Enhancing the Enhancement Request Process – Mentor Graphics

by Braden Kelley

I had the opportunity to attend the Brightidea Innovation Leaders “Birds of a Feather” Conference. The event was a peer-to-peer discussion on innovation management among innovation executives and managers at top global corporations. The conference provided a forum to exchange ideas and best practices on implementing innovation in large organizations, and there were presentations by WMS and Mentor Graphics. This is the second in a series of two articles highlighting the key takeaways from the two presentations, based on the notes I took at the event.

The Mentor Graphics presentation was given by Kim Kelley, Service Delivery Program Manager.

Mentor Graphics is a leading player in the electronic design automation (EDA) market. They are engaged in developing, manufacturing, marketing and supporting of EDA products. The company’s software and hardware solutions enable integrated device manufacturers, original equipment manufacturers and semiconductor foundries to develop electronic products.

Situation

The old process of managing enhancement requests wasn’t working and was impeding Mentor’s support process. All the enhancement ideas were going through the same rigorous ticketing scenario as a customer support issue.

Solution

To resolve this issue, Mentor decided to use BrightIdea to manage the process and out of their 600 products, Mentor zoomed down to 1 or 2 product lines to get their feet wet, and pursued the effort in primarily a top-down approach.

Similar to WMS, Mentor pursued a structured launch process including some of these key components:

  • Identify a face to the customer
  • Seeded the site with 26 initial ideas from existing ideas (top ones they were considering)
  • Set up a badge for Mentor Graphics submitted ideas
  • They pre-launched with selective key customers (people involved in betas, valuable customers)
  • We worked with legal and got a terms of use put in place that gives us ownership of any idea submitted
  • We also implemented a privacy policy
  • We use Google Analytics and the reporting capability in BrightIdea to track our site usage

Learnings

Some of the learnings they had from their launch process and usage of the tool include:

  • The software worked, but our pre-launch customers were stronger contributors (so next time we increased pre-launch size)
  • The tool is definitely solving the problem we had between support requests and enhancement requests
  • Financial incentives were not necessary, people feel ownership of their ideas
  • The power of the community or the wisdom of the crowd is starting to have an effect on product development
  • People are having candid debate around other customer’s ideas and even offering alternative solutions
  • Interestingly the seed ideas that we put in initially are not the ideas that customers really want (highest ranking is #5 now)
  • We are not only looking at the top ideas, but also looking at ideas that go with them (and combining them at the back end)
  • We also have learned that employees should also be able to put in ideas (but not vote) and otherwise contribute
  • Seeding the site was important as a way of setting the tone – but of course it is important for people to see changes that have come as a result of their contribution

All in all, a great success for both the customers and for Mentor Graphics.

What do you think?

@innovate

Leave a Reply