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Using Preview Releases to Gain Insights on Technical Products

By Jonathan Walter and Katie Groh Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve found it difficult to engage with certain users or the type of feedback you’re receiving isn’t at the level you require? You’re not alone! At Rockwell Automation, we have a very technical group of users—engineering types—from whom we need to gather feedback. These users typically know a great deal about our systems and have very specific feedback for us about our products and the new concepts we’re developing. As one of our customers put it, “I know the product inside and out—most of time better than you do at Rockwell.” As you can imagine, the occasional usability study or survey wouldn’t cut it for such technically advanced users, who frequently work with our highly technical, feature-dense, sovereign-posture applications. This compelled one of our company’s leaders to state, “We need more at bats.” So how can we get more regular access to these users and cycle their feedback into the development of a large-scale product? We leverage a Preview Release program. In this column, we’ll walk you through what a Preview Release is and how you could use one—which might not be as difficult as you think. Read More

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