Syncsoft managing director Rory Wainer says âWe were first into the market â by many years â with a graphical administration solution based on the Microsoft Windows platform; our original Capital software. For more than 10 years no other supplier could match Syncsoftâs functionality or scalability, but in recent years some of the features and technology of Capital have been emulated by others. When a company like Syncsoft decides to create a new technology platform, it does so with a long-term vision in mind and is very careful about the foundation technologies it chooses. We have always favoured Microsoft technology but felt that the early versions of .Net were like the early versions of Windows â they generally pointed in the right direction but werenât functional or mature enough to base a long-term strategy on â at that point they were simply Microsoftâs alternative to Java.
However, Syncsoft has been extremely fortunate in getting pre-release copies of what would effectively become Microsoftâs 2008 technologies, and we got these as early as late 2006. What we saw had some real industry changing opportunities. The trick was to fully understand how we could maximise these new Microsoft Foundation technologies to deliver a next generation solution that gave customers a real commercial advantage, yet did not lose any of the rich functionality of our existing Capital products. Again, we were very fortunate in gaining access to some expert Microsoft staff and consultants who worked with our Business and R&D developers to leverage the combined technical and business knowledge required to deliver a functionally rich business solution using technologies years ahead of others.â
We were very conscious of keeping the technology solution separate from the business solution, resulting in Syncsoft now having two product lines.
1. A technology platform (XPlatform) that maximises Microsoftâs 2008 technologies, to be used by both Syncsoft and other software developers to deliver leading edge business solutions, and
2. A range of industry specific business applications, such as superannuation, that runs on top of the new XPlatform technology.
The secret in the XPlatform is the combined use of next generation Microsoft technologies such as Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Workflow Foundation and Windows Communication Foundation; with a suite of Syncsoft developed Designers that integrate everything into a single platform for delivering customer focused business solutions rapidly, reliably and repeatably.
Syncsoft Chief Technology Officer Nigel Page says âXPlatform is âparacetamolâ for delivering SOA applications. Not only does it maximise the latest technologies, but it also removes the need for XPlatform developers to build the myriad pieces of software plumbing required for a robust, scalable application. A huge amount of time and effort in most software projects is allocated to doing things that are not of direct benefit to the business user such as instrumentation, ensuring interoperability standards are adhered to, maintaining the correct separation needed to ensure the n-tier advantage is not lost, and so on. The XPlatform delivers all of this work â and more - out of the box. The XPlatform comes with full instrumentation, a set of Designers for creating forms, business entities, documented business rules, web services, stored procedures as well as a next generation user interface that delivers appropriate solutions for both internal and external users. There is now the ability to rapidly, reliably and repeatably build business services and a single user interface that supports multiple audiences, meeting the needs of a ârichâ experience by being highly responsive and interactive, allowing the highest level of productivity for power users, (which traditionally has incurred deployment and support issues), and âreachâ which opens up the application and data to other users external to the organization, serviced through web software. XPlatform delivers all of this whilst remaining database agnostic. We have a solution that meets the needs of multiple user types, that requires no deployment, is easy to manage and is fully instrumented. All of this is a huge leap forward for business developers because they will be able to focus solely on delivering customer solutions.â
Co-founder and Chief System Designer Brett Christie says âIt was such a stroke of luck gaining such early access to the next generation Microsoft technologies, we already had some good ideas but couldnât see how they could be delivered on the prevailing technologies. We wanted a paradigm shift in administration efficiencies not just another copy of current admin solutions in Java or .Net.â
Chief Technology Officer Nigel Page said. âIn what we have built there is an obvious separation between the presentation and the services layer, it is an open architected, cross platform environment, and we have gone to a lot of trouble to make sure that not only can it be used in a cross platform environment but presentation and services can even be used independently of each other. You can take the presentation layer and point it at a java backend, just as you could take the services layer and have it exposed through java server pages on another host. It has the true flexibility of a SOA application.â
All of this technology addresses pain points that administrators suffer. Most pain points involve the requirement to manage change, whether that pressure is from the market in terms of product, internal change from within the enterprise or external change via legislation. Other technical pain points aligned with change traditionally focus on system interfaces, a complex and costly coding exercise involving substantial risk, all mitigated through XPlatformâs technology and adherence to standards.
At the other end of the spectrum it addresses the administrators âwish listâ for things like âStatements on Demandâ, Trend Analysis, Metrics around administrative processing, Document Management, Imaging, VOIP, Call Centre Management and CRM functionality that can be tailored to fit the clientâs business model.
Brett Christie says. âWe are very confident that the XPlatform places Syncsoft years ahead of competitors. And there is very good news for current Capital customers with the XPlatform too; the first line of business solutions delivered on the XPlatform will be Syncsoftâs current range of Superannuation and Unit Trust solutions (to be known as CapitalX). We have developed a method of seamlessly upgrading Capital customers to the new XPlatform and automatically giving them access to new business features such as imaging, workflow, call centre management and foundation CRM. Interestingly enough this unique ability to move business applications, such as Capital, on to the XPlatform will also be of benefit to organisations that have functionality rich but older technology applications. We are already in discussion with other software companies and some organisations with in-house developed applications about moving them on to the XPlatform.â
Syncsoft already has a commitment to beta test the XPlatform from one of its customers. Paul Kolatchew CEO of PSI Administration said. âPSI already has one of the most advanced Capital systems in the market with its integrated imaging & workflow and we are very keen to get the XPlatform early as it will put PSI into a different cost and service league to others in our industry. We can really see our customers benefiting from a single integrated solution that delivers everything from Web to Document Management.â