Power of LiveStax with a single App

LiveStax is a framework, which allows information and functionality to be surfaced from legacy and on-premise software applications, SaaS applications, IoT and the Internet through easy-to-build disposable single-benefit Apps.

Whilst the full power of LiveStax will only be known when its available to any prospective customer to sign up, trial and use, I would like to illustrate its power with a simple App. In this case through a RSS App.

rss

With the RSS App, I’ve built a site that aggregates tech news from multiple sources, improving time I spent on visiting blog sites, thereby demonstrating one of the key benefits LiveStax brings; productivity gains.

LiveStax from V1 to V2 with simplicity driving design innovation

Since we launched LiveStax to 250+ employees of our parent company, Causeway Technologies in Jan 2014, we have been building the next version with simplicity in mind.

Below shows the V1 before adding any Apps.

V1

Let’s compare V2 before adding any Apps.

V2

Whilst I’m not going to list every difference, I would like to focus on the simplicity that V2 achieves over V1. One of the key drivers behind design simplicity was to create a responsive version, which worked well on mobile, tablet and PC. Whilst the version shown above may further change before it goes live, removal of functionality from the footer greatly increases the UI and as a result, the UX. You no longer need to visit the App Store. It’s now presented within each Page (previously called Groups or Workspace) reducing the number of actions required to add an App.

In V1′s defence, it was designed and built by software engineers. V2 has the luxury of a full time UI/UX design supremo, who has been working with our software development team, helping to adopt a design first approach. As you can see, the result has been simply awesome.

As always, we love to hear your impression of the new design.

Update (Comment from Michael, our UI/UX design supremo): 

“One of the core principles of web application design is to make flows as efficient and fast as possible for the user. I think that when compared to version 1 everything feels simpler and lighter. It isn’t just my work though, the whole team has contributed significantly to make the UX better on the current version.

When we have well designed apps (and when I mention design I do so in a holistic way) the platform will feel amazingly simple and delight enterprise and even consumer users. The frame was thought to be almost invisible and to let apps shine. Of course at the moment it might even feel too simplistic, but the truth is that the design system will work if the apps are build in a consistent way, respecting the theme and basic design principles.”

Pulling it all together for Virgin Strive Challenge #WeStrive

virgin_25177452542 Image by Jon Griffith

You may have heard that Sam Branson, Noah Devereux and Stephen Shanly climbed the summit of Matterhorn in Switzerland today, having run three marathons from London to Dover, having to abandon rowing across the English Channel due to hurricane Bertha, having cycled across France from Calais to Verbier in Switzerland, and then hiking for 7 days before attempting the climb to top of Matterhorn, all in the name of raising money for charity to help young people build life skills. Many others joined different stages of the challenge including Sam’s father, Sir Richard Branson.

strive_matterhorn_summit

Photo by Jack Brockway

Whilst our partner, Causeway Technologies provided live tracking, the content generated was pulled together on to LiveStax by our partner, Powershift Media.

social wall

The social wall brought together tweets, blog posts, pictures from Instagram and videos from YouTube. It helped raise awareness, which in turn helped to raise more cash for charity with current total at £530,000.

We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone who took part. You can still support this great cause by donating. Visit Strive Challenge for more information on the challenge just completed.

If you are interested in becoming a partner to create similar experiences, please get in touch via our partner support desk.

NoMoreWhatIfs#

What if you could use software just the way you want instead of having to use the way the vendors have developed them?

What if you could access all your information and functionality from one simple intuitive and highly usable solution instead of having to log into many different software, and rely on others to provide reports when you have no access?

Let us present LiveStax, the world’s first truly Personal User Experience (UX) Platform.

No more failed and expensive system integrations. No more billion dollar software replacement nightmares. #NoMoreWhatIfs.

LiveStax is a highly disruptive technology which removes boundaries between people, process and technology. It will liberate organisations, enabling its people to be as good as they can be.

Possibilities are limited only by the depth of your imagination. ​

Be an early adopter and join the journey of disrupting the status quo!

LiveStax Dallaglio Cycle Slam launches today to support Rugby Legend Lawrence Dallaglio

We are thrilled to announce the launch of a consumer version of LiveStax to support the charity sport event, Dallaglio Cycle Slam 2014 founded by Rugby Legend, Lawrence Dallaglio through his foundation, Dallaglio Foundation.
LiveStax Home
Our parent company, Causeway Technologies has been a founding partner of Dallaglio Cycle Slam and has been providing live tracking through Causeway Telematics from the start of the 2014 event. Causeway is the UK’s market leader in providing software solutions for the build environment.

