Is it possible to drive customer value and internal alignment at the same time? It is -- especially if you use a proven, powerful tool that we call the Value Roadmap. A Value Roadmap is an actionable delineation on how to create and capture value for companies operating in a given market space. A Value Roadmap identifies a limited number of opportunities to create top or bottom-line value along with corresponding strategies, business initiatives and competencies necessary to realize those value opportunities. For the company publishing the Value Roadmap it not only provides thought leadership in the marketplace, but also a framework for organizing internal actions -- actions such as how to market and communicate this thought leadership, and what capabilities to offer. Companies often lack a galvanizing vehicle that all critical functions can operate off of. The Value Roadmap does just that.
Imagine you're an operating executive inside a hot market space. You're faced with a dizzying array of products and solutions offered by dozens of providers -- all while trying to figure out your own course of action. The noise is deafening. Who can help you find the way to value? Who really knows what it takes to win? Who owns your problem? Who can you trust?
A Value Roadmap is a proven and powerful way to rise above the noise in your hot market space. Why is it so powerful? It's an objective and studied view on how to create and capture value for any company doing business in the space. Why can your company publish such a meaningful body of content? For starters, you know a thing or two about the market space. You might even declare that no other company knows more, does more or cares more about helping companies win in your market space than your company. A Value Roadmap captures what a company knows. And in so doing, it creates a sense of purpose and pride inside everyone at the company bringing it to market.
So, how to you actually create a Value Roadmap? Well, it's not something you hand off to a research lab or a consultant. It's a cross-functional effort that include those who best understand how things work in the industry. Product people, sales people, consultants, services people, marketing people -- people who are market facing and students of the market. The heads of all disciplines should be project sponsors with a core team dedicated as project leads. The should work off of a proven framework such as the one provided in the attachments.
The Value Roadmap is an effective way for the company to capture and leverage its knowledge and experience. It is a critical piece of evidence that can shift all of the following:
- how the company is positioned -- from provider to thought leader
- how the company sells -- from features & functions to value
- the kinds of services you provide -- from support and training to consulting
- how the company operates -- from departmental priorities to unified priorities
Here are some ways to test if a Value Roadmap might work for your organization.
- Determine how effective your sales force is at having a conversation with your customers about how to create and capture value. Do sales people have the content to draw from? Do they make too big of a leap between what you have to offer (your products/solutions) and the customer's problem? In other words, do they ask about the customer's problem, but then dive deep into the demo of your product?
- Look at examples of Value Roadmaps created by other companies in other industries selling similar types of offerings (software, for example). Take it to your customers. See if they would find it valuable for your respective market space.
- Socialize the idea with key potential members of the project -- product management, sales, marketing, services. Don't be the lone voice here. Get buy-in to create a more compelling case.
- Is there a unifying vehicle the entire company can rally around? How about one that can serve simultaneously as a thought leadership platform, a framework for internal decision making, and a way to leverage the institutional and individual knowledge inside the company.
Developed by Thomas Butta, founder and CEO of 21Weeks, where he helps drive sustainable transformation for organizations in radidly changing markets.
Thomas first developed the idea for a Value Roadmap while at Parametric Technology Corporation (NASDAQ:PMTC) in 2001 & 2002. The Value Roadmap (then called The Way to Product First, a Roadmap for Creating and Capturing Value) was a critical asset in the company's transformation agenda as it desperately migrated from a CAD software vendor to the leader (and trusted guide) of the emerging, more valuable market space of Product Lifecycle Management software (PLM). Today, ten years later, PTC is on Version 6 of the Value Roadmap.