Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Customer Orientation vs Competitor Orientation

This is a very old topic. I first touch this topic while I was in college. I have always keeping this topic in my mind.

First, this is what I think about Competitor Orientation -

You only need to be better than others. As long as your customer do not have any other choice, you can be the king and do whatever you want.

And, Customer Orientation -

Customer is the king. You should try your best to satisfy your customer' need.

In software development, customer oriented design means thinking of what customer is looking for and competitor oriented design means looking at what competitor is offering.

In my experience, the competitor oriented design is a dangerous approach and really hurts the industry. However, unfortunately, both competition and customers lead us to take that approach.

A very simple example - or the most stupid thing I have seen - but still frequently happen is about adding columns to tables.

People seems never learned from mistakes.

Since the competitor's product has such column, we should add this column. Since the competitor's product has these many of columns, we should add more than what they have.

Does the customer really buy the product based on the number of columns?

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