives continuous feedback and is not released with bugs, it crucial to adopt Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery practices. This is ensured by Flutter, in its section on Continuous Integration and Testing, where its rich Command Line Interface (CLI) allows easy set up on CI/CD services strong CLI tools, whereas, React Native does not provide any instructions on CI/CD practices.

    15. Installation: 
    16. The installation process with Flutter is more straightforward, with the added advantage of automated checkup of system problems. On the other hand, react-native lacks a streamlining setup and configuration. 

    17. Development Tools: 
    18. Some of the tools used in both React Native and Flutter mobile application development are:

      1. Flutter: 
        • Flutter SDK.
        • DevTools.
        • Hot Reload.
      2. React:
        • Expo.
        • Redux.
        • Flow.
        • Ignite.
        • React Navigation.

      Conclusion:

      React Native is currently ruling the spectrum of cross-platform mobile application development, however, there is no doubt that Flutter is working hard to prove its worth and is slowly taking over the future mobile application development, by making the development more streamlined, introduction of new features and functionalities, as well as by saving the developer time and effort. However, it is still too soon to answer to questions like “Is Flutter better than React Native?”, as Flutter is still climbing the ladder to achieve the popularity and reliability that React Native is currently enjoying. 

    Cost-Saving While Maintaining The Pace Of Product Development

    Ever since the pandemic hit the world, business conditions have become more challenging.  The world of technology is no exception. For instance, the SaaS products market has been hit as companies have reduced their overall budget by over 10%.

    Software product companies, in particular, are bracing themselves for tough times ahead. In a sense, the key issue seems to be confidence. Companies are unsure of what the future will bring so rather than take a risk, they are looking for strategies to outlast the hard times and prepare themselves for the uptick, whenever it will arrive.

    So, what can product development companies do? How can they sustain their business in these uncertain times? The answer lies in becoming even more customer-centric and addressing customer challenges before the competitor.

    But that only raises some other uncomfortable questions.

    How to form strong customer relationships that will endure? How to keep building the next generation of their product to be able to continue to offer value?

    Product companies know that they will have to innovate models quickly.

    Let’s look at how they can do it.

    6 Ways To Curb Costs And Fast-Track The Pace Of Product Development

    1. Outsource the Development:

    Considering that COVID-driven spending curbs have put a stop to most recruitment activities, product companies face the challenge of continuing with product innovation but with fewer in-house resources. Under the circumstances, they may have no better option than to outsource their development and testing activities. Outsourcing could help companies to save 80% of the development costs. This is now a proven system. Developers in the right outsourcing companies are already well-trained and experienced in the field, so it’s easier to explain to them the product requirement, rather than spending time on training and supervising new hires. However, here’s a word of caution – be careful while choosing a vendor-partner. Ensure that they have a product development heritage and the necessary technology skills before signing the contract.

    1. Adopt Agile and DevOps:

    The world has moved on from traditional ways of developing software products that were time-consuming and cost-intensive. These software development models stretched the entire product development process and delayed time-to-value. That apart, any delay anywhere would escalate the costs and, even, customer dissatisfaction. For those that have not yet taken the plunge fully, this is the time to shift to an agile methodology. Agile allows developers to make continuous improvements to the product throughout the process. This gives the customer the power to use the product and provide feedback to the developers almost immediately. This helps the developer to tweak the product based on feedback. The use of agile can be further bolstered by implementing DevOps. DevOps ensures better integration and constant improvement in the quality of the product. These models accelerate time-to-market and could start the revenue flowing much earlier.

    1. Use Open-source Software:

    Considering that product companies are keen on optimizing development costs, open-source software can be a viable solution. Unlike commercial, proprietary software, open-source software is mostly free of cost and rarely demands any licensing fees. Many popular tools are backed by a thriving community of developers. So, it’s easy to exchange ideas and seek support when needed.  In fact, the 2019 “State of Enterprise Open Source” survey revealed that 69% of IT leaders thought of Open Source as being “very or extremely important”. Perhaps, even more tellingly, only 1% did not think Open Source was important. Open source tools and technologies can help accelerate product development while controlling costs.

    1. Design Impact Map:

    Developers should start with a clear roadmap for what they want the product to achieve. This is called impact mapping. Impact mapping ensures that developers do not lose sight of the objective of building the product. Impact mapping helps the team to visualize roadmaps and determine how they will connect the product with the user needs. It compels the developers to ask questions related to who will use the product, how will it benefit them, etc. A clear roadmap will help the developers to set and achieve realistic goals and save time and costs on rework and prevent them from getting side-tracked.

    1. Use Automation wherever Possible:

    Developers can save time and money by using automation wherever possible. Automation offers plenty of benefits. Automation can help accelerate manual activities, trim effort, and reduce errors. This helps companies optimize their spend on resources. Companies could do more with less automation. Developers must try to automate time and resource-intensive functions such as testing for maximum impact.

    1. Focus on MVP:

    Customers often care for the core benefits a product offers rather than the nice-to-have features. Hence, developers could focus on delivering the core functionalities fast. This means a focus on building and delivering an MVP. Think like a customer must be the mantra. Developers should spend time to understand what features would help the customer and push back all those that do not add value. This will help the developers to develop the product faster and launch it before the competitor does it. The product can be further improved based on customer’s feedback.

    Conclusion:

    The 2008 global recession showed that with the right attitude, recession strategies, and innovation, companies could not only survive but also accelerate their growth. Product companies may have hit a rough patch due to restricted spending. But as businesses get back to normalcy, there will be demand once again for these products. Product companies must start preparing for the future by outsourcing their development work to a reliable partner and plan ways to develop products at a rapid pace and cost-efficiently.

    5 Sectors Where AI Is Set To Rule

    Last year, IDC predicted AI technology spending would exceed $50 billion by 2021. Cut to the present, more companies have started investing money on AI. From slow adopters like manufacturing to the healthcare industry to small and medium businesses that were unlikely to use AI earlier, there has been an uptick in usage across the board.

    AI is helping companies manage back-office work, administrative duties, and in streamlining the supply chain.

    It enables companies to maximize the productivity of employees, accelerate the speed of production, and increase their ROI.

    As companies enter the post-COVID era, we expect them to embrace AI at an even grander scale.

    We expect AI to rule industries in the future.

    Let’s look at a few industries that will gain immensely from AI in the future.

    5 Sectors Where AI Is Set To Rule

    5 Sectors That Will Benefit From AI

    1. Healthcare:

    The healthcare industry had always shown interest in using AI for finding innovative solutions to manage care better. It has even helped hospitals to save costs tied to inaccurate diagnosis. It has, for instance, helped hospitals with early detection of cancer and saved patients from unnecessary biopsies. The recent pandemic has brought AI back into the limelight. According to digital health technology funder, Rock Health, $635 million has already been invested in AI by the first quarter of this year.

