Building a product is always for a customer. Developing with this fact in mind helps developers turn their love for technology into more relevant results. Jake Levirne explains the approach for very technical products at Digital Ocean in a small series of videos.
Everybody in software development knows the feeling. In every position involved, right? Source:
‘We’ve created a privacy industry’ was a statement you could often hear when Europe introduced General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the German implementation DatenSchutz GrundVerOrdnung (DSGVO). Already back in 2016 first predictions arrived, that GDPR will boost European software industry and give them a unique selling point. After the regulation became effective in Europe May 25th 2018(!), after a 2 years transition period, perceived only complaints happened. Affected data controllers and processors cited the difficulties implementing these regulations. A BitKom funded survey even indicates the regulation is hurting the European market.
Now, around 1.5years later, the industry seems to have settled on the regulation and business continues as usual. Subjectively perceived, privacy is indeed still an obstacle to decision makers in the market. Even politicians keep on imploring data to be the new oil, demanding a data driven economy and to weakend the underlying ideas of european data protection acts. Meanwhile, the opportunity has moved along. Californian Start-Ups discovered this niche and turn privacy it into value:
Privacy-focused technology companies are offering a variety of services, from personal data scrubbing to business-focused software meant to help companies comply with the law.
Product First Step Feedback: Having worked in customer facing roles most of my career, I have experienced first hand how important it is for clients to get quick impressions of a product. Opportunities to leave that impression are often limited.
The other night, a colleague argued most products don’t even need a UI. And a UI won’t even be necessary for products that aim at developers as their audience. It may be unnecessary for specific, complex products. And in general, I won’t disagree. Such products exist and still require a good first impression. Browsing open source directories at Github, popular projects come with good documentation. A readme.md that comes with building and running instruction.
In the IaaS/PaaS/SaaS world, popular tools come with first step tutorials. Quick tours to get potential users started in minutes. Google apparently made this a release requirement, since virtually all products ship with a “Get Started in 5 Minutes” section to start with.
When I came into the product management role, I was a strong proponent of UI driven products. In hindsight, this believe was driven by the pure marketing thought of it. A UI shows better at trade fair booths than a terminal.
With more technical products, the readme is the last resort. And with that, an opportunity to gather feedback is gone. The UI can implement tracking and analysis to build a feedback channel for Product Managers to understand how the new feature actually is perceived.
In the software, provided it is delivered in source, the first step that could possible send telemetry, is the build process. And to drive adoption, you have to offer the customer a good first impression in documentation, before he can build your component. Should the documentation not deliver on this first step, you lost a customer even before he saw the product. If you are in the situation to receive feedback on this first impression, take that very serious.
Customer Relationship Management ist schon länger der am stärksten wachsende Software-Markt. Als Gewerbetreibender kommt man nicht umhin, sich mit dem Trend auseinanderzusetzen. Nur durch den Einsatz von Software kann man seinen Kunden besser verstehen und so sein Angebot verbessern. Heute möchte ich einmal kurz die andere Perspektive einnehmen, und eine kurze, aber mir sehr auffällige Erfahrung aufzuschreiben.
In the age of Big Data, product management can leverage plenty of feedback. Any product decision can be based on data, too. Product Coalition has an article. Setting up User Analytics.
In today’s edition of privacy related topics, it is Google that apparently stored customer passwords in plaintext. Google didn’t disclose which (enterprise) customers have been affected, but was clear that improper access is out of question. With this recent incident, Google joins ranks of Facebook, Instagram, but also Twitter and LinkedIn.
Google says it discovered a bug that caused some of its enterprise G Suite customers to have their passwords stored in an unhashed form for about 14 years.
Some huge changes to start the Weekend with at #SAP. As Executive Board Member and President of the Cloud Business Group Robert Enslin decided to step back from his role and pursue an external opportunity, Jennifer Morgan will succeed him as president of the Cloud Business Group (CBG). Adaire Fox-Martin will assume the role of president in the Global Customer Operations.
