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Archive for the ‘Outsourcing’ Category

The use of health apps has skyrocketed in 2014. Flurry, a mobile analytics company, has followed over 6,800 health and fitness-related apps, and sees a growth of 62% based on measurements of the number of times the app is opened and used. Overall growth rate apps otherwise is 33%.

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By 2017 the app market is predicted to reach 26 billion users. Among its key drivers is the world’s aging population with its increasing need for medical care. In the United States alone, Tighe notes, almost 20 percent of Americans will be older than 65 by 2030, making them more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, and other age-associated conditions. This changing landscape is forcing to create new ways to monitor people health and provide assistance with making health wise choices. And here mobile medical apps have already proved efficient and thus are gaining more and more popularity.

This boom has been also supported by most global IT corporations such as Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook. So here are some recent actions in that area showing that these companies treat this market segment really seriously:

  • Google recently launched Google Fit and directed towards more consumers within training and nutrition.
  • Apple has partnered with the company Epic. Since Epic handles over 51% of the medical records in the US, it gives Apple a very solid position in healthcare sector. Apple has, in iOS8, also included a personal health platform, HealthKit, which integrates other applications and gathers information for the user will appear in Apple Health app.
  • Microsoft invests in a separate solution and will with Microsoft Health Vault offer a platform where people can gather, store, share and use health data online.
  • Facebook has integrated MapMyFitness so friends can cheer on each other, share results and compete against each other. This has also contributed to the large increase in the use of health and Fitness app, where distribution is large via the social networking channel.

There is even an opinion that the increased use of health and fitness apps will destroy the market for wearables. It’s hard for them to compete with mobile apps, as the number of smartphone users is really big. So when the software is already integrated into smartphones they automatically become efficient devices for collecting health data. To put it short, the benefits of using mobile apps to wearable medical-devices  include 1/ cost savings because there is no need to develop a completely new device, 2/ enhancing existing platforms by adding more sophisticated sensing and data capabilities, 3/ using an interface that consumers know well and is already part of their everyday life.

Healthcare IT outsourcing

Health apps are built up not only by global IT companies, but also by healthcare providers to be used by doctors, specialists and by patients, of course. And here healthcare organizations increasingly take over the idea that IT outsourcing can help them bring their apps faster to the market while they could focus on their core activities.

This tendency has also been stimulated by changing government regulations concerning hospitals and clinics in lots of countries. And while some organizations are broadly outsourcing a mobile applications development, others are handing out the responsibility of IT management and overseeing their entire IT infrastructure.

The global healthcare IT outsourcing market is growing continuously. According to an article by Nearshore Americas, a recent study made by the Everest group states that the global healthcare IT outsourcing market is increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 12%. This gives us an insight on how much demand healthcare institutions now place on IT outsourcing services. According to TechNavio IT outsourcing in the global healthcare and life sciences sector is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 8.6% through 2019.

Among the trends to watch besides going mobile, there is hosting on the cloud by health-related organizations to make their operations safer, using analytics-as-a-service technologies due to growing interest in Big Data, etc. Therefore 70% of healthcare organizations worldwide are expected to invest in consumer-facing mobile applications, wearables, remote health monitoring, and virtual care.

So the world has been ready for a while to embrace healthcare apps and demand for them is not going to slow down any time soon. Among the top medical apps they call CDC Vaccine Schedules, Family Practice Notebook, ASCVD Risk Estimator, etc.

What health-related apps have you tried and which ones do you use daily? Thank you for sharing!

Aliona Kavalevich

Aliona Kavalevich
Aliona.Kavalevich@altabel.com
Skype ID: aliona_kavalevich
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

 

Fear of surrendering control is probably the main factor holding many IT directors back from realizing the benefits of outsourcing IT services. But if you can find an IT services supplier who will work with you in a genuine partnership, understanding the specific needs of your business, it soon becomes clear that this fear is misplaced. It is perfectly possible to retain your strategic power while outsourcing the fundamental and mundane elements of your IT service and support. By opening the door to outsourcing some niche services or even your entire application or database management infrastructure, you can generate a host of business benefits.

The top 10 benefits of outsourcing

  1. Reduced service and support costs within a managed and predictable budget
  2. Better quality of service, fewer IT failures and less downtime thanks to well-defined service level agreements
  3. Access to the latest applications without high up-front license costs
  4. Access to accredited engineers, skills and technical expertise without having to train your own staff
  5. Reduced risk of employees leaving and taking their knowledge with them
  6. Round-the-clock access to a help desk primed to resolve problems remotely and rapidly
  7. Compliance with the latest regulations
  8. Guaranteed data security at remote, hosted data centers
  9. Real accountability via contracted commitments from a third party supplier partner that wants to keep your business rather than reliance on an in-house group that is hard to pin down
  10. Remove high IT staff costs from your balance sheet and shift to an opex budget

For some time, there have been signs that IT directors in smaller enterprises are increasingly receptive to these benefits and are even embracing them with greater agility than their global counterparts. A survey from Computer Economics suggested that 27% of businesses now outsource applications management, while 21% outsource database management.

