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The Razorfish 5
Five Technologies That Will Change Your Business
© 2010 Razorfish LLC. All rights reserved
Technology IS your customer experience in 2010
As technology continues to become more of a force in our everyday lives, it is clear that technology is your customer experience. Leveraging that knowledge can help you innovate in ways you’ve never dreamed of 2010 is the year many technologies we’ve been watching move from science fiction to reality. The adoption of cloud services and cloud infrastructure will allow us to do more faster. It used to take six weeks to provision a server; now it will take 15 minutes. Scaling on demand used to mean having servers sitting around wasting money. Bringing a social network to your site used to mean months of coding; now you can do it in hours using Facebook Connect. These cloud services are enabling applications like never before, whether it’s for your HP printer or new Chrome OSbased device. Application innovation will come at a blistering pace. In 2010 we are finally going to see the reality of experiences like those in “Minority Report.” The gap between science fiction and reality has significantly decreased. With the release of Windows 7 having multi-touch built in and the Wii leading the way on new experiences, imagine new ways to delight your consumers with these technologies in your stores and on their personal computers and other devices. With the exciting competition going on in mobile brought about from the success of the iPhone and the introduction of Android, we are going to see mobile be a standard part of your Web application development. The days of it being nice to have budget for such efforts are gone. Not only will a cool iPhone application bring marketing value, it’ll bring power users—just the zeitgeist you want to tap. Lastly, Agile makes a comeback in 2010. I know we’ve been talking about iterative and Agile practices for years, but moving from traditional slow-moving waterfall, fixed-time contracts has been difficult. People have convinced themselves they can get it all right even before they start using the product. Not only will Agile help you innovate faster, but it will also help you deliver by leveraging better communication practices for distributed and offshore development. Technology can transform your business and this report explores the technologies that are making that possible. From the opportunities cloud computing presents, to the innovation Agile processes can produce, these technologies will shape the business landscape in 2010 and beyond.
Social brands are enabled through cloud services and distributed application technologies Shiv Singh @shivsingh & Ray Velez @rvelez
Why the Cloud Infrastructure Is Crucial to Your Experience Tobias Klauder @tklauder & john cunningham @j_j_cunningham
Multi-Touch Transforms Retail in 2010 Steve Dawson @stevedawson & Luke Hamilton @lhamilton
Mobile: You Say You Want A Revolution? You got one Paul Gelb @paulgelb & Michael Scafidi @mdscafidi
Feeling Agile: in 2010, Its time has finally come for good John Ewen @johndewen & Ray Velez
pg 25 pg 32
Key trends in 2010 that will change your business
Social Brands are enabled through cloud services and distributed application technologies
Shiv Singh, VP & Global social media lead, New York & Ray velez, Chief techonology officer, New York
We know for a fact that the most successful brands in 2010 will be the social brands with social voices operating in real-time. The notion of social voices implies real people participating, talking and guiding consumers on behalf of their companies in an engaging and conversational manner across every consumer touchpoint, digital or traditional. But a social voice alone is not going to be enough. A key ingredient will be working in real-time across the spectrum. That means real-time in terms of the campaigns that are launched and executed, the miniapplications that are developed and pushed out, the products launched in response to changing needs, the targeted consumers and the customer services offered. Cloud services are a necessity to deliver on the promise of social brands. You simply cannot launch a digital product, run an online marketing campaign cost effectively or reach new users quickly unless you are using cloud services. Nor can you integrate your own marketing efforts into the broader social Web without leveraging cloud services in the same way as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Why? Because once integrated, these social applications can drive immense traffic to your digital product, Website or microsite when you least expect it, resulting in you needing to scale your infrastructure up quickly and roll out new features to capitalize on the increased attention. Social brands will know how to leverage technologies like Facebook Connect to drive traffic and eyeballs to the brands. Open APIs will help brands get their word out on platforms like Twitter. Building small distributed applications will make sure people interact with your brand anywhere they are, whether it’s on an iPhone, Android or HP Printer. While these social cloud services are broad and far reaching, you do need to proceed with caution.
