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  • 1. Keys to Successful Beta Testing Presented by Ron Dinwiddie, Product Director, Blackboard Commerce Suite™ Jessica Finnefrock, Product Director, Blackboard Academic Suite™ April 12, 2005
  • 2. A word from our lawyers…
    • Any statements in this presentation about future expectations, plans and prospects for Blackboard and other statements containing the words "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," "will," and similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including the factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of our most recent 10-K filed with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of April 11, 2005. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause the Company's views to change. However, while the Company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company's views as of any date subsequent to April 11, 2005. Blackboard, in its sole discretion, may delay or cancel the release of any product or functionality described in this presentation.
  • 3. Introduction
    • Session Objectives:
      • Define Blackboard® Beta programs
      • Describe Blackboard Beta client selection process
      • Explain the process of a Blackboard Beta program
      • Highlight the benefits of a Blackboard Beta program
      • Hear from *Real* Beta Clients
    • Innovation
      • Beta v. Early Availability
    • Results/Outcomes
      • Product Quality
  • 4. What Does Beta Mean at Blackboard?
    • Definition
      • The purpose of the Beta Program is to verify that Blackboard’s software and/or hardware performs as specified by real users at customer sites using their data and equipment
    • Beta today = GA of old
      • Product does not go to Beta until it meets strict QA exit criteria
      • Beta clients are selected to ensure coverage of diverse environments and resolve those issues before GA
      • GA timeline is not fixed—it is dependant on quality as verified with our Beta partners
  • 5. What is Early Availability?
    • When Beta starts, Blackboard announces the Early Availability release of that product
    • Beta clients receive code to install on their test servers and then move into production
    • Other clients interested in test-sever-only copies of the application can sign up via a web form to get a preview copy of the release before GA
      • This preview copy will be released midway through the Beta program
  • 6. How are Beta Clients Selected?
    • Client profile
      • Risk-tolerant
      • Interested in exploring the new features and functions in the release
      • Willing to update their production system with the Beta software
      • Willing to provide feedback (not necessarily positive)
    • Recruitment
      • Initial communication with potential clients
        • Sales
        • Support
        • Services
      • Provide overview of product
      • Select candidates based on beta requirements
    • Agreements
      • Beta Contract
        • Defines commitment of client
        • Defines tasks needed to perform test
        • Defines acceptance of risk associated with beta
  • 7. How Do Beta Clients Prepare?
    • Early Access to Product and Documentation
      • Access to demo server hosted by Bb
      • Overview sheets per feature (1-3 pages)
      • Draft documentation
    • Client installation
      • Hardware
        • Site Survey
        • Outside contractors (electrical, etc…)
        • Order equipment
      • Software
        • Blackboard Commerce Suite
          • Support installs software
        • Blackboard Academic Suite
          • Client downloads software from central server
  • 8. How do Beta Clients Communicate with Blackboard?
    • Issue Submission
      • Standard Ticket Process
      • Web forum
      • Blackboard Beta Program Manager
    • Feedback
      • Blackbaord Beta Program Manager
      • Web forum
      • Updated Release Notes with new builds
    • Status
      • Blackboard Beta Program Manager
      • Weekly team meeting with all beta clients
  • 9. What Tests Do Beta Clients Perform?
    • Project Plan
      • Defined by Blackboard Beta Program Manager
      • Specific tasks to perform
    • Test Questions
      • Use Case Results
    • Independent Testing
      • Additional testing defined by client
    • Specialized Testing
      • Unique Hardware or Software configurations
  • 10. When is Beta Over?
    • All Beta Test Criteria have been accomplished
    • No Critical Bugs
      • All critical issues resolved by GA announcement
    • Changes made based on beta feedback
      • Changes are prioritized and implemented dependant on time frame
  • 11. What Are the Benefits of Participating?
    • Close working relationship with Blackboard Product Development
    • A Blackboard coffee mug
    • Fast-tracked escalation and resolution of issues
    • A Blackboard coffee mug
    • Assurance that the application will perform with high quality in their environment
    • A Blackboard coffee mug
    • First-access to new features and functionality
    • A Blackboard coffee mug
    • Opportunity to influence the future direction of the product
    • Did we mention…a Bb coffee mug?
  • 12. Beta Client Perspective
    • Donna Wicks, Course Delivery Technologies Specialist, Kettering University
    • TBD (Commerce Suite)
  • 13. Closing Slide
    • Innovating Together in ‘05:
      • Understanding a Beta
      • Committing to the Beta Plan
      • Feedback that improves our GA release
    • Follow up Contact(s):
      • Darren Sapper – Associate Director of Client Programs, Product Development (
      • Ron Dinwiddie – Product Director, Blackboard Commerce Suite (
      • Jessica Finnefrock – Product Director, Blackboard Academic Suite (
      • A successful Beta Program insures a successful release of a quality product