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Why Your Business Needs Non-Stop Software Security

software security

Have you ever lost 30 minutes of creative works on your computer? Or has it suddenly occurred to you that you have a great piece of data that will augment a business proposal, only to discover that the data is missing? Oh – how frustrating!

Data loss occurs for various reasons

  • 78 percent – Hardware or system malfunction
  • 11 percent – Human error
  • 7 percent – Software corruption or program malfunction
  • 2 percent – Computer viruses
  • 1 percent – Natural disasters
  • 1 percent – Other acts.

Impact of critical data loss across global enterprises

Meanwhile, research reveals that global enterprises lose a whopping sum of 1.7 Trillion dollars due to data loss and downtime. And this excludes disruption of business activities, the loss of productivity, the diminished customers’ loyalty, the break of investor’s confidence, the cost of time spent on reconfiguration, and lots more.

While it may be difficult to establish a precise impact of data loss and downtime on organizations, it’s obvious that it would, sure, have a radical negative effect.

With a seamless increase in web adoption and constant acceptance of new technologies, both small and large scale businesses have been able to share important data as regards their products and services — using the web-as-a-service, Waas.

Hackers can compromise corporate networks

Meanwhile, hackers are seriously looking for ways to compromise the corporate network of several industries. As a matter of fact, the Verizon Data Breach Report reveals that 15.4 percent of reported incidents were related to malware and web application attacks.

Also, many of the most fatal breaches that covered the media in the past few years were caused by web-application and software security vulnerabilities. A very good example is the Equifax breach.

Simply put, “business websites possess the greatest threat to organizational security.�

Watch your data loss due to website and software patches

A sizable number of business sectors have experienced (or will experience) data loss due to website and software patches. This has reduced the efficiency and productivity of these organizations to the barest minimum. Little wonder why 70 percent of firms that experience data loss run out of business within one year of the attack. (DTI)

You may not know when the next attack could occur, but taking proper precautions can hamper or completely abolish a hacker’s attempt at gaining access to your business website.

Why your business website needs software security programs

1. Monitoring and detection

How satisfying will it be to have effective and efficient protection of your business website against the worst threat ever?

Using a software security program means your business web is on the watch, and any single vulnerability will be detected on the spot.

Software security companies provide website security scanners that check your website at predetermined intervals to detect any malicious action. You can rest assured that you’ll receive an alert as well as the next line of action when this happens.

Not only does website security monitoring protect you and your customers, but it protects your website’s rankings by checking a variety of different blacklists, and notifying you if you have been placed on one.

2. Performance optimization

Do you know that Google, Bing, and other search engines, use site speed as a ranking factor?

We live in a world where nobody is ready to wait for anything. We have become accustomed to business websites and apps working instantly and perfectly. As a matter of fact, a study reveals that 47 percent of customers abandon business websites that take more than 3 seconds to load!

Performance optimization is a major reason why your business website needs software security programs. Besides SEO, a site performance typically revolves around reducing the overall size of web pages. This includes the size of the files and perhaps, more importantly, the number of them.

3. Fast disaster or data recovery

In an age where data is king, the idea that data can be lost so easily should be enough to encourage businesses to take steps to protect it.

The U.S National Cyber Security Alliance found that 60 percent of companies are unable to sustain their businesses over six months after a data breach.

According to the Ponemon Institute, the average price for small businesses to clean up after their businesses have been hacked stands at $690,000; and, for mid-sized businesses, it’s over $1 million.

Recent events have proven that nobody is safe from the threat of data breach — not large corporations, small businesses, startups, government agencies or even presidential candidates.

When a crisis occurs, there would be one of the two scenarios:

  1. You run a licensed app/piece of software and the vendor is responsible enough to issue an update/patch when issues are reported.
  1. You run a custom software delivered by your software development company and you ask for the software to be enhanced. That is going to take just as little time but chances are your custom software will ever be hacked is drastically lower. Just because the hacker would need to spend even more time looking for vulnerabilities than the AQ department of your software developer.

Even if your website is secure, a misconfiguration or simple mistake can lead to data loss. Only a sure backup plan can save you if your custom files are overwritten or tampered with.

A website security provider can offer secure remote storage, automatic backup scheduling, and an easy recovery process without disturbing your workflow. Decent software companies offer a fast and easy way to recover all the files you need in a very short time.

4. Regular software update

A software update, also known as a service pack is a periodically released update to software from a manufacturer, consisting of requested enhancements and fixes for known bugs. A software update is mainly to present security vulnerabilities in their existing items.

You may think that you do not have anything to protect on your business website but the reality is that security software gives protection for your data. Data is valuable for the sustenance of your business. Top software security programs keep your data secure by providing regular updates to keep you safe from malicious attempts.

Summing It Up:

Since 60 percent of businesses that are affected by a breach in business websites or data will shut down in 6 months, cybersecurity experts, thereby, recommend that you have an effective software security program to save yourself and your business from this calamity.

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Software

How an Intranet Will Consolidate Multiple Disparate Software Applications

How an Intranet Will Consolidate Multiple Disparate Software Applications

The average employee uses between 10 and 20 individual software applications throughout the course of their day. This makes sense considering modern businesses run on software. However, using too many individual applications stifles productivity by wasting time, which subsequently wastes payroll dollars. For instance, employees use separate applications for the following tasks:

  • Time tracking
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Email marketing
  • Shopping carts
  • Email
  • Direct messaging with team members
  • Video conferencing
  • Invoicing
  • Document storage
  • Client communication
  • Knowledge base
  • People directory
  • Document collaboration
  • Announcements
  • Accounting
  • Scheduled appointments
  • And more

When teams are required to use all of these applications separately, productivity suffers. Using applications that combine multiple features will strengthen productivity, especially for remote teams.

Increase productivity by using fewer applications

Using fewer applications will increase productivity, but that doesn’t mean you need to stop using the features you need. The ideal solution is to find software applications that provide multiple functions. For example, many popular CRM software applications provide email marketing, sales process management, a shopping cart system, and more.

Similarly, there are company intranet solutions that combine communications needs. One of those solutions is Happeo. Happeo is an internal collaboration platform that allows teams to work productively in a secure environment. The platform combines many functions like document storage, a knowledge base, a people directory, announcements, and document collaboration.

Many useful features not native to Happeo can be plugged into the network using integrations. For example, Happeo integrates with Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), which gives teams access to Google Workspace features from within the intranet, eliminating the time required to switch between applications to perform tasks.

If you haven’t implemented a company intranet like Happeo, you’re missing out on a massive increase in team productivity.

How does an intranet increase team productivity?

