FOCUS 2020 Developer Roundtable Wrap-up

ICYMI: FOCUS 2020 Developer Roundtable Webinar wrap-up



While some things change, others stay the same.

Due to the quarantine, our annual in-person customer event was canceled. Since we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to interact with our customers, we decided to hold a virtual roundtable discussion instead. One of the most popular sessions at our FOCUS event is the Developer Roundtable…a chance for our development team and our customers to discuss the roadmap and have a conversation about features and functionality they would like to see added to the Vicinity product.  

The opportunity for our users to work directly with those who create the new features is awesome and ensures that they have a voice in our roadmap so we can continue providing targeted and meaningful solutions for the ever-changing demands in process manufacturing.

Talking with our customers who use the software daily is invaluable as it provides real-life business use case scenarios to help us fine-tune these new features. It’s a win-win (or as Michael Scott from “The Office” says, “It’s a win-win-win.”)


Those registered for our FOCUS 2020 event who rolled over their registration to FOCUS 2021 (fingers crossed we can have an in-person event at some time in 2021!), were able to participate in our first ever virtual Developer Roundtable discussion.

Held in early October, participants were asked to email any questions and feature requests in advance for discussion on the webinar. Those questions and requests helped to start our conversation and shape where we went. Participants were also able to send in their questions and requests throughout the webinar and those were added for discussion.

We started off the session with a brief overview of some of our key feature highlights since the last FOCUS event in 2019. A review of quarterly updates starting with Release 4.27 and ending with our most recent release, 4.32, which was released in October 2020. This was led by Vicinity CEO and founder Randy Smith. He also discussed at a high level the direction of the company as well as key focus areas moving forward. This part of the presentation led into our roadmap discussion which queued up the main event: the roundtable discussion of feature requests.

With attendees on the call, we read their feature requests and asked for clarification from them as needed. Especially for our team, Seth Abady, director of development, and Brenon Smith, senior software engineer, it was a great opportunity to hear how our customers from each industry (chemical, food and brew) use the technology and how we can help them moving forward. The interactive dialogue was enlightening and beneficial.

Even though this was a smaller setting and online instead of in-person, the interactions and thoughtful discussions lived up to everyone’s expectations. In the spirit of full collaboration, our entire team was on the call to provide insights and perspective from all facets of the organization—whether it be finance, technical, implementation, marketing or support—and ensure that Vicinity has a full understanding of our users’ needs.


Questions ran the gamut—everything from Component Entry to Quality Sample Entry to Planning Workbench and Advanced Search and Security as well. Nearly two hours of lively discussion on how our customers use the product, what can help them be more efficient, better utilize the Vicinity product and make their daily product use a bit easier.

Throughout the discussion, detailed notes were taken and then categorized according to the feature component. This list will be discussed at our quarterly roadmap meeting and if appropriate, will be added to our project tracking system for development. Those that can be fixed easily or are high priority can be added into our current development cycle and those requiring more resources will be scheduled into future roadmaps.

Hearing firsthand how a customer uses our solution and receiving that feedback helps us improve our products and services. Information heard at previous FOCUS events has been instrumental in the planning and creation of new features and functionality. We routinely add items discussed in the Developer Roundtable session…it’s feedback we very much value.

We greatly appreciate the active participation and feedback from our customers, not just from this recent event but throughout the year.

We hope to see you in person at our next FOCUS event in 2021. If you have never attended our FOCUS customer event, we’d love to see you at the next one. It’s 3 days of educational sessions including a boot camp, shortcuts with tips and tricks, development news and this roundtable discussion too.

Also expect great networking with other Vicinity users at our customer appreciation event. Lots of fun all around. We hope to see you there!

Thank you to all our friends who attended the webinar!