Ways Automation Can Improve Your Business Processes

Continuously changing market conditions, high speed in decision-making, multitasking in asset management and the need to reduce risks require modern approaches to the work processes within any business. It allows you to free up precious resources for strategic planning and concentration of management in key areas of the company. Business automation is the partial or complete translation of repeatable, time-absorbing operations and business tasks under the control of a specialized system. As a result, you get to increase productivity and effectiveness of strategic management.

Automation is usually conducted in two ways:

– Automation of the basic business processes: for example, sales management or work with clients. In this case, it is carried out to directly increase the volume of sales, the number of products produced and increase the profitability of the entire business as a whole.
– Automation of supporting processes, such as accounting, reporting, records management. Such automation does not directly affect the increase in revenue, but helps reduce the time and costs of daily work execution.

The main tasks of business automation are the following:

– effective support of operational activities of the enterprise, control and organization of accounting
– preparation of any documents for partners/clients, including invoices, bills and business proposals
– quick receipt of reports on the state of affairs in the company for any period of time
– optimization of staff costs, increasing the efficiency of working hours by freeing employees from routine/habitual work
– minimizing the negative impact of the “human factor” on the most important business processes
– secure storage of information and data
– improving the quality of customer service

Automation of business processes can significantly improve the quality of management in the company and the quality of its product. For the enterprise as a whole, it gives a number of significant advantages like:

– Increase the speed of processing information and solve repetitive tasks
– Increase business transparency
– Increased coherence of staff and the quality of its work
– The ability to control large amounts of information
– Reducing the number of errors and improving management accuracy
– Simultaneous resolution of several tasks
– Rapid decision-making in repetitive situations

As a result of automation of the business processes – the management receives much more information for analyzing business processes in the form of detailed analytical reports and is able to direct the company qualitatively taking into account external and internal indicators.

Find out more about how an automation can help and grow your specific business, or if you have any other software development questions – just contact us at info@dassolutions or by filling out the Contact Form.

Moving Forward,
DAS Solutions Team.

How to Start a Custom Software Enhancement Project?

Custom software enhancement is often confused with custom software maintenance services, because the line between these two terms may seem blurred sometimes. You need to know that software enhancement includes advancements in features, platforms, performance, usability and design. Through enhancement your software application becomes faster, more efficient, more usable, more useful, and more desirable. It’s the next step in your software’s evolution, that’s why you need to know how to prioritize the changes.

Step 1: Get an idea on where to start your custom software enhancement project at.

Create a database of requested changes where users of your solution can offer what they wish to see in the upcoming version of your software. In addition to this, you can approach your most valuable clients/users and ask them directly what kind of new features they would like to add.
Afterwards, ask the development team what kind of functionalities they would add.

They may speak in favor of:

Upgrading the software to be compatible with new database releases;
Adding new statistical analysis and visualization tools;
Adding a new tab to the dashboard;
Improving the search function; etc.

Step 2: Evaluate the information and take a decision.

As with all business decisions, it’s a cost/benefit problem. What is the benefit of adding a feature? What will it cost (including the costs that will result from not adding the feature)? Calculate how much it will cost to add it.
Tip: Usually the cost is calculated in hours that have to be spent by developers to develop a feature.

Analyze the information you got from the users of your platform and identify those missing features that will have a tangible business impact on user experience. It makes no sense to add a feature from which only a few will benefit.

At first, pick those features that have the most benefit for the smallest cost. Resources are often limited, while requirements and desires are not, that is why it is so important to prioritize correctly.

An accurate estimation of a custom software enhancement project may be a herculean task. These questions will help you estimate the project:

1. How will your existing solution be affected by modifications?
2. Do you need to build the new feature from scratch or does something similar already exist in the system?
3. Can you reuse the existing code?
4. Will modifications require the testing of the whole system?
5. How many developers are needed to make modifications?
6. How much time will it take to develop, design and test new features?

The bad news is that you can miscalculate the time and effort required. For instance, the development of a new functionality might take longer than you expected and result in higher production costs.

In order to avoid this kind of errors it is better to entrust your custom software enhancement project to an experienced team of software developers who know how to:

• Thoroughly analyze existing software documentation
• Analyze the architecture of the existing software application and offer structural changes
• Analyze and make changes to the existing code
• Perform software security analysis

Custom software enhancement cannot be made by a low-skilled developer. That’s why you need someone who has experience in adding new features to a code written by someone else, who can understand not only how to build in new functionalities, but also to see the business essence of the system.

One of the most important things in software enhancement projects is to clearly prioritize the requirements and take an approach to incrementally work on one function or feature at a time. Your users will thank you for the changes they’ve asked and waited for.

