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Case Study | Sisense

Sisense, Industry Leader in Business Intelligence For Complex Data, Uses MadCap Flare to Seamlessly Deliver HTML5-Based Help and Documentation Supporting Multiple Product Versions

Company Website

www.sisense.com

Location

New York, New York

Industry

Software

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Goals:

  • Increase efficiency and content consistency through topic-based single-source publishing.
  • Facilitate the ability to produce multiple documentation versions to support different product releases and the company’s OEMs.
  • Strengthen collaboration among Sisense’s technical writers.
  • Create more intuitive, visually appealing web and print documentation to help users easily find the information they need.

Solutions:

  • MadCap Flare for advanced single-source, multi-channel content authoring

Benefits:

  • Efficiency: MadCap Flare’s topic-based, single-source publishing simplifies the delivery of its HTML5-based documentation portal, PDFs, and Microsoft Word files.
  • Content Customization: Variables and conditional tags enable Sisense’s writers to provide white label documentation that its OEMs can easily customize.
  • Collaboration: Integration of MadCap Flare with GitHub provides version control and facilitates collaboration among Sisense’s technical writers.
  • Optimized User Experience: Top navigation and embedded multimedia with MadCap Flare provide a modern, inviting web experience with easy-to-navigate content.

Sisense is on a mission to enable data-driven insights for everyone. The company delivers an end-to-end, agile business intelligence (BI) platform that empowers developers, data engineers, and business analysts to simplify complex data and transform it into powerful analytic apps that unleash user creativity and engagement. Today, its platform is the BI solution of choice for tens of thousands of users at more than 2,000 customers worldwide, leading Sisense to earn over $100 million in annual recurring revenue.

Central to the success of Sisense is its customer- and people-centric culture, which places a priority on ensuring that clients feel the full value of the Sisense platform in their business by working with them through every installation, upgrade, and project. This priority extends to delivering state-of-the-art documentation for users. Today, the company relies on MadCap Flare’s topic-based, single-source publishing and customizable modern output to seamlessly deliver this content across multiple formats, including HTML5-based Help, PDFs, and Microsoft Word files.

The Need to Produce Multiple Versions

In the past, Sisense delivered its software documentation via a WordPress website. However, this approach had several limitations. Most notable were an inability to produce and maintain different versions of the site and the lack of support for accessing documentation offline.

“There wasn’t an easy way to export WordPress into a Word or PDF file, and we only had documentation for the most current software release even though many of our customers were still using previous software versions,” recalls Gideon Behrensmeyer, technical writer at Sisense. “We couldn’t ask them to upgrade every time we released a new version since the process is an extensive one.”

Behrensmeyer adds, “We realized that with our increasing focus on enterprise and larger deals, we needed a more robust solution that would deliver enterprise-grade documentation to align with our evolving business.”

Sisense began searching for documentation platforms with two requirements in mind: ease of use and available documentation and training material for the software. The evaluation led Sisense to select MadCap Flare for its ability to produce multiple versions of guides, advanced training videos and documentation, and the rich MadCap user community available to offer advice.

“We chose Flare because it’s the industry standard, and we were blown away by how simple and intuitive it was to use,” Behrensmeyer said. “We had a training session, and I learned everything I needed to know about Flare within two hours. It was a very easy decision.”

Same Content, Multiple Web and Print Outputs

“Being able to publish different versions of our content to multiple outputs from a single source with Flare has been the biggest benefit for us. Because we’re much more efficient, the amount of accurate, quality content we produce now is much greater.”

Gideon Behrensmeyer
Technical Writer | Sisense

Today, Sisense uses MadCap Flare to deliver the HTML5-based Sisense Documentation Portal. Through MadCap Flare’s topic-based, single-source publishing, the technical writing team has seamlessly produced website versions of the documentation for each of its four product releases, along with downloadable PDFs and Microsoft Word files—all created from one Flare project.

“Being able to publish different versions of our content to multiple outputs from a single source with Flare has been the biggest benefit for us,” Behrensmeyer notes. “Because we’re much more efficient, the amount of accurate, quality content, we produce now is much greater.”

