Trying is Everything

How are we going to solve this problem?

It’s impossible to know all the possible solutions to a given problem, and the more complex the problem, the more possible solutions there may be.

Nothing inspires me to grab my toolbox more than problems that need solving. How do you add solutions to your toolbox? How do you hone your skills in applying those tools?

This is why trying is everything.tools

Without the upfront work of experience and trying things, you may not know which tool is sharpest, or the best fit for problem.  In tech work this means trying lots of things, platforms, technologies and approaches to applying those technologies. It means talking to people who have tried lots of things and connecting to people who carry a bigger toolbox or sharpened tools.

Get involved in communities, join meetups focused on solutions and try everything!

Ready to try something new? Join our hackathon: http://developer.kineticdata.com/hackathon

Why I Joined KineticData

TL,DR; I’ve never worked for a company where they could handle the bandwidth of my ideas. It feels good. Kinetic Data is in the perfect position to make a big impact on the technology aspect of many industries. To prove it we’re paying cash to build solutions on top of our platform.

My tech career started with ServiceNow. Actually, it really started on a home-grown filemaker system, then ServiceNow. </tangent>

If you’ve been in the tech industry even slightly longer than me, you probably realize why my short tenure and lack of exposure to “legacy systems” skews my perception. Our industry has a rich history of trials, tribulations and successes. The first exposure to older systems of record taught me that several vendors and tools had gone through a “vicious cycle”.  This was usually because the tools or company had:

  • Become too disparate
  • Relied on archaic code bases (technical debt)
  • Politics or other in-fighting with partners or business practices
  • Overpricing
  • Crazy licensing
  • Undervaluing
  • Overvaluing
  • Poor architecture
  • Grown by acquisition
  • Wasn’t innovative enough
  • Outgrew themselves

and a myriad of other reasons. Having heard these experiences, told by those more experienced, trends appeared and I realized;

History repeats itself.

This isn’t new information, but it’s a new look at our current reality.

The complex becomes the simple, only to become complex again. And we certainly see this in the stories of our industry. The term “coded into a corner” has become a common description for technology platforms that support automation and technology management.

OverComplicatedOverTime

This is a vicious cycle technologists understand very well. Companies implement systems regularly. Some systems have more stickiness than others, some are more durable, some have more staying power. Organizations have baggage too, some can adapt quickly, some have the discipline to squeeze more life or value out of platforms than others.

How can we stop this cycle? It is damaging the reputations of service providers, projects, departments and individuals. Start by not doing anything on the list above. There are two things that are imperative for ideas and companies to survive:

  1. Decentralize work: enabling the customer to manage their own business processes
  2. Well architected technology: make integration and platform value longer lasting by making wise choices

It is cruel to list those two behemoths like that. Both of these goals are massive undertakings with massive benefits.

How to get there

How does a team make progress toward those goals? Firstly, make them organizational goals, secondly make them department goals, and thirdly make decisions to support this direction. Whether it’s hiring or training architects, giving them the proper oversight (by having them report to non technical leadership) and by giving them power to change your systems.

So Why Kinetic Data?

There are a lot of reasons of course. Primarily as a marketer and technologist, I need to strongly believe in a product before I can successfully make others believe. I’ve seen what KD is building and I have faith that it will not only change the way you look at platforms again, but it will help companies achieve the two goals listed above.

I’ve had the pleasure to work at a handful of companies and Kinetic Data has a very healthy and supportive psychological culture and environment. Never have my ideas been so welcome and accepted in a professional setting. People are eager to try new things, fail quickly and feel the support of our team if we make mistakes.

If you want to see what I’ve seen – give it a whirl. Sign up for more information, trials and demos here.

The Wally Awards 2016 – Integrator of the Year

We love our customers. They are who we do this for.

Aegon AwardThis year we gave awards for sharing some of our Key Values.

The winner of “Integrator of the Year” demonstrates how open system design and well honed integrations can deliver incredible business value.  With over 20 million users and customers, we are honored to present this award to Aegon Transamerica.

To read the full release click here.

To learn more about us go here.

If you’d like to try our software and make money doing it, sign up for our hackathon here.

Kinetic Enthusiasts Group 2016

KEG16 was a major success – our sessions covered a ton of where the product has gone and where it is going to, along with a ton of customer stories and learning. KEG2016-Sticker

We don’t develop software to spec, we develop quality software. Specs can have flaws. -MatteR

The event started with John Sundberg making several big announcements including an end to terrible licensing! We like things to be simple and have high value pricing for our customers, so we’re extending that to our licensing model.  John also announced a new license for non-profit organizations that qualify to use our software for free, and our employees are now encouraged to donate up to 40 hours annually to the non-profit of their choice. We hope your other software partners take notice and keep pace with these innovative and disruptive decisions.

Next John announced our newest version of Kinect Request, a beautiful front end for complex back-ends. This version is platform agnostic, built from the ground up and leverages API-first design to ensure a flexible platform.

John ended by sharing multiple stories from the year, our customers, what solutions they are finding and other market analysis.

Great teams can get over any hurdle – bad teams create hurdles. -John Sundberg

KEG continued with Kelly Heikkila making another big announcement, we are starting a hackathon! With the winner taking home $3,000 and other prizes being $1,000 and $1,000, we are sure to attract an audience. These hackathons will focus on a predefined business solution and will leverage automation to drive provisioning trials of Kinetic Request and Task to facilitate these new hackathons. If you’re interested, subscribe here! Kelly then went on to divulge the virtues of our latest platform, with specific focus on the API-first design, how it’s architected to make upgrades relatively painless and other key decisions along with a glimpse of what to expect in the future. It left the audience stunned and looking for a download link (it’s coming).

