Whether you have bought or been given recently some new technology, be it a phone, gaming platform, tablet, TV or similar, no doubt part of the decision to buy it or want it will be that it is the latest or most up to date version.
Whether or not upgrades and new versions really do offer the consumer more is open to debate, certainly though the technique of introducing a new version of a product does help many businesses in the quest for new and/or increased sales.
If you are a technology led business then more than likely you will be fully familiar with the product life cycle and the process for developing and introducing new products to market. Those in other sectors however, may be less familiar or conversant with such an approach. It does beg the question of a more traditional business, be they service or product led, as to how relevant, up to date and attractive their offering is to customers.
Perhaps the simplest way to tell is to look at whether sales, repeat business and new enquiries are in decline, and whether you seem to be losing sales to competitors who are offering something new.
It could be suggested that given the benign nature of many business markets, there are a significant number of businesses out there that are doing little that is different from what they have done for many years. Customers of such businesses though are likely to be looking for more and possibly are open to being introduced to new products and services from their competitors.
The threat of not updating either your customer proposition or the way you do business will invariably give rise to loss of profits, or even the demise of the business. Perhaps then, those businesses that are still very much like the day they were founded, say Version 1, or that have not changed much in the last 5 years, ought to look at what the next version of their business might look like.
By adopting the product life cycle or the approach more successful technology brands have towards innovation, it could be that your business may increase sales, market share, profits and even improve recruitment and employer retention.
Whilst your focus is likely to be on fulfilling the demands of your customers, attention should be given to all aspects of the business, as out of date working practices in HR, Marketing, Finance, Production and IT often drag down the performance of the business. It is no good having a state of the art product or service if you have business processes and procedures that went out with the ark.