- Advises Fortune 500 companies in the areas of strategy, research, development, operations, and marketing (Apple, Cisco, Hewlett Packard, IBM, 3M, NetApp, Riverbed, and Xerox)
- Chief Engineer, Bose Corporation
- Board of Directors of Cirrus Logic (Nasdaq: CRUS)
- Faculty at Case Western’s Executive program; speaker at MIT and Stanford University
- All 7 Best Practices
- Pre-Meeting Discovery Process
- One-on-One Call with Expert
- Meeting Summary Report
- Post-Meeting Engagement
Product Strategy - Consumer Electronics and Technology
- Product strategies too often are narrowly focused on core products and don’t include innovative (and high margin) extra accessories and services that describe the total product.
Products are no longer just the fungible object, something you can carry or kick. They're also services, software, social media experience, warranty or financing options. Classic cases are FedEx (real-time tracking) and Apple (iPod/iTunes). A service in one case and a combined hardware/software offering in the other demonstrate how to augment a core product.
- Product plans and strategies lack innovation because they are not close to the customer. Lacking customer insights, they are designed in a vacuum.
Product planners think they already know what the customer requires and tend to add their own biases to the product definition. Getting customer input can also be a headache. Many firms are unclear about the tools available to help. Or product marketing is short-staffed and doesn't have time to follow customers home. When it does not involve the entire, cross-functional team, the customer perspective can get lost.
- Product strategies are often outdated and support past product lines without moving quickly to address new product and service areas.
It is risky and threatening to attempt new strategies. It is easier to critique and adjust existing products rather than to try something new. Many companies take the safe, incremental approach when the situation calls for a bold stroke. Sometimes products overstay their welcome because teams lack good tools for product line planning.
- Product strategies are too reliant on a company’s limited capabilities.
Many companies look to partners to move beyond their limitations and then face the challenge of leveraging partners while not losing IP or competitive positioning. Some fail to develop partners fast enough, and lack the tools they need to develop them reliably. They also fail to distinguish their core capabilities from those that are not strategic, which is the key to knowing what can be and what must never be outsourced.
- Poor product planning leads to products that don’t perform well in the market because they are missing key requirements.
Some teams define the product for today and not for tomorrow’s product launch. Sometimes the voice of the customer is not captured either due to lack of staffing or ignorance of the available tools. In other cases, teams fail to consider the whole product. They might have the hardware right but miss key service or warranty requirements. Some definitions are incomplete due to insufficient cross-functional input or inadequate competitive analysis.
- Product strategies fail to harness the ideas outside corporate walls and fail to take advantage of open innovation.
Many companies are wary of the legal and proprietary hurdles involved with open innovation. Tools and processes for achieving success in open innovation exist but many companies lead with their caution. They sense that open innovation is difficult to do well, but in many cases, it is also necessary to stay competitive.
- Product plans are not tied to technology and partner roadmaps. They don’t leverage advanced technologies and as a result, offerings are late or outdated.
Many companies lack a technology roadmapping process. They fail to develop relationships with key technology providers. Companies also like to invent things themselves when outside partners can sometimes do it better and faster. Processes and tools for open innovation are missing, preventing the team from acquiring the best technology.