Data Management

SUCCESS STORY

Data Brawn Meets Interface Brains

The larger the business or government agency is, the bigger the volume of data it deals with. That translates into massive efforts to manage that data to meet ever-increasing compliance regulations for adequately maintaining electronic records. Any software company that can figure out how to manage this process better than its competition can become king of the vendor hill.

Humans created 161 exabytes of data in 2006 alone. This was about 3 million times the information in all the books ever written, according to research firm IDC. Imagine the challenges government agencies and commercial enterprises face when managing all of this data and attempting to correlate separate elements in order to make an accurate analysis or decision.

Imagitek approaches this problem for its commercial and government clients with its Prodagio Software products. Its solution: Deliver a single user interface into these complex worlds of data.

Traditionally, these types of software systems have been custom-built, expensive and difficult to manage, but Prodagio’s designs are off-the-shelf and customizable by the business user.

“We got early success and built on our established credibility [in document management]. Our leadership team saw a void [in case management], and we quickly filled it. We handle everything within the same application without designing for only one aspect of the market needs. A company doesn’t need multiple products for different customers. This creates a huge differentiation for us,” Mara S. Henderson, president and founder of Imagitek, told TechNewsWorld.

Crisis Situation

To better understand Imagitek’s work, consider NASA’s decision to put Prodagio to use. When the Columbia tragedy occurred, the United Space Alliance and NASA were in immediate need of a secure way to gather and organize investigation information and make it readily available to designated officials.

The undertaking was monumental. Documents, photographs, video clips and other related information had to be contributed over the Internet via a secure application. That required a secure Web interface with quick access to the information by designated NASA officials, as well as external organizations. A major challenge was the compressed delivery time frame requirement of less than one week.

Imagitek configured and deployed a Prodagio Case Management application that enabled secure storage and retrieval of Columbia investigation documents.

NASA officials were able to store and analyze more than 100,000 pieces of content. The Columbia Secured Repository became a critical tool in the investigation.

What It Is

Imagitek, despite its success in this demanding product space, may project something of a dual personality. Imagitek is the corporate entity. The actual product line is Prodagio, which sometimes takes on the aura of its own company. Both the product and the corporation that developed it are routinely called “Prodagio.”

Imagitek makes the Prodagio Business Suite. Its three products are Prodagio A/P or Accounts Payable Processing Solution, Prodagio Contracts, and Prodagio Case Management. These products enable customers to optimize financial controls and a multitude of business processes as well as increase compliance.

Prodagio is out to change how business applications are created and deployed, much like how TurboTax changed tax filings and Salesforce.com changed the landscape of the CRM and sales tracking business.

“Prodagio gives business users control of their destiny without requiring IT intervention. Ultimately, one leader emerges in each category, and we believe Prodagio has set the stage to take the lead in off-the-shelf business applications,” Denise Crown, director of marketing for Prodagio, told TechNewsWorld.

All of this is done with minimal IT involvement. Users can figure their own configuration in an IT-free environment, she explained.

Early Efforts

Henderson founded Imagitek in 1987. Back then the company’s focus was on financial firms, so it developed software solutions for contracting and accounts payable business processes.

The company wasn’t entirely concerned at the time with achieving notoriety. Instead of vying for headlines of wins in vendor skirmishes, the company concentrated on building its product line. Ironically, with more than 150,000 users today at companies across a range of industries, Imagitek could still be considered a well-kept secret.

“We focused on building our market and client base. I wanted to make sure of our success,” said Henderson.

Awaking Giant?

Now notoriety comes more easily. Henderson has forged partnerships with noteworthy corporations.

“We introduced last year what will be our flagship product. Case management is usually highly customized. We took a different path. With enterprise case management, nobody else in the market is doing this. We coined the term,” she said.

Prodagio customers include Burger King; NASA; Pfizer; the United Nations; MGM Mirage; Vanguard; Fairfax County, Va.; San Diego County, Calif.; and many more private and public sector entities.

Turning the Corner

Henderson credits the chief technologist, Mike Palmer, for paving the way for her company’s niche.

“One product to do all is a home run for us. Most companies were held hostage by the rigid structure they created. As we moved into this space, we saw a need for a complete business application.

“In this vertical market space we were latecomers. He we saw a unique opportunity,” she explained.

Planning Ahead

In a business construct, there isn’t much similarity in case management and the other modules. Imagitek planned for down-the-road circumstances to apply business principles to new technology.

Establishing products for separate business functions led to case management. The company used its technologists to pull together an all-in-one solution, Henderson said.

“There was no need to introduce a new paradigm. What we did was a continuation of our earlier efforts,” she added.

Future Hurdles

Henderson is not expecting an easy ride from the latest boost her company has generated with the case management software. The challenges that await will be similar to those already surpassed. One new element will be a push to expand internationally.

“We are just at the starting stages of this market. The challenge will be with those that follow us,” said Henderson.

Of course, the company’s early success is helpful to those efforts, she said. Many of Imagitek’s clients have their own international marketplace. Henderson plans to leverage that.

Big Win

One of the biggest moments in Imagitek’s rise has been the partnership it forged with business software maker EMC.

“Prodagio is promoted by EMC as a value-added vertical industry offering. Prodagio’s success is based not as much on the technology as it is on the configuration. Prodagio allows for integration,” Toby Bell, research vice president at research firm Gartner, told TechNewsWorld.

The three vertical applications are very hot areas, he noted. A key strength is that Prodagio [Imagitek] presents itself to business outcomes rather than enabling technology. This is of enormous importance in this field and is what sells, rather than the technology itself, Bell explained.

Aimed at Longevity

At the case management level, Prodagio is a foundation story. It has a solid relationship with EMC, which is key. It is experienced in its marketplace. They understand how to work, according to Bell.

“A more interesting proposition for Prodagio is its role in case management. Its suite model reduces complexity. Cost-cutting is not a competing selling point. Instead, revenue growth is,” Bell said. “They do a good job independently marketing themselves and consistently articulate their story well.”

Imagitek’s instincts on picking the right targets and improving its visibility are additional winning factors. Bell does not expect this situation to change for some time.

“EMC owns software that could overtake others. Prodagio manages to promote advanced use. EMC couldn’t do it without Prodagio’s value added,” Bell concluded.

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