August 28, 2022 Read 9 Min

Digital Transformation Success: Role of Product Strategy

Being busy and being productive are two different things, and businesses should always aim for the latter. Identify and quantify market opportunities and discover how to create a harmonious relationship between people and technology.

In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, digital processes have become the new norm, and there is undeniably a greater need than ever for effective internal business systems. Businesses must adapt to the digital environment and leverage the emerging technologies in order to stay valuable in today’s business world. 

A lack of digital transformation processes such as change management and digital product strategies may pose a threat to the company’s sustainability. 

That said, digital transformation is never simple. Businesses may encounter difficulties ranging from people-centric concerns, to technical hurdles and even structural issues. 

Digital Transformation vs Product Strategy

Most of us work fully digitally, if not partially. This is only possible with the continuous birth of new technologies and software to improve digital processes. 

Digital Transformation comes hand in hand with digital product strategy. A refined digital product strategy may determine the value that you will bring to the table; how, why, where and what you will do to achieve that value. 

Clarity is brought about by having a strategic foundation. It encourages the development of a common understanding between individuals in an organization. This shines the light on the right focal point for your teams and facilitates the delivery of your digital products and services. 

Elements of Product Strategy

Oftentimes, plans are confused as strategies. While they define the expectations of a goal, a plan aligns the resources you may need to achieve a goal, but a strategy outlines the long-term approaches you may take to overcome possible challenges, manage your assets, and face weaknesses. 

Anyone can have a plan, but a plan without strategy will lead to failures. Therefore, it is important to understand the pillars of a product strategy.

  1. Vision. It is the first and foremost thing every business should have, to clearly define the measurable goals your team wants to achieve, clarity of the things needed for the process, and provide purpose to these objectives. 
  2. Challenge. This step is to diagnose what it will take for your product to succeed and the impact of each challenge. On most occasions, it’s wise to build empathy to understand your users’ perspective and needs so you can solve issues effectively (people-first). Teams should also work together to break down the root of all issues into smaller parts and focus on solving each part systematically. 
  3. Outcomes. It is crucial to identify the type of outcomes you want to achieve through solving each challenge. What approach are you going to take, which part do you want to fix, and how would you want the final product to look? If it is well-articulated, the outcome will be favorable. 
  4. Actions. Your decided actions are used to identify the most sustainable way to achieve your goal and will determine your outcome. They are the key catalyst in helping you march towards success and reminding your team of the issues that have been uncovered. 
  5. Measures. This is an overall measure for your product strategy. Business metrics such as ROI, time, costs and such should be considered, as well as setting attainable KPIs for your teams. It sets the long-term direction straight for everyone so that resources will not go to waste.

Why is Digital Transformation Necessary

It should be a no-brainer that with the ever-growing digital age, businesses that want to survive must adapt to the emerging technologies and digitally transform itselves. There are plenty of good reasons to join in the digital revolution, including: 

  • To enhance customer experience and engagement
  • Increase efficiency
  • Improve key decision-making
  • Highlight innovation
  • Improve sustainability etc.

Intriguing isn’t it? There are 4 main types of digital transformation that you could adopt to kickstart your journey to digitalisation:

Process Transformation

Business processes are time-consuming, which is why companies have been working to improve their processes through the implementation of digital transformation. Companies can revise their internal business processes to cut down costs, enhance quality, reduce processing time, and produce efficiently. 

One great example of a successful process transformation is Domino’s Pizza. Most Domino’s Pizza physical stores are often empty and they don’t grow in size, but they are still surviving well, why? It is because they realized the potential of digital transformation and reimagined their food ordering process, allowing customers to order their food everywhere through any device and track their orders efficiently

Business Model Transformation

Business model transformation focuses on the core areas of how companies deliver values, in short, this is where businesses transform their entire traditional model into a digital model. Companies can reinvent their business models to support their audiences’ digital needs through digital transformation and new technologies.  

Netflix and Apple are popular examples of such transformation. Netflix shifted from producing and distributing DVDs to streaming online, which became a huge success. On the other hand, due to the existing technology that allows anyone to digitally and illegally download music, the trend for digital music has been highly-demanded and revolutionary. Apple took note of this trend and launched iTunes to offer a legal and user-friendly way to distribute music.