According to Information Week, as this level of outsourcing gains credibility the benefits quickly accumulate in terms of greater flexibility (particularly for companies that are growing rapidly); access to cost-effective expertise, techniques and programs; access to third-party resources such as the help desk, which liberates IT staff to focus on more productive business-focused activities; and the wider savings achieved by not having to invest in infrastructure and licenses.

Take email services as one example: Gartner estimates that outsourcing just this one application could save businesses with fewer than 300 employees a significant amount because an outsourcing partner has the dedicated infrastructure to manage it at a much lower cost.

Five reasons to outsource

Here are five good reasons why you should think about outsourcing your IT services:

1.       You could save significant staff costs.
Not just on the recruitment and hiring front.  Skilled people with strong application-based credentials don’t come cheap and have long-term costs. Why spend time and money training somebody to support a core business application, only to see them poached by another employer and taking their expensively-acquired skills with them? Or send them to costly training to keep their skills current? And why not liberate your in-house IT staff to focus on projects that add value to the business rather than spending their precious time on firefighting duty?

2.       An outsourced call center/help desk frees your resources.

Providing round-the-clock support for your users in-house is expensive. Depending on the size of your business, you might need a dedicated facility that is operated by key IT support staff and is a significant cost center in terms of facilities management overheads. Even in a smaller IT operation, somebody—it might even be you—has to be on call outside office hours to provide IT support for an increasingly mobile workforce. Thanks to greater economies of scale, a dynamic IT services partner should provide a superior help desk at a greatly reduced cost.

3.       You can save money all around – with the right outsourcing strategy and partner.

A good IT services partner will work with you to identify the pressure points that make sense for you to outsource. These can vary tremendously from one business to another.  Toolbox.com points out that cost savings vary with the number of employees who need support and to what degree, the number of devices involved, the types of applications that you use, the ratio of employees using office space to remote workers, and even your geographic location when it comes to the price of on-site support. These are complex calculations that deserve patient analysis.

4.       Your business will be more flexible in its use and consumption of IT services.

Infrastructure is expensive. Why invest in servers, complex networks and other hardware just to deliver vital but everyday applications to your users when you can have those applications managed and distributed as a service direct to the desktop without the expense of hardware maintenance? Because your applications are being managed and hosted by a third party, they can be scaled up or down to meet fluctuating demand, and your costs will be more tightly controlled as a result.

5.       Peace of mind.

Why let worries about more complex issues such as data security or disaster recovery keep you awake at night when they can be managed and supported by a third party who has all the necessary expertise and infrastructure to meet your security and business continuity requirements? Yes, they are important, but by choosing the right partner to provide relevant support services, you are prioritizing them rather than allowing them to become distractions that need constant attention from your in-house IT team.

Getting Started

Negotiation is the key to getting your relationship with your IT services supplier off to the best start and making sure you realize the business benefits that you expect. And it starts long before the contract is signed. It should be more profitable if you decide what you want from your contract before you choose your supplier.

Partnership Approach

Select an IT service partner who demonstrates they understand your business and clearly articulates the value they can bring to your operations. By combining and matching your goals with an IT service partner who has the vision to match them and deliver the latest service desk technologies to provide you with complete service performance visibility, including measurable indications of performance quality, you’ll soon become part of the rising tide of SMEs that are living proof of the benefits of outsourcing.

And remember,

  • Outsourcing IT services does not mean all or nothing.
  • You can deliver genuine benefits to your business by outsourcing IT services if you negotiate service levels that are customized to your company.
  • Fear of surrendering control is the main factor holding many IT directors back from outsourcing IT services—but you can keep control if you select the right partner.

Feel free to share your thoughts.

Polina Mikhan

Polina Mikhan
Polina.Mikhan@altabel.com 
Skype ID: poly1020
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Despite the fact that Sweden has not always been a welfare state, now it is quite a stable and prosperous country with a good standard of living, a country, which is constantly developing. Let’s see how this development influences IT market, for example.

 Sweden is making large annual investments in education and research and it is well-known for  its  good  education  level.  Development  has also come into information  and  communications  technology,  where  Sweden  is  one  of  the leading  countries  in  the  world.   However,  the current  problem  in  labor  market  is  that  there  is  not  enough  workforce in service companies, information technology, school system and health care sectors. Despite high technology level, Swedish people love their nature and concern for nature is playing a big role in future decisions. That is why Sweden is also putting a lot of effort to improve the environmental technology, which will be one of the most important industries in the future.

