On Demand in Late Adopter Industries
How ProofPilot made “on-demand” and “self-service” part of it’s DNA, and in the process is changing the research world.
It’s difficult to escape the on-demand economy. With Amazon Prime, you can live in the middle of nowhere and get almost anything within a couple of days. At an airport in Mongolia? With Netflix, you can binge your favorite TV show by clicking a button while you wait for your flight. The ride-sharing service Uber, in a couple of years, now counts for almost 50% of all rides on business trips.
It would be easy for ProofPilot to dismiss the on-demand economy as a consumer business strategy. We provide a platform to design, launch and manage research studies to determine what works to improve human health. We’re a B2B play. ProofPilot earns its money from the researchers who create and launch studies.
These research techniques cost academia and pharma hundreds of thousands of dollars per study. This world is highly regulated. It’s filled with experts. The studies these experts conduct are each completely unique. They aren’t even all on health. Researchers run studies on health treatments, government programs, the economy, and education. The space is dominated by professional services, consulting firms and clinical research organizations.
This doesn’t sound like a space ready for quick moving, anytime anywhere ready services. But we’re finding the expectations of this group changing — rapidly.
Healthcare, government, and academia are not early adopters. But Gmail, Amazon, Facebook, even Netflix and Uber have reached late adopters. It’s changing how late adopters view technology at home and in the workplace. Long implementation periods and heavy training just aren’t going to cut it any longer. Users, even those in heavily regulated sectors and specialized needs, want a solution that they can set up in a minimal amount of time, without consultants, without a call to support, and without a major financial outlay.
At the same time, consumers, and “semi-professionals,” are taking a more active role in research. At ProofPilot, “non-researchers” make up our largest and fastest growing customer segment. YouTube empowers everyone to be a film-maker. Kickstarter empowers anyone to be an investor and an inventor. Blogging tools let anyone be a journalist. So, why can’t anyone be a researcher? They aren’t waiting for traditional organizations to make decisions.
For ProofPilot, the shift in expectations and who our “users” are meant a significant investment in our product and user experience. It also required rethinking our business model. None of this was easy or fast.
We created a whole new visual design language for study protocol development. We created a color palette and editorial language that felt exciting and accessible. We focused on templates for quick set-up. The price came down, and the self-service orientation became our prime focus.
If a page on ProofPilot page looked “administrative” in nature, we questioned why. Would someone who had never run a research study understand a theoretical concept? If the answer was no, we rethought the concept. Every research study is an edge case. Would expert researchers be able to design a study without professional services? If the answer was no, then we corrected the approach.
Social media has empowered everyone to be a producer, whether they have years of experience or never made an attempt before. So, it doesn’t matter what it is your product does; you better be prepared to allow anyone to use it. and that preparation, design, and product development process requires significant time and investment.
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