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Good post. To paraphrase GI Joe -- know what customers use or don't use is only half the battle.

The other, and in my opinion, more important half, is knowing what they need.

Measuring usage is a post implementation activity. Good, but really it's like looking in the rear view mirror.

Understanding needs is very difficult (if not impossible) to do strictly through automation. You need to meet people, talk to them, observe them, their colleagues etc to get a good understanding of needs.

As an example. Intuit's "Follow me home" program gave them insights into how their customers used their product (Quicken) that would have been impossible to learn in any other way.

I'm not decrying usage metrics in any way, but just pointing out some of their limits.

up, Joe Hall has contacted a bunch of bsinuess marketing gurus and they say this about The Most Important Thing for New Entrepreneurs to Understand (his title, not mine

Insightful points. Thanks for them.I would also add to look for a team who is agile and quick with its exoietcun. The market is moving SO FAST, requiring the market leaders of yesterday to keep moving faster than ever before in order to maintain their competitive edge. In a growing Winner Takes All' market dynamics, a new, fast, innovative player can surprise an incumbent. If the incumbent is not agile, and wakes up too late, that might be the end of it. In our SaaS company agility, innovation and simplicity are values.

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  • Tom Grant is a senior analyst at Forrester Research. You can e-mail him at tgrant@forrester.com, or reach him via Twitter at TomGrantForr. All opinions expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of my employer, Forrester Research.

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