When it comes to innovation, customers often know best

By Rafael Laguna, CEO Open-Xchange

Rafael-LagunaAnyone familiar with Open-Xchange will know that we have a long and proud history of openness. It’s literally the core of our business – our product portfolio is built using open source models – and it’s something we are constantly encouraging the wider tech industry to embrace. Openness, transparency and honesty should be at the core of every good product and at the core of every good company.

We take this ethos to heart when developing all our products, but we’ve pushed it one step further with our latest update to our App Suite. We’ve added an improved feedback mechanism where users can rate the Suite and its individual modules, as well as an option to provide more detailed answers, which our devs can receive in real-time or export and analyse in bulk. We welcome this feedback wholeheartedly; it’s hugely valuable for us as a service provider to deliver products that help solve our customers’ challenges. By inviting them to tell us what would make our offering more useful for them, we react and learn accordingly, delivering the best possible experience. As such, we believe that customer feedback is something tech companies should embrace, not shy away from.

I’ve been mulling over this post from my LinkedIn feed this week – it considers the popular statements made by naysayers who blame technological innovation for destroying traditional businesses. Instead it pivots this statement to focus on how traditional businesses failed to keep up with customer demand. The best businesses are customer-centric – we know that – but the best product developments also actively look to the customer to dictate the next move. In the same way, our bug bounty programme looks to the open source community to work with us to identify and rectify product flaws and potential security issues.

This ties in to the ethos behind another update we’ve rolled out: an additional feature within OX Guard – the PGP-based App Suite security add-on which allows users to create encrypted documents that are editable while still encrypted. This means that users can work on documents securely without the added complication of decrypting and re-encrypting the files, keeping the output secure from start to finish.

These are two relatively simple updates – both inspired by guidance from our users and our developer base – which form part of a wider set we’ve rolled out across our products. They make users’ lives easier and help them to work more efficiently. When it comes to innovating products for the future, we firmly believe more companies should follow this lead.