Technology development vs operational need

By Torsten Brose | Business Development Director | Magenta Technology

I’ve been lucky enough to be able to spend time working as both gamekeeper and poacher in the fields of logistic operations and technology, specifically the taxi and courier industry. This has given me some interesting insights into why new functionality can sometimes be delivered late or – worse – fail to actually resolve the problem it was designed to solve.

Difficulties often start with a customer request which is normally phrased in terms like this: “All you have to do is make some changes to the code and it’s done, I honestly don’t know why it doesn’t work this way already.”

In fact, I remember well my approach was pretty similar, much of it based on the misconception that developers come to work each day and wait for someone to ring up and request a feature before they start work. In reality, of course, development plans are laid out up to a year in advance and planned as part of the overall product strategy. This is a difficult sell when the customers want something that they believe is essential for their progress, but actually is firstly, not great for the product strategy, and secondly, there is no immediate slot available to do the work.

This is not problem unique to the taxi industry; all technology developers have the same issues. What prompted me to write this is that we are just in the process of rolling out a major new release, which contains a number of new pieces of functionality that can make a major difference to how the customer runs his operational area, and prices different types of running mileage. We’ve jumped through a lot of hoops to make sure that the functionality requested across the customer base is reflected correctly in what we’ve delivered.

Over the last six months, we’ve completely reworked how and what we develop, and how we communicate and discuss these developments with our customers. At the heart of this is solid account management, good communication and sticking to the deadlines we set. Ultimately, you’re never going to please everyone all the time. However, making sure you communicate clearly and effectively, and properly understand what the customer is trying to achieve, will give you the best possible result.

Torsten Brose | Magenta Technology | Tel: 07557 272600 |

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