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Apr 08

On March 26 I presented at bpmNEXT 2014, an annual event for leaders in the business process management (BPM) industry, analysts, industry influencers and various vendors. There were nearly one hundred attendees from more than 10 countries. This was one of those events where you come back with great new contacts and a ton of inspiration.

Following welcoming remarks by Nathaniel Palmer and Bruce Silver, who are some of the biggest thought leaders in the industry and the team behind the creation and expansion of the BPM.com community, we jumped right in to the 25 presentations all of which delivered cutting-edge new and innovative BPM demos.

The event was very well orchestrated and organized by Nathaniel and Bruce. At the end of the three-day conference, I can say it was definitely one of the best events I’ve ever attended. I was both honored and proud when my presentation “Automation of Manual Process with Synthetic APIs”, was voted Best in Show by the attendees.  Later this month, you’ll be able to watch all of the bpmNext presentations at www.bpmnext.com

So how does Synthetic APIs  help most business processes?

BPM is all about using a workflow engine from one of many vendors to describe, manage, monitor and improve efficiency of business processes. This can be any process, but most companies normally invest in BPM around critical fundamental processes that drive major parts of their business.

Unfortunately BPM does not help much in automating the individual sub-tasks of the process they manage. This is especially true for the ever increasing amount of web-centric processes and processes involving web portals, because those portals more likely than not do not provide a full set of API that reflects the functionality of the portal itself. This is where Kapow Software enabled Synthetic API technology comes in.

Synthetic APIs, which include business rules, data transformations and interactions with multiple applications and data sources can be deployed as REST, SOAP or mini-apps (Kapow Kapplets™) by the click of a button, are easily built with the intuitive and live-data-driven work-flow design environment of Kapow Enterprise. This makes it a breeze to automate all those tedious repeatable sub-processes involving web portals, documents (like Excel), business applications (like ERP) and file systems (local or FTP). In fact it’s so easy with Kapow Enterprise, that Kapow customers implement hundreds of automations per year, that release important knowledge workers from performing repeatable manual data-driven work  to focus on more relevant and gratifying work that substantially adds to the top-line results.

Many of the more than 250 Kapow customers experience such a huge business benefit and a competitive advantage with the Kapow Enterprise platform, that they ask for us to not mention their name in any circumstance. For more details on Synthetic APIs, check out the Synthetic API on-demand webinar. Comments are also welcome at sandreasen@kapowsoftware.com.

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Authored By: Stefan Andreasen, Corporate Evangelist, Data Intergration, Kapow Software – a Kofax Company

Apr 07

Just as Oracle users began to gather for COLLABORATE 14, the IOUG-run conference, I was speaking with one of our long-time Oracle customers and the topic turned to her journey with Kapow.

She began, as many of our customers have, in the middle of a major content migration project—several hundred thousand pages—that had begun to slip almost on the very first day. After meeting with Kapow at COLLABORATE she saw the potential and about a week after bringing Kapow Enterprise in-house she was convinced.

What struck me was just how difficult it was for her—a seasoned content management expert—to believe that it was worth automating a content migration. “In the past I’d used specialists to develop migration scripts but we didn’t find very much reuse,” she told me, and went on to say “Despite what experts advocate, I’ve always had to transform content as part of my projects and scripting isn’t well-suited to that. So I took automation out of my migration toolbox until I found you at COLLABORATE a few years back.”

Since then they have placed Kapow Enterprise at the center of their Information Management function, using it to create content from databases, to integrate support documents from outside their firewall, and even to load richer metadata into the index of their search solution. So whether you need to publish data from an Oracle database or migrate content into WebCenter, give us a call and we can help assess whether we’re right for you. You can get the full Kapow Content Migration story from our white paper on the topic.

And if you’re attending COLLABORATE 14 in Las Vegas, come hear Stephen Moore speak on “Automating Web and Document Migrations” Wednesday, April 9 from 2-3pm. He’s on Level 3, San Polo 3501A (Session 908). And don’t forget to stop by booth 1643 at the Exhibitor’s Showcase for a 1-on-1 discussion of your requirements. 

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Authored by: Carol Kimura, Director, Field Marketing at Kapow Software – a Kofax Company

Mar 24

Kapow is once again pleased to be part of the Adobe Summit in Salt Lake City on March 24-28; it’s not our first time here and I expect it won’t be our last. Adobe Experience Manager, built on Adobe CQ, is a powerful tool for web marketers and our success in the Adobe community is a reflection of that.

However, I find too often that high-visibility content projects will struggle, or even become high-visibility failures, no matter what the target CMS is.

