As every company reexamines its cost structure now is a perfect time to align the product strategy with the needs of customers positioning for competitive advantage in the recovery ahead. Being more customer-facing and searching for insight about what the customer needs to position his business for competitive advantage will be key to growth.
Unlocking the value-creating potential of a product and scaling its growth for the future requires that we see the product value proposition more from the customers’ perspective. Believe it or not, most products are built by product engineers or managers more for themselves assuming they understand the customers’ business problem and need. The problem is product managers rarely use the products they build to do real work. The result is often half-baked software that takes months to de-bug driving up the cost.
An alternative approach to product strategy for a software company is to turn this development process on its head. Leveraging the software and data needed to run it into wallet share growth from services as a core part of the product strategy creates a powerful convergence of pressure points all focused on ‘doing real work’ by applying the tools, data, quick start content, user community collaboration and the context within which they are applied to help turn their strategy into actionable results.
This isn’t rocket science but it does not always get considered in the product development process. By being customer-facing and creating both internal and external customers who collaborate actively to define the product needs and uses, refine the acceptable tolerances for features and functionality and then use them daily in their work aligns the product development process with the needs of customers.
When recurring revenue from services is an integral part of the product strategy a funny thing happens—the products get better. The customers get happier. Time to market is reduced for features and functionality improvements because of constant pressure from customers to meet business needs. And–even better, revenue and EBITDA should go up.