Feel like you’re seeing a lot more website pop-up banners these days asking about your cookie preferences? Those cookie banners are here to stay, and they’re a vital part of compliance for websites of all sizes.
As global standards for consumer privacy and data protection continue to climb, businesses are burning more time and resources to keep up. One VentureBeat article pegged the cost for a business of maintaining data privacy compliance at an eye-popping $31 million — and the costs of non-compliance can be even higher. Failing to stay on top of this complex patchwork of regulations can trigger real consequences, from steep fines and penalties to the indirect costs of reputational harm and lost business.
Cookie consent is one part of a holistic data privacy strategy — and an increasingly important one. Global privacy laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and Brazil’s General Data Protection Law (LGPD), require companies to inform visitors about the data collected on their website via cookies and provide them with granular choices about what they’re willing to share. Cookie consent management solutions help users manage cookie preferences when they enter your site, presenting a banner that informs users about how cookies are used and letting them decide which information (if any) they want cookies to collect.
Cookie consent management solutions are rapidly evolving to keep up with changing data privacy standards. CookiePro is a solution from OneTrust designed specifically for small to medium businesses, offering a more automated way to ensure website and mobile applications stay compliant with cookie consent and global privacy regulations. At Oomph, we’ve helped several clients integrate CookiePro into their sites in recent months and think it’s on track to become an industry standard for cookie consent management.
For organizations that are already juggling multiple site integrations, does it make sense to add another? To answer that, let’s take a look at why cookie consent matters, how a tool like CookiePro can help, and if it’s right for you.
Why Do I Need a Cookie Consent Solution?
To comply with privacy laws and provide a transparent experience that builds trust, many website owners are rethinking how they manage compliance. Adding a cookie consent tool to your website can improve the experience for you and your users.
Not taking data privacy seriously can cost you. In December 2022, Meta (the parent company of Facebook) agreed to pay $725 million to settle several class-action lawsuits that found Facebook had let third-parties access users’ private data and their friends’ data without user permission. Oracle has been sued for collecting 4.5 billion personal records from consumers who have specifically opted out of sharing, and Starbucks is potentially facing a lawsuit for continuing to “track customers ‘after they’ve declined all but required cookies.’”
While big-name companies get most of the bad press around data privacy, you don’t have to be a global enterprise to face similar consequences. In 2022, the total value of settlements for class-action lawsuits set a new record at $63 billion — and data breach and privacy class action settlements were among the top 10 settlement categories. Instead of risking a costly settlement, a much less expensive approach is to invest in a solution to help manage the work of compliance.
Beyond protecting your organization from legal action, demonstrating that you care about compliance helps your business build trust and long-term relationships with users. Data privacy is becoming more important to consumers of all ages, with 74% of people ranking data privacy as one of their top values.
A cookie consent solution lets users know that they’re in charge of their own data. It clearly discloses which information your business collects and uses, putting the power in their hands to control the data they share. If users want to change what they’re comfortable sharing later, they can easily update their settings. That level of transparency helps set the tone for your customer interactions, turning users into loyal brand advocates.
If your website serves users in multiple states or countries, keeping up with the patchwork of state, federal, and international laws is virtually impossible without software. Eleven states have unique data privacy laws in place right now, and 16 states introduced privacy bills during the 2022 to 2023 legislative cycle.
Factor in international regulations like GDPR, and it would take more hours than there are in a day to curate the individual preferences of your customer base. Plus, which of your team members is watching in case any regulations change? The most efficient approach is to use an automated cookie solution to curate consent requirements based on the user’s location and more.
What Is CookiePro?
Developed by OneTrust, which offers more robust data privacy solutions for enterprises, CookiePro started as a product in the OneTrust platform. After recognizing the need among small and medium businesses for a turnkey consent tool, OneTrust spun off CookiePro as a standalone solution.
CookiePro offers plans starting at around $40 per month, making it a budget-friendly alternative to enterprise solutions like OneTrust (or the cost of a lawsuit settlement). CookiePro comes with core compliance features like user-level consent management, acceptance customization, data mapping and recordkeeping, support for over 250 user languages, and additional security features.
