A Platform elevates your offerings from merely functionally adequate to a driver of an emotional bond with your customers.
To get there, you must set the standard across four key facets of your organization:
You must orient your organization around your customers. The Platform Transition Checklist Tool defines these critical areas and common challenges, evaluates your organizational readiness, and guides your efforts to transform your organization.
The reward for this internal consistency is lower Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and higher Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) along with an appreciation for your products, your team, and your role in the organization. Doug Bain, an SBI principal, wrote an article on CAC and LTV that is an excellent refresher on the importance of these metrics.
Superior Customer Success (CS) and Customer Experience (CX) motions drive your transition from point to Platform. For background on CS and CX, download the SBI CX Strategy 2019 Workbook. If you feel you have both nailed, benchmark your CS organization to discover the true maturity of your organization. Of course, you still need to deliver the best, cutting edge products.
The Best Products
As a product leader, you’re undoubtedly aware great products do not always lead to great commercial success. If you’ve managed to dodge first-hand experience, history is rife with examples of great, technologically-advanced products that ultimately flop such as BetaMax and TiVo (time.com).
Though great products alone don’t guarantee success, without them you cannot deliver the complete, end-to-end experience your customers desire. To create that experience, or Platform, your product lineup must underpin your transition to a Platform approach. Your Product Leadership drives the organization-wide change.
Product Leadership: Do You Deliver to Your Customers the Best, Leading-Edge Products?
As mentioned above, product excellence is a necessary, but not sufficient, requirement to build your product Platform. Product Leadership, the ability to deliver the best, leading-edge products, requires you focus your product development strategy on Purposeful Innovation.
Merriam-Webster defines innovation as:
- The introduction of something new
- A new idea, method, or device : NOVELTY
Innovation by itself does not lead to commercial success nor can it alone form the basis of your product Platform. Standalone innovation leads to more TiVos: cool products that don’t meet the demands of your customers, the demands of your internal organization, nor the demands of the market.
To differentiate your products, focus your innovation in a purposeful manner to meet key customer, organizational, and market requirements. Utilize Purposeful Innovation to shape your product portfolio and start the transition toward a Platform.
Three motions separate Purposeful Innovation from the innovation that leads to TiVos:
- A crystal-clear product strategy
- Organization-wide stakeholder integration
- A well-coordinated market introduction
Each of these motions focus your innovation and product development efforts on what matters: what your customers want, organization-wide orientation around your products and their strategy, and the appropriate go to market motions to introduce and ultimately sell your products. Without them all, you won’t get there.
SBI’s Revenue Growth Methodology, or RGM, allows you to accelerate your rate of revenue growth through functional alignment of the strategies of product management, sales, marketing, pricing, and human resources.
Specifically, the three-step Product Strategy step provides in-depth guidance on Product Planning, Product Principals, and Go-To-Market.
We’ve worked with hundreds of companies across dozens of industries to develop impactful, growth-spurring product strategies. That experience helped us identify the most common gap in each step, gaps that threaten to torpedo your Purposeful Innovation. The RGM details each step along with implementation solutions.
Let’s turn our attention to common Purposeful Innovations barriers, the gaps that threaten to derail your transition to a Platform strategy.
Gaps in product strategy are as common as they are lethal. Each has the power to stymie your development efforts and derail your transition from point-product to Platform.
Does your organization:
- Lack formalized Product Lifecycle Management?
- Lose innovation due to project-specific enhancements?
- Lack “packaged releases,” leading to lagging visibility by all functions and customers?
Loose or Non-Existent Product Lifecycle Management
Remember, a clear product strategy is the first requirement to transform innovation into Purposeful Innovation. Without a formalized lifecycle management process, you can’t translate your product strategy, no matter how clearly defined, into Purposeful Innovation.
Niche Product Enhancements
Everyone wants a say in how your products look, work, and interface. The gap arises when one group or project dictates the enhancements through the product lifecycle. Each project-specific enhancement bumps the product further from your carefully-defined product strategy. Before long, your product no longer fulfills its obligations as part of your product Platform.
Incoherent Product Launches
If you don’t carefully orchestrate your product releases, you lose impact potential. When different constituents, internal and external, are aware of different aspects of the product launch or enhancement release, you can’t maintain a cohesive, compelling narrative.
Your products are a key element of a point-product to Platform transition. The best, cutting-edge products are the cornerstone of your Platform, though you can’t do it on your own.
A successful, compelling Platform requires organizational excellence across these additional, non-product key functions:
- Operational Excellence: Do you deliver the best total cost package?
- Customer Intimacy: Do you deliver the best total solution through personalized services?
- Employee Empowerment: Do you create the best possible workplace culture?
To affect change across these non-product facets of your organization, download the Platform Transition Checklist Tool.
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