Tablets and smartphones make our lives easier. They are compact and allow more flexibility in the business world, where our professional and personal lives demand having access to any of our business tasks and data on the go. But let’s think further, flexibility to access the web and other software programs has become a necessity rather than an option. Many of us can’t even imagine what our lives would be like without access to the internet on a daily basis.
Mobile websites started a trend that has revolutionized how customers share and process information. However, just like any other invention, mobile websites are now losing popularity as mobile apps become more popular and available in the market.
How popular have these new mobile Apps become? Compuware, a technology performance company, conducted a survey of 3,500 consumers to analyze their behavior on mobile devices. The findings show that Mobile Apps are rapidly becoming more popular than mobile websites.
According to the Compuware Survey, “85% of respondents say they'd prefer a mobile app than a mobile site.” The survey results show that customers’ choice to access their data through mobile apps is rapidly changing and resulting in companies starting to present their product to their prospective clients not only on a mobile website but through a mobile app.
How are these users deciding to move from their regular mobile website to mobile apps? Ratings seem to be a common factor to whether a customer will give a try to a new mobile app on the market. “84% of users say ratings help them determine whether they should download a program.” The Compuware survey results found that users want fast access, easy navigation, and real-time communication when they first launch a mobile app.
“So Long, Mobile Websites” is how CIO Insight refers to customers’ reaction to mobile apps in the article Users Want Mobile Apps, Not Mobile Websites. It remains to be seen if customer’s expectations will dictate whether mobile apps will take over mobile websites.
According to a recent Gartner report the SMB market keeps expanding resulting in new opportunities for innovative IT solutions. “SMB will spend approximately $920 billion worldwide on IT in 2013. Out of those 920 billion…The SMB market represents 44% of the total IT spend worldwide”, Gartner reports. This comes as no surprise since SMBs have become a big part of our worldwide market. According to statistics there are 6 Million SMBs in the U.S. and a total of 65-70 Million SMBs worldwide.
SMBs find themselves continuously competing against larger businesses and as a result they need to be innovative on how they handle their IT needs to keep up with larger competitors. As a result, popular IT solutions have emerged that have adapted their technology to develop comprehensive solutions for business analysts and SMB business owners, reducing the need for programming, years of experience, extensive training as well as long and costly implementations.
According to Gartner, IT solutions for SMBs should:
- Be affordable with outstanding support
- Be easy to install, configure and manage
- Demonstrate fast ROI (Return on Investment)
- Provide flexibility in deployment options
- Provide entry level functionality that can be easily scalable
- Not require too long to achieve benefits
- Be delivered by providers that are “easy to do business with”
Gartner predicts that by 2015, the SMB market is projected to cross the trillion dollar mark in IT spending. While this change takes place the flexibility of IT services on the cloud for SMBs will also become more popular.
“By 2015, 70% of midmarket businesses with 100-999 employees and 40% of small
businesses with 20-99 employees will acquire paid public cloud services.” This change has already begun. In fact, Gartner estimates that in 2013, the percentage of SMBs moving their system to the cloud will jump by 20% over 2012.
Additionally, a new need is emerging with the popularity of tablet computing among SMBs: mobile connectivity from any location. Mobile connectivity to business applications will keep growing among SMBs. In fact Gartner projects that by 2015 the growth of tablet computing among SMBs will outpace that of larger enterprises.
Interneer Development Presentation
David Mines, Chief Architect, and Selim Ozyel, Software Manager, provided an overview on the software architecture and the development process at Interneer. The topics covered included the architecture, technology, configuration challenges, common configuration mistakes, release cycles, and a preview of the new iPad App that is scheduled to be released in 2013.
David began his presentation by summarizing the high level requirements that the Interneer Intellect Platform strives to achieve. Among them are: Allow business analysts to create highly-customized apps without programming, work with completely different industries, handle large amounts of data, support large number of users and have a reliable robust performance.
He compared the development of business apps in Interneer Intellect vs. traditional software development. In the latter, the developer usually has to create database columns, indexes, stored procedures, views and controllers. However, Interneer Intellect creates these automatically in design/edit mode. As a result, the advantages of Interneer Intellect are many: It accesses data as fast as a custom app, runs in an optimized, native environment, takes up less disk space, design/development is much quicker, and good database practices are automatically enforced.