After helping several of our clients implement CookiePro, there are a few key features that stand out for us:
- Easy installation: It just takes a few minutes to add a snippet of code to your website to enable CookiePro. It’s compatible with Drupal, WordPress, and other major site platforms.
- Automated cookie blocking: CookiePro’s auto-blocking tool scans your website to identify third-party tracking technologies, categorizes the cookies, and automatically blocks all cookies until users have given consent.
- Robust customizations: You can tailor your CookiePro banner to match your branding by customizing colors, content, and consent language. CookiePro also allows you to customize the user experience by choosing your consent approach and giving users granular control over their cookie settings.
- Upgrade path: Whether you have a small site or one with hundreds of thousands of visitors, CookiePro can support growing business needs. If you find that you need more support or functionality, you can upgrade to OneTrust’s Trust Intelligence Platform to unify all your data privacy management activities.
- Tag management system integrations: You can integrate tag management systems with your cookie consent solution if you use analytics and other platform tags on your website. CookiePro has integrations with many major tag management systems, including Google Tag Manager and Tealium, so you don’t have to change your current setup.
Beyond CookiePro, there are a growing number of other cookie consent solutions on the market, such as Termly and Cookiebot by Usercentrics. The right choice for you will depend on your existing tech stack, budget, and goals — the most important step is to put something in place to protect yourself and your users.
Where Should I Start?
Taking a proactive approach is key to ensuring data privacy for your users and avoiding costly consequences. Educate yourself on the different regulations and requirements, figure out the gaps in your compliance approach, and invest in tools that can help reduce risk and manual effort for your team.
Feeling overwhelmed or need a fresh perspective? Oomph’s accessibility and compliance audit is a great place to start. We can help you go beyond cookie consent to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and other regulatory standards, helping you mitigate risk and deliver on user expectations. Reach out to us to schedule your site audit.
With low-code and no-code development tools, anyone can be a developer. Right?
That depends. While working in low-code/no-code tools may feel like you’ve unlocked the power of the digital universe, there are still many projects that require traditional full-code solutions.
According to Zapier’s recent no-code report, over 50% of no-code users started in the past year, many of whom are self-taught. Industry analysts also expect that by 2025, over 70% of the applications organizations develop will rely on no-code/low-code tools. That’s not surprising, given that these tools lower the barrier to entry – and the cost – of developing new sites and apps.
With a slew of effective low-code/no-code solutions on the market today, the question isn’t whether you should use no-code/low-code tools to evolve your digital footprint. It’s how and when you should use them so that the tools work for your organization, not against it.
What Is Low-Code/No-Code?
There are three ways to build websites or apps: full-code, low-code, and no-code. Developers hold the keys to the proverbial full-code city, but low-code and no-code open the door to people without a coding background.
While it’s tempting to brush off low-code and no-code as “same same but different,” the differences do matter. Understanding what they are and how they work will help you choose the best route for whatever digital property you need to build.
Low-code development uses APIs, drag-and-drop tools, code and process templates, and more to help build websites, apps, and workflows. These tools typically require some coding skills, but nothing like what you’d need to create a full-code solution. That makes it much quicker and easier to create a product using low-code development than writing all of the code from scratch.
No-code development uses visual builders and other simple tools that allow people without any coding skills to build digital experiences. Through drag-and-drop, visual flows, and templated plug-ins, you can build something beautiful without having to touch the code at all. They’re one step more accessible than low-code solutions, making them compelling options for organizations that need fast and cost-effective development.
Pros and Cons of Low-Code/No-Code Development
Low-code/no-code tools take a lot of the time, cost, and aggravation out of traditional development – but they’re not a cure-all for your coding challenges. Before you dive in, keep their strengths and limitations in mind.
Pros of low-code/no-code
- Speed to market: Your path to launch is much quicker with low-code/no-code tools. Stand up a simple brochure-style website or multi-step workflow in a matter of hours, rather than weeks or even months.
- Less expensive: Many businesses are on a budget that can’t flex for an experienced developer. Both low-code and no-code tools can deliver an effective product at a fraction of the price. Once you’ve built your site, you can also rely on your internal team to tweak the copy or update an image down the road instead of hiring outside help.