 

LiveStax is a new technology unveiled to the world for the first time via Dallaglio Cycle Slam. It has been drastically configured to support the event. It brings information and functionality from software and the Internet, so that Dallaglio Cycle Slam can be experienced from one place. ​

 

Home Page displays content from Twitter, Flickr, Instagram and Youtube. If you are a Rider or supporter, make sure you continue to tag content you upload with #Dallagliocycleslam.

 

LiveStax Riders
Riders Page displays a list of Riders by Stage, their profiles and funds raised so far, and live tracking of their progress provided by Causeway Telematics. Click on Street View to experience the terrain of the routes as Riders progress.

 

LiveStax Routes
Routes Page displays route of today’s, past and the future. Site can be accessed via http://livestax.dallagliocycleslam.com/

 

Update 1 on 15th July 2014

As Dallaglio Cycle Slam ended in June 2014, we have now closed LiveStax for Cycle Slam.

Lessons learned from eating our own dog food

dog food

Over 28th and 29th January 2014, LiveStax was launched to 259 employees (now 261) of our first customer, Causeway, who happened to be our parent company.

User Development

  • Whilst the team believes LiveStax is the next best thing to slice bread, not everyone has been as excited as the team. The reality is that 12.6% of those on-boarded are yet to login for the first time. Whilst 87.4% on-boarding can only be treated as successful, as a team dedicated to excelling ourselves, we cannot be happier with anything less than 100%.
  • Whilst I have an inherent nature to try out anything new, majority of users saw LiveStax as yet another tool they were introduced to, even though a previous company wide presentation and demonstration of LiveStax received great reviews. It took few weeks before the majority of users logged in, other than those early adapters.
  • Whilst LiveStax can be used for both personal and business uses, as we launched it for business inside Causeway, users have been slow in setting up Groups for collaboration.
  • Active weekly usage have hovered between 15 to 30%, with current levels around 25%.

Apps Development

  • Customer view Apps which gives an unparallel insight to “single view of the Customer” have emerged as the winner. These apps surface information and functionality from sales, finance and support, the functionality which previously required in-depth understanding of respective software applications. In most cases, sales staff had no easy access to finance software and had to rely on colleagues to run regular reports. It has now become a common practise, even within this short period to view customer status before making a call or a site visit to truly understand any outstanding issues related to the customer, from payments to support tickets.
  • Not ignoring the social elements, the team has also been busy in building few fun apps including Formula 1 and Football to Sudoku. Whilst these have not made the top 6, nevertheless, we hope they will help improving the usage of LiveStax in the long run.
  • As individual Apps are concerned, Our Customers (45.98%), Where Is Everybody (26.82%), Causeway Status (25.09%), Customer Care (23.98%), Customer Location (23.24%), Maintenance DB (20.29%) and Room Rummager (19.93%) are popular among the 110 Apps in our AppStore.

What’s next?

  • We have a finite period before we on-board the second organisation. We need to understand what works and what does not. We know for a fact that having minimum Apps do not help. Lack of a SDK has frustrated many who were eager to develop Apps.
  • As soon as the SDK is available, Causeway Product Teams will commence development of Causeway Product Apps. However, few hungry teams have found ways around to develop an App or two.
  • As a tech startup with limited resources with an ambitious plan, just like any other team, we had to prioritise what gets build first. We’ve also changed some of the terminology as we continue user development, e.g. Stax is now simplified to Apps, Workgroups will be known as Spaces, and Workspaces, Groups and Tabs will be known as Pages.
  • We are currently developing the third major iteration on target for completion before we on-board the second customer. This version will also feature a significantly new design, both in terms of visual design, user interface (UI) and user experience (UX).

Image credit: DROdio

What is LiveStax?

As we remain in stealth mode, many of you might wonder what LiveStax is all about. Below I tried to capture the very essence of LiveStax.

LiveStax surface the RIGHT Information to the RIGHT Employee to do the RIGHT Job at the RIGHT Time, via easy to build Apps, Pages and Spaces, which surface information and functionality from legacy, on-premise and SaaS software, reducing employee frustrations and improving business productivity, whilst giving back control of IT to CIO.

Let us know what you think.

Launch of LiveStax – Eating our own dog food

launchedWithout any fanfare, we launched quietly on 29th Jan 2014 to Causeway’s employees, gaining 258 users immediately.

If this is the first time you heard of the phrase “eating your own dog food”, here is a great explanation via Wikipedia:

Eating your own dog food, also called dogfooding, is a slang term used to reference a scenario in which a company (usually, a computer software company) uses its own product to demonstrate the quality and capabilities of the product.

Most successful startups are founded these days to solve a specific problem the founding team had. True to the trend, LiveStax was founded to address a problem Causeway had, as well as Causeway’s customers have (as we have deep knowledge of them), i.e. LiveStax makes it easy to surface information from multiple software applications via easy to create Apps.

