Skip to main content

Driving Solution Improvement with a Customer-Centric Approach: A Product Management Q&A

Yin He, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Solutions
January 18, 2022

Customer focus is hugely important for the Appian product management team as we iterate on our solutions to keep pace with customer needs. Hearing directly from those who use the solutions every day is invaluable and offers our team insight into specific use cases and opportunities for optimization and enhancement.  

In her role on the product management team for our Government Acquisition Management solution suite here at Appian, Celine Guan sees firsthand the impact that feedback from customers can have on delivering a solution that meets their needs. Celine hosts recurring roundtables to hear from customers across the public sector. Each roundtable offers customers the ability to openly discuss how they use the solution, share tips and tricks, and provide candid feedback to the Appian team on where we can improve the customer experience.

I sat down with Celine to learn more about her experience with customers, how their feedback translates to product updates, and what’s next for her team’s solution.


Q: Can you give us a bit of background on your experience at Appian and how you work with customers?

A: Of course! I’ve been at Appian for just over two years now. I started working in customer success. In my current role as a product manager, I manage our Government Acquisition Management solution suite. We have four solutions in the suite, with a fifth on the way.

My job is to interact with our customers and users, internal experts, and solutions owners to determine what features and enhancements can and should be made and how to prioritize them on our product roadmap. We host monthly or bi-weekly discussions with customers to hear what’s working, what’s not, and where they see room for improvement. I help with the intake of customer requests and work with the greater team to determine the feasibility of those requests, their timeline, and impact. Some requests will benefit many customers, while some will benefit specific agencies, so we also determine whether to implement a feature for specific customers or the entire solution.

This process is super important for the product management team, as our solutions are built for specific needs, customers, and pain points. For example, we’re currently working to build our brand new Vendor Management solution. We’ve already begun to seek feedback from partners and customers on our prototypes. This helps us be sure we’re meeting their needs as soon as the solution is available and makes it easier to adjust our plans as needed based on customer feedback.


Q: Once you have customer feedback, how do you work with the Appian Engineering team to incorporate it into the solution?

A: Whenever we discuss feedback with a customer, we log a use case with details of the customer interaction in a product management application (built on Appian, of course!). More often than not, customer requests and feedback are related to another logged use case, as many of our customers have similar needs due to the custom nature of our solutions. We link related customer use cases and requests to one another, which helps us prioritize.

Then, product managers look at use cases and requests and determine how to solve those problems using a feature we can build into the solution.


Q: What’s the next release you’re working on, and are there any pieces of it that were brought on by customer conversations?

A: Our next release is for our Source Selection solution, releasing in early 2022. We’re adding a Consensus Process and Rating feature. During the evaluation process, users sift through different vendors that have submitted proposals and use different factors to determine whether or not the vendor is the right fit. Rather than looking at many ratings of each factor and vendor individually, the Consensus Process and Rating feature will guide evaluators through a consensus meeting, aggregating all strengths, weaknesses, justifications, and comments to reach an overall consensus rating.


Q: Are there plans to collect feedback from customers on an ongoing basis?

A: Absolutely. We will continue to work directly with our customers and host regular discussions to gather their feedback. As the Government Acquisition Management suite grows, we’ll look to leverage the Appian support and services teams to help us determine which feedback to incorporate and how to do so.

Facilitating, organizing, and incorporating customer feedback is a core function of the product management team, and we will continue to prioritize it to ensure our product is evolving with customer needs.

Appian solutions are built for unique use cases.

Built on the Appian Low-Code Platform, our solutions are made to serve unique use cases for users in specific industries, from government to financial services to insurance and beyond. Like our Government Acquisition Management solution, they’re all equipped with teams like Celine’s that work to ensure customers are getting the most out of the solution and customer feedback is not only heard but acted on quickly.