One month into Levarne Let me introduce myself.. My name is Carlijn. I graduated as a food technologist, the study I took was called Food Commerce and Technology, in which I eventually chose the Technology side. The study focuses on 3 aspects, the product development of new and existing food, the processes to get from raw material to finished product and ensuring the quality within the process and the product itself. I always found product development the most fun subject! Before I started at Levarne, I worked for 2 years at Pim.Today, a project management software within the packaging industry. Where I was responsible for the onboarding of new customers, mapping customer project processes and implementing these processes in the application. In addition, I was also involved in devising/developing functionalities to make the application even more attractive to the customers. When I started at Levarne, the variety of clients was a real change. At Pim.Today we also had several customers, but they all had 2 overlapping points, namely retail and packaging. The customers at Levarne do not have this, so it took some getting used to keeping track of what each application can do. Also, the team at Levarne is a lot bigger than at Pim.Today so there are a lot more things coming your way at the same time. Fortunately I can switch easily so I quickly found my way. Also the fact that we program in code at Levarne was something completely new for me. I do not (yet) have a lot of background in the IT world, because we worked with a no-code application at Pim.Today I really had to get used to all the new terms that were thrown at me. The position I had at Pim.Today is very similar. Most of the things I am doing now within Levarne I have also done in the last 2 years. The only difference is the customers and the kind of programming, I still have to get used to that. What is it like to start in a new environment? To give an idea of what it is like to start in a completely new environment, I will do so with the help of an anecdote. How I see it, is that Levarne is currently a fast moving train, with each project as a wagon and all team members already settled on the train. I, as a newcomer to the club, did not have a ticket yet so I was too late to get on the train. I am trying very hard to jump on this moving train as soon as possible, but because of all the new things, this may take longer than I expected. But I am sure I will succeed! The first 3 weeks within Levarne were like a rollercoaster. Fortunately, I started my first day physically at the office, so I felt more involved, which I find very important. After starting the day I was invited to join a meeting about the new design of the Levarne website. This made sure that I was immediately more aware of what is going on at Levarne and what we are doing. My first project was to incorporate the new design into the current website. In this way I could learn the way of working without any pressure from a customer. In addition, I was given some smaller customer tasks in between, so that I could get used to them as well. Little by little I got more responsibilities within my job and I succeeded more and more in keeping up with the moving train. The first customer project that I became closely involved with is the employer profile for our customer Memory. While managing this project, I find out more and more that there are so many more things you need to take into account, and I am still learning. What is your job? Within Levarne I fulfill the function of client coordinator, I will be Rianne’s right hand, sort of speak. Eventually I will have my own clients, for whom I will be responsible. But until I know all the ins and outs of each client, I will work more as a guiding factor of Rianne. I find starting a new job during corona quite difficult, I notice that it is harder to be trained remotely. When I’m sitting at home I can’t really see what others are doing and I also don’t overhear anything of what is going on within the team and with customers. Nevertheless, you do find your way around fairly quickly; for example, we have the Slack chat where you can ask all the team members questions quickly and easily. I do hope that we can all sit together in the office again soon, because that really makes working a lot more fun! I find the young team super fun, you can have really nice conversations with each other besides work. The atmosphere is very open and you immediately feel welcome in the team! Every time we are at the office and the weather is good, we play a game of soccer in the afternoon, this ensures that you are at a different level with each other and makes a workday even more fun! One month into Levarne was originally published in Levarne Cloud Software Service on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. Become relevant by combining GA4 and cross platform events in your customer journey. Become more marketing relevant by combining GA4 and cross platform events in your customer journey. Collect, configure and analyze your data to reach the right audience. As described in previous posts, monolithic application are being replaced by serverless, cloud native applications. This means there are many entry points for our customers to follow their journey throughout the software. For your customer it is irrelevant what kind of technology is used, App or Web, or cross-platform. In order to stay on top of our game there is a huge need of business or KPI reporting to determine the real business performance. GA4 (or Google Analytics 4) is designed for comprehensive user analysis. With the launch of GA4, Google has set in motion its biggest changes to Google Analytics in its history. The new system introduces an official framework to facilitate a unified measurement of user interactions and events between web and app for the first time. With the platform set to become the next chapter of KPIs, E-commerce practitioners need to engage now in order to realize its benefits and get a head start. So what is it, how does it work and why can it help you understand your customers better? In the early days of web development and customer behaviour and measuring their ‘clicks’, Google recognized the business need for marketing reporting. And of course to sell their Ads. They introduced Google Analytics 21 years ago and now a new kid is on the block… The days of single session reporting are gone and GA4 is a step closer to closing the gap on cross-platform user journeys with a focus on user acquisition, retention, segmentation and lifetime value. It looks like it’s all about