I was talking with a vendor of a robust suite of tools. In the course of it, in my usual teasing way, I asked a question. And, while I wasn’t surprised at the answer, I was ‘concerned’. And so should you be. So I’m going to suggest you start asking of your vendors “Do you drink your own champagne?”
So, this was a manufacturer of an LMS (and some other, related, platforms). And they market their advanced capabilities. And, really, I have no problem with their tools; they seem pretty enlightened. So I asked whether they used their own tools.
And there are reasons to do so. For one, to have credibility, for sure. And, to truly know your own product. But the really important reason is to be able to understand the use experience and tune accordingly. Customer research is an important tool here as well, but it’s not the only one. You really need to use something to truly know what works and what doesn’t.
It’s a form of experimentation. I test myself by trying to apply my principles in my endeavors, and then try to take on new situations to try out my beliefs more broadly. And so should you, at the individual and organizational level. Using your own tool is a form of this. It is, essentially, testing your theory with research!
And I think most folks with services and such are likely to practice what they preach. And that could be for some bad things as well as good (thinking: learning styles vendors). But I was surprised when the answer was only “somewhat”. That’s not really good enough.
So, I’m going to suggest that this should be a question you ask of every vendor. I’m also going to suggest every vendor ensure that they do use their own tool. Internally, for their own work. Whether it’s authoring tools, a course management system, a portal, a web meeting tool, what have you. If you don’t drink your own champagne, you’re not only undermining trust, you’re losing a valuable source of information. Now, pass the bubbly, would you?