At Altus, we don’t take shots in the dark when deciding what should be added to our product roadmap. In case you're unfamiliar with the term, a product roadmap is a technology development plan that matches the goals or needs of organizations within our client base with specific technology solutions to help them meet those goals. All of the additions or improvements we make to our product roadmap, and subsequently our technology, derive from what we know would make our clients' jobs easier and more efficient.
Because we work exclusively with nonprofit organizations within defined verticals, we've found that many of our clients have similar needs. For example, K12 school boards all have similar reporting needs; Supported living organizations often have similar scheduling needs for their staff, and oganizations that take donations have similar receipting requirements. This means that when we develop our products for the benefit of one client who's expressed a need, it also works to the benefit of the rest of our client community. If we've been alerted to the need for a specific feature, either in conversation with clients or during a Client Advisory Board meeting, then that feature will typically go onto our ‘product roadmap’ with anticipation for development.
While this method of development has proven to be extremely successful in the past, we wanted to make it even easier for our clients to share their ideas for new product features or enhancements with us. After all, we’ve all had those brilliant middle of the night flashes of genius (and conversely, the painful feeling when you're trying to remember that idea later on and keep drawing a blank). To combat these ideas getting lost, we introduced a new online tool that allows our clients to submit ideas for our product roadmap from anywhere, at any time, whenever those flashes of insight come to them.
The Altus Ideas Portal was launched at our last Altus Alliance conference and is an online portal where registered clients can submit their ideas, read though the ideas of their peers, and vote on which enhancements or features they think will help them accomplish their goals. So far, we’ve had more than 100 ideas submitted to the portal, and 26 of them have either been developed or added to our roadmap for upcoming development.
One example of an idea that was submitted and then developed is line by line schedule confirmation for the scheduler module in our Altus WebApps. A number of our clients are human services organizations, who often require complex scheduling tools that can ensure staff are properly scheduled across many locations for specific programs, with alternating scheduling and flexible pay structures. Previously, the schedule confirmation process for employees only allowed for a single confirmation of the entire schedule, but an Ideas Portal submission noted that it would be very helpful to have a line by line checkbox for employees to confirm each line individually rather than the whole schedule at once. The idea got several votes from our clients so we added it to our roadmap, developed it, and then included that feature in our April 2016 WebApps release, to the joy of all of our human services clients!
Client ideas have always driven our product development. With the Altus Ideas Portal, we now have an extremely quick and easy way for our clients to submit, vote on, or comment on product ideas.
Interested in seeing this client idea in action? Discover the five things you'll love most about our recent upgrade to our scheduling tool, or download our whitepaper on Integrated Employee Scheduling to see how our client-requested scheduler update will simplify your scheduling process.
Are you a client with a great idea of your own that you think should be added to our product roadmap? Email Dhebi Hay at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to be registered for access to the portal and to start submitting ideas!