Illustrating an example of using internet to understand your customers…
ThoughtVoice © as it can be termed. First a quick recollection of what this is.
With the proliferation of data on the internet and its open accessibility the way one looks at innovation has to change. If you have an idea and there is a customer for it then everything that comes between converting the idea and delivering it to the customer is noise. What we need is a new approach towards noiseless innovation.
Things in the innovation process that were not possible before are possible today. Case in point is Voice Of Customer. We are drilled in B-Schools around spending time with the customer to understand the customer, understand how the job gets done etc as we think of product requirements. What do we do there? Conduct loads of market research for example to figure out what the customer does and what he wants. What if this was possible to be done without doing these surveys and visiting the customer. What if we can understand what the customer’s thoughts are without talking to him. Is that possible? With data proliferation on the internet in a lot of areas it is.
Now to the example. With the proliferation of websites and content there has been increased need for Content Management Systems or CMS for short. We all use it. If you have gone to FastCompany or Economist… they are hosted on Drupal, a CMS. Sharepoint, Joomla, Drupal etc are various CMS that compete. Some are driven by organizations like Microsoft (Sharepoint) while Drupal is opensource. When you see a newspaper site/ blogs/ wikis/ music sites/ picture hosting sites etc there will be a CMS behind it.
How do you figure out what CMS is best suited for which application? Let say to do a picture hosting website. Traditional techniques involve going and doing a market survey for example or taking to multiple users (Voice of Customer) to get a sense of this. You come up with requirements and then decide technically which one is the best. With the data that’s out there in the internet can you do this without all the noise of customer surveys?
See chart below. People have searched for various applications, the specifications, the needs, the applications billions of times. Can we use that? Is there a correlation between the application people search for and the CMS they want to use. Let’s say a person building a website for picture hosting will use typical modules like lightbox and will search it along with the CMS he wants to use. Actually there is. In the chart below you can see under each CMS there is a list of search terms that are highly associated with the CMS. The association is obtained by taking the correlation of search patterns over the years between let’s say Joomla being searched and lightbox which is used for building photo hosting websites being searched or on similar lines Drupal and wiki etc. The table shows these correlations. The pattern then clearly comes out from what each CMS is most associated with. Drupal with wikis & blogs, Joomla with photo, music, video sharing websites and sharepoint being more corporate oriented is used mainly in enterprise applications, business intelligence uses, with workflow & integration with email, quality systems etc. A quick google search reconfirms this classification.
When building your next product on the internet do you want to use market surveys or use the internet itself in a noiseless way to understand its positioning?
ThoughtVoice © meaning understanding what the customer’s thoughts are without visiting them with surveys is a great start for noiseless innovation.
See link for the slide ThoughtVoice CMS Uses
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