5 Ways IoT is Supercharging Product Management, Fast

As product managers, you know that technology is your friend. 

Bringing new technologies onboard to steer your product development and management, keeps you competitive in a busy market. 

And with IoT, businesses around the world are transforming their processes and their production lines. Its adoption has rapidly changed the way product managers are working, strategizing, and creating outstanding customer experiences. 

Connected products and data analytics are opening up a world of information on the user experience than has ever been possible before. 

At the forefront of this are product managers, who have to use their foresight and strategic skills to bring the products to market quickly – essentially, you deliver the goods.

In this blog post, we’re going to look at the top 5 ways that IoT is transforming the role of product management – and how you can plan for the future.

1. Enabling efficiency

One of the biggest challenges for product managers is to streamline processes as much as possible. At every stage: from product development, through to bringing the product to fruition, making sure each step is finely tuned is imperative. 

Continuous assessments of a product throughout its lifecycle can be time-consuming. But with the data and analytics that IoT brings, instead of focusing on gathering data, product management can make informed decisions about product development at each stage of the product journey. 

This not only improves efficiency, but it nurtures much-needed innovation. 

It also allows product managers to take a stronger role in product design. This access to data offers valuable insights to be taken on board at the design stage. Product managers can then develop a model that can be used as a point of reference for once the product has been launched to market. 

In short, it’s essential for product managers to be at the forefront of making sure data is used efficiently – and in the right places.

2. Make customer-centric decisions

IoT is allowing product managers to use data to put the customer first and make more informed decisions on what the customer actually wants. 

Consider the landscape: everyday essentials like electronic devices, cars, industrial equipment and kitchen appliances are connected to the internet. They are exchanging and collecting vast amounts of data along the way. And this goes far beyond simple smartphone use, Alexa and Siri. 

At the crux of it, IoT is really about data – not devices. The most important consideration is how this data can be used to shape the customer experience and heighten relationships. 

The potential of analyzing real-time data allows companies to gain invaluable insights into product performance, consumer trends and buyer behavior. 

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3. Transform legacy products and supply chains

Often, you can have an existing product that has already gained momentum in the market, but it’s falling a bit behind on the technology front. As many product managers are discovering, the introduction of IoT can bring it up to date and increase its appeal even more. 

And that’s exactly what Samsung did in April 2021. In a clever move, they launched a new software update that allows consumers to convert their older Galaxy smartphones to various types of IoT devices.

According to Samsung, the “software update provides enhanced sound and light-control features by repurposing built-in sensors of older Galaxy phones.” 

The devices can be turned into smart home devices such as a childcare monitor, a pet care solution, or even a light sensor.

And this legacy transformation can be applied to the supply chain too. We know that the supply chains of tomorrow will be born digital and for product managers now, turning production lines into digital assets isn’t the easiest task. 

However, equipment doesn’t have to be born digital to be built into a digital supply chain. Sensors, actuators, microcontrollers, connectors and PLC interfaces are IoT components that can transform legacy supply chains into digital. 

The result is that you have a more connected supply chain, without a completely new system being introduced.

4. Dare to differentiate

As we’ve mentioned, remaining competitive is one of the most important aspects of any product managers’ plan.

How can you continue to innovate? How can you stay one step ahead? Product managers now have to care about things they didn’t have to deal with in the past. Product security (more on this later) is a big example of this change, as it’s no longer just a technical factor. It’s a potential growth feature and must be addressed and worked into products to grow their brand and build market trust. 

Essentially, it’s not enough for product managers to simply rely on R&D to check the box. 

With IoT, new revenue streams are not only possible, but completely achievable. You can increase a product’s appeal by making it smart, opening up a new customer base that demands that level of usability. 

The use of data plays a big role in this. By analyzing data, you can predict what customers will need in the future, so you can create products and experiences that are far from what the crowd is doing. 

And according to a research report from Vodafone, almost 34% of adopters have generated entirely new revenue streams, simply by introducing IoT technology to their products.

A critical part of differentiation is making sure your IoT devices are secure. It’s expected that there will be 75 billion smart devices online by 2025, and with this comes the increased need and concern about security. 

Making sure IoT devices are secure is the key to success, but also the key to keeping customer confidence. So while you need to embrace IoT to remain competitive, you need to make sure you don’t get caught out from a security perspective. 

However, security needs to be looked at from a holistic view, not just security by design – this is only the first step (and this is something we can help with).

5. Tap into collective intelligence

The adoption of IoT into your product management processes lets you embrace an agile way of working. One that makes sure everyone’s valuable thoughts are taken on board. 

Your role as a product manager is almost one of a translator. You’re coordinating critical communications and project and product requirements – between teams that speak different technical languages. 

And managing this feedback from multiple departments and teams means that vital information can get lost along the way. It’s easy for that to happen. This can greatly influence a product’s time to market and the overall agility of your team. 

When communication is key, IoT can make sure that everyone is aligned and there is a consistent vision of what the product will be. 

Let’s recap

Essentially, IoT is focusing on capturing data and delivering value. You can leverage the unique characteristics of IoT products and supply chains giving you 24/7 connectivity to data – both from your customer and your teams. 

Here are some key takeaways: 

  • Efficiency and agility go hand in hand. For product managers to make room for continuous innovation, you need to be adopting IoT into your daily operations and processes. 
  • Differentiation is the key to survival. And leveraging data-driven insights to work out exactly what your customers want right now – and in the future – is going to make sure you hit the nail on the head.
  • You can transform your existing products that have brand value already and have gained momentum in the market. Bring them up to date with IoT-enabled features and open up a new customer base. 
  • Make the most of collective intelligence with IoT-enabled systems and processes. Keep multiple teams and departments on the same page, without missing any valuable thoughts and opinions. 
  • Put customer experiences at the heart of everything you do. The power of data collected from IoT devices gives you insights to deliver outstanding experiences.
  • Consumers are becoming more and more concerned with how their data is used. So make sure holistic security is at the forefront of your IoT adoption.
  • Security as a growth feature – not just technical – is the key to differentiation. Make it a product management concern, not just for R&D. 

Getting on board with the future, now, is the only way to provide a solid foundation for future success. 

Good luck – and please speak to us about any of your IoT product management needs. We’re here to help.

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