The importance of software in the financial services industry is rising. Although financial advisors use software on a regular basis, there is no single source or individual that possesses all of the information needed to select the very best products. As a result, when advisors make a decision to purchase a particular piece of software, they do so based on the information they have obtained, which is always limited to some extent.
In reality, advisors may not choose the very best software. Instead, they select one that seems to meet their needs. In this post, we will take an inside view of a software company and discuss questions designed to improve the software selection process.
Customer Technology Lifecycle
Newly released software always contains a few bugs. This is an inevitable part of the technology industry. From the customer’s standpoint, in the early stage of a purchase, you may be excited about the prospective benefits. Then, as the advisor ascends the learning curve, your enthusiasm may wane as you discover a bug or a perceived deficiency. Finally, when the customer becomes increasingly familiar with the software, you become more valuable to the software company.
The Product Enhancement Dilemma
After the initial launch, product enhancements become a key focus as the software company strives to remain competitive. Deciding which enhancements to include and which to exclude can be challenging. How do companies manage this process? Some ideas are internal and some are external (i.e., customer experience itself). Here are three primary factors in the product enhancement process:
- the number of customer requests for a specific enhancement
- the efficacy of the enhancement
- the number of employees available to do the development work
Some of the best ideas will come from customers. However, when seeking feedback from customers, the company must be careful. This is because some ideas will clearly be good; some ideas may be good, but this may not be immediately apparent; and some ideas will be worthless, perhaps even ridiculous. Therefore, the company must be diplomatic and not offend those with ideas in the last category.