Connecting Customers to Office Tech in the WFH Era

In May 2020, Twitter defied the uncertainty of the then-nascent COVID-19 pandemic with a decisive announcement: they were making work-from-home permanent. It was a plan two years in the making, but one that foreshadowed a global trend. Now, work from home (WFH) is the norm for many companies — and it is permanently shaping the way people communicate, work, and adopt technology.

In step with the rapid, unprecedented shift from the office to the home office, the demand for technology like routers, wireless printers, webcams, headsets, and portable hard drives has hit the makers of these products like a tidal wave. In a recent Betabound poll, 64% of consumers reported increasing their office tech usage.

It’s undoubtedly a great opportunity for the industry, but it also means that delivering consistent product quality, seamless connectivity, and a secure connection are more important than ever. Getting there isn’t easy. Here are the three biggest obstacles and solutions for overcoming them.

Interoperability

Transitioning from offices to private homes has expanded an already enormous technological landscape. Instead of competing among product models designed specifically for office use, your products must connect with and talk to a wider range of devices that play double-duty for work and home life: computers and laptops, tablets, personal printers, headphones, webcams, and whatever else gets brought to the party.

Validating your product’s ability to connect to and communicate with other home-office devices requires thorough, constant testing (and iteration) across thousands of diverse use cases.

Industry Challenges

  • Making devices compatible with the computers, tablets, and routers that customers use at home
  • Ensuring they continue to play nicely with the tech devices and software that customers will adopt in the future

Your Path to Success

Left only to your QA lab, validating the interoperability of your product is both costly and woefully incomplete. The sheer number of tech combinations in your customers’ home offices leaves even the most robust internal labs struggling to fill the gaps.

To tackle this challenge, Centercode’s strategic tester recruitment and test platforms take technographic insights from your current or future customers’ homes and put them straight into your issue ticketing systems (goodbye, manually creating Jira tickets). In addition to validating features with customers before release, it expands your QA lab with thousands of user scenarios and helps your development team prioritize fixes that will have the most impact.

Consistent Operation

In a WFH culture, communication is king, and the decision on which devices your customers use hinges on improving, not impeding, their ability to stay in touch. They won’t risk disrupting their meetings, calls, or workflow with an unreliable connection or spotty performance. It’s therefore critical to guarantee that your customers, their employers, and whoever else depends on your products have a reliable connection, day-in and day-out, so they can focus on getting their job done.

Industry Challenges

  • Ensuring the setup process is easy enough for the least technical members of the product’s target market
  • Validating and maintaining consistent quality of connection, calls, etc.

Your Path to Success

Nothing frustrates customers quite like hidden bugs in the latest product update. Internal testing is able to validate that your product is working as intended to some extent — but to combat the constant threat of gaps, it’s essential to monitor its performance, continuously, in the real world. A day-long usability test or a one-off beta can’t keep up with the consistency that comes from sustained use in the hands (and home offices) of your customers.

The Centercode Platform runs on a foundation of delta testing, meaning it’s purpose-built to support continuous customer testing as you iterate and improve on your product over time. No matter how your delta testing program takes shape — whether it’s managing testers as they cycle through your community or releasing beta versions through feature flags — our platform’s unique automation ensures you’re getting real-world insights (and that nothing falls through the cracks) as you and your teams work to make your products more reliable and efficient.

Data Security

With policies like HIPAA and GDPR to contend with, concerns about privacy have been on the brains of business leaders, as well as professional and personal users, for years. But with employees now needing access to sensitive information and materials at home to perform their job function, the conversation on how to facilitate that securely has reached a fever pitch.

To ensure privacy, prevent leaks, and ease the minds of users, home office device makers need reliable ways to assess risks and assure their devices store and transmit data securely. They also need protocols for locating the problem area and responding immediately.

Industry Challenges

  • Ensuring secure access to protected data from home
  • Creating secure channels to store customer data and maintain privacy
  • Identifying and fixing any security holes before release

Your Path to Success

Testing your product for security vulnerabilities is a field of expertise in and of itself. But leveraging your existing testers and the customer tests you’re already running to monitor your product in the real world puts you a step ahead of any lurking vulnerabilities.

Centercode allows you to automatically tag security-related issues and other feedback that testers report. Whether you’re testing for risks internally or monitoring before a wide release, the platform’s automatic feedback prioritization plugs you and your engineering teams directly into the home offices of your customers. These filters ensure you’re immediately alerted to security issues, critical feedback, and anything else your product owner is concerned about so you can act on them right away.

We’re at Home with Complex Test Cases

Centercode has proven expertise in handling the complexities of testing home office products. Get an in-depth look at our experience helping makers like Bose, Belkin, and TechSmith in our ebook, Making Good Technology Great.

Making Good Tech Great

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