How an enterprise-class service management software vendor embraces the new world of cloud and devices whilst keeping existing customers happy.
It’s fair to say that we are living in times where the rate of change in information technology is faster than at any time in the past. Internet connectivity is becoming ubiquitous. People own multiple devices… phone, tablet, laptop, PC etc. They expect ‘apps’ now, not just applications (apps being instantly available software the installs in a click). And cloud computing promises to drive costs down and availability up.
Great. But… what about the investment made already in the existing systems? What about keeping data secure? What about all those customisations that we spent a lot of time perfecting?
The future is indeed exciting but how on earth do we get there without significant disruption (not least the costs)?
At Solarvista, we have been developing our software application suite for 25 years and through that time, it’s been through several sea-changes (DOS, Windows, mobile etc.). As a software developer, we knew that we were facing another sea-change and that this one could be bigger than all the previous ones. We also knew that the last sea-changes were not always easy for our customers.
So, the question was, how do we develop our products to embrace new technology without forcing our customers through ‘hoops and hurdles’ to get there?
We established a dedicated team to research the options. After nine months hard work, we had a design solution that would enable our customers to keep their existing investment in Solarvista intact, yet allow them to move forward progressively. In fact, our solution also had a great side effect… system integration to third party systems. This side effect is actually something that we have really embraced at Solarvista now and intend this to be one of our key unique selling points (USPs).
With all this change ahead, we also decided that we needed a new fresh brand identity. Our ‘old’ identity had been in place since 2000, so was 14 years old. And it was looking tired. It was, too multi-coloured. It didn’t suit the digital age. We couldn’t fit into a Twitter icon for example. We needed a new brand that was fresh, digital ready and an image that we could design into our applications so users knew instantly they were “in Solarvista”.
The resulting journey has been a big one.
Product-wise, we now have two new whole product categories, having spent the last 20 years with just one! That’s a 200% increase in product base in less than three years! A modern airliner has approximately 750K lines of code. We’ve added 1.5 million in one product category alone!
Brand-wise, we have a fresh, new identity that’s ready for the new age and capable of reflecting our technologies. An ‘S’ made up of dots reflects the move upwards into the sky. And always purple and orange. It’s applied throughout our products and in all our communications of course. This has been no small feat… its involved updating thousands of pages of information and hundreds of web pages.
The first of our new product categories is Solarvista NET. This technology solves the problem of connecting existing systems together without the need for coding and development. In particular, it’s based around Service Oriented Architecture (“SOA”), a proven design used by the very largest systems in the world, including famous social media sites. This significantly reduces cost, time and risk (something that’s always high in system integration).
The second of our new product categories is Solarvista LIVE. To deliver new applications that can operate securely out there in the cloud requires a security model that’s rock solid and proven. That security model is claims-based federated security. You can’t build secure apps without building this in from the start and it being there in every piece of code at the base level. Adding it in afterwards doesn’t cut it.
Solarvista LIVE will initially surface as a new style of mobile app that connects via Solarvista NET and enables full use of Solarvista 8. It also allows Solarvista LIVE apps to be used on other systems, even in scenarios where our flagship solution isn’t even in place. All of this delivered via a cloud-based account that managed for you by us, thus removing the overhead of managing remote servers.
Many systems out there are not true SaaS. They are often web servers hosted in a data centre. Whist this “appears” the same; it isn’t. It’s not scalable; can be vulnerable to attack, and not the most cost effective. Solarvista LIVE is true SaaS. It is delivered in small pieces. So much so that you can just buy what you need and no more/no less. A good example is our non-SaaS product for mobile, Mobile Worker. In the Solarvista LIVE, this one product is broken down into 20 smaller pieces, meaning you can just buy say, 2 or 3 pieces of it to start with. Then 2 or 3 more at a later date. You don’t need to buy the whole application.
We’re excited about the future and look forward to taking all our customers forward as well as attracting new customers in new markets.
Solarvista will be demonstrating their new software at this years Service Management Expo, where you will also find Paul Adams giving a presentation in the Field Service Solutions Theatre hosted by Field Service News.
To get a free exhibition pass for all three days simply click this link and enter Field Service News in the promotional code box