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Preview of the March 2013 Event: Next Generation Product Management
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By Tench Forbes
March 14, 2013

Abstract: This post is a preview of the March Panel Discussion Event,Next Generation Product Management: Adapting To The Future. Moderated by Paul Ressler, the panel will discuss ways that product managers can develop the knowledge and skills in the areas needed for the future.

Category: Product Design, Development and Launch

The March event will be of great interest for the BPMA membership. Even if you are not in the software industry, the panel will discuss the latest tools for marketing high tech products. The event is happening at Constant Contact in Waltham, and as of this writing, more than 30 people are attending.

Moderator Paul Ressler, Principal at The Cirrostratus Group is a frequent BPMA contributor who will facilitate the discussion with a talented panel of experts in SaaS, big data and on-line communities. Karl Wirth, founder and CEO of Apptegic, will discuss how to manage customer usage data to drive customer success. Andy Singleton, founder and CEO of Assembla, will bring his unique insight to code management, task management, and collaboration, based on his experience managing the support of hundreds of thousands of SaaS users. Matt Kaplan, Vice President, Products of LogMeIn, will provide his take on cloud-based collaboration, IT management, and customer service applications used to empower, manage, secure and support the new mobile workplace. And Andrew Hally, Vice President of Products and Marketing at Bullhorn, will round out the panel with his expertise in generating demand, communicating value, and driving and supporting a "customer-centric" business culture.

This panel discussion will likely focus on the way that the marketing of software products has changed due to technology and customers' expectations. On the other hand, marketers of other products are facing similar pressures of shortened product life cycles, new expectations about pricing, and obtaining product information due to changes in technology. For example, industrial products such as lighting or air conditioning systems are now bundled with sophisticated control software. SaaS based machine-to-machine (M2M) intelligence are also key features in industrial products. These features allow the products to operate more efficiently, and can become the products’ value proposition. Product Managers (PM), however, risk positioning the products based on their "traditional” technology, and missing key differentiation. Gregor Harter and Jörg Böckmann of Boos & Company in their article, Hardware Goes Software: How Manufacturers Can Think and Act Like Software Companies describe this process, and ways that these manufacturers can market their products more like software.  So, this months topic will be applicable to different industries.

Marty Cagan, in his Silicone Valley Product Group Article Product Management, Then and Now outlines concisely how PM's must now market software. In summary, from software to products bundled with software, the PM has to be more familiar with the user interface experience. Additionally, product development must move faster, and use trial and error to develop features, pricing, and positioning.  This is in contrast to focus groups, surveys and other, long-term methods. Modern product development must now be accomplished in small sprints compared to longer release cycles. Finally, the modern PM must consider different ricing models, such as SaaS/cloud pricing, subscription, and licensing compared to traditional models such as an upfront purchase price. This month’s panel will tackle these kinds of subjects, so that PM's can produce better product value that leads to sustained profits. The BPMA and the panel are looking forward to seeing you on March 21st!


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