An intranet increases team productivity by improving communication and engagement, maintaining mobility for your remote workers, and supporting better collaboration. In other words, an intranet mitigates the challenges that halt productivity, especially for remote workers.

The most significant impact comes from the reduction of applications used throughout the day. For instance, when a team member has to switch from one application to another, it could take anywhere from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes, depending on where the application is located and what steps are required to log in. If multi-factor authentication is required, it could take up to five minutes.

A few minutes here and there doesn’t seem like a big deal, but those minutes add up quickly. If a team member uses ten separate applications that take one minute to switch between, and they use each application twice per day, that’s twenty minutes wasted just switching between applications. That adds up to 3.33 hours per pay period per employee. For a team of 15 employees, that’s 50 hours per pay period wasted.

What are the benefits of increased productivity?

Aside from the obvious increase in ROI, productive teams offer many benefits to their company, company clients, end users, and other team members.

Productive teams make their companies look good

Productive teams get results that get companies noticed. Companies that build a positive, in-demand reputation based on their high-quality work are seen as leaders in their industry.

In the corporate world, many companies are on strict client deadlines that aren’t always realistic, but productive teams get pretty close to the goal. On the other hand, unproductive teams won’t be anywhere near the goal when the deadline hits, and they usually have to do plenty of apologizing to their clients. This drastically reduces the client’s potential to recommend that company to their colleagues and friends.

Productive teams create and manage expectations realistically. They can estimate the time it will take to complete a project, including accounting for inevitable breakdowns. This means they’ll have an easier time meeting client expectations because a productive team will set those expectations correctly from the start.

Productive teams make end users happy

Productive teams tend to produce better quality work, which makes end users happy. For example, end users don’t want to start using a new software application only to find a bunch of bugs that should have been taken care of prior to release.

Part of what makes a team productive is a lack of unnecessary back-and-forth to solve problems. Productivity stems from efficiency, and efficient teams handle issues as they arise to full completion.

When a team completes a project designed to be used by end users beyond the client, there’s no room for sloppy mistakes. The client will be held accountable by their end users for anything that goes wrong even though it’s not the client’s fault.

Only a productive team can produce a project that will make end users happy.

Productive teams create happy clients

Productive teams get their work completed on time and in full to deliver stellar projects to clients. When clients are impressed with high level work that gets delivered on time, they’re happy.

Happy clients matter because they are likely to order more work and refer your products and services to others.

An intranet will reduce your operating costs

How many different software applications are you paying a monthly fee to use? Considering most popular software applications are subscription-based, you’re likely using at least five—and that’s a conservative estimate. If access to each software application costs $20 to $100 per month, that’s $100 to $500 per month (or more if you use more apps) that you may not need to spend.

Using an intranet can help you combine many of the software fees you’re paying unnecessarily to separate entities. Your teams will need time to adapt to new software, but once they get going, they’ll find it easier to use an intranet for everything.

Don’t let the subscription model drain your software budget

Every company wants the best software for their teams, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive software on the market. You may not even need some of the features offered by some software applications.

The subscription software market is big. Digitalist Magazine projected that by 2022, 53% of all software sales will come from subscriptions. For most companies, there’s no way around buying subscription software. While an intranet will combine many disparate software applications for you, it won’t replace every subscription software you need. That’s why it’s important to take stock of your current applications to see if you have overlap with your intranet and if not, start looking for a cheaper option.

Don’t drain your budget by thinking you need to buy a subscription to every popular application on the market. There are other options, even some that don’t require a monthly fee. It’s hard to find, but there are software developers who sell their applications for a one-time fee.

However, when it comes to getting a cloud-based company intranet, you’ll probably need to pay a monthly subscription fee. Although, you’ll be saving money by condensing the number of applications you use, so it’s worth every penny.

Company intranets are the future of productivity

Corporations have been using intranets for decades to provide teams with information, files, training materials, and ways to communicate. Until recent years, intranets were largely hosted on-premises on the same server that ran the company network.

Although many companies still utilize on-premises servers to manage private, secure networks, cloud-based intranets are the future. The enterprise collaboration market is expected to grow from $31 billion (2019) to $48.1 billion by 2024.

If you haven’t implemented an intranet for your teams, it’s time. Businesses are rapidly moving to a remote team structure, and an intranet is the best way to keep remote teams connected and productive.

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Software Tech

The Biggest Obstacles Faced by New Programmers

The Biggest Obstacles Faced by New Programmers

Programming can be a lucrative and rewarding skill to develop, no matter what your goals are. You may be interested in launching a startup tech company, building your own app or tech product and nurturing its long-term development. You may be interested in joining a team that’s already formed, lending your programming skills to their collaborative efforts. Or you may be interested in using your programming skills in a more personal capacity; for example, you may use your programming skills to automate various aspects of your life or build out a pet project.

No matter what, if you’re learning programming for the first time or if you’re not used to the world of programming, there are some significant obstacles you may face.

Jumping Into Projects That Are Already Started

First, you may have difficulty jumping into projects that other people have already started—especially if they’ve had years of work behind them. If you’re starting a project of your own, you’ll get to call all the shots. You’ll have an idea of how to outline the project, how to think of it abstractly, which programming language to use, and how to code the product’s core features.

If you’re jumping into someone else’s work, you’ll face several different layers of challenges. For starters, you’ll have to learn everything there is to know about the project from scratch; you’ll need to learn what the purpose is, what the key features are, and what’s been done already. You’ll also need to see the product through the eyes of another person and get a feel for what they were thinking when they coded it.

Additionally, software products are often developed with dependencies on other apps, APIs, and libraries. Practicing active dependency management is the only way to resolve issues associated with these dependencies, include performance problems, security, and license compliance. However, if you’re not familiar with these dependencies from the outset, you’ll be playing catch-up to learn how to resolve them.

The best way to resolve this obstacle is to be as patient and proactive as possible. Talk to the people who coded this project initially and get a sense for what they were thinking throughout their journey.

Dealing With Compatibility Issues

It can also be extremely difficult to deal with compatibility issues and code a project so it works on many different platforms simultaneously. For example, if you want to launch a mobile app on both Android and iOS, you may need to comply with two very different sets of standards for the app. You may encounter a persistent bug that exists in only one version of your app, which means you’ll have to restructure the code and possibly make different updates in the future.

One potential solution here is to focus exclusively on one platform to start. Depending on your goals, this may limit your potential audience, but it will help you deliver a more polished product to your users—and save you lots of headaches along the way.

