3 Questions: Eclipse Foundation Director Mike Milinkovich Discusses ‘The Next Big App’

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If anyone has seen the evolution of software and what it takes to build the next big app, it’s Mike Milinkovich (@mmilinkov).

As executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, Mike oversees an organization that boasts 190 participating companies with 177 active open source projects, including your favorite: the top-level BIRT Project. He has a unique industry perspective on building applications based on open source, and on the developer journey from open source to commercial apps.

Mike will be one of four people on a panel discussion, “Building the Next Big App,” on Thursday, July 10 at 6 p.m. in San Jose, Calif. Allen Bonde, Vice President of Marketing & Innovation, Actuate will moderate. Panelists will explore the nature of successful applications in a data-driven culture and the ways personalized analytics and visualizations can improve customer retention, engagement and overall brand loyalty.

As a warm up to the panel, we thought it would be good to ask Mike some questions about what it takes to build the Next Big App.

Actuate: Think about your favorite app. What makes you return to it again and again? 

Milinkovich: Productivity. My favorite apps are not entertainment related. They are the apps which help me do my job better, or which simplify my life. Furthermore, those apps which I really love also support different devices and allow me to move seamlessly across my laptop, tablet or smartphone. They’ve taken the time and effort to make sure that the experience on each of those is appropriate for the device.

Actuate: You are giving advice to a Fortune 500 company on building their next great app. What three things should they do before they build? 

Milinkovich: Here’s my list:

  1. Put the user at the center of the design. And I don’t mean just the obvious UX considerations. I mean start with the question: How will this app make the user better at what they do?
  2. Support the app on the range of devices that matter to your users. And these days, that’s a lot of devices.
  3. Allow the users to customize the app to suit their individual needs.

Actuate: What is the value of visualization and personalized analytics in UX? How should companies think about this? 

Milinkovich: Everyone thinks a little differently, and analyzes problems in their own unique way. By allowing your users to customize their data visualizations, you’re supporting their creative and analytical processes. By doing so, you’re helping make them better at their job… which is the whole point of building these applications in the first place!

Of course the “Building the Next Big App,” panel discussion is part of an exclusive by-invitation-only product launch. Actuate is premiering a new product to help you deploy your open source BIRT apps faster than ever before. Win free gifts all evening, crowned by the chance to win a weekend with the new Jaguar F-Type sports car.

(Click the flyer for more details.)

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