Knowing Yourself and Your Competition

Brighton Vino
Aug 6, 2019 · 8 min read

A Competitor Analysis Framework for Enterprise UX Design

Co-Authored by Shyama Duriseti

Selecting Competitors

A critical part of the analysis is choosing the right competitors. Ideal competitor analysis includes four to six competitors that represent the biggest influencers in your market space. To pick the right set of competitors, consider the following framework. It begins with the understanding of -

Additional Criteria to Consider

To help identify the competitors across a wider spectrum, and to ensure the scope of the competitors chosen isn’t too narrow; here are a few additional dimensions to consider

  • Gartner Quadrants
  • Consumer Size
  • Product Domain
  • Startups
  • Physical World
    E.g. Alerts vs. a prey warning its group about a predator.

Pre-Analysis

The fun begins here! In this step, you get to play with, evaluate, critique, and learn from the shortlisted competitors. Depending on the use cases you are trying to work with, you have to source the related content of your competitors.

Resources

Identifying the resources for evaluating competitors can be a little challenging. In an ideal scenario, you should be able to get access to your competitor’s setup or a trial account. Reach out to your Product Managers or any enthusiastic Engineers. However, in a severely competitive environment, it might not be possible to get access to a demo setup.

  • Industry expert reviews
  • Presentations — at conferences, and public events
  • YouTube videos
  • Blogs and other kinds of documentations

Use Cases

Once you have the resources lined up, the next step is to delve into the use cases for your study. Identify the use cases you are trying to work with for your product. This will inform the outcome of the competitor analysis ranging from defining an experience vision to even influencing the product vision by identifying gaps and new use cases.

  • Hypothesized Use Cases
    Use cases that are assumed and typically intend to reduce user effort or offer seamless end-to-end experience.
  • Discovered Use Cases
    Use cases that were discovered during the analysis that were not part of the original requirements.
Example: High-level Use Cases for Troubleshooting in Enterprise IT

Analysis

Now that you have identified resources and targeted use cases, it’s time to deep dive and analyze the competitors on a common set of parameters. This helps in benchmarking UX by comparing and learning from the strengths and weaknesses of the identified competitors. You could use the following structure for the analysis.

  1. Identify the Feature and Capabilities: List, describe and prioritize the key features and use cases you will use to evaluate each competing product.
  2. Work through the High-level Workflows: Evaluate each competitor based on the use cases and create/capture the findings in one or more of the following ways: Flow diagrams, annotated screenshots, and videos.
  3. Feature completeness: Rate the overall product on a scale of 1–5 for completeness and note what makes it complete/incomplete.
  4. UX Assessment: For each product, rate the workflows on a scale of 1–5 using the following heuristics.
  • Effectiveness: Time-To-Task, Clicks, etc
  • Assessment: Visual Design, Visualizations, Voice and Tone
  • Micro-Interactions, Notifications, and Alerts
  • Help & Support, Customer Reviews

Experience Benchmarking

Experience benchmarking is a great way to synthesize your findings from the analysis phase. This aids in setting an experience vision for your product and suggests how you might be able to most effectively leverage design.

Benchmarking for UX Completeness

With the data and insights captured, create an ideal experience for your product. Integrate any newly discovered use cases gathered from competitors with your baseline and hypothesized use cases. Besides learning from competitors, bringing in a real-world understanding of how customer delight can be achieved in the context can be a differentiator.

Example: End-to-end experience for Troubleshooting in Enterprise IT

Benchmarking for UX Quality

You should also map competitors’ performance on other dimensions like UX Quality for visual, content, visualizations, etc. Having benchmarked all these dimensions provides a great summary of the competitive landscape.

Sample: Structure for UX Quality Benchmarking Report

Capture Gaps and Opportunities

One of the key outcomes of the experience benchmarking exercise is identifying gaps and opportunities for your product area to focus on in order to evolve into an industry leader.

Next Steps after Analysis

Road Map

The competitive analysis provides invaluable insights backed by clear evidence to make a strong case for addressing gaps in the product capabilities and UX. It also provides the raw data for a product roadmap that aligns with business goals, prioritizes features and describes what a product with significant competitive advantages might look like.

Socialize

You’re not done until the insights and proposals reach the right stakeholders and influencers. Ideally, your immediate product and engineering teams should have been collaborating with the designers throughout the analysis but be sure you craft a clear, data-driven message for the team. Once your immediate product team is aligned on the findings, share your results with all leadership levels you need to get support and executive buy-ins for your plans.

Nutanix Design

Nutanix Design