    That’s 4 times more than the amount invested last year during the same period. AI is helping healthcare companies with accurate diagnosis and managing supply chains too. It is also helping pharmaceutical companies with developing drugs by analyzing testing results. Even post-COVID, AI will continue to be an integral part of the healthcare sector as it will strengthen the capabilities of hospitals and streamline repetitive tasks such as analyzing tests and CT scans. The promise is to ramp up the speed and improve the quality of treatment.

    1. Manufacturing:

    COVID-19 had led manufacturing units across the world to shut production temporarily. As factories reopen slowly, manufacturing companies are looking at the idea of using AI to automate operations, ramp up production, and minimize human interactions. AI can help manufacturing companies to improve throughput, forecast demand, maintain machinery and production assets, comply with regulatory requirements, and detect and correct inconsistencies in production through real-time monitoring. The Fortune Business Insights expect the market to hit $9.89 billion by 2027 and grow by a CAGR of 24.2%.

    1. Retail:

    Even before COVID-19 hit businesses, the retail industry was already facing stiff competition from e-commerce websites. As it happens, e-commerce had already started embracing AI a while ago. The only way for traditional retail to catch up with the e-commerce industry is to enhance customer experience and offer the same level of service and convenience as e-commerce websites.

    Several retailers have started to adopt AI to improve customer experience and sales. Sephora, for instance, helps customers walking into their store to find the right makeup for their face based on an AI-led scan. It saves their time and cost in finding the right shades. Similarly, Macy’s AI chatbot lets the customer know if the product they are looking for is in stock and even provides directions to find that product. Besides improving customer experience, AI can help retailers predict customer demands, tweak the inventory to meet those demands, and adjust operations accordingly.

    1. Software:

    Customer needs are changing rapidly. Companies have to develop products to keep pace with those demands. Traditional software development processes might not be able to meet customer demands quickly. That’s where AI-powered software development can come to the rescue. AI can reduce the number of keystrokes by half and detect and test bugs early to avoid any errors in the later stage of development.

    It can help to create workflows that can improve the productivity of developers. AI could enable companies to release products quickly, accurately, and at a low cost. As companies step out of lockdown, there is immense pressure to ramp up software development. AI could become the perfect solution to help companies accelerate these processes with constrained resources.

    1. Customer Service and Experience:

    Way back in 2011, Gartner had predicted that by 2020, 85% of customer relationships would be managed without human interaction. Cut to the present, perhaps we are on the road to meeting that prediction. AI-based chatbots like IBM Watson Assistant are helping companies offer instant responses to customers about queries related to COVID-19, even as call centers are running empty due to lockdowns.

    There are plenty of benefits of using AI in customer service. For starters, it offers 24/7 support to customers even without human intervention. This can be a positive brand-building exercise for companies as customers do not like waiting for responses and prefer to be attended to immediately.

    AI can also work tirelessly and learn new skills rapidly leading to improved response rates and zero errors. It can also be easily scaled, thus saving money for the company. AI can also help companies to the hyper-personalized customer experience by understanding their behavior. AI has the potential to make companies more customer-centric and help them stay ahead of the competition.

    Conclusion:

    According to an Accenture study, the inability to scale AI can put 75% of businesses out of business. AI is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ technology, it has become a ‘must-have’ to strengthen companies and keep them relevant in a dynamic business landscape. If companies want to thrive in the post-COVID era, they will have to consider including AI as a part of their business strategy. It could be safe to say that AI may have become the key to sustain yourself in the new normal world.

    The Top 5 Factors To Consider While Developing Products With Remote Teams

    COVID-19 has compelled most economies to go into a lockdown since March. Companies had to shut their offices and enforce work from home policies.

    Although the decision ensures business continuity and reduces the risk of contracting the virus, one cannot ignore inherent concerns in widespread remote working. Challenges such as cyber-security threats, weak internet connectivity, and disrupted communications between the teams are par for the course when teams work remotely.

    Another challenge that product companies face is in being agile. The agile way of functioning requires teams to work in collaboration. Studies have shown that teams that work together in the same place demonstrate better collaboration than fragmented teams. They are more accountable and productive.

    Top 5 Factors To Consider While Developing Products With Remote Teams

    However, that doesn’t mean that companies cannot be agile when they work remotely. Companies such as Mozello have always worked remotely.

    So, what should companies do to develop effective products with remote teams? We have been the remote team that has delivered hundreds of releases for dozens of products over the years. Perhaps our experience will help you get settled into your own remote ways of working.

    Top 5 Factors to Consider While Developing Products

    1. Skillset and Experience of Team Members:

    Zapier is a fully remote company. It believes that there are three ingredients to make remote work successful – team, tools, and process. Tools are easy to buy, and processes can evolve over time and through use. The real challenge lies in managing a workforce that works in several locations, maybe even in different corners of the world. Companies like Zapier have overcome this challenge successfully by focusing on the skills and mindset of the people.

    People with self-accountability are ideal for such remote working. Companies must ensure that their members take personal accountability and can work independently without requiring anyone to be perennially on their back to check progress.

    Apart from personal accountability, companies should also ensure that they have the right people in their team. Distance could derail a project if the team members are not adequately skilled or have enough experience to be able to do their work alone. Ensure that the team members have the right set of skills and experience to manage their tasks without supervision. If upskilling is necessary, encourage and incentive the members of the team to take up courses so they can learn more. This will help them deliver better quality output. If looking for a new hire, ensure that the person is capable to work without being micromanaged.

    2. Clarity of Processes and Road-maps:

    Half the battle is won when everyone in the team is clear about the process and the roadmap to be followed while developing a product. It gives clarity about what is expected of each team member during the course of development. After explaining the complete roadmap, have a one-to-one interaction with each team member to gauge if they have understood the process and their role well. Conduct regular roadmap reviews so every team member knows the status of the product and their role in moving it forward. Also, remember to assign clear goals and define feedback sessions with every team member to improve transparency through the entire process.

    3.Automation of Functions and Processes:

    Agile companies do not need a large team to develop a product. It can be done easily with a small team too. However, the pressure to release can prove to be stressful for the team members. As is acknowledged, one way to solve this problem is by automating certain functions and processes that require less or no human intervention. Identify the functions that can be automated, so that the team can focus on the more important tasks and save time on mundane, repetitive tasks. This is not just about test automation. Automation to extend to other functional areas too, for eg. automating administrative tasks and reporting could ease some of the load on the remote developers.

    4. Seamless Collaboration:

    To ensure continuous communication and collaboration among team members, companies can use tools such as Slack for communicating, Trello or Asana for project management, and Zoom for video conferencing. There are plenty of collaboration tools available in the market. Some are free, and others are paid. Pick the one that’s convenient for all members and that doesn’t increase their administrative overhead. Keep an open communication policy so there are no misunderstandings or delays in project deliveries due to miscommunication.

