Overview

While we are still working to put finishing touches on the EnformaTech office, we have created this landing page as a preview to the ongoing production process and work as we complete our initial feature set and prepare for self enrollment in the wild.

As all Software-as-a-Service applications are, EnformaTech Office (ETO) is an ever changing, ever evolving service, which will see new features, and enhancements that provide new functionality, integration points, and depth to existing features over time. Initially, we are building the ETO as a comprehensive data repository for core operational information that is common to many organizations, with customization tools that allow each registrant to tailor specific entities, views, and other reporting tools to their specific business needs. The ETO will then provide this core information to other included, ISV-developed, and value-added components that are added into the solution framework over time, creating a cohesive solution that feels like one wicked application.

Screenshots of Beta Features

ETO is built as a solutions framework, which encourages ISV's to create their own modules that can be loaded into the suite, and served out to users through free or premium subscriptions to supplement existing core ETO functionality or to provide industry or client-specific LOB applications through a standard interface. Each top-level module is called an Application, and loads on-demand in the single ETO window.

The ETO creates a standardized desktop application look and feel, complete with standard menu bars, profile options like color schemes and desktop wallpaper that flows between applications, but allows each application to define its own visual components and layout. In the above screen shot, the CRM module is loaded, which by default shows a calendar of upcoming appointments, an Outlook-style navigator between various CRM application sub-module functionality, and a demonstration of several "widgets" that are localized to CRM. The finished ETO project will allow ISV's to create either full-blown, top-level applications, or widgets that can display within any application, which provide discrete functionality or integrate notifications or views between multiple ETO data stores or even outside data repositories. In this example, a clock and "notepad note" widget are displayed local to the CRM application.

Every entity and data element in CRM is customizable, giving client administrators the choice to use generic entities and functionality provided in the application or to tweak the entities, views, forms, and data elements themselves to improve the relevancy of the system to specific business needs and increase user adoption by mirroring existing processes, forms, and workflows to real-world existing methodologies. In the above screen shot, the Account entity has been defined to have a default view called "My Accounts", which shows three columns of information for each account entity that is returned in a search result. However, the specific fields on the account entity and the way in which they are searched and those search results are presented back through the search window are completely customizable.

ETO allows client administrators to define entity details forms that group information however they see fit: by function, by data type, by process step, or any other methodology. Unlike other CRM systems, the ETO solution allows custom fields to be defined on any hierarchy of sub-tab pages, as shown in the above screen shot with the Addresses section. Core record entities and forms aren't treated any differently than custom entities, giving users the power to create extensible solutions that take advantage of all the same visual elements and functionality included with the base ETO solution.

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Relationships between core or custom entities can be defined using the customization tools, and relationships logically show up in various entity forms, allowing users to drill down between accounts, contacts, opportunities, service tickets, and other custom entities without the need to manually search for records or relationships from multiple search screens.

There's more to customer relationship management than entities and relationships. Without context, interpretation, and meaning, data never becomes useful information. A core focus of the ETO to differentiate it is to bring in analysis, early warning detection, and visual feedback of potential issues directly to the entity views. Without having to run and analyze reports, in the above screen shot in the "Diving Board" callout, an analysis of the sender of e-mail messages, for one example, provides a list of potential actions and warnings that a user viewing this message may need to make or take note.

As can be seen in this sample screen shot of the Entity Editor, every attribute of even core records can be customized, modified, and enhanced to make the ETO look and act like an in-house, customized LOB software solution.

Built as an extensible and reusable framework from the ground-up, the Form Editor tool allows administrators to rearrange and create multiple forms, giving organizations the options of providing field-level security through the creation of user-specific forms, that expose only the relevant information for a particular process step or for a particular level of access.

