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Understanding the Software Feature Request

Software is never done. It has to keep moving to stay compatible. It operates in business processes that keep changing. The consumer expectation of how fast and easy software can change is being set by some of the most valuable companies on the planet.

By Jennifer Matt
Published: December 5, 2018

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Jennifer Matt is the managing editor of WhatTheyThink’s Print Software section as well as President of Web2Print Experts, Inc. a technology-independent print software consulting firm helping printers with web-to-print and print MIS solutions. You can reach her at jen@whattheythink.com.

 

Discussion

By Jeff White on Dec 05, 2018

Great article Jen. You nailed it when it comes to enhancement requests and bug fixes. Most important is that clients need to change their workflows to meet the software, that's the way the software is designed so doing it any other way usually will cause many downstream issues in the usability of the products.

 

By Heath Cajandig on Dec 05, 2018

Great article Jen-

 

By Mick Rowan on Dec 05, 2018

Loved the article Jen. This is very timely for us here at printIQ. I’m actually working through our Feature Request policy at the moment. Heading up the Product team, I’m often supplied fragments of ideas from customers who are essentially trying to maintain outdated processes within their workflow. Thanks for taking a look at the problem and making some sensible suggestions.

 

By Vincent Tutino on Dec 06, 2018

Jen, really appreciate this article and your focus on helping educate printers on how software is made and evolves to meet their needs. I've been using this approach very successfully for years and it really helps us to prioritize the next features we add. Looking at the number of times we hear a request combined with the time and cost savings to our customer base give us a way to prioritize features that have the greatest positive impact to our customers. Getting to the heart of "what problem are you trying to solve" is the key. I do however let the customer tell me how they would like the problem solved (human nature) but I also require that they explain the problem and the associated costs in the process. And many times, a phone call and discussion is needed to really understand the problem. Thanks again for your insights.

 

By Gordon Pritchard on Dec 07, 2018

Software is developed to exploit a market opportunity where the return on investment to develop the software is greater than the cost to develop it and that it does not cannibalize other revenue streams.

If there is a customer problem/challenge that a prospective piece of software can solve but there is insufficient ROI - it won't be developed. That piece of software is left to the shareware/freeware developers to build.
Feature requests are prioritized for development the same way - on ROI.

The monthly subscription software model is not about the vendor continuing to improve the software (that may or may not happen). It is about providing a more stable stream of revenue for the developer and lowering the price of usage to broaden the market opportunity, as well as binding the user to the vendor/supplier. Come to think of it - it's the same business strategy employed by street drug dealers.

 

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