Driven by the rising tide of digital transformation, technology companies around the globe are reevaluating their technology service offerings and how to best manage the process of end-to-end product lifecycle management. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated trends for remote working, e-commerce, cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT) and other tech-enabled activities that have transformed traditional processes. For 95 percent of global leaders, digital transformation took on more importance due to pandemic disruptions.
On top of these changes, customers increasingly care about equipment uptime and availability as much as they care about features. Meeting those expectations requires a different way of thinking about the end-to-end product lifecycle process, but many technology companies lack the internal resources necessary to dedicate to such an endeavor.
Fortunately, with disruptive changes in customer needs and market trends comes innovation in new business models, products and services. Ideally, these innovations can seamlessly blend digital, physical, business and customer experiences while also improving operational efficiencies and organizational performance. However, while technology companies play a significant role in the digital transformation of their customers, many are also transforming their own business models simultaneously.
To fund these digital transformations and continue providing a positive customer experience, outsourcing product lifecycle management helps technology companies free up time, energy, resources and budget from overhead activities such as supply chain management, customer management, maintenance, installation and repair, empowering them to focus more on their core competencies and speed up time to market.
Experts with extensive resources in place can manage the product lifecycle management process to support growth through expansion or M&A activity with scalable resources that are available based on their business needs and objectives. The outsourced product lifecycle management approach enables a traditional original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to transform its business model from selling products to providing comprehensive capabilities that allow its customers to achieve their desired business outcomes.
What is Product Lifecycle Management?
Product lifecycle management covers services for the end-to-end life of a product, from the design and build stage through implementation, maintenance, repair and end-of-life disposition. With full product lifecycle management, you and your customers get the most out of every technology investment. But some organizations may operate various elements of the product lifecycle in silos, which can make it challenging to meet customer needs with a comprehensive, cost-effective approach.
To optimize their processes without investing in additional headcount or infrastructure, many technology companies outsource some portions or all of their product lifecycle management services to various providers. However, it can become cumbersome to manage multiple third parties and to maintain a consistent customer experience. Expectations for a positive customer service experience throughout a product’s lifecycle are increasing: 50 percent of consumers would switch to a competitor after a single bad experience, and 80 percent would jump ship after a second unsatisfactory encounter.
Instead, outsourcing to a single experienced product lifecycle management partner with services for the full technology lifecycle means you have one contract and point of contact, a complete solution of ready-to-go services and a consistent, positive customer experience.
The Top 10 Benefits of Outsourcing Product Lifecycle Management
With a single product lifecycle management partner, your organization can simplify processes and regain resources, time and budget to improve your competitive advantage in the marketplace. More specifically, extending or outsourcing your capabilities to manage hardware and customer touchpoints with comprehensive, end-to-end technology services can garner these 10 benefits in the long run:
1. Extended Scalability and Reach with a Global Footprint
A product lifecycle management provider with a worldwide footprint enables your business to scale quickly across geographies, customers and product lines. Ramp up for one-time project support for a product launch or upgrade cycle or commit to long-term customer support to accommodate any desired level of service based on your needs and goals for however long you and your customers need the service.
2. Increased Flexibility with Supply Chain Management
Plug into a modern logistics network to meet customer expectations around the world. Implement specially designed 3PL, B2B and B2C fulfillment and hybrid models to optimize your supply chain. With these models, you can scale as needed, reduce overhead costs and manage import and export complexities to meet global demands. Optimize inventory carrying costs with improved supply chain visibility and release crucial resources and dollars from operational obligations to instead invest in high-priority initiatives.
3. Deeper Relationships with Channel Management
Effectively execute your customer experience strategy and expand your pipeline to bring your products to market. Your product lifecycle management services provider can manage the complex process from recruiting partners to identifying growth opportunities to managing retention. Develop a partner community that drives higher revenues and maximize its potential by identifying top-performing partners for deeper relationships.