At this very moment, two of my colleagues at large organizations are in the middle of large content migrations, and both are trying to work through the content freeze that’s considered a “best practice” in content migration. One hasn’t been able to update customer-facing documents for months, leading to mis-quoted sales and even a few customer defections when inconsistent price lists were circulated by email during the freeze period.

But all of that was unnecessary. Thanks to today’s technology lengthy content freezes aren’t needed. We have a white paper that explains why, or even better–If you’re attending the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit stop by our booth #811 and say hello.

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Authored by: Carol Kimura,  Director, Field Marketing at Kapow Software – a Kofax Company

 

Nov 11

I’m proud to be announcing that Kapow Enterprise 9.3 comes with an integrated WebKit-based browser. This means that when designing or running data integration flows (aka robots) in Kapow KatalystTM against web-based systems or applications, you can take advantage of the impressive HTML5 compatibility and JavaScript performance of WebKit.

For those of you who are not familiar with WebKit, it is the common core between Safari and Chrome (up until the most recent versions of Chrome that are now running on a WebKit fork known as “Blink”). According to StatCounter, the web traffic analysis tool, WebKit is the most widespread web browser engine in use on the internet – ahead of both the IE and Firefox engines.

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This means that integration flows based on WebKit have a very high likelihood of being compatible with the websites in use around the world. For old legacy systems that you wouldn’t expect to work in Chrome or Safari, we recommend that you continue to use our classic browser engine that is IE-compatible. Having both engines in our product gives you the maximum flexibility in integrating with both cutting-edge web applications as well as those legacy applications that still hold important information and functionality, but are no longer updated to support modern browsers.

Making browsers that are created for human interaction controllable by an integration flow isn’t the easiest thing in the world. It often requires a lot of scripting, trial-and-error and can be hard for others to read and maintain.

But we’ve taken our knowledge of how browsers work, including algorithms to determine when the time is right to take the “next step” (clicking a link or entering data into a form) and wrapped the WebKit engine in this logic, making it easy for you as a user to build integration flows using point-and-click development. These flows are quick to create and easy to maintain over time, providing stable Synthetic APIs  so data can be rapidly integrated from applications and data sources that do not have APIs.

Authored by: Anne-Sofie Nielsen, Vice President of R&D, Kapow Software – A Kofax Company

Nov 11

Today is an important milestone in our mission to make big data more accessible, actionable and affordable to support data-driven decision making. The variety of big data continues to grow exponentially as new data sources and types are becoming available. Blending internal data sets with external data and making it available for business consumers to explore is opening a whole new world of possibilities for innovation and business growth. With Kapow Enterprise 9.3, launched today at Strata Big Data conference in London, we are making more data sources available and supporting interactive data exploration, allowing users to understand the data and act on it very quickly.

Our objective with this new release was to allow organizations to experiment with data. Explore widely used sources and combine new sources, both internal and external, to discover new insights that were never available before. At the core is the ability to quickly test current hypothesis, create news ones and rapidly course-correct in between – all based on relevant data that pricing analysts, marketing professionals, sales executives and other knowledge workers can quickly access and explore.

We’ve enhanced our lightweight data applications, Kapow KappletsTM, to present data from any number of sources in richly visual pages that can include interactive tables and graphs. Users can explore data by dynamically sorting and filtering data so they can focus on subsets of the data that are more relevant or interesting. But in order to make this really valuable, in Kapow Enterprise 9.3, users can take action on the data right away by selecting one or multiple rows of data as input for an action executed by another data integration flow.

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For example, the Kapplet shown to the right presents a table with sales leads collected from various external sources. The Kapplet user can select one, multiple or all of the rows and submit them to a CRM system (e.g. Saleforce.com) to create a new lead record. Once submitted the Kapplet will present back the URL of the new Salesforce.com lead record per each row.

To make it easier to quickly build and distribute Kapplets across the organization, we’ve built user management capabilities into the platform, so organizations can start empowering their business users across departments right away without relying on LDAP or Active Directory implementations.

We continue to enhance the data acquisition capabilities of our platform with the ability to rapidly create Synthetic APIs to integrate sources without APIs as well as enhance the utilization of existing traditional APIs with new capabilities to natively interact with web services.

There are numerous ways that global business leaders can harness the power of the new Kapow Enterprise 9.3 big data integration platform. For example monitoring competitor pricing, increasing marketing ROI or generating more sales leads. Contact us today to get started right away!

Authored by: Hila Segal, Director, Product Marketing at Kapow Software – a Kofax Company

Nov 06

We’re surrounded by data. It is data produced in both private and public sectors. It is data generated by individuals or machines. The variety of Big Data is large and growing rapidly across both internal and external sources and offer immense opportunities for those who will take advantage of it.

