Survey Highlights Time To Market Issues

A survey carried out among marketing and product managers at communication service providers in both established and emerging markets has revealed that while the meaningful lifespan for products is becoming smaller, operators are struggling to get new products to market quickly. For 68% of respondents, the average lifespan of products is 24 months or less, and for almost a third of all operators (28%), the average lifespan of products and packages is now 12 months or less. 
The survey revealed that a third of respondent operators currently take 18 weeks or more to take an initial product or package idea from concept to market delivery. For 30% of the operators the process takes 12 weeks, and just 8% are able to bring a new product to market within four weeks. 
The survey was commissioned by Ceon, which provides product lifecycle management software for operators. It also revealed that outdated IT systems are seen as the main obstacle preventing operators from bringing new products to market more quickly, with 45% of respondents citing this as the most significant barrier to launching new products more quickly. 30% of respondents consider improvements in the product design and definition process to be the most important factor in reducing time to market. 
Marion Howard Healey, Research Analyst at Qualitative Change, which carried out the survey, says:
Increased competition is putting great pressure on service providers to roll out more complex converged and bundled offerings, rapidly and for shorter periods of time, yet these findings reveal that a considerable proportion are still struggling to launch products as quickly as they would like. This is impacting their ability to maximise revenues from new offers and, more importantly, their ability to keep up with fast-evolving and transient needs of the marketplace. Co-creation of products with customers is a growing consumer trend and this will add new pressures for operators wanting to address the individual lifestyle needs of volume customers in their product design.
Yogen Patel, VP Product Management and Marketing, at Ceon adds:
With increased focus on short-lived offers linked to events such as the Olympics, service providers must be able to make event-linked, personalized offerings available within days or even hours. In this narrow window of opportunity, launch processes of 12 or more weeks are simply unsustainable. 
The answer, says Patel, lies in developing more efficient product management processes and a higher level of process automation through use of product lifecycle management software.
This will help operators significantly reduce time-to-market for new products, he says.