Nowadays, data takes an important role in the operation and context of all organizations. Data allows us to make informed decisions and take advantage of the past to learn and get to know our customers, users, employees, processes, competitors, and more. To be successful a company must extract value from its own data and that of its environment, pursuing the objective of becoming more and more competitive. When a company decides to enter the world of data and data science, the opportunities are immense.
But the question that often arises is: “what is data science all about?” The answer may seem simple, however, many times we fall into misconceptions that do not help us understand the concept. Let’s work it out together.
What is Data Science?
If we look for the formal definition, we could say that it is a discipline that focuses on uncovering insights (i.e. discovering hidden knowledge) from large amounts of data, both structured and unstructured. In fact, this is how IBM defines it, adding the idea that Data Science uses statistics, machine learning, data mining, and predictive analytics to achieve its goals.
From a practical point of view, we could say that by implementing Data Science processes in our organization, we are seeking to develop an approach that allows us to better understand our environment, our problems, our opportunities and, mainly, our business. Data science allows us to understand and explain past events and generate models to estimate or predict situations or behaviors that will generate impact in the future. So, it is necessary to understand that it is an interdisciplinary field, which combines formal sciences (i.e. mathematical modeling and statistical analysis), computing (i.e. computer science and software development), and the specific domain over the knowledge of a certain business or industry.
At Huenei, we take advantage of advances in data science and technology to enhance our software developments from a comprehensive business vision.
Data Science as an Interdisciplinary Field
What About BI and BA?
It is very common to confuse Data Science with Business Intelligence and Business Analytics. It is important to know the differences to be able to evaluate what elements can help your company become competitive.
Business Intelligence is a business and strategy process that incorporates technology and software solutions for data analysis and information communication in a timely manner, with the aim of supporting decision-making. If correctly implemented, Business Intelligence can be weighed as a major organizational advantage these days.
In short, both of them take advantage of available data to improve decision making. But their differences lie in the fact that Business Intelligence represents a general business strategy, which uses historical information in order to learn and boost decision-making. Whereas Business Analytics is a key component within the Business Intelligence strategy that focuses on using the organization’s historical data to predict future events. So, we have a global strategic business vision and advanced management of analysis tools and methodologies; by adding the boost of computational power, we enter the world of Data Science.
How Can Data Science Help your Business?
Data science can help you solve business problems, get to know your consumers or users, understand your employees and your competitors. Technologies available are varied and each professional will determine the right ones for their business.
Technologies Available for Data Science | Illustration by Berkeley
Regardless of the technology, languages or tools used, there are various applications of Data Science –and their integration with Business Intelligence and Analytics– in a company, that you could take advantage of depending on your needs. There are a large number of methodologies, analysis and strategies, and it would be impossible to name them all. But we want to take advantage of this space to introduce you to the world of data science through some examples:
1. Segmentation of customers, employees, suppliers, etc. Statistics and machine learning allow you to naturally group people, companies, or any unit of analysis, counting on variables of our interest. Thus you can create groups that are heterogeneous amongst each other but internally homogeneous. In the marketing environment, for example, this can help you recommend personalized products, display customized ads, among others.
2. Churn. Churn analysis can help you understand when a customer will stop buying from you, when a user will uninstall your app, or when an employee will quit. In addition, you can evaluate the probability of “abandonment” (churn) of each individual.
3. A/B Testing. This methodology is about conducting experiments where two groups are randomly created: A and B (the control group and the experimental group). For example, you could compare the typical production of an industrial plant with an alternative production by implementing a different methodology. You could also compare two versions of an advertisement, or two different website designs. The objective is, through comparison, to determine which one offers better performance.
4. Sentiment analysis. Through the use of Natural Language Processing, it is possible to extract subjective information from texts and speeches, to standardize it in variables and quantitative indicators. The classic example is the social media sentiment analysis, where Tweets, comments on Instagram posts, and so on, can be summarized in an indicator of sentiment towards the brand (i.e. positive, neutral or negative sentiments).
