The Real Purpose of R&D

“Is to make the support department obsolete, likewise the purpose of marketing is to make the sales department obsolete.”

The perfect product requires no support whatsoever. It installs and performs flawlessly, people who call support will not be worthwhile supporting, so the entire department can be replaced by an automated response system explaining the client how to get a refund.

Similarly, if the marketing department creates “the perfect campaign”, the sales dept. can be replaced by an online shop – no need for the sales people to elaborate on the wonderful features – people already “get it” and just want to know how to place an order.

These are the goals.

In between, there will be situations where support will perform clarification on features because some parts of the application are not well documented, or there are rare fringe situations that require a little tweaking and troubleshooting. In terms of marketing, the sales people will be met by people who “get it” but need justification to make the actual purchase. The same way we fall in love with a car, but need a salesperson to confirm our (sometimes made-up, irrational) justification.

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2 thoughts on “The Real Purpose of R&D

  1. It’s all about the complexity of the product and its application. If I buy a Nissan Versa I’m going to require (or expect) very little support or sales. If I buy a Boeing 777-400, I’m going to need quite a bit of both–regardless of the maturity of the technology or how well the product is implemented.

    In our business the complexity varies widely. From “fire and forget” DVRs to complex control centers with a ton of customization and third party integration. While we should certainly strive to drive elegant (and presumably simple) solutions that will require less support and sales, there will always be a level of complexity in certain applications that will require both.

  2. prescienta says:

    Clearly, we will (probably) never see the “perfect product”. I could argue if Nissan’s engineers had made the perfect car, then you would never NEED to get support – ever. This is naturally pretty hypothetical for a car since there are parts that wear out and need to be replaced.

    Likewise (and again – hypothetical) if the VMS is “perfect” then your access control systems, fire alarms and analytics would “just work” (to paraphrase Apple).

    But in the real world, there are things that are just inherently complex; taken to the extreme, we could simply ship GCC and say that we “support everything with just a couple of configuration files”.

    A couple of config files – meaning hundreds of c++ files with thousands of lines.

    🙂

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