How do you get the attention of the people who developed your accounting system? How do you let them know the new features you would like to see or what you find really frustrating? If you had five minutes alone with the chief programmer, what would you say?
That isn't as impossible as it might seem. It really isn't like turning the Queen Mary. Would it surprise you to know that the development teams are hungry for input from the people who use their system? I'm at the annual Microsoft customer conference for accounting systems, "Convergence". Yesterday I attended the Dynamics NAV (formerly Navision) user group NAVUG meeting. Bill Clough, the Research Manager for Microsoft Dynamics gave a presentation where he announced that Microsoft is starting a research council. They are looking for interested volunteer users and resellers ("Partners") to participate in surveys, roundtable discussions, focus groups and conferences calls.
For me that's the key, by participating in the developer's events, we customers are raising our hands and saying we want to be involved.
Before coming, I asked our users and IT department for any questions. At Convergence, I dropped into the Navision Experts area. There were about 8 people there ready to answer any question about the product, so I sat down with Tom Loyal and went through my list. At the end of our conversation, he encouraged me to go to the feedback booth where I can record my feedback about Navision and/or Microsoft. He said they take that kind of input very seriously. After all, users are spending a lot of time and money to be here.
Every major software vendor has some kind of customer event if they are still in business. If you would like a say in the future of your software, get involved!