New and Improved Apex User Site
By: Amanda Farmer
Five years ago at our first annual user conference in Nashville, TN we unveiled the first version of our user site to our customer base. The site was extremely well received because it provided an improved mechanism for the delivery of purchased license keys as well as provided a streamlined process for downloading released software packages to our customers. While we were very happy with the initial release of the site, my vision has always been that the user site would develop into an all-inclusive customer portal that not only provided streamlined product delivery, but also provided customer support, technical information and a system which could capture feature requests, software questions and support requests.
Since the initial release of the user site, we have invested heavily in improvements that not only add functionality but also improve the users experience with the site. We have had roughly 20 updated releases of the site since our initial launch. The latest update, released last week, is a culmination of several months of hard work by our development team and the result is a more organized, faster site which not only provides a more intuitive GUI design, but also allows for faster deployment of future releases based on the new backend modularity.
The biggest addition to the user site involves channel based licensing. Because our dynamic data acquisition software DS, is licensed on a per channel basis at the vendor level, each vendor (National Instruments, VTI, Dewetron, General Standards, Datatel, LTT, etc.) have a dedicated section under downloads for their appropriate driver packages, documentation and downloads.
The first thing you see after logging into the site is our “Downloads Dashboard”. This screen gives you access to download the latest releases of our products. With the new release, products are organized into 4 standard toolkits (Acquisition, Analysis, Utilities and Archival) to improve the communication of software functionality to our users. Access to products is based on company assigned users and also a valid maintenance agreements. Even if you are not specifically assigned as the point of contact for a product, you can still login and access our “Utilities” section which provides you the ability to download DV our free data acquisition viewer, our API library for streamlined development of custom protocols and site integration, the Apex Circumferential Optimizer Tool and Apex Limits Utility Tool. In addition to software packages, users can access help documentation, training information and license keys from this screen.
The “Help Desk” section of the website is the most frequented and provides several resources to our customers. The help desk ticket section allows users to enter questions, feature requests or software issues. The system captures these requests, routes them to the appropriate APEX department, and provides a communication log of messages regarding the ticket. We encourage all users to become familiar with the ticketing system and utilize it as your primary means of communication regarding our software. The help desk ticket system provides quicker and more thorough support versus emailing support requests to our staff.
Our “Technical Library” provides valuable technical information to our users such as white papers, quick-start guides, demo files, LUA scripting libraries and archived presentations from our annual user conference. All users have access to this wealth of knowledge.
In addition to our Technical Library, we have developed an FAQ section which answers frequently asked questions regarding our products. This searchable section provides users with commonly requested information quickly.
Over the past five years I have seen my vision of an all-inclusive customer portal become a reality and am excited to begin working on our next set of improvements. If there is a feature you would like to see added to the user site, feel free to enter a feature request via our ticketing system. We appreciate your feedback on the site and thank you for being Apex customers.
Author: Amanda Farmer, Administrative Director of Apex Turbine Testing Technologies