Excelling at Outsourced Product Development in the Age of Digital

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Sachin Ghaisas

August 24, 2017

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Startup-Product-DevelopmentWhen we talk about startups, we think of people diving into unchartered waters and passionately working toward the next big thing. All it takes is just one idea to become the next unicorn.

But just having the idea is not enough. The ability to think outside the box and reinvent is crucial for the future of startups, or any enterprise for that matter. And trust me, it's not a cakewalk.

With such a high productivity demand, the mantra for a successful IT startup calls for innovation, comprehensive product development, utilization of cutting-edge technology, and digital transformation evangelism. It doesn't matter if the company is in the manufacturing, logistics, automotive, retail, healthcare or IT industry, digital transformation must be omnipresent to help potential clients.

Startups face a challenging road ahead

A recently conducted study by Statistic Brain indicates the percentage of startups across various verticals still in operation after four years is the lowest for those in the IT industry. It also pointed out that U.S. startup business failure rates after five years since inception was over 50% and 70% after 10 years. 1

Also, a report from Boston Consulting Group indicates that "the two chief roadblocks that the startups face are long development cycles (a major problem for 30%) and technological uncertainty (noted by 25%)." 2 One would wonder why over 50% startups fail after an average of five years or more.

Other possible reasons directly or indirectly contributing to failures can be:

  • Lack of strategic planning and a product roadmap resulting in frequently changing launch schedules
  • Lack of efficiency in handling time-to-market and quality tradeoff resulting in a half-baked product launch
  • Lack of an experienced development partner
  • Lack of velocity during product development and testing
  • Lack of continued innovation, allowing others to seize the opportunity

Partnering for success

With so many factors that can lead to failure, startups need to be very clear about how they want to transform their idea into a full-fledged product—and monetize it. Their founders, who sometimes have limited scaling experience, may need a partner to implement their vision once the initial product or software idea has been determined and they have a basic version that can be used to build upon. A partner can offer assistance with accelerating feature development, comprehensive quality assurance and customer support, etc.

Another survey from Boston Consulting Group says "more than 20% of the startups expect to work three years or more before getting a product to market, and 50% of startups underestimate the time that they will need." 3

That's staggering to say the least, as the time to market can directly impact business plans, revenue projections, early mover advantages and even the very existence of the startup. These numbers may possibly be much higher globally than what this survey indicates and hence it becomes imperative for startups to choose the right partner--an organization with startup DNA that can help them shape their future.

Choosing the right product development partner

Now, the key question - what should startups expect from a product or application development partner and what key selection criteria should they use to evaluate them? The right product development companies should be able to:

  • Co-innovate, and share knowledge and expertise toward a common goal
  • Understand the concept, select the right people with the appropriate skillsets to work on the project throughout the product development lifecycle
  • Provide tools-driven, transparent, disciplined, fast-paced, and agile delivery methodology
  • Provide product development expertise to scrutinize the idea, and prototype, as well as develop, and deploy the product
  • Ensure that senior technical and solution architects are involved in the project from the proposal stage through ongoing steady-state project execution
  • Offer a low-risk engagement at a competitive cost
  • Ensure involvement of executive leadership and senior representatives to guide the development and testing teams
  • Identify the latest tools and technologies that can add direct or indirect value to the product and reduce the time to market
  • Provide clear and transparent communication channels to promote constructive discussions

For startups, selecting an experienced outsourced product development partner can help avoid guesswork, and facilitate a fact-based and methodical approach throughout the software product development lifecycle. Once a partner is chosen, a proper communication and expectation-setting process should be put into place so that working together will feel like an extension of their own team.

Starting a business is challenging, but having the right team with a track record of success, a comprehensive product roadmap and accelerated delivery momentum can grow a business exponentially.

Emtec has been the choice of many startups for over a decade, helping them grow from just an idea to an established and niche player in their industry. Our product development team can help identify and address technology needs, and translate your vision into a high-quality product that's ready for a dynamic digital marketplace. If you need an expert to help brainstorm your ideas, accelerate the product development lifecycle, contact us today.

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