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October 28, 2019 Issue

CEOCFO MAGAZINE

 

Solving Digital Transformation Challenges by using Low Code to accelerate Enterprise Application Development

 

 

Martin Beringer

CEO USA

Neptune Software

www.neptune-software.com

 

Contact:

Martin Beringer

(772) 261-8548

mberinger@neptune-software.com

 

Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – October 28, 2019

 

CEOCFO: Mr. Beringer, would you tell us about Neptune Software?

Mr. Beringer: Neptune Software DX Platform is a LowCode development platform that facilitates rapid mobile application development for enterprises.

 

CEOCFO: What have you developed that is different, better and easier than other platforms?

Mr. Beringer: Neptune DX Platform enables developers to use low-code drag and drop development, where developers can generate a user interface based on dragging and dropping components into an application and then all the code gets generated behind the scenes. The classic way of developing applications is to code everything from scratch, but in our case, the code is automatically generated. That, in itself, drastically reduces the effort of developing applications, compared to manually coding everything. 

 

CEOCFO: How are you able to do that?

Mr. Beringer: Typically, when developing applications, there are many things a developer needs to consider, like authentication, database layer, integration, elasticity, etc. Our platform handles these complexities, so developers can focus only on what truly adds value to their business case.

 

Many enterprises have been around for decades and of course information technology (IT) has evolved over that time. Hence, there is tons of fragmentation. There are legacy systems, which are old systems that still serve a business purpose but have a questionable user experience and are tough to integrate. Then there are the intermediate technologies like enterprise resource planning software like Oracle, and SAP. Then of course, now we have all the cloud-based solutions that are coming out (SaaS). Each of these systems have a different user experience, and different development requirements. By standardizing the development on Neptune DX Platform, we standardize the development approach as well as the end-user experience.

 

Neptune DX Platform actually allows you to connect to any backend and standardize development across all systems. This gives you one development environment regardless of backend and you have one area for you to manage your users and your authentication. As for the development experience, developers can now involve the end-users at the very beginning and do rapid prototyping of applications, which improves end-user buy-in and subsequent adoption. Once the front-end is complete, developers bind these components to APIs of all the various different backend systems. Normally, in the past they would have had to develop every single aspect of what I just told you about by hand from scratch. We remove all that complexity. When it comes to the actual development of the user interface it is all drag and drop, rather than just typing code from scratch.         

 

CEOCFO: Are people skeptical? 

Mr. Beringer: Yes, of course people are skeptical, because it is something that is relatively new. Also, many developers enjoy coding from scratch. In our case we eliminate a lot of that code, which will cause many developers to be skeptical at first because of the paradigm shift from how they have been used to doing their jobs to begin with.

 

In the end, low-code development of hybrid applications is better for the enterprise. If you look at the alternative or the flip side of what I just told you, you would need to develop applications for integration to multiple different backends and also have to worry about developing these applications for desktop operating systems, as well as the various mobile platforms, iOS, Android, and Windows 10. That is three different programming languages and now you have to maintain that one same application in three different native languages. Low-Code development, and creation of hybrid apps removes much of this complexity, which reduces cost and risk for the enterprise.

 

There will also be fear of the unknown, which is understandable. However, we have faith that developers will realize that our approach is much more scalable and will allow them to innovate much faster and accomplish more.

 

CEOCFO: What is involved with implementation and training? 

Mr. Beringer: In our case, we have two different modules in our DX Platform, one lives within SAP as an ABAP add-on, and the other is based on Node.js. Between these two stacks, we have the most versatile and robust low-code platform in the market today. Installation in both cases is simple, and the customer is in the driver seat when it comes to determining on-prem, cloud, or a hybrid deployment strategy.

 

We have customers running our platform on-prem, as well as on Amazon Web Services, Google, and Microsoft Azure. Also, we are on the Oracle Cloud app store as well as the Google Cloud Platform store. Therefore, installation is actually very quick and when you install our platform it comes with all of the peripherals to actually use our platform. It comes with a database and you can pretty much start accessing it and start building your applications immediately. There is very little work that needs to be done up front.   

 

CEOCFO: What is your geographic reach today? Are there areas where you would like to have more of a presence? 

Mr. Beringer: The company was founded in Oslo, Norway. As the company grew, we spread out into Europe, and then to the US, and China. We maintain offices in Norway, Germany, Italy, the UK, as well as in North America, and China. Through an extensive global partner network, we have a presence in over 40 countries.

 

Of course, we would like to increase our presence in Asia and primarily India and also in the Middle East. Whether or not we do that with physical offices or by recruiting more channel partners in those geographic areas remains to be seen. When it comes to growth, I think that right now North America is the area that we want to focus on the most, because it is the biggest market in the world, of course.

