ITBriefcase Exclusive Interview with R. Paul Singh, Espresso LogicApril 29, 2014 No Comments
In the following interview, R. Paul Singh, CEO of Espresso Logic, discusses the challenges IT teams face today in producing the increasingly high volume of internal and external applications for their companies – and highlights how its newly released Live Browser product can help.
- Q. You’ve worked with a variety of companies – startups, large enterprises, regional firms, etc. What type of challenges do IT departments face today in fulfilling the requests for developing new business apps?
A. IT teams are overloaded with action items and face an ever-growing pipeline of tasks – from making sure they have clear requirements and priorities from users, to aligning those priorities to maximize the use of limited resources, and ultimately to implementing new products and deploying these applications – for both internal and external use. At the rapid pace things are going, with IOT, mobile and cloud, applications have to be developed at Internet pace.
However, IT is stuck with yesterday’s tools. So only the most urgent (usually the externally facing) apps ever get off the “potential app list’ and onto the “current project list.” There is a huge backlog of applications that could give the business a competitive edge. But they are never built because with current approaches, development costs are prohibitive.
- Q. What types of apps end up stuck on that proverbial “to-do list” you mentioned?
A. These are the apps that improve productivity, communications and result in better decisions. The apps typically interact with the existing data running the business; and SQL is the single largest data source. Today, mobile, cloud and integration applications are needed the most, yet these technologies require specialized expertise. Many of these don’t require the sexy UI you need for consumer facing applications. Either you invest a ton of resources to train your teams and develop the applications or you outsource the development to third parties. Both of these options drive up the cost of building the apps.
So unless the proposed app is something that is strategic, generates a huge ROI and used by customers, it is never built. This could be anything from an app used by 100 employees for mobile up-to-the minute reporting of customer maintenance activities or one that your partners use for mobile access your inventory levels. That’s where our new Live Browser product comes in. It enables you to address the gap between the business users’ demand for apps and those lengthy, expensive, development efforts.
- Q. Can you explain exactly what Live Browser does and how you came up with the idea?
A. Sure. Initially we built Espresso to accelerate and simplify server-side development; the data access, security and business logic. We flipped the equation and found it was taking customers longer to build the front end than to build the backend with Espresso. As a result, we decided to build a technology to speed front end development as well – targeting the whole class of internal applications we just discussed.
Live Browser enables companies to create data-driven apps in 30 seconds. With Live Browser you can explore, interact with and modify data from your backend SQL databases – without any programming. It provides an instant out-of-the-box HTML5 user interface for navigating the database in a master/detail format. Plus, the UI is customizable on-the-fly by both business users and technical staff, providing full read and editing support protected by Espresso’s built-in role-based row/column security.
Live Browser even supports update, with updatable grids, transactions, lookups and spreadsheet-like reactive business logic. And that’s important because most BI tools present a beautiful interface to view your data, but they don’t let you interact with and update it. Since Live Browser is built on Live API, a REST API is also available for use by other applications.
- Q. So how would a company use Live Browser to create an app – can you share an example?
A. Companies have millions of records stored in their backend databases, whether you’re an SMB firm or a large Fortune enterprise. However you can’t just provide equal access to your entire team. There are security and business process issues that make it impossible – and even if you did, enterprise databases are inherently complicated and confusing.
Imagine a mid-size advertising agency whose sales people are clamoring to get information on their accounts while on the go. The cost for developing an app is prohibitive and the app never gets built. With Live Browser, they could simply point to their data, apply access controls – and the app is ready to deploy to users on web browser or tablets. And again, unlike most BI tools, Live Browser provides both read and update support as well as security, so that the sales team can update customer data remotely.
- Q. That sounds like a huge time-saver for IT staff and business users. Is this something that the development team can utilize as well?
A. Absolutely. For DBAs and developers that have to maintain and update existing databases and data applications, it provides a way to explore the content and structure of the database and repair bad data – to understand tables, columns and their relationships. They can navigate and drill down to any of the child tables and because Live Browser’s behavior is governed by the schema meta-data, as you make changes to your database Live Browser stays in sync with your schema. Developers can also use Live Browser to quickly prototype their backend applications.
R. Paul Singh is the CEO of Espresso Logic, Inc. and has been founder/CEO of many startups including Veraz, Pixsense and Internetware. For over 10 years he has helped to pave the way for new mobile technologies on both on the infrastructure and the application side. Paul is a board member of TiE Silicon Valley and was an EIR at Lightspeed Ventures before working for Sun, Telebit and 3Com.
APPLICATION INTEGRATION, CLOUD COMPUTING, DATA and ANALYTICS , Fresh Ink, MOBILE, OPEN SOURCE, SECURITY