- The IAP has been optimized for certain types of applications more than others: Specifically, it's ideal for applications that automate a process where people interact with data and each other in a workflow (human processes). In other words, the application guides users through a standard process, notifies them of issues that need their attention, and enables them to centralize, retrieve and process information quickly. The platform is therefore ideal for applications that require information to be presented to people to prompt them to make decisions and that require information to be viewed and reported on in a variety of ways. Given this optimization, examples of applications that are ideal to be built on the IAP include but are not limited to sales force automation, issue tracking, project management and expense tracking.
- The IAP was designed to be used by non-programmers: Thus the features, user interface, philosophy and approach to configuration have been optimized for non-programmers. This is important since it forces the simplification of the feature set, requires them to be intuitive and reduces what I call the "God factor," where the user can be "God" and build whatever they want on the platform, just like a traditional development tool such as Visual Studio enables one to do. Given this optimization, applications that are graphically intensive like computer aided design or others that require a high level of user interface definition, or applications that focus on primarily back end transaction processing are NOT optimized for the IAP and are better suited for traditional development platforms geared towards actual programmers.
As for the second question, "What types of applications have been built on the IAP?", the best way to answer it is to list just a few of the many example applications that have been configured on the IAP. This list does not include solutions that have been added to our solutions library, such as Sales Force Automation, Project Portfolio Management, Travel Expense Management and others. I will try to post more of these examples over the coming months.
Two common elements should be immediately clear from the list :
- They are all human process type applications
- They all represent very unique company processes for which no off-the-shelf solution exists today.
Disaster Recovery System - Deployed for a developing country's government agency, this application walks an environmental specialist through all the steps required to be completed, in the right order, with the appropriate documentation, notifications, reminders etc., after a natural disaster strikes. The requirements were defined based on an extensive review and study performed by a consulting firm . The IAP was then used to design, configure and deploy the solution.
Telemarketing Team Scheduling and Management System - Deployed for a telesales company that deploys teams of telemarketers on projects with specific call requirements and complex scheduling rules. The application enables managers to quickly determine how many teams are needed with how many resources in order to complete a particular customer project. What-if scenarios are easily analyzed and an interface was created to their calling system that enables them to track the amount of time spent on a daily basis and how the teams are performing relative to the customer's expectations.
Product Lifecycle Management System - Deployed for a large consumer electronics company, this application replaced a firm's complex set of entangled Excel spreadsheets that defined a specific competitive advantage methodology for them but that had become a chaotic mess with thousands of spreadsheets circulating daily among hundreds of employees. The IAP was the ideal solution enabling them to scale the solution by replacing all the Excel files, automate their workflow (which was defined on paper but never automated), centralize their information, considerably enhance the capabilities and reporting, while also maintaining the flexibility and ease of change that Excel had provided.
As I complete this blog entry, I realize that I have taken a long hiatus from posting on our company blog. A lot of great things have happened at our company over the past year that have kept me busy and without enough time to post, but I am committed to making more time and hope to be able to post at least monthly moving forward.
Until next time.