SUBMITTED BY Jamey Biegener, APPSC

As director of software product management, Jamey Biegener is responsible for strategically designing and guiding the product vision and roadmap for DataServ solutions. Since joining the DataServ team in 2004, Jamey has developed a deep understanding of the technology behind the DataServ platform and serves as a liaison to the marketplace, bringing the voice of the company’s users to product decisions. She is certified by the Institute of Finance & Management as a P2P solutions consultant and has completed the Product Management Certificate Program from the University of California, Berkeley, where she mastered client-focused design and frameworks.

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Jamey recently sat down with the DataServ writing team to talk through her ideas, reflections, and predictions for the future in P2P solutions.

Q1: You’re known for being passionate about continuously improving products through formal and informal client input. What was the start of that focus for you - did a mentor or industry leader inspire you, did you have an “a-ha” moment about it, or something else?

A: It really developed as DataServ grew, and I grew with it! At first, my approach was to informally gather client input into product development. But I realized that for me to be most successful at DataServ and for the company to thrive, we needed more formal measures to gauge product progress. One of the ways I pursued that was to earn a certification at the University of California-Berkeley for product development/improvement – and that was my “a-ha” moment! That certification training helped us formalize the product development feedback loop at DataServ, and from that has come many of the product features and capabilities our clients use every day.

Today, what drives my passion is our clients. I love going out to visit clients on-site and hearing directly from them about what’s working and what’s not. Getting that face-to-face interaction, product review, and view of our clients putting our products into practice is fascinating to me – it motivates me to do my very best for our clients. I’ve become much more empathetic in trying to understand what clients are trying to accomplish, and I definitely believe it’s made me a better leader for DataServ.

Q2: What new DataServ product and/or product enhancement are you most proud to have led?

A: One of our latest introductions – messaging users & measuring usage in the platform – has been exciting to see unfold. It tracks behavior in the DataServ system, so we can see what’s working for users, what’s not working, or what’s missing that they really need.

I’m also proud of our Workflow Path feature which we rolled out in 2019. Workflow Path was the result of focus group input about improving the ability to understand the timeline of an approval. Clients weren’t using the existing information when it was part of the audit history so I organized a focus group to listen to the client feedback, went back to the drawing board, and last year rolled out the updated Workflow Path that now gives clients a visual of what’s going on to identify their internal “sticking points” so that they can fix the issue. 

Working at DataServ is most fascinating at times like this, when you know you’re doing something valuable that will help make clients’ work life easier and help improve their organization.

Q3: Have you ever had any product flop or just completely fail? What did you learn from the experience?

A: Yes, and here’s what I learned. There are a million good concepts out there, so it’s not so much originality that’s needed – it’s more a matter of connecting the dots and making the technology match or keep up with the idea. When tools are slow and clunky, people get frustrated and tiptoe around it. Our focus is on spending more time with product design, creating user-friendly and intuitive products, and making sure the delivery is as smooth as possible.

Q4: What inspires you to develop the ideas for new enhancements or entirely new products?

A: Without a doubt, watching clients at work in their “natural habitats” never fails to inspire me! My favorite scenario may sound surprising, but it’s true – I actually like it the most when a client shows frustration. Most of the time, they’re not really upset with the platform – they’re just frustrated at the change in their organization as a result of the new solution. Their strong feelings, however, can either reveal areas of our product that need to be changed or areas that need more user training.

I get inspired by talking with clients who are struggling. I learn so much from them, and I get a great deal of satisfaction with helping them and talking them through the answers that often are already there – they just haven’t realized it yet! You can’t get that over the phone or even by video chat. It’s the emotion that you can see when you’re face to face that most helps me understand what’s going on and how to help.

Q5: You recently got client input/votes in real time at Confluence 2019. How did that feedback session go from your perspective? What did you learn from it?

We learned so much! Interestingly, the feedback from Confluence (the annual DataServ client event) reinforced the feedback from our 2019 focus groups, which gave us great confidence in the data we gather throughout the year. We learned that it’s important to clients to feel comfortable enough with our team and our processes to ask when they don’t know something. Many people have a hard time asking for help, especially when they feel like they “should” know something. Again, that’s why establishing and cultivating relationships with our clients at DataServ is such a vital part of what we do. We want our clients to feel comfortable enough to ask us anything and get the help they need when they need it, rather than just stewing in frustration and rejecting what might be a great solution for them. At Confluence, I was able to have our clients vote in real time and give feedback on new ideas as we introduced them. That kind of real time feedback was fascinating for all of us, and it’s helped us set our priorities for future product growth and development. We’re looking forward to unveiling new solutions in 2020 and beyond that had their genesis in Confluence!

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