Innovation Management

Product Lifecycle Management

The Secrets of Consistent Innovation Success

Ulf Köster, Senior Director EMEA, Product Lifecycle Management at Oracle, @Ulf_Koester


Digital tools help bring structure and control to complex, dispersed product innovation and development processes – but what exactly does that mean for your ability to get innovative ideas to market quickly and profitably?

Dominic Regan

Ulf Köster, Senior Director EMEA, Product Lifecycle Management at Oracle

Why is innovation so difficult?

Continuous innovation is the key to sustainable business growth. But delivering innovative products and services quickly, consistently, and profitably is easier said than done.

One of the main reasons so many new products and services fail to get to market—or fall short of expectations when they do—is that there’s no structured process for moving innovations through the development process.

Unless product innovation and product development processes are closely linked by an integrated, structured flow, it can be difficult to bring ideas to market. Even capturing and selecting the best ideas in the first place can be tough when there’s no central repository of innovation and development data. Making informed decisions about which products and services to invest in isn’t easy if there’s no single source of trusted information.

The best innovators use digital tools to help them structure the product innovation and development process, with everything connected and supported by continuous analysis of all the available data. In this way, they can get innovative products to market successfully and ensure the entire portfolio is aligned with corporate strategy and market demands.

And tools don’t just help support a structured approach and improve the process flow. They can bring a wide range of other advantages, too.

Automate complex processes

 Tools don’t just help support a structured approach and improve the process flow. They can bring a wide range of other advantages, too.  


With all the necessary data from across the product value chain gathered in a single system, tools can be used to automate many elements of the innovation and development process.

Budgeting, resource planning, and risk management can all be automated based on knowledge gained during past projects, making management simpler and reducing or eliminating the risk of errors.

Capture ideas from everywhere

Great ideas can come from employees in every part of the business, but they can also come from a company’s ecosystem of customers, partners, and suppliers.

Digital tools enable organizations to listen to capture ideas from across the enterprise, monitor social channels and incorporate the voice of the customer into the ideation process. Ideas captured from all channels can then be prioritized based on strategic objectives and the best ones put forward to be turned into requirements and concepts.

 When product proposals are based on a 360-degree view of trusted information, combined with well-orchestrated management and execution throughout the development and commercialization process, investment decisions can be based on facts, not hunches.  


Keep ideas that aren’t used

Not every idea captured will be a good fit for current strategy or market conditions. Some may be unfeasible from a technical point of view. Or there may not be enough resources to develop all the good ideas in the pot.

But conditions will change, technologies will evolve, and resources will become available in the future. Innovation management tools enable companies to keep a history of all ideas generated, so they can be revived or recycled at a later date instead of being left to gather dust (or be taken to a competitor) on employee devices.

Create compelling business cases

Unifying and centralizing high-quality data from all relevant internal and external sources gives project managers a complete view of everything they need to know to build a robust, viable business case proposal.

With clear visibility of budget, resources, and desired features, it’s far simpler to assess ideas and concepts and have confidence that the development costs and return on investment in the business case will actually be reflected in reality once the product gets to market.

Make investments with confidence

Without reliable data and automated tools, portfolio investment decisions can often be a shot in the dark, made more in hope than expectation.

But when product proposals are based on a 360-degree view of trusted information, combined with well-orchestrated management and execution throughout the development and commercialization process, investment decisions can be based on facts, not hunches.

 For truly sustainable success in innovation, it’s essential that product portfolios are well-balanced, so that the organization has the right mix of products at any given time, as existing products are updated, new products come on board, and old ones are retired.  


Accelerate concept development

Digital tools and a central data repository enable seamless collaboration between all stakeholders throughout the product development process. Product concepts can be quickly and easily created and adapted, based on assessments of the risks involved and the feasibility of technical and commercial success.

Stop ‘living dead’ projects growing out of control

A lack of visibility, structure, and control in the product development process means that poor projects can continue to drain resources from the organization long after they should have been stopped.

Innovation management tools analyze a complete view of all risk factors to enable organizations to ensure failing projects are quickly cancelled and resources directed only to the projects with the highest probability of success.

Manage a balanced portfolio

For truly sustainable success in innovation, it’s essential that product portfolios are well-balanced, so that the organization has the right mix of products at any given time, as existing products are updated, new products come on board, and old ones are retired.

Digital tools continually analyze innovation and development processes alongside the existing portfolio to ensure current and future products fit with strategic objectives and changing market conditions.


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