Dogfooding the Spirent Knowledge Base

Spirent Knowledge Base

In making the case for the Spirent Knowledge Base (KB) here at Spirent a few years ago, most of my arguments centered on how it would help our customers. Of course, properly configured and properly used, a knowledge base has just as much value to ourselves, given that we also work with our products daily. These arguments—along with a lot of help from management and others throughout Spirent—was enough to convince everyone here that Spirent was much better with a KB than without. We deployed the KB in the summer of 2011.

But the real breakthrough came with the dynamic connection of the KB to our Support Services team and to the customer support issues they deal with every day.

Just like any other company, our support engineers respond to service requests (SRs), working with customers (maybe you!) one-by-one to solve configuration issues, discover/fix bugs, and generally get our customers back on their feet. Of course, with as many customers as we have, repeat issues occur, sometimes frequently. With luck, those repeat issues will go to the same support engineer, who can resolve the repeated issues quickly and efficiently. But, of course, we operate in the real world, which means hoping for luck doesn’t get us very far. What tends to happen is the repeated issues often come in waves—perhaps there’s a new release with an updated GUI, and a few customers will call in wanting help on using the new system. Because a support engineer can only work with one customer at a time, they take an issue and start working on it, often unaware that identical questions are trickling in, perhaps every hour or two.

Here’s how the KB helps: the first support engineer takes an issue and starts working on it. The engineer works through the issue, solves it, and publishes the answer in the KB. Now, the KB contains the answer: customers who check the knowledge base before submitting an SR will find the answer with little disruption to their work, and support engineers can use the already-authored solution in the KB and reply with an answer, quickly and effectively.

So what does this all mean? You, the customer, can search from the same knowledge base the Spirent Support team uses when you call in.  We strive to publish useful FAQs and solutions onto the KB ASAP, not only because it helps us internally, but it helps our customers.

Spirent Knowledge Base Search

So although "dogfooding" isn't the most elegant metaphor, it is true we’re big users of the Spirent Knowledge Base. And should you become a big user too, you’re sure to learn a thing or two, and the great thing is, you’ll be learning it at the same time we do.

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