Driving Innovation and the Future Through Partnering

Founded in 1983, SafeNet, Inc. is one of the largest information security companies in the world, and is trusted to protect the most sensitive data for market-leading organizations around the globe. SafeNet’s data-centric approach focuses on the protection of high value information throughout its lifecycle, from the data center to the cloud. More than 25,000 customers across commercial enterprises and government agencies trust SafeNet to protect and control access to sensitive data, manage risk, ensure compliance, and secure virtual and cloud environments.

Business Challenge

As a leader in its industry, SafeNet has long developed information security products and processes with high quality and reliability to its customers. As the technology landscape continued to accelerate in the last few years, particularly around mobile, cloud, and big data, SafeNet was eager to become an innovation leader in these next generation technologies for their customers. To make this happen, SafeNet product development managers made a strategic decision to start an innovation center within the company – essentially an internal entrepreneurial startup – to develop new products and technologies in a rapid fashion. “What we needed was the ability to work with an external team, with unique expertise, which could rapidly explore different ideas with us and help kick start – bootstrap if you will – some of the ideas our new innovation team was thinking about,” says Chris Holland, Vice President of Product Management at SafeNet.


“As we were feeling our way through different technologies, platforms and solutions that we wanted to build on, Motifworks served as a great way for us to get a lot of horsepower, which was both flexible and immediately available to us in a short period of time, so we could ramp up very quickly,” says Holland.

Benefits of Partnering with Motifworks

Once SafeNet launched its new innovation effort and began its partnership with Motifworks, SafeNet realized three significant benefits that helped the company achieve fast results.

1. The SafeNet and Motifworks teams combined efforts to establish an Agile “scrum” product development methodology. In addition to the global development team, Motifworks deployed a key member of its team to work onsite with SafeNet throughout the product development cycle to ensure project completion within scope and budget. “Motifworks was able to be here for our key Agile meetings, which was very important. That’s a little bit different than what you might expect from a distributed development model,” says Holland.

2. The SafeNet and Motifworks teams used flexible work schedules to maximize their collaboration needs and keep the teams on the same development priorities. Typically, for example, the SafeNet team often began its work day early in the United States while Motifworks’ global team would finish their day late, providing critical work and collaboration overlap.

3. As SafeNet began its new innovation center, the new team didn’t rule out using any and all available technology components to enable their success in the short and long run. SafeNet, for instance, planned to consider the range of technology options to realize their product development plans, including determining web server components, backend application framework, hosting, and knowing which kinds of environments to support.

“It was unclear at the beginning how we were going to proceed. During the course of our engagement with Motifworks, what helped us was that as we changed some decisions, within the context and framework of our budget and planning scope, Motifworks was able to move their team members in and out to match our changes in utilized technologies,” says Holland.

SafeNet, for example, started one project using Motifworks’ Ruby on Rails team. Over the course of the project, SafeNet was able to quickly transition in an OSX Mac developer while also bringing in expert testing resources. As the Ruby on Rails development project proceeded, SafeNet was able to accelerate its product development effort by being able to quickly apply Motifworks’ expertise. “That was an element that was very helpful within the project budget and scope – Motifworks was very flexible in bringing in the right skill sets as we progressed in the project,” says Holland.

Driving Innovation and the Future Via Partnering

As SafeNet continues working on new ideas and new projects within its strategic innovation framework, a significant part of their progress and success has been a result of partnering with the Motifworks team. SafeNet quickly realized the challenge inherent in initiating creativity and innovation in product development, such as uncertainty around choosing the best development path forward, and the most appropriate technologies to use. “It was very important for us to bring in a partner who could bring lots of different skills and change them out and evolve with you in an early time frame. We’ll definitely be doing similar approaches as we bring on new projects,” says Holland.

The Challenges

  • Taking advantage of emerging technologies
  • Need to accelerate its innovation and product cycles
  • Inability to tap specialized skills at moment of need

The Results

  • Partnered with outside team to augment product development
  • Deploy round the clock skills and expertise to hit key milestones
  • Utilized experts in mobile, cloud, and big data spur innovation and time to market