Starting The New JourneyKurt Pimentel
In our last blog post, ‘Self-Reflection and How It Reset Our Focus’, we came to the conclusion that the stress of satisfying our internal product needs with those needs of legacy custom development clients just wasn’t going to work. Starting the new journey, we had to dwindle those projects down all while trying to offset those revenue. Now that sounds easy, but as entrepreneurs or business leaders managing a P&L, we all know that this is one of the hardest moves to make. To be honest we still don’t know that this will work and add COVID-19 into the mix and it will only be harder to succeed.
The first step to starting the new journey and weaning ourselves off custom development was to create a precise product roadmap that took into account customer feedback throughout the years as well as the ability to change midcourse if need be. The good news is our initial go-to-market product launched in 2014 was designed to be modular so we could add the functionality we had planned while also incorporating functionality a client might request. This concept allowed us to create a solution that quickly evolved as clients helped to expedite our roadmap and add niche functionality that might be appealing to other users. This isn’t anything earth shattering, but client funding of a roadmap and feature expansion can be the difference between life and death for a small business.
With roadmap in hand and our custom mobile development work past us, it was time to execute. First was to design a UI that took advantage of what we knew clients loved in our old solution. Key to this was a dashboard that presented a list of mobile forms that had due date/times and access to completed forms so store managers in restaurant industry could share the results with third party HACCP inspectors like ECOLAB; or risk management leaders could route claims to insurers. The last part of the process to starting the new journey was to get rid of the stuff that was either not used or used by so few it just wasn’t worth implementing in new solution. In both scenarios we made the decision to leverage integrations to take advantage of existing products such as iCloud, Box and Dropbox for file storage versus our home grown CMS system. Now that the bloat was identified, we started looking at what we wanted to add to make the application a game-changer in the industry and set it apart from the oh-so-many competitors we have in the space now.
To accomplish this game-changer status we focused on three key areas;
In designing our new release, usability was crucial. The key to usability was the concept that a user would want to do everything in the app and never visit the portal. So, we designed a clean look that was easy to understand and navigate. If users still needed a helping-hand we added a tutorial for first time users. When it came to functionality, the approach was first and foremost to be able to do everything from the mobile app. We gave users:
- the ability to create mobile forms on their smart phone or tablet
- create tasks to assign follow-ups to identified issues
- in-app assistant to get real-time help or access FAQ
- reporting with a KPI dashboard
- integrate IoT BLE devices to capture or input data
We have always offered both a mobile and web solution but, to be honest, if we had a prospect or client that just wanted to use a mobile application, they STILL had to go to our portal to manage their account. With that said, we had users of our platform that would never use the mobile application. They would create a form, print it and fill it out and then file it away. I know, totally against what this platform is all about. So armed with this knowledge, it was critical to give users the choice to manage the solution in both platforms.
When working on a custom application project for Weaver Fundraising, they asked us to turn our mobile forms app into a mobile ordering app to take popcorn orders and accept payments. To accomplish this, we had to remove much of the functionality of our old application. It was during this time we realized there had to be a better way. Literally, the lightbulb went off and we realized that to truly create a ‘modular’ solution we needed to create an SDK. This SDK would accomplish two things — be the foundation to our new solution EZFORMS – Mobile Forms and be extensible for companies wanting to leverage it in their offerings.
Now that the initial phase of building a ground-up mobile application via our SDK has been completed, what’s next? Well, that’s a future blog post (check back in few weeks) but I can guarantee it will be disruptive to our competitive landscape and how us starting this new journey was crucial to our business success.
You can learn more about the features, functionality and how EZFORMS is the right move for your business.