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Ideation: solutions and business value

Start your journey into Betty Blocks application development by finding the right solutions and determining the business value.

Updated over a week ago

Low-code application development is a powerful tool businesses can use to solve problems while being flexible and innovative. Embracing easy-to-use visual interfaces and drag-and-drop components, business technologists can find many new advantages and approaches to come up with the best solutions that will bring desired business value and customer satisfaction.

As with any other business process, application development demands a well-organized approach and plan. Therefore, here at Betty Blocks, we want business technologists, citizen developers, and product stakeholders to move together in the right direction, and, depending on the complexity of future applications, carefully define the steps for the software development life cycle.

Gathering ideas

The development life cycle starts with collecting ideas from stakeholders, understanding the pain points, and looking for solutions that Betty Blocks can offer for specific use cases. Whether it’s improving workflow efficiency or implementing a new way of digital security - all of the ideas have to be communicated, written down, mapped, etc. to be later evaluated, and prioritized.

Analyzing problems

Some of your team may know the product’s pain points, as well as your users, especially really picky ones. Nevertheless, it still takes time and effort to identify and process all the issues and their potential solutions. So, what can you do? Let’s set up a small plan.

  • Gather input from key stakeholders. Plan some meetings (one-to-one or group) and dive into your business operations, ask some tough questions, and figure out where things are falling short or where you see the unused potential. Play a bit of a detective or devil’s advocate if needed.

    • Note: For bigger businesses, create a stakeholder list or map first. It will serve as a base for their future involvement.

  • Conduct user research. Reach out to your current (or potential) users. Consider using the existing communication channels: email newsletters, social media, online forums, questionnaires, etc. The most challenging thing here is to encourage them to share their feedback and suggestions, so you might need to approach them creatively.

  • Define problem statements and benefits based on insights gained from the research and analysis: articulate clear problems (without sugarcoating) and challenges the software is aimed to solve.

SDLC Ideation phase: problems that Betty Blocks solves
  • Draw a product vision board based on the previously mentioned research. It is the easiest way to demonstrate the purpose of creating the product and the positive changes it may bring. The board should include:

    • Target group: Which market segment does the product address?

    • Needs: What problem(s) does the application solve?

    • Product: What is the product and what makes it unique?

    • Business goals: How is the product going to benefit the company?

Finding potential solutions

When the problems and challenges have been defined, you can proceed to potential solutions. It’s the moment when you also have to take into consideration Betty’s platform, together with both its capabilities and limitations.

  • Organize brainstorming sessions within your organization. Make sure, everyone is aware of all the problems that need to be tackled and start with refreshing them.

  • Explore the Betty Blocks platform. As said previously, you should be aware of what we have to offer for application building. You can check out stuff like components, templates, integrations, customization, and reusability options to be prepared for possible solutions, but don’t get too much into detail as you’ll still come back to these options further in your development flow.

    • Note: Although Betty Blocks offers flexibility and agility, there are certain limitations, for example, it might not be suitable for extremely complex applications that require highly customized coding.

  • Map problem statements to the particular solutions that the platform can offer, for instance: increased efficiency, improved automation, reduced errors, etc.

  • Validate the ideas. Finally, you have to decide if the Betty Blocks platform can fulfill all the features you’ve come up with together.

Validating solutions with business goals

After having looked into possible solutions that Betty Blocks is capable of fulfilling, it’s high time to measure how they align with your company’s business goals. This process will involve close interaction with all key stakeholders: executives, department heads, and end users. A nominal business analyst needs to ensure that a future application not only meets technical requirements but also contributes to the overall success of the organization.

  • Review the business goals, such as revenue growth or more efficient operations

  • Evaluate each solution against the goals, considering their contributions

  • Gather data and metrics to measure impact and make necessary adjustments

Defining business case

To determine whether the ideas you’ve set up for your application are worth the effort, it’s also important to define a business case that outlines the project’s purpose, expected benefits, and potential return on investment (ROI). During this ideation phase, you’ll have to define the estimation methods and tools, launch the cost-benefit analysis and consider the long-term impact of your application to your company's service.

Estimation of potential solutions

The most widespread and highly used method of estimating your solutions for business value is the ‘return on investment’ or simply - ROI. This estimation method helps you calculate the potential benefits for business and analyses the expected returns generated by your new software solution compared to the initial investment. ROI uses this kind of formula:

SDLC Ideation phase: Return of Investment

Consider such factors:

  • Initial investment required

  • Maintenance costs

  • Expected impact on your goals

Then you should assign a monetary value to each objective based on the potential return. You can estimate it through increased productivity, customer satisfaction, revenue generation, etc. All in all, by comparing the project returns against the required investment for each solution, you can calculate the ROI. Solutions with the highest ROI will most likely be the most profitable.

Cost-benefit analysis

While the return on investment tool allows you to estimate whether your software produces enough benefit to cover the initial investment, cost-benefit analysis mostly concerns generating potential revenue and cost savings. Using the cost-benefit analysis, you will visualize the total costs of a project, including unexpected pitfalls, and understand more clearly if you want to proceed with it.

SDLC Ideation: cost-benefit analysis

Final decisions are usually based on cost-benefit ratio metrics which are measured by the total benefits of a project divided by total cost. As a result, you get a cost-benefit ratio decimal number to later understand the feasibility of your new application. In our simple example, we see that Project B has higher feasibility compared to Project A, having a cost-benefit ratio of 1,81.

Long-term impact

The final point at the stage of ideation is considering the long-term impact of your application on the business and its stakeholders. Will it be able to adapt and evolve over time to meet changing business needs and user expectations? Will it drive ongoing value and support continued growth? Let’s scan through some of the ideas on what you need to pay attention to while measuring a project’s impact:

  • Understanding why you’re measuring a project: to justify the investment to budget holders or examine the alignment to the strategic goals, for instance.

  • Knowing your audience. The idea here is to identify all the potential parties interested in receiving a project’s impact and their motivations - this will provide a clear picture of areas that need to be measured and to whom this information will be important to.

  • Define the metrics to measure your application's long-term impact. Try to think of what KPIs (key performance indicators) will be suitable for each area. For example, quality and reliability, innovation and competitive advantage, cost saving, etc.

It’s not easy to generalize what business value really is as it will differ within different industries and organizations. If you add to this the fact that the market, brands, customers, and competitors are constantly changing and evolving, you’ll have to accept the fluidity of processes. Luckily, if you get Betty Blocks with its capabilities, it will bring you a lot of flexibility and agility to follow evolving trends in your sphere of business.

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