- Expansive options: The low-code/no-code tools on the market have expanded along with their user base. There are more options than ever before, with themes and plug-ins that look so sleek you’d think they were full code.
Cons of low-code/no-code
- Limited customization: You can create something appealing with no-code/low-code options. But will it totally look and feel like your brand? Probably not. Because these tools are designed to be easy to use, they don’t have the custom capabilities you’ll get through coding.
- Somewhat breakable: Low-code/no-code tools do use code, it’s just written and templated by someone else. That means that if you don’t use the features correctly, you can break the code – and you might still have to call in a developer to make important fixes.
- Time intensive: Drag-and-drop may sound simple, but getting it just right can actually be a time suck for people with minimal web dev skills. You may end up spending more time on your site or app than if you hired someone with development experience.
When Should You Use Low-Code/No-Code Tools?
For simple projects where hitting budgets and timelines is more important than highly customized design, low-code/no-code tools can be a great solve. They’re especially good for:
- Proof-of-concept builds: Looking to stand up a site or app for a new product? Rather than spending months on traditional development (and losing precious time in the market), low-code/no-code tools allow you to build the core functionality, test your idea with users, and gain buy-in or funding from key decision-makers. If you pick the right tool, your MVP could even serve as the foundation for a larger build later.
- Creating simple websites and apps: For basic builds like customer portals, knowledge centers, or bug ticketing systems, you don’t need to recreate the wheel. Low-code/no-code tools offer tons of templates that make it easy to launch straightforward digital experiences.
- Updating an existing digital experience: Thanks to the bevy of CMS tools out there, you can hire a developer for an initial build and have them set up CMS functionality for simple updates later. This hybrid approach gives you the freedom to adapt your site or app as your organization evolves, while still maintaining a custom look and feel.
- Reporting dashboards and workflow automations: Need a new setup for your business intelligence? Since dashboards and workflows are mainly built for internal users, achieving a custom look isn’t typically a priority – and options abound for automating virtually any task.
What Should You Look For in a Low-Code/No-Code Tool?
Before you choose a solution, consider whether anyone on your team has basic coding skills. If yes, low-code tools may be up your alley. If not, consider narrowing your focus to the many no-code tools around.
Whichever route you go, look for these features in both low-code and no-code tools:
- An extensive marketplace: Because low-code and no-code solutions aren’t very customizable, look for a tool with robust built-in features. You’ll want to be able to choose from a diverse set of additional features, tools, and pre-built APIs that integrate with any tech you need.
- Integration support: You may need custom code solutions here and there. Make sure the low-code or no-code tool you choose will allow you to add extra code.
- Visual builder tools: With these tools, you’ll be able to edit the user interface and not the back end, which is key if you want an approachable no-code/low-code tool. Look for drag-and-drop capabilities that can be used to create things like data workflow mapping or dashboard building. Without that, you may still need someone with development experience.
- Granular permission systems: Your website shouldn’t be an open door. Look for low-code/no-code tools that allow you to restrict access to certain apps and data sets by assigning different permissions to different users (administrators, edit access, view-only, etc.).
When Should You Bring in an Agency To Build a Full-Code Solution?
Sometimes, only a custom or full-code solution will do. The more unique you want your digital property to be, the more likely it is that you’ll need to call in an expert. We also suggest you look for support if:
- You have a complex digital environment: If you need a site with hundreds of pages or a multisite architecture, you’ll probably need a custom solution to get the results you’re looking for.
- You need a custom feature: Low-code/now-code tools aren’t bottomless wells of features and plug-ins. If you need a unique-to-you feature or integration that isn’t readily available, it’s time to call in someone who can build one.
- You need a custom user interface: Cookie-cutter templates won’t work for all brands and products. If you need a specific user interface, you may not be able to achieve that within even a low-code platform.
- You want the product to be proprietary: Low-code/no-code products must be hosted within a specific low-code/no-code platform. You’ll need a custom, full-code solution if you want to own the product and sell it as a proprietary tool.
Get Help Leveraging the Right Tools for the Right Projects
You wouldn’t build a house on shaky ground, would you? Then why build an experience on a platform that might not actually be able to support it?
