Tag Archives: Cloud computing

13 Factors to Consider in Adopting New Customer-Facing Products and Services

I’ve been looking at what organizations should consider when adopting new technological solutions, and it got me thinking. Which factors need to be considered in the research and implementation of new customer-facing products and services? Here is a checklist that you can go through during your evaluation of new technologies:

 

Security

  • Will new products and services pose any risk to data security? If a user were to log in and have her personal information compromised, this would be a disaster!

Stability

  • Will new technology solutions have outages? Many of today’s technologies are “up” for less than 99% of the time. Is this acceptable? Is there something else that users can use if the solution goes down?
  • And will they strain other technologies we use? Some software types “sit on top of” existing systems and occasionally cause them to go down.

Performance

  • Consider the performance for the product or service. Will users feel it is dramatically slower than Google or Amazon?

Functionality

  • Are the features going to be there on Day 1 or will users experience iterations to get to full functionality?
  • Is there broken functionality in the product or service? Ownership: whose problem is it to fix? Accountability: to what extent is it our throat that is going to get choked when there is a problem?
  • One-size-fits-all and one-search-fits-all: should search software work out of the box for 60% of users or 99% of users? Specialists may be alienated if the general search tool is optimized for laypeople (and vice versa).

UX

  • Is a new technology-based product or service going to change the UX of other services? Major changes to your online presence have major implications for users. Even changes that are seen as very positive by most will frustrate some.
  • For a potential product or service, at what point will UX assessment be possible? Can you do UX assessment before making a large investment in resources?
  • Will the UX for mobile users change?
  • Redesigning the user interface to incorporate a new product or service is risky, and most organizations avoid drastic changes. Look at the CNN redesign model…

2000:

2003:

2008:

2011:

2013:

Impact on employees

  • What will new technology mean for existing employees’ job responsibilities? Is there currently expertise in the organization or will new positions be required? For those affected, will their other job responsibilities be lessened or changed?

Collaboration

  • Will the implementation of new products and services open doors for collaboration with other organizations? Could nearby organizations share costs with us? Do we want to work with those guys?

Resource usage patterns

  • Will new products and services change the current usage of your organization’s resources? Will end users incur the extra costs?

Hosting

  • Where does new technology live? The days of organizations having to buy/lease/maintain servers are coming to an end. Software companies offer SaaS solutions. Cloud companies like AWS can cheaply offer huge amounts of virtualized space. Due to cloud computing, initial development investments can be $$$, instead of $$$$.

Organizational priorities

  • How do potential new products and services address your organization’s priorities?
  • What is a new technology’s impact on ideal of being green? Is there a reduction in data usage? Does the fact that someone else is hosting it make it green?

Sustainability

  • Will new technologies remain sustainable? Sure, we can afford to have them now, but what about ten years from now? If organizational priorities change in a few years, will we still be locked into supporting the product or service?

Scalability

  • Will new technologies be scalable as usage grows?
  • Will new technologies be scalable as the organization grows?

Getting the word out

  • So let’s say we did implement a new technology-based product or service…how would we tell people about it? What is the marketing strategy?

 

What other factors should an organization consider? Leave a comment!

12 Signs that the Product You’re Hearing about is Vaporware

No one wants to announce vaporware. It’s an act of desperation, probably stemming from poor long-range planning. It happens in all industries, and even occasionally in politics. When a company rep is telling you about a product that is coming in the next year, it’s a good idea to be skeptical. It may never come out, or the date may slide. The motive might be for you to wait for that product or feature, instead of moving to a competitor’s product like a lot of other folks. During an industry event, you might be surprised at how much vaporware is being announced. Here are some signs that a product is vaporware:

  1. The details of the product have changed. You first heard it was a product that integrated with Product B, and now it integrates with Product C. Or the name of the product has changed. Red flags!
  2. The scope of the product has decreased over time. The first time you heard about it, the product did A, B, and C. Now you’re hearing it does A, D, and E.
  3. Buzzwords. Cloud computing, virtualization, business intelligence, big data, data mining, de-dupe, and 4G/5G. There is no bigger buzzword in the software industry than “the Cloud.” Ask Paul Christman what he thinks about buzzwords.
  4. The company is losing customers left and right to existing products that compete with this product. The company is desperate to keep you from leaving them, too. If you were the company, wouldn’t you make promises to keep the customer?
  5. “We’ll change your industry with this product.” Don’t believe it until this announcement: “Today we change your industry with this product.”
  6. The way the company representative demoed the product to you was through a PowerPoint or PDF. No live demo? Why wasn’t it possible?
  7. There’s a surprising amount of leeway on price. Is this product being discounted significantly on a pre-order?
  8. They say that you can pre-order, yet none of the solutions they’re pitching to you today are available today. Hmm…are you an easy mark for this company?
  9. The company hasn’t produced a new product in a long time. The point here is not about company size…it’s about how companies that don’t release new products a lot forget how. Releasing a new product is HARD.
  10. There are press releases dating back more than a year. Is it normal for a company in your industry to announce things more than a year before they are released? For most industries, the answer is no.
  11. All the information you find on the product is word-for-word from press releases. Either the press releases are really, really good (like the ones from SalesForce) or the press in your industry is not being skeptical. Google is your friend to find this.
  12. The press/bloggers in your industry rarely call companies on their BS. Who is the watchdog who would tell you that this product is never going to be delivered? Are they really out there doing that or are they a puppet for the company, copying their press releases word-for-word?

Maybe YOU should be your industry’s watchdog! Go to industry events and make a note of products that you’re told are coming in the next year. A year later, publish/blog a list of the ones that have and haven’t arrived.

Don’t let the companies in your industry get away with being all hat and no cattle…