These Product Support Forums are monitored by the Knowledge Partners and other knowledgeable volunteers who are only too eager to help visitors resolve issues with their products. Over time, as more issues are resolved, these forums become a repository of solutions covering a wide range of products and issues.

In an effort to avoid issues that others may have already encountered, some visitors may choose to browse the forums to gain a sense of what they may face before installing a product or upgrading to a new version of a product. Others may have already encountered an issue and instead turn to an Internet search engine which may, in turn, direct them to a specific forum post if the issue has already been resolved in one of the forums. These are just some of the ways these forums provide support to Micro Focus customers. But can they do more?

Like other vendors, Micro Focus does market research to determine how best to meet the needs of their customers or potential customers: They request feedback after closing a Service Request; They provide a portal where Product Enhancement Requests can be submitted; And, they likely have other means of soliciting customer feedback too. But what about the forums themselves? Could not the forums also provide a unique perspective to Micro Focus?

These forums deal with real world situations covering a wide range of products and system configurations. Here are a few examples of what Micro Focus could learn from the information contained in these forums. I'm sure others can provide additional examples.

  • How products are deployed and what customers expect them to do.
  • Issues related to specific configurations.
  • Recurring issues.
  • Continued use of unsupported products.
  • How the lack of a specific feature is impacting a customer.
  • Customer devised workarounds.

IMO, both Micro Focus and customers could benefit greatly if Micro Focus product teams would review forum content when planning new product releases. The forums offer an additional benefit that may not be available from other market research sources: They allow product teams to ask follow-up questions, either publicly or privately, to gain a better understanding of a particular situation.

Is it not time to make better use of the wealth of information that these forums contain?