Cloud services power social brands
At its heart, cloud services are made for real time social applications. The cloud has all the necessary capabilities, it’s open and highly available, and built to handle unexpected peaks and valleys of traffic. We define cloud services as open capabilities available through open API’s or direct access. Everything from Salesforce.com to Twitter’s open APIs to Google maps fall in the realm of cloud services. One of the earliest and most powerful examples of cloud services are authentication services like Windows Live ID or Facebook Connect. These services enable users to log in and register to any site, without having to re-register. Leveraging their open APIs, we can integrate them to our site automatically, providing a way for people to start sharing the brand. Just years ago, your brand would have had to build this functionality for each of your sites and ask users to register. Those days are long gone and with even broader open standards like Open ID and OAuth growing, locking in to one vendor will potentially go away as well. Moving past authentication services are the incredibly powerful portable social graph services. Think of portable social graph services as the ability to pull your social graph (sometimes called a network) to any branded site that integrates that API. Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace are all great examples of cloud services that let you pull your social identity and social graph to a participating site. For example, a user logs into your site, posts back to their Facebook wall about your site, and drives three more unique visitors to your site. It can literally put your brand on the map. People don’t have to search to find your brand when they can trust their friends to sell your brand. Following and responding in real-time helps get your message out instantly. It creates a mechanism to drive traffic to your site without depending only on people searching for your keywords or happening upon your display ads.
Without the cloud, real-time interactions would not be available. Twitter’s open API enables your content to travel across followers’ social graphs instantly. Tapping into real-time cloud services through open APIs is becoming easier and easier as standards and capabilities evolve with impressive results. There are even cloud services to aggregate other cloud services. For example, Yahoo’s Yahoo Query Language (YQL), allows you to pull together multiple Web services. That service can power your application or designed to power any application. For example, imagine a mashup that pulls from a Twitter list and combines it with another cloud service from Google Maps. We are just beginning to tap the possibilities. Even enterprises that are more tentative than consumers are adopting cloud services to enable better collaboration across their base. Salesforce.com will likely launch Chatter, which will better share data with Twitter and Facebook. We use Yammer a bunch internally, it’s at the point where we need one place to go with better filtering on microblogging social technologies. Applications like Tweetdeck will help as well. Lastly, there’s a key factor that will keep cloud services ahead of the curve. That’s the ease of change. Since these cloud services are accessed remotely, upgrading and changing the technology behind the services doesn’t require reaching into people’s computers—it all happens in one place at one time. This is a strength, but also a caution for people taking advantage of cloud services.
Social brands demand the power of open APIs
Open APIs are catalysts for amazing growth. It may seem like eons ago, but remember this little phenomenon called blogging. What helped growth to skyrocket was a very simple idea of an open API called RSS and ATOM that enabled sharing of lists of content. Without RSS and ATOM, we wouldn’t have blogs. Adding to that success is another simple idea, called microblogging, fueled in large part by Twitter and its open API. The Twitter API has spawned over 50,000 different applications, with many more coming. Open APIs have always been the power behind innovation and will continue to be. Another great example is Facebook’s application API, enabling people to build applications on the Facebook platform. Look to 2010 to bring more and more commerce to the Facebook ecosystem with innovations like Payvment’s shopping cart service, leveraging Facebook’s open API.
Areas to watch out for
Building on a cloud service is kind of like those trust exercises where you fall backwards and someone catches you. We can all know what happens when that person looks away for a second. The point is to avoid depending on one service. Luckily there are many services to choose from, so in addition to Facebook Connect, consider Windows Live authentication service. The redundancy will help insulate you down the road. The same is true with cloud infrastructure. If you put everything on one service right now, there isn’t interoperability across vendors. This means weak business negotiation positioning and weak redundancy. When building Web application architectures, one of the core tenets is two of everything. Efforts like the Cloud Computing Manifesto and companies like Rightscale will help keep you moving across the cloud, but it’s not without forethought and planning.
Beware the FTC. With the wholesale changes to privacy that Facebook has been making without helping users understand the implications, it won’t belong before the FTC steps in to try and fix things. That could mean trouble for cloud services users. The point is for your site to be clear and transparent with users on how you are using their data, even if you don’t think they care. Lastly, be responsive to API upgrades, even if they happen without any notice. That means your development team needs to follow all the means that companies use to announce upgrades, whether it’s following the Facebook Connect blog or following the Twitter API twits. This is critical—many sites have been burned when Twitter changed their API. Be ready for those changes because they aren’t going to ask your permission first.
