Ellen Feaheny, CEO & Co-Founder, AppFusions
Ellen Feaheny, CEO & Co-Founder"Jumping from boulder to boulder and never falling, with a heavy pack, is easier than it sounds; you just can’t fall when you get into the rhythm of the dance."

- Jack Kerouac

AppFusions is a story of compounded technical and business journeys over 9 years. Every year, we compounded our technology, our vision, our path, our goal posts, our lessons, and our experiences in our relentless objective to enable integrated holistic experiences and solutions, easier, for all.

Back in 2010, our excitement, energy, passion, and optimism was boundless. It is hard to even relate to how bright-eyed and naïve we were on certain things. These days, our strength of belief with a booming demand in the market, and determination, is stronger than ever, but of course it’s not always been easy.

I can easily recall so many mountain passes crossed, boulders climbed, rolling hills we overcame, and valleys of wisdom encountered and accrued along the way—both technically and business-wise.

“Experience is the teacher of all things.” ~Julius Ceasar

I recall one of our earliest weeks: a past colleague said “You are absolutely crazy to do packaged integrations. It’s been tried many times before. It’s not sustainable.” At the time, I was not much in the mood for naysayers, so, I just added these items to our list of mandatory success requirements:

● sustainability
● large portfolio
● beware of doubters

A few months later, I recall when we had decided on our first packaged integration product: Alfresco files in Atlassian Confluence Wiki. There was a Google group on this topic that was awash with spam, so I figured, “Nice. Maybe we start here to fix this problem.”

One month later, we proudly released our v1.0 solution. We thought people would appreciate it, that this long running problem was finally solved. Instead, we were chided in dev blogs, minimizing our accomplishment, and suggesting that it was not viable. Mind you, this was quite ironic given that the legacy Google group had flailed for over 15 months with no results!

“The road to success is paved with doubters and haters.” -Matshona Dhliwayo

We ignored the chiders and met some customers instead. They loved the idea of sustainable deep integrations that were productized and sold to many (so features and capabilities were continually enhanced per multi-customer PM input).

From their perspective, “Where have you been all this time?!?”

A few months later, I recall our first meeting with Zynga at the height of their growth. There was a great Engineering PM who we met, and he loved our vision and plan. He embraced it fully, and engaged in a contract that closed one-week after the first meeting. Two months later, we had (five) more solutions in the market, and ongoing relations beyond.

It felt like we were finally on our way.

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” -Oprah Winfrey

18 months later, we had hundreds of customers. We were growing fast. We felt unstoppable.

And then catastrophe struck.

Our largest partner–the one we were bringing in over $100K/month in new software revenues, catalyzed by our 43 solutions (by AppFusions)-cut our partnership overnight, with no notice or explanation. Just a heartless, ruthless BOOM! (And it would be years more before we would learn the shady dealings/ugly truth that caused us to be scapegoated.)

Maybe we should have been more leery of our early fast success, I don’t know. We learned this at least: watch your back, always, especially as a start-up.

“Although the world is full of suffering. It is also full of the overcoming of it.” -Helen Keller

After catching our breath, the AppFusions team regrouped.

In the months forward, we counted our blessings.

AppFusions: The Dawn of Modern Integrated Digital Experiences is Finally Here

We began to realize that we had found a solid market need, and our expertise was on the mark. The potential was big, and we were playing far too small

We had many, and we’d already accomplished a lot. Best of all, so many of our customers stayed with us– big brand names, like Netflix, Amgen, Apple, Computer Associates, and many more.

We gained strength from these customers, and their ongoing belief; we acquired new ones again.

“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

We began to realize that we had found a solid market need, and our expertise was on the mark. The potential was big, and we were playing far too small.

We reset our sights, and buckled down for a much larger, enterprise play. We began planning a more holistic solution vision that cut across IT beyond just the integrations “pure-play” yet one that leveraged and was inclusive of our past strategy and technology too. Nothing would go to waste.

“Success is never found. Failure is never fatal. Courage is the only thing.” -Winston Churchill

As Phase I of our next chapter, we built AppSpokes, our cloud-native and mobile-ready integrations framework and app services to serve up unlimited 3rd party integrations into any Web-app host platform (i.e., browser-based cloud or on-premise solutions).

At the time, our initial proof platform for AppSpokes was IBM Connections (cloud or server-based), an enterprise collaboration platform whereby our single code-base services (microservices solutions) worked for either deployment type. At this stage, AppSpokes was at the 3rd generation of our technology—first, our 43 server-based immersive experience integration solutions, and then similar but less robust services-based solutions that we’d created for Jive software around the same time.

While AppSpokes had many validation successes, the best was deploying to a 125K user corporation, whereby our integration service allowed for each integration “flavor” (app) to be registered with the host platform once (as a service), yet provide integration capabilities to unlimited contextual spaces and users within the platform.

“Always keep your eyes open! Heart protected! Mind focused! Work hard till you reach the goal” -SooRaj P A

Meanwhile, a feverish speed had taken hold of the industry on so many fronts: from customer, employee, and supplier digital experiences, to cloud technologies and models, to big data and content services value and potential, to collaboration and communities, to AI and machine learning, to analytics, BI, and data science, to security technologies, mobile apps and more.

