Long-term Product Vision

20-Apr 2022
mandy
Mandy Anger VP OF PRODUCT

 

It's time for a change

Since the launch of Accelo in 2012, the focus has been on developing a platform that supports you as a professional service company in running your business from quote to cash. As organizations have shifted more of their customized workflows to cloud solutions, our solution for running your business has needed to shift with you to continue to impact more and more individual jobs to be done.

With the next stage of our growth, Accelo is heavily focused on improving the platform experience for you and your employees. Users will enjoy an improved look and feel, making it easier to manage their daily tasks in Accelo.

A little history

Over the years, Accelo focused on the needs of your business and developed the breadth of the platform to support greater business performance. Now is the perfect time to upgrade our platform with the advancement of user technology needs and expectations., and the fact that its been a while since we've made platform-wide UI upgrades, now is the perfect time to restructure the platform as we turn to becoming people-first. 

Why a change is needed

Accelo has released hundreds of features, enhancements, bug fixes and upgrades over the years, all with the goal of giving you more insight, better understanding and clearer perspective to run a profitable professional service business. We are still dedicated to that effort, but times have changed. Technology has advanced; we have access to new architecture and solutions that have never existed before and that we can apply to increase the platform's performance. User expectations have changed; your employees expect a simple and elegant user experience in the software they use each day. 

We have heard from you and your employees that the platform is extensive, users need time to familiarize themselves with all the features and capabilities. Accelo is a comprehensive and  powerful set of products and with advancements, has become more complex to navigate.We are gaining more insight and becoming more intune with how and why people are using Accelo today and in the future to develop the user interface.

Over 22,000 users engage with Accelo every month to do their jobs. Currently, all users have a very similar experience and access to most of the same data. However, we know that each individual has a different set of jobs to do when they come to our platform. Asking each user to parse all the information presented so they can find the one piece they need or take the one action they need is not the ideal experience.

Areas of Accelo's platform used by each persona type


Whether your users are individual contributors (IC) who deliver a product or service, like a copywriter or designer, or folks who work with clients, like account managers, they need a smart, simple, and smooth experience in Accelo to provide you with the information and visibility you need. We know you rely on Accelo to run your business. And we recognize that you need a different solution and we want to continue to build solutions that meet your needs, help your growing team manage their work and help your growing organization manage the overall business.

What change will look like

As I introduced above, the future of Accelo's platform is people first. We are taking a persona-driven approach to product development as we create the new user experience in Accelo. 

A persona-driven approach is a good option for Accelo for a few reasons - 

  • Accelo is a large, complex platform that has multiple user types doing different things in the platform.
  • We want to create a product experience that delights users regardless of what their role is or what they are doing in the platform.
  • We want to align our releases around making a clear and noticeable difference in the experience for specific personas instead of releasing a mish-mash of feature enhancements.

Taking a persona-driven approach allows us to address the overarching usability by restructuring the platform to create persona-based spaces as primary states for the platform, based on the jobs that persona type needs to do in the platform. 

This approach is not starting over, it's a change in how information is surfaced in the platform. Taking a persona-driven approach allows Accelo to tailor the platform to particular persona types, resulting in a simpler, more intuitive user experience. If you want to learn more about persona-driven UI, this article is a short and informative read. 

As we start down the path of the persona-driven approach, the Product team is developing and refining the personas we will use to guide us. We are starting with the most broad list and will add more, as needed, in the future. 

The initial list of personas may include

  • Executive
  • Manager
    • People Manager
    • Work Manager
  • Individual Contributor (work or client)
  • Outside Clients - the organization that is being served by an Accelo client

We will begin our research and development with the individual contributor persona. This persona makes up the largest user group, which means we will be able to improve the experience for the most users if we address this persona first.

 

Additionally, this group is made up of skilled employees whose primary job is not project or work management, other than their own, so they are coming to the Accelo platform to do tasks that are not primary to their contribution to your company's success. By focusing on this persona as our first priority, we will create a simple, and elegant experience that allows individuals to complete their jobs to be done in Accelo quickly and efficiently, as well as thoroughly, and get them back to the work they love and the work that drives your profitability. 

Once we have an MVP of the individual contributor experience ready to go, we will continue working through our personas. Our goal is to create that tailored, unique experience that is necessary for each to be efficient and effective in their jobs while using Accelo. The Product team's research and your feedback will help ensure that we are prioritizing the personas correctly and that we are creating the best experience for each persona in Accelo.

What you should expect

Since this is a long-term vision and a large-scale shift in how we are thinking about and building our software, it will take several years to fully implement this vision. This is an iterative process - the good news is that we have already started. You may have seen some of the new view screen designs that Product and Design have been testing out. 

 This redesign of the UI is the first step down the path of creating an elegant, delightful and user-focused interface in the platform. We are starting with the Sales view screen and will add new UI for additional view screens in the future. 

Engineering is already in progress on updating the architecture and underlying technologies that support the platform. Accelo is upgrading to modern and flexible tools to help us scale into the future, and improve responsiveness and performance. Below is a list of some of the technologies included in our tech stack’

Additionally, we are continuing to invest in security. This year we are focused on the ISO 27001 Information Security Management Certification to ensure that your data and information is as safe as possible. We are also working with the Compliance Council to review and validate the security practices we have in place. Your security and data protection are our highest priority. 

With so much change coming to the Accelo platform, we are committed to making sure you know what to expect. We have improved our release plan to include more communication and visibility for you and your employees before we launch anything. And most importantly, we want you to be involved in this process with us! Product has a dedicated space on the Community where we post all our research efforts with forms to sign up to participate. We have been sending surveys and scheduling interviews to gather feedback and insights on the personas in your organizations. And we have been reviewing the Ideas forum to identify functionality that is specific to and critical for each persona. Please use any and all of the methods below to engage with the Product team as we move forward with the exciting new vision of Accelo's future.

More to Come

Get the latest product information and engage with other Accelo users and support in the Accelo Community. Filled with insightful discussions, support Q&As, product updates, and blogs, Community helps you find the best ways to use Accelo to manage your client work. Connect with other professional service providers to share ideas and learn ways that they have successfully managed their client work.

For those of you who are interested in following the product roadmap, we have just released a roadmap for Q4 and sneak peek at what we are thinking about for next year on the Accelo Community. Check it out!

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