Continuing the overviews of vendors that fit in the Fast Track space, this article is about software firm OpenSpan. They operate in the desktop analytics and desktop automation space and, crucially, enable integration to existing systems without changing them.
As OpenSpan puts it, their focus is on ‘human interaction optimisation’: improving how technology users work at the place where people and technology meet, i.e. on the user’s desktop. A few key things are worth mentioning about OpenSpan that are relevant to Fast Track Architecture.
Firstly, integration capabilities. OpenSpan provides the ability to get into virtually any desktop or web application and expose its functionality to workflow automations, without the need to alter the app or write any code. Automations can then be scripted & exposed as Web Services, executed as part of a user initiated process or run as batch jobs.
The second key area is the graphical design environment. OpenSpan lends itself to an agile iterative development approach, so the length of time from initial discovery to implementation of a project can be very quick, fitting well with Fast Track principles.
Thirdly, the integration and automation capabilities enable existing user interfaces to be customised and simplified in situations where workers need fast access to information or functionality across numerous applications, for example in a call centre, where efficiently handling customer inquiries is paramount.
While these capabilities centre around improving worker processes, or in OpenSpan terms, creating ‘A Better Way to Work’, the company offers a fourth interesting area: a Fast-Track-style capability in the Business Intelligence space. They can provide business insights about the thousands of business transactions that occur daily on users’ desktops, OpenSpan see this as providing executives with a ‘A Better Way to Manage’. OpenSpan’s Desktop Analytics tool gives real-time visibility into application transactions as they are performed by individuals or workgroups. This desktop activity monitoring can be streamed to managers via a performance portal and consolidated desktop activity information can be analysed to inform an enterprise decisions. This can provide ‘big-picture views’ that can potentially shed light on performance variations, subtle market shifts or serious compliance issues that need to be addressed.
Finally, OpenSpan has an impressive list of customers in just about every industry (with heavy representation in banking, insurance and telecommunications) who use their software to increase productivity in task-intensive situations where workflows often span several disconnected applications.
I hope this provides a useful overview of OpenSpan. If you’d like to offer feedback, share your experience or ask a question, please don’t hesitate to email me.