Domain Transformation

A rather rare occurrence, but definitely holds major potential. An example of how this transformation works can be seen in Amazon. The worldwide company established Amazon Web Services (AWS) to penetrate a new market domain and became the largest cloud computing/infrastructure service in a sector that was previously owned by big companies such as IBM and Microsoft. 

This transformation redefines products and services, eliminating industry boundaries and creating a new set of competitors.

Cultural Transformation

Having a successful transition to a digital-first culture can be advantageous, but requires redefining mindsets while incorporating new talents. 

Managing production output is typically replaced by concentrating on customer service and innovation. When internal teams adopt digital procedures and see the ability of altering organizational norms, the cultural shift happens naturally during other transformation activities.

Building a Digital Strategy Roadmap

Another successful way to gain competitive advantages in today’s digital disruption is to establish a digital strategy roadmap to act as a GPS to your digital strategies, to tell where your business is heading. However, do note that a successful digital strategy roadmap does not equate to a success in digital transformation, but rather a guidance to success itself. 

Here’s how you can create a perfect digital roadmap: 

  • Conduct frequent updates. Real-time analysis, updating business requirements and frequent research on competitors’ actions are important factors to your roadmap and guidance. This is so that your teams can keep track of the latest business goals and work efficiently. 
  • Liaise with different stakeholders effectively. This is fundamental in creating an integrated digital strategy roadmap. Product managers should communicate and work on a shared business goal to ensure ongoing delivery of valuable projects, rather than separate one-off projects. 
  • Establish a shared business objective. Remember SWOT analysis? That framework can be used as the first step in achieving your business goals. Clearly define your measurable milestones and checkpoints and make sure to record every progress made. Assess the capabilities and limitations of your teams and work to improve. 
  • Consider consultancy. Sometimes a third-party solution that specializes in their specific fields can yield more information than you thought. The external perspective that is otherwise unobtainable internally can give you an overview of the target market.

People-first Digital Transformation

As mentioned above, developing empathy and understanding from your consumer’s perspective is the foundation of building trust and evoking powerful connections, which could be easily done with the use of digital tools. This could potentially bring genuine feedback that will transform your product to enhance user experience. This process is called people-first digital transformation. 

When businesses listen to the voices of their audience, they are bound to have tons of room for improvement; Successful transformation originates from a people-first approach rather than technology-first. 

Just as Andy Main, Global Head of Deloitte Digital said, businesses are able to innovate further by addressing people’s unmet needs and wants. It’s a strategy that revolves around the client by first establishing friendly connections before designing experiences and the company’s operations around them. 

Introducing Agile Practices

It goes without saying, after creating business objectives, companies will also need to revise and make continuous improvements simultaneously to perfect their digital product strategy. 

As the name suggests, Agile practices deliver values to clients at a fast pace. It also helps teams to conduct step-by-step revision of their project and smoothen their production cycle of planning, executing, and evaluating. 

Here are 12 Agile project management  principles to follow: 

#1.  Satisfy customers through early and continuous delivery

Respond to changes in a timely manner, meeting customer needs, generate ROIs, and most importantly, ask for feedback. Once proper changes are implemented, they will contribute to customer satisfaction. 

#2. Welcome changing requirements even late in the project

It shouldn’t matter at which stage the project reaches, if there’s a need for change, it is better to implement it before fully delivering the value. 

#3. Deliver value frequently

Due to an overwhelming number of documentation in each planning process, the required time to deliver is involuntarily extended. To avoid wasting time, teams should shorten the cycle time to market by reducing the batch sizes during their work processes.

#4. Break the silos of projects 

Agile operates through cross-functional teams to align all communications and objectives on a daily basis. By synchronizing your work, you can improve overall performance. 

#5. Build projects around motivated individuals 

In order not to hinder your team’s performance, companies will have to trust in their teams to deliver the given project. This may encourage them to work more efficiently especially after having a sense of belonging in the company. 

#6. The most effective way conveying information is through face-to-face communication

Although this method can be difficult to achieve in the modern age (as more teams work across the globe), it is no doubt that sharing information and getting immediate responses saves time. 

#7. Working software is the primary measure for progress 

It doesn’t matter how much work you did, or how many changes you made, if the project’s result is not what your client wanted, then you are not doing a good job. 

#8. Maintain a sustainable working place 

The logic behind this is to make sure your teams are not overburdened and are working in a comfortable environment that allows them to react to changes easily. 