marketing, right? Wrong! It is all about AUTOMATIC EVENT TRACKING Unlike Universal Analytics, where an event was a “hit type”, in GA4 all hits are events. That means that most meaningful events in the browser or app are automatically being captured and sent to the property. This is a benefit to those who are less technical, but could potentially add a lot of noise and confusion within the property by the sheer volume of events available. And with this automatic event tracking of applications, so web and App, the software can introduce the next level of end-user perspective. In business terminology, key performance indicators and reporting can bring the must needed insides while defining a cloud native application implementation. As most of these architectures rest on Event management, APIs and serverless functions, user activities are more than clicks on a web page. In order to track these customer journeys in an automated way, customer dimensions and metrics are added in the implementation of GA4. So custom dimensions and metrics are a powerful way to send custom data to Google Analytics. Cloud developers can use custom dimensions and metrics to segment and measure differences between logged in and logged out users, authors of pages, levels in games, or any other business data you have on a customer journey! In GA4, custom dimensions and metrics are automatically created for you from your event parameters, so to set a custom dimension or metric, you simply create a custom event parameter. When two events are setting the same parameter, you can merge them into a single dimension. In conclusion, API calls, user journeys and old school clicks are now combined in advance business reporting, real time event reporting. Your marketing strategy and outcome, while using a different cross-platform customer journey, can be measured within minutes. Why wait, switch to newer digital products and start using cloud native strategies. According to their own documentation, GA4 is the future of Google Analytics and will be the platform that will receive continued updates and maintenance. Google Analytics 4 is prepared to withstand the inevitable blow that data compliance regulations like GDPR and CCPA will have on the accuracy of your reporting. In addition to that, the cross device and cross platform tracking capabilities in GA4 are far superior to that of previous versions of Analytics and will continue to evolve over time as new technologies get released. If you are a website and app owner, GA4 closes a much needed gap in the user journey and will take your analytics game to new heights. Become relevant by combining GA4 and cross platform events in your customer journey. was originally published in Levarne Cloud Software Service on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. The absolute need for User Identity Management and Authentication What internet businesses need to know about the new European regulation 🤓 With the rise of the on-demand economy, consumers now have plenty of choices, especially when it comes to digital products. If they don’t find from your company what they’re looking for, they will find it elsewhere. People now expect instant access and personalized, frictionless experience. So having a complex and advanced communication channel that doesn’t serve this purpose won’t be of many benefits to your business. The hundreds of daily brand messages bombarding users do not do any help as well. With such a fierce competition, superior customer experience may be one of the few ways left for companies to stand out and gain loyal customers. “ Customer obsession ” is an integral part of this process, and this is what many companies struggle to achieve. To step up the game, attract customers and then turn them to brand advocates and ambassadors, companies need a perfect understanding of their target audience. It is no longer enough to recognize the audience in a single-channel; Companies must understand and analyze every human interaction with their brand through all touchpoints. The seamless and relevant consumer experience is not only for marketing but for the business as a whole. Gathering data from multiple touchpoints and connecting them to a persistent identity is the foundation of a privacy-safe way for people-based marketing. Tying all gathered user-data facilitate in-depth targeting, measurement and analysis. User-identity will then enable marketers to determine consumer identity across digital channels and allows them to set a customer-centric strategy and build trust with users. Connecting data points in the digital world are easier said than done. If done right, the user identity graph obtained will become a balance sheet worthy asset that can be monetized. With this competition going on, companies who get it right will thrive, while those who don’t, won’t. Netflix is a perfect example: with a set of key applications supporting a wide range of devices and formats, the company makes it easy for the user to identify themselves, whether from a mobile device or the TV. Gone are the days when companies relied on just one technology suite. Today, they rely on a broad portfolio of CRM, marketing and security solutions to optimize their operations and protect their customers. The result: they have a complex network of interconnected systems, which requires sufficient information sharing to deliver quality experiences to end-users. Losing a potential customer due to painful user experience is unacceptable for modern business. Thanks to good identity management, from the creation of an account to the connection, companies can now design tailor-made, dynamic customer journeys based on each user’s level of engagement. These modern solutions can eliminate the need for passwords and usernames, simplifying the first experience with a business. According to Harvard Business Review, customers with the best experiences spend 140% more than the other . The correlation between experience and customer satisfaction is obvious, but the real challenge is to successfully design systems that offer a seamless engagement for the user, without sacrificing security. Identity management can, therefore be the common thread that unites systems (CRM, marketing, etc.) and ensures that customers receive the right information at the right time. You can define client identity and access management as a way to manage authentication and authorization of client identities. It usually involves software or a third-party platform that allows users to register identities and create accounts. At the same time, you manage provisioning, activity and