I recently met with Thinkflow founder Praveen Hari and heard first hand their growth story of building a platform capable of powering business applications and services on the cloud. I specifically focused on learning how they accelerated their growth and scale phase, wanting to hear a few stories that could inspire other budding ventures on this path.
Handful of stories below highlight some points as key to the growth strategy they adopted and experienced.
Threat from Big Companies
Early on they realized that several bigger companies in the value chain of BPM applications began to change the game and build a larger product offering by acquiring small product companies in the chain. They researched this trend and began to use their insights of this industry and the trends that big companies were focusing on to pivot into a PaaS company.
First, they evolved the product offering from BPM to PaaS with better price point and working with smaller vendors / partners to build solutions and package professional services in much shorter timelines than bigger companies could offer.
Next, having great customer insights was key to working this model. Solving customer’s business problems were paramount. As an example they realized the importance of Single Sign-on as a value point for customers and identified a way to implement this on top of the Microsoft Azure platform, which already supported multiple authentication modes. Using existing technology and simply working the core customer pain point was valued highly and resulted in building customer loyalty.
Multi-tiered approach & Partner with experts
Additionally they realized a need to build solutions that encompassed several domains. As they did not have all the domain knowledge and the best way to address was to partner with experts who had domain knowledge and have them build solutions on top of their platform. They focused on building a platform that could serve direct customers as well as application developers and enterprise developers. One such story began with a partner who realized the power of the platform and inquired whether they could build a workflow in the GRC space (Governance, Risk & Compliance). The partner ended up using 40% of the Thinkflow system to build this application.
Partnering with core platform
Being a Microsoft Preferred Partner definitely helps in continuing to evolve the platform and systems. One day Microsoft partner contact mentioned that there was a need to have a Document Scan & Capture capability that could help several enterprises. They rapidly implemented this functionality on their existing solution. It’s a win-win situation as Microsoft partnership provides them with insight that allows Thinkflow to add capabilities into their platformised workflow and potentially draw new clients.
Follow competition and trends very closely
The triad has continually encouraged teams to explore and record competitive and industry trends. They also attend the open webinars to learn about other products and solutions to discover trend patterns.
In addition to this Thinkflow constantly promotes its solutions and workflows through regular webinars they setup and also other forums. They find great value in events like the PNCamp, CIO meets, Tech50… Their belief is that such forums will help growth and visibility for startup ventures.
Summary of key takeaways
- Use data insights for staying on top of market trends. Business environments change faster than you think.
- Partner with vendors who can provide solutions at better price points.
- Match customer pain points with existing technologies to build lasting solutions. Customer development is critical to building world-class products.
- Scale multiple domains with expert partners to offer a plethora of solutions. Open your platforms to other solution vendors.
- Form preferred partnership with large base technology vendors. The partnerships can provide great insights and leads to convert.
- Promote your technologies & solutions in open forums. Attend other open webinars to research competition, trends and potential partnerships.