Product Innovation: Building Products that Matter (Part 2)

Product innovation is the life-blood of a company and to consistently outpace competitors requires an organization-wide commitment to quality of innovation

“Product innovation has always been, and will always be, the life-blood of the company” is precisely what you would expect to hear from the VP, Product Planning of every best-in-class organization across the globe.  That’s because to consistently outpace competitors requires an Lightning in a bottleorganization-wide commitment to harness the ‘lightning in the bottle’ quality of innovation and to effectively channel it into products that are enthusiastically embraced by customers and would-be customers.

Given today’s dynamic business environment, it is truly difficult for organizations – small, medium, and large – to sustain that level of commitment. Changes in ownership, corporate re-structuring, drastic swings in demand, supplier delays, distribution disruptions, and new technologies all put pressures on organizations to shift attention, and their finite resources, away from product innovation.

However, to ensure that product innovation is the norm rather than the exception, Prophix focuses on three objectives: (1) delighting customers; (2) establishing meaningful points of distinction; and (3) creating a culture that supports innovation.

Delighting customers. Because Prophix truly cares about what is important to Finance professionals, customer insights are gathered and injected throughout the product innovation process. That means customers are involved from the time that a product idea is defined through creating prototypes, running pilot programs, and bringing new product enhancements to market. What’s exciting is that integrating customer insights has become a series of ongoing, iterative, and vibrant conversations that occur regularly in online forums, in one-on-one meetings, and in large, fun group events. In this way, the innovation process, as well as the outcomes, of product innovation delights customers.

Establishing meaningful points of distinction. Committing to product innovation means taking a bold stance – creating something that is exceptional, relevant, and different. It goes hand-in-hand with being an industry leader rather than a follower. Prophix has carved out a unique place for itself in a highly competitive and dynamic market. Specifically, Prophix has built a product that is focused on solving the unique and evolving needs of Finance professionals in ambitious mid-sized organizations across the globe.

Creating a culture that is supportive of innovation. When Prophix was building a product enhancement to help customers better manage personnel planning, there was one of those wonderfully invigorating ‘A-HA’ moments. It turns out that the processes that organizations use when conducting personnel planning are similar to those used when conducting many other planning processes. Furthermore, when an organization revises its personnel plans, the implications across functional areas are considerable. So, with that customer reality in mind, Prophix quickly shifted gears and developed an expanded functionality – Detailed Planning Manager – one that would allow customers greater utility and value. Throughout this product re-definition, Prophix’s senior management provided the tools, the resources, and the encouragement to ensure that this product innovation would be successful.

Over the years, that ‘product innovation mindset’ has taken root in Prophix’s policies and day-to-day operations. As a result, everyone at Prophix knows that product innovation is more than the responsibility of one department. Rather, its success is ensured when everyone plays a role.

That’s why product innovation has always been, and will always be, the life-blood of Prophix.

Geoff Ng

As Vice-President of Product Planning, Geoffrey is responsible for managing the long-term product and technology strategy at Prophix. Geoffrey began his tenure at Prophix as a management consultant leading the implementation of financial analytics systems at over 70 organizations throughout North America.