Startups are fast growing companies, mostly technology firms, that are building a product that can cater to a need of the masses, while being able to create a USP irrespective of the size of the competition. Paul Graham’s ‘Startup=Growth‘ validates the same. Now if you are indeed working in or building a startup, you can certainly relate with all of these characteristics. And you would also know that striking a balance to ensure all the related parameters is hard, very hard.
Mature entrepreneurs understand that they can’t take care of everything themselves, hence they focus on building strong teams. A product manager is deployed with the task to understand the need of the customers, ideate what needs to be done and communicate the same to the technology team to build such products. In small teams, the founders might take up this role upon themselves. Now ask any product manager and they will tell you that it’s a 360 degree role managing with both external and internal factors. Understanding that product managers too have a need for tools to simplify their job, seasoned technology professionals Ravikiran Annaswamy and Muralidhar S, took it upon themselves to build such a product and launched ‘Woises’.
What is Woises?
Woises is the flagship product of Bangalore-based Innohabit technologies Pvt Ltd, which was founded in November 2015 by Ravikiran and Muralidhar. It is a cloud based product management software, launched in March 2016.
The product allows product managers to consolidate all of their efforts into a single dashboard. It has features to collect requirements from different channels – mobile, web, email etc. and different entities – customers, sales teams, support teams etc. Organise them, and create a product roadmap to communicate to the development team. It offers a mapping interface to manage customer deliveries and link to financial results.
“The Product Managers get the right slicing methods to choose what to build. The importance and financial viability is easily applied to create the Backlog. Lean Canvas is inbuilt for large requirements and allows to capture the business decision at one place. Smart prioritization allows product managers to estimate cash flows in future and assign a revenue potential to the requirement.” shares Ravikiran.
Key Features of the Product
Below are the key features that Woises offers:
1. Omni-Channel Requirement Capture Workflows – Product Ideas/Requirements can be captured from anywhere using multiple sources – Mobile App (iOS/Android), Web App, Email, Chrome Extension or external channels Twitter, Slack Yammer etc.
2. Bulk Import from 3rd Party Portfolio/Program Management Tools – Besides Microsoft Excel Import, it provides bulk import feature from popular portfolio/program/backlog management tools such as JIRA & Rally. Product managers can track all their current product releases and corresponding requirements under one single consolidate view.
3. Smart Prioritization and Roadmap Planning – Each requirement that’s added has multiple attributes such as priority, customer, requirement type, user story, impact, cost estimate and feature tags. The tool provides built-in lean canvas, kanban boards and roadmap planning workflows to empower product managers make right prioritisation decisions using the attributes, unique metrics and algorithms.
4. Product 360 Dashboards – Woises provides 360 view of product management metrics through KPI dashboards that allows product managers to use out-of-the-box reports during business operations reviews or for upstream communication with stakeholders.
Vision Behind the Product
“Our vision is to give “Power to product managers”, improve their productivity, eliminate duplication of information and streamline communication. Our mission is to make “Woises” as a de-facto tool for all product managers to effectively manage all their requirements and enable them to make right prioritization and roadmap decisions.” says Ravikiran. The team strongly believes that the coming decade would observe product leaders building innovations.
Woises is targeting the global technology product management space. Ravikiran adds “According to 2016 Google and Accel partners report on SaaS market in India, there are over 250,000 product managers globally and India is expected to have around 36,000 product managers in 2016 and is poised to grow to 68,000 by 2020. This gives Woises a large and interesting market across start-ups, small, medium and large enterprises.”
Challenges Faced and the Way Forward
When asked about what challenges is the company facing in its growth, Ravikiran answered “Product management as a practice is very prevalent in large high tech companies, however it’s a new skill in startup and particularly Indian ecosystem. We are going through the journey of educating entrepreneurs and product managers on the practices and skill sets through webinars and blogs”. The company is investing in educating and creating a community of product managers who can share their experiences with their peers in the industry.
At present it has 2 large global MNCs using Woises in trial mode, and claims to have over 40 startups at present in its clientelle. The company is focussed on enabling product managers in India to begin with, and plans to expand to Western markets in early 2017.
About the Founders
Ravikiran Annaswamy, is the Founder and CEO of Innohabit Technologies and Muralidhar S is the CTO.
Ravikiran is an entrepreneur with earlier ventures in marketing automation and telecom analytics. He comes with a global exposure as business leader at Siemens and Nokia in the past. He has led businesses like Prepaid Charging, Mobile VAS and many OTT Services. He is also very active in the startup ecosystem and leads the Bangalore chapter of Founders institute and also a social incubator called Deccan center for innovation and design. He volunteers for IEEE and is on global teams on Innovation, Entrepreneurship and 5G technologies.
Muralidhar is a versatile leader with deep experience across multiple functions of business: Product Management, Architecture, Engineering, Pre/Post Sales and Customer Support. He has worked in the past at Siemens and Cisco Systems with proven track record in leading multi-million $ Product/SaaS businesses such as Element Management Software, Network Health Analytics, Service Quality Analytics, Proactive NOC Platforms, Assurance Services for Global Telecom Operators. He is an active mentor to many young professionals, speaker in various technology forums and an active volunteer on IEEE Computer Society and Corporate Social Responsibility Groups.