Sciforma's Product Manager tells us about Sciforma 7
Los Gatos, 23 March 2015
Sciforma's product Manager, Joel Gutierrez tells us a little bit more about Sciforma new product, its features and the work around its creation.
Share your story with us: how did you become Sciforma Product Manager?
I started working for Sciforma as a configuration engineer in France. I was configuring, implementing configurations, and training several customers across Europe (Switzerland, UK etc.) and I even joined the venture for developing the Spanish market. All of that gave me a wider vision of what customers really wanted, how they were working, and the differences between languages and cultures.
With the release of PSNext 3, I started getting into the product more closely as I was responsible for product releases in Europe. I shifted from Software Engineer to being a release manager.
I then moved to California in 2007 to become the product manager.
What was your thinking process to take Sciforma 6 to Sciforma 7?
The biggest point was getting into this new technology while satisfying both existing and future customers. We wanted to keep our strength, which is configuration and flexibility. We offer out-of-the-box solutions but we also allow a very powerful and detailed configuration. You have wysiwyg tools for creating forms and screens and you can easily do that without writing one single line of code. This has always been our strength and we had to keep that in mind.
What was the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge was to deliver a product that you cannot picture in your mind. I mean, we were moving from Java to html5 and it was really hard to rethink everything and pretty much start from scratch. We didn’t know how the user would navigate, what the tool would look like, or how we would adapt all the features of Sciforma 6. For example how to open a project or utilize a save button as they do not exist in the web world.
What is your favorite new feature of Sciforma?
My favorite feature is the search bar because it really focuses on the user experience and what they expect. End users expect to be able to look up anything. If they are looking for almonds, they can Google the word “almonds” and a million pages about almonds will be found.
The search bar of course is now applied to the context of the application and Sciforma will help users find what they are looking for. That includes data (project name, ID, demands...) but the search bar also helps end users find their way through the system. Sciforma will take them to the right page to enter their time, request vacation or create an issue. I am convinced this will improve the user experience and ease the way for adopting Sciforma 7..
The search bar is a very clever tool, respecting languages and allowing customers to even create their own help articles.
Which feature do you think will make the biggest difference for your prospects and customers ?
Overwrites. Sciforma provides customers with the starting point by implementing the extensions. Customers are ready to go with a configuration created using the market best practices.
Extensions are accelerators for the implementation and will meet 80% to 90% of every customer’s need. They, or Sciforma, can apply any customization they need to fully meet their requirements. So basically, overwrites allow customers to make a copy of Sciforma forms and reports and apply changes to this copy. When Sciforma upgrades, this copy will stay intact and the customer will be able keep its custom configuration.
Anything fun to tell related to the creation of this new product?
We had fun all the way through. What I liked the most was that our team was working 24/7 spread between our several locations worldwide. Someone was ALWAYS working. People in Europe would be done and pass the work when the US awoke. Then, when the US was done for the day, Asia was taking over. The fun part was to receive part of the work and transfer it to the next team: it was truly teamwork.
So now that Sciforma 7 is released, how do you think it stands out from competition?
I think we have a unique product: it is extremely easy to use and powerful at the same time. It is also FULLY based on the html5 technology. There are many competitors who do provide little features in the web client but they still require a desktop client. Some other competitors are fully based on html5 as well but they don’t have the power and flexibility that we have.
We stand out by providing a product ahead of technology which provides power and ease of use at the same time.
Did you already start working on the next features of Sciforma ?
Absolutely, we never stop! We are now transitioning to the mode where we will be providing quarterly updates including new features, enhancements and bug fixes. We are continually improving and adding features. We try to be more and more agile and responsive to the market needs.
Can you tell us more about your vision for next features?
Collaboration! We love the features we already have in this area and we want to keep enhancing them.