…because I have to update 50 answers

I stole this headline, but I don’t think MikeP would mind. It’s from a post Mike created in 2009 in the Oracle Service Cloud (RightNow) forum. He obviously hit a nerve because, last time I checked, his post had attracted over 85,000 views.

Much as we love what Oracle Service Cloud can do for customer experience, there are a few things that it can’t do – or can’t do with ease – that make you feel like you’re a slave to the tool, rather than the other way around. (I think Mike is probably still looking for an easy way to schedule answers to be published while he’s tucked up in bed). This feeling is especially prevalent in knowledge admins who are accustomed to the kind of functionality a CMS provides.

As a RightNow reseller we’re talking to knowledge base managers every day. Here are the five big problems they tell us they’re (still) having with version control in Oracle Service Cloud. Let’s see if you agree:

  1. You can’t revert to an earlier version of an answer once you’ve pressed ‘save’.
  2. You can’t save a draft version of an update to your answers so that you can, for instance, send it to legal for approval while the current version remains online.
  3. You can’t retain historical versions of answers, which puts you/your organisation at risk with ‘the law’.
  4. You don’t know who has edited an answer and why.
  5. And, as detailed by Mike, if you have time sensitive material to release you can’t shedule new or updated answers to be deployed automatically at a point in the future.

A couple of years ago I wrote a piece of software to solve these problems for our clients while we waited for Oracle to get around to adding the functionality to the tool themselves. I made it super-simple to install and use. I designed it to allow the knowledge admin to roll back to earlier versions of answers with a click. I made sure s/he could save earlier versions so that an audit trail could be retained for compliance purposes. I thought it would also be helpful to have a record of who edited the answer and why, and, of course, we needed to retain answer IDs and scores and maintain the integrity of URLs linking to the answer. And for my clients who had their own product releases to manage, I included functionality that allowed them to schedule answers for automatic deployment.

We called the new product VersionCX. Not too much thought went into the name, I admit, as the product was a stopgap measure. Two years later it’s stopping the gap so well that we’ve decided to offer it to the wider market. Having a user-friendly tool in RightNow to manage versions of answers has made a huge difference to the efficiency and peace of mind of knowledge base managers in our clients’ organisations.

With barely a smoke ring on the horizon to indicate that Oracle plans to offer this functionality themelves, we’re taking VersionCX to Oracle’s ModernCX event in Las Vegas on the 26-28th of April. If you’re planning to be at ModernCX drop in and see us at our booth in the main hall. We’d love the chance to show you how VersionCX works for our client, Nike.