As the first day wrapped up we heard lightning talks from our teams, developers, marketing, etc…  and we had two full-featured presentations from customers. One building over 200 integrations into the platform and the other creating a responsive app store for their employees to order software, infrastructure etc.  On the first night we hosted a geek-out meeting with happy hour and time for people to sit down and talk through their projects and problems.

KEG 2016 echoed our company values to:

  1. help make our customers look great
  2. make great software

For more information, questions, or discounts to attend next year simply email KEG@Kineticdata.com.

Hope to see you next year!

 

The Latest Version of Kinetic Request

We built an agnostic platform to deliver incredible applications. It’s flexible, modern and fun to use.WallyLabGuy

Our customers have shown such enthusiasm and demand that we have made a lot of really big decisions:

  1. We are holding a regular hackathon and rewarding participants and winners handsomely
  2. We have announced a non-profit license that allows them to leverage the platform at a fraction or no cost
  3. Our employees are now granted 40 hours of time dedicated to participating in non-profits annually
  4. We are fully automating the delivery of our software so anyone can get started quickly
  5. Authoring training content so new users can get in and get started right after they download

And there’s more coming still.

This is a big change and we’re excited you are a part of it – if you’d like to learn more or stay in touch, follow us on twitter or subscribe for updates on http://developer.kineticdata.com or subscribe to our blog.

To read our press release click here!

The Curb Appeal of your Catalog

Performing regular application rationalization presents countless opportunities for organizations to recover waste, reduce costs and add efficiency. Although large enterprise platforms are beholden to theseWally_Shopping rationalization projects, they are often overlooked as out-of-scope.

This is usually because removing the platform has disastrous results for the customer experience.These platforms are low-hanging fruit for organizations to save millions in operations costs.

The choices you make today, drastically impact your ability to be flexible and vendor neutral tomorrow.

Thanks to several years of customer experience being a fad (and now a trend), many software manufacturers are refactoring and struggling to decrease switching costs while still providing you value.
Ideally each of your business partners and software suppliers should be working with you to decrease time to value and increase value.

Scoping Technology Differently, Differentiates

tl;dr (too long, didn’t read) – Switching to the latest toolset just catches you up to competitors, it doesn’t take you past them. If your goal is differentiation and increasing value past “par” then design for rapid technology change, perform regular system evaluations and have an honest and transparent tool selection processes.

 

Your enterprise has several platforms that are capable of accomplishing literally anything. With enough development these systems can likely perform many business functions. But should they? Just because your jackknife has a saw doesn’t mean you will enjoy using it; there may be a better tool.

How can you tell what each system should do? Enter the “Enterprise Architect” (EA), this person is essentially a business analyst and technologist, and hopefully has a great deal of understanding how systems fit together. They are ready to tell you which tools should do which tasks. They do this by analyzing toolsets and balancing the goal of optimizing value while decreasing overhead. For instance, building an intranet site for department use on SAP is going to take quite a bit of customization and org-change, while Sharepoint is built for this purpose (and your company already has a license). Bring them your goals.

This applies to all functional areas. Daily work in human resources (HR) handles aspects of talent and career paths, these functions are unique to this team and have specific tools that work great for this space.  Building something from scratch is not a wise investment and can lead quickly to waste and missed opportunity. But if the organization is a talent agency, it’s likely they have a custom system for managing people. This is their differentiation.

So what happens when new tools or demands are raised? Enter the “Business Relationship Manager” (BRM), this role is essentially a business analyst with great listening and persuasion skills. These people partner with the architects mentioned above to make things happen – this can mean pushing features that didn’t exist before, switching platforms or finding better data sources or integrations.

In the HR example above you can quickly see how HR uses these features and technology to differentiate their value. They are collectively better as they improve and iterate their tools and processes. Perhaps their toolset allows them to cross-reference LinkedIn data with compensation, or compare performance with career path; whatever the case, if there is business value in quality talent, enabling these toolsets is the goal. This should be clear to the BRM and Architect alike, and they should know whether the talent management system can handle an integration of that sort. Maybe they get a business intelligence app involved or just work slowly toward this goal.

This applies broadly across the enterprise. If you aren’t able to differentiate, you run the risk of missed value and ultimately irrelevancy. As technology continues to be the differentiator of choice, the importance of having quality Architects and BRMs increases. Getting quality masterful value out of your toolsets is their sweet spot.

How Come Our Culture Isn’t Better?

Week 3 in a three-part series about differentiation.
Hiring the right people. Have you seen this done well? If we accept that failure is inevitable, meaning you How Culturecan’t hire perfectly well %100 of the time, then how do you make sure you’re getting the right people to fill your needs?
That’s easy!
Are you accomplishing your goals? Are you exceeding them? These two questions capture the urgency and essence of how truly great companies look for ideas.
This desire for new ideas, a thirsty exploration and acceptance of ideas is something I’ve seen firsthand at only a couple organizations. If you find it, take note, for you are in the presence of something very great. A culture that begs for change is not something you can create overnight, and something that I suspect doesn’t scale.
In both cases, the culture of the organization was the first goal right at the beginning. If you have competing goals, and a different primary goal you will be quickly distracted with profit, product or performance and one of the millions of details of running a successful organization.