October 24, 2019
ASG EVOLVE 19 — Helping customers find the digital automation features and tools they need to run their businesses more efficiently was the main aim of some 300 ASG Technologies channel partners this week in Dallas here at the company’s third annual partner and user conference.
Several ASG channel partners talked with Channel Futures about what their customers want to see in the company’s products, and about their impressions of the product announcements they heard here at the ASG Evolve 19 event.
Mike Mahon, president and CEO of Zia Consulting, a VAR and systems integrator in Boulder, Colorado, which serves large enterprise customers, told Channel Futures that he attended the conference to get updates on the company’s latest products so he can tell his customers what’s coming in the pipeline to help them.
Zia Consulting’s Mike Mahon
“Its super important to us,” said Mahon. “I’ve got customers here who want to hear about this. Getting field-level access to this information is absolutely critical.”
Mahon, who brought eight Zia employees with him to talk with customers and ASG representatives, said he and his staff meet every two weeks with ASG’s product team to discuss their products and development plans.
“They’re an agile shop,” he said of ASG’s fast development processes, which is why the update meetings are held so often.
Mahon, a member of the ASG Partner Advisory Council, formerly offered Documentum products to his customers, but no longer sells that company’s products. Zia Consulting still offers Alfresco products to customers who want them, but ASG is a main supplier of digital automation systems for his customers, he said.
“We picked these guys because they are faster, have great product vision and we have matching values as a company toward customers and partners,” he said.
Mahon said he is impressed with ASG’s new ASG-Zenith digital automation platform, announced here at the event. ASG-Zenith, which is built around the company’s Mobius content repository, includes integrated new low-code and no-code capabilities, business process automation, robotic process automation and more to help enterprises with their large amounts of unstructured content.
“Those are phenomenal things for customers,” said Mahon. “We can take these products back and put customers in pilot programs right now. They were waiting for features like this. These are critically important for our customers.”
Kevin Moos, president of Primitive Logic, an IT and business consultancy in San Francisco, said he was interested in product refinements that can make it easier to get customers where they need to be in their business functions.
Customers discuss their needs with his company regularly, he said, especially when it comes to data privacy and data management issues and concerns with ASG’s data intelligence platform. One challenge being seen today by one large customer is that they need additional tools that will help with automatic classification of unstructured content so it will meet data governance requirements, said Moos.
“It’s extremely important for them, whether it is for personal data for customers or higher risk business data” that the application scans and then knows …
… where to put it.
Primitive Logic’s Kevin Moos
“These are aspects that ASG does very well and I’m here to find out how expansive that is,” he said. “The end goal of that is lineage — if you have a report or a field on a report, so that you can understand where that data came from all the way back to the beginning. That’s important to know because you need to know if that data is accurate or not so you can make decisions about it.”
Ike Kavas, president of Ephesoft, a document management and process automation partner for ASG, said one of the most intriguing developments at the conference were discussions about how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are dramatically improving techniques for digital content automation.
“When we wrote applications in the past, we would write code that said, ‘if users do this, then the application should do that,'” said Kavas. “It was an if-then statement. And if the business got complex, the software got complex.”
Today, with AI and ML, that’s no longer needed, he said. Instead, you just provide the previous data and how you made decisions, and AI and ML find the answers in the future.
ASG’s Wayne Monk
“It is changing things so we can actually automate the business processes so much faster, no matter how complex they are,” he said. “AI and ML for that reason made document extraction sexy again.”
These kinds of topics and concerns are what ASG hears every day from its partners and customers, Wayne Monk, ASG’s senior vice president for alliances and channels, told Channel Futures at the event.
“We talk with customers and partners about how we can improve a product or fill a gap,” said Monk. “Partners see and deal with a much broader set of solutions in the marketplace. They see many vendor’s solutions, whether they sell them or compete with them. That not only gives us information but allows us to find out about product enhancements we might consider or solutions we might bring to the table.”
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