You’ve heard the saying, “Eat Your Own Dogfood“. If not, it simply means using the product or service you offer to your customers. In the wake of my last post about using TrackVia to build our own custom CRM system, I got to thinking about this idea more. Does Salesforce.com us its own solution? Does Intuit or Caspio, or Zoho use their own solutions? And when I say “use”, I mean do they use it as part of their everyday jobs?
Here at TrackVia, we use our solution for virtually everything. We track sales, employee information, project management, order management, support, marketing and more. Heck, we even use TrackVia to track our weekly team lunch orders. (See the picture attached to this post.) Now that I think about it, there’s very little data or workflow at TrackVia that’s not tracked and managed using our own solution.
But why is that important?
In my mind, eating your own dogfood is important for two reasons. First, it helps you build better solutions. How can you understand how to make something better if you don’t actually use it. And having worked at many large companies (including onces I mentioned above), I can assure you that most don’t use the products they sell. Second, using your own solutions day-in-and-day out puts you in the shoes of customers. That’s important. Whether you work in product development, support or marketing, having first-hand knowledge of what it feels like to be a customer or user is invaluable.
Of course, I also suspect we save tens of thousands of dollars not having to buy one-off solutions, or waste valuable time teaching our employees how to use them. Because as any user of TrackVia knows, once you learn to use TrackVia to do “A”, using it to do “B” is pretty simple.
Does your company eat its own dogfood?