Elevating Cradlepoint’s technical documentation process with Paligo

May 6, 2024

Company overview

Cradlepoint is a company that provides wireless networking solutions. They specialize in creating routers and wireless edge solutions that help organizations connect and manage their distributed networks. Cradlepoint has developed its products to allow businesses to establish and manage secure, reliable, and scalable wireless networks.

Specifically, Cradlepoint focuses on providing solutions for enterprises with distributed and mobile operations, including retail, healthcare, transportation, and public safety. Their products often involve the use of 4G LTE and 5G technologies to ensure robust and high-performance connectivity.

Getting a Handle on Technical Documentation

Cradlepoint is a company that creates a lot of technical documentation for its products. When Kyle Schinkel joined the company three years ago as the Senior Manager for Technical Documentation, they were in the early stages of their documentation practice. All content was managed in Salesforce Knowledge. The challenge was that there was no structure to the documentation, no way to reuse it, and no easy way to deliver it to multiple channels.

The team continued to create articles for Salesforce Knowledge and publish them to their customer portal (also in Salesforce). But it wasn’t easy. They were completely dependent on the Salesforce team for changes to the content (formatting, metadata, etc.). Salesforce did not offer them the flexibility they were looking for, and it wasn’t the primary purpose of Salesforce anyway. Schinkel knew they wanted a structured authoring system to improve how they created and managed content, and they wanted that solution to be XML-based.

So, they started looking at tools to help them properly manage their content.

The Decision to Go With Paligo

Schinkel has worked in the technical documentation field for over twenty-five years. He’s used Framemaker, Framemaker with DocBook, and many other environments. He wanted to bring reusability to Cradlepoint’s documentation and a way to translate and publish that documentation to multiple channels. These capabilities meant they needed a component content management system (CCMS).

The team looked at ‌several tools, including Paligo. One of his team members had experience working with Paligo, and they saw how simple it was to use and how easy it was to get up and running. These were key drivers for selecting Paligo as Cradlepoint’s CCMS.

Key capabilities, including content reuse, managing translations, reviews, taxonomy, multi-channel publishing, and integration with other tools, also led them to go with Paligo.

Managing Translations

Schinkel said that the ability to manage translations was one of Paligo’s best features. When he joined Cradlepoint, there weren’t many translation requirements, but he saw the need, and it has quickly become more important over the past year. With Paligo, they can easily put content into translation, send it to an external translation provider, and then import the translated content back into the CCMS. Today, with global growth, Cradlepoint publishes content in 16 languages. One of the features Schinkel appreciates is when the English version of the content changes, the system lets them know the translations need to be changed as well. There is no need to manually track translations.

The ability to know when the translations are out of sync with the English is really important and a fantastic feature.

Reusing Content

Another reason for selecting Paligo was the ability to reuse content. Schinkel described several ways they reuse content, including:

  • Creating Quick-Start Guides for customers to set up modems
  • Producing carrier-specific versions of Quick Start Guides
  • Sharing topics among guides

Also, because these guides are translated into multiple languages, the ability to reuse topics makes translation faster and easier since less content has to be translated.

Reviewing Content

Reviews is a feature they adopted to help Schinkel’s team ‌send content to subject matter experts for review.

We’re seeing the right sort of interaction in the review feature where people are commenting; they’re working out issues while content is in review so that we can come out of the review with the best possible path forward for any content.

Managing Taxonomy

Schinkel said the Taxonomy Manager is very important, enabling them to create a lot of different taxonomies and apply that information to publications.

Along with managing documentation for Cradlepoint, they are pulling in documentation from a recent acquisition and publishing it to a separate documentation portal. The taxonomy manager has enabled them to create metadata that helps identify which content to publish to which documentation portal.

Integrating with Fluid Topics

When Cradlepoint first started working with Paligo, the plan was to create and manage content in Paligo and publish it to Salesforce Knowledge. They worked with Paligo’s integration to Salesforce. At the same time, they were looking for a new documentation portal tool.

Fluid Topics was the new portal tool they selected to support their portal needs. Paligo’s integration with Fluid Topics was one of the reasons they chose it over other documentation portal tools. With this integration, all new content is authored and managed in Paligo, and metadata is applied. The content is then sent to Fluid Topics to one repository, where, based on the metadata, it is published to the correct portal.

Our ability to author that content in Paligo, apply the metadata in Paligo, and then send that to Fluid Topics and, through the metadata, be able to ensure that it publishes only to their [the acquired company] area is really great. And we’re starting to use more and more of the metadata in order to manage our content from the portal perspective.

They are also creating content in Paligo and publishing it to Fluid Topics, which is then published to in-app help.

Publishing to Multiple Channels

Before using Paligo, ‌the documentation team created content and manually published it to different channels. Now, with Paligo, they can create it once and automatically publish it to any channel.

An Intuitive and Easy-to-Use CCMS

Cradlepoint was managing over 3,000 articles in Salesforce prior to adopting Paligo. The decision was made to strategically migrate specific topics to Paligo while maintaining other topics in the existing repository. The rest will remain in Salesforce and get published to Fluid Topics directly because they are rarely updated. Going forward, the migrated content and all new content are authored and managed in Paligo, where metadata is used to create and serve content collections.

Schinkel’s team has grown to four full-time writers and one contact writer, spending about 75% of their time in Paligo. He said this will rapidly transition to 95% of their time as they decrease their need to work with Salesforce. With the exception of his contract writer, all his writers have over twenty years of experience working with XML, so they understand structured content.
The entire team finds Paligo very intuitive. Schinkel said that was one of the determining factors in going with the CCMS. Its WYSIWYG environment and intuitive navigation made it very easy to work with. Even the contract writer who had no XML experience adopted Paligo rapidly.

From a project management perspective, Schinkel looks forward to using additional Paligo features, including making assignments and doing more reviews.

Great Customer Support

Customer support is a key factor in having a great product experience. Schinkel expressed his appreciation for the support he gets from Paligo.

I should call out right now that Alex is another fantastic feature of Paligo because her help is really wonderful. She responds quickly. She helps us work through any issues that we have, any educational issues that we have. And we’ve come to her with a lot of stuff. I think that the customer success aspect is really important.

Recommending Paligo to Others

When we asked Schinkel if he were to recommend Paligo to someone looking for a CCMS, what would be the top reasons he would give? His response:

1. Its simplicity. You can get up and running very quickly.
2. Translations. Managing and tracking translations is straightforward, and reuse saves time and money.
3. Multichannel publishing. Paligo offers some nice-looking content presentations out of the box.
4. Great customer service. Thanks, Alex!

If you’re interested in learning more about how the Paligo CCMS can improve your technical documentation, book a demo or read more here.