Product design

Product Development Pivot

Product development was the catalyst that pivoted our business model, resulting in the release of the first commercial product for the emerging tangible investments marketplace.

Our company found ourselves at a cross roads in May of 2015.  We could continue to try and make our total wealth solution work in the face of steep competition, or we could pivot our company direction and narrow our focus to just the emerging tangible investments market.  We decided to take “the leap” and reconfigure our people, strategy and marketing to become a truly agile company.

Luckily for us, we had already built a collections module that was intended to integrate into our larger total wealth suite.  However, this module was not only designed for the small niche of private collectors, it was not a commercially viable product from a functionality or marketing standpoint.

To pivot our company we had to retool what we were doing and how we were doing it in real time.  The actual pivot did not really occur until half way through the one year time frame. 

For the first six months we engaged in generative research to see if the hunch we had about tangible assets was a viable market.  The collections UI lent itself to rapid prototyping, so we prototyped everything with it to see how other financial concepts worked.  We spent many hours in roadmap sessions vetting what we understood about the larger family office market and incorporating new information we were gleaning real time.  Our marketing efforts were exploratory, and we set up an ideas website, and we asked people in the industry to look at it and give us feedback.  Although our company was fairly lean with interdisciplinary teams, we were not as agile as we were going to need to be for the task ahead.  We still were in the mindset of longer development cycles, robust feature sets and involved backend initiatives.   

At six months we reached the inflection point of the pivot, and remarkable things happened.  We quickly built a concise prototype replete with content, and used it for an evaluative research effort with a target audience, moderated for specific needs.  We let go of “boiling the ocean” and defined one product road map with succinct targets to complete the Tangible Assets product that would be a stepping stone to further achievable growth.  We built a website that clearly stated product benefits, features, pricing and has an eCommerce engine for customer acquisition.  We gutted our development plan, and just built the technical pieces that would make the product a viable MVP customers could use.

Now that Tangible Assets was a very clear achievable target, people were galvanized.  The cycles of each group became shorter and fell into sync.  The pivot caused a convergence, and we became one truly agile team.

By the time we were done, we had a viable commercial product.  By integrating insights from potential users and thinking generatively we were able to craft additional features that made the product truly seamless, and delightful for tangible assets users. 

  1. A wide range of export capability
  2. Image rich, configurable list displays
  3. Detail fields pre populated for ease of use

We worked in parallel to have an eCommerce site ready when the product launched.  Since we had been talking to potential users all along it only made sense to capture this audience.   We facilitated user adoption by creating a straight forward website and easy sign up process.  To make the whole experience all in one service the Portrait Global website was also where users could log on to Tangible Assets.