• Amazon will implement Facebook Connect on their site. See our message to Amazon about this. • Facebook Connect becomes more powerful than Facebook.com. Fewer people will go to Facebook.com because it’ll already be on your site. • Industry leading companies will leverage cloud services en masse in 2010. • Brand managers will use the language of cloud services and APIs pushing their IT departments to help them take their brands real time
Why the cloud infrastructure is crucial to your experience
Tobias Klauder, VP Information Technology, Seattle & john cunningham, VP Technology, Europe
Understanding and adopting cloud infrastructure in 2010 will be a necessity to remain competitive in today’s business landscape. Razorfish has been working with most cloud infrastructure providers since their inception and is extremely wellpositioned to help you realize the potential that cloud infrastructure offers. When speaking about cloud infrastructure, we are referring specifically to Infrastructure As A Service (IAAS). Some industry-leading examples of IAAS are Amazon’s Web Services (AWS), Terremark’s Enterprise Cloud and The Rackspace Cloud. The biggest reason that you should take a very hard look at when and where to leverage cloud infrastructure is that you can be sure that your competitors are. The most efficient IT operations boast a ratio of one administrator per 2,500 servers. For the vast majority of IT shops, the only way to achieve anywhere near that level of efficiency is to leverage IAAS. While cloud infrastructure ROI will vary, you can expect a savings of 25 to 60 percent over running the same infrastructure internally. (Notably, many IAAS vendors are passing the same type of security audits (SAS 70 Type II for example) that previously were a barrier to considering these platforms.) Time to market is vital, and the ability to procure IAAS is an unprecedented capability for business. The ability to be agile and have reference and performance environments that match production up and running quickly and efficiently are a major advantage of cloud infrastructure. Long purchase and procurement cycles, installation of software, configuration and setup all take time and increase costs either in terms of additional license dollars or time or both. These tasks have been shortened from weeks or months into less than a day with the arrival of cloud infrastructure. Innovation demands the ability to quickly procure systems, and cloud infrastructure now makes this available at an unprecedented low price point. What’s even more appealing is that if you want more power, you
simply add it and only pay for what you use. If your requirements change, or the peak passes you can auto scale down to normal or zero operating levels. Once the job is done, you revert back to your baseline SLA and computing capacity. It’s worth noting that it is especially important for IT organizations to take the lead on understanding the various cloud offerings and helping their organizations to leverage the opportunities. If employee’s start to utilize the cloud without IT’s involvement, it is likely the company as a whole will lack a comprehensive picture of where data is stored, who is accessing it and lack the ability to ensure compliance with policies.
Amazon Web Services: Success stories
Here are a few recent examples of how a forward-thinking pharmaceutical, travel, and communications company have leveraged Amazon’s AWS cloud infrastructure offerings with great success.
Power at your fingertips
A researcher at pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. needed to analyse a lot of data quickly. If the results turned out, as he believed, the company could have a world-beating drug on its hands. First the challenge, the researcher needed 25 servers to crunch the data, and he knew it could take up to three months to get approval for the investment. In an industry where the cost of delaying a product is high, $150 per second, three months’ wait would be very expensive. The researcher went to an IT guy who’d been playing around in this thing called ‘the cloud’. The guy got out his credit card, plugged it into Amazon Web Services, and had 25 servers up and running in the cloud within an hour. Within two hours, they were crunching the data. The research time had suddenly collapsed from three months to hours. They completed the task and were given a bill from Amazon for $89. At $150 per second, a three-month wait could have cost more than $1 billion.
The ability to be agile
As Virgin’s fleet of airliners takes off into the clouds, so does the company’s new Website: Vtravelled.com runs entirely on the Amazon Web Services cloudcomputing platform. “We’ve undoubtedly saved a lot of time and money that we would normally have had to spend on setting up, installing servers and maintaining servers,” says Dave Tharp, head of development on the Vtravelled project. “In addition to this, we’ve not had to deal with the headache of organizing the hardware – we can just log in and start up instances as and when we require them.” AWS also made ongoing development, testing and deployment much easier. “We were able to try out major configuration changes separate to the main site and then switch over, with the ability to switch back, if necessary; normally this requires the purchase of a lot of additional physical hardware, which was not the case with Amazon Web Services.” Is your company ready to take advantage of cloud infrastructure?
• Application partitioning (anyone remember Forte?) will make its return to technology architectures. Application partitioning and hybrid traditional/cloud solutions will enable more cloud adoption. • More business will be conducted through the cloud. Perhaps even stock trading will go through Facebook and Twitter.
Multi-Touch Transforms Retail in 2010
Steven Dawson, technical lead, emerging experiences, atlanta & Luke Hamilton, creative/experience lead, emerging experiences, atlanta @razorfishee
Engaging a customer in a retail environment and delivering an exceptional in-store experience is becoming increasingly difficult. The use of interactive-touch technology is an excellent way to attract the customer to the retail environment and deliver a multi-channel experience while guiding the customer through the purchase process. The reason behind the difficulties in reaching customers is that as the number of product offerings grows, customers are being faced with increasingly complex buying decisions. In addition, the customer experience takes place across multiple channels—many purchasing decisions start with online research and end at the retail location. A recent Forrester report noted that less than two-thirds of consumers are satisfied when researching product and services on a company’s Website and then purchasing in store.
