Continuing the Kidd’s Kids Tradition

For more than 25 years, Kidd’s Kids has taken children with life-threatening and life-altering conditions and their families on an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

For the ninth consecutive year, FUSION OF IDEAS has gratefully donated our app development and customization services to this amazing cause. Together with Best Buy and Microsoft, we provided and personally handed out customized Microsoft Surface laptops to each Kidd’s Kids family. Each laptop was personalized with trip information preloaded in the devices.

Customized Microsoft Surface laptops were presented to each Kidd's Kids family.
Customized Microsoft Surface laptops were presented to each Kidd’s Kids family.

The gift of technology is an impactful one for the families. The children use these devices for schoolwork as well as entertainment when they are in the hospital, and for some, who are nonverbal, technology devices are valuable communication tools.

Kidd Kraddick founded Kidd’s Kids in 1991 with a dream to make a difference in the lives of children and their families who were dealing with life-altering conditions. The Irving, Texas-based organization has sent over 4,000 children and their families on a trip of a lifetime to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

The FUSION OF IDEAS team and families onsite to help present the laptops.
The FUSION OF IDEAS team and families onsite to help present the laptops.

Overcoming the Construction Industry’s Pain Points

Part of sustaining a business, no matter the industry, is staying current and rolling with change. In the construction business, many companies are held up with time tracking, offline capabilities, field data capturing challenges, which are the most common pain points in the industry. 

Because these challenges disrupt the daily workflow, a savvy software implementation to overcome these obstacles can be the difference between winning a project bid or not. 

While there are easy, off-the-shelf solutions to each of these areas, it’s not as cost-effective as you may think. SaaS spend and adoption continued to grow quickly across all company sizes. In 2018, the average company spent $343,000 a year on SaaS, a 78% increase from the previous year

A custom software, one that can tackle your entire workflow in one single app is customized for your business to help these common pain points:  

  1. Time Tracking – Time tracking in the field is a common pain point in construction. Even with time-tracking software, many solutions have a complicated user interface or depend on connectivity to the Internet.  
  2. Offline Capabilities – If you’re using web-based field software that doesn’t have offline capabilities, your workforce may be delayed in completing critical tasks like inspection reports and safety incident reports.
  3. Data Collection – Gathering and sorting essential business data can be a time-consuming task, especially when data is being collected in several programs or platforms. Chances are, the bigger your organization, the more apps or software your company may be using. And having data in various places offers more risk in errors when collecting data, which can hinder critical business decisions.
  4. Real-Time Communications – Communication is the backbone of all efficient operations. Improving communications can massively streamline operations and improve accuracy by allowing real-time communication between all members invested in a project on the field and at the office. 

Roadblocks to Digital Transformation

Despite the prevalence of digital businesses today, companies are still challenged with manual processes that result in slow performance and high costs. While it may seem like a simple solution to digitize those processes, the reality is that the effort is sometimes ladened with internal and external roadblocks. 

Roadblock #1 – IT departments are overburdened

Technology is always changing, and IT departments are expected to keep up with these changes. IT teams deal with requests from customers and employees and have to handle the infrastructure of the business as well. Most executives would agree that their company’s IT teams are overburdened.

As a result, employees may avoid submitting requests to IT when they need digital solutions and try to find solutions on their own. What employees don’t realize are the security risks when they use external software that is not secured by IT, potentially putting the company’s data or the employees’ confidential information at risk.

Source: Giving Up on Digitalization Initiatives, TrackVia
Source: Giving Up on Digitalization Initiatives, TrackVia

Roadblock #2 – Off-the-shelf solutions don’t close the gap

When trying to improve workflow, businesses may turn to off-the-shelf software for a solution. According to a survey by TrackVia, 26 percent of respondents who purchased off-the-shelf software cited several sacrifices they had to make. Besides the biggest disappointment with a lack of customization to meet the business’ unique needs, there are many other compromises that come with off-the-shelf solutions.

Source: Giving Up on Digitalization Initiatives, TrackVia
Source: Giving Up on Digitalization Initiatives, TrackVia

Roadblock #3 – Inflexibility of legacy systems

Another common challenge in a digital transformation is the company’s legacy system itself. An IBM study estimated that more than 80 percent of the world’s enterprise data still resides on mainframe systems, which is a technology that is now over 50 years old. Businesses fear using new applications or software because they cannot be implemented into existing systems or will result in high operational maintenance costs.

Source: Giving Up on Digitalization Initiatives, TrackVia
Source: Giving Up on Digitalization Initiatives, TrackVia

Where do you go from here?

The road to digital transformation requires finding the right solution for your business to improve manual processes while meeting company security requirements and fitting into existing IT system. As mentioned here, off-the-shelf software may not solve all of the company’s needs as every business is unique. A custom business software is a solution that can address a company’s specific needs and relieve it from security and integration risks.

