Microsoft to Maptek – a software journey

A simple yet thought-provoking mission statement:

‘Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.’

Microsoft’s mission became mine while working as a Software Engineer in Seattle during 2016.

Now that I’m back at Maptek, I realise that Microsoft’s mission is not unlike what we are trying to achieve with our mining applications.

Many have asked how that mission can be fulfilled. The answer forms an important part of any successful software product – a deep understanding of customer needs with continuous consultation during the development process to ensure the end result can empower the user to achieve more.

The city of Redmond, just 15 minutes outside of Seattle, Washington, holds the offices of approximately 44,000 Microsoft employees. Due to the size of the organisation, the relationship between customer and everyday developer becomes distant. This occasionally skews the requirements, where a customer’s request can morph as it travels through the management levels and into the development teams.

I speculate that a more in-depth beta testing process involving the everyday user would result in fewer ‘hiccups’ like the infamous removal of the Windows start menu in Windows 8 and the shortcomings of Windows Vista.

So how does Maptek compare? Like Microsoft, Maptek has a deep understanding of customer needs. However unlike Microsoft, the everyday Maptek developer has an incredibly strong connection to the customer base. Maptek promotes and supports this relationship, whether by a direct phone call, or an on-site visit. Consistent consultation has instigated development of hundreds of major and minor features within Maptek software.

This is demonstrated by Maptek customers having access to pre-release software so they can report any issues or make suggestions. Their contribution ensures the final product matches the needs of as many customers as possible.

It is my hope that as Maptek grows we will never lose sight of the importance of a strong connection between customer and developer that enables high-quality, empowering software.

Will Reid
Global Development Strategy Manager
May 9, 2017

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