One of the key determinants of success for today’s high-technology companies is product strategy—and this guide continues to be the only book on product strategy written specifically for the 21st century high-tech industry. More than 250 examples from technological leaders including IBM, Compaq, and Apple—plus a new focus on growth strategies and on Internet businesses—define how high-tech companies can use product strategy and product platform strategy for competitiveness, profitability, and growth in the Internet age.
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In his richly illustrated Product Strategy for High Technology Companies, Michael E. McGrath rightly describes product strategy as a management process. Like any process, product strategy defines structure, timing, responsibilities, and skills. The process architecture reproduced on page 359 provides a practical framework starting with the definition of core strategic vision. Core strategic vision requires answering three questions: 1. Where do we want to go? 2. How will we get there? 3. And most critical Why will we be successful? Core strategic vision determines the criteria used for reaching a strategic balance in the product development process: Focus vs. diversification, short-term vs. long-term, current product platform vs. new product platform, business Alpha vs. business Beta, research vs. development, and high risk vs. low risk. Available resources influence the outlook of strategic balance. Core strategic vision, strategic balance, core competencies, and competitive strategy are together the foundations on which the often-ignored product platform strategy is built. Product platform strategy is the lowest common denominator of relevant technology in a set of products or a product line. Product failures in high-tech companies frequently can be traced to an incomplete product platform strategy according to McGrath. Strategic balance, product platform strategy, and competitive strategy are together the foundations of product line strategy. Product line strategy is where specific product offerings are defined. Core strategic vision also influences the competitive strategy that high technology companies must define. McGrath provides an in-depth, practical review of differentiation strategy, pricing strategy, and supporting strategies. Supporting strategies are first-to-market and fast-follower strategies, cannibalization, and global product strategy. McGrath¿s examination of both time-based strategies and cannibalization is particularly interesting because both subjects are rarely covered in such a luxury of detail. McGrath finally examines the optional expansion strategy and innovation strategy. High technology companies only need them if they want to invest in expansion or growth. To summarize, Product Strategy for High Technology Companies is a practical guide to a management process from which even product managers from outside the high tech industry can draw useful lessons and more importantly apply them to their own product strategy.