[Highlights of CEO Keynote at HarrisData’s 2013 User Conference.]
Step away from the vendor hype wars over cloud computing and look at what the cloud means to users. Anything a user wants to do will be reached by a bookmark, a link on a page, or a search. The user does not care where the result comes from, just that it is easy to get to. Any claim to cloud computing must pass this simple user test.
Much of the argument over the cloud is based on technical and financial factors that are invisible to the user. Vendors argue without end that a multi-tenant architecture or virtualized server farm or what have you defines the cloud. Let’s refer to all these variations as robots (it is the 21st Century) — and how you acquire your robot is less important than what your robot can do. Acquiring robots is like acquiring cars. You can buy, lease, or rent a car and even ride in someone else’s car. Robots can be bought (private cloud), leased or rented (public cloud) or even shared (mash-ups). The choice has more to do with the robot acquirer’s particular needs and cash flows than the robot itself. The same robot could be acquired through any of these means.
More important than the means of acquiring a robot is whether the robot is able to work along with other robots in the cloud. Web Services is the language of robots in the cloud. Robots who speak Web Services more easily integrate with E-Commerce Marketplace robots or Social Media robots from elsewhere in the cloud to provide users with a rich experience at lower costs to the robot acquirer. This is true when providing inventory availability from your enterprise robot to the e-market robot behind the scenes as well as when providing shipping status from a logistics robot as a mash-up on your customer service robot page. Web Services accomplish the same integration as older methods, but with simpler, faster, and lower cost set-up.
Once you have acquired Web Services speaking robots, your users will reach the robots through their own smart phones and tablets. This Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend has grown from the days a person with their name on the building brought their Blackberry or Palm Treo to work and wanted it tied into the enterprise systems. Now everyone has one. The problem is the BYOD “one” is a consumer device, purchased by a consumer, and completely outside your control. Many brands and technologies are available, expect to see at least one example of each to show up and need to access your enterprise robot. How can you prepare your robot to allow all of them bookmark, link and search your enterprise robot from such an uncontrolled menagerie?
You could design, write, and test an App for each device – given unlimited time and budget! Fortunately there is a better way. Standards like HTML5 and CSS3 give you the ability to create touch and speak style interfaces that run across all BYOD devices. The standards allow you to keep data securely on within your robot while giving the user the full experience of their personal device. Given the high rate consumer devices are stolen or misplaced, this is a key consideration for enterprises. You don’t want your customer list or product formulas walking away with the device, and losing personal information such as social security numbers, bank account routings, or health care info in bulk is a massive headache. As a bonus, you only have to build the UI once!
HarrisData is upgrading the enterprise robots you use to allow bookmark, link, search within your enterprise. The first step was to construct a universal UI robot for “touch and speak” devices. Next we built a universal robot (actually a collection of robots) to manage a stateless conversation between the UI robot and the enterprise robots containing business logic like Payroll, Financials, Distribution, Manufacturing, and CRM. These robots use Web Services to speak amongst themselves as well as with special purpose robots created by our partners for retrieving tax rates or processing credit cards. Since these new HarrisData robots are universal, you can add your own business logic robots and give users appropriate access to your entire enterprise when they BYOD.
Today, the HarrisData Payroll for bookmark, link, search is in beta. It will be available to you via public or private cloud soon. We are working to connect the remaining business logic to the bookmark, link, search platform and look forward to providing you the results.