Tag Archives: Branded Software

Posted on Thu, Aug 11, 2016 @ 7:00 am

With the multitude of devices owned by consumers today and the large amount of time they spend using them daily, businesses are realizing the powerful impact that good software can have on driving revenue. Software provides a personalized, direct way for businesses to reach their customers, and it is continually being used by forward-thinking firms to come up with new and original ways to accomplish business goals.

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Posted on Fri, Aug 22, 2014 @ 7:00 am

shutterstock_207269731-resized-600The consumer viewing experience today has changed drastically from the traditional experience of watching television. Gone are the days when the entire family sat in front of a TV set and watched a show in its entirety, including commercials, without distractions from other devices or alternate sources of programming. Shows were developed for mass audiences, and there were long term syndication rights associated with them. Broadcast media is still an integral part of consumer’s lives, but the industry faces challenges on many fronts and is being forced to reinvent itself as it faces demands for more personalized content by consumers, threats from varied distribution systems and the need to find new sources of revenue to remain viable. More and more, the broadcast media industry is finding that innovative software can help them to solve these problems, allowing them to better reach and engage consumers in their programming. Discover below the top 3 software trends affecting the broadcast media industry today; find out the major opportunities and challenges each presents and see how businesses are looking to utilize them to increase viewership!

The Top 3 Software Trends Affecting the Broadcast Media Industry:

1. Multiplatform Content Delivery

A 2013 survey by Devoncroft of 10,000 broadcast professionals identified Multiplatform Content Delivery as the most important trend affecting the industry by far.

Consumers now want and expect access to broadcast media that is immediate, flexible and available on the device of their choice. Because of this, broadcasters must provide content on the web, mobile phones and tablets in addition to traditional TVs. These additional devices require multiple formats, bit rates, and piracy protection. In addition, each format has its own servicing issues for rights management, ad management, social data integration and development of user interfaces. Live content in particular is especially difficult to deliver via web and mobile devices. It is estimated that broadcasters have to create between 50 and 250 formats per title to accommodate all the different formats.

Thus far, multi-platform capabilities have generated much work for the industry with little additional revenue, but the opportunity is there.

Opportunities:

  • Those who are able to develop seamless platform integration can increase their access to and connection with consumers. For example, HBO GO and Netflix allow consumers to begin watching a show on their tablet and then pick up exactly where they left off on their television.
  • As mentioned earlier, online platforms may be a way to increase ad revenue, especially if ads can be personalized through social media & search engine data.
  • Broadcasters may be able to sell across platforms and lower costs.
  • Those who become more efficient in managing these complex delivery models will have greater operating efficiency.

Challenges:

  • Multi-platform content delivery requires a lot of work to achieve:
    • Time required for all this development is no small investment
    • Cost to the business can be a deterrent
    • Skills needed for multi-platform development are often not in-house

2. Social Media and Big Data

The availability of social media data can enable broadcasters to develop a better understanding of the demographics and preferences of their audiences. As audiences now tweet about programs and “like” them on Facebook, broadcasters have a plethora of personalized data about them. Media companies can add this new data to the internal data they already collect on customers, including their viewing habits, in order to get a pretty complete profile on each.

Opportunities:

  • Large amounts of personalized data on customers can enable broadcasters to evaluate and adjust content, gain an improved understanding of their consumers, and evaluate platforms by analyzing social media data.
  • Broadcasters can make recommendations to customers about what to watch by analyzing their previous selections, giving customers more of what they want and engaging them longer.
  • Broadcasters can also give viewers more targeted ads that they’ll actually watch, appealing to their advertisers’ goals and increasing ad revenues.
  • It can also assist broadcasters in offering the most effective resource scheduling.

Challenges:

  • Large amounts of data must now be captured and organized to be utilized effectively, requiring big data capabilities. Traditional departments will be unable to handle, for example, the massive amount of tweets that can come from a popular show. (A single episode of X Factor can generate 14 million tweets!)
  • Data is often siloed, making it difficult to share across the business in order for it to be utilized for revenue-driving opportunities.
  • Data that’s collected must be useful data that leads to new insights for the business.

