Product & service validation - Case UpCloud
Validation is an essential part of a new product or service launch: It can be pretty easy to get ahead of ourselves and start planning things without the necessary knowledge. Skipping the carefully done groundwork can be a recipe for disaster.
We often have a general idea about our customers, but without research, we'll only be guessing what our customers want. Validation helps us dig in deeper and use the information to make better decisions.
Our client UpCloud is planning to launch a set of new products/services. The original idea was based on customer requests, but as the launch would require a multi-million euro investment, UpCloud wanted to make sure they had enough information to back their decisions.
UpCloud is a Finnish cloud hosting provider serving SME business customers worldwide to run their business-critical web applications. UpCloud offers the world's fastest cloud servers from 13 data centers across three continents.
To get a third-party view and to understand if the investment would have a chance to become a success, UpCloud asked Coventures and a DevOps specialist Polar Squad to help conduct a pre-study. During the project, we conducted a competitive analysis and a series of interviews with UpCloud staff, their customers, and Polar Squad industry experts.
We all know that speaking directly to our (potential) customers, hearing their thoughts, and seeing their reactions to our products is what makes in-person interviews so insightful. Nothing beats a good old face-to-face, in-depth interview to get the information we need to understand our clients or target market better.
To validate UpCloud’s idea of the new service line we organized a set of interviews. We started with UpCloud’s own professionals and then moved into interviewing their customers. From customer interviews, we were able to conclude that UpCloud’s customers are indeed transitioning (or have already transitioned) to using these kinds of services.
Coventures successfully helped us in understanding customer needs & market situation so that we could make the necessary go/no-go decisions internally. They also brought to the table certain findings we hadn’t previously considered, which we appreciated. Their active way of working suited us well, where we iteratively went through project findings on a weekly basis to form our final recommendations together as a team. - Juha-Pekka Järvenpää, Head of Product, UpCloud
We also interviewed a couple of industry experts and their comments confirmed what customers had told us and supported our idea that adding such a service to UpCloud’s offering could be a good idea.
To get a clear view of the competitive landscape and the market, we also did a competitive analysis by researching approximately 20 companies working in UpCloud's segment. The analysis gave us a deeper understanding of the competition and the existing services in UpCloud's market. And we found out that some of UpCloud's competitors offer similar services.
With the support of this study and additional strategy work done in-house, UpCloud has recently launched more effortless services to help their customers focus on their core business. One example is the UpCloud Command-Line Interface, which is a user-friendly tool that you can use to fully control your cloud resources from the command line. It was successfully released in April.
UpCloud has also started to collect customer feedback on a more continuous, agile basis to test the desirability of new products and services. For example, UpCloud gave early-bird beta access to users for its upcoming Managed Databases-service. Based on the positive customer feedback, the service will be launched in June 2021.