Digital transformation is a catch-all phrase. It could mean a million different things. It could mean moving a company to the cloud. It could mean creating mobile products for your critical applications. It could also mean a marketing strategy.
All I know is that digital transformation is the most difficult and urgent challenge for every leader in business today. I can show you a nice graphic about how CEOs and CIOs are worried about digital transformation, but it’s safe to say that you understand the challenge well.
What I’ve seen first-hand when it comes to digital transformation is that some of the most successful ones happened when the digital transformation was “product-led.”
Think of product-led digital transformation as more of a “mini-transformation” that can be measured fairly objectively. Instead of waiting 3 years to see if a digital transformation is effective, you can get feedback pretty quickly on certain aspects of it by getting products to market faster and more effectively.
Beautiful things happen when you get a product to market. Teams unite. More data is collected and, most importantly, products are improved constantly.
There are two reasons you should embrace getting products to market quicker:
Cross-functional teams own the success (and failure) of the project.
The days of the IT team or the business team owning a customer facing digital platform are over. IT, Marketing, Leadership, Operations, and Customer Support all must be considered partial owners of the product.
What’s interesting about product-led development is that the teams unite around the product and are motivated to make it the best it can be. They all have a stake in the success of the product.
It also forces the teams to move the development process along.
Getting the product in the hands of team members accelerates feedback and buy-in.
I can’t tell you how many times I have been part of a project that went really well, but ultimately failed because our client counterpart never involved them with the design and development process.
Nothing accelerates feedback from cross-functional teams than a “Here is a working prototype of the product and, oh by the way, it goes live in 8 weeks. Want to give it a run?”
Of course, full-blown digital transformation is needed for many organizations and this is not a way to replace it. However, this can be a way to accelerate the transformation and allow you to adjust as you move along.
Often times, the success of our customers is tied directly to the buy-in of the product strategy across the business functions. It’s no longer just IT’s responsibility.