… in with the new!
Although I’m not part of the core support team anymore the knowledgebase has always been something that held a particular interest for me. When I joined SDL in 2006 we had two knowledgebase systems, each integrated into the support systems that were being used at the time. These were Salesforce and RightNow Technologies. The first big change I was involved in with regard to systems was moving the support teams onto one ticketing system and one knowledgebase. We wanted Salesforce as the ticketing system as it gave good visibility into the tickets being raised to everyone at SDL because Salesforce was being used as the CRM tool of choice. But in those days the knowledgebase component wasn’t great, so we adopted a new system. The system we chose was Talisma.
Over the next years SDL acquired several new businesses, all of which came with their own support systems and their own knowledgebases. Everyone loves their own systems, especially the smaller companies with light and modern ways of doing things, but the needs of SDL to have one system for all customers had to take precedence. In addition to this the budgetary restrictions on the purchase and rollout of a new system also played a part, so the support systems underwent another big change and were all rolled into one using BMC… I’m pretty sure we all wanted RightNow but it wasn’t to be. The knowledgebase remained the same.
Over the next few years, and more acquisitions from SDL, it became clear that the support system was not able to fulfill the needs of the business so another change was implemented and this involved a move back to Salesforce, but this time with a new and improved support and integrated knowledgebase solution. The new systems were rolled out in 2016 but up to now the knowledgebase was still the old Talisma solution. Well, I say the same old solution but this isn’t strictly true as there had been several upgrades and improvements and the company providing this solution had also been through a few changes… Talisma -> NGenera -> Moxie -> Talisma. So today it’s still the Talisma solution I was originally involved in selecting and implementing in 2007!
(adapted from the SDL official announcement)
In May last year SDL Support finalised the phased roll-out of the new and improved Customer Support Portal, powered by ServiceCloud from Salesforce.com, called SDL Customer Gateway. They moved from about eight different systems for ticket and knowledge management to one single place where they offer one integrated entrance into Assisted Support and Self-Service.
So now it’s time to switch off the old Language Technologies Talisma knowledge base (http://kb.sdl.com). At the end of this month SDL IT will switch off the servers for Talisma and you’ll be redirected to this article on the SDL Gateway. The most frequently viewed articles have been moved across to the Knowledge base in SDL Gateway (https://gateway.sdl.com) and all others have been retained in searchable format for the Support Team as an internal source of legacy knowledge. This action will make Gateway the single place where the Support Team shares and maintains their product knowledge.
Such a centralised place will make it easier for the Support Team to create new, or update existing, content while working on Support tickets. The aim is to get information available to SDL customers much faster, to improve capturing the actual context in which product issues occur and to provide more relevant and consistent content. That should make the offered content “better findable” and “better usable”.
SDL Gateway is an ongoing project. SDL are planning to make it available in multiple languages via Machine Translation, to integrate the knowledge base with the SDL Communities and product documentation, and to work on the overall user experience. To start off with the prime focus is on optimising the system’s search engine which will be a welcome improvement. I used to operate the trick of searching in Google with my search string in quotes and then add kb.sdl.com to the end of the search. This way I could take advantage of the powerful Google capabilities to find things in the Talisma knowledgebase. This doesn’t work so well with the new gateway unfortunately and it is a little tricky to find things in the new KB despite so much really useful content being available in there. So watch the gateway space for updates on that one!!
If you have any questions about the use of SDL Gateway, you may want to have a look at the Gateway Community where you’ll find some useful FAQs.
So it’s out with the old and in with the new… a few teething problems I’m sure… but the overall experience is heading in the right direction and I know how much effort the support teams are putting into making sure that everything they do is centered around knowledge management. So whilst I’m sad to see the end of the Talisma era I do think it’s going to benefit everyone in the long run.
To end this article I want to mention one thing…
The “Knowledge” on the left is the icon and terminology used in Gateway to represent the Knowledgebase. The “SDL Knowledge Center” on the right is a cleverly disguised product that has nothing to do with the knowledgebase. “SDL Knowledge Center” is the following:
Structured Content for Documentation and Support
SDL Knowledge Center is an enterprise solution for creating, managing and delivering high quality structured content for technical documentation and self-service support.
I often see people posting questions on Studio or MultiTerm into the “SDL Knowledge Center” community because it certainly seems like the place to go and learn something, particularly when the community that should be used is the “Translation Productivity” community… a name that may not mean anything to many users. Today SDL is all about “The age of understanding“… perhaps something to address in the future to ensure clarity of experience for our global customers!