for content updates and localization into 10 languages
Scale content creation to meet the growing demand for self-service content
Encourage contributions from partners, customers, and product experts to improve content quality
Migrate more than 16,500 pages of self-service content from nine siloed systems onto a single, consistent framework
Encouraged contributions from partners, customers, and product experts, leading to higher quality content
Saved $500,000 in annual localization costs while achieving 100% localization coverage in 10 languages
Achieved turnaround time of less than 24 hours for content, including full localization into 10 languages, compared to what used to take weeks
6,500% increase in search impressions through Google, allowing customers to find content much faster
Customers expect unprecedented levels of self-service from their favorite companies. They don’t want to go to a store or pick up their phone. They want to go online to research products and find answers to their questions on their own time. Today, speedy and convenient access to information and services can mean the difference between winning over loyal customers or losing them to competitors.
The trend towards anytime, anywhere access to services has spilled over into all stages of customer engagement, from early product research to long after purchase. This is particularly evident with software training, where time-intensive, formal learning programs have evolved into easier-to-use tutorials, user guides, technical documentation, and other information readily available to customers online.
The Self-Service Excellence team at Adobe supports everyone in the Adobe Digital Experience business unit who creates or contributes to self-service content. The small team oversees content for more than 20 solutions and capabilities across multiple clouds, including 70 guides, 60 annual releases, and five documentation sites.
“Self-service content has been increasingly critical to our customers’ understanding of our products,” says Paul Gilliham, Director of Self-Service Excellence, Experience Cloud. “We expect to have more than 4 million unique visitors and 22 million page views to self-service content over the next year. To keep up with the overwhelming demand for content, we needed to create a path for documentation that’s scalable, automated, and collaborative.”
The Self-Service Excellence team started a collaborative documentation initiative called the Scalable Collaborative Content Model (SCCM). The goal of the initiative is to get more people involved in content creation and review, including Adobe product specialists, partners, and even customers.
Director, Self-Service Excellence, Experience Cloud, Adobe
The team decided that an open-source platform would be the best way to involve contributors from both inside and outside of the company. But it also wanted to add visual consistency to the content by taking advantage of Adobe Experience Manager, which many Adobe teams had been using for years due to its robust capabilities as both a content management system and as a digital asset management system.
The Self-Service Excellence team decided to use the Markdown authoring language in GitHub to develop content, but then bring it into Adobe Experience Manager for publication using Adobe Experience Manager Guides, the component content management system (CCMS) from Adobe.
“We migrated more than 20,000 pages of English content to the new system and decommissioned 5 different technical documentation sites,” says Gilliham. “Taking localizations into account, that’s 170,000 pages of content. With our new workflow including Adobe Experience Manager Guides, we’re building a platform to create more and higher-quality content that meets all of our customers’ self-service needs.”
About 20 writers work on self-service content for Adobe Experience Cloud solutions. Over the years, writers created their own workflows and content management systems. The result was nine separate and siloed systems. Writers split their time between writing and maintaining these systems, so they typically didn’t have time to review and refresh older content.
With the new workflow, writers create content in GitHub using the Markdown authoring language. The content then runs through an automated pipeline built on Jenkins, an open source tool for continuous integration and delivery pipelines, to validate the content. This validated content then gets published using Adobe Experience Manager Guides.
Because the content is created in an open-source environment, anyone can log in and suggest edits to the published content. Product experts can add detailed explanations for more advanced users. Partners can flag a typo. Even customers can get involved, suggesting edits or clarifications on guides that didn’t quite work for them. Writers get notified of the suggested changes so that only approved edits get published.
With more contributors looking over and testing content, even older articles can get polished to perfection.
“Our customer satisfaction score is currently neutral. For every page that customers enjoy, there’s one that doesn’t quite meet their needs,” says Alva Ware-Bevacqui, Product Manager, Experience Cloud, Self-Service Excellence at Adobe. “By inviting more contributors to review and expand upon content, we’re hoping to provide more clear, accurate, and informative content that customers are looking for.”
Product Manager, Experience Cloud, Self-Service Excellence, Adobe
Before, about 55% of the self-service content was localized. Now that all content is created in the same consistent format, Adobe can take advantage of machine translation to localize all content across 10 core languages. Human translators focus on fine-tuning the top 30% most accessed content.
“Working with the localization team, we saved $500,000 in annual localization costs while achieving 100% localization coverage,” says Ware-Bevacqui.
Standardizing on a content creation workflow also allows Adobe to dramatically accelerate time-to-market. A small team now manages the infrastructure, freeing up writers to write new content and review changes or suggestions from other contributors.
“Our turnaround time for content updates, including full localization into ten languages, is under 24 hours. Before Adobe Experience Manager Guides, it could take weeks or even a few months depending on the solution and the language,” says Ware-Bevacqui. “We could never have achieved such speed in our legacy models.”
With the new workflow including Adobe Experience Manager Guides, customers are getting access to more content and higher-quality content. Publishing through Adobe Experience Manager allows people in the Adobe Digital Experience business unit to use the same look and navigation systems across all digital content, from product descriptions to self-service material. This makes it easier and less confusing for customers to find the information they need.
Having a consistent structure, along with more consistent management of metadata and automated XML sitemaps, also allows Adobe to dramatically improve how it manages search engine optimization (SEO). As a result, the company has seen a 6,500% increase in search impressions through Google, suggesting that better SEO helps customers find the content that they’re looking for.
“Our work is critical because it allows customers to get the content that they need quickly and easily,” says Gilliham. “Adobe Experience Manager Guides is the perfect tool to help us deliver open-source content in a structured way and a consistent experience for customers.”