Learn how the MetaField product team is modernizing the platform infrastructure for scale and growth through Q&A with Christy Kolle

Agile Frameworks is on a mission to transform the geotechnical engineering services sector by revolutionizing how field and lab inspections data is efficiently collected, reviewed, and reported. Beyond this core business flow, the MetaField solution supports other key business areas such as real-time scheduling, equipment inventory tracking, document and project specification storage, collection of client billing data, and more. Our goal is to effectively serve our expanding customer community by upholding high-performance standards and delivering on an extensive product roadmap.

We sat down with Christy Kolle, Senior Director of Product Management, to learn about the product team’s approach to driving innovation, customer retention, and product expansion. They are actively focused on three key areas: 1) client requests, 2) strategic enhancements, and 3) product health and scalability.

Read on to learn what’s been achieved so far this year and what’s ahead from a product development and product enhancement standpoint for the second half of 2023 and beyond.

What are you doing to improve the user experience?

We actively engage our clients in a disciplined discovery process and customer feedback loop which deepens our understanding of customer needs and system use. It allows us to continuously develop innovative solutions to solve for the needs of our customers. Our approach to product UX discovery involves a 9-step process prior to starting development work in MetaField. Several of these steps, such as in-app surveying, customer interviews, and prototype testing, rely upon direct customer feedback. We have a staff of 5 UX designers all focused on ensuring our product delivers what our clients need. To support our customers’ growth initiatives, over 50% of our revenue is applied directly to enhance MetaField.

How often are new features introduced?

To date this year, the team has completed 14 product releases. With each release, new functionality is added to the software by five dedicated product development squads that support MetaField. We have released more than 30 customer requested enhancements in the first half of 2023 and will continue to make a significant investment in product enhancements over the next 12 – 24+ months.

Of the 30 enhancements, which one or two do you feel are providing the most impact to customers?

We are hearing from clients that they are thrilled to have received a significant number of highly requested product enhancements in the first half of 2023. Picking just one or two is difficult. However, if forced to choose, the first would be enhancements to our Scheduling Notifications. Our customers can now quickly communicate scheduled events across their organization by leveraging several new email capabilities. Previously, field staff would receive one email for each work assignment. Now, they get one email with everything assigned to them. We also recently launched a bulk email capability from scheduling. These enhancements create awareness and consistency by sending consolidated scheduling reports across the organization to keep people informed of upcoming work assignments.

Another enhancement we’ve made is the introduction of upstream communication within our Quality Control / Activity module. Project managers can initiate an email from MetaField while reviewing an activity record to ask for additional information or clarification. The email automatically includes a link to the record in question so field staff can quickly make the requested corrections. This enhancement facilitates streamlined communication between the office staff and field staff.

Is the system disrupted during deployment?

Agile Frameworks supports zero-downtime deployments, which means customers can continue to use MetaField while upgrades, bug fixes, or emergency patches are performed with no disruption to site availability. Year to date, the team has achieved 100% uptime, all while migrating MetaField services to Microsoft Azure infrastructure. The company seeks to maintain at least an expected availability of 99.98%, which roughly translates to no more than one hour of unscheduled downtime each year.

How are customers notified of upcoming enhancements and updates?

We communicate product updates through several mediums to our customers to keep them informed and prepared for new system capabilities. In addition to ongoing touchpoint meetings with a dedicated Customer Success manager, during which they share the product roadmap and review release content, we highlight new functionality directly in the app which can link to additional help content. We strive to make product releases as seamless as possible for our customers by allowing users an opt-in timeframe to new product workflows.

We also are working on some in-app training and onboarding content, which is scheduled to go live in January 2024. This content will support new customers as well as seasonal employee onboarding. Stay tuned for more detail later this year!

What kind of technical support can customers expect?

Included with a MetaField subscription is our dedicated support portal, which allows users to log tickets, requests, product ideas, and general feedback. The portal is available 24/7 and all customer-facing staff are notified of support portal tickets to ensure efficient and prompt response towards resolution. Our staff is structured by time zone throughout North America to align with our customer operating hours.

As part of our service level agreement, the Support Portal is currently resolving 98.2% of tickets within SLA commitment in 2023, and an average resolution time of under 4 hours. Most tickets, regardless of severity level receive an initial response within 30 minutes.

Is the MetaField platform secure and available?

By regularly assessing and monitoring the platform's security posture, performing internal security audits, and staying up to date with best practices, our customers’ data is available 24/7 using our virtual private cloud where we maintain our data storage, servers, and production infrastructure with Microsoft Azure.

MetaField is powered by the latest cloud technology, with no hardware required or software to maintain as our customers scale and grow. All system upgrades happen automatically without having to incur the costs and headache from large maintenance upgrades. Our platform allows for scalability and flexibility, full data residency and retention, and batch product enhancements included as part of our product-centric approach and subscription offering.

Why do CMT and wider geotechnical engineering services choose MetaField?

CMT professionals choose MetaField because of its unparalleled product innovation, purpose-built training and support platform, and reliable, secure, and performance-based cloud technology infrastructure. MetaField is the right solution for you if you’re looking to partner with a company that has over 15 years of experience in maximizing operational intelligence, productivity, and profitability.

What are you personally most excited about for the future of MetaField?

I’ve been with Agile Frameworks for the last 12+ years and I haven’t seen this level of product investment and commitment to working alongside customers since the early stages of the company. We spent the first half of 2023 laying the foundation for some exciting new product capabilities in the next six months. We’ve been working with customers on delivering new role-based dashboards, in app contextual help and self- guided on boarding, the most comprehensive, configurable forms and report engine in the industry and new major solutions for timesheets and client invoicing. As we start rolling these items out, customers will notice a modern, refreshed user experience to simplify workflows and make navigating the system more intuitive.

Agile Frameworks is committed to enhancing MetaField to better support current functionality and next generation toolsets by leveraging our 100+ clientele to provide insight and expertise into expansive enhancements. We are actively enrolling customers into a beta program for those who want an early peek at upcoming product releases or who want to have an early voice in shaping upcoming product capabilities.

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