3. Personalized, Interactive Viewing

Consumers now want to customize and personalize their viewing experience. This will increase as more consumers purchase smart TVs over the next few years (By 2015, smart TVs will make up 55% of the market as global shipments climb to 141 million units). It is estimated that 60% of consumers use other devices while watching TV, engaging a second screen to view details on show storylines, to tweet messages, to search for information, or just to multitask. In fact, this interactive experience of second screen viewing makes consumers more engaged in the TV content they see, as studies show that those who tweet while watching TV have better ad recall. This theory presents new opportunities for broadcasting companies to offer fresh and interesting digital content related to the shows being watched to encourage renewed engagement.

Opportunities

  • Programs that are more personalized and engaging will build stronger ties with consumers and offer the possibility of new revenue streams for broadcasters.

Challenges

  • This is a relatively new area that needs more research.
  • Personalized programming will take much experimentation and adaptation to get to the point where it can successfully capture the attention of consumers based on their individual likes and dislikes.
Engagement Solutions:
  • OFS recently completed a project with a major American broadcasting company to develop a smart TV app to accompany a major sporting event, enabling viewers to get more of the information and facts they crave, right on their TV, while they watch the event. Projects like this capitalize on the industry’s desire to provide a more personalized, involved experience to help increase ratings. It helps prevent consumers from wandering away from the broadcast since they don’t have to use another device to engage in additional digital activities, thus protecting and perhaps enhancing broadcasters’ prime source of revenue – TV advertising. Click Here to check out our blog post on smart TV apps!

Look out for our next blog post on why technology management will need to act like a software vendor in order to effectively build and manage enterprise software, connected products, and mobile services!

*Denise Houghton was consulted by OFS to research and report on data in the broadcast media industry.

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Posted on Tue, Jun 10, 2014 @ 11:36 am

OFS invites you to enjoy a complimentary copy of Forrester ResearForrester_Paper_Tumbnail_0.1ch, Inc.’s report Software Must Enrich Your Brand! Learn how software is driving your 21st century brand and how it has become core to your business success!

 

 

 

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Posted on Mon, Jan 13, 2014 @ 7:00 am

Forrester Research has used the phrase “software-is-the-brand” to describe non-tech companies who are finding that more and more of their business value is coming from software-based products and services:

“It is the software that operates at key mobile customer touchpoints, defines the interaction with the consumer, and, ultimately, acts as the main product differentiator.” 

(Forrester Research, Inc., Non-Tech Companies Become The New Market For Software Product Development Services, August 2013).

Financial Services

Forrester specifically names the following four industries as becoming “increasingly software-centric”:

  • Information Services
  • Retail and eCommerce
  • Media and Entertainment
  • Financial Services

For those in the financial services industry, there are several software endeavors that businesses are finding they must undertake in order to stay competitive in this modern age. Below is a highlight of Object Frontier’s software assessment of this industry:

