Welcome!

Machine Learning Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Kevin Benedict, SmartBear Blog, XebiaLabs Blog

Related Topics: Machine Learning , Adobe Flex, Agile Computing

Machine Learning : Article

The Business Case for Rich Internet Applications

Software renaissance creates new opportunities to deliver a better user experience

To quote Bob Dylan, “the times they are a changin’.”

Less than 10 years ago, still in its infancy, the Internet was a land of promise for businesses. Companies saw bright new ways to increase their agility, reach more customers and to deliver new, never before seen services. Unquestionably since then it has transformed the way consumers and businesses exchange information and has become a vital part of nearly every organization’s communication and operational architecture. Through the proliferation of Web-based applications, many companies have been able to expand their global footprint, empower and improve their business processes, and strengthen connections with customers, employees and partners.

While the Internet has become a critical catalyst for business advancement, and despite its widespread adoption, many organizations have found it to be incredibly primitive as a business platform. Trying to use traditional HTML for serious enterprise business applications, for which it was never designed to support, has shown significant chinks in its armor. For one thing, HTML is non-extensible and cannot be customized to support special needs. More important though, traditional HTML page-based Internet applications inhibit interaction in the interface; pages are slow to load, processes require multiple steps, and a small, standard set of controls limits the ability for developers to create truly engaging, user-friendly applications. These limitations do not allow for a dynamic user experience and lessen productivity, while causing frustration as users try to complete online tasks. One consequence of this frustration is process abandonment, which negatively impacts the bottom line.

For businesses used to a wide range of high-performance features from desktop applications, these traditional Internet applications are more cumbersome to use than their desktop counterparts. Going hand-in-hand with higher process abandonment rates are lower adoption rates, which limit an organization’s ability to realize a return on their technology investment. However, the next generation of Web application development is gaining attention and counteracts the limitations set forth by traditional Web development. Rich Internet applications (RIAs) fulfill the promises of the Web and deliver a platform for immediate feedback, greater usability, and a better user experience.

RIAs combine the ubiquity of the Web browser with the richness of user interface elements found in traditional desktop applications, creating a truly interactive, engaging and sticky environment perfectly suited to deliver today's business applications. As software developers have moved from traditional packaged desktop applications to a Software-as-a-Service (Saas) delivery model, users are clamoring for access to a number of compelling features that make using SaaS an easier decision.

According to research group Gartner, by 2010, 60 percent of new applications will include RIA capabilities, meaning support for user interfaces that look very much like native interfaces, including sliders, calculators, and radio buttons. For software companies looking to provide better service to their customers, RIAs will provide a more strategic advantage.

RIAs speed time to development, are easier to use, simple to deploy, offer significant cost savings, increase productivity, and fuel efficiencies – all while providing an engaging end-user experience. While many businesses have begun to experience the power of RIAs for customer-facing software to provide a better level of interaction with customers, there’s also a powerful argument why they should be incorporated into back office mission-critical processes to further drive business results.

They Have Staying Power
The rich Internet application is the next evolution in Web development and is here for the long haul. RIAs are attracting attention because users easily interact with them, they enable interactions that HTML can’t, and – despite their youthful stance – they get business results.

Consumers have gotten a taste of RIAs and management theory suggests that better experience leads to higher profits, leading more businesses to strive to deliver a fantastic end-user experience. According to a recent report from Forrester Research, 52 percent of online consumers have used highly interactive applications such as Google Maps and Zillow. Organizations that do not provide users with content and services in an engaging and interactive interface will find their customers high-tailing it for competitors that do provide a better user experience.

RIAs also shine as tools for managing the quality of the user’s experience. There’s a growing focus on the importance of experience and the realization by many businesses across multiple industries that it matters as much as the functionality. As the lines between work and home continue to blur, people expect their business applications to have the same dynamic power as the Web-based consumer applications they’re using everyday.

Also contributing to RIAs’ staying power is the strong industry support from software giants such as Microsoft and Adobe Systems. Rich Internet applications are another step in the Web’s evolutionary process and are being spearheaded by Adobe’s Flash/Flex and Microsoft’s Silverlight/.NET. As a result, these solutions enable developers to create more interactive, dynamic, and engaging user experiences that increase user satisfaction and encourage greater productivity.

Further illustrating RIAs’ capacity for continuance are the hardware devices permeating the market. Apple’s iPhone, Hewlett-Packard’s interactive Canvas, and the Microsoft Surface are perfect examples of devices designed to host RIAs. RIAs work with existing technology infrastructure and extend the capabilities of the browser with a rich client such as Flash player. RIAs can be distributed across a broad range of devices including Pocket PCs, Palm Pilots, and Sony PlayStation while delivering a consistent user experience across all platforms and devices without requiring any extreme modifications.

