Consumer & Enterprise Software & Service – Innovating in the cloud

July 8, 2018

Key wins:

  • We built a model showing exactly where the line between creepy and cool exists for this kind of SaaS.
  • Our team created a clear set of privacy, guidelines marketing and product development.
  • We identified features customers feel are “magical,” providing an innovation roadmap.
The Challenge A large, established global software company, whose software is the de-facto industry standard for certain sectors, wanted to make the move to the cloud. The aim was to vastly improve the company’s service offering, give customers a subscription model versus a substantial upfront capital cost and become much more nimble in order to compete with disruptive rivals. Our client was both eager to leverage all of the power of the cloud to deliver outstanding software and service, but also aware of the danger of crossing the line from hip and modern to intrusive—especially in light of today’s privacy scandals plaguing leading innovators such as Facebook. That, however, is a remarkably difficult challenge when you consider the fluidity of cloud-based experiences. For instance, if you as a consumer are Googling “Thai restaurants,” chances are you want to see Thai restaurants in your city and the ones geographically near to your current location. You want Google to know where you are. Google does and that’s pretty cool. Most of us just take that for granted. But as we’ve learned from all the privacy and security chatter over the last few years, you don’t always want Google, or any other online service, to know that much about you. That gets into the creepy zone. Do I really want Google to know that I visited a doctor one day and lawyer the next? While some consumers still maintain that they don’t mind, we’re increasingly hearing that people are very uncomfortable with this type of surveillance in exchange for personalized service. Our client called the services linked to knowing the right things to make whatever you’re doing easy, “magical”—in other words, the “cool” side of the spectrum. They dubbed the experience of gathering and sharing too much data, “creepy.” Our task was to help our client locate that dividing line from cool to creepy for a wide range of people in a wide range of situations. The company wanted us to build a model that they could use to innovate their products, focus marketing and develop privacy policies. The Solution We knew this assignment was more about understanding what people will actuallydo rather than what they say they will do . A common problem with surveys is that people respondents say they will do something, or want to purchase something, but they don’t actually do it or buy it. To build a good model, we knew we needed a large, statistically accurate sample across multiple demographics. We hit upon the idea of gathering people’s responses to short, mini-stories or vignettes. We based stories on emotion and figured if we could tell the right stories and tap into the right feelings, we would have true insight to behaviours. An added benefit of using stories was that it made thinking about online privacy, a highly nuanced subject, much more accessible for respondents—and our client. We created a series of 12 vignettes spanning the spectrum of online privacy, with each touching on a different facet of the experience. We asked respondents to consider how they felt about each according to four typical emotional dimensions. What resulted was incredibly rich data—and a clear line between creepy and cool, in multiple scenarios. Because we had a large sample, we were also able to segment results according to gender, age, region, etc. Our client now uses this model to inform and guide important business decisions on service and features, leading innovation that consumers find both magical and trustworthy, for many different conditions and audience types.