Tallie’s Opticon 2014 Takeaways for Every Innovative Business

On Thursday April 17th, Team Tallie attended Optimizely’s inaugural conference, Opticon 2014. Why, you might ask? Tallie uses Optimizely to continually improve our clients’ experience navigating both our website and the Tallie product itself. As a SaaS company, we are intent on continually delivering an improved product experience. As individuals, we are inspired to challenge, test, innovate, and lead the business software industry towards a new era of accounting marked by meaningful technology with top business value.

We were thoroughly impressed with Optimizely’s first conference (if you didn’t know it, you’d never guess). We decided to round up our top 3 favorite takeaways from our experience and pass them on to our followers.

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1. Just run an experiment.

This mantra was woven throughout the day of seminars, beginning with the keynote address by Optimizely Co-Founders Dan Siroker and Pete Koomen. Dan first introduced us to this simple, yet powerful solution by sharing a story about his days as a Product Manager for Google Chrome. He said whenever he was met with skepticism or even full-on roadblocks in the development process, he would propose an experiment— the option of an “undo” button. By doing so, he was able to back up his ideas and hypotheses on business value with hard data, and break through seemingly impossible barriers. Performing experiments, however big or small, led Dan to help make Google Chrome the powerhouse web browser that it is today.

Takeaway: Business decisions needn’t be precluded by a battle and office politics. Eliminate cross-department tension through experimentation, iterative change, and most importantly, real data to back it up.

2. Think outside your bubble.

Just because your company’s business methods are time-tested and written in the rule book doesn’t necessarily mean it’s still the smartest way of operating. Be open to new ideas and new approaches to a seemingly established system or process, and welcome them from anyone in your company. This concept resonated deeply with the Tallie Team due to its perfect alignment with our core purpose— to provide the quickest path from receipt to balance sheet. Taking an arduous and error-prone Excel-based process and revolutionizing it in a way that no other expense management product has done before is one of our core motivators for continued innovation.

Takeaway: By welcoming new approaches to business processes, companies can become more efficient and cut costs, and better position themselves as leaders in their field.

3. Transform your perceived value of company culture.

While Opticon 2014 was teeming with tech savvy seminars and fresh ideas, something exceptional permeated through every detail of the conference: strong company culture. Every Optimizely staff member we interacted with was knowledgeable, approachable, on brand, and most importantly, tied to a communal cause. In the keynote address, we heard some remarkable announcements from Optimizely’s co-founders. One of the most impressive was their new commitment to empower nonprofits to quantifiably increase their ability to drive social change. This attention to social causes was present throughout the event, and it made for a powerfully branded event experience. The consistency and quality of their branded experience was remarkable to say the least, and emboldened my positive perception of the overall company.

Takeaway: Real business value can be derived from “softer” company goals. In addition to positive brand recognition in the field, companies commonly experience higher employee retention, and thus strengthened team expertise and product knowledge. Top companies use these softer goals to amplify existing efforts and drive progress towards completing business goals.

The Tallie Team was thrilled with their Opticon 2014 experience, and feels inspired to continue fostering a “testing culture” to deliver the best product experience to our clients. Did you attend Opticon 2014? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

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