Why Do Tech Products Fail?

Why Do Tech Products Fail?

Each year, about 30,000 products are produced and introduced to the public. The founders of these products wait anxiously, hoping that their product will be one of the 1,500 products that do not fail. That’s right, 95% of products that are introduced to the public every single year, end in failure. There are many reasons why this failure occurs in so many companies. We’ve chosen six of the most influential factors that can lead to a potential failure in a new product. When all of these factors are executed correctly, your company will have a much larger chance of having a successful outcome.

Building a new product is a journey full of stress, excitement, and commitment; however with the right tools, creating a product that succeeds in today’s society is very possible. It’s important to know who is responsible for creating this product, in most cases it would be the founder and the right team.

1. Choosing the Right Team

As many people say, you are the product of the five people you spend the most time with even at work! When it comes to creating a new product and introducing it to the public, you want to pick the very best people to surround yourself with.

Not only is it important that these people are intelligent, but also that they understand your industry the same way you do, and they exude the same passion for success as you.

Nike’s rumored Fuelband, similar to a Fitbit like technology, failed because of this exact reason. According to reports, around 80% of the employees who worked on the project ended up being fired. Since the team was not cohesive and were not passionate about the project, the product failed altogether.

2. Timing

The timing you choose to launch your product is one of the most crucial factors because you should be very strategic about your launch date to optimize the market acceptance and excitement around it. Many companies lack the ability to time out the launch of their products correctly, and other companies have mastered this art.

For example, Facebook was one of the most perfectly timed products to be launched. People were finally getting comfortable displaying their personal life on the internet with the explosive growth of Myspace, Hi5, and Friendster like applications. Facebook seized this opportunity and launched their product with a fresh new take on community building and becoming one of the most successful social media platforms to date. 

Another success story is the iPad. Apple chose the best possible time to launch the iPad commercially. There were other companies who had attempted to create tablets and bring them into the market before the iPad such as Microsoft’s touch input tablet. However, at that time, people were not yet comfortable with multiple devices. When the iPad came out, people were warming up to the idea of having more than just a phone or a computer and invested their money into buying an iPad. Of course, iPad was also created with simplicity in mind. Apple knew how to create such a simple yet sleek product that even kids under the age of seven could get hooked on it.

3. Not Having A Defined Product

It’s important to know exactly what your product is, and define it compared to products that may be similar to it. In today’s market, many products end up being very similar to one another and because of that many end up failing. It’s important that your product distinguishes itself from others in the same market. 

Facebook failed at this when they introduced the Facebook phone. This was evident as soon as its carrier AT&T dropped the price of the phone from $99 to 99 cents. The phone was designed to mirror the entire user experience of your Facebook profile. This was a disaster because people didn’t see the benefit of buying this phone when they could just download the Facebook application on a far superior phone.

In this case, Facebook did not have a distinguished product and they felt the need to expand beyond their already successful product in a market that didn’t work for them.

 

4. Ever Changing Product Spec

It takes time for people to adapt to change. In many cases, they cannot handle a brand new product thrown at them with hundreds of new features on it, which they are expected to learn. When creating a new product, it’s important to remember this because without doing so, there is a great chance that your product will be one of the 95%.

Apple is a company that does a great job of recognizing this with their line of iPhone products. Each time the company introduces a new iPhone, they only add one or two big features to the phone, so that the user feels comfortable using the product and only has to adapt to minimal changes. For example, with the iPhone X, they added facial recognition along with a few other minor features and kept almost everything else the same, to allow their users to feel comfortable when using the product. Apple has a great ability to understand that people want to adapt to small increments of change and because of this, they have been very successful with each new iPhone launched.

5. Lack of Management and Ownership

Management plays a key role in a product’s ability to be successful. The product manager launching this product must be confident, smart, and passionate about the product, and project that attitudes onto the rest of the employees working on it. The management culture can have a big impact on the work ethic and passion of employees who work for them every day. Without strong management, a product and even the entire company could result in immediate failure.

An example of this was the Barnes and Noble Nook from 2009. This product was a major failure because people could not go beyond the idea that Barnes and Noble was no longer a destination for what their following really wanted, paper books. In many cases, people blamed the management for this failure, because they did not invest in the company’s evolving brand enough in order to influence the perception of the Nook to it’s following. Because of this inadequate marketing strategy, the Nook failed, and the Amazon Kindle became one of the most successful products of the year.