This is the first of the four stage launch programme to achieve what I define as True SaaS, when a prospective customer can discover, trial and purchase without any human interaction. Internally, we call the current stage as Alpha Private, but its a fully functioning application ready to be used by every user on-boarded.

To achieve this stage, it has taken well over 2.5 years from the initial thought including many starts and stops. Today, the core development is undertaken by our team in Leamington Spa with internal Apps developed in Bourne End.

The true power of LiveStax will only be known when third parties start building Apps when the Software Development Kit (SDK) is out!

Congratulations to all those who made us reach Alpha Private! Now the fun begins with understanding how our 258 users are leveraging LiveStax day in day out!

Drawing inspiration from Intercom’s $30m investment in 30 months

intercom logoI’m a big fan of Intercom (except their pricing), and thrilled to hear the success story of raising $30m in 30 months from Eoghan, which is no simple task, especially for a non US company.

I would recommend you to read Eoghan’s blog post on raising of Series B round of $23m from Bessemer, which I have drawn inspiration from for this blog post.

people

I believe I first came across Intercom in late 2011 and first communicated with Des in Feb 2012. Intercom address a fundamental issue around user adaptation of web solutions, especially SaaS applications. It addresses some of the problems I highlighted in a previous blog post.

inte

So what inspirations can be drawn from Intercom, as we are about to go live with V1 Alpha Private (first of four stages of launch plan to become True SaaS)?

  1. Your vision is the ceiling for your company’s potential. You’ll never be a billion dollar business if you’re not deliberately working to get there” - This is one of the key beliefs I am trying to instill on our team from the CEO to development team and beyond. Unlike in the USA, it is extremely hard to talk about a $1bn startup without getting ridiculed, especially within a mature company, given how long it has taken the company to achieve current state of revenues. It is lot easier if you are an independent startup (then you would not have all the upside we are currently enjoying).
  2. In the defining days of any new category, there are dozens of people who happen upon the same fundamental idea. But very few have the capacity to see the true potential for it beyond the obvious.” LiveStax is introducing a complete new product category (see previous post on which market segments LiveStax should compete in). There may be others who may be working on a similar idea (we don’t know what we don’t know), but given the investment we have already made, we believe we are in a unique position to introduce a new product, and grow it aggressively. “What we do have is an innovative product. Something that people can’t get elsewhere which does unique things for them.” This is exactly how we feel about LiveStax.  

It would be interesting to watch how intercom grow over the next 30 months. Wishing all the best to Des, Eoghan and the team for the next chapter in creating a $1bn startup (eventhough it required them to move to the USA to execute this vision).

Why Suranga Chandratillake joining Balderton is a great coup for enterprise software spinouts

surangaBalderton Capital, one of the largest venture capital funds in Europe, not just managed to convince well-respected veteran VC, Daniel Waterhouse to join them last year, but has managed to secure Suranga Chandratillake as a partner. I was overjoyed to hear the appointment via Suranga on Facebook this morning, as I have been trying to convince Suranga to visit Manchester for sometime now. See: Press release and TechCrunch about the appointment.

Whilst most pundits will agree with me that this is a great coup for venture capital and tech startups in the UK and Europe, I see this as a significant opportunity to explore untapped opportunities in corporate spinouts, especially in enterprise software market.

ajaz

First of all, not many British tech startups have seen $1bn valuations, let alone $1bn market capitalisations. Whilst there are number of successful spinouts with over $1bn valuations, it is nonetheless rare to achieve such success, especially in the UK. Another example that comes to mind is Ajaz Ahmed’s attempts at spinning out Freeserve from Dixons (PC World) in Sep 1998, which was floated 9 months after with a market capitalisation of £1.5bn joining FTSE100 soon after. Freeserve was later sold to Wanadoo (Orange) for £1.6bn.

In 2004, Surange founded Blinkx (he was CTO in US operations of Autonomy at the time), an intelligent search engine for video and audio content, as a business inside Autonomy (which was sold to HP for $11bn in 2011). Three years later, the company was floated on London Stock Exchange with a $250m valuation. Today, Blinkx is valued more than $1.3bn on FTSE AIM 100.

Today, LiveStax is in a similar situation to Blinkx was in 2004 and FreeServe was in 1998. Unlike Blinkx but similar to Freeserve, LiveStax is being built from ground up without any proprietary software. Just like them, LiveStax is well-funded and have access to circa 2000 customers of Causeway Technologies. As far as I can see, there are no limitations of LiveStax being the next $1bn success story.

But first, we must truly believe in the potential, bring a “sense of urgency” and “act like one!” if we want the world to write about us in 10 years time!