Variety-of-Big-Data-Sources-Kapow-Software-COND_SMBehind the firewall, Big Data is stored in databases, file systems, Hadoop frameworks, documents, archives and legacy on-premise applications for ERP, CRM, content management and more.  Externally, outside the firewall, it is available in cloud-based applications (like Salesforce, Marketo and Ariba), partner and supplier portals, public web like government websites or competitor websites, social networks and many more. External data on economic indicators, public finance, healthcare, regulatory compliance and more also play a central role in many Big Data use cases. Everyday consumers are creating Big Data across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, reviews and forums, offering insights into their preferences and behaviors.

To add to this variety, each data source has different characteristics. Data can be structured, like machine data or sensor data, well organized in fields within a record or file or it can be unstructured, like social media data with no pre-defined data model. It can also be somewhere in the middle between structured and unstructured.  Some data sources will have APIs and others will not, requiring alternative methods in order to access and extract data.

The bottom line is that there is really no one “killer” data source. It is the unique combination of sources that you tailor to address your business needs that will be the “killer” data for your organization. The ever-expanding pool of data sources and types is becoming available and opening a whole new world of possibilities. Start taking advantage of it now, experiment with new sources, augment traditional sources, iterate and find the data gems that matter to your business!

 

Author: Hila Segal, Director of Product Marketing

Sep 18

What is the next big thing in the Apps space after mobile apps stores?

This was the big discussion point in this week Information Management DM Radio show where I participated together with the always inspiring DM Radio hosts Eric Kavanagh, BI analyst Cindi Howson from BI Scorecard, and two vendor specialists, John Callan of QlickView and Randal Hoff of FairCom.

Here are  a few of my takeaways from the discussion:

If you divide todays applications into a three classes: 1) large enterprise apps (ERP, CRM, etc.), 2) cloud apps (expense reporting, HR, etc.), and 3) the mobile apps popping up in iPhone and Android mobile apps stores, you will find that there is a 4th application need that is not addressed by any of the classes above.

Every company has its own environment of data sources, documents, applications and customized processes around them, so none of the standard apps will cut it. At the same time building specialized data-centric apps will, unless widely needed, be too expensive and take too much time with traditional IT (Internal or outsourced) resources.

I refer to this as the “Unmet Application Need”, applications too expensive to build with traditional methods given their business value, but also too company specific to ever make it into a mainstream app store.

We discussed how this market today is somewhat covered by BI vendors, like QlikView, but in many cases BI technologies still cannot access or deliver all the relevant data and/or perform automated action on the results. BI solutions are often only a half solution.

To meet the unmet application need, an application must be very easy to build at low cost and it must cover all the functions:

  • Access data (from a variety of internal and external sources)
  • Explore the data,
  • Select data for further action
  • Perform action on the selected data
  • Deliver data (write data to other systems or share with other participants)

Access and the delivery of data can be very challenging. I mentioned how Synthetic APIs can resolve this challenge with the ability to bi-directionally interface with applications without APIs as if they were normal APIs.

I also mentioned how agile development and distribution of lightweight enterprise data apps through enterprise app libraries can meet the ever changing need coming from the impatient business users.

We talked about how these kinds of solutions are priced. I said that contrary to large enterprise apps, where the ROI on a single app justifies the entire investment, for the lightweight and specialized apps, the ROI is in a platform that can quickly deliver multiple apps, and the combined business value of multiple apps will more than pay for the investment.

Finally we discussed what the future will bring. Several of us mentioned that we are only in the infancy for covering this market need, and awareness created by the Radio show today will help accelerate this huge potential market.

You can listen to the entire radio show here.

Comments are welcome at sandreasen@kapowsoftware.com

Stefan Andreasen

Aug 09

Jettsetter 1Booking our hotels and flights online has never been easier and now more than ever as consumers we are empowered with information that helps us find the best deals. Good news for the consumers but for the on-line travel players it means a very competitive landscape. It means prices must be constantly adjusted and optimized in order to maintain and grow market share and always be one step ahead of the competition.

Jetsetter is in the business of luxury travel focusing on flash sales. Their members have a short period of time to buy a luxury travel deal. They differentiate on price and how they merchandize their offerings. When and how they price they offers is extremely critical for their success especially since they saw a lot of competition come into the space with new players pop up weekly. They needed  detailed market intelligence about what was being sold and at what prices at any given time in order to build a more detailed and precise pricing and merchandizing strategy.

