Sunday, December 22, 2013

All in the name


As you may well know I have written a number of books that are available on my site or from places like Amazon. One of these is:
Getting Started with SkyDrive Pro for Office 365.
I recently received a very poor review from PL1 Pgrmr that reads:
Not what it purports to be: I found this book to be totally corporate oriented. When I bought it, my thought was to understand Skydrive and how it works better. This book fails on all counts. After skimming it, I was sorry I even bought it. Stay away unless you are in a corporate environment.
Now my first reaction, especially to the review title, has annoyance as I certainly believed that both the title and the description were valid. However, upon reflection I can see where the problem lies.
Office 365 has a Home Edition that also includes SkyDrive but the consumer version NOT the Pro version. So this person would seem to have Office 365 Home Edition and was looking for information about SkyDrive, bought my book and was disappointed because my book only covers the business versions of Office 365.
So here we have a great example of how inconsistency in products confuses end users:
1. Office 365 Home is NOTHING like Office 365 for business
2. SkyDrive Pro is NOTHING like consumer SkyDrive
Now I do understand that Microsoft is trying to unify its products and brand all under one cloud banner but it is still very confusing for end users. Even I had to stop and look at this from the point of view of someone who has purchase Office 365 Home and wants information on SkyDrive and how easily it would be to confuse my book on Office 365 Business and SkyDrive Pro.
It is so easy as technology people who understand the differences between products like SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro to overlook the fact that the vast majority of end users struggle to differentiate the products. It also highlights how you have to really, really specific with these cloud offering to ensure you are targeting exactly the right audience.
No one is at fault here, it is just confusion around the product editions. I have now updated the description on Amazon to indicate my book doesn’t talk to the Office 365 Home edition and I have left a comment for the reviewer indicating what I believe is where the confusion lies.
My book NEVER attempted to cover consumer SkyDrive and in the first few pages (which I am sure you can view via a preview it does say:
It is important not to confuse the consumer edition of SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro
and
This means it covers material that is applicable for Enterprise Office 365 Plans and well as for the Small Business and Professionals Plans. It will not cover the consumer version of SkyDrive.
However, I do understand how someone using the Office 365 Home edition could still be confused, yet I think the title of the review is a little harsh but I accept that is what happens when you publish publically.
So what’s the point of this post? I suppose it is to say always ensure that you avoid confusion in the minds of consumers when it comes to your products. If there is confusion there will be frustration like that experienced by the reviewer and myself as an author both expecting different content from a product of the same name, that being Office 365. That frustration results in negative sentiment when in fact each product provides a great solution for home users and for business. It is unfortunate that they are so dissimilar but share a common name.
Oh well, I need to update that SkyDrive Pro book anyway.