Head’s Up: New Customer Portal Coming Soon

Head’s Up: New Customer Portal Coming Soon

One of the nice things about working at a small-to-midsize company like Datalogics (in my opinion) is the wide variety of projects you are able to get involved with. For the past several months I’ve been working with Ching and Scott, our Directors of Mobile and Enterprise Support, respectively, on building out a new customer portal. This new portal is currently in pilot stage, with a handful of customers using it to view and submit cases. We plan to transition fully to the new portal in April – customers will receive more details in an upcoming Service Bulletin – but I also wanted to share a sneak peek and some background here.

So… why the move to a new portal?

The primary reason for the move is that we’ve outgrown the capabilities of the existing portal technology. The new portal is built upon a flexible, extensible framework that will enable us to better support our current processes and workflows, and will allow us to move closer to our vision of a “one-stop shop” portal for our customers.

/** Technical sidenote: you may want to skip this…

The current portal is built upon Salesforce.com’s “Self-Service Portal” capability, which is different than their “Customer Portal” capability, which in any case appears to have been subsumed by their “Communities” capability, which encompasses what used to be “Customer Portal”, plus “Chatter Answers” which I think used to be their “Answers” capability, and also kind of encompasses their “Knowledge” capability which powers our public Knowledgebase but not the Solutions articles that appear in the current, Self-Service Portal-based portal. Got it?

**/

Initial Functionality

On initiial rollout, the portal will support the same functionality as the current portal, but better:

  • Create cases: you’ll be able to select the relevant product, enter a version number, and generally be able to supply us more details about your problem
  • Attach case files: this one’s huge (well, <2GB, technically). You can attach problem files and code snippets directly to the case, rather than FTPing them to us
  • View cases: UI improvements here, including sortable headers, different filters/views (closed cases vs. open cases, etc.)
  • Different view of Knowledgebase: You’ll be able to access the Knowledge base articles from within the portal. The user interface is different than the current portal; it’ll take some getting used to, but we think it’s better.

Obligatory “Sneak Peek” Screenshots

portal-home
Portal home page: if any of you have seen/use Salesforce.com, this UI should be familiar.
portal-opencases
You can review your list of cases in a few different ways here.
portal-articles
The Knowledgebase view is the same UI that we use internally.

 

Future Direction

We are already having lively discussions about future enhancements. Here are a few of the features we’re considering:

  • Account Status (maintenance renewal visibility): provide customers the ability to review the list of licensed products, see renewal dates, update contact details
  • Adobe Content Server Certificate fulfillment/management: for ACS customers, the ability to manage ACS Certificates in a “semi-automated” fashion
  • Access and download product updates: download product updates and patches directly from the portal

We expect you’ll have some ideas as well, and look forward to hearing from you.

Want access to the pilot now?

If you want to get early access to the new portal, we can accommodate some additional testers. Please let me know in the comments below; or contact your Support Rep directly and let them know.

Otherwise, look for more details about the general release schedule in an upcoming Service Bulletin in April.

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