Kapow was brought in to monitor competitors’ offers on the Web. This gave Jetsetter the intelligence to know when and how much to price their hotels offers. This fended off a lot of the their competitors, who eventually went out of business. Kapow gave them a strong advantage to rapidly access this intelligence and quickly scale as new competition emerged. By the second year, they pivoted their business and moved into the full price arena and competed with players such as Travelocity and Expedia.

As Shaun Stewart, Vice President  Sales and Operations at Jetsetter explains:

“Kapow Software provided us with a leg up in an industry where we had access to all competitors price points. It gave us intelligence to figure out how to merchandize and be more strategic about everything we sold.”

In a short span, Jetsetter has emerged as a premier player in the luxury travel space. They were acquired by the TripAdvisor, the leading travel review site in April 2013. Jetsetter 2

To learn more about the efficiencies and revenue gains this Kapow customer was able to realize by closely monitoring their competitors’ prices, view the customer testimonial on our website.

Authored by: Hila Segal, Director of Product Marketing

Aug 06

Earlier this year I penned a blog about the ‘Unknowns’ of Big Data Integration.  The focal point of the piece was the need for businesses to become more situationally aware by quickly harnessing data from a variety of sources to try to prepare for a ‘Black Swan’ event in the course of their business cycle(s).

Last week, Kapow announced that we would join forces with Kofax to lead the industry in making data more integrated and actionable in the enterprise.  The immediate alignment of our companies and the scale of the Kofax organization have the potential to create a new disruptive force in the Big Data Integration sector.

Over the years, we (at Kapow) have always championed the “TIME TO VALUE” (TTV) metric as the real justification for making economic business decisions.  The timing to join forces with Kofax will accelerate the integrated data deliverables to our customers and the larger Kofax family of customers.

The past 3 ½ years as CEO of Kapow provided me with a great opportunity to work with incredible people (our family) in an effort to deliver the best product and service to our customers.  In turn, our customers have been extraordinary in their support of Kapow and that was clearly demonstrated at our first ever user summit this past March.

I look forward to an unparalleled growth period for Kapow as part of the Kofax team with access to Kofax’s extensive resources, financial strength and global presence.  The best of times lie ahead as we continue to revolutionize the way data, coming from a wide variety of sources, is used in the enterprise to drive the business forward with greater precision, agility and affordability.

Thank you all for your support over the years and for your continued support for many years to come.

Authored by: John Yapaola, CEO

Jul 30

A lot of the discussion around Big Data often centers on internal transaction data available in CRM, ERP or other cloud-based enterprise applications. But by doing that organizations are taking a risk at missing the bigger picture. While these are important data sets for any organization it’s the combination of this information with external data sets that will provide a 360 degree view of the business. Here are other types of data you should be monitoring to discover critical information about your business, customers and competitive landscape:

  • User-generated data.

Your customers are sharing information about their experience with your brand, what they like and don’t like about your product, how it compares to the competition and many other insights that can be used for identifying new sales opportunities, planning campaigns, designing targeted promotions or guiding product development. This information is available in social media, blogs, customer reviews or discussions on user forums. Combining all this data with call center records and information from other back-office systems can help you identify trends, have better predictions and improve the way you engage with you customers.

  • Public data.

Public information made available by federal, state and local agencies can be used to support business operations in human resources, compliance, financial planning, etc. Information from courthouse websites and other state portals can be used for background checks and professional license verifications. Other use cases include monitoring compliance regulation requirements, bill and legislation tracking, or in healthcare obtaining data on Medicare laws and which drugs are allowed per state.

  • Competitor data.

Information about your competitors is now widely available by monitoring their websites, on-line prices, press releases, events they participate in, open positions or new hires. This data allows you to better evaluate the competition, monitor their strategic moves, identify unique market opportunities and take action accordingly. As a retailer for example, correlate this data with order transaction history and inventory levels to design and implement a more dynamic pricing strategy to win over your competition and grow the business.

  • Partner data.

Across your ecosystem, you have daily interactions with your partners, suppliers, vendors and distributors. As part of these interactions you are exchanging data about products, prices, payments, commissions, shipments and other data sets that are critical for your business. Beyond the data exchange, intelligence can be gleaned by identifying inefficiencies, delays, gaps and other insights that can help improve and streamline partner interactions.

To learn more about how you can start using all this wealth of available information join me on a 30-minute webinar next week, August 6 at 8am PST. We’ll be sharing real-world examples of how this data can be put to work and quickly turned actionable to drive results for your organization. http://bit.ly/119JG1f

Authored by: Hila Segal, Director of Product Marketing

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