Google Cloud and Other Applied Systems Enhancements on the Horizon
Technology | Connections Editor | May 6 2021
In February 2021, Rob Enslin, president of Google Cloud, shared that, “Financial services organizations globally use Google Cloud to be more agile, secure and better serve their customers by using data in a more meaningful way. We are excited to expand our work with Applied to help enable agencies and brokerages to leverage artificial intelligence, machine learning, APIs and more, to further innovation and create digital experiences that customers demand.”
Today, we're checking in with Rich Belanger, EVP of product development for Applied Systems, for his take on that expansion and a glimpse at what else is next for users.
Connections: Believe it or not, this is the first time we’re interviewing you for a story. Let's start simple – share a bit about your background and what led you to your role with Applied Systems.
Rich Belanger (RB): Thanks so much for inviting me! I’m hoping that this will be the first of many opportunities to speak with the Connections audience. I’ve been with Applied for a little more than 14 months and I’m so excited to be part of such a great team.
I have extensive background in software development. My first job after college was as a developer in the Boston area. I’ve worked on new product development, systems architecture, technology strategy, and digital transformation in the financial services, media, and market research industries.
I was attracted to Applied by the strong company culture, laser-like focus on our customers, the opportunity to work with a very smart group of people, and the chance to solve really interesting technical challenges in an industry that is changing very rapidly.
Connections: Applied recently announced an exciting new Google Cloud partnership — building on the CapitalG investment first shared in 2018. Can you share what’s been happening since and what agent and broker users can expect to see next?
RB: Absolutely, we are excited to announce that our portfolio transformation has hit prime time, realizing the opportunity to advance the core architecture and underpinnings of our systems. Applied is focused on building technology that allows for greater openness, simplicity and scalability for our customers — and even better integration across our own product portfolio. We aim to deliver choice and automation with third-party integrations and shared APIs, whether through our partner program or with other certain providers that want to tap into the system. As a trusted technology provider, we aim to create ease of doing business for our customers, their customers and their partners, while achieving the highest level of security.
User experience is also a major focus area for Applied. Today’s employees come to work expecting their productivity tools to meet the same standard of user experience they enjoy in consumer tools like Google, Facebook, Amazon or Apple. We want to deliver simple, elegant user experiences that make it easier to train and onboard new employees and make daily workflows more efficient so that customers can spend more time growing their business. We are rolling out elements of our new user experience in our new browser-based UI starting in April 2021. The new browser experience will continue to improve with monthly releases in 2021 and throughout 2022.
Connections: It feels as though we’re starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel where a “return to work” (in-person work, that is) seems imminent. Considering the new technologies that the Google Cloud partnership enables, what do you see as the most critical function for agencies and brokerages to employ first?
RB: Agents and brokers should begin with an open management system hosted in the cloud that allows for choice and flexibility. An open management system, like Applied Epic, allows agencies and brokerages to add additional components through APIs and enables powerful analytical capabilities by leveraging state-of-the art tools, such as data lakes.
Data lakes allow organizations to collect data from multiple sources and use a simple, native architecture to store data for easy, quick access versus traditionally complex table structure. Built on BigQuery — Google’s serverless and highly scalable data warehouse — the Applied data lake allows agents and brokers to bring their own data (proprietary and public) to the lake to have a single source of data with tremendous scalability and performance powered by Google’s public cloud.
Data lakes also deliver improved performance and scalability while removing the hardware and infrastructure burden. Plus, agents and brokers can choose the type of business intelligence solution they want to use to visualize data into actionable intelligence. Integrated native, machine-learning capabilities also support predictive analytics so they can forecast potential business outcomes easily.
Connections: Cloud aside, what are some other product innovations and enhancements you are able to share with readers at this time?
RB: As part of the portfolio transformation mentioned earlier, we have announced the browser-native version of Applied Epic to speed up access to the application and reduce software management overhead. The new browser-native Applied Epic:
- Increases the ability to more frequently release the product, delivering value more quickly while reducing burden of bigger annual releases
- Supports easy M&A and scale through consistency of work across all areas of your business
- Simplifies frequently used workflows and makes onboarding new employees easy with a cleaner user experience
- Maintains integration with Microsoft and provides greater platform/device flexibility
Connections: Finally, Applied Net 2021 will once again be virtual this August. Is there anything you can tease about sessions you’ll be involved in that attendees won’t want to miss?
RB: For Applied Net 2021, we plan to build upon last year’s record-breaking event with even more educational sessions and exciting reveals. This year, I’ll be taking the stage again to discuss the Applied portfolio transformation and include some exciting announcements as part of my keynote, so everyone will not want to miss that.
For more interviews with Applied Systems executives, click here.
Tags: Technology , Applied Systems , Cloud , Google