Attivio, Inc.: Strategic Decisions at a Technology Startup, Case Study Example

Executive Summary

Attivio is one of the leading organizations in the field of Enterprise Search. With ‘4 week sprints” strategy, Attivio has been developing new products in enterprise search market based on the ideas generated by the top management of the company to fill the ga ps. The report is divided into three parts. The first part of the report discusses on new development process of Attivio and analyses how its development process differs from the traditional development process. The second part discusses about the critical success factors of enterprise search applications. The third part of the report analyses on how well Attivio has done in commercializing the product.


New product development process of Attivio Inc

Attivio’s new product development process is based on a customized methodology called “4 week sprints”. When Attivio’s senior management identifies a gap between the customer needs and existing products, they directly have a meeting with their project managers to come-up with the prototype. As senior management of Attivio is well experienced to find out gaps in the market, the ideas for potential markets were generated without any market research.

The project management team purely depends on ‘4 week sprints’ strategy to develop a prototype to fill the gap. According to a senior project manager of Attivio, the priority was given to develop an application or product, which suits into current needs of the market; any customization or improvement, can be done later as per the customer feedback. By using ‘4 week sprints’ strategy, the project development team at Attivio designs, develops and tests a component so that the decision can be made to work on the next component. It is a systematic process of developing several components of the product one after another.

As there are four active programmers dedicatedly working to develop the product, the internal discussions, among the programmers, senior management and engineers, always suggest programmers to do a lot of iterations. In the initial days, Attivio develops the framework for the customers without any charge to test the product in real time environment. By using the extensive feedback from the customer(s), Attivio provides new prototype, which works impeccably, and chares for the new prototype. Later the product will be promoted extensively to gain the customer base.

Differences between Attivio’s process and traditional development process

Attivio’s product development is a bit different from the traditional development process, which often driven of market research, in other fields. In the traditional process, a perfect product will be developed and promoted to the customers. If we compare Attivio’s development process in the software industry, there won’t be many differences except the internal development strategies such as ‘4 week sprints’ strategy, testing the product at customer workplace for free of cost and dedicated programmers etc. Attivio’s product development strategy is completely related to build-to-order approach, which reduces the financial risks.


Enterprise search market as a whole and its critical success factors

Enterprise search is an evolving market that drives internet and customer centric content retrieval process together. Enterprise search helps customers to collect data from various sources such as email servers, file systems, database applications, intranet and external websites with a single query. Companies like Google, Microsoft, Autonomy, Endeca, Exalead, Attivio, IBM, Diselpoint Vivisimo are known for providing services on enterprise search in the market.

Critical Success Factors

Relevancy: Considering differences between internet and enterprise such as hierarchy across sites, link structure and security is one of the success factors of enterprise search.

Efficient Access to Unstructured Data: The process of finding data efficiently from unstructured data such as presence of duplicate copies and different versions of documents in multiple file shares is one of the major concerns. Enterprise search solution provides a path away from the above issue.

User Experience: In order to support and improve the experience the interface between the user and search function should be simple, intuitive and familiar.

Access to Structured Data and Lob Systems: One of the major factors to look upon is that the users get deprived of the information they require as many of the companies lock down much of their ordered data for fear of unauthorized users. Finding a solution that helps protecting and securing information where required, allowing proper access to prepared data and LOB systems such as, SAP, CRM, Siebel and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning).

People Search: An Enterprise search solution should provide subject matter experts and it should develop and integrated solution where by a user can simply make excellent use of real-time communications, to make relations such as project teams and knowledge networks.

Security, Management and Scalability: Security, management and scalability are the factors to be developed to provide custom security trimming, standard features to assist secure corporate information from unauthorized access and check for customizable interfaces, extensibility, and scalability.


How well has the company done so far commercializing the product?

By tapping numerous of big clients such as Motorola, AMD, Cisco, UBS, ASTD and IHS etc, Attivio has done a good job in promoting and commercializing the product. Competing with the top companies like Google, Autonomy and IBM in Enterprise Search, Attivio is known for its customized solutions and customer relationships. By engaging three dedicated teams such as traditional sales team, technology team and professional team, Attivio is emerging as a leading player in verticals like compliance & eDiscovery, eCommerce, Government & Intelligence, Information Providers, OEM product manufactures, Financial Services Companies, Enterprise & Intranet Companies and Customer Analysis Companies. With in two years of time, Attivio has emerged as a main competitor for major companies like Google and Autonomy in the field of enterprise search.

By competing numerous of big companies in the market, Attivio has recorded a growth rate of 300 percent over the previous fiscal year and doubled its customer base in 2011. Overall Attivio has done well in commercializing the product.