How Do Enhancements Get Identified?

As we’re getting ready to release ResultsPlus 11 (phase 1), I’ve been thinking about version 12…and 13…and… It comes up fairly often that a customer asks how to submit a suggestion for an enhancement, and it’s easier than you might think. Every enhancement suggestion submitted, either by email, phone, or pony express, gets entered into a central location and reviewed regularly as we are laying out plans for upcoming versions.

So, how do you make a suggestion?

You can share your idea with a support person on the phone. Or, better yet, submit it as an email to support so that your exact words are entered as part of the suggestion. Let us know what business problem this solves, or in what way it makes doing business easier for you. Let us know where you’d like to see it in the product. You never know, your suggestion may be in the next version! While we do not respond directly to each suggestion, know that they are received and that we appreciate every submission!

How do we evaluate which enhancements “make the grade”?

We look for how applicable the suggestion is to nonprofits as a group vs. solving an issue unique to one organization’s way of doing business. We also consider how many people/organizations have submitted similar suggestions, and the scope of impact on the application’s current functions, both positive and negative. Additionally, we research what capabilities the coding tools we use (and those we don’t) have, and whether or not these tools will enable us to implement the requested features. All these things combine to give us an idea of whether or not it’s “time” to implement a suggestion. Sometimes, we can implement them right away. Other times, it isn’t as easy to do.

For example, we reviewed the suggestion to allow splitting of donations between multiple campaigns and appeals over a period of years and versions. Because of the disruptive nature of the feature (impacted queries, reports, past reporting, etc.), it took a few versions before we could implement it. We needed to make sure it was wanted by a wide enough group of customers that the disruption didn’t outweigh the benefit. As you may already have experienced, that enhancement was in version 10.

Another example of an enhancement that has taken years of review and design is the implementation of row-level security-coming to ResultsPlus 11 Platinum edition. This is something that could be done technology-wise but was, before now, cost-prohibitive to implement for mid-sized nonprofits. With new features in 3rd party toolsets and platforms now available, we were able to design and implement these functions without adding cost to the product.

Even if your suggestion doesn’t get immediately implemented, know that all suggestions are reviewed, many times over years in some cases, so never hesitate to submit a suggestion!