I'll be starting a weekly series of questions to gather some feedback about the community from the community. We're always looking for ways to improve and better understand the end-user experience. This week, we'd like to hear feedback about SolarWinds web properties.
Once you've become a customer, what SolarWinds web properties do you visit, how often, and for what?
Please feel free to delve deeper than the questions above to elaborate on your web habits as it relates to SolarWinds. As always, your feedback is greatly appreciated!
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Very similar to squinsey's comments.
SolarWinds.com - maybe once a month, and usually to try to find some picture-ware to hand my executive team so they can understand what I'm saying.
Customerportal: Once every week to two weeks to look for hotfixes, patches, upgrades, etc.
But because we have an offshore team that also opens tickets, I use the (VERY cool and TOTALLY under-promoted) ticket tracking window to see which issues are open, status, etc.
How long after becoming a customer? I think that Thwack came AFTER I was a customer - I've been using SolarWinds since 2003. But if it was there, I was probably there too.
How often do I use it? Hourly. Seriously dudes.
To help others, to brag, to show off. But also to ask the questions that are either too specific to large environments (when I'm guessing the support techs will say "I can't replicate that in the lab") or when I want a range of opinions rather than just the "right answer" that support will give (ie: can I set my database server up on RAID 5 instead of 10)
Solarwinds.com - Rarely. Mainly for back to basic high level overview info to include in documents for upgrade approval work as well as details of any other new applications that have been released maybe of assistance.
Customer portal - Renewals, Patch Updates and incident logging/updates.
KBs - these get picked up by Google searches, so are my initial to see if there is a Solarwinds Best Practice/Endorsed way of doing something, otherwise my search results then usually lead to Thwack anyway..
Thwack - Checked nearly daily to find a way of doing something, give me an idea to implement, or if others are having issues with something I'm working on and they have the solution. (Or there is a feature request for something we could really use)
I end up raising a support request for a 'is it possible' if I can't find something as with other vendors that is usually how the KBs get developed/updated.
I'm going to share my frustrations:
a) I google for answers, which takes me to knowledgebase articles. Because of the way these are setup you often end up on the print version, and cannot get to the non-print version.
b) searching for SWREF# is pointless and referring be to one of these in an error message makes me feel pent-up with frustration.
c) old threads on thwack that will-not-die. After some time threads should become read-only. The original question probably applied to a version of the software that no-longer exists.
d) Techsupport that ALWAYS asks for diagnostics, EVEN if I have just uploaded them, and NEVER looks at them, and IGNORES me for weeks (I know this because I always ask for the download notification when I upload them)
e) I would stay loinger in the customer portal, except it requires me to login every couple of hours; it also can't remember which state I am in, nor which versions of products I last reported incidents with.
I use it to check on cases for my company, it's hard to tell what state a case is in. Is this based on Web Help Desk? if not then you should really use your own software...
I use the customer portal to check for updates to the SW products I use, and to get the new MIB database. I'm rarely at the main site (www.solarwinds.com). And clearly I'm on Thwack most frequently.
I've been using SolarWinds products for a long, long time (10 years, likely longer) but only joined Thwack last summer.
1) Do you continue to visit the solarwinds.com website? How often? What kind(s) of content do you normally go looking for on solarwinds.com?
2) How often do you log into the customer portal? Other than product upgrades, what other content do you visit the customer portal for?
3) How long after you became a customer did you join thwack? How often do you visit thwack? What content do you come to thwack for?
1) Daily. I typically go for admin guides and virtual tours to show clients new things. We have our own demo site, but sometimes it's faster to use the virtual demo for a quick high-level overview of different modules. I also go to the support documentation and KB section a lot. However, I typically NEVER go to the KB site directly. A quick Google in the format of 'solarwinds ________' usually will give me a good selection of KB articles. But the search within the KB is a site-wide search that generally returns results regarding sales stuff.
2) I login to the CP with every client I work with. Usually to show them where to get demos so they won't be caught in the dreaded sales loop and to open tickets.
3) I come to thwack almost daily. Sometimes multiple times per day to look for answers or related experiences and new ideas for solutions. I am a firm believer in the content exchange and feature requests and do my best to contribute to both. Recently I have been lurking in the Report Lab section as well. I find that the requests found on this site for custom SQL help me keep my skills sharp, and sometimes directly sharpen them.
Loop1 Systems: SolarWinds Training and Professional Services
I mainly use Thwack for support questions, product news, checking if anyone has common problems, etc. Since I am The Solarwinds Guy™ at my company, I'm here just about daily except weekends when I like to spend my time trying to salvage what's left of my sanity.
I use the Customer Portal for product downloads and to open Support tickets when needed.
I have tried the KB over the years but it is one of the worst ones I've worked with. As has been mentioned, the results were either way out of date and/or many of the results returned didn't even match the search. When I use it now it appears to mainly return Thwack content, so there doesn't appear to be any reason to use it in favor of simply searching Thwack.
Do you continue to visit the solarwinds.com website? yes
How often? depends on what I am looking for or looking at.
could be a product trial or information on a product or licensing
or a google search lead me there - I agree with the above comments
the knowledge base needs work, its too hard to search, to badly organised and ui needs improvement
What kind(s) of content do you normally go looking for on solarwinds.com?
production information, live demos ect, the kb
How often do you log into the customer portal?
once or twice a week
licensing, software downloads and hot fixes, the mib db
customer support ect
How long after you became a customer did you join thwack?
about a week or 2
How often do you visit thwack?
at least every day
What content do you come to thwack for?
create my own content,
check how many points that I have
generally a bit of digging around the site
see what recent posts interest me ect
For the solarwinds.com site I often refer back to the documentation section and the price page every second week or so. I'll also grab new product evaluation versions for labs and training.
The customer portal is used to obtain and manage licensing for various clients. Time interval for this varies depending on assigned projects.
I joined thwack before becoming a customer. This was primarily for research and reading up on the SolarWinds modules. I try and visit thwack as often as I can to keep up on releases and to see issues other users are having. If I'm having an issue with a particular customer request or general question, I find thwack is better than support (I reserve support for "this is broken"). Thwack is also a great resource for NCM device templates and SAM templates.
If I get some downtime at work, I usually come to thwack to browse the latest posts (although the "Recent Content" only allows you to hit More a few times so I usually get a limited amount of recent stuff). It would be nice to be able to filter out people voting/rating and just see posts though. Sometimes it's easier to just open up tabs for all the different sections I'm interested in and look at the recent threads that way.
The only reason I visit S/W.com is for KB's and like mharvey I typically use google to find the S/W KB's.
I use the customer portal on an as needed basis, typically to determine the status of a ticket or product upgrades.
I joined the Thwack community prior to purchasing any S/W software. Part of my organization's decision to purchase the software was the communities activity, content provided, content exchange, documentation and tutorials. I visit Thwack daily for a variety of different reasons:
Feature Request: Add KB's to Thwack.
Solarwinds.com - never.
Customer portal - downloads, etc.
thwack - daily. I try to help if someone's having a problem with which I'm familiar, I ask for help if I need it, feature requests, and general complaining as well.
I use Thwack almost every day, the customer portal when a new update is needed, and the main solarwinds.com site almost never.
I'm familiar with the Knowledge Base, but I've never had good luck with it. I really, really don't like the search function, and more often than not, the information is outdated. Even when information is in date, it's not often detailed enough to help me with what I'm trying to do, so Thwack is a much better resource.
I also rarely use the main Solarwinds.com site except if I am looking for something new that I have heard about. I do find I am into Thwack very frequently and also the Customer Portal.
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