Got a business problem, opportunity or perhaps even a dream? Need a website, online application or mobile app, but aren’t sure how to bring it to life? Think of us as your technology concierge. Business-savvy and technology-agnostic, we strive to thoroughly understand your business, your environment and your customers to point you to the solutions that make sense for you. We can help you clean up a mess, update your technology infrastructure or launch a new initiative (or even a whole new business).
Interactive Prototype Design
BizDox: Start-Up from Idea to Acquisition
Our client came to Tecture with a few sketches and an idea: develop a simple and secure way for IT service providers to create, maintain, and visualize documentation for their clients. The fundamental challenge of the project was to provide users of the system with a flexible visual representation of a client’s business application architecture tied to a database of current applications, putting an extraordinary amount of information at the user’s fingertips. Tecture worked through the complex technical challenges of the project, including designing and executing: a robust search and menu system, a contextual help system, wizard-style guidance through the application, automation of tedious tasks through third-party import and synchronization, architecting the system for scalability at all levels, and building an adjunct marketing website with ecommerce to manage signups. In the process we helped them through the stages of the business development process — such as securing funding, defining a Minimum Viable Product and launching a successful beta product. Ultimately, we took the client from raw idea to start-up with a viable online product, funding and acquisition.
Tecture had been working with Mepco, a financial services company, for several years in a limited web application development and maintenance role. As we grew to understand Mepco’s automotive loan servicing business in detail, our collaboration with their leadership and close contact with their customers led us to realize that their leadership position in their market was increasingly threatened by their outdated technology systems.
Mepco’s business model is a unique one. Their clients sell extended warranties to vehicle owners, and the company then takes on the financial responsibility and servicing of these policies. That means that they serve both the sellers of policies, as well as the vehicle owners. A review of their competitors led to us to realize that many were developing APIs to simplify integration with policy sellers. In response we designed a long-term API strategy in which all applications were gradually replaced with API calls. In addition, we rolled out the API to policy sellers and assisted their development teams with integration. That meant that we could eliminate duplicate code and allow sellers of policies to use the same API code used in the client’s own internal systems. This dramatically reduced testing overhead and allowed Mepco to be more responsive to their own clients.
Swiss Army Knife: Technology-Assisted Creativity
A well-known marketing guru came to us with a big challenge: create an application that reproduces the creative experience and results of his Swiss Army Knife workshop and methodology, a tool for “systematic creativity” in crafting every kind of sales message. We saw immediately that the user experience of the Swiss Army Knife was fundamental to creating a successful application that actually helps you be more creative. A first version of the application with another vendor had approached the project along conventional lines — and had failed to capture the flow, results and, frankly, the fun of the seminar and creative tool.
We dug deep into our staff’s experience with user experience, creative writing and photography to understand and model the cognitive distinctions and nuances of the creative process. From that model we broke the Swiss Army Knife process down into specific steps and created a supporting application “workspace” for each. For instance, in the idea generation step we provided a mechanism to supply idea “prompts” to the user that had the right balance of relevance and randomness. In every step we focused on friction-free navigation and providing prompts for a structured but flexible creative flow. Today the application is used as an adjunct to the Swiss Army Knife workshops.