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A CTO's Guide To Releasing A Product To The Public

Here are some of the key elements one must focus on while releasing a product to the public

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The tech start-up space is a constantly changing market that is characterized by intense competition and overcrowding. However, while launching a new product is fraught with uncertainties the promise of success holds a very different allure for those with a strong entrepreneurial drive. Therefore each year the global tech landscape is flooded by a thousand products that are introduced with the sole purpose of revolutionising the space they function in. Lauded as the 3rd largest ecosystem of start-ups, India is home to over 9000 tech start-ups that have taken the world by storm. From fitness, health, finance to education, solutions across sectors have come out of the woodwork to provide very distinct capabilities that incorporate the latest technology.

While we continue to watch this space with awe, for those with just a spark of an idea that they think could be the ‘next big thing’ the question still arises, where do we begin? While aesthetic appeal might be the foremost element most start-ups spend a lot of their time dwelling on, the success of your product rests entirely on a well-oiled, meticulously planned tech-architecture. Take for example Netflix, the way the platform has incorporated intuitive user-based customisation like auto-recommendations, intuitive downloads, etc. through AI and ML, is one of the main reasons why people are drawn to the platform. And while to the general public, these systems may seem like simple features that are just merely a click away, in reality, the work and insight that goes into these mechanisms are true innovations in itself. Sitting at the heart of these innovations is a CTO.

The role of a CTO (Chief Technology Officer) has been thrust into the limelight only recently; the term has gained currency in the past decade ever since former US President Barack Obama appointed the United States’ first CTO back in 2009. CTOs are now indispensable to tech companies, large and small, and they play an important role in conceptualizing and launching a new product. So, from the perspective of a CTO who’s built his very own fitness app that’s rooted in smart, intuitive technology, what are the key elements one must focus on while releasing a product to the public? Let’s take a look.

Picking an Initial Infrastructure

When it comes to product development and conceptualization, CTOs usually lead the way in maintaining a strategic focus of the project and being in charge of moulding a concept into reality. So, while crafting the initial blueprint of your product you must stay focused on building an infrastructure with the sole purpose of long-term performance and future scalability. From the developer setup, deployment system, monitoring, and testing, etc. the core capabilities of your business rests solely on this architecture and will be the key piece in your domino circuit that will help align all other elements.

Business Metrics Are Paramount

Systems and procedures with a keen focus on business performance are by far one of the most crucial aspects when considering taking your product or service public. Gone are the days when the role of a CTO was merely to implement and manage the technology infrastructure of a company. Today the role has evolved, to now become the source at which you can derive and drive a company’s strong ROI. CTOs are tasked with developing tech-driven policies and procedures that enhance products and services focusing on the external customer. A robust system of strategies that include testing, evaluating customer funnels, and developing updated features and new UIs to shore up revenue is key to a company’s overall and long-term success.

Enabling the Sixth Sense with Monitoring Tools

Like with any skill, you are only as good as the tools you have at hand and this is most definitely the case while building any tech-based or enabled product. Investing your time and money in the right tools and software can prove to be the best possible asset for any company, especially during those initial beta days. From checking for problems, sending proactive alerts, and overall being your third-eye when it comes to the back-end operations, these monitoring tools are your trusted building blocks upon which you can continue to build the foundation of your product.

Testing, Testing, Testing

For any tech product to succeed in today’s highly competitive market, it has to undergo rigorous testing. CTOs in most companies are in charge of a product’s beta version that is released prior to the actual launch. Beta versions are usually released with one or two main features and help companies ascertain which features are working and which aren’t. Additionally, launching a new feature to a small set of users helps in getting feedback and in identifying issues that need to be fixed, that one can expect with scale. CTOs with a strong sense of software architecture design usually know the importance of the beta testing phase as it helps to weed out errors and saves the company from spending time and resources on unnecessary features that users won’t appreciate. A serious tech company with a committed CTO never leaves any aspect of product design and development to chance and this is usually what lends an edge to tech products and services today.

Agility and quick-thinking

Last but not the least, the journey of any new venture is a continuous process of learning and unlearning. So if there is one trait that should be ingrained like a mantra, especially in those days leading up to a product release that would be to not dwell on the problem but rather focus on deriving a solution. This is where an investment in the right operations network and tools will go a long way to ensure that ideas are quickly tried, tested and if it doesn’t work, gives you an alternative to adapt and regroup.

If there’s one thing that 2020 has taught us, it’s that when all else fails technology doesn’t. Hence, brands and CTOs need to constantly bring their A-game to customers who are always on the lookout for the next best product. In the digital era, strong technology leadership is crucial to a business’s success. The more technologically agile and innovative a product is, the higher its chances are for success.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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CTO & CMO StepSetGo

Abhay Pai

The Author is the CTO & Co-founder, StepSetGo

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