Comment lines: You can influence WebSphere products through the Client Experience Program

The Client Experience Program for IBM® WebSphere® Products brings clients and IBM product development teams together to share information about products, usage experience, requirements, and best practices. Through no-charge activities and events, you can improve your understanding of WebSphere products and contribute feedback so that the products you use can continue to meet your future needs. This content is part of the IBM WebSphere Developer Technical Journal.

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Brandy Byrd Gantt (bsgantt@us.ibm.com), Information Developer, IBM China

Author photoBrandy Byrd Gantt Brandy Gantt works for IBM in Keller, Texas and is an information developer and editor for the data caching products, WebSphere DataPower XC10 Appliance and WebSphere eXtreme Scale. Prior to joining the data caching team, Brandy was the Technical Editor for WebSphere Application Server.



James L Lentz, Senior Software Engineer, IBM

Author photoJim Lentz works at IBM in Austin Texas and is currently the User Experience Architect for WebSphere Application Server products. Prior to joining the WebSphere Development team he was the UI architect for AIX systems management



Lauren Shupp (lshupp@us.ibm.com), User Experience Engineer, IBM China

Author photoLauren Shupp works for IBM in Blacksburg, Virginia and is currently leading the Client Experience Program. She is a User Experience Engineer for Business Process Management (BPM) products. Prior to joining the BPM design team, she was a UI designer for WebSphere cloud products.



03 August 2011

Also available in Chinese

Learn and educate at the same time

The Client Experience Program for IBM WebSphere Products (CEP) is about building relationships between clients and the WebSphere product teams. The objective of the CEP is to facilitate a two-way exchange of information in which clients learn about new product features before they go to market, and IBM product teams gain insight on client needs and product improvements.

Client enthusiasm for these interactive opportunities is growing and the product teams are listening: feedback on actual client needs, priorities, and interactions with WebSphere products are turning into real results.

For example, client recommendations gathered early in the development of IBM WebSphere Application Server V8 resulted in several improvements in the final product, including the ability to modify application deployment configurations by dragging a configuration file into a monitored directory. The IBM team posed a design idea to clients and the feedback ultimately improved the product design, a typical example of the proactive nature of the CEP.


How it works

Participating CEP clients receive e-mail invitations to feedback events based on their product interests and role in the organization. Invitations can be for open sessions, in which many clients participate at once, or for private discussions that focus on one client at a time. Because the program facilitates feedback discussions, CEP event topics, objectives, and speakers can vary. For example, speakers could include IBM product managers, usability practitioners, or developers, and activities could include a demonstration, early design review, user scenario exercise, requirement discussion, or usability evaluation. Furthermore, these sessions can be conducted in-person, via teleconference, or web conference.

Clients and IBMers from most countries can participate. When you enroll to participate in the CEP, you indicate all of your WebSphere product interests. This enables us to invite you to appropriate activities and gain an understanding of your WebSphere portfolio. Activities available, geographic locations (for in-person sessions), and the roster of participating WebSphere teams are continuously expanding. Of course, because the program is new and growing, there can be periods of no activity for certain interest areas and the number of invitations you receive can vary. Nevertheless, be sure to include all the WebSphere products you use to ensure you are invited to all relevant activities. Participation in any particular activity to which you are invited is up to you, but, regardless of your ability to attend, you remain a point of contact for future CEP invitations for as long as you remain in the CEP.

While the CEP is an early program, it is different from a traditional beta program or a customer support portal. The CEP is about forward-looking feedback, it’s a program that builds long-term client relationships and targets feedback for features that are in development, as opposed to a service vehicle that addresses defects. The CEP is a continuously run program for a given product release, keeping an ongoing, open dialog on client experiences with existing offerings as well as on proposed ideas. The CEP interlock between clients and development teams also provides an opportunity to bridge into other early programs that are also designed to gather client feedback. The CEP brings dialog about current and future product usage under the same umbrella, while it also integrates many aspects of user forums and early programs, such as alphas and betas, which solicit feedback about offerings that have not been made available for sale and delivery.

Your acceptance of a non-disclosure agreement is required upon enrollment to protect both your business information and any information that we might disclose about potential products or possible future plans. (CEP organizers can also arrange one-on-one events if you have concerns about participating in group meetings with other IBM clients.)


Join us

It’s easy to get involved in the CEP. Simply send an e-mail to cep@us.ibm.com requesting access to the Client Experience Program for IBM WebSphere Products. In return, you will receive brief instructions for enrolling and a link where you can review and accept the CEP agreement. Signing the agreement provides your ibm.com ID access to our early program website with links to materials from previous open CEP events.

Once you are enrolled in the program, get ready to receive email invitations to applicable activities, based on the information you provided. You can e-mail the CEP at any time to update your role and product interests. Once you’re enrolled, you can invite colleagues from your organization to participate as well.

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