How to improve all your business metrics through digital best practices

This article is a summary of the keynote presentation I gave at the Nimbus 90 Ignite event in London on Monday.

Modern businesses need to become more engaging, responsive and efficient. To achieve this, they need to focus on stronger digital deliverables, agile processes and automate much more than they do today.

Many businesses still struggle to define what digital really means, so we have come up with 12 “best practices” which include:

  1. Business Focussed Solutions (not technical)
  2. Self-service (for everyone)
  3. Try stuff (Fail fast/ learn quickly)
  4. (Very) regular releases
  5. Easy to use and regular multi variate testing
  6. Value dashboards
  7. Easier integration (e.g. APIs)
  8. Multi-device
  9. New business models (e.g. marketplace, sharing economy…)
  10. Culture of Innovation
  11. Bots/ automation
  12. Two way conversations

When we start a workshop with a customer, we focus on each of these digital best practices. We then challenge existing processes or applications. For example, we might ask the sales team how customers can self-service themselves, or how many customers are frustrated that they can’t use a specific app on a mobile or tablet device. Continue reading How to improve all your business metrics through digital best practices

The safe view of autonomous cars

A former GM car factory in Detroit
Credit: Thomas Hawk on Flickr

There are three key factors which affect car insurance – accidents (claims), theft, and the policy holder.

Here’s a thought about autonomous cars and accidents: “A total of 25,160 people were killed or seriously injured in the year ending September 2016, up by 6 per cent from the previous year, and 182,560 casualties of all severities.” Of that 25,160, around 5% are caused by drink-driving. The current estimate is that 1,380 people were killed or seriously injured when at least one driver was over the limit.

Whilst these figures only overlap by a few months (the drink driving numbers are for the year 2015), let’s combine them as there’s nothing to suggest there was any statistical anomalies around that time.

According to the Institute of Advanced Motorists, “in 2014 driver/rider error or reaction were cited as contributory factors in 74% of accidents”. I doubt driver or rider skills changed much between 2014 and 2016, so some simple maths shows that around 18,618 people were killed or seriously injured by a car driver or rider who was at fault for the accident. Continue reading The safe view of autonomous cars

When did it get so complicated?

This should be the logo for the new LinkedIn

In January LinkedIn released its new user interface. It’s now four months later and the user interface is still as shocking as its January release. Some of the best, unique, features of LinkedIn such as ‘who connects me to this person’ are hidden from view.

Do you want to refuse to link to someone because you don’t know them? The “I don’t know this person” notification appears out of immediate eye focus, so a. it’s hard to see and b. you need to either move the mouse (or your finger on the mobile version).

And the speed of the site is appallingly slow, with that irritating loading icon on every screen. LinkedIn owner’s, Microsoft, might as well show a rotating hourglass for nostalgia. Continue reading When did it get so complicated?

2017 digital predictions

This is now the seventh year of my digital predictions for the forthcoming twelve months (see here for 2016).

Supermarket checkouts - RIP in 2017 from Amazon Go?
Supermarket checkouts – RIP in 2017 from Amazon Go?

There are industry commentators and research analysts who release their predictions for the coming year. But I’m the only one brave enough to mark their homework at the end of the year! Last year I scored a respectable 61%.

Although President Trump and Brexit-at-some-point won’t have a direct impact on technology, there will be an indirect impact on consumer prices and investments into startups. Whether this affects the technology market in 2017 or later is difficult to say. Continue reading 2017 digital predictions

My Favourite Gadget, Book and App in 2016

Every year I list my favourite gadget, book and app from the last twelve months, so here they are for 2016:

Favourite gadget

A smartwatch. I never expected them to be this useful.

During the summer I ran my first marathon and bought a running watch to track my runs. The watch, a Garmin Forerunner 235, has a number of smartwatch features, including alerts that show on my phone, such as text messages, calls, Facebook alerts and so on, also show on my watch.

The watch also has a step and sleep counter, which I’d never as useful beforehand, but the step counter is moderately addictive. I can tell how well I sleep – I don’t need a watch to tell me.

Although the user interface on the watch is terribly over complicated, I still love the watch. Friends who have an Apple Watch still need to charge them daily, and the Forerunner can last at least a week.

Favourite book

The book that stopped me tweeting before boarding flights

I haven’t read as many books this year, but my favourite was ‘So you’ve been publicly shamed’ by Jon Ronson. I like Ronson’s style of writing, and I’m constantly worried (and telling the kids) of the dangers of a simple social media update upsetting others.

