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Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor

Steve Alexander, Associate Editor

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Christy Rivers - Editorial Executive

INTERview




Integration Orchestration – Deploy Faster, Spend Less, Eliminate Dependencies


Mary Arnhart

President


Ariox

www.ariox.com


Contact:

616-226-4602

mary.arnhart@ariox.com


Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor

CEOCFO Magazine

Published – July 7, 2020

CEOCFO: Ms. Arnhart, the tag on the Ariox website is “Connecting Data, Empowering People.” How do you make that happen?

Ms. Arnhart: Ariox empowers people by developing business solutions that are deployed faster, cost less money, provide broad flexibility and that eliminate dependencies created by proprietary software. It’s in the DNA of our business to free companies from the highly over-priced solutions and long timeframes that result from proprietary software. Lumino in specific is an integration tool that is in-house managed through a user facing portal, is scalable to handle any number of bi- or single direction integrations from a library of Plug and Play connectors, can prioritize integrations, transform data, and provide centralized and aggregated data for business intelligent analytics.


CEOCFO: Would you give us some examples of what people need connected?

Ms. Arnhart: Sure, but first let me stress that the most pressing need is for connections that can deploy faster, remove proprietary dependencies, allow for flexibility, and can be managed in-house.  


With that in mind let me give you two examples. First, any manufacturer using multiple buyer channels will need real-time integration and data transformation to meet the demand of drop-ship and data formatting requirements in each of those buyer channels. Those demands require clear and immediate visibility extending to resellers, retailers, distribution centers and warehouses – all of which want immediate access to the manufacturer’s stock. This use case is urgent for manufacturers because buyers are increasingly demanding shorter time frames for drop-ship and more rigid requirements for data formats.


A second use case would be mergers and acquisitions. For example, Company A buys Company B and the two companies are running well on disparate ERP systems, say one on Epicor and one on Sage.  Companies A and B could continue to operate on disparate ERP systems using Lumino and avoid the massive cost and business disruption of changing either ERP system. A related use case could be to use Lumino to control the data flow between disparate ERP systems while incrementally cutting over to one or the other ERP systems – if the decision had been to ‘match’ ERP’s in Company A and B. Lumino could deploy an integration within weeks, transform data if needed, and provide analytics in either scenario.


These are just two use cases pulled from a wide range of integration possibilities - but I’ll reiterate that the need in these and in any use case is integration connection plus rapid deploy, lowered cost, relief from proprietary dependencies and flexibility.


CEOCFO: Is Integration Software as a Service in use much today?

Ms. Arnhart: Integration Software as a Service, also commonly called iSaaS is not an entirely new concept.


The components of Lumino that drive iSaaS solutions to the next level of innovation is the architecture of the Lumino portal which allows users to manage their integrations in-house, connect any or all of their systems, and use analytics to make important business decisions. Again, all of this has been possible for a while, but at a high cost, with long development times, and with dependencies related to custom builds for one-to-one integrations and proprietary software.


CEOCFO: What were the challenges in making this concept a reality?

Ms. Arnhart: There were a few challenges: First, our idea was brand new in terms of the range of functionalities and user-friendly interface - so doing a ground-up build required investors. Once we had dealt with that aspect, we had to assemble a unique team and thankfully I can honestly refer to my team as “the dream team”. None of this would have been possible without that team. We’ve made excellent progress since overcoming those challenges and we are thrilled to bring this game-changing product to market.


CEOCFO: What is different about Lumino-2.1?

Ms. Arnhart: Luminol-1.1 was deployed without the business intelligent analytics component. Although the analytics was a planned functionality all along, we wanted to deploy the product for strong beta testing before adding the analytics component.


CEOCFO: Is there one technological advance that allows this to take place?  What enables you to do this when it has not been done before?

Ms. Arnhart: The change or advancement that allowed the development of Lumino is a change in philosophy. It’s what I referred to earlier as the DNA of Ariox. Integration solutions that are one-to-one custom builds with long and expensive timeframes, create expensive dependencies whenever a software change/upgrade arises and are as plentiful as programmers. Additionally, many integration platforms use cutting edge technology but few do so with the stated intention of freeing businesses from unnecessary costs and dependencies. Ariox and Lumino are literally founded on the premise that businesses should not be held captive to proprietary software and custom builds. Of course, Ariox uses cutting edge technology as well, but we do it to create as much independence for the user as possible.


