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How Vendors Reach for Excellence in a Changing World
Thursday, 23rd August 2012
We often comment on how information practitioners adapt to a changing world of new tools and technologies influencing their work. Vendors of content products also have to contend with the speedy evolution of their environment, or risk becoming irrelevant. Recent FreePint Reports offer two examples of vendors successfully incorporating new expectations of functionality and content sets. But would buyers and users consider them successful? FreePint also takes on and contributes to industry dialogue on what any of us means by "product excellence".
New ways of monitoring, organising and extracting meaning from information challenge product vendors as well as information professionals. Just as individual professionals work to make sense of every new tool, utility and app available, product development teams consider emerging tools and technologies as both opportunity and threat. Can established vendors effectively incorporate new features? Or will the more agile start-up with these technologies built into their very structure outmaneuver them in meeting rising customer expectations?
This month's FreePint Reports offer two success stories: one of a relatively young vendor with a fresh approach to a common corporate challenge; the second of a long-established vendor doing exciting things with content and technology.
Attensa's StreamServer tackles the problem of information overload and multiple streams of relevant information. Scott Brown's comprehensive review highlights the product's strengths: integration of social media content, ability to teach the software what matters, and capture internal information as well as external. Read more about Scott's findings, and FreePint Subscribers can access the full report now.
Thomson Innovation takes the deep patent and business information content resources of Thomson Reuters, and enhances their usability with elegant application of results clustering and visualisation. David Whelan explains further what he likes about these elements, and provides comprehensive details in his full review, now available to FreePint Subscribers.
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But Did They Get It Right?
Both products reflect changing needs in today's organisations. But how well did their developers translate organisational needs into features?
Vendors take what they know of their customers and markets, and try to reflect current and emerging needs in products that aim for excellence. Buyers and users, however, do not always agree about the design, approach or outcomes of this process.
Buyers and vendors discuss what constitutes "product excellence", which is why FreePint is pleased to produce on behalf of the Content Division of the Software and Information Industry Association a webinar session on precisely this topic. This free session will provide you with insights about what developers are aiming for and what buyers are looking for. Register now and join us on 13 September for what is sure to be a lively session.
By Robin Neidorf
Robin has been working with FreePint since 2004, and, since joining full time in 2006, is responsible for strategic planning, product development, relationship management, research and communications. She currently heads the FreePint Research division.
Robin Neidorf ran a research and communications consulting business for 10 years, prior to joining Free Pint Limited. As a consultant, she focused on strategic planning, using information to make better decisions, and creating effective audience-focused communications across different media.
Robin has worked with a wide range of organisations in the for-profit and non-profit sector. She has developed online communities, publications and distance learning modules for a range of business purposes. She is the author of Teach Beyond Your Reach: An instructor's guide to developing and running successful distance learning classes, workshops, training sessions and more (second edition, Cyber Age, 2012) and the co-author of E-Merchant: Retail Strategies for e-Commerce (Addison-Wesley, 2001).
Robin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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