Though no-code/low-code tools certainly democratize the web development market, they aren’t a silver bullet. If you know that whatever you’re building is simple enough that a no-code/low-code tool and your existing team can support it, we say go for it.
But if you’re even a little uncertain, consider getting an outside opinion on how to lay a strong foundation for your next development project.
Want help deciding whether no-code, low-code, or full-code is best for you? We’d love to talk with you about your needs.
The circular economy aims to help the environment by reducing waste, mainly by keeping goods and services in circulation for as long as possible. Unlike the traditional linear economy, in which things are produced, consumed, and then discarded, a circular economy ensures that resources are shared, repaired, reused, and recycled, over and over.
What does this have to do with your digital platform? In a nutshell: everything.
From tackling climate change to creating more resilient markets, the circular economy is a systems-level solution for global environmental and economic issues. By building digital platforms for the circular economy, your business will be better prepared for whatever the future brings.
The Circular Economy isn’t Coming. It’s Here.
With environmental challenges growing day by day, businesses all over the world are going circular. Here are a few examples:
- Target plans for 100% of its branded products to last longer, be easier to repair or recycle, and be made from materials that are regenerative, recyclable, or sustainably sourced.
- Trove’s ecommerce platform lets companies buy back and resell their own products. This extends each products’ use cycle, lowering the environmental and social cost per item.
- Renault is increasing the life of its vehicle parts by restoring old engine parts. This limits waste, prolongs the life of older cars, and reduces emissions from manufacturing.
One area where nearly every business could adopt a circular model is the creation and use of digital platforms. The process of building websites and apps, along with their use over time, consumes precious resources (both people and energy). That’s why Oomph joined 1% For the Planet earlier this year. Our membership reflects our commitment to do more collective good — and to hold ourselves accountable for our collective impact on the environment.
But, we’re not just donating profits to environmental causes. We’re helping companies build sustainable digital platforms for the circular economy.
Curious about your platform’s environmental impact? Enter your URL into this tool to get an estimate of your digital platform’s carbon footprint.
Changing Your Platform From Linear to Circular
If protecting the environment and promoting sustainability is a priority for your business, it’s time to change the way you build and operate your websites and apps. Here’s what switching to a platform for the circular economy could look like.
From a linear mindset…
When building new sites or apps, many companies fail to focus on longevity or performance. Within just a few years, their platforms become obsolete, either as a result of business changes or a desire to keep up with rapidly evolving technologies.
So, every few years, they have to start all over again — with all the associated resource costs of building a new platform and migrating content from the old one.
Platforms that aren’t built with performance in mind tend to waste a ton of energy (and money) in their daily operation. As these platforms grow in complexity and slow down in performance, one unfortunate solution is to just increase computing power. That means you need new hardware to power the computing cycles, which leads to more e-waste, more mining for metals and more pollution from manufacturing, and more electricity to power the entire supply chain.
Enter the circular economy.
…to a circular approach.
Building a platform for the circular economy is about reducing harmful impacts and wasteful resource use, and increasing the longevity of systems and components. There are three main areas you can address:
1. Design out waste and pollution from the start.
At Oomph, we begin every project with a thorough and thoughtful discovery process that gets to the heart of what we’re building, and why. By identifying what your business truly needs in a platform — today and potentially tomorrow — you’ll minimize the need to rebuild again later.
It’s also crucial to build efficiencies into your backend code. Clean, efficient code makes things load faster and run more quickly, with fewer energy cycles required per output.
Look for existing frameworks, tools, and third-party services that provide the functions you need and will continue to stay in service for years or decades to come. And, instead of building a monolith platform that has to be upgraded every few years or requires massive computing power, consider switching to a more nimble and efficient microservices architecture.
2. Keep products and services in use.
Regular maintenance and timely patching is key to prolonging the life of your platform. So is proactively looking for performance issues. Be sure to regularly test and assess your platform’s speed and efficiency, so you can address problems early on.
While we’re advocating for using products and services for as long as possible, if your platform is built on microservices, don’t be afraid to replace an existing service with a new one. Just make sure the new service provides a benefit that outweighs the resource costs of implementing it.
