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  • Software developer – Product Manager, Marley Software Co.

    Mary Saunders

    ‘I want to help develop solutions so that my products have value for both my clients and my business.’

    As the product manager at Marley, I need to stay on top of changes to the law which might impact our software packages and our client’s ability to stay compliant with their taxes. So when the ATO asked for representatives to help design what changes to a child care software package might look like, I signed up without hesitation.

    With the announcement of changes to the way companies need to report, I was invited by the ATO to share my knowledge about the reporting obligations for the industry. Previously, the only time you were able to provide input was at the quarterly industry forums, when most of the design was already done. I know that I can also voice my views through the Australian Business Software Industry Association (ABSIA) and other industry associations, if I choose to.

    I signed up to be part of a group of software developers who would be impacted by the upcoming change and were interested in developing a solution that met the needs of the ATO and our users.

    Amanda from the ATO came to my office to talk about the changes that were proposed and to seek my input. I felt like my commercial knowledge of the product, our users and the broader industry was listened to. I knew I could represent my users’ view to help the ATO come up with solutions that are viable for me and contribute to the broader software community.

    Amanda told me that additional feedback and suggestions could be made through the online collaboration tool on the ATO website, open to all of the software industry. When I logged on, I found it was a great site to test the ideas I had about the change with the broader software developer community. Through this tool I could also see the ATO would be regularly collaborating with me through testing design iterations, prototypes and specifications.

    Because I had input into the design, when the ATO released early drafts of the specifications I was prepared and able to plan our development with certainty. I was able to integrate the change into our product development schedule.

    After the new product was released the ATO asked me to be part of a post implementation review. I provided my feedback through the collaboration tool, and noticed I could also offer suggestions for improvements on a range of other products.

    It was really handy that I received an alert through the collaboration tool that provided a summary and responses to the feedback. I could see that my feedback was on there and was happy to see that the ATO were considering it in their next release.

    I felt that through partnering with the ATO, I was able to help design solutions that were practical to implement, met the requirements of the new legislation and were relevant and easy for my users.

    What the ATO does

    • We work with software developers to design and implement software that provides:
      • Better integration with their clients and the ATO.
      • Proactive and pre-emptive compliance.
    • We keep software developers informed on legislative changes.

    How the ATO behaves

    • We have a service focus.
    • We get things done promptly and with purpose.
    • We build trusted relationships.
    • We ask for, and listen to, insights, experiences and issues software developers and their clients have.
    • We ask for feedback and provide responses using an online collaboration tool so the whole industry can access the information.
    • We engage with software developers as early as possible and work together to design solutions.
      Last modified: 19 Aug 2016QC 49929