Sramana Mitra: The projects you were doing were basically SharePoint implementation projects?
Jake Weaver: Yes. Ten years ago, SharePoint was being used for a lot of stuff. People would build intranet networks on it. They would also build business process solutions on it. They would even build extranets with a public-facing side.
We really cared about the user experience at a time where not much thought was put into that, especially for internal systems. We believed that if you had to create something and it wasn’t easy to use, the system won’t get adopted.
We got a lot of our work because we were one of the only shops that was talking about doing full-on design work and user experience work on the platform.
Sramana Mitra: Besides purely doing implementation and user experience design, was there any productization that went on in your work?
Jake Weaver: I’ve had to reinvent my company a second time. In our space, in the last four years, the dynamics have completely changed. Microsoft stopped positioning SharePoint as a public site platform. Companies started to use it for collaboration.
The platform matured enough, and the ways of developing on it matured enough. For the first time, you were able to start productizing intranets on it. We had a successful consulting business, but we saw the writing on the wall that if we didn’t productize, we will be wiped out of business because that was where everything was going.
That’s how it’s played out today. None of the companies we talk to are really building custom intranet anymore. There’s a variety of solutions that they can buy off the shelf and implement them at a fraction of the time, cost, and risk than they used to. We had to completely reinvent the company from a consulting firm to a product firm.
Sramana Mitra: How many years did you continue purely as a consulting firm?
Jake Weaver: It’s still transitioning today. We are firmly in the enterprise space. We generally only work with clients with over 500 intranet users. More often than not, the number is over a thousand and up. In our space, there’s not a lot of people in that category that service the big companies.
One of our positions in the market is that we believe that one size intranet doesn’t fit all. We try to combine the advantages of starting with a product along with the ability to enhance it or customize it so that the solution still feels like something that’s tailored to the enterprise.
We feel strongly about this. Our customers have had some unique nuances. If you told them this was out-of-the-box and they just can’t do it, we do not feel they would be our customers today. It is becoming less and less of our business.
Sramana Mitra: My question was how long did you operate purely as a consulting services company?
Jake Weaver: We were doing that for about five to six years.
Sramana Mitra: So about 2016, you started productizing?
Jake Weaver: Yes.