The industry is moving so fast that software product companies must keep pace. If not, they will be left behind. Growth strategies from a decade ago are fossilizing while technology expectations, pricing models, and mobile computing is making things even more confusing and volatile. Surviving in such an environment is severe enough, but how do a software product company foster and nurture growth?
In this article, we will discuss growth strategies that, if appropriately implemented, will not only help grow your company but will also help you stay a couple of steps ahead of the ever-changing industry.
The value disciplines presented in the 1993 Harvard Business Review report from Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema entitled “Customer Intimacy and Other Value Disciplines” established the ‘rule-of-thumb’ for strategists over the years, presenting the three value disciplines that a successful company needs.
The report outlines that Operational Excellence, Customer Intimacy, and Product Leadership are the core values required for a successful company. It went on to bring out, at the time of the study in the early ’90s, that while it was necessary to be competent in all three disciplines, a successful company needed to excel in any one of them.
Since 1993, the birth of companies such as Amazon, Google, YouTube, Facebook and others have completely changed the landscape. Additionally, enhancements in technology including mobile computing have raised the bar for software product companies. Customers now demand more aesthetically pleasing applications, that are low cost and customized, and with the ability to do everything they want, integrated to one unified interface.
Additionally, they want the software to be compatible with all of their other apps and devices, and they require the best on-demand support to make for the best user experience possible.
Due to the changing demand from the consumer, including corporate customers, our go-to growth strategies must be augmented to ensure growth; but how?
An excellent place to start is to go back to the basics. In reference to the Harvard Business Review report mentioned earlier, we can see the three primary values that drive success. We also know the customer's needs, wants, and desires. Moreover, we know that changing the growth strategy within our organization will require a certain level of accountability from the software product company.
The research and development teams need to ensure that the technology is compelling and answering the need of the customer, establishing the most accurate buyer persona possible. The engineers must stick strictly to the buyer persona that has already been developed and at the same time ensuring ‘feature creep’ doesn’t run away from them. Sales teams need to ensure that they aren’t overpromising, and at the same time, not selling an anemic software offering that will pale in comparison with the competition.
We have found that as opposed to excelling at just one of the value disciplines in the HBR report, that a company that will rise above all others must excel at all three value disciplines and is the only way to succeed in today’s pool of software customers.
For growth strategies to succeed, we must implement, adhere to, and excel at all three value disciplines.