How Enterprise Software is like Apple’s new Airpods

tl,dr; one size does NOT fit all and assumptions hurt your bottom line.

If you watched the Apple event today you saw Phil announce a new set of wireless earbuds that connect wirelessly to your iPhone. The wireless technology and use cases are mind blowing. This is innovation.

Shortly after the announcement he did two things:

  1. He claimed they are “comfortable”
  2. He showed four other options of headphones from their subsidiary “Beats”

Anyone who has tried the newer shape of earbuds and experienced discomfort winced when he said “comfortable”. There is no way these will fit me.

On to the Beats headphones – four options “for every type of listening experience.” Great, and actually without those options I would be stuck using a lightning/audio dongle everywhere every time.

So what can we learn from this?

Listen to your users

When you make claims about what your users experience and it doesn’t accurately portray their emotions these claims are distancing and destroy or harm your relationship with customers. Actively listening and engaging regularly is not only important to your customers, but also to your profits.

Don’t force people to adapt unwillingly

Extend features to support the diversity of your customers and users. Making them do things “your way” creates discomfort, displeasure and may even stop people from adopting or changing in the ways you want or need them to.

Okay, why?

To learn more about how employee and customer disengagement hurts your bottom line read our piece “Surviving the Chaos

Designing Great Forms

I posted an example last week of a form I encountered that really stuck out to me. It really shocked me how good it was.

Awesome_Form_Design

Can you spot what stood out to me?

There are standard good things about this form:

  1. A graphical representation of where I am in the process
  2. Simple entry fields with clear field name
  3. A submission button that is clear

Yeah, yeah… it’s a form. I expect all those things.

What struck me about this form was that it didn’t care about me! It was asking for my child’s name, not mine. The credit card holder.

So what Matt?

So what? That’s my daughter! She means the world to me. No surprise there either.

So why is this so good?

Later in the process, as I’m discovering their services and receiving communications this form gives them an edge. They now have the power to influence my experience in a way you couldn’t without my daughter’s name.

Matt, did Lucy like the kit we sent?

We’ll be sending Lucy’s next kit this week!

This subtle data gives this company the ability to reach me emotionally EVERY time they want to interact with me. They know something their competitors do not; my daughter’s name.

A well designed form is easy to use and has a good entry experience. A truly great form does all that, and empowers business processes to be exceptional.

What can you change in your forms to delight your customers later?

Are you able to test your theories?

If you want the flexibility to build great experiences, empower employees and customers while improving business outcomes you should really check out Kinetic Data today. Don’t want to check out another company in your free time? Send your app dev pros to our developer site, or email us and we’ll check you out instead!

When Systems of Record should be used as Systems of Engagement

TL,DR; Never. Ever. Not even then.

Systems of record are designed to be used by trained professionals using industry terms, metrics and data.

Why on earth would try to open the door to untrained professionals? And if you’re training each employee to use a system of record, aren’t you wasting money and time?

There are tons of examples of this everywhere you look.

Can you imagine diagnosing your car? How about towing it in? Do you even have the right equipment?

Will your interpretation of the diagnosis be accurate?

Stop making non IT users use your IT system, and stop training each and every employee how to use the new HR system.

Spend the time and effort to build an interface that doesn’t require training, and then us modern tech to integrate with all the things.

Enabled employees require little training and focus on what they are great at.

Want to read more? We have a 7 page white paper(pdf link) that goes into great detail on this subject. Or you can an IT focused, shortened version here, or just go and try our software that is designed for this specific purpose.

Your Next ITSM Tool Should be Neither

TL,DR; decouple IT operations from customer service and development. Then realize the incredible savings and benefits thereof.

The term “ITSM” has always bugged me, and I think I know why.

The primary customer of ITSM is IT; everything else is lumped into “customer service” and “customer experience”.

ITSM_WikiEven Wikipedia says there are too many “fluff words” and that ITSM has an unclear definition.

But in IT, we know better. We understand what we’re talking about when we say Service Management. It’s a standard way of operating so we don’t fail.

So why would any business person buy Service Management?

To keep the lights on.

“But that’s what we hired you for! We don’t care what you call it. We don’t want to buy it, we want you to DO IT!”

Then I’ll need $1.5m every three years to replace my tools, redesign processes and…

Wait, $1.5m? Don’t you remember when last year we were managing changes via email? Don’t you remember the spreadsheets of Assets? Why $1.5m?

Technology has become complex and our colleagues want to reduce risk. Some also want to understand the value and depreciation of assets. ITSM is just IT Operations Management + Customer Service.

DING DING DING DING DING DING – we have a winner! Here’s your $1.5 million. But why every three years?

Think of ITSM tools like a car lease. Three years comes along, and it’s time for a fresh smelling one, the latest one with all the bells and whistles.

Do the bells and whistles keep the lights on?

No.

Then why keep upgrading and rebuilding your operations empire?

The tools and practices that surround Service Management change, and they change often.  Have you considered who benefits from that change?

