Software quality assurance professionals often work with systems, products, and services that operate in a highly technical context. For example, an automated testing system may operate within a larger continuous deployment pipeline in the cloud. Services like these may seem isolated in cyberspace - far from the culture, language, and interactions that shape our human experience. However, even services of this kind must be market-oriented. No system exists in isolation, and complementing the larger market context for a system’s operation is critical in order to capture maximum value.
Let’s assume you are an external contractor hired to develop an automated testing system for a SaaS company in Croatia. In this case your market is tech companies in Croatia. How can the automated testing system be oriented to this market, and perhaps your specific customer? The first step is to gain expert knowledge of the market - often either with full involvement with the general public or by connecting with local organizations. Then, the system can be oriented to the market context. How do Croatian tech companies approach work? How is software typically designed, built, deployed, and used in this region? How does the culture of the geographic region, industry, and firm impact perceptions of and approach towards professional services?
The aforementioned orientation activities can be approached in two fundamentally different ways. The first is market-driven market orientation. That is, market orientation based on the expressed needs, attitudes, and culture of the market. The second option is market-driving market orientation. This second type of orientation is based on the latent, unspoken needs of the customer. This can be especially profitable within an industry such as SaaS, where both the products and market are dynamic and volatile. As an example, consider “trust” in an automated testing system…trust in the automated testing results, trust in the rigor of the testing, and so on. System trustworthiness may not be an expressed need. However, a thoughtfully and expertly constructed automated testing system may address this latent need, and in the process may impact the supply and demand structure of the automated testing market itself (in this case, possibly increasing demand).