Each year, Serent Capital hosts the Product and Technology (P&T) Summit to bring industry leaders within Serent portfolio companies together to educate and empower organizations to prioritize customer needs, create better processes, and improve efficiency to produce successful outcomes.
“It’s important to represent the market by highlighting trends and competition. After all, the product exists to serve the market.”
Company executives, board directors, and other Product & Tech leaders presented ideas and insights to help influence positive change within organizations with a few key themes:
- Connecting with customers to ensure product-market fit
- Updates on the latest cybersecurity risks and ways to mitigate them
- Best practices on integrating products from M&A activity
- Building better processes to drive success for Product Day (as strategic discussion, focused on product and technology)
- Critical factors for launching a new product successfully
Connecting with customers to ensure product-market fit: The summit kicked off with speakers focusing on the vital need for product teams to meet and engage with their customers. According to Inc., 95% of products fail due to the lack of understanding market needs. They recommended meeting with current and potential customers regularly to help drive the roadmap and requirements process in the right direction and to spend more time on what customers need next rather than what is offered today.
Updates on the latest cybersecurity trends and tactics: Next, a cybersecurity expert discussed the threats, trends and tactics of modern cyber attackers and the proactive security measures every organization should be taking. Security threats are more prevalent than ever, and a few key items were discussed on what companies should be doing to protect themselves from being a victim to attacks, such as multi-factor authentication, and blocking email forwarding to 3rd party emails.
Best practices on integrating products from M&A activity: Shifting focus to product integration, an executive from KEV Group presented their best practices from the TRA merger including the tools and processes they developed and lessons learned from obstacles they encountered. They shared how they have implemented and moved both product teams to a single DevOps platform. They also developed a roadmap to integrate two accounting systems by identifying the best of both systems and gradually migrating them over. The 5 key takeaways from integrating KEV Group and TRA’s products were:
- Focus on staying close to the newly acquired company and show them appreciation
- Prioritize integration of systems and process
- Make decisions quickly
- Wins cure everything
- Customer matter, first and foremost
Building better processes to drive success for Product Day: Sessions continued with Dave Ellenberger, a P&T chair on multiple Serent boards. P&T Chairs are seasoned technology executives who have experience in driving product and technology strategies in high-growth companies and sit on Serent boards, providing guidance to CEOs and the executive team. He was joined by executives from CoConstruct and FranConnect where they presented on Product Day Best Practices. They discussed the importance of the process to prepare for Product Day and how following product best practices allow for preparation to happen daily. It’s important to represent the market by highlighting trends and competition. After all, the product exists to serve the market. Address platform deficiencies and generate a plan to correct them. Product ideas should always start early and iterate, be market-driven and involve other departments. They also touched on the importance of visuals, such as mockups and demos to help bring a product to life and having numbers around investment needs and ROI to help drive decisions.
Five critical factors to achieving product-market fit: A representative from FranConnect, the leader in enterprise franchise technology, discussed how to successfully launch a new product. They’ve organized launching a new product into these five steps:
1. Market analysis (why we need this product)
2. Creating a business plan (what is the product and who is it for)
3. Defining the process (how will we build it)
4. Commercialization and go-to-market planning (how will we sell it)
5. Launching activities (releasing the product to the public)
Throughout these steps you’ll determine what the product execution will be, create a focused business plan by identifying pain points, solutions and alternatives. You’ll pinpoint segments, buyers, early adopters, revenue and cost models. The go-to-market risks and constraints will be identified in this plan. You’ll also design a process that is agile and mitigates risk, but don’t start coding until you know what to build. Create transparency across stakeholders and decision makers while building customer engagement into your process. About five months is a good timeline to prepare your organization for the launch. FranConnect also revealed Sky, a holistic franchise performance management solution that lets you link goals, insights and actions. Sky is an industry-first solution that’s based on an analytics approach to scale your franchise systems’ operations while driving unit revenue and profit growth.
Serent Capital hosted several sessions and panels where they discussed the importance of having product and technology align with your company’s strategy and business goals. The framework of your product and technology strategy should be a combination of your company’s UI/UX, your product’s features and your company’s infrastructure.
“Throughout these steps you’ll determine what the product execution will be, create a focused business plan by identifying pain points, solutions and alternatives.”
The day ended in discussions on data management. Important insights included the need to build a data warehouse for internal use and the need to create simplified reports to provide customers with the answers to the questions they’re asking.