Source: SAP Leadership Announcement
Die Wikipedia definiert ein Produkt folgendermaßen:
In der Praxis wird ein Produkt viel zu häufig als ein Ergebnis verstanden, das am Ende des Produktionsprozesses steht. Eins der größten Hindernisse für die Digitalisierung ist dieser Gedankengang, denn damit wird die Möglichkeit einer Dienstleistung häufig ausgeschlossen.
Gerade im traditionell produzierenden Gewerbe ist die Erwartungshaltung häufig, man müsse Apps herstellen, wie Produkte von einem Band laufen. Der Kunde kauft aber keine Glühbirne, sondern beispielsweise die Möglichkeit einen Mehrwert-Dienst in Anspruch nehmen zu können.
Je nach Produktgruppe unterscheiden sich die Möglichkeiten für Dienstleistungen natürlich sehr grundlegend. Vom traditionellen Produkt unterscheiden sie sich aber all dadurch, dass sie mit der Auslieferung nicht abgeschlossen sind.
Digitalisierung ist umgekehrt auch kein Enabler für Dienstleistungen, das gab es auch früher schon. Aber Digitalisierung eröffnet Möglichkeiten Kundenfeedback zu sammeln, zu verarbeiten, in Kontext zu setzen und nutzbar zu machen. Jede folgende Generation eines Produktes kann mittels diesem Feedback besser gestaltet werden und jede Dienstleistung kann zu einer besseren Kundenzufriendenheit führen.
Wenn der Kunde sich verstanden fühlt.
Now the family left me here for the afternoon, I have some time to exercise blogging and put down a few thoughts on my recent job. To write in a cosy environment, a lit the fireplace at the house we are staying in. The result is as favourable as you may imagine. Only the missing bear fur could add to the feeling. The role in marketing, “Product Management”, hasn’t been that cosy recently, for a few reasons, that are more related to corporate behaviour than to individual contribution.
While I will need to avoid mentioning the actual product I am still working on, and it’s probably difficult even not to have any references, the below still tries to explain the tensions that exist in the world of traditional industry, moving towards a digitalised service business, in which tangible products get marginalised.
The primary reason for me, an computer engineer, having spent all his life in service business and so to say “in the cloud“, to come to a marketing oriented role is to design and develop – as in business, not as in a computer programming – a connected product. The Internet of Things, if you want to. Whereas many companies have Things already. But they want to offer smarter things, that’s why everything gets connected. Now connectivity has to offer many benefits over traditional products, but they’re not the primary value proposition the customer pays for. The customer still pays for the product. And in the market, any customer will ask for the smartest product available. Just like I wanted to light a fire. One that was good and warm, and keep my cosy. And to do so, I had to collect some pinecones, that would easily catch fire. It was bothersome, but necessary.
The things industry is not very familiar with service offerings. It’s actually something fundamentally different from the internet or services industry. To put it boldly, what a customer expects from a product: something solid. And what a customer expects from a service: something that is available anytime. (Like, literally, in the middle of the night!). While Things are sold physically and can be produced on stock, a service cannot be hold until the customer asks for it. Value through a service is created by making something more convenient. I’d have paid somebody to cut and carry the wood required to light a fire. But I had to do it myself, and that was not only tiring but also heavy work. While, as a customer, the thing I’d buy is the wood, I would spend a premium for somebody to do the work. To add the service. Probably not much, but hey. The same happens for businesses. While still everybody produces products, the more convenient products are in the customers favour, only at a small margin, though. Just to make an example, just recently Oracle, a business to a majority based on the sales of products, databases, announced to acquire Accenture, a consultancy service, to add services to it’s portfolio. Others have doubts this merger makes sense, exactly for the above reason. Margin driven things companies will have a difficult time appreciating low margin service as part of their portfolio.
Just like me. I wanted to sit in front of a warm fire when spending my time without the family. It’s very clear I’d need pinecones and wood to get that, and I’d pay for it. However, if some other guy selling wood sells cut wood and carries it to my house for a fee, I’d probably appreciate that more convenient offer. But that decision has to be made very conscious, and people responsible for the service in that organisation can’t be measured on financial goals as their product colleagues, but customer satisfaction.