Do You Have a DCIM Roadmap ?

Prospective customers usually question our roadmap. Although that’s a good question, it’s difficult to answer not because I believe we have a ‘roadmap problem’ at Graphical Networks, but because explaining our reasoning and viewpoint behind it would lead to a lengthy debate on the nature of ‘what is a software company?’ (and, perhaps, a disappointed customer).

We don’t have a formal roadmap. Well, not in the grand ‘wave-your-hands-in-the-air-big-power-point-24-month-huge-plan’ sense.

Generally, salespeople like roadmaps and will throw everything and everything at them. Then you want to say what your prospects want to hear. But, once the customer has purchased the tool, who cares if it is truly delivered? Maybe I’m being a little sarcastic, but I’ve seen this precise situation play out before at other organizations.

A negligent salesperson would say yes to every request from a prospect, which is a disaster for several reasons I hope I don’t have to explain. Even if we wanted to say yes to everything, the reality of a lack of resources would impact us from delivering most of the requests, setting false hopes, setting a bad example and worst of all disappointing the client or prospect.

Why are there so many issues with roadmaps?

Roadmaps are typically long-term, hazy, and untested laundry lists of cool-to-have ideas. After 20 years in software product management, I’ve come to believe that such fantasy roadmaps are magical thinking. I’ve witnessed it firsthand: when you have to present them at meetings, they change like a chameleon.

DCIM Software Roadmap Quote

I described the procedure for gathering feature requests in a recent blog on netTerrain — our roadmap is not a collection of those feature requests either. If it were, we’d wind up with a disorganized laundry list of pet features from everyone – adding all of these features would break the product for 90% of the population. When everything is necessary, nothing is: because it is impossible to include each component, you are a force to choose, which causes particular people to feel belittled, while you miss deadlines and everything becomes a confusing mess. We are unaware of any quality software company that runs in this manner.

Do we have a roadmap at Graphical Networks?

Yes, one is significantly much realistically achievable: it contains a list of improvements for the next release and an overall direction for the software company.

So here is an example: Release 8.6 is now our existing roadmap, including capabilities such as port-to-port network topology mapping, enhanced outside plant performance, simpler device catalog administration, and more for network mapping, DCIM, and fiber plant documentation.

After that, we have so many potential features for the future edition (version 9.0).

That’s all there is to it. That’s how we prefer it. Anything more would, in my opinion, be magical thinking. You really cannot go beyond a few months.

Further than that, there are simply so many variations in the IT visualization market, as well as expectations from current and future clients, to make a long-term roadmap predictable.

Do you want to request the roadmap?

We are always ready to reveal what is in store, so much so that we frequently discuss it on our blogs. However, if you want a fancy-schmancy PowerPoint, you will not receive it. Our roadmap can be described in the upcoming slides: next release, candidate features for future release, and long-term goal. It is the roadmap that we provide our client advisory board and global partners.

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