    5. Motivation Among Team Members:

    Working alone from home can be a challenge for team members especially as we live in anxious times. Studies have shown that depression and anxiety are high among people currently due to being cut off from others. Mental pressure and a feeling of isolation can impact the overall morale of the team members and can also, obviously, influence the outcome of the project. The only way to fix this issue is by staying conscious of the morale of employees. Make this the responsibility of the team leads and the managers over them. Regular check-ins, weekly team bonding activities, even if only over Zoom are some ways to stay connected with team members. It’s important to keep an eye out for the members who are especially vulnerable and stay connected with them. Remember that it’s often harder for people to ask for help, technical or personal, when remote. A happy team will lead to a happy outcome from the team members.

    Conclusion:

    Let’s face it. The situation is unlikely to change soon. Product companies may have to continue working remotely even after the lockdown ends. So, keep the morale high and choose the right tools, right people, and follow the processes correctly to build successful products within the desired time. It’s what we have been doing for years now, so there’s no doubt this works!

    How Quantum Computing Can Help Businesses?

    Last October, Google created ripples in the technology world by announcing that they have gained an understanding of quantum computing.

    Just two days before Google made this announcement, IBM had made its own claim online.

    So, what is quantum computing, and why are the two technology giants contesting this battlefield.

    To understand what quantum computing is, let’s first understand how it is different from normal computing.

    Normal computing chip uses bits that are represented as 0s (off) and 1s (on). Everything that we see is a combination of these two units. Quantum computing works differently. It is represented by qubits. So, instead of just ‘on’ and ‘off,’ qubits can be both at the same time. This is called superposition. This is what makes quantum computing powerful. It prepares people for uncertainty. It helps people do complex calculations that could take normal computer years to complete.

    If used the right way, quantum computing can help businesses do things that we read about only in science-fiction novels.

    How Quantum Computing Can Help Businesses?

    Businesses like Google, IBM, and Alibaba have already started investing and experimenting with quantum computing. Google is using it to improve the software of self-driving cars, while IBM is providing a tool called Circuit Composer to allow developers to write quantum programs.

    Alibaba has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Quantum Computing Laboratory to do further research in the area of quantum computing and to find ways to use it commercially. It had also launched an 11-Qubit quantum computing cloud service

    While we conceptually know how powerful quantum computing can be, let’s understand its business potential.

    How Can Quantum Computing Benefit Businesses?

    According to a Markets and Markets report, quantum computing will become a $283 million industry by 2024. Businesses like JP Morgan Chase are already experimenting with it to build a tailor-made portfolio for its customers. They are already running quantum computing to improve trading strategy, portfolio, asset pricing, and risk analysis.

    Let’s also look at other areas where quantum computing can be used.

    1.  Data analytics:

    Each day, we collectively generate over 2.5 exabytes of data! Data comes in various forms – videos, photographs, text, and more! The list just goes on. Data is crucial for businesses. As data increases, businesses will have a tough time structuring it to gain business insights from it. That’s where quantum computing can help. Businesses can use quantum computing to sift through the humongous amount of unstructured data, analyze it, and gain some valuable insights on how to use the data for further growth. NASA, for example, is already planning to use quantum computing to analyze the data it collects about the universe for their research purpose.

    2.   Forecasting:

    In continuation of the point above, classic computing can only handle a limited amount of data. This can limit the potential of forecasting complex situations. Let’s look at weather forecasting. The meteorological departments would require an enormous amount of data to simulate different scenarios and predict climate accurately. Quantum computing can help in accurate forecasting. It can process a large amount of data and use different factors to predict the weather accurately and quickly. It can also potentially deliver economic benefits for countries and businesses as they plan for abnormal weather events or time weather-driven actions (like equipment maintenance) in advance.

    3. Medical Research:

    Here’s an interesting fact – it takes 12 years for medical researchers to find the best medication for various diseases and viruses with the existing normal computation. Quantum computing can reduce this period and even save R&D costs. If experts are to be believed, quantum computing can help researchers find drugs for treating various types of cancers and even Alzheimer’s.  It will give the researchers an in-depth understanding of the human body at a molecular level and develop drugs with few or no side-effects.

    4. Pattern Matching

    Volkswagen has been working on a solution that could inform drivers about traffic jams 45 minutes in advance. They used quantum computing to match traffic patterns and predict the behavior of the system. Quantum computing can help businesses find and predict future trends in their data to make more informed business decisions through such sophisticated pattern matching by getting to see beyond the obvious trends.

    5. Logistic and Supply Chain Management

    According to an IBM study, the entire manufacturing ecosystem can be an early beneficiary of quantum computing. Supply chain and logistics, for example, can be a good use-case for manufacturing businesses to try quantum computing. It can help businesses optimize their logistics by scheduling and planning routing to ensure just-in-time material deliveries. Quantum computing can also run through multiple models simultaneously to find the best route to deliver products in record time! Alibaba, for example, is already banking upon quantum computing to strengthen its hardware and network infrastructure.

    What’s the Next Step ahead for Businesses?

    Quantum computing is still at a nascent stage. However, given its benefits, businesses are willing to pump in money to research and experiment with it. It’s coming up to the time when more businesses will want to join in the efforts and become quantum-computing ready. To do that, businesses will have to prepare a strategy that would include identifying use cases that would benefit the most from the transition, experimenting with quantum computing, and charting the future roadmap. Of course, or the change to happen successfully, businesses should be willing to embrace change. That should be easy enough to do when you consider the possible benefits that could accrue.

    5 Areas Where eCommerce Sites Can Gain From Artificial Intelligence(AI)

    AI (Artificial Intelligence) is the new human-machine that understands customers better than anyone did before! The aim is nothing less than establishing a bridge between technology and its users by being more human-like. AI is being built to make life and businesses easy and convenient, and;eCommerce is one area that’s already feeling the AI magic!

    A report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) shows those retailers who have implemented personalization strategies, gain almost 6 to 10%; a rate that is two to three times faster than other retailers who haven’t adopted the same strategy.

    In fact, AI is predicted to boost profitability rates by almost 59% in the wholesale and retail industries by the year 2035!

    Personalization is the key to the enormous popularity of AI amid eCommerce.

    AI brings with it versatility, convenience, easier transactions and much more! Amazon is an exemplary example of AI revolutionizing eCommerce. With its brilliant AI-driven support; Amazon has created a competitive advantage in the market based on intelligent personalization and uber-relevant customer service.

    5 Areas where ecommerce sites can gain from AI

    In line with the hype, AI has become the newest sales-magnet. One that redefines marketing goals and strategies and frees up manual time and efforts too. Online businesses are forging ahead with confidence in the power of AI!

    Let us see 5 areas where eCommerce can gain from Artificial Intelligence!

