Organizations in the current digital era have to fidget through a myriad of information and data stored in disparate systems. Set against this backdrop, portal software makes it easy for enterprises to centralize their operation, allowing them to access all the quintessential data in a singular platform. Although the technology landscape is replete with solution providers, not many have ventured into the portal software ecosystem. Founded in 2014, Rowboat Software began as a custom application developer of corporate intranets, with a focus on API integrations. As the firm’s clientele grew, they offered their first SaaS product, the Rowboat Custom Intranet. The software excelled at getting the right information to the right people at the right time. A client request to expose a limited set of their corporate intranet data to branch offices led to the evolutionof the Rowboat Portal.
In an interview with CIO Applications, John Kobinski, co-founder of the company, shares insights on how Rowboat Software emerged as an enterprise portal design and software solutions provider, depicting the journey of the firm, its unique value propositions, and how the firm is redefining the entire landscape.
What are some the challenges that the domain of portal software face and how your firm mitigates them?
We found that many portal solutions specialize in a few industries or verticals. While this is a great way to get up and running quickly, it can become restrictive if your company has unique needs. We mitigate this by building all Rowboat products on our Rowboat Rapid Application Development Platform (RADP). This robust foundation allows us to quickly customize our Portal Platform to meet the exact specific needs of each customer.
What approach do you follow to attract your customers?
We set ourselves apart with our licensing model and customer specific products. Our licensing is a fixed price, with an unlimited number of users to encourage broad adoption of the Rowboat Portal Platform, both with partners/ customers as well as with internal team members.
Experience has taught us that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to portal application development
Our customer specific products mean that customization is our first approach, not the last resort to shoehorn additional functionality into an off the shelf solution. Our goal is to provide software that adapts to accommodate your business. We believe that the future of software is customized not only for a specific business, but also customized for departments and individual users. This is a departure from the days where your business had to adapt to accommodate rigid software workflows. Our approach also provides our customers with the added benefit of simplicity, offering exactly the functionality they need while eliminating un-used options and functionality clutter.
Does Rowboat Software still engage in custom application development?
Absolutely. We build around our clients’ needs so custom application development is instrumental to what we do. We are constantly learning from our clients and experience has taught us that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to portal application development.
Could you please share a client success story that best explains the efficiency of your product?
We have a client that needed to replace an existing channel partner portal due to unreliability and considerable duplication of efforts by manually entering data in multiple systems. This resulted in channel partner frustration due to inaccurate and out of date information. We were able to leverage their existing technology by integrating our Portal Platform with their Customer Relationship Management (CRM), accounting system, inventory system and marketing tools. By integrating with these systems, we were able to provide visually pleasing real time data and reporting to their channel partners in a safe and controlled manner, while eliminating all duplicate efforts. Their new channel partner portal is now handling nearly all of their channel partners’ interactions with the company. Partners can now configure products to generate marketing materials, quotes and delivery estimates based on real time pricing and inventory levels. Support for organizational hierarchies provides partners with multiple locations the ability to view roll up reporting, while restricting managers of a specific location to view only the single locations data.The response from the clients’ channel partners has been overwhelmingly positive, enabling them to provide improved sales information to the end customer.The attention our client spent improving their channel partner relationships through the portal has been rewarded with increased orders. Since their partners support many competing products, they can influence purchase decisions based on support, accurate data and ease of the ordering process.
What is the roadmap that you have envisioned for Rowboat Software?
For our journey forward, we are continuing our move towards self-serviced customization. We plan to expand our SaaS product suite, most notably by opening theRowboat RADP product directly to customers. This platform will allow users to create their own custom applications quickly and painlessly, without the application developer cost. We are inspired by the idea of businesses solving their own unique challenges and developing their own custom solutions on the Rowboat RADP product.