Consider separating your systems of operation from your systems of service. It gives you the freedom to change platforms without impacting your customers.

The impact of this is far greater than you realize. We believe in building systems of engagement separate from systems of record. To understand the nature of this problem:

 

systems-of-recordDoes this image describe your problem? If so, you’ll be interested in understanding our approach to enterprise software. Read more here, or just call us directly: 1-651-556-1030

You are the Software you Buy.

Software reflects the beliefs and assumptions of those who make it.

The mundane decisions developers make affects how companies function. Thus; developers can have a large impact on your functions, teams and success.

Good companies chose platforms, languages and tools that enable their success. Great companies find partners that are enjoyable to work with and share common values.

teamIt’s up to your vendors to be transparent with their culture, sharing their beliefs. And the responsibility is on the enterprise to explore that vendor’s philosophy.

This becomes even more important as you consider platforms that determine long lasting success. If you’re going to have an application for three years or more, how do you expect the software to change? What new decisions are the product managers at that firm going to make in five years?

Can you influence their decisions?

Diligent buyers develop a relationship with a software company before purchasing. Some attend user groups and build something before a sales cycle. Others inspect or fork code on github, or use a trial version.

So, what are you buying? How do the users feel? Have you made a good match? Ask!

To learn more about our culture, watch a short video here. We’ll also continue to post our beliefs and values here, so stay tuned!

Integration Update

We’re always adding to the list of integrations that are pre-developed and free to download. Of course you can create a custom handler for ANY service with modern web integration, but this is just easier and more cost effective :)

This month we added a ton of Azure integrations – so I put together a quick summary of integrations you might be interested in (for a full and updated list always go here.):

Infrastructure Automation

Azure

We’ve added capabilities on both the Government and Cloud sides, specifically focused on Create, Delete, Status, Retrieve, Shutdown, Restart and Start.

Amazon S3

This handler generates an expiring URL for S3. Expiring URLs take a bucket, a key (path + filename) and an expiration and build up a special URL that will give the user access to the file only for a certain time period.

Amazon EC2

There are quite a few in here for working with Images and Instances. Listing, retrieving, statuses and starting/stopping – basic functions you need in EC2.

Chef

Bootstrap a node in chef using Knife.

Rackspace

Create and delete servers.

VMWare

VSphere, for infrastructure automation of course. All kinds of options here.

Tomcat

What else? It reloads :)

OpenNMS

Trigger nodes when records are created, updated and deleted.

Sales and CRM

Salesforce

Lots of functionality like managing contacts and accounts.

Salesforce Pardot

Create and retrieve prospects.

Sugar CRM

Retrieve account records.

Stripe

Take payments and complete checkouts

Task Management

GitHub

There’s too much to list here – but we use it, there’s a ton of integration points.

ServiceNow

Too many to list, users, groups, changes and incidents mainly.

Jira

Again, too many to list… probably because we love it.

Utilities

If you like JSON, XML, CSV and password generation These handlers are for you.

BMC

Lots of shops use BMC – so obviously we have tons of integrations. Check out the Remedy, ITSM, Bladelogic and Atrium integrations.

HP Service Manager

Create and update incidents.

IWise

Create and retrieve incidents

InfoBlox

Create A records, PTR records.

Communication and Collaboration

Basecamp

Tons of integrations, invites, todo’s, events, projects and more.

Active Directory

Too many to list – this is a biggie.

Google

User admin, calendar integration and group management

Twilio

Because nobody wants to talk on the phone anymore

Citrix

Meeting automation? Yes please.

Evernote

I love this app. Use the handler to create notes or notebooks

Dropbox

Move, delete, create and share.

LinkedIn

Company posting, profile posting and a listing of connecting people

SMTP

Manage emails, meeting requests and sending attachments.

Facebook

Events, links, statuses and posts.

Imgur

Upload automation; yes!

Twitter

Search followers, compose and include pictures

Yammer

Create, delete invite – lots of options.

The First Kinetic Data Hackathon

Winners banked $3,000 in our first hackathon ever! 2015 IT predictions and trends

We challenged anyone to build a Property Management solution using Kinetic Request (and optionally Kinetic Task). The challenge also asked participants to work toward one of four prizes:

  1. The first submission ($1,000) –

    Lindsay Hodges -RDS Services

  2. The best looking submission ($1,000) – Tian McPherson of McPherson Enterprises Inc.
  3. One random winner ($1,000)- Nanoatzen Castro of Infosys
  4. Most complete solution ($3,000) – No entries judged in this category — everybody went after “first solution”.

We learned a lot conducting this hackathon. It challenged us to build even more on our platforms. Taught us how easy it really can be to build solutions on Kinetic Request, and inspired us to build a full sandbox automation solution using our own tools. More to come on that.

Right now, we’re busy preparing for the next event which is scheduled to start September 16th, 2016. Register here to learn more and subscribe to hackathon related news.