We recently had the opportunity to interact with Raghavendra Ramesh, who enlightened us on an array of topics around Enterprise SaaS Products through his learnings at Moxtra.
About Raghavendra: He handles Product at Moxtra
About Moxtra: An offering that powers one-stop digital apps. Moxtra was founded with the idea to reimagine business collaboration in the age of mobility.
What was covered?
Raghavendra threw light on the following
Moxtra – A Brief History
Moxtra was founded by Subrah Iyar (co-founder of WebEx Communications) and Stanley Huang (former senior director of engineering at WebEx and Cisco Systems).
Realising that things were moving towards the mobile era, they conceptualised Moxtra – Mobile Extra, in 2013. The team spent 2 years in building a mobile app that was like any other collaboration platform. What they now fundamentally sell are SDKs- embeddable modules that businesses can plug into existing web or mobile applications.
How Moxtra found its Product-Market Fit
The team followed a lean approach and quickly built small prototypes across three verticals- healthcare, education and finance. Healthcare was highly regulated at the time and not as open to technology as today. Education, on the other hand, was less regulated and looked promising from end users’ point of view. However, the decision makers at the time were not open to spending on technology.
The team then entered a competition held by Citibank to solve the following problem statement:
Relationship managers interact with clients through phone calls or emails. Social channels, while a less cumbersome option, are not safe to exchange confidential documents. Both clients and RMs want an easy, but safe way to interact with each other.
Moxtra plugged their collaboration SDKs into Citibank’s app for people to interact easily and for the conversations to be easily tracked from audit or compliance point of view. This was a prototype at this stage. Citibank was very interested in a tool like this and that’s the story of how Moxtra found its PMF and also, its first client.
Driving Product Roadmap and Addressing Enterprise Challenges
Moxtra prioritised features on their SDKs. On the client side, they embedded their SDK on the app. On the Relationship Manager side, they proposed a whitepaper app that the RMs could use for financial documents and for remote meetings with the clients.
In the 4-month project period, they thought of their product from the end users’ perspective to build an intuitive solution.
- Interaction with end user: Most enterprises have strict policies around interaction with their customers. Citibank didn’t allow Moxtra to directly approach their customers but placed surveys on their bank website asking users their preferred way of interaction with their RMs. Before building a full-fledged product, Moxtra gave Citibank a few versions to test across cohorts so they could assess user experience under special circumstances. This gave them enough insights to build the final product.
- Feedback cycle: An enterprise product is uniquely positioned since they cannot depend on user feedback like other B2C products. Most enterprise products are observational since business cannot stop. Relying on important metrics and diving deeper into issues/complaints raised by stakeholders helped them navigate towards a better product.
Driving Product Roadmap
Moxtra used smart approaches for their product roadmap:
- Testing market demand: On their road to bringing in more business, if any feature request came in from a client, their first approach was to take the request to other enterprises/banks to test if it was a legit market demand after all. They would lock down features accordingly.
- Digging deeper: They validated requests and feedback they received from stakeholders with data and by going deeper into the problem by understanding the end goal.
For instance, members from the audit and compliance team at one of their clients wanted a bunch of product benefits to be added to their platform. Instead of building them right away, Moxtra’s team dug deeper to ask how the client team was tackling the problem statement at their end.
As a result, they only had to make a few tweaks to their product to provide the client team data in a format that they already had a working software solution for. This was a big learning that Moxtra scaled across other clients.
- Make things configurable: A key learning while scaling up was to make things as configurable as possible to minimise customizations of the product. For instance, different businesses follow different hierarchical structures. A business should have the right to assign access rights within the product on the basis of the user’s role within the organisation. Keeping this feature configurable avoided Moxtra the extra effort to build customised roles and access rights.
- The art of saying “No”: Moxtra’s team realised it was alright to say no to COOs and CTOs at enterprise level if they didn’t see client requirements aligned with their product vision. Tailor made versions of the product meant creating a culture of multiple code bases, the management of which only becomes more cumbersome with time and is not a scalable approach.
Product Team and Sales
After their success with Citibank, the product team at Moxtra started selectively attending events to meet several other bank representatives. That’s where they found their next set of clients. Eventually, banks started coming to them with problem statements that their product was offering a solution for. They applied their learnings from Citibank across these clients.
They had their sales team showcase their demo environment to prospective clients to get good insights on the gaps for the next iteration of the product.
Here, Raghavendra suggests a few tactics to gain traction in the enterprise world:
- If the enterprise allows, make your logo visible on the product.
- Do a press release with the enterprise. Find opportunities to strike a PR deal when discussing price points with prospective clients.
- Make an awesome product that has a short learning curve. Nobody reads product manuals. If your product is easy to use and valuable, people will talk about it.
Studying user behavior when all data is on-premise, i.e, lies with the client, is a challenge. Vanity metrics like the number of messages exchanged on Moxtra’s offering gave no insights on their product’s health and enterprises were skeptical of tools like Mixpanel and Google Analytics. Moxtra built in events to track and built a dashboard that didn’t include any sensitive end user data. They then asked their clients to pull the reports from the on-premise database to fill in their dashboard.
Key metrics included measuring users who onboarded but didn’t use the product, users who didn’t return to use the product and number of files exchanged*calls.
Adapting to market changes
With WhatsApp and WeChat being used extensively by people, it made sense for Moxtra to tweak their product around these services. End users can now send messages on WhatsApp to their Relationship Managers but the chat gets stored at the RM’s end like it would if the user was using Moxtra’s product in the bank’s native environment. For any sensitive information that needs to be shared, the RM can share a link and continue the conversation within the bank environment.
Raghavendra’s parting advice was around adaptation.