Selim’s presentation focused on the various technologies used by the platform, Interneer’s data center partner nGenx, the development release process, and a preview of the product road map for 2013. The platform enhancements expected include the release of an iPad Application, Web UI enhancements, architecture security enhancements, and support for Windows 2012 and SQL 2012.
Click here to download the PowerPoint presentation for this session.
Positioning to Sell Intellect in Small and Medium-size Businesses (SMB) and Mid-market companies Presentation
Gary Spaid, Chairman of the Board, CEO and President of Alligār shared Alligār’s strategy for how to "sell" the Intellect platform to Mid-market and SMB companies and demonstrate the need for BPM.
Spaid compared how IT manages each problem they are presented with at any moment to the game of Tetris: They have to learn how to manage any type of issue that comes their way in a very limited amount of time, but a good strategy is the first step to a successful outcome. In this game, one randomly selected block after another falls down the screen and you must arrange these blocks to prevent them from stacking up to the top of the play field. Each block is followed by another, not leaving enough time to implement the best solution and leaving gaps that after a short time pile up and kill the player.
Spaid expands his comparison by asking: What if you could influence which blocks are selected? What if you could empower the requestor to build custom-configured blocks? For Spaid this is the strategy for selling Intellect. He presents Interneer Intellect for its value as a BPM platform with a goal of not to sell but to be asked to deliver.
Lastly, he shares the steps he takes for a successful sale: earning a customer’s trust, understanding the entire business, building an enterprise model of the “As-Is”, determining areas of opportunity, and to always do the right thing for the customer.
Click here to download the PowerPoint presentation for this session.
Northgate Case Study
Harrison Lewis, CIO of Northgate Markets, talked about his experiences implementing Interneer Intellect at his organization, the successes, lessons, best practices, and issues encountered.
Northgate Markets was founded in 1980 and is widely known for its 36 retail fresh Mexican grocery stores. Harrison joined the company in October 2011 as CIO where he faced an internal process problem that had been plaguing them for over six years and was not resolved after many prior attempts.
Northgate’s problem related to the tracking of credit shortages and product return requests to buyers. The manual process provided no visibility into a request’s status, no way to see if the request was approved or denied and they were not able to track whether the credit was issued when approved. The result was a great amount of time spent in trying to solve an internal conflict between the stores, buyers, merchandisers, and distribution centers.
In his presentation, Harrison explained how the problem could not wait another year. He began looking for a solution that would address all their internal conflicts. Working with Interneer’s professional services, the company deployed a Store Credit Workflow solution powered by the Interneer Intellect platform. The Intellect Platform allowed store personnel to create requests for damaged products, out of date products, over and under shipments and return requests.
During his presentation, Harrison shared how Interneer helped bring transparency into the entire process, launching the process in just a few weeks across 33 stores, enabling everyone to see status of the requests, and gaining business intelligence on various products.
Harrison closed his presentation by talking about future plans with the platform and shared his thoughts on why the project was successful. Interneer focused on delivering a solution that worked and helped his team through the entire process, from gathering the requirements to implementing and launching the process.
Click here to download the PowerPoint presentation for this session.
Cloud Computing - The Beginning of the Demand Supply IT Era
Sina Moatamed, Principal Consultant for Unified Clouds, talked about Cloud Computing creating significant changes in organizational behavior. According to Sina, business units, not IT, are increasingly in charge of the narrative of how Enterprises will innovate and IT must adjust accordingly. His talk was a review on how to manage that change.
Mr. Moatamed discussed the changes Cloud Computing has created after being introduced into a Traditional IT environment. The change almost immediately created a decentralized IT organization for those engagements. IT Departments need to offer additional value for business units when they deliver cloud solutions in order for them to return to being a trusted and preferred partner to engage in cloud solutions.
Sina further explained how financial operations for IT will have to migrate to a different cost model to make the value match with the service a public cloud requires or keep the service internal. Most importantly they will have to provide business units a common financial model for all services that would attract them to the new change.
