One of Bronto’s founding principles is that customers drive our business. So it’s no surprise that customers are significant and valued contributors throughout product ideation, development and production. Software products move through three distinct phases during development: Beta, Bronto Labs and General Availability (GA). Here’s a quick guide to what happens during each stage and how customers participate in that process.

Beta: Limited Release to a Specific Group of Users

At this stage, we offer small groups of deeply engaged Bronto customers early access to experience an emerging product as part of its pre-production testing group. Before the Beta process begins, all aspects of the feature have successfully passed our rigorous quality assurance (QA) testing process. However, this stage is highly iterative: We frequently add or change functionality based on the customer feedback we receive, and we will discontinue development if necessary. Typically, a small number of customers participate in a Beta group. Participants receive personalized training and attention from a Bronto product manager, who stays in close touch to answer questions and gather feedback. Some Beta customers are also members of Bronto’s Customer Advisory Board (CAB), where our product management team gathers ideas and feedback for improvements to the Bronto Marketing Platform.

Bronto Labs: General Release Available to All Customers

After a thorough QA process, and before making the feature globally available, all customers have access to the feature in Labs. This is the time to test how the new functionality will improve your business. This stage is also iterative, so features improve on design and functionality over time and users can expect to see frequent enhancements. We will pull features from Bronto Labs if we find they don’t deliver benefit to customers. Only software features (not apps) can be introduced in Labs, so Bronto customers can visit Labs in the Bronto Marketing Platform to enable or disable these features. (Look for the green beaker at the top right of your account screen.) In Bronto Labs, one of our product managers gathers customer questions and feedback and tracks specific customers’ success over time with the feature. In the last two months, we’ve launched New Reports and Campaigns in Bronto Labs.

General Availability (GA)

At this stage, the feature is complete and is no longer undergoing iterative design and has been provisioned for all users in the Bronto Marketing Platform or made available via the Bronto AppCenter. Of course, we constantly make improvements to all features in the Bronto Marketing Platform. Customers often suggest changes via Bronto Ideas, Support or Professional Services. Those suggested changes also go through a development and testing process that includes our QA process and gathering feedback from customers. If you’re a Bronto user who would like to get more involved in our product development process, contact your Bronto account manager. Contact us to learn more about Bronto’s products and services.