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Reaching the Unreachable: A Method for Early Stage Software Startups to Reach Inaccessible Stakeholders within Large Corporations

Lim, S; Bentley, P; Ishikawa, F; (2020) Reaching the Unreachable: A Method for Early Stage Software Startups to Reach Inaccessible Stakeholders within Large Corporations. In: Proceedings of the 28th IEEE Requirements Engineering Conference (RE'20). IEEE: Zurich, Switzerland. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Bridging the gap in software development from idea to need remains a difficult task for startups, especially when users are unreachable within the black boxes of large corporations. The lack of customer collaboration results in the failure of requirements elicitation and subsequently the failure of software products. In this work, we describe a simple but effective method to enable startups to reach relevant hidden stakeholders within large corporations and elicit requirements from them. AdvisorNet leverages professional networks and social media to find senior domain experts. These carefully selected advisors bridge the gap from the outside world to the hidden corporate structure and social networks in the target corporation and enable highly successful elicitation from stakeholders. We demonstrate AdvisorNet with a real-world case study in which a London-based startup successfully connected with multiple advisors who then introduced previously unreachable users for requirements elicitation and decision-makers to achieve their goal of trialing their product within the large corporations. Finally, we provide suggestions for future research to formalize the method further and enable it to become rigorous and repeatable.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Reaching the Unreachable: A Method for Early Stage Software Startups to Reach Inaccessible Stakeholders within Large Corporations
Event: 28th IEEE Requirements Engineering Conference (RE'20)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://re20.org/
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: startup, B2B, stakeholder, social network, requirements elicitation, advisors, users, decision-makers
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10097979
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