UNIT4 Collaboration Software Limited has an active development programme, working to produce at least one major new release of BC each year.
The requirements for each new release come from a variety of sources, most important of course - from our own customers. We have an ethos of continual improvement, working, not only to deliver new and exciting functionality, but also focusing critically on all aspects of the existing software.
We employ multiple feedback mechanisms, receiving requirements from events (such as User and Focus groups), face-to-face meetings (with customers and prospects), training, consultancy and via our Technical Support team. Every feature request is recorded and revisited when it comes to specifying each new release. Our success has come from taking (often) industry-specific customer requirements and then converting these into more widely-applicable, generic functionality which is better able to support the needs of all customers and industries.
The advantage of the "instance" model (whereby, each customer gets a ring-fenced instance of BC, deployed (typically) as a service) is that each customer may take upgrades when it most suits them*. This ensures that customers are educated in the benefits of each new release and that this is communicated back to their own employees. Thus, the impact on any training, support and administration can be carefully assessed and budgeted for.
[* for example, a customer may require functionality to remain fixed during, say, a critical tender period]
For those customers who want to remain at the cutting-edge, the annual Software Maintenance fee ensures access to the latest BC functionality, with no further software costs. The Software Maintenance fee also ensures that each customer has access to any bug fixes which are appropriate to their version of the software.
The advantage of software deployed over the web is that any bug-fixes and new functionality may be applied on the server and deployed instantly to all users, current and future.