Welcome!

Java Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Skytap Blog, Lori MacVittie, Charles Jolley, Pete Pickerill

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Java, Linux, Virtualization, Cloud Expo, Big Data Journal

@ThingsExpo: Article

‘Business as Usual’ Not an Option

Consumer experience meets enterprise utility and function

This month, we released our latest MetraNet® 8.0 software. What makes this release particularly exciting is that it bridges the gap between the complex business models and customer and partner empowerment that is unique to MetraTech with the user experience typically found in consumer software. In other words, form meets utility and function without compromise.

Enterprises across all industries are being forced to adapt to unprecedented levels of change. If there is one phrase that needs to be removed from the enterprise vernacular, it is "business as usual." Today business is messy and anything but usual. Enterprises are under pressure to evolve at a pace unlike anything we have seen before, and in a competitive environment that demands innovation and does not tolerate ‘me too' mediocrity or services.

The evolution of Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud, and Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) is creating a fundamental transformation in the world of enterprise software. One of the greatest impacts is on billing software, the heart pacer for any company - after all without billing it is just a hobby.

Enterprises must be able to embrace change and exploit market opportunities as they arise and their billing platforms cannot get in the way. A static position is a commodity position and those companies that cannot adapt services and business models to evolving market conditions will not grow or worse yet, cease to exist. Billing systems have to support changing business models not simple price changes. The entire approach to pricing, introducing products and services to market, collecting revenue and compensating partners must be rethought, but adapting to this new environment can be challenging across the following fronts:

Business complexity
Today's enterprises are global and serve local markets where the brand, product and pricing strategy are often unique to a region and partner. While it is imperative to support regional requirements, corporate needs visibility and adherence to policies for brand control and pricing. In addition, the dual forces of increasing business model complexity and the need to provide a consumerized user experience are colliding.

Traditional enterprise software powerhouse companies are under attack as a result of Cloud, digital and XaaS. The standard no-risk decision to simply select a familiar supplier can now mean death for a business. For far too long, enterprise software lagged behind that of consumer in usability and ease of use. But now business users are bringing their consumer devices and apps to the office, and expect business apps to have the look, feel and usability of their mobile devices or social platforms. The new modern approach for building enterprise software is to focus on helping business users perform their daily routines and access the information they need to be empowered and successful - in a user friendly way.

Flexibility to adapt at the pace of business
The new competitive landscape rewards companies with a deep understanding of their customers and markets. Information that is intuitive and readily accessible enables enterprises to respond to changing business requirements with agility. The ability to easily decode complex data and turn it into information that is relevant to stakeholders across the organization is critical. But what do you do with the information once you've attained it and want to adjust and act?

Having the ability to quickly adjust and make changes is the equivalent of enterprise gold. The inevitable evolution path, driven by user demand, is in the direction of user-driven configuration. The next level of user-empowerment is here: by manipulating metadata and generating XML scripts, expert users can readily adjust process flows, create new processes, create new fields, and develop more and more complex decision criteria that profoundly determine the way the application can be used to support a business. The best enterprise applications have already moved the balance towards user-driven configuration. This not only makes business users very happy but also reduces the turnaround time for changes, accelerates time to market for services and reduces costs.

Products become services
The as-a-service movement is having a profound impact in every vertical market. Products are transitioning to services (actions supported by things), and they differ in several important ways from products (things supported by actions). While product options are generally well-defined up front by the manufacturer, customers want to mix and match pieces of different services and essentially create their own unique offerings. The definition of the service can easily become fuzzier as you serve more customers. Customers know that customizing a mass-produced product is a challenge, but they think it's easy to fine-tune a service. It doesn't come pre-formed in a box, after all.

But, unlike products, services tend to be fuzzy around the edges, and they can be shape-shifters. The world of XaaS will enable a lot of shape-shifting through customization, bundling and mash-ups. Some service providers will embrace this, while others will struggle to keep up.

Embracing the inherent flexibility of services means using software that is inherently flexible enough to do the job.

Addressing multiple vertical industries
Services and applications are all software components that are interconnected and increasingly cross-vertical as Cloud and IoT breakdown silos. These days it seems as if every company wants to develop an industry vertical strategy. Companies are building entire partner ecosystems and recruiting talent from companies in financial services/insurance, health-care/life sciences, retail/consumer products, communications/media, automotive industries to address these markets. The charter is clear: grow revenues across vertical industries and recruit Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), System Integrators and application developers to build solutions to take on old guard software vendors. This requires software platforms that are adaptable enough to support the unique requirements of multiple vertical markets through extensions on top of core software.

Turning data into actionable information
Business stakeholders across the enterprise must be empowered to make decisions that support revenue and profitability objectives. The ability to derive meaningful information from data is critical, as is being able to adjust and quickly make changes. The overwhelming amount of data available makes the process all the more difficult.

Anyone that is interacting with customers and partners need to be empowered to drive personalized interactions and proactive upselling. As a result, the greatest impact on enterprise software is the user experience. Companies that embrace the strengths of consumer apps from a usability perspective will unlock value across the entire enterprise. A well designed enterprise UI is intuitive and shows that thought was put into the function and it is tailored to specific business processes. Of course it should also be visually impressive.

However, what you often see these days are lightweight consumer applications more suited for Internet merchants being targeted at enterprises. Sure, there are high-quality visual elements in the user interface that make these glossy and slick, but here is the problem: if the application compromises the ability for a business to differentiate and compete in the market; the product soon loses its luster.

The modern enterprise is upon us
We must embrace the challenge of an expanding service universe with a limitless number of possibilities and service combinations. Making a dynamic portfolio of services available and usable, monetizing that portfolio - as well as ensuring that each contributor to these increasingly complex value chains is compensated is exciting. There is no doubt that to be successful in this evolving environment, organizations will have to change many aspects of the way in which they run their businesses. Not all of the traditional business models, tools, relationships or ways of working will survive. That's evolution.

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda is responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution, product marketing, product management, business development and partner programs. Prior to MetraTech, Esmeralda was co-founder, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Lightwolf Technologies, a big data management startup. She was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of OSS software, now part of Extreme Networks (Nasdaq:EXTR). At Avici Systems (Nasdaq:AVCI), Esmeralda was Vice President of Marketing for the networking pioneer from startup through its successful IPO. Early in her career, she was a Director at IDC, where she led the network consulting practice and worked with startup and leading software and hardware companies, and Wall Street clients on product and market strategies. Esmeralda holds a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Marketing and International Business from Northeastern University.

You can view her other blogs at www.metratech.com/blog.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...