MIDNIGHT AT THE OASIS – DAY 17 OF A 30 DAY BLOG (RANT?)
We’re a software developer, that’s our core business and it’s what generates our revenue.
Every day though we step outside the traditional software developer space and engage with our clients on other matters. This happens because we like the diversity in activity and because our technology puts us in unlikely places.
On a daily basis we struggle to encourage, lead and pressure small business owners to actually use the technology they have purchased closer to its potential. I reckon that small business retailers use less than 20% of the systems they buy.
In the last couple of weeks we’ve taken a risk and put some hooks deep into our software which help us help our users. We’ve made it so their systems automatically send us selected summary data which we then centrally aggregate so that the data can be used to help them individually and as a group. This data lets us benchmark their businesses and provide specific feedback on their performance.
The hooks effectively link all of our users in a data sharing/aggregation network hitherto only dreamed of in our small business marketplaces.
This step redefines what we do. It takes us out of being a traditional software developer and makes us more of an advocate on behalf of our clients. It also obligates us to use the collected and aggregated data wisely and valuably on their behalf. Along the way we will learn more about their businesses and interact more deeply with their suppliers.
Clients wanting to opt out of sharing their data can do so easily. We’re not getting item level data so supplier contracts precluding provision of this to a third party are upheld.
The result we’re looking for will be tangible business outcomes for our clients. We’re already getting data and it’s fascinating, challenging and exciting all at once – it certainly takes us further away from the role of software developer.
This is another part of our Oasis strategy.