1. MindTouch: Can you tell us a bit about Code42? What industry are you in and what does your company do?
Code42: Code42, a Minneapolis-based software company, is the industry leader in endpoint data protection and management. It controls the largest private cloud in the world to securely back up millions of consumer devices. The company’s award-winning products are also the gold standard for the enterprise, trusted by the most recognized brands in business and education including the world’s largest technology companies and most prestigious universities.
2. MindTouch: How long has Code42 been been a MindTouch customer?
Code42: We’ve been a customer since June of 2013. Our MindTouch-supported site launched on October 1, 2013, coinciding with the launch of SharePlan, an enterprise file sync and share solution that complements our CrashPlan offering.
3. MindTouch: How important is customer success to your organization? Can you share what some of your customers have been saying about you?
Code42: Our customers trust Code42 to protect and manage the valuable information on their laptops, desktops and mobile devices. End users want an experience that is easy, elegant and everywhere—like other apps they know and love. And system administrators and corporate technology leaders want a data management solution that enables oversight and data management of thousands of devices—without adding enormous cost or headcount. If we lose their trust anywhere along the way we risk losing their business.
The way we interact with our customers is critically important to maintaining their trust and growing our brand. A lot of companies say that, but it is something we truly believe and demonstrate via customer support. What our customers say about us makes evident our customer first philosophy; we are also recognized in the industry as a leader in customer service. Our Customer Champions support customers via email, chat and phone and they do it with zest, compassion and commitment until the customer is not only satisfied, but “evangelized.” Every new employee at Code42 shadows three Customer Champions before landing in his or her department to help them model the “customer first” principle in their own work.
4. MindTouch: What challenges did your organization face before MindTouch?
Code42: We originally segmented product-support content by market—consumer, business and enterprise—and published respective content on three discrete wiki-based sites.
Our sites were tied to version control systems, which offered some benefits, but meant that content producers had to understand the version control system before they could publish articles or content changes. Inevitably, this created a bottleneck.
Additionally, presenting content by market precluded the most tech savvy consumer from taking advantage of detailed technical information geared toward the enterprise IT admin, and the enterprise IT admin from taking advantage of the friendly, end-user focused content about the CrashPlan client application.
5. MindTouch: What business objectives did you achieve with a customer success solution like MindTouch?
Code42: The overarching goal was to provide our customers with a single, authoritative source of product information.
a) Improve the Customer Experience by creating consistent, quality documentation that’s easy to find
All of our software products leverage a common technology platform for securing, moving, and storing data. We wanted one place to provide robust documentation where our customers could learn about the products and platform—or simply find answers to questions.
Navigation and user search are critical. Especially in the world of software, both consumers and IT admins expect information to be easily searchable and at their fingertips. If it takes more than a few clicks to find the right answer, they experience frustration and worse—lose faith in our brand.
Because our documentation might be a person’s first experience with Code42, we wanted the ability to create a consistent brand experience in look, feel and nomenclature. MindTouch provided a fair amount of design flexibility to incorporate the Code42 brand.
We also needed to serve a small but vocal group of customers who prefer to view product information in a book-like, offline format. Often, these people prefer to print or save a product manual PDF to read while offline, for example on a plane, in a data center, or other places where Internet access may not be available.
b) Reduce documentation overhead and scale for the future
Reduce the level of skill required to update and release content.
In terms of content management, we wanted to reduce the level of skill required to update and release content. Speed-to-publication is important, particularly following product releases. MindTouch supports faster updates and content releases because content providers don’t need to “code.” We can release or fine tune content instantly, without having to wait for a specific window of opportunity to push changes live.
We’ve dabbled in crowd sourcing content internally in the past, so we looked for a solution that kept crowd sourcing options open to us. The simple authoring interface and access controls in MindTouch enable contributors from other teams to contribute throughout the workflow.
While we haven’t yet done a lot of internal crowd sourcing since moving to MindTouch, we have been able to onboard four new writers, an intern, and a Customer Champion (who is doing a full-time stint as a writer) extremely quickly. With MindTouch in place, most of our training time is spent in teaching style guidelines and Code42 processes, rather than on how to use the publishing tool. As a result, our Customer Champion and intern were able to write and release content with MindTouch within a day or two of joining our team; overall, our team is able to focus on continually creating and releasing great content for our customers.
c) Reduce reliance on IT, cloud and web development teams in managing the underlying infrastructure supporting our documentation
Our previous self-hosted wiki solution required too much support from the web development, IT and cloud teams to manage and maintain. There were significant opportunity costs and task-switching costs each time we involved these teams.