#9. Continuous excellence enhances agility 

When teams obtain operational excellence, new changes will less likely make negative impacts to the process and there will generally be lesser issues with maintaining agility. 

#10. Simplicity is essential 

Why waste time doing things in a complex way when you can work the simple way? As long as you can deliver proper value or quality results, then it shouldn’t matter on the amount of effort you put into making them. Save time, work simple.

#11. Self-organizing team generate most value 

If you have to convince your team to work harder, then you are not ready for Agile practices. Teams generally work more efficiently when they have freedom. They will feel more motivated to work and can even generate innovative results. 

#12. Reflect frequently and adjust your way of work to boost effectiveness

Teams should always reflect and think of ways to improve their working style. By doing this, you can experiment and adjust your performance to better your working efficiency. If the new change is not to your liking, you can always consider reverting back to the original working style. 

Pillars of a Successful Digital Transformation

According to the CEO of Microsoft – Satya Nadella, CEOs should always focus on these 4 areas of digital transformation:

  • Empowering employees. As change managers would know, employee motivation and skills are critical for organizational transformations, including digital transformations to succeed. 
  • Engaging customers. Customer engagement matters just as much as employee engagement, which means businesses must meet the evolving expectations of today’s customers and satisfy their needs.
  • Optimize operations. IT infrastructure modernization and cloud-based systems are one of the best ways to manage digital transformation which can help improve organizational effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Services and products. In order to improve your company’s market position and generate higher ROI in the modern age, teams should harness innovation and creativity to stay competitive and relevant.

Key Benefits of Digital Transformation

Business operations take time to develop. Business owners who want to prioritize saving time, achieve quality results, and scaling their efforts can benefit greatly from digital product strategies. There are five advantages to systemising your product strategies: 

  • Adding Value. Most businesses succeed through consumer trust, and that can be achieved through having an efficient product strategy. When you can show the value of your business’s product strategy, then people will appreciate your resources more. Streamlining your strategies now will benefit you in the long run, especially in assisting your company expansion and survivability. 
  • Improves consistency. Product strategies act as guidelines for teams to collaborate on tasks and project establishment, timeline management, outstanding work etc. With the help of these systems, everyone will be able to stay in the loop of each process and document along the way. Not only will teams be able to stay aligned with one another, they can also save time and deliver projects speedily.
  • Greater Freedom. A streamlined business operates through the delegation of tasks from its owners to its employees. If you focus only on squeezing through day-to-day business operations, you are merely sustaining your business‘s survivability. However, if you take your time to invest in streamlined systems that help your team to complete different tasks, then you’ll be able to free up some time whilst keeping your business running smoothly.
  • Establishing organizational direction. Product strategies can help identify ways for your business processes to improve. For example, there may be better opportunities for employee training sessions, cost-reduction for resources and more. Once you have identified these opportunities, it gives you a clear business direction to follow. You can then take the necessary procedures and investments to improve the overall company performance.
  • Improving Processes. Documentation is needed every day. Even without your involvement, the right strategies can ensure the record of each process, and these records can be catalysts to your business improvements.

Culture needed for digital transformation

What do you think determines digital transformation – Technology? Creativity? They may be the ones that boost transformation, but Culture is the one that initiates it. 

Digital transformation is more than just redesigning products or selling new technologies. It stems from the comprehensive and collaborative effort of everyone in the organization to help shift the culture, mindset, and behavior to embrace and adapt to the digital disruption. 

Companies that wish to engage in digital transformation should be prepared for digitalisation with agility while prioritizing both their people’s needs. Strong cultures that are in line with business strategies are what enable an organization to outperform its rivals, especially in the digital age.

Once the culture is formed, employees should be trained under a proper environment to understand and seamlessly use the newly adopted technologies.

How We Can Help

Digital product strategies should not be used for the sole purpose of enhancing the efficiencies of each business area, they should also be enhancing overall customer satisfaction. If implemented wrongly, the company’s performance and branding can be jeopardized. Essentially, running a business without any product strategy today is highly impossible.

To stay on top, you must adopt the best. Snappymob can be your ideal partner in establishing the perfect transformation architecture, change management, technology implementation and more for your company. Paired with our expertise, we bring the best to help you understand your company’s entire ecosystem and identify opportunities for improvement. Contact us today to find out how our knowledge and experiences across numerous transformations in different sectors can highlight the key moments that matter in your transformation journey.