Productization - Evolution of software products
What is Productization?

Process to providing a bundle of deliverables which can cater solution to the generic problems faced by the customers on day to day basis.

Stakeholders and time taken to deliver solution in market are two major differences between customer-specific software development and product software development. For customer specific software development company, stakeholder is external and they play a crucial role during the design and development process. Their involvement and regular request for change in design not only consume time but also increases the cost of the project.

Whereas in a product software company, product management team are the stake holders and they decide about the requirements that need to be delivered in every releases. Pressure for these companies are to prioritize the loads of requirements that keep coming from the market and deliver them on time. Hence the amount to development needed for a new enhancement is influenced by product market, concepts, benefits, positioning, requirements, features, specifications, delivery channel, marketing, selling, and packaging.

How Productization should be carried out?

Stepping stone for the productization process is bundling of the common functionalities that were executed repeatedly in multiple projects independently. There are chances to re-use already developed, features, functions, components or modules from previous projects. An advantage of reusing functionalities from finished projects is that the overall quality and consistency of the software increases because the functionality have already been tested and have positive feedbacks from the customers. These utilities can be used as the basic set of standardized features or core functionalities.

A centralized system will help to manage all the requirements from the customers. Requirements having more number of customers associated can be taken as a generic enhancement which can be addressed in the upcoming releases. Managing of requirements are necessary because solution provided to these requirements make the product more versatile and operational.

Customers satisfaction and increase in sales through word of mouth or references states the success story of a product. This is the transformation phase where a company starts building software product from the large parts of projects that are reused and a product scope starts to emerge from the reused functionality. Basically, a company starts identifying the similarities on customers' wishes, which forms the general criteria for recognition of a product. It becomes essential for an organization to evaluate the potential in a particular segment and be market driven till it has good customer base in a particular geography.

In long run to gain more market share it is mandatory to focus on the market requirements. These market requirements are needed in order to determine the content of the future software product releases. More number of features added make the product more complete and reduced the chance of customization.

There is always a need to customize the software product so that it can fulfill some of the customer specific requirement, Hence a customized layer on top of the product with the required functionalities can be added. The size of the functionality and code of customization is small in comparison to the standard product. The customizable part make the product useable in different situations.

Finally by performing active marketing and sales activities, the company should start to sell the product to a mass-market and start looking at the wishes of that market. In order to bring the product to the market, it is required that the product is completely configurable. To determine success of the product is mainly based on getting a bigger market share and having a shorter time-to-market. An advantage of selling product software is that no additional development is required in order to be able to sell the product to new customers. This results in a much bigger potential market and more customers.


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