Debugging

Debugging is a natural part of the programming workflow, but it can be a hard one to get used to if you’re a new programmer. There’s no such thing as a product that has no bugs; almost every piece of software launches with bugs, no matter how much proactive testing you did. If you want to improve the product and keep it secure, you’ll need to find and fix those bugs—and both stages of that process can be confusing.

The key to success is being able to replicate the issue. If you can replicate the circumstances that caused the bug to occur, you can get a good idea of the steps necessary to fix that bug. If you’re unable to replicate the issue, it may not be a “real� issue in the first place. You’ll have to work with the person or people who reported it to find out more.

Keeping Up With New Tech Changes

In the programming world, things tend to change quickly. While there are some old programming languages that seem to stick around forever and some time-tested methodologies that have been around for decades, we also need to consider the constant inbound flow of new programming languages, new best practices, and new techniques.

Keeping up with the latest updates, the latest technologies, and the latest trends can all be excruciating for someone who’s still trying to master the fundamentals. However, it’s much easier if you’re an active part of a community. Jump into programming forums—especially those that revolve around open source software or specific languages—and get updates about the latest news. It’s also a good idea to dedicate a little time each week (even if it’s only an hour) to learn new things.

Providing Accurate Expectations

As a programmer, you’ll be frequently tasked with setting proactive expectations about your work. You’ll have to give time estimates, effort estimates, and projected views on the future of each project to your clients, your coworkers, and your employees (eventually). Doing this with minimal experience is borderline impossible. The best way to get better is through experience, but in the meantime, rely on the wisdom of people more experienced than you.

Communicating With the Team

The only way to effectively code a large project together with a team is through communication. You have to actively and clearly communicate with your colleagues to set goals, identify problems, and of course, resolve those problems.

There are many aspects of communication worth improving. For starters, you can aim to be more proactive; you can set expectations and lay out the potential problems early in the process, so there’s no ambiguity or room for misinterpretation. You can also work to use the right platforms for all your messages; there are many communication mediums worth using, but they all have various strengths and weaknesses to accommodate. Additionally, it pays to cater to your audience; not everyone communicates the same way, so how can you draft messages in a way that appeals to your specific listener/reader?

Staying Focused and Productive

New programmers often struggle to remain productive throughout the day. If you’re working on something challenging, you can’t simply churn out an endless stream of code. And if you’re not focused, you may end up making substantially more errors—which then increase your workload when debugging.

Every person is unique in terms of what helps them achieve peak productivity, so you’ll have to experiment and focus on solutions that are uniquely suited to your work style. However, what’s most important is that you have some kind of focus/productivity strategy in place. How can you improve your set of tools, your work environment, and even your own mentality to boost your effectiveness and output?

Maintaining a Work-Life Balance

When you’re working on an important client project, or when you’re trying to launch the app that will drive your startup to success, everything else takes a backseat—including your personal life and even your health, if you’re not careful. For new programmers who are passionate about their work, work-life balance can become a massive problem.

If you don’t take care of yourself, your personal responsibilities, and your relationships, even the most talented programmer will suffer the consequences. No matter how busy you get or how focused you become on the project at hand, it’s important to dedicate time to yourself and your personal life; take plenty of breaks, take days off, and make time for things that are important to you.

As you become more experienced as a programmer, these problems are going to fade in importance. Some of them will never go away completely—for example, you’ll always have a bit of difficulty jumping into a project that someone else started—but in time, you’ll develop management and coping strategies that help you push through.

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Software

How AI is Transforming Software Development

ai software development

As bright minds with unique ideas embrace and involve in an industry and trending technologies, radical transformation is inevitable. According to a recent survey, AI tools globally are expected to reach US$119 Billion by 2025. Tech giants are embracing AI to build innovative software to be future-ready. Let’s find out more about how AI is influencing and making its mark in the custom software development process.

Role of AI in Custom Software Development

Experts say 80% of large enterprises have invested in AI. According to the Wall Street Journal, AI tools are expected to generate US$2.9 trillion in business value by 2021. Here are a few insightful facts about how the industry big-guns are adopting AI for software development:

  • In the past 18 months, ranging from large to small vendors, each one has many AI-powered tools launched.
  • By Sep 2019, startups that offer AI-powered software development tools raised US$704 million.
  • Due to a drastic jump in demand for custom software developers, 21% employment boosts between 2018 – 2028.
  • The forecast for growth in the global market is signaled from US$47 billion in 2018 to US$61 billion by 2023.

#1 Understanding and Gathering Requirement

Interpreting the clients’ requirements and replicating them into a software design is a lengthy process. This process needs multiple options and revisions to create intricate software design. While you are still gathering, validating, and tracking incomplete requirements, any delay can be seen as a weakness and even risk losing the project entirely.

In such cases, AI learns and understands multi-fold and reduces it, such as brand reputation, and recommends core software design after millions of possible code combinations. AI helps you gather and have an in-depth understanding of the project requirements faster and more accurately. Settling on the specific plan sooner rather than going back and forth makes you overcome the traditional software development methods. And ultimately, this gives you the most suitable proficient solution for project designing in no time.

#2 Rapid Prototyping

Typically, enterprise software development requires months of planning, sometimes even years, to develop and deploy. However, one main reason why such projects get delayed right at its initial stage after the contract is signed is the prototyping stage. The service providers may offer demos and convince the client to go ahead. However, they would still need the time to build the prototype.

AI shortens this process by assisting the experts to save time in developing technology, language, or visual interface for the prototype. It helps them progress further in a specific direction according to the requirements gathered in the first stage. This offers a viable solution to empower your tech-team and reduce the overall cycle.

Further, this saves a significant amount of time to create the prototype and present it to the client. They are saving a lot of working hours and time in the overall software deployment timeline.

#3 Glitch-free Timelines

The traditional methodology of programming and coding is lengthy and requires even months to kick-start the project. This includes designing, gathering, understanding the client’s needs, and prototyping, reflecting on the entire project development cycle.

This modern AI solution can drastically decrease the time-consuming phases and focus on the project part, which requires your undivided attention. Maintaining a timeline for the software development project directly reflects upon the time-to-market and delivery date set with your client. AI helps you keep that in check.

Your development team will never deteriorate the code quality or work in panic, dreading the deadline. Using NLP AI reduces the time, resources, and creates an efficient and effective development culture. This also works as a blessing in disguise when you have some unpredictable firefighting to do for some random glitches. AI keeps you well informed beforehand about these red flags.

#4 Sophisticated Automated Code Generation

A compiler’s software development role is to convert the code to machine language and give precise instructions for the hardware. It may require months to develop such an original code source; however, a smart compiler can perform the same task in a few hours.

