I’ve written a lot of strategic product and marketing plans over the last 30 years, and I just wrote both the most challenging and most enjoyable yet. It’s a simple piece called ‘Go Faster’. After a successful rollout of our first application based on the new AppsInHD enterprise application software platform (HR/Payroll), I had meeting after meeting with excited customers, partners, and investors asking me how we can get all HarrisData enterprise applications – including ERP and CRM applications – delivered on the AppsInHD platform as soon as possible. We had an aggressive plan to do so, but aggressive was not good enough. We had to go faster.
Any software executive will tell you that having customers, partners, and investors looking for ways to help you get your products to market faster is a great sign that you’ve done something right. At the risk of being overly bullish, I think AppsInHD represents the coolest thing to hit enterprise application software since SAP introduced a Windows front-end back in the early 1990s. [You may or may not believe me, but you can check it out here, or contact me and learn first hand what I'm talking about.] However, the paper isn’t about our marketing strategy, it’s about changing the way we build stuff so we can go faster.
The Go Faster plan isn’t a one page blog – its a comprehensive plan that looks at lots of initiatives that can help us deliver our software faster. It’s not a development methodology like Agile or Extreme either – there are plenty of those around, and we (like most everybody) use our own blend of the best elements of many formal methodologies. It is based on leveraging the underlying architecture of AppsInHD – which is fundamentally a mashup of enterprise web services – to create more functionality without more code.
The bottom line: the ‘Go Faster’ plan relies on a few key elements:
– Creating applications as a mashup of enterprise web services, leveraging the power of web technology to achieve scale and performance objectives.
– Working with web services that are application agnostic – that require no code changes when new applications are delivered – to improve reliability and speed core enhancements to all applications simultaneously.
– Working with an Application Browser – a user experience which manages all applications consistently, and which does not know what application is being used until the application tells it.
– Focusing application design, testing, and documentation on the trifecta of information flows: Entities – information resources that track information, Actions – information transformations that can be initiated for an Entity, and Use Cases – specific examples of Actions working against Entities to solve business problems.
With the foundation in place from delivering the first application, our development team can transform designs into reliable enterprise applications with blazing speed. Consequently, the Go Faster plan focuses almost entirely on the design process, and on re-thinking how enterprise Entities relate to one another and what Actions they must support in order to deliver the functionality required.
In my next post, we’ll look at the design strategies that emerged from the Go Faster plan in more detail, and show how application agnostic web services can make application design more efficient and more effective.