Exploring Customer Definition and Representation in Market-Driven NPD in ICT Industry

Jukka Majava, Jouko Nuottila, Harri Haapasalo, Kris Law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This paper studies product management and R&D managers’ views of customer definition and representation in market-driven NPD in ICT industry, when products are developed for a large number of customers. In market-driven context, the customers have different priorities and certain customers may even drive the efforts, but individual customers neither participate directly in the development nor dictate product functionality.

The study is based on a literature review and an empirical study at the managerial level in two case projects.

Company management and strategy outline customer definition. Product management collaborates with various stakeholders including marketing, sales, management, direct customers, and end-users in customer definition. Product management was found to be the most important customer representative with regards to R&D. However, other information sources are also utilized.

Research limitations/implications
The study focuses on ICT industry, and two case projects may not offer a generalized picture of the topic. Future work should extend the study to cover more industry sectors and companies.

Practical implications
Company management and strategy must guide customer definition, and management must ensure that product management teams are appropriately resourced and competent. A systematic way of working and good collaboration among product management, R&D, and other internal stakeholders is needed. While a focus on select customers is important, other customers in the value chain must also be considered. Product management and R&D professionals should also have some direct contact with customers to ensure proper customer understanding and to tackle conflicting internal stakeholder views.

Past literature emphasizes customer orientation and crossfunctional integration, especially between R&D and marketing. However, prior work has not adequately distinguished between the product management and marketing functions in market-driven NPD. Companies can utilize the study findings to improve their product development focus.

Keywords: customer, market-driven, New Product Development (NPD), product development, product management, research and development (R&D), and stakeholder.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-39
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Business Development and Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Customer
  • Market-Driven
  • New Product Development
  • Product Development
  • Product Management
  • Research and Development
  • Stakeholder

Field of science

  • Business and management


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