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Making the Most of the ISUG Enhancement Request Process

Wishes do come true

At Techwave 2005 in Las Vegas, ISUG unveiled its entirely redesigned Web site (see Figure 1) and showcased some new functionality. A good deal of this new functionality is related to the enhancements process, the voice between the Sybase user community and Sybase product management. ISUG is the main repository for capturing product enhancements, compiling voting from its ISUG members and working with Sybase product management to incorporate these enhancements into future products. The enhancement process alone should be reason enough to be an ISUG member, not counting the vast array of other member benefits. [Note that ISUG recently restructured its membership structure. The lowest level, for $20 a year, includes voting rights on enhancement requests. - Editor]

If you're using Sybase products, you've probably thought at one time or another that it sure would be great if an upcoming release had certain functionality that might make your life easier. The ISUG enhancement process gives you just that. It gives you a direct voice in Sybase product management and the Sybase community votes on your idea, seeing if others feel that your enhancement request would also make their life easier. All it takes is logging in to http://my.isug.com and clicking on the enhancements tab as shown in Figure 2. One doesn't even have to be an ISUG member (although one should be) to submit a new enhancement request. You do, however, have to be an ISUG member to vote on enhancement requests.

ISUG is constantly reviewing enhancements with Sybase product management for each of the product lines to ensure that your enhancements are being considered. Obviously greater weight is given to enhancements with high vote counts and high average values.

As illustrated in Figure 3, once you're in the enhancements area on the Web site you simply click on the Submit New Issue button located under the "Quick Links" section to start putting your thoughts down. It will then prompt you to pick a product line that the enhancement is for as well as all the details about the enhancement. There are many details that you can provide on this form as well as the ability to actually attach a file or multiple files, such as a word doc, PDF, or picture that will help you elaborate on your enhancement request more effectively. Once your enhancement is entered, you click ok to submit it. It's then reviewed by the ISUG enhancements committee, which will decide whether it's a duplicate or not and determine its relevance to the selected product. This lets ISUG members view your request and vote on it and provide their own comments on how it might help them or if there's an existing workaround. ISUG compiles the vote and meets with Sybase product managers to update Sybase's comments.

Sybase responds to the enhancements process by reviewing the requests with engineering and updating the enhancement on the ISUG Web site. It build the request into a future release or respond that it's not going to be possible due to engineering limitations or that it's already in a current product.

On "Quick Links" there's a button called "View My Issues" that will let you set up how you're notified of updates to your requests. It also sets watch settings on other requests you may be interested in. You can determine the frequency at which you get updates and set priorities on the requests you're interested in. You can quickly and easily add other requests to your enhancement tracking and get updates on login or via email, however you prefer.

Besides tracking and automatic update notification on an enhancement request, you can also do searches on the Web site by using the powerful search box at the top of the page. This search can quickly give you a workaround or see if someone else has already entered a similar enhancement request.

If you're interested in getting e-mail when any enhancement for a particular product is entered, you can do this by clicking on the "My Subscriptions" link and selecting the product or multiple products you're interested in and you can set the kind of notification you want to get. In the subscription area you can also subscribe to various other discussion forums, product forums, and user group forums, and set them up so that you're not bombarded with e-mail, but do get all the useful information.

ISUG is dedicated to the enhancement process and is always willing to listen to your feedback or ideas on how it can improve the process for the entire Sybase community. So, if you have an item that's been on your wish list and have been reluctant to enter it, or didn't realize there's a process to do so, now's the time to go to my.isug.com and enter it.

More Stories By Bryan Enochs

Bryan Enochs is a senior technical manager at AT&T and is the 2006 ISUG VP of Products and Enhancements and has served on the ISUG board for 6 years in various roles. Bryan has been using Sybase technology since 1993.

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