In the current world business and technology are accelerating away, each needing to innovate and push the boundaries, but which is the driver Business or Technology?
The simple answer is neither, the actual driver of both technology and business is the customer. Both are trying to connect and engage so they can understand and deliver value that a customer is willing to pay for, need and deem as valuable.
In every sector from games developers, online retailers, high street shops or software houses all are looking for that USP that separates their product offering from the rest of the market. This is good news for you an me as this drives businesses to push themselves and their technology in becoming more innovative.
The key for businesses being successful is making sure that the golden rule is followed, listen to your customers. I have seen senior managers dismiss the need for research and then not understand why a product is not achieving the targets that they forecast. In most cases this has been because a great Idea has been developed but without the consultation of the customer. This means the end product never quite meets the need of those customers, this puts your product, service or business on the back foot. Your great idea of a app, tech kit, website or online business will miss the mark and customers will not be able to engage with what you are trying to offer or even worse not see any value in it at all.
The key is research and don’t be afraid of the cost. Understand your customer and market and identify the need, draw up your options, don’t be afraid to fail at the earliest point so learning can be made and tweaks can be implemented and then re-tested.
If you are struggling to get buy-in for research carry out a small scale study that can add value to a sale campaign or to product development, anything that can prove that by understand the customer/market it can have a positive impact. Use the research of bigger organisation or consultancies, they have endless white papers that show how research and customer insight adds value.
Makes sure you have your technology and business aligned and driving each other toward achieving the goals that you identified in your research, there is no point having systems that aren’t able to support your needs or the customers this is just a cost to you as a business.
Most of all research is not a one off event, its a living thing. To stay ahead and make sure you don’t loose touch with you customers and keep you business and technology driving to achieve theirs needs. You have to know what customers need and also what your competitors are doing, customers have a tendency to change so that mean their needs change to.
Research helps technology and business drive each other to achieve the goal of creating a product or service that a customers needs and can’t live with out.