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Impact - A Blog by INM

Archive for 'November 2007'

    RIAs and the Information Workplace

    There is an interesting article over at Read/Write Web about Forrester’s prediction that RIAs will replace Microsoft Office and portals on the front-end. Forrester suggests that rich Internet applications (RIAs) may become the new norm for applications used by decision-makers and task-oriented workers, or as they’ve coined them employees in the "Information Workplace (IW)".

    Many of the articles about RIAs have focused on the consumer experience and impact, but the business impact of RIAs is also very significant. Just as the concept of a dashboards, which are used to show senior decision makers a visual status of key performance indicators, made ripples a few years ago, RIA-zing office applications and portals will also cause major waves. RIAs introduce a seamless, individualized, and visual user experience for processing large sums of data, and help make the chore of analyzing information easier.

    Companies like BEA and SAP have already seen the light and are working to build new RIA-ized interfaces for their enterprise solutions. Let’s see how many others jump on board after reading this Forrester report.

    Widgets, Widgets Everywhere

    During the past week, I must have heard the word widget about a dozen times. It seems like every marketing publication and blog has posted something about them lately. What’s most interesting is the broad array of "things" people are referring to when they use the term widget. To some it’s a browser plug-in that pushes data to the user via a web service, while to others, it's a fully branded desktop application that works in a partially connected world to pull data and update information.

    The one thing all marketers can agree on is that widgets, in whichever form they take, are something to keep an eye on. As I wrote in Bye-bye Advertising, Hello Experience Building marketers are looking for new ways to connect with consumers outside of traditional media and are shifting their budgets toward creating branded experiences. Widgets, and branded mini-applications, are a viable way to keep users engaged and active without constantly pushing them to your site. They provide the desktop real estate that marketers crave without relying on a consumer’s browsing habits.

    I’m sure the official release of Adobe AIR in 2008 will only make things more confusing, as the line between web applications and desktop applications continues to blur.

    The Tipping Point for SaaS and RIA

    It's no longer a secret that Software as a Service (SaaS) is becoming a real industry. In RIA-zation of Office Tools and Adobe Buzzword: It's the Mac vs MS-DOS Debate All Over Again, I argued that any industry, including the very well established Microsoft Office stronghold, is now prone to a massive takeover by competitors who would:

    • lower technical barriers - i.e. offer software as a service that can be up and running right away without requiring installation and without stumbling over OS or equipment related obstacles along the way
    • lower cognitive barriers - i.e. software that favors instant engagement, that is easy to discover and learn, and that provides a sense of gratification to its users (in my days, this was summarized as "user-friendly software")
    Read More »

    Retailers Turn to RIAs

    With the holiday shopping season kicking into full swing in North America, it’s a good time to take a look at the online retail market.

    For the first year, analysts are predicting a slowdown in eCommerce growth, which has many retailers anticipating softer results than previous years as they fight for the same pool of clients. Retailers know that they need to entice new clients over from competitors, as well as decrease drop-off from the ones they currently have, to remain competitive in a softer market.

    Read More »

    The Business Case for RIAs is Strong

    With the arguments put forth in "The Business Case for Rich Internet Applications", a recent article by Dave Wolf over at Web 2.0 Magazine, it’s hard to understand why any organization wouldn’t quickly opt to embrace RIAs. Wolf presents a very strong case from all perspectives, showing that RIAs have strong staying power, wide-spread industry support, high adoption rates and better end results.

    "With RIAs, everyone wins. IT departments enjoy the simplicity of server-based deployments and the cost savings of a dramatically more productive development environment than traditional Web development. End users enjoy a truly rich application user experience that engages them quickly and keeps them engaged longer. Companies can reduce time-to-market of a new innovative solution, and enjoy greater customer loyalty and an increased market presence, which translates to greater revenues. For their business applications, they can ensure users are optimizing productivity by using the tools they have invested in to power their organizational performance."
     

    As Wolf quotes Bob Dylan, “the times they are a changin’”, and for the better.