Innovation can simply be defined as doing something new. And sometimes that “something new” can be taking something that already exists today and using it in a new, different way. That’s what the team at Mitsui Bussan Secure Directions (MBSD), Inc. did when they created a new service (and a new revenue stream for its business).
MBSD, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsui, is a leading Japanese provider of IT security services. The company offers a wide range of services including vulnerability assessment, penetration testing, managed security service, and cybersecurity consulting. Its team of security professionals offer a combination of in-depth knowledge and understanding of attackers' methodologies with granular support to bring a comprehensive yet highly technical approach to protect customers in terms of cybersecurity.
Two years ago, MBSD’s talented team of engineers developed its own award-winning tool, GyoiThon, using sophisticated machine learning to help their enterprise customers track the software running on their web servers – which can be a big challenge since proliferation of web servers go hand in hand with the proliferation of services an enterprise may deploy to support its business. Tracking that software is essential to ensuring OS and middleware software updates are deployed and security risks are mitigated. The tool used by MBSD’s security consultants was very effective. Even though the engineering team initially had no intentions of selling it to customers as a product or service, they knew they had something customers wanted and needed.
So, how do you turn an internal tool into something that customers can buy and use on their own? Where do you start?
“We didn’t know how to move forward with this project,” said Yo Hayashi, General Manager of R&D DIvision, General Manager of IoT & Advanced Analytics Division, MBSD.
“We have very knowledgeable engineers – they know about the market and the customers’ voice, but their perceptions were already fixed. Talking to Moon, we realized we had to take a step back to really understand our customers and what they really needed step by step.”
Working with the Moon Creative Lab team, Yo and the MBSD team worked to challenge their assumptions of what they already knew about their customers and their needs. They worked together to clearly define the personas of their potential customers and put themselves in their shoes.
“We wanted to get clarity on the entire ecosystem,” said Vlad Almonnord, Design Director, Moon Creative Lab. “Who is the actual end user versus who are we selling to? What is their day-to-day life? How will this new service enable them to make key decisions in their job? Becoming truly empathetic of the customer was a big light switch.”
This revealed several challenges that IT teams face within an organization and humanized a complex industry. “It not only helped us in expanding the offerings of the original service, but also helped drive a lot of clarity on how to deliver actionable information to different stakeholders involved in the value chain (the type and granularity of information is different for each stakeholder or decision maker in the ecosystem).”
MBSD then worked with the Moon Creative Lab team to build a prototype service called the Continuous Assessment of Asset and Vulnerability (CAAV) based on their core technology. The MBSD team then went and tested the service directly with customers and incorporated feedback to improve the user experience.
The CAAV service is now available for sale and the team recently acquired its first paying customers! This new service gives MBSD a new conversation to have with their customers as well as a new revenue stream. With CAAV, the MBSD and Moon team proved that innovation for your business does not need to come from zero. It can come from using something that exists today, but used in an entirely new way.
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