Thursday, 19 October 2017 05:56 GMT

Going global from the UAE: ShortPoint

(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) It is a user interface platform that gives businesses end-to-end control over their customer's digital experience googletag.defineSlot('/1251894/Businessinarticle300x250', [300, 250],'div-gpt-ad-1479017441591-3').addService(googletag.pubads()); googletag.pubads().enableSyncRendering(); googletag.enableServices();googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1479017441591-3'); Many readers of this column would have used website building services like WordPress, Wix, Weebly and Squarespace. A couple of years ago, Wix raised $127 million from its IPO by offering a website building tool targeted at individuals and small companies. The success of the IPO recognised the challenges of going online quickly and cost-effectively.

As businesses grow larger and the requirements become more complex, these tools become less optimal. An even bigger challenge is for legacy businesses to build attractive, customer-friendly websites that are able to present data from the organisations' existing platforms. In such situations, companies have hired bespoke website building resources. Consequently, there is no guarantee about the quality of the output, no standards to measure against and the subjective dependency on the website builder is high.

The background
There is an entire cottage industry that has sprung up around user experience and user interface design. The website building industry in the US alone is $26 billion. It employs over 220,000 individuals who work in more than 150,000 small and large businesses. This is according to IBISWorld, the leading provider of industry information in the US.

While this may all be an excellent way to go for large companies that want to finesse their products to the best possible, most organisations and start-ups would rather invest in delivering value from the business proposition instead.

Clearly, there is a space for tools that fill this gap i.e. a tool that has both the convenience of a plug-and-play website builder as well as the ability to integrate in to core business systems. For example, imagine if a marketing team in a bank could quickly design a modern and engaging user interface without the help of the IT department or the web design team. Situations like these inspired the launch of ShortPoint.

The story
Sami Alsayyed, founder and CEO of Shortpoint, had nine years of enterprise business website and application development experience. Sami is of Jordanian origin. He's a graduate of Jordan's Princess Sumaya University of Technology. He has worked for companies such as Oracle, Orange and the Silicon Valley-based company, Wirestorm Innovations.

In the course of his work, he realised that it is feasible to build a business that would disrupt the website building industry but at the same time create massive opportunity for businesses to quickly enter the digital world. The opportunity was to create a user interface platform that would give businesses end-to-end control over their customer's digital experience. To achieve this, Sami identified the top enterprise solutions providers. For instance, Microsoft and SAP. On one hand, there was an opportunity to create plug-and-play integrations into the technology stacks of these enterprise solutions. On the other side, the website developer would be offered a set of simple, elegant tools for designing, creating and hosting powerful front-end web and mobile interfaces.

Sami started up ShortPoint as a Software as a Service company to meet these objectives. Within a month of setting up, Sami left his full-time job. ShortPoint initially focused on SharePoint users. Working at breakneck speed over the last two years, ShortPoint has achieved outstanding growth in the last year with over a thousand business websites from all over the world running on the ShortPoint platform. Some customers are Novartis, Australia Post, Cornell University and ADCB. ShortPoint then extended its capabilities to cover users of SAP solutions. ShortPoint is aligned with the SAP and Microsoft teams. ShortPoint drives consumption of SAP Portal, SharePoint and Office 365. For a relatively low annual fee, businesses can set up, maintain and enhance their own as well as their customers' digital experience.

ShortPoint aims to achieve breakeven within two years-and-a-half of being set up. The tight relationship with Microsoft and SAP has delivered a solid pipeline.

ShortPoint is a global business built out of the UAE. It leverages all the support that Dubai offers - safety, networking, access, mentorship, hub facilities. His team sits in Dubai, Jordan and Ukraine. The company believes that the first-mover advantage will be valuable. It has taken over three years and 1.7 million lines of code to build the basic ShortPoint platform.

Team UAE
ShortPoint was incubated at DTEC in the Dubai Silicon Oasis. It received seed funding from the DSO in 2015. Working within the DTEC Hub has its advantages. For the next round of financing, a startup colleague company at the DTEC Hub, Tjdeed Technologies decided to fund the venture in 2016.

The business model
ShortPoint works on an annual fee-based model. For a small fraction of the price that would be paid for customising a business website, users can build, modify and maintain their digital experience without coding, technical or even web design skills.

The writer is a director at Vyashara. He's a digital banking and digital financial services evangelist, practitioner, advisor and consultant. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy. He can be reached at .

Going global from the UAE: ShortPoint