Case Example: Product Innovation and Development

Our client was facing a multimillion-dollar product gap and looming regulatory change that in a little over 6 months could see them shut out of the market.  Their existing product roadmap wasn’t exciting even their existing customers, and had slowly but surely, drifted away from their customer’s needs.  To stem the bleed at a minimum, they needed a product course correction and fast.

The engagement involved three aspects:

  1. Stakeholder and Requirement Analysis:  Existing market research had focussed heavily on the functionalities of their product rather than customer needs.  While in this context the product was market-leading, it lacked the capabilities to meet their customers broader needs.  Moreover, the heavy focus on functionalities, rather than capabilities mean our client had lost focus on the broader competitive market.
  2. Identification of Technologies and Solutions: Our client was looking for a solution that would not only bridge the gap in the short term but leave them with a framework to develop from in the longer term.  The need for accelerated delivery meant the technologies either needed to be quick to develop or exist already within the market.  Additionally, the solution needed to be commercially feasible as a product, with opportunities to lock in intellectual property.
  3. Roadmap Development: Beyond the initial delivery timeline, the product needed at least a 3 to 5 year delivery roadmap.  The roadmap would include enhanced feature sets and a broader integration footprint into the product’s ecosystem.

Approach and Delivery:

The engagement was to take 3 to 4 months and was conducted completely remotely. It started with a review of the existing material our client had internally.  There was surprisingly little in the way of formal analysis, or even a register of feature requests from clients.  A more baseline approach was required.

We utilised a combination of interviews and on paper analysis to establish specific customer needs.  These included interviews with customers, sales teams, and engineering personnel to understand the challenges each stakeholder was facing.  We also explored regulatory documents and other publicly available market documentation for the general capabilities our client was targeting.

Based on this analysis, we were able to reframe the problem outcome statement to reflect the capabilities the market was demanding.  This not only provided a clear gap for our client’s product but opened their eyes to the true state of the competitive landscape.  Ultimately, we needed to establish a unique competitive advantage against not a single competitor as originally foreseen, but a whole ecosystem of products.

The stakeholder and requirement analysis completed; our attention was turned to the technology.  Already sporting a market-leading solution, we were able to identify opportunities to use that technology, more or less out of the box, in ways that hadn’t previously been considered.  This allowed us to develop a framework to rapidly launch new capabilities without compromising the existing product in any way.

From there, a roadmap was developed to launch new capabilities over a 3 to 5 year window.  To help accelerate the delivery process, focus was applied to technologies that either already existed, or would likely require only small modifications to be used.  Capabilities within the roadmap were prioritised based on a combination of this technical feasibility, and the relevant commercial demands.

Customer Outcomes:

Presentation of our approach was initially not without some controversy.  Our market findings challenged pre-conceived ideas on the state of the market and the demands of their customers.  Our proposed solution would push the boundaries of existing product capabilities.

Despite an initial target for a 6-month product launch, it would take some time before those internal challenges were addressed.  The product would finally launch some 18 months later and has become a strong component of our client’s product portfolio.  Our market position statements form the core of their product to this day.

The success of this engagement revolved around the way the problem was framed.  Taking the focus away from individual functions and towards a broader set of capabilities:

  1. The capabilities that our client’s customers needed
  2. The capabilities of new and existing technologies to meet those needs
  3. The capability of our client to address that gap

By focussing on those capabilities and rethinking how individual technologies could be used, we were able to propose an accelerated approach that was both unique, and innovative within the market.   Our client remains a recognised global leader in their category.

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