Growth of App Economy Fuels Growth at Layer 7
Written by: Sarah Elkins, Director of Marketing, Layer 7
Layer 7 Technologies, a Canadian company headquartered in Vancouver, B.C., is a company that is growing—fast. Named to the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 for the second year running in 2012, Layer 7 experienced its fourth year of profitability, had 500 per cent growth and doubled its employee headcount across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.
The growth has been driven largely by the explosion of the app economy, a phenomenon that a Canadian technology group found is employing more than 51,000 Canadians. The proliferation of apps has revolutionized how Canadians are making purchasing decisions, interacting with brands and completing tasks in the workplace.
Layer 7, as a leading provider of security and connectivity tools for enterprises, has seen the demand for its products skyrocket, as businesses seek to compete in this new app economy.
The challenges and opportunities of an app economy
Increased adoption of smart devices is allowing people everywhere to access apps (and subsequently data) anywhere and at anytime, driving two trends for enterprises. First, these companies need to provide their data for consumer apps, so that they can tap into new market channels. Second, enterprises are grappling with figuring out how to provide their employees with enterprise apps that allow them to use their smart devices at work.
For both trends, enterprises often use application programming interfaces (APIs), which allows applications to access their data and re-use application functionality, but the challenge then arises as to how they can expose this data in a secure way that is still easy for developers to access. This is where Layer 7 steps in, providing API management tools that allow enterprises to securely expose their APIs to both internal and external developers and manage who is accessing their data.
With the explosion of consumer apps, the way in which Canadians make purchases, complete bookings and review services is dramatically changing. Consumers no longer need to walk into a retail store to make a purchase, or into a rental office to hire a car – they just need to look on their mobile device. Just like having a website was new and necessary to survive 15 years ago, having an API and catering to app developers is now essential for businesses to survive today.
Many organizations look to well-known companies like Twitter, and question whether having an API program will work for them. A popular tactic for clients of Layer 7 is to selectively expose APIs to approved developers, both inside and outside the enterprise. This allows organizations and API program managers to exercise greater control over the types of apps that are being developed, and ensure they align with the organizational and marketing objectives of the company. The apps themselves become new marketing channels that allow users to easily discover new and existing services that are highly relevant to them.
Organizations are also starting to realize that with the growth of smart devices and applications, employees are bringing their devices to work, increasing demand for access to internal systems through these devices. This poses obvious data security concerns that many organizations are turning to Layer 7 to help with. By providing API Gateways that allow organizations to implement fine-grained security policies, Layer 7 is helping businesses provide employees with secure productivity apps that allow them to complete their jobs more efficiently. Field staff can access apps on tablets and enter data directly into the organization’s database, reducing processing time and inaccuracies. Employees can access real-time data on their mobile phones allowing them to make faster and better decisions. And when an employee leaves their company, IT departments are able to restrict access to data and ensure employees are unable to access private information.
The way companies do business has changed fundamentally with the growth of the app economy. Layer 7 is helping companies manage both the challenges and opportunities, to stay competitive and secure.
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.