Archive for December, 2018

Bridge the Tech Design Divide: 14 Ways to Deal with Conflicting Project Goal

December 24th, 2018

New product design is a core component of day-to-day business for many tech companies, but it can come with complications. While it’s often exciting, validating and fun to design a tech product as a team, there’s a real chance for conflict to arise. With so many people invested in the project, there may be multiple goals to be reconciled.

If there are too many or conflicting project goals under consideration it can hamper progress, endanger deadlines and damage the design team’s cohesion. So, what’s the best course for leaders faced with competing product goals? Below, 14 members of Forbes Technology Council offer their advice.

  1. Categorize Your Goals

When you have conflicting goals for a product design, you have to first categorize them as “must have” or “nice to have.” You then prioritize which goals are important for a target market and customers. Get customer feedback and then decide on the goals. – Naresh Soni, Tsunami ARVR

  1. Let the Market Settle Conflict

Gain feedback by asking your target customer base strategically designed discovery questions; ask a minimum of 50 customers. We use the feedback as design inputs and then set the product design goals as a team. This method keeps the design team focused on serving customer needs and avoids internal conflicts and egos. – Ryan Ramkhelawan, CleanEndo

  1. Develop Customer Maps

One of the most important topics to evaluate when a new project arises is how the project will provide benefit to the customer and stakeholder. Therefore, all new projects should be evaluated and aligned with a customer map. Conflicting goals can be easily resolved by assessing what most benefits the customer. – Maria Clemens, Management and Network Services, LLC

  1. Designate A Single ‘Chef’

“Too many chefs spoil the stew” means that too many designers will lead to conflicting goals. Inviting discourse helps to refine goals in the interest of the finished product, but too many decision makers will only cause delays. From the start, decide who makes final decisions to ensure you are moving the product design forward while incorporating feedback from testing and other team members. – Arnie Gordon, Arlyn Scales

  1. Align To Your Company’s Vision

Stick to your company’s vision or to the intended value the product is supposed to deliver. Ask yourself which one of the conflicting goals will make you progress effectively toward the vision or value and decide. – Thiru Sivasubramanian, SE2, LLC

  1. Work Backward From The Customer

Whether conflicting goals come from conflicting business objectives, conflicting design philosophies or just personal preferences on the product team, always try to work backward from what best serves the customers. They give us the right to do business, independent of what’s going on inside the walls of our own companies or the results of our past experiences. – Steve Pao, Hill work, LLC

  1. Make A Data-Driven Decision

We use prioritization matrices to determine which feature has the best overall value to the business. We’ll assign a weight to each business goal (for example, UX, revenue, optimization and so on). Then we’ll rate each feature’s contribution toward each business goal. Once we tally the feature up according to the weighted goals, the features that should be implemented first will pop to the top. – Kathy Keating, Apostrophe, Inc.

  1. Remember the Bottom Line

It’s easy to get swept up in market trends or to want to build a “cool” product. Leaders must always consider the financial ramifications of each decision. For example, time spent trying the latest design trend could instead be spent adding revenue-generating features; don’t lose customers and sales in an effort to make the product flashier. Don’t be afraid to intervene if costs outweigh benefits. – Jason Gill, The HOTH

  1. Abandon Analysis Paralysis

You’re always going to have conflicting priorities, whether in product design, market focus, reporting structure or whatever. The most important thing is to not get stuck in analysis paralysis. Take in all the facts, then make a decision — keeping alive a state of ambiguity is much worse than picking a path you later have to course correct. – Chris Moustakas, DevonWay

  1. Find Ways to Reach Common Ground

Listen to each conflicting goal and hear why it’s important to consider. Find ways to reach common ground or unite the goals. Give everyone time to explain, and make it an inclusive experience. When you decide which goals make the most sense, communicate why to everyone involved. Always make it about the end objective. – Jon Bradshaw, Calendar

  1. Apply The 80% Rule

When planning, there are near-term, long-term and bleeding-edge goals. I’ve always applied the 80% rule to near-term goals. If there’s a conflict on which features or products should get the lion’s share of capital and time, it should be useful and/or asked for by 80% of users. Many really great things are developed and never see success because too few users know how to use them. – Tom Roberto, Core Technology Solutions

