Enterprise product focused beta tests typically focus on a small number of sites with highly complex products and testing requirements.
Enterprise Beta Test Traits
Beta Sites - Unlike most betas, where participants are individual users, enterprise betas often use "sites" instead of individuals. A site is generally a customer location that is using the product, and may involve many people at each site taking part.
Single Point of Contact - In many enterprise betas, communication is coordinated through a designated individual at the site. This user is generally assigned to the project and bears responsibility for the project.
High Participation Expectations - Due to the complex nature of enterprise products, it's common to expect a high level of participation. Individuals may even be dedicated full-time to the beta program.
Small Scope - Due to the close relationship and extended participation requirements, enterprise betas generally include a relatively small (5 to 20) number of sites.
Extended Duration - Enterprise betas stress sophisticated products and therefore these betas often take longer than the average project, sometimes extending to many months.
On-Site Beta Staff - Due to the deep relationship, product complexity, and highly technical goals, it's common for enterprise beta tests to utilize staff members (such as sales engineers) who travel frequently to beta sites and work directly with participants.
Sales Involvement - Due to the high value of enterprise customers, enterprise betas often utilize individuals from sales organizations to both maintain successful relationships and target future business opportunities.
Enterprise Beta Test Challenges
Low Priority - Enterprise participants often place low priorities on beta products. They may not consider these as important as their existing release systems, commonly resulting in limited feedback and participation overall from tester teams.
Sales Relationship - The enterprise customer (and participant) often has a very close sales relationship with the company (and team) running the beta test. Managing this relationship while obtaining appropriate data and participation performance can be very challenging.
Multiple Feedback Sources - A beta test with an enterprise site may include feedback from many internal sources. It can be very challenging to track down the exact source of feedback within an enterprise site.
Dedicated Resources - Enterprise customers often require you to be very attentive and highly responsive. Without a dedicated team, these demands can be hard to meet.
Proper Pacing - Enterprise betas are often long and require appropriate pacing and focus. Customers may become disinterested or burned out if they aren't kept engaged.
Highly Flexible Teams - Our sofware's team-based access structure allows you to easily manage your beta sites. This "team" functionality can be used to grant access to private builds, forums, or other features.
Assume User Identity - Centercode allows you to instantly "assume the identity" of any tester. This allows you to report feedback exactly as if the user had done it themselves.
Feedback Roles - Feedback Roles allow entire beta sites to view all feedback reported from any other participant in their site. This can reduce the duplicate feedback while greatly increasing visibility and participation from all.
Custom Reporting Engine - Enterprise beta tests require highly specific data to make good decisions. Our software platform's custom reporting engine makes it very simple to build real-time reports covering any aspect of your beta project.
Scheduled Report Distribution - Custom reports may automatically be distributed as PDF files to simplify access for key individuals. This increases the visibility of the test throughout your organization.
Custom Feedback Types - Enterprise tests often require very specific types of feedback from users. Our software allows you to determine exactly what fields you wish to collect and how you want those fields to show up to your testers. Powerful tracking features make it easy to manage this mass of feedback.
Experience - Centercode's Managed Beta team has successfully executed many enterprise beta tests for both hardware and software products.
Relationship Management - We fully understand the close relationship between you and your customer, and will ensure that this is maintained while ensuring a solid flow of useful information to meet your goals.
Incentive Management - We will use our experience to work with you to develop an incentive plan that will help ensure excellent participation from enterprise users.
Centercode Enterprise Beta Test Customers
3Com Secure Enterprise Networking Products
EMC Storage & Data Products
Sun Microsystems Hardware/Software Technologies
Symantec Consumer and Enterprise Security Software