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Profiting from Product End of Life: Sustainable Success Through Product EOL Strategies

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In the competitive and ever-evolving world of product development, there's a significant but often neglected aspect in the initial stages: how to ultimately deal with a product's end of life (EOL). That’s because Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) isn't just about launching a product; it involves carefully road-mapping its entire lifecycle with foresight and intention, a practice that sets industry leaders apart from the rest.

Most companies view EOL as a burden on P&L. Given the opportunity, most EOL products will be “killed” so core engineering talent can be released to work on future projects. In addition, enterprises can repurpose funds to finance higher-value ROI projects. But if a customer has been highly invested in a product or product line and there are existing long-term contracts, signed at the peak of PLM, drastic action may not be feasible in “killing” the product.

​​​​​​​​​Why Plan the End from the Beginning?

Most product leaders do not plan for EOL. Diminished revenue performance serves as a clear indicator that a product may need to be gracefully retired. Consider the balance between the resources invested in product maintenance and the revenue generated. If a product demands disproportionate time and effort, redirecting those resources towards more promising products becomes imperative. And, if there's market volatility, you need to be able to move quickly; having a plan in place from the get-go is crucial.

Can EOL be profitable?

At HARMAN, we know so. Through a market-leading methodology, product and possibly team takeover by a third-party provider, like HARMAN, creates a profit and revenue sharing model. This creates untold benefits:

  • Products can be co-owned with IP shared or not.
  • Pure profit drives increased market valuation, which makes CEOs and CFOs very happy.
  • CTOs can allocate their best resources to next-generation product development, warding off potential layoff of critical staff.

In fact, customer success stories have shown the profit and revenue-sharing models have improved profitability by 500% and allowed customers to retain over 80% of their customers and 100% of valuable employees.

Navigating Through the Lifecycle

The product lifecycle typically encompasses phases of market development, growth, maturity and decline. Throughout this journey, technological advancements, market saturation and competitive innovations shape the landscape. Recognition of these dynamics is essential for timely adjustments and strategic decision-making.

Aligning PLM with Revenue Operations (RevOps)

Integrating PLM with RevOps, which emphasizes data-driven strategies and revenue growth, is paramount. It means understanding the customer journey and anticipating their response to product sunsetting helps ensure a smooth transition. This alignment empowers companies to optimize resources and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

The Importance of Client Engagement

As a product approaches end-of-life, early engagement and clear communication with customers is key to successful sunsetting of a product. Marketing and sales channels utilization and enablement during this phase facilitates a seamless client transition to newer offerings. By nurturing customer relationships and guiding them towards alternative solutions, companies can mitigate potential disruptions and bolster their customer base.

Embracing Product EOL

Understanding and embracing the idea of product EOL isn't just a smart strategy; it's crucial for long-term success in managing product lifecycles. When companies acknowledge the significance of considering the death of the product right from the start of development, syncing their plans with revenue operations, and staying connected with customers at every stage, they set themselves up to be market leaders. With a thoughtful approach to EOL, like the one offered by HARMAN, businesses can effectively maneuver through the ups and downs of product life, helping ensure ongoing expansion and profitability in today's ever-changing market dynamics.

Here's how  HARMAN implemented EOL management solution on Adobe Flash Player.​