Forrester Consulting study commissioned by Productboard – Why investing in product management pays off
Truthfully, we’ve all been there: a request for a laptop that takes three months just to be approved, budget negotiations that go on and on over email, time-consuming expenses-tracking, vendor management… Spending approvals can be messy for all parties involved, and the software used to manage it is often archaic or non-existent.
Procurify insightfully identified this opportunity nine years ago, and have been working on reducing the delays and the complexities of the procurement process ever since, offering companies greater visibility into their spend, helping them track purchases across the organization and report on financial data with certainty. But getting all that complexity reduced, so that companies could allow their teams to request, approve or receive POs in seconds, has been no simple task.
When Patrick Barrington first joined Procurify as Director of Product, there was no way to consolidate all product feedback, making collecting information on user needs disjointed and tiresome. “We were using so many different tools to do the same thing, and had no way to consolidate all our customer insights. It was a disaster.” Customer Success Managers were building crazy long spreadsheets for every individual account they managed, and would send them to Product Managers expecting a status report. “We couldn’t figure out what the issues were based on how they were written, nor how many times they’d been requested. We had spreadsheets, feature ideas, and a million different things floating all over the place.”
PMs had to wade through emails, Slack messages, spreadsheets, Zendesk, Salesforce, and more, which created an incredible amount of friction when searching for research, insights, or specific requests, since there was no record of which tool any of the information was in. Thankfully, Productboard has helped build a single source of truth for everyone in the organization by ingesting customer insights from multiple channels and tools. It also allows the team to further categorize that feedback and associate it with related feature ideas.
But it wasn’t just the consolidation of customer insights that Patrick and his team were looking for. “I also identified another need, and that was a tool that could combine customer insights with strategy, in a roadmap that I could share with the rest of the company,” explains Patrick. He remembers looking at all the leading tools, but nothing seemed to bridge the two worlds, until he found Productboard. “It’s funny, I actually imagined the type of tool that I might need, and then I came across Productboard, and it was basically it.”
“I was looking for a tool that could combine customer feedback, roadmapping, and prioritization. There's a lot of tools for each of these individual functions, but only Productboard combines them all together.”
Productboard allows the team at Procurify to build a roadmap, thoroughly supported by customer feedback. It bridges customer insights with roadmap and strategy in a way that everyone can contribute to. And from the Product Managers’ perspective, having one place to go to review everything is hugely beneficial when processing insights instead of wading through emails and spreadsheets and Slack messages separately.
One of the benefits Patrick noticed straight away after using Productboard was faster decision-making. Now, when the product team comes across a feature request, they don’t need to search for a needle in a haystack for the related contextual feedback. “We know immediately if this particular use case was asked for before, and if so, how many times.” Thanks to Productboard they can easily categorize requests, and see how many other customers have made similar requests. Then, they can easily decide whether to invest in or park a particular request, shaping their prioritization process using concrete data-backed insights.
“It’s actually created a bit of a culture shift in our organization.”
Patrick’s team also receives a tremendous amount of value from the Features board, which allows them to assign drivers and prioritize based on these, as well as assigning different features to objectives. “We use objectives a lot, because we’re trying to become more of an OKR culture”, says Patrick. “It allows our PMs to create different visual hierarchies around those objectives and then add them to releases. It’s also nice to be able to create different visualizations of the same feature view in different roadmap views so that if you want to share with specific teams, you can.”
For example, Patrick found this incredibly helpful when the Procurify team recently onboarded a large new customer. The project required a separate workstream to prioritize development work, and Patrick and the team were able to create a dedicated roadmap view for all of the work happening for that customer that could then be shared with them. Productboard added structure, while providing enough flexibility to visualize outcomes for a particular audience.
Patrick’s next goals are to continue establishing Productboard internally — to strengthen the product process and gather more rich data to inform prioritization. Even then, Productboard is already embedded within many of the team’s processes. In the same way as Procurify colleagues know Salesforce as the go-to place for information on leads, they know Productboard as the place for all things product.
The major benefit Productboard provides is creating that holy grail, the single source of truth. “It’s flexible enough to hold any type of information from a customer interview to a specific ad hoc feature request.” The Productboard Roadmap has been particularly important for improving communication across the organization. “A lot of people used to use PowerPoints or static images, but now we always have an updated view of our entire portfolio level roadmap.” PMs can plan everything out on a thematic level, then push to Jira, where the dev teams can then continue work at the epic level. “Productboard functions as a layer above Jira for us,” Patrick explains. And this, combined with a roadmap that’s always up-to-date, helps Procurify provide a smart spend management solution the world has been waiting for.
Procurify offers a smarter way to manage spending for hundreds of companies around the world. As an award-winning platform that has managed more than $7 billion in spend, Procurify was nominated as one of the Most Innovative Business Solutions at NEXTBC 2015, a recipient of the Canadian Business Excellence Awards, and a finalist for the Ingenious Awards. Procurify has been featured in TechCrunch, Fortune, BetaKit, Vice and The Globe and Mail.
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