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Why are you working on that?

May 1, 2012 General, Version Updates Mark

We at Ascend are lucky. We work for a great company (Trek). We support a great product that helps hundreds of cycling retailers around the world. And we have passionate and involved customers that want to help make Ascend the best system it can be.

I’m often asked: “Why are you working on <fill in the blank> when you should be working on <fill in the blank>?”. It’s a fair question. But nearly every time the question is asked, the “fill in the blanks” are different. We established the UserVoice forum to help with this.  It helps paint a clear picture of what’s most important to our overall body of customers.

The UserVoice forum has been up for over a year. Over 150 of you have submitted and voted on more than 180 ideas. There are clear favorites at the top of the list. The top 20 ideas have received over 50% of the votes. So the next logical questions are”Why don’t you start at the top of the list and work your way down?” and “Why do you work on ideas that are farther down on the list or not even on the list?”  Again, fair questions.  Here are some answers:

All ideas are not created equal:

The ideas at the top of the list are big projects. We call them “epics”. They take a lot of time in advance to research and design before development work can begin.  Once development work begins, the tasks need to be done in a certain order and spread out over time to make sure they work properly. And some projects don’t make sense to do before other improvements are made.

We must keep pace with the future:

Many of the things we’ve been working on aren’t at the top of the UserVoice list. It’s our responsibility to help move Ascend forward to keep pace with business and technology changes.  Our eCommerce integration work is an example of that. Retailers today need be developing a multi-channel strategy and we need to support that. Technology is evolving at warp speed.  People want and need access to data and functionality from anywhere with any device. We need to keep pace with this.

We must stay competitive:

Our business, like all others, needs to have healthy growth. To sustain the continued innovation of Ascend and the investment in it, we need to look at enhancements that help us gain new business.

“Small hinges swing big doors”:

It’s not feasible to work on too many big projects at the same time. That leaves time for us to include small changes that don’t take as much effort. When we have this time, I look for “small hinges”.  These are small changes that will have a big positive impact for you.  We mine the UserVoice forum for these ideas and talk to support techs who know what ideas they’re hearing about the most.

Sometimes we don’t have a choice:

A few years ago a letter was forwarded to us from several dealers in California. The letter said they must have customer facing price displays or face hefty fines. From that our pole display integration was born. Just recently some of our Canadian dealers told us that their government is discontinuing the penny. We will have to make changes in Ascend to accommodate this. Other changes like this are bound to come up in the future.

Even though we might not be working down the UserVoice list in order,  your ideas and votes are vital to guiding our plans and priorities for the coming years.  If you don’t have an account, contact the Ascend Support Team to get one.  You’re allowed one per location.  If you haven’t checked out the forum lately, go to http://ascendrms.uservoice.com to see the latest ideas.

Thank You!

Mark

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