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5 Posts authored by: Kevin Williams Employee

Supportal

This is the first in a series of upcoming blog posts where we will delve into the details behind our Supportal.  As most of our customers are already aware, the Supportal is Jive's Clearspace customization that transforms generic communities into personal communities where Jive collaborates directly with our customers via cases, documents, and projects.

 

This first post will provide the high-level overview, overriding design goals, business goals, and additional benefits to the Supportal.  Future posts will delve into the business decision details, and the architecture.

The Name

People often ask how the name Supportal came to be.  When it comes to overall creativity, I am horrible.  In this project's infancy, I used Customer Portal, Customer Support Portal, Support Portal, and many other terms as names.   Will French, Jive's Senior Support Engineer, and now the Supportal Development Lead, abbreviated Support Portal, to Supportal (likely making fun of me talking too fast), and the name stuck.  It also gets rid of that stigma around the word "portal" as well!

Reasons for the Supportal

The Supportal was created to resolve's Support's own business pains.  Prior to identifying the business pains however, we set 3 main overriding goals for the project:

 

  1. Simplicity: The goal of the supportal is to solve business pain.  Too many other support sites are tough to use and hard to navigate.  Creating a case needs to be as simple and easy as possible. We continue this philosophy on upcoming features, ensuring that additional features add benefit without causing pain.
  2. Accessibility: Customers weren't getting the information they needed, and people within Jive were not seeing the information they needed.  The solution needed to include as many people as possible, while still being private so that only Jive and the customer can see the information.
  3. Usability: Jive prides itself on this, and this is something that's always on our list.  Making the Supportal as usable as possible is also a guiding factor we focused on during the first iteration and continue to improve upon.

 

With the overriding goals set, we identified the following business goals:

  • Create a solution where customers can go to create all their cases, regardless of severity
  • Replace email with an online system as the mode of communication
  • Recreate survey information.  Associate the survey to the case.
  • Integrate Discussions (only community) with cases to provide customers with a single location to get their answer.
  • Provide customers the ability to create public cases, allowing others (outside Jive support) to read, contribute, and resolve, while ensuring that Jive Support will answer your issue.
  • Provide the same functionality (email) for customers who refuse to use the new system.
  • Remove manual customer and contract validation process

 

Solution

With the business goals identified, we realized that we had to integrate with our online community.  Clearspace provided communities (security for each customer), email notification, reply by email, discussions, and a means to replace email as the primary mode of communication.  80% of the work was done for us.  The missing parts were:

  • Auto-creation of customer communities via account, customer, and contract information in Salesforce
  • Validating customer ability to create cases upon user login
  • Adding meta data into customer community discussions, allowing them to become cases.
  • Customizing customer communities to show cases instead of discussions.
  • Synchronizing the cases (specifically the meta data) with Salesforce.
  • Paging for Severity 1 cases
  • Surveys
  • Creating cases via email

 

The following blog posts are going to delve into these sections providing more information behind each business goal, and how we customized Clearspace to solve the goal.

Additional Benefits

As with many solutions, we quickly realized that the Supportal can be used for more than just customer cases.  The first additional use case for the Supportal was identified when our professional services team started using Clearspace's project functionality within the Secure Communities.  This was exactly what Clearspace Projects were intended for, and the Supportal solved our PS department's communication requirements perfectily with no additional customizations.

 

We also have experienced a slight decrease in overall cases due to the increased visibility of the cases.  Managers will frequently apply a community watch so that they receive emails whenever anyone creates a case in their community.  We have had managers reply to a case telling us to disregard the case due to it being something they need to solve internally.  We have also had managers follow up with their team directly when issues are stagnating, allowing us to resolve issues quicker.

 

Finally, the public case feature is being used for about 7% of all of our cases.  Not a huge number, but definitely significant, and each additional case that is made public results in additional information in our community for others to see and use.  This stat is without us pushing the feature at all.

Customer Portal Launching!

