There is a long-standing rumor that Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, never leaves his home without a notebook to capture feedback from passengers and customers whom he interacts with on a regular basis. This doesn’t come as a surprise considering the many diverse ventures that Branson has immersed himself into throughout the years.
Branson believes that you can learn from everyone you interact with and understanding the challenges that they face is the only way that you’ll truly be able to add value to their lives.
At Veritas we share the same mentality. Although I can’t promise that our thousands of employees carry notebooks with them to movie theaters and dance clubs like Sir Richard Branson, I can say that we have made capturing customer feedback a top priority across the entire company and one that impacts every step we take towards any new product.
In my own department, Information Availability, we are working to make it extremely easy for customers to interact with our product managers and our engineers in order to shape the solutions that they themselves will be using. We believe that customers need to have an innovative partnership with our team and we want to provide them with the opportunity to turn their suggestions into actionable development.
In the last two years we have conducted dozens of interviews to understand our customers’ primary goals and objectives, to make sense of the biggest issues holding them back from achieving those goals, and in their own words, to let them explain to us how they measure and define success. We then surveyed over 500 participants, both customers and non-customers, to see how the views of a wider audience across three different geos compared to the views of those customers with which we held the initial discussions. The feedback from these studies proved to be invaluable and was directly implemented into our newest releases such as the Veritas Resiliency Platform and the InfoScale line.
Our roadmap itself takes its shape from discussions held at our Customer Advisory Board which we host each year. At the advisory board we invite customers to meet with our Product Management leadership in order to talk about industry trends and discuss the direction we see the market headed. We aim to align our roadmap with our customers’ goals and, for that reason, it’s vital to receive validation on all the new ventures that we’ll be undertaking. Our Customer Technical Forum and the regular webcasts which we host to present our latest initiatives are other events where customers are invited to speak directly with our products team, explain to them how certain products can (or can’t) be integrated into their environments, and openly brainstorm ideas that will allow us to bring to them the right solutions, at the right price, and at the right time.
In addition to the above mentioned feedback outlets, we’ve moved towards an Agile model and, as a result, our development is now entirely dependent on the feedback we capture from customers.
The Agile process is the most comprehensive engagement platform for our customers as it allows them to meet with our engineers every two weeks for a three month development cycle.
Our adoption of agile builds a win-win scenario for all involved stakeholders. From our side, establishing a regular cadence to hear from customers allows us to make incremental changes to our products without losing precious time or having to go back and reengineer entire features so close to a release date. From a customer’s perspective, providing consistent input ensures that their most critical requirements are being addressed by the people actually building the solutions. This drives the concept of the Minimum Viable Product in which customers would only pay for the products that they actually need and use, instead of throwing money into something that has all the bells and whistles but sits in a drawer collecting dust.
If you want to learn more about how you can build a closer partnership with the Information Availability group please visit our Customer Advocacy Website.
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