Financial Services – Software that Defines Your Brand

  1. Mobile Banking has become a critical avenue for financial services companies to engage customers today. Individuals can check their personal accounts, transfer money, make a deposit, and pay their bills whenever and wherever they want. This round-the-clock access ensures banks are meeting the needs of their modern, on-the-go customers.
  2. Treasury Management Software that provides businesses with a mobile-friendly financial management dashboard which sources data from multiple places and presents it in one, easy-to-use dashboard, including real-time stock prices, news, and alerts, will help businesses quickly make informed strategic financial decisions, whether in the office or mobile.
  3. Wealth Management Software that is optimized for mobile and with an intuitive, user-friendly design allows financial services firms to better serve high net-worth individuals by providing a simplified way for these clients’ personal wealth administration staff, advisors, tax preparers, lawyers, and others to access the information they need in a secure, streamlined way and to present a real-time and complete view of their investment portfolio. Some of the more advanced tablet-based tools allow advisors to rebalance a customer’s portfolio right in front of them by simply pinching or expanding the pie slice displayed to increase or decrease a customer’s percentage of equities for example, and then generating a proposed list of rebalancing trades.
  4. Mobile Insurance Apps let customers easily find an agent, pay a bill, update their policies, and make a claim at any time, including photographs and maps of the incident area. All these features provide customers with hassle-free, streamlined access to the services of their insurance company at the times they need it most.
  5. Gamified Personal Banking Software, currently being used by some of the largest financial institutions, incents individuals to focus more on their long-term financial health and encourages investment. By applying gamification principles of motivation and mastery, and by creating software that utilizes points, levels, awards, and competition, users can feel rewarded in the short-term as they shape their long-term financial future. Through gamified experiences, businesses can encourage users to determine their risk/reward profile, choose the right financial investments, plan for retirement, buy life insurance, and educate their children on financial principles in order to positively influence their real-life financial behavior.

All of these new uses for software in the financial services industry are becoming necessary table stakes for businesses to compete in today’s digital world. Forward-thinking businesses are continually searching for new and innovative ways to use software technology to enhance their offerings, making software now an essential part of their brand. Businesses are now actually considering software like one of their products, as they are finding they must put the same innovation and design into it as they do their core products.

For financial institutions to fulfill their software aspirations, they will “need the discipline, agile processes, and technical know-how associated with PDS [Product Development Services] firms, which is separate from traditional IT services,” as Forrester emphasizes in the report mentioned above.

The product mindset of a PDS firm is essential to developing branded software, as it allows you to:

  1. Adopt an agile methodology to produce early and measurable results in order to keep up with the competition in the feature wars that often ensue as they copy your innovations.
  2. Redesign and rebuild the backend technologies to transform the total user experience and breakdown the silos of transactional processing systems.
  3. Create an innovative user experience (UX) that will engage your customers and redefine your brand.
  4. Release software in a disciplined manner to provide regular improvements that meet the changing needs of your customers.
  5. Adapt quickly to user feedback in order to please customers and avoid a social media nightmare that can instantly ruin your reputation.

These benefits of a product-focused approach are necessary for creating worthwhile software assets for your business. Forrester explains in the same report that any “attempts to assign these activities to internal IT departments — which have traditionally focused on maintaining and developing slower-changing environments — have led to problems and, ultimately, the creation of a separate product development/software company” within the organization.

Product development companies specialize in building innovative, revenue-driving software and they are increasingly being tapped by non-tech, “software-is-the-brand” companies to bring that same expertise to their software projects in order to engage customers and drive revenue. Those that choose to ignore this trend face the prospect of being left behind by their competition as they redefine themselves with their software.

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Posted on Mon, Nov 11, 2013 @ 1:55 pm

Software is Now Your Brand – an Event Featuring Independent Research Firm Analyst John McCarthy

Sponsored by ObjectFrontier Inc. (OFS) for the New Jersey Technology Council (NJTC)

software_brand_eventTomorrow, Tuesday, November 12, 2013

8am-12pm

Eatontown, NJ

Click Here For More Information!

For all companies now, regardless of whether they make cars or appliances, sell insurance or rent apartments, software is driving more and more of their revenue.  Whether through innovative mobile apps, responsive social media, gamified websites, embedded software or sophisticated back-end transaction engines, businesses now must leverage all these tools to compete for market share.  For companies that have never thought of themselves as being in the software business, it’s time to think again.

Guest Speaker John McCarthy, a VP & Principal Analyst from Forrester Research, Inc., will provide major insights on how the software assets of a company represent a key part of the brand experience and the firm’s differentiation.

Whether its mobile banking apps on phones, infotainment systems in cars, or the proactive diagnostics running in wind turbines or washing machines in homes, the user experience determines how the customer perceives the product and the brand.  This change creates huge new requirements around how software products are developed, how mobile apps are built and how IT systems are designed. The session will look at the services and business implications and opportunities behind the software-as-the-brand dynamic. This program will be a wake-up call for many organizations and a warning to IT departments who wish to avoid being banished to the back office forever. 

