How enterprise companies can use their products to balance stability and agility

Written by Pippa Armes  | 

5 min

 

As businesses mature, it becomes almost impossible for them to operate with the same speed and flexibility they once did when they were a startup or small-scale operation. Much of this challenge simply comes down to the physics of growth: the larger your company is, the slower things tend to move (and the more time it takes for change to happen). 

Another factor contributing to the challenge of scale for enterprises is good old bureaucracy. Decisions must be approved at varying levels of the organization before they’re acted on, resulting in latency which (in the world of software) can lead to slow-to-release features or outdated functionality. Large organizations can also struggle to rally internal teams around shared goals, thanks to operational silos. And without a shared vision, it’s easy for teams to get frustrated or to focus on the wrong things—causing them to over-index on tactical minutiae and miss the big picture “why.”

But the growing pains of this evolution from scrappy startup to established enterprise aren’t necessarily a bad thing. With scale comes increased resources and greater access to talent to build and deliver the best products and services possible. And the answers enterprises are looking for to help mitigate many of these challenges can already be found within the digital products they build and buy.

 

Enterprises can use their product roadmap to organize, communicate, and align teams around a shared long-term strategy

The best roadmaps are those that are informed by both quantitative and qualitative data—product usage and user feedback—and which clearly communicate your product’s “why.” They help you ruthlessly prioritize your engineering, development, and go-to-market efforts by giving you a clear trajectory of what you’re working towards, backed by highly contextual feedback from your users. By communicating the long-term strategy for each product across your company’s portfolio, roadmaps can quiet the noise of competing priorities throughout the organization and help you focus your time and resources on the right (value-driving) things. 

Good roadmaps also give enterprise buyers (and internally, organizational leaders) confidence in the future of your products. They can help convince wary prospects or internal stakeholders to come along with you—even if your solution doesn’t yet meet every one of their needs—by giving them a clear sense of where you’re heading. In doing so, they drive organic growth and expansion.

By creating data-informed roadmaps for products across their portfolios, enterprises can break down silos and help teams across the company understand their role in driving the business forward. They can also use their roadmaps to help organize and validate the initiatives on their engineering release plans—and more effectively balance long-term strategy with short-term iteration.

 

Product analytics gives teams throughout the enterprise (including product, customer success, IT, marketing, and more) critical insight into user behaviors and product performance across the portfolio. Without this information, product and business leaders have no way of knowing what’s working well for customers or employees, where they’re finding value, or where they’re struggling. This lack of data results in wasted resources in all areas of the business and a much higher likelihood of customer and employee churn.

You can use product analytics not only to make better, data-informed decisions about the future direction of your company’s products, but to also be more proactive in addressing any developing customer and user challenges. This helps you become more agile, reduces your reliance on lagging indicators to assess product performance, and improves the customer experience by helping the right teams get ahead of any irreparable damage that might result from a poor user experience.

Analytics also helps product and IT leaders understand how customers move between products, or how employees work across their internal app suite. This allows you to benchmark the health and performance of each product across your organization’s portfolio, identify features that are underutilized (and thus could be good candidates for degradation), and make better decisions about where to invest your team’s time and resources.

 

Enterprises can use in-app messaging to communicate with users in real time and steer ideal behaviors

In-app messages or guides are another way for enterprise organizations to stay nimble and respond quickly to changing user needs and behavioral trends—without interfering with any long-term or evergreen communication programs. 

In-app guides allow you to communicate with prospects and customers within the context of the product (while they’re fully captive and most receptive), and are particularly useful for sharing time-sensitive announcements or updates without needing to wait for the next scheduled product release. They’re also effective because they allow you to segment your audience, target your messages to specific cohorts of users, and expand your reach—all with less effort.

Internal IT teams can also use in-app messages to efficiently and effectively communicate with users and teams across the enterprise. A digital adoption solution like Pendo Adopt allows them to drive user proficiency in the most relevant tools and product areas based on employee roles or other metadata, and helps reduce IT requests and support tickets by delivering in-app support and guiding users to helpful resources directly inside the app, and at scale.

 

Want to learn more about how enterprise organizations can leverage their products to stay agile while delivering a reliable and stable user experience? Access the full white paper here.