|By Christian Twardawa||
|May 9, 2013 11:00 AM EDT||
Every young software business is different. Yet regardless of niche, competitive pressures or economic conditions, all startups face the same key issues. It's possible to survive those hectic, early years as a bootstrapped business - even thrive during them. All you need is...
1) An idea for a software product that is needed on the market or a product that has passed its first function tests with flying colors. In other words, the market requires products that are great right from the start or that promise greatness.
This leads right into 2) out into the world. In order to put the product onto the digital sales counter, you need an informative website with a web shop. It's often a good idea to outsource the online shop to an external provider for the starting phase, and let them take care of sales in exchange for a low service cost. The benefits are obvious: you don't have to bother with the details of billing, European (or other) value-added tax rules, returns or charging credit cards. Instead, you receive a monthly invoice detailing each transaction. This gives you the freedom to concentrate on your core task - product development.
That's where we come in with tip 3). In the day and age of Google & Co., search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) are the easiest and quickest ways to gain range in today's market. Here, too, if you don't have the know-how or resources to start campaigns and to track conversions, outsource your SEM to an external provider. A mid-term goal, however, should be to take care of SEO and SEM within the company. As a side note, SEM is fantastic for sounding out the market potential of a product. If you don't get any hits that's a strong indication that there is no demand for the product, no matter how great it might be. And without venture capital, it'll be difficult to convince humanity otherwise.
To anyone who might think that phase 4) is the perfect time to present the product more actively, at a trade fair, for example - don't do it. It may be a good exercise in confidence and being true to yourself, but it's nothing more than wasted time and money. Big solutions from financially strong, traditional providers dominate these events; solutions with which no one - at least at this time - can compete, even if it's just because of the size of the stand.
With this in mind, consider tip 5): gather your strength for product marketing and invest it in building up your marketing strategy, in good press relations and in whipping company communication into shape. Social media cannot be left out. Rely on the strong, central features of your product and don't lose focus, because the judgment of the online community will strongly influence the success or failure of your product. This community will also leave valuable feedback for improving your product. Keep your eye on good sales and tech support that will act as the "lawyers" representing your customers and their service requests within the company. By doing so, your customers will be happy to help in return with error analysis or beta tests.
What's next, you ask, once your software is established in your region, all rollouts are working flawlessly and the acceptance is consistently high? Then it's time to reach out: EMEA, the Americas and APEC are waiting! In phase 6), it's time to actively expand in different markets, supported by business development managers who know the local marketing and business conventions. Based on your experiences and activity in your local market, your specialists will apply appropriate marketing measures for the target country, flanked by SEM/SEO and PR.
Tip 7) will keep your development team busy, because now it's time to localize your software. Your product should be designed from the beginning so that it can be translated into various languages. Anyone who hasn't thought of that in advance will have his work cut out for him. This phase can, of course, be carried out parallel to or before phase 6.
Keyword and tip 8): now's the time to consistently pursue channel business, that is, marketing through resellers and possibly distributors. You've probably sold through resellers in the previous phases already, but now this should be systematically supervised and established with a partner program, reseller agreements, organization of a retailer network in each region/country, etc. Do you want to hire more staff as well? This is a good time to advance your expansion with channel managers, who can be located at the company headquarters and/or in each region.
In phase 9), you've reached the prime time to send invitations to your customers, resellers and press contacts saying, "We are excited to see you at this year's Cisco live! In London: Hall 5, Stand 7B!" Now it will be worth your while, because people know your products and are talking about them. Now it's easy to stir up interest in potential new clients or marketing partners. By now, you also have the necessary budget and manpower for a professional trade fair appearance.
If, after phase 9, your local business is running smoothly and you believe that local representation would increase customer satisfaction, the acceptance of your products and your sales, then take the chance with tip 10): the branch. With one or more channel managers, you might even already have your first staff on location. Now it's time to build up other functions (presales, support, back office). The framework required for this is a branch, a daughter company, or the like.
Of course, this guideline can't be adopted 1:1 in every situation, but it should help you to set the right priorities. You will gather an abundance of personal experience and will have to make your own unique decisions in every phase. There is nothing more exciting than developing your product ideas into a successful business.
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Aug. 30, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 859
The pricing of tools or licenses for log aggregation can have a significant effect on organizational culture and the collaboration between Dev and Ops teams. Modern tools for log aggregation (of which Logentries is one example) can be hugely enabling for DevOps approaches to building and operating business-critical software systems. However, the pricing of an aggregated logging solution can affect the adoption of modern logging techniques, as well as organizational capabilities and cross-team ...
Aug. 30, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 372
Several years ago, I was a developer in a travel reservation aggregator. Our mission was to pull flight and hotel data from a bunch of cryptic reservation platforms, and provide it to other companies via an API library - for a fee. That was before companies like Expedia standardized such things. We started with simple methods like getFlightLeg() or addPassengerName(), each performing a small, well-understood function. But our customers wanted bigger, more encompassing services that would "do ...
Aug. 30, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 231
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Aug. 30, 2015 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 334
Docker containerization is increasingly being used in production environments. How can these environments best be monitored? Monitoring Docker containers as if they are lightweight virtual machines (i.e., monitoring the host from within the container), with all the common metrics that can be captured from an operating system, is an insufficient approach. Docker containers can’t be treated as lightweight virtual machines; they must be treated as what they are: isolated processes running on hosts....
