Erik Burckart is having one busy month.
Last week, Burckart, the chief technology officer at PointSource, received word that he won a “40 under 40” award from the Triangle Business Journal. He also welcomed a brand new hire to their North Raleigh office, bringing their total employee count in Raleigh to 54.
Even bigger news came this week. Burckart announced that his company successfully launched a product – Currency – that aims to transform mobile commerce.
“Currency is a responsive, adaptive, and personalized retail solution to reach customers on any device,” said Burckart. “But it’s actually a whole lot more than that.”
Imagine a large retailer – let’s say Target. If you’re Target, you’re responsible for an impressive array of outreach and engagement strategies to reach customers through the Internet.
You’d set up your main website. You’d need to optimize the website to display a mobile version – and of course, ensure that a customer could purchase an item should they choose to do so. You’d need to build or develop a website for tablet devices. You may wish to have a native mobile app for Android phones or iPhones and iPads.
All of that development requires a significant amount of custom coding and IT infrastructure, says Burckart. Each instance of the company’s branded website requires a different feature set, thereby necessitating a complex development cycle and multiple management channels.
Places like Target “are spending a lot of money on all of these different platforms,” he explains.
“It isn’t sustainable, so what we created in Currency is a lightweight way to have a single code base to span all of the products that a client [like Target] would have.”
A Single Code Base for e-retailers
Currency is structured around the concept of the 80/20 rule, said Burckart, meaning that 80 percent of the code base for each and every mobile or desktop instance of an e-commerce website is already built and supported for the client.
The remaining 20 percent could be developed and deployed by the company – or the company’s design or development firm – to customize the experience for end users – online shoppers like you and me.
Competitors do exist, said Burckart, and they represent a lot of large brands. However, Currency will provide a much different experience for the client, said Burckart.
Competitors operate technical back-ends that can be described as using a “screen-scraping” technology, said Burckart. These companies mimic the “main” version of an e-commerce company’s website and pre-populate a mobile site or native app with content that was developed and built for a desktop viewer.
“This creates a partial view of the retailer’s online store,” said Burckart, “it’s incredibly fragile.”
Currency is developed to be flexible, said Burckart, “we’ve developed the technologies needed to integrate with our client’s back-end servers, so that our retail clients can engage their customers better.”
The product adds to the company’s service offerings, which include design and development work for large e-commerce and retail clients.
The Sales Pipeline
Currency is already helping retailer HH Gregg, said Burckart, and is currently being utilized by three other large e-commerce companies that have preferred to remain unnamed.
More than twenty other retailers are in the sales pipeline, said Burckart. Expect a few more companies to implement the technology soon.
“We can get a site up in less than three months,” said Burckart, “because we pre-build all of the back-end integrations and test it within a client’s infrastructure.”
The product is a well-calculated project for the company, which has undergone a significant change since Burckart joined in August of 2012.
How PointSource and Currency Came to Be
PointSource, at the time, was an established IT Services firm that had weathered the global recession. Burckart and three others approached the company to pitch the idea of transforming the brand and the products to focus on mobile technology.
The company’s founders bit on the promise of mobile technology, and Burckart became a partner and chief technology officer. His three peers joined the team as well, and became the first four employees in Raleigh on August 1, 2012.
The company just hired employee No. 54 54 in its Raleigh office, which now serves as the headquarters location. PointSource will continue to grow, said Burckart, as they sign clients. It’s a spectacular growth curve for a startup, said Burckart, especially one that many folks in Raleigh haven’t yet discovered.
This is changing, however, and it could be changing quickly. Burckart was recently named as a recipient of the “40 under 40” award.
Recognition from IBM
Multiple PointSource employees were tapped to be guest speakers at IBM’s Impact Conference in Las Vegas next week [PointSource is a Premiere IBM Business Partner]. Employees from the company – including Burckart – will be involved in eight sessions as presenters or panelists during the event.
Burckart will also be a panelist on the Digital Marketing Panel at NCTA’s State of Technology on May 15, along with Joe Colopy, CEO of Bronto Software and James Gledhill, senior vice president of digital experience at Mullen.
The company continues to hire. Designers are particularly difficult to find in the Triangle, said Burckart, and will continue to be a focal point as the company continues to build.
(Note: This story has been updated to correct the name of PointSource’s product Currency.)