We’ve been to the Educause Annual Conference before as individuals but nothing prepared us for the amount of interest we received this time around.
Situated among two dozen other startup alley participants we constantly had foot traffic from both schools and vendors interested in our solution. It seems that integration is a real hot button.
We specifically tested a few hypotheses. First and foremost was to talk to enough attendees about the types of use cases they had for an “integration middleware service” to have an understanding of what we should be working toward. We heard the same sorts of horror stories over and over again:
“We have so many cloud services these days I can’t keep up with all the integration.”
“I have a full developer dedicated just to the building and maintenance of custom application hooks.”
“First we put the data in W. Then it gets moved to X nightly. Once that’s done Y system picks it up to places it in Z.”
“Even something as seemingly simple as ‘I am having trouble signing in’ costs my admin half a day’s time.”
Then to help communicate our vision we shared mock-ups of our proposed integration builder interface. To our excitement almost everyone found the experience to be straightforward and this only fueled their enthusiasm.
Finally we continued with an exploration of just how much a school or vendor would value Apidapter. In a lot of cases we found that attendees actually valued the service we would soon offer above what we initially thought (but don’t worry there will always be a free plan).
Educause was a fulfilling and motivating experience. We sincerely feel we struck a chord with our market and cannot wait to return next year.