RapidMiner is a software platform designed for analytics teams that unites data prep, machine learning, and predictive model deployment. Working to unify the entire data science lifecycle, RapidMiner is used by 450,000+ analytical professionals to drive revenue, reduce costs, and avoid risks. The RapidMiner community works to provide help and support for over half a million users worldwide.
RapidMiner’s restrictive platform meant that their community couldn’t be customized, which was especially troublesome since they were paying so much. To add insult to injury, the support was awful.
Price and the ability to customize the community to fit the Cireson brand, vision and personality led the search for the perfect vendor, leading them directly to Vanilla.
RapidMiner had budgeted months for the migration since they were looking to move 10 years of data and 40,000+ posts. It was completed easily in only a few weeks.
Results were immediate in every measurable category, including an 80% decrease in time to solution, 73% decrease in average time to first response and 90% decrease in platform costs.
In 2017, RapidMiner found themselves in a difficult situation. They knew that their current community provider wasn’t delivering (a) the results that they were looking for, and (b) the level of service they needed, and so, they were faced with two seemingly unpleasant options.
One, stay with their current provider and learn to accept sub-par results. Or two, try their luck down the bumpy road of community migration and hope for smooth sailing. RapidMiner chose the latter. The high costs mixed with low results, the inability to customize their community to suit their brand identity topped with horrendous support was just too much to bear. Given these pain points, Senior Community Manager, Scott Genzer, chose to brave the storm and hoped to find a rainbow at the end; they were going to migrate more than 10 years of data along with over half a million members to a new community platform.
Of the pain points that RapidMiner experienced, two of them contributed directly to the breaking point. The first was their inability to customize their platform. As a tech company, RapidMiner had so many creative ideas for their community, but found their previous platform, “extremely restrictive, cumbersome, and clunky.” They wanted to tinker around and add some features that would bring out their brand identity, but they simply couldn’t. Then came the straw that broke the camel's back. The support.
According to Scott,
As a lone Community Manager, Scott is responsible for a community of half a million users with thousands of visits every day. When there’s an issue, Scott needs support immediately, which is why RapidMiner opted for “gold level support.” However, when an inquiry was submitted, there were times when weeks would go by before he got a response. Further, when a response arrived, it was often a message indicating that they would have to escalate the inquiry.
Suffice it to say, Scott’s blood pressure was too high to continue with this provider.
Their current platform provider was incredibly expensive and it was difficult to show any sort of ROI. High costs, however, wouldn’t have been an issue if RapidMiner felt they were getting their money’s worth.
A number of brilliant ideas to improve the community and portray the brand personality within the community couldn’t be done. The current platform just didn’t have the capabilities to be uniquely customized.
Even after paying extra fees to receive top-notch support, connecting with a support agent was very difficult. Even after that, RapidMiner wouldn’t get an adequate response and most inquiries had to be “escalated.”
When RapidMiner began the search for a new provider, they had enough experience under their belt to know what they wanted and what they didn’t want. In fact, their decision to migrate presented them with an excellent opportunity to reevaluate their approach to community and look for a provider that could address their pain points.
After their previous experience, one thing was abundantly clear to Scott. They were looking for more than just a new platform that could provide solutions. “Honesty, transparency and a clear bilateral partnership was what we were looking for,” Scott exclaims.
Scott found everything that he was looking for in Vanilla Forums. Not only was Vanilla able to provide solutions for all the pain points, but Scott was able to find a level of honesty and transparency in Vanilla that he admits is, “unusual in this world.”
With Vanilla hitting every box on the RapidMiner checklist, Scott was convinced that Vanilla Forums could deliver what they were looking for in a community. RapidMiner made the Vanilla switch in 2018.
“The hidden power of Vanilla forums over a lot of other companies is their backend, their API…our goal right now is to use Vanilla’s [backend features] to automate a lot of the work that we normally did manually.”
“RapidMiner is saving 90% of what they paid to their previous provider and, “at the end of the day, I actually think we’re better than we were under [our previous provider].””
“There are a few things that make the Vanilla customer success, migration and sales teams exemplary - number one is clear transparency [and] honesty.”
“The customer SuccessTeam™ not only answers our questions as responsively as you would expect, but they’re technically competent. And for us, a big tech geeky company, that’s critical.”
RapidMiner was, of course, very nervous about migrating to a new community. After all, their community was over 10 years old and had over 40,000 posts. The migration team at Vanilla, however, took this opportunity to prove that they had nothing to worry about; RapidMiner certainly wasn’t the first and wouldn’t be the last.
The migration was as smooth of a sail as sailing could possibly be. As Scott pointed out, “we were amazed how well Vanilla was able to grab our data, move it into its own ecosystem and get us up and running in a matter of weeks. We had actually budgeted months for the migration process; Vanilla had us a sandbox ready to go in a matter of weeks, and we were up live not long after that.”
One of the first things that RapidMiner noticed was that the average time to solution decreased substantially, which is incredibly significant for a support/ help based community. For this KPI, the clock starts ticking when a question is posted in the forum, and the clock stops when the original poster indicates on the discussion that their question has been answered. The results were astounding.
One of the game-changing features that RapidMiner took advantage of is the customizable gamification system, which Scott points out, plays a role in improving the numbers. By incorporating unique elements that embody the RapidMiner brand and personality, the community has increased engagement through having the power to customize the community with a touch of humour.
“Our ranks are all named after various elements that are known in the machine learning world,” says Scott, “so when people achieve a certain rank, it’s a bit of an inside joke.” The real advantage of Vanilla, however, is the backend, according to Scott. He states, “the real competitive advantage of Vanilla is our ability to measure [the community] (via APIs) and our ability to get a really clear idea of where we can get even better.” Ultimately, RapidMiner found the rainbow without even having to weather a storm. With the pot of gold now in their possession, their community is better than ever before.