The Allure of Selling Product over Services

imageA few weeks ago, Peter Monks asked the twitterverse the following question:

Does anyone else think that services companies claiming to be product companies is weird? Seems like a rather difficult pivot to execute.

I agreed that it was a difficult pivot but that it wasn’t weird. In fact, I did it once. Ten years ago, when I was with Infodata System, I transitioned from a consultant to a Product Manager for about two years. My team took the results of a consulting engagement and created the AnnoDoc product. It was an annotation tool, similar to the current Documentum PDF Annotation tool, but with less overhead.

Why did we do it? How did we do it? Why were we successful? Let’s dive in and look.

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How License Costs Impact ECM Platforms

I talked last week how the license commission structure can hurt customers.  There were a LOT of great comments and insights from the product side.  Would love to have customers and consultants chime in on their feelings, but I can’t have everything.

image There were two comments that I wanted to address in more detail.  The first was that money isn’t the only driver of behavior for people.  That is very true.  That said, all else being equal, ask yourself this question: Who will a sales person go talk to first? The company that will help land a commission and meet quota, or an existing customer?

The fact that money is not the sole motivator of behavior is not something to just be dismissed, but neither can the impact cannot be discounted.  The very existence of financial incentives will impact behavior.  Let’s face it, when those incentives aren’t earned by an employee, those details show up in a performance review.

Now that I’ve thrown some debate points out there, let’s dive into the details of this post.

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Secure ECM Systems

In my earlier post, I called James out on his post, which was a fairly biased statement about EMC’s testing for security, or lack thereof. In my post, I pointed out that the security warning did not warrant such an attack. I tried to point out that James wasn’t necessarily wrong in his statements, just that he didn’t provide any evidence that backed them up. He criticized their proactive efforts when the source material calls for a reactive effort.

Well, James replied to me in two subsequent posts. The first post endeavored to teach me about the importance of testing for security in systems proactively. It wasn’t a lesson that I needed, having heard of the SQL Injection attack back in the 90s as a weakness in ASP applications (or at least an attack that was fairly similar). Being aware of these issues, I’ve make a point of controlling what a user can do in interfaces.

His points are valid though, so I wanted to take time to talk about them. This is my first post in a series addressing the points he brings up. So if I don’t address something now, don’t worry it’ll come.

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