Setting up a pilot/beta program today has never been more important. It has become a necessity in enabling a business with a proactive approach to testing, and is a crucial element in delivering customer-centric solutions.
Technology products are advancing so quickly that what seems cutting-edge or innovative today becomes outdated and irrelevant tomorrow. Customers who were once amazed by simple product features are now demanding an increasingly intuitive experience, even from technology they consider to be ‘everyday’.
According to the recent State of the Connected Customer report, 67% of today’s customers say their standard for good experiences is higher than ever, and 76% say they expect companies to understand their needs and expectations.
In the race for innovation, some businesses are blazing trails by beta and pilot testing their products, experimenting with new features to create reliable, forward-thinking tech. But some others are struggling to get their beta testing programs off the ground.
There are four main reasons why beta testing should be at the heart of a product development strategy:
Beta testing should follow a scientific process, or it’s bound for failure. By having a repeatable methodology, you can keep your testing schedule agile and respond to market movements quickly, and ensure your teams know the right process will keep testing on track and efficient.
Most businesses should operate on the same basic process to get products to market:
There are plenty of tools out there to help with your beta testing, such as Jira or Rally. Stay informed about latest developments in the industry and work with your team to ensure your tools are right for your business.
Often, brands will ask beta testing groups to complete a Non-Disclosure Agreement. This means that if any problems arise with the product during tests, users cannot communicate them to the media or to market competitors.
Having a few formalities in place – even if testing among family and friends – protects the business, its reputation and its intellectual property, especially in the early stages of product testing.
When it comes to creating a market-leading product, the whole organisation needs to be behind it. The concept of testing, learning and continuous improvement should not be something reserved for the product development team.
Empower the wider company to provide feedback and have their say – after all, they are a ready-made user panel. Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to building the best beta program for your business.
For more advice on setting up a pilot/beta program for your business, download the Advisory Services e-book: Transforming business through strategic technical guidance today.