category creation

Case Study | Replicon

Category Design Advisors worked with Replicon’s leadership team to help them discover and solidify a new category concept. Together, we landed on the term “Time Intelligence” to describe the new category of AI-driven time tracking that Replicon wanted to pioneer.

category creation

“Time Intelligence caught on with us very quickly,” says Replicon CEO and co-founder Raj Narayanswamy. “We collect time and apply meaning to it.”

Raj Narayanswamy.

category creation

Replicon: How category creation can win new attention for an old company

When we got involved with a twenty-year-old software company called Replicon, based in Silicon Valley and Calgary, they billed themselves as “Time management for your entire workforce.” It had about 200 employees and was doing well enough, but it was a second-tier player in a crowded category of time-tracking software.

Other companies, such as Kronos, were setting the agenda for the category. Replicon didn’t much excite the press or analysts. It was just a solid enterprise software company that mostly flew under the radar.

But the leadership team at Replicon had interesting ideas about where the company could go. Time-tracking software gathered a lot of data about what employees were doing and when. In an era of IoT devices, big data and artificial intelligence, Replicon saw a way to tie time-tracking data to other data generated by an enterprise, and build AI to spot trends and opportunities for doing things better.

This is where we can help. Our job wasn’t to know all about time tracking software and give Replicon advice. We’d never know as much about the sector as Replicon’s team. Instead, our job is to pull all of the thinking out of the team’s brains and help steer them toward a goal they can all believe in -- a goal that would create something new and defensible in the marketplace. In other words, we worked to help Replicon discover, define and capture a new market category.

So we brainstormed and thought and worked with the team until we teased out the idea for a new category of AI-driven time tracking technology that we labeled Time Intelligence. Once we had the concept, we took all of our discussions and turned it into a straightforward, memorable story that we call a Point of View.

The POV captures the essence of the category, the problem it solves, and why it matters. That story helped rally the whole company behind the category concept. “Time Intelligence caught on with us very quickly,” says Replicon CEO and co-founder Raj Narayanswamy. As the POV made clear, Raj told us: “We collect time and apply meaning to it.”

The Results

In October 2017, Replicon rolled out its Time Intelligence category at the HR Tech conference in Las Vegas. It changed the perceptions of Replicon. The sales team reported that they were having entirely different conversations with prospects. As one salesperson noted, “People are intrigued by time intelligence...and are asking who our competitors are.” Analysts who saw Replicon as one of many competitors in an established market looked at the company in a new way.

“From an outcome perspective, we realized very quickly we were able to define the company that way,” Narayanswamy says. “Time Intelligence stands out more as a differentiator for us today. We’re seen as different from other vendors in the space. Every time I have a conversation with CIOs and CEOs, they immediately get it. It’s a different conversation we’re having at the executive level. Even if customers don’t know exactly what it is, we’re seen now as the Time Intelligence company.”

The media has taken note, too. The concept of “time intelligence” has garnered press attention, including a story in Fast Company (“How to Measure Your ‘Time Intelligence’ – And Why It’s

Bottom line: category design helped pull Replicon out of a market where it had to fight to get noticed, and set the company up as the pioneering leader of a new category. 

category design

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