From healthcare to supply chains to cyber security, the global pandemic has fundamentally changed how we live and work. Although digital transformation was already becoming a key priority across most industries, the disruption caused by the pandemic has accelerated the need for increased connectivity, automation, and access to information when and where you need it.
As our customers adapted to this disruption, our engineering department at OpenText also adapted to meet our customers’ evolving needs. As my colleague and OpenText™ CMO Lou Blatt recently wrote, the pandemic has resulted in an increased need to attend to your customers’ evolving needs — and this is equally true in the world of product development.
Bringing customer experience into the product development cycle
Early in the pandemic, we knew that we had to be able to respond to changing customer priorities — and that required a number of significant internal pivots. The first was to shift from a six-monthly product release cycle to a quarterly one. This acceleration required new ways of identifying, developing, testing, and releasing software, all while ensuring we had the flexibility to adapt quickly and prioritize the innovations our customers need most.
The second shift was to merge our engineering, technical support and customer experience teams. This internal pivot strengthens the existing relationship between our engineering, support and customer experience teams and allows us to respond more quickly and comprehensively to our customers. By bringing customer experience and support into the engineering team, we will continue to ensure a customer-centric approach to the entire product development cycle. This, in turn, can feed back into creating a positive customer experience.
Innovating with your customers
When developing a product or service, your customer has to be at the heart of what you’re doing. But the pandemic has demonstrated that we must go beyond anticipating future customer needs — we must adapt the product pipeline to deliver high-value-added product innovations as new customer priorities emerge.
For example, when the wildfires raged through areas of the Western USA last year — leaving millions of people without power due to outages and damaged infrastructure — our engineering team at OpenText worked to develop additional functionality for OpenText™ Core Share. By building in additional features to allow for remote sharing, off-line document synchronizing, and enhanced mobile features, we provided utilities companies with remote access to vital maintenance and repair documentation.
But this example wouldn’t have been possible without the flexibility and internal processes in place to adapt the product pipeline to meet changing customer needs.
Supporting your customers — now and in the future
Understanding customer needs — and filtering those needs into product development — is going to be a key priority for organizations as we recover from the pandemic. As Forbes notes, “The recovery process is going to be an uneven one. Some people and businesses will have a smoother road back to normal. Others will struggle. Wants, needs and optimal outcomes are going to vary widely from customer to customer depending on how the pandemic’s aftermath ends up affecting them.”
Organizations that can adapt their product pipeline and incorporate customer needs into the development cycle will be better equipped to support their customers as their needs and priorities change — now and during future global events.