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The ultimate guide to new product development software

January 31, 2024

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Innovation-driven New Product Development is the driver of any organization’s survival, growth, and sustenance. It is also an irony that most organizations have not been successful in new product development journey. They turn to NPD Software in haste. While most companies treat New Product Development as a consistent process, the reality is quite different. There are two distinct stages in New Product Development.

• Truth-Seeking Early Stage

• Success-Seeking Late Stage

NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT FOCUS AREAS

CHALLENGES NPD SOFTWARE MUST ADDRESS

Living in an age of software and technology, organizations rush to software solutions to business problems – without clearly comprehending the ‘practical challenges’ in new product development.

Ad hoc idea generation leading to missed business opportunities.
Organizations that create new products thrive on idea generation. However, in most cases, the new product development process of idea generation is ad hoc and inconsistent. Reliance on spreadsheets, documents, and emails is the norm. It is not hard to analyze why most companies struggle to pursue great ideas swiftly – leading to missed business opportunities and organizational survival. 

New idea business cases are unstructured, incomprehensive, and lack rigor.
Even when ideas are generated, it may not be feasible for the company to pursue all of them due to financial and resource constraints. In most cases, new ideas are not backed by thorough and meticulous business cases. Without rigorous business idea evaluation, organizations run the risk of pursuing weak ideas.

Inefficient investment allocation impacting business financials.
As a result of ad hoc idea generation and weak business case creation, it becomes obvious that the investment decisions may lack conviction. Instances of organizations burning millions of dollars are very common.

Siloed project management leading to planning and execution flaws.
Organizations struggle to plan and flawlessly execute NPD projects. Most projects are managed on spreadsheets, documents, emails, etc. These lead to data integrity issues, avoidable team conflicts, and lower efficiency and productivity. The result – delayed product launch and lost revenues.

Scattered NPD documentation impacting data integrity.
Multiple and granular level of documentation are needed for products in the pharmaceutical, FMCG, engineering, and automotive industries. When these are scattered, teams struggle with the ‘right’ documentation, leading to quality issues and cost escalations.

Stakeholder collaboration is not seamless triggering conflicts.
New product development projects involve close collaboration across diverse functions. Reliance on numerous meetings and emails results in stakeholder conflicts that impacts product launch.

SELECTING ‘THE’ NPD SOFTWARE

With so many commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) New Product Development Software available, how should project leaders go about understanding, evaluating, and finally selecting the ‘appropriate’ one?

High Configurability

Most COTS NPD Software vendors tend to go with an approach of ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ and expect organizations to blindly accept and follow what the software does! Due thought is not given to the diversity of industries, products and services, organizational standards, new product development process, workflows, checklists, and decision-making protocols. With these limitations, every ‘change’ is treated as a ‘customization request’ that comes at an expensive price coupled by tough ongoing maintenance.

Your New Product Development Software must come with a high degree of configurability – to your organizational context.

Digitized New Product Development

For today’s business leaders and project managers, time is the biggest constraint, and they need to extract maximum value from every minute. In this background, your NPD Software must be designed as the foundation step towards digital transformation – with capabilities to digitize every aspect of the NPD process, templates, checklists, workflows, decision-points, escalations, alerts, notifications, and others. Without a digitized approach, leaders lose the overall momentum needed to drive the business to faster product launches and higher levels of growth and profitability.

Streamlined Idea Generation & Evaluation

In a hyper-competitive world, teams must generate ideas swiftly accompanied by a smooth and streamlined NPD process for idea consolidation and review. Leaders must be empowered with new ideas along with necessary details that aids meticulous evaluation.

Your New Product Development Software must streamline the NPD process of new idea generation and evaluation specific to your organizational context.

Meticulous Business Case Creation

Depending on the nature of the idea, detailed business cases must accompany new ideas. The business case must capture technical aspects of the product, financial justification, benchmarking parameters, regulatory factors, etc. Further, these business cases must be uniquely designed to the diversity of new ideas.

Your New Product Development Software must support immaculate and templatized business case creation that is specific to your industry and organizational context.

Product Development Planning

Approved ideas are just the beginning. The proof of the pudding is in their planning and execution. NPD project planning can be very complex with numerous dimensions including scope definition, specifications planning, resources estimation, cost estimation & budgeting, procurement planning, quality planning, risk identification & response planning, and documentation.

Your New Product Development Software must have capabilities for comprehensive project planning covering scope, Work Breakdown Structure, schedule creation, critical path analysis, budgets, risk identification & assessment, and documentation – these should be templatized organizational standards.

Project Execution, Control, and Product Launch

Organizations realize value through ‘flawless execution.’ Leaders must be able to track the progress of deliverables meticulously, dossiers (for pharma projects) manage budgets, mitigate risks, while ensuring resource utilization, efficiency & productivity. Further, decision-makers must be empowered by insights about forecast product revenue (as per business case) and actual product revenue – aiding critical product decisions.

Your New Product Development Software must support creation of multiple baselines for schedule and costs, proactively alert and notify managers about project progress (schedule, resources, costs), gain deliverable acceptance, and close projects.

Systems Integration

In today’s world, invariably all organizations may have deployed enterprise applications such as SAP, Oracle, or a Legacy System. The biggest challenge happens to be data integrity as software applications operate disparately as islands. Imagine the quality of decision-making that is based on data that may be questionable!

Your New Product Development Software must seamlessly integrate with your existing enterprise applications to deliver one version of NPD truth.

Analytics – Mobile – Social Collaboration 

Business and project managers need insights for swift decision making. Knowing what ‘has already happened’ is not as important as knowing ‘what would happen.’ The role of analytics-driven dashboards, alerts, and notifications does not need any over-emphasis. Further, today’s leaders need insights ‘on the go’, for which solutions need to be ‘Mobile’ with capabilities to collaborate virtually anywhere in this globe.

Your New Product Development Software must offer strong capabilities of analytics, mobile access, and social platform for virtual collaboration.

BUSINESS IMPACT WHERE IT MATTERS!

To summarize, a top-class New Product Development Software must deliver holistic business impact by –

  1. Digitizing the complete NPD cycle.
  2. Seamlessly capturing new ideas to maximize business opportunities.
  3. Supporting data-driven ‘go-kill’ new idea decisions.
  4. Offering greater revenue forecast visibility.
  5. Enabling optimized resource utilization.
  6. Facilitating flawless planning and execution of NPD projects.
  7. Driving real-time internal & external stakeholder collaboration.
  8. Delivering single version of NPD truth.
  9. Fostering new product launches at warp speed to maximize business value.

TouchBase NPD Software is created with the strategic design principles of high configurability and holistic solution and is backed by capabilities to suit the requirements of modern-day professionals across diverse industries.

Shivani Kumar

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This article is provided by Shivani Kumar, Head – Marketing & Director of ProductDossier, a company having a flagship product ProductDossier PSA Software - An Integrated Project Management Software. ProductDossier PSA helps customer in achieving Business Automation & Excellence.

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