How to make your OSS a Purple Cow

With well over 400 product suppliers in the OSS/BSS market it can be really difficult to stand out from the other products. Part of the reason we compiled The Blue Book OSS/BSS Vendor Directory was to allow us to quickly recall one product from another. With so much overlapping functionality and similarities in their names, some vendors can “blend” into each other when we try to recall them.

And we spend a lot of our week working with and analysing the market, the products and the customers who use them. Imagine how difficult that task would be for someone whose primary task is to operate a network (which most OSS/BSS customers do for a living).

How then can a vendor make their offerings stand out amongst this highly fragmented product market?

Seth Godin is a legendary marketer and product maker (not in OSS or BSS products though). We refer to him often here on the Passionate About OSS blog because of his brilliant and revolutionary ideas. One of those ideas turned into a product manifesto entitled Purple Cow. This book made it into our list of best books for OSS/BSS practitioners.

Purple Cow describes something phenomenal, something counterintuitive and exciting and flat-out unbelievable… Seth urges you to put a Purple Cow into everything you build, and everything you do, to create something truly noticeable.”

When you’re on a long trip in the countryside, seeing lots of brown or black cows soon gets boring, but if you saw a purple cow, you’d immediately take notice. This book provides the impetus to make your products stand out and drive word of mouth rather than having to differentiate via your marketing.

I’ve noticed the same effect when we pitch our Managed OSS/BSS Data Service to prospects. It’s the data collection and collation tools that drive most of the real business value (in our humble opinion), but it’s the visualisation tools that drive the wow factor amongst our prospects / customers.

It’s our ability to show 3D models of assets (eg towers as per the animation below) or overlay of real-time data onto the 3D models (ie digital twins), or mashing up many disparate data sources for presentation by powerful and intuitive visualisation engines.

This might seem counter-intuitive, but set aside your products’ technical functionality for a moment. Now ask yourself what is the biggest wow factor that stays with your customers and gets them talking with others in the industry? What’s phenomenal, counterintuitive, exciting and flat-out unbelievable? What’s your Purple Cow?

Having reviewed many OSS/BSS products, I can assure you there aren’t many Purple Cows in the OSS/BSS industry. If you’re responsible for products or marketing at an OSS/BSS vendor, that gives you a distinct opportunity.

Improvements in technologies such as 3D asset modelling, AI image recognition, advances in UX/CX, data collection / visualisation and many more gives you the tools to be creative. The tools to be memorable. The tools to build a Purple Cow.

It’s difficult to stand out based on functional specifications or non-functionals (unless you leave others in your dust, such as being able to ingest data at 10-20x your nearest competitor). Those features might be where the your biggest business value may lie. In fact that’s probably where it does lie. 

However, it seems that the Purple Cows in OSS/BSS appear in the unexpected and/or surprising visual experiences.

Can you imagine building an OSS/BSS Purple Cow? If interested, we’d be delighted to assist.

 

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