A Product Manager's Musings: The Importance of Consumption Platforms from Product Manager Shrikanth Balla
First, let us understand why a consumption platform is required or what is so important about it? Let us take a general philosophical angle to this.
Consumption as a concept plays a key role in any aspect of life, I mean if we think about it, any action in this world would result in an outcome of consumption of some kind, let us take few examples: we grow grains or rear livestock for consumption as food, we consume information via media, we create inventions to solve some sort of a consumption problem e.g. D365, Power Platform etc. if we are looking at investing, we invest capital to consume benefits of investments.
Now let us take a scientific angle to this. If we look at the cycle of consumption, the reason it is a cycle is because we look at improvements, transformations, evolution. So, consumption makes it possible for us to evaluate if the action or changes has delivered the expected, is there a way we can improve the result or make it into something new.
Combining these two concepts we can safely say that a platform / medium through which consumption is enabled is fundamental to any business.
At MAVIM, we enable customers to create the Digital Twins of their organizations. When you design your existing organization blueprint digitally to get the awareness of and to answer the 5 Ws (Why, Where, With what, when, who) you would want to make that information available to the right audience / personas who would be impacted or involved with it, and not store it somewhere which would not be revisited till the next big initiative. That defeats the purpose of continuous transformation. This is enabled by our platform for consumption called Portal. Portal brings forth these designed blueprints to be consumed as knowledge by the person whom organization intends to share with. The platform can very well be used for consuming this content as information for wider audience in the organization, which is sometimes missing and most time a tedious search which would discourage the users like the users from the field, to try to understand the organizations current state or transformation if the organization is evolving to next stage. This leads to various other problems like increased escalations or support incidents, resistance from the users by deviating from the suggested process, compliance issues etc. Having experienced this first-hand, where the result was more focus on fighting these fires rather than learning from the change to improve to next level. This would often lead the organization to split the focus into creating a support organization for escalations and teams which would learn & evolve the process, whereas avoiding the escalations by shifting left and enabling the users across the board with one source of truth
MAVIM portal very well addresses that concern, hence it plays such a critical role as a consumption platform supporting the fact that consumption platform is needed.
What is the value add?
As product managers we always must think about three aspects when designing a product or improving a product, those are desirability, viability, and feasibility. A key aspect of desirability is value creation. In fact, most of the times a customer's desirability is driven on the fact that customer wants to get that value out of the product. This value could be reducing cost, adoption and / or new capabilities. Hence, when I decide on how the product must evolve and what it needs to address, the key question I need to answer is - what is the value this is going create and why is customer seeking it? So, it is always customer first! Of course, once we decide there is a value (desire of the customer) in doing certain things we always check for the feasibility which is the question if we can build it, and viability is which is the question if we can sell it, but value creation is primary.
With Portal, my vision is to -
'Enable every Mavim user to collaborate and consume intuitively with capability to extend Mavim into their ecosystem.'
We have been working extremely focused on the journey to realize and improve this in a customer centric approach. Intuitiveness of the platform in terms of consuming the content and persona-based collaboration experiences within the platform & extending it outside the platform, these are being enhanced with multiple capabilities, along with bringing in self-serve capabilities.
How are we making extendibility easy?
The whole industry is moving towards interoperability thankfully we were in that direction since a while. Connectors and extensions (via APIs and microservices) are few ways we are constantly improving our extendibility capabilities. Addition to that we allow users to embed their content into the platform with minimum effort, this solves for user concerns of not wanting to go programmatic way.
The fundamental thought on why extendibility is so important is we at MAVIM want to be effective in the whole transformation rather than being one more product in the bag. If we can help extend the platform into current customer ecosystem with ease, then the customer could have minimum interfaces for their end users to switch between hence saving them to retain the context. Our list of connectors is growing day by day, we do have a D365 and SAP connector for a while in use, but we are looking at use cases to develop more if needed. Our API is in constant evolution with bringing more flexibility and capabilities to the table. With our Power platform connector we are ready to connect to hundreds of other connectors in the marketplace.
Even though consumption is a must there is a strong need for it being secure and configurable. With portal we take this very seriously.
First things first, the customer data and usage are completely owned by customers themselves. This is taken care by enabling them to federate to their ecosystems. Secondly with the platform the customers can decide and configure the content availability by roles. All this with one source of truth or publication.
Topping this up with self-serve federation capabilities in our Mavim Connect Center (MCC) make security an ingrained component of Portal.
To summarize this is the value add in a nutshell the customer would receive from Mavim Portal - A consumption platform which is:
1. Intuitive to use
2. Enables and extends collaboration for users
3. Addresses knowledge management concerns
4. Is secure and role based.
As its Product Manager, my goal is to design this value with customer being the focus always.
Written by Mavim's Product Owner and Manager Shrikanth Balla