Best Practices

The role of product discovery in digital transformation

Published Aug 25, 2023
Your product connects your customers to your brand (and your employees to their work). So why wouldn’t it play a central role in driving your digital transformation strategy?

Making sense of your product data is the key to building the right features, every time. From how your customers move through your product, to what features they engage with, to the workflows they struggle to complete, to the feedback they leave. All of these inputs (and more) form your product discovery engine—and should be a pillar of your organization’s digital transformation efforts.

In the context of digital transformation, product discovery refers to the process of identifying, defining, and validating new products, features, or improvements to your existing offerings. And it contributes to well-executed digital transformation in three key ways:

Identifying opportunities for new products and features

The most successful product teams perform product discovery continuously. Similarly, the most successful digital transformation initiatives rely on continuously evaluating the impact of incremental product or process changes. 

Product analytics and feedback are the backbone of product discovery. Together, they help product teams improve existing features or processes, uncover new ideas for products or features that could solve known (or even unknown) customer challenges, and—in real time—assess how any adjustments made to the product are impacting the business’ bottom line.

For example, by looking at your product’s usage data, you might learn that a particular cohort of users—who all share similar titles or work in similar roles—is struggling to complete a certain task. Then, by reading through the feedback they submitted in-app, you learn that they’re all hungry for a solution to a related problem, which you don’t currently have a solution for. Turns out, they were trying to use the original feature to solve the issue you didn’t have on your radar yet. Insights like these can inform your roadmap and help your team surface opportunities to build new features, workflows, or products designed to solve the challenges your customers are facing.

Helping teams become more customer-focused

A critical element of any good digital transformation strategy is bringing customers along on the journey—whether those customers are external users or internal employees. And not just in communicating change, but also in incorporating your customers’ needs and feedback into your roadmap

Because product discovery involves direct engagement with your customers and stakeholders, it encourages product teams to capture and act on the voice of the customer (VoC). Plus, by getting input early in the development process, it helps ensure that teams across your organization—from product to engineering to marketing—are focused on the right initiatives that are in alignment with your customers’ expectations. For example, this alignment can help marketing teams build more tailored campaigns, customer success teams support customers in the areas they need it most, and sales teams better personalize their outreach for things like cross-sells and upsells.

Validating decisions and reducing risk

Despite having access to a wealth of product data, there’s still a lot of guesswork (not to mention human biases) going on when it comes to building products. But this ultimately leads to costly missteps and rampant inefficiency—something most organizations simply can’t afford right now.

That’s why it’s so important for product teams to validate any decisions they’re making by talking to customers as throughout their product discovery efforts—particularly when those decisions could impact the entire organization’s (very pricey) transformation initiatives. Similarly, by relying on objective product data rather than gut feel, product teams can move from guessing to knowing. This reduces the likelihood of investing resources in products that may not deliver the expected outcomes—mitigating risk, eliminating bias, and ensuring that they’re giving customers what they want with every release. 

And with a tool like Pendo Validate, all of this is even easier to do than ever. Validate allows product teams to test ideas at scale before they ever go into production. This means less time and money wasted, and more time devoted to delivering value through value-adding digital products and experiences. 


To learn more about why your product should be at the heart of your digital transformation initiatives, check out this blog.