Insurtech is Going to Energize the Insurance Industry

Insurtech will help the insurance industry to adapt to the digital world. The transformations taking place in the financial, mobile, IT, and other sectors are leaving insurance lagging behind. But insurance companies realize that IT requires more attention. A report found that insurance companies’ investment in insurtech, and replacing or improving information technologies generally, was expected to grow by 5 percent in 2015. That is noticeable compared to an average 3 percent in 2014 and 2 percent in 2013.

It has become harder to define the insurance policy with the appearance of drones, driverless cars, and IoT devices. Insurance is affected by the disruption in the hospitality business as well. Have you ever thought about of what gets covered by insurance if something happens in an apartment rented using Airbnb? What about what happens while in a car ordered on Uber?

When the lines of coverage are blurred, what is left is a grey area of confusion or a gap in protection, which can have drastic effects on customers. The good news is that this ambiguity can be relieved with the help of technology.

Industry Challenges

  • Regulation

Insurance companies are heavily regulated, which means that it is difficult and costly for a young company to comply with all government policies.

  • Process

The process of getting insurance is time consuming and often involves a lot of red tape. This can discourage new customers from getting a policy in the first place.

  • Agents

If people are able to get their insurance online without a broker’s help, this may make agents nervous. But technology can actually help brokers in their jobs, and increase their bottom line as well.

  • Brand recognition

When it comes to life or property, people tend to trust companies with a good reputation, therefore it is hard to convince someone to entrust their belongings to a company they don’t know.

What can be changed?

  • Re-connect with customers

The relationship with customers has to be rebuilt. Clients have to see insurance agents as trusted advisors who are helping out with the most precious assets, such as life, family and wealth. The first step is to start talking to your customers in an accessible way and within a space where they are already the most comfortable. With the changes in technology, people communicate differently, and have a very short attention span. Adjust to their lifestyle by, for instance, sending them short text messages instead of calling to remind them about renewing a policy.

  • Re-build the system

Innovation is brought on by small things, even the most basic customer engagement must to be improved. Build channels to communicate directly with your customers. Focus on designing applications that revolve around communication, transparency, and simplicity. According to a study,computerization and online transactions are one of the most important factors when customers choose an insurance company.

At DAS Solutions we developed insurtech products that allow brokers and producers to complete insurance requests and sell insurance products to the client directly, while all operations between them and the insurance company are completed seamlessly by the software. This includes estimate generation, client ID validation, and automatic document generation based on the insurance product purchased. Get in touch to have a discussion about how we can optimize your business processes with a custom software solution.

Insurtech Perspective

Many big insurance companies are investing in IoT startups. With customer permission, devices such as smartphones, smart watches, drones or digital home thermostats which record data could be collected and analyzed by insurers. The adoption of new technologies might enable insurers to start influencing their customers’ behavior, for example by suggesting they go to the gym or indicating not to drive in certain conditions.

Insurtech is going to help the insurance industry grow further. For that brokers need to tackle existing issues head on and start using emerging tools to their advantage. By communicating with clients in ways that meet their needs and expectations, insurance companies will build loyalty among consumers.

6 Reasons to Get a VoIP Solution in Your Office

Voice Over IP (VoIP) solutions deliver your calls using your broadband internet connection. These can improve communication efforts and cut costs, but you need to be careful while choosing the right solution for your business needs.

There is a range of products on the market, but not all of them were designed for business use and can fall short of addressing your needs, security concerns, and requirements. Existing calling apps can have limited functionalities. For example, some applications can make calls only to others who use the same app. When choosing a VoIP solution, you need to make sure that it lets you make calls across platforms, and to any landline or mobile phone number. Keeping this in mind, there is always the option to approach a custom VoIP solutions developer and see if a product can be customized or designed from scratch to your specifications. We’ve looked at the benefits of an SMS Gateway before, but today let’s take a look at what a custom VoIP solution can do for you.

Six Advantages of Getting a Custom VoIP Solution for Your Office:

  • Save money
    It is a well-known fact that VoIP systems are more affordable than services provided by traditional phone companies, especially if your business requires making phone calls to different destinations across the world. With a VoIP solution you will no longer have to maintain separate networks for phone and data, which is another advantage.
  • Enjoy phone number portability
    Legacy telephone systems assigned a phone number with a dedicated line. VoIP solutions provide number mobility: you can use the same number almost everywhere as long as your device is connected to the internet. Many executives use the same phone numbers regardless of their location, which is very handy.
  • Get voicemail transcriptions
    Voicemail transcription is a service that sends you an email with the text version of the voice message you got on your extension. It can be viewed from any device, and contains the contact information of the person who called, which can be useful.
  • Do not disturb
    You can turn on the feature to temporarily stop incoming calls to your phone and redirect them to a different extension. This is useful when you need to focus on other tasks that require your undivided attention or when you are in an important meeting.
  • Scalability and adaptability
    A VoIP solution will let you add a new line when a new employee comes in, and delete or reassign it whenever necessary. Thus you will always have the appropriate amount of lines for your needs and won’t need to pay extra for lines you don’t use.
  • Let your customers listen to your corporate anthem
    Sometimes you need to put the call on hold and then this feature becomes a necessity. Do not subject your callers to elevator music or silence. This feature will allow you to choose what your callers listen to while they wait. It will definitely help you create or enhance your brand awareness.

