Product Development Must Evolve for the Internet of Things

Traditional physical products and machinery are steadily being replaced by connected products and assets that shift business models and augment customer relationships with digital experiences and data.  But creation of these products is a major challenge for traditional product companies. The process of building connected products is complex, requiring new software development skill sets, accelerated product release cadences, and innovative software tools and proccesses that meet the needs of IoT product organizations.  For traditional product companies to make the transition to a digital product development organization and successfully create connected products they will need to focus on the following five initiatives:

  1. Create an open partner ecosystem that amplifies product value.
  2. Organize for continuous product improvement through software updates.
  3. Adapt agile development and planning processes to physical product development.
  4. Embrace flexible requirements and contracting for iterative projects.
  5. Build an extended team of broad and deep t-shaped skillsets.

Adaptation and execution on these initiatives will be difficult requiring executive buy in, core shifts to company cultures, partnership with services firms, reskilling, and change management initiatives.  For a deeper dive on this topic and actionable steps to take in the transformation to a digital product development organization, see the Forrester report The Internet Of Things Propels Product Development Into The Digital Era.

PLM TechRadar Report: Democratized PLM Offerings Expand Functionality and User Base

As the product development process and product usage creates higher volumes of data, PLM is a necessary tool to consolidate disparate sources of product information. From this repository, engineering can use product usage data to inform next generation products, operations can improve product development processes, and business stakeholders can focus on linking products to holistic customer experiences. These opportunities reveal the benefit of opening PLM up to stakeholders beyond the product development organization, thus bringing the customer closer to product ideation and development. 

A catalyzing functionality in this democratization of PLM are role-based applications which open once-complicated PLM software solutions to new users across the organization.  These applications improve usability, solution adoption, time-to-market, and collaboration by incorporating more cross-functional input to the product development process.  PLM vendors, large and small, are rolling out role-based application modules for customers, and end user buyers say they are beginning to get requests from their internal constituents for this type of functionality. 

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What Product Development Orgs Can Learn From The Samsung Crisis

As details regarding the termination of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone continue to unfold, there are several important lessons, both technological and organizational, that manufacturers and product organizations should take away from their peer’s costly product crisis:

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New Forrester Wave: Services Vendors Are Vital Partners As Companies Build Digital Platforms

Customers expect digital experiences to accompany the physical products and services they purchase in today’s highly competitive business market. They want these digital platforms to be personal, easy to navigate, and valuable — regardless of how difficult it is to create and maintain such an experience! That’s why companies looking to create a customer- or partner-facing digital platform need a digital platform engineering services (DPES) partner to guide them through these multifaceted projects that often transform a business.

Digital platforms take a range of forms: internet of things (IoT) platforms, digital experience platforms, eCommerce platforms — basically any digital touchpoint that directly interfaces with customers and partners qualifies. What’s similar across this array of digital platforms is the deep technical talent and experience necessary to design, build, and implement them.

We surveyed seven leading DPES vendors and 48 of their customers for The Forrester Wave™: Digital Platform Engineering Services, Q2 2016, available to Forrester clients. The Forrester Wave is an objective methodology to evaluate competing services. The analysis that determines vendors’ placement is based on data gathered from customer interviews and surveys, briefings from vendors, and analyst expertise. For more information on the DPES market, look for my upcoming brief “Software Skills Are Top Of Mind For Digital Platform Engineering Customers” in May 2016 and a webinar on the Forrester Wave report early this summer.

The Forrester Wave™: Digital Platform Engineering Services, Q2 2016

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