Today organizations are faced with a portfolio of products, changing customer needs and demands, economic challenges. To differentiate themselves, compete effectively, and stay relevant in their target markets, organizations must innovate. To effectively align a company strategy and resources in order to achieve maximum value, balance the product and project portfolio, and innovate at the same time requires the use of tools and frameworks. In this paper we explore a sample of these tools. We use the IBM Connections social software product to demonstrate a scenario where Roadmapping, Service Blueprinting, Kano Model Analysis, and other innovation techniques can be used to help shape and plan the future of IBM Connections.
IBM Connections is designed as a modular and open set of capabilities that help accelerate the development of advanced socially-enabled solutions. We have used the business model canvas (see Appendix 1a and 1b) to identify two customer segments and value propositions for our Social Business Framework (SBF). We have developed a fictitious scenario to illustrate our understanding and application of the following tools from Module 2. Roadmapping Brainstorming Opportunity Algorithm Kano Model Service Blueprint In this scenario we have been given the task of choosing the future technology strategy for the product group working on IBM Connections. This is similar to the real-world scenario described in (McMillan, 2003). Our goal is to use roadmapping to perform a technology strategy review to choose the technology direction for the IBM Connections product. We describe the roadmapping process in Section 2. In Section 3, we use innovation and portfolio management techniques to choose the features that we will implement, based on the importance of the features to the customer. Finally, in Section 4, we present our findings and conclusions on the tools and how we could use them in our businesses.
2. Technology Strategy Roadmap
Based on our business model canvas we have identified two target customer segments for SBF: 1. Large enterprises with existing infrastructure and > 10000 staff. 2. SMEs wishing to avoid cost of IT infrastructure (Hardware & people). Whilst many of the potential features of SBF could be shared and are relevant to both segments, the delivery mechanisms and total cost of ownership are radically different. For segment 1, the software is installed on the customers’ premises and requires additional IBM services and customization, plus additional hardware requirements. In segment 2, we are delivering our product features using a SaaS Service Model - the software is pre-configured and hosted on IBM's own cloud infrastructure. We have limited resources and must decide which of the above two directions is optimal. To do this we will produce a roadmap for both customer segments. This will reveal the dependencies and resources required to produce the value proposition for each segment. Our technology strategy is driven by customer needs which are in turn determined by their internal requirements and by external trends, drivers, and technology capabilities. A key driver is the fact that both SMEs and larger enterprises are increasingly turning to cloud based services to deliver SaaS and reduce Total Cost of Ownership. Our technology strategy roadmap chart is in Appendix B.
Roadmapping as a strategic tool
Roadmapping is a flexible technique which can be used to chart the future direction of any organization at any level. We have opted to use it as a strategic tool to describe the options for the IBM Connections product.
Before creating the roadmap, we started with a preparatory session to explore the strategic issues and opportunities that would feed into the roadmap. The planning process is the first in Phaal’s (Phaal, Farrukh, & Probert, 2007) three stage T-plan “Fast-start” method. This phase focuses on planning the...