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As a digital agency, we at Code Computerlove were interested in discovering why some organisations become more ‘digitally effective’ than others, i.e. why is it that some organisations ‘get’ digital and others simply don’t? And can we identify any clear differences between the two groups?

To answer those questions, we decided to conduct a survey. Carried out in partnership with Econsultancy, we questioned 433 digital decision-makers based in the UK. Focusing on results given by client-side respondents, we then delved deeper into comparative responses given by top performing businesses (those that claimed to be outperforming their competitors) versus the mainstream (who are not).

When we analysed the data, we found some clear differences in the attitude, behaviours and methodologies of top-performing business versus the mainstream when it comes to their digital products.

Key findings included:

  • Top performing business are more likely to be looking to ‘increase customer lifetime value’ than their mainstream counterparts (68% vs. 47%)
  • For successful businesses, the numbers reporting a ‘focus on outcomes in delivery’ (75%) and a ‘focus on long-term goals versus short term targets’ (59%) were almost double that of underperforming businesses reporting the same behaviour
  • 82% of high performers agree strongly with the statement ‘Focusing on user needs leads to better business outcomes'
  • The research also found that 60% of top performers are satisfied with their ability to deliver digital products on time and on budget. Conversely, only 19% of the mainstream felt the same
  • 50% of top performing companies (vs. 38% mainstream) are currently aiming to speed up their performance and 69% adopt agile processes in development

Taken together the aims and approaches of the top performing businesses that completed the survey reflect ‘product thinking’ - a mindset based on continually building value for the customer through an agile, non-siloed, digitally-savvy culture with clearly defined business goals.

The age of product thinking

Product thinking has emerged as a way in which organisations are navigating the need to deliver increased consumer centricity and agility using larger more complex, and business critical, technology platforms.

It’s a way of achieving digital effectiveness as part of a digital transformation process, but it’s not just a question of adopting new digital tools and platforms, it’s the ways of thinking and organising teams around these tools and across an organisation as a whole.

In its simplest form, product thinking is a drive for business effectiveness delivered by maximising value from digital touchpoints. It enables organisations to prioritise their efforts more effectively and immediately correlate investment with commercial return.

It was interesting to see from the survey that top performing businesses had a stronger focus on value. 68% can attribute return on investment to specific digital projects; three-quarters focus on outcomes in development and are happy to change requirements if needed (during the development process) and over half focus more on long-term goals rather than just short-term targets.

We’re undoubtedly in a period of change and the pace of this change means companies cannot afford to develop products and projects in the traditional ways. The structures and ways of thinking that dominated businesses in the late 20th century are not suited to the demands of the 21st.

Our report has shown that businesses that have moved on from ‘big bang’ releases, are taking a more long term, agile and customer-value approach – product thinking – and, what’s more, they believe that this approach is paying dividends.   

Click here to access the full report.

Tony Foggett is CEO of Code Computerlove