From 35,000 feet....

Blog Post created by tjatkin on Sep 27, 2017

As I’m writing this, I’m on a plane on my way from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles. 


I’m going to LA for a (belated) summer vacation.  Even though I’m not going for work, I’ll get to visit with my friend and fellow Blackboarder Karen Yoshino.  She’s a rock star and I’m excited to get to see her and catch up!


Because I’ve flown this airline before, I know I’ll be receiving an email with an online survey asking me about my experience.  I’ve completed their surveys in the past, and yet I’ve never seen or heard any feedback.  Did what I say matter? Did what I say influence anything about the ticketing process, notifications, boarding, the flight experience itself, how fast I get my luggage after I land?


Have you found yourself asking these questions after you’ve taken an online survey?  I, like many of you, take these surveys with faith that they’ll make a difference.


I mentioned in my blog post last week that I’d share the results of Blackboard’s annual Client Satisfaction survey.  In April 2017, over 2,000 clients participated in Blackboard’s annual Client Satisfaction survey.  Thank you for having faith. I want you to know your participation matters. These survey results help me – and everyone at Blackboard – to reflect, prioritize and plan . . . and to improve how we partner with you.


In conjunction with our research firm, we perform sophisticated statistical analyses to determine strategic areas of focus where we have room for improvement and areas that are most important to your overall satisfaction. We identified the following key areas of focus:

  • Product ease-of-use
  • Ease of integrating with other systems and tools
  • Ease of doing business with Blackboard
  • Proactive communications


We are paying close attention to your inputs, and we are laser focused on improvements in these areas.


Product ease-of-use
The design language we call Ultra has dramatically improved ease of use within Blackboard Collaborate and our newest mobile apps, and we are working diligently to drive faster continued adoption of Ultra design across all our products. We know there is always room to improve and we will continue to add features to our newest products, always while preserving the simplicity of the Ultra design.


Ease of integrating with other systems and tools
We’re addressing this priority in two important ways.  First, we’re working diligently to better integrate the end-user experience across Blackboard products. For example, the Blackboard app for mobile devices provides a seamless user experience across Blackboard Learn and Blackboard Collaborate. Additionally, we continue to work to improve both the ease and depth of integration of our products within your larger technology ecosystem. Examples of this work include our continuing expansion of REST APIs available through the Blackboard Developer Portal and our ongoing support for standards-based integration through our participation and leadership in the IMS Global community.  We pledge to continue to improve the ease and variety of integrations supported in Learn and our other platforms.


Ease of doing business with Blackboard
When it comes to "doing business with Blackboard," we are pursuing improvements across all facets of the Client Experience. We will soon be concluding a large internal system consolidation and upgrade that will allow us to streamline the quoting, contracting, and invoicing processes. We’ve expanded accessibility of resources in places like, the Community Site, and Behind the Blackboard. Between these and other improvements, such as the improved reach of our Client Success team, we will strive to be the best partner to you that we can be.


Proactive communication
At BbWorld this summer, we worked hard to create open forums for transparent and honest conversations about every aspect of our work. For those who were able to participate, we appreciate your candid insights.  The launch of the CCO blog is another step in our effort to support a two-way dialogue, to ensure we can understand your perspective and proactively share information.  We’re continuing to identify additional areas where we can improve our communications with you.


Beyond those key areas identified for improvement, the survey recognized improvements between 2016 and 2017 in a number of areas. We are pleased that clients are experiencing greater satisfaction overall, and seeing sharp improvements in:

  • Satisfaction in adoption of Blackboard products at your institution
  • The value of Blackboard events and networking opportunities with other Blackboard clients
  • Blackboard’s thought leadership within the education sector
  • Satisfaction with Blackboard Student Services
  • Scalability of Blackboard solutions
  • Depth of functionality of Blackboard solutions


At Blackboard, we are extremely proud of our nearly 3,000 professionals around the world, and we believe these improvements in the survey results reflect the hard work of our employees and teams over the past year. A few examples of our employees' work include the continuous delivery of improvements to Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and Learn SaaS, and a renewed focus on client programs such as User Groups, Catalyst Awards, Exemplary Course Program, Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series, Tech Previews, Cohorts, and this Community site.


We know the results are more than numbers. They represent the very real daily, weekly, and monthly impact we have on people around the world – the impact we have on you.  We want to continue to hear from you in our annual survey, and as importantly, throughout the year. I encourage you to continue the conversation here on the Community Site and via other forums.


In future blog posts, I will continue to share information about work we’re doing to improve our work in areas identified through the annual survey.