  1. Not Knowing Who the Product Is Made For

Knowing your audience and your target demographic is another important factor that can make or break your product once it is launched. It is important to understand their interests, backgrounds, and all socio-economic information to make sure that the product is attractive to that audience.

A product that failed because they weren’t aware of their audience and who they were making the product for was Yik Yak. Yik Yak was once valued at about 400 million dollars. However, the company was not aware of who their application was going to be made for and it ended up being the perfect application to enhance cyberbullying throughout the school system. The product could have done better if it had been introduced to a better-targeted audience. The company ended up selling for $1 million, a value decrease of 400%.

We hope that you can learn from these companies’ mistakes or successes when launching their products. It’s important to do better market research throughout the process of creating your product and creating small prototypes, getting people’s feedback, and then launching. Getting early feedback from users if the most important step in building a successful product. As shown through multiple examples, there are certain things that a founder and their company must consider when they decide to take their product public. The most important of these is being able to choose the right team, the timing, having a defined product, taking the ever-changing product into consideration, having a strong management or ownership, and knowing who your product is made for. When these things are taken into consideration, you have a much better chance of your product becoming successful.

This article was written by SYNERGY Consulting. SYNERGY works with early-stage founders and mid-sized companies to build, launch, and grow their innovations. If you’re working on launching your next big idea, contact our team today at http://www.synergyconsulting.us.

Please follow and like us:
5 Nightmares to Avoid Before Outsourcing your Project

5 Nightmares to Avoid Before Outsourcing your Project

Outsourcing has become an increasingly popular trend, as more and more businesses become more cost and quality conscious especially for website and mobile app development. It is the process of transferring a company’s business to a foreign third party in place of an internal source. These third parties provide services, manufacture products, and perform duties at a lower cost and improve efficiency and productivity. Outsourcing has become a common movement for technological services that make it feasible for businesses to gain service and expertise that they would otherwise lack both financially and skill- wise.

It has transformed global business, with an estimated $100 billion spent on contracts a year. Offshoring allows companies to leverage a global knowledge base, enabling access to world- class capabilities. Companies also employ outsourcing to focus on core functions of the business while having details taken care of by outside experts.

A perfect example of this would be a business delegating application work to a third party to avoid the financial and work burden in- house, while the business focuses on marketing and advertising the new product. Sounds simple enough? Not quite. Sometimes in the desire to save money with the convincing lure of low- cost workers in places like India, China, and the Philippines, good implementation flies out the door.

One of the biggest outsourcing failures was by British Airways. After deciding to outsource their IT, the airline had six major IT failures in a 12- month period. 300,000 travelers were stranded with little- to- no information, sent home with no bags, and bused for hours to hotels to stay overnight. A couple even had to postpone their wedding, with their family/ wedding party scattered across Europe and unable to travel on their scheduled flights.

British Airways’ tech outage was due to its IT department being offshored to India as an attempt to save on labor costs.

British Airways GMB Union leader Mick Rix stated “This could have all been avoided. BA in 2016 made hundreds of dedicated and loyal IT staff redundant and outsourced the work to India. BA have made substantial profits in for a number of years, and many viewed the company’s actions of being just plain greedy.”

Like all business initiatives, outsourcing comes with risks. For example, finding a great e-commerce website designer sounds simple but not always easy. That’s why understanding what can go wrong is a great way to reduce your risk of losing time, money, and energy on a project. Companies who have experienced outsourcing nightmares have two things in common: lack of predisposition and lack of communication with the vendors.

Nightmare #1 Employees Disappearing

When someone slips up in your office, they are held accountable for their mistakes and the consequences that follow. However, because there is no way to hold overseas developers accountable, often times they disappear mid- project when things go wrong, leaving you with a big mess and no one to fix it.

When contracting outside providers to perform tasks, it is important to create an explicit contract to be signed by both sides. Drawing up a contract such as: the contractors receiving 25% of the cost upfront, another 25% upon sending substantial progress, and the remaining 50% when the project is complete and tested thoroughly is key to outsourcing.   

