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Product and R&D Strategy

Providing solutions to executives to help drive innovation

The speed, focus, and scope of innovation require fundamental shifts in product and R&D strategy. Today's product development and R&D operations must work together to define and execute successful go-to-market strategies.

Evolving challenges in product and R&D strategy

Research teams explore and develop the differentiating technologies and core attributes for new development projects while product development and management teams evaluate the company’s objectives, market dynamics, and competitive positioning to design and launch products based on the research teams’ innovations.

A two-way communication of ideas between product development and R&D operations is essential, which requires both sides to work efficiently both individually and together. Easier said than done when the speed, focus, and scope of innovation is constantly shifting. The last decade has caused some unprecedented issues, requiring fundamental shifts in product and R&D strategy and operations.


​Managing mounting pressure

Product development and R&D executives are under pressure to generate more hits—aka “market-makers”—and to do it faster and cheaper than before. While the pressure itself is not new, there are entirely new dynamics at play:

New Dynamics Why it Matters
Solutions are emerging as the valued offering Changes what is offered
Exponential technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), cognitive, and augmented reality (AR) are here Requires retooling skill sets and rethinking technology roadmaps
A larger, inorganic component contributes to innovation; more “secular” in-market plays Necessitates a cultural shift
Go-to-market capabilities generally require retooling for vertical-specific solutions Requires a different way of engaging customers
Demand for flexibility and customization is increasing in delivery and consumption options Changes design and monetization of products
The cost of product development must drop even as the workload increases Increases pressure to work smart (automation, cognitive analytics, and collaboration)

Strategies and initiatives to tackle these challenges are typically launched with the right intentions, but rarely achieve measurable, sustained success because (a) the initiatives are often point solutions, (b) there are too many initiatives in order to “cover all our bases,” and (c) these initiatives often depend on business units for funding and sponsorship while these businesses tend to prioritize short-term plays over longer-term bets. With each unproductive initiative, the pressure continues to build with the emergence of new technologies and competitors.

​Helping product and R&D organizations design for value

Deloitte’s Product and R&D Strategy leaders help product development and R&D operations executives navigate an ever-changing landscape to effectively realize new value. Our experienced leaders and targeted capabilities help organizations define, build, and launch the right offerings – for the right market, with the right collaborators, at desired margins, and with accelerated times to market.

In addition, we help refine the lifecycle management of the product portfolio to leverage profit and competitive positioning. Our capabilities and experience help trigger meaningful change across the product operating model. We take a “strategy through execution” approach to transform product outcomes.

​Executing your product development and R&D strategy

Deloitte thinks several steps ahead when it comes to each area of Product development and R&D Strategy. Our points of view are built through forward-looking research, as well as our deep experience across sectors, geographies, and companies at different points in their growth and maturity.

Innovation and product strategy

Most companies don’t lack ideas. They struggle with pinpointing the right ideas to boldly double down, and they lack a well-defined product strategy for those ideas: Which customers do we serve? What features are essential vs. nice-to-have? With whom should we partner? How should we go to market? What’s our value proposition? Identifying the right path is critical.

We can help you:

  • Identify what to build and why; design and test MVOs rapidly
  • Define ecosystem partnerships and GTM plan; design joint solutions
  • Refine the product portfolio; apply predictive analytics

Learn more about product innovation.

Roadmaps and technology management

With many exponential technologies and so much noise around those technologies, it’s tough to understand which technologies truly matter. How do you determine which technologies are mature enough to drive applications for an R&D unit? Product development teams rely on technology roadmaps being committed by the R&D teams. However, given the constant reprioritization of exploration, investment, and development that emerging technologies impose on R&D strategy, an unhealthy tension typically exists between product and R&D teams. This could negatively impact the tight interlocks that are necessary between product and technology roadmaps.

We can help you:

  • Develop the R&D strategy, prioritize investments, and develop a capabilities roadmap
  • Evaluate applicability, value, and tradeoffs related to emerging technologies
  • Develop the transition roadmaps to go from products to solutions
  • Align your organization’s technology, platform, and product roadmaps

Learn more about how we help turn products into product platforms.

Product development operations

Effective product development operations requires several connected parts to execute in tandem, as a “system.” Very often, organizations tackle specific pain points: Process, decision-making, organizational structure, tools and systems, location strategy, portfolio and pipeline management, and more. But the system only works as well as its weakest link, and addressing individual pain points only pushes the problem somewhere else in the system.

We can help you:

  • Pressure-test all elements of your product development operating system
  • Execute truly cross-functional, customer-centric product strategy
  • Refine the global product development footprint
  • Establish unambiguous decision rights around product readiness, quality, and launch

Learn more about distributed product development.

Platform management and design optimization

Design optimization and greater degree of commonality across products (“platforming”) has long been an area of focus, but it has gained renewed attention recently with the higher M&A activity and the move to solutions. Design optimization and greater platform leverage is critical for margin improvement and generation of innovation funding.

We can help you:

  • Rationalize product SKUs and reduce complexity
  • Design for value; initiate product teardowns and platform optimization
  • Apply advanced analytics to estimate “should cost,” analyze function-cost, assembly, and more.

Making measurable progress

Product development and R&D executives are called upon to navigate increasingly complex market dynamics and expectations. A holistic product development and R&D strategy can help your organization drive innovation, more fully engage customers, and move ahead in the market.

Get in touch

Mark S. Davis

Mark S. Davis

Global Product Development Consulting Leader

Mark is a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP and leader of its Global Product Development practice. For more than 25 years, Mark has worked with some of the firm’s largest clients to help them imp... More