Products Are Going Digital -- What Leading Examples Are *You* Seeing Out There?

Here's a flash of the blindingly obvious: More and more products are going digital. You know this, but what I'm interested in is how they are going digital and to what degree. I see three major aspects: (1) the product itself becomes digital; (2) a physical product adds digital technology; and/or (3) processes and context around a physical product become digitally infused. Let me offer a sort of continuum of examples, and then I want to ask a question:

  • Music (nearly 100% digital). The greater part of music bought these days is in the form of a 100% digital product. 
  • Health band. With a health band (e.g., Fitbit, Nike FuelBand), I don't really care about the physical product, but I'll put up with it to get the digital benefit: lots of data (and more) about my workouts and health.
  • Cameras. A digital camera is a physical product that uses a combination of physical and digital technology, and I actually care about some of its physical design (e.g., lenses). It produces a 100% digital artifact (photos), and the process around the photos is digitally infused.
  • USB picture frame. Part physical, part digital. By replacing the center of a picture frame with a digital screen, I get a new twist on an old standby. But, working with the digital part still requires a high degree of physical manipulation (carry a USB drive to the frame, etc., etc.).
  • WiFi picture frame. Part physical, even more digital. The WiFi bit bumps it way above a USB picture frame in terms of seamless integration into a digital world. I can email a picture to the thing, or maybe tag a photo on Facebook and suddenly it shows up.
Read more

Revolutionize Your Products & Services: Forrester’s Playbook For Open Innovation

As a product strategist, do you struggle with a sluggish innovation “process” in your firm? Do you think it takes too long to identify great ideas and turn those ideas into compelling new products and services for your customers? If you’re like most of your peers, the answer to both questions is probably a resounding "yes." That is exactly why Forrester’s Consumer Product Strategy practice developed The Open Innovation (OI) Playbook

Forrester defines open innovation as:

The act of innovating, whereby new ideas or methods are requested from three broad participant groups: employees, partners, and customers.

This approach to innovation is in stark contrast to the typically closed and often secretive product innovation practices that most firms still use today. Our OI playbook provides you with an end-to-end framework, organized in twelve easy-to-find modules, and designed to give you the insight, tools, and best practices that you need to successfully adopt an open innovation approach within your organization.

To get started, I suggest reading the Executive Overview: “Revolutionize Products And Services Through Open Innovation”.  This report will set the stage at a high level for you. Then, depending on where you are in your open innovation journey, you can “pick your spots” by navigating directly to the most applicable chapter for your needs. In general, the OI playbook is divided in to four phases as follows:

Read more

Enabling The Shift to Software Assets: Accenture Software Shows Progress

I recently finalized a report* on software asset (SA) based IT services, this time looking at vendors’ best practices in terms of governance, organization, skills, tools, and processes. Needless to say, the move to software asset-based services will have a huge impact on the traditional operating models of IT services firms.

Obviously, IT services firms need to learn from their large software partners to understand and implement specific software asset management processes such as product sales incentive schemes, product management, product engineering, and release management.

This will induce a formidable cultural change within the IT services vendor’s organization, somewhat similar to the change Western IT service providers had to undergo 10 years ago when they finally embraced offshore delivery models.

I see a few critical steps that IT services firms need to take in order to facilitate this shift towards software asset-based business models:

  • Build a client-relevant SA strategy. Building an SA base offering is not (only) about doing an inventory of the existing intellectual property (IP) that you have on employee hard drives and team servers. More importantly, it’s about making sense of this IP and building strategic offerings that are relevant to your clients by centering them aounrd your clients’ most critical business challenges.
Read more