With AI-enabled intelligent programming compilers and assistants, you can generate error-free code in hours instead of days and months of lengthy coding. It not only saves time but also boosts the productivity of a developer. Many developers have even reported that it reduces the required keystrokes to almost half as it offers recommendations to complete lines of code. For example, some of these tools are similar to Gmail’s smart compose, which pops the suggested words and phrases to users in composing the email.

#5 Testing with AI

Software testing is a very complicated and time-consuming process. Every custom software developer wants to deliver error and bug-free software to the client. However, bug-fixing can be a very tedious aspect of software development, most likely due to the chances of human mistakes and neglected bugs.

Many tools are claiming minimal manual intervention, but none are accurate as compared to AI-enabled testing tools. According to the latest World Quality Report 2019-20, AI is among the most critical QA & testing trends for the next decade. An AI-enabled testing tool can speed up the process, saving time from repetitive tasks and automating it, making it cost-effective. This further ensures quality and quick release with faster ROI.

It also assists in revealing defects beforehand, predicting failure points, and optimizing the entire process to achieve higher customer satisfaction.

#6 Controlled Deployment

Deployment is a crucial part of the software development process. Every project manager frets it. Yet, many challenges and issues may arise in deployment; for example, the software might fail to run in the intended environment properly, and developers might risk ruining the entire software program.

To ensure your deployment process runs smoothly, the project managers and developers may plan everything meticulously, but it may still run through multiple bottlenecks and roadblocks.

AI-powered tools help in predicting deployment failures. It helps them make well-informed decisions during the various development stages itself, safeguarding them for the future. AI tools boost efficiency and control activities that entail the development phase making sure they don’t jeopardize the software program.

Using AI can reduce 75% of failure in the production environment and offers time-to-restore. This AI-powered tool helps save a lot of time over the entire project timeline.

#7 Accurate Delivery Estimation

Many experienced development companies have near-perfect estimations; however, changing business requirements and delays can jeopardize the entire project delivery. Numerous developers have multiple complex projects parallelly with different complexities that lead to several coding errors and cost them time, effort, and resources.

With AI, you can estimate accurate delivery with historical data and overall progress in the project testing, coding, troubleshooting, team productivity, and many other parameters. It enables you with predictive analytics and accurate reports of cost, the number of working hours, and the timeline. AI can give the most accurate delivery time than any other tool concerning minutely analyzing each aspect.

Advantages of Integrating AI with Software Development

AI is a hot technology that any software development company would want to work with. A revolutionary wave is changing times, bringing many benefits along with it; for example, AI can offer enhanced security to small or enterprise-level software and applications.

It enables you to investigate thoroughly and identify irregularities and bugs beforehand, warning delays, issues, errors, false notifications, and alerts. The real-time data will undoubtedly improve software quality, enhance the overall user experience and satisfaction. AI helps development teams and project managers make strategic decisions for the project periodically according to the AI-powered tool’s recommended solutions.

Wrap Up

The future of custom software development services and AI goes hand-in-hand, and leading enterprises are already adopting it aggressively. It is also essential to have a custom software development company by your side that understands your vision to adapt to the new changes in your sector with disruptive projects where AI gives a makeover to your software development.

For years to come, more software will be developed with these intelligent AI-powered tools technology leaders will embrace this massive transformation in the coming years.

AI algorithms and advanced analytics will empower software development teams to take on-the-spot decisions utilizing real-time data. AI is evolving and with time maturity of machine learning is as well.

The entire AI market incorporates a vast collection of applications such as robotic process automation, natural language processing, and machine learning. Let us not be left behind and embrace AI to upgrade the custom software development cycle.

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outsourcing Software software development

Nearshore Outsourcing Is Up During Covid-19. Here’s Why.

nearshore outsourcing software development

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about two simultaneous but seemingly paradoxical trends: remote work and deglobalization. Leaders trust their team members to deliver from afar, but they’re not so confident these days in global supply chains. 

While manufacturing supply chains have faced particular disruptions, the software development sector has also come under scrutiny. The halt in global travel has hampered U.S. companies’ access to many overseas programming hubs.

With that said, no industry experts we are aware of foresee a slowdown in the offshoring of programming work. Large companies and startups alike will continue to tap into less expensive labor markets.

How can leaders square the trend toward global software development with its supply chain risks? Through a strategy known as nearshore outsourcing.

Nearshore Outsourcing in Software Development

In the context of software development, nearshore outsourcing is the exportation of programming work from mature markets to developing ones in relative geographic proximity. A Texas-based SaaS company is engaging in nearshore outsourcing when it hires programmers in Mexico, for instance.

Interest in nearshore outsourcing among the Fortune 500 has skyrocketed during the pandemic, according to global consulting firm MJV Technology & Innovation. “We have seen that the pandemic has accelerated deglobalization,� MJV CEO Mauricio Vianna says, “as manufacturing and development in farshore locations have been suspended. Companies are shifting to nearshoring to solve the problems of a hyper-globalized production chain.�

But what, exactly, separates nearshore from farshore outsourcing? And what does it take to outsource to nearby markets effectively?

Nearshore vs. Farshore

The distinction between “nearshore� and “farshore� isn’t always clear. One key variable is proximity: Executives are looking for locales that they could reach within a few hours’ plane ride.

American business leaders can’t hop on a plane to Siberia and arrive the same day. Companies like MJV have offices across South America, which is much more reachable from North American cities.

Another consideration is the time difference between office locations. “I believe the biggest of the benefits of nearshore over farshore outsourcing is the proximity of the teams,� Vianna explains. “By being on the same or in a very close timezone, farshoring problems like working hours, alignment meetings, and longer trips are avoided. Besides, companies don’t need to wait twelve hours to get an answer or talk with the development team.�

A third is cultural similarity. American software developers will have a much easier time relating to their Canadian counterparts than, say, those based in China. “Education, business practices and work-life customs are very similar in America and Canada,� notes Evelyn Ackah, founder of Ackah Law, a Canadian business immigration law firm. “Most American project managers, as well as end-users, would not recognize an American product that was developed in Canada.�

Common Nearshoring Mistakes

To be sure, there are risks associated with nearshore outsourcing. Whether a company is pivoting its software development from either a farshore location or an in-house team, these must be mitigated. 

Just as in a farshore outsourcing project, cost savings are top of mind for executives. But vetting a nearshore partner who can deliver the required results on the desired budget is where many companies fall short. “Your choice of partner should not be a decision based solely on cost,� warns Vianna.

Security is also critical. Any form of offshoring can expose companies to data security liabilities. Due diligence is necessary to ensure that potential partners are compliant with relevant data privacy and security regulations in both local and international markets.