3. Aim to regenerate natural systems.
The term “regenerate” describes a process that mimics the cycles of nature by restoring or renewing sources of energy and materials. It might seem like the natural world is far removed from your in-house tech, but there are a number of ways that your IT choices impact the environment.
For starters, you can factor sustainability into your decisions around vendors and equipment. Look for digital hosting companies and data centers that are green or LEED-certified. Power your hardware with renewable energy sources. Ultimately, the goal is to consider not just how to reduce your platform’s impact on the environment, but how you can create a net-positive effect by doing better with less.
Get Ready for the Future
We’ve long seen that the ways in which businesses and societies use resources can transform local and global communities. And we know that environmental quality is inextricably linked to human wellbeing and prosperity. The circular economy, then, provides a way to improve our future readiness.
Companies that invest in sustainability generally experience better resilience, improved operational performance, and longer-lasting growth. They’re also better suited to meet the new business landscape, as governments incentivize sustainable activities, customers prefer sustainable products, and employees demand sustainable leadership.
Interested in exploring how you can join the new circular economy with your digital platforms? We’d love to help you explore your options, just contact us.
In our previous post we broadly discussed the mindset of composable business. While “composable” can be a long term company-wide strategy for the future, companies shouldn’t overlook smaller-scale opportunities that exist at every level to introduce more flexibility, longevity, and reduce costs of technology investments.
For maximum ROI, think big, then start small
Many organizations are daunted by the concept of shifting a legacy application or monolith to a microservices architecture. This is exacerbated when an application is nearing end of life.
Don’t discount the fact that a move to a microservices architecture can be done progressively over time, unlike the replatform of a monolith which is a huge investment in both time and money that may not be realized for years until the new application is ready to deploy.
A progressive approach allows organizations to:
- Move faster and allow for adjustments as needed
- Begin realizing returns on investments faster
- Reduce risk by making smaller investments and deployments
- Ease budgeting process by funding an overhaul in stages
- Improve quality by minimizing the scope of tests
- Save money on initial investment and maintenance where services are centralized
- Benefit from longevity of a component-based system
Prioritizing the approach by aligning technical architecture with business objectives
As with any application development initiative, aligning business objectives with technology decisions is essential. Unlike replatforming a monolith, however, prioritizing and planning the order of development and deployments is crucial to the success of the initiative.
Start with clearly defining your application with a requirements and feature matrix. Then evaluate each using three lenses to see priorities begin to emerge:
- With a current state lens, evaluate each item. Is it broken? Is it costly to maintain? Is it leveraged by multiple business units or external applications?
- Then with a future state lens, evaluate each item. Could it be significantly improved? Could it be leveraged by other business units? Could it be leveraged outside the organization (partners, etc…)? Could it be leveraged in other applications, devices, or locations?
- Lastly, evaluate the emerging priority items with a cost and effort lense. What is the level of effort to develop the feature as a service? What is the likely duration of the effort?
Key considerations when planning a progressive approach
Planning is critical to any successful application development initiative, and architecting a microservices based architecture is no different. Be sure to consider the following key items as part of your planning exercises:
- Remember that rearchitecting a monolith feature as a service can open the door to new opportunities and new ways of thinking. It is helpful to ask “If this feature was a stand alone service, we could __”
- Be careful of designing services that are too big in scope. Work diligently to break down the application into the smallest possible parts, even if it is later determined that some should be grouped together
- Keep security front of mind. Where a monolith may have allowed for a straightforward security management policy with everything under one roof, a services architecture provides the opportunity for a more customized security policy, and the need to define how separate services are allowed to communicate with each other and the outside world
A microservices architecture is an approach that can help organizations move faster, be more flexible and agile, and reduce costs on development and maintenance of software applications. By taking a progressive approach when architecting a monolith application, businesses can move quickly, reduce risk, improve quality, and reduce costs.
If you’re interested in introducing composability to your organization, we’d love to help! Contact us today to talk about your options.
While the terminology was first spotlighted by IBM back in 2014, the concept of a composable business has recently gained much traction, thanks in large part to the global pandemic. Today, organizations are combining more agile business models with flexible digital architecture, to adapt to the ever-evolving needs of their company and their customers.
