Product strategy and managing a multi-product portfolio are critical skills for any product leader. This is an especially important skill to develop for any product manager that wants to move into product leadership. So, what general principles do you apply to product strategy and managing a multi-product portfolio? Workday VP – HCM Product Strategy Neil Jensen shares insights on what additional considerations and strategies leaders should take to ensure good business and product outcomes in a down-market.Join us for new conversations with leading product executives every week. Roll through the highlights of this week’s event below, then head on over to our Events page to see which product leaders will be joining us next week.


On focusing on customer needs during a down-market

“In times like these, buyers tend to get far more frugal. Price comes into the equation, and people become far more hesitant to spend money. During a down-market, really honing in on addressing customer need becomes a critical component of everything that we’re doing. It’s no longer a luxury to address fringe cases and the nice-to-haves. We really need to double down and really focus on those essential things that customers really need. Durable things are what they’re going to end up opening up their wallet and spending money on. 

“Even looking at ways and considering opportunities to offer lower priced options. Or introducing discounts, promotions, and ways to incent buying behavior. During these times these are some of the things that are absolutely critical to focus on. So really digging into need, looking at things that are just mission critical, is really number one on my list during these times.”

On investing during tough economic times

“Looking at innovation really becomes a key opportunity. It might seem a bit counterintuitive, but investing in research and development for our organization’s future success is an opportunity that we have during these times. Looking at ways in which you can research and new product ideas can help grow the top-line side of the equation. We can test prototypes, identify emerging trends in various industries, and we can take advantage of this time to explore. 

“There’s also this idea of investing in partnerships. It may be lost on some who are really in that product management or development role within product, where we fall in love with designing and building products. 

“It’s really looking at the opportunities we can bring capabilities to bear for customers. It doesn’t always have to be the stuff that we bring to bear. It could be our core capabilities, plus some partner capabilities, that really create that well-rounded solution for a customer. As I work with my product strategists, one of the things that I require for a product line is fully understanding that partner landscape, how they fit into our overarching offering, and really defining the impact that they’re making on our ability to deliver capability to our customers. Partnerships, and having a clear vision and strategy for where they fit in, can really make or break a product line.”

On tracking metrics during a down-market

“During a down-market, having a very clear understanding of our current metrics can really aid in helping you make decisions on where you’re at, where you’re going next, and how you move the needle. Understanding sales numbers, understanding product usage numbers, and understanding who’s bought but not implemented, is the secret sauce in my book of understanding and getting to a point where you can have an effective strategy. You can have an effective product roadmap because knowledge is power. 

“The more that we measure, the more that we understand. Our current analytics is in my book, the number one thing that’s going to direct us to where we’re going to go in the future. So measure ends up being the mantra. Having that firm command of the numbers will help you with your leadership teams, and with decision-makers in your own organization. To help you really drive forward on the product strategy, the product roadmap, and make sure that you’re making good choices for your customers.”

About the speaker
Neil Jensen Workday, VP - HCM Product Strategy Member

Neil Jensen is Vice President, HCM Product Strategy at Workday. He serves as a thought leader and strategist in the areas of Human Resources, the Future of Work, The Frontline Workforce, and the impacts of technology in the enterprise. Neil is leading Workday’s efforts to provide solutions that create the future of work. Prior to Workday, Neil served as both an HR Practitioner as well as a Strategic Consult where he advised some of the world’s largest organizations. Neil is a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia where he is an avid cyclist and swim dad to two teenage boys.

About the host
Denise Hemke Checkr, Inc. , CPO

As Chief Product Officer at Checkr, Denise is responsible for leading the product vision, teams, and roadmap to deliver customer delight and innovation while advancing our mission of building a fairer future. Denise brings a relentless focus on customer success, adoption, and innovation to meet our customers’ needs. Prior to joining Checkr, she held a number of leadership positions, most recently as the GM for Analytics at Workday. At Workday, she was responsible for the entitled reporting used by all Workday customers. She also led the revenue-producing side of the Analytics business launching 3 new products and growing the business from $0 to over $200M in ARR and over one thousand enterprise customers. She’s been building enterprise products for the last 21 years in a variety of companies such as Platfora, Salesforce, HSBC & AT&T.

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