Empowering Digital Product Leaders
meatburger is better than veggie
Preparing for the Future: Top 5 Digital Product Management Trends for 2023

Preparing for the Future: Top 5 Digital Product Management Trends for 2023

  • Product Management /
  • Product Operations /

It is not a secret that digital product management is an ever-evolving field. With new technologies, customer expectations, and user experience patterns emerging every day, digital product owners and product managers must stay ahead of the curve to be successful. Emerge enjoys our dynamic work with our clients and our products managers to nurture a pulse on the latest trends. This co-creation enables us to implement best practices into our projects.

But what do the next few years have in store for digital product management? In this article, we’ll explore the top five trends that we’re expecting to see in 2023. We’ll also discuss how product owners and digital product managers can prepare for the future and capitalize on these trends.

Introduction to Digital Product Management

Digital product management is the process of managing the development and launch of digital products, such as software applications or websites. Product managers are responsible for establishing product strategy and overseeing development of the product. Ultimately, product managers launch the product and subsequently manage the product post-launch.

It is essential that digital product managers have a deep understanding of who their user is for their product, and the needs those users have with their product. Digital product managers must be able to define product features and prioritize them based on customer feedback. Once this information has been synthesized, product managers can develop and launch the product in conjunction with the product roadmap.

In addition to having a deep understanding of their customers, product managers must also possess an astute technical prowess of product development, including UX design and engineering. To ensure the success of their product, proficient collaboration and cross-functional team leadership among UX designers, engineers, and product strategists is incumbent upon digital product managers.

Top 5 Digital Product Management Trends for 2023

So what trends are we expecting to see in the world of digital product management in 2023? Here are our top five predictions:

Trend #1: Increased Use of AI to Support Iteration

AI is already being employed in many areas of product management, from user segmentation to feature prioritization. But in 2023, we anticipate seeing even more AI-driven innovation. AI-based tools can be used to help product managers iterate on product features quickly and efficiently. It can be used to automate tedious tasks such as user segmentation and feature testing, permitting product managers to allocate more of their time to focusing on innovation and strategy.

One notable benefit of AI iteration is its ability to automate repetitive tasks. For example, AI-powered algorithms can analyze user data and identify patterns that indicate areas for improvement. Digital product managers are then able to quickly identify and address product issues, rather than having to manually comb through large amounts of data. Additionally, AI can be used to test variations of user interfaces or features, and identify the most successful model.

AI can be used to predict future user behavior and user preferences. This allows digital product managers to anticipate changes in user needs and proactively adapt their products. This is particularly useful for product managers working on long-term projects or in rapidly-evolving industries such as technology. It is important to remember that AI is not a magical solution. AI was created by humans. Human expertise is essential in ensuring that the AI model is aligned with the product vision and unbiased data is being used to train the model.

Trend #2: Focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Products

AI-driven features and products like chatbots to automated customer service are becoming ubiquitous, amplifying their roles in product development. It is essential that product owners understand the value that AI may be able to offer in providing an improved customer experience, including automated customer service. Product managers must be able to identify how AI can be leveraged to improve the product and propel further development of AI-driven features that fulfill customer needs and improve the experience.

  • AI has the power to improve the accuracy of customer segmentation, allowing product managers to quickly identify customer needs, preferences, and wants. An example of this is Helixa, which uses ML models to segment customers from product analytics.
  • AI can be used to automate customer service, allowing customer service agents to quickly respond to customer inquiries and utilize AI-driven features to provide personalized customer experiences. 
  • AI can also be used to better predict customer behavior and build customer loyalty. 
  • AI can be used to analyze customer data and identify trends, allowing product managers to develop AI-driven features that meet customer needs. This can help ensure that customers are receiving the best possible customer experience. 
Helixa product description
Helixa analytics provides customer segmentation using their AI models

Trend #3: Rise of the Product Operations Role

Product ops is a relatively new role in product management. Product ops managers are responsible for ensuring your product is running smoothly and meets the needs of your customer. Product ops managers focus on operationalizing product processes; establishing user segmentation, tracking customer feedback, and managing product performance. Because the speed of technology is escalating quickly, it is imperative that companies maintain a competitive edge. Companies are searching for ways to streamline their product development and management processes. As experts in identifying inefficiencies and implementing improvements, product operations managers fulfill this niche beautifully.

