A new idea for industry feedback
SDL, the leading provider of Global Information Management (GIM) solutions, recently announced the launch of ideas.sdltrados.com – an online customer suggestions portal for the SDL TRADOS technology community.
With SDL leading the technology charge in the GILT industry, CSN wanted to fi nd out more about this new website and what it hopes to accomplish.
CSN: First, can you give an overview of this new site and what it is meant to accomplish?
ARGYRO: Sure, the ideas.sdltrados.com website has been designed to establish a customer-led approach to product development. It refl ects the innovation that has always been the driving force behind SDL Trados’ efforts to provide maximum value across the translation supply chain. Listening to customer feedback and incorporating it into new products has been and remains a critical step in this process.
Recently, however, new technological developments and trends have opened the possibility of new communication channels with our customers. As we have all witnessed, the web has played a central role in enabling communities of interest to collaborate more effectively than ever before. As a result, we are seeing an explosion of innovation from websites featuring user-generated content. Our site, ideas.sdltrados.com, is designed to serve as a virtual ‘meeting room’, providing customers with a space to come together to share thoughts and ideas with SDL product management.
CSN: Whom is this site intended for?
ARGYRO: ideas.sdltrados.com is designed for the community of SDL TRADOS technology users to suggest the new functionality and features they would like to see in the software. They will also able to see the product suggestions that have been made by other customers and promote their favorite enhancements.
The site is designed to foster an environment of collaboration where customers can interact with SDL product management and other users.
We’re all very excited here at SDL about the development of ideas.sdltrados.com. It embraces state-of-the-art web 2.0 social networking as a means for building relationships with our customers. With ideas.sdltrados.com we are using the web to listen to our customers and further positive relationships.
CSN: Many mainstream software publishers outside the GILT industry use similar sites to help product managers develop new features and functionality for their upcoming releases; is this site simply a way to gather product requirements or is this something more?
ARGYRO: We are inviting our customers to participate in shaping SDL Trados products. Through ideas.sdltrados.com our customers become in essence part of our product development team.
But this not all the site focuses on.
Bringing a sense of community for discussion and connecting SDL TRADOS users is also key.
For instance it is not uncommon for industry observers to comment on the isolation of the freelance translator. SDL Trados is trying to address some of this by helping support all members of the supply chain and create a virtual office environment where users working in remote locations can exchange ideas and learn from each other. They can educate themselves by fi nding resolutions to problems as solved by other users or SDL personnel. They can also get in touch with other members of translation community and increase networking.
CSN: The site has been live for a little over a month; how has the market responded? And is it being used in the way you envisioned?
ARGYRO: Since its launch we have been receiving very positive feedback from customers and industry experts. It’s a fi rst of its kind for our industry.
We have received a large number of ideas for feature enhancements– over 200, most of which have sparked very interesting discussions in the community. Some of the most popular ideas are already being developed by the product management team. As an example, within one month the top voted idea on SDL Trados 2007 has already made it to the Service Pack 1 for SDL Trados 2007 due out in September. Another example is site improvement ideas; we have already incorporated several suggestions, days after they were submitted.
We have always valued the importance of our customer’s input. There are over 150,000 SDL Trados professionals working in the translation supply chain and we wanted a central platform for them to openly discuss what they would like to see in our products. Together with SDL Trados product management, we’re confi dent this will lead to continued innovation for the most relied-upon and widely-used translation products in the industry.
CSN: SDL has always looked for ways to innovate and take their product lines to the next level, what is next in terms of solutions for this user community and the evolution of communication and collaboration?
ARGYRO: There are several plans for the future development of the site.
First of all, we have a section for improvement suggestions on the ideas.sdltrados.com site functionality. This area is constantly monitored by our web development team. We have received some very interesting suggestions and already our team is working to incorporate the top ranking ones in the launch of a Phase 2 version of the website, scheduled for September.
We are also planning to add more categories for our customers suggestions. Currently, the focus is on product enhancements, but going forward we are looking to add categories such as Customer and Professional Services and Training.
Our long term commitment is to listen to customer input and ideas to improve our products and services, and the way we do business.
CSN: Can you outline how the site functions for those who want to fi nd out more?
ARGYRO: Sure, here’s how it works:
First, customers need to visit ideas.sdltrados.com. There they can add proposed ideas, comment on them, and vote for them. As ideas are promoted, their score increases, allowing SDL Trados to rank which suggestions and requests are considered most important. A page will be maintained to view how the product development team is acting on the suggestions.
ARGYRO KYRIAKIDOU IS MARKETING PROGRAMS MANAGER FOR SDL TRADOS TECHNOLOGIES
SDL is the leader in global information management (GIM) solutions that empower organizations to accelerate the delivery of high-quality multilingual content to global markets.
Ms. Kyriakidou is a Greek citizen and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Surrey, School of Management. Argyro has Business to Consumer and Business to Business marketing experience, and has held Marketing Communications and Marketing Product Management positions at various large international corporations including Future Electronics and Wendy’s Hamburger’s Inc. She manages world-wide marketing activities for SDL Trados Technologies and in 2006 launched the SDL TRADOS Certifi cation program. Argyro can be reached at argyrokyriakidou[at]sdl.com.
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