Many of my clients are traditional shrink wrap or down-loadable software clients. For the past year, they have been challenged to change the DNA of their company and become more SaaS oriented and to put their offerings in the Cloud. (So, having your head stuck in the clouds, isn’t necessarily a bad thing).
Most of them have struggled to do this because:
- Desktop engineers are different from SaaS or App Engineers –They have a different skillset and mind set
- Development cycles different because desktop guys are used to one big release a year vs. lots of small spoonful releases
- Marketing organizations have to be nimble and not focus on a big launch
- Customer Service needs to be better connected to product development to get rapidly deliver feedback
- Companies are stuck in a fixed mindset (Read more about this in Carol Dweck’s great book)
- Change is scary sh_t!
So how do companies change their DNA:
- Hire a younger workforce — cause it’s highly likely they have experience in developing snippets of code
- Hire individuals who can both design and code (I don’t even talk to people who can just design these days)
- Acquire companies that have the right entrepreneurial and web savvy or App savvy DNA (This is what Facebook does)
- Train your service reps to reduce their dependence on the phone and use the web more
- Create workshops for information and technology sharing
- Educate your workforce on the Risks of playing in this new world
- Secure investment from across the organization
- Get Alignment at the executive level
- Provide weekly (if not daily) updates on what your company and other companies are doing
- Execute, execute, excute (there’s nothing like putting points on the board!)
- Establish a big wild goal — like lets put the Support Site out of business and have our users manage customer service
Now is a good time to say that there’s a big problem with this post. Technology companies that are looking to become more Internet centric, need to add two or more pieces to the equation. They need to become more Facebook and App centric, and hire developers for these environments. But wait, it is too easy to say someone is experienced in developing for or marketing in an app environment. Like the old UNIX world, there are many App flavors: Android, iPhone, etc. So what do you do? Get your users to start voting and commenting on what type of platforms they use? Are they anchored on the Facebook island? Do they use Android? Also ask them about what other platforms they plan to use in the near future.
And be ready to respond to their needs. And do it within a short – time frame. I am not a big believer in 1+ year plans. Sorry Enterprise folks. The world changes to fast so your products need to evolve on an ongoing basis. And to do this, you need a nimble and agile.. and probably change the Mindset and the DNA of your company.