VoIP solutions are flexible and affordable. With custom features, they will help you increase productivity, and provide more convenience for your customers. Contact us and let’s see if we might be able to help identify a solution to your needs.

PS: Don’t forget about security.
VoIP’s popularity is attracting the attention of cyber criminals, and business owners are concerned that someone may digitally intercept VoIP calls or bring down a company’s VoIP system using denial-of-service attacks. Make sure your network security is thorough and up to date.

OTT Services

OTT Services – Friends or Foes?

Over The Top (OTT) services allow us to send messages, make calls, or stream video over data networks (Skype, Viber, or Whatsapp are relevant examples of such services). Their popularity is a call to action for mobile operators who are suffering from revenue losses.

OTT services have become extremely widespread thanks to lower costs, overall positive user experience (even though sometimes a VoIP connection is far from perfect) and platform independence. According to Statistia, Viber had 711 million users in December of 2015. Whatsapp had reached 1 billion users by February of 2016, and 300 million people used Skype in 2015. No wonder major MNOs are trying to introduce regulations and keep up with the competition.

Even though many studies have shown that restrictions on OTT services are bad for business, back in 2012 AT&T had offered FaceTime only as an added benefit of their data plans in the US. If the customer did not have the data bundle, they could use FaceTime solely over Wi-Fi.

South Africa is another country which is now considering imposing restrictions that would slow down innovation in this field. The two largest South African MNOs have called for regulations for OTT providers such as Skype and Whatsapp. Cell C, the third largest MNO from that country, has chosen to collaborate with OTT operators instead, and is now offering free access to social network services and a range of other websites.

Not so long ago European operators such as Orange and Deutsche Telecom have called for a fair regulatory environment for all services. They pointed that the increased competition from services similar to Viber is a reason for easing up the regulatory burden on operators. The decision regarding the reform will be taken by the European Commission later this year.

According to research conducted by Technotree, mobile operators predict an increase of data usage among subscribers. In order to benefit from this, MNOs need to make sure that data remains in their network, therefore they need to introduce new services. Thus, far-sighted MNOs are either establishing partnerships with OTT providers or are launching their own OTT services.

Over in The UAE, Etisalat launched its own eLife on app, allowing customers to watch more than 200 TV channels, movies and series on the go. The Spanish Telefonica launched a Tu Go app in the O2 UK network. The application allows customers to make calls from one’s desktop and be charged by O2 on the same bill as the cell subscription. This elegantly solves the problem of having too many invoices for using communication services.

Nevertheless, the approach of creating OTT services in-house has some disadvantages. Here are some of them:

  • Usually the apps are available only for existing subscribers, thus it creates no opportunities for acquiring new customers. In other words, to increase the amount of users operators have to work on increasing their subscriber base.
  • Considering the bureaucracy within MNOs,it takes  longer to develop, design, launch and market the product
  • It is virtually impossible to convince a Viber user to switch to a new application with the same functionality.

The second option is to start partnerships with OTT providers which is a far-reaching strategy. MNOs can benefit from collaboration by using OTT brands to sell more data bundles, charging for subscriptions or advertising their services and initiatives.

OTT providers don’t own any infrastructure. Operators have invested heavily in building the infrastructure and they own one of the most valuable assets – customers’ mobile phone numbers, which are needed for seamless communication between the telecom network and the internet. In other words, OTT providers and telecoms both have a lot to gain from a productive collaboration.

Operators must be responsive and adaptable to market changes in order to keep creating value. Partnering with a small and agile tech startup could be the perfect boost for any MNO or MVNO that is looking for a fresh take on offering their clients a valuable OTT service.

Is a Voice Recognition Banking System the Future of Online Banking?

With a voice recognition banking system you will finally be able to forget passwords, card verification numbers and PINs. Latest biometric technologies now allow you to use your voice to log in to your bank account.

Today customers are using web or mobile banking applications to check their bank accounts. The financial brand has conducted a research during the last 5 years and examined the analytics data from over 100 banks, financial institutions and credit unions. They found that over 85% of customers log in to online banking, check their accounts, spend 2-3 minutes on the platform, and log out.

Recent innovations in voice recognition banking systems provide secure access to both information centers and accounts within seconds. In such a system the customer’s voice is verified against prerecorded and stored voiceprints, solving the problem of forgotten passwords once and for all. Also a voice recognition banking system brings more accessibility to blind or partially sighted people, which is a significant benefit in itself.