security on the web or mobile service. The best solutions are capable of securing customers, tackle business processes exactly the way companies need them by providing a full range of functionality: Customer registration Self-service account management Consent and preference management Multi-factor authentication Software allows you to manage based on user attributes to make sure authorized clients have the access they need, and others cannot go where they are not permitted. Technically, solutions are designed to interact with a variety of systems and applications smoothly. Any business that makes daily connections with customers should already have started implementing a user system. If you are still wondering what modern user identity software can offer your business, here is a list of features that the right identity and customer access management system will provide: A single view of the customer Your customer identity solution seamlessly links user authentication and authorization data to other business functions such as customer management, sales, marketing, business intelligence and support services. Transparent customer experience It offer frictionless access methods such as password-less access which make the customer experience quick and easy, thus encouraging them to come back and explore more of your digital services. Advanced security feature It allows you to facilitate the process of registration and will enable the self-provision of services to the customer as well as the access levels and the access duration granted. More importantly, any user identity software must be able to quickly and efficiently identify where there may be problems or attacks. It should dynamically adapt real-time security requirements in response to situational risk factors. Confidentiality and regulatory compliance It must provide customers with insights and control over what data you hold, how it’s used and where it’s shared according to European regulations. The absolute need for User Identity Management and Authentication was originally published in Levarne Cloud Software Service on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. Why prototyping is essential for a business manager If you think that prototypes are an unjustified design tool, then hold on because you’re about to see how powerful this tool is for business managers, especially with tough competition and tight budgets. What is prototyping? In general, prototyping is the process of creating a functional version that can be in all shapes and sizes, and for almost every kind of industry. It is used in real-world scenarios to share, communicate, and get quick feedback on an idea that will help you validate the product. Questions like “ How and will this work?” in markets changing at lightning speed can be frustrating. A successful business manager will have to learn to adapt to new ways of working as quickly as possible. Here is why prototyping is an indispensable tool for tackling business problems and improving customer experience. Prototype: a visual representation Not every idea fails because it is not good enough. Many products or services might seem perfect and well-thought-out, but upon production or implementation, difficulties arise. For that reason, prototyping allows you to see the kinks in your idea and address them appropriately. Prototypes Vs. Business Plan What are the chances of misunderstanding from reading a paper document? Pretty high, right? Imagine unifying all parties around a shared vision, where no imagination or any degree of interpretation is required. This is the second advantage of prototyping. Investors want to see the effort you’ve put into extensively reviewing the possible causes of product failure and minimizing them. It allows you to show upper management what exactly you will produce with no “fill in the gaps”; as well as this will encourage stakeholders to take you more seriously than a business manager who approaches them with just a unique idea. Another powerful, cost-effective reason to create a prototype is to have a tangible product that you can test. Users will be able to identify problems early when fixing them is still inexpensive. Even after you’ve done your extensive market research, you might be considering including a particular feature that turns out to be unnecessary. Instead, you might have missed something that customers consider essential and would have been expensive to add later. Validating your assumptions is an extra primary step that prototyping allows so you can be more confident while creating the right thing. Is prototyping right for small businesses? Even if your business is just starting up and exclusively focusing on a niche market, you will still benefit from prototyping. Prototypes will help your business gain the customer base it needs, and you will be able to direct your time and resources to move one step closer to success. While prototypes can be applied to all kinds of businesses, digital projects are the easiest. Extensive planning is crucial in traditional projects because changing direction once the project has started can be restrictive. However, in digital projects, experimenting is easy and affordable, and you can always build, test, and improve ideas as you move forward. 10 Steps for successful market testing: Assign a person in charge : If you are not the person in charge, assign a member with strong management skills to coordinate the product development and delivery process. Ask for an informative schedule and project plan with all steps involved in creating and running the market test. Work with specialist : Consult an expert to help you simplify the process and avoid costly mistakes. Make sure to protect your intellectual property before the test run Create the prototype Test the product : Identify the essential characteristics of your customers and test those attributes repeatedly. Run focus group : Gather feedback and opinion from as many informed people as possible. Make improvement : Use this opportunity to make changes based on feedback and then retest your product to evaluate your changes. Industry testing : Try to get feedback on your prototype from industry-related events. Develop a marketing strategy : Set clear marketing objectives, strategies, and tactics for your market segments. Develop a marketing plan : Organise and implement the marketing tactics, plan your sales and marketing activities. You cannot afford not to prototype You no longer need to miss deadlines and lose opportunities due to a lack of clarity. Prototyping reduces time spent in meetings trying