Product transformation means to make a disruptive move for the existing product portfolio into something new. For the music industry their product transformed from vinly to CD to download. While the first transformation went well for the industry, the second one killed half of the established record companies. They have not been prepared, did never understand the request for the transformation and resisted until a lot of those disappeared. Especially the digital product transformation is happening in very short circles today.
In definition transformation is the successful result of a change strategy and a transition plan based on the three elements product, people and process. In reality the three most important elements are people, people, people. Any change starts in the head of the people. Without the initial first move to get the “right stakeholders” on board nothing can change and there will never be a product transformation into anything new. It all starts with an idea and the understanding that change is something natural and part of the daily business. And this is independent from the economic situation of a company. In reality it is of course not as the most managers start thinking when they identified that they have a problem with the current product, service or business model. Anyway, when the CEO or the senior management understood that there is need for a transformation, the hardest work is to establish the idea through the organization. Product transformation means to change the whole company, the nature of the firm. It can be a market or user driven change and is in line with the over-all company vision. In some case product transformation can even modify or change the company vision.
The software culture of a company is deciding how fast and easy the transformation process can start. The CTO and his team should always ask: “Are we still using the most valuable technologies to serve our customers?” New technologies can change the way of working completely, not only in the product and tech department. But if the software culture supports such a process smooth and clean is again related to people. People build and live the software culture of a company.
The organization’s culture is the enabler to transfer change through all departments of the company. Mindset, believe systems, norms and values are influencing how successful change will be. And again it is related to the people that implemented that culture and how it is adopted and lived by all employees. The structure of the company determines the speed of change through the organization. Flat hierarchical levels would be ideal. But it is all about people. Change is often resisted as many people are afraid to change status quo and working environment. So again, it starts all in the head of the people and the start has to signal that change is something good and positive. That is at least the base to start product transformation.