Head of Product Engineering
There are only two broad categories of enterprises today – the ones that are fading fast and the ones reinventing themselves to keep up with dynamic customer demands. Whether you are a traditional business such as a bank, manufacturer, retailer or are a disrupting media, e- commerce or hi-tech business; whether you are building a customer application at the touchpoint of the brand and the users, or an internal platform for collaboration – all your digital initiatives are under the scanner for the same stringent yet guiding principles – driving relevance.
As companies look at digital innovation from the outside and on the inside, it becomes critical for the stakeholders to be on the same page as far as defining what relevance is. In the simplest terms, relevance may be defined as the ability to drive continuous value by bringing together strategy, design and technology to stand out in a crowded market place.
To be able to accommodate the volatility and velocity of consumer behavior, market trends, technology and business dynamics, organizations must change their outlook to a product-centric mindset that focuses on value realization and fosters continuous innovation.
Navigating this shift and making innovation real beyond labs and pilots involves institutionalizing innovation frameworks like the ‘Relevance Cycle.’ This business model blueprints continuous innovation and promotes an entrepreneurial culture. It is designed to create a consistent momentum of translating ideas into production and thereby realization. The seamless progression of ideas that impact core value propositions to create minimum viable products should be architected for scale and agility and infused with flexible feedback mechanisms. This helps to build trust and openness towards value-driven change amongst stakeholders.
The heart of such an approach goes beyond scope, budget and time constraints and is focused on a commitment to customer centricity. To configure delivery of continuous incremental value for clients, we must look at and implement the building blocks below:
Ideation – Promote an outside-in approach that goes beyond the realm of immediate competition, geographies and the technology ecosystem. This involves creating a sandbox of ideas through qualitative and quantitative research, competitive analysis and intended business outcomes. With the focus on unmet user/persona needs, the ideas could range from product to feature to process ideas that directly impact customer satisfaction, reduce cost and drive efficiency.
Prototyping – Rapidly prototype ideas through agile co-creation and DevOps methodologies that ensure that the inbound momentum is not disrupted. It is equally critical that the engineering of the product or service is designed to have a high degree of agility to accommodate instantaneous feedback cycles.
Bringing ideas to full scale programs requires the ability to go beyond the prescribed. This is fueled by a multi-disciplinary, cross-functional team that is ready to be deployed. A team structure that can self-organize itself as per the key roles required may comprise product owners, UX designers, API managers, Data Scientist and DevOps leaders, ensures holistic considerations in planning as well building stages.
The North Star of product-centric delivery is that innovation by virtue is continuous and has a butterfly effect for enterprises. For instance, for one of our clients, Yokohama, a 100-year old tire manufacturer, what began as an innovative mobile design engagement has sparked an appetite for a complete front-office transformation because of the rapid business impact and immediate savings.
How do we know it is working? The effectiveness of the product innovation mechanism can be evaluated both in terms of direct and indirect impact streams. While a reduction in R&D costs, increase in product revenue, number of innovations that advance, and product rating in the market are some of the direct measures, overall increase in customer satisfaction, faster go-to-market and competitive differentiation etc., can also be attributed to the maturity of product innovation function.
As Head of Product Engineering practice for Brillio, Vinod is responsible for the incubation and growth of Brillio’s Product Engineering solutions go-to-market strategy. He has extensive experience and a proven track record of guiding his clients through complex business & product transformation initiatives, structuring creative solutions and delivering unique value by emphasizing applied strategy, human-centred design, leading-edge technology and product-centric delivery. He firmly believes that “Good ideas with great execution are how you make magic.”
Previous to his tenure at Brillio, Vinod was Director, Testing, for Happiest Minds Technologies, and a Program Manager at Honeywell Technology Solutions, among other positions.