Progress Launches Development Platform For Digital Transformation Applications

Progress is jumping into the digital transformation arena, launching a new software development toolset that digital agencies and strategic service providers can use to build omni-channel customer engagement applications for their customers.

The Progress DigitalFactory software targets marketers, developers and business users within businesses that are trying to implement companywide digital transformation strategies.

"We see a paradigm shift occurring in the developer community and in digital transformation overall," said Paul Nashawaty, Progress senior director, products and solutions marketing, in an interview. And that shift includes the channel, where digital agencies and strategic service providers are focusing less on technology and more on business outcomes for their customers, he said.

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The launch comes as Progress, based in Bedford, Mass., expects to add about 200 independent software vendor and digital agency partners to the 400 or so it already works with, said Kimberly King, Progress vice president of global partners and channels, in the same interview with Nashawaty. "We have a massive recruiting effort going on around the world."

While some define digital transformation as "going paperless" by digitizing business processes, it also means digitizing aspects of a business to enable new processes that weren't possible before.

That's a factor in transforming the channel as some solution providers evolve into digital agencies, providing services to marketing executives and other line-of-business managers in website management, marketing campaigns, mobile computing strategies and other creative services that go beyond IT. Such partners, King said, are "really on the leading edge of the business, really transforming how customers buy [IT] today."

The new DigitalFactory cloud-based platform is targeted toward large multinational companies with multiple product brands, Nashawaty said. It's designed for use by marketers, developers and business users within companies looking to implement an enterprise-wide digital transformation strategy. The software also incorporates governance and compliance functionality.

The product line includes DigitalFactory for Sites, for managing and scaling websites and digital assets through content creation, management and reuse; DigitalFactory for Engagement, which tracks, personalizes and improves customer engagement across multiple channels and across business lines, assets and properties; and DigitalFactory for Mobile, which developers use to build mobile applications for iOS, Android and Windows devices.

The DigitalFactory system is based on technology Progress acquired in December 2014 when it bought Telerik AD and its development tools for building cloud, Web, mobile and desktop applications, for $262.5 million. The Progress SiteFinity Digital Experience Cloud content management system also plugs into the DigitalFactory platform., a Des Plaines, Ill.-based digital agency partner and website developer, has been working with Progress software for some time, including using the SiteFinity system and some of the Telerik software. And President Michael Svanascini has seen a demo of the new DigitalFactory tools.

"What I saw is that everything is very well integrated together," Svanascini said in an interview. A company can build a website, then easily bring in the marketing engagement and mobile capabilities without a lot of additional development, he said. "It's a huge time saver." That, in turn, makes it easier for to help its customers react quickly to changing market conditions.

Progress will release the three core toolsets in the third quarter with additional tools to be added in 2017.