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Complements, Supplements, Replacements

posted 24 Oct 2016, 14:29 by Stuart Bale   [ updated 24 Oct 2016, 16:51 ]
In general, every software application is primarily a Replacement, Supplement or Complement.
Here is what each of the categories mean:

Replacement - This is a product that replaces (and removes the need for) an existing product or process.

Supplement - This is a product that extends (and depends on) an existing product or process.

Complement - This is a product that works with (but is independent to) an existing product or process.

Take a minute to reflect on your product to determine which of these categories it fits with.

OK, now you've figured that out, let's take a look in a bit more detail about each.

Replacements are great where your product automates an existing manual process, and there are no alternative products (i.e. first to market), or revolutionizes the manner in which the problem is solved.

Supplements are great where your product builds on top of an existing product new functionality to solve a related problem, uses new technologies to improve an existing product or is used as a path to migrate customers away from an existing product or process.

Complements are great where your product is new and needs to gain market adoption, or expands your existing product portfolio.

So, why is this important for you?

Well, I often see software businesses apply the wrong strategy to their product. 

For example, they have an existing product that is well established in the market and is feature rich, but is dependant on a technology that has reached end of life. So, they decide to build a replacement product using the latest technologies, that has the same feature set as their existing product.  Several years later, they wonder why the product hasn't yet been released, and why the technology they chose for the new product is now out of date.

My experience has shown in this case, that a supplement or complement product strategy is a much more successful approach, where the existing product is used as an anchor to build a new product around.

Of course, every situation is different, so contact me to discuss what your position is today, and receive a free assessment of the strategy that would best suit you.