With 27 years of experience at Forrester, John McCarthy is a key contributor to Forrester’s work on predicting the business impact of technology. John has more than 12 years of insight into the development of a global delivery model for IT services and product development.

OFS, a premier Product Development Services Company, helps software vendors and forward-thinking corporations to innovate using software in a more strategic way to drive and increase market share.

Date: Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Location: Yorktel, 61 Corbett Way, Eatontown, NJ 07724

Time: 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

 

About OFS

OFS provides software-enabled businesses with product engineering skills to help build web-based and mobile software products (iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows) that drive revenue for their business.  In 2009, OFS (www.objectfrontier.com) began executing a strategy for growth by hiring sales and delivery experts, putting new processes and infrastructure in place, and growing its offshore team substantially to prepare for new business.  As a result, OFS has expanded rapidly in the North American market, adding several multi-billion dollar companies to its client list.  OFS has tripled in size since then and now has a team of over 400 professionals spread across its US offices in New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Atlanta, and its offshore facility in Chennai, India.

 

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Posted on Wed, Oct 23, 2013 @ 7:00 am

For those who think they’re not in the software business, it’s time to think again…

Going through your daily routine at home and at work, if you stop and notice, you will find Banner_Article_Software_Brand_(6)-resized-600that software is playing an ever larger role in your everyday activities. No longer is software confined to your computer. It is spreading to meet your needs wherever you are and whenever you need it. Software is on your phone, your car dashboard, your refrigerator door, your home security system, even your athletic shoes! It’s replacing the need for books, televisions, GPS’s, checkbooks, and other standalone items. With the combination of mobile, smart products, social media, data visualization and analytics, software is starting to invade every aspect of our lives as businesses realize the incredible opportunity it offers them to provide their products and services in a new way.

With this pervasion of software in today’s world, even though your firm may not be in the tech business per se, you are starting to see that software is becoming a daily means by which your customers engage with your business. Software that gives your customers new, easier, faster access to your products and services is becoming a major way to differentiate yourself from your competitors, regardless of what you make or do. Having innovative features and a compelling design that engages your customers actually gets you new business in today’s fast-paced, mobile world. That’s because no one has time today to tolerate anything less than the convenience that good software brings.

For example, a bank that provides a mobile app with the ability to deposit checks while on-the-go, or an auto insurer with an easy-to-use mobile app for capturing photos and data at a collision scene will now drive new customers to their business based primarily on the ease and accessibility that their company’s software innovation provides. This is especially true with the millennial generation, who only interact with companies that let them conduct their entire relationship through a mobile device. Therefore, software must now be considered an integral part of a company’s brand regardless of what their underlying product or service actually is.

In effect, because of this new reality, software is now what defines your brand.

Forrester Research has used the phrase “software-is-the-brand” to describe such non-tech companies who are finding that more and more of their business value is coming from software-based products and services:

It is the software that operates at key mobile customer touchpoints, defines the interaction with the consumer, and, ultimately, acts as the main product differentiator.

(Forrester Research, Inc., Non-Tech Companies Become The New Market For Software Product
Development Services
, August 2013).

Forrester names the following four industries especially as becoming “increasingly software-centric”:

  • Information Services
  • Retail and eCommerce
  • Financial Services
  • Media and Entertainment

Look out for OFS’s next blog article which will highlight the software endeavors required of companies in in each industry in order to stay competitive in today’s tech world.

Also check out the upcoming event:

SOFTWARE IS NOW YOUR BRAND

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

8:00 am – 12:00 pm

Yorktel, 61 Corbett Way, Eatontown, NJ 07724

Sponsored by OFS for the New Jersey Technology Council (NJTC)

Click Here for Information and Registration

Guest Speaker John McCarthy, a VP & Principal Analyst from Forrester Research, Inc., will provide major insights on how the software assets of a company represent a key part of the brand experience and the firm’s differentiation.

