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A Real World Example of Inside-Out Thinking vs Outside-In Thinking

…and how GoToMeeting got it wrong.

Photo By Benjamin Child

If you work in the business world, there’s a high probability that your organization uses GoToMeeting or you have been a part of a conference call that has. Having dealt with a number of conferencing services over my past decade of sales experience, it has definitely stood out as the easiest and most reliable option on the market.

Before we dive in further, here’s a brief history behind Citrix, LogMeIn, GoToMeeting, and how we got to where we are today. Citrix, the former parent company of GoToMeeting, has been around since 1989, a household name in Silicon Valley. In 2004, they developed GoToMeeting and made it into what it is today, along with various other offerings like GoToWebinar. Just last year, Citrix made the decision to spin off the entire GoTo product line and merge it with a Boston-based company called LogMeIn, a big player in the remote desktop space for the better part of the last decade. Now that we have the history, this is where our story begins…

Just last week, I found myself scrolling to my GoToMeeting app on my iPhone only to be met with the following experience:

An app icon that looked like the old GoToMeeting app icon, but was grayed out and had an “OLD” banner slapped on top of it. What did this all mean? Was I old? Was the app old? Was it celebrating a milestone birthday and this was their way at poking fun of their age? Needless to say, I had a lot of questions. What I knew first and foremost was that in all my years of dealing with application updates, I had never met a situation like this and it was quite baffling. Logically, I entered the app expecting to be met with a notification or popup that would explain what was going on, but I found neither. Nervous about my meeting starting in less than five minutes, I tested out the meeting I had booked and it seemed to work fine, but I wasn’t taking any chances. How was I supposed to trust an application that had visually reverted itself back to an alpha or beta version?

Knowing that I couldn’t rationalize any of this in the time I had, I then had to jump on my laptop and do it the old fashioned way. No noticeable changes on that end, phew. My meeting was a success and I was free to do some more investigative work. A quick search on the Apple App Store gave me not one, but two versions of GoToMeeting I could download. One, with the ridiculous “OLD” banner on it and one that looked completely normal. How could there be two versions of the same application? This is a huge advantage of the App Store, there’s always only one version available of any app, and it’s always the newest.

Now let’s remember back to my history lesson up above as we finish out my detective work. Upon closer inspection, I saw that the original GoToMeeting application had Citrix as the developer. The new version? You guessed it, LogMeIn. So, what I put together, along with the other furious users in the reviews section for both versions, was that instead of transferring the ownership of the application from one company to another, they instead opted for ending the Citrix version and uploading the exact same application under LogMeIn ownership.

You can imagine the meetings that were held between both companies on how to handle this. “What could go wrong? We slap an “OLD” banner on the old app, because well, it’s old! And then users will simply figure out they need to delete their current app, go into the App Store, search for GoToMeeting, download the right version of the app, only noted by the correct orange logo, and be on their merry way!” Hopefully that was as crazy to read as it was to type out. But this is what happens when an organization thinks from an inside-out perspective rather than an outside-in one. They assumed what the best experience would be for their customers because this was the easiest experience for them.

In order for an organization to truly deliver great customer experiences, they must first adopt an outside-in mindset.

If this does not take place, you end up with situations like the one I found myself in the other day. After some light research, I found out it is fairly simple to transfer application ownership on the App Store and it seems to be a similar case on the Google Play store. With an organization as large as Citrix, you would expect them to have thought this part of the process through, but alas, here we are.

This is not to say that outside-in thinking can solve every single business problem that comes your way, but as we see organizations push to adopt this mindset in our line of work, you start to see them asking the question, “How will this impact our customers?” rather than “What will be the most efficient way to solve this?” or “How will this impact us from an operational standpoint?” Both are still valid questions, but they must only be dealt with once we answer how it will affect our customers first.

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