Friday, June 23, 2006


Another book reference

This book - "Marketing High Technology" comes highly recommended according to a blog entry I have been looking at just now. It talks about "how to give products a soul" and how to best use available channels to market technology.


Getting Software into the retail stores

Here's an interesting blog entry about how a small company managed to get their software package onto the shelves of retail stores and what decisions needed to be made regarding pricing, manufacturing, branding, marketing and software support.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Software packaging white paper

I've just (somewhat accidentally) downloaded a free PDF from the Novell website (through ZDNet) that provides some advice and best practices for managers and technicians who are charged with packaging and delivering software internally in organisations. It discusses things such as the Windows Installer Service, the PASS model for software distribution, software lifecycle management, license management and corporate inventory management. It offers some very clear models for software distribution and talks about the different kinds of software that can be deployed. It discusses how to repackage legacy software and how to address new software. It also walks through a software packaging process model. Finally it talks through some enterprise challenges, such as establishing standards, and the challenges of distributed packaging teams. It sums up with a list of best practices with some notes on ROI, and it provides a short list of Gartner references. An impressive paper and a fortuitous find!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Skype and Ebay

A while back, Skype, the VoIP telephony company was bought by Ebay - two very different companies employing very different business models. Skype enables users around the world to talk to each other for free, and it has proved a huge success. At time of writing, 4 million users are logged on to the service. The difficulty is the "free" bit - how does Skype make money from this?

Now Ebay is looking at incorporating Skype into its online auction website. In addition it's looking at integrating Skype with PayPal - the Ebay owned online clearing house.

It's an interesting example of how software companies attempt to derive synergies from separate offerings. Whether this particular example will prove successful in the long run is another thing entirely.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Giving customers what they need

I'm reading an article from the Harvard Business Review entitled "Turn Customer Input into Innovation" (Anthony W. Ulwick, HBR 2002) - it's in my Marketing course notes - where he addresses the question of turning customer requests into products that will be successful in the market. His thesis is that many companies go about the customer information gathering experience wrongly, often charging customers themselves with the jobs of senior engineers by delegating the requirements process to them instead of keeping product innovation in-house. He advocates an "outcomes" approach (as opposed to a solutions based approach) to the customer data gathering process - getting the customers to talk honestly about the outcomes they want to achieve in their day-to-day jobs.

He mentions software in this article: "Software companies, for example, operate sophisticated user laboratories and employ keystroke-tracking technology in an effort to build incremental improvements into their products. Yet most users avail of less than 10% of the software's overall capability - and grumble when they feel forced to pay for upgrades". How true. I wonder if further research is available to underscore this?

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