It’s amazing how much we depend on technology in our day-to-day lives. I find it almost impossible to imagine my life without all the technology that I use to make things easier. As a result, from my product management standpoint, I know it’s extremely important to embrace technology in product offerings to maximize value for customers.

 

It is imperative to keep in mind, however, that offering leading-edge technology isn’t enough. Almost as important as the technology is offering technology that fits the needs of customers while providing them access and the ability to utilize technology in the manner in which they prefer and expect.

 

Let me explain further. The demographic of any customer pool is changing every year. In relatively short order, we will see every business’ customer base gradually transition from the Baby Boom Generation to the X and Y generations. Based on our changing society, Gen Xers and Gen Yers will have different expectations of collaboration capabilities within a product than baby boomers have.

 

Importance of Collaboration

  • Gen Yers see technology as an enabler of collaboration (Facebook®, Twitter®, Foursquare®)
  • Gen X and Y employees will collaborate with customers by using social media
  • Customers will collaborate with other customers
  • Product offerings must enable collaboration by integrating with multiple collaboration technologies and social websites

 

Technology does the enabling, but people are at the core of collaboration. Be sure to allow customers access to internal energy efficiency and building optimization experts. When designing new products, think about the personal connection and integrate community forums into the technology.

 

Also, be aware of evolving communication styles. The other day, I answered a text from my daughter ─ with a phone call. I wanted to actually talk to her. But, based on her flustered response (“Um, hey dad ─ did you get my text?”), I think I broke an unwritten rule of Generation Y. Calling her in response to a text was akin to somebody sending me a fax ─ it just didn’t equate!

 

I encourage you to embrace the newest technology and implement socially collaborative tools with all new products. After all, you don’t want to wait for the Pony Express to deliver the message that your customers have passed you by.