The Digital Marketplace Contenders, 13: Green Lemon, Brighton

Mar 03, 2016

In the latest in our series looking at small, promising new entrants to the UK public sector tech supply chain, we meet Brighton-based ERP specialist Green Lemon's founder and CEO, Matt Thompsett

Tell us about your company and its value proposition, please, Matt?

Green Lemon Company is a relatively new entrant to the enterprise mobility and integration space, although we have been working in the SAP sector for 15 years. We specialise in working with ERP users to modernise and optimise their systems; typically, we work with SAP systems (our technology is currently optimised for that platform) to deliver ultra-rapid and cost effective mobility solutions.

There is a mountain of hype around enterprise mobility that only serves to confuse buyers, so we are all about trying to provide a holistic approach to mobility, starting with capturing the c-suite vision for business change, driving through detailed ‘As Is – To Be’ analysis to design and development of the right technology solution.

We help our customers to select the optimal technology and approach, I'd say, rather than building a bunch of custom code, as is typical of the approach of the big system integrators. Our view is very much ‘buy, don’t build’ wherever you can!

While we are technology agnostic in our approach, there are dominant technologies in the marketplace that allow enterprise customers to achieve real agility, pace and cost saving. So while we absolutely compete directly with organisations that dwarf us in scale (but not in capability), unfortunately, for customers it appears on the surface that code-heavy, expensive solutions are their only choice. Our biggest challenge is to get the message out that there is another way, but it means throwing out what you know and thinking of technology in a very different way.

Typically, in the SAP world, we can deploy robust native mobility applications in weeks not months. In the world of back-end integration, we can harmonise disparate and complex back-end systems without middleware, integration layers, ESBs or ETLs. You can find out more about all this here.

Thanks. So why did you enter onto The Digital Marketplace? What did you expect to get out of it? And did you?

We're not there yet - we are starting with DOS, Digital Outcomes and Services, which is the framework that's replacing the older Digital Services. So, G-Cloud, but not the old CloudStore quite yet.

OK, thanks, but still G-Cloud, then - pubsec ICT via cloud. What's your vision here?

Like I said, we see our mission is to provide intelligent, user-enabling and effective software services to the ERP community. We seek out and present the best of ERP software solutions and enhance them with agile development and talented resources. We believe that smart software design, development and deployment makes the world a better place for us all.

We have bought into the concept of the Digital Marketplace on the back of the initiative started by our hero Mike Bracken and extended by Tony Singleton. The whole point is that the public sector has been isolated from new and innovative ways of solving their business and IT challenges by the very barriers they created. For example, on request we have scoped and designed an integration solution for a public funded transportation organisation that has the potential to save millions of pounds of public money... but being a start-up, we cannot get the deal through procurement.

Similarly, we know that our technology can save ten of millions of pounds a year of taxpayer money because of its ability to harmonise massive and complex back-end systems without investing in middleware or paying for millions of lines of custom code. The technology we provide can enable the most hideous back-end IT mass to be optimised for the digital space, single sign on, mobile apps, etc., because it solves the fundamental issue of back-end integration for digital platforms.

Our big hurdle is that unless we are sitting on a recognised framework we cannot even begin the dialogue, so DOS is a gateway for us - and G-Cloud is next. We are still a tiny bit sceptical so far, especially as we have been first hand witnesses to the misuse of other frameworks, but we are optimistic that DOS is robust, respected and fit for purpose.

We expect to get a significant level of engagement, we are not expecting it to turn magically into orders but at least for us to be able to have dialogue at the right level and for buyers to feel free to explore our technology via low cost Proof of Concepts.

How did you find the process of applying?

Simple, as e did what the framework suggests - we engaged with a small specialist company to do the heavy lifting for us on the basis that they are the experts and we are not. We decided to partner with Advice Cloud to ensure we were successful in our application. We have been appointed, so Advice Cloud was a great choice.

How have things been working out for you?

We have only just had our official status confirmed, so it’s early days. However, we have already been socialising the news and reactions are good. We have made a point of extending our personal networks to the Public Sector and Government Departments There are a lot of SAP users out there in the sector and our technology maps onto and solves the majority of SAP optimisation challenges. We are expecting at the very least to be invited to the right parties!

Great. Based on your experience, do you have any top tips for other (smaller) suppliers on how to make the most of the DOS opportunity?

Yes: don’t do it for the sake of the badge, do it because you fundamentally want to make a difference. Use Advice Cloud to do your application and don’t underestimate the influence of Social Media in your planning.

Thanks, interesting. Any other thoughts about what you see as the future for cloud as a delivery mechanism for UK public services?

Cloud is someone else’s server albeit with a growing number of services hanging off it. Organisations say the word cloud as if it were some sinecure to the issues of disruption, digital transformation, mobility, big data and security etc. It’s not, cloud is one thing, scalability.

Cloud doesn’t obviate the need for networks - but makes SDN easier; it doesn’t remove the need for infrastructure but makes it more elastic, it doesn’t take away the need for testing and code refactoring but makes it more accessible, and so on.

In delivering public sector services, cloud provides an elastic, scalable, reliable and powerful server environment. Problem is, if what a public service delivers via the cloud is worthless, then you just get better access not improved UX. People forget that cloud is just one component of what should be a world-wide standard for UX, software engineering and testing.

The other issue is that UK sovereign data is not ‘allowed’ to exist in the cloud as it allows access by non-UK based nationals, on the surface this prohibits cloud as a means of presenting UK public sector services and remains a challenge in the sector.

Thanks, Matt - and good luck on DOS!

To find out more about this G-Cloud-7 Digital Contender, go here

We are looking for other companies entering the Digital Marketplace, and would love to feature your experiences in this new on-going editorial series. Please get in touch with us here to kick start that process.

(c) 24n.biz 2016

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