By laying the ground rules, it creates incentives for both parties to succeed in the project, thus eliminating the possibility of a developer ditching the unfinished task and running off with your money.

Nightmare #2: Delayed Delivery with a Product far from What You Asked For

Picture this:

You have an app in the iOS App store doing well. You want to bring the app to Android, so you outsource the project to Android app developers outside the county. Agreeing on a week deadline, you begin to advertise your future product. The week goes by and you’ve received nothing. When you contact them, the developer claims to have been sick and will deliver the app in 10 days.

15 days later, you finally receive the completed application from the offshoring team. You test the app, only to realize that the screen, features, and fonts looked nothing like the iOS code you sent.

Now you’ve lost time, money, and your marketing opportunity.

While it can be difficult to determine which vendors will avoid situations like this, paying for only a portion of the job in advance can provide incentives for the developers to produce the product on time and accurately. By doing this, you will also prevent losing the full payment for a project if it the vendor does not deliver what you asked for.

Another way to prevent delays is to create smaller milestones and check in with the developers every few weeks/ days, depending on how long the project is.

Nightmare #3: Poor Communication

Expectations for design and tasks can be lost through poor communication, presenting you with a product or service that you did not ask for. Outsourcing can turn into a game of telephone, where each person translates the project their own way.

Jeremy Schaedler, a business owner, learned that the best way to communicate with vendors is through written instructions and diagrams. Too much information is lost through verbal communication; “Outsourcing IT overseas is a great way to get quality programming talent at a fraction of the domestic cost, but getting a quality product depends on establishing a clear method of communication.”

Another way to communicate with developers better is to continuously communicate with everyone involved, making it a team exchange rather than a single interchange. Making good communication a top priority while outsourcing can save you future headaches and complications.

Nightmare #4: Rushing in Without Proper Due Diligence

Research is key when selecting an outsourcing company. Many businesses assume that there is a “one size fits all” for outsourcing developers, creating a big problem when the developers either do not have a good reputation or they do not have the expertise to complete tasks. For example, an expert iOS app developer has different skills from an Android developer or a web development company. Be sure the service and skills that what you are looking for lines up with those of the vendor. Ask the outsourcing company to send samples and references to contact past customers, before rushing into a contract.

Nightmare #5: Setting Unrealistic Expectations

While outsourcing is a great way to save time and money, greed sometimes comes into play. Some businesses decide to outsource and forget to keep realistic expectations in check. It’s easy to get carried away when a vendor seems to be able to do it all for you. When anticipations are high, you run the risk of receiving an inferior product or service when initial perception doesn’t match the reality.  

To avoid this, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Dream big but set sustainable and shorter goals. Don’t expect too much of your vendor and plan out goals and expectations. Give it time- time is key to success and you don’t want your developer to cut corners.

Takeaway:

Here at SYNERGY, we understand the risks of outsourcing. We have a strong team that works with various companies and have created a great track record. We eliminate failures, by creating a process that includes:

  • Allocating a dedicated team lead for the project
  • Constant communication
  • Frequent project updates

Here is the  4- step process on building a product:

  1. Design
  2. Prototype
  3. Develop
  4. Testing & Launch

The dark side of outsourcing may scare you off, but if done correctly and carefully, it can benefit your business and help cut costs. Outsourcing failures are quite common but can be avoided, leaving your business with more time and energy to focus on core business processes. 

Please follow and like us:
The Proper Path to Creating Successful Web and Mobile Products

The Proper Path to Creating Successful Web and Mobile Products

Technology is taking over. Every business, every home, every person, utilizes technology in some way, shape, or form. It seems almost a pleasant coincidence that while technology is currently expanding so rapidly, entrepreneurial efforts are also becoming increasingly more popular. This relationship between technology and self-pioneered business has brought with it an era of tech start-ups.

Tech start-ups are the golden goose of entrepreneurship in modern society. Spanning from web design to social media, to cloud-based storage companies, the tech field is littered with opportunity. Companies like Uber, Airbnb, Snapchat, and Pinterest are each valued at over $10 billion. The industry has created over 25 billionaires on 2016 FORBES Billionaire list. It is safe to say, that a successful tech product will lead to a successful life.

Success is never guaranteed, however. It is widely understood that roughly 90% of all tech startups fail. Common reasons for these failures include improper web or app design, underdeveloped tech, and, or, lack of a recognized target market.

