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12 July 2020

Using the Optimal Customer Journey to Develop your Business Applications with the AZUR Innova Framework by Jean-Louis Lalonde, CEO of AZUR Group

Digital transformation isn’t just driving today’s business landscape—it’s fundamentally reshaping how companies conceive, develop and market their software solutions. The focus on the customer is sharper than ever, with a heightened understanding of how their needs are to be met.

But how do I define the best experience for my customers?

Every moment in the process of purchasing or using a service online must be fluid, intuitive and satisfying. This is what we call “Optimal Customer Journey”, during which all stages of the process take place with resourceful answers. The customer journey mapping (CJM) aims to describe it by examining the user experience, both individual and collective, as stories lived by personas.

And how do I implement the best experience for my customers?

This is where at AZUR Group we have invested in R&D efforts to reduce the cost and the risks of such project. The AZUR Innova responsive platform provides a modern technology architecture with flexible and reusable software functions to bridge CJM with the Agile development of efficient and innovative business applications.

The CJM approach centers on user experience (UX) with the core goals and principles of usability, efficiency, utility and ergonomy. User experience is about more than ease of use—it’s about what and how someone feels while using a site or an application. Usability is about analyzing the interaction between the user and the system in order to improve the “computer” part of the relationship. A company’s site or application isn’t worth much if people don’t know how to interact with and benefit from it. The UI/UX analysis is done through three workshops: Personas, Value Stream Mapping and User Journey.

Personas represent groups of people with similar behaviors, motivations and goals.

They contain vital information such as age, skills and device usage statistics, but also information on work habits, goals and objectives, challenges and frustrations, motivations, what they like and, crucially, what they would like.

The design team and analysts remain focused on the end-user, with realistic designs based on what users can and want to do. Personas are tools that assist decision-making in software design. Use case scenarios, methods of interaction, functions and features, and information architectures must all be conceived to allow personas’ users achieve their desired goals under the best conditions.

Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is about describing the current situation and then proposing improvements that add value from the customer’s point of view, with the aim of removing those that do not add value.

The User Journey analysis documents the user’s experience when using and interacting with the software and describes the different steps required to successfully complete a task. This is done by first adopting the user’s perspective by quantifying the importance and impact of frictions, obstacles and obstruction points. New possibilities are being found to improve interactions.

CJM adds significant value to the process of development and implementation of the solution, and on several levels. First, risk is reduced, since not a single line of code is written before having evaluated the value, scope and budget of the minimum viable product (MVP), which is essentially a first working version of a cloud application that contains enough features and functionalities to permit satisfying customer usage.

CJM facilitates and drives Agile development, which is also focused on and driven by user needs paired with a commitment to always being able to adapt and shift as required. Agile enables faster prototyping and development, which facilitates rolling out MVPs ready for client use in as little as a few months.

The popular Scrum methodology, consisting of development sprints based on product backlogs, is flexible because certain needs can become more and more accurate over time and software functions can then be re-prioritized or relayed to a later cycle. Development becomes not just faster but leaner.

“AZUR Innova Framework is designed to bridge the Customer Journey Mapping with the Agile development of data management solutions.”

The AZUR Innova Framework is designed to bridge the CJM with the implementation of the cloud applications. It follows Google Angular Material Design UX/UI standards, with a mobile-first design that’s responsive for use on mobile, tablet and desktop/laptop devices. It allows flexible layouts with configurable sections, forms, grids, graphs and widgets. Test scenarios are automated, and the architecture is ready to showcase AI results with next best action capabilities.

AZUR Innova offers two development modes depending on client strategic vision and budget.

Project mode or Partnership mode through our 7 stages incubator process. Project mode provides a customized solution tailored to the client’s specific needs. It’s a regular development approach whose total cost is absorbed by the client; over time, the software will be improved and supported by the client. In Project mode, it’s necessary to plan an update of the technologies that support the solution via a modernization project every 3 to 5 years.

There are some obvious advantages to Project mode. The solution is highly customized, since it’s initially built around the organization’s existing processes, and is entirely the client’s property. It’s created to function sufficiently using the client’s material and equipment, with server capacity managed over its lifespan by the client, who also assumes the costs. The solution is flexible and can be modified and updated according to the client’s evolving needs. In terms of security, an application developed for a single client attracts less attention from external hackers, but it’s still fortified by best security practices in order to prevent malicious manipulations.

Partnership mode provides a scalable SaaS solution based on common market needs. Its developed at a reduced cost and with a faster turnaround time since the size of the MVP is adjusted to the optimal scope.

Industry-standard features are created by analyzing market and the application is regularly updated according to deployment calendars in order to reduce churn. Improvement and support costs are shared by all customers. The solution can be delivered at reduce cost, and the client can receive IP royalties.

A benefit to partnership is that the SaaS solution’s commercial potential is validated before a single line of code is written. This allows the MVP of the new solution to be identified, along with its budget and sources of grants and funding. With a solution in Partnership mode, some AI algorithms must be embedded in the system to optimize the user experience and make it highly competitive worldwide.

AZUR Innova provides a new future vision to our partners. A solution offered in SaaS mode allows to demonstrate their industry specific know-how. Moreover, the partner is able to finance its modernization projects by generating additional revenues from its IP royalties. Collaboration with government agencies creates synergy around common issues, instead of silo development of the same functions that increases challenges and costs. A solution used by many similar customers enforces a more robust security integration.

Find out more about how AZUR Innova can drive innovation in your organization’s offerings while bringing added value through the Optimal Customer Journey and partnership options.