Wyoming worked with the Client’s Antibodies team, to help build a ground-breaking customer support tool, Panel Builder. The scale and diversity of its product portfolio together with the highly technical nature of many of the products makes it literally impossible to deploy universal online product selection criteria.
The Client’s Antibodies team recognised an opportunity to improve the Customer Experience (CX) of Protein Biology customers responsible for the design and optimization of bespoke Multicolour Flow Cytometry Panels.
Even for the most experienced scientists, the design of these panels typically involves a frustrating process of trial and error. The panel optimization process requires many different combinations of candidate reagents together with a spectrum of other test variables to be painstakingly tuned.
Understandably, the risk, effort and cost involved in designing new panels tends to promote a conservative approach amongst scientists; skewing purchase decisions towards a narrow portfolio of “tried and tested” products. Ironically, this purchase behaviour tends to overlook alternatives that often offer incremental benefits over established products.
Recognising an opportunity to improve customer experience and support wider portfolio consideration, the Thermo Fisher Scientific Protein biology team began examining the potential for developing an online flow cytometry simulator. The aim was to create an interactive tool that would allow customers to visualize the effects of combining different flow cytometry reagents (antibody fluorochrome conjugates) without being required to first purchase and trial in their own lab.
Creating a faithful online analogue of any biological reaction is often complicated by the fact that many biological systems resist simple linear extrapolation. Thermo Fisher Scientific’s highly experienced Protein Biology specialists and Wyoming’s engineers collaborated closely in the development of proprietary algorithms that form the basis of the application’s emulation engine. Thereafter further engineering work was undertaken in collaboration with the client’s data and infrastructure teams, in the establishment of a complex array of data feeds and transformations, necessary to support the client’s ambition that the application should provide customers with the greatest possible degree of customisation.
The first sprint focussed on building a simple prototype that transformed the base scientific input data through the emulation engine, to enable the visualization of typical multicolour flow cytometry emission spectra.
Following validation of the emulation engine output by Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Protein Biology experts, additional MVP functionality was added through iterative sprints, including the integration of technical product data, eCommerce integration, and the opportunity for users to save, edit, output and share previous panel designs.
Final smoke tests identified functional edge cases together with UI and navigational challenges; all of which were remediated prior to formal Alpha testing.
The Beta application was released in September 2018 with regular feature enhancements added following launch, based on user research and studying usage analytics. The latest version can be viewed here: https://www.thermofisher.com/order/panel-builder/#/
The Panel Builder application has become the reference point for a growing number of Protein Biologists considering the design of new Multicolour Flow Cytometry Panels. Through the provision of an interactive decision support tool, Thermo Fisher Scientific has embedded itself and its antibodies portfolio at the earliest possible point in the customer’s consideration journey.
The Panel Builder application enhances the customer experience, broadens purchase portfolio and adds long term value to the relationship between Thermo Fisher Scientific and its customers.