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Partnership with ISV in Product Development Lifecycle
Case Study:Successful partnership with ISV inSoftware Product DevelopmentLifecycle
Successful partnership with ISV in Product Development LifecycleThis case study explores the evolution of a business relationship between a US based Mid size ISV in enterprisesocial software domain and Harbinger Systems.HistoryThe company (let’s call it ‘Anonymous Inc.’ for confidentiality reasons) was started in 2006 in East Coast.Anonymous is a leading provider of enterprise social software solutions and services serving the learning,marketing and customer experience markets. Their flagship product is an enterprise social business softwaresuite that helps organizations to create, design, manage social and knowledge sharing experiences that meetand exceed their unique business needs, all from one platform.Business ChallengesAs a Mid-Sized ISV, the challenges faced by Anonymous Inc. were –Adaptability – The software industry is moving forwards in leaps and bounds, as a mid size ISV the needto reinvent themselves according to the constant upgradation in technologies was of utmost importanceTime to Market – It was critical to utilize the first mover advantage especially in the enterprise softwaresolutions spaceOperational efficiency - The need to judiciously utilize the available resources while still ensuring the highquality of its products, services and support.Outsourcing - An IntrospectionWhile outsourcing was expected to address many of the challenges, Anonymous Inc. was extremely cautiousbefore taking a decision. They did a detailed analysis of the factors involved in their outsourcing decision.Parameter in decision making Their AnalysisLeadership’s experience withoutsourcingLeadership team was highly intellectual and demonstratedengineering leadership however they did not have past experience ofworking with an offshore partner.Identifying the right partner a. Finding the right-sized partner - someone who was not too big tocall the shots in the relationship or one who was so small thatthey could not deliver on their commitmentsb. Partner’s previous experience – The partner needed to have priorexperience working with a product engineering ISV and had tounderstand and appreciate the challenges of a VC-fundedtechnology company.2
3Parameter in decision making Their AnalysisFlexibility The partner needed to be flexible in the relationship. Flexibility interms of changing requirements, fluid designs and payment relatedtimeline adjustments.Innovation The partner needed to be technically savvy and innovative enough tochallenge the technical decisions with a strong analysis and technicalreasoning. A company that has innovation mind-set and product life-cycle management experience.Business risksThe decision was critical because of the business risks which included -a. Compromise on the quality of their productb. Incorrect usage of precious fundsc. Time - Put them back by a couple of months if they had to in source the entire piece from the partnerd. Lose the competitive advantage that their product had as an early entrant in the markete. Data SecurityThe management at Anonymous Inc. concluded that they needed a trusted Technology Partner whounderstood their organizational DNA and not merely a Service Provider who would agree to anything andeverything that they said.The Start of a RelationshipHarbinger’s relationship started in 2006, when Anonymous was at a transitional stage from a mid size startupto a growth stage company. Anonymous first engagement with Harbinger Systems was integratingHarbingers Offline Content Player with its LMS. Anonymous had plans to integrate a 3rd party OfflineContent Player with their Learning Management System (LMS). Harbingers Offline Player was the perfectcontender considering the products capabilities and Harbingers proven expertise in the e-Learning domainand experience in partnering with leading LMS companies.When Anonymous started off the relationship with Harbinger Systems, like many other mid-size ISVs, theyhad initial reservations about Harbinger’s ability to understand their needs and deliver effective solutions.The reservations soon transformed into a confidence in Harbinger’s abilities. Anonymous realized thatHarbinger was a partner that most ISVs could only aspire for.Anonymous acknowledged that they found this partnership beneficial for a number of reasons –a. Harbinger’s strong technical abilities and the desire to continuously push the technology boundariesb. Harbinger was right-sized – small enough to be nimble to adjust to the changing businessrequirements yet large enough to carry out innovationsc. Experience with startups and mid-size ISVs – Harbinger, in its 16 year history until then had workedwith multiple startups and mid-size ISVs in US and was perfectly tuned in to the ISV DNAd. As a product company, it clearly understood the first mover advantage that an innovative productgave to its customers and investors
