Question: How do you position Oversing in relation to other products on the market?
If you want to stack the current range of business products they look like this:
1 – Multiple Point Solutions (they constitute a typical ‘disorganized industry’)
2 – Misc variations on 17hats(very small and home business),
3 – Mavenlink (small business),
4 – Oversing (medium and large organizations),
5 – Microsoft Full Stack (very large enterprise),
6 – Microsoft+SAP (fortune 1000).
Now at present what separates the enterprise from the SMB are these features:
1 – Programmable Workflow
2 – Configurable Organizational Structure
3 – Multi-Currency + multi tax
4 – Multi-Language
5 – Project Accounting (minimum)
What further separates the platforms from the apps are:
1 – an api
2 – plugins or the equivalent.
3 – Financial Accounting.
And what makes you a big boy (SAP) is
1 – Parts, Assemblies, Processes
2 – Maintenance, records, and routes.
We don’t care about the SMB sector. What we want is to compete with MSFT in the medium, large, and very large enterprise. And I think we can do that if we can get three more years under us. From there we can move down-market.
Our opinion is this: if you care about decorated software then you’re a home or small business. If you specialize in financial measurement of departments or teams you’re a medium business. If you have spreadsheet UI”s rolling to an accounting process then your an Enterprise. If you have horrible UI’s customized for tasks that are financially interdependent, then your a fortune x000 enterprise.
the industry is indeed disorganized by a proliferation of point solutions in the consumer, home, smb, medium spaces. Microsoft is pushing a very legacy product to the web with moderate success, but without changing their paradigm (desktop apps + sharepoint + outlook + project server + crm + dynamics)
We want to replace the Microsoft stack other than the desktop apps with a single integrated product. (And I am not even sure we can’t do better in apps very shortly – at least, I am sure I know how to, I”m not sure it matters.)
V1 doesn’t have the full feature set yet, so I can’t claim we’re going to succeed untili we do. But I understand how that all will work, and how little extra work we need to do to create it.
Screen + Keyboard (evolves to) > Windows+Mouse (evolves to) > Panels+Touch/Headmount.
We know from the failure of Microsoft’s experiment that the tablet UI is not the future of the user interface. Whatsoever. We can also see in all the related failures, that the 3d user interface on a 2d plane is a failed experiment.
I am not convinced that a visually overlaid 3d experience (head mounted) is viable if for no other reason than it impairs collaboration on the one hand, and makes it very difficult to monitor employee productivity or behavior in the work place on the other hand. (working consistently on dreary tasks is an unnatural behavior after all). And lastly, we know that the human body cannot bear all that physical stress during the work day. The mouse, touchpad and keyboard are exceptionally low cost entry devices. Lastly, the ratio of upgrade cost to value-obtained is very hard for technology going forward. So for the next decade it is hard to imagine more change in the workplace.
Because of our evolutionary human heritage it is pretty hard to beat the 2d experience. Just as it is very hard to beat the paper book as a random access search device. We are fairly confident that the panels+touch user interface defeats the windows user interface going forward – because it can be used both on two dimensional as well well as overlaid 3-dimensional user experiences. It works in both models.
Now lets look at other reasons to compete with the previous generations of technology:
It is very easy to demonstrate that the database structure of outlook/exchange and sharepoint are technologically archaic, and that the new db model is superior for full text search and retrieval (FB/Amazon/Others)
It is very easy to demonstrate that the design of software using database modification of custom fields is technologically archaic.
It is very easy to demonstrate that the relationship between the application file and the desktop computer’s file system is technologically archaic.
It is very easy to demonstrate that the accounting process we have relied upon since the age of sail is technologically archaic.
The Oversing panel model is interesting because it makes it very obvious that there are a limited number of functions taking place in all workplaces that consist of goals (strategy), communication(negotiation), tasks(requirements), protocols(steps), processes (transformations from one thing to the next thing), and measurements and performance statistics.
And that every organization does these things. And that no interface is unique for that purpose (just as SAP says that if you don’t do it their way, then you’re not special, you’re just doing it wrong).
But despite procedural models that we CAN change, that people PROCESS INFORMATION differently and CAN’T change behavior (inexpensively), and so they need various ways of working with that information (granular to overview, and simple to dense).
Now, there is also something very interesting about the Oversing panel model when combined with the Yammer / Facebook model: and that is that context is always preserved. We frail humans need context to limit the strain on our memories. And so every profile page provides a context. And we can customize the page for the needs of any context.
And so this means we can create a universal application for the management of all business. And if we don’t mess-up (which admittedly is always a likely possibility), and can build enough features into it, the network effect will drive the SMB to it.
Our original idea was to keep the cost down, but the market has shown us that this is unnecessary since organizations willingly pay large dollars for these features even if home and smb users don’t. So we are shooting for a midrange price point that is low enough but not so low as to capture ‘casual’ (amateur) users.
We will see if this hypothesis succeeds or fails not by Oversing’s success or failure, but by whether or not ANYONE solves this generational evolution in technology or not.
Whether Oversing succeeds or fails is more a matter for those of us involved to determine. Obviously, since I put a substantial portion of my wealth behind this project, I’m betting on our team. 😉
Thanks for the great question.