Public Beta Testing is Here to Stay

Today’s computing environment is making everyone a test pilot. IT support specialists are accustomed to getting early versions of new software, such as the new Windows 10 and Apple’s El Capitan operating systems, and putting it through its paces. It helps us learn about issues we can expect to affect our clients while offering feedback to the publishers. But now, we have testing partners: you, the user.

Here’s why it’s better for everyone.

IT specialists, developers and high-level power users all know enough to see some problems and sometimes work around them. We also know how to explain the problems to a software publisher’s tech staff to help them better pinpoint the issue and find the solution.

The vast majority of users, however, just know something isn’t working properly – as we’ve seen in the releases of Windows 10 and El Capitan. You likely don’t know why, and it’s even less likely that you care about why. You just want it to work so you can do what you need to do.

To me, that makes you highly valuable to software publishers. When a large number of you point out a problem with the software, it gets somebody’s attention. In our data-driven world, a manager can see the size and scope of a problem and set a priority for its solution.

Your public pressure on software publishers, too, moves them to publish the patch or update in a timelier manner. While some of us professionals can grouse in our various forums, the publishers know that thousands and thousands of paying customers can add a sense of urgency to solving the problem. Then, they can push out the fix as soon as it’s ready – or ready enough – to make sure it works or see what else they need to do.

In that respect, this is a benefit of our on-demand way of life – especially when our need for instant gratification or using software and devices in ways not intended create other problems. Regardless of fault, a software publisher’s reputation relies on its product being functional and safe. The faster the fix is delivered, the better it is for the publisher and its users.

That, in part, is one reason why Microsoft eliminated Patch Tuesday in favor of sending and installing updates as soon as they’re ready. You make huge investments in technology. If you make them for your business, you can lose a lot of money if your apps and drivers don’t work right. If you make them at home, you can get awfully upset when you can’t play with your newest toy.

IT support specialists like immediate updates, too. When you call with a problem that ultimately relates to a glitch, we either suffer the pain of not being able to fix it or we provide some sort of temporary fix that may require us to come back again – which also doesn’t make us happy.

Every new product in any industry goes through a shakeout period before it runs smoothly. But if you join the beta brigade and provide feedback, you do yourself and fellow users – and their service providers – a big favor. We check the discussion groups and forums and learn about problems and fixes so we can serve you better. You see faster improvements. That’s why public beta testing is here to stay.

Of course, if you have a problem with your technology, don’t sit back and wait. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us if you have a problem. We likely have the solution because people like you helped us find it faster.