Product development DNA: Why enterprises need it?

Hari Haran President

Today, new technologies and devices are propagated at a frightening pace. With the rise of social networks, new access devices like tablets and smartphones are changing the role of IT in enterprises. The new wave of IT is more focused on competitive strategy, business ROI and social selling.

Enterprise users want IT to deliver strategic benefits and differentiation. This wave of IT is being driven by business centricity, coupled with ease of usage and flexibility. Enterprise IT users no longer need resource experience in developing expensive, clunky and expensive ERP or custom software systems; they need resources that have Product Development DNA.

Product Development DNA is defined as the ability to build core applications that delivers key business processes, inclusive of product design lifecycle, and understanding the context of “service plus product” or what we call a productized service requirement.

Most enterprise business users feel that existing applications fail to offer strategic benefits or unique solutions, some of them failing to offer agility to survive in today’s rapidly transforming business situations.  Many Enterprise IT users feel that existing applications are neither able to handle business process automation and workflows nor provide a unique experience to companies. In addition, customized ERP solutions are expensive and time-consuming to implement.  Enterprises are heavily investing in enterprise applications, but they are unable to extract any real strategic benefits from them.

Off-the-shelf software products pose different problems such as requiring increased customization. Most business software products available in the market lag behind enterprises’ current needs. Companies or resources that embrace Product Development DNA are better suited to implement today’s enterprise technologies because:

– Business process sophistication is becoming key reason for a firm’s success – A company’s accomplishments and long term future depends on its seamless business processes.  Entry into new markets signifies a shift in consumer needs and hence it becomes mandatory for firms to have robust systems and technologies that aid their smooth functioning of business.

– Deep domain expertise is a must- Apart from IP and domain capability, Product Development DNA means having the expertise to participate in end-to-end product development cycle. The depth of experience clearly signifies the expertise and knowledge the service provider has built in the field.

– Productization of the products – There has been a paradigm shift from product plus customization to “productization.” One product cannot address the needs of two different companies. Product DNA understands the unique context of service plus product and hence helps making products that suits specific client needs.

Product development is a specialized field, different from typical application support and maintenance. Traditional IT services include application development and maintenance. The product piece is largely missing since most of their contracts are around large scale maintenance work.

Being specialized in the field of Product Development DNA requires a mix of skills and tools to manage complex version-specific issues, such as patches, bug fix lists, and cross application integration. Focus and traction, on-time delivery records to meet date and launch, experience in managing product release cycles and rigorous architecture and testing capabilities are vital components of product development.

When implementing next generation IT solutions, enterprises should look for resources and partners with a combination of product building experience, IP and domain capability.  The key is to build products that enhance the value and life of existing IT investments through creative use of newer technologies which meet, and exceed the most rigorous quality and innovation standards.