to agree on a direction and resolve misunderstandings, resulting in fewer changes and amendments-associated costs. Don’t rush into a project; start with a prototype, and we guarantee it will save you time and money in the long run. Why prototyping is essential for a business manager was originally published in Levarne Cloud Software Service on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. How much does it cost to build a cloud application? Suppose you are starting up a new company or service and you want a modern web application. Or you are looking for a way to facilitate your customers even better with a native app in addition to your current services. The big question that arises; what does such an application cost? Levarne provides insight into this question by means of a calculator . How does this work? We have created an interactive calculator , with which you can easily get an estimation of the costs. To meet your business needs as accurately as possible, the tool offers you a choice of combinations of different functions and platforms. It works like a kind of menu. For each topic you can choose from various functionalities where you can choose which ones apply to your application. The more functions, the higher the price will be. The tool describes what the functionalities specifically entail. Multidisciplinaire team To develop the application, we work with a multidisciplinary team on the end result. Read our article about why multidisciplinary teams are the future here . In order to achieve a successful end result, we work with the profiles below during this project. Quotation While clicking you will immediately see the consequences of adding a certain functionality to the price. This way you can already see which “nice to have” functions you want to add or not, to the 1st version of the application. When you have clicked on all the functionalities you will receive a quote with a complete cost overview. This is an indication of the price. In an additional meeting we jointly determine what the final result will be, we are happy to advise you on this. The delivery date can also influence the final price. Go to the calculator here . How much does it cost to build a cloud application? was originally published in Levarne Cloud Software Service on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. What is serverless and why is it important for the choice of a new software project? Traditional system developments have changed significantly over the past 20 years due to the availability of open source systems and components. Because every project can start with this availability, there is no longer any need to build on elementary building blocks such as data storage, search systems or a way to send notifications to end users. More on Minimum & Viable on a seperate posting! Serverless or running code without the need for a server seems like a utopia. Let’s try to get this clear. First, the concept is contradictory in itself. After all, how do you want to perform without at least a server being involved? So there are indeed servers at the basis of this service. The bottom line is that functionality is made available at an abstract level for the benefit of the developers. As a result, they no longer have to worry about infrastructural and operational issues. This allows them to fully focus on writing code. Many of the current functionalities such as logging in, even single sign-on functionality or logging in with a social media account is available for use in a project. If such a building block is used in production systems, maintenance becomes important. Maintenance means nothing more or less than keeping track of dependencies in this (open) source. This includes fixed bugs, software errors and improvements through advancing insights. The code produced in a new project is therefore ready for sharing, and is reused through libraries. The “own” code is therefore small, limited and easy to read and maintain. A pitfall is to use outdated open source blocks, or to use more dependencies in the project without added value. If your own code remains limited, these building blocks can be divided into separate services or programs. The logic of this is not new, problems are thus divided into sub-problems. Separate solutions for each sub-problem are combined into an end result. This has resulted in a concept to allow blocks of code to be executed separately instead of all the code in a large program. Rather ten functions that solve ten sub-problems than a large program that solves everything. That is exactly the basis of functions or services as they are used now. A serverless function is nothing more than a piece of code, with the aim of a partial solution. Example is to confirm a newly logged in user. If this user enters his data, these are processed in a function, which then calls other functions, such as create user, send e-mail for confirmation and prepare an environment for the user. Every other function is therefore also a separate piece of code, which can be called independently and where the functions do not know about each other. Why is this important? First, the speed and flexibility of development. Any partial solution can be easily replaced without complicated testing or accepting large chunks of program code. Each function can be used separately, if speed or performance has to be adjusted this can be done immediately, again without dependencies on other functions. Furthermore, the code can be run on any environment, regardless of geography or supplier. For example, a serverless application can run on multiple cloud providers at the same time! All of these benefits come with a number of drawbacks, such as high complexity and a life cycle per function that must be tracked. This increased complexity is now being offered at very competitive pricing, often the functions are only charged for when used. On the other hand, this means that a single start-up sequence of source code is experienced as a slow response. Conclusion, serverless is scalable, flexible and can be deployed at an increased speed. The costs of development, speed of delivery and simple software maintenance can accelerate this new way of software systems in the cloud. Keep in mind that this does mean that the one-time start-up of the program code that is required, is experienced as a slow ‘server’ response. It reacts slowly at an initial start. What is serverless and why is it important for the choice of a new software project? was originally published in Levarne Cloud Software Service on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.