INIn today’s hyper-competitive world, it’s not enough to design a cool gadget or flashy piece of technology. Companies launching new products must meet the very specific needs and price points of ickle consumers. They also have to come to market with innovations that
outshine those of their competitors.
It comes down to a strategy of properly leveraging market intelligence in
an organization’s project management
Consider Barnes & Noble’s development team, which drew upon tablet
computer capabilities, such as color
touch screens and Flash-capable web
browsers, to develop the Nook Color.
The device supplanted Amazon’s Kindle as the leading global e-reader.
And Apple’s iPhone, which redefined
the smartphone market with its app-centric design, has since proved no
match for Google’s Android operating
To stay ahead of competitors, orga-
nizations should constantly monitor
their rivals, the marketplace and cus-
tomer demands. They also have to be
flexible enough to factor new informa-
tion into a project plan, says John Reh,
management guide for the information
site About.com in Seattle, Washington,
USA. “Keeping an eye on the competi-
tion is vital to the survival of your busi-
ness and the success of your products,”
At financial services company Wells
Fargo, reviewing market research, customer reactions and other competitive intelligence is part of the ongoing
project management process, says Sri
THE RISKS AND REWARDS
OF SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDBACK
“These days, because of social media, we get immediate access to customer feed-
back, and the instant we get that information we can start considering whether we
need to fix or modify a project,” says Alison Gardner, Dell, Austin, Texas, USA. “It’s
Social media data alone, though, are not enough to build a project business case,
she adds. “Social media has had an incredible impact on our ability to collect feed-
back, but we have to back it up with formal research.”
Dell uses market analysis, third-party surveys and other formal research data to
judge the merit of the big ideas that come from social media outlets.
“It ensures we are not making decisions based on one or two people,” Ms. Gardner says.