IDG Contributor Network: The importance of 'dogfooding' in the cloud

The term “dogfooding” is used to describe companies using their own products. The idea is that by being a user, the company will find issues with products and improve their overall experience.

Many software products are created out of their founders’ need for a better solution than already exists. They will have already used the competition and researched the alternatives, so when they build something new it’s to satisfy their own needs. If you don’t like your current CRM and you build an alternative, you’re going to use your own CRM product to sell it to customers.

Degrees of dogfooding

At some companies, the products are created from internal technology and then a separate, productized version is sold to customers. The underlying technology is the same, but the implementation and deployment are different. You might write a paper on a new approach to systems management, then a third party might implement that paper with an open source project.

With others, the product might be intended for a completely different target audience and never used internally. You might be a massive corporation and one of your products is small business accounting, but you use an enterprise-grade ERP solution to run your business.