The session will look at the services and business implications and opportunities behind the software-as-the-brand dynamic. This program will be a wake-up call for many organizations and a warning to IT departments who wish to avoid being banished to the back office forever. 

With 27 years of experience at Forrester, John McCarthy is a key contributor to Forrester’s work on predicting the business impact of technology. John has more than 12 years of insight into the development of a global delivery model for IT services and product development.

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Posted on Tue, Aug 20, 2013 @ 9:37 am

shutterstock_79450045_(3)-resized-600

Even though you may not be a tech company, in today’s world software has become a daily means by which your customers engage with your business.  With mobile devices, your brand is now wherever your customers are.  They need not be physically in your store, at your branch, or in your office to buy your product or receive your services.  Interacting with your brand is as quick as the tap of a screen, anywhere.

This software that ties in with your products and services has become a major way to differentiate yourself from your competitors.  Having innovative features and a compelling design actually gets you new business in today’s fast-paced, mobile world.  That’s because no one has time today to tolerate anything less than the convenience that good software brings.  For example, a bank that provides a mobile app with the ability to deposit checks while on-the-go, or an auto insurer with an easy-to-use mobile app for documenting a collision at the scene will both get new business because customers are making decisions with their money based on the ease and accessibility that a company’s software innovation provides.  Therefore, software must now be considered an integral part of a company’s brand regardless of what their underlying product or service actually is.

In effect, because of this new reality, software now is your brand.

Forrester’s John McCarthy and Charles Green have coined the phrase “software-is-the-brand” to describe such non-tech companies who are finding that their reputation increasingly relies upon the quality of the software they put forth to engage and service their customers:

It is the software that operates at key mobile customer touchpoints, defines the interaction with the consumer, and, ultimately, acts as the main product differentiator.

(Forrester Research, Inc., Non-Tech Companies Become The New Market For Software Product Development Services, August 2013).

Optimize UX/UI to Strengthen your Brand

Because software is now your brand, you must invest in it as a competitive differentiator for your business.  This means much more than just another project for your IT department.  You must consider software like one of your products and put the same innovation and design into it as you do your underlying offerings.  A great place to start is by examining the user experience (UX) your software provides.  Companies like Disney, Apple, and Starbucks are known for valuing customer experience above all else, realizing that creating a positive experience for their customer in turn creates a lasting relationship with their brand.

Indeed, because of the way Apple revolutionized UX with the iPhone several years ago by introducing a clean, simple, attractive, and ─ most importantly ─ intuitive UI, there’s now an expectation for today’s technology to provide a similar experience.  An older, clunky UI that’s not user-friendly or innovative can actually drive users to reject your brand.  It’s 2013 and mobile users no longer have the patience to struggle through inadequately designed apps and interfaces.  If your software is frustrating, they can easily turn to another brand that gets it right.

Consider the following when deciding if it’s time to redesign your UI to optimize UX:

1. Does my UI appeal to my user’s persona and needs?

Conduct surveys and interviews to assemble information on your users, and use it to evaluate whether your UI connects with this audience.  It must feel natural and intuitive to your customer base and it must delight them with unexpected features and clever design.

2. Does my UI help accomplish my business objectives?

What do you want your users to get out of their experience with your software?  Your UI should guide them through the steps you’d like them to take in interacting with your brand.

3. Does my UI embrace the concept of less is more?

Designing a UI that’s attractive but simple is often more complex, but it will allow users to easily engage with your brand without having to stop and think, “How does this work?”  Their time can instead be focused on your brand, your products, and your services, rather than spent in frustration that they’ll forever associate with your name. 

4. Does my UI reflect the results of usability testing?

Consult the results of usability testing on your software to see how your users actually interact with what you’ve built, and then use your findings to direct your improvements. 

Make software your ally in differentiating your brand from your competition.  Investing in a well-designed, intuitive UI for software that provides a desired convenience will allow your users to have a positive UX when engaging with your software, reflecting positively on your brand.

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