Implementing Aha! at GHX—an International Software Company Serving the Healthcare Sector
Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX) helps healthcare providers optimise their supply chains, reducing their clients’ collective costs by more than $1 billion every year. In a nutshell, GHX’s cloud-based platform connects thousands of healthcare organisations to hundreds of suppliers across North America and Europe. In the process, they provide data, analytics, and technology to their clients to streamline everything from procurement to payment.
Software companies offering a wide portfolio of products often struggle to create a holistic, unified approach to product management, and GHX was no exception. To this end, GHX formed a Product Management Operations team to bring consistency to every aspect of product development, including:
- Implementing and testing new features
- Communicating updates to customers
- Ensuring legal compliance and managing contracts
- Making sure the cross-functional teams had a clear understanding of where the platform, and its suite of products, were headed
- Everything else involved with bringing product releases to market
At its core, the Product Management Ops team at GHX exists to give Product Managers and cross-functional teams everything they need to deliver amazing products as efficiently as possible, taking an Optimal Product Process (OPP) approach to their product releases.
Finding the right roadmapping software was essential to these efforts, and the Product Management Ops team saw Aha! as a viable solution. However, they had a few reservations.
GHX gave up on Aha! in the past. Would it work this time?
Aha! is a robust software that can revolutionise product management and interdepartmental communications—but it only works if employees adopt it. Three years earlier, GHX attempted an Aha! Implementation, but it didn’t take.
“When we did a post-mortem on our first attempt to implement Aha!,” says Program Manager Reut Levi, “Our users didn’t have a lot of resources, and the training was very basic. It was just one session. If they had questions, they were expected to search the Aha! Knowledge base, and there was no continuous support after the initial training.” In the end, Aha! gained a bit of traction. However, with roughly 1 in 10 teams using it, the tool couldn’t fulfil its larger purpose of building a roadmap for the entire company’s vision.
Corey Fobes, Director of Product Management Operations, worked with Reut to explore their options. They researched a range of roadmapping tools, including Jira’s roadmapping software, but they ultimately believed that Aha! remained the best solution for GHX—assuming they took the right approach to training and implementation.
Finding a capable implementation partner
“Aha! offers its own implementation and training, but they build this into the higher tiered pricing plans, and it would have ended up costing us a lot more as an ongoing expense. It would have cost us something like $50,000 per year, and that just didn’t make sense,” says Corey.
Realizing it would be far more cost-effective to hire an Aha! consultancy, Reut reached out to Justin Woods at Roadmap Heroes to discuss their training and implementation strategy. Impressed with Justin’s strategic approach, flexibility, and willingness to understand their business model, Corey and Reut hired Roadmap Heroes to onboard GHX’s product teams and ensure widespread adoption.
Designing and implementing GHX’s Aha! strategy
A successful rollout across eight product teams, each with around five or six members, requires careful planning and a phased approach. Justin gave careful consideration to each step following a thorough discovery period. Once approved, they initiated an implementation plan that included the following phases.
Phase 1: Onboarding Aha! leads and super users + defining the framework (1 month)
Phase 1 involved working with Aha! super users who would guide the software’s implementation extensively and help Justin configure it to work with GHX’s entire product universe.
This included capturing goals and initiatives for each product in accordance with the OPP framework. It also meant designing a seamless Jira integration so software engineers could extract all the information they needed from Aha! and record updates without ever leaving Jira.
Phase 2: Pilot program (2 months)
Rather than rushing to train every Product team immediately, Justin recommended beginning with a pilot program. This meant training two Product teams simultaneously in order to:
- Optimise configuration and work out any issues
- Allow the team to internally evangelise the software once they were thoroughly trained
For their pilot, GHX chose two teams. One team had working knowledge of Aha! and adopted it, to some extent, during the attempted rollout three years earlier. The other team had zero knowledge of Aha! and were a bit sceptical. This gave the implementation team a wide variety of feedback to work with.
Of course, every department has its own unique challenges, and the two pilot teams couldn’t speak for every department. To ensure that all Product teams had their voices heard, GHX set up a bi-weekly governance board where stakeholders from each department would meet to discuss key insights from the pilot program. Justin could then modify Aha!’s configuration and training plan based on the governance board’s feedback.
Phase 3: Company-wide rollout and support (4 months)
Justin led staggered Aha! trainings for each Product team along with members of other departments, including Software Engineers who would ultimately consume Aha! data in Jira. Training around 90 people via Zoom, Justin recorded each session so his trainees could revisit any area where they needed clarification. Justin also created custom handouts and shared them as references to drive consistency and adoption.
Beyond the initial training, Justin continued to provide governance support to ensure an intentional, collaborative, and enduring implementation.
Benefits of GHX’s successful implementation
Thanks to Roadmap Heroes, GHX’s second attempt at implementing Aha! was highly successful. It helped them achieve their OPP goals and produced the following benefits.
- Product teams could plan with the big picture in mind, assessing their options and ranking priorities
- Sales reps no longer needed to contact Product Managers to answer questions from customers about upcoming product releases—since all this information was all easily accessible through read-only Aha! accounts and reports
- All departments, from Legal to Engineering to Sales, understood where the company was headed holistically and what was coming up in the product pipeline
GHX came to work more efficiently thanks to a strategic, comprehensive approach to implementing Aha!. In the end, the tool eliminated unnecessary internal communication, got the entire organization on the same page, and helped them deliver products that improved the user experience.
Ready to see how a strategic Aha! Implementation can transform your business?
Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX)
Software as a Service (SaaS) + Healthcare
- Employees across departments needed a holistic understanding of the product pipeline and company goals
- Internal communications regarding product releases suffered
- GHX struggled to implement Aha! 3 years earlier, and they didn’t want to make the same mistakes a second time
Roadmap Heroes developed a comprehensive Aha! implementation strategy that included:
- A thorough discovery phase
- Close work with super users to build an ideal configuration
- A pilot phase to refine configuration and better understand potential pushback from end-users
- A broad company-wide rollout
- Continued support to ensure long-term adoption
Roadmap Heroes oversaw a successful implementation that resulted in:
- Helping Product teams plan with the big picture in mind
- Eliminating needless communication between sales reps and Product Managers in an attempt to answer questions relating to upcoming releases
- Giving all departments a holistic understanding of where the product pipeline was headed, and helping them understand the “why” behind each decision