A Lite-Version software solution can often be within easy reach. However, making sure it does not undermine the ‘full-suite’ product, not spending a lot of time, effort and money developing it and making sure the support costs can be maintained is often the reason why companies are reluctant to take this step.
For some customers that pushes their desired solution out of reach. For the solution provider it can be tempting to go after smaller clients. But how do you do this without the losing money?
The standard approach is often to develop a slimmed-down version of the solution. How this is done can often be the challenge. How do you retain the great parts of the product and offer a tier-2 solution? How do you deploy what the client needs without significant cost? How do you satisfy your top tier clients that they could not have got the same solution for a lot less money?
The challenge to do this at one company was very compelling. A large demand for the product set against a very complex workflow and multiple system integrations gave us ample demand for a simplified roll out and a simplified product. However, over-simplify and the product ceases to resonate with the client. Retain ‘all the cool stuff’ and the price is not so appealing to the client.
The product we developed did not require any new coding. It did not require any redevelopment or re-engineering, and, above all, it did not require any new training for the team required to sell, implement or support. It did however retain most of the functionality and was quicker, simpler, and cheaper, to implement.
Workflow design was limited to the number of elements the customer could have, but they could still pick any. Data cleanse was provided by the customer or we would provide this as an extra, chargeable service. Implementation was limited to only a set number of integrations. Additional integrations could be added later for a fee if required. Training was online or one train-the-trainer event. The customer would provide their own helpdesk triage – we would provide them tool kits and online training in advance. The number of calls to our helpdesk were limited and any above this were chargeable.
The solution was a great success. For the customer it gave them a solution they could afford that allowed them to develop if need be. For us it allowed us to deploy more simply at lower cost and with any new training or development.
Finding a solution for a new range of customers need not mean re-invention. Sometimes it just requires creative thinking and a good understanding of the market opportunity and what the customers really want.