 

CEOCFO: Are there particular types of companies, size or industry that look at Neptune or is a developer a developer and you are likely to have customers from all areas?  

Mr. Beringer: That is actually a very good point, because we are pretty much vertical agnostic. That is because we have a development platform that allows anyone to create value. Therefore, we have quite a few customers in higher education and utilities. We are very strong in oil and gas, consumer packaged goods, pharmaceuticals and medical device manufacturing. We truly are vertical agnostic, which of course makes our market big, but it also makes it a challenge to reach everyone. That is probably our biggest challenge as a company; to reach everyone and make sure that they are aware of what their options are.   

 

CEOCFO: How do you reach out? 

Mr. Beringer: We go to many trade shows. Since we initially focused on the SAP market, of course we have been going to SAP trade shows for a very long time. These would be SAPPHIRE NOW, as well as the various SAP TechEd events throughout the world.

 

Since we have expanded our reach to work with any backend, we are now also exhibiting at various tradeshows that are not focused solely on SAP, like Forrester, Gartner, and we are also trying to figure out which ones are the best ones to focus on. In general, any event that focuses on User Experience, Digital Transformation, and Enterprise Mobility would be a good potential event for us.

 

CEOCFO: How do you stand out at a conference when there are often so many companies with so many products for people to experience? 

Mr. Beringer: There are many ways that you can get a little bit more visibility. At the SAP TechEd Event in Las Vegas, we actually had a flyer on every chair at the executive keynote, so everyone saw us. It is also all about driving and taking advantage of a few of the marketing opportunities that are out there to make sure that everybody, at least, has seen your name and said, “Maybe we should stop by at that booth.”

 

You also have to do a little bit of marketing before every event to make sure that everyone is aware of what your value proposition is. We also have a social media marketing program and advertise on radio in several markets.

 

CEOCFO: What has changed in your approach over time? What have you learned as the company and as the app has been developed or the platform has been developed? 

Mr. Beringer: The primary shift for us has been to make sure that our technology can be leveraged on all backends, as I mentioned already. Our innovation is also heavily influenced by our customers. One of our biggest customers is one of the world’s largest medical device manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies. They have actually been developing on top of our SAP stack for two years before reaching out and stating, “We like your software so much, we would like to actually touch other backends”. That was the driving factor behind us building out the non-SAP stack and creating a Node.js stack of what we had before.

 

We have also focused heavily on improving the design aspect of our launchpads and mobile clients. Allowing our customers to build apps that look and feel like their company’s apps really helps to drive user adoption. This all falls under the consumerization aspect of enterprise applications. Just because it is enterprise, apps should not be difficult to use and have a poor user experience.

 

CEOCFO: When you are making a change in a platform or with software there is often some trepidation that something else might be lost in the system. Do you find this an issue when putting in a new system? How do you help allay the fears or work with your clients if there is a glitch? 

Mr. Beringer: For the most part it sits on top of everything else, so it should not negatively affect any stacks that are already there. When it comes to security, for example, every company does something a little bit different. Call it security by obscurity. We work tightly with our customers to help them configure their single sign on (SSO) and ensure that everything will play together nicely. We go to great lengths to make our customers feel comfortable before making a purchase decision.

 

We will happily assist our customers in setting up a sandbox environment in order for them to evaluate our platform and eliminate any risk from their purchasing decision. Training can be accomplished in just one week, and often times we will help them build their first applications as part of a training program, which helps them to show value quickly.

 

CEOCFO: What is next for Neptune Software? Why might be different if we speak a year from now?

Mr. Beringer: We are very focused on reaching customers in all markets, particularly the ones who are looking to build applications that integrate multiple backends. We love showing the value of our complete DX Platform, and that value is best shown when pulling together the best of what each backend has to offer.

 

It is pretty amazing that a company our size has attracted so many Fortune 500 customers. If we spoke a year from now, I would hope that we have reached into many new verticals, and markets. Since we have primarily focused on SAP backends initially, it is very important for us to prove the value of our DX Platform on many other backend systems. We need to educate the world on the flexibility of a microservices focused architecture.

 


 

“Neptune DX Platform actually allows you to connect to any backend and standardize development across all systems. This gives you one development environment regardless of backend and you have one area for you to manage your users and your authentication. As for the development experience, developers can now involve the end-users at the very beginning and do rapid prototyping of applications, which improves end-user buy-in and subsequent adoption.”- Martin Beringer


 


 

 



 

 

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