While this may be easier to relate to for those who work in large enterprises, regardless of what size and level a business operates at, if you are a product company, product development is core to your being -- and the better you can make your product development process, the more success you’ll find around the corner.
The challenge facing most product companies is how to step-up the development cycle and get products to market quicker while being able to innovate and give customers exactly what they are looking for.
It’s not that businesses are not listening to their customers while developing products, but often by the time they are ready and rolled out, customers are already looking for something better or competitors have swiped market share while the product was still in the works.
What’s needed is:
The problem with the last requirement is that the more people you involve in the process, the more inefficiencies you’re likely to invite.
Inefficiencies of time, place, and communication.
At the same time, if you can’t include more customers within the process, you’re gambling on the fact that the opinion of a small focus group or fewer people will reflect the way all customers will react to your final product.
This is where social business software for collaboration has been able to provide solutions for product companies. By implementing a social networking based collaboration platform, a business can have a base to build a more inclusive product development process that is scalable.
Employees, partners, product experts, and selected customers can be granted access to an online social collaborative environment where they can freely interact, share ideas, and jointly work towards developing new products.
Companies that have built their product development platforms on social software have seen significant improvements in their process and ability to get products to market sooner — giving a significant edge over their competitors.
Here are six advantages to adopting social software environments for your product development efforts:
While each business will need to build on a social networking platform and customize the environment to work with their specific product development strategies and processes, the advantages of having a powerful collaboration platform to drive better products out more efficiently are clear. With the ability to include customers in the deepest levels of the product development cycle and still speed up their development cycles, we are bound to see businesses truly working with their customers.
Tim is a co-founder and president of Axero and the author of his forthcoming book, Who the Hell Wants to Work for You? Break Down the Invisible Barriers to Employee Engagement. He's spilt insightful ink on the pages of Fortune, Forbes, TIME, Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur.com, CNBC, Today, and other top publications.
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