Ever since the pandemic hit the world, business conditions have become more challenging. The world of technology is no exception. For instance, the SaaS products market has been hit as companies have reduced their overall budget by over 10%.
Software product companies, in particular, are bracing themselves for tough times ahead. In a sense, the key issue seems to be confidence. Companies are unsure of what the future will bring so rather than take a risk, they are looking for strategies to outlast the hard times and prepare themselves for the uptick, whenever it will arrive.
So, what can product development companies do? How can they sustain their business in these uncertain times? The answer lies in becoming even more customer-centric and addressing customer challenges before the competitor.
But that only raises some other uncomfortable questions.
How to form strong customer relationships that will endure? How to keep building the next generation of their product to be able to continue to offer value?
Product companies know that they will have to innovate models quickly.
Let’s look at how they can do it.
6 Ways To Curb Costs And Fast-Track The Pace Of Product Development
Outsource the Development:
Considering that COVID-driven spending curbs have put a stop to most recruitment activities, product companies face the challenge of continuing with product innovation but with fewer in-house resources. Under the circumstances, they may have no better option than to outsource their development and testing activities. Outsourcing could help companies to save 80% of the development costs. This is now a proven system. Developers in the right outsourcing companies are already well-trained and experienced in the field, so it’s easier to explain to them the product requirement, rather than spending time on training and supervising new hires. However, here’s a word of caution – be careful while choosing a vendor-partner. Ensure that they have a product development heritage and the necessary technology skills before signing the contract.
Adopt Agile and DevOps:
The world has moved on from traditional ways of developing software products that were time-consuming and cost-intensive. These software development models stretched the entire product development process and delayed time-to-value. That apart, any delay anywhere would escalate the costs and, even, customer dissatisfaction. For those that have not yet taken the plunge fully, this is the time to shift to an agile methodology. Agile allows developers to make continuous improvements to the product throughout the process. This gives the customer the power to use the product and provide feedback to the developers almost immediately. This helps the developer to tweak the product based on feedback. The use of agile can be further bolstered by implementing DevOps. DevOps ensures better integration and constant improvement in the quality of the product. These models accelerate time-to-market and could start the revenue flowing much earlier.
Use Open-source Software:
Considering that product companies are keen on optimizing development costs, open-source software can be a viable solution. Unlike commercial, proprietary software, open-source software is mostly free of cost and rarely demands any licensing fees. Many popular tools are backed by a thriving community of developers. So, it’s easy to exchange ideas and seek support when needed. In fact, the 2019 “State of Enterprise Open Source” survey revealed that 69% of IT leaders thought of Open Source as being “very or extremely important”. Perhaps, even more tellingly, only 1% did not think Open Source was important. Open source tools and technologies can help accelerate product development while controlling costs.
Design Impact Map:
Developers should start with a clear roadmap for what they want the product to achieve. This is called impact mapping. Impact mapping ensures that developers do not lose sight of the objective of building the product. Impact mapping helps the team to visualize roadmaps and determine how they will connect the product with the user needs. It compels the developers to ask questions related to who will use the product, how will it benefit them, etc. A clear roadmap will help the developers to set and achieve realistic goals and save time and costs on rework and prevent them from getting side-tracked.
Use Automation wherever Possible:
Developers can save time and money by using automation wherever possible. Automation offers plenty of benefits. Automation can help accelerate manual activities, trim effort, and reduce errors. This helps companies optimize their spend on resources. Companies could do more with less automation. Developers must try to automate time and resource-intensive functions such as testing for maximum impact.
Focus on MVP:
Customers often care for the core benefits a product offers rather than the nice-to-have features. Hence, developers could focus on delivering the core functionalities fast. This means a focus on building and delivering an MVP. Think like a customer must be the mantra. Developers should spend time to understand what features would help the customer and push back all those that do not add value. This will help the developers to develop the product faster and launch it before the competitor does it. The product can be further improved based on customer’s feedback.
The 2008 global recession showed that with the right attitude, recession strategies, and innovation, companies could not only survive but also accelerate their growth. Product companies may have hit a rough patch due to restricted spending. But as businesses get back to normalcy, there will be demand once again for these products. Product companies must start preparing for the future by outsourcing their development work to a reliable partner and plan ways to develop products at a rapid pace and cost-efficiently.