  • Swedish IT sector

is  strongly  bound  to the  development  of  society.  Sweden  has   many  successful  companies  in  IT and  telecommunication  sector  and  the  companies  have  a  great  capacity  of innovation. However from 34 000 of companies in Swedish ICT sector are micro enterprises  with  under  100  000€  turnover. 

IT sector  can be divided into four sub-sectors: Software and IT services,  Tele-and  data  communications,  manufacture  of  hardware  and  retail and services of computer . IT sector in Sweden is mostly dominated by the software market. Most of them have specialized in systems  software  for  communications,  business  systems  and  applications software for telecommunications.

Software products and IT services earn 32% of the turnover in IT-sector. The growth in the software products and IT services has been  very  strong.  The  turnover  has  increased  32.5%  between  the  year  2005 and 2009. The second in the IT-sector is Telecom and datacom services with 27.3%, manufacture of hardware comes next with 24.5% and the fourth largest is retail and servicing the hardware.

Swedish IT-  sector employs about 3.9% of the total Swedish work force. Despite  the economic recession, Swedish IT sector has stayed healthy. The main reason of IT sectors welfare is that the companies in Sweden believe that the  IT-services  and  IT-products  are  essential  for  survival  in  the  future.  IT solutions are the key factor when it comes to make the business more effective and  environmentally  friendly.  That  is  why  the  companies  are  putting  effort  to develop  the  IT  solutions. Especially environmentally friendly  solutions  are  the focus in the future in Sweden. Almost every  company  uses  computers (97%) and 96% of them have an access to Internet. Internet has increased its significance in  doing  business.

  • Mobile services

Are an  increasing  trend  in  business  life.  Already 60% of all companies are using mobile Internet connections in 2010. Swedish  people  are  interested  in  a  product  which  can  increase  their customers’  competitiveness and  increase  the  company’s  value  for  its  owners, customers and another interest groups.

Swedish people are open-minded to test new services and products. The good thing is that they might accept the new product or service very easily, but the challenge is to keep the product or service updated. People in Sweden are well educated  and  they  are  looking  all  the  time  new  innovative  ways  to  run  the business.

  • Conclusions:

– The majority of companies cost  are spent on software research and development. So they are willing to invest on software if they can see the product useful for the business. The most favorable applications  are  such  as  ERP,  CRM,  financial  management  and  information software, on which the companies are spending about 60% of their founds.

-The environmental study concentrated more on macro indicators which means background  forces  behind  the  company’s  activities  such  as  social, technological,  economical  and  political  environment.

-Sweden’s lifestyle  and  culture  form  an  ideal  market place, because they are open-minded to test new services and products. The people  are  well  educated  and  they  are  all  the  time  searching  for new  innovation solutions  to  run  their  business.  The positive point is that the customers are willing to  accept  new  innovation,  but  they  can  also  replace  it  when  they  can  find  a better  solution.  So the  major  challenge  is  to  keep  the  product development up.

– Sweden  is  one  of  the  leading  countries  in the development  of  information  and  communications  technology.  Almost every company has computer and Internet access and already 60% of all companies had  a  mobile  Internet  connection  in  2010.  So, mobile  phones  are  becoming more and more important on daily business.

– Swedish  people  are putting  a  lot  of  effort  to  improve  the  environmental  technology,  so  this  “eco” thinking has a strong position in Swedish culture.

– Sweden is making a lot effort to software research and development and they want to be the top leaders in the software markets by 2020.

-The global software leaders Microsoft, International Business Machines (IBM), Oracle and SAP are also leading the Swedish software markets, but they are controlling particular areas of software branch which is why the local companies have also  acquired  a  good  position  on  the  market.

-Swedish software and IT services have a larger number of companies than the other sub-sectors,  but  most  of  them  are  small  companies.

– IT outsourcing has been a steadily growing part of the Swedish IT market, which is considered to be the largest market within the Nordic region and the 3rd largest in Europe. Every year more Swedish companies decide to outsource. The majority of Swedish companies decide to outsource due to conditions such as a shortage of IT domestic skills and high costs of performing in-house solutions, or a need to re-focus on core competencies. In order to avoid multiplied risks associated to outsourcing.

And what tendencies in Swedish IT market would you like to point out? It is interesting to know your opinion!

 

Kate Kviatkovskaya

Kate Kviatkovskaya

Business Development Manager

E-mail: Kate.Kviatkovskaya@altabel.com
Skype: kate.kviatkovskaya
LI Profile: Kate Kviatkovskaya

 

altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

E-mail: contact@altabel.com
www.altabel.com

The digital age has changed customer behavior forever. They have no patience with 9 to 5 and they’re shredding the concept of after-hours and weekends. They have a voice, and that voice demands to be heard whenever, wherever.

