How does MS do market research?
I've started this thread before, gotta ask it again - how does Microsoft figure out "how people use their products"? Because every so often I see something that makes me think either their dev teams work in an ivory tower, or else they're interviewing aliens.
I'm not saying they should've gone all EDI and no XML - they should've supported both; that alone would put them ahead of several of their major competitors (that don't do XML except as a plain text file).
Microsoft have lots of consultants working in the field. Part of their duties is to report back what problems did they find and what requirements don't the MS products meet. Sometimes they are assigned to work with the development teams when defining requirements.
I'm diving in right now - Biztalk 2002 (since we need the EDI). I'll keep you posted. :-)
So I guess the question is, just how easy is it to acquire quality third party EDI -> XML glue? Because clearly the MS folks thought you could get such things.
Last time I was in Redmond, I seem to remember market research working in the following way. First, you select a bunch of random people in the Seattle area. Then you send a bunch of program managers over to their houses to observe them using software. You look at what features users think the product is missing, etc. I don't know specifically about BizTalk, but the product group I worked for did market research with maybe a pool of 20 to 30 people on an intimate leve, and maybe 100 on an expanded level. Then feedback was provided within the product to find out what additional users want. Unfortunately market research comes out of each groups own budget, therefore if it's a smaller group, or one strapped for cash, things like extensive market research often suffer.
so BizTalk 2002 supports EDI, but BizTalk 2004 Beta does not? I seriously doubt Microsoft would remove features (even deprecated ones). Maybe there is just some temporary beta problems with their EDI code?
EDI is actually handled by a preprocessor, and from what I understand another company is handling it (it's like a "crippled but functional" version ships with BTS 2004 and you can buy a better version to augment it)
The version I worked with had lots of bugs. I remember there was a diagram I created in Visio and something got wrong inside and I had to edit the XML file myself (I think it was a workflow diagram). And lots of problems like this. Unstable. I've learned they have been fixed in following versions, mostly.
Here's an insider information about how MS does research
The One You Loved (TOYL)
Microsoft sees a lot of their products as "platforms" on wich VAR's and other 3rd parties can build.
Just me (Sir to you)
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