    • Increased Personalization:
    • Gone are the days when the sales person had to personally persuade you to make a purchase. In the online world, AI is the new salesperson, much more empathetic and strategic. AI is intuitive enough to read your mind and deliver what you want within the committed time!

      It just takes a robotic human-like chatbot to empathetically enquire about your needs and answer all your questions smartly and elegantly, offering equally interesting and varied solutions! The AI presents the right information at the apt stage of the buyer journey to drive the sale forward.

      AI has enabled eCommerce merchants to know the preferences, likes, and dislikes of customers to serve them exactly with what they need.

    • Smart Purchasing:
    • AI helps customers to find what they need, even if they don’t quite know it yet!Smart assessments of the customer’s needs, the best-bundled offerings, and custom price points power a shopping cart that contains everything the customer could need. This pro-activeness enables the customer to make a quick purchase decision.  AI has created the era of smart purchasing where the technology drives intuitive purchasing options.
      Of course, that’s not the only purchasing where AI can help. Purchase-planning by the business is extremely critical to success in eCommerce. With intelligent systems and machines,they can have enough stocks to dispatch on time, making the necessary goods available to the customers at the right time.AI-enabled demand-forecasting makes purchase-planning for the eCommerce business easier by reliably predicting turnover, seasonal changes, and product trends.

    • Enhanced User Experience:
    • AI enables you to know your customers so well that you can tailor not just the products around their preferences, but also the messaging around their thoughts and sentiments. This sends out a clear message that ‘you care while you sell.’

      Enhanced customer experience is built around effective browsing and searching You should ask the questions, why a customer would prefer my website over others, what it is that can make my customer come back again and again. AI tools can also predict future purchase needs, follow-up and bring them around with the e-mailers and other digital real-time advertising.

    • Customer Relationship Management:
      A neglected customer may never come back to your eCommerce website. Today, it is tougher than everto create loyal followers and customers, or even retain loyal customers for that matter! AI consumes enormous amounts of data, processes it and analyses it to deliver insights around effective engagement alternatives for the customers that need it. This means knowing which customers to target with such strategies as well as creating effective retention strategies.
    • Bigger Sales and Profits:
    • It goes without saying that enhanced customer management, personalized marketing, and better outreach naturally lead to higher sales and profits in the eCommerce business. Convenience and speed matter to most customers. Virtual assistants and chatbots that help customers make the right decisions quickly help deliver exactly that.
      AI delivers profits through quick, action-oriented automated that makes customers want to come back and purchase more. In essence, AI saves time and effort for both, the customer as well as the eCommerce merchant.

    Other Benefits of AI Technology:

    All the elements that contribute to successful eCommerce business are linked and don’t really work in isolation. Along with a personalized online ambiance that enhances the customer relationship, here are some more advantages of AI in eCommerce.

    1. Inventory Management:
    2. AI’s predictive analytics helps shop-owners to know the present and future demands of the market and the customers. They can now accurately predict the real-time and future inventory needs and plan to make the goods available on time.

    3. Image Classification:
    4. AI is certainly changing the game with its ability to classify, interpret, and understand images. Image classification also gives the advantage of suggesting alternative and similar-looking goods in the form of images to provide customers meaningful options to choose from.

    5. Enhanced Security:
    6. Probably one of the most crucial aspects of online shopping is security. While customers and online users are worried about online fraudsters and fake marketers trying to get information; AI is coming to the rescue. AI solutions that detect patterns and learn from credit card transactions can detect advanced cybercrime techniques and also identify fake and genuine reviews.

    Conclusion:

    AI has the potential to drive an enormous impact for the eCommerce industry. Right from personalization, to recommending products, easier customer management, and enhanced user experience, the dynamics of online shopping have changed dramatically. Undoubtedly, the eCommerce brands that embrace AI have an advantage over their competitors in getting ahead of the curve to create that ‘wow’ factor for their customers.

    Angular vs Reactjs: Our Updated View

    Our previous article touched upon the key features of AngularJS and ReactJS. But it’s been a while since then. Technology never stands still. There is now a considerable debate over which of those is better suited for front-end development. And here we are again with an updated account of what differentiates the two technologies, and which could be the better option for specific situations.

    Web development is progressing at lightning speed. Something that was hot and relevant in 2017 may be seen as archaic today. Today, users have even more control and power over what they want. Product and app companies are being forced to frantically try and stay on-trend while meeting those growing demands.

    In the software and mobile app universe, two technologies are being spoken of far and wide- Angular and ReactJS

    While Angular is an MVC framework, React is a JS library that handles only the Views in an MVC framework. Despite, or perhaps because of, some foundational differences between the two technologies, there are several debates about the capabilities and preference of one over another. 

    angular vs reactjs

    Angular handles many functionalities out of the box and is centered around the concept of an application. React is more lightweight and does not handle quite as many functionalities out of the box. It comes with the concept of components, each with their own properties.

    With that snippet of an introduction of both technologies, let’s try to (again) nail down the differences between them to help you pick one best suited to your unique needs.

    Angular vs. ReactJS

    With several out-of-the-box functions, Angular can help get you started quickly without feeling overwhelmed or intimidated by choices. Usually, developers feel at home quicker and switch between roles more comfortably with Angular.

    For the web app-focused folks, while all Javascript frameworks have SEO capabilities, ReactJS does a particularly great job here. Run ReactJS on the server and the virtual DOM will be returned to your browser as a consistent web page.

    Earlier, Angular was built to offer ease of software development, particularly through the use of modules. In that light, Angular also provides ease of testing, another advantage of the technology.

    ReactJS Native is more focused around UI, unlike Angular. It allows for a more responsive interface with Javascript communications between the Native environment of a device and the framework. Therefore, it impacts the app’s load time and keeps it running seamlessly without interference.

    Use cases of Angular vs. ReactJS

    Use ReactJS when there is a lot of dynamic content in your software or applications. Top brands such as Facebook, Netflix, Uber, Dropbox, PayPal, Flipkart, and Instagram prefer ReactJS to drive their apps for this dynamic nature.

    ReactJS could also be the choice for you when you plan on expanding the functionality of your mobile app in the near future.

    On the other hand, choose Angular if you are just starting with app development, and want to be done quickly. Angular may also be the right choice out of the two when you are looking for a robust and well-maintained framework. Angular may work better when you have a team of experienced developers with a good hold on TypeScript.

    Performance of Angular vs. ReactJS

    React is racing ahead in the popularity charts for its fantastic rendering speed. The technology derives its name from its ability to react to change with minimal delay. In response, Angular 2 has been tried to improve its performance by modifying its ‘change detection’ algorithm.

    When it comes to smaller applications, both technologies stand neck to neck. However, when apps get more complex and larger in size, React outperforms Angular. React can also be easily combined with Redux or Flux to build bigger applications.

