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Time to Value in AI Software Development

Developing Software is hard. Building complex business to business enterprise software is very hard. Add a requirement for Optimisation, Artificial Intelligence, Analytics and very detailed graphical design components and things get a little scary. That is the world we find ourselves in at Ailytic and we are relishing the challenge.

Creating a new user experience in the traditional world of supply chain software is at the core of what we do, but how do you change the paradigm when common design principles are so entrenched and the users expect to see things as they always have? And probably more importantly, how do you build it fast enough to take advantage of the opportunity that may present itself before the next hot development framework comes out?

The best way to do that is to firstly recognise and then focus on what the core essence of your product strategy is and what is proprietary and highly valuable to your customers. Is it the specific workflow of taking the customer through the on boarding process, or the algorithms that remove complexity for the user resulting in a seemingly simple experience? It may be these and more, but one thing is for sure, the world of rapid application development is here and Ailytic is focusing the most effort by far on things that differentiate us. In our case, optimisation algorithms that deliver meaningful answers to complex questions for manufacturers. We made the decision early that you would have to be barking mad to develop either of the following four components from the ground up:

  1. The Database Layer

  2. The Integration Framework

  3. The Reporting and Analytics engine

  4. The graphical components used in rendering the application layer

For all 4 of these decisions it is almost invariably better to grab a pre-existing library, framework or widget and OEM it into you product. White labelling is so commonplace now, and often so necessary in reducing time to market that there are thousands of providers of software capability to enable your product vision. Smashing together a range of components enabled through the now mature JavaScript world makes it far faster and cheaper to deliver a production ready version. It is easier to test design assumptions, prototype options, modularise complex applications and decouple critical system features. This allows you to take advantage of the rapidly evolving user experience landscape and quickly inject something new that can change the entrenched paradigm.

As an example, a critical area for Ailytic is the graphical scheduling view where visibility of forward activities are displayed across a timeline.

We partnered with Bryntum from Sweden for this capability as they develop some fairly innovative graphical components that have the right combination of flexibility, sophistication and low cost per customer. It made sense for us to choose them for Scheduling Features in our Web Application. The Scheduler is integrated into our Advanced Scheduling system which optimises production processes for manufacturing enabling them to reduce costs and increase efficiency. The Scheduler is coupled to our patented library of AI algorithms which rapidly deliver sequenced activities to the users for further consideration and decision analysis.

By leveraging Bryntum and other pre-existing components we have been able to develop complex applications quickly and therefore inexpensively, bringing the cost down for end users in what is traditionally an expensive software market.

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