Meet the Product Team - SDL Xopus

  

Name

Oleksandr Fedan

Role:

Product Owner

Product Suite Responsible for:

SDL Xopus/Knowledge Center Content Editor

Time in role:

9 months  

Background & Experience:

Master’s Degree in Economic Cybernetics

Working as Quality Assurance Engineer in several projects including SDL Xopus/Knowledge Center Content Editor

Located:

Kyiv, Ukraine

Hobbies & Interests 

Hanging out with friends, amateur hiking, music

What does an average day look like for a Product Owner?

My work day pretty much is organized the same way each day.  Tracking posted questions in SDL Community and Service Requests (support tickets) is a priority. This is one of the ways customers communicate with us so it’s important to see what their concerns are and ensure we are addressing these quickly and effectively.

Next I run through my emails, something we are all very familiar with.  Having only recently taken on the role since Fredrik Geers’ departure, I am in full swing of learning the ropes and getting ahead of the learning curve. However, this is alongside the activities such as, preparing for scrum sessions, syncing with the team and other people from the suite (Software Development Manager, Product Management Director, Software Management Team etc.) on regular basis.  Investigating competitor technology, reviewing customer Xopus integrations to their solutions with a view of understand user experience, discussing and defining future roadmap requirements, progressing these requirements etc.

Although, I always try to find time for a friendly chat with office colleagues.

What is the one thing you are most passionate about when it comes to end user experience?

I believe in the ideology of UX. The idea that a user doesn’t have to adjust to accommodate how technology works but rather end user experience inspires how technology is designed and developed. The challenge for anyone who creates software is to think not in terms of it function but how an end user needs it to work.

What are you working on right now?

One of the biggest things we are looking into at the moment is ‘structured change tracking’ functionality within Xopus as there has been a huge demand for this.  The functionally of tracking when a word is added or deleted has been available since version 4, however the aim here is to ensure that all elements (paragraph sections, tables etc.) added or removed from a specific document can also be easily tracked.  What I can also tell you is that for Xopus specifically we are looking to accelerate release cycles, we recently had a new release May 17 and there will much more to come.

Tell us about your interaction with customers and end users? How does this impact what you build?

Every customer interaction enables me to learn more about what customers are interested in, how they use Xopus, insight into how it meets their needs and potential areas where there is opportunity for us to further develop/evolve the technology.  We learn a lot from feedback including communications around bugs or from more recently when external elements such as browser changes/adjustments impact feature/function of our technology. This is why I find SDL Xopus Community to be a great place for interact with our customers, their posts, questions, comments really give me visibility into what users are really interested in and this in turn influences how we build.

Professional Services also does an exceptional job in for bridging the discussion between our product team and customers.

How can customers reach out and share their feedback around the product?

SDL Community is the most effective place for that.  It gives people the opportunity to share questions, ideas and creative solutions.  SDL Ideas for Xopus was launched earlier in the year, we would encourage customers to provide their enhancement ideas, request, feedback and comment on how to further improve Xopus technology.  You can also vote up or down ideas to tell us what is important to you, which really helps us when we are looking to set future road maps.  Please do check it out!

Having engaged with customers a lot, where do you see customers having the most challenges when using SDL Xopus/Knowledge Center Content Editor? Why do you think this is?

Greater Asian languages support. It is our focus for the future.  Also, whilst many of our users continue to only use Xopus from their desktop browsers, we are very much interested in giving customers work fluency by providing a mobile experience too. 

If you had a magic wand what one thing would you add as an enhancement to the product suite?

Copy-pasting images into a document.

How do you decide what to build?

It is a good balance of what is frequently requested, we review enhancements requests submitted via SDL Ideas, receive customer feedback from Professional Services, Account Management and Support teams.  Essential updates required for the effective maintenance of the technology and realizing elements of our long-term vision for the technology.

If you were about crash onto a desert island with plenty of water, food and shelter what 3 things would you save and take with you?

For the sake of island to still be deserted, I assume I can’t take people there, so my first choice would be a dog! Then solar panel and a camcorder to document life on the island.

Can you share 1 quick tip you that is really valuable when users of SDL Xopus?

Use Ctrl+Enter to open a context menu and type an element you want to insert in a document.  I find it very useful and it speeds work up.

What 1 question do you always like to ask Customers when speaking with them?

Is there something in Xopus that you find frustrating? There is always room for improvement in all technology but some things could be really annoying from an end user perspective and I believe we should endeavor to address these where possible.

How do you see technology in this area progressing in the next 5 years?

There is a continuing trend towards mobile and flexible working.  This is something I see for technologies in this area.  Automated assistance for authors in creating content is also a major area that will be explored in future developments.

What do you think have been the milestones in the development of this product over the last 5-10 years?

There have been some notable milestones.  Xopus started as an XML editor created specifically for technical requirements of, consultancy group Q42. It’s been evolving ever since, gradually receiving recognition from customers looking for a solution in writing structured content, it has since become a frontrunner in this area.

However, SDL’s acquisition of Xopus in 2010 was extremely significant. Booting the coverage of the technology, it enable Xopus to expand its applications into high-tech, life sciences, manufacturing and government sectors.  Integration into SDL’s content management technologies, has also enhanced the content review process by providing ease of collaboration with subject matter experts. Non-technical writers can now create more content, while making it accessible for commenting, collaboration and contribution of others in the chain.

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