CEOCFO: Are potential customers skeptical?

Ms. Arnhart: The opposite, when we talk with prospects or present webinars on the product it leads to exciting discussion that begins with something like, “you mean to tell me I could ‘X’? I’m reminded of a question that was asked of Henry Ford regarding his ‘failure’ to do market research prior to releasing the first automobiles. He remarked that people would only have said they wanted faster horses. The Ariox team asked themselves – what would businesses answer if we asked “what do you want from integrations”? The answer would have been faster deployment, more flexibility, less dependence, and more reasonable costs. The Ariox team asked – how could we give that to businesses? Our challenge will be overcoming the pushback in environments that fear this revolutionary change. Companies will feel freed and empowered by Lumino, or fear the results of the change, the same as what Henry Ford faced.


CEOCFO: Where are you today with customers, funding and business in general?

Ms. Arnhart: Business has been very healthy. We’ve been supported in this effort in various ways, including funding from a multi-company, global enterprise that was fed up with the dependence I’ve described. This company looked for ‘such a thing’ in the market and couldn’t find it, so when we pitched the idea, they jumped on it. We’ve tested and deployed Lumino in that enterprise and have many prospects in various stages of the sales process, all excited about the possibilities. Our business future is looking bright!


CEOCFO: You mentioned earlier about managing growth; how can you ramp-up or how will you as more and more people understand the value?

Ms. Arnhart: Ok, well our development, sales, marketing, and operations teams are all busy building organizational structure, content, leads, processes, etc. and I am busy navigating toward what we predict to be explosive growth. Granted, we’ll have to generate critical mass, but we are preparing to handle that once it arrives. In addition, our developers are busy building a library of connectors available to any and all Lumino users to Plug and Play inside the Lumino portal. The Lumino service and hosting contract includes the upgrade and deployment of connectors in advance of any scheduled upgrades or software changes. Currently we are developing the connectors that specific companies have indicated a need for.


CEOCFO: What are your next steps for six months to a year?

Ms. Arnhart: Our next steps include three broad components – building for critical mass in all organizational domains, deploying approximately 100 connectors and onboarding eight to ten new customers. The way things look now, and with the enormous integration related pain points injected into markets by recent economic disturbance, I am planning as if those numbers are on the conservative side. I continue to analyze the sales and development funnels to plan for new hires at strategic points and I consistently develop a pipeline of potential team members. I want the right hires to join the dream team at the right time.


CEOCFO: Once you have a particular connector in-place, if someone changes their system will that automatically update, or do you need to monitor all of the connections to see that nothing has changed?

Ms. Arnhart: The user really has the most control of that. First, the user decides when/if they want to upgrade or change software. Let’s say XYZ company wants to update to the latest version of their current ERP system. Ariox monitors version releases and deploys new connectors in advance of new releases, so in most instances, XYZ would schedule the uplift, the support team at Lumino would check requirements, complete the uplift and deploy the necessary changes, and the customer would use the plugs and play features to enable any changes. In the support portal, if Ariox is aware of any upcoming upgrades, releases, and corresponding connectors, Lumino customers will be notified. Lumino is available as cloud hosted solution.


CEOCFO: With all the new ideas to look at, why pay attention to Ariox and Lumino?

Ms. Arnhart: Simple really, when partnering with Ariox, integration solutions for any company can be deployed faster, cost less, provide broad flexibility, solve functional business problems, and eliminate dependencies. The fact is that Lumino is an incredible integration value – scalable, repeatable, end-user managed, Plug N Play, on/off data feature and option sets, dynamic data transformation rules, alert wizard, integration health monitoring, business intelligent, and configurable dashboards.


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“When partnering with Ariox integration solutions for any company can be deployed faster, cost less, provide broad flexibility, solve a lot of problems, and eliminate dependencies when using Lumino. The fact is that Lumino is an incredible integration value – scalable, repeatable, end-user managed, Plug N Play, on/off data feature and option sets, dynamic transformation rules, alert wizard, integration health monitoring, and business intelligent, configurable dashboards.” Mary Arnhart

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