We Are Umbrage
Umbrage is a legion of creatives united by a passion to design, develop and deliver consumer-quality digital solutions and experiences to the enterprise and we wanted to take a moment to introduce ourselves.
Not long ago, the enterprise was told it needed to be more “user-centric” when contemplating a digital solution. And for good reason. Empathy toward “customer-experience” was emphasized. Rightfully so. The enterprise was fighting a battle against consumer-focused products who were disrupting the web-based software experience. The enterprise got bad forms and dashboards while the consumer got beautiful interfaces. Eventually, enterprise software makers were forced to reconsider how they approached the user.
A methodology emerged for designing commercial applications that started with the customer (or customer experience) and worked backward to the technology in order to uncover the best solution. This was soon dubbed “design-thinking” inside the enterprise.
Design-thinking, and the exercises & workshops typically coupled to it, took flight. As a result, many executives clamored for “design-thinkers” and were eager to engage agencies and service-design studios to help implement it.
The result: Whiteboards filled with dry erase markers and walls covered in sticky notes.
At Umbrage, design-thinking and user-centered designs are an important aspect to delivering digital products. However, design-thinking is not the special sauce that distinguishes Umbrage, but rather, a necessary and logical step to building functional, scalable software.
MVP. MVP. MVP.
Soon after the corporate annexation of “design-thinking” came a desire to have functionality. It’s logical. White boards and sticky notes are great, but they don’t increase shareholder value as much as a working product does. So, the MVP — Minimum Viable Product — enters stage left.
As ubiquitous as the phrase “design-thinking” became, MVP equally permeated the organizational charts inside the enterprise. Seemingly, every business line, operational vertical, and/or P&L holder were creating their own MVPs for every digital challenge in sight. Similar to how service-design studios and agencies were engaged to implement design thinking, the enterprise then called on creative technology studios and R&D labs to turn user-centered designs into MVPs.
The result: Pseudo-functional web and mobile solutions that trended more toward minimal than viable.
At Umbrage, MVPs are as critical of a step to industrializing digital products as design-thinking. They just aren’t the coup de grace, but rather, a key component to delivering scalable software.
Industrializing Product Development
The ability to industrialize digital products is what makes Umbrage unique. Industrializing products empowers our partners to implement the DevOps skills and techniques in order to create a scalable approach to product development.
Industrialization of product is the lens through which Umbrage looks at all engagements and should be the lens through which the enterprise assesses digital partners and vendors. The enterprises’ digital stratosphere is replete with products that are one-hit wonders. What is needed is scalability.
Meeting after meeting, Umbrage encounters the same frustrated response when broaching the topic of a products’: reliability; infrastructure control and repeatability; CI/CD pipeline, just to name a few. A lot of consultancies rush to deliver the MVP. They miss the opportunity to create a DevOps environment that shows they are focused on long-term client success. And that will lead to a failing solution.
At Umbrage, one of the maxims we subscribe to when engaging with clients on specific products is, “teach ’em to fish.” We don’t just deliver the product, but show how we reached the solution. Open the proverbial sandbox and educate clients on, (1) how Umbrage designs, delivers and deploys digital products, and (2) mentor to them how our cross-craft functionality cohesively interacts and brings their vision to life.
Set up for long-term success
Umbrage has designed, developed and delivered inventory management solutions, operations management systems and ecommerce platforms for global companies, all with the goal of long-term ownership by the client. Was it because our designs were the most intuitive? Perhaps. Could it be due to the product’s architected frontend and backend codebase? Maybe. But it was unequivocally attributed to the fact that each of these solutions were being deployed to a DevOps environment that was secure, reliable, scalable and repeatable.
Delivering today while building for the long-term, Umbrage and your team can ensure that the solution built for your team is good for your team. Our process is centered on continuous learning and we have the teams that can translate the needs of your organization to an effective software solution..
If you are tired of falling short with design thinking and MVPs? It’s time to bring in Umbrage.