Delivering simple and engaging interactive experiences is a great way to drive traffic in-store. Touch technology can be installed in storefronts and deliver simple and delightful experiences that engage the customer. The use of motion sensors, cameras and augmented reality can quickly engage a shopper by delivering storefront experiences that react to movement and gestures. These types of experiences are quick and engaging, triggered simply by walking by a display. The goal is to grab the attention of the task-oriented shopper and drive the customer into the store, online or to a mobile Website.
Recently, Razorfish installed an interactive touch experience in an abandoned storefront in a mall to help drive traffic into the client’s store. This pilot program was a huge success and the client saw a measurable lift in store traffic.
Simplifying Buying Decisions
Customers are being faced with increasingly complex buying decisions, especially with technology and services. As a result, increased pressure is being placed on store associates to provide knowledgeable service to customers. Training store associates about these products and services can be expensive and ineffective. In addition, the employee turnover rate in retail can have a negative effect on the number of knowledgeable store associates. In an assisted-sales scenario, the store associates can focus on being brand ambassadors while the touch experience provides the information the customer needs to make informed decisions about the products or services. Our Emerging Experiences team developed the Razorfone application to demonstrate how an immersive multi-touch experience can assist customers and store associates with complex buying decisions in a retail setting.
Customers expect products and services to be personalized. It is important to deliver a retail experience that accommodates the customer desire to express individuality. Allowing customers to personalize and customize their product in the store through the use of interactive touch experiences is one way to deliver on the promise of personalization. An additional benefit of personalization is combating buyer’s remorse: A customer leaving a store with a personalized product is far less likely to return the product. An example of in-store personalization can be found at the recently launched Microsoft retail stores—customers can create personalized skins for their devices through an in-store multi-touch experience.
Retailers can overcome the issue of limited shelf space by offering their customers a wide assortment of products through the use of interactive in-store technology. Touch experiences can help bring the online catalog into the retail environment. It is important for retailers to create immersive experiences that are “built for touch”
rather than simply running their pre-existing website in-store. Integration of printers, barcode scanners and QR technology can help streamline the purchase process. For instance, consider the scenario where a customer finds a clothing item that fits perfectly but the retail location does not have the desired color. The customer can scan the barcode on the clothing item, select the desired color and print out a sales slip to bring to the register for checkout. The product is then shipped directly to the customer.
Delivering Connected Multi-Channel Experiences
Customers are increasingly using their mobile device in-store to access ratings and reviews on products. Applications like ShopSavvy and RedLaser allow customers to quickly zap the barcode of a product and find ratings and reviews on their mobile device. Mobile devices are quickly becoming the “glue” that connects online and retail experiences. Retailers can capitalize on this trend by embracing touch and mobile technology to better integrate the online and retail shopping experiences during the customer experience journey. Touch experiences that offer value-added content, ratings, reviews and social integration can be used to assist customers with purchase decisions. Consider the scenario where a customer is interested in purchasing a movie. However, the customer isn’t sure which one to choose. Integrating an in-aisle experience that allows a customer to quickly scan the barcode on a product and access movie trailers, ratings from their favorite movie critics and recommendations on similar movies can help the customer make the correct decision. Extending the experience further, a customer could create a wish list in-store and send it out online via email and SMS or download it to their mobile device using QR technology.
• A nationwide retailer will have new multi-touch experiences in every store. Multi-touch experiences and seamless cross-channel integration are the future of retail. • Windows 7 will enable more multi-touch rollouts in public spaces. • Multi-touch experiences will be more fun, lift brand, engage customers and drive sales.
Mobile: You Say You Want a Revolution? You Got One
Paul Gelb, manager, emerging media, new york & Michael Scafidi, technology director, new york
In 2009, industry conferences and trade magazines were preoccupied with a heated debate about a singular question: Has the iPhone finally ushered in the “Year of Mobile”? Arguments in favor cited countless usage and application production growth statistics. Conversely, arguments against described the iPhone as a fad due to its limited market share and previous premature exaltations about mobile. Both sides of this debate are wrong. The narrowly focused logic obscured a slow convergence of seemingly disparate technologies that, in aggregate, are driving the latest in a series of technological revolutions. The impact of a mobile revolution has the potential to reverberate beyond cell phones, media and marketing to catalyze deep structural economic changes. Following the pattern of the previous technology revolutions, including the computer revolution and the internet revolution, businesses that leverage these new technologies effectively and efficiently will be the greatest beneficiaries. However, firms that fail to adapt will become casualties of the disruptive change. Even though the iPhone is just a piece of the mobile revolution, it is undoubtedly a significant innovation. The device, the software, the ecosystem it has created and its small yet rapid user adoption provide the model for new infrastructure and demonstrate how large an opportunity mobile can be for businesses. However, technology revolutions are often slow to develop, because they require the aggregation of technologies, development of new operational processes and new ways to organize businesses.