Mr. Moatamed concluded his presentation by mentioning where these changes are taking the IT industry: Planning will be replaced by Brokering Cloud services, build will be replaced by Integration of Cloud services into the company’s business system portfolio and run will be replaced by Orchestration of services to manage continuity of delivery.
Click here to download the PowerPoint presentation for this session
Read the article by Mr. Moatamed on this topic:
Just returned from the UBM Channel annual XChange 2012 conference. We had a chance to present, meet and speak with many solution providers across North America, who focus largely on SMB and Mid Market companies.
I was surprised to learn that the solution providers were not as aware and knowledgeable on Workflow and BPM as the customers they serve, especially the Mid Market focused companies. However, as they learned what the technology was capable of, it became obvious to them how BPM and workflow management could help their customers and that the need was there.
Being a cloud BPM solution was also a big hit among the solution providers. It turns out their SMB and Mid Market customers have been aggressively driving demand for cloud based solutions and it was good to receive that feedback and validation.
Overall a good event and we will be updating our partner program thanks to their feedback and adding many more new partners to our channel.
HR solutions come in many flavors and with lots of features. Some provide the basics for tracking employee life cycles, hiring, firing, raises, etc. Some focus on finding talents like managing resumes, interviews, advertising and integrating with job sites. Others include payroll processing and benefits management. These systems provide a lot of value to HR managers and departments for mid to large companies, enabling them to manage the day to day HR activities as well as track the dynamic database of employees joining or leaving the company.
As companies reach higher process maturity levels and start to document and enforce structured business processes, many of these HR systems begin to struggle. For example, what if your organization required a process for approving raises that depended on a number of approval steps. Or what if company policies defined rules that determined the necessary approvals based on employee job title, pay raise amount or role. Most of these HR systems typically provide some basic approval process if any, and deviating from that process becomes a large software development customization effort, if at all possible. Thus HR Managers resort to email, paper (manual) or spreadsheet based ways to track these changes and approvals to work around the limitations of the HR System. This is what I am referring to as the HR gap.
Business Process Management Platforms have emerged as a compelling solution to this problem and to fill the HR gap. These systems are designed for the rapid modeling of a workflow process through a drag and drop interface, with the ability to route forms and data between people. In the case we just described, the BPM platform would allow the HR Manager to define the workflow process of approvals, along with the various rules. Once a request is made (could be for a raise, promotion, transfer etc.) through the system, the manager is notified by email and can then login to view the status of the request, respond, approve or reject the request. The system provides a real time status view on where a request is, reminders for past due requests, and can even be setup to interface with the company’s HR System once the request is approved.
In addition, the workflow engine maintains an audit trail that tracks the requests, comments, decisions, both in real time and as a historical record. This enables companies to mitigate the risks involved in making such decisions by demonstrating they followed their processes and policies as defined. Not only do companies using BPM platforms save time in processing these requests, they reduce costs by eliminating paper forms and unnecessary mistakes. Employee morale is improved and HR departments are empowered with a process platform they can manage and control, without any programming or technical resources.
If you would like to see a examples of how HR departments are leveraging BPM platforms, click here.
A recent conversation with analysts from Info Tech Research Group revealed some interesting insights about the pressures facing IT departments at Mid Market companies.
Besides the usual backlog of requests from the business that keeps increasing, they find themselves having to deal with more complex demands that are beyond the internal capabilities of the groups. In addition, the IT skills required are becoming more broader to address the various demands, with less vertical specialization in house.
In addition SaaS tools are disrupting the way IT used to function, as business units are getting on the Cloud directly, bypassing IT, or in many cases, are getting more involved in purchase decision making.
These pressures are causing a shift in IT skills, with companies seeing a rise in business developers, as compared to highly skilled tool developers, and a shift in IT from the business of running technology and infrastructure to the business of managing vendors and being business analysts.
Business Process Management platforms are designed to address these new realities as they can address the backlog of demands on IT due to their rapid development capabilities, they can empower the business with the help of IT, and they are easy to learn and adopt. The next frontier for BPM platforms is Mid Market companies!