Into my 5th week here at YuzeData and one of the most exciting aspects of the work, coming from a 13-year sprint in Product Management at independent software vendors is the ability to knuckle down and get into the thorny detail of making integrations work, and at scale. This part of digital transformation and data innovation remains a tough challenge to all involved.
The march toward becoming an expert product
As a vendor product team, you’re going deep on solving your customer’s pain points. It might get a little messy, addressing the needs of different types of business end users, crossing different departments, and guaranteeing a clear return on investment.
So as a product leader, you do what you do best. You focus on deep expert processes. You standardize for easy reporting and performance management. And you build a great user experience that grows and retains that expert license base.
The challenge of No
With great product success in B2B, appear very quickly a host of new problems to solve. Ruthless prioritization becomes the mantra of every product manager, who’s already become quite adept at flexing their ‘No’ muscle. “That’s an interesting request”. “Unfortunately that’s not on the roadmap …here’s what we are delivering through 😊”. There could never be enough bandwidth to deliver on all customer asks.
And in fact, nor should there be. A product should remain laser-focused on the main value it provides, and work on doing that better than anyone else for its users and in a different way from the competition. And that does mean offering a thoughtfully communicated ‘No’ more often than a hastily needing to please ‘Yes’.
The challenge to cracking data integration
The unfortunate truth of this is that it can be hard for product leaders to justify spending time on ‘edge innovations’. Those seemingly small projects that pioneering customers drive, that make use of new technologies, and that these customers themselves have had to champion and artfully get budget signed off to pilot.
Often these are new types of technology that generate a need for data integration on a more frequent basis. It takes time to understand the source system, if it’s IoT for example, how good really is the API? What data should be called? Is it secure? Should you simply accept data pushed on a high frequency into your platform? What’s the right volume and frequency? And how should that get transformed into meaningful insights that co-exist with the best practices already available to thousands of users? How standard is this data source in the context of all the customers you serve? All these questions need discovery but often require more technical, and therefore more costly time upfront to analyze.
Why data innovation is important
Against this backdrop of greater engineering time needed for discovery and experimentation for data innovation and new data integrations, customers are very clear on their vision for accessing all data in one place. And they want to get to that as fast as possible.
Innovating by adopting new data sources means customers can learn fast what they don’t know today. Time again we have heard from customers ‘Let me discover what’s happening in Operations, tell me what I don’t know from the data’ and ‘Help me act on the data’.
What we now know to be critical for customers is to know what leading indicators to listen for in each use case, be able to scan those data sources for triggers, and most importantly tailor the right action to help them act on that insight. The action itself takes expert integrations with the myriad of internal and off-the-shelf systems a company uses e.g. messaging platforms, email, work order systems, maintenance management tools, and corporate performance management tools.
Becoming an expert in all of those is a business in itself and requires building knowledge and expertise outside of your norm. This is what YuzeData focuses on, to get the most impact for end users fast. It means carving a narrower and more critical path for a specific customer outcome to help them orchestrate action rapidly through their operations no matter what systems they are using.
Getting to data insights faster as a vendor platform
And back to why I’m excited. YuzeData reinforces the workflow as the system of record by bringing insights and actions back into the platform. We support software vendors with out-of-the-box functionality to act on new data needs and cement themselves as the open partner of choice for their customers:
Openness and intelligent action on complex disparate data are the next frontier for customer value and are frankly rapidly becoming table stakes for enterprise customers. Now is the time to get the basics right. So you are ready to support them as they move on to more complex solutions such as generative artificial intelligence and predictive action. And of course, free up your product team to start saying a confident ‘Yes’ to data innovation opportunities.