Any construction management software company can claim a ‘client-driven’ approach to developing new features. The real trick is getting beyond the marketing cliché and backing up that claim. B2W does this with a structured process for encouraging input from users, prioritizing it and taking action. The online B2W Community Portal is a valuable part of this process.
One thing we hear continuously from clients using any elements within the ONE Platform for managing construction projects is that, ‘software has to develop over time’. They know we may not be able to do everything they want immediately, but they want to have a voice in the development process and know that their feedback will make its way into future updates.
Users know better than we do what they need, and we rely on their insight. They also value a dialogue with B2W and with fellow users because it allows them to test and refine their ideas.
Multiple opportunities for users to present new ideas range from the annual User Conference to formal and informal interactions that take place every day in person, on the phone or online.
We document these requests and plan how and when our development teams will tackle them through a formal ‘product roadmap’ for each B2W product. Roadmaps are revised continuously based on evolving user input as well as internal ideas and the opportunities presented by advancing technology.
Beyond a simple, online collection point for ideas, the Community Portal leverages interactive capabilities to stimulate new ideas and dialogue among users and the B2W team. Here’s how it works.
B2W users log in, navigate to the ‘Ideas’ tab and post requests or suggestions. The system then scans existing ideas in the Portal, based on keywords, to see if there are any matches. Users can add their vote of support for an existing idea, add comments to enrich the suggestion or create an entirely new request.
The B2W product team monitors the Portal continuously and participates in the dialogue. Even when they do not have specific ideas, users can log in and review, learn from or support ideas submitted by their peers.
Prioritization of development work can’t be entirely democratic. However, a groundswell of support from multiple users in favor of a new feature can and does factor into the development schedule. The Community Portal is an excellent way for users to come together, as the name implies, as a ‘community’ to shape the B2W roadmap.
Please click here to get to the B2W Community Portal and contact your B2W representative if you need assistance with a password.
By Jeff Pankratz
Jeff is the VP of Client Services at B2W Software.