Executives Lack Confidence in ROI of Product Development, Report Finds

Harvard Business Review Analytic Services report, sponsored by Split, highlights data gap, hierarchical decision-making, and lack of experimentation as barriers to competitive product development

REDWOOD CITY, CA – February 12, 2019 – Only a small minority of executives – 17 percent – are very confident that their organizations are getting the best possible return on their product development investments, and nearly 30 percent have little to no confidence at all. These are among the findings in a recent Harvard Business Review Analytic Services report, sponsored by Split, the leading product decisions platform.

The report, titled Closing the Data Gap in Product Development, reveals that this lack in confidence is having a direct impact on business success, as barely 30 percent of respondents say their companies can bring products to market faster than competitors can. This is despite the fact that 50 percent of companies are using agile development approaches and 70 percent say their employees are comfortable bringing up new ideas.

While the gap in confidence can be attributed to many things, lack of sufficient data is the primary cause, according to the report. Specifically, 80 percent of executives say they would have greater confidence in their organizations’ return on product development if more decisions were based on data instead of intuition. This brings the data gap many organizations are experiencing into the limelight, considering:

  • 52 percent of companies somewhat or strongly agree that they have the tools they need to make decisions
  • Only 25 percent of new products and 21 percent of new features or enhancements are reviewed on an ongoing basis to understand business impact
  • When data is available, only 43 percent report that it is well managed and they are confident in its accuracy
  • Even less – just 30 percent – have sufficient advanced analytics skills to design and conduct complex online product experiments

However, many organizations are at a turning point, where leaders want to fill this gap with more product and market data. Specifically, 90 percent of respondents noted that more detailed analysis of product performance in the market and more testing with, and feedback from, customers during the development process would increase their confidence in getting the best possible return on product investment.

“The research indicates that many companies want to take the necessary steps to bring products to market faster than their competitors, including making advances in the methodologies they use for product development and planning radical changes to the structure and decision-making processes,” said Alex Clemente, managing director, Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. “However, as this report reinforced, data and analytics remain the missing link. If business leaders want to get the most out of their product development investments and empower more people to make product decisions, they are going to have to fill the data gap.”

“In today’s digital world, instant gratification is everything and development teams are often on the forefront of maintaining exceptional online customer experiences. However, they are also stuck in the struggle between shrinking development cycle times, which creates faster and more efficient feedback loops, and traditional intuition-driven, hierarchical decision makings,” said Adil Aijaz, co-founder and CEO, Split. “Most applications delivered today have no business value and have to be driven by more than just the need for speed. By facilitating a culture of continuous improvement, organizations can decentralize decision-making, encourage experimentation, and foster data-driven product delivery.”

The survey shows that organizations are working towards embracing this culture of continuous development and experimentation, with 71 percent of organizations embracing mostly team-based structures with a great deal of cross-functional collaboration, compared to just 19 percent today. Similarly, 70 percent of respondents indicate that they will embrace a more open and flexible structure where employees and teams are empowered to make many decisions, compared to just 23 percent utilizing this decision-making structure today.

Download the report to learn more.

About Split

Split is the leading product decisions platform for engineering and product teams who want to rapidly – and safely – deliver valuable software to customers. Unlike systems that are homegrown, point solutions, or those not built for engineering and product teams, only Split provides a unified feature flag and experimentation solution that is trusted by engineers and built for teams of any size to make data-driven decisions. Split ingests large volumes of data and performs near real-time statistical analysis to look for the impact of every feature release on metrics that matter to you. Engineering and product teams at Twilio, Salesforce, and WePay trust Split with their feature management and decisions. To learn more about Split, contact hello@split.io, or get started for free at www.split.io/signup.

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