Businesses can benefit by looking outwards with a collaborative, cooperative mindset. Bob Davis, CMO at Plutora, offers insight into the growth of the technology and how this is directly affecting the value of businesses and their communities.
Taking a technology solution from obscurity to mainstream acceptance can be a long and winding road. Success depends on a huge range of factors, but in many circumstances, better outcomes can be achieved with the backing of a community of like-minded enthusiasts, evangelists and backers. Many businesses will testify to the momentum that a supportive community ecosystem can deliver, not to mention the invaluable input members can have on product development and helping to spread the word.
In fact, if companies want their innovation – or even their wider market niche – to be accepted as a fixture of the tech landscape, communities are critical. When they work well, they can be transformational sources of experience, expertise and enthusiasm where everyone has something positive to contribute and gain.
In some cases, tech businesses are fortunate to have their communities grow spontaneously, led by committed supporters who genuinely love what they do. In most cases, however, building an effective community is not just about creating an innovative piece of technology; it requires commitment, a willingness to engage and to accept responsibility, praise, and criticism in equal measure.
On another level entirely are organisations whose ambition is to create an entirely new industry category. For these companies, success is not just about selling as much of their product or solution as possible, it’s rooted in a deeper belief that there’s an opportunity for genuine, disruptive market leadership.
When these businesses are startups or lack the deep financial pockets of established enterprise players, they need to draw on every source of support to raise awareness and acceptance of their approach. Without the boost that an engaged community can provide, many great innovations remain obscure, their potential unrealised.
We take it for granted that household tech brands have huge and supportive community followings. But look beyond these most famous names and organisations that would be unknown outside their niche have also benefited from the committed backing of their real-world advocates.
Community spirit: the growth of Value Stream Management
The community momentum building behind an emerging category of the software industry called Value Stream Management (VSM) is a case in point. To give it some context, VSM has developed to optimise everything in the software delivery life cycle, from the genesis of an idea to real world production, that is needed to bring services and products to customers.
For its users, it’s an approach that helps overcome the challenges inherent in increasingly complex software delivery processes by helping teams to develop software more quickly at higher quality but do so with reduced risk. This addresses a core business objective that can be overlooked during the software development process, which is to deliver maximum customer impact and value. In practice, organisations that embrace VSM benefit from a process that gives them high impact, end-to-end visibility and control over their value streams.
Compared to many areas of the software industry, VSM is still in its infancy, yet is rapidly establishing itself not just as a set of competing products but as a distinct category in the software development ecosystem. And here’s where its community has played a vital role. The growing recognition of VSM as a distinct market segment is in part due to important community initiatives such as the Value Stream Management Consortium. This is a non-profit organisation created to improve software-centric performance and build customer value with VSM as its foundation.
It’s important to note that this isn’t just built on the efforts of a single vendor but has brought together a variety of VSM companies and stakeholders, each of whom contributes to education and awareness programmes that support the adoption and growth of Value Stream Management. For instance, research published by the group this year looks at The State of Value Stream Management, providing insight and implementation advice for software development teams. In addition, the community also works to support members worldwide with training and certifications and to establish VSM as an industry-standard approach to software development.
For ambitious tech businesses in any sector, building a healthy community can help supercharge product adoption and have a major impact on product strategy, innovation and long-term success. In most cases, it requires genuine, long-term commitment because as well benefitting from effective technologies, users and other stakeholders also value brands that reciprocate their willingness to engage and communicate.Click below to share this article