panagenda Product Manager Interview – Markus Sablatnig

in Products

This series of blogs should introduce our products to you from the perspective of those closest to them, their developers, product managers and consultants. Statistics and features are available on the product pages of our website but who is actually behind them? Today it is my pleasure to introduce Markus to you!

What does your role require you to do?

I am product manager for the MarvelClient product portfolio. Much of my work is about organizing and planning development, but also coordinating with the rest of the company (and the outside world) so the stuff we build gets sold and actually helps customers.

On what idea is MarvelClient based?

The idea behind MarvelClient was a very simple one: “Let’s give admins something to centrally configure and manage IBM Notes Clients!”

Actually, the original idea several years before that was: “Wouldn’t it be so cool if we could control the icons on the Notes workspace?”, but it grew over time to: “Manage all the things!”

What challenges had to be overcome during its development?

Technologically, Notes wasn’t designed to do what we wanted it to do. This meant long days (and nights) of research, trial, and error.

The second challenge was the market. Customers didn’t realize they had a need for our product (or that such a type of product even existed) until we talked to them; at which point they suddenly developed the immediate need for what we had 🙂

Who benefits from using MarvelClient?

Anyone who uses IBM Notes in any form.

How do they benefit?

The short version: It makes users happier and more productive. Which in turn makes admins happier – and we all like our admins to be happy 🙂

The long version: It prevents issues and problems with Notes. It extends and improves Notes Client functionality. It reduces TCO. Notes-related IT projects go faster, smoother and don’t bother your users. The Client can heal itself if something breaks.

Which aspect of MarvelClient is your personal highlight?

Right now, that has to be our Automate module. The capability to automatically manage desktop, bookmarks, replication, etc based on users’ access to applications was fun to develop and is really useful; especially in today’s world of overworked IT departments and limited budgets. It also can be connected to other products and allows them to manage the Clients for things like sunsetting applications. Pretty exciting!

Can you describe what MarvelClient does as an analogy to the hotel industry?

Hmmm… weird question. But then, I like weird 🙂

Well, if the hotel is your company, the rooms are your Notes Clients, and the guests are your users; then I guess MarvelClient replaces your hotel staff with robots? But: it can clean your rooms, perform repairs, deliver room service, and do your dry cleaning without anyone ever having to go to a room or talk to a guest. So they are “sufficiently advanced to be indistinguishable from magic”-robots. That you control from the comfort of your front desk 🙂

What does your typical day at work look like?

I like to start my days slow, so I take an hour or two after waking up to get going. My work day starts by looking through emails, chats, and project management tools. Then, at 10 we have our daily stand-up. Since our team is spread out all over Europe, this takes the form of a Skype call. We aim for 15 minutes, usually it takes 30 🙂

The rest of the day varies heavily – organize our team, product planning and research, coordinating with sales/marketing/other teams, tough support cases, maintaining internal tools, developing stuff here and there.

What optimizes your day?

No questions from consulting, marketing or sales 😉

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