  1. Have a Clear Goal in Mind

It takes conflicting views to get the best ideas, through either testing assumptions or trial and error. But without a clear goal the outcomes will be muddled and the product experience will suffer. What is helpful is to focus on objectives and an organization’s grand vision, identifying your end users accurately and working backwards on how a product will solve problems instead of creating them. – Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media LLC

  1. Make Fair and Analytical Decisions

For true conflict items where the team needs to choose “A” or “B” for a major feature, the decision must be made fair and analytical. Ask yourself and your team which feature is (1) most important to our target market? (2) most difficult for a competitor to produce at or above our quality? (3) the least limiting to other aspects of the product? – Bret Piatt, Jungle Disk

  1. Test Mock-ups with Real Users

It is not uncommon to have several goals when building products. The conflict often arises from translating goals to design and attempting to use one design to satisfy many goals. I recommend mocking up and testing several product designs with real users and seeing how many goals can be achieved with specific designs. I have witnessed far too many goals fail based on unproven design assumptions. – Chris Kirby, Retired

Source: All the above opinions are personal perspective on the basis of information provided by Forbes and contributor Expert Panel, Forbes Technology Council.


The Power of Business Intelligence Tools

December 17th, 2018

According to estimates, 80% of global data is unstructured. This data resides in social media feeds, digital photos, emails and audio files, to name a few. Unstructured data can be hard to analyze, which means businesses can fail to utilize the treasure trove of data they have access to. That’s where modern business intelligence tools come in.

We now have access to tools that can collate data from various sources, including apps, websites and blogs, that businesses can use to create actionable reports. In fact, as technology matures to analyze videos and images, business intelligence tools are increasingly becoming more capable of prescriptive analysis.

Prescriptive analytics can not only be used to predict market trends, but it can, in fact, be used to create a simpler, more engaging user experience. Imagine being alerted to an impending arrhythmia based on your recent activity and health trends of people with similar profiles across the globe.

While prescriptive analytics might be a way off, still, there are other immediate benefits that business intelligence tools can offer.

The Power Of Business Intelligence Tools

Business intelligence tools increasingly come with mobile and cloud compatibility, which allows users to access data insights from anywhere. This on-demand access to data insights can allow businesses to have more mobile teams, which also means a wider talent pool to pick from. In addition to intelligence tools’ increasing ease of use, there are three primary reasons why businesses should leverage them.

  1. The Advantage Of The ‘Agile’ Approach

The agile model of the business depends on quick iterations to arrive at the desired outcome. Quick iterations, in turn, rely on testing and data collection, both of which are possible through business intelligence (BI) tools. Moreover, since it is possible to give the entire organization access to the same data, BI tools can facilitate more efficient teamwork. Imagine the entire marketing department having access to insights and tweaking campaigns in real time. Or the entire development team getting reports on app usage and making improvements to UX accordingly.

  1. More Convincing Power

Marketing departments often run into the problem of justifying dollar spend. Proving the ROI of digital marketing, in particular, can be very difficult, given that most organizations implement an omnichannel approach, and most user journeys are divided between various touch points, online and offline.

BI tools can help organizations make sense of all the data that’s pouring in from different sources. By analyzing reports and fetching insights, marketing departments can make better pitches for increased funding.

  1. The Power Of Personalization

BI tools can support a whole host of analytical functions, including online analytical processing, data visualization and performance scorecards. Functions can be combined together to flesh out user personas, which can then be used to improve the personalization of marketing messages. In fact, the agile approach fits perfectly with the quest to improve customer experience and ultimately conversions, with the help of personalization.

A Few Common BI Tools 

Business intelligence tools have grown rapidly in popularity and functionality in the last four years or so. In fact, it is estimated that the BI and analytics software market will be worth more than $20 billion by 2020, with a heavy emphasis on mobile BI.

Contrary to popular belief, not all BI tools are complicated or expensive. There are quite a few easy-to-use options that can provide value to small businesses. Here are some commonly used BI tools in the market today that our clients use and that we work with when analyzing data and making strategic decisions for our clients. These are just a few tools that, in my opinion, have the right mix of functionality, ease of use and affordability.

