General

App development? Technology and creativity are not enough

Bas Alderding

Who does not know them? The app and web developers with great stories about their technical solution. They deliver the best Content Management System, the most search engine-friendly website or use the very latest technology. Or who has heard of the creative agencies that will create the most beautiful, cleanest and user-friendly app for you?

Who will you do business with?

If you have had it in your mind for some time that your company could benefit from an app or online solution, these are often the parties you end up with. But is this the right match? I know many companies that have had software developed but have not achieved the desired results. You must have had an app or website developed that didn't quite fit in with the company. Or when you thought that there should be more to it than just showing a mobile/online business card.

Since 2008, I have been helping entrepreneurs to make a success of their app or web application. How? By first taking a good look at how the company is structured and only then looking at the possibilities in the field of online, mobile and automation.

Cooperation with Energy Department

It is November 2013, a colleague and I meet Energy Department at a networking event. We start talking and tell each other that we are in the business of developing apps and web applications. The guys from Energy Department explain that they are in the business of organising energy collectives, at the moment they employ more than 15 consultants who sit down face-to-face with companies every day to ensure a lower energy bill. At the end of each conversation, a paper authorisation form was taken out of the bag and signed by both advisor and customer. Logical, this is the way most door-to-door sales organisations work. Sales and marketing director Leon Spek thought that this could be done differently. Perhaps digitally? Perhaps an app?

An app

A week later, we were at the table at Energy Department, as one of the other six parties. All App developers. Where the other parties started with: "What should the app look like and what should it be able to do?" We fought for the importance of a well thought-out automation solution. How can we start working on the technical solution if it is not yet clear how we are going to design the process? Managing director Raymond Dernier and marketing/sales director Leon Spek agreed. Together, we decided to first clarify what the current processes look like and what information is/should be available. Our business expertise came in handy here; we conducted a process and information analysis. Not remotely, but by working within the organisation for a few days. Once Energy Department's current working method and information needs were clear, we started looking together at concrete points for improvement.

Our Solution

The old (paper) authorisation form has been replaced by our SalesApp, which meets Energy Department's needs perfectly. We have also developed a web dashboard with which Energy Department can adjust advisors directly on the basis of a number of Key Performance Indicators, adjust the information/rates in the App, or allow telesales staff to place orders via a desktop PC.

In the end, our solution Energy Department delivered the following:

  • Enormous time savings with order processing (link to back office system and export function in web dashboard).

  • Strong reduction of the error margin in the orders thanks to predefined fields.

  • Higher customer satisfaction, customers receive a ready-made contract immediately after signing in our app. In addition, advisors can immediately show how much a customer is saving with a savings calculator.

  • A doubling of the conversion rate for telesales orders.

  • Advisors are happy. No more making visit reports or typing orders into Excel.

  • Our app is in line with Energy Department's strategy of outward innovation.

Business side as important as creativity and technology

We could never have realised the above if we had only looked at the technical and creative part of the question. The business side (processes and information needs) is very important. Because this was clear from the start, we stayed within budget and the final product exactly matches the expectations and wishes of our client.

All in all, I therefore do not understand why most other app and web developers do not employ business experts. Or that there are companies that have an app developed without involving such a party. In the long run, this saves acceptance resistance during the implementation of a new product, arguments about the scope of the product to be delivered, the added value is guaranteed, it prevents wrong expectations and disappointment.

SevenLab is a reliable party with great customer focus. They actively think with you, are enormously helpful and flexible.

Satish Bahwanidin

Project leader VO-raad

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