A machine and plant manufacturer with more than 1,000 employees. Development and production in Germany. Sales and service offices worldwide.
For several years now, the company has been undergoing the transformation from being a product provider to becoming a solution provider that delivers software-driven solutions for the entire customer process beyond the pure functionality of the hardware. Product management has been installed centrally in order to meet the requirements of the market and to crystallise what is technologically feasible into what makes economic sense.
Product management should become the “essential driver” for developing standardised solutions until they are “ready to sell”. The new division is faced with the challenge of bundling and prioritising the requirements of all the internal and external stakeholders and, from this, deriving concrete concepts for marketable solutions. In order to tackle this multitude of tasks systematically, DIGITALTRANSFER was commissioned to develop the “Product Management 2025” divisional strategy along with a roadmap for its implementation.
A qualitative analysis involving all of the employees in the division, management and internal customers shows that there is no clarity as to what the role as the “central driver” of the decision-making authority entails. Furthermore, the horizontal networking of product management in the specialist departments is inhibited through the organisation into functions that do not provide for institutionalised cross-functional collaboration. Even within product management there is little exchange and transfer of knowledge between those responsible for the various product and technology divisions. The historically evolved, heterogeneous IT landscape contributes to the fact that information is either not available or not shared.
The divisional strategy therefore focuses initially upon:
- clarifying the internal mandate and communicating this to the organisation,
- restructuring and further developing the internal set-up of the division with regard to roles, methods, and competencies as well as
- redefining, rolling out and practising cross-divisional cooperation within the product development process together with all stakeholders.
In a second step, the organisational development is followed by the introduction of empirical models and methods for the measurement of customer needs (such as the Kano model) and for the analysis of the market environment (such as the growth-share matrix) as well as the necessary adaptation of the IT landscape for this.
Based on the consolidated product and market data, the third phase will see the expansion of the product portfolio into a range of solutions comprising software and service components: The empirical analysis of customer needs on the one hand and competitive development on the other allows product management, in close cooperation with sales and innovation management, to launch the first successful standard solution systems.
- Product management has the power to act through a direct CEO mandate
- The definition of a product development process which is accepted by all stakeholders for the first time in the company’s history
- Broad acceptance of the newly developed products and systems in the organisation, especially in sales,
- as the “divisional homework” was done in the first step within product management through further training and restructuring,
- and as all stakeholders were systematically and continuously involved in the new product development process
- Success for the newly developed products and systems on the market through the initial consolidation and analysis of all product, customer and market data that was previously not or only partially available
- Product management gains significance within the organisation: Substantial increase in resources, especially for new jobs
divisional strategy, product management, product management strategy, expansion of product portfolio, product development process, development of standard solution systems, empirical management, BCG matrix, growth-share matrix, Kano model, cross-functional collaboration