On Monday, May 19th, we launched a new support solution to provide our customers with a better support experience.  We are moving from our old email based system, to leveraging our Jive Communities ClearspaceX instance to provide discussion based support via cases.  What does this mean for you?  Well there are a lot of high level benefits:

  • No more losing emails in the internet--attachments are particularly bad at causing this

  • You can now view all your cases with us, and check on the status

  • You can choose to make cases private or public--knowing that we will respond to both regardless of who can see them.

 

There are some things to be aware of regarding the new processes:

 

What About my Existing Open Cases?

All emails sent into Jive will be created as new cases--this will be the primary point for the case moving forward, although we will ensure that your cases' history is maintained so that we do not lose any context when solving your issue.

 

Your "Personal" Community

When you log into Jive Community (this site), assuming you have an active support contract, and email address, you will now see a new community under the Support Community named after your company.  This is a community that only members of your company, and Jive can see.  Everything created in here is private.  If you are not seeing your Personal Community, please email accountsupport@jivesoftware.com.

 

Email

You can still send emails, and the system will automatically process and publish them online.  As long as you have an account with a valid email address, email will work just fine.  Additionally, assuming you have not disabled your watches, you will receive a watch update when we (or someone else if public) responds to your case.

 

Keeping Track of Cases

After logging in, just navigate to your personal space (your company name).  If you don't see it, email accountsupport@jivesoftware.com.  Within your space, you will see all your open cases on the overview tab, and a complete history of all your cases on the cases tab.  Please note, that due to the new solution, cases processed using the email system will not show up.

 

How Can my Co-Workers Submit Cases?

Assuming we have a record of your coworker (if not, just email accountsupport@jivesoftware.com), all your coworker needs to do is create an account on jivesoftware.com/community using their work email address, and then they will also see your personal company space.  Additionally, your co-worker will also see all your cases, their status, and can create cases themselves.

 

What are Private and Public Cases?

When you create a case, you have an option to make it public, and to select in which community you want to create the case.  The default however is private.  We have this set to protect your security, and to ensure that any public information is intentionally shared.  When a public case is created it shows up as a discussion in the community you chose.  Others can see and respond to your case just like a discussion--in fact they won't even know that it is a case!

 

When creating the case do not worry if you need to make it private later on.  You can make a case public or private at any point throughout the case's history.

 

Please give us your feedback and let us know what you think.  We are constantly striving to improve your experience with Jive Support!

 

How to set up/use your new space

The attached document contains step by step instructions with screenshots on how to access your private community.

 

As you may have noticed, we have moved the Clearspace projects within JIRA in-house.  The reason for this is to integrate our issue tracking into many of our other internal applications that help with development.  While having JIRA publicly available has been a perk we have been able to offer, the primary purpose of JIRA has, and continues to be, a location for the developers to track the work they are doing, and what is going on.

 

Support will still be providing you with JIRA ID's.  If you ever want to know the status of an issue, just contact support, and we will gladly provide you a status update.

 

As some of you might have already noticed, Marty Kagan, our VP of Engineering, recently blogged about what is going on with Clearspace.

 

We really listened to our customers' feedback, and created what we believe is the best of both worlds, getting customers the latest features, while ensuring customers are on a supported version, with availability for patches.  This last bit is critical as it means that one-off patches for bugs will no longer be going out to a single customer.  Instead, fixes will be rolled into patch releases on a regular basis so that all customers can benefit from known reported bugs.

 

Let us know what you think!

 

As many of you have already noticed our Jive Integrated support instance on jivesoftware.com/jive has joined the developer community on our Jive Community ClearspaceX instance at http://www.jivesoftware.com/community.  Through user feedback, we re-integrated the supportand developercommunities within a single site to improve your experience.  You should now have much less trouble deciding where to post--depending on whether the question is a developer related question or a support related question all on the same instance.  For users of our old instance, all information from our old site was migrated to this new location.

 

With this move not only comes a better user interface and integrated user community but also provides Jive Support with the ability to create periodic blog posts.  Jive Support Engineers will be blogging on best practices we use ourselves when troubleshooting or improving our products' environments.  Please let us know if 

there is anything in particular you want to know more about!

 

Thanks,

 

Kevin Williams

Jive Support Manager

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