Keeping a staff of experts up to date on complex and expanding technical product architecture is no small challenge on its own. Doing so while the organization rapidly grows requires determination, creativity — and as much support as your tools can provide.
Trusted as the experts in visualizing big data, this fast-growing analytics and business intelligence software company has found the support it needs to maintain and expand its industry-leading team of developers in another visualization tool: video.
Today, with a little support from Panopto, video has become as essential part of how this organization shares information, providing a valued solution to each of the company’s four learning challenges:
Formal Internal Technical Product Training
The first contribution of video training to the company’s developer training process was the most straightforward. In order to ensure every member of the development team is fully up to speed on the company’s offerings, the team had already been holding a regularly scheduled 2-day all-hands conference to review product architecture.
These product architecture discussions bring together all the company’s developers to explain to each other in full exactly how everything in the company’s products worked. The course makes it easier to understand the intricacies of the software — assuming, of course, an employee can attend. In the past, those who had to miss the event for any reason could only wait for the next one — and hope they didn’t miss too much regarding anything new.
With Panopto, the company was able to record and share those classes, ensuring that employees could still experience the class even if they missed a session — and that they could go back and rewatch a session later should a question arise.
“Sharing our knowledge via on-demand video in Panopto gives our people the power to access the team’s expertise whenever and wherever they need it,” said a member of the employee training team. “For example, I had a very senior engineer in my group that wanted to start watching our Panopto videos immediately. On day two, he was watching our product architecture conference videos so he could learn about all the backend components of our product.”
Other employees instead rely on the videos as guides they can access on-demand whenever they have a question. “As they watch the videos, people often like to follow along in the product, reading the code that’s being discussed. Panopto helps speed up the product knowledge acquisition process immensely.”
To complement its formal training, the company also uses video for social, peer-to-peer knowledge transfer. As part of launching new or revised product features, the developer who created the new architecture is asked to record a walkthrough of the details and rationale behind their work.
“Recently one of our developers was asked by a new hire how to perform a specific task,” recalled a member of the training team. “A light bulb seemed to go off in his head and he said, ‘Why don’t I make a video?’ And so, that is what he did. Using Panopto he demonstrated the process step-by-step in a very short recording. Now we have that information ready for anyone else to view and learn from at any time.”
These individual videos are then stored in the organization’s video library, where teammates can search for and reference them when working on those components at a later date. In a short time, this practice has built an extensive library of internal expertise – all readily available at the click of a mouse, so that the developer’s knowledge can be shared on-demand, even if they aren’t available to answer questions in person.
Today the company has rolled out Panopto to all functional groups including Marketing and Sales, ensuring everyone in the organization can share information and trade expertise. As the development team leverages Panopto for training, teams all across the company make use of the knowledge stored there.
“Every time a new version is shipped, new features are there,” notes one of the company’s leaders. “All these new features need to be shared with our customers. And so, we use Panopto videos to train customer support and sales people on these additions, so that they can then effectively communicate them to our end users.”
As a provider of exceptionally technical data analytics software, it’s no surprise that the company has an almost constant stream of questions on how the tools work — both from new prospects working to integrate the tools into their own systems, and from long-time customers seeking to better utilize the product suite. That means everyone, including sales and customer service, must be up to speed on the details of how the product works.
To make sure they are, the company leverages Panopto to share its internal expertise with those key stakeholders. Managers watch for trends in common product or technical questions, and when those arise, quickly share the relevant video from the development team to ensure everyone has the right answer at hand.
“Our customer support people as well as our new developers — even those working from our offices outside the US — all have access to information about the feature well before that feature makes it to our customers. The videos are an invaluable part of our overall communication strategy.”
Technology teams in almost any organization can sometimes feel a certain disconnect with business teams — too often finding themselves in the role of order taker, with little if any communication shared about customer feedback or product strategy. To bridge this divide, the company uses video to help its teams connect throughout product development.
This starts with the kickoff meeting — when stakeholders across the company come together to define new feature requirements. The internal employee training team records these presentations, sharing them with every member of the new feature’s working team so as to tell the whole story of that feature, including who came up with the original idea, what data points led to it being included in the new version and more.
“With Panopto, our developers can record their demo videos for others very quickly,” the team notes. “We keep track of the story of each feature from the beginning of the process of including it in a release. Then, after it’s finished, it’s really satisfying for us to go back and watch how all that played out.”
These videos also become a key part of the launch of the new feature, shining a spotlight on the creators and giving the team the opportunity to share their perspective on the importance of the feature — connecting their work to the company as a whole.
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