Saturday, April 24, 2010

Product v Services

Coming back from Oracle Collaboration 2010 show this week, it struck me what a difference having a product makes to our business. Talking to so many partners at this event, it is clear that the fact the OpenSpan technology is delivered as a product is key. That it can be installed in less than a minute enabling automation and integrations to be built with minimal training (online even), is a massive advantage.

On speaking with them, I found a large number had tried "competitive" products in the past but each time their business units got frustrated they had to build a complex services engagement around each deal that requires a lot of support once (and if) that customer went live. I pull out my laptop and show them a 3 minute demo and they get it - we are a true product! I can show them how to automate or integrate with an SAP activeX control grid in 10 seconds, or a Siebel app with embedded java applets or a custom windows app built over 10 years ago!  It's so nice. I can even tell them where to go to download a free copy now. Now that's "putting your money where you mouth is" IMHO :) I don't know a single competitor that can do that!

I can tell these partners we have tons of live customers (that they can call for references), large and small that installed our "product" around or on top of competing products in the past (where our competitors failed to deliver before us, despite being in that account first).  One such customer brought 2000 seats back about 4 years ago. They have since added approximately 1000 more seats each year, and now at 6000 users. Another customer, sold to over 3 years ago, is now at over 20,000 live seats. Now that's not just proof we work, but proof we stand the test of time in real accounts and use cases are being found all the time to keep building on the value.

For these partners, I can also tell them our product is also OEM'd or embedded into loads of other products as well. Like at IBM and Aspect. Sure these companies could have chosen to build their own solutions but we are good at what we do and can prove to our partners, we can deliver them what they need to help close deals with their customers. Again, tons of existing customers and partners that prove we can do it.

What a lot of people do not know when I joined OpenSpan, was that I told them, "unless you have a product, I am not interested in being involved". I had seen too many so called products fail at customer sites by frustrating them on being oversold on ease of use. There is no silver bullet for integration but I think OpenSpan is one of the closest you'll see. One example, I have seen a customer build a solution, installed into production, with 1 person in under 12 weeks and that solution saves that customer around $2m a month. I know it sounds unbelievable but before OpenSpan, they had no choice but to do everything manually. Another customer, looking at it another way, will save over $300m through automation over a 3 year period. Now that's an ROI :)

We at OpenSpan are also not standing still. Each time we deliver, not only will our "PRODUCT" be better at saving you more $money, but it'll get easier and easier to do each time.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Not using OpenSpan? You could be losing $millions

I couldn't believe the response we have been seeing to the new download program. The fact that you can now be your own superstar and save your company $100,000's or $Millions of dollars. Just by downloading our product, building some slick and quick automations in a few hours and see how much you can save - all without leaving your chair or spending a dime up front.  Some real use cases;

Back office Automation - Finance. Process 500% more transactions a day with the same people by automating the end users manual navigations between mainframe, spreadsheets and web (Java) applications. The savings quite literally are over $15m a year. 10 weeks to build/QA/Pilot and go live!

Back Office Automation - Finance. Processing times cut by over 90% for opening new accounts whilst assuring compliancy with ever changing rules. Implemented in weeks.

Call Center Automation - Finance. Call times cut by 28% for managing customer account queries spread over multiple systems. Automated Process Guidance implemented to ensure ease of workflows.

Call Center Automation - Telecoms. Automated almost entire Caller verification process spread over multiple systems. Saved over $30m on first project in first year alone through reduced AHT.

Call Center Automation - Insurance. Reduced time to update multiple systems from 35 minutes to under 10 minutes.

We have hundreds of automation examples like this, hundreds. We have customers who use us where they have just 1 desktop user using it (even zero users in unattended mode) and we have organizations where we are installed, in production on over 20,000 user desktops.

The point is, by downloading the OpenSpan product you don't' have to wait months before you see the benefits. OpenSpan is a true product. Download it, build something big or small and if it's going to save you money, and lots of it, as it likely will, move it into production. Then, keep building and keep saving.

That's what I mean about being a true product. We can save you a ton of money, and start saving it for you, right now. It costs nothing to try.

You don't even need to be a hard core developer, just have some basic "programatic" thinking skills and you'll be automating in minutes with the OpenSpan Studio product! But if you are a hardcore developer, that's OK too, you can run OpenSpan Plug-in for Visual Studio and write code, or mix and match between the visual workflow designer and your favorite programming language! You can choose.

Monday, April 5, 2010

OpenSpan Studio 4.5 is Now Available In Public Beta - for free

Well, the big day has arrived that I have been hinting at for some months now.

OpenSpan Studio is available for the first time as a public beta. More importantly, OpenSpan Studio is now available, at no cost, for anyone to download and evaluate from this day forward.

Yes, you heard that right. This is game changing stuff for desktop integration and automation. Our full IDE, OpenSpan Studio is now available at no cost. Few other companies are so confident in their integration platform that they are willing to open it up to anyone, anywhere, to try.

Anything you build in OpenSpan Studio can be fully tested within the IDE. A new subscription pricing model is available for the runtimes you move into a production environment for OpenSpan Enterprise and OpenSpan Events. Both of the runtimes will be available for purchase from our soon to be available online store, in time for the GA release.

We have nearly 400 OpenSpan Studio developers and partners whom have been through certified training at one of training centers and certification is now also available online. Learn the product yourselves in-house or work with our partners, the choice us yours.

The other big piece that brings all of this together is the OpenSpan Community. We are today announcing the community website at From here you will find the downloads, samples, help, blogs, feeds and forums etc., to get you started and more importantly, allow you to be part of a growing community of OpenSpan users, developers and partners. 

OpenSpan Studio 4.5 is a major new release with literally hundreds of new features and capabilities so that is why this is being released as for the first time as a beta program. We encourage all of our new and existing community members to check this out and give us feedback through these forums. This will be a thriving wealth of knowledge so please take the time to check it out and participate.

Remember, there are over 100,000 users out there already, using OpenSpan on their desks, day in day out, in mission critical environments at contact centers, financial services, Government and healthcare organizations. They are running OpenSpan because it provides the most rapid and robust desktop integration solutions on the market and saving them collectively, $100’s of millions of dollars a year. One customer saved over $30m a year with their first desktop automation project. Another customer, saves over $1m a month through automating back-office processes. Another customer cut costs by over 50% by automating laborious end user manual steps. There are loads of customer users cases we can share. Saving money from automation is a no brainer, having a product like OpenSpan that enables you to do this quickly, with it’s visual designer is also, a no-brainer.

Our first customers, over 4 years ago are still using it today, 4 years on and adding more users each and every year. Plain and simple, OpenSpan projects save money, and lots of it, time and time again. Automations,  mash-ups, integrations, monitoring and the many more use cases you'll think of too for our product, are all the reason you need to check it out and make yourself a super-star dynamic money saver in your own organization!

Check out Damons blog too here; announcing the 4.5 product and the free download.

I have talked a little about the 4.5 features in previous posts and will cover them again in the next few blogs. Needless to say, OpenSpan can now be used within Visual Studio as well if you so wish. It’s optional. The OpenSpan Studio stand-alone version still supports the full visual design paradigm for the rapid drag-and-drop automations it’s existing customers know and love so well.

Enjoy. We'll enjoy your company in our community.