The JourneyWhat started off as a single project association eventually scaled up to multiple projects relationship.Anonymous was happy that Harbinger’s value addition to their business increased multi-fold as thisrelationship progressed.The timeline below elaborates how the relationship grew over a 6+ year’s period.Presented here are the key highlights of our engagements with Anonymous:The work comprised of core feature development and customizations, product & patch upgrades, testing andprofessional support.Key project highlights include:- Harbinger’s expertise in graphics and user interface design helped in designing and implementing anintuitive and impressive UI for the Social Applications.- Extensive experience in ExtJS and JSON technology helped in building reusable social applicationcomponents in a short turnaround time.- Harbinger teams leveraged previous experience in building enterprise web applications usingJava/J2EE technologies and Spring framework to implement new concepts like Domains, Experiencesand Presentations.- Development of new product features for various versions of their flagship product4
- Upgrading client’s application instances and databases for both Enterprise (Hosted) and ODL (cloud-based) customers- Customizing the hosted LMS & Social Media applications to provide specific custom features requiredby the customers- Developing and customizing reports using Reporting tools - Actuate and MicroStrategy- Creating and executing test plans and test cases for core features, customizations and productupgrades.- Providing solutions and technical assistance to issues reported by the customers. Solutions includebug fixes, workarounds, and help guidelines.The technology stack comprised of: Java/J2EE, Spring framework 3.0, JQuery, PL/SQL, XML, XSL, HTML, CSS,ExtJS, JSON, WinSCP, Cygwin, SVN, CVS, Actuate, Microstrategy reporting tools, Manual and Automationtesting.Harbinger Differentiators for this engagement comprised of:Recognized thought leadership and expertise in the e-Learning domainCutting edge and innovative eLearning products such as Offline Player, Raptivity, ElicitusSuccessfully proven long-term experience in partnering with leading Learning Management System(LMS) companiesContribution to standards bodies such as AICC for the CMI SpecificationHarbinger Systems team partnered with Anonymous and executed all projects with 100% offshore teams.An example– During a meeting, Anonymous shared that their latest product version had lost somefunctionality and consistency when it was migrated from the previous version. The security andaccess/permission structure was becoming confusing to Clients. Critical competitive capabilities were alsoabsent in the product.To overcome the limitations of the product, new concepts of Domain, Experience and Presentation wereimplemented. A strong yet loosely coupled application was built using Spring 3.0 framework. The integrationissues between different frameworks were resolved. Benefits offered by JQuery in terms of performance andflexibility led to client’s approval.5
Harbinger has always strived to go beyond the defined scope of the project and deliver world-class solutionsusing their innovative approach to technology.Here is what the leadership team at Anonymous had to say about this relationship –Our partnership with Harbinger Group has provided Anonymous with access to many skilled resources toaugment our in-house development efforts across our social media, customer support and learning products.We have leveraged the company to assist with software development, research efforts and quality assurance.We have maintained a successful partnership with the Harbinger Group for many years and have beenextremely satisfied with the dedicated team of employees assigned to our projects. The resources provided byHarbinger have assisted us with software development, research efforts, quality assurance, and testing effortsand have continually demonstrated a true partnership by offering us the flexibility required in our fast pacedenvironment without sacrificing quality of work.The Road AheadIn all these years, the relationship with Anonymous has grown manifold. Harbinger has been a perfect partnerto assure success for Anonymous. This partnership has entered its seventh year and Harbinger continues toenjoy the patronage of its esteemed partner.6
Harbinger Systems is a leading provider of software engineering services to some of the worldsbest product companies. Since 1990, Harbinger has developed a strong customer base worldwide.Harbinger’s customers are software product companies, including hi-tech startups in Silicon Valley,to leading product companies in the US and large in-house IT organizations.The Services from Harbinger Systems services span across enterprise software development,advanced testing services for software ISVs and solution consulting in eLearning.In 2009, Deloitte named Harbinger Systems among the fastest growing technology companies in itsTechnology Fast 500 Asia Pacific and Technology Fast 50 India programs. Harbinger Systems isrecognized as a ‘Super Star’ in 10th Annual Mobile Star Awards™ 2011. Harbinger Systems is among2012 Global Outsourcing Top 100 companies listing by International Association of OutsourcingProfessionals and ranked in Top 100 Outsourcing Service Providers listing by Global Services.Harbinger Systems is a part of Harbinger Group. Harbinger Group is a leading global provider ofinnovative software products and services to companies in over 57 countries.To know more about Harbinger Systems visit: www.harbinger-systems.com.Awards and Recognitions:To learn more about our awards Click HereVisit us at: www.harbinger-systems.comAbout Harbinger Systems7