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How to Overcome Your Team’s Digital Transformation Hang-Ups

Digital transformation is by no means a small undertaking and there are bound to be naysayers. Here’s how to help folks through the most common fears.

The ultimate goal of digital transformation is to remove siloes and enhance real-time data visibility. How better to accomplish these goals than by connecting all your systems—PLM, QMS, and PIM—under one proverbial roof? 

That’s the power of product value management (PVM)

PVM is a new software category focused on maximizing the value of product portfolios with insights, collaboration, and engagement across the entire value chain. It does this by connecting ALL your product and commercialization activities in one platform.

Depending on your setup, PVM may seem daunting to implement. After all, your current product strategy may not be perfect, but it’s working just fine.

It’s the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” excuse. 

Sure, just like if a time bomb is ticking, it isn’t broken.

Your product strategy may not be broken but the surrounding market demands more than simply not broken. It demands nimble, powerful, sustainable, and efficient. It demands an up-to-the-minute reflection of customer desires. 

How to Tackle the Naysayers 

In most systems today, the connection between the product and the customer is missing. According to a poll conducted by Propel, 75% of IT leaders say their product and commercial teams don’t collaborate effectively. Moreover, our research revealed a staggering 54% of those product and commercial teams identified “technology barriers” as the limiting factor.

So what’s standing in the way of fixing things? 

Here are 4 of those most common objections to implementing a new system and why they don’t hold any weight against what’s really at stake.

Objection #1:

I know Customer is king, but my company won’t dethrone Product.”

Simply building a great product no longer drives sales the way it may have in the past.

The reason these older solutions can’t keep up is primarily because they were designed with a different market in mind, a market from 10, 20, or even 30 years ago. 

After the global lockdown forced the world to move day-to-day life to computer screens, digital fluency became the central currency in wielding market power. And unsurprisingly, the demand chain (a.k.a. the customer) is 5-10 times more ‘digitally dense’ than the supply chain (a.k.a. your average product company), according to Zero100 estimates.

This tells us customers can change faster than supply chains, and product teams are likely struggling to match the momentum.

That’s why PVM is not about dethroning product teams, it's about empowering them.

Armed with insights from customers to build the products they want, the product team can build a better product with higher quality. And by working in tandem with sales and marketing, product and engineering teams can get their products to market faster. 

Objection #2

“I’m used to my clunky platform. It’s not perfect, but I make it work.”

Nowadays, it’s not just on-premise systems that look like dinosaurs. Some cloud solutions, including many of the traditional product lifecycle management (PLM) offerings, leave a lot to be desired. 

Chances are you probably already know how difficult it is to accomplish what the current customer-led market demands with slow, disconnected PLM systems.

But you’re also comfortable. 

The longer you hold on to a lagging system unfit for today’s market, the bigger your product value gap will grow. A gap not only between you and your customer but between you and your business growth.

You know you shouldn’t have to update five different adhoc Google Sheets every time a change order is approved, or email your supplier the same attachment, or switch back and forth from three different Excel spreadsheets.

And with every instance that these slow, manual, error-prone processes break down, the product’s value degrades that much more and it ultimately costs sales.

…But change is hard. 

The thing to keep in mind is change will be even harder when that change consists of your company being hobbled by a swift shift in demand.

The truth is the modern demand chain would be unrecognizable to the creators of legacy product solutions, which is why long-time customers of these companies will inevitably fall behind. 

They cannot make the leap across the widening digital gap, because their platforms can only address specific linear problems—and provide siloed solutions rather than a whole product perspective.

The longer you hold on to a lagging system unfit for today’s market, the bigger your product value gap will grow. A gap not only between you and your customer but between you and your business growth.

Objection #3

“The silos at my company have titanium walls.
There’s no way for opposite ends of the value chain to collaborate.”

Omnichannel commerce across digital retailers, social media, and ecommerce giants like Amazon isn’t a trend; it isn’t going away anytime soon. 

How can we expect product companies to be successful in this new customer-first world without a direct connection between products and customers?

Older, larger companies are so used to pervasive silos that no one on the team has a wide enough vantage to peer over the silo walls and pinpoint where things may have gone wrong.

Well, almost no one. 

Propel surveyed IT and business leaders and found that: 

Basically, chances are—if you’re wondering where your problem spots are—you can just shoot a message to your IT team. They’re bound to have plenty to say.

Everyone bemoans silos, it’s not a new complaint. But if unaddressed, silos have the power to tangibly impact the business' bottom line. 

If a decision is being made in one part of the organization, it will have an impact throughout the entire organization. Because everybody touches the product. And in today’s market, one simple error could lose a customer.

This is how to get business leaders on your side. They need this point hammered home: silos cost revenue and profits.

Objection #4

“I have a feeling that “close my eyes and hope for the best” isn’t an ideal risk management strategy.”

At this point, years after 2020, if your company is still prone to operating with the attitude, “phew, the worst is behind us”—it’s either blind optimism or they’re simply not taking risk management seriously enough.

The thing about these disconnected older systems is not only that they were designed long before the extent of digital transformation took place, but also before a time with more potential risk than they ever could have been built to withstand. 

They certainly couldn’t have predicted the ongoing supply chain disruption precipitated by the pandemic or the effects of extreme weather due to an escalating climate change crisis or the astronomical rise in cyber security attacks.

Basically, disruption is here to stay. And rigid, inflexible platforms don’t stand a chance.

So what can you do? You can take it as a sign to adapt. Even if that means implementing an entirely new enterprise software solution. Especially if that’s what it means.

As opposed to the traditional setup of using separate QMS, PLM, and PIM systems, hosting all of these processes on one single platform provides the ultimate combo in risk management: visibility and collaboration. Not to mention fewer cracks for the cyberattackers to slip through.

Today, there’s simply a greater need for insights and responsiveness to navigate unforeseen events. We can’t stop what’s coming for us. 

Every senior leadership team and business owner wants more insight into potential risks so they can make the right decisions quickly. With the all-encompassing view of PVM, all bases are covered. Sell them on that, and you will have an ally to help get PVM implemented.


We use the term “evolving market” for a reason. Evolution is a runaway train, it won’t stop; it won’t slow down. It’s the thing that eventually turned PDM into PLM, and why you need PVM now.

Companies that fail to adopt modern processes will have to answer to stakeholders why their bottom line costs are getting more attention than their revenue growth, and why the latest risks to their value chain were not identified and mitigated.

So, to your question, how can you realistically take the huge leap to PVM? The real question is how can you afford not to?

The ultimate guide to product value management explains how PVM is the natural evolution of the product lifecycle strategy, developed to meet the needs of today’s market and to keep pace with tomorrow’s.

Get your own PVM Handbook. Learn how to let continuous innovation come easy.

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Propel Software Solutions

Propel Software helps product companies grow revenue and increase business value. Our product value management platform connects commercial and product teams to optimize decision making with shared insights, drive efficiency with contextualized collaboration, and engage customers with compelling products and experiences. Propel has a proven track record of improving product quality and margins, accelerating speed to revenue and profit, and increasing customer satisfaction for product companies. Recognized as a Deloitte Technology Fast 500 winner, Propel is built on Salesforce and drives product success for hyper-growth startups, corporate pioneers, and Fortune 500 leaders in the high tech, medtech and consumer goods industries. For more information, visit

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