Aug. 30, 2015 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 134
In today's digital world, change is the one constant. Disruptive innovations like cloud, mobility, social media, and the Internet of Things have reshaped the market and set new standards in customer expectations. To remain competitive, businesses must tap the potential of emerging technologies and markets through the rapid release of new products and services. However, the rigid and siloed structures of traditional IT platforms and processes are slowing them down – resulting in lengthy delivery ...
Aug. 30, 2015 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 564
Puppet Labs has announced the next major update to its flagship product: Puppet Enterprise 2015.2. This release includes new features providing DevOps teams with clarity, simplicity and additional management capabilities, including an all-new user interface, an interactive graph for visualizing infrastructure code, a new unified agent and broader infrastructure support.
Aug. 30, 2015 07:15 AM EDT Reads: 494
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, discussed why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices rathe...
Aug. 30, 2015 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 384
Whether you like it or not, DevOps is on track for a remarkable alliance with security. The SEC didn’t approve the merger. And your boss hasn’t heard anything about it. Yet, this unruly triumvirate will soon dominate and deliver DevSecOps faster, cheaper, better, and on an unprecedented scale. In his session at DevOps Summit, Frank Bunger, VP of Customer Success at ScriptRock, will discuss how this cathartic moment will propel the DevOps movement from such stuff as dreams are made on to a prac...
Aug. 30, 2015 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 210
It’s been proven time and time again that in tech, diversity drives greater innovation, better team productivity and greater profits and market share. So what can we do in our DevOps teams to embrace diversity and help transform the culture of development and operations into a true “DevOps” team? In her session at DevOps Summit, Stefana Muller, Director, Product Management – Continuous Delivery at CA Technologies, answered that question citing examples, showing how to create opportunities for ...
Aug. 30, 2015 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 472
SYS-CON Events announced today that DataClear Inc. will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The DataClear ‘BlackBox’ is the only solution that moves your PC, browsing and data out of the United States and away from prying (and spying) eyes. Its solution automatically builds you a clean, on-demand, virus free, new virtual cloud based PC outside of the United States, and wipes it clean...
Aug. 29, 2015 07:15 PM EDT Reads: 381
In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ernest Mueller, Product Manager at Idera, will explain the best practices and lessons learned for tracking and optimizing costs while delivering a cloud-hosted service. He will describe a DevOps approach where the applications and systems work together to track usage, model costs in a granular fashion, and make smart decisions at runtime to minimize costs. The trickier parts covered include triggering off the right metrics; balancing resilience and redundancy ...
Aug. 29, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 173
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advance...
Aug. 29, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 257
What does “big enough” mean? It’s sometimes useful to argue by reductio ad absurdum. Hello, world doesn’t need to be broken down into smaller services. At the other extreme, building a monolithic enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is just asking for trouble: it’s too big, and it needs to be decomposed.
Aug. 29, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 338
Early in my DevOps Journey, I was introduced to a book of great significance circulating within the Web Operations industry titled The Phoenix Project. (You can read our review of Gene’s book, if interested.) Written as a novel and loosely based on many of the same principles explored in The Goal, this book has been read and referenced by many who have adopted DevOps into their continuous improvement and software delivery processes around the world. As I began planning my travel schedule last...
Aug. 29, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 509
SYS-CON Events announced today that G2G3 will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Based on a collective appreciation for user experience, design, and technology, G2G3 is uniquely qualified and motivated to redefine how organizations and people engage in an increasingly digital world.
Aug. 29, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 443
Introducing Containers & Microservices Bootcamp at @CloudExpo Silicon Valley | #Containers #Microservices
SYS-CON Events announced today the Containers & Microservices Bootcamp, being held November 3-4, 2015, in conjunction with 17th Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, and @DevOpsSummit at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This is your chance to get started with the latest technology in the industry. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Containers and Microservices Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, a Microsoft Regional Director, will include presentations as well as hands-on...
Aug. 29, 2015 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 245
Any Ops team trying to support a company in today’s cloud-connected world knows that a new way of thinking is required – one just as dramatic than the shift from Ops to DevOps. The diversity of modern operations requires teams to focus their impact on breadth vs. depth. In his session at DevOps Summit, Adam Serediuk, Director of Operations at xMatters, Inc., will discuss the strategic requirements of evolving from Ops to DevOps, and why modern Operations has begun leveraging the “NoOps” approa...
Aug. 29, 2015 05:30 AM EDT Reads: 355
DevOps has traditionally played important roles in development and IT operations, but the practice is quickly becoming core to other business functions such as customer success, business intelligence, and marketing analytics. Modern marketers today are driven by data and rely on many different analytics tools. They need DevOps engineers in general and server log data specifically to do their jobs well. Here’s why: Server log files contain the only data that is completely full and accurate in th...
Aug. 29, 2015 12:15 AM EDT Reads: 346
The Microservices architectural pattern promises increased DevOps agility and can help enable continuous delivery of software. This session is for developers who are transforming existing applications to cloud-native applications, or creating new microservices style applications. In his session at DevOps Summit, Jim Bugwadia, CEO of Nirmata, will introduce best practices, patterns, challenges, and solutions for the development and operations of microservices style applications. He will discuss ...
Aug. 27, 2015 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 509