Milestone Makes the Move to Open Platform Community
- By Sydny Shepard
- Feb 29, 2016
Milestone Systems, the open platform company in IP video management software, announced new initiatives that will increase partner engagement at their annual Milestone Integration Platform Symposium in Scottsdale, Arizona. Janne Jakobsen, Vice President, Professional Business Unit, at Milestone Systems, believes that the move is exactly what Milestone needs to be striving for.
“It is actually a pretty big move, going from an open platform company to an open platform community,” Jakobsen said. “We are basically saying, ‘Here we are, come and play.’ That message should not be underestimated because it tells a lot about the direction we are taking which is an acknowledgment that we alone, as a company, are not as strong as we can be together with our partners.”
Milestone plans on taking several steps to accomplish the move from company to community such as creating an advisory board with partners and customers on road map prioritization, establishing a developer forum to strengthen the developer experience, enhancing the SDK design and developing more documentation of the API. They hope to ease the move to community by expanding solution certifications to bolster reliability and ensure uniform quality, build an online Milestone marketplace for partners to promote and sell their solutions and introduce co-marketing programs to strengthen commercial collaboration.
In an effort to get solutions end-users faster, Milestone is going towards a more agile development for their products. Instead of releasing once every year, or every year and a half, Milestone will begin to release new functionality for their products every fourth month.
“It isn’t going to be three big bangs into the market, but rather just dropping in what we have ready,” Jakobsen said. “This process also means we are going to be able to see the trends in the market and react a lot faster than we have been able to in the past.”
Jakobsen explains as an example that this could mean a feature is launched in phases over a few releases instead of waiting to release something when it is complete with all the bells and whistles. Doing it this way enables the developers to offer new functionality faster to end users and then gradually improve the feature, forexample with new visual design and increased functionality over a couple of releases.
“I think it is super important to just let things drop in when they are ready because it isn’t so overwhelming to the end-user,” Jaksobsen said. “We also don’t force our users to upgrade, so if they want to wait until the end of the year and get all the features at once, they can.”
Moving to a faster release cycle enables Milestone to get features to the customers, and in order to get the right features to the end customer, it is imporant to know who your customers are, a practice that Jakobsen firmly believes in.
“You can do fantastic innovation,” Jakobsen said. “But if you haven’t considered who you are going to bring that innovation to, and what problems it is you are trying to solve, I can almost promise you you’re going to fail.”
Analyzing customer necessities and problems is something Milestone believes its partners should also take part in. Jakobsen explained that when companies are aware of the customer’s needs, it is easier for companies to come together to create solutions.
“What our SDK and our corporation with the partners would allow us to offer a bundled solution,” Jakobsen said. “If we explore beyond the opportunities we already have together but also do bundles where we have pre-integrated with a partner analytics for a retail solution, then we are helping our customers in more ways than one.”
This is why it is so important for Milestone to put on the annual MIPS event. It creates a platform for Milestone and its partners to come together to discuss current trends and new technology and start exploring ideas in an environment that allows you to be face-to-face with people you wouldn’t normally be able to meet.
This year’s MIPS 2016 was the 11th annual event, with 60 exhibitors and 515 attendees up from the 5 exhibitors and 75 attendees in their first year.
“MIPS is a great opportunity to come together for many reasons, both for Milestone and our partners,” Jakobsen said. “It is an opportunity for us to engage in a way that would probably not happen if we did not have MIPS. And then it isn’t only Milestone to the partners but also the partners to the partners and we like that we’ve become that platform for them.”
The move from company to community isn’t just a marketing campaign for Milestone, it is a commitment to the industry to create products and cultivate partnerships that are productive and meaningful.