Help Amy Acme Achieve Her Digital Business Goals

Amy AcmeBy Amy Acme

I have always been a sports nut. As a kid, I played a variety of sports with my brothers and friends, and usually won. I played volleyball and ran track through high school and college and have remained active, participating in triathlons in the Austin area. I’m also an admitted science nerd who got her degree in electrical engineering and went to work for a major semiconductor manufacturer.

So what happens when you combine the drive of a competitive athlete with the curiosity of an engineer? In my case, Acme Connected Apparel (ACA).

With a strong math and science background, I have always been data driven. Since high school I’ve tracked my performance, counted calories and tuned my training for best results. As I got into triathlons, I was excited by the promise of sport watches — until I tried one. What worked well for running, I found, didn’t work so well for swimming or biking. Also, the data was helpful, but it seemed incomplete. On top of that, I found I just didn’t like wearing a watch.

I knew there had to be a better way.

I did what thousands of Americans have done over the years. I did some research, honed my idea and then quit my job. I borrowed from friends and relatives and eventually began working with venture capitalists to create a method for developing clothing that could measure the human body’s performance in far more detail than a simple watch ever could. For sports like triathlons, compression shorts and shirts contain a sensor array that can track movement and health statistics for hours at a time. Once uploaded, the data can help athletes be more efficient and better understand when and how they exert energy in their sports.

Slightly scaled-back versions of the technology can still track daily movements and report on respiratory function, pulse rate and a number of other statistics without the requirement to wear compression clothing. Any T-shirt, pant or short can do the job.

I now have patents in hand and have enjoyed success with a limited line of clothing intended for triathletes. Based on the success of my trials, it’s time to take Acme to the next level.

Currently, Acme handles sales through an e-commerce site, but I want to expand to sporting goods stores, gyms and fitness centers, and start new lines of connected clothes that will have applications for health care and elder care.

I know a lot about electronics and have become an expert in biosensors, but running my own company is a new experience. I’ve agreed to work with Channel Partners to get my digital business house in order. To demonstrate the power of the channel to help companies build a strong digital story, Channel Partners is requiring that all Evolution keynotes address the needs of ACA. Channel Partners Evolution attendees will hear how vendors, master agents and partners would work to address the needs of ACA. Check here soon to see how the keynote schedule fills out.

What Are ACA’s Needs?

The company is coming out of startup mode and needs systems that are much more robust than those currently in use, for both running the business and supporting the product.

Currently, Acme is a BYOD company, with employees using a mix of iPhones and Androids for their communications needs. For compute tasks, programmers use Macintosh laptops, while other workers are on a mix of Macs and Windows systems. I am considering giving certain teams Microsoft Surface tablets in order to provide a common platform. I would like to continue to allow employees to use their phones of choice, at least within reason.

I and my team believe in the cloud and want to minimize our internal IT infrastructure. Our philosophy is to use SaaS applications whenever possible and make worker platform choice a secondary consideration.

Other pressing concerns:

  • I know that collecting health-related data and running an e-commerce site will attract attackers. I’d like an independent security audit, advice on addressing any security issues found, and a plan that includes quarterly security audits for my systems. I want to make sure ACA never ends up where Target did.
  • My plan is to sell the product through specialty stores, gyms and health-care professionals, along with direct sales through an e-commerce site. I have a mobile salesforce that needs help viewing inventory, taking orders and managing pre- and post-sales support as they work to get the product into retail outlets. The product is ripe for customization, so the sales team needs a way to support that. I need a robust mobile solution with strong, secure hooks into CRM and ERP apps for my sales and support teams.
  • My headquarters are in Austin, Texas, but I’m opening sales offices in New York, Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago. I need help connecting those offices with fully integrated communications systems. Acme is a Millennial company, so I know that my employees are not likely to use a typical 20-button feature phone, preferring their smartphones instead. Ease of use and integration with other productivity apps is key.
  • I also am creating a customer support team for retailers and health-care professionals that will be split between headquarters and at least one sales office. I am looking for a call-center solution that is highly automated, provides extensive data on call-center performance, and that can allow call center team members to work from the center or from their homes.
  • I believe Millennials will be my biggest demographic, but I need help marketing to them and maintaining a cool social-media presence that will reach this audience. My company has a Twitter account and Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn pages, but Acme hasn’t made much use of them yet. My own Twitter account is the most active.
  • The connected-apparel market depends on still-emerging Internet of Things technology. For now, I am running an app in AWS that works with the mobile app to rationalize data from the tracker and generate metrics that humans can understand. I want to evaluate whether Amazon is the right approach for the long term. I need an IoT road map for supporting millions of users around the world — that road map includes connectivity for many millions of sensors embedded in apparel, scalable storage and analytics and more.
  • As I enter the health-care space, I know that Acme will need the help of an expert in HIPAA, HITECH and other health-care laws and standards. I need an ongoing consulting relationship with health-care IT experts.

I’m looking forward to getting your help! Give me some ideas in the Comments section, or follow Acme Connected Apparel on Twitter!

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