Tech start-ups are commonly seen in areas like Silicon Valley and New York City, however, the location of your tech startup is not what will make or break your tech product. While it may not hurt your company to join a Silicon Valley or NY startup accelerator, joining such programs is not necessary. Moreover, an insanely successful product can be created from just about anywhere if the proper steps are taken. Many tech developers have found that starting companies in unusual areas can be more financially advantageous because of the comparatively low cost of these areas. These founders are also finding little difference in business communication and partnership ability in these areas because of modern technology. Moreover, because of the rise of tech startups, there has also been a rise in complementary firms, such as mobile and web app development companies. Access to such company allows for easier operations and app development. 

An example of a successful tech startup that took advantage of strategy – instead of location – is Qualtrics, a private research Software Company. The creators, one of which is Ryan Smith – current CEO – founded this company in the small city of Provo, Utah. The company is currently worth $220 million. It is clear that these founders implemented a solid strategy that made up for the location of the business.

So, the question becomes: what path needs to be taken to create a successful tech product from anywhere?

First: Develop a Concrete Idea

It may sound obvious, but many tech products fail because either the idea was not developed far enough, or there was no market for the product. Before any physical development, or commercialization can begin, an idea must first be solidified.

This process includes first coming up with a set of goals that your company, and product will embody. It is important that these goals remain constant throughout the entirety of your company’s lifespan. These goals may include relative price points, ethical restrictions, advertising guidelines, and more, but most importantly it is important to create a clear goal of the physical product (or app) itself before you go any further.

Throughout the whole process, work on the product itself may only account for 30% of your total time – with the remainder of the time allocated to sales, marketing, production, etc. It is essential that 30% of your time happen early on in this process. Early product attention is more important than sales and production focus; having a clear vision of what the product actually is makes accomplishing the rest more achievable.

Even the most fully developed products need a market to be successful, however. It is essential that during this initial idea phase, your company takes into consideration who this product is made for, and what problem your product is solving.

Second: Begin to Design

Once a target market has been selected, and a concrete idea has been formed, it is time to begin actually designing your product. It usually includes physical, web, and mobile app design. This is the stage that many tech developers think to start in. This stage is made vastly easier however if the idea phase is completed to its fullest potential.

Unless the founder has a remarkable background in tech development, it will almost always be beneficial for them to hire outside help to assist with this part of their product. It is important to higher skilled employees. Despite the importance of bootstrapping during initial business development, hiring engineers is not the area you want to be cheap in.  These employees’ will bring your idea to life. It is essential that they understand the goals that have been originally set for your company.

It is also important not to decide on and go to market with the first design that is made. In the tech world, failure is a good thing. With each failure, comes new insight on how to create a better product in the future. The likelihood of the first design made being the best design is very low.

Third: Create a Prototype  

The process of creating a prototype follows very closely with the process of developing the product. This phase entails bringing your original idea to life.

While the engineers you hired were trained to design tech products, they were most likely not designed to actually build them. For this reason, it is common for founders to send their products designs to prototype shops. It is also common for founders to get more than one prototype made, to ensure the best one possible is used.

Fourth: Testing

It does not matter how extensive the effort put into the ideation, development and prototyping phase is, testing your product is essential. There are almost always bugs or setbacks in your tech that your team may not be aware of initially.

It is common to first test prototypes internally, among team members. However, it is also essential to launch a beta version of your tech product to trusted members of your targeted community. This last part is essential. Sharing a beta with only people outside of your target market will not result in responses that are relevant.

Fifth: Launch

Once you have successfully developed, designed, and tested your product, you are ready to enter into commercialization.

This phase will include hiring a sales team and focusing much of your company’s efforts into advertising and branding. You will need to research your target market and find the best possible way to market your tech product to them. This step is not made to be quick. In fact, little under 70% of your time should be spent ensuring that the launch and market of your product are a success.

Takeaway:

Ideas are everywhere. Great ideas can lead to great companies. However, great ideas do not ALWAYS lead to great companies.

Competition, especially in the tech industry, results in many failures. It is those that learn from these failures, take advantage of available resources, and take the proper steps that will fall into the top 10% of tech startups and be successful.

Please follow and like us: