The key element in Circle Commerce’s success is also what sets Circle Commerce apart from its competition – our Adaptable Objects™ technology. While the term “adaptable objects” connotes a specific software approach – and that is certainly a key element – it’s more than just software that goes into creating Adaptable Objects™ – it’s an entire ecosystem.
The goal of Adaptable Objects™ is to effectively modify Circle Commerce software to the specific and unique needs of every customer where needed, without reliance on a single individual, and in a manner that readily supports ongoing upgrades of the Circle Commerce software package that the customer licensed.
The downfall of virtually all customization efforts is that the process (and resulting code) is not tightly controlled. The reality of the IT world is that developers are by their nature creative, and usually intensely independent – and as such, systems end up completely out of control, with an infinite number of creative and independent pieces created by brilliant developers. (Which brings to mind the old joke about putting 10 developers in a room, and try to get them to agree on anything – even lunch – without success). The design of Adaptable Objects™ had this unfortunate fact squarely in mind, and was built to specifically overcome that problem.
Staff members at Circle Commerce that work with AdaptableObjects™ are called Business Software Analysts (BSAs) – the word “business “is first for a reason. Although they do the development work needed, their job function (and self-actualization) revolves around analyzing the customer’s business requirement, and putting the appropriate software in place to solve it – not being focused on being a developer and being excited about writing “cool code”.
Let’s review the pieces that make up this unique product/process:
Initial design – from its initial conception over 20 years ago, the Circle Commerce Core (the tools and processes that run the system and application), and the applications themselves, were built specifically with adaptation/customization in mind. In addition, appropriate functionality was put in place to allow additional tables/screens/processes to be added to a specific customer system, and be identical in every way (and fully documented) to the existing items inside the application.
Tools/processes – in order to make our BSAs effective, the Circle Commerce Core provides a very strong set of functions that deliver remarkably high productivity for the BSA. As expected, these tools are highly focused on the adapting of existing objects/processes, or the creation of new processes. The wealth of objects and code segments available that accomplish almost any function further empowers the BSA.
Code style/control – Circle Commerce exerts extraordinary code control measures on the BSAs, so that all Circle Commerce code is written in an identical style. This has two positive effects:
– there is no reliance on a single individual – the problem of “Well, Jim wrote that, and he’s not here anymore ….” doesn’t exist at Circle Commerce.
– the ability of all BSAs to readily read, review, debug, reuse, and otherwise work with all code is the same – speeding all aspects of the BSA function.
Tracking of adapted (or created) objects – highly detailed tracking and management of all adapted (or created) objects and processes is done, which then allows readily for upgrades of the base Circle Commerce application, carefully working through situations where a merge of new Circle Commerce features and an already adapted object “intersect”.
With this design and process, Adaptable Objects™ allows Circle Commerce to cost-effectively, accurately, supportably, and with a full ability to upgrade, deliver systems that are readily adapted to the unique needs of each customer – which delivers more productivity, lower cost, and better information for each customer.