Learning From the Past, Heading To the Future

The effective collection and use of product feedback is at the heart of customer-centric product companies like Bullhorn. Of course, it is important to ensure that appropriate expectations are set and managed when engaging in the collection of feedback, and that’s the inspiration for this post and the article we’ve written in Help on the Ideas portal.

Gall’s Law

Gall’s Law predicts that successful complex systems arise from the organic growth of much simpler systems. Our story at Invenias by Bullhorn supports that law. We started the journey 15 years ago, deploying a simple method for managing processes entirely inside Outlook. Today, we have a solution that supports the requirements of small, medium, and large Executive Search Firms with a system of record that can sit at the heart of a business.
What happens when companies flout Gall’s Law? The Technology industry is full of products that were feature-rich and grew overly complex. Sometimes we hear about our customers feeling pain from the richness of the Invenias system. Fear not; we’re ready to tackle that head-on.

How do you tackle complexity that you’ve already added?

At Invenias, we are currently going through a “new” product development cycle with the web-based Essentials application. It’s an opportunity for us to go back to basics, but we’re doing it to solve an adoption challenge that still persists with senior-level, lighter-weight users of the platform in some clients. The advantages of modern agile iterative rapid development techniques mean we can produce a minimum viable product (MVP) and iterate on it based on user feedback. Aiming for a gradual evolution from simple functionality is a way to build a growing product that actually reflects users’ needs. We’ve done this once and we’re applying the learnings from that 15-year experiment to attempt to solve a new challenge with a product that complements the rest of our offering.
Many product companies deploy multiple versions of a service with different subscriptions resulting in differentiated functionality. The inclusion of a “Basic” version is particularly common with “freemium” product offerings where a very simple version of a product is made available for free. In many cases, the subscription models or the platform and development costs don’t support this approach. Many SaaS businesses, including Invenias, endeavour to maintain a single version of their application to reduce the risks around upgrades etc.
We’re eager to get feedback on our Essentials application and hear what’s working and what deserves more attention.

The Importance of customer feedback

At Invenias we attempt to capture feedback through a number of channels:

  • In the Help Center you’ll find an article on how we use the Product Management tool called Aha, which has an Ideas Portal
  • Our Account Managers run regular Executive Business Reviews and operate as a conduit for customer feedback and roadmap discussions
  • We regularly run roundtables as a mechanism for gathering feedback on features we’ve built or are thinking about building
  • Our Support, Sales, and PS teams are regularly discussing solutions with customers and again provide that feedback to Product Management

We endeavor to close the loop as a critical part of the feedback we receive via the Ideas portal and other channels. This may not always translate to a response that says “the feature that you requested will be in release X” and instead might simply be a commitment to consult a wider audience to understand and challenge ourselves on the prioritization of features. But we will continue to take seriously our responsibility to the community of customers we have built this platform for and thank you for your continued collaboration and contribution.