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Innovation Gets Real

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Making Innovation RealI recently read a post that talked about how the term “innovation” is overused and rarely defined with any meaningful examples or details. Other overused terms and phrases that come to mind include “disrupt,” “game changer,” and “move the needle,” just to name a few. As an article in the Huffington Post reported, the problem with overused terms or phrases is that they lose their meaning. Terms like “literally,” “honestly,” and “absolutely” were a few examples cited. 

“Disruption” and “innovation” are two terms frequently used by B2B marketers. When so many companies claim they are disruptive or innovative, it is hard to stand out from the sea of competitors. And too many companies just talk about innovating. At Arena, we work with dynamic teams and customers that bring new technologies to life every day. 

So, what does it mean to be innovative or disruptive? Harvard professor Clayton Christensen coined the term “disruptive innovation” in his book, The Innovator’s Dilemma. He described how many market leaders focus on serving existing customers with iterative improvements to maximize profits and revenues. That approach creates an opening for other truly disruptive vendors to enter the market with a unique offering. Incumbent market leaders continue to focus on maximizing profits and, as the new vendor’s product gains popularity, it eventually becomes too late to catch up. Christensen cites older examples of storage device companies, but there are more recent examples of incumbents in other markets, like Yahoo and Blockbuster Video, that failed to innovate.

Companies That Failed to InnovateWe know the need to innovate is constant and critical to the success of almost every firm. But describing how companies innovate is critical to understanding what makes them different and better. Without the “how,” claiming to innovate becomes unsubstantiated noise. Companies must be able to differentiate their products by explaining how their solutions are different, and more importantly, why it matters to their customers. The “why” provides the compelling reason for buyers to act.

Arena invented SaaS (or Cloud) PLM, with the simple goal of sharing a product bill of materials (BOM) between OEM teams and far-flung partners—an almost impossible task using on-premises solutions. Our heavy investments in multi-tenant architecture and cloud security have allowed us to surpass decades-old on-premises solutions. Today, we offer a comprehensive product realization platform to speed product development, quality, and requirements management processes between distributed teams and their supply chain partners. 

Everything we do is focused on connecting foundational product information to related product realization processes to help our customers innovate rapidly. Our ability to innovate enables our customers to innovate. 

For B2B Cloud PLM software, connecting internal and external teams, processes, and systems is critical. Companies now expect cloud applications to be easy to share with other systems. Arena’s investment in a robust REST API helps connect both upstream and downstream systems easily and securely. Our ability to connect information and systems has driven our large partner community that includes in-system mashups like Supplier Item Lookup for Octopart and SiliconExpert.

Kinsa Case StudyOur cloud-to-cloud integrations are also simple to set up and deploy. Customers can download an app, do some quick mapping, and begin sharing information instantly. Working with partners like 1factory, Paradata, and BrightReps, we are changing how cloud solutions and apps should work today—without expensive, complicated middleware or data transformation solutions. One recent example comes from our partners BrightReps. Their SideKick app allows customers like Kinsa to connect and accelerate customer feedback.

Arena serves many companies that are disrupting markets, like Ring, Ubiquity Networks, Control4, and Square. We have more than 250 Internet of Things (IoT) customers and more than 1000 companies leveraging Arena PLM and QMS to introduce unique solutions that are helping to change the world. Our customers include emerging technology companies that are leading the way with autonomous driving systems using LiDAR technology and other connected technologies. One great example is DAQRI. DAQRI’s augmented reality glasses and smart helmets incorporate digital and holographic data into physical workplaces to streamline existing business processes and make workforces smarter.

Arena By The NumbersArena’s goal is to help companies introduce innovative products to improve our lives, our work, and our planet. Our customers are revolutionizing health care, connected car technologies, alternative energy, and smart homes to make our lives richer and our world greener. 

Are we innovative? You can judge for yourself by the company we keep. If today’s leading innovators rely on Arena to introduce new technologies and products, maybe you should too.

If your company is introducing new ways to get things done, contact us to see how we can help.

About the Author

Scott Reedy
Scott Reedy

Scott Reedy is the Senior Director of Marketing for Arena Solutions. He has held strategic roles with enterprise software companies in consulting, sales, and marketing over the past 20 years. ...

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