Despite the advances forged by the iPhone, significant technology challenges lingered.
MOBILE TECHNOLOGY-BASED CHALLENGES
Application development While some brands have developed and launched successful iPhone apps, many businesses have found developing mobile applications challenging. The iPhone and iTouch market shares are still limited. It is expensive to develop for multiple OS platforms and the amount of downloads on non-Apple devices is only a fraction of the downloads from iTunes. Apple’s application store is highly competitive as any application must differentiate itself from over 100,000 other applications offered. Thus many applications with flawed concepts or user experiences fail to generate enough downloads to provide an attractive ROI on the production. Mobile WAP and browser development Many businesses have been reluctant to invest in mobile WAP or browser-optimized sites. The recent growth in usage has coincided with the economic downturn and resources have been allocated elsewhere. A simple site can be developed inexpensively. However, QA across all devices and updating content on an additional digital channel is time consuming and often costly.
Recent radical mobile technology innovations have removed limiting factors and broken down old assumptions...
TECHNOLOGY-ENABLED REACH AMPLIFICATION AND COST REDUCTION Mobile is rapidly becoming more open, accessible and collaborative as technology providers are looking to drive growth through sharing and network effects instead of monopolization. Open source rendering engine WebKit is used as the rendering engine within Safari on Windows, Mac OS X and iPhone OS. New web browsers have been built around WebKit, including Palm’s WebOS (Palm Pre being the first phone device to carry the OS), Symbian’s S60 on Nokia mobile phones and Google’s Chrome browser on the web and on Android Phones ActionScript 3-based native applications Adobe aims to empower device manufacturers, system-on-chip vendors, content providers, and service providers to deliver engaging experiences that run consistently across desktops, mobile phones, and digital home and consumer
Internet programs for premium brands such as Yahoo, MTV and eBay, and leading agencies such as Razorfish and ad networks like AdMob. Globally, Netbiscuits delivers more than 1.5 billion mobile page impressions each month. Netbiscuits is available as a Web-based software service, which decreases development time and costs. At www.netbiscuits.com all tools, interfaces and mobile-enabling technologies are provided to develop, publish, monitor and monetize professional mobile Web services. The platform allows developers to bring content to mobile and create next generation mobile Websites and services with seamless integration of advertising, media and commerce features—easier, faster and more cost-efficient than ever before. Mobile Websites created by the Netbiscuits Developer Community range from simple advertising landing pages and micro sites to complex dynamic mobile Web portals with audio/video, social networking, mapping and commerce features.
By leveraging new mobile technologies, creative businesses can generate unprecedented benefits from mass consumer engagement on this uniquely experiential technology.
