BtoB

How can smaller b-to-b media companies make technology work better for their customers?

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Q. How can smaller b-to-b media companies make technology work better for their customers?

A. The key is to change the software development cycle so that the project doesn't end when an [online] product launches. The launch should be the start of a new phase and a time to ask questions: What are your customers doing with the product? What do they like and dislike about it? If need be, you may have to start all over again. If you get it right the first time, you're really lucky. Publishers, project managers and product development executives have to make sure that financial resources are available after a launch. They also need to rely on site analytic tools so that they can see how the audience is using the product—in addition to surveys and forums. It's not about "perpetual beta," which implies technical defects. It's about putting out a good product, and having a chance to make it more usable and squeezing the most out of the site and, ultimately, the investment you've made. ... I still sense from [the recent] ABM Top Management Meeting that too many business publishers are clinging to print and hoping it will not decline. What they need to be looking at is the next source of revenue and not blindly investing in a print product that's done well in the past.

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