Frequently Asked Questions

For End Users

  1. When can I test-drive the EnformaTech.Office?
    • We are working to start Closed Beta, an invitation-only evaluation and bug-fix period to our premier partners and select technology gurus, started by July 31, 2009 through September 30, 2009. On October 1, we plan to start Open Beta, which will allow users to self-enroll for an organizational account. During both Open Beta and Closed Beta, changes may be made to address issues and add functionality which may, but will not necessarily, erase data loaded into the system. By December 15, we are targeting Go Live, after which the product will be marked as stable, and data will no longer be subject to modification by the addition of new features.
  2. How much will ETO cost?
    • The core ETO product, with a great set of functionality and features that rivals expensive commercial offers will be available for free for registrants who enroll during Open Beta, and for a limited (and as of yet, undetermined) time after Go Live. We will introduce professional services and premium modules over time which will supplement the core ETO solution, but we will always provide a rich, and continuously evolving, free or ultra-low cost product.

For ISV's

  1. What are the integration opportunities?
    • Applications: Anything you can imagine can be written as a "top-level application", showing up in the Application Chooser upon login to ETO. Only one top-level application can be displayed at a time, so this type of integration makes sense for LOB applications, or shell applications that have sub-modules which tie together multiple and complex views to provide a service. Some examples of top-level applications would be an Order Processing system, a Stock Trading Desk management tool, or a Healthcare Patient Records system.
    • Widgets: Widgets provide discrete functionality within another top-level application. Widgets are great ways to provide specific functions or features that either integrate into or supplement another top-level application or provide small but valuable standalone functionality that is independent of a top-level application. Some examples of widgets would be a "Ship via FedEx" app, a customized "Quick Find" tool that supplements an existing application, or a customized set of canned reports to supplement an existing top level application.
  2. What technologies are required for integration?
    • All integration components must consist of dynamically-loaded Silverlight XAP files. Because the ETO solution is a Rich Internet Application, IFRAME-level functionality which simply opens a web page within ETO cannot provide the feature integration or data sharing that makes ETO integration valuable to end-users.
  3. How will my investment be protected?
    • ETO hosts all ISV XAP files loaded into ETO; however, utilizing a MVVM (model-view-viewmodel) pattern, business logic and other proprietary information and processes can be stored on independent, ISV-controlled servers.
    • ETO will utilize a set of loosely-coupled interfaces to ensure that framework upgrades maintain compatibility with existing investments in enhancing and extending the ETO framework.
    • EnformaTech is a successful five year old company, backed by some of the brightest technical minds in the online software-as-a-service industry, and backed by a history of satisfied clients.
    • EnformaTech is committed to providing a cutting edge framework product, and does not seek to duplicate ISV modules or re-invent the wheel in ways that compete with our partner's premium or value-added services. We seek partners who are interested in long-term, symbiotic business relationships.

Product Roadmap

The following is a general product roadmap for features and functionality for the EnformaTech Office suite in 2009/2010:

  1. Complete and extend the messaging framework
    1. Through the Unity Application Block and Inversion of Control patterns, allow ISV's to tie into a centralized user notification system, which will present a unified messaging visual framework for end users, and a unified contact information repository for ISV applications and widgets.
      1. ICustomerStore - Allows components to gain access to a subset of CRM data, for accounts or contacts of accounts marked as type Customer.
      2. IMessageStore - Allows components to register notifications and alerts through a centralized push framework, and also respond to pull requests which integrates notifications and alerts across multiple components into centralized views for end-users.
    2. Develop an instant messaging framework, that bridges the gap to multiple third-party IM gateways.
  2. Develop the subscription system
    1. Produce an online application and widget catalog to facilitate the showcasing and purchasing of ISV solutions.
    2. Seamless integration of a payment gateway for both the online application and widget catalog, but also to provide a centralized "wallet" function for other applications and widgets to engage users for on-demand micro payments and regular purchases.
    3. Both a user and an organizational management tool for monitoring and controlling
  3. Develop an ad-hoc reporting mechanism for on-demand report authoring throughout multiple top-level applications.
  4. Identify premier partners for several top-level applications, or develop them as EnformaTech premium modules.
    1. Call-center sales management and reporting tools that integrate with automated dialers and VOIP phone systems for automatic contact history logging.
    2. Document capture systems to facilitate the truncation of documents into the ETO as a backing store and business process workflow system.
    3. Existing social network site integration, so users who connect to other agents through those networks can engage them directly from the ETO interface.