Richard Nieva with PandoDaily recently published a piece explaining how the SaaS business KnowledgeTree used customer hacks of their product to inform their later releases. It is a fascinating anecdote that shows that your customers are probably not using your product as you intended. This happens across all sectors business sizes – just because you built the widget doesn’t mean you actually know how it is being used. So how do you learn why your product or service is actually being bought? You create an open dialogue with your customers.
KnowledgeTree did just that by simply asking their customers how they were using the product, which in turn led to the discovery that some enterprises had hacked their formerly open-source back-end to create something more useful. It was clearly a case of co-opt or suffer, and so KnowledgeTree simply incorporated more polished versions of those hacks into their next release.
Having an open and frank discussion with your future and current customers is the first step to creating innovation within your company. Knowing what currently is with your product enables you to begin to create what could be. This in turn shows you that you can and possibly should change to get ahead of the market’s demands.
While Richard Nieva implies that KnowledgeTree let their customers hack their program, it truly sounds more like a case of the customers doing it without any permission. Regardless, the company had the good sense to notice and integrate it rather than ignore and squash the feedback. Head over to PandoDaily and read the full piece here. As always, sound of in the comments and let us know what you think.