Microsoft Power BI 

First launched in 2015, Microsoft Power BI is one of the most affordable data analytics tools I’ve seen in the market. It stands out for its data visualization capabilities and real-time trends analysis. With navigation very similar to Microsoft Excel, it is easy to use for Excel power users. In fact, integration with other popular Microsoft tools, such as SQL Server, is seamless. However, if you have large data sets to analyze, Power BI might not be for you. With large data sets, there can be a severe performance lag.


Sisense has simpler dashboards that are still informative. It can handle large data sets with ease, thanks to its columnar approach and efficient use of CPU for speed. However, Sisense is one of the more expensive tools in the market.

IBM Cognos Analytics

This business intelligence tool includes unique products that set it apart from the competition. Analysis tools include what-if analysis, trend analysis and advanced analysis, each of which can help users make better decisions faster. With customized notifications, cross-department analysis and easy scalability, it can be a powerful tool in the right hands but does come at a cost and with a steep learning curve.

Google Data Studio

Free for Google account users, Google Data Studio is a reporting tool that just came out of beta. Since it is a Google product, it integrates seamlessly with other products from the search engine giant, including Google Analytics. Quick and seamless integration means that importing data from your search marketing and advertising efforts is super easy. In my opinion, Google Data Studio really takes the cake in the collaboration department. It offers similar functionalities to other Google products, such as assigning different permissions to team members and being able to share reports with just about anyone.

However, it is not as advanced as some of the more mature BI tools in the market. For instance, it offers pretty basic visualization options, and there is no way to customize the tool tip.


One of the most popular BI tools in the market, Tableau stands out for its intensive data visualization capabilities. It allows you to perform some really complex data visualization tasks with ease. Tableau also has a robust mobile client, which means you can perform analysis duties on the go. However, Tableau can be more expensive, at least for larger organizations.

With the collection of available business intelligence tools, organizations shouldn’t have a problem finding the right product fit. An investment in business intelligence leads to faster and more accurate reporting, moving data to insight and action.

Source: All the above opinions are personal perspective on the basis of information provided by Forbes and contributor Steven Widen.





5 Revenue Generating KPIs for Online Lead Generation

December 11th, 2018


In a world of constant change, data analytics remains the fuel for better customer engagement and personalized brand experiences. Now that customer data arrives from a variety of sources, companies will need to optimize every platform, channel, and touch point to gather consumer information and create a more complete view of their customers.

Despite the plethora of data you collect, without the right data sets and KPIs, it’s almost impossible to know if you’re capturing leads that will generate revenue for your company.

Show me the money: 5 revenue generating KPIs

When thinking about online lead generation, there are 5 revenue generating KPIs that companies should keep in mind when creating their websites: Unique users, conversion rate, close rate, deal value, and revenue per session.

Unique users: When it comes to lead generation, repeat sessions from the same user are typically not beneficial, because additional visits from one person usually don’t generate additional revenue. A majority of companies make the mistake of focusing solely on the number of sessions on the site to determine whether their website is successfully designed.

When creating a lead generation site, companies should be increasing the number of unique users that visit their site, enticing them to perform the desired action.

Conversion rate: Tracking visitors to your site cannot be the end goal. Companies must be able to measure the percentage of sessions that result in the intended action, or visitors that are converting. For a lead generation site, companies should track the percentage of sessions that result in a lead capture fill.

Close rate and closed deal value: Close rate is the percentage of leads that are converted into revenue for your company. A lead that does not become a customer is of little value. The ability to close is usually entirely external to the website, but is still an important metric that affects the websites decisions.

Closed deal value helps companies determine how much a closed deal is worth to the company. Like close rate, this value is measured outside the website, but still affects websites decisions and helps evaluate if the website design is effective.

Revenue per session: Though this metric can be more difficult to track for a site focused on lead generation compared to a retail site, it is valuable for companies to have an estimate of this number. If a lead generation site has a conversion rate of 10%, a close rate of 20%, and a closed deal value of $500, the equation to calculate revenue per session is .10*.20*500= 10. With this in mind, a company should not spend more than $10 for each website visitor it acquires through advertising or other channels.

If your site isn’t generating leads at the level you desire, evaluate the KPIs you’re tracking to ensure you have the right measures in place for success.

Source: All the above opinions are personal perspective on the basis of information provided by Forbes and contributor Lisa James.