Rachel Lim is Senior Product Manager – Superannuation at AMP, a leading wealth management company operating in Australia and New Zealand.
Brainmates spoke with Rachel to learn what product management means and what her role entails. She shared some challenges that many product managers can relate to and ways to tackle these. She also gave some good insight into how the profile of the product management discipline can potentially be increased.
Please describe Product Management
Product management as a discipline is about what the product should be. Product Management within the financial services is to provide existing / new customers with support of new or enhanced products and services.
We also consistently review our ability to be competitive in the market space. Product Management encompasses a broad set of activities to support an existing product or development of a new product, these activities include competitor analysis, collateral supporting our customers and financial planners, how we are able to maintain profitability, research on customer acceptance, testing new product concepts, abreast to technical changes within the industry and how it might impact on our product design.
What do you do as a Product Manager at AMP?
Product managers for AMP are advocates for the customer’s needs (at the same time supporting our planner network). From writing specifications about a single feature to a new product design product managers have overall responsibility for the product. My responsibilities include the following:
- Competitor Analysis
- Supporting existing product lines and any product enhancements
- Managing product cash flows for the product set
- Setting strategic direction based on customer needs and business goals
- Interpreting strategic goals into operational tasks
- Making proposals to senior management regarding implications of proposed plans
- Serving as a representative or lead in establishing tactical plans and objectives
- Developing and implementing administrative and operational matters ensuring achievement of objectives
- Evaluating risks and trade-offs
- Proposing contingency plans
- Working with Marketing to support our product branding
- Working on legal documentation (i.e. Product Disclosure Statement) for sale of our products
- Supporting the business in relation to enquiries on the product.
- Building strong relationship with internal stakeholders.
What challenges to you face as a Product Manager at AMP?
Any product manager will tell you that in product management there are many challenges (which keeps our days interesting) but I will focus on three challenges I faced:
Product management resources
Product manager assumes ownership and management of products and services we offered. Often we are overwhelmed by the tactical activities that consume our day (e.g. emails, customer service support, sales support, requirement clarifications, product design questions, new enhancements etc.) and thus not able to effectively look at product development / sales opportunities.
Keeping existing customers and attracting new customers
Product management today is more focused than ever on the customer, specifically, the end user. As part of our role we are required to acquire, maintain and expand customers. Unlike the past, customers are now empowered to “be-involved” with the products / services they receive. The balance of power has shifted and customers know it. For this reason, we are increasingly focused on ensuring our customers has a positive experience with us.
Product enhancement / innovation
Innovation is what drives business, but the reality is that as a company we cannot consistent innovate on everything as funding is limited. We need to be able to select on projects that will add value
How would you increase the profile of Product Management in Australia?
I believe that Product Management is a very specialised industry and it’s great to see organisations like Brainmates trying to connect product managers from different industry together and also promoting product management as a career path.Often we are confined to our own industry and may not realise that we can learn from product managers of other industries.
I personally would increase my profile by meeting with more people and also trying social media tools to help build my networks.