To whitelabel or not to whitelabel
Are you wrestling with the concept of whitelabelling your product?
At AgileData we have been there, this post takes you on a journey through our decision-making process, where we grappled with the thought of our painstakingly crafted product being rebranded by another company.
However, we discovered that our Vision and Mission acted as our guiding principles, leading us to the conclusion that whitelabelling would not compromise our product’s purpose – to “reduce the complexity of managing data in a simply magical way”.
Dive in to explore how we navigated this complex path and arrived at a decision that embraces whitelabelling while preserving AgileData’s Vision and Mission.
I have a dilemma.
One of our Consulting Partners is very keen for us to whitelabel AgileData for them.
By whitelabel I mean they will use the AgileData App, AgileData Platform and AgileData Way of Working for their customers, but their customers will never know they are using AgileData. Our Consulting Partner will treat our product as their own.
We have seen this pattern before with embedded BI. With Embedded BI vendors, you can embed their dashboards, visualisations and reports into your product and the customer would never know you are using a third party product.
It is the same pattern as the way we use Google Cloud as the cloud infrastructure for AgileData, as a customer you should never worry about what we are using under the covers as the goal is to remove the complexity of managing cloud infrastructure. And you will never see a Google Cloud logo in our AgileData App. (In fact you don’t see our logo either, but Ill come back to that).
So why am I hesitant?
I think one of the reasons is I am in charge of the product and I have years of sweat and hard made decisions of what should go into it and what shouldn’t. It is effectively my baby and it feels wrong for somebody else to use it without any reference to us.
But then they are still using and loving our product, and they and their customers are still getting massive value from our product, platform and WoW, so that reason shouldn’t matter.
Another reason is we believe there is power in the idea of “Local Delivery, Global Support”. We believe a network of partners working together with us, and collaborating amongst themselves as much as they do with us, has power.
But then the consulting partner will still be a consulting partner, they will still be part of the AgileData partner network. They will still collaborate with us and the other partners, regardless of the whitelabel pattern.
Anchor to your Vision and Mission
In these decisions I tend to go back and look at our Vision and Mission.
Our Vision is to work with people we respect, who can work from anywhere in the world (we think of it as working from any beach), who get paid well for their expertise and experience to support the lifestyle they want.
Lots of subtlety in each one of those points which I leave for another time.
So why data? As we could meet that vision with a million different product ideas and a million different business models.
Well the answer is both Nigel and I come from a data background, I have over 30 years working in the data domain and Nigel over 20. And both of us are still passionate about solving the big gnarly problems in this domain. So working in an area we know well, and still love working in just makes sense.
So then lets look at our mission, it is to “reduce complexity in a simply magical way”.
Again there is subtlety in this simple statement. Nigel is the engineer of our duo, he loves to engineer all day (and often all night) long. What he does is complex. But that complexity results in simplicity for our customers and our partners. I love things that make me go wow, I always have, I have often been accused of focusing on the shiny (which is a compliment as far as I am concerned). I am an unashamed Apple fan boy, their products always give me an unexpected wow moment. So I strive to take the things Nigel makes simple and turn them into a product that surprises you with its simplicity (which is no mean feat in the data domain).
So if we use our Vision and Mission statement as the thing to compare a whitelabelled offering against, we get a match. None of the whitelabel patterns go against our Vision or Mission.
So why am I hesitant, why do I think I have a dilemma?
Deep down I want to have a product and brand that is globally recognised, I want to be on stage at a conference of 10 thousand raving AgileData disciples and say “just one more thing”.
But that is not what AgileData is about. If it was, we would have taken VC money and hopped onto the growth at all cost hamster wheel. Our Vision would be some inspirational start-up w#%k words, we would be focused on gaining logos over sustainable revenue. But that is not what we decided we were about when we started working on AgileData 4 years ago..
And so that is why a Vision statement is so important, it is the North Star that you can measure any big decision against.
Where did we end up?
If I measure whitelabelling the AgileData App and the AgileData Platform against our Vision and Mission it’s a hell yes let’s do it.
We will have some guardrails, partners won’t be able to reskin the App with their logo or colours. Funnily enough we don’t have the AgileData logo in the app itself, it was a decision we made early, it would take up valuable screen space and have no value for our customers and data magicians. We use the colours in the AgileData App a lot to help data magicians to understand what a thing is at a glance, and we don’t want to jeopardise that simplicity, so we won;t allow our partners to rebrand the app with their colours.
We could set a guardrail that the app will have “powered by AgileData” somewhere on the screen. But then that would be me trying to hedge my bets. And I will end up compromising the partner’s vision and mission.
The interesting one I landed on is whitelabelling the AgileData Way of Working is a no (for now), and isn’t that a weird thing to focus on as a Product person?
Perhaps I am really just an AgileData coach in my heart (or I have more attachment to that content).
To whitelabel or to not whitelabel that is the question.
And the answer is yes, so dilemma solved.
We will whitelabel away with simplicity and magic!
Keep making data simply magical
AgileData.io provides both a Software as a Service product and services to get your data work done.
We focus on reducing the time and effort it takes to do this data work, so we can charge you less.