Product and service innovation are the core engines of business growth. The modern economy is populated by companies that bring high-value solutions to market and are rightly rewarded for their innovations. Some organizations, such as Amazon, become household names due to their ability to operationalize a steady stream of new ideas. 

Take next-day shipping – the concept itself is relatively simple, but in the background, teams had to radically evolve processes and operating models to support it. Not content, Amazon launched Prime Now, a same-day delivery service for some products that again called for sweeping change across supply chains, operations, and core business processes.

This ability to bring agile, disciplined and effective processes to support new ideas is swiftly becoming the point of differentiation across industries. For example, Stripe, a company that revolutionized the payments industry and continues to disrupt financial services. Led by a CEO with deep experience at Y-Combinator and supported by funding from some of the largest names in Silicon Valley, Stripe was able to quickly implement a series of moves that changed the way small businesses gained access to, and incorporated, payments in their digital commerce.

Shortly thereafter, Stripe set up Atlas, a system that made incorporation for new businesses all over the world easy and intuitive. Named #1 on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies list in 2022, Stripe continues to introduce new ideas, most recently with Stripe Climate, an initiative that engages users in funding carbon-removal technology.

The ability to quickly operationalize ideas—often creating entirely new product categories in the process—is symbolic of the critical capabilities that separate winners from also-rans. At Cognizant, we have worked with numerous clients on solving the challenges that crop up when bringing new ideas to market. When solving for the challenging dimension that is execution, we’ve identified three steps that help turn minimum viable processes—the operations layer pulled together to quickly bring new products to market—into powerful engines.

1.    Build the right crew

When a Formula One driver takes to the track, they need to focus all their energy on racing. They know they have a team that excels at keeping the vehicle in top condition—which enables them to focus on the track and the competition, rather than worrying about loose bolts and oil levels.

In much the same way, disruptors and digital innovators must focus on developing market-leading products and services with their eyes firmly on their customers. To do so while also scaling quickly, they must rely on a well-oiled operations layer that provides frameworks, processes and technologies that remove distractions. A layer designed to bring an abundance of data and insights to the surface to drive operational changes and enhancements—empowering leaders to measure everything that moves in their quest, to bring true innovation to market. Doing so is no easy task. Yet, with an experienced operations team that knows where the sharp bends in the road are, and which data sets offer the best insights, are able to execute with confidence, while also lowering risk.

For example, one of our clients wanted to better equip its sales teams so they can stay ahead in a hyper-competitive market. Cognizant created a scaled business-to-business sales enablement function from scratch using Kano Analysis, with a completely automated workflow and self-service roadmap that delivers high-quality sales pitches. Now the client’s sales reps can focus on what they do best: engaging with current and future clients and working on scoping solutions to solve their problems.



2.    Stay agile

Let’s say it’s started to rain, creating a completely different environment for our race driver. They have a fresh strategy based on the new conditions. They need their engineering team to flexibly and rapidly swap out tires, change settings, and get them back on track. And if this strategy doesn’t pan out, the team must be ready in the pits to make changes again.

Successful modern businesses anticipate change and are ready to intuitively pivot, even as their speed is increasing. Operations must be equally flexible and able to respond to everything from seizing new opportunities to reacting to volatile business environments.

For one of our clients, the swift change in direction stemmed from new regulations. The New Deal for Consumers legislation announced by the European Union harmonized a range of consumer laws across both paid and unpaid services. Among other things, it entitles them to a direct customer support provision in their native language. With 24 official languages across the bloc, speedily implementing and optimizing support functions to ensure compliance is no mean feat.

Cognizant worked with the client to rapidly implement support services, including supporting languages that have very low demand but are nonetheless required as part of the regulations. The ability to adapt to the new market environment allowed the client to continue delivering products and services customers want.


3.    Optimize everything

Scaling up an idea and the processes that power it is also about efficiency. How do you reach as many customers as possible while keeping costs in check? To ensure the business can sustainably scale and grow, it’s vital to continually drive out redundancies and inefficiencies, ensuring processes are as effective and disciplined as possible.

By driving down costs with effective operations, market-leading businesses will ensure new products and services hit the market with strong financial metrics attached and the most effective value proposition—whether that’s so they continue to experiment with offerings, or go-to-market strategy, or to develop a more compelling business model.

Creating advertisements quickly and efficiently is critical to the success of one of our client’s business model. Core areas of content creation, however, are often time-consuming and full of manual processes. Using Cognizant’s deep understanding of the content creation processes alongside our domain and technological expertise, we were able to streamline and optimize key areas of the creation process. Our artificial intelligence and machine learning team created models to generate content for various components (the description, call-outs and links) that make a modern digital ad an effective way to reach new consumers. The solution was much appreciated by a global digital marketing giant, which has replicated the capability on its own platform.


As John Doerr said: Ideas are easy, execution is everything. To delight customers and capture market opportunity fast, businesses must build and scale an operating model that can support ideation, experimentation and development. They must also swiftly operationalize the best ideas, transforming them from inspired concepts into market-winning solutions. 

At Cognizant, we believe building the right crew, ensuring they stay agile, and working to continually optimize and improve, is the most effective way to move your bright idea into a market-ready reality.

For more information, visit the Digital Disruptors Operations Hub section of our website or contact us.

This article was written by Ollie O’Donoghue, a Senior Director in Cognizant Research in collaboration with Vikram Ahuja, Ashish Batra and Manish Gulati, Technology leaders in Cognizant’s Intuitive Operations and Automation practice.