MicroPact 2012 Year in Review
Mike Cerniglia, Executive Vice President & CTO
As we head into 2013, it is important to pause and look back at 2012. It was a year of growth and accomplishment at MicroPact. We celebrated the company’s 15th anniversary, added nearly 50 employees and achieved a number of significant operational milestones. As part of our retrospective we’d like to share with you a multi-part series of interviews with the leaders of MicroPact. They’ll share with us their accomplishments in 2012, and their goals for the new year, as well as the obligatory New Year’s resolution both personal and corporate.
As CTO at MicroPact, you are the ultimate leader of the product development organization. What were the major new features and functionality you added to entellitrak this year?
We have had a number of a great updates and enhancements to the entellitrak product this year such as enhanced functionality for searching and analyzing data, easier methods for deploying changes and more features for building and configuring applications quickly. However, the most exciting feature would have to be the integration of our entellidoc product. Through this integration we have a unified platform that allows our customers to stand up business applications quickly that manage both structured (relational) and unstructured (documents) data all in one integrated platform. There has already been a great amount of interest and excitement around these integrated capabilities so I am excited to see how the marriage of these two products will further enhance the solutions we provide our customers. By providing Case Management, Business Process Management and Document Management in an open architected RAD environment, you really have endless possibilities.
You’ve spoken and presented on mobile development several times in 2012. What are your priorities for mobile extension of entellitrak in 2013?
There is no debate, mobile is not only here to stay, but it is a critical component for how we will interact with business, data and people going forward. With that, we have been looking at mobile beyond what we see today. That is, not just the devices we hold in our hands when we think of “mobile”. Instead we have been looking at how our customers may want to access their data, processes and applications away from their desktop. Of course currently the most common ways are by using smart phones and tablets, but what’s next? We have some ideas and routinely let our imaginations run wild regarding the possibilities. But based on what we do know, by investing in open standards and web technologies, we will be positioned to adapt to what’s next.
As with most hot technologies it is hard to resist jumping in with both feet. However, with mobile, like the Web, we know it will be with us for a very long time and will be a critical component of our platform. With that, the long term mobile strategy has been our top priority. For 2013 we expect the mobile extension of entellitrak to really take off and provide a way for our users to leverage their existing investments in our platform and interact with their entellitrak applications in a whole new way.
The BPM landscape continued to evolve in 2012. We’ve seen increasing interest in adaptive case management, social BPM and iBPMs. What trends are you watching? Or which of these trends sparks your interest the most?
For me it is really interesting to see all of the activity around adaptive/dynamic case management. For MicroPact, case management has been the foundation of our products for over a decade so the fact that is continues to grow as a hot topic in the world of BPM and business applications is really exciting. While it is definitely a trend I will be watching in 2013, it is a trend we have been seeing build up momentum for years. And when you think about it, it really does make sense. Today more than ever businesses have to be “adaptive” and “dynamic” in order to survive. With the technology explosion we have seen over the past decade we are at a point where technology can now keep up with, and sometimes outpace, the business. So having a software platform that can adapt to your ever changing business needs will be a requirement in order to compete. I suggest keeping an eye on this.
Another trend I have been watching is the trend towards a data first, or data oriented architecture. Of course there is a lot of buzz around Big Data, but that is really at one extreme end of the spectrum. What I am referring to is the increased emphasis businesses and organizations are putting around the data they collect, manage and use to make decisions.
Where do you get most of your ideas for new product features? Do you rely on customer input or lead with vision and instinct?
It has always been a combination of both. That is, the best product features are the ones that make the customer’s work life easier, more efficient or more enjoyable by using our products. But figuring out what those features are has always been the fun part for me. At MicroPact, listening to our customers input is always step one in everything we do. Their input is what starts our “idea engine” that directly fuels the vision for a product or feature.
In addition to our customer’s input, I am lucky at MicroPact to be surrounded by a ton of smart people with great ideas. Our Professional Services and Support teams work closely with our customers on a daily basis so a lot of great ideas and suggestions come directly from them. In addition to that, our Sales and Marketing teams are constantly meeting prospective customers so they get to hear the new challenges organizations are facing and bring those back to us along with their ideas on how to solve these challenges. And since we eat our own dog food, I get ideas from Accounting, HR, Administration and all the other internal groups at MicroPact who use entellitrak daily to do their job.
So I really get my ideas from a combination of great sources. And last but not least, I am also very blessed to have a talented and hardworking Product Development team. Turning these ideas in to great product features is really a collaborative effort with the team. I would say a great product feature is the result of great input and ideas paired with experience, collaboration and innovation.
MicroPact has quadrupled in size over the past 5 years. Do you miss the days of running a smaller organization?
Yes and no. I am from a family of six children with me being the second child. I tend to relate the growth of the MicroPact family to my childhood family. It was a lot of fun growing up when it was just my older brother and I. But life got even better as the family grew and there were more of us running around. It was definitely much harder for my Mom to get six of us ready for any trip, but the journey getting there was much more fun and she could always rely on us older kids to help get the family where we needed to go.
Similarly, in the early days of MicroPact it was a lot of fun working with Kris (who for the record is just about a year older than me) and the small team we had to accomplish amazing things. However, like my family, as the MicroPact family grows, things just get better. Over the years we have added so many great team members. These team members are helping us go places and achieve things we could only imagine back in the early days. It’s been an honor to work with the team we have and I am really excited to meet the new members that join the organization in 2013.
Do you have a New Year’s resolution to share?
Professionally I have lots of new goals and ambitions for 2013, but probably too many to share here. One personal resolution I think I have every year is to try and to do a better job at keeping up with all my messages (email, text, etc.) from friends, family and colleges. If you know me then you know I am the absolute worst at this – please wish me luck!
Do you have a prediction for 2013?
Being an engineer at heart I only like to make predictions based on evidence, so I can only make one. MicroPact will do great things in 2013!