Product development assisted by database software

Product development has always been a risky operation. If a specific item doesn't resonate with its intended audience, businesses can suffer in multiple ways. Not only will they fail to yield projected profits, their reputations could be irreparably damaged. 

However, technology has evolved to a point where companies can improve their product development operations by acquiring and processing real-time feedback almost instantly. This is a tremendously valuable addition to the development process because it allows workers to adjust their strategies before it's too late.

For example, software developers may want to get a sense of how their audience feels about a new app before it is released. By sharing components, typically through social media channels, companies can process their responses and utilize it to benefit their own practices.

An article in the online publication Hypebot lists a handful of trends that will dictate the future of product development. Social media and big data are both listed and, in this scenario, they go hand-in-hand.

However, Max Engal, article's author, says that while companies can collect more information, they must shift their concentration towards how to better process it.

"Users now exist in a world where their feedback is constantly collected in real-time, and the challenge is not how the sites get the data, but instead how to best analyze it in a meaningful way to gain actionable insights," Engal writes.

Implementing a database software system designed to give workers better access to pertinent data can prove to be beneficial to any product development initiative. The sooner the data is processed, the sooner it can be used to assist product management. Moreover, these applications can be used to give decision makers deeper insight as to the meaning of their information, in addition to expediting analytics. FileMaker can serve as the ideal tool for developing this sort of software. 

Improved communication leads to increased productivity 

This blog has spoken at great length on the value of employee productivity. Productive workers enhance a company's ability to service its customers, increasing profitability. There are many things companies do to improve production, and communication is near the top of the list.

An article in the online publication Dynamic Business lists communication as one of the top steps companies must take to improve worker productivity. Collis Taeed, the author of the article, lists it as one of his top challenges as a business manager.

"One struggle I've had is to realize that talking to my team is some of the most important work I can do," Taeed writes. "By coaching and supporting them I'm assuring their effectiveness, and that trickles down throughout the whole organization. It's also a great way to hear ideas and eliminate inefficiencies or pain points. An employee who feels [they] can be honest will tell you when tasks are useless or a time sink, and that can be really difficult to see from the top of an organization."

It might sound good in theory to sit down and talk with employees about everything it requires to ensure a productive organization, but it's not as effective in practice. All workers – whether they are managers or end users – are busy throughout the day. They are constantly on the go, so sitting down to discuss ideas will likely lead to counter-productivity.

Instead, businesses should invest in the development of solutions that can promote collaboration and communication, even if workers aren't close to one another. To compensate for a lack of proximity, companies are installing database software systems which allows workers to store and share pertinent information. This allows for better decision making.

This software will also assist with team building and allow valuable ideas to be shared at a greater rate. These benefits will improve all facets of an organization. 

Healthcare innovation fueled by database software 

Efficiency in the healthcare industry is of the utmost importance. Organizations are always searching for innovative ways to cut costs while building productivity, all in the name of ensuring patient safety.

In Canada, this is the industry’s top priority, so on February 6, the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) hosted a forum for industry leaders to share ideas and discuss key initiatives that can spur greater efficiency. Prior to the event, CFHI vice president Maureen O’Neil released a statement indicating that the three most important topics to addressed during the forum were building efficiency, reducing spending and providing a better patient experience. 

“There is no single way to achieve this triple aim of healthcare, however experiences gleaned from the best evidence and emerging practices in parts of Canada are transforming healthcare systems and institutions for the better,” O’Neil said. “There are innovations underway that are proving quality care, efficiency and a strengthened patient/family-centered approach, are not mutually exclusive.”

Finding a comprehensive solution to meet all three needs can be accomplished with the help of custom application development. By building a database software system designed to track pertinent healthcare data, organizations can better manage their information and use it more effectively.

Hardware innovation is rampant in the healthcare industry, as many hospitals are ditching traditional desktops for laptops and mobile devices. Instead of printing out patient information from a stationary computer, doctors can simply access it on their tablet or smartphone in front of the patient, improving service and giving the patient a better overall experience. By using FileMaker, organizations can build powerful systems that can improve all components of hospital operations, thus enhancing the level of care they give to each patient. 

