With the recent release of our cloud-based software it's been a very exciting time at Shark Finesse. But what does this mean for our new and existing users? We had a chat with our Technical Director, Stephen Jackett, to find out more and get all the information that you want to know!
Over the past 3 years we have been crazy busy re-writing the Shark product from the ground up in cutting edge technology that will enable us to deliver so much more capability to our users. The original Shark product evolved over 15 years so as you can imagine, this was a mammoth task. However, the new product has been live for some time now and is performing fantastically well, we have also received great feedback on the new interface design and structure.
The new cloud product has brought many things to Shark Finesse Ltd, a fresh development methodology and workflow, as well as new development tools and technologies. We also have numerous new security policies and procedures, e.g. we now go through PEN testing. The old version did not need PEN testing as it was desktop-based, but as the new product is cloud-based (with full offline capability) plus we store and process our customers’ data it means we have had a whole new world of regulation and compliance to deal with.
We have some great new and long-standing customers who are helping product development with feedback and suggestions. This is all coming from a relatively small in-house development team who have been so hard-working and dedicated to the enormous task. They are proud of their accomplishments and they have every right to be!
The support for the technology that our desktop product was written in is being retired by the software vendor at the start of 2021. This, coupled with the fact that software must continue to improve and evolve to keep pace with the ever-improving platform and infrastructure landscape, persuaded us to conceive this new initiative. There are some smart things you can do with software these days. It’s a vastly different world from when I got my degree!
Another reason for the shift is that the way technology is consumed has evolved over the years. A good example of this is touch-devices and mobility. All successful applications that are around today have a mobile equivalent and the new version of the Shark product can be run completely cross-platform.
The very nature of the Shark application lends itself very well to the benefits of collective intelligence that centralised data can reap.
The data that the Shark application collects is incredibly valuable and when collated can deliver incredible insight into the marketplace perception about the value of our customers’ products and services. This information can be used inside our customers to prioritise or influence product development, shape marketing initiatives and content and ultimately help sales refine and hone their message about the value of their products to their marketplace. The seam of ‘value’ runs far deeper than just sales and marketing, it should be used and linked back to the very ethos of the business. As the Shark product is hosted in the cloud, we can now start to provide the tools and insight to help our customers take advantage of this aspect of value.
Over the next 12 months, we will be transitioning our existing user base to the new cloud product. During this transitional period, they will have access to both new and old versions to ensure the process is as smooth as possible. There should be little, or no disruption and our outstanding support team are, of course, always there to help.
There are many benefits for users including a scalable multi-platform product, any new customisation can be made available much quicker, a new development road map including live session collaboration, platform analytics, the list goes on!
This has quite a wide scope, but we do have some main topics that will be our focus. In the short to medium term we will continue to add product improvements and enhancements including much improved reporting and data visualisation. Another project we are working on includes tools and features that allow improved collaboration on business case sharing and creation.
In the longer term, we are working on an API that will allow us to produce additional complimentary products to our portfolio (such as in-depth analytics tools for benchmarking and product insights) but also allow our customers to closely integrate business case data with their own internal sales and marketing systems. This is probably the most exciting time for the development team at Shark Finesse since the product was initially conceived 20 years ago!
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