Get the freedom to innovate
December 22, 2016
People want holes, not drills.
You may have heard the famous Theodore Levitt quote, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.” This metaphor for getting at the crux of customer value is still as relevant as it ever was. Take, for example, the act of running a business. Do business owners want servers, tape backups, operating systems and application upgrades, data fields, and printers with paper and ink? Probably not. Do they want a system at all? Probably not. What they really want is a successful and well-run business.
Move beyond “drills as a service.”
Cloud computing has allowed us to focus more on providing customer value. By eliminating hardware and platform maintenance, increasing availability and scalability, and lowering cost, we have more resources to focus on the design of the system itself. The cloud is always available when we need it. Yet we still have to buy drill bits and manually drill holes sometimes. Technologies, like the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence, are chipping away at the need for drill bits and the act of drilling a hole altogether. One day the holes will just appear exactly when and where they need to be. We are on the verge of some exciting technological breakthroughs. Yes, we are still reliant on building and using systems to achieve our goals, but they are getting easier to use and customize, and faster. Software companies are in a great position to add significant customer value by building powerful and flexible systems that bring the friction of doing business closer and closer to zero.
Create frictionless interactions.
Companies such as Kenandy and Skuid are building software that is blurring the line between platform and application. They allow you to engage in an ongoing cycle of building and changing to keep the friction of your business as near to zero as possible. They sit on top of the best cloud platforms out there like Salesforce and AWS, making a whole suite of value-draining concerns vanish. We may still be in the drill and drill-bit era, but these tools are empowering customers to drill holes about as easily as the imagination can conceive.
One of my favorite examples of the fruits of reducing this friction comes from an evangelical customer of Kenandy, Charlie Merrow. Charlie’s 180 year-old sewing machine company needed to reinvent itself to survive and thrive, and it did! You can watch the video from Dreamforce 2016 to hear more about this. Charlie was able to create six new businesses in two weeks and do a host of other impressive things with Salesforce and Kenandy powering the business. Reducing the friction of software customization is a huge part of reducing the overall friction of the software that runs a business.
Frictionless business is a guiding principle for Skuid, too. One of my favorite Skuid customer quotes comes from Alec Elmore, President at OpenGate Consulting. Alec says about Skuid, “Skuid is taking the friction out of a true business and technology union. This platform will allow technology to move at the speed of business,” which is exactly what Skuid and Kenandy help companies do, making it much easier to scale and grow.
Disrupt or be disrupted.
It is exciting to see what companies can do when they are freed up to try new business models. Disrupt or be disrupted should be a mantra in the minds of all business owners.
No business is safe from disruptive innovation. That’s why it is so important for companies to be able to try out new ideas, analyze how they work, fail fast and pivot if needed.
Technologies like cloud computing, mobile, IoT, blockchain, and artificial intelligence are catalysts for this disruption, yet too difficult for your average business owner to work with in their untamed state.
That’s where software companies like Salesforce, Skuid, Kenandy, and so many others get to add value and make these technologies accessible to businesses that don’t have or want these competencies. The creative genius of the world’s entrepreneurs—combined with powerful and easy-to-use software—is a perfect environment for groundbreaking products and services. I’m proud to innovate tools which enable others to blaze new trails.
Meet Skuid and Kenandy at Tahoe Dreamin’.
Skuid and Kenandy are both sponsors at the upcoming Tahoe Dreamin’ conference on January 20 and 21, 2017! This one-of-a-kind extravaganza is perfect for people who love Salesforce and love having fun. Hope to see you there.