How can Cloud enable customer-centricity for product managers?

Posted by Nick Hamman, Managing Consultant

Topics: Business Transformation, Cloud, Featured, Engineering

In this blog, we will be talking about the best practices around customer centricity and product management.

What is customer-centricity and why is it important?  

Customer-centricity is a mindset and a way of doing business that focuses on creating positive user experiences through the products and services that you offer. Digital-native organisations don’t just differ technologically; they hold customer-centricity as a core belief. They develop their organisational culture around customer satisfaction and make it integral to their product development process.

Product management has become an increasingly important delivery mechanism for organisations. The ultimate goal is to develop a product or service that is desirable for customers, viable for the business, and technically feasible to develop. Product management has become the link between the business and the customer. By focussing on customer needs and desires, a product manager can transform their product from average to excellent . Using design thinking principles, leveraging digital cloud-based technology, and making data driven decisions, product managers can arm themselves with the right tools for success.

Design thinking – an iterative process supporting customer-centricity

Design thinking shifts the focus from a metrics-based framework to a result driven framework, focussing on what the customers explicitly want and need. Design thinking follows an iterative co-development process to creating a customer-centric product. The stages usually follow a similar pattern: empathy, definition, ideation, prototyping, and testing.

When going through this process, product managers may face several issues around cost to business, scalability to match demand, and speed of iteration and improvement. Cloud computing, along with a microservices architecture and cloud-based analytics, enables product managers to build and deliver applications with remarkable power and functionality.

How can cloud redefine the customer experience?

Increased innovation for a better customer experience

The use of cloud provides teams with the opportunity to increase innovation as it enhances operational flexibility and scalability. Businesses can transform their customer relationship models to meet the expectations and ever-changing needs of customers. Cloud provides the ability to collect customer data from various sources, utilising big data. Users can then analyse, evaluate, and rapidly use it to create new innovative customer engagement processes to develop more robust relationships with the customer.

Cloud enables organisations to keep pace with the demands of the market. It enhances business agility and enables organisations to make the necessary changes to their technology infrastructure, if and when needed. In turn, this helps support improved customer relationships.

Data driven insights to improve decision making

Companies can utilise market-leading cloud products to analyse and better understand customer needs at an affordable price. Data-intensive tasks such as analysing data to identify patterns was once the domain of only the largest organisations. Data analysis is now available at a fraction of the price, making it affordable for nearly any business. The identified patterns can be used to create accurate profiles of users and feature usage. Organisations can leverage these insights to modify, update or even create new products to suit the customer needs.

Autoscaling for user experience - an agile, flexible product

Having the right technology available to power your digital tools is vital in today’s digital economy. Customers demand easy-to-use, reliable, and seamless products that work every time. Cloud provides on-demand availability of technology resources such as data storage, computing power, and continuous monitoring without direct active management by IT staff. Autoscaling enables cloud resources to automatically scale up or down (increase or decrease resources available) based on the resources required to support your product. This ensures that a product is performing at the highest possible standard and a positive user experience persists.

Iterative testing for direct user feedback

The best products are designed with a degree of empathy. Product Managers have to consider how customers will really use the product rather than how they should. Customer-centric products take customer feedback into consideration throughout the entire lifecycle of the product. By focussing on feedback, product managers set the stage for great customer experience.

Cloud offers the affordable option of feature splitting. Users are divided into multiple groups which can then be exposed to different features. This provides the opportunity to carry out A/B testing, where two groups are exposed to separate feature sets and their usage is monitored. The collected data can then be analysed and used to refine features prior to rollout, ensuring their success with a wider user base.

Ease of feature development to increase speed to market

Cloud technologies, when used in the right way, increase your speed to market and help foster business agility, giving organisations an increased competitive advantage. Cloud’s ability for iterative solution development, direct user feedback, and simplified deployment processes combine to reduce time and barriers to market. Infrastructure as code, deployed to the cloud, allows organisations to decrease the time required to provide IT infrastructure and increases the consistency and repeatability of deployment.

The use of cloud ultimately means that companies rolling out and iterating on product features can build them faster and increase customer engagement. This continuously builds momentum for the use of their product so that customer engagement is not an afterthought post-product launch.

In a nutshell

Cloud is a particularly viable option to tackle cost, scalability, and speed of deployment when overseeing customer-centric product development. Our team has a wealth of experience with deploying product into cloud and can assess the health of your product, highlighting any gaps.

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