- Product managers historically have been forced to rely on general business applications and legacy project management tools
- Technology solutions purposefully designed for product managers are now rapidly emerging (e.g. idea management tools)
- Idea management tools provide a way to collect, view and analyze new concepts to identify the most desired product ideas
Although product managers historically have been forced to rely on general business applications and legacy project management tools, technology solutions purposefully designed for product managers are now rapidly emerging. My colleague Jeff Lash and I will discuss several categories of product management tools at the SiriusDecisions Summit in Nashville next week.
One example is idea management tools. These new applications (e.g. Brightidea, Kindling, UserVoice, IdeaScale) automate the traditional product brainstorming process and enable global productivity and collaboration during the innovation workflow process. Idea management tools provide organizations with a collaborative way to collect, view and analyze new concepts and ideas in order to identify the most desired product ideas.
With these tools, ideas can be aggregated through surveys, gaming methods, social communities or crowd sourcing. Constituents can vote, rank, favor and follow ideas, which enables collaboration. An idea management tool can be used both internally (e.g. with sales, customer success managers and executives) and externally (e.g. with prospects, customers and partners). Potential benefits include:
- Acceleration of ideas within an organization’s innovation program. Organizations can make more informed decisions about product changes and enhancements to improve their products.
- Better communication with customers, sales and stakeholders. Improving collaboration decreases time from idea to execution by ensuring input is gathered from the right parties in the idea submission and management process.
- Financial analysis and information on new cultural shifts gleaned from collected data. These tools can aggregate potential revenue tied to an idea, and track potential cost savings as well as capture idea trends allowing organizations to create the most preferred and engaging products.
Idea management tools offer an innovative way to collect ideas, and the benefits are promising. However, according to a recent study by SiriusDecisions, only 15 percent of B2B product managers currently use idea management applications for idea capture and evaluation of product ideas. Some reasons that could explain this lack of adoption include:
- Lack of general knowledge or perceived need. B2B product managers might not be aware that applications specifically designed for idea management exist.
- Limited or no budget. Because there is limited awareness or established user base, no budget exists for tools built specifically for product teams, including idea management applications.
- Complacency with existing tools. Many organizations use a patchwork of existing tools that satisfies their requirements and thus see no reason to seek out new applications.