Graph of Product Operations role
Product operations sits in between product management, engineering, and customer success

Product operations professionals work closely with product management, engineering, and customer support teams to ensure that a product is meeting the needs of users and delivering business value. They are becoming increasingly significant as product management becomes more complex and customer expectations continue to grow substantially. As product teams become more distributed, product ops managers can help ensure the product is running smoothly and meeting the needs of the customer. 

As data-driven decision making in digital product management is becoming increasingly more significant, the role of product operations is quickly evolving. Products are becoming more complex and data-intensive. This has made it advantageous to have a dedicated team member who can analyze data, identify trends, and make recommendations for improvement. If you’ve already been able to offload this task to an AI analytics engine, clearly you will not need to allocate resources for an individual to fill this post. 

Rentention and monetization are key factors to the success of service oriented and subscription based digital products, making the product operations role even more essential in co-creation. The evolving role of product operations professionals is sure to play a critical role in identifying and addressing issues that affect retention and revenue.

Trend #4: Feature and Product Changes

Product teams are increasingly focused on rapid feature iteration and product improvements. Customer expectations continue to demonstrate a dynamic urgency in expectations for expedient updates and improvements. This requires product teams to have a keen eye focused on rapid feature iteration and product alteration. Product managers must be able to quickly analyze customer feedback and identify trends and customer needs. They must develop features that address and improve the data swiftly.

It is incumbent on product managers to analyze and appropriately prioritize customer needs and the consequential costs associated with product feature development. They must be adept at quickly responding to changing customer needs, developing new features that accommodate the changes. This may include launching new features, expanding existing features, or eradicating features that are no longer relevant. Knowing when to retire a feature from a product is an important element of the product manager’s role.

Product teams are increasingly relying on agile methodologies, such as scrum and Kanban, to accelerate the process of product development and launch. Agile methodologies have revolutionized product development. Agile methodologies facilitate collaboration among team members, cultivating alignment. This alignment enables team members to focus on customer feedback respectively, identify changes that need to be made, and implement those changes swiftly. Further, it ensures that your product is timely and relevant in accommodating the customer needs. If your team has yet to leverage agile methodologies to effectively align, 2023 is a fantastic time to begin this process. Maintain your relevance. You don’t want to let your digital product to fall behind and become redundant to your competitors.

Kanban board
Example of a Kanban board (courtesy: Atlassian)

Trend #5: Product Management is Data-Driven

The role of data in product management is continuing to grow significantly. Data is used to understand customer needs, identify opportunities for product improvement, and to measure product performance. A product manager must be adept at collecting, analyzing, and interpreting customer data to share with their team in order to appropriately inform decisions regarding their product. In doing so, product managers are able to create products that meet the needs of their customers and deliver business value. 

Here are five reasons why data-driven insights can help inform product decisions and ensure the product meets customer needs:

  1. Make evidence-based decisions: Product managers are often faced with a wide range of options and trade-offs when making decisions about product features, design, and pricing. By utilizing data, product managers can make more informed and evidence-based decisions. This increases the chances of product success while reducing the risk of failure.
  2. Understand customer needs: Product managers need to understand the needs and preferences of their customers to create products that meet those needs. By using data such as customer feedback, usage patterns, and engagement metrics, product managers gain a deeper understanding of customer needs.
  3. Improve the user experience: By using data to understand how customers use a product, product managers can identify areas for improvement and make changes to the user experience. This can increase customer satisfaction, engagement, and retention.
  4. Identify trends and opportunities: By analyzing data, product managers can identify trends and new opportunities that they may not have noticed previously. This will help them to stay ahead of the curve to make strategic decisions about product development and management.
  5. Measure success: Data can be used to measure the success of a product and inform future decisions. By tracking key performance indicators such as revenue, customer satisfaction, and engagement, product managers can determine if a product is meeting business goals and identify areas for improvement.

Preparing for the Future of Digital Product Management

In order to stay relevant and successful, product managers must stay ahead of the curve by staying informed about the latest trends and technologies. Being willing to adapt, pivot, and evolve is key to creating successful products and services to propel delivery of business value. At Emerge, we thrive on co-creating and consulting on digital transformation. We’d love to team with you on your 2023 goals. Reach out today to make an appointment with us.

Colleen Murphy, Copy Editor

Forward. Digital. Thinking.

© 2024 EMERGE. All Rights Reserved.