BENEFITS FROM MASS MOBILE CONSUMER ENGAGEMENT Mobile has finally delivered on the true promise of digital by removing physical constraints. Improved hardware and connectivity have transformed mobile devices into cloud-based universal remotes that allow for highly engaging interactions in real time. Touch interface The touch screen not only kicked off this revolution in mobility, but as mobile device functionality becomes more malleable their inputs will as well. The touch screen is the key to this flexible interface. It will continue to enable applications to innovate their interface. It allows the user to more directly interact with the content on the device and provides an adaptable interface for limited screen space. Connectivity to the cloud Always-connected phones are continually reaching to the cloud to deliver context to the mobile user. In the cloud, information services are integrated to deliver information relevant to the user’s situation. Yahoo’s YQL (http://developer.yahoo.com/ yql/) is making it easier to integrate these services and distribute them in a standard way. Integrating a users location from the phone with the real estate market, maps, Wikipedia entries and social networks will be powered by services such as this. Mobile camera Higher quality cameras capable of five megapixels or higher resolution will not only allow parents to take better pictures of their kids, they will empower shoppers to compare prices while they are in the store. Applications like Red Laser
(http://redlaser.com/) utilize these better cameras to scan bar codes and reach out to the cloud to compare prices. Google Goggles (http://www.google.com/mobile/ goggles/) uses pictures to search the web for landmarks and contacts as well for logo recognition. Location and direction For years mobile phones have had GPS and cellular triangulation to determine the location of the phone, but recently manufacturers have been including digital compasses. The addition of a digital compass into phones is more than a tool for technophile Boy Scouts. The compass enables the phone to know what direction its camera is facing. Wikitude (http://www.wikitude.org/) was the first mainstream mobile application to utilize the compass found in the G1 for augmented reality. As this functionality becomes standardized pedestrians will commonly look through their cameras at storefronts to see what sales are individually available to them. Key mobile statistics demonstrating that the mobile revolution has begun • 100,000 applications offered on iTunes as of 09/2009 • 57 million iPhone and iPod touch units sold as of 09/2009 • 3 billion number of applications download through iTunes as of 01/2010 • 3% of shoppers used their phone to make a purchase on Black Friday 2009 • 20% of shoppers intended on using their phone to shop during the 2009 holiday season • 40% of smart phone owners made non-mobile content related purchases in 2009 Key statistics of brands successfully using mobile • $500 million estimated spend by shoppers on mobile application in 2009 • $1 million in sales for Pizza Hut through their iPhone application in 2009 • 50% of Pandora’s 80,000 daily registered user acquisitions were from mobile in 2009 • 4 of the top 10 iPhone games were developed by EA
• Geo-triggered SMS platforms will enable delivery of messages based on the user’s time and location, significantly increasing the relevance of message • Cloud computing and augmented reality APIs will exponentially increase the amount and types of information that can be delivered through mobile devices.
Feeling Agile: in 2010, its time has finally come for good.
John Ewen, Program director, New York & Ray Velez, Chief technology officer, new york
2010 is going to bring about a renewed focus on continuous innovation and business benefit, lowering costs with distributed teams and better collaboration with experience, creative, technology. Razorfish’s Agile is ready to show the way. Agile is built for business benefit and continuous innovation Agile and iterative Web development was built to solve business issues by focusing on enabling change and learning from real world feedback. Commonly used waterfall processes assumed that the business would stop changes when development entered the design process. That’s why commonly used processes fail—they require business and product owners to lock in decisions before they start using the technology. It’s an outdated approach based on rigid manufacturing and not digital flexibility and unknowns. Assuming that innovation stops after the concept and design phase, this approach locks your business and users away from your product during the build phase. What is needed for success is an iterative ongoing process, taking a hard look at the concept and product as designed and continuously innovating. Business priorities change as users get their hands on your digital products. Incorporating those changes back into the product as soon as possible builds trust with your consumers and creates opportunities for innovation. Often, it’s a difficult reality to swallow, but nothings speaks more loudly than real world analytics. With studies from respected companies like The Standish Group are showing that 64 percent of designed functionality rarely or never gets used, it’s easy to see that the big bang approach to building digital products wastes a lot of time and money.
Following an iterative approach enables our focus on the highest priority items in every release with the goal that we never get to the lowest impact, 64 percent. A constantly changing product backlog will ensure we are continuously reprioritizing. Agile has its roots in constantly improving and innovative processes shown to be successful by companies like Toyota and their “Kanban” system. Traditional software-development processes expect a document to mean the end of innovation, basically send the document over the wall and hope for the best. Agile processes have at their heart communication and people. Agile’s four simple principles solve business needs: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Focus on the ability to communicate and review work as opposed to getting document signoffs. Traditional processes assume rigid change order processes and documentation. Agile focuses on constant communication over working software as opposed to low business value documentation. Working software over comprehensive documentation Since communication is at the heart of Agile, comprehensive documentation isn’t needed. Light documentation with constant communcation will enable more business value and ability to change. While some documentation is always needed, focus on what is absolutely necessary as opposed to detailed documentation that is out of date before it’s published. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation This does require extensive customer involvement, but that’s a lot more useful focus than haggling over whether a feature was in the original statement of work. With Agile, the customer is prioritizing all potential features at the beginning of every sprint. Agile won’t build all the features on the list and that is the value. Why build the 64 percent of features that are never used? Responding to change over following a plan By breaking up what traditionally would be a six- to nine-month detailed design and development process into one- to three-week sprints the process allows for drastic changes in direction. A good example of this is a project we did for Ford Motor Co. At the beginning of the project, one of the key features was
responding to high gas prices that soon become a lower priority because of the falling economy. Using Agile, we were able to respond to that change without building a wasted set of features around high gas prices.
Lowering cost and making it work with distributed teams and offshore development
While everyone would like to have the entire team in one room, it’s not possible these days. One reason that teams often need to work from distributed locations is the increasing need to leverage the lower rates charged by developers in other parts of the world. Global delivery and offshore certainly has its cost benefits, but there are other reasons why distributed teams are needed. Computer science graduation rates have slowly been decreasing over the last 10 years and the needs have not been shrinking accordingly. That’s only part of your team, with business, user experience, creative and delivery all likely to be in multiple locations. Using a process that affords enough communication to ensure success is required. For teams that are attempting to take advantage of the many benefits of Scrum* while also trying to meet offshoring targets, these initiatives may at first appear to be at odds with one another. However, when you consider some of the most important components of successful offshore relationships, the principals of Scrum align very well. Communicate, communicate, communicate The first thing many project managers will point to when discussing working with offshore teams are ways to stay in touch as continually as possible. E-mail, IM, video conferencing, conference calls and collaboration tools all have their role, but at their core needs to be clear communication in which everyone on the team knows what they need to do and everyone else knows what they are doing. Two core tenets of Scrum that help tremendously in these areas are the sprint backlog and the daily stand-up. An updated sprint backlog, preferably hosted so a real-time version is available to all team members at all times, keeps the entire team up to date on what everyone else is working on. Not only does this help from a management perspective but also helps the team know exactly who to contact to troubleshoot problems, offer assistance or take over work if other issues or needs arise.
Scrum is a set of guidelines and processes for managing complex projects often used in Agile development.
The daily stand-up, possibly the most borrowed component of Scrum, gives the team the chance to not only know what everyone is currently working on, but what was accomplished the previous day, what the members of the team have planned and if there is anything preventing them from completing their work. Ensure that requirements are clear, work is reviewed frequently and that issues are resolved quickly Hand in hand with communication is ensuring that rapidly changing requirements are understood by the team at all times. Waiting for documentation to be updated or waiting for time with the stakeholders to communicate changes to everyone involved often comes at the expense of development efficiency. Sprint Planning at the beginning of each sprint or iteration ensures that the team has the time not only to plan the work that will achieve the desired out comes, but also gives the team time with the Product Owner to clarify requirements and solve potential issues early. Another risk associated with working with offshore resources is potentially not knowing the quality of the work until it is completed—when it’s too late. Scrum not only divides the development cycle into small enough units to help mitigate this risk, but it also provides within its core processes a way to handle those situations upon review of functionality. If the acceptance criteria is not met, the issue is returned to the backlog to be addressed in the next sprint. When the approach isn’t working, change it Successful project approaches maintain enough flexibility to change over time to leverage new findings and team strengths. This is especially true when working with offshore resources when the developers may be new to the organization or process. Scrum provides recurring reviews of not only the work, but the process. Sprint Retrospectives allow the team to highlight what is working well and what needs improvement. These improvements, when they can be implemented, can have an enormous impact on the team’s productivity. Changes can bring about a better way to accomplish something, but they can also significantly raise morale when team members know that feedback is valuable.
Solutions to these common challenges can be found through a variety of approaches, methodologies and processes. However, avoiding using Agile methods such as Scrum when the team is distributed around the world is not necessary. In fact, it might turn out to be the best option available.
Aligning user experience, creative and development - the Razorfish Agile approach
Aligning Design and Development The Razorfish Agile approach is a recommendation for incorporating the Agile methodology within a consulting-based project framework. It allows for a period of project definition and contract negotiation, a visioning phase where the project strategy is defined and finally, the iterations for designing and building the product. The following diagram represents a sample schedule for these activities: During the Foundation sprint, while the core technology tasks are being performed (infrastructure code, environment set-up, etc.), the design team is establishing the visual design language and sketching the wireframes that correspond to the
sow phase 1-4 weeks
Visioning phase 6-12 weeks
agile build phase 4 week sprints foundation sprint 1 sprint 2 sprint x
highest prioritized user stories. This allows the design team to establish the headstart needed to ensure that the build team has the elements needed for subsequent sprints. Maintaining this pace produces the desired cycle of design leading development but allowing development to influence design. Iterative Design One of the biggest challenges of adopting an iterative project process is removing enough of the traditional patterns to realize all benefits. The ability to “release early and often” requires that the product be able to provide value at stages previously considered “incomplete.” In other words, if the outcome of a sprint requires additional sprints before the product functions, then you may not ultimately release any earlier. One part of the process that must adapt to prevent this from happening is the product design. Products are designed with a particular end state in mind. They adhere to a vision of ultimate value. But what happens when the vision changes, the product must release earlier or the project loses funding? The approach used to reach that vision will largely define the success of the project. Ideally, the sequence of the product design activities will allow the work that has been completed to remain viable. When a product is designed in phases, related features typically are grouped and designed concurrently. But if you can’t release a product with only one phase complete then you’re committing the process to a lack of interruption that might not be sustainable. But what if that phase stretched across all critical features? This approach allows the product to be released at the completion of any phase. The full vision of functionality will not yet be realized, but it can be added over time. In the spirit of Steve McConnell’s “Cone of Uncertainty,” we’ll refer to this process as the Cone of Complexity. When the product is divided from simplest to most complex, rather than by feature, the benefits of an iterative process can really materialize.
