Here’s an interesting term for you: ‘democratization of technology.’
I read this in a story about SolarWinds, a Texas company with a line of Windows-based network management products. Apparently, the company employs a development model that relies heavily on user input – a 30,000-member-strong online community that comments and helps shape its products.
SolarWinds has “democratized the process for frontline network managers to be deeply involved in shaping products, as well as having a voice in industry issues,” the story said.
Specifically, the company offers downloadable software, including software for comprehensive fault and network performance management, providing visibility into the health of network devices, servers, and applications. One of its products also focuses on network configuration and change management.
But what I thought was noteworthy here was the company’s online community — also a place that customers can go to find information, including tips from SolarWinds company experts. They can find peer support, too, and perspectives on all of SolarWinds’ products.
Nice work, SolarWinds! This concept of intense user involvement is extremely valuable in today’s IT environment. Users are, well, used to instantaneous results, and they expect their voices to be heard. Regardless of the web service, provider tools such as blogs, chat rooms, 24/7-staffed help lines are the norm, or, at least, that’s what customers expect.
And we’ve long recognized this at Monitis. That’s why we keep a “live chat” toll-free number employed (1-800-657-7949) – so that we can hear what our customers think and have to say about our cloud-based monitoring service.
And I have to say, so far we’ve received some very valuable feedback. And like SolarWinds, we’ve put that directly into product development.