The most telling benefit of custom software is the ability to integrate into legacy systems. If you have an open application program interface (API) or can provide documentation to connect to API, it is possible to seamlessly integrate with your existing IT system. The benefit of building a custom solution from the ground up is one that can significantly pave the way to digital transformation.

Present Perfect: The Art of Corporate Gifting

A well-considered corporate gifting program can help celebrate employees for a job well done, establish and enhance your customer and vendor relationships, and promote activities that benefit the overall business. 

When choosing the perfect gift for your corporate gifting program this year, we put together our top three things to start thinking about before the flurry of activities hits the holiday season:

High-End or Budget? 

Even if you are the most generous person in the world, you are still operating a business within a budget. Whether you go luxury, conventional or somewhere in-between, don’t think you have to choose a high-end gift just because it costs more. Do it because you think that’s the gift the other person will appreciate. If luxury is the route you choose and budget is a concern, narrow your recipient list. 

There is an array of gifting options that fit budgets of all sizes. The hard part is finding one that speaks to your recipient.
There is an array of gifting options that fit budgets of all sizes. The hard part is finding one that speaks to your recipient.

Company Logo and Customization.

To logo or not to logo, that is the question. For many businesses, customized gifts keep the company name in the minds of recipients. When the item is practical and likely to be used every day – such as a calendar, pen, coffee mug, or tote bag – this amounts to free daily advertising. But there’s a tackiness quotient to consider. 

That being said, keep in mind that you can minimize the size of your logo and still have your brand printed but in a more subtle way. Second, customization does not have to come in the form of a logo. For example, you can personalize the gift by adding the recipient’s name. 

Adding your recipient's initials on their gift is a subtle and unique way to personalize the gift.
Adding your recipient’s initials on their gift is a subtle and unique way to personalize the gift.

Packaging.

We call this the unboxing experience. The unboxing experience triggers emotions and senses when the recipient opens the gift. The packaging, the gift wrap, the ribbon all matter. When done right, it can improve the way the recipient feels about the actual product because first impressions matter.

First impressions matter. A memorable unboxing experience can turn your gift from good to remarkable.
First impressions matter. A memorable unboxing experience can turn your gift from good to remarkable.

6 Ways Construction Companies Can Benefit From Custom Applications

The construction industry has always been mobile with field employees in transit at job sites or set up in trailers. Keeping the field and office teams in real-time collaboration is invaluable, especially if it means major cost savings to the company and client.

As construction companies look for ways to create efficiencies, many are favoring using mobile devices and using custom applications as a strategic move to embrace technology. According to the latest JBKnowledge Construction Technology Report, more than 80 percent of construction executives view mobile is “important” or “very important” to their operations.

Let’s take a closer look at six ways construction companies can benefit from using a custom application: 

1. Time and money savings. 

Keeping the entire team connected with the same information and using a common application means projects are more likely to be completed on time and on budget. When paper-based processes are digitized, the workflow is more efficient. Some of the processes that can be digitized include employee timesheets, purchase orders and job-related forms such as incident reports, pre- and post-job safety protocol, emergency action plans, and others.

2. A custom system built for your business.

Currently, many construction companies use off-the-shelf software products to help meet their various needs. Off-the-shelf mobile apps have the benefits of quick deployment and lower development costs. But it’s rare to find an off-the-shelf app that suits the exact needs of your company. When multiple needs are consolidated into one handy app that is customized for the business, it replaces the need for additional software products and training sessions. 

3. Real-time communications on the jobsite.

When information is stored in a centralized place, it allows for quicker response times. For example, a project manager can report construction errors immediately while building a system, which will then send automatic notifications to the person responsible for fixing the error. 

With purchase orders, if a change in the order is needed, the timing of the information being delivered can mean the difference between finishing a project or potentially losing a job. Verbal communication in change orders can be misinterpreted or incomplete, or details may be missed during communications. An app that can log and track purchase orders, get orders authorized, and push them to the appropriate departments is invaluable, especially when time is of the essence.

4. Comprehensive business data.

Gathering and sorting essential business data is easier than ever with an efficient application. For example, employers can track the materials purchased, equipment rented and mileage used on each job site. When all data is stored, it can be organized, analyzed and presented more effortlessly. 

5. Management can make calculated business decisions.

Automating the paper process allows executives to get a better insight into the workflow. From tracking employees’ locations in the field to time spent at a job site, adjustments in business rules can be made in a more calculated and strategic way. Executives can then use the collected data from connected devices to make faster and smarter strategic decisions.

6. Minimal training needed.

A good application should be engaging and easy to use. A software interface closely mirrors the current paper process is easier to adapt so there is minimal disruption in the workflow and a shorter learning curve for employees. That being said, before any new software is developed, it’s important to understand how tech-savvy are those who will be using the app, as the goal for having the app is to not disrupt the workflow or get in the way of an individual’s performance.