When you include your customers in the design of your product, you, your customer, and your customer’s customers all succeed. This blog is the first in an Onfido product highlight series. We'll take you through everything from benefits of collaborative product development to specific product case studies, and what it took to develop them hand in hand with our customers.
Product development, especially in the B2B space, is increasingly collaborative today, with influence from teams internally and externally across product processes. As more companies look to launch products that are accessible to and for all, including diverse voices in the development process is essential. If the end goal is to create solutions that solve real-world needs, then it makes sense to be inclusive in how those solutions come to life. At Onfido, working cross-functionally and bringing customers in for co-development ensures our digital solutions and services are inclusive, accessible, and drive desired business outcomes. This truly is the future of product.
What is collaborative product development?
At Onfido, our product teams work cross-functionally to ideate, design, validate, deliver, sell, and grow our products. And while our customer-facing experts from sales, integrations, customer success, and support provide invaluable insights and guidance, there’s no replacement for speaking directly with the people who will be using your products. For B2B products this means bringing customers into every step of the product development process, and for B2B2C products, it also means including the final consumer in research and testing.
Including customers in the product development process ensures we build products that solve critical business needs, and it creates additional bi-directional channels for feedback. Customers expect their software providers to be the experts in terms of the market, potential solutions, and best practices. Bringing customer stakeholders into the product life cycle is a great way to showcase our expertise and build trust as we solve unique challenges and innovate together. Plus, the feedback we collect along the way ensures we build better, more useful products. It’s a win-win, which is why we see collaborative product development as the future of B2B services.
Peter Lu, Credit & Lending Product Lead, Koho
How Onfido works with our customers to develop products
Onfido’s mission is to power open, secure, and digital interactions between businesses and their customers around the world. We do this using identity verification technology — a combination of document and biometric checks, data verification and fraud detection.
Our mission is a joint one — we’re connecting end users to businesses and vice versa. Therefore, helping our customers find success with our products is a huge priority. We work with our customers hand-in-hand to ensure our products are helping solve genuine pain points and key business challenges, including: compliant user onboarding, new customer acquisition, and fraud prevention.
There are several unique ways that we build quality products:
- PMs and Designers work in cross-functional teams with counterparts from Engineering and Applied Science to concept and build products.
- Throughout the product life cycle, our teams collaborate with folks from sales, product marketing, test automation, and analytics teams to ensure proper positioning, performance monitoring, optimization, and growth.
- And most importantly, we incorporate customers and end users every step of the way.
Building customer-centric products
Building customer-centric products starts with a clear focus on who your customers are and what’s important to them. At Onfido, our products serve both a B2B audience and a B2B2C audience, which can be a challenge for our product teams.
On the B2B side, our customers are focused on:
- Driving new customer sign-ups
- Reducing customer acquisition costs
- Scaling while remaining compliant in all geographies
- And preventing fraud
And our customers’ customers are concerned with:
- Getting signed up for new services quickly, and on the first try
- And having access to inclusive products. For our product teams, this means prioritizing accessibility and usability, and ensuring our machine learning models are trained to prevent bias.
By putting our customers and their customers at the center of our product life cycle, we’re able to ensure great business outcomes all around.
Why should product teams use collaborative practices?
It’s proven that diverse teams build better, more innovative products. By bringing in collaborators from across Onfido and from our customers’ teams, we increase our likelihood of launching and scaling top-quality products. And in turn, our customers are also more likely to find success.
Plus, our inclusive product development processes help deepen the two-way relationship with our customers, creating new opportunities where both parties can share expertise and creativity.
How to get started on collaborative product development with your teams
Focus on your power users
These are the customers who want to try new products early and who will then shout about you to their peers. These customers will want to spend time with your product teams and share feedback openly.
Start with the problem
Being specific on customer needs and challenges will help you find product market fit and then scale your product.
Look for patterns
It can be tempting to follow the feedback of 1 or 2 customers, but you’ll end up with better results if you incorporate multiple voices and opinions, especially as your customer base grows.
Collaborative development in the real world
Check out the next edition of our weekly 4-part blog series to learn more about how exactly we work with our customers from Senior Product Manager Si Stephens, who offers a deep dive including the three levels of getting customer insights and specific examples of Onfido products.