Company: SS&C Advent
Entry submitted by: Ellen Pun (Community Manager)
Community: Advent Community
Lithy Category: Community Design of the Year
SS&C Technologies, Inc. provides mission-critical software and software-enabled services for the global financial services industry. SS&C has more than 7,500 employees worldwide, located in the Windsor, Connecticut headquarters, and offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Australia. SS&C provides the global financial services industry with a broad range of highly specialized software, software enabled-services and software as a service (SaaS) solutions for operational excellence. We deliver mission-critical processing for information management, analysis, trading, accounting, reporting and compliance.
Our community goals
Advent Community is intended to help our clients solve their problems through a variety of different channels. The community acts as a hub for content, connecting people, and a platform for interaction. It is a place for two way flow of communication between Advent and the ecosystem we interact with. We want to be able to connect our users with personalized and relevant content and capture feedback to help improve our software, services, and our community experience. It is our intention to make information and answers easy to access, with support, particularly phone support, being the last resort. We want our users to be able to share their thoughts with their peers and with Advent and know that they will be heard.
The design elements that make our community stand out
We designed community to be able to provide an easy way to access the information users are looking for while providing transparency into the future of our products.
We publish our product roadmaps on Community. Each product roadmap item is linked back to the product’s idea exchange, directly to the idea. We’re able to highlight which roadmap items originate from community members and we make it easy for others to comment and vote as well. By publishing Advent-originated items, we invite comments and questions from users about why features are important. Users are not only able to see the direct impact that they have on our product but we believe that knowing specifically where the product is going can help make the decision to upgrade an easier one.
We also publish our products’ known issues (called Fixes & Requests, or F&R) in an effort to be transparent and to help divert support requests. While the UI of these pages runs on Kendo UI, the backend of the page is a hidden Lithium discussion board. Each F&R item is posted as a topic to the board associated with the product. By leveraging the subscription capability of Lithium Discussions, users are updated when the product team makes an update rather than needing to start a support case.
We’ve made improvements to our site header and menu. We added “quick action” buttons to the header to start a new discussion post, create a new idea, or start a new support case. We highlighted these frequently used actions in order to help lower the barrier to engage. We’ve also added the ability to set and indicate your product version in the menu. By knowing what matters to the user, we’re able to deliver the most relevant content in search results.
How we executed our community design
We are always actively collecting feedback from clients both in person and online. Our CSM team incorporates a section on Community during their client quarterly business reviews. We speak with clients about Community during our annual client conference. During our session, we showed previews of upcoming ideas for improvements and often modify these ideas based on the conversations we have about them. We were able to survey s on different areas of the site to learn which areas of the site needed the most improvement. Most importantly, we collect information from the Feedback board on Community.
The Community team aggregated the feedback and brought it to our internal UI/UX team to ensure that we were not only creating a better site experience but one that was consistent with the look and feel of the Advent brand. The common color palate and use of shared technology platforms provide s with a consistent and seamless transition when moving between our software and Community.
Kendo UI’s intuitive design of the filters, groupings, and the clean aesthetic make the grids a great way for us to organize and sort through the large amounts of data that live within Fixes & Requests and our Product Roadmaps. We first applied the Kendo UI to our support case portal. After it was clear that it was intuitive to use, we then rolled it out to Fixes & Requests and the Product Roadmaps. Now that other internal teams have seen the benefits it has been integrated into future designs for other parts of our Community to be integrated later this year.
A large part of our site design is focused on the ability to surface relevant content as you browse different parts of the site. We also want to make your frequent actions easy to access.
We allow users to mark their favorite products with a star in the products menu. Starring the product not only makes the product easier to access within the menu, but it subscribes you to that product’s discussion board. Upon logging in, the primary part of the home page is focused on the user’s subscriptions. Updates to discussions about the products you use are front and center on the page.
To take that a step further, users have the option to set the product version they use. We store that information and use that to better surface relevant content within search results. By default, we’ll list information about the newest product version first but we don’t want users to have to sift through multiple results if they’re not using the latest version. Currently, 25% of our active user base has set product preferences. We redesigned and released our new-user experience last month which prompts and encourages users to set these preferences. We hope to see this number increase with time.
Our Fixes & Requests boards allow users to subscribe to over 23,000 product updates. While these settings and subscriptions (and discussion and idea subscriptions) allow us to better deliver information to users, we may have made things too easy to come. We’ve found that while many have subscriptions set up to their advantage, they are consuming the information via email rather than logging in. We actively post webinar recordings and other items that users can only access upon logging in but continue to work on campaigns to drive visitation and log in.
Home page with Subscriptions and Quick action buttons
Fixes & Requests and Subscription Ability
Product Roadmap with Client and Advent Ideas
Product Menu with Product and Version settings
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