Working smarter with analytics in product development

As the economy teeters on the brink of recovery, companies are looking for profitable growth from new products, yet they must accomplish this with fewer resources. This means they must find ways to work smarter.

They need to define the best ways to manage new product development and what data management and engineers need access to in order to balance development schedules with factors such as product cost, compliance, and performance.

Aberdeen's November 2010, Using Product Analytics to Keep Engineering on Schedule and on Budget study investigated these issues.

What Are the Biggest Hurdles for Making the Right Decisions?
A variety of factors that impact time, cost, quality, performance, and compliance must be considered when making decisions about new products. In order to understand the impact of their decisions, engineers and management must have access to the right information. What is hardest about collecting this information?

Figure 1displays these top challenges.

Figure 1: Top Challenges for Decision Making in Product Development

Source: Aberdeen Group, November 2010


What is interesting is that this mostly boils down to one thing: time. Engineers are so busy, stopping to provide status updates is just a distraction.

In addition, it takes too long to obtain needed information from individuals. Survey respondents report spending 18 per cent of their time just preparing updates.

This is further aggravated by the manual processes used to collect this information. Then, it is too detailed or technical to be easily digested by an executive level person. They just do not have time to fully absorb it to put in context the of business goals.

Clearly there is a need to streamline information gathering.

What's striking is that nearly a quarter of the respondents do not even have a way to collect needed information. This puts companies at a disadvantage because they have no way of understanding the impact of their product decisions on company profitability.

Just to provide some context of how quickly lack of visibility drives up cost, respondents report: