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Software development: candy, vitamins, and painkillers

Penetration audit by Emat EOOD it company
Startups often fail because they invest their money and the money of investors in software products that no one wants to buy. Either they don't need the market and don't meet its needs. Or they are difficult to scale: there are no resources or skills. How do you reduce risk in development? How can the customer determine the value and demand for the future product?

The fact that any product under development, even at the project stage, should be considered in three categories: "candy", "vitamins" and "painkillers", was mentioned after the famous statement by venture expert Kevin Gong. A lot of successful software started out as vitamins, but over time became painkillers. What's the difference and what should you aim for? What should the customer and the IT company discuss before development begins?
The first stage is negotiation
At the very beginning of a project, it is necessary to estimate its approximate scope and cost. Without a clear understanding of why and for whom the product is being created, development makes no sense. The client and the contractor learn to "speak the same language". The IT company should consider all key requirements, understand expectations and clarify opportunities. The first phase is the most important. The customer discovers the implementation company and the IT company evaluates the customer. The business requirements are used to determine what features should be included in the product. Consider the simplest analogy of sweets, vitamins and painkillers.

Painkillers are a quick fix. This is how we can characterise software that solves a user's immediate, urgent problems. For example, one of Emat's latest developments is software that searches for and removes viruses and malware from a computer.

The removal product is the easiest to sell. For B2B software, it is important to remember that although companies buy the product, the main consumer is the ordinary user. Therefore, such software must not only be effective and simple, it must be addictive. It is important to keep customer churn low and retention high. Such software is attractive to investors. It requires that
  • the software product becomes part of the user's daily life
  • the payback period is minimised
  • the UX design of the product is simple and easy to understand

Painkillers are easy to sell: 'You have pain and our product will relieve it'. But what if your product relieves their pain forever? They won't need it anymore. That's why it's important to look at the product lifecycle during the TOR approval phase and understand: how and what will keep the user engaged, what refinements the product may need.
Intrinsic intranet penetration test by Emat company
This is a PO that doesn't solve a pressing problem, but can improve the overall quality of life. As in everyday life, vitamins are useful, but you can easily live without them. For example, a time management service is a useful but not essential product.

A good example of a vitamin is Grammarly, an online grammar and editing platform. The company had to spend considerable resources demonstrating how its solution would benefit businesses. Most potential customers didn't realise how much time they spent editing or proofreading texts. It was a pain they may not have felt. Over time, the product became hugely popular, and not just with content agencies.
Candy is a nice treat, but you can live without it. It's a piece of software that doesn't solve a pressing problem or improve your overall quality of life, but it's still fun.

Many mobile games and smartphone apps are like sweets. Sales of the strategy game Clash of Clans bring in $1.5-2 million every day. But we should not forget that games, like candy, are addictive for many people. When discussing a future project, the client should clearly understand the target audience and calculate several options for return on investment. That is why most of the time it is SaaS (Software as a Service), which:
  • can be downloaded for free
  • is rich in visual stimulation (animations, GIFs and emoticons)
  • uses notifications (to bring the user back to the app)
  • acts as a powerful "FOMO" (fear of missing out)
Emat EOOD has created a continuous monitoring program
Develop a vitamin, sell it as a painkiller
Developing software solutions is a complex and multifaceted process that requires careful planning and clear organisation. Before starting active development, it is necessary to clearly define the customer's requirements for the future product, the expected results and the main business objective of the entire project. Emat EOOD advises
  • thoroughly study and analyse the customer's desired results
  • highlight the core and most important features of the MVP that will address the key user challenges
  • design the product to meet the customer's needs and expectations
  • document all processes by creating step-by-step guides
  • Familiarise the customer with a step-by-step development plan, walk them through all the processes.
  • Before writing any code, get customer feedback on the step-by-step guide.

To be fair, the fastest and clearest path to success is to sell "painkiller" software. But not every product is successful only as a painkiller. Sweets trigger the release of dopamine and generate a good amount of revenue. Vitamins and sweets will always have a place in the market.
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