Since I am in the business of Customer Support Communities and Social Documentation I am frequently asked to differentiate between Enterprise solution providers. While each of the companies below have superior offerings to how most companies do SocialCRM (customer support) today, there are differences that are important.
The Social Business Players
- MindTouch is an enterprise social and collaboration platform with a focus on Social Documentation and Support Communities.
- Atlassian Confluence is a popular wiki commonly used by software development teams that is also used for documentation by software developer workgroups.
- Jive Software is a general purpose social business platform with many use cases. One of which is customer support communities.
- RightNow has a customer support suite that they’ve added some social capabilities to.
Each of the solutions listed in the matrix below are high quality, enterprise ready product. But each serves a different purpose or is a general platform trying to solve multiple enterprise issues. For purposes of our matrix, our focus is on customer support documentation communities.
Thanks to Jack Molisani and the entire LavaCon team for an amazing conference this year. A quick scan of the #lavacon hashtag will give you an idea of how well the conference was received.
If you weren’t able to attend, you missed some great presentations by the leading content strategists and marketers in the industry today. You also missed MindTouch naming the 25 Most Influential Content Strategists, an impartial ranking and recognition of the people who are leading the way in content strategy.
Last week, I had a chance to interview our very own, MindTouch CTO and co-founder Steve Bjorg, about the importance of MindTouch Technical Communications Suite. I sat down with Steve for a Q&A session on MindTouch TCS, so that you can have his view into the importance and power of the product.
Mark Fidelman: What is MindTouch TCS and why is it so remarkable?
Steve Bjorg: MindTouch TCS is the culmination of the most exhaustive research in the company’s history, which included several rounds of market feedback and focus groups. We studied our current and prospective customers and asked them what they needed in a solution to be more successful. We discovered that there is a major issue around authoring and publishing content for the web. They desperately need a more robust and focused solution for documentation and Customer Support. They also sorely lacked analytics and curation tools to help them create better content for their customers.
In fact, we found there needed to be a serious re-thinking of the way companies are using documentation. I believe we achieved that with MindTouch TCS.
Earlier this week, I had a chance to interview Symantec’s Tristan Bishop (@KnowledgeBishop) about the future of the Technical Communication profession. For the past 15 years, Bishop (linkedin.com/in/tristanbishop) has been driving teams toward “efficient delivery of effective content”. His current role, unifying content strategy at the world’s leading security company, provides him with a unique vantage point on the rapidly evolving documentation landscape.
Note: Bishop agreed to this interview as a personal discussion, and emphasized that his opinions are his own, and not those of his employer.
Fidelman: Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. From reviewing your blog, I understand that you predict that technical communications will become profoundly more strategic and social in the next few years. I want to start by asking, which of your career experiences have contributed to your predictions about the profession’s future?
Bishop: I’ve been involved in Knowledge Management since the mid-1990s. Over the past decade, I’ve been privileged to help a number of brands migrate legacy enterprise documentation into topic-based XML, in order to facilitate nimble delivery. These past few years, I’ve been working on integrating Information Developer topics with Technical Support delivery channels, to increase customer Self-Service.
Recently I had a conversation with Keith Shaw of NetworkWorld as part of the Network World Panorama series, a NWW series of podcasts with industry experts and analysts that give you a high-level view of the technology landscape. Keith titled our podcast: “Why Documentation Still Matters”, but I would argue the title should read: “Why Documentation Matters, Now More Than Ever”. It’s short, to the point and has a lot of information. I hope you’ll give it a listen. Click here to listen to the podcast.