Changing the software business by reinventing the brain

A revolution is underway in the posh area of Blasieholmen in central Stockholm. A group of really smart people is changing how software is developed, assembled, sold, and deployed.

They are Starcounter and the offering that makes the transformation of the software industry possible is the Polyjuice platform. It represents an entirely new approach to software.

Today software vendors (ISVs) face a multitude of challenges. The applications being developed are getting increasingly more complex by the day, not least because of integration needs. Adding to the challenges is the demand for broader functionality for most applications, for example are new technologies such as AI and analytics expected by forward looking customers. Simply put, more and more software is required to be developed in order to compete on the market.

The Polyjuice platform has the potential to elevate ISVs all over the world from these problems around complex and time-consuming application development, and from the difficulties of finding enough developer capacity. It also provides an easier buying experience for the ISV’s customers.

Polyjuice makes it possible to create both specialized and general digital market places for applications, for example a market place dedicated to hotel management applications. These digital market places are called enterprise software warehouses. The power of this sales channel is controlled by the ISV.

A software warehouse wouldn’t be of much use if it was difficult to stock it with usable applications. The Polyjuice platform makes this easy, because of the way applications are being built. Enterprise software solutions are easily assembled, or composed, by combining different applications from the warehouse, both those built by the ISV themselves and those built and licensed from a third party. Starcounter themselves offers a number of basic applications for ISV’s to offer on their marketplaces.

Starcounter has through ten years of deep technology research developed two main technologies on which Polyjuice rests; Cognitive mapping and Blending. Blending is a key technique for assembling different software pieces into new solutions on Polyjuice. It provides a solution for mixing and matching of any user interface elements, big or small.

In practice this dramatically lessens the need to write program code from scratch for functionality that’s already available in the warehouse, whether it’s from an ISV’s own portfolio or from third party ISVs. Part of this advantage comes from a strategy which developers refers to as “collapsing the stack”. In short, it’s a strategy devised to lessen the complexity of working with the technical components involved.

It’s entirely possible to assemble a specialized software solution from existing applications on the Polyjuice platform, and thereby lessen the need of development time. Take the hotel management software mentioned above as an example. If you look closely you will find that it to a large extent consists of parts that can be described as general. Add to that, the specialized functionality developed by your own company, in order to get an edge on the market.

To sum it up, time to market is extremely short, with effort focused on the development of value adding applications.

There are many reasons why Polyjuice is different. The most foundational is how data is structured and managed. This patented technology called Cognitive mapping describes how information is represented and makes it possible for all applications on the Polyjuice platform to get instant access to, and to share, data. This ability makes them fully compatible with each other without the need for APIs or “glue code”. The functionality goes far deeper than any previous attempt to provide access to, and sharing of, data.

With cognitive mapping in Polyjuice all applications can in real time understand all data on the platform. Cognitive mapping is made possible by mimicking how the human brain handles information. Of all the fantastic features of the human brain, maybe the most fantastic is that people, unlike traditional computer applications, can share information without sharing exact specifications of data representation or of protocols for transferring data.

This is exactly the ability that Polyjuice offers, too.

This foundational functionality (cognitive mapping) paves the way for easy assembling of applications, which makes the blending of user interfaces possible. This also enables a completely new way for software vendors to sell and buy software. Eventually this has the potential to rewrite and revolutionize the market for software business.

One of the key components of the Polyjuice platform is Starcounter Database, an in-memory database well known for extreme performance. Many aspects of the research and development that has come from Starcounter during the last years are revolutionizing. But the most impressive is perhaps that five groundbreaking worldwide patents have been achieved with a meager investment capital of only a few hundred million SEK. Many global tech giants would kill to get ROI like that on R&D.

The hard-working team at Starcounter has already created a fully working version of Polyjuice, in use at many innovative clients who consider themselves as early adopters. But that’s just the beginning, the goal is to change the whole industry of enterprise software. A trillion-dollar industry.

In the meantime, check out the story around of the birth of Polyjuice and the father to the technology, the Swedish tech entrepreneur Joachim Wester.