As we enter the second half of 2012, here’s an update on the major initiatives we’re working on at Ascend.
1. We’re winding down work on Ascend Version 2
We’re putting the finishing touches on Version 2.5. It’s the last planned update for Version 2. It will go to early release on August 20th and will be available to everyone on September 17th.
In preparation for V3, we’ll be working to get everyone on the latest Version 2 release. Version 2.4 is available now. Over 500 locations have upgraded. If you haven’t yet, plan to upgrade soon.
2. We’re focusing on Version 3
Our goal is to make Version 3 available to everyone in the 2nd quarter of 2013. We have a lot of work to do to get there. We’re focusing as much of our time and energy as possible on this project.
3. We’re planning for Version 3.01 and beyond
Once Version 3 is out, we’ll get back to work on new features and enhancements. To get ready, we’re identifying our projects and priorities now. Your feedback is very important for this. Continue to submit your ideas and to vote on others on our UserVoice forum. If your store doesn’t have an account, contact our support team to get set-up.
4. We’re providing the best support
We’re always working to provide you with the best support. Watch here for updates on all the new resources we’re creating to help you and your employees take advantage of everything Ascend has to offer.
We’re looking forward to a great rest of the year!
SMS (a.k.a. Text) messaging is very popular. I know that’s not a big revelation for anyone. When my 75 year old mom started texting me this past year, I knew we were reaching technology saturation. Recent statistics bear this out as well:
- Some 83% of American adults own cell phones and three-quarters of them (73%) send and receive text messages.
- SMS messaging has become the most popular form of communication, surpassing email and voice as the most used contact method. It accounts for 64% of all mobile messaging traffic.
- 7.8 trillion SMS messages were sent in 2011. SMS traffic is expected to reach 9.6 trillion messages in 2012.
With all this in mind, we’re excited to be adding the ability to send SMS messages from Ascend. Starting with the release of Version 2.5 in September, you will be able to send messages to individual customers from three places in Ascend:
- From the Customers folder in Database Explorer
- After completing a work order
- When receiving special order items
Also, when receiving a special order item, you’ll be notified if the item is part of a work order. At that time you can decide if you want to notify the customer or to wait until their work order is completed.
There will be no additional cost for this service. It’s included with your annual support fee. After you upgrade to Version 2.5 in September, you will need to contact the Ascend Support Team to activate the service for you.
In order to message a customer, you’ll need to have a mobile number in their database record. You’ll also need to check the SMS box next to the number. If you’ve upgraded to version 2.4 you can start using that SMS check box now. If you haven’t upgraded yet, plan to do so at your earliest convenience.
In the winter of 2004 I, along with other managers at Trek, read Re-imagine! by Tom Peters. The premise of the book was that businesses need to constantly evaluate and re-invent themselves. Peters emphasized how the web would dramatically change all businesses. Not long after reading the book, Trek decided to get into the software business and bought Ascend. It was certainly a departure for a cycling company. But it was, in my biased opinion, a great move.
So it was with great interest that I viewed this recent slide show entitled “The Re-Imagination of Nearly Everything”. You’ll want to view slides 29-84. The breadth and magnitude of the changes in such a short time is enormous.
It’s in this spirit and climate of re-imagination that we move forward today. Today marks the end of our development work in Ascend Version 2. We’ve completed another batch of improvements that we look forward to introducing to you in September with Version 2.5. Now we turn our focus to delivering Ascend Version 3 (see my 5/22 blog “To the Cloud!”).
This is a huge change for all of us. Much like when we got into the software business there are questions and concerns. Is this the right thing to do? History has taught us that getting into the software business was a great move. I believe it will tell us the same for our move the cloud with Version 3.
On another note….
Version 2.4 was released the week of June 11th. Since then over 400 locations have upgraded. It contains new features and important fixes. If you’re on an earlier version, make plans to upgrade soon.