If you are interested in social networks, I thoroughly recommend the book. Since reading the book I try not to tweet when I’m boarding a plane, just in case autocorrect strikes.

Favourite app

I have a few friends who have started producing podcasts, and they use Podbean. I’ve been using the Podbean app for a while, but I still don’t find it very intuitive. It could be much simpler.

My favourite app for 2016 was Google Maps. Google have released a number of new, really good features. As a family we travel all over the UK. Google Maps has excellent voice recognition and smart route navigation, taking real-time traffic into account. But the 2016 killer feature is being able to search for something en-route, such as a petrol station or a specific restaurant. This is also voice controlled, and results are shown along the route.

 

This leaves me to wish everyone who reads this site, and your family, a wonderful holiday period, together with a healthy, happy and prosperous new year.

Five trends from The Future of General Insurance event

Describing key insurance trends at The Future of General Insurance event
Describing key insurance trends at The Future of General Insurance event

This week I spoke at The Future of General Insurance event about our latest Insurance Industry Technology Trends report at Endava. Here’s a brief summary of the presentation.

Endava works in many industries, and we can see what companies outside of insurance do really well, that insurers can learn from. We have found 20 ‘trends’, of which we covered five most relevant ones to general insurers at the conference:

  • IoT (Internet of Things) are slowly redefining how consumers perceive ‘insurance’
  • Moving to mobile first interfaces
  • Using social media
  • The use of digital marketing in the insurance industry
  • Building self-service into systems

Continue reading Five trends from The Future of General Insurance event

Points to consider when designing your next mobile app

Percentage of people who have disagreements with their partner due to their mobile phone usage, by age from Deloitte Mobile Consumer 2016 report
Percentage of people who have disagreements with their partner due to their mobile phone usage, by age

According to Deloitte’s Mobile Consumer Survey 2016 report, mobile hasn’t just reached saturating point (over 80% of the UK now owns a smartphone – and still annually growing at 7%), it’s become embedded in our day to day (and night to night) lives. We don’t just own a smartphone, we let it take over our lives – foregoing sleep or partner and friends asking us to put the thing away.

Here are the highlights and takeaways (all are UK statistics, from 3,251 respondents) from the Deloitte Mobile Consumer 2016 report:

  • 10% of smartphone owners check their device immediately on waking up, with over two thirds of us checking our phone within 30 minutes of rising.
  • 43% of us check our phones within 30 minutes of going to bed.
Suggestion: next time you want to spend time with your family or friends, forget your phone from Deloitte Mobile Consumer 2016 report
Suggestion: next time you want to spend time with your family or friends, forget your phone
  • Half of smartphone owners aged 18-24 check their phone in the middle of the night (most of whom check the time, instant messages, social media notifications or email). If you’re not in that age bracket, it’s still 48% for 25-34 year olds, 37% of 35-44 year olds and 27% aged 45-54.
  • Next time you’re out with friends in a restaurant checking your email, or supposed to be out with the family, or just crossing the road, remember the two graphs above.

Continue reading Points to consider when designing your next mobile app

UK small businesses and charities still not digital

Six stats from the Lloyds UK Business Digital Index 2016
Six stats from the Lloyds UK Business Digital Index 2016

For many of us who work in the digital industry, we take it for granted that we can use services such as Facebook, JustGiving charity fundraising and email services. According to a survey released this week by Lloyds Bank, only half of UK businesses and charities have the necessary digital skills to improve their business or fundraising.

The number of charities who accept online donations has doubled since 2015 – from 24% to 53%. But even those charities struggle with other digital skills such as email campaigns, using mobile correctly and other optimisation. And back to the figure of 53% of charities accept online donations – this highlights how 47% do not. Continue reading UK small businesses and charities still not digital

Hedge Funds – the latest crowdsourcing industry

Good at math(s)? Then help others earn lots of money through a crowd sourced hedge fund algorithm
Good at math(s)? Then help others earn lots of money through a crowd sourced hedge fund algorithm

Good at maths? (For my American relatives, colleagues and readers, “Are you good at math?”) If you are, then the latest crowdsourcing industry might be lucrative for you… hedge funds.

Websites such as Quantopian, Numerai and Quantiacs allow anyone to create algorithms to make hedge funds more successful. When I say anyone, you’d need to be pretty good at maths and the Python programming language before even starting. Continue reading Hedge Funds – the latest crowdsourcing industry