What is a chief product officer

A chief product officer, often abbreviated as CPO, refers to a senior-level corporate executive overseeing all product/service-centric activities in a business organization, i.e., from product/service design, manufacturing/creation, development, deployment, marketing, and customer care/tech support. A chief product officer is the overall head of multi-departmental product/service improvement teams.

Significance of Chief Product Officer Job Roles

The growing relevance of chief product officer roles in business is the inevitable outcome of an increasingly global, fiercely competitive, and data-driven consumer market. Now more than ever, companies have to release products/services that can out-compete similar offerings at local and international levels.

In response to this market reality, the Chief Product Officer’s job has emerged to ensure that businesses can offer high-value products/services for a global data-driven consumer market. The goal is to create product/service offerings that provide product/service owners a high ROI (Return On Investment) and product/service end-users a high Value-for-Money.

A Chief Product Officer’s core mandate is to ensure high-value products and services’ progressive and sustained realization.

Chief Product Officer Duties and Responsibilities

In most businesses with this senior-level executive position, the CPO typically has overall responsibility for multiple brand-defined products and services. For example, a security-tech company can have a chief product officer overseeing high-value products and services, i.e., hardware products such as CCTV cameras and sensors and service offerings such as native home-security mobile apps and CCTV video cloud storage.

A chief product officer’s primary mode of realizing product/service-centric revenue-focused objectives is through multiple, concurrent, and comprehensive inter-departmental product/service development initiatives. Suitable examples of core duties and responsibilities accompanying the executive office of the Chief Product Officer include:

1.         Liaising with customer care, tech support, marketing, and other customer-centric departments in preparing consumer reports depicting end-user needs, expectations, and preferences for various product and service offerings, including online sales data from an e-commerce site and in-store purchases from a brick-and-mortar store, etc.

2.         Leading a multi-departmental consumer-focused task force charged with the continuous analysis, correlation, collaboration, and interpretation of time-defined multi-source market reports, i.e., consumer data from in-house customer-centric departments and external third-party market analytic platforms.

For example, a CPO-led in-house consumer analytics taskforce can procure customer-centric data from marketing, tech support, customer care, and other customer-oriented in-house departments. In addition, they can acquire niche-specific market data from dedicated third-party analytic platforms such as Google Analytics.

3.         Coordinating the progressive and concurrent implementation of product/service-specific revenue-centric improvement activities, initiatives, strategies, and projects based on comprehensive, accurate, up-to-date, and real-time consumer data.

For example, a CPO for a large and established e-commerce website may oversee multiple real-time product/service-centric campaigns. These include discount vouchers, limited one-time offers, free time-limited trial service for paid subscription packages, etc.

4.         Overseeing the prioritization and execution of a wide array of product/service-centric objective-specific tasks making up individual product/service improvement activities, initiatives, strategies, and projects.

For example, a CPO leading a product/service improvement strategy based on the Critical Path Method(CPM) process model has charge over the scheduling and execution of both sequential and concurrent objective-specific tasks.

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