Unlike old days, big enterprises need to be disruptive in their products. Technology is one of the biggest pillars supporting this disruption. We call it as ‘Digital Transformation’. But truly digital transformation is nothing but bringing your products at the earliest to the customers using latest and greatest tools and technologies. Startups excel in adapting to the new trends and also are quick in adapting to the changes.
But, why do enterprises with deep pockets hesitate to adapt to these changes?
This is one of the most common questions that many ask me. Being in the information and technology industry for the past 10 years, I do not see this as hesitation but caution. The advancement in technology and the rate of change of technology comes with its own constraints.
Many a times when we talk about startups we think about the successful startups. In reality, as per recent analysis, 9 out of 10 startups fail. Big enterprises can’t put their company at risk for every single change.
What do enterprises learn from startup failures?
Trying to adapt to startup culture is not just to look at the success factors but also to learn from their failures. Now let’s see some of the most common failure reasons and what enterprises can learn from it, even before we talk about tools and technologies.
Failure reason 1 – No clearly defined use case
This is the most common startup failures. No or very little market analysis and research on the idea. Do not try to decorate your ideas with too many good to have solutions.
Learnings -Remember, your product is trying to solve the most common problem for others. Great ideas and nice to have features are good. But check whether you got a buyer for the idea. Understand whether there are other solutions similar to yours, out in the market. In that case, analyze why your solution is better or worse than theirs.
Failure reason 2 – Less focus on audience
We focus more towards building the solution technically correct but do not focus on the end user. We go beyond what actually may be needed.
Learnings – Put a boundary to your solution design. Covering all the scenarios are fine, however focus on the most common scenarios that your customer may fall into.
Failure reason 3 – Wrong product launch in the wrong market
Lack of clear understanding on the geography will lead to this situation.
Learnings – One good example is internationalization. We always think launching an web or mobile app in multiple language will reach larger audience group. It is true, but we forget about accessibility. Improving accessibility with i18n give more inclusive approach.
Failure reason 4 – Assuming that the product would live longer in the market
The product can not exist in the same form as it was launched in the market for a long time. It will have to undergo changes, however we focus on getting the perfect product during the initial launch itself without analyzing the life time of the product.
Learnings – Focus on releasing the product and get feedback from the investors, partners, customers and be ready to add or modify design based on the criticism or constructive feedback from the users.
Failure reason 5 – More focus on long term rather than short term
Lack of short term strategy and poor execution will lead to problems with products not being launched within the launch window and the product development gets dragged.
Learnings – Having a vision is definitely needed, but a vision without immediate, short-term, mid-term and long-term goals will not move the needle.
Failure reason 6 – Investing too much of yourself in every stages of the product development
Too much involvement in one activity means lack of attention in other activities of the product development.
Learnings – Whenever possible, try to crowdsource and build a prototype of your product. This saves lot of your time which can be utilized in some other areas of product development.
Failure reason 7 – Too early or Too Late to the market problem
There are chances of losing customers if we launch the product too early and we get negative reviews. Similarly, there is problem of onboarding customers if it’s too late to launch the product in the market
Learnings – Find the right balance of time and do a little market research to fix the launch window of the product.
Now let us analyze the common tech stack problem that we face while developing the product –
- Programming language – Choosing the right programming language for your solution is crucial. When it comes to front end, it depends on the types of form factors that we are going to deliver the product. For instance, responsive web vs react native vs PWA. And with backend, it depends on the problem domain and the characteristics of the language. For instance, .NET may be well suitable for UI based web apps but we will use Python for big data analysis.
- Choice of cloud service – Cloud is a preferred choice to run your backend for variety of reasons. There are multiple cloud vendors available in the market. However, based on our solution we determine the type of the service we want to utilize from the providers. For example, IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS.
- Entry and exit criteria for the cloud – As the product grows, understanding the breakeven point of running on prem vs running on cloud will help us save money. So a clear criteria on when we get into cloud and when we think have to move away from cloud is a good to have feature.
Overall, enterprises should go agile as startups do. At the same time, choosing the right tools and technology helps them quickly launch the product in the market.
Share your thoughts in the comments!