Partner Spotlight: Xpand IT


This week we welcome Microsoft Partner Xpand IT to share their experiences with Project Siena.

Based in Portugal, Xpand IT has been working with enterprise mobility for the last 6 years, and our experience goes from simple digital publishing apps to complex mobile banking apps. When Project Siena was released we understood that we could use it to our advantage because of the agility we could gain in developing some of the apps we were asked to build.

To be honest, some people in the company were skeptical and developers specially were looking at it as “yet another code generator”. However, after they saw it working they understood that Project Siena could be the first step to create a customer app that could later be extended and help prove the mobile value proposition with a small amount of effort.

There was another big advantage: Siena could help reduce the investment in some of the apps that help win projects. More projects mean more devices, and after devices are being used it’s a matter of time until more apps are needed.

We have been doing a lot of different initiatives using Project Siena internally, with customers and partnering with Microsoft. Below are some of the things we’ve been doing.

Sales / Pre-Sales support

  • Using Siena in pre-sales initiatives with customers allows us to quickly show a concept and get the customer’s feedback on the possible way an app could be created.
  • It’s a great tool to prototyping quickly, iterate and get to something that business users can understand. And it can be built and iterated by them also.

Prototype apps

  • We chose the health industry as the target for a PoC, and we created a simple app that maps the process of going through the rooms asking patients what they would like to eat. We then explain that this info could be synched to Azure and then show in a screen in the kitchen with totals for meals / floor.
  • We built it in order to show a specific example of something that could be built quickly and, combined with competitive devices, could make a difference in a hospital scenario.

Microsoft Initiatives

  • We’ve been partnering with Microsoft to include Siena in some Customer Immersion Experiences – and the result is always awesome. It’s impressive to build something in under 20 min that can make a real difference in the customer’s business. They are always surprised when things like Galleries were created, and with the ease of creating data sources and using them. They see me creating things right in front of them so they know that with a small amount of knowledge they can built them by themselves.
  • One example was an app with multimedia content for hospitals with Multilanguage (using Bing). 15-minute magic! Now that we have Office 365 integration I think the results will be even better since we are more and more integrating with systems used in the customer’s day to day business.
  • We have also started doing customer workshops where we train customers to use Project Siena in their reality.

Training Business Users

  • We have partnered with a Microsoft Partner that has popular Excel and Powerpoint courses. They understand that we could have a specific training focusing on enterprises that buy these courses for their business users because these are the people that will take more advantage of Siena. Xpand IT does a 2-day workshop where we teach them how to use to tool in their advantage without any specific IT skills.

Project Siena has been a real help in some scenarios and I have no doubt that, as time goes by and more functionality is added, we will have more and more situations where we could use it to start mobile initiatives in customers, promoting not only apps but also devices from partners.


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