When the software is being developed by industry leaders, and hardware manufacturers are designing devices that enable users to take advantage of the technology wherever they are, it is evident that RIAs are indeed the real deal and here to stay.

They Drive Customer Loyalty
The powerful digital platforms offered through RIAs are also invaluable for the marketers whose job it is to build brands. With the expanding role of the chief marketing officer moving beyond advertising, brand management, and market research, many senior marketers are busy managing the rise of new media, the growing number of sales and service touch points and the fragmentation of customer segments. A recent McKinsey Quarterly report notes that as the forces of marketing proliferation gather strength, it is requiring a broadening of the CMO’s role.

A critical component of that role is an understanding of new technologies such as RIAs that respond to customers’ needs, can transform the way marketers build brand relationships, and deliver an experience that exceeds customer expectations, encouraging them to spend more time and money when patronizing a company Website.

Z + Partners, a marketing, research, and forecasting firm located in Brooklyn, N.Y., recently conducted an analysis of the top 20 global brands, revealing that each spends less on marketing than its next nearest competitor. The same analysis illustrated they all spend on average 18 percent more on IT infrastructure than their nearest competitor. For many business, what this means is that RIAs may be the new glue that holds brands together.

RIAs can create more passionate users, causing a social epidemic that extends the marketing reach. When the end-user experience is enhanced, people are excited and pass along the message of what they’ve liked, thereby igniting buzz and increasing brand awareness. Users engaged in an application that is intuitive and familiar are also more likely to spend more time using the software. As a result, process abandonment decreases, and, by easing transactions, they are likely to spend more.

More Stories By Dave Wolf

Dave Wolf is a Vice President of Cynergy Systems, Inc. Prior to joining Cynergy, he held senior management positions at several major software firms including Sybase and Microsoft, where he was responsible for the development, marketing and sales of several enterprise class software products. A sought-after public speaker, he has presented at major technology conferences such as JavaOne, AJAXWorld and Microsoft TechEd. At Cynergy, he oversees consulting operations worldwide and spends most of his time interacting directly with the field and working in every time zone but his own.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
VeriStor Systems has announced that CRN has named VeriStor to its 2017 Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500 list in the Elite 150 category. This annual list recognizes North American solution providers with cutting-edge approaches to delivering managed services. Their offerings help companies navigate the complex and ever-changing landscape of IT, improve operational efficiencies, and maximize their return on IT investments. In today’s fast-paced business environments, MSPs play an important role...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In his Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, will explore t...
What if you could build a web application that could support true web-scale traffic without having to ever provision or manage a single server? Sounds magical, and it is! In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Munns, Senior Developer Advocate for Serverless Applications at Amazon Web Services, will show how to build a serverless website that scales automatically using services like AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon S3. We will review several frameworks that can help you build serverle...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
FinTech is the sum of financial and technology, and it’s one of the fastest growing tech industries. Total global investments in FinTech almost reached $50 billion last year, but there is still a great deal of confusion over what it is and what it means – especially as it applies to retirement. Building financial startups is not simple, but with the right team, technology and an innovative approach it can be an extremely interesting domain to disrupt. FinTech heralds a financial revolution that...
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
Deep learning has been very successful in social sciences and specially areas where there is a lot of data. Trading is another field that can be viewed as social science with a lot of data. With the advent of Deep Learning and Big Data technologies for efficient computation, we are finally able to use the same methods in investment management as we would in face recognition or in making chat-bots. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Gaurav Chakravorty, co-founder and Head of Strategy Development ...
Interoute has announced the integration of its Global Cloud Infrastructure platform with Rancher Labs’ container management platform, Rancher. This approach enables enterprises to accelerate their digital transformation and infrastructure investments. Matthew Finnie, Interoute CTO commented “Enterprises developing and building apps in the cloud and those on a path to Digital Transformation need Digital ICT Infrastructure that allows them to build, test and deploy faster than ever before. The int...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facing...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...
Now that the world has connected “things,” we need to build these devices as truly intelligent in order to create instantaneous and precise results. This means you have to do as much of the processing at the point of entry as you can: at the edge. The killer use cases for IoT are becoming manifest through AI engines on edge devices. An autonomous car has this dual edge/cloud analytics model, producing precise, real-time results. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Eng...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, will posit that disruption is inevitable for c...
In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, will discuss new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of securit...
There are 66 million network cameras capturing terabytes of data. How did factories in Japan improve physical security at the facilities and improve employee productivity? Edge Computing reduces possible kilobytes of data collected per second to only a few kilobytes of data transmitted to the public cloud every day. Data is aggregated and analyzed close to sensors so only intelligent results need to be transmitted to the cloud. Non-essential data is recycled to optimize storage.