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Enterprise security expertise guides fuzzing product to launch

In the process of taking their product to market, leaders at our client, a Fortune-100 global software company, realized they lacked the expertise to operationalize customer adoption of their security software, putting the success of the product at risk. The client engaged Kalles Group to deliver the security expertise and product leadership that would generate a successful customer adoption program. Kalles Group minimized time investment and financial overhead, and the company was able to develop a new valuable product to add to their suite of customer tools. 

Challenge  

The R&D team for a global software company aimed to turn their proprietary fuzzing software tool – used in pre-release security testing of the company’s software – into a marketable product for customers. The team was exploring product-market fit through interface with external customers. The client realized they lacked a process to understand the depth of customer concerns and a method to drive solutions back into their product development. This was critical, because there were many competing open-source alternatives available on the market, and if the software wasn’t successfully positioned as a premium solution, the product would not succeed. 

In order to move the product forward, the client quickly needed a partner with technical security expertise, product development experience, and a passion for delivering a great customer experience. The client chose to partner with Kalles Group.  

Approach 

To operationalize the client’s customer lifecycle, Kalles Group would leverage extensive enterprise-level security expertise and experience bringing software products to market. A definitive sales strategy would need to be developed to cultivate customer interest in the benefits of a “white-glove” fuzz test tool to position the product as a premium alternative to open-source products. The management of customer relationships would need to be systematized to establish proper customer management practices.

Encouraging a shift in perspective would enable the sales team to partner with customers to solicit customer feedback, develop a better understanding of security concerns, and help solve customer testing requirementsThis would help them turn customer business challenges into product features.   

In order to formalize customer onboarding, the team would need an onboarding methodology, as well as tools to guide customers through the first stepsThe team would need to demonstrate integration and testing scenarios that highlight the ease of use, reduced time investment, and results that make identifying and fixing errors with fuzzing simpler and easier.   

Solution   

The path to product success was through development of a customer success program that would target potential customers, address customer needs and concerns, and reduce the learning curve.  

Some basic groundwork was established to move from managing lists of contacts in Excel to a proper CRM. Establishing a formal customer lifecycle process would involve tracking and nurturing potential customers through a series of steps from generating initial customer interest to helping a customer implement a product trial. Later the system also supported tracking support contacts, customer usage, and client feedback, all viewable in a dashboard to provide visibility across sales and support functions.   

The Kalles Group team recommended shifting the target audience to the DevOps space. This would increase the potential for adoption, because customer teams could more expediently integrate and utilize the productA software demo would be built to fuzz test sample code, demonstrating workflow automation and message routing

For maximum appeal and easy integration, the product code was rewritten with commonality across Windows and RedHat Linux platforms and minimal platform-specific code. This made for less expensive maintenance, higher-quality code, and the ability to attain a true comparison of fuzzing suites on multiple platforms. 

Upon more detailed analysis of the sales channel, the Kalles Group team also advised that a limited-feature version of the software would most effectively lead customers toward adoption.

The team built and offered customers this “Freemium” version so customers could easily direct the product toward their softwareevaluating the testing benefits in a realistic space. 

New quick-start guides and instructional videos were developed to help customers get acquainted with the productbridging their integration to the point where they could begin using the online resources for more detailed information. Self-service mechanisms were built into the product to help customers solve their problems independently and built-in guidance was provided to help interpret the testing results. Finally, a team engineers constructed viable test harnesses directly for key target customers who needed help to integrate their target software with the product.  

Results 

Today the client has a scaling framework that enables them to continue iterating the product, utilizing customer feedback to build additional features into the software, making it even more valuable to customers. The product has successful growth trajectory with a loyal and growing customer base. 

The client has recommended Kalles Group to other internal groups and external partners as an excellent lifecycle partner for burgeoning enterprise product teams. They have also recommended Kalles Group as a valuable product lifecycle, engineering, and security consulting partner to many of their own clients.