Monday, March 10, 2008

Customer Advisory Council 2008

Last Wednesday we held Black Duck Software’s 4th annual Customer Advisory Council or “CAC” at the Network Meeting Center in Santa Clara, CA. The CAC is an opportunity for Black Duck to interact, in depth, with some of our best customers, to share our plans with them, and to take input from them about where they need us to go in the future to better fulfill their needs. Participants included architects, IT, legal counsel, and project managers representing leading software, device, embedded systems, and financial service companies.

In 2007 I wrote my first Customer Advisory Council blog post here about the benefits of CAC's.

We brought an all-star crew from headquarters including Jim Berets – Sr. Director of Product Management (who did a great job organizing the meeting), Bill McQuaide – EVP of Product Development, Andi Zink – VP of Engineering, Richard Sherrard – Black Duck Code Center Product Manager, Tim Bridge – SVP of Sales, Bob Lapides – EVP of Field Operations, and Peter Vescuso, our new SVP of Marketing.

Our major goals for the event were to preview Black Duck’s future direction, obtain customer feedback on needs & priorities, and map these to our plans. It is critically important for us to understand our customer’s internal challenges and establish open communication channels for future cooperation. We also want to start building a community where customers learn from each other by sharing their ideas, processes, and successes. The most powerful sessions, however, were three customer presentations on protexIP deployments, customizations using the SDK, and application licensing models.

After a long day we had cocktails and dinner at Parcel 104 at the Santa Clara Marriott.

I think the CAC attendees value not only our vision but the tangible progress we have made and the two-way communications channel we have established. Equally, I think the Black Duck attendees value the opportunity to get in-person feedback from our customers and learn from each other.

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