Results from collaboration software case study

On December 14th I posted this entry stating my intent to take a "cob web" page and give it some life.  I focused on the PRESS AND MEDIA and PRODUCT SUPPORT pages.  My intent was to use Central Desktop wiki pages to enable quick changes, uploads, and "edit-ability" to the marketing staff.  You wont be impressed since there’s really nothing new there…but the infrastructure is completely different. Instead of static pages requiring someone to upload them when they can, etc. this is a fully rights controlled wiki page that can be edited in a snap.  I’m using a custom template within Central Desktop that allows my wiki’s or workspaces to look and feel exactly like my web presence.  They helped me with this and it took about 30 minutes.

My biggest source of pride is the impact of spending about 15 minutes on the PRODUCT SUPPORT page.  This page used to have a list of phone numbers of people to contact…that’s all.  Now, it has a searchable knowledge base, case submission screen, and of course, the relic phone number page.

The main point that I’m trying to convey here is that I (non tech head) was able to use "auto-generated html code" from salesforce.com, plug it directly into a wiki page, and have these items live and operational in less than 60 minutes. The company went from having  phone only support to self help  and self submit in no time flat.  I don’t know about you, but my first attempt at getting answers to questions or support issues is ALWAYS to hit the web first.  99% of the time I can be satisfied by seeking the answers on my own time and on my schedule.

I’d like to reiterate that I’ve not attacked and solved a tech support infrastructure issue here.  What I’ve done is solve a chronic problem for SMB’s…that is:  Setting up a website that gives you a "presence" on the web that dies a slow and painful death due to inattention.  See most companies set up a site and give the ability to update it to those who created it, usually a web master or IT staffer, or God forbid…the outsourced company that created the site that charges you for each word, color, or font change! I’ve given the power to update, maintain and freshen a web site to anyone in the company who 1) has permission and 2) who has the skill to use email.

The net net:  60 minutes total time spent between me and the support staff at Central Desktop.  Anyone in the company with permission can add press releases or announcements on the fly.  The company now has a support infrastructure (case management and knowledge base) if they should decide to use it.  Of course more time would be needed to customize, paste in existing content, set up the rules and work flow for tech support, etc…but now it can be executed by far more people in the company and on a moment’s notice. 

This is the empowerment and immediate results that SMB’s must have to compete today and what I derive great passion from delivering.

Next step:  Get the company’s blog (brand new) to look and feel like the website using typepad advanced templates.  Mike, your phone is about to ring. 

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