Staples and Smarsh Tie for First Ever Boston Product Excellence Award


Graphic designed by: Chad Maxwell and Jay Bernasconi

Local Companies Vie for PRODiE Award at Exciting BPMA Event at Harvard Innovation Lab

On Tuesday, November 18, practitioners and leaders in the product management community gathered at the Harvard Innovation Lab in Allston to share best practices and hear the efforts behind product successes at the first Product Excellence Award (or PRODiE) sponsored by the Boston Product Management Association (BPMA).

A great Product Manager or Product Management team can be the difference between success and failure for a product, company, or even a new industry. The BPMA organized this event to recognize these often-unsung heroes who propel a product to success. In early September, a call for submissions was sent out to all BPMA members, posted to LinkedIn and tweeted to the greater Boston product management community. Throughout September, individuals nominated product managers and products that had major accomplishments in 2014.

All participants were required to be from the greater Boston area and to present to a panel of judges and a live BPMA audience on November 18. Pitches were strictly limited to 5 minutes and needed to answer three critical questions:

  • What Product Management best practices did you leverage in developing and launching your product?
  • How was learning incorporated into and leveraged in your development and launch process?
  • What quantifiable results did your product generate for your company, industry, and/or customers?

Eight presenters participated in the evening: Richard Juknavorian of PointRight, Liviu Rozin of Intralinks, Dana Drissel of Kaon Interactive, Suzie Livingston of IBM, Sally Buta of PatientKeeper, Eric Larnard of Smarsh, Ranjeet Bhosale of Staples, and Oded Valin of CyberArk.

The panel of judges, each with distinguished careers in Product Management, included: Tom Eisenmann, the Howard H. Stevenson Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School and Professor for Product Management 101; Prat Vemana, VP eCommerce, Global Product Management, Staples; Bruce McCarthy, Chief Product Officer, UpUp Labs; and Andrew Hally, VP Marketing, stealth mode big data startup.

Each judge (except where recused due to a connection to either a presenter or a company), ranked the presentations based on the three criteria above. After the presentations, the judges huddled up to deliberate. After just 10 minutes, during which the audience heard updates on BPMA activities and new attendees were encouraged to join, the judges announced a tie: Smarsh and Staples were the winners of the 2014 PRODiE Awards.

Smarsh delivers cloud-based archiving solutions for the information-driven enterprise. Its centralized platform provides a unified compliance and e-discovery workflow across the entire range of digital communications, including email, public and enterprise social media, websites, instant messaging and mobile messaging. Through a targeted effort on crystallizing the product vision and focusing on key personas, Smarsh reduced customers’ time-to-task by 70% and grew the sales pipeline by 30%.

Staples Dynamic Pricing is a scalable, dynamic pricing engine that helped Staples price items competitively. This engine has generated an impressive 20% year over year revenue growth on the dynamically priced products and, equally importantly, changed shoppers’ perception of Staples competitive pricing.

Feedback from the crowd of 75 was very positive. As Steve Robins, Principal, Solution Marketing Strategies, observed, “each presenter packed a short pitch with lots of insight, stories and compelling success metrics.” Presenters were excited to participate in the first PRODiE Awards night and the audience was energized by hearing success stories and lessons learned.

Some presentations focused on the accomplishments of specific product managers. The BPMA is considering adding a future PRODiE category to recognize the contributions of these leaders. The night reminded participants and audience alike that Boston is filled with a wealth of talented, committed product management professionals who are driving the success of products all over the Boston area.

PRODiE Graphic designed by: Chad Maxwell and Jay Bernasconi

Adrienne 2Adrienne Azaria builds products, processes, and people. She is currently a product and project management consultant and has previously held a variety of leadership positions in product management, engineering and client services. She has envisioned and built mobile magazine apps, transformed the way software teams deliver products through the use of agile, and grown a services team to be a competitive weapon in winning and retaining business.

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