Sisense technical writers rely on a combination of conditional tags and variables with MadCap Flare to automate the process of producing the company’s various documentation versions while ensuring consistency.

White Label Documentation for OEMs

Additionally, the use of variables in creating white label documentation has enabled Sisense to better support its original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), which represent almost half of the company’s business.

Sisense OEMs want documentation with their own branding and naming. In the past, they had to go to the Sisense WordPress site, copy and paste the pages into a document, and then use the “find and replace” feature to customize the content. Now, Sisense provides white label documentation with variables such as company name, product terms, and older software versions, which OEMs can easily tailor to their needs.

“Our OEMs’ technical writers can simply do a find and replace for all the Flare variables in our documentation and then customize everything else,” Behrensmeyer explains. “That’s a huge advantage for us since none of our competitors offer white label documentation.”

“Our OEMs’ technical writers can simply do a find and replace for all the Flare variables in our documentation and then customize everything else. That’s a huge advantage for us since none of our competitors offer white label documentation.”

Gideon Behrensmeyer
Technical Writer | Sisense

GitHub Integration Facilitates Collaboration

In developing documentation, multiple writers now can easily work on the same projects since MadCap Flare has been integrated with GitHub, a web-based Git repository hosting service for version control.

“It was very advantageous to us that incorporating Flare into GitHub was a simple and smooth process,” Behrensmeyer states. “We also like that it will alert us when someone is about to overwrite another person’s work. It’s very convenient that when two writers work on the same file, they can see which file conflicts along with what changes were made by one another.”

Top Navigation for Fast Access to Information

Beyond producing timely, accurate documentation, Sisense technical writers rely on MadCap Flare to give the HTML5-based documentation portal a clean layout that customers find intuitive and attractive. This navigation format also has allowed the team to put the search field at the top and lengthen it to make it more visible for users.

“Among the people viewing our documentation, 70% are return visitors who want to search for something specific instead of reading the whole documentation set,” explains Behrensmeyer. “With Flare, users can now search for something instantly by typing in a keyword instead of going down four levels just to find information.”

On the previous Sisense WordPress site, the search field would frequently yield irrelevant results. For example, if customers typed “R” to search for documentation on the R programming language, they would get 364 results—none of which included the actual R language page.

“With Flare, users can now search for something instantly by typing in a keyword instead of going down four levels just to find information.”

Gideon Behrensmeyer
Technical Writer | Sisense

By contrast, Behrensmeyer notes, “When users now type the letter ‘R’ into our Flare-enabled search field, it uses Google indexing, and the first result is the R documentation page. This has drastically reduced the time to locate content.”

Multimedia for a More Interactive Experience

Additionally, Sisense technical writers take advantage of support for embedded multimedia in MadCap Flare to provide a more visual, interactive experience for customers visiting its documentation portal.

“With WordPress, embedding images and videos was difficult, and it was easy to make mistakes,” observes Behrensmeyer. “Flare lets us embed a video using a simple tag, and there’s no learning or training needed to do this. As a result, we’re easily embedding over 70 videos on the site right now.”

“Since using Flare for our documentation portal, we’ve gotten a lot of compliments from customers that having multiple website versions is a huge plus.”

Gideon Behrensmeyer
Technical Writer | Sisense

Delivering Superior Customer Service

The redesigned documentation website has helped Sisense to extend its commitment to superior customer service by empowering both internal and external users to readily get the information they need.

“Since using Flare for our documentation portal, we’ve gotten a lot of compliments from customers that having multiple website versions is a huge plus,” Behrensmeyer says. “It’s also a big benefit for our support team, who can now respond to customers and address issues much more quickly and completely by sending them the link to the proper version of the website.”

“We’re very happy. MadCap Flare is the robust, flexible solution that we needed to transform our documentation and make it enterprise grade.”

Gideon Behrensmeyer
Technical Writer | Sisense

Behrensmeyer adds, “We’re very happy. MadCap Flare is the robust, flexible solution that we needed to transform our documentation and make it enterprise grade.”

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