Positive Disruption in the Enterprise: A How To


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Have a vision. Make it beautiful. Make it real.

These are the three things that MongoDB Certified Services Partner Infusion’s Chris Friel championed as the facets of positive disruption in the enterprise.

In his presentation at MongoDB World, Chris detailed how Infusion developed its relationship with MongoDB - from its humble beginnings in an email thread where a fellow employee thought the database was called ‘Mango DB’ to its award-winning MetLife Wall application (built on MongoDB) and recognition as Partner of Year.

He went on to explain how the 3 mantras at the top of this post have guided Infusion’s disruptive thinking and led to some of their most successful projects.

Have a vision

Every project starts with a vision. A vision should not only be inspiring, purposeful and relevant, but also relatable, believable and achievable. To illustrate his point, Chris referenced the space race of the 1950s to 1970s, a universally visionary example that inspired a whole generation to strive for an incredible goal.

Another example is Infusion’s work on Metlife’s Wall application, a user-facing portal which aggregates data from 70+ pre-existing systems to provide a single, consolidated view of Metlife customers. This project would not have been possible at the pace or cost it was delivered - 90 days from prototype to production - without the help of technologies like MongoDB.

Make it beautiful

“Design is no longer a second-class citizen in IT.”

In his presentation, Chris enumerated the six characteristics that make up inspired application design.

  • Design should be timely. For example, many organizations have replaced skeuomorphic with flat design in recent years.
  • Design should be referential. Application design should give users some sense of familiarity.
  • Design should be human. Do not forget the user when trying to fit in user stories.
  • Design should be colorful. The effective use of color can make or break the user experience. Color can also be used to emphasize or divert attention.
  • Design should be appropriate. There is no one style that fits all.
  • And finally, design should be lovable.

Below are a couple of examples of ‘make it beautiful’ that Chris shared with the audience at MongoDB World:

In the summer of 2013, Infusion was involved in a campaign for La Roche Posay to increase awareness for skin cancer and promote their products. The application they developed allowed users to uncover skin care products by swiping away digital sand on a touch screen; users who found enough products were eligible for a coupon. Prior to the launch of the campaign, a canopy of colorful parasols was installed in Madison Square Park in New York City to attract people off the street. In the end, the campaign was very successful and allowed the client to capture thousands of email addresses.

Infusion also works with many large investment banks, organizations that are not traditionally known for beautiful software. For one client, they created a fully responsive data visualization tool for touch screen interfaces, built on MongoDB. Rich colors were utilized to bring trends to the foreground. Modern typography was used while actual copy was kept to a minimum to ensure that users were not overwhelmed while viewing their data.

Make it real

Finally, visions and designs need to be made real. That’s not always easy. Yes, Infusion was able to build the MetLife Wall using MongoDB in only 90 days, but bringing the award-winning application to life required months of iteration. The team at Infusion developed refined processes including a ‘build’ track split into engineering and front-end design, and a ‘launch’ track that stressed end user testing and user experience feedback. Chris underscored in his presentation that building the Wall would not have been possible without some perspiration from his team.

In the end, Infusion’s hard work paid off. There are now hundreds of stories about the MetLife Wall application.

“ Looking beyond MetLife and even the insurance industry, the Wall may well be a prototype for the next generation of customer 360 applications. ”

Information Week, May 2013

CNNMoney, MarketWatch and others have also praised the Wall and MetLife for investing in innovation.

For MongoDB Services Partner and Partner of the Year Infusion, having a vision, striving to create something beautiful, and following a refined execution process were key to their most successful projects. What do you think rouses innovative disruption in the enterprise?

About Infusion

Infusion unites insight, creativity, and technology to accelerate and transform business for leading companies around the world. From high performance trading systems to next-generation retail environments and beyond, Infusion creates digital experiences and advanced technology solutions that bring our clients' business to new levels. Infusion’s global team is fueled by our unique customer-centric culture and the passion to push the boundaries of what’s possible with the brightest minds in software engineering, design and consulting.