Beware, too, of labor laws. Nearshoring company MobSquad was recently accused of misusing a temporary foreign worker program. When in doubt, ask for proof of compliance. 

Finding a Nearshore Outsourcing Team

Nearshore outsourcing offers all the benefits of outsourcing without many of the headaches of a foreshore location. Still, cultural fit and production capacity should not be overlooked.

Vianna recommends looking for outsourcing partners with multidisciplinary teams that are familiar with modern programming languages. And don’t forget to check for value alignment. Ethics matter, wherever a development team is based or whatever its contribution. 

Finding a nearshoring provider that ticks all the boxes is just as tough as locating one that specializes in farshore outsourcing. Scrutinizing another company’s culture, creative philosophy, and values is no small task. But with any partner, checking for fit on all three fronts must be a priority.

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Build Learn Software

The Do’s and Don’ts of Product Roadmaps

product roadmap

You wouldn’t start a cross-country drive without a roadmap (or GPS), and neither should you attempt product development without one.

A product roadmap is what connects the near-term product changes to the mid-term strategic milestones and the long-term vision. It communicates the sequencing of priorities and helps you plan all your product-based initiatives.

But many leaders are confused about what goes into a product roadmap. Ultimately, there is no right answer: different types of roadmaps suit different companies.

They can show lots of detail or very little; they can be intentionally scrappy or highly organized with color-coding, iconography, team associations, and more. We’ve seen them printed on ten-foot-wide poster paper and contained on a simple Google Sheet.

While there is no “best way of making a roadmap,� there are a few do’s and don’ts that can guide you in crafting your roadmap document.

The Do’s of Building a Roadmap

Let’s start with the do’s.

  • Do clearly categorize specific roadmap initiatives. Based on our experience, we’ve realized that all product development activities can be placed into one of three categories: innovation (making progress towards the vision), iteration (getting better results from what you’ve already built), and operation (maintaining your product and running your business). If possible, on top of categorizing each initiative, communicate the allocation target for each category to remind the audience of the level of investment that was agreed upon.
  • Do paint a picture far enough in the future that it helps other teams to plan accordingly. For example, marketing may need to start working on communication plans for a large product release well in advance.
  • Do clarify the rationale behind the work you’re planning on doing. The problems you are solving, the value you are attempting to create, and the key outcomes you are trying to deliver are often more important than the features you currently intend to build.
  • Do leave room for plans to shift. Development timelines are notoriously difficult to predict in advance. As you experiment and validate assumptions through customer discovery, you will want to be able to react to what you learn, and the roadmap should allow for that.

The Don’ts of Building a Roadmap

And now, the don’ts, which are just as important as the do’s.

  • Don’t try to predict development plans so far ahead that you’ll almost certainly change them before you get there. Offering this false precision is a common way to erode trust between the product and the rest of the company.
  • Don’t worry about providing the same level of fidelity for every team. It’s okay for the roadmap to have a “ragged edgeâ€� in which some items are better understood than others, or some teams’ plans extend farther into the future than others.
  • Don’t make commitments that are unnecessary or that are unlikely to actually be met. Generally speaking, it’s better to avoid feature-date pairs unless there’s a specific business reason the date is as important as what actually ships.
  • Don’t get in the habit of playing roadmap Tetris to force as much in as possible. It’s far better to under-commit and over-deliver than vice versa, and you’ll need some buffer to accommodate the ripple effects when development doesn’t go according to plan or critical feedback comes in.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Communicating the Roadmap

Building the roadmap is only the first step. After that, you need to share it with all the stakeholders. Here are some do’s and don’ts for how to most effectively communicate your roadmap.

  • Do share it with your executives first, because if you get buy-in from leaders in the organization, they can help build agreement and excitement about its contents with the rest of the employees.
  • Don’t present it to the whole company at once. Each major group within the company will have different needs and concerns. By presenting to each group separately, you can best address these needs and concerns and help everyone get what they need out of the presentation. We recommend having separate meetings for each of the following groups:
    • Engineering, QA, Architecture
    • Sales and marketing
    • Account management, customer success, and customer support
    • Everyone else not in those groups (HR, finance, etc.)
  • Don’t be boring. Your presentation-quality matters tremendously, and it’s your job to make your presentation engaging. Use charts and other visuals.
  • Do create a system for answering questions and getting feedback. Some of this can be done in the presentation meetings. However, some people don’t feel comfortable asking questions or offering feedback in front of others, so also consider conducting anonymous surveys after the presentations.

One More Do and Don’t

We’ll leave you with one final do and one final don’t.

Do dedicate the time and resources to creating a roadmap. It’s one of the most important documents guiding your company’s actions and initiatives.

But don’t stress about making a “perfect� roadmap. The best roadmaps evolve and develop with the company and serve to spark the right conversations about priorities.

Whether you opt to build a highly detailed, organized roadmap with color-coding and more, or a broader, intentionally rough one, following these do’s, and don’ts will help ensure that you craft and effectively share your roadmap.

For more advice on product roadmaps, you can find Build What Matters on Amazon.

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accounting software Apps CRM financial modeling Microsoft Excel Sales Software

Attention Overload: What Makes Some Software Tools So Sticky [+Some Examples]

There are a glut of software tools, mobile applications, websites and learning portals.

The quality spectrum of these tools is as broad as the tools themselves and the industries they serve. It could be safe to say that the Pareto Principle applies to software applications as much as it does to business in general.

In fact, studies show that the average smartphone user only really uses about 30 apps per month. From my personal experience, even that statistic sounds high.

The overabundance can be overwhelming and cause more than attention overload, it can create counterproductivity that flies in the face of most apps’ intended creation (Facebook, Instagram & Tiktok excluded, of course).

The best and most sticky software products have a few things in common.