Database software can assist with social strategies 

Social media strategy is still a relatively new concept to business executives, but it has become increasingly important over the year. Recently, this blog examined the value of marketing through various social channels, but companies can’t simply launch a social media campaign without properly preparing themselves ahead of time.

There are many risks associated with social media marketing. Depending on the channel, it’s very likely that all activity is going to be public. Unless properly set, all tweets are public and can be seen by anyone who logs into Twitter. Facebook business page messages can be seen by everyone as well. This is ideal, at least on paper, because companies should ultimately be doing what they can to further engage their audience through these channels, but it also means that businesses have to be careful about how they conduct themselves online.

Walt Harrison, a guest journalist with the Nashville Business Journal, wrote recently about the risks of social media marketing. He implored organizations to be cognizant of any potential dangers and underlined a number of the more severe risks.

“There is danger in ignoring or underplaying the risks associated with unmanaged employee Internet and social media use,” Harrison wrote. “Doing so invites harassment claims, discrimination suits or other legal distractions.”

That’s why companies should use the resources at their disposal to properly organize social media campaigns so they can mitigate the risk of improper use. Using FileMaker to develop a custom database software system can help organizations track social media posts and users who have access to each account. This will let executives know who is posting to various social channels, what they are saying and at what time the messages are being posted.

While database software can also help track social analytics, no benefits are possible until social campaigns are properly strategized.

Super Bowl blackout illustrates importance of disaster preparation

The National Football League – close to a trillion dollar enterprise – should not suffer many setbacks, particularly in regards to the basic functionality of its biggest stage. However, even the mighty fall down sometime. 

On Sunday night, as a record number of people tuned into the Super Bowl, they were met with something they never expected to see – a total blackout. The New Orleans Superdome, hosting the country’s biggest sporting event for the first time in 11 years, suffered a power outage early on in the third quarter. The perfect entity known as the NFL could do nothing but wait, as players, attendees and viewers around the world were deprived of football for 34 minutes.

The lights eventually came back on and the action picked up again without a hitch. In fact, the game was more competitive after the blackout than it had been prior to the incident. However, the event shows that any organization, regardless of its wealth of resources, can’t rely on perfection all the time. Incidents happen, and organizations that are properly prepared will be the ones that overcome the adversity. 

Suppose a standard midsize company suffers a similar blackout? It’s highly unlikely that it would possess the resources and ability to survive the event unscathed as the NFL did, unless it was ready. To prepare an organization, companies may need to make advanced software investments to ensure all of its information is organized and protected.

This could come in the form of high-end procurement, or it could call for custom application development. Using FileMaker to build a solid database software system can give businesses the opportunity to better store pertinent data, while tracking and sharing it seamlessly. Not only will this produce an added layer of operational efficiency, it would give companies the tools to ensure they alleviate the damages caused by any unforeseen incident. 

BYOD policies may require custom application development

Mobile devices aren’t going away any time soon. In fact, their growth is being felt in more areas than ever before. Businesses are implementing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategies to assist with daily operations and provide employees with the convenience needed to effectively do their jobs from any point and at any time.

As gas prices remain a national issue, more companies are incorporating a work-from-home policy which lets employees do their jobs from a remote location. By letting workers bring the same personal device they used at home into the office when they come to work, companies can reduce the risk of lost data or inefficient processes because employees will simply continue where they left off on that device.

Mick Slattery, an IT solutions executive, spoke with eWeek about the efficiency companies gain by implementing a BYOD policy.

“The nature of work and how business gets done is going through a transformation. Consumer technologies in the workplace are a significant catalyst for this transformation,” Slattery said. “Executives are capitalizing on the opportunity these technologies offer by adjusting business processes and updating policies with measurable results in areas such as customer service, profitable growth, happier employees and bringing new products and services to market faster.”

Companies that implement this policy will need to have the proper software solutions in place to maintain mobile communication strategies while upholding data security. Oftentimes, BYOD is a way to meet a specific need to mitigate a certain pitfall pertaining to operational efficiency. If this is the case, the importance of having the right software in place is paramount. Custom application development may be needed to create desired software solutions to run on each mobile device, but the advantages gained in doing so will allow any BYOD policy to reach its maximum potential.