This “culture change” has to start with a simple fact: selling smart connected products alters the entire manufacturer-customer relationship. It changes from the old, highly transactional paradigm of “make it—ship it—be done with it” to the new “make it—give it to me—maintain and improve it” which underpins all successful connected products and digital service businesses.
Because with connected products, customers expect to not simply buy the latest and greatest smartphone, smartwatch, or other next-gen, cutting-edge device. They expect these devices to continuously work well, improve, and become more feature- and content-rich over their lifetimes. That’s why product companies need to start following four vital steps in their operations to deliver product experiences that customers now expect:
- First and foremost, companies need to Revise their ways of working. This means to instill an infusion of momentum from a modern engineering culture with new ways of doing things.
- Next, it’s time to Rethink current product management models. Concentrate on customers and the life time experiences that your products can create for them.
- A Refocus on experiences over core technology sets a course for success. Production companies build things, but engineering everything is unnecessary if the technology isn’t a difference-maker.
- Finally, companies must Retool product operations processes. Evaluating engineering departments helps companies create living products that don’t die off early, preventing brand damage, negative customer reviews, and ambivalence.