Salesforce Health Cloud Product VP on Product Platforms (Part 2)
When you set out to build a new product, the discovery process is critical for ensuring long-term success. Product platforms are no different. In my experience, this step is even more important when your business is entering a new category for the first time. Simply put, all you have is a blank slate. This is equal parts exciting and challenging. However, the inherent advantages of building on platform architecture will ensure that your new product can reach its potential much more efficiently.
To illustrate what it’s like to work on product platforms when building new solutions, I will share the discovery process that we used at Salesforce to launch our Health Cloud product. First, it’s important to give yourself enough time to see it through from start to finish. Too often, product teams will skip steps or rush through this process in the name of getting to market faster. However, this only leads to creating product solutions that are ultimately incomplete or not as effective as they could be.
To ensure that your product team completes the discovery process, here’s a checklist of the key steps you’ll need to cover.
Month One: Understand & Observe
- Ultimately, you can’t build a great product without knowing your environment. For example, this is the time to analyze your market and customers to optimize your value proposition. In addition, this is the time to evaluate the limitations of your core technology before you start major development work.
Month Two: Synthesize
- After your data collection, it’s time to analyze your findings and create a hypothesis for your new product.
Month Three: Visualize
- At this stage, you need to think about how customers will potentially use your new product. Nothing has been built yet, but you need to develop a rough concept.
Month Four: Prototype
- Now it’s time to build! However, you’re not testing out your prototypes on external users. Instead, you’re leveraging internal stakeholders to validate your concepts.
Month Five: Implement Design Changes
- This step will take the most significant amount of time – as you’re moving into a phase that requires the use of advanced technologies. Most importantly, you need to get this step right and not rush through it.
In the case of Health Cloud, we had the advantage of being able to create this product by leveraging the proven platform architecture provided by Salesforce. In other words, product platforms give you a basic framework that you can utilize to reduce some of the pre-work that goes into building from scratch. That said, we still needed to optimize the product to align with the expectations of the health care market. However, thanks to the power of platforms – this was a much easier task to take on.