Over the years, a number of companies have approached Macadamian when they felt pressure to revitalize or modernize their legacy software. The business drivers have ranged from a need to improve user experience and increase engagement to combatting increasing marketplace competition. In some cases it was even deploying a disruptive new business models such as Software as a Service (SaaS). In every case, the company felt compelled to start a software modernization project in the pursuit of “innovation”.
What stands out the most in working with these companies is that even the most successful organizations sometimes forget “the obvious.” What is the most obvious thing about product innovation? Innovation does not stem from implementing new technology or design face lift. It is a direct result of clarity around business objectives and customer value. These regularly fall by the wayside during product development discussions because of factors like operational costs, timeframe pressures, or even plain old fashioned human fallibility. The process that guides product innovation should be shaped by business goals, customer needs, and budget. Even though every approach will be unique, there are a few key factors that every company must consider to successfully reinvigorate their product offerings.
Hidden in Plain Sight
The difference between product and business revitalization is subtle. It is easy to lose focus on the business and become fixated on a particular element of the product such as user experience or cool technology. The question that should be addressed is what are the links to business value?
For example, companies regularly approach Macadamian because they are convinced their new software has to be “dead easy” to use. These companies struggle in answering the basic question – why. Some believe ease-of-use is tied to increasing market share and strengthening company brand, while others believe that usability directly influences buyer behavior in the initial stages of the sales cycle. The one common element across all these companies is that they all felt that they had internal alignment on product development objectives – that is until we started asking them questions.
Here are three considerations to think about before launching a product revitalization project:
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