Timely Startup Pivoting
We ensure sustainable development of products & create opportunities for business scaling.
Expertise: Solution Architecture, Design & Prototyping, Information Technology Consulting, Code Audit
Situation: pivoting as a way to building a sustainable business model
Сompetition, inefficient monetization strategies, decreases in demand, global changes like crisis or pandemics, and other similar factors force businesses to act promptly and adapt to new challenges accordingly. Unfortunately, minor fixes are not always enough for survival. More decisive actions, like pivoting, are sometimes not only the way to successfully change or even avert bankruptcy, but to grow your business in a new niche.
That’s why, a Dutch-based IT company SMART-Solutions — sought our assistance. Pivoting or changing a fundamental aspect of your business is risky, especially if you are running a product startup. Professional pivot consulting services are a safe way to go. Our customer needed a partner to help them work out a product-market fit, develop a competitive solution, elaborate an effective strategy for monetization, win market share with this solution, and as a result, build a stable business model.
Challenges: finding a product-market fit
SMART-Solutions was faced with the need for immediate pivoting. Initially, the company was focused on passive and active location tracking services. However, after determining their offerings weren’t meeting the seriously changing needs and opportunities of their target market any longer, they shifted their attention to the field of IoT, Computer Vision and Machine Learning. The idea was to create a sensor base for Situational Awareness — an automated solution (Smart-Aware) that supports physical to digital translation of insights normally gathered by basic human senses, such as touch, hearing, smell, and sight on a industrial scale. While the ultimate goal of this project is to improve our living and working environment, its main use cases include (business) applications for security, family safety, information management, accident prevention, in-store logistics optimization, staff tracking, workspace management, and more.
Rather than developing Smart-Aware from scratch, the client wanted to build it atop the code base of one of their previous projects — Secondium and Minutum — both providing time-related insights. This required a supplier able to both conduct the analysis of the existing codebase and build a viable solution based on the provided new requirements and use cases. Besides broad expertise in consulting and software development, the client was also looking for reliability, responsiveness, and transparency in a potential partner.
In March 2020, we began our cooperation with SMART-Solutions. Our first challenge was a legacy code assessment, in terms of its possible reusability.
Solution: transition from product development based on legacy code to an entirely new architecture
We assessed Secondium and Minutum in terms of reusability for Smart-Aware and found their codebase inappropriate for further product development and scaling.
Our team defines maintainability as a key principle of high quality code that can be easily changed or scaled. In our case, the customer’s legacy code didn’t meet this requirement. How did we come to that? Firstly, we specified source code metrics like volume, duplication, complexity, etc. Based on these metrics, we managed to provide information on a range of system properties: analyzability, changeability, stability and testability. All of which define the system’s maintainability.
Meanwhile, the codebase of Minutum underwent a structural analysis, we found few crucial issues hugely impacting code’s changeability, that would hinder scalability for the future product. Indeed, our findings revealed that Minutum would require profound refactoring before being reused. The Secondium idea was also discarded since its key features did not meet the project’s goals.
With these conclusions, our recommendation was to develop the Smart-Aware system from scratch as it might be more profitable. This approach allows us to establish a flexible architecture from the very beginning and utilize technologies that are the most suitable for this type task. For example, instead of Java, building the product from scratch allows us to use the better fitting Golang (or Go). This system’s programming language was our key recommendation based on our analysis from use cases and code review findings. Here is why:
- Go is easy-to-use and well-documented, making the development process faster and cheaper
- Go has strict coding rules, helping you avoid silly errors and bugs
- Go has built-in capabilities for testing and profiling, automatic generation of documentation, code separation, and management of deficiencies
- Go is a compiled language, meaning the written code is directly translated into a format that the processor understands
Go is multi-threaded by design, making it an ideal option for multi-user applications, like Smart-Aware.
Results: scalability with minimum budget
The chosen scenario is the best route for a product startup. It allows building a new architecture, flexible and scalable enough for easy upgrades with minimum development efforts and budget allocations.
50 hours of code review and requirements analysis have shown that developing a new solution from scratch is more economically efficient than building something atop a legacy code. With these findings, we’ll be able to streamline the development process and stay within budget, thus ensuring a successful beginning of startup pivoting.
When it comes to product startup survival, pivoting is the best way to build a sustainable business model. There are many cases showing how timely pivoting helped businesses succeed. YouTube, Slack, Shopify, and Nintendo had to change their initial ideas dramatically before becoming world-famous companies. Likewise, the timely pivoting of the client’s startup helped them prioritize their business goals and plan further development of their product.
As shown in this case, Unicsoft offers stellar startup technical consulting services. Whether you are looking to find a product-market fit, develop a competitive solution, or elaborate an effective strategy for monetization, we are ready to give you a hand. Contact us for a free consultation, and we will determine how pivoting or any other product development approach can help you grow with minimum budget allocations.
“We were looking for someone that could think along and do the things we could not, a partner rather than just a supplier. Unicsoft with kicking off this project proved to be just that. Cooperation and communication are excellent. The demonstration of skills and expertise exceed expectations. The whole thing is operated as an extension of ourselves. The best outcome applies where Unicsoft is not afraid to share a clear opinion and advice. What strikes me is the people involved in the project… The whole team – including an account manager, delivery manager and the rest – is always there.”