I hear the same story frequently from different friends and colleagues. Every time someone asks me what Laplink does and I tell them about PCmover, the answer is often, “I wish that I would have known about PCmover before I set up my new PC! It took me days to get it configured manually.” Not surprisingly, studies from Microsoft and Intel come to the same conclusion: Users dread buying a new PC or even postpone the purchase because they fear the pain of setting up the new PC. Re-installing all the applications, transferring the data and redoing the settings are all tedious and time-consuming. Although a user’s PC may be dated and significantly better hardware is available on the market, the user probably has their current PC set up exactly how they like it. Their PC is not the fastest and doesn’t have all the new features, but the user knows how it works.
Laplink has partnered with Microsoft, Intel and the major PC manufacturers for many years, but the cooperation has been mostly limited to sales and marketing. The exception is Intel, with whom we have shared years of technology cooperation and co-development on several projects. Although Intel is not selling directly to end users, they are highly motivated to build components that benefit consumers. They want to ensure that software is optimized with the Intel hardware to take advantage of the innovation that Intel is creating.
Last year, Intel contacted us and announced they were committed to helping make the transition to a new PC easier for users. Central to the theme was how users are “migrating” or transferring their data, settings and even applications to the new PC. After in-depth research of the process, Intel initiated a new discussion with us. Their team had a very clear message: (1) PCmover is the best product in the market to address this issue; and (2) Reviews show that PCmover struggles to deal with environmental issues like PC networking and application compatibility that lie outside Laplink’s control. Together we identified a number of reasons why the non-expert user has difficulty with these issues when using PCmover. We decided it would be best to re-do the interaction of the user between our product and the outside factors, namely the user interface.
The project was parsed into five parts: (1) Current user behavior; (2) New UI design; (3) Development; (4) Testing and feedback; and (5) Optimization. The tech team battled optimization and worked to make the transfer faster and more reliable with the latest generation of processors. Simultaneously, the user experience and marketing teams completed a prolonged analysis, evaluated many iterations of a new UI approach, monitored user testing, and finally provided new specifications to development. After an intense six months with long hours the new version of PCmover was ready.
Software development has drastically changed over the years. I remember well the early days of PC computing. A new version was released, burned onto a floppy disc, bundled with a user guide and off it went to printing and distribution. Today, the release has to be accompanied with not only a new user guide, but new web pages, new setup for e-commerce, complex product and serial number schemas, continued user testing, and deployment of updates.
Innovating PCmover continues even beyond the new release. Working with Intel and their worldwide teams, we wanted to make the software available to more retailers in more countries than ever before. We added new languages like Indonesian, Thai, Turkish, and Polish, thereby making PCmover available in nearly twenty different languages.
Working with Intel has been extremely rewarding and I am grateful to all the contributors who helped to make the product better. Getting feedback from our customers, partners, and resellers gives us the opportunity to drive innovation every day. This process does not stop, as we work to continually provide better service and products for our customers.