    React developers also have the benefit of a built-in virtual DOM feature that allows a server to save a light DOM tree, leading to less loading time on browsers and high performance.

    The Learning Curve of  Angular vs. ReactJS

    One of the distinguishing factors of ReactJS is that it is easy for anyone to learn. Since it is purely based on JavaScript, even newbies can familiarize themselves with the technology in no time. The learning curve associated with React is shallower and better suits beginning developers while Angular comes with a steep learning curve. This is essentially because developers are expected to be well-versed with the additional dependency of TypeScript, a statically typed programming language from Microsoft.

    Why Choose Angular vs. ReactJS?

    Choose Angular for its component structure, where you can utilize its components with several frameworks without having to stretch. Angular binding permits you to build a simple-to-maintain, logical connection between the model and the data view. It also allows for smooth testing and the flexibility of choosing your preferred environment for app development.

    Choose ReactJS for its Virtual DOM, which increases the speed of the framework. Also, for its Simple State Machine components that allow you to modify the state of an object and apply all updates with ease. Developers also love the fact that the view is not disparate from the logic in ReactJS. That, and it’s fast to learn.

    While there is no black and white here, the situation your product or app is in will help you make an educated decision on whether Angular or ReactJS would better suit your needs. For further assistance, reach out to us, and we will help you define the best roadmap for your application development needs.

    The Special Role of Regression Testing in Agile Development

    Presumably, everyone here who has developed products knows that regression testing is done to validate the existing code after a change in software. Unlike most other testing, it validates that nothing got broken in the already existing functionality of the software product even as changes were made to other parts. In a nutshell, the aim is to confirm that the product isn’t affected by the addition of any new features or bug fixes. Often, older test cases are, re-executed for reassurance that there were no ill-effects of changes.

    role of regression in agile development

    Regression testing is necessary for all product development where the product is evolving, that is, in effect for all products!

    Which Brings is to Agile Software Development?

    The Agile method calls for rapid product iterations and frequent releases. Obviously, this includes shorter and more frequent testing cycles. This is to ensure that the quality of the output of the sprints is intact whenever the software is released. These constant churns call for a massive focus on regression testing.

    A sound regression testing strategy mainly helps the teams focus on new functionalities and maintain stability as the product increments take place. It makes sure that the earlier release and the new code are both in-sync. This is how the software’s functionality, quality, and performance remain intact even after going through several modifications.

    To put things into perspective – the Agile method is all about iterative development and regression testing is all about focusing on the effects that occur due to that iterative new development.

    What Makes Regression Testing Special in Agile Development?

    • Helps Identify Issues Early– One of the ways in which Agile teams build their regression testing strategy is to identify the improvements or the error-prone areas and gather all the test cases to execute for those cases. This preparation helps them gear up for the accelerated tests and also, prioritize the test cases. This way they can target the product areas that need more focus on quality. Additionally, by detecting defects early in the development cycle, regression testing can help reduce excessive rework. This helps release the product on time.
    • Facilitates Localized Changes – Regression testing makes it possible for development teams to confidently carry out localized changes to the software or sometimes, even for bigger changes. The teams mainly focus on the functionality that they planned for the sprint secure in the knowledge that the regression tests will highlight the areas that are affected by the most recent changes across the codebase.
    • Business Functionality Continuity – Since regression testing usually takes into consideration various aspects of the business functions, it can cover the entire system. The aim is to run a series of similar tests repeatedly over a period of time in which the results should remain stable. For each sprint, this helps test new functionality and it makes sure that the entire system continues to work in an integrated manner and the business functionality continues in the long run.
    • Errors Are Reduced to a Large Extent – The thing with an Agile development environment is that there is a reduced scope for errors during the accelerated release cycles. The series of regression tests at each level of the release ensures that the product is robust and resistant to bugs. This helps in enhancing the software’s stability and improves its overall quality.
    • Offers Scope to Add Better Functionalities – Introducing new functionalities in any application can be time-consuming because there are several aspects that need to be taken into consideration. This process becomes less cumbersome with Agile development, which can boost gradual changes. Regression tests amp up the power of the methodology by giving the scope of introducing several functionalities in seamlessly.
    • Quicker Turnaround – There are multiple tools for regression testing. It’s also possible to automate significant portions of the regression testing given the repetitive nature of the tests. This offers the Agile development team faster feedback. They can achieve faster turnarounds and can accelerate releases confidently.

    To Sum Up:

    Regression testing is a staple while developing a well-integrated, robust software as it evolves. In the accelerated Agile environment, it helps ensure that any newly developed sprint has no adverse effect on the existing code or functionality of the business. Furthermore, a carefully considered regression testing strategy helps the Agile teams be confident that every feature in the software is in perfect condition with all the updates and fixes required. It’s the insurance policy that Agile product development teams need.

    What you Must know about Low and No-code Software Development?

    Back in 2011, Marc Andreesen said, “Software is eating the word”. These words have become even more relevant as digitization becomes an organizational priority for enterprises across sectors. The world is becoming software-driven and for the IT department, this has translated into increased demand for software to address ever-evolving requirements.

    Users have high expectations of usability and demand greater flexibility in business operations. Frequent updates and upgrades are our new normal. Version 2.0 of a product is expected to be built almost simultaneously with the first version. Business applications need amendments and scalability according to the changing needs of business users. The task is huge. And the growing shortage of seasoned developers isn’t helping the situation.

    low code and no code software development

    Organizations are looking at ways to make software development faster, increase automation, and also make development easier to replicate, even by business users. They are looking at doing away with repetitive coding (something that weighs down traditional software development).

    And this is how we came to know and love low-code and no-code software development.

    The ABC of Low Code Software Development:

    Low code software development is an accelerating trend. Research suggests the area growing from USD 4.32 Billion in 2017 to USD 27.23 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 44.49% during the forecast period. So, what is low-code development and what makes it so attractive?

    Low code development is a methodology where manual processes are automated by employing a visual IDE environment and without hand-coding. The visual IDE environment connects to the backends and also to the application lifestyle management system. Low code provides avenues for developing custom code to deploy features that are not readily available.

    Low code development is great for specific business processes especially those that need integrations with other applications, systems, and databases. Apart from giving developers the benefit of developing applications faster, low code development can also be done by the non-developers (mainly the power users) in the development team. These non-developers are usually not proficient developers but have some basic coding and scripting skills.

    Low code development platforms such as Salesforce Lightning Platform, The FileMaker Platform, OutSystems, KissFlow, and Zoho Creator etc.  allow developers to arrange application components including the application data and logic using a drag-and-drop interface. It is almost akin to building Lego models using virtual blocks- the developer moves the Lego block with a mouse and snaps it into their model.

    But does this mean low code is right for every application? Well, not just yet. However, low code development is great for applications that are built for an express purpose as it not only accelerates the workflow but also focuses it.

    What Advantages does Low-Code bring to the table?

