As we look ahead to 2018, we’re taking the bold step of publishing our product roadmap. That’s right, anyone can now see what Attendify is planning and developing in the foreseeable future. It’s more than a little nerve-racking to open up like this— we certainly had reservations.
Do we want competitors to know what we’re working on? What if we disappoint a customer that requested a feature and doesn’t find it on our roadmap? There’s no shortage of potential risks, but we chose to move forward anyway… why?
A market in flux
Event technology is changing dramatically… and it NEEDS to change. We’re in a siloed, anti-competitive market that lacks a serious commitment to innovation. In private conversations, most event technology leaders admit as much but challenging established business models and traditional product strategies is a big risk.
We want to do our part to open up, make bold bets, and share where we think event technology is heading. Without being transparent about our roadmap, it’s impossible to have meaningful conversations with the people who matter most; our customers, partners and fellow event technologists.
We’re a relatively small company (just under 70 people), that means we’re small enough to change our strategy on a dime but big enough to take on big initiatives and shake things up. Taking this step helps keep us accountable to our culture of never settling, but there’s more to the story…
Confronting the innovator’s dilemma
Most businesses are managed to demonstrate shareholder value quarter-over-quarter, anything longer than six months feels like an eternity. Innovation that moves the market forward and captures customers’ imagination takes a long time. It’s a labor of love that carries significant risk— and requires patience.
Innovation can also require saying “no” to customers when it comes to an important enhancement. Customers understandably push companies to focus their resources on enhancements to existing products. Enhancements are important, but by definition, they rarely amount to a fundamental leap forward. Given how quickly markets change, focusing too much on enhancements is incredibly risky, even though it feels safe. Ultimately some those same customers will jump ship when something substantially better comes along.
These concepts are the subject of Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma. The crux of the problem can be summarized in one intuitive chart:
We believe that roadmap transparency can be one important strategy for navigating the Innovator’s Dilemma. Why? Because sharing a roadmap that contains only enhancements to existing products is boring.
Keeping ourselves honest
Publishing our roadmap creates an ongoing commitment to innovation. If we’re not adding ground-breaking new products and meaningful enhancements, there’s no hiding it. We’re creating a powerful social contract with our customers and within our product development team. We segmented our roadmap into three categories:
- Researching – This section contains the ideas we’re exploring. These projects are in the early stages; only ~20% will go live.
- Designing – These projects made it past the research phase and are compelling enough to start the design process. Typically we’ve found that about 60% of what makes it onto this list will eventually launch.
- Developing – This is everything we’re actively developing right now. 100% of the products and features on this list will be launched in the near future. There’s always a slight risk that we scrap a product, but at this stage, we’re committed.
Every item, regardless of what section it’s in, includes a feedback link that generates an email directly to our product team. We encourage all our customers, partners, and even our competitors ? to send us input. That’s a huge part of what this is all about, getting the broader conversation going. Your feedback has REAL impact on shaping our roadmap.
So what’s on Attendify’s roadmap?
We’ll only mention the products and features in the “developing” column since they’re furthest along. You can find the rest on our website.
- Health Scoring – an important enhancement to our new Audiences platform, scoring will allow each customer to define what an engaged attendee looks like, and address churn risk on the fly.
- Sentiment Analysis – attendees have posted millions of messages in event apps, but how can event planners analyze all that data? We’re launching a sentiment analysis tool to identify positive, neutral and negative sentiment automatically. This is one big step forward to create a true event intelligence platform.
- Event Registration – This is a big deal for Attendify—something we’ve been working on for months—our own registration system. Registration will be seamlessly integrated into our mobile event apps and share data with Attendify Audiences, our new data management platform.
- Attendify App v2 – We recently launched an Attendify branded container app in response to App Store review guideline changes. We’re working on a big update with tons of exciting enhancements.