There isn’t an analyst or CIO in the industry that is not wrangling with one, many, or all of these puzzle pieces. In a relatively short span of time, the world went from what seemed like “plain ol’ IT” (in compare) to non-stop demand for exponential-IT-everything.

And THIS is where and how we found ourselves to be “in the right place, at the right time” with AppSpokes, and soon AlohaCloud—a truly evolved IT vision, strategy, purpose.

“You may not always end up where you thought you were going, but you will always end up where you were meant to be.” -Jessica Taylor

Phase II was about figuring out how to most effectively optimize all the previously mentioned IT technology areas, cohesively and holistically, with inter and intra-dependent considerations across the board—while also supporting and enabling corporates’ existing infrastructure of legacy and new cloud systems, together, concurrently.

Yes, a mouthful and quite the BHAG (big hairy audacious goal)—but indeed, this is the ultimate digital transformation conundrum to be solved.

“No one said it was easy.” -Coldplay

At this point, we knew we couldn’t just waltz into a CIO office with “I’m here with a big idea!” placard. No, we needed a platform.

We needed a modern multi-cloud deployable, cloud-native, and multi-tenant, enterprise-grade extensible platform, framework, and integration strategy that would enable and embrace IT business-as-usual, but also allow CIOs to make quick progress on the many emerging strategic technology areas too, collectively, with the immense value-up gains inherent to compounded agendas.

ROI needed to be accomplished with deployments and real savings within weeks or months, not years.
This platform would be called AlohaCloud.

“Disruption starts with introspection.” -Jay Samit

All too often you hear about how large corporations need to disrupt themselves. To us, the word “disruption” sounds like an earthquake, which is devastating. Why would anyone want to cause an earthquake on themselves?

“Deliberate evolution” in IT, in contrast, is about having evolved, cohesive strategies, platforms, extensible frameworks, and leverage-able building-block technologies working together to morph gradually, carefully, and continuously with low-risk, but progressive, compounding modernization at scale. (Note: “slowly” was not included among the chosen words.) Deliberate evolutions encourages measurable metrics and proof along the way, with progress, day-by-day, and every day.

AlohaCloud is used to support endless different use cases, for project collaborations, community development, supply-chain, channel and broker relations, smart cities initiatives, pharma drug trials, distributed data and app visibility and operations for conglomerates or franchises, patient/multi-doctor experiences, wealth management, financial apps and unlimited array of other use cases.

“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.” ~ Rosa Luxemburg

AlohaCloud just works. It is a flexible, extensible, modern, integrated multi-experience development platform for unlimited contextual and integrated digital experiences or workplaces, like most businesses demand. These built experiences are persistent or temporary, but all are important to work better and move faster.

AlohaCloud helps corporations leapfrog their digital transformation strategy faster with a mixed-technology foundational platform, integration framework, and many other features i.e., modern UX digital experience designer tooling, multi- IdP support, multi-tenancy, content services, AI support, machine learning, BI visualization for engagement analytics and disparate ingested data, blockchain DLT and MDM zero-trust encryption, integration apps, collaboration features, extensibility SDK and internal app-catalog, and much more.

“Might be the be-all and the end-all—here” ~Shakespeare, Macbeth Act

Is AlohaCloud the be-all and end-all?

No, but it progresses IT a little closer to digital transformation success, fast. The AlohaCloud mixed-technologies platform, framework, and building blocks baselines a fast-track path to a working modernization IT strategy (and hopefully the beginning of the endless internal discussions on same objectives).

AlohaCloud gets everyone on the same page, so you can make real progress, finally. As a working reference implementation, the risk is removed, and so are the wasted monies on failed attempts.

We believe our customers’ time is better served addressing an endless backlog of IT requests for new use case apps. These requests come into the IT work queue daily. Via AlohaCloud, use case and data-driven digital experiences... can be delivered in days or weeks, not months or years in building one-off custom-apps, or RFP documents.

“Let the countdown to the Beach begin!”

~Ellen Feaheny, CEO, AppFusions

The word “Aloha” suggests harmonious beaches, sunrises, and sweet pineapples, so why AlohaCloud for Enterprise IT? Simple. Because Enterprise IT is the absolute opposite of that warm “Aloha-feeling” for most corporations. It’s an issue.

"The AlohaCloud mixed-technologies platform, framework, and building blocks baselines a fast-track path to a working modernization IT strategy"

But wouldn’t it be nice if the IT digital transformation mayhem challenge was a bit easier, simplified, saner, less risky, progressive, modern, fast—and to boot, successful the first time around? Just a little bit?

In closing, a final couple quotes:

● Aristotle Onassis said: “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light”. Enabling IT leaders to “see the light” amidst the digital transformation mayhem is what AlohaCloud does best.

● Hugh B Brown said: “Night never had the last word. The dawn is always invincible.”

Dawn is here! Try AlohaCloud - you won’t regret and might even find glimpses of those beach-feelings in IT sooner than you expect.

Aloha, and Mahalo!