Product Management is Evolving – All Because of the Social Web!

This is a guest post from Kimberley Chan from One Desk. Kimberley Chan is a Writer and Marketing Specialist at OneDesk Inc., developers of OneDesk, a unique Web 2.0 product platform. She is also a regular blogger on OneDesk’s blog where she provides insight to organizations as to how they can use the latest social technologies to build a stronger business and drive innovation. Follow her company on Twitter @OneDeskApp to learn more.

The social web is impacting almost everything in this world. It has opened new doors to the way people communicate with friends, keep in touch with family members, search for jobs, and hire candidates to name a few. As the buzz spreads, more and more organizations are starting to use the social web as a means to enhance their business processes.

The term “social web” does not only refer to social media. It is used to describe the way people interact with each other, using tools available on the Web.

When it comes to exploring the social web and its business-enhancing potentials, product management is one of the top verticals. An increasing number of product managers are beginning to explore the various tools that the social web has to offer and leveraging them to enhance their development process.

These tools include social networks, social media monitoring tools, Web 2.0 tools, Enterprise 2.0 software, and social collaboration tools. An increasing number of product managers are discovering that because their job involves working with many different internal departments and stakeholders, tools available on the social web can help them easily reach and communicate with staff with a few clicks.

In an age where competition amongst businesses is fierce, organizations no longer own the conversations around their brands. Businesses should realize that everybody – customers, potential customers, the media, business partners, competitors – is talking about their product, and many of the conversations are happening on social media channels.

Consider the Following Statistics:

  • According to a study by Mashable, 13% of customers said they post updates about brands they like.
  • 80 percent of social media users prefer to connect with brands through Facebook. (Business2Community)
  • 56% of consumers say that they are more likely recommend a brand after becoming a fan on Facebook.
  • A study conducted in 2012 by American Express reveals that one in five Americans turn to social media first as a resource for complaints.
  • 50% more people now choose this form of immediate dialogue than in the previous year.

Social Product Innovation is Gaining Momentum

The social web opens the doors to what product managers call “social product innovation.” According to a study by Kalypso, “those using social media for product innovation are gaining business benefits, including more (and better) new product ideas or requirements, faster time to market, faster product adoption, lower product costs, and lower product development costs. More importantly, these improvements have resulted in higher market share and improved product revenue.” With the social web, companies can leverage the vast array of social tools throughout the whole product development process.

During the idea capturing process, companies can use social media networks and social media monitoring tools to listen to public conversations about their brands. This way, they can get an idea of what problems people are experiencing in the home, at work, what people like, and what they can improve on. In turn, they can promote their brands, and start conversations with their existing customers and future ones. Later on in the development process, they can compare their products to their competitors’, as well as experiment with their brand marketing messages and strategies.

Social collaboration tools such as blogs, discussion forums, wikis and live chat apps can hold teams together no matter how close or dispersed they are. They provide product managers with a way to clarify any uncertainties and get feedback during the early stages of the development process.

The emergence of many Web / Enterprise 2.0 tools has provided companies with an easier way of gathering feedback and ideas and incorporating them into the product development cycle. Feedback tools that can easily be embedded in websites allow for quicker and more accurate responses than traditional surveys.

Social Media + Collaboration Tools + Product Software = Web 2.0 Product Management

Combined, these social tools provide product managers to capture, define, elaborate and develop market-winning products. Seeing that many product managers are turning to social product development, many “Web 2.0 product development platforms” are emerging.

Web 2.0 product development platforms allow product managers to incorporate social media networking, monitoring, and collaboration into their product development processes. They also allow product managers to employ numerous practices they they could not during “normal” product management: Connect all roles and departments, collaborate with team members across the world, determine the right ideas and requirements to implement, and most of all, develop products that the market wants.

Social networks play a big part in almost every aspect of our lives, and business are (or should) recognize that. Because of this, the social web is causing product managers to “go social,” and use technologies to keep track of market demands and trends. Due to the fast-paced nature of customer requirements, these tools help streamline the development process and keep product managers connected with everyone.