If you are in-charge of deploying new products in your organization, this article is for you. As usual, a new fashionable word is introduced every year. This year it is Consumption. Read on to find out what it really means to you.
Buzzwords and reality
New technology is introduced as products. Products have brand names and version numbers. Along with new technology, new behavioral and procedural changes are required. These are usually promoted as buzzwords. This is a crowded market. Very few remain to become globally recognized. Most don’t see widespread recognition.
Often, these buzzwords are not new at all. These are existing concepts repackaged for hope of higher visibility.
Conceptually, there is nothing wrong with these buzzwords. But in reality, these are usually over-hyped by people without really understanding the concept behind it. Soon people realize that if you want to be on the cutting-edge of technology, they must have this buzzword implemented in their organization.
Many individuals also want it to appear in their personal profile – which apparently increases changes of getting better jobs. It is a virtuous cycle – often without virtue!
This new buzzword called CONSUMPTION is not new at all. But it is important. In its earlier form nobody noticed it. Now it is time we understand it and inculcate it.
What is consumption?
The simplest way of putting it is : Using what we have fully. Although the definition is simple, its implications are huge and complex. Applied to technology context, it pertains to the feature set of products. Many features and many users.
How to create awareness? How to apply the features to work context? How to change old habits to new and more efficient ways? How to make sure that ALL employees use it – not just the savvy users or power users?
These are the problems “consumption” focus is trying to address.
Is it a new concept?
Not at all. It is as old as technology itself. Technology is created to solve problems, improve things and create new capabilities. Technology can deliver the benefits only if it is used. Therefore, it is a no-brainer that consumption must be done to derive benefits and improve things.
The issue is that most people who created technology usually assume that people automatically use it effectively. This assumption is wrong. Due to this, they never tried to educate customers about available feature set and its applied business context.
Now due to competition and the advent of cloud, the technology vendors are waking up to the fact that most technologies which they have created are severely underutilized. Moreover, whatever little is used is often misused!
If people don’t see enough value in a product, they will just stop using it or worse – move to another competing product.
Hence the rush for introducing “consumption” as a strategic initiative.
Consumption for custom software vs. generic software
If you have a software or technology which was custom made for your business needs, the consumption is higher. All that you need is available and people use it when they need it.
The problem of non-consumption is more pronounced for technologies which are generic in nature – like Microsoft Office tools.
People have learnt these products in early days of their career and that too by trial and error. The methods they use to get the work done are deep rooted and ingrained into the day to day life. Most people do not even notice the issue.
People use the features they think they need. However, in todays’ world it is important to realize that all features are created for satisfying user needs. You may not notice the feature and therefore, your need may not be fulfilled the right way.
Many users get the work done manually simply because they think there is no better way of doing it. In fact, in most cases, the right way of doing it is right in front of them. It is just that they never even imagined that there is a solution. So they never looked for it.
This is a serious and global problem. Focusing on Consumption must address this problem in a manner which encompasses all users.
Approaches to improving consumption
We will discuss these in more detail in future articles. However, at a generic level this involves one or more of the following methods:
- Creating awareness about available features and functionality
- Highlighting the problems associated with existing inefficient methods
- Demonstrate the benefits of using the new or unknown functionality
- Provide a way to try out the new method without any fear of losing data
- Establish best practices for all users in a scenario based manner
- Promote early adopters to spread the word
- Make it a part of work standard on a long term basis
- Have an internal process which performs the above activities for all types of technologies in a repeatable and person independent way
- Document the tangible as well as intangible benefits of the consuming the new and improved product / software.
- Create a team who can continue this process on a long-term basis
I will cover these approaches in greater detail in the upcoming articles.
Do post your thoughts, suggestions and experiences.