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A Bright Future for Product Companies

In Propel CEO Ross Meyercord's keynote for Propulsion 2023, he illuminated the path forward for product companies on the fast track to business evolution.

Below is a synopsis of Ross Meyercord’s opening keynote speech from Propulsion 2023, "Creating Value With Speed, Simplicity and End-to-End Connectivity."

Right now, we are squarely in the era wherein the right technology separates winners from losers. 

Companies are recognizing that technology is one of the greatest enablers of business strategy. Business leaders are aligning with their CIOs to deliver the revenue growth that shareholders reward.

At Propulsion 2023, our fourth annual gathering and my first as CEO, we uplifted those who are winning in the game of product innovation. 

While news headlines focus on the threat of recession, inflation, and political discord, companies like those at Propulsion are the ones charging full steam ahead to deliver new products and impressive revenue growth that only come when you innovate faster than your competitors.

At Propel, we facilitate our customers’ innovative products by continuously innovating our own. Case in point, we are well into our mission of bringing a much-needed fresh approach to an old category, and industry experts are taking notice. 

Most recently, Fortune included Propel in its list of the 300 Most Innovative Companies in America and Forrester Research named Propel a Strong Performer in its most recent Wave for PLM. 

As a Strong Performer, Propel received high marks for our current product offering as well as our performance and innovation roadmap. Some of our direct competitors—who are established names in the PLM space—did not stack up as well. 

Forrester analyst George Lawrie, who helped produce the Wave report, joined us at Propulsion to speak more about his work in a session called “PLM and the Future of Manufacturing” (watch it here).

But even more impressive than Propel’s industry accolades is the technology itself—driving business outcomes like never before in a space where solutions like PLM and QMS have seen little innovation over the past 25 years.

Every other enterprise software sector has seen a radical shift during this time, and our market is finally catching up. In my opening keynote for Propulsion, I identified 3 trends paving the way for product innovation only possible with a modern industry solution.

1. Outpacing Competition with the Power of the Cloud

There is no longer a legitimate debate about the value of the cloud versus on-premise.  

Gartner forecasts that global software will grow over $70 billion this year, even while many CFOs are scrutinizing spend. Business, IT, and finance leaders see incredible benefits in cloud solutions, and their decision process has changed from “if cloud” to “when cloud.” 

There is no market condition that will stop this inevitable march.

The cloud has facilitated end-to-end product data visibility and collaboration, and this is a big reason why Propel has grown so much in a short time. It’s why we’re the solution of choice for product companies that are ready to tap into the power of cloud-native applications that deliver the fastest possible time to value.

Across my career as an implementer, operator, and seller, the trend is clear: strong revenue growth requires a commitment to embracing new and innovative technology approaches. 

What worked in the past will not work today, let alone the future. And the right investments you make now will impact revenue for years to come. 

2. Aiming for Revenue Growth, Not Simply Cost Savings 

In my first six months at Propel, I spent time with our customers, prospects, and partners. During these visits, I heard four especially pressing needs:

1. Agility and speed in product innovation
2. Customer insights shared directly with product teams
3. A product data and collaboration solution that builds value
4. And lastly, technology to drive business evolution

These themes show companies are increasingly focused on revenue growth to deliver the ROI that CEOs and CFOs demand. This focus inherently shoots beyond the traditional focus on cost savings. 

One success story we heard at Propulsion was from Samsara. Samsara’s technology helps its customers to be more efficient, increase revenue, and reduce risk. (Watch the session “Building a Resilient and Profitable Supply Chain to Fuel Hypergrowth” here). 

But their story is about more than just technology innovation. The company has scaled an entirely new business model that combines physical tracking devices with software and big data analytics that deliver real-time information to decision-makers. 

Instead of a one-time purchase of products, Samsara has embraced a subscription model that is approaching $800 million in annual recurring revenue. 

The needs of the company as a startup eight short years ago were vastly different from their needs today, and yet the company has successfully evolved through multiple stages to continue its amazing growth. 

Their story is one of continuous digital transformation. Even a young company like Samsara needs to ensure they have the right technology to reach their business goals. 

When we say that Propel is built for innovators, we mean innovators of all sizes and through all growth stages. 

3. Prioritizing Customer Value  

Obviously, the pursuits of maximizing customer value and maximizing product value are intimately tied—but there is a clear emphasis emerging to focus on the former above all. 

A customer-first focus goes further than maximizing the product value, encapsulating the entire customer experience post-market including all future touchpoints.

With maximizing customer lifetime value as the priority, product companies are doubling down on technology investments that can increase it. 

And they’re in good company. Sixty-one percent of respondents in McKinsey’s latest CEO Excellence Survey stated they are investing in products and services to better attract and retain customers. 

These CEOs know their companies will be far stronger than competitors who are not investing in these products, and that they will outpace those competitors for years. 

A Bright Future for the Industry

We all know that innovation doesn't come from age-old processes and solutions, it happens when we continuously challenge industry norms. 

That is why we brought product value management (PVM) to market last year. 

PVM includes all the capabilities of PLM, QMS, and product information management (PIM) on a single platform, creating a unified product thread that removes silos and democratizes product data. 

PVM allows you to maximize the value of your product portfolio with benefits that include:

  • Collaboration across the entire company and value chain
  • Accurate, up-to-the-minute data that’s easily accessible across all stakeholders
  • Resilient supply chains optimized for cost and reduced risk
  • A modern user interface that allows employees to be efficient, confident, and comfortable
  • Simplified IT stacks that are secure, fast to deploy, and easy to maintain

Despite the turbulence in our markets, the future is bright for Propel. The future is bright for our customers. And, the future is bright for innovative product companies.

For more valuable insights and current market trends, click here to watch all the sessions from Propulsion 2023.

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Post by
Ross Meyercord
CEO, Propel

Ross Meyercord is CEO of Propel Software, a SaaS provider dedicated to helping high tech, medtech and consumer goods companies build compelling and profitable products. Throughout his 30+ year career, Meyercord has worked in a variety of capacities, including directly with manufacturers to implement PLM and QMS solutions, managed global technology organizations, and has been instrumental in guiding customer-facing teams to increase customer success and drive corporate growth.

Fun Fact: When not working or with family, you will likely find Ross on the tennis courts.

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