Product managers are involved in every part of a product’s life cycle. They study and analyse market research data to construct a strategic direction for the product, determine its specifications and requirements, make production timetables and develop marketing strategies by using financial and technological resources at their disposal to bring the product to market.
It is their job to communicate the product vision and marketing strategy to shareholders and investors of the company, to get approval for expenditure needed in production and development costs. A product manager must also ensure that employees understand their roles and operate well with other departments to achieve an effective workflow.
A product manager’s job description is to initiate and drive the development of a product, its launch and success in the market throughout the product’s life cycle.
What are the Skills of a Product Manager?
Product managers need to assess the impact of potential failures, threats, devise contingency production strategies and countermeasures. They can recognize and execute the need for a strategic shift if required.
Product managers must study the fundamental business policies and analyse market data to determine the right price for the product depending on the operational and development costs, promotional costs, packaging and distribution costs, etc.
Good communication is a must for a product manager, they interact with customers, internal departments and teams, shareholders, press, etc. Product managers need to effectively convey the vision and roadmap of the product.
A product manager should be able to understand and estimate the time needed for each stage of the production cycle, manage risks, plan strategies to gain an advantage in the market.
They will be involved in audience segmentation, product design, project management, create and manage budgets, define objectives and requirements, forecast sales, customer analysis, distribution strategies, etc.
Product managers need to analyse and research data in order to make the right product decisions for it to succeed. They should possess solid analytical skills to use the data efficiently.
Some of the skills necessary are entrepreneurship, tracking progress, beta testing, deductive and inductive reasoning, SWOT analysis, basic engineering, risk management, etc.
Product managers interact with many people from sales personnel, marketing, finance, engineering teams, and customers. They should communicate the objectives, goals, and vision to everyone effectively.
Interpersonal skills consist of problem sensitivity, emotional intelligence, influencing others, leadership, managing partner relationships, verbal and written communication, address objections, public speaking, open to feedback, presentation, collaborate and facilitate meetings, lead cross-functional teams, composure under pressure, teamwork and negotiation skills.
Product managers need to promote and deliver the products to the customers. They supervise the advertising and sales team, overlook the promotional offers, campaigns, brand image, discounts, etc.
Product managers will be involved in customer service, respond to changing demands, research market trends, evaluate advertising proposals, develop pricing framework and value propositions.
What is Software as a Service?
Software as a Service (SaaS) is an on-demand software where a client can host their application on the cloud for customers to access through a web browser.
This SaaS model is well suited for small and medium scale businesses as they do not have to invest in additional server capacity, software licenses or upgrade their hardware. Businesses can upgrade or downgrade consumption requirements which will be accordingly adjusted in their SaaS monthly subscription fee.
Few Examples of Software as a Service (SaaS)
Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft is well known for its signature productivity applications such as PowerPoint, Word, and Excel. Its cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 offers users to create, edit, upload and share content in real-time from a Windows, Mac, iOS or Android device.
Microsoft Teams, now integrated into Office 365, allows users to connect with customers and employees. It enables them with collaborative tools from email to video conferencing and other technologies that maintain and support secure interactions.
Google Apps includes a vast number of SaaS applications such as professional business email, shared calendars, video conferencing, etc. Google Drive cloud storage is a good Software as a Service example, this online document storage solution enables authorized employees and staff to access files from any internet-enabled device and share documents instantly.
Amazon Web Services
Amazon has expanded beyond its e-commerce platform to support cloud-based IT applications called Amazon Web Services. They offer over 70 SaaS applications such as networking, storage, deployment, analytics, computing and database management, Internet of Things (IoT), etc.
Zendesk enables its users to tackle inbound requests across many communication channels such as social media, phone or video chat. Their main features are a machine learning AI tool to solve customer queries, a real-time chat service and built-in call support.
Slack is an SaaS application that offers real-time messaging and chat notifications and features. Users can categorize channels dedicated to specific projects and choose who can interact, whether private, invite-only participants or project coordination heads.
One on one interaction through secure direct messaging is also enabled. Users can share documents, spreadsheets, PDF files, etc. which can be highlighted for future reference and are automatically indexed and archived.
When deployed successfully, SaaS applications can decrease infrastructure costs and speed up implementation. David Wagner, Computer Economics’ vice president of research stated, “It is no surprise that companies are making the switch. You owe it to your business to consider joining their ranks.”