Year in ReviewIf there is one word to describe the past year, it’s “parabolic”. Typical to any entrepreneurial cycle, the first chapter was exciting, enthusiastic and busy. But soon thereafter, the adrenaline died down, focus became cloudy, and progress began to stutter. Fortunately, with the help of a few friends and mentors, the lull only lasted a few months. The mood soon changed - workload increased, projects began accelerating, partnerships were formed and a new vision was born.
Chapter 1 – Building a FoundationFully realizing that this sounds cliché, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step. After many whiteboard and mindmap sessions, we realized who we wanted to be when we grew up.
We recognized that there was a need in the market for Web & Mobile Development services, especially in the healthcare and fitness. Not only did we have a lot of experience in these unique industries, but we also knew that we were very passionate about them in our own personal lives.
After freshening up on some new mobile development technologies like iOS Swift and Objective-C, Monkey C and rekindling some friendships with older technologies like PHP and MySQL, we took on a few client development projects.
Chapter 2 – Our First Development Projects
TMB Racing Triathlon Team WebsiteThe goal of the project was to attract new athletes and minimize team management administrative burden. We also optimized the technology architecture, decreasing the number of systems and data sources from five to two.
After many years of successful growth, the TMB Racing Team had well over 100 active members, added two additional teams (cycling and running), and started attracting some top-talented athletes.
· Updated Design - newer photography and an improved look-and-feel.
· New Promo Video - featuring team members and team practices.
· User Self Service – team members are able to manage their own membership dues, view team-only promotions, and order team gear through an online shopping cart.
· Calendar Functionality – team members can create and manage team events in an interactive calendar to keep track of each other’s races and team practices.
· Administrator Team Management – Non-tech-savvy administrators can view active team members, manage payments, create blog posts and send newsletters.
TMB Team Garmin WatchfaceThis was a fun project where we developed a TMB Team Watchface for the Garmin 920 XT GPS watch. We had to learn the brand new Connect IQ SDK, a new User Experience, and a new programming language called Monkey-C. We also discovered how to introduce and promote new smartwatch applications into the market with minimal investment and maximum return in user downloads.
30 Day Happiness Journal iOS App
This self-funded application was our first introduction to the Swift Apple iOS Development process. The goal of the application was to facilitate the process of becoming a happier person over the course of 30 days – a typically-accepted, appropriate amount of time to make a real change in your life habits.
At this stage of Energize Technologies, our work had slowed and the general outlook became unclear. Coming to that realization, was the inspiration for building the 30-Day Happiness Journal. Not only did it give us something to work on, but it also gave back to the healthcare and fitness industry.
With little-to-no marketing or advertising investment, this free app was downloaded over one hundred times all across the world in a short period of time. Making lasting lifestyle changes are difficult, which is why users liked the simple and intuitive nature of the application. Energize Technologies’ understanding and passion in the areas of self-improvement and health transformation allowed us to incorporate only the most impactful features into the application.
Chapter 3 – Marketing & Technology Strategy ProjectsAfter those development projects, there was a lull in activity. While the developers were working hard on a larger, more long-term development project, the rest of Energize Technologies started having too much time on their hands. We began to question whether the web and mobile development market was really worth our while.
We pondered whether it made sense to invest in hiring business development personnel, user experience designers and additional developers without any immediate business prospects. We also recognized that although the mobile and web development market is booming, the real value and impact on people’s health and fitness comes from the service that the technology supports and how it integrates into a greater business operating model.
We tell our clients all the time – “The mobile application or website are NOT the products you are selling; they are just the tools that support your greater business service.”
Once we looked inwards, we began focusing on helping businesses with their technology and digital marketing strategy, and in cases of smaller businesses just starting out, even their go-to-market strategy.
Customer-Centric Marketing Strategy ProjectUsability Matrix came to us because they wanted a technology solution to gather marketing insights about their customers. They had five different systems containing customer data which spanned almost ten years. Some of the data was useful, some of it was incorrect, some of it was outdated, and some of it was incomplete.
After discussing their overall business goals and drivers, we identified the type of customer insights and KPIs which would be most useful to drive their business. We had a very aggressive timeline for an event launch which required round-the-clock work and focus on the critical components that would have the greatest impact on sales at launch. Then we,
· Created an information architecture which would support their business goals and KPIs.
· Cleansed the data of incorrect or outdated emails, addresses and phone numbers.
· Integrated all the data to provide a “single-view of a customer” across five, very different, data sources.
· Developed a scalable data architecture & database in MySQL to consolidate historical data.
· Designed a front-end application to access and manipulate the data as they saw fit.
· Generated multiple customer segmentations and target lists to use for their marketing, including: high-value/ low-investment customers; loyal customers; and low-investment prospects.
Integrative Health Coaching Go-To-Market and Technology StrategyEnergize Technologies was approached by a startup Integrative Health Coaching business which was looking for a new website and mobile application to sell to prospective clients. Integrative Health Coaching is a new concept in healthcare, which unlike traditional symptom-focused therapy, focuses on the whole person – mind, body, spirit and community. This holistic approach has longer-lasting results on people’s health and is slowly being incorporated into the healthcare landscape, especially with the maturation of the Affordable Care Act.
