PDQ Connect is the most hotly anticipated new product we’ve ever launched. This standalone, agent-based solution facilitates remote device management. With features like a Package Library, custom package creation, automated deployments, and dynamic device grouping, sysadmins have the functionality they need to do their jobs with the ease of use they’ve come to expect from PDQ products. (And don’t worry: We also plan to keep investing in Deploy and Inventory.)
“Connect, more than any other product we have, really lives up to that name of pretty damn quick,” said Sid DeVins, Solutions Manager.
But striking that perfect balance required careful consideration. Our Product, Solutions, and IT teams worked together closely to refine Connect. After extensive brainstorming, prototyping, and in-house usage, Connect hit the market. We’ll walk you through the development process.
Starting the design process
PDQ Deploy and Inventory are the anchors of our product suite. As our first children, we love them dearly. But we knew that the family wasn’t complete. Acquiring SimpleMDM and SmartDeploy made our hearts a little fuller. Still, knowing that sysadmins were still struggling to manage remote devices kept us up at night. (Or maybe that was the five Monsters we drink each day. Hard to tell.)
It became our mission to make remote machine management simple, secure, and pretty damn quick.
While we had a clear goal in mind, we still needed to figure out how to achieve it. We had lots of ideas that we needed to filter through with a fine-tooth comb. The Product team investigated the issues related to remote device management free from assumptions. Using those insights, they defined the problem. Next, they developed potential solutions and delivered ideas for testing.
Determining the optimal remote machine management solution
We knew an agent-based solution would be best for both sysadmins and their users, so that was an easy decision. Next, we decided to focus on developing features that simplify the tasks sysadmins perform most often.
Our Solutions team assessed common sysadmin tasks, their frequency, and what features best addressed them. To avoid confirmation bias, the team repeated this process from the ground up three times.
“We had everyone on Solutions just put down what are the individual tasks that you as a sysadmin would do throughout the week, throughout the month, throughout a year,” said Sid DeVins, Solutions Manager.
While we value feedback from existing customers, we knew that many would be partial to the familiar features of Deploy and Inventory. (We get it. We love them too. That’s why we’re keeping them for ever and ever.) However, we wanted Connect to stand on its own two feet. To that end, our Product team also interviewed noncustomers using generic questions to gather more information on what sysadmins are really trying to accomplish.
Prototyping the product
With the product vision in place, prototyping began.
As a company that makes IT solutions, we’re lucky enough to have our own expert IT team. So, of course, we leveraged their knowledge and experience through an informal prototyping process. In other words, the Product team showed up on the IT team’s couch to have them look at stuff. For their part, the IT team tried features, provided feedback, and pointed out anything that wasn’t intuitive.
“I can relay what I think I need, what functionality may be missing, and what I’m using heavily,” said Jake Costello, IT Systems Administrator.
Obviously, deployment capabilities were always a top priority for Connect, but many solutions do that well. To better equip sysadmins to excel at their jobs, we wanted to give them more control.
“There are lots of complicated things you might want to do,” said Sid. “So how do we make the common ones easy while still giving the flexibility to do all the complicated stuff you need to do sometimes?”
Thanks to feedback from our IT team, we knew we needed to incorporate targeting to give sysadmins more granular control. Our filtering feature required a lot of internal testing to get right, but it’s quickly become a favorite feature of our own sysadmins.
After countless hours of brainstorming, gathering data, developing the product, collecting feedback, and refining the features, we finally had our new pride and joy: Connect.
Connect is a single platform through which sysadmins can do their jobs and get feedback fast. We made sure that Connect is quick, easy, and affordable: the ultimate trifecta for sysadmins.
PDQ Connect has everything sysadmins need to manage devices over the cloud. You can maintain real-time data, deploy prebuilt or custom packages, automate deployments, and organize your devices.
“I’d love for Connect one day to be something that people do their entire jobs out of,” said Corey Collins, Solutions Engineer.
PDQ Connect is now available, and we can barely contain our excitement. Sign up for a free trial to see for yourself.
Part writer, part sysadmin fangirl, Meredith gets her kicks diving into the depths of IT lore. When she's not spending quality time behind a computer screen, she's probably curled up under a blanket, silently contemplating the efficacy of napping.