Emerging App and Tech Trends: An Interview with Savvior

Likening themselves to a special forces team, Pittsburgh-based application engineering company Savvior specializes in optimizing a company's existing software systems and custom-developing both web and mobile products. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Keith Giuliani, Savvior's CEO, and Christopher Evans, the company's Vice President, to discuss some of the challenges they see organizations face, trends they see in the field, and an upcoming custom application they are currently developing for the Carnegie Science Center.

 Christopher Evans and Keith Giuliani

Christopher Evans and Keith Giuliani

One sterling example of Savvior's work is their nearly 15-year collaboration with Pittsburgh Parks, which has spanned web applications, mobile, and responsive design. One point that Keith and Chris repeatedly emphasized is that the technology systems they design and deploy should make life easier, not add to the slew of disconnected systems many organizations already manage. For Pittsburgh Parks, which had specific needs when it  came to processing donations, it was important that the web elements worked seamlessly with their extant back-end systems. Not only were they able to accomplish this goal, but as it turned out, the project dovetailed neatly with a separate Pittsburgh Parks project to create a new green space on the University of Pittsburgh campus and provide free wi-fi. Savvior's end-to-end solution provided visitors with high quality service and Pittsburgh Parks with access to new potential donors through data collection from the wi-fi experience.

Not every arts organization has the resources to bring on a company like Savvior to help solve their technology woes, but a few takeaways stuck with me after my conversation with Keith and Chris.

  • Personalized, customized experiences are essential to reaching modern audiences. Modern app development is shifting to reflect this, as seen in previous coverage of the Cleveland Museum of Art's Artlens app or the Philadelphia Orchestra's Livenote app. Providing ways for visitors to use the technology they are already comfortable with, especially when the experience is enhanced through technology like iBeacons, is an excellent was to provide customization.
  • Simplicity should be the end-goal of introducing new technology into your organization. Technology is a tool, not an end unto itself. Good technology makes it easier for customers to have high-quality experiences and get the information they need without putting an additional burden on staff. A shiny new system is no good if it creates extra work and doesn't provide significant business improvements.
  • Data is most powerful when it is connected. Organizations have already observed this trend in the increasingly interconnected worlds of Ticketing and CRM. The more your data systems are connected to one another, the more complete picture you have to aid your decision making. Though companies like Savvior sometimes can create "middleware" to connect these systems, for most arts organization the more affordable option might be to prioritize selecting a system which has a broad set of interconnected functions built-in.