Over the last couple of years, as a Product team working on Brightmail, we have really increased our efforts to gather as much information from customers as possible.
Talking to customers about what they need do today and how they do it, how they envisage doing it in the future, as well as how they deal with different security threats whether it's around inbound email malware or Data Loss Prevention.
Last week I met with the top IT guys for one of our Enterprise Security customers, to talk about future projects they are running and how Symantec Enterprise Security products fit into their internal roadmap. I first visited them last summer on a whirlwind tour of customers in Europe.
Besides being a great week long roadtrip and building relationships with the guys in the field that I don't often get to meet face to face, we had some really interesting discussions with customers about their requirements and futures.
Now, one of the thing I like to do when meeting customers, is to talk a little bit about what improvements our Engineering team have put into the product over the last release. It's a pretty good way to break the ice, if it's the first time i've met them.
It's even better when I get to go back to a customer and outline improvements based on the feedback we took away from our last meeting with them. Of course, it doesn't always go that way and some times it's a little painful explaining why we haven't put someone's "must have" feature into the product yet. :)
Symantec have always been interested in customer feedback and i'm really pleased to see us adding more transparency to our product planning.
The Ideas section on Symantec Connect (https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/ideas) was launched last month. It's based on the idea of community voting and gives our customers a way to voice their opinions on and request new functionality requests. You can find the Brightmail Gateway Ideas section under the Security heading.
One of the most difficult things to do around enhancements is to really understand just how popular a new feature would be across our entire customer base.
Sure, we can talk to as many customers as possible and ask for their opinions but using the Ideas portal to reach a wider audience is going to be invaluable.
It's still in the infancy right now but as we start moving forwards through project release cycles, you'll see others on my team and engineering folk joining in the conversations to make sure we are looking at the right solutions.
(Note: I try to steer clear from annoying corporate terms as much as possible so it pains me to type the next sentence.)
My "Call To Action" (grrr) for Brightmail Gateway customers is to get involved in the Ideas portal.
Have a look through the suggestions that have been put forward already.
Vote for the ones that interest you and add your own Ideas in.
You disagree with something that someone suggests? Add a comment to their suggestion explaining why you disagree.
I'm always happy to talk to customers so if you have a question about anything mail or web security related, leave a comment below or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.