Here’s a high-level look at building a composable business.
What is a Composable Business?
The term “composable” encompasses a mindset, technology, and processes that enable organizations to innovate and adapt quickly to changing business needs.
A composable business is like a collection of interchangeable building blocks (think: Lego) that can be added, rearranged, and jettisoned as needed. Compare that with an inflexible, monolithic organization that’s slow and difficult to evolve (think: cinderblock). By assembling and reassembling various elements, composable businesses can respond quickly to market shifts.
Gartner offers four principles of composable business:
- Discovery: React faster by sensing when change is happening.
- Modularity: Achieve greater agility with interchangeable components.
- Orchestration: Mix and match business functions to respond to changing needs.
- Autonomy: Create greater resilience via independent business units.
These four principles shape the business architecture and technology that support composability. From structural capabilities to digital applications, composable businesses rely on tools for today and tomorrow.
So, how do you get there?
Start With a Composable Mindset…
A composable mindset involves thinking about what could happen in the future, predicting what your business may need, and designing a flexible architecture to meet those needs. Essentially, it’s about embracing a modular philosophy and preparing for multiple possible futures.
Where do you begin? Research by Gartner suggests the first step in transitioning to a composable enterprise is to define a longer-term vision of composability for your business. Ask forward-thinking questions, such as:
- How will the markets we operate in evolve over the next 3-5 years?
- How will the competitive landscape change in that time?
- How are the needs and expectations of our customers changing?
- What new business models or new markets might we pursue?
- What product, service, or process innovations would help us outpace competitors?
These kinds of questions provide insights into the market forces that will impact your business, helping you prepare for multiple futures. But you also need to adopt a modular philosophy, thinking about all the assets in your organization — every bit of data, every process, every application — as the building blocks of your composable business.
…Then Leverage Composable Technology
A long-term vision helps create purpose and structure for a composable business. Technology is the tools that bring it to life. Composable technology begets sustainable business architectures, ready to address the challenges of the future, not the past.
For many organizations, the shift to composability means evolving from an inflexible, monolithic digital architecture to a modular application portfolio. The portfolio is made up of packaged business capabilities, or PBCs, which form the foundation of composable technology.
The ABCs of PBCs
PBCs are software components that provide specific business capabilities. Although similar in some respects to microservices, PBCs address more than technological needs. While a specific application may leverage a microservice to provide a feature, when that feature represents a business capability beyond just the application at hand, it is a PBC.
Because PBCs can be curated, assembled, and reassembled as needed, you can adapt your technology practically at the pace of business change. You can also experiment with different services, shed things that aren’t working, and plug in new options without disrupting your entire ecosystem.
When building an application portfolio with PBCs, the key is to identify the capabilities your business needs to be flexible and resilient. What are the foundational elements of your long-term vision? Your target architecture should drive the business outcomes that support your strategic goals.
Build or Buy?
PBCs can either be developed internally or sourced from third parties. Vendors may include traditional packaged-software vendors and nontraditional parties, such as global service integrators or financial services companies.
When deciding whether to build or buy a PBC, consider whether your target capability is unique to your business. For example, a CMS is something many businesses need, and thus it’s a readily available PBC that can be more cost-effective to buy. But if, through vendor selection, you find that your particular needs are unique, you may want to invest in building your own.
While building a new member retention platform for a large health insurer, we discovered a need to quickly look up member status during the onboarding process. Because the company had a unique way of identifying members, it required building custom software.
Although initially conceived in the context of the platform being created, a composable mindset led to the development of a standalone, API-first service — a true PBC providing member lookup capability to applications across the organization, and waiting to serve the applications of the future.
A Final Word
Disruption is here to stay. While you can’t predict every major shift, innovation, or crisis that will impact your organization, you can (almost) future-proof your business with a composabile approach.
Start with the mindset, lay out a roadmap, and then design a step-by-step program for digital transformation. The beauty of an API-led approach is that you can slowly but surely transform your technology, piece by piece.
If you’re interested in exploring a shift to composability, we’d love to help. Contact us today to talk about your options.