Warm Welcome: Replicating the SaaS delivery model with a smart Proof of Concept (POC)

With a history of successful SaaS ventures for the photography and real estate industries, entrepreneur David Jay launched Warm Welcome as a Proof of Concept (POC) in early 2019. The product delivers highly personalized video messages through email to support customer onboarding and retention. After investing nine months to gather user feedback, Jay had developed a clear pricing model, a list of MVP features, and go-to-market strategy. However, he needed Effectual’s help refactoring the POC to address security and reliability concerns to make the solution production-ready.

Evaluating trade-offs, defining priorities

Highly skilled at building strong, loyal user communities, Jay and his team are adept at responding to user requests, defining focused MVPs, and gathering valuable customer feedback. With Effectual’s support, they have also learned how to use the Well-Architected Framework (WAFR) to evaluate trade-offs and determine priorities for their POCs.

For Warm Welcome, the team decided that time-to-market for its SaaS-Based solution in the POC phase was a priority. Their goal was to quickly capture user feedback in order to understand the product’s business value.

Aligning pricing and marketing strategies

The first version of Warm Welcome was a small, low fidelity MVP tightly focused on solving the customer’s biggest problems, which were closing a sale and onboarding a new client. Based on analytics, user surveys, phone calls, and focus groups, the company gained key insights into the value of the product. This helped them align their messaging and marketing with the needs of their customers.

In addition, they carefully tracked their actual costs, allowing them to build a pricing model to accurately fit their cost model.

Refactoring architecture for reliability and security

While reliability and security were acceptable trade offs during the Proof of Concept phase, they needed to be addressed prior to moving into production. Effectual began refactoring the POC by conducting a WAFR, resulting in a re-evaluation of the initial tradeoff decisions. In addition, Effectual offered the following recommendations:

  • Secure the environment to autoscale using EC2, ElasticBeanstalk, AutoScalingGroups
  • Set up a CI/CD pipeline with parallel environments to increase agility and lower risks
  • Leverage additional AWS tools and services including Cloudfront, S3, Aurora RDS, and ElasticTranscoder

Warm Welcome is one of many projects Effectual has worked on with Jay over the last several years. Throughout the client relationship, Effectual has provided strategic advice and technical expertise through all phases of discovery, development, and deployment.

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