Features of the Most Prevalent (& Sticky) Software Tools

I chose this title carefully. There is a reason the most prevalent (& sticky) tools also include the best features (or is it the other way around?). Having great features (and perhaps the right marketing for ample market penetration) typically produces greater market acceptance, which helps provide the revenue to add more features–and the cycle repeats. Here are

  • First (or early) mover advantage. I’ve been told many times before that “first mover advantage” is a misnomer. It is often NOT the first mover that has the advantage, but the first mover combined with several other gritty features can be very helpful. If not the first mover, it certainly helps to be early. Do you think Microsoft Excel was the first spreadsheet. Hardly, but they were still early in computing (and they owned the platform for distribution). Were they the best at first? No, but they were good enough and they came included, which means it was hard for others to compete. Could you imagine trying to create your own “me too” spreadsheet company today with the likes of Google and Microsoft as your competitors. Early movers enjoy the advantage of market penetration and entrenchment, which is difficult to surmount even for a subsequently superior product.
  • Industry agnosticism. The best tools can be used across industries. Spreadsheets (can you tell I like them?) are used by churches and financiers alike. Every company has projects and therefore could possibly use project management software. Most larger organizations include a sales team and customer accounts that need to be tracked, charted and reported and hence need a CRM. The most prevalent software products are used across industries.
  • Pain points prevented! The best and most prevalent products prevent pain points (alliteration unintended). Does it save an organization ample money (not just in the cost of the product directly by in the product’s indirect association to productivity increases)? Today’s up-and-coming software products provide money saving related to disintermediating human intervention through automation. Massive productivity gains equate to large increases in revenue or decreases in overall cost structure. In most cases, such productivity gains help free up time for the higher-functioning tasks that make organizations flourish.
  • Developers unite! Yes, all the great platforms include a community where new ideas and opportunities are created to bring fresh ideas and better ways of doing things. Kanban operations are built on the idea that quality comes from continuous improvement. Nowhere is this more true than in the software market. Things are always in a state of flux and change. The best platforms are truly platforms where outside developers can create an actual community of contributors where existing models and methods are questioned and where new practices help to push a growing ship of ideas and code forward. Platforms are just one of the reasons why the future of software development is not customization in the true sense.

My Most Frequented Tools & Apps

What follows is likely atypical from most mobile and internet users. I deleted the Facebook, Instagram and a handful of other apps on my phone several years ago, so my most frequented apps may sound more like those of a boring, bean-counting accountant than most. However, I try to stick to applications, websites and tools that include features that add value and time-saving to my life. With kids, family and other healthier distractions than work, I can’t afford to waste time on the trivial.

ExcelTraining

I’m a big fan and regular user of all things Microsoft Excel. As such, I need a regular quick reference for things like hotkeys, functions and other quick-fixes for all things Microsoft Excel. While I have several websites I frequent for reference, my one bookmarked site that garners the most attention is ExcelTraining.com. The site includes things like an easy to navigate list of keyboard shortcuts, an exhaustive list of Excel functions and a complete list of Excel formulas. As my proficiency has increased I find myself referencing it less frequently, but my desire to stay current in Excel keeps me coming back for the simple list that is easily referenced.

The site also has paid options which I have never used. I’ve found that the more ubiquitous the product, the more easily free information is available to you on YouTube or elsewhere. Excel is something even the basest of individuals working in business should have a keen awareness of. Hence, a good reference for the basics is always a great help and a must.

Asana

When it comes to remaining productive, Asana is my hands-down favorite app for project management amount teams. It works for nearly any project. I have personally used it in managing content marketing projects, preparation for raising growth capital, software development, website development and even personal project management where a larger project can be broken down into discrete chunks. It’s been especially great at managing projects run by remote teams (both before and after COVID-19).

I also don’t call out Asana lightly. I have used other project tools like Basecamp, Jira and even hybrid-communications tools like Slack. I just find Asana to be my personal favorite.

SalesForce

If there’s one software tool that have a good proficient and overabundant understanding of it’s customer relationship management (CRM) tools. I’ve worked with numerous other paid and open source CRMs. Some of the open source ones like SugarCRM and X2CRM include very customizable fields and sections, marketing automation tools and email/calendar integration. However, the downside is the lack of commercial support, backups and overall integration with other applications. In one of my businesses, we also use Outreach.io, an email and contact automation tool that ties directly into SalesForce. It is a productivity game changer for our sales and marketing team whose equal is not yet available on any of the open source platforms.

Salesforce also includes added applications (some free, some paid) and the ability to develop, enhance and customize to a company’s individual needs.

Quickbooks

I’m a finance guy at heart. I like the numbers and thrive off the analyzation of how to improve them. Quickbooks collates all our companies’ financial data including accounts payable, accounts receivable, credit cards, Paypal, bank accounts, etc. Not only does it bring together all of our financial data. Netsuite needs an honorable mention here as well as it can combine more ERP management into the financial side of a business–something entirely lost on the SMB audience with Quickbooks. As such, the financial tools used for financial accounting and reporting are heavily dependent on the size of the organization and the ultimate goals of the data you need to make critical business decisions.

Conclusion

The features that may be important to one may be entirely lost on another. Some may be more interested in marketing tools, while others are drawn toward finance, the arts and even mobile games. I have always gauged the stickiness of a software product with the following queries:

  1. Does the product have a real commercial need?
  2. Does it add value to the user?
  3. Does it delight (or better yet, entertain) while doing 1 & 2?

If you get the first two, you have a winner. If you are able to nail all three then you have yourself a market leader and a sticky product that is not going away anytime soon.

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Data and Security data security Digital Identity Hack internet security privacy privacy regulations Software

How to Protect Your Digital Identity

protect digital identity

Our digital identities are shaped by personal information about ourselves that we share online: name, age, gender, geographical location, email address, phone number, etc. If someone steals this data to act on our behalf, we might lose our funds, reputation, and social connections. In this article, you’ll find useful tips on protecting your digital identity from theft and enhancing the security of your online presence.

Create Several Digital Identities

Maybe you have two phone numbers or two emails and use the first one for work and the second one for private communication. Similarly, you can create multiple digital identities.

Emails Can Help

Have several emails.

  • You can create your first email address to communicate with banks and government bodies.
  • The second email address exchanges messages with diverse offline recipients (such as shops, garages, dental clinics).
  • Your third email address is for friends, relatives, and social networks.
  •  A fourth email address will be for subscriptions and registrations.

Each of your digital identities will be connected to a particular email, but they will never overlap — these types of actions create your safety net of digital identities.

You can access all your email addresses from the same mailbox. For instance, you can automatically redirect all the incoming messages to the same Gmail inbox. Gmail will let you select the address that you would like to send each of your emails from.

You won’t even need to use exclusively @gmail.com addresses. Microsoft Outlook functions on the same principle and allows users to attach up to 10 auxiliary emails to the main one so that you have 11 addresses all in all.

Replace Your Password with a Passphrase

A passphrase consists of several words, so it’s much more difficult to brute-force it than a password. Ideally, these words should be generated randomly, and each of them should contain a minimum of 16 characters.

For each site and service you use, you should generate a unique passphrase. Of course, it might be tricky to remember all these combinations — but you can download 1Password, LastPass, or Dashlane. These trusted and credible password managers will safely store your passwords in a well-protected database.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Some modern online services include two-factor authentication as a mandatory feature; others offer it optional. After you enable the two-factor authentication, you won’t be able to access your account just by inserting your password. The system will send you a confirmation link or code to your phone or email that will serve as the key to your account.