Although we were initially approached to develop a technology, we quickly helped our client realize that they were not ready for a technology solution just yet. They first had to create and demonstrate their value proposition to the market, define a unique and proven coaching service, and then create a supporting technology.
We performed some high-level market research to gain a better understanding of the landscape and then began brainstorming a go-to-market strategy with the client. We pondered questions like:
· Who are your actual customers? Patients, Health Care Providers, Insurance Companies, Government Agencies?
· What service are you actually providing? What benefits are you helping patients realize?
· Which outcomes actually resonate with your potential customers?
· Who are your competitors and how are you different?
This startup company is currently in the process of answering these questions and we look forward to partnering with them on their next technology strategy journey.
Customer-Centric Digital Marketing Strategy & GovernanceEnergize Technologies was approached by a large, multi-billion-dollar global healthcare company to assist with a global digital marketing strategy and governance structure. After segregating from a much larger parent company, our client was having difficulty managing their digital marketing channels consistently.
After some initial discovery interviews with over fifteen people, we realized that there were some internal roles, process and governance issues which needed to be resolved prior to attacking the larger and more strategic customer centricity project. We realized that there were misaligned objectives which were preventing progress.
We listened to all of the stakeholders and developed a strategic vision which resonated with all functions and regions across the globe. We then chartered two new governance committees, defined a realistic and agreeable scope through some business architecture capability mapping, and governance processes to help streamline the creation and approval of new digital marketing innovations.
Energize Technologies is looking forward to embarking on the next, strategic step of developing a consistent customer experience across their digital channels.
CommuniTri Triathlon Video Analysis & Community Learning Platform
CommuniTri is where the entrepreneurial dream truly began. While still working in the corporate world, the idea for a community where people can come together to truly help each progress and improve with the aid of big data and technology, was born.
CommuniTri is now over a year in the making, but the end result will be worth the wait. We believe that there is a tremendous amount of value in the concept of community learning and problem-solving. Since the advent of computing, technology remains to be the most efficient enabler of reaching the best result for a problem. Although great strides have been made in the areas of Artificial Intelligence and predictive computing, the personal experiences of individuals remain bar to none in the aspects of helping individuals progress and solve their individual problems.
Firstly, we as humans are unique individuals who have very distinct genetic codes and historical backgrounds. So while the most genetically gifted athletes (with the right skills and habits) will rise to the top and achieve the greatest results, that does not make them the best coaches or mentors to the rest of us.
We need to reach out to the masses to see what lessons, knowledge and experiences they have to offer. Humans are community-based creatures – we rely on our brethren for help, and that is the foundational principle on which CommuniTri and any other successful self-improvement architecture is based on.
Not only is it statistically more likely for a mass community to develop the best solutions to a problem, but it’s also the most motivational way to keep individuals on track to achieve their goals and maintain their discipline and focus in the process.
CommuniTri is the foundation for the realization of this community learning and problem-solving concept. While the use case is currently applied to the triathlon community, the realization of future outcomes is limitless.
CommuniTri will be launched in the next few months and will set the precedent for future community learning and problem-solving ecosystems for the future.
Chapter 4: The Future of Energize TechnologiesThe entrepreneurial journey of Energize Technologies has been filled with ups and downs over the last inaugural year. And just like our own individual lives, has evolved to a new focus that was both unpredictable in the past but also logical in retrospect.
Over the last year, Energize Technologies has shifted its focus from a strictly web and mobile app development company, to an organization that makes a greater impact on people’s health and fitness by focusing on the utilization and application of technology to support a greater and more lasting outcome on people’s lives. Technology, devoid of human connection, cannot change the world.
The new vision of Energize Technologies is:
To facilitate self-improvement in healthcare & fitness industries through the innovative application of technology.This will require a change in focus from strictly development-focus, to a more marketing and technology strategy focus. What we quickly came to realize in the last few months, is that we knew this at our core all along. It’s who we are.
Energize Technologies has therefore found a partner company in the “Silicon Valley” of the world in Ukraine to perform all necessary development, user experience design and algorithm development.
Our Energize Technologies core competencies have shifted from web & mobile app development, to Business Architecture, Marketing and IT Strategy, and Corporate Innovation. With these four core competencies, we’ll be equipped to help anyone from the smallest startup to the largest Fortune 500 company, apply technology to help their respective consumers reach their goals, and inherently, impact the health and fitness of the world.
· Business Architecture – necessary to understand how a new innovative product or process will integrate or impact an existing organizational structure.
· Marketing Strategy – necessary to understand how a new technology or digital innovation can integrate with an existing brand or marketing strategy.
· IT Strategy – necessary to understand how the internal technology competencies need to change or shift to support a new innovation.
· Corporate Innovation – for most larger corporations, necessary to create a culture and core competency of continuous improvement innovation, so that they are never left behind by their competitors.
The future is bright for Energize Technologies. And by sticking true to our vision, we’ll be able to not only make an impact on the health and fitness of our clients, but also find partners and clients with similar aspirations, in the process.