    If you are thinking of low-code development get ready to experience a slew of benefits.

    • Faster and more democratized application development including greater inputs from power-users
    • Reduced need for software developers in specific functions can lower costs
    • Greater agility for organizations to match market demands
      • Better risk management and application governance as low-code facilitates immediate change
    • Reduced complexity in app development that enables faster transformation in a digital world

    The ABC of No-code Development:

    Chris Wanstrath, CEO at GitHub says, “The future of coding is no coding at all”. But can this even be possible? Yes, it could with no-code development.

    No-code development employs a visual development environment that helps anyone create applications. This platform uses a drag-and-drop method to add application components needed to create an application. The users need absolutely no coding knowledge. In fact,this could be anyone with an idea of building an application.

    No-code development gives non-technical business users the ability to build full-fledged, complex applications that are powerful, secure, and, also, enterprise-grade. Surprised?

    Such a platform uses a user interface builder, allows visual modeling to process and manage data easily and also allows for easy integrations. Essentially, a true no-code platform can be described as software that writes software. It has easy to use features such as drag and drop modules, picklist selection boxes, spreadsheet imports, etc. Tools such as Nintex, and Quick Base, and even options from Kissflow and Zoho Creator have been successfully giving users more freedom to develop applications with ease.

    No code development is usually driven by specific use cases especially those that don’t need connections to third-party systems and are great for reporting analytics or tracking applications. In case such a connection is needed, it can be enabled quite easily as well.

    So, What are the Benefits of No-Code?

    Much like low-code, no-code development also gives us a host of benefits. It is hardly a surprise to see Forrester predicting that the no-code development market will grow from $3.8 billion in 2017 to $21.2 billion in 2022.

    • Greater agility as development happens visually using pre-built modules. Since the development time is reduced and testing is automated, organizations can build applications faster
    • Reduced overhead costs that come with having a team of highly skilled developers
    • Enabled re-usability as small parts of an application can be used in other applications
    • Enable change easily as all you need is new logic to implement change
    • Allows non-programmers to create applications at speed to fulfill business needs

    Of course, the applicability is still limited and in truth platforms like low and no-code are just pushing the heavy lifting to platforms that do the hard work behind the scenes. But, that said, the value is clear.

    No code and low code software development could revolutionize software development on getting established.Projects that used to take years and months can now be completed in days. The democratization of the development process also makes this methodology relevant for these times when collaboration has to be at speed to deploy new capabilities. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Do you have a low-code or a no-code strategy in place?

    Application Development with Microservices in the DevOps Age

    Does anyone even remember when companies developed an entire product, tested it, fixed it, and then shipped it? The entire process would take months, even years, before a functioning product made it to the customer. Before the product hit the market, neither did the potential customers know what it held for them and neither did the product owners know if it would hit or miss the mark.

    Today, product users expect to be a part of the development process. They want to contribute their insights to develop a product that matches their ongoing needs. The need is for continuous innovation and improvements. The need is for DevOps!

    DevOps combines technology and cultural philosophies to deliver products and services quickly. It is a continuous process of developing, testing, deploying, failing, and fixing applications to achieve market-fit. Jez Humble, one of the leading voices of DevOps sums it up “DevOps is not a goal, but a never-ending process of continual improvement.”

    microservices Application development in Devops age

    Today, DevOps is not just for a handful of large enterprises. According to Statista, the number of companies adopting DevOps went up by 17% in 2018

    A quick look at what has made DevOps popular?

    Apart from the continuous innovations and improvements, DevOps also helps in:

    • Improving customer satisfaction: With a DevOps mindset, companies use advanced methods to identify issues and fix them real-time before the customer is impacted. There is also scope to improve the product on-the-go driven by frequent suggestions and feedback from customers. Continuous improvement in quality leads to customer delight. Take Rabobank of Netherlands, for example. This large financial institution has over 60,000 employees and hundreds of customer-facing applications. As the deployments were manual, the failure rate was over 20%, and they received many complaints about delays. When they moved to DevOps, they were able to deploy applications 30x more frequently with a lead time that was 8,000 times faster than their peers.
    • Change in organizational culture: DevOps has played a significant role in breaking silos and boosting the collaborative culture in companies. In an agile environment, working in silos can slow down the process of developing, testing, and releasing the product. A DevOps team will be able to collaborate better and ramp up the process of developing, testing, and troubleshooting the product. 
    • A decrease in failure rates: According to the State of DevOps report, high-performing DevOps organizations have seen a reduction of failure rates of 3x, thanks to their ability to find and fix errors early in the cycle.
    • Higher productivity: DevOps organizations can deploy products 200x more frequently than a non-DevOps organization, leading to happier and highly motivated teams. Take Microsoft’s Bing, for example. It has moved developers to a DevOps environment with the idea of continuous delivery and innovation deeply ingrained within their processes. The result? Bing deploys thousands of services 20 times a week and pushes out 4000 individual changes every week. The continuous effort by the team to deliver has made Bing the second largest search engine in the world.

    While adopting a DevOps culture is essential for a company to thrive, it is also crucial that they have the right architecture and systems in place to complement their principle of continuous delivery and innovation. That’s where microservices is now playing a massive role.

    Micro-services and Their Role in DevOps Organization:

    For a long time, companies relied on a monolithic architecture to build their application. As monolithic applications are built as a single unit, even a small change in a single element made it necessary to build a completely new version of the application. 

    With more and more companies moving towards DevOps, such a monolithic architecture makes it difficult to implement changes rapidly. The need for greater agility gave rise to a new type of architecture -enter microservices. 

    With Microservices, an application is built on small, independent components that are independently deployable. Although independent, these components communicate with each other via RESTful APIs. So, even if a single piece of code has to be changed in a single element, the developer does not have to build a new version of the whole product. They can simply make the changes to the individual components without affecting the entire application, making the deployment efficient and faster. 

    For companies that have adopted the DevOps culture, developing applications with microservices has several benefits that include:

    • Easy rectification of errors: When a component fails the test or requires changes, it is easy to isolate and fix. This makes it easier for companies to fix errors quickly without affecting the users of other services.
    • Better collaboration: Unlike a monolithic architecture where the different teams focus only on specific functions such as UX, UI, server, etc, a microservices architecture encourages a cross-functional way of working. 
    • Decentralized governance: Monolithic architecture uses a centralized database, while microservices use a decentralized method of governance, wherein each service manages its database. This makes it easier for developers to produce tools that also can be used by others to solve specific issues.

    A key trend accelerating the adoption of Microservices in such scenarios is Containerization. Containerization allows code for specific elements to be carved out, packaged with all the relevant dependencies, and then run on any infrastructure. These applications can be deployed faster and can be made secure. The applications are extremely portable and adaptable to run on different environments. 

    Companies like Amazon and Netflix have shifted to microservices to scale their business and improve customer satisfaction. 

    Product companies aiming to become customer-centric and delight with continuous improvement in the product may find it essential to adopt a DevOps mindset married to a transition to the microservices architecture

    Of course, it will take some time to transition product development. Teething problems are bound to arise, including duplication of efforts due to the distributed deployment system. However, given the larger picture and the potential benefits, it’s a wise move for product companies to make. 

    AngularJS – Making Mobile App Development Better

    Google introduced AngularJS as an open-source framework specifically to address the challenges faced by the mobile app developer in creating and testing code. So, how does it do that?

    AngularJS integrates HTML code along with the application modules.This forms an innovative framework that is now widely used to restructure JavaScript code. AngularJS is designed to help accumulate data by adding and eliminating extra source code to maintain the overall code integrity.

    What is AngularJS?

    In 2009, Google launched AngularJS, and it turned out to be a great framework for building iPhone and Android mobile apps. It doesn’t offer many add-ons but there are an array of features which makes it a perfect fit for the mobile app developer’s toolbox.

    Its interactive abilities with backend, web servers and external data sources help mobile app developers build a feature-rich mobile app easily, quickly, and flawlessly.

    angularjs mobile app development

    A key value is that AngularJS helps to manipulate jQuery Document Object Model libraries. Another great feature of AngularJS is that it enables developers to expand the functionality of HTML by adding constructs through its two-way data binding. With its directives, mobile app developers can accumulate data into HMTL and can abstract DOM modifications.

    A Summary of AngularJS:

    AngularJS can be easily added to an HTML page through a simple coding script. The modular approach helps the mobile app developers segment codes, simplify testing, and update maintenance activities on different types of mobile apps. It has a few manipulations of JS and HTML, which adhere to the fundamentals, thus helping to deliver better stability.

    It extends HTML templates, enabling an advanced approach in managing and editing the components. Mobile app development with AngularJS is extremely efficient, bug-free, and scalable.

    Now that we are familiar with the basics of AngularJS; let’s explore how AngularJS can be very helpful in creating the best mobile apps with rich functionalities.

    Build Mobile Apps with Advanced Development Practices:

    Nowadays, every app is data-driven, and it makes obvious sense to use a tool that is built to address just this scenario. Simplifying the following three advanced software practices has made AngularJS the ideal choice here.

    1. Three-way Data Binding:

    Data binding has become a crucial aspect of mobile app development. When the data model updates, the UI (User Interface) must also change and update. And when app UIs updates, the mobile app developer updates the mobile to match with application’s UI. This is called two-way data binding. AngularJS takes that a step further.

    Three-way data binding is an idea that the developers can not only keep the UI but can also sync the data with the backend services. This means the developers can take inputs from an app, process it, save it on the webserver, and keep the UI in sync. With jQuery iOS and Android Background, the developers find AngularJS’s three-way data binding a considerable time-saver for app development.

    1. Reusable Codes:

    It helps developers keep the UI, data, and code logic discrete. That means that AngularJS enables them to reuse older code on different devices and also on different platforms. It also allows the developers to customize their UI for each platform to provide a better user experience. In the past, application development was only limited to the PC and desktop.

    But now, there are mobile devices with different operating systems, different functions, and different UIs. Thus, developers now have to create code for all the platforms separately. They cannot reuse that code. AngularJS addresses this issue by enabling the developers to reuse code which has been previously created.

    1. Testability:

    When it comes to end-to-end unit testing, AngularJS provide advanced support. It offers flexibility to the developers so that they can conduct testing more efficiently. It has impressive testing compatibilities like the dependency injection concept to reuse, maintain, and test the code. In dependency injection, the components are given specific dependencies.
    This helps to locate the code and makes it configurable. Thus, the quality analyst can quickly check the code and its dependencies and find bugs easily.

    More Reasons to Use AngularJS:

    Apart from three-way data binding, code reusability, and easy testing, there are other benefits that developers can experience while working with AngularJS.

    • Easy to understand: The code written in AngularJS is not only easy to understand but also easy to maintain and test.
    • Customization: While writing code, the mobile app developers do not require to add all the libraries at the same time while adding other modifications.
    • Wider Community: The Google community supports AngularJS which means the developers will get wider support to fix any issue.
    • Pre-defined Solutions: AngularJS comes with a pre-defined and versatile solution which can be used within the app. Developers can get pre-defined UI routing approaches and module practices to help them get their app created sooner.

    Most Successful AngularJS Domains:

    Businesses are looking to stand apart from the competition by creating impressive AngularJS mobile apps. Many tech-giants have significantly invested in AngularJS to provide a high-quality user interface and user experience. YouTube, Netflix, Upwork, and PayPal are some of the examples of mobile apps working on AngularJS. Developers looking to create mobile apps with great user experience are using AngularJS in domains like.

    • On-demand video streaming apps.
    • Travel and destination finder apps.
    • Weather updates apps.
    • User-generated and content portals.
    • Apps for user reviews.
    • Interactive social apps.

    Clearly, AngularJS provides many benefits when it comes to creating seamless mobile apps. It is a futuristic framework which will continue to redefine the way mobile apps are developed. Does your mobile app strategy include AngularJS?

    What the Coming of 5G Means for Mobile App Development?

    Can you imagine the possibilities of downloading HD movies on your phone in seconds rather than hours or minutes? What about immersive games that blur the lines between reality and alternate reality? Both the scenarios may become commonplace in the future with the coming of the next-gen cellular technology – 5G.

    As is apparent, 5G is generating a lot of interest in the mobile industry. With consumer interest high, many firms are thinking of making apps that can leverage the latest tech. The relatively new tech remains a concept for the wider world, but it clearly has the potential to deliver a massive impact. The technology could also drive big changes in mobile app development.

    What the Coming of 5G Means for Mobile App Development?

    In no particular order, the considerations we will have to factor into the new 5G-capable apps we develop will include:

    • Exponentially High Data Speeds – 5G networks can achieve significantly faster data speeds of up to 10 Gbps. This is a stark contrast to the 1 Gbps speed offered by its predecessor 4G. That will allow for the transfer of much much higher volumes of data.
    • Low to Zero Latency – Latency is the time taken by a device to send a packet of data to a different device. On current mobile networks, this is about 50 milliseconds. With 5G, this will be reduced to about 1 millisecond. Surely, this will pave the way for several AR and VR based apps in particular.
    • Better Connection Density – IoT is going to grow over the next few years. To accommodate billions of devices that are a part of IoT, there is a need for a network that offers better connection density. 5G will be able to support the connectivity of up to 1 million devices in a span of several miles. Watch out for the new IoT-everywhere world. And for the mobile apps that will inevitably follow.
    • Precision – 5G has better precision capabilities and it will be useful for creating high-precision mobile apps, such as the ones that are GPS-enabled. Looks like location-based services may become much more common.
    • Lower Battery Consumption – Features such as reduced latency and increased speed translates to lower battery consumption. In fact, 5G will be able to extend the battery life of both IoT and mobile devices up to 10 times! This is great news for both app users and developers!
    • Opens Up New Avenues – HD content, 360-degree videos, holographic videos, multi-person video calls will all become a breeze on 5G networks. This will help developers create a variety of apps that cater to the users’ interests.

