When we first conceived UnifiedVU, we struggled to find a software category which we could easily fit into. During customer development phase, most prospects referred to us as a Dashboard solution. In fact, when we listed on CapsuleCRM integrations page, we were torn between Dashboards and Integrations. Team at CapsuleCRM felt, it was better for us to be listed in Dashboards category. With such, we found ourselves with Business Intelligence (BI) tools.
Here is the Gartner definition for Dashboards:
Dashboards are a reporting mechanism that aggregate and display metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), enabling them to be examined at a glance by all manner of users before further exploration via additional business analytics (BA) tools. Dashboards help improve decision making by revealing and communicating in-context insight into business performance, displaying KPIs or business metrics using intuitive visualization, including charts, dials, gauges and “traffic lights” that indicate the progress of KPIs toward defined targets.
Gartner segments BI into three:
Business intelligence (BI) is an umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize decisions and performance.
Business intelligence (BI) platforms enable enterprises to build BI applications by providing capabilities in three categories: analysis, such as online analytical processing (OLAP); information delivery, such as reports and dashboards; and platform integration, such as BI metadata management and a development environment.
Business intelligence (BI) services are offerings to design, develop and deploy enterprise processes and to integrate, support and manage the related technology applications and platforms. These include business and infrastructure applications for BI platforms, analytics needs and data warehousing infrastructure. Solutions include areas such as corporate performance management (CPM) and analytics, in addition to the traditional BI platform, data warehouse/data infrastructure and data quality areas.
UnifiedVU is a thin layer, a User Interface (UI), that sits above existing business software, bringing relevant data with functionality into one simple screen, helping you to complete your day, weekly and monthly jobs faster. We do not threaten existing software, nor do we compete with BI or Integrations software. We complement and enhances these systems. And we achieve this without data storage, unlike BI tools, which require the ability to aggregate and slice data.
Older definition from Gartner, as at one point, we discussed internally whether we fit into the User Experience Platform (UXP) category:
A user experience platform (UXP) is an integrated set of technologies used to provide interaction between a user and a set of applications, processes, content, services or other users. A UXP has several components, including portals, mashup tools, content management, search, rich Internet application (RIA) tools, analytics, collaboration, social and mobile tools. It may be delivered as a suite of products or as a single product. The UXP market will fully emerge in 2013, seeded by the existing suite-oriented horizontal portal vendors.
On the other hand, UnifiedVU does not transfer data between software systems. In our case, disparate data from unconnected silo’d software are listened to and responded to, without data storage or movement between systems. If you need an action on one software to trigger a set of actions in other software, then you need integration software such as Zapier, PieSync, IFTTT, etc. If you want data in one software to sync with another, then you are better off tapping into solutions such as Cazoomi.
Gartner has a number of definitions for integrations:
Integrated software: A business software productivity program that incorporates a number of applications (typically word processing, database management, spreadsheet, graphics and communications) into one product, allowing data sharing between all or most modules.
Integrations as a Service (IaaS): Integration functionality (secure B2B communications, data and message translation, and adapters for applications, data and cloud APIs) delivered as a service.
Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) is a suite of cloud services enabling development, execution and governance of integration flows connecting any combination of on premises and cloud-based processes, services, applications and data within individual or across multiple organizations.
Middleware is the software “glue” that helps programs and databases (which may be on different computers) work together. Its most basic function is to enable communication between different pieces of software.
In summary, the software world we live in can be categorised into:
- Software, e.g. Customer Relationship Management (CRM), accounting and finance, etc
- Integrations for syncing data between software or an action triggering data export to other software
- Business Intelligence, which allow you to dice and slice data, giving you a high level image of your business
- UnifiedVU, providing you with one simple screen, for you and your team to work smarter.