So I guess a few things have been niggling away at the back of my mind around the new kids on the block and I want to put a few ideas out there, around the whole experience piece:
- I like to eat out in a restaurant cared for by an owner, chef and a good waiter and or waitress - I would struggle to have that same experience in a layby cafe
- When I ask for replacement windows I like to have an experience whereby I get a service, including all the essential elements so that I have a set of fitted windows, with woodwork/metalwork of my choice with glazing that match by specification and fitted to my expectations - I wouldn't ask an art school graduate to do this role - the result might look cool but would it really deliver on the experience side?
You get the point so I wont labour it any further, the key here is the experience of the end user. Often the areas that count are the back up and support to make that experience worthwhile and memorable. So how is this relevant to Google around Enterprise Search?
- Their business is 80% direct but who cares and why is this important:
The beauty of a channel business (like Microsoft's which is 97% indirect) is the ability of a company to get their software tailored for the vertical and or target audience be they small businesses, legal firms, finance analysts or any other of the myriad of businesses that our partners sell into. What does this mean? The customer gets what they want in the format they desire - in short - it's all about a better user experience.
I hear what you are probably thinking - sometimes I want to speak to the horses mouth - dealing direct with a business is a great way to get future insight. At Microsoft that is easyish (no rose tinted spectacles here) but in the areas of security, specifically the ways we make software and the way in which we stand behind what we do this is really really important. So what is our experience for customers and partners: in short it's as businesses expect:
'Microsoft products are supported by Customer Support and Service and the MSRR (Security response) team. Through those two channels they have the support structure needed to address any service request that comes to us at any hour of the day from anywhere in the world'
Why do we do this at a huge cost to ourselves but equally huge value to our customers? - simple:
- We make software - software is our business - it's all we do - so we care
Beware the company who sells you one thing in order to get something else - maybe they just want to get to know you so they can sell more of another service. In this hypothetical example ( :-)) - this could be an advertising business who uses software as a tactic to get more of their core strategy into a market - advertising.
The software business is worth around $140bn globally, the advertising business around $580bn - now ask yourself do Google really care about the software you consume from them?
Sound far fetched? - check this out:
Worry 2: Service level agreements. Since I put Microsoft Office on my PC I know it's going to work. For a hosted service, even one run by Google, I want to see what the SLA looks like. The issue: When I read the terms and clicked on the SLA link I got a 404 error. For this experiment, I overlooked that small item and continued the sign up. If I were a small business I wouldn't have.
Some of the related links you might like to review can be found here:
- The Microsoft Software Development Lifecycle - Advantage Microsoft by Michael Howard
- Read the fine print of Google Office
- The Cost of Lost Data: The importance of investing in that “ounce of prevention”
Enjoy your Friday!