simplest functional state
desired end state
The clearest benefit to this approach is that features are more likely to be completed by the end of a sprint. This allows for several highly desired benefits: 1. Ability to release early. 2. Ability to release more frequently. 3. Ability to test the product with users in time to influence subsequent design cycles. 4. Opportunity to evolve the vision of the product as functionality comes to life. 5. Opportunity to only build what is valuable instead of what is designed. This last benefit is really the culmination of the others. When a product can be used, tested, refactored and conform to an evolving vision, then the likelihood of only building what users need and want increases substantially.
• Agile will push businesses to think of software development as a solution to innovation. • There will be greater Agile adoption by offshore development shops, enabling global distributive development.
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Technology is a game changer – not just an enabler. If you’re a CMO, you’re embracing this simple truth or preparing for another career. The technologies discussed in this report are leading the way t0 business transformation in 2010 and beyond. Based on the findings of Razorfish 5, Razorfish predicts the following: Cloud services will be everywhere • Amazon will implement Facebook Connect on their site. See our message to Amazon about this. • Facebook Connect becomes more powerful than Facebook.com. Fewer people will go to Facebook.com because it’ll already be on your site. • Industry leading companies will leverage cloud services en masse in 2010. • Brand managers will use the language of cloud services and APIs pushing their IT departments to help them take their brands real time The cloud will be a crucial business tool • Application partitioning (anyone remember Forte?) will make its return to technology architectures. Application partitioning and hybrid traditional/cloud solutions will enable more cloud adoption. • More business will be conducted through the cloud. Perhaps even stock trading will go through Facebook and Twitter. Multi-touch will transform retail • A nationwide retailer will have new multi-touch experiences in every store. Multi-touch experiences and seamless cross-channel integration are the future of retail. • Windows 7 will enable more multi-touch rollouts in public spaces. • Multi-touch experiences will be more fun, lift brand, engage customers and drive sales. Mobile will continue its revolution • Geo-triggered SMS platforms will enable delivery of messages based on the user’s time and location, significantly increasing the relevance of message • Cloud computing and augmented reality APIs will exponentially increase the amount and types of information that can be delivered through mobile devices. Agile will boost innovation • Agile will push businesses to think of software development as a solution to innovation. • There will be greater Agile adoption by offshore development shops, enabling global distributive development. Technology is innovating rapidly, and we encourage you to continue learning how these advances will impact your business. A great place to start would be a conversation with Razorfish’s Chief Technology Officer Ray Velez, @rvelez on Twitter. In the meantime, get ready for more transformation.
About Razorfish Razorfish creates experiences that build businesses. As one of the largest interactive marketing and technology companies in the world, Razorfish helps its clients build better brands by delivering business results through customer experiences. Razorfish combines the best thought leadership of the consulting world with the leading capabilities of the marketing services industry to support our clients’ business needs, such as launching new products, repositioning a brand or participating in the social world. With a demonstrated commitment to innovation, Razorfish continues to cultivate our expertise in Social Influence Marketing, emerging media, creative design, analytics, technology and user experience. Razorfish has offices in markets across the United States, and in Australia, China, France, Germany, Japan, Spain and the United Kingdom. Clients include Carnival Cruise Lines, MillerCoors, Levi Strauss & Co., McDonald’s and Starwood Hotels. Razorfish is part of the Publicis Groupe (Euronext Paris: FR0000130577) VivaKi organization. Visit razorfish.com for more information. Follow Razorfish on Twitter at @razorfish. For Additional Information: Raymond Velez Chief Technology Officer +1 212.798.6610 firstname.lastname@example.org @rvelez technology.razorfish.com Media Inquiries: Katie Lamkin Public Relations +1 312.696.5241 email@example.com @ktlamkin Thought Leadership: Lauren Nguyen Marketing Communications +1 415.369.6454 firstname.lastname@example.org @ltnguyen Design: http://www.fresh-sf.com
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