Sunday, December 6, 2009

Productivity Paradox

IT is everywhere but in productivity...that is the great productivity paradox!

While evaluating a CRM software for my earlier employer, I realized there was little or no difference between most of the software products that we had short-listed. The only difference (aggressively made visible by product companies) was in features and the price associated with it. However, none of us were in a position to comprehend how does the difference matter to us....?

We set out to do a must have, good to have and nice to have categorization of features and again realized that all software products ranked the same. Eventually, we selected the brand that was most reputed and the cheapest; ended up using very little of the product features and marginally improved our productivity.

Some days back I attended the demonstration of a software product developed to manage 'ideas' in a company. It had features where you could post ideas, classify them, vote and accept, reject or reward the best ones. Most of these were a mix of bookmark, email, share and tag features in google ad-ons and other similar applications. Do we need a separate tool for managing ideas now? I am not sure!

Both these instances were a realization to C K Pralhad's view that "technology has produced great diversity and choice in products but has contributed little to increase the satisfaction"

Perhaps, we need more IT companies that think about and advise customers on how to get the most out of a particular software tool than to develop more of these tools!

As customers we need to focus more time on implementing the software than evaluating IT ;)!

Any other ways to get rid of the productivity paradox?

1 comment:

Musafir said...

There is a company called 37signals.com. Their philosophy of application development is 'less is more'. They say when the marginal returns from an extra feature decrease w.r.t. the effort needed to develop the feature, there is no point left in the feature. Their standard reply to any customer who asks for an extra feature is 'We will consider it, but as of now...sorry!'
They don't mind their customers growing out of their product rather than their product growing to catch up with their customers. As customers grow out of a product and go for a more feature rich product, there are always some other customers who are growing into your product. That evens out your user base.

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