How Frame.io uses Airtable to scale at the speed of innovation
Multiple sources of user research and customer feedback are now consolidated and synthesized as part of the product planning processes.
The resulting roadmap on Airtable becomes a live and collaborative source-of-truth for the product direction, increasing efficiency and alignment across the broader organization and enabling teams to drive deeper business value.
Speed and innovation are what Frame.io is all about. The company’s cloud-based platform allows anyone who works with video to view and share edits, create timecode-specific notes, communicate about projects, and share onscreen markups on-the-fly. Like many innovative tech companies, Frame.io’s product is at its heart. Their product roadmap keeps their heart beating: it unites the whole company, and ultimately drives user-base growth and satisfaction. As the company grew, and more people worked on the product, it got harder to scale communication about roadmap changes across the Frame.io organization.
The product roadmap developed organically through a combination of spreadsheets, Google Docs, and Google slides, which scattered and siloed key information. For example, user feedback—an essential input to product development—was abundant, but hard to find. With no systematic way to map customer anecdotes and pain points to product features and improvements, it was hard to share customer stories with the broader product organization.
User feedback was just one example of hard-to-find information. Because the roadmap lived in different documents and weekly updates, it often fell out of date, leaving GTM partners wondering what the product team was working on next. Beyond hindering their speed, this presented a challenge: how would Frame.io stay aligned between product and GTM to best deliver value to its customers?
When Sam Seely, Director of Product, joined the company as its third product hire, the team was still managing the roadmap in different presentations, documents, and spreadsheets—every quarter he and the team would try a new method to share product updates with the rest of the company. As the company grew, it became harder to keep everyone up to date through the methods that had worked in the past.
"We were spending so much time trying to find information that by the time we found it, the opportunity had passed."
When Seely heard about Airtable’s no-code app development platform, he thought it could make the roadmap an accessible, living document, and save product managers time by giving them a single source to update. He signed up for a free account and started migrating information into his first base. He quickly realized Airtable could do anything a prepackaged roadmap solution could do, but in an entirely non-prescriptive way. Using features like shared views and filters, and reporting and dashboards, teams could build the processes they needed without compromising or adapting to a workflow that didn’t make sense to them. Best of all, the roadmap that the product team started living in every day was the same roadmap that was accessible to GTM teams within Frame.io—everyone was on the same page, in real-time.
At the same time, David Kong, Senior User Insight Manager, got to work on bringing Frame.io’s customer research practices into Airtable. He used Airtable’s API and 3rd party integrations to pull in information from the support team, the sales team, social media, and other sources of user feedback, giving them a real-time overview of everything customers were saying about Frame.io. Using triggers, he automated the data collection process, integrating creative solutions like a custom Slack emoji that automatically triggers a “send to base” function when assigned to a comment.
Kong’s user research app was a game-changer for the entire product development process. “We’re able to listen and learn from our customers more now than we ever could before in a much more systematic way,” Kong says. “This makes us more agile and able to work more quickly.” Now, the company no longer has to make educated guesses about the most popular features users want—the data is clear, categorized, and sortable for everyone to use.
Airtable started to spread to other parts of the company too, like Sales. Every salesperson had their own way of collecting the marketing materials they needed, making it hard to systematize and scale sales efforts. Tanya Smallwood, Director of Sales Enablement, began working with Rahul Kothari, Senior Product Marketing Manager, to create a sales hub that streamlines operations and gives the team a deeper understanding of their entire sales process. It had a halo effect across the organization too, helping drive conversations, onboarding new employees, and giving the team a deeper understanding of their entire sales process.
Airtable was brought in to solve redundancies and lack of clarity around a product roadmap, but in the end, it grew to impact the whole company. Yes, they did fix their roadmap problem, but they had also unexpectedly found the key to cross department collaboration.
Since the day Frame.io began building the product roadmap in Airtable, they haven’t looked back. Usage spread throughout the organization like wildfire, convincing Frame.io to upgrade to an enterprise account so they could make Airtable a centralized platform for the whole company. Every day, Frame.io is discovering new ways that Airtable can make their workflow smarter and their product better.
“I’m a huge advocate,” says Rahul. “The amount of time I’ve been able to save with Airtable has been immeasurable, and the more we’ve worked with it, the more applications we’ve found. Now when a problem comes up, the first question I ask is ‘How do we Airtable this?’”