Last week I wrote about a client that was using their annual budgeting process as a substitute for portfolio management. This week, I had another illuminating conversation with a Kalypso client in the high tech industry. This organization is seeking to dramatically shrink its product development cycle time from more than a year to something closer to six months. Seems like a tall order, especially given that they are pretty good already.
As we dug into the opportunities for improvement, we uncovered a handful of incremental improvements that had the potential to shave a week or two off the development cycle here and there. What became apparent over the course of the morning was that their innovation process was defined solely within R&D with an engineering view of the world. Their definition of done was the completion of product testing and a handoff to the marketing and product management functions.
The opportunity to integrate the commercialization functions into the innovation process and overlap the final months of development was a huge opportunity. We estimated that starting field enablement activities sooner would allow them to cut 60 to 90 days off their time to market. This was worth more than all the incremental productivity and cycle time improvements we could identify in engineering.
Delivering on the promise of innovation requires us to successfully commercialize what we develop. We are not done when development is complete. The role of the Chief Innovation Officer is to think more expansively about business objectives and bring the technical and commercial functions together.