In a nut shell, it is essential for a company that wants to increase its competitiveness to get involved in the world of Data Science. For this, the strategy must be planned and it is important to understand the field of action of the different components of a Data Science strategy in an organization. The applications are varied and the ways in which your organization can benefit are endless.
Regardless of the size of your company, surely you have evaluated the outsourcing of software development services in order to improve your operation or increase the quality of the product or service that you offer to your clients. A company that wants to focus on its core business often cannot carry out all the developments and projects necessary for its operation by itself. Whether due to lack of time, financial resources, organizational structure, human resources, or other limitations, it is increasingly common for companies to rely on software company services provided by suppliers.
In a classic service contracting process, the corresponding department of your company issues a request for a budget. Depending on the previous relationship with the suppliers, a bidding or a direct award could start. But the latter should only take place in cases where your company has already worked with a supplier repeatedly and is satisfied with the results. The challenge arises when we need to choose a new supplier to work together.
Choosing a service provider is important as it can affect the way your company offers its services and interacts with your customers. But choosing a software company services supplier is not an easy task. This is why we want to tell you some tips that we have developed throughout our years in the industry, thanks to the support of our clients.
First thing: quality and service!
The quality of a service could be observed from different perspectives. We could firstly talk about the workflow and development and implementation process that a company offers. This is an extremely important point to evaluate and know before hiring an IT service provider. Serious companies offer a transparent and customer-driven process. This is one of the points that we always prioritize when working with our clients. Below is an example of the workflow of our Dedicated Teams service, where we offer you a managed team of specialists for your projects.
Dedicated Teams Process
Another important consideration is the type of services that the supplying company offers. That is, do they adapt their services to your needs? Standardized developments can be a time and resource saver for a supplier, but what’s important is that they can provide tailored and customized developments. This way you can make sure that they give you just what you need. This is why at Huenei we offer three types of services that are tailored to the specific needs of your business. We already told you a little about our Dedicated Teams above, but we’d like to invite you to learn more about our Staff Augmentation and Turnkey Projects modalities.
Delivery time and method
We already talked in the previous point about the importance of the quality of the software product and the service offered by a software company services provider. But the best quality of development is of no use to us if we cannot have the finished product when we need it or if its characteristics are not adapted to our specific needs. Many sectors, such as the financial, healthcare or software logistics industries, need to have the necessary technology to fulfill their operations in a timely manner.
Beware with the price…
Although evaluating the rates, payment facilities and discounts is important, we recommend that you do not make impulsive decisions only considering prices. Many companies that focus on offering “the lowest price” end up providing low-quality software products and developments. We wanted to include this consideration just to give you this tip: Compare budgets and evaluate different price alternatives, but do not only rely on this variable since in many cases “cheap can be costly“.
And how can we know if our supplier is trustworthy?
The image and reputation of the suppliers can help you understand if they are the right choice for you. In this sense, it is important that you pay attention to their experience. Analyze their history, find out about the relationships they have with other clients and ask for references or success stories to learn about the experience of other companies that worked with them previously.
Huenei has more than 25 years of experience in the market. Thanks to our expertise, we have helped a wide variety of companies achieve their goals. We enjoy sharing the experiences of our clients so that those who are looking for an IT service provider company can analyze their success stories.
Another important consideration to ensure that a service provider is trustworthy and that their services can help you are the certifications they have. Preferably choose suppliers with certification, such as the one we earned, granted by TUV Rheinland Argentina on ISO 9001. By having the guarantee of optimal quality, you avoid potential inconveniences in the future. Certifications are a representation of the maturity or expertise of the company, as well as its experience and the value it provides to its clients.
As we have discussed, like other management decisions, those concerning IT suppliers must be based on robust analysis and information. The correct choice of a software development service provider can represent growth for your organization, both in terms of service quality and return on investment. We hope you can be guided by these tips based on our experience in the industry working together with all of our clients.
For an organization to be competitive in the current context, it needs to be sustainable and able to anticipate paradigm shifts. Innovation and the development of solutions to exceed customer expectations must be leveraged with technologies, software and information systems that allow process optimization.
The business model of companies is currently affected by technological progress and only companies that take advantage of these developments manage to stand out from the competition. But first, we are going to understand what an information system is and how it collaborates with the operations of an organization.
What are Information Systems?
Surely you came here wanting to know what an information system really is, but first we have to understand two key concepts that make it up: Systems and Information Technology.
A System is a set of elements that are related and work together pursuing a certain common objective. A system does not necessarily consist of technological elements. We could, for example, think of an organization as a system made up of people who fulfill different roles.
Information Technology refers to all the products and software developments that are used to collect, transform, store, process, protect and retrieve data to turn it into useful information for decision-making. For this, you need both hardware and software elements, telecommunications networks and databases.
By combining these concepts we can reach an understanding of the Information Systems of organizations. We are talking about the joint work of people, systems and information technologies, whose objective is to take advantage of data and information to optimize the planning, management and control of activities.
An organization may have advanced information technology, products, and software developments, but if system components, such as people, are not properly integrated, then it may fail. Proper integration is key! That is why at Huenei we offer support in the implementation of our software developments, to ensure that our clients can take full advantage of them. Correctly designed, developed and implemented information systems can help reduce risks and uncertainties in the decision-making process and the execution of business processes in various areas. Let’s see some examples…
Examples of Information Systems in an Organization
We’d like you to review some case studies of developments that we have carried out for some of our clients, so that you can see practical applications in different environments:
Content. What functionalities does a system offer the user?
Experience. How is the user interaction with the system?
Platform. What are the processes and infrastructure that the system needs to fulfill its functionality?
Let’s analyze these three components with the example of Amazon, considering the customer as the end user. The Amazon platform offers customers the ability to purchase products online. But other very useful functionalities are also offered, such as reviews, ratings, recommendations, search filters, among others. The experience includes both the interaction with the website, as well as the business processes with which the client is in contact (customer service, FAQs, payment gateway, etc.). Amazon focuses, from its platform, on offering an excellent experience so that the customer can find the ideal product, at the ideal time and easily. Regarding the platform, beyond the UX/UI design, the management of product and stock information, customer data and all those business processes with which the customer does not interact is key.
Amazon Website Screenshot
How Do We Design Information Systems for Our Clients?
The elements that make up an information system must be fully understood in the development of the software product when the objective is that the client can have a satisfactory implementation. That is why at Huenei we focus on three key areas when planning a software development: Organization, Management, Technological Infrastructure.
Organization. The structure of the client organization for which we are working is a fundamental input of any project. Understanding it allows us to understand priorities, roles of individuals, implicit needs of the system and areas or departments of the company that will be users of our development.
Management. After understanding the organization itself, we examine the management structure of the organization and how users will need to use it. This allows us to anticipate user interactions prior to development.
Technological Infrastructure. The technological infrastructure is made up of the hardware, software, databases and telecommunications networks necessary for the development of prototypes and final products. It is the technical instance of design, development and implementation that allows us to reach the final version of the developed product.
Once we understand the organizational structure and roles within a company, the management and usability needs, and the technological infrastructure necessary for the project, we can conceptualize the ideas and arrive at the perfect finished product for the identified needs. We invite you to learn about our step-by-step processes in our three Project modalities: Dedicated Teams, Staff Augmentation, and Turnkey Projects.
In this article, we will show you the steps for setting up a successful IT team, give you some tips for finding the best talents out there, and identifying what are the necessary IT roles for ramping your business up.
With the pandemic triggering a point of no return for digital and e-commerce businesses, having an IT team has not only become fundamental for established companies but also a necessity for many small growing businesses that are looking forward to harnessing the potential of the digital economy.
1. Identify your needs: how much can an IT team help your business?
If your business depends on the cloud, handles any customer data, or manages any type of CRM software, the short answer is ‘quite a lot!’ Even though IT professionals can solve monotonous issues like setting up a printer, they can also serve your strategic planning by doing things like automating processes within your company.
IT is well-known for offering technical support, and depending on your company size, dealing with technical issues may be critical in some instances. From installing new software to resetting passwords, and creating new employee profiles, every day a new tech-related problem arises, and having a team to help you is the best long-term fix.
Managing IT infrastructure is another key aspect for growing businesses where you may want to invest your best efforts since it can have a great impact on efficiency and security. Choosing the right computers and mobile phones, selecting a cloud service, buying specific software, and setting up a website are crucial decisions where you may better trust expert hands.
IT professionals can also use their expertise for assessing your business tech needs. Are you buying third-party software or are you developing an in-house solution, what new technologies out there are going to leverage your growth, and what are the best communication systems for your team?
With so many data leaks and internet fraud, security plays a pivotal role in customers’ interaction with businesses, and IT experts can work on protecting your data, preventing your website from being hacked, and obtaining the necessary certificates for adding a payment platform to your website.
2. Determine the necessary roles and core responsibilities.
As you may know, IT teams are responsible for administrating infrastructure, providing technical support, managing communication platforms, programming, maintaining the company’s website, and even application development, so let’s break down the list.
Administration (IT administrator): they are in charge of assisting employees with hardware and software-related issues, they train the staff on how to use specific software, and help everyone who may have any issue related to systems usage.
Tech support (Tech support professional): most teams use a ticket system where company members raise a ticket every time they have a technical issue, and that’s when the tech support team comes to play. They can install new software, set up new hardware such as printers and cameras, repair hardware, troubleshoot software issues.
Programming (Programmer): many small businesses need new software for expanding their scope within the digital economy. Programmers can help them develop new business applications, create databases, convert files and build new code for automating processes.
Website support (Web developer): while the content is often managed by other departments like marketing and design, web developers are in charge of writing the code, maintaining the site, and guaranteeing functionality and usability.
Apps development (Developer): apps are the epitome of innovation, efficiency, productivity, and time-saving. That said, developers can work on building business apps for your employees that can facilitate content management, communication, and customer relationship management.
Depending on the type of IT team you need for your project, you will be able to select the right professionals for each role thanks to the tips that we will discuss in the next point.
3. Find the talent that better suits your company values.
Most experts in the field agree that the best IT department is the one you have never heard of. That statement has many implications: you need to find someone who runs your systems and data so smoothly that no one in your company even imagines the possibility of havoc (like your systems collapsing, your servers falling down, or a data leak), but at the same time you probably don’t have the technical knowledge to carry out the interviewing.
The fact that IT experts are in high demand may also imply that your HR department will have to make a quick decision when filtering candidates. For that, a recommendation is to clearly define roles and what are their responsibilities in non-technical terms, so you can easily communicate them and avoid misunderstanding when interviewing candidates.
It is also fundamental to consider what are the soft skills and values that your company enhances. Are you looking for a conservative profile or do you need someone disruptive? Asking your candidates what their expectations are is also key for ensuring if they can match your corporate culture.
You could also consider hiring a third-party recruiting firm that focuses on IT. Even though it may increase your recruiting cost per hire, it may be a safe bet in the long term, considering the high rates of turnover in the field and how hard it is to retain the best talents.
Get the perfect IT team with Huenei
Here in Huenei we build agile and self-managed teams that are capable of executing projects adjusted to your needs and business objectives. If you are looking to boost your projects with a team of specialists, our Agile Dedicated Teams services can help you. Our teams are agile, autonomous and work in line with your needs. We have a work methodology that allows us to fully understand your business problems and provide you with the most appropriate solution for them.
If you think that building a product only after you have started selling it to people is a mad idea, we are here to show you great minimum viable product examples that prove the opposite.
MVPs can be any ideas or products that feature only a limited set of functions or capabilities that are still enough to prove your concept in a determined market.
Whether you are working on app development or a vegan dog-treats business, building an MVP may save you time and money on the way to commercializing a finished product, and the definition doesn’t stop there, since you can also ask yourself about minimum viable channels, segments, services or promotion.
Facebook, Dropbox, and Zappos have all in common that they started as minimum viable products, proving that investing tons of money is not always a requirement for launching a big business, but the ability to listen to your market and carefully cater to them according to their feedback of your ideas.
In this article, we will show you what the different types of MVPs are and give you examples so you can get inspired and easily venture out into the wild world of product and service development. We will also explore some minimum viable product examples.
5 Types of Minimum Viable Product Examples That You Can Build on a Low Budget
In the world of startups, it is common to see state-of-the-art tech that no one really knows what to use for. This probably happens because creators often focus on bringing finished products to the market without first considering if consumers really want them, and here’s where MVPs play a vital role in redefining business models.
Think about the overhyped Google Glasses that were about to be released in May 2014 for $1,500. The company focused so much on product features such as using a VR platform via voice commands (which sounds really nice) that they forgot people didn’t want to wear glasses in the first place.
There are two classifications of MVP: low fidelity MVPs serve for better understanding your consumer’s needs and see if your solutions are worth enough for solving their problems, while high fidelity MVPs focus more on how much would they pay for your product and getting early adopters that can later help you redefine your value proposition as you listen to them.
Choosing between high fidelity or low fidelity MVPs depends on how much time you have and how much are you willing to spend on this stage of your product development.
A landing page is a website designed to motivate visitors to carry out a specific task (give you their email, see your products or buy them) once they have clicked on a marketing communication such as an Instagram ad. This is a great way to show them what you have and prove if your communications are going the right way.
Buffer, an app designed for scheduling social media posts, is an extraordinary example of this. Their MVP was a landing page that explained the platform’s capabilities and encouraged people to sign up. However, by that time the app actually didn’t exist at all so customers were shown a message saying the service wasn’t ready and that they would be receiving updates.
Once the creators had a database of enough possible users, they started asking them if they would be willing to pay for the service. What they did is testing that hypothesis by adding prices to the landing page. This allowed them to see how many visitors would actually turn into paying customers.
Image by The Mobile Spoon
Short videos (Dropbox)
Short videos are one of the most popular MVPs out there. They are zero-risk, cheap to elaborate, and effective for communicating complex ideas surrounding your product and services. They are so versatile you can post them on MVP platforms such as GoFundMe, show them to investors and even people on your way.
You would be amazed to know that Dropbox, which has a market cap of 11.9 billion, started as a 2-minute MVP that explained with paper figures how the cloud service worked.
Ad campaigns and digital mock-ups
Ad campaigns allow you to test if you are targeting the right audiences. With platforms such as Google and Facebook ads, you can even measure what are the features of your products that people appreciate.
Using CGI imagery on your ads is a creative way of testing your product’s appeal. You can do this for a fraction of the real cost of manufacturing a real product by hiring a designer at a platform such as upwork.com.
If people actually try to buy the product once they have reached your website through your social media ads, you can tell them the product is out of stock, and even give them a coupon, a gift card or a discount code they can later use when the product is available. This is great for proving if the market wants the product before you go to the manufacturing process.
A great example of an MVP that started as a crowdfunding project is the board game Kingdom Death Monster, which raised $12.4 million from more than 19,000 people back in 2016. Back then, they used clear images and a great explainer video before they had started production.
“The Wizard of Oz”
This MVP consists of creating an illusion of a product, which translates into people thinking they are experiencing the real thing while you are actually using a human resource behind the
curtains. The Wizard of Oz is adequate for analyzing the demand of a product while you keep the operational costs low.
A noteworthy example of The Wizard of Oz is Zappos, a shoe company that was acquired by Amazon in 2009 for $1.2 billion. This business started with its founder Nick Swinmurn posting pictures online of shoes that he didn’t have in stock but that were for sale in stores nearby his home. Once customers bought him a pair of shoes through his simple website he would manually process the order, buy the shoes and send them.
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