Amphora’s mission is not to produce software, it is to make a change in our customers’ lives for the better. That means the implementation and use of our products is as important as the products themselves.
Some customers don’t need (or want) any assistance from us; they’ve got firm views on how they want to do things and our role is mainly to react to their questions.
Other customers like us to be much more involved – we’ve got decades of experience doing this in a wide variety of organisations and one of the reasons they picked us is to benefit from that experience. In these cases, we’re much more proactive in the implementation process.
Most often we find there’s a balance to be reached, in some areas a customer will want us to follow their lead and in others they follow our process.
Gently Does It
Too many software products expect users to decide up front how they are configured; we view this as asking the impossible from users, for the convenience of the programmers.
We prefer a more iterative approach – not only do people not know what they want until they see it, but there’s an iterative relationship between what a group of users learn as they improve their work practices.
Amphora’s products are built to allow setup and configuration in a gentle slope, where no decision is too rigid to be changed in the light of experience, and functionality is exposed at the rate that’s appropriate to the situation. We want our users to be delighted, not overwhelmed.
Over the years we’ve noticed something which surprised us – the amount of change within our customers often means we need to re-visit some of the decisions made in the implementation process. Our products are very flexible which means they can be tailored to the business’s preferences; but when the business changes we need to change how things are setup.
So we tend not to view “implementation” as a one-time event, more a continuous evolution. This is not only a technical feature – we try hard to make sure there’s no decision you can’t change – but also an account management approach. We’ll come to you every now and again, questioning from scratch “Is this working ok for you?”.
A Journey, not a Destination
A lot of IT & software vendors structure their products and customers experience around an assumption that things don’t really change. A system is specified to fit the needs of the customer, installed, and it is finished.
We’ve never found this to be true, or interesting. Maybe it was the case (pre-COVID!) in some organizations, but our customers are not only innovating in their scientific field, they’re also innovating and evolving their businesses.
That constant growth can cause some software vendors pain; we find it exhilarating. It is a genuine privilege to start working with a company at the very start, perhaps with two scientists, a shared office, and a dream. Over the next few years together we work in partnership to introduce the sophisticated functionality of our products at the appropriate pace, and adjust approaches as the business model and circumstances change.
Our startup customers don’t need Pharma-grade security and monitoring, but it is there when they need it. Similarly there’s no need for sophisticated integrations with other specialized software, but when the time comes we’ve got the experience and tools to help.