Barclays introduced a voice recognition banking system in 2013 for some of its customers. The solution reduced the authentication process by an average 20 seconds. At the same time, it minimized identification and authentication issues on the customer support side. As a result, customer satisfaction levels increased.

Banks will soon be able to give their customers the possibility to check accounts and make transfers by talking into a device. This has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, customers will be more focused with a voice recognition banking system in place. It  may be more difficult to attract customers with ads as customers likely won’t check their bank’s online banking system as often as they do these days.

A voice recognition banking system will provide a lot of data for analysis that hasn’t been available previously. For example, data on the customer’s voice tone, location, or average speech tempo will now be available. Based on this knowledge, banks and financial institutions will be able to sell more high-end products such as financial planning tools, loans or consultancy services. When the customer is in a good mood they might be more willing to discuss an offer.

Dan Miller, a senior analyst at Opus Research, notes that in the long run, other industries such as insurance companies and telecom companies (but also government agencies or even retailers) will take advantage of a voice-based authentication system to serve customers in the most personal and efficient way. This is probably the best time to make a decision and offer your customers an innovative tool to log in to your system.

What do you think about voice-based authentication systems? Can you think of other benefits of such a platform? Share in the comments!

Mobile Applications Used in Business

Mobile Applications Used in Business: Convenient and Simple

Mobile applications used in business improve the workflow inside the company, and have a beneficial impact on customer service and customers’ loyalty. More and more small and mid-size businesses understand the mobile trend and the fact that they need more than a website and a profile on social networks. Customers are overloaded with information and you need to add value to catch their attention and win their affection.

Mobile applications used in business are a necessity, because they can:

• provide customer service (e.g., banking or shipment tracking apps)
• give value added benefits (e.g., retail apps can use a reward program)
• bring convenience (airline apps allow you to change your flight or buy another ticket quickly)
• send push notifications to let your customers know about a promotion you are running
• bring additional revenue (your company can sell the premium version of the application)
• accelerate mundane tasks
• provide access to information when the employee is not in the office (e.g., access to CRM and databases).

A survey conducted by Canvas has shown that employees used from 1 to 5 business mobile applications in their work in 2014, while in 20% of the companies surveyed, employees used more than 10 apps in their work. Canvas has found that companies are saving a lot of money by using mobile applications that reduce manual processes. Also they have found that signature and image capture are the most popular features in business.

There are many mobile applications used in business, however if a process has to be simplified then it is close to impossible to find an application for that in an app store. In this case you need a nice and intuitive custom application developed with your process in mind. Let’s say it takes a lot of time to do a certain task, because the employee has to be outside the office and has to fill in a lot of vital, accurate information once he or she is back. If the task is completed on the go then the information stays error-free and it takes less time to complete the task. If your staff uses a custom enterprise application, then you will outperform your competitors.

Your business can streamline business processes, eliminate paperwork and make your customers loyal. Contact us to get an estimation for your custom mobile app.

Customer experience

Customer Experience Is Vital For Your Company’s Growth

Personalized, fast and smooth customer experience guarantees the success of your business. The one who understands how to engage and maintain today’s customer will leave their competitors behind.

The prevalence of mobile devices, WI-FI zones, as well as 3G/4G technology has significantly changed consumer behavior. In the world of information overload data must be accessed quickly and easily from a smartphone or tablet. This means that your company’s website has to be adaptive and user-friendly at the same time. Therefore, a mobile website or application is now a priority, and not a “nice-to-have” in terms of customer experience.

Customers expect you to be there for them 24/7, and if your automated email response is: “We will get back to you in 24 hours”, that is not good enough to your busy customer anymore.

Users are actively sharing their thoughts and experiences online, and expect to get a prompt and direct response to comments and suggestions left on a company’s social media profile. This means that we are now bound to constantly monitor what our customers have to say about us on social media and beyond as a way to gauge our company and brand reputation. If you are given ideas on how to improve your product or service, show your customers that you care, respond and implement the good ideas. Take the customer experience to a new level.

Employee experience is as important as customer experience. The members of your staff are the ones who present your company to your customers.

If a bank employee fails to assist the customer and does not offer a solution to the problem a client addressed, the bank’s image is spoiled (or worse — you can lose a customer!). According to the findings of a recent study, an unhappy customer is 20 times more likely to share negative feedback about an experience than a satisfied one.

Make sure that employees understand your brand’s philosophy and feel an emotional attachment to it. Customer experience is more than a purchase of a product or service, it is an association with a certain lifestyle.

Failing to deliver an appropriate customer experience will make people turn to your competitors, whereas adaptation to new strategies of managing customer experience is one of the milestones of your success.