Friday, January 09, 2009

A Recession Strategy for Web Apps

Designing focus during hard economic times ...

"In hard economic times, web-based applications are now an important element in an organization's survival and growth strategy. Recessions are all about cutting waste and focusing in on activities that will have immediate, positive outcomes.

Whether they are public-facing or used internally, web-based applications can touch every business function. Because of their inexpensive deployment and their ease of updating, they are ideal for short, targeted activities.

In a recession, these benefits become magnified. The trick, when developing web apps in a tight economy, is to keep your eye on the ball. When the team is focused on ensuring their designs produce solid business results, they get solid management support and help the organization keep things moving.

Match Up With Executive Priorities

For the last few years, we've been studying how the best teams succeed at staying focused on the business. When we talk with executives during this research, it's often easy to see what they are focusing on. In both good times and difficult periods, there are only so many ways to help an organization grow.

In fact, there are only five executive priorities: increase revenue, reduce costs, increase new customers (market share), increase business from existing customers, and increase shareholder value. It's important to understand how your design matches up with each priority, so you know where to put resources and what to emphasize.

Increasing Revenue

The web now plays a strategic role in selling. In e-commerce, the checkout process is the engine that drives the sale. Even in organizations where revenue comes from an offline sales process, such as hospital services or university admissions, web applications can help support the sales process.

A key component is to "grease the sleds" by ensuring that all pre-purchase questions are answered promptly. How much will it cost to ship? How will we get this installed? What is the total cost of the purchase? Calculators and configuration tools are integral to today's revenue generating process."    (Continued via UIE, Jared Spool)    [Usability Resources]

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