MindTouch is a cloud-based solution, so MindTouch takes care of almost all of the platform maintenance. The only thing our cloud team has had to do since initial configuration was replace our SSL certificate in response to the Heartbleed OpenSSL bug. IT is out of the picture now and can focus on supporting our internal users. And while our web team is continually making small improvements to the site design, they’re able to do so much more quickly and easily than they could in the past.
d) Ability to extend and integrate the documentation platform without compromising functionality or scalability
Code42 is keen on making data-driven decisions, which goes hand-in-hand with our “Best idea wins” philosophy. With our old solution, we had no ability to measure behavior or utility of our content. Google Analytics had been configured, but we ran into a technical issue that we never took the time to fully resolve; after that, we had no reporting. We researched what it would take to augment the old system with a user-rating feature, but determined that it wasn’t worth the effort to build or maintain. This was one of many reasons we decided to abandon the old wiki system.
Out of the box, MindTouch provides simple Google Analytics integration, and reporting on article rating, content aging, and search. We use the data from Google Analytics and the built-in reports to improve keyword search of articles and prioritize improvements to existing content.
6. MindTouch: Why pick MindTouch? Out of all the vendors that you looked at, what made you ultimately decide to use MindTouch? (Key differentiators)
Code42: Ease of use both for authoring and online publishing was one of the primary reasons we selected MindTouch. We wanted a tool that allowed us to keep the focus on attracting great technical communicators, without requiring a strong background in tech comm-specific tools. We wanted the team to focus on writing clear, audience-appropriate content that solves real-world problems, and then get that content out to our customers quickly.
Many of the technical writing tools available today aren’t built to accommodate the way people who grew up with the Internet consume information. The tools continue to focus on book-like output backed by XML-based authoring (e.g. DITA or DocBook). While there are benefits to authoring in XML, and there will always be an audience for book-like content, authoring in XML includes a steep learning curve. We didn’t want to incur the significant overhead required to write, publish and update content in XML.
Using MindTouch’s simple interface, we can identify a content need and publish within seconds. Additionally, because MindTouch does not require specialized knowledge, we are able to utilize content contributors outside of the Documentation team. There are a number of easy to use authoring tools available, but many are designed for internal collaboration. MindTouch is focused on collaborative authoring for software documentation and provided the right set of tech comm-specific tools for our use case. And if authoring in XML does make sense for us some day, we can still use MindTouch as our documentation front-end and add XML authoring tools to our process.
From a web development perspective, MindTouch fully leverages standard web technologies, including a full, RESTful API. We were able to design and implement our custom branding in about 4 weeks, with a single senior web developer.
During our vendor evaluation, we focused on cloud-based solutions with the goal of significantly minimizing the maintenance burden on our Cloud and IT teams. All of our help information has always been available to the public, so there was no reason we had to keep our documentation hosted in-house. We didn’t find any other cloud-based solutions that provided the ease of use and flexibility of MindTouch, while also focusing 100% on our exact use case – documenting software products.
Another reason we chose MindTouch was its flexibility in authentication options. We’re currently using the built-in authentication; however, when the time comes for us to move to some form of single sign-on, we are confident that MindTouch will be able to integrate with our chosen system.
7. MindTouch: Describe the Code42 customer service experience compared to that provided by other companies in the industry.
Code42: A lot of companies view customer support as a resource drain or cost center. In that scenario, documentation is perceived as a way to reduce support costs by deflecting help desk tickets. We’re doing a few things differently at Code42. The first is that we think of customer support as a powerful form of marketing. Treating people right, taking the time to listen to their issues and helping them find resolution, quickly, goes a long way toward creating product evangelists. We are proud to host most of our Customer Champion team right here in Minneapolis; as we expand to Australia and the UK, we’re building out teams to support customers in those regions with local talent.
As of about early 2013, we have decided as a company to make significant investments in our documentation, which has always been 100% publicly accessible. Our goal as a company is to lead, not just with our technology, and not just with our customer support, but with our documentation, as well. While documentation can contribute to significant support cost savings, having great documentation, much like having a great product or great customer support, is an opportunity to create an exceptional experience for customers. It starts with building and releasing high-quality products that solve real problems for real people, but the trifecta is when you also provide accessible and easy to understand self-service answers, and back it up with compassionate and technically savvy people who help when self-service isn’t sufficient. That’s how you create evangelists.