Providing Flexible Product UpdatesPosted: 11/08/2016 12:00am
Product updates are a regular practice for technology companies. Once a product is released to the marketplace, developers continue to improve the functionality, fix bugs, and incorporate user feedback. This is a common practice at Cortex; however, we are making improvements to how these product releases are done. One of the areas we’re improving upon is how and when we release updates to the product. Historically, we’ve followed a rigid release schedule where unplanned changes were very disruptive to timelines and processes. We realized that as our business continues to grow, this would become more difficult to manage and wouldn’t suit the needs of our customers. Over the past six months, we’ve moved toward a process that allows us to be more flexible with product updates.
On August 13th, Cortex is scheduled to deploy a small update to our system. As some of you may realize, this follows quickly on the heels of a large update released on July 23rd. This update includes two incremental changes related to referencing Purchase Orders (PO) on Invoices.
The first change affects companies who both issue POs and use our Approver module to pre-approve invoices prior to accepting them into their workflow and ERP. The update allows the PO issuer to specify who will pre-approve any subsequent Invoices sent back to them. The designated approver name is now automatically populated on the Invoice when the Supplier creates line items with reference to the PO line items. The second update allows Suppliers filling out Invoices with reference to POs to select multiple PO line items in the reference document dialog window, speeding up the process of filling out and submitting an Invoice in our Workbench.
While these updates will improve usability and save our users time in the process, the update is relatively small compared to our typical releases. It’s important for you to know that Cortex strives to continually improve our ability to adapt while providing simple and scalable e-invoicing solutions.
With our new release process, our product roadmap has become more fluid and is updated more frequently. Developers have to maintain multiple branches of code and manage merging them together (a task that can sometimes be more tedious than the update itself), and support, delivery, and training teams may have to wait longer to receive a finalized list of what updates are being released. Ultimately, it becomes an exercise of communicating more effectively, which pays dividends for other adaptation efforts as well.
These changes don’t necessarily mean that we will always be releasing updates more often but we can rapidly adapt to unforeseen circumstances by managing what updates go into a release. For instance, if an arbitrary problem delays an update, that particular update doesn’t have to hold up the rest of the planned updates. Instead we can release only the updates that are ready for production while continuing to work on more advanced changes. Once the update is working and complete, it can be rolled into a subsequent release or released on its own depending on importance.
As is proven with our customer solutions and product advancement, Cortex is committed to finding a better way.
Published by Teo Adams
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Cortex Business Solutions.