The humble use case
Use case = How a user interacts with a product to achieve a specific goal
Being a tech investor I think about emerging technology all the time. I also get asked about the ‘next big thing’ on a regular basis. We all want to have a point of view about what happens next and the extraordinary potential of new technologies.
But I believe the more relevant question focuses on the use case. For me, as an investor focused on the enterprise market, I believe the strategic cornerstones of any business are as follows:
Customers — reach, retain & grow
Productivity — do more for less
People — the right people in the right places
Security — managing & minimizing risk
If you’re managing and improving each of these areas then your business will be successful. To what degree comes down to things like business model and market size but they will dictate the scale of the success.
So it stands to reason that the most important thing about an enterprise IT product is that it has a material and measurable impact on at least one of these areas. Ideally I want to hear from the person within the business who is responsible for one of these areas that the product is driving material improvement and that they have the data to back it up.
When I get asked about emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality or the Internet of Things, I try to relate it back to use case. However exciting a new technology might be, it has to have a clear and present use case. In the enterprise world it needs to be an enabler of making a business more successful.
It sounds simple but in all the excitement it’s amazing how often this gets overlooked.