    How 5G Will Change Mobile App Development?

    We have seen a picture of the future of 5G and how it is going to shape mobile app development. Here is what is 5G mobile app developers need to think about:

    1. They Can Develop Apps with Rapid File Transfers – Several apps, especially productivity apps require the users to exchange files, data, and other forms of information. 5G with low latency and high speed will be a boon for such apps and offer the users speedy transfer. Think how smoothly your apps will run without any lag! This also means that users will be highly satisfied with the overall experience and won’t abandon the app/uninstall it from their device.
    2. Media-Rich UX – 5G will be able to provide rich UX like never before. From watching movies to listening to music, or playing a high-quality game, the user experience will be uber-intense on the new network. This means that developers can give free rein to their imagination when it comes to the UI and take it to the next level.
    3. Better Capacities and Features – For IoT, AR/VR, and other apps that use new technologies, developers will be able to build feature-rich apps that have exceptional user experiences. Powerful apps with outstanding user experiences will drive new monetization possibilities and increase app revenues as well.
    4. More Navigational Apps – 5G will be useful for creating GPS-enabled apps, which means that there will be more navigational apps in the future. The network will offer high-quality and uninterrupted communication, which is going to be a boon for such apps that are useful for the travel and tourism genre of apps as well as for utility apps or apps for wearables.
    5. Swift Feedback – Chatbots and voice bots powered by 5G networks will be able to provide instant feedback and offer better, real-time experiences to the users. No more wait times mean better conversations. This promises many use-cases like specialized apps for the customer care sector.
    6. Low Dependence on Hardware – The enhanced communication speed and delivery speed of 5G network also mean that the mobile apps of the future will be less dependent on device hardware. Therefore, it may well pave the way for device-agnostic apps.

    The Road Ahead

    While the coming of the 5G network will bring forth a plethora of opportunity for mobile apps, the path forward will be challenging. 5G, like any technology, will come with its own set of challenges. Evolving standards, security loopholes, setup of new business models, and the creation of the necessary infrastructure are some of the core issues at the nascent stage of adoption. This is why, even though the technology will be a game-changer, mobile-app developers need to tread carefully.

    That said, there are opportunities aplenty to leverage 5G’s capabilities to design and deliver cutting-edge apps even in the early days of 5G implementation. It’s time to break out of the rut of slow, high-latency, low-capacity networks and embrace the promise of 5G!

    What is Rapid Application Development and why you should care?

    Even before the Agile methodology became commonplace in software development, the Rapid Application Development model brought flexibility to the entire development process. Rapid Application Development quickly swept the Waterfall model out of its place. And it continues to deliver value.

    Rapid Application Development helps to quickly develop prototypes to test functions and features without having to worry too much about their impact on the end product. With RAD, you can add or remove functionalities, change the design of a software product and clean it up by eliminating extra fluff – all without harming the end product.

    Rapid Application Development

    Markets and Markets have predicted the Rapid Application Development market will grow from USD 7.8 bn in 2018 to USD 46.2 bn by 2023. This growth is driven by the ever-rising demand for faster software programming with low-code, and customizable and scalable solutions.

    But how did the RAD model come to light? Is it the right model for your software development process? When should you choose to work with Rapid Application Development?

     

    Let’s find out.

    Rapid Application Development in a Nutshell

    The Rapid Application Development model prioritizes quick prototyping instead of long, drawn-out development and testing cycles. With Rapid Application Development, developers can make multiple iterations to their software without having to start from scratch each time.

    Rapid Application Development has been around since the 1980s. So it’s not new but has always found value in projects where the continuous evaluation of development is at the core.

    Steps Involved in RAD

    Although RAD has massively evolved over the years, these four basic steps remain at its heart.

    • Define the Requirements– The Rapid Application Development model does not need you to start with a detailed list of specifications. Instead, it encourages developers to ask for requirements at the time. As the project advances deeper into the development cycle, the specifics of the requirement can be further ironed out. This step sets the stage for the ultimate success of the project. This is where the developers, users, stakeholders, and other members sit down to discuss the goals and expectations of the project. They also address the current and potential challenges that may hinder their path during development. The key to successful RAD is for all the stakeholders and users to be involved right from the beginning to define the goals and expectations.
    • Build the Prototype – Once the scope of the project is clearly chalked out, it’s time for the developers to dive in. In this step, the basic user design is built through prototype iterations. During this phase, users or clients collaborate with developers to make sure their requirements are met at every step in the design process. The developer designs a prototype, the user tests it and provides feedback on how it can be improved. Ultimately, through this collaboration, there is less chance that something will slip through the cracks.
    • Rapid Construction – The prototypes and beta systems developed in the previous stage are now converted into working models. Since a large number of glitches and gaps would have been addressed during the prototyping process, the developers can now move at full speed in constructing the product. It is fascinating that even during this phase, the end users provide inputs, and suggest modifications which are subsequently accommodated.

    The last two steps repeat iteratively until the client’s objectives and expectations are met.

    • Finalizing and deployment – In this step, the features, user experience, and interface of the software are finalized with the product owner or client. Before delivering or deploying the product at the client side, developers test the software for stability usability and maintainability.

    RAD- When And Why You Stand to Gain

    Does it make sense to use the Rapid Application Development model for each type of software development? Perhaps not. Here’s when you can use Rapid Application Development-

    When you have access to a pool of users

    If you have got users who can give consistent and reliable feedback on your prototypes, the Rapid Application Development is a great model. Since the RAD model has its roots in the feedback developers receive throughout the cycle, is not the best model without access to dependable sources who will use and review your product in an unbiased manner.

    When you Need Quick Delivery:

    If you are on a tight deadline, RAD could help. You can cut down on the requirement planning and design phases which individually consume time, and begin prototyping rapidly to deliver something that works sooner. Rapid Application Development is an on-the-fly approach that leads to quick development. Some estimates are that the RAD approach can slash the traditional technology lifecycle by 80 percent.

    Rapid Application Development-

    • Is a flexible model that can adapt to changes.
    • Minimizes the overall project risk.
    • Is easy to transfer deliverables in the form of high-level abstractions scripts and intermediate codes.
    • Allows Iterative prototyping that reduces the possibility of bugs and defects.

    Clearly, with RAD, an organization can build a software product faster, eliminating the need for long development lifecycles and hassle-filled development journeys. Does that sound like something you would consider for your next software development project?

    Categories
    Follow us on Twitter