This guest blog was written by Jérôme Sadler, Co-Founder of FutureNow Solutions Ltd.
Technology start-ups are often driven by the need to innovate in a highly uncertain technological and business environment. No matter how brilliant the idea that inspired the founders to take a career risk and build a company from nothing, it is hard to develop IP, nurture relationships with customers, and ensure that revenue is sufficient for survival initially, then growth. I find that the “Unarticulated Demand” model by Hamel and Prahalad gives a helpful perspective on the mindset you need in a start-up:
Figure 1: Hamel and Prahalad’s “Unarticulated Demand” matrix. Source: Hamel, G. and Prahalad, C. K. (1997) Competing for the Future, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
If you rely on your existing customers to guide your innovative thinking, you miss the innovation potential of three of the four innovation quadrants. The Unarticulated Demand model shows that you need insight from many sources to make the right bets on your products or services, and then be able to change direction quickly as new insights emerge.
At FutureNow Solutions we develop cross-platform mobile solutions that apply computer vision and machine learning technologies, currently in the forensic science, medical, and insurance domains, though we see applications of our IP well beyond these areas. We are a young company—10 months old—and we use Xamarin.Forms to deliver sophisticated Android, iOS, and UWP solutions quickly. A few months ago, we looked for attractive and flexible UI components that would enhance the usability and appeal of our products. Syncfusion’s Essential Studio for Xamarin.Forms has been an excellent answer for us from many perspectives.
First, the components look polished and are easy to configure. At FutureNow Solutions, we use design thinking concepts for rapid and constant feedback from customers and potential customers, and it is vital that we can change and configure UI components quickly and easily. The Syncfusion components we use give us this capability.
Figure 2: Syncfusion range slider components in one of the FutureNow Solutions products
Secondly, we wanted the components to support internationalization. At this stage, our customers are primarily in the Far East, and our solutions are fully internationalized. For example, producing PDFs using traditional and simplified Chinese was a prerequisite for one of our solutions, and the Syncfusion PDF component for Xamarin.Forms supports this with no issues.
Thirdly, Syncfusion’s generous Community License is ideal for early stage start-ups; it allows organizations to use Syncfusion components to build and distribute polished products early on, and then invest in full licences as the start-up grows and revenue becomes less uncertain. This removes a barrier to innovation, and is a very great help.
Lastly, we wanted to be able to rely on good quality support for the components. I am particularly sensitive to this aspect, as I have run large support organizations and have strong views on how technology organizations should support their customers. I can say that I have been very impressed. Online documentation is good, and when we have had queries about components or issues with them, the Syncfusion support teams have reacted quickly. They respond with fully functional Visual Studio solutions to demonstrate how to do something, or how to work around an issue while they resolve it in the background. Any fixes have been turned around speedily.
We use three Essential Studio for Xamarin.Forms components—Essential PDF, the range slider, and the busy indicator—and are about to start using the data grid, list view, and autocomplete components. I am sure that we will use more components from Syncfusion’s Essential Studio in the future, and I would recommend them to any organization that uses Xamarin.Forms.