Down with customization!
“How can a box product get better than a custom development?”
When RecFaces just started to work with biometrics, it tried to consider all the requirements of customers and give access to as many modalities as possible: face by photo, 3D, fingers, and voice. However, experience has shown that satisfying all whims and fantasies does not guarantee a deal, and the more you swim in this creative stream, the more difficult it becomes to control, and most importantly, maintain and update the final created system. Based on this experience and all the pain, the company had a hypothesis that the creation of a box solution can be much more effective, and most importantly demanded, than custom developments. How we managed to make this pivot — read the article.
- Searching for an idea
- Creating a working prototype
- Hypothesis testing
- Creating a box solution
- Advantages of box solutions
- Take and try
Searching for an idea
If the customer's wishes are placing as a priority during custom development, it is important to move away from the position of “What do you desire?” to the position of “What does the market need?” At this stage, a vertical market or business process is selected where your technology, and in the case of RecFaces is face recognition, can be useful to the customer and the unique selling proposition is formulated. In other words, those unique qualities with which the future product should catch customers. What are customers missing? What will be the main feature of the future product? Customer identification by face at the gate? Collecting marketing information about their preferences? The ability to restrict access to individual objects without blocking the territory with an infinite number of doors and passageways?
Creating a working prototype
After the estimated value for the client is formulated, a technical requirement for developers is formed, which prescribes what functionality the future product should have, what will work and how. At this stage, the number of functions of the future product is minimal. It is important to make a simple working prototype and check whether it will find a response in the market.
At the hypothesis testing stage, the prototype of the future product with minimal functionality is being tested by the market for the first time. And here anything can turn out to be — from bright eyes and “Wow, these functions are enough for me, but are you planning to add something else?” to the internal realities of the market, when it turns out that there are objective restrictions that will not allow you to use the product as intended. And they must either be taken into account in further development, modifying the product, or abandon this direction.
Hypothesis testing is the step of obtaining feedback. And for its objectivity it is important that the feedback is from the maximum number of participants. The ideal option is to show a prototype at a profile exhibition in order to understand the reaction of the market. Whether a product is needed, what we are missing, what features catch customers. And having already received such feedback, consider all objective criticism and listen to wishes. And if the market reacted positively to the product, move on to the next stage of development — in fact, the creation of the product.
Creating a box solution
Having determined which recognition technology scenario is most typical for a particular industry, our specialists create a box solution. It assumes that such a software product can be bought and installed on its own without additional refinement. The main argument of supporters of box solutions is that they are cheaper and allow you to start using the product quickly. Opponents, on the other hand, assure that all businesses have their own nuances and can only be taken into account during custom development. That's why the company puts into its boxed solutions not only the most common and popular scenarios for the industry, but also less obvious use cases that can be implemented simply by changing the default system settings.
Each finished product of RecFaces is aimed at implementing biometric solutions in a certain industry or market area and are intended to work with a certain scenario specific for it. But there are always much more opportunities in it. For example, Id-Gate is designed to recognize faces at the entrance. Such systems are commonly used to replace passes and simplify the entry process. However, if security is crucial for the company, the system may not work as a replacement for a pass, but as an addition to it, checking that in front of it is really the same person who was issued a pass.
Advantages of box solutions
The advantages of a box solution for customers are obvious: the product has already been developed and is ready for installation. It has passed numerous tests, has advanced functionality considering the wishes of various customers, the interface is debugged and easily integrates with the existing IT infrastructure. And if something happens in the future and updates are needed, the client can always expect the support of the manufacturer.
And what is the point for the manufacturer selling box solutions if it was possible to earn money by finalizing solutions for specific customers and taking money for it, as for custom development?
“We are not against custom development,” says Tamara Morozova. “And, if the client is ready to pay for it, we can develop something additionally. But in 80% of cases, the end user has enough solution functions already developed for him. 10-15% of requests are for additional integrations, which we make through the API, or transfer this task to a partner considering his experience and qualification. And only 5% is customization, which is easier for us to transfer as added value to partners, and focus on increasing the competitiveness of the solution. End users, our partners and we will benefit from it.”
Take and try
The company is so confident in the quality of its product that it is ready to offer a free demo license for 3 months. This time is more than enough to see how the system works with different settings and in the real conditions of the future installation, to make sure that it is good, to see if it is needed or not on a site. So, the client does not risk anything — if you do not like something, you can always refuse to install. Or, at least, it is better to understand what you want and, most importantly, what is really possible to get from the recognition system without customizing it, and right now, installing a box solution.
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