4. Expanded Capacity with Integration Services
Give your customers the solutions and products they need with configuration, customization and integration services — without investing extra funds or headcount in those capabilities. Your customers will appreciate plug-in-ready solutions rather than managing integration on their own. A product lifecycle management partner can manage the full spectrum of integration activities from basic deployment validation and endpoint device configuration to converged infrastructure development and even product design.
5. A Great Customer Experience from Day One with Deployment Services
Extend or outsource service delivery capabilities with multi-platform–certified IT professionals who possess a broad scope of technical capabilities and can handle multi-site deployments and migrations, from installation and implementation to advanced rollouts. You can scale resources to your deployment tasks, too, paying only for the services you use. Reduce risks, refocus your workforce and simplify complexities with standardized project methodologies and tools for scheduling, managing and reporting that increase visibility into projects.
6. Multi-Vendor Coverage with Maintenance and Support
Partnering with a single product lifecycle management provider eliminates the hassles of managing multiple third-party maintenance providers and improves business continuity for both you and your customers. Give end users exceptional service with white-labeled maintenance and support from qualified technicians and 24x7x365 global technical assistance. Serve your customers with high-quality service that maintains their technology to your standards and free up your internal resources by outsourcing maintenance services.
7. Seize Every Opportunity with Revenue Retention
Address the unmanaged areas of your business and maximize customer interactions for ongoing engagement and revenue retention. Proactive, strategic account management, sales incentives and campaigns for hardware and software renewals, license compliance management and upselling and cross-selling activities help to deepen customer relationships and keep them coming back for more — bringing in more opportunities for revenue.
8. Circular Economy Support with Comprehensive Repair
Some technology failure is unavoidable, but an efficient repair process can help keep your customers operating at optimal levels with minimal downtime, ultimately helping to maintain customer satisfaction and productivity while also reducing costs. By focusing on a circular strategy and outsourcing processes such as logistics, repair and IT asset disposition, you can maximize product value, bring in new revenue streams and position yourself as a leader in IT asset management and sustainability, which helps to both protect and enhance your brand reputation.
9. Enhanced Customer Experience and Lasting Loyalty
Offer your customers full-scale, data-driven customer-centric solutions and support worldwide to lock in brand preferences that are built to achieve customer satisfaction. Maintaining high fill rates, improving time to market, streamlining the buying process and providing end-user support encourages speedier product adoption and increased confidence in your brand. Successful customer onboarding is key to deriving fuller returns on your investments.
10. Freedom to Focus on What Matters Most to Your Company
Improve your company’s cash flow, change fixed costs to variable costs and free up resources, time and funds to focus more on what’s driving your business forward. Working with a product lifecycle management team can generate revenue growth in ways you’ve never even considered. And with the ability to dial resources up or down, you can invest the resources you regain into other vital areas of your business, from research and development to talent and culture and everything in between.
Bonus Benefit: Digital Transformation Acceleration
Outsourcing product lifecycle management enables your organization to rethink the possibilities of its current business model and sharpen its focus on key digital transformation initiatives. Consider your company’s destination on its journey from hardware to everything-as-a-service (XaaS) and how the right strategic, global partnership can help get you there.
Unlock the Benefits of End-to-End Product Lifecycle Management
Investing in transformation initiatives and staying focused on what’s moving your business forward are key to succeeding in the ever-changing technology industry — especially amidst global disruption events like the COVID-19 pandemic. But you don’t have to navigate that journey alone. Outsourcing to a product lifecycle management services partner who can manage your entire end-to-end technology lifecycle process affords you the freedom you need to drive better business outcomes.
Watch the Think Again Webinar Series: Reimagined Strategies for Tomorrow for a deeper dive into the need for digital transformation and how you can accelerate the process for your business.
About the Author
Larry Miller serves as senior vice president of Global Lifecycle Management (GLM), a provider of specialized solutions within Tech Data. He is responsible for the strategic direction, operations and oversight of GLM, which provides global outsourced technology management services for both the product and customer lifecycle. Miller brings 30+ years of sales, operations and professional services leadership to GLM, from early-stage to Fortune 100 companies.