In this resource, we explain how non-digital industries can significantly benefit from digital product management best practices and methodologies.
A digital product management mindset is a standard practice for almost all businesses in the in the digital and technology space. Brands that build websites, apps, operating systems and any kind of software use digital product management best practices to create successful products and improve the customer experience.
Digital product management entails identifying the need for a product, conceptualising it, planning its development, and then developing and selling that product. It’s an end-to-end process, from ascertaining the product-market fit to product maturity. It’s a proven strategy that enables the organisation to scale effectively and understand their customers more profoundly.
What a lot of business owners are overlooking is that industries that are very different from digital product development are also starting to use those best practices. The result is that they are making more of an impact on their sectors.
The mining industry has seen a lot of turbulence in the last decade. Now, forward-thinking mining businesses are using digital product management best practices in a variety of ways.
One of the primary factors of those best practices involves using data, analytics, and business intelligence to gain essential insights into workflow and future probabilities. Mining involves a lot of complex tasks, with on-the-day scheduling common, and geological modelling being essential. Mining brands are using data-driven insights to make smarter and more statistical decisions.
Not only that, but those in the mining sector are also leveraging the collaboration and communication that sits at the heart of all product management best practices. The concept of ‘systems thinking’ is where companies build smart internal communications ecosystems to create a more synergetic workflow. The result is fewer internal silos that lead to roadblocks and miscommunication.
In practice, this dramatically improves the visibility of the work processes of the mine. A mine that uses the best practices of digital product management can more easily track and trace metal production across the logistics and the sales segment of the product life cycle. That leads to less waiting time for dispatch to happen, production planning is improved, and a better understanding of consumer needs and consumption can be more clearly understood.
This more design-focused thinking, where conclusions are reached using data and analytics, ensures that the mine’s leaders can also more easily visualise the pain points of the workers in mines. For mines embracing the digital product development mindset, internal and external problems can be solved faster and efficiently.
The ‘customer-first’ mindset that drives digital product development and management has been embraced by the healthcare sector. It’s giving the firms that do embrace it a competitive advantage that helps them to stand out in an increasingly crowded industry.
With digital products, the end-user/customer will be the one that determines the success or failure of a product. The concept is simple, in that the products that meet the needs of the customers are more likely to perform better when it comes to sales figures. For digital products, the product manager will ensure that user research and input are the priority.
This more solution-focused approach is leading healthcare firms to broaden their product listings. Now, they can identify the need for additional products and services, which can be bundled together according to the needs of the end-user.
Traditionally, health sector IT infrastructures have been needlessly siloed. For example, some organisations will have digital-only medical records or will rely on the revenue cycle without consideration of external factors. Now, healthcare companies are changing the ways that information availability and healthcare information continuity are designed. Solution roadmaps become immediately more aligned, improving the chances of commercial success.
From more compliance with ever-changing industry legislations to a better understanding of the end-users, the healthcare sector is starting to fully embrace the product management mindset.
By more deeply understanding the needs of the customer, it becomes immediately easier to formulate a product strategy and highlight the specific needs of those customers. That leads to more focus on value-based pricing.
Innovation and a product management mindset are already transforming the education sector. For digital product brands, the primary focus is on the needs of the users of their products. Mirroring that, educational facilities are moving to a more student-centric approach that provides clear, measurable value.
That student-first approach is allowing for the development of several ground-up developments. Where education businesses overlook the needs of the students, independent businesses are themselves creating the products that students need, such as Coder Dojo.
The education sector can be slow to adapt to change, and both productivity and efficiency suffer as a result. Schools, colleges, training centres, and universities are looking at digital product firms, watching closely, and learning. The result is that they are finding it easier to introduce new services and products (such as educational resources, hard resources like textbooks, and even entirely new syllabuses).
The communication that’s critical for digital product management is finding a natural home in the education sector. Activities can be more easily aligned and planned, taking input from teachers, students, and parents. Educational provisions are rapidly enhanced and improved through the practices of listening, evaluating information and acting on that information in a collaborative fashion.
The farming and agricultural sector continues to constantly grow the right crops in the face of land and weather changes. At the same time, businesses need to also be making the best business decisions as commodity prices fluctuate, environmental regulations change, and global supply and demand evolves.
The result is that every new season becomes an experiment in efficiency and productivity. Using the same reliance on big data that drives digital product development, farmers are finding it easier to make the vital decisions that make day-to-day operations management far more impactful.
For agriculture firms that are still relying on nothing more than intuition and experience to base their decisions, the problem of scale is very real. For example, it’s easy to manage an unproductive section of land if you only have a small farming area. If there are thousands of acres to manage, those smaller issues become exponential.
The use of big data is leading to Smart Farming and digital agriculture. Using a combination of advanced technologies such as sensors and weather prediction software, agriculture businesses are improving food production in volume. Integration of digital technologies ensures that collaboration between farmers and business stakeholders is more free-flowing, improving the overall agricultural value chain.
A modern farm is very different as a result. It’s a more complex workspace than ever, with the regular (and growing use) of communication networks, AI, and robotics. Even the Internet of Things is making its value felt in agriculture in ways that other industries have yet to realise.
Each of these technologies brings with it access to even more data. This self-perpetuating cycle leads to more informed decisions and a focus on processes rather than a reliance on traditional tools. The farm of tomorrow is going to rely on the data approach that digital product management is defined by.
The construction sector has always been fast to embrace new technologies and business methodologies. It’s a constant process of reshaping, driven by the expectations of clients, new technologies, the rise of the construction start-up, and the prevalence of large-scale projects.
The emergence of innovative product methodologies such as lean product development and agile product development has been fully adopted by many construction firms. The result is that those firms are improving product realisation and reducing costs.
Those in the construction industry that are taking advantage of product development best practices are finding it easier to eradicate in-built infrastructure information silos. This is improving internal coordination and helping to develop a more product-based approach. There are many possibilities as a result, not least the notion that future construction products will become more standardised according to the needs of the end-user.
For supply chains too, construction businesses are adopting the value-chain approach favoured by product managers. This is giving them more ownership of every stage of the end product, including the designing and engineering step, component manufacturing, and overall supply management. The twin resources of customer insights and measurable data are turning the construction industry into a byword for a product mindset.
By adopting a more product-based mindset, construction teams are finding it easier to scale. They understand the needs of the end-user and have access to the productisation that allows for industry specialisation. That leads to branding potential, and more opportunities to build relationships with customers and suppliers.
The approach to business management that’s utilised by digital product companies has many clear advantages over traditional business models and methodologies. Now, some of the biggest industries in the world are making the pivot to the digital product management methodology and are earning positive results.
Digital disruption is changing almost every industry. Those companies that adopt a more product-focused mindset are already seeing the scaling benefits that are built into the methodology. With every industry experiencing change, and when technology and customer expectations are constantly evolving, digital product management best practices are proving to be the key to brand growth.