I managed to have a few days off over the Christmas holidays this time around, which was great. No emails, no phone calls, no spreadsheets, just good company, (too much) good food and drink, time relaxing with family - all good stuff.
My two year old daughter made me smile amidst a tornado of shredded wrapping paper on Christmas morning. When her mum asked her if she had everything she wanted from Santa, she shrieked, 'This gets gooder and gooder!'. Naturally, we fell about, but the phrase stuck.
As with all software products, they're never really finished, as such; there's always more that can be developed, especially with great customer ideas streaming in for each new release. CADsmart is no different in this respect. But during my holiday down-time, I indulged in a bit of reflection about the past 5 years or so, back to the early days of our fledgling attempts to capture reliable metrics on how people use CAD. Things have moved on a bit since then, and everything on our original wishlist of features is now live in the current software - something we could only dream about back in the day.
Just last year, we completed a major upgrade of our core architecture, adopting the latest programming technology and web services functionality, to make our user journey that much smoother. We also undertook and delivered our first Revit release, which was challenging, but extremely rewarding.
During a web demo to leading US-based CAD consultant Robert Green last week, it suddenly dawned on me that, based on the enthusiastic feedback we received, we have actually created a damn fine piece of technology! And not just our software, which is world-class in the skills assessment field.
The lightbulb moment for me was more to do with the feedback we received on the quality and range of performance metrics which are created when the skills assessments are completed and uploaded to our customer 'dashboard' - a secure online login area where customers can access and interrogate their results data. In fact, the comment was made by Robert that the testing software is really just a tiny part of the big picture - and he's absolutely right! The testing phase is just a means to and end - it's the capturing of the CAD performance data for individuals, teams, offices and whole companies, which is the key.
We've been working hard on providing innovative and useful ways for our customers to engage with and apply their CAD metrics to improving performance across their respective organisations. In the next couple of weeks, we go live with even more functionality for CAD Managers and administrators to present CAD skills data in more of a 'management' context. We're excited at some of the new features, particularly when I look back at how some of the data was presented (using Excel and Word!) just a few short years ago.
In addition, our training reports now dovetail neatly into corresponding web-training sessions from Evolve (http://www.evolve-consultancy.com) and E-Learning classes from 4D (http://www.cadlearning.com/) which adds even more value to our user base.
To quote a wise-beyond-her-years toddler, this business 'just keeps getting gooder and gooder!' :)