VentureBeat recently posted an excellent article on how companies, especially from the tech sector, see an opportunity to diversify their offerings and do so without aligning the proposed offering with their core strategy and expertise.
Now, we can take a look at how user experience is involved in this process and whether an opportunity in a given field is worth the long-term investment.
The first layer of user experience is understanding the business and its market and next, defining the objectives of the product. The UX process can access these objectives through collaborative workshops with business leaders, example questions may include:
- Describe the strategy of the business?
- What are the activities of the business that reinforce its strategy?
- How do the activities relate, fit and support with each other?
- How would you define success? How do the other parts of the business define success?
- What are specific problems that a proposed product alleviates?
- What does this product need to achieve? How does that align with strategy?
- What need does this product meet? For users? For the business?
- What effects will this product have on the company?
The questions above can be asked in a conversational manner or better, we can have members collaborate on post-its, writing down each concept. This participation creates buy-in and engagement with the client. The aim is to get decision makers to first define their strategy and how the business organizes its activities to support the company. Second, what a proposed product needs to achieve for the company and how it fits in with other activities to support the strategy.
The UX process requires defining the overall strategy and how it integrates with the other activities that support the business. Next, with those objectives in mind and constantly validated against, we can move towards defining the product and generating requirements with the client to ensure that they align with defined strategy from a business perspective.
Aligning business strategy and product UX will make it clear how a proposed product is defined, developed and maintained so that its purpose is worth the long-term, serious investment.