If someone tries to hack your account from a remote device, you will get to know about it.

Install and Enable an Antivirus

Modern antiviruses are powerful multifunctional programs. They efficiently protect users not only from malicious software but from all sorts of threats. They identify a menace long before it attacks your device and ward it off.

Also, they check your system and software updates to make sure you use the latest versions. Updatings are essential for security because newer versions of the programs don’t contain old vulnerabilities.

Stay Suspicious

If a site or service asks you to share your confidential data, think twice whether it really needs it. Is it necessary for a game, news aggregator, or dating service to know your birth date or bank account number? Or is it just a nefarious trick to cheat confidential information out of you?

Inspect your bank statements and payment history weekly. According to a stereotype, if hackers get hold of your bank account, they will immediately transfer all your funds to their account. But this will inevitably attract your attention, so some smart violators opt for small transfers instead. If you notice payments for goods or services that you never purchased, your account might be hacked.

Don’t include meaningful personal information in your social media profiles.

Indicate only the data that you are ready to share literally with the whole world, including thousands of people that you will never know.

If you receive an email with a link, open it only in case you know the recipient well. Spammers and organizers of phishing attacks might ask you to visit a certain page, to indicate your account data or financial credentials. Some ask you to confirm the receipt of a pre-approved credit card that you never ordered.

If you receive a similar email from your bank, get in touch with its support service, and ask if they indeed sent it.

Use Browser Security Tools

To get rid of the annoying ads for good, install AdBlock Plus. To block spying ads and invisible trackers, use Privacy Badger. To make your browser always redirect you to safer HTTPS versions of websites from the outdated HTTP ones, apply HTTPS Everywhere.

You can choose between dozens of free extensions that are compatible with nearly any browser and will efficiently protect your digital identity.

However, the protective software that you have installed might not be enough to stop tracking completely. To check how safe your browser is, use Panopticlick: it will measure your security level and analyze your system configurations. Relying on the impartial results of the analysis, you will be able to fine-tune your settings, delete or install certain add-ons, etc.

Monitor the News

If a bank, a governmental body, or an e-commerce institution falls prey to a data breach, it will be mentioned in the news. If it turns out that your confidential data might be compromised, change all your passwords immediately.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article came in handy, and now you know how to protect your digital identity. Losing it might sometimes be just as troublesome as losing your real-life passport.

The above-listed recommendations can be applied to any device that you use to go online, be it a stationary computer, a laptop, a smartphone, or a tablet. As you see, you don’t need to be a geek to enhance your internet privacy and enjoy the time you spend online to the max.

Image Credit: cottonbro: pexels

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Productivity Software Tech

The Technology Problems Lurking Behind the Remote Work Revolution

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard for millions of people around the world, but it’s also presented entrepreneurs and innovators with an opportunity for transformation—a chance to rethink how we work and interact with others. Millions of businesses that never would have otherwise considered operating remotely switched to a remote work model as a precaution to keep their employees safe (and/or comply with local lockdown orders), and countless employees have discovered that working from home is not just luxurious—it’s also more productive.

And to be sure, there are many benefits to working from home, both for employees and employers. Employees get to skip the rush-hour traffic and lengthy commutes, they get to spend more time with their families, they have more control over their workspaces, and in many cases, they have more flexible hours. Employers get to save on costs, minimize employee turnover, and benefit from increased productivity organization-wide. These benefits are so powerful that many organizations are considering switching to working from home full-time.

All of this is made possible thanks to modern technology; we have reliable, fast internet connections, amazing devices and software capable of advanced functions like streaming video and managing stable audio, and thousands of platforms that can help us stay organized. The unfortunate thing is, working from home isn’t universally more productive or beneficial—and it’s this very technology that’s responsible for the downsides.

The Lurking Threat

There’s a clear threat to the remote work culture that’s been developing for the past several months, and it stems from several interrelated problems with the technology we’re using to manage it. This threat is dangerous because it’s lurking surreptitiously; it’s not obvious on the surface, but it’s slowly chipping away at our ability to work and interact with each other in an effective way.

Let’s examine some of these core problems, how they’re affecting our remote work environment, and how we could overcome them to build a better future for ourselves.

Poorly Optimized Substitutions

One of the biggest problems here is what we’ll call “poorly optimized substitutions.� In the physical work environment, we’re used to doing work in a specific way, but this isn’t always possible or productive in a digital work environment. For example, let’s say you held a team meeting every morning for 30 minutes, wherein you’d all touch base, set an agenda for the day, and split off to different workstations.

In a remote environment, you don’t naturally run into each other, nor do you have a physical meeting room. Many businesses respond to this by providing a substitute: in this case, a 30-minute video call. The problem is, this video call won’t work as well as the in-person meeting; you’ll be dealing with inferior video and audio, less consistent participation, interruptions, and other issues. In the end, this forces you to spend more time, get less done, and keep up routines and rituals that you probably didn’t need in the first place. Instead of reinventing work for a digital environment, too many employers are simply substituting inferior options for what they had before, and it’s wrecking productivity.

The Barrage of Notifications

Working from home is possible in part because of the sheer number of communication platforms available to organizations. Employees can stay in touch with each other using project management platforms, instant message platforms, emails, chat rooms, video calls, and regular phone calls. It’s great, because each medium has its own pros and cons, and you can call upon different mediums for different situations and needs.

However, this also comes with a major drawback: notifications. The average employee is now using dozens of different platforms, and their leaders and coworkers are accustomed to getting near-instant responses when they send a message or post an update. As a result, the average employee is getting a constant stream of notifications, and it’s almost impossible to keep up with. Each notification serves as a distraction, pulling them away from the work that maters most, and adds stress to an already-stressful environment.

Hours, Pay, and Incentives

Working from home can also introduce an incentive problem. In a traditional, physical work environment, there’s already an issue with how some people are compensated. They’re required to stay in a physical space from 9 to 5, and they’re paid a salary that assumes they’re working 40 hours a week. But what happens when you’re working from home and you’re done with work 3 hours early? Should you draw things out to fill out your time? You won’t make any more money by getting done faster and asking for more work to do, so why not do the bare minimum and continue collecting your fixed salary?

The flexible nature of remote work, combined with fewer meetings and less direct supervision, is creating a recipe for employee exploitation. Few people are incentivized to do the best possible job; instead, they’re incentivized to kill time and do the bare minimum.

Isolation and Loneliness

It’s also important to note the possibility of damaging long-term effects from isolation and loneliness. Many employees start working from home with optimism and excitement; they hate getting interrupted by small talk with coworkers, and can’t wait to have some peace and quiet in which to do their work. But several months into the remote work environment, it’s a different story—the loneliness starts getting to you, and you start missing even the most annoying human interactions you used to have in a physical work environment.

