It's been a long week. We've migrated four sites' email to Office 365 and had a few complications along the way (email has all these picky little settings that, if not found, can bring everything down).
But last Friday afternoon we held one of our user group sessions! We hold these locally in Wellington and invite key customers to provide their feedback. Attendees are hand-picked to provide a variety of feedback - of course we love it when we're told everything is great, but we also want to hear about it when things aren't working as expected. Without the feedback we can't improve.
In this user group session we looked at SuiteFiles Outlook, the search function, and a Client Portal.
We spent some time looking at our new Outlook app and getting feedback on it. At our last feedback session we were about to launch the BETA version of the app; now it's been live for a few months.
The feedback we got suggested that compared to the alternative products, ours is considerably faster and easier to use. We will continue to incrementally improve SuiteFiles Outlook - in fact there will be an update later this week.
There's a tough trade off with search between speed and relevance. Unfortunately the underlying SharePoint search is often slow and irrelevant so we have been building our own search algorithms to work alongside the SharePoint search.
Everyone was confused at how search works in SuiteFiles. Right now we have a hybrid approach using the underlying SharePoint search and our own capability. Our capability caches a lot of data in the browser to aid the speed of search. The trade off is that when changes are made to the file system it can take a period of time for the search cache to refresh and show the new data.
For us search is a work in progress. We will continue to improve our search capability focussing on relevant results, the ability to refine search results and speed.
The thing that almost all prospective users of SuiteFiles are asking for at the moment is a client portal - the ability to share files or folders of files with clients and others external to their Office 365 account. It sounds like a great idea, however the actual requirements for it can be wide ranging. It's one thing to provide an area where a client can upload documents rather than emailing them to you and another to have a full collaborative area where clients can edit files.
The feedback we got surprised us. Everyone felt that from a SuiteFiles marketing perspective that having a client portal would be great for us. However, everyone also thought that it would be a long, hard slog to get their clients trained in using the system and that as a result it may not be something that they use a lot.
One thing that we do know - our capability to share a file with an external person needs to improve at a minimum. We will work on this.
If you have other views about a client portal we'd love to hear them.
So, the session was again enlightening as we learn first hand what users of SuiteFiles are looking for and how they are using the system. Thanks to everyone who attended!