Working hours, what’s that?

Banks—previously such strict observers of “working hours” all over the globe—have risen to the challenge by embracing technology. Net banking and ATMs have virtually done away with the need to visit those hallowed brick-and-mortar portals. Mobile payments are being made directly from person to person, minimizing the need for even small amounts of cash. While this is great news for all of us as individuals, the risk for the bank is that it becomes a marginal player in the life of the valued customer.

Let’s take a look at E-commerce. This is the case with several consumer-facing industries, such as cloth, books, groceries, appliances, furniture and such—all of which can be ordered online and delivered while you are away at work. No interface or face-to-face conversation with the company required.  Especially when you’re working from home, you meet the shipping company rep rather than someone from the company you ordered the goods from.  This is perfectly okay for the average buyer, except when something goes wrong!

Say you ordered blue curtains, but what you saw is not what you got. Colors on the digital screen often look different than when seen off-screen. Simply returning what’s arrived is not the solution. Speaking to someone and explaining what you had in mind so you get the right product is. This means that online dealers need to have someone customers can have a live discussion with. Beyond a live agent, online dealers more than ever are finding customers who expect to engage in live conversations any time of the day. Research by Social Bakers, an agency that measures how well brands perform in terms of social customer care, found that the number of questions asked on brand pages on Facebook has increased by 85 percent over the last year, and that airlines had the best response rate of answering 79 percent of these promptly. “Working hours” is not a phrase that works anymore.

Engage, not enrage
Companies selling anything at all cannot afford to be out of touch with their customers. So while digitization may keep the consumer from physically visiting you, it has also forged a path for newer ways in which to meet up through social media. Businesses are following their clients where they go, meeting them where they hang out, not in their offices but online.

Have you noticed that the online store you bought something from recently keeps popping up not only when you google something but also on all kinds of websites that you visit? That’s because The Web knows and tracks your online preferences. Personally, I find pop-ups asking to indulge in a live chat very intrusive—it’s like a store attendant following you everywhere and asking, “Can I help you?”  While it’s good to know there’s someone who can answer your queries, nobody likes to be stalked.

Smart businesses know how to keep track of the customer without being obviously there.

Keeping them engaged is in fact a bigger challenge than ever before since your customer can close that communication window with just a click.

Fly with the experts

Let us take an example of an airline that’s effectively engaging with customers. Lufthansa has its fingers on the pulse of the customer, and potential ones, through an enviable Facebook presence. Contests, events, quizzes all have earned the airline something every self-respecting Facebooker looks for—likes! Over 300,000 likes (on the India page alone), and if even a small percentage decides to fly with it because of the online excitement generated, that’s a big win.

Understandably, retailers and consumer-facing companies have a big Facebook presence. Coca-cola, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Walmart, Levi’s, Target, Nike, Kohl’s are among those that have the highest number of likes. Twitter accounts of many of these companies also have a very, very large number of followers. Clearly, they have managed to reach out effectively to their potential customers using social media.

What to outsource!?

These are still early days for outsourcing social media marketing and engagement, but it makes sense to outsource at least some of your efforts to begin with. Look holistically at your social media marketing plans and start by assessing what skills you have in-house and skills you are lacking. You may decide to start with getting the design and development built by an outsourcer to get your framework up front.

Other areas to consider include:

Savvy social media writers may be a skill your current writing team lacks, so content writing could be a place with clear payback. If you’re content doesn’t attract and maintain customers, you could be doing more harm than good to your brand.

Analytics can easily be done by a third-party and is probably the least vulnerable to subjectivity. That will save precious resources that you can deploy towards strategizing and hiring in-house of local experts to manage the customer community.

Customer experience management or customer care is another area to consider, especially if your customers are global and resident in different time zones. Be cautious to consider outsourcers who understand your business and your customer engagement model.  Since the outsourcer will be “you” during customer interactions, you need to feel confident they can successfully represent your brand.

Needless to say, do monitor what’s going on closely enough so you can step in when necessary. The important thing now is to be open for business all the time. Not just 24/7 but 24/7/365 and even up to 366 in a leap year!  Business process outsourcing companies are gearing up to meet the demand when it arises. That will finally help harried executives to get their well-earned weekend off to do their own personal networking, online or otherwise.

Testing could be outsourced. Minimizing risks and cost either manual testing or automotive one can easily be performed by third party.

Recently we could see the most prospective and fast growing social spheres that potentially need and could outsource a big part of them. There are:

–   Banking /finance

–   Mobile development sectorE-commerce

–   E-commerce

–   Medical/health care

–   Tourism

Has your organization outsourced marketing and customer engagement yet?

Polina Mikhan

Polina Mikhan
Polina.Mikhan@altabel.com 
Skype ID: poly1020
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development


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