This problem tends to be an insidious one, rarely noticed until it’s already manifested. If organizations continue working from home, it could turn into a near-universal problem for workers in the months and years to come.

The Solutions

So what are the solutions to these problems? Obviously, each issue has its own impact and its own potential range of solutions, but these approaches stand to help the situation in many different ways:

  • Entrepreneurship. If you’re currently unsatisfied with the experience you have with your current employer, you could leave and try to start your own company. It’s easier than ever, now that remote work is becoming the norm; not only will you save a ton of money by not leasing an office, you’ll also have access to potential employees from all over the world. In fact, it seems likely that we’ll see an explosion in entrepreneurship and innovation in the years to come because of this.
  • Ground-up reworks. Many of these problems stem from organizations trying to translate everything they did in a physical environment to a remote environment. Remote environments cannot accommodate this translation perfectly. Instead of this approach, it’s important for organizations to consider and execute full, ground-up reworks of how they do business. In other words, don’t transfer your work from physical to digital; rebuild your work structures for the digital environment.
  • Employee independence and autonomy. Organizations can also benefit from giving their employees more independence and autonomy. At the end of the day, your employees are the ones doing the productive work for your company; if you’ve recruited and hired the right people, you should trust them to get the job done. Give them more freedom to do work the ways they want to do it, and they’ll end up doing a more efficient job.
  • Diverse options. Everyone suffers from the problems associated with work-from-home tech in different ways, and has different preferences for working. Accordingly, the best approach is to create a diversity of different options for employees, both within a single organization and while including a number of different organizations.

Technology has given us an important opportunity to transform the way we work, which is especially important while dealing with the circulation of a highly infectious disease. However, the introduction of these new technologies (and our reliance on them) has also introduced new problems for us to deal with. We need to be acutely aware that our approaches to remote work are imperfect, and at times counterproductive, if we want to move forward in the best possible way.

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Grow inside sales Sales Software

Walnut Secures $2.5M in Seed Round Led by NFX to Enable Remote Sales

walnut secures seed round

Product demonstrations are a staple of the sales world. But when everyone is working in separate spots, putting one on isn’t as easy as it used to be.

Many salespeople have embraced Zoom. But screen-sharing doesn’t solve the first half of the equation: the demo itself. A PowerPoint presentation looks amateurish, and screenshots simply can’t show live action. Showing the actual product in real-time risks an embarrassing failure.

To find out what the remote sales world needs, I checked in with Yoav Vilner, Walnut’s co-founder and CEO. Walnut just raised $2.5 million in seed funding to roll out an inside sales platform that re-imagines how demos work, while substantially increasing their conversion rate.

Led by venture capital group NFX, the round also received investments from other Silicon Valley leaders. Wix CEO Avishai Abrahami; Graph Ventures partner Matt Wyndowe; Plangrid co-founder Kenny Stone; Mercury CEO and former YCombinator PT partner, Immad Akhund; and Roundforest CEO Alon Gamzu also joined the round

What’s Vilner’s vision, and what can Walnut do that other sales demo platforms can’t? To Vilner, it’s about two things: a codeless approach, and analytics.

Sales Tech for the Non-Technical

Once a product demo is set up and executives seated, a single salesperson can manage the affair. But behind the scenes, all sorts of other team members may be involved.

Putting together a single demo shouldn’t take a clown car. If websites can be built with drag-and-drop tools, why not product demonstrations?

To Vilner, that’s the question sales leaders should be asking. Graphic designers, R&D staff, and product managers are highly paid professionals. With Walnut, sales teams can put together live demonstrations without back-end help.

Walnut’s “storylines� — templates for demos built around past successes and for specific use cases — make it easy for salespeople to tell an engaging story.

Underscoring the stakes of showcasing products in real-time, Vilner points to the now-infamous release of a Windows 98 feature. As Bill Gates began the live event, he was shocked to see the “blue screen of death� flash on the projector screen. Although Gates took the snafu in stride, it could’ve been a major setback for the operating system.

While technology has changed immensely since 1998, the stress and fear that salespeople feel around live presentations haven’t. Layer on the remote element of today’s product demos, and there are more opportunities for something to go wrong than ever.

Even if nothing goes wrong in a sales demo, however, doesn’t mean everything has gone right. To ensure product presentations are effective, Walnut has focused on a second area of the tool: analytics.

Removing Guesswork With Analytics

The ultimate sign of a demonstration gone right is simple: whether the audience invests in the product and converts to a paying client. But there’s always more data to dig into, from presentation length to actual human behavior, which Walnut will use to predict and match the right demo to the right client.

“Our mission is to turn inside sales from an art to a science,� Vilner said. “By doing so, we can remove the guesswork from the methods with which tech companies currently sell their products, mostly relying on the human touch and personal talents of salespeople.�

Sales work will always call for the human touch. But by automating things like templatization and data capture, Walnut frees salespeople up for things like networking and negotiation.

For obvious reasons, investors are interested in solutions that save sales teams, time. But that’s not the only reason Walnut has attracted investors’ attention.

What Investors See in Demo Tech

Product demos can make a night-and-day difference for sales teams. A study by independent researcher Knowledge Networks PDI found live demos lifted sales by 475%, boosting the wider product line’s sales by 177%.

Those figures vary by industry, but the big picture does not. Gigi Levy-Weiss, NFX managing partner, highlighted Walnut’s worth to a wide range of sales teams. “Besides having a great team, we found Walnut an appealing investment because it solves a broad-market, cross-vertical problem. Nearly every company has to demonstrate its products live on sales calls.�

Although Walnut doesn’t post its sales figures publicly, Levy-Weiss pointed to Walnut’s popularity among early-bird clients like Varionis and Namogoo. Walnut also has a robust waiting list, Levy-Weiss added.

Walnut may still be a young startup, but its team gives investors confidence. Vilner, a serial entrepreneur who founded Tel Aviv’s flagship marketing firm at the age of 22 and an anti-bullying startup, started the company with Danni Friedland. In his 16 years of software development, Friedland, Walnut’s CTO, founded and sold Javo Analytics to WalkMe. As a senior developer, Friedland worked for The Gifts Project, which was later sold to eBay.

Product demonstrations, much less the wider world of inside sales, will never be a walk in the park. But with Walnut, there’s no need for it to be a nerve-wracking, teamwide slog. And whether remote work is the “new normal� or not, a smarter demo experience sure ought to be.

Image Credit: bongkarnthanyaki; pexels

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