For more than 20 years, Objective Corporation has been delivering high quality software products to government agencies and large organisations to enable effective information management and measurable efficiencies in business processes through the application of workflow technology.
The vision for Objective Connect was to extend these technologies outside of the firewall to deliver similar efficiencies to cross agency processes and ecosystem wide information sharing.
But there was a catch, or rather a few.
- the solution had to be highly secure and conformant with government standards and guidelines
- the solution had to be highly usable without end user training delivering a user experience users loved
- the solution had to be accessible to anyone within an organisations ecosystem (staff, partners, customers, clients) on any device, anywhere in the world
- the solution had to integrate at a technical and business level with organisations existing on-premise information and process management technologies (SharePoint, Objective ECM, HP TRIM etc)
- the solution had to meet the specific needs of individuals within organisations needing to interact with peers in external organisations in the context of business processes – as opposed to be simply a “me too” File Synchronisation and Sharing tool.
Connect was delivered (and continues to be enhanced) using Lean Product Management principles and an Agile approach to software development.
At any one time between two and five scrum teams are working on different aspects of the system, consisting of User Experience professionals, business analysts, architects, developers and testers.
In addition, an operations team, a marketing team, a business development team and a professional services team played their part in delivering successful outcomes to the key stakeholders; specifically the customers of Connect.
The timescales were extremely tight for Connect with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) needed within a year of project initiation.
I was the Senior Product Manager for Connect with responsibility of ensuring that the technology delivered was highly market driven in terms of its functionality and usability.
This entailed significant interaction with existing client contacts and others within the market to understand how business process work today, where the inefficiencies lie, what the technical and cultural challenges to information sharing are and how to build a system that meets the compliance and security requirements of government and large enterprises but is also something that end users love to use and enables them to get their job done more easily and efficiently.
It also entailed guiding and influencing multiple internal stakeholders to ensure that features were appropriately prioritised, work was of a high quality and both internal and external stakeholder deadlines were met.
I also became the public face of Connect, in marketing materials but also through presentations at major conferences, to C-level audiences at major client sites and, importantly, to our internal stakeholders and development teams.
Connect was first deployed in early 2012. Early market feedback has been extremely positive and uptake has been good. In APAC, individuals from close to 250 agencies have registered for Connect and outside of Government the uptake has been even more impressive.
The growth in the use of Connect has also been linear since release with ongoing opportunities that could trigger exponential growth over the coming year here in APAC and in the UK.
Most importantly, feedback shows that end users love to use Connect, it helps them get their jobs done more efficiently and it meets the security and compliance requirements of their CIO.