Sometimes when I visit my neighborhood green grocer or the medical store, I see a sales representative standing by the counter taking down sales orders for products from the store owner and telling him about new products that are available.
Until around five years ago the sales guy used to have a notebook and pen with him to take down sales orders and he would have a ream of printed sheets of what I assume was dealer stock. These days the sales guys have mostly done away with the paper based method in favor of 10 inch mini-laptops that are tethered to a USB broadband stick that they use for entering orders, checking stock and looking up data for new products and offers.
There is a good chance that five years on the sales guys are likely to stop coming all-together. Here is why:
I bought an iPad at a local family owned electronics store in Mumbai recently and in the process had a fantastic experience that really hit home the point on ROI in mobility.
I selected the iPad I wanted, I started walking towards the cash register and the power went out in the entire block.
If you are serious about selling something today, you are probably trying to sell it in more than one place. If you have a physical store you are selling it there, you probably also have a web store, and a mobile store, and a call center, maybe even a door to door selling strategy run by agents.
A classic example is the airline industry. An airline today sells the exact same airplane seat on their own website, through their mobile store front, at the ticketing window at airports that they fly to, via their call-center, on third-party online travel portals, and via travel agents operating out of physical offices that are connected to the airline’s central reservation system!
You have obviously invested serious money into these channels. How do you know if your investment in any of these channels is generating additional revenue? How can you tell if your investment in the mobile app you got done has generated a return?
It’s 4 PM on a breezy September afternoon and you are strolling through the myriad of streets that crisscross Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This area happens to have one of the world’s highest concentrations of cafes and eating joints. The urge to have a coffee and a snack hits you. There are two to three Au Bon Pains, a Peet’s Coffee & Tea, a couple of Dunkin Donuts outlets, Starbucks stores and so many more – all within a few hundred feet of you.
Which establishment will get your business today?
A careful specification and adherence of non-functional requirements such as performance, security, privacy and availability are crucial to the success or failure of any software system. To see why, imagine if your bank’s website were to display the following disclaimer on its homepage: “We do not guarantee the security of your personal data or your account information while transacting on our online-banking portal”. Will you still use it? Almost certainly not!