The product strategy toolkit: A director and product manager’s helping guide in a tech-driven economy

In a highly tech-driven world, organisations are constantly looking to leverage the possibilities of automation

By Annabel Monaghan Annabel Monaghan

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Published: Mon 19 Feb 2024, 3:26 PM

Last updated: Mon 19 Feb 2024, 3:31 PM

Big data has become the heart of a product strategy. At the same time, retrieving these insights from a vast ocean of data has enabled companies to leverage AI more efficiently, in an attempt to increase their analytical understanding, and increase their competitive edge.

Product managers can attempt to replicate an automated product strategy throughout the business model and product life cycle, however, the differentiating factor(s) getting to this point still requires them to take an approach that suits both business and user needs beforehand.

The product strategy toolkit

Building a product strategy based on automation, whether it’s for analytical, data, or optimization purchases, enables organizations to have a clearer direction of where they might be heading.

Consider the “why” factor

Understanding the key to any product strategy requires product managers to consider the overarching reasons for implementing these solutions.

Following up on this point is retired colonel Sukhdeep Singh, director of product and growth strategy at multiple IoT startups, including TruckX and ORRO: “Pulling at the seams of the product strategy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It only gives more opportunity for teams to better understand what they are working towards, and how they can achieve this through automation.”

Determine pain points

Teams are often misguided by automation, adopting new methods and tools at a rapid pace without first determining their pain points.

“Unfortunately, we’re not at a point where AI, ML, or even automation will completely fix all our problems, well at least not yet. We often see companies moving to an automated strategy in the hopes of resolving some of their biggest issues, without first thinking how these came to be, and where automation will be needed to improve outcomes,” tells Singh, who has undertaken multiple projects over his long and illustrious career in strategic planning - from military to marketing.

His valuable insights into the current technological trends can be traced back to his experience in various industries, where he was expected to predict how new inventions may affect the existing landscape, and how the masses would react or evolve. Being armed with an analytical mind has greatly helped Sukhdeep excel at his job.

Leadership buy-in

When a project development team takes on a position of automation, considerations from leadership or upper management are key to the overall successful application thereof. With their onboarding, or rather buy-in, it’s possible that companies can direct investments, funding, and forward-looking strategies around their automation process.

“We have to consider everything,” Singh shares, “aside from having an eye for intricate details, you also have to be able to look at the bigger picture, as well as predict how that picture may move, depending on external factors.”

Scalable metrics

“This is where data within the business spectrum becomes an important key to the overall success of the automation strategy,” Singh says. He continues, “There’s a need for product development teams to track their improvement over time. As they bring different elements into their strategy, each will need to be monitored, using key metrics.”

By this understanding, we see that although automation can help improve product strategy, it still requires organisations to monitor the performance thereof. Without real-time insights, it becomes difficult to see whether new systems have made any improvements or not.

User insights

Using user insight can tell a company a lot about its position within the marketplace, but it can also tell them a lot about how their new procedures are actively making an impact on their users, and whether this may be good or bad.

Final thoughts

While automation might become the future of the business world, without prior consulting, or review of current systems, product development teams will find difficulty in adapting new automated procedures that don’t meet their user or business needs.

“For an automated product strategy to work, it’s important that businesses first consult their needs, how it will be impacted, either good or bad, but also how these new adaptations will make improvements